Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

Habitat Association after 11 years of publishing

After 11 years of publishing on the WordPress platform, the association has done a review of the articles on four of its sites:

  1. the habitat Association main site.
  2. Habitat Town planning Forum
  3. Habitat Association Centre for Renewable Energy
  4. Gallery 2020 Publishing

In addition to the above sites habitat has three older sites still available:

5. Habitat Short Story nook

6. Visions of inner Sydney, which were research photographs for several published books, by Ray Rauscher

and lastly

7. Will the real Melchizedek please step forward, which was again researcher for philosophical book, which is likely to become the basis for further research, into the true history of humanity on earth, It Is also the basis for a published book: entitled; Melchizedek, High Priest of God And Your destiny in this eternal priesthood.

On reviewing many of the articles written around the year 2010 posted on the first four habitat sites, Ray Rauscher one of the directors of the Habitat sites sites noted that most of the articles are still very relevant today after over ten years of publishing.

This is an inditement on the progress made in the world , issues such as climate, conservation, and progressive planning and local government management in Australia today.

The Habitat Association must congratulate Ray Rauscher on publishing six books on progressive planning in growth areas in Sydney and other locations in the greater Sydney area and his knowledge of other environments in world such as the growth of urbanisation in New York in the united States of america.


To source and/or print authored papers from the Habitat website take 3 steps (please reference the author and site web if material is used).

  1. Go to subject of your choice (on right scroll down).
  2. To copy press on item and select ‘save as’ nominating your folder
  3. Or, select print the item (can view print item), then press print


New South Wales Renewable Energy Policy (2017)


Renewable energy and non-bulk rail freight to replace road freight (2015)


Renewable energy policy development in Australia from 2001 to 2017 (2017)


Transforming Australia to a sustainable energy economy (2017)


What are fossil fuels doing to our planetary systems? (2016)



Council Amalgamations New South Wales  (2016)

Council Amalgamations


What do we mean by the word philosophy? (2021)

What do we mean by the word philosophy


Central Coast Regional Growth Area by Dr. Ray Rauscher and Kevin Armstrong (2011)

North Wyong Structure Plan NSW Australia by David Holland (2011)

Submission for the North Wyong Structure Plan NSW Australia

Planning and finance role of NSW state and federal governments in growth centre-development – central coast region case study (2021)


Visions of Inner Sydney


Train and Bus Interchange Blue Haven, NSW, Australia  (2012)

Blue Haven Train and Bus Interchange 2012 

Transport planning long term for New South Wales (2012)

Submission on discussion paper on long-term transport planning for NSW

Transport precinct, a proposal for renewal in Wyong, NSW, Australia (2012)

Wyong Transport precinct, a proposal for renewal


Table 1. Papers on Habitat Association for Arts and Environment Web

Subject  A-ZPaper (or Submission) and AuthorAuthorDate
Central Coast Regional GrowthCentral Coast Regional Growth AreaArmstrong, Kevin2012
North Wyong PlanningSubmission for the North Wyong Structure Plan NSW AustraliaHolland, David2016

Living a Good Life

This is the notes from a lecture of one of the Habitat affiliated groups organised by one of the Habitat Association directors, ray raucher.

This Group has an interest in writing and conversing about philosophy, this article is the notes from lecture given by Phillip Stroud a retired lawyer at at a meeting of the group on the 14th of May 2021, held in East Gosford. 

Notes by Philip Stroud

What do we mean by the term “Good Life”?

A life of happiness?

A life of value?

The discussion requires consideration of the following philosophical branches:

“Metaphysics”    the nature of reality, what is the world about? 

“Ethics”                what should we do? What sort of person should I  

       be? How should I behave towards others?

Firstly, for discussion, why should we live a Good Life? 

In preparing this paper the following two works were considered:

200 Words to help you talk about Philosophy Anja Steinbauer,   published Laurence King, and

How to live a Good Life-A guide to choosing your personal Philosophy

Ed: Massimo Pigliucci (Stoic), published Vintage Books 2020.

Pigliucci argues that we have a philosophy of life even if we are not aware of it. That is each of us has a view about the world and each of us behaves towards others in accordance with an ethical framework we have adopted. The question is does our philosophy of life stand up to scrutiny? Is it a “good”philosophy of life?

The book deals with an array of philosophical views, including religious and non-religious, and some which cannot be categorised as either.

Each chapter is written by someone who has adopted, or is an expert in, a particular philosophical way of life. The following are included, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Aristotelianism, Epicureanism, Stoicism, Existentialism, Effective Altruism, Pragmatism and Secular Humanism. The book does not deal with Marxism, Feminism, or liberalism.

Our “first” philosophy of life is developed as children. In western societies it is usually a form of Christianity such as Anglicanism or Catholicism. Many drift away as a result of questioning God’s existence but adopt Christianity’s ethical framework.

I will now go into more detail on three of the philosophies of life discussed in the book, namely, Buddhism, Aristotelianism and Effective Altruism.

  1. Buddhism[1]

The key Buddhist idea is to live compassionately, to try to relieve suffering of all sentient beings. The ethical imperative is to “always love, to substitute compassion and love whenever there is suffering, violence, cruelty and hate.”

  1. Everything is impermanent.
  2. Humans exist for a time only. Consciousness connects us to our past and present experience.
  3. Strive on with awareness.
  4. There is no God or higher power.
  5. The world is a fragile place and full of suffering (“dukkha”).
  6. One major cause of suffering is “the grasping ego”.
  7. Ego is acquisition and prone to anger and rage when it doesn’t get what it wants ( but doesn’t in fact really need)
  8. Need to be attentive to catch opportunities to improve the world or oneself.
  9. Ethical behaviour.
  10. Mindfulness or meditation.

Three strands:     Impermanence, no self

                               Ethics of compassion and loving kindness

                               Meditation and mindfulness

Does Buddhism lead to a happy life?  Not necessarily but can lead to serenity and equanimity and a reduction of suffering.

  • Aristotelianism[2]

Aristotle means “best purpose”. To live a good life means to flourish          and strive for all around well-being. To live to your full potential in all aspects of your life, but virtue is necessary.

The main criticism is that you may encounter bad luck and so not be able to “flourish”.  In contrast “stoicism” accepts the vicissitudes of life. You can increase chances of good luck by making the most of personal attributes.

We have the capacity to “reason” and can ask ourselves “what should I do”.  This leads to a life of contemplation and the pursuit of knowledge and so there needs to be a balance between “moral virtue” and “flourishing”. 

A modern adaptation focuses on “well-being”, mental health and the psychological practice of “cognitive behaviour therapy”.  

Morality is relative and not absolute and needs to be ascertained from experience (i.e. situational ethics)

3     Effective Altruism[3]

This requires us to dedicate some of our resources towards making the world a better place and to ensure those resources are used as effectively as possible.

We should determine where the problems are in the world today where my effort can make the biggest difference and how to achieve this.

 What are the practical steps to adopt this philosophy?[4]

  1. Outcome, results oriented cf. Bentham’s Utilitarianism
  2. To do as much good as possible, evaluate charities we give to
  3. All people are of equal value, including people not yet born. Peter Singer in his book “The most you can do”poses the question as “what is best?” and not “Is this good?”
  4. Undertake research to ascertain the issues and the best way to tackle them:  e.g., climate change, pain and suffering in the world, and causes of poverty 
  5. Adopt careers to address the problems. For example, become a doctor and work formedicines’ sans frontiersto reduce suffering from disease and illness or a lawyer to reduce injustice etc.


On page 1 I posed the question Why should we live a Good Life?

Life is short and as humans we do have a view or understanding of the world we live in, and we do endeavour to live life according to a set of ethical principles.  We can unconsciously or uncritically live our lives without really questioning or modifying our metaphysical and ethical approaches to life, or as I would recommend, we examine them in order to develop a more meaningful and fulfilling philosophy of life. It may be on reflection this evolves over the course of our short time on this planet.

It would be satisfying at the end of life to be able to look back and declare “I have lived a Good Life.” I imagine this would also, although not necessarily, amount to a happy life and a life of value.


[1]Owen Flanagan, a self-described “hybrid” Buddhist

[2]Daniel Kaufman     A Jew converted to Aristotelianism

[3]Kelsey Piper

[4]Doing Good Better, Will MacAskill an oxford university philosophy professor

  Charity Evaluator, GiveWell

What do we mean by the word philosophy?

Michael Roberts July 2021 (to be presented at Philosophy of Life and the Individual School (POLIS) Central Coast, NSW Australia


What do we mean by the word philosophy? 

What we now call ‘philosophy’ was once called ‘metaphysics’ to distinguish it from what we now call ‘science’.  This distinction was often marked by the labels ‘moral philosophy’ to mean what we now call ‘philosophy’ and ’natural philosophy’ which we now call ‘science.’ 

Philosophy is the enterprise of trying to make sense of ourselves and our world in a way that asks what we  should think and why. Accordingly, it is a continuing activity, not something in which we can achieve final  perfection once and for all. 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines philosophy as “the use of reason and argument in seeking truth and  knowledge of reality, especially of the causes and nature of things and of the principles governing existence, the  material universe, perception of physical phenomena and human behaviour”. In other words, philosophy is high  level thinking to establish what is true or real, given the limits of human thought and senses, and the implications  of this for how we act. 

Plato defined philosophy as meaning “a love of wisdom,” and the Concise Macquarie Dictionary defines it as “the  quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action”. 

This paper will consider four reasons why philosophy is still relevant to our lives and why the study of philosophy  is still relevant to us all. 

1. Philosophy is the foundation of critical thinking, 

2. Science does not have all the answers, 

3. Ancient philosophers continue to influence humanity and 

4. Personal growth and development. 

In this paper I will be relying to a large extent on the writings of the great philosopher Plato as expounded by the  author Rebecca Newberger Goldstein in her book titled “Plato at the Googleplex, Why Philosophy Won’t Go  Away”. 

Philosophy is the foundation of critical thinking 

While we live in a very different society to the founding figures of western philosophy, the questions modern  society must face are just as challenging, if not more so than in days of old. Therefore, the ability to critically  analyse matters is vital to a proper functioning society. Some such issues include: 

• Climate change, 

• How to deal with the recent pandemic and potential new pandemics, including loss of personal  freedoms for the greater good, 

• Wealth distribution worldwide, 

• Treatment of asylum seekers/ refugees such as the recent news story of the Tamil family seeking to  stay in Australia, 

• Euthanasia or assisted killing, 

• Legislative attempts by Governments to increase their powers and those of law enforcement agencies to access data of citizens mainly targeted at criminal organisations. Currently, there are committee  hearings in Federal Parliament regarding a bill called Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify & 

Disrupt) Bill which is designed to give Australian authorities power to crack encrypted messaging apps  and the power to penetrate the dark web where the worse of criminal activity occurs and • How to distinguish fake news from real news, the importance of which was proven during and after the  last US Presidential elections 

Philosophy puts critical thinking and problem solving at the forefront in order to make sense of these difficult and  challenging issues. It encourages us to think critically about the world we live in. 

Philosophy uses the tools of logic and reason to analyse the ways in which we humans experience the world. It  teaches critical thinking, close reading, clear writing, and logical analysis: it uses these to describe the world, and  our place within it. 

Students of philosophy are still in demand because philosophy teaches people how to write clearly, how to read  closely with a critical eye, how to spot bad reasoning, and how to avoid it in their writings and work. 

Science does not have all the answers 

Society today relies very heavily on science to solve many of its problems and to improve our lives. Our lives  today are in many ways so much better than those who went before us due to the exponential scientific  advances. Scientific advances in one area such as space exploration can then be applied to other areas of  human existence such as advances in medicine. 

However, science just like every other field of endeavour, does not have all the answers. Science cannot  determine human values. Empiricism cannot determine why we ought to act morally, nor why we ought to value  human happiness over human misery. We cannot create an experiment that tests the nature of truth or the  obtainability of knowledge. However, Plato does contend that whatever can be known by one person can be  known by everybody, just so long as they master techniques for knowing that are most appropriate to a field. 

Blogger David Calhoun adds “At its core, philosophy is a striving towards figuring out what is true and worthwhile,  and what it means to live a meaningful and worthwhile life. That is something off-limits for science, because  science can tell us how things are empirically or hypothetically, but it can’t prescribe how we should live. In short:  science helps us live longer, whereas philosophy helps us live better.” 

Ancient philosophers continue to influence humanity 

Plato and Aristotle are often credited with shaping future civilizations and their influence is still felt today. They  did lay the foundations of Western culture twenty four centuries ago, and their ideas and insights still dictate  essential features of our world right now, from what we eat to what we see on the internet. Plato’s ‘Allegory of  The Cave’ is a brilliant writing which puts into perspective how we are living as a materialistic and consumer  society. 

People can be ignorant towards seeking more than just what we are force-fed by the government and media,much like the prisoners in the allegory and can become defensive or even hostile when their ideas are  challenged. The cave, the chains, and the shadows all represent elements that control modern humans like it  controlled the prisoners in the cave. The world has not changed much from the written allegory 2400 years ago.  

The work of Confucius is also still relevant today and according to National Geographic, China’s modern  government has modelled much of its ethos on Confucius’ rhetoric such as “obedience to the emperor, hierarchy,  and loyalty”. 

Interestingly, two more recent superhero movies Man of Steel (Superman) and The Dark Knight (Batman) feature  moral dilemmas based on the age-old philosophical issue known as the “trolley problem”. With this in mind, it can  be said that modern life is still governed by ideas developed by ancient Greek philosophers.

Personal growth and development 

It is often said that the study of philosophy will transform you as it will helps one become a better thinker, know  what questions to ask, and how to ask the right questions. One will learn how to debate important issues such as  what is true and good and to distinguish it from what merely appears so. The study of philosophy provides one  with the intellectual tools to evaluate different life-choices so that one will be better prepared to find a meaningful  direction for one’s life. It will also help you understand another’s point of view on an issue which may be  completely at odds with yours. 

Plato often referenced the “life worth living”. What is it – if anything – that makes an individual human life matter?  What must one be or do in order to achieve a life that matters? This existential quandary resonates no less today  than it did in Plato’s time. Many would argue and rightly so that “not one of us is more entitled than another to a  life worth living” but that does not mean that all of us have it in us to achieve that life. Whatever a life worth living  means or is that meaning different for each of us? 

If we use one stream of philosophy as an example, I am hopeful many would agree that the following four Stoic  virtues would make us a better person and have positive societal benefits: 

1. Wisdom as defined here to mean to know what is good, what is not good and what is indifferent, and so  see the world more clearly and acting accordingly, 

2. Courage is the opposing force of cowardice. Courage is not the elimination of fear, desire or anxiety, it  is acting in the right way despite our fear, desire and anxieties, 

3. Justice here means our duty to our fellow man, and to our Society. It is the morality behind how we act,  specifically in relation to our community and the people within it, and 

4. Temperance which we now call moderation. It relates to self- restraint, self- discipline and self- control.  It is our ability to choose long term well-being over short term satisfaction. It is the opposite to gluttony,  greed, instant gratification, addictive behaviour, laziness and procrastination. 

All of these virtues are of course, also expounded in another great book called The Bible. I will conclude this paper with some quotes from the text referred to earlier and attributed to Plato by the author. Quotable quotes attributed to Plato 

• A person is a person, everybody’s life is just as important as anybody elses. Well tell that to the  dictators and other oppressive regime leaders, 

• It doesn’t count as an ethical decision unless there is a principle behind it. Otherwise, it is arbitrary, • There are no original thoughts. All knowledge is recollection, 

• The temptations of power are enormous, 

• Thinking is very hard, 

• It isn’t for me, or for any of us, to approve or disapprove of human nature. It is only for us to try and work  with it, 

• To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows  what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a  man, yet men fear it as if they knew that is the greatest evil. And surely, it is the most blameworthy  ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. 


In the world in which we currently find ourselves with pandemics, rising global tensions amongst super powers,  the destruction of our planet which so many people deny is man related, and poverty and unequal wealth  distribution worldwide, how can anyone say the study and understanding of philosophy is not relevant? On these 

and so many other issues, many of us are just like those people shackled in Plato’s ‘Allegory of The Cave’. The  more people who understand and use the skill sets that a knowledge of philosophy provides, the more people  will escape the world of that cave. 

by Michael Roberts LL.B (Hons) 

Solicitor (retired) 

25 June, 2021.

The history of Wadalba Wildlife Corridor

by David Holland( M Env. Mgmt.(Natural resources)

The link to this article is as follows:

Is development all there is to alleviate poverty?

By David Holland

Environmental sustainability is often compromised because the poor cannot get basic food and shelter needs. (Sachs & Reid 2006)

Maslow, explained by Mcleod (2007), suggests that finding food is a basic need for humanity and is a fundamental priority for individuals.

Sen (1999) theorises that development brings freedom and a reduction in poverty.

It seems all three authors agree poverty can be reduced by providing food and shelter through development.

Unfortunately, the human condition is not that simple to understand.

Reflecting on Sen (1999), development brings humanities basic needs and freedom, then Maslow’s second stage, Psychological needs, which could include ownership, brings the desire to participating in economic markets, subject to market constrains, access and opportunity.

Aristotle is quoted in Sen (1999), telling of a story about Maitreyee and Yajnavalkya, who pondered on the value of riches. Maitreyee suggested that if you owned everything would it not be fitting to live forever to use it all. Yajnavalkya brought her down to reality and suggested that the pursuit of riches was folly because of death.

If this be truth then why is little being spent on the poor and the environment? (Sachs & Reid 2006)

But to transcend this, both myself and Sen (1999) seem to agree that freedom is more than economic growth through development, it is the realisation of the 8th principal of Maslow, transcendence, which is to helping others achieve their highest potential. Maslow’s 8th step is sadly lacking in our economic rationalist world. Maslow 1970b as cited in (Mcleod 2007)


Mcleod Saul, (2007), Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, updated 2016,, cited April 2017.

Sachs, J. D., & Reid, W. V. (2006). Investments toward sustainable development. Science, 312, 1002,, cited April 2017.

Sen, A. (1999). Introduction: Development as freedom. In A. Sen (Ed.), Development as freedom (pp. 3-11). Oxford University Press,, cited April 2017.

The Collateral Damage of Free Trade Agreements

by David Holland

With President Trump putting trade front and centre in world affairs it is time to examine the effects trade and trade agreements have on both the environment and the poor.

This article gives a brief history of global trade. It introduces some of the fundamentals of free trade agreements and their real and perceived benefits to a counties Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and their ability to produce social capital. The text investigates the impacts of Free Trade Agreements (FTA)s and discuss the origins of globalization, trade liberalization and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in FTAs. It looks at the side effects of these provision and gives actual example where they have failed the very societies being invested in by foreign investors. The assignment extrapolates Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ to possible scenarios that would impact the livelihoods of the world’s poor and potentially devastate the values of the natural environment. It attempts to address the question; is investment in development the panacea to the world’s growing population and why is there a bias towards a growing number of relative poor? It will discuss the difficulty for governments, communities and individuals to avoid the uncontrolled ‘invisible hand’ poised to destroying their land, the environment they rely on to live and their social structures.


The Article can be found at:

The Colateral Damage of Free Trade

The terms ‘dangerous climate change’ and ‘climate sensitivity’; what do they mean and why are they so important in the climate change debate?


By David Holland

Dangerous Climate Change

A better way to put it may be (DAI) or dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The word dangerous is an emotive word that has no definite meaning in relation to climate change. But risk of damage to social, economic and in particular ecological systems could give more understanding to the term.

The IPCC assessment gives 5 reasons for concern to guide policy makers.

  1. Risks to unique and threatened systems
  2. Risks of extreme weather events
  3. Distribution of impacts and vulnerabilities
  4. Aggregate impacts
  5. Risks of large-scale singularities.

The 2009 Copenhagen Climate congress, which held to the 2007 IPCC assessment, said that only society in general can give an opinion on the dangerousness of climate interference not science or any scientists.

Michael Mann:

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is charged by the United Nations Environment Program to assess climate change risks in a way that informs, but, importantly, does not prescribe the government policies necessary to avoid DAI [dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system]. It is therefore not surprising that the IPCC stops short of defining what DAI actually is, let alone advocating policies designed to avoid it.”

— Michael Mann, in Defining dangerous anthropogenic interference (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), March 2009)
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change defines dangerous as “adverse effects of climate change in its Article 1:

“Adverse effects of climate change” means changes in the physical environment or biota resulting from climate change, which have significant deleterious effects on the composition, resilience or productivity of natural and managed ecosystems or on the operation of socio-economic systems or on human health and welfare.

“Climate change” means a change of climate, which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

“Climate system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.
Climate Sensitivity

Climate sensitivity is the sensitivity of the climate to CO2 concentration increases. The term equilibrium climate sensitivity or (ECS) is a change in the surface temperature due to a doubling of CO2 concentrations. It relates to what the temperature would be if the concentration of CO2 were to double from pre-industrial concentration. The best estimates under (AR5) is 1.5 degrees to 4.5 degrees increase in temperature for a doubling of CO2 levels. (IPCC 2013) Transient climate response (TCR) is simply the global warming temperature when CO2 doubles in the atmosphere by following a linear increase over a period of 70 years of CO2 forcing. (Nicholas Lewis, Judith A Curry ~ 2014, Climate Sensitivity Fact Sheet )

 Why are they important to the climate change debate?

Most people would understand what dangerous is in other contexts and now we need to explain what we mean in real terms. Climate change will change everything we do and affect our economy. Sensitivity of climate is simply related to how much warming will happen if we cannot reduce the green house gas emissions. It is the warming that is the part that is “dangerous” to our way of life, not so much the CO2 concentrations as part of the air that we breath.

The understanding that the climate and its sensitivity is a story that needs to be told and now is the time this sensitivity must be addressed before the climate responds to us by imposing its consequences on the things we do and the life we live.



Climate Sensitivity Fact Sheet, Department of Environment, Australian Government,, Accessed Sept.2016.

IPCC, Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science basis, Assessment Report No 5 (AR5) working Group 1: Near term Climate Change: Projections and Predictability, Chapter 11, Section The Water Cycle, Changes in Precipitation.

Lewis N, Curry J, (April 2016), Updated climate sensitivity estimates, Climate Etc.,, Accessed Sept. 2016.

Lewis Nicholas , Curry Judith A.,(~ 2014), The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates,, Accessed Sept 2016

Michael Mann, in Defining dangerous anthropogenic interference (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), March 2009)

What are the most likely climate changes for Australia over the next 50 years or so.

By David Holland

In the latest IPCC assessment report 5 (AR5), entitled Southern Hemisphere extra-tropical circulation, it is suggested that because of the ozone layer hole recovering over the next few years due to better regulation of CFCs there will not be a southern shift to the Cyclone belt. This will mean that Sydney will likely not get tropical cycles in the next 50 years.

The section of the AR5 entitled, Changes in evaporation, evaporation minus precipitation, runoff, soil moisture, relative humidity and specific humidity, suggests that Australia in the southern hemisphere will have higher evaporation over oceans and less evaporation with more rainfall in coastal regions over the next 50 years.

The report shows that there will be more precipitation in higher latitudes and less in lower latitudes. However local condition around Sydney may influence weather such as anthropogenic aerosol emissions, which could bring a cooling and more precipitation. (IPCC, AR5 working Group 1)

As global average temperatures rise the wetter areas in Australia such as Sydney are expected to get wetter and dryer areas are expected to get dryer.

The El Niño southern oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole will work with or against climate change in both Sydney and Perth respectively.

From data predicted from the AR5 document in section, Regional and seasonal patterns of surface warming, it is expected that there will be an intensification of energy transfer from the oceans to the land. This will increase coastal breeze wind speeds and intensify rain and storm events at a local scale.

This energy transfer will increasingly bring warmer nights and more humid conditions to coastal urban areas.

In the section of the report, Global mean surface air temperature it suggests that the 5% to 95% data from the multi-model mean would be 0.39 to 0.87 degrees increase in global average temperatures. This would confirm the increase in ocean temperatures and suggest that inland Australia would be effectively much hotter than today.

Chapter 5 of the Garnaut review outlines the future climate scenarios for Australia.

It suggests that a 1% increase in temperature will have a 15% reduction in stream flow. If this is the case then water may become more of a problem in the bush as global warming takes hold.

If there is a 10% drop in rainfall this would reduce stream flow by 35%. (Jones et al. 2001 cited in Garnaut CSIRO (2008)).

The report suggests there has been a trend of more bush fires and more intensive ones coupled with more hotter days. This is normally a recipe for drying out fuel for fires, which can be done on these extreme hot days within hours. Lucas et al. 2007 cited in Garnaut (2008) suggests that fire season will start earlier and finish later in the bush fire season.

A study of projected temperatures by Lucas et al. 2007 cited in Garnaut (2008) suggests that a 1 degree C increase in average global temperature will give 20 locations of catastrophic fire in Australia and reoccurring within 16 years. A 2.9 degree increase will give 22 locations, 19 of which are reoccurring within 8 years and three reoccurring within 3 years.

This type of fire regime may seem costly to land holders and insurance premiums will rise, but it will hit very hard on ecological systems and their recovery after a catastrophic fire. Then if the location is burnt on multiple occasions within the 7 to 10 year period a very great potential for species inhalation from that locality is highly likely.

Figure 5.3 of the report shows a prediction of 0.6 to 5.0 degrees between 2030 to 2100 for Sydney and Perth with the inland regions about a degree hotter.

The report indicates that seasonal variations could mask rain event intensity due to anthropogenic climate change. It suggests that rain event intensity will probably increase but overall average rainfall may remain the same.

Abbs et al. (2006) cited in Garnaut (2008) suggests that category 3-5 cyclones will increase in intensity by 60% by 2030 and 140% by 2070.

Although Garnaut recognizes the plight of other Asiatic countries and particularly Island atoll’s susceptibility to climate change induced sea level rise, he omits to say anything about Australia being impacted except by refugees from these places. (Garnaut (2008) Chapter 6)

Australia will be hit hard by rising sea levels and Garnaut suggests that there will be some higher floods and storm surges increases due to sea levels rising, no more than some adaptations to materials used in building will be necessary. (Garnaut (2008) Chapter 15)

Holland (2015), outlines that based on the IPCC fourth report the NSW State government in 2009 made councils review flood levels and ensure that no new development was made on at risk land. Sea Level rise is likely to affect coastal regions and development patterns over the next 50 years or so and impact of ecological systems such as salt marsh and wetland environments.
The type of Australia we will expect to see will be in the A2 scenario where the government has not found the courage to take the hard decisions and change the economy to a renewable energy and an environmentally protective economy. The big business mentality will probably prevail with fragmented prosperity and we will be going through a very tough time with mitigating anthropogenic climate change.


Garnaut Ross, (2008),  The Garnaut review, Chapter 5, 6, 15, Projecting Australian climate change, CSIRO,, Accessed Sept. 2016

Holland David, (2015), Planning for Sea Level Rise Risk in some Coastal Regions of Australia – A Market Approach, For Land Potentially Effected by Flood till the year 2100, originally drafted 2010, Habitat Town Planning Forum web page,, cited September 2016

IPCC, Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science basis, AR5 working Group 1: Near term Climate Change: Projections and Predictability, Chapter 11, Section The Water Cycle, Changes in Precipitation.




Modelling Climate Change Uncertainties

By David Holland

Global climate models are used in the Independent Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report Four (AR4) and Assessment Report Five (AR5) to predict future climates.

How have the modellers resolved the uncertainties of climate change predictions?

This article is based on study related to Masters of Environmental Management (Natural Resources) undertaken by David Holland 2016

When entering the world of prediction we are looking into a crystal ball with many possibilities. With Climate change predictions, we may know the past, howbeit in less detail than would be desired, but the future is simply a guessing game.  Satellite technologies have produced data since the year 2000 with increased accuracy which has increased the hindsight data available to both AR4 and AR5. Increasingly data is becoming more refined and reflective of what is actually happening on the ground.

Wigley and Raper (2001) as cited in Meehl Gerald A.  (USA), Stocker Thomas F. (Switzerland), (2007) as part of IPCC AR4, states the main uncertainties are uncertainties in emissions, the climate sensitivity, the carbon cycle, ocean mixing and aerosol forcing.

But uncertainty in the future is about the best guess based on past experience. We do not know how much meetings like the Paris accord will change the governments of the world to react to the climate issues or how quickly they will react and as a result we simply do not know the volume of future GHG emission into the future.

Volcanologists can predict certain volcanic events but the prediction of where, and how big a volcanism events may be, and then how long an aerosol event may last is less certain. All we can say is that there is a likelihood of future volcanism.

We understand that the sun has a11-year cycles between sun spot activity by looking into the past but in the future things may change. As unlikely as it seems solar forcing could change.

But the most sensitive and possibly most uncertain is radiative forcing changes. This relates to the potential for changes in the concentrations of GHG’s in the atmosphere and the resultant heat retained in the atmosphere from solar radiation. There is a range of variables associated with this process. The feed back loop related to CO2 atmospheric /oceanic flux, the albedo effect reduction as ice caps melt and more ocean is exposed and how the ocean and atmospheric circulations will be affected by all this.

The first coupled models started their life in 1995 by the Climate Variability and Predictability Numerical Experimentation Group, which came out of the reconstituted World Climate Research Programme. They were call “Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIP)”. (Gerald A. Meehi, Curt Covey, Bryant McAvaney, Mojib Latif, and Ronald J. Stouffer, (Jan 2005) )

Coupled models are more advanced models, which incorporate complex software interactions of data relationships to produce output that mimics a natural system.

They are defined as a complex interaction of the various software components in the model. This interaction produces results that could be skewed by the addition of a spurious variables or a factor in the maths that may be erroneous. So inherently within the model there are at least two uncertainties, the weighting of the variables and the models complexity not fully understood as it attempts to mimic real natural systems.

As time went on several versions of this model emerged and with a variety of data sets being used to run on these models. CMIP3 was one of the better early models but it, as all the models had inaccuracies.

The various data sets from recorded data would produce a range of results from the coupled models and as a result any output from the model would have  uncertainty as to which results could be considered correct if at all any were correct.

Land use changes also have an impact of the future accuracy of a model. Land use change can change the dynamics of the complex interactions of GHGs, flux, radiative forcing within a system. If the model does not have this information then the change will not be reflected in the model output.

The CMIP5 model was able to used much less grainy data sets, which enabled CMIP5 to produce regional climate models (RCMs). But as these were on smaller scales some anomalies were observed on the edges of the regions that did not seem to match an adjacent regions boundary. As a result questions were raised as to what uncertainties needed to be addressed to correct these aberrations.

Clearly climate modelling is peppered with uncertainties, but the argument is that with better and more extensive data sets and the ground truthing of existing models, better models will be made in an attempt to reduce internal anomalies. But the fact remains that modelling is still attempting to predict an uncertain future.

Unfortunately there are a variety of data sets available to feed into the models and a range of models.

The next generation of models were used in the IPCC’ assessment report 4. These multi-model means were starting to be used because the various coupled models seemed to give both accurate and inaccurate correlations to the real natural system as recorded in the past. So if the model produced an accurate simulation on past data then it was reasoned likely that future predictions on simple climate model trends data would produce an accurate coupled data result for the future.

The fact was that coupled data results varied considerably using differed data sets and climate model versions. So it seemed to be logical that if the result were averaged, the results of the 5% to 95% results, (which gets rid of the eccentric data results), we will get from a lot of uncertain results a more certain result. This is an understanding of what a multi-model mean is. A mean of many results of a range of coupled models produced from a range of data sets and a range of assumptions of the future.

The interesting thing about this method is that each model has been set up differently with a range of parameters, some with higher GHG emissions for a future scenario, and some with lower emissions. The end result would be that if the majority of the uncertain future predictions now placed in the models were inaccurate, then the averaging out of the results of all the models would predict a wrong future for the earth.

The method starts with uncertainty as if it was a sows’ ear and suggests that it can make a silk purse by averaging the sows’ ears.

Maybe the analogy is too harsh. It is about the opinions of the model managers who input into the model their best guess of the future. If the manager feels that there will be a reduction of GHGs by a certain date and the majority of model managers believe that this will be the case then the mean of the models will trend that way.

So where does this leave us in predicting the future climate? It leaves us with a best guess solution based on the past’s data collection.

The way the IPCC have handled the uncertainty is by creating several scenarios of the future. These scenarios are based again on varies social and environmental predictions.

However in reality, the prediction that recent data has followed is in fact the highest or least safe prediction for the potential to return the climate to a normal state.


MEEHL Gerald A. , COVEY Curt , MCAVANEY Bryant , LATIF Mojib , AND STOUFFER Ronald J. ,(Jan. 2005) Overview Of The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, American meteorological society, meeting summaries,, cited September 2016.

Meehl Gerald A.  (USA), Stocker Thomas F. (Switzerland), (2007), Global Climate Projections Coordinating Lead, IPCC assessment report 4,, accessed September 2016.

REICHLER THOMAS , KIM JUNSU, (March 2008)How Well Do Coupled Models Simulate Today’s Climate?,   In Box – Insights and Innovations, , AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, Publ. NOAA,

A warning to the NSW State government about the potential for climate change to affect the economy of rural towns reliant on agricultural income


by David Holland (Master Env. Mngt., B.A.S. Env. Planning)

I was alerted in recent news about cotton growers in Moree who have had good rains earlier in the year and were expecting a good crop of cotton this year. They were expecting 3.5 bales of cotton a hectare. To compare this with the top producers in 2012-13 this figure is well down on the 12 bales per hectare in this year and only 5 years ago at a time when the yield earned Australia in 2011 $3 billion from the trade. At the time, Australia was the 3rd largest exporter of cotton in the world and produced a high-quality product.

Due to recent hot weather in the Moree region and adjacent regions, estimates of the crop have dropped to 2 bales per hectare. This is possibly due to several factors but the hot day time temperatures would be one of the major factors in stressing the plant during the formation of the boll filling. This would often reduce the quality of the cotton and causes micronaire problems. Any temperatures above 35 degrees will shut down photosynthesis and effectively starve the plant.

During the summer of 2017 there have been a good many days above this temperature. But potentially more damaging to the cotton plant is high night time temperatures which continues the maintenance respiration of the plant through the night to keep it cool. This does not allow the plant to recover from the previous day further reduce the energy in the plant leading to underdeveloped fruit. (Holland, D, (2016) p. 12)

With a climate change scenario developing in NSW, the cotton industry which provides a large amount of Australia’s balance of trade, likely to be hard hit over the next few years, the State government should not only be aware of the issues related to the cotton industry, but start to be proactive to ensure that the industry can adapt to these new permanently changing climate conditions.

There are many rural towns that rely heavily on the profits from the cotton trade. If the cotton trade is damaged by the effects of climate change, then many of these rural towns will be financially effected. The State government and planners need to ensure that farmers and the industry finds ways to adapt so that towns reliant on this industry are not adversely affected economically by climate change in these regions.

I also heard a separate but related news item recently about the increased propensity of farmers taking out crop insurance. They are insuring against crop failures. In a climate change scenario in the cotton industry there will be a greater prevalence of farmers claiming insurance on crop failure and hoping against hope that the weather patterns will reverse and good crops will come again. This may happen for a time, but if a region is in the grip of climate change adverse to the crop in question a range of undesirable financial impacts are likely.

  1. Farmers will continue to farm as they have done and experience more failures.
  2. Farms that have no longer the right conditions for a crop will continue without considering new more viable locations to farm.
  3. Insurance premiums will continue to rise as more farmers call on the insurance to service their financial needs in the year of failed crop.
  4. At some point communities will be in a crisis where insurance is too high for the next year’s crop and crop failure is inevitable. This will potentially cause a town to decline in a fast and unexpected manner at some point.

The State government needs to consider the subject of farm insurance and the viability of the cotton industry in certain areas. If crop failure becomes the norm, then Australia will no longer have such an export bonanza through the cotton industry.


Holland, D., (2016), The Cotton Growing Industry near Bourke NSW, A future with Climate Change, Habitat Association, WordPress web site,, cited 2017.