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John Passant

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March 2016



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Capitalism is killing the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the natural world. It is iconic, a reef that for many Australians is part of the essential Australia.

Climate change is destroying it. The National Coral Bleaching Taskforce recently undertook an aerial survey of the northern part of the Reef.

A staggering 95 per cent of the surveyed reefs are bleached. The surveyed bleached section stretched from Cairns to Papua New Guinea, the so called pristine area.

“This has been the saddest research trip of my life,” Professor Terry Hughes of the ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, the scientist who led the survey, said. He went on to say:

“Almost without exception, every reef we flew across showed consistently high levels of bleaching, from the reef slope right up onto the top of the reef. We flew for 4000km in the most pristine parts of the Great Barrier Reef and saw only four reefs that had no bleaching. The severity is much greater than in earlier bleaching events in 2002 or 1998.”

Warm waters produce this bleaching. As another press release from the ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies says:

‘Coral bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, like heightened sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, called ‘zooxanthellae’. The loss of these colourful algae causes the corals to turn white, and ‘bleach’. Bleached corals can recover if the temperature drops and zooxanthellae are able to recolonise them, otherwise the coral may die.’

Couple the inexorable temperature rises with the El Nino impact and the result is the worst bleaching on record, according to Professor Hughes. It is not yet clear if it is life or death this time around.

“Scientists in the water are already reporting up to 50% mortality of bleached corals,” says Prof. Hughes, “but it’s still too early to tell just what the overall outcome will be. We will continue to conduct underwater surveys along the Great Barrier Reef in the coming months as the full impact of this mass bleaching event unfolds.”

It takes about ten years for the reef to recover but the increased frequency and intensity of bleaching may not give us that time again.

Professor Hughes was blunt in his criticism of the climate change government of Tony Turnbull. He told ABC’s The World Today:

‘… the Minister hasn’t yet announced a significant response other than paying for more surveys of dead corals.

‘I don’t think many people would regard that as an adequate response.

‘Really in the longer term what’s needed is a change in policy around Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions that would be favourable to the Great Barrier Reef.

‘So many people would regard issuing a permit for a new coal mine in Queensland for the next 60 years as a profound policy failure for the Great Barrier Reef.

‘So certainly the science community is hoping that the Federal Government will look again at our emissions trajectory which is trending upwards, and also putting back the price on carbon, and at not cutting the renewable energy target by 30 per cent.’

Professor Hughes is right to condemn the Turnbull government for approving the Adani coal mine. With all respect to Professor Hughes, much more is needed than a political revolution to impose a price on carbon. The process of climate change is under way and the talkfest at Paris, COP21, won’t address that. It won’t even limit warming to 2 degrees.

Yet at the moment we cannot even win a political revolution of a carbon price (let alone a transition to a totally renewable society) against the long slow but rapidly speeding up train wreck of climate change.

A social revolution is even further off, and it may be that the impact of climate change will soon destroy any economic basis for socialism in the future. We socialists have to redouble our efforts to win a just world free of the existential threat of climate change now nd that means joining the fight of thsoe against individual aspects of the economic system that produces climate change.

Under capitalism profit comes before people and the bleaching on the Barrier Reef is one example of that ‘logic’. That logic traps us in fossil fuel production and for example Government approval of the Adani coal mine.

We can save the planet, and with it the Barrier Reef, if we get rid of the underlying driver of climate change – capitalism.

As climate change and its impacts accelerate, Rosa Luxemburg’s stark reminder that our choice is socialism or barbarism rings even truer today.



Comment from peter piper
Time March 30, 2016 at 9:44 am

Of course the Reef needs looking after, but to blame ‘capitalism’ is laughable. have you seen the smog in communist China recently? Or the soot-riddled Eastern bloc that your glorious USSR motherland left behind?

Comment from John
Time March 30, 2016 at 10:32 am

Not my glorious USSR motherland. The state capitalist regimes in Stalinist Russia and elsewhere they invaded and oppressed give a foretaste of the future of capitalism and the environment in the West and globally. Your childish response (suitable no doubt for the puerile right wing websites you presumably also post on to acclaim from the unthinking and brain dead) does not address the existential threat climate change poses to the planet, including, as we can see, the Reef. That climate change arises from the mode of production we currently have. I have a vision for a solution. I look forward to Chinese workers overthrowing the dictatorship and setting up a genuine democratic socialist society which begins to immediately address the ravages the barbarians in charge are unleashing on their own working class and on the rest of the planet (along of course with the ruling classes in the West.)

Comment from Sean
Time March 30, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Peter are you implying that China operates outside the Capitalist model? Capitalism is a global system, implemented around the world to varying degrees. It is what fuels the corporations which profit so handsomely off the extraction and overuse of finite resources. It provides corporations with the consumerist market of continual consumption and justifies designed and perceived obsolescence to keep the general public infatuated with the next great version of the product they don’t really need.

This market economy is the antithesis of sustainability, and is so very clearly behind the decline of our biosphere.

Pingback from Capitalism is killing the Great Barrier Reef – WRITTEN BY JOHN PASSANT | winstonclose
Time March 31, 2016 at 3:17 am

[…] Posted by John, March 30th, 2016 – under Climate change, Socialism or barbarism. Comments: 3 […]

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