‘BURN NOW, PAY LATER’
Net zero will not save us from climate meltdown, major environmental groups and leading climate experts have warned, and could do more harm than good if it goes unchecked. ABC reports that countries that have publicly committed to lofty emissions goals are now setting up carbon markets. What that means is they can offset their emissions from polluting industries by simply buying carbon credits — where the money is supposed to go into green practices such as tree planting. The original idea was to help a small number of essential industries such as aviation and steelmaking wean themselves off carbon, as The Conversation writes, but the widespread adoption has become what former chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Robert Watson dubbed “burn now, pay later”. That’s because carbon capture and storage just doesn’t work that well yet. The Albanese government has tasked former chief scientist Ian Chubb to look into our widely criticised carbon credit scheme, Renew Economy reports. It came after the former chair of the emission reduction fund’s watchdog turned whistleblower called our carbon offsets scheme a “fraud on the environment”.
Meanwhile Energy Minister Mark Butler’s reforms to our electricity market could be a path to a carbon price, Guardian Australia reports. Butler is getting together with his state and territory counterparts today (apparently he gave them 600 pages of reading so they will come prepared) and the main topic will be our nine-day electricity market shutdown in June. The draft plan shows ministers will agree to put “to put an emissions objective to the national electricity objective” where the the objective sets “price, quality, safety and reliability and security of supply of electricity”. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck… It comes as the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has called for our climate bill (which’ll go before the Senate in September) to spell out that the government will aim to meet and ideally exceed our 43% target, the Newcastle Herald reports. It’s not enough to say it’s a floor, ACF says. With the right wording, statutory bodies would get a clear mandate to go beyond 43% even if future governments don’t increase it.
Has your doctor recently ditched bulk-billing? It’s part of a wider trend, according to a survey of 477 GPs, because of “stalling Medicare rebates and the costs of running a practice”, Guardian Australia reports. About one in five GPs have changed their billing, the survey found, up considerably from a similar survey last year where only one in 10 said they had. What’s the solution? Better Medicare rebates that keep pace with the cost of providing care, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said. The rebate was frozen for six years until 2019, and this year’s increase was 1.6%. Compare that with our most recent inflation figure of 6.1%.
Speaking of health concerns — despite eyebrow-raising reporting this week in The Australian ($) that the worst of the pandemic is over, the Nine newspapers counter this morning that such a claim is “impossible to say”. The SMH spoke to University of Sydney’s Edward Holmes, one of the world’s leading experts of COVID, who said: “There is no real scientific basis to say the worst is over.” He also rather gamely continued every prediction he had made about the virus’s evolution was “wrong”. By the numbers, the daily cases have halved within the past fortnight (almost 50,000 on July 27 to 27,058 on Wednesday) and hospitalisations have stabilised in NSW at least — but Holmes says the virus keeps evolving under our noses.
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BUSINESS AS USUAL
The NSW agent-general to the UK — a trade role — approved a TV ad that targeted Labor during the last state election, Guardian Australia reports. Stephen Cartwright was the head of the NSW Business Chamber at the time (now known as Business NSW). The scare campaign, which was aimed at Labor’s payroll tax, appeared in three key seats — Tweed, Lismore and Ballina — all held at the time on a slim margin by the Nationals. Cartwright’s name has come up a few times during the inquiry into former NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro’s doomed NY trade role. Last week head of Investment NSW Amy Brown told the inquiry Cartwright was “added to the process late” after another “front-running candidate” for the London trade job was declared “not acceptable”. This week Brown said Cartwright was told he’d get an eyewatering $800,000 salary in the London gig, which would’ve made him the second-highest-paid NSW public servant (it didn’t eventuate). Cripes. No wonder Labor is pushing for an inquiry into all six trade roles created by the Coalition.
In Victoria now and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is “deeply aggrieved”, The Australian ($) says, after Labor MP Harriet Shing was “unresponsive” to the watchdog’s “grave concerns” she’d ignored issues and failed to respond about her conduct, The AFR continues. So what’s the deal? Well, Shing led a parliamentary inquiry probing the state’s anti-corruption agencies, the Herald Sun says. But she made waves when she ordered a staffer to “cut the feed” in May, the AFR says, when IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich was asked why Premier Daniel Andrews was privately examined in two investigations, and also reportedly prevented ombudsman Deborah Glass from answering questions about Labor’s red shirts drama when she was Labor’s chair of the integrity and oversight committee.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
A shamefaced Domino’s has admitted defeat and filed for bankruptcy in Italy after an ambitious plan to open 880 outlets fell as flat as a dropped pizza pie. The fast-food outlet launched in Italy in 2015 and was bursting with confidence — Domino’s is the world’s largest pizza chain, after all, with 18,300 stores globally, and Italy, as the birthplace of pizza, was an alluring concept. If only it could convince those Italians, that is, who responded with a full-throated “no grazie” in response (perhaps with a vaffanculo! in there, too). By 2020 Dominos was managing just 23 outlets (six more were run through sub-franchising). Compare that with the UK and Ireland, where there are more than 1200 stores.
So why did Domino’s fail? One Twitter user said it was like trying to sell snow in the North Pole — Italians simply don’t need Domino’s. Pizza is cheap in Italy — about $7 a pie — and the pandemic saw lots of traditional pizzerias throughout the country introduce delivery services. Domino’s gave it a good crack, opening in Milan, Turin, Bologna, Parma and Rome — but it didn’t dare open in Naples, the gritty southern city where the margherita pizza was born. Pizza in Naples is no cash grab — Neapolitan pizza has actually been UNESCO-listed since 2017. The city could be the only place, Christine Berberich writes rather beautifully for The Conversation, where in the dead of night you’ll spot a group of nuns ferrying takeaway pizza boxes back to their convent.
Hoping your little slice of life is bursting with flavour today.
The former government wasted more than $21 million of taxpayers’ money on this failed app. Since it was launched in April 2020 only two positive COVID-19 cases were identified through the app, which were not found by manual contact tracers.
The health minister confirmed the app has been decommissioned, after costing about $75,000 a month to run and declared by former PM Scott Morrison as important as wearing sunscreen. Put another way, the two COVID cases the app found cost us $10 million each, Butler says.
“Woolf says he was discharged after a two-hour stint on Sunday. A four-man security entourage escorted him from the hospital after he resisted doctors’ orders to make his own way home. Woolf claims he was taken out the back door of the hospital with haste and told to make himself scarce. Feeling unsafe, he called 000. He waited on the kerb shivering in sub-10 degree temperatures for the police to arrive, but decided it was safer inside the emergency department.
“He claims he was intercepted by security again, and when the police arrived shortly after they also told him to get out: ‘I explained that I had monkeypox and needed to find a way home without endangering the public’. He pulled out his phone and filmed the exchange, which is when he claims things turned physical.”
“Next to its bright, loud showcase of new poker machines, Ainsworth Game Technology exhibited The Guardian, a facial recognition technology from New Zealand company COMS. It sells cameras it claims can pick up faces 20-25 metres away. Its software allows ‘one-to-many’ recognition, meaning individual faces can be checked against a whole database of potential matches. According to staff, 15 venues in South Australia, two in the Australian Capital Territory, and 170 in New Zealand are using its technology.
“Facial recognition is touted by companies as a way to promote responsible gaming by helping venues identify people who’ve chosen to self-exclude from gambling. Enforcing someone’s self-exclusion presents a challenge for companies with multiple venues and staff — a challenge companies selling facial recognition technology say they can solve.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Thousands evacuated as smouldering French wildfire reignites (The Guardian)
The most revealing moments of Xiao Qian’s Press Club address make clear why Australia’s relationship with China is so strained — David Speers (ABC): “The change of government in Australia raised some hope of a relationship reset. The two countries’ defence ministers met, followed by the foreign ministers. This was more dialogue than had occurred in years. Then came Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and a reality check. China’s extraordinary military reaction, involving ballistic missiles, fighter jets and warships, prompted condemnation from the United States, Japan, Australia and others. This, in turn, prompted condemnation from Beijing, urging everyone to butt out of its ‘internal’ affairs.
“Over the course of nearly 90 minutes on stage, ambassador Xiao made it clear why the relationship with Australia is so strained. The differences over Taiwan, trade, the detention of Australian citizens and Putin’s actions in Ukraine are deep. There will be no easy resolution. Back in 2004, the last Chinese ambassador to address the Press Club, Fu Ying, raised Beijing’s concerns about any move towards independence in Taiwan, but wasn’t talking about departing from the status quo. She certainly wasn’t talking about forcing reunification using ‘all necessary means’. And as for China’s relationship with Australia at the time, Fu was optimistic ‘our two countries have no fundamental conflict of interest’. Much has changed in the 18 years between ambassadors turning up at the Press Club.”
Let’s not repeat the same mistakes with COVID response — Osman Faruqi (The Age): “Australia, despite the myths we tell about ourselves, is a rule-loving nation, with a deep respect for authority and an antipathy to social liberalism. COVID or no COVID, we love stopping people coming into ‘our’ country, people who live near beaches have always hated ‘outsiders’ taking up space, and we regularly ban public drinking. So the fact that many of these measures were also popular throughout the first couple of years of the pandemic, as panic and fear of catching COVID swept through the population, isn’t surprising. But popularity isn’t the measure upon which public health measures should be judged …
“During lockdowns outdoor activity was restricted to a couple of hours a day, even when that was the safest place to be. Basketball nets were chained up, police ushered children away from skate parks and playgrounds were taped off. Meanwhile, the virus continue to spread, disproportionately impacting essential workers who tended to live in higher density, often overcrowded housing. Why the disconnect? It’s much easier to convince the public you’re taking things seriously with a visible police presence and high-impact policies like patrolling beaches and parks, regardless of their efficacy. Restructuring the economy and the way we live in order to minimise transmission is more complicated, more expensive and harder to communicate.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Climateworks Centre’s Helen Rowe and Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ Tony Weber will speak about Australia’s need for an emission ceiling for cars in a webinar held by the Grattan Institute.
Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)
Queensland Tourism, Innovation and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Brisbane Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ Sarah Kelly, and Australian Olympic Committee’s Matt Carroll will speak about the 2032 games being carbon-positive in a panel discussion held by CEDA.
Whadjuk Noongar Country (also known as Perth)
Western Australia’s agent-general to the United Kingdom and Europe John Langoulant will discuss the European and UK economy, geopolitics and expanding trade opportunities for WA in a talk held at Pan Pacific Perth.
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Net zero not the answer to climate woes, experts say Source link Net zero not the answer to climate woes, experts say