Only a ‘just might’. The thought is spreading — the idea that the Liberals might, just might, replace Tony Abbott if the polls keep moving against them and Kevin Rudd delays calling his election. This morning it was the turn of former Peter Costello aide Niki Savva writing in The Australian. After mentioning that the first reason for Labor going to the polls asap was that PM Rudd “will struggle to keep a lid on the hatreds within Labor,” Savva, a journalist with more insight into the Liberal Party that most, continued:

A warm June and the ice melt speeds up. The world had a hot June with NASA reporting the only warmer June in the global temperature record was 1998. In that record hot year there was a strong El Nino effect but this year, by contrast, has been hovering between a weak La Niña and ENSO-neutral conditions, which would normally mean below-average global average temperatures.

Not surprisingly the warm temperatures have had an impact on the Arctic ice melt.

And the accelerating melt is continuing with ice loss even faster than usual over the first two weeks of July 2013. As a result, on July 15 the ice cover came within 540,000 square kilometres (208,000 square miles) of that seen in 2012 on the same date. The ice loss is dominated by retreat on the Atlantic side of the Arctic, including the East Greenland, Kara and Laptev seas, and Baffin Bay. In the Beaufort and Chukchi seas and much of the Eurasian coast, the ice cover remains fairly extensive, especially compared to recent summers. Compared to the 1981 — 2010 average, ice extent on July 15, 2013 was 1.06 million square kilometres (409,000 square miles) below average.

The Antarctic is not escaping the warmer weather either, with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports showing parts of the southern continent being almost off its heat anomaly chart.

News and views noted along the way.

  • Watch him pull a USDA-mandated rabbit disaster plan out of his hat — “The government had a new rule. To keep his rabbit license, Hahne needed to write a rabbit disaster plan. ‘Fire. Flood. Tornado. Air conditioning going out. Ice storm. Power failures,’ Hahne said, listing a few of the calamities for which he needed a plan to save the rabbit.
  • Japan’s ruling bloc headed for majority in upper house election: polls — “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition is expected to secure a big victory in Sunday’s upper house election, surveys showed on Wednesday, resolving six years of parliamentary stalemate and further weakening the opposition.”
  • Government — not business — has been the source of breakthrough innovation — “A recent story about [Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of economics at the University of Sussex] in Forbes cites her view that long-term, patient capital — provided by government — is the absolute prerequisite for breakthrough innovation. ‘Her case study for myth-debunking is the iPhone … Each of its core technologies … came from research efforts and funding support of the U.S. government and military.’ “
  • The surprising origins of evolutionary complexity — “Darwin’s musings on the origin of complexity have found support in modern biology … But recently some scientists and philosophers have suggested that complexity can arise through other routes.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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