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Climate change is making an already bad situation catastrophic. It’s worsened by a Federal Coalition in denial.

“Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there’s a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap.” Samuel Beckett, Endgame.

Politicians fiddle as Tasmania burns. Freakishly new infernos blaze across 200,000 hectares; three per cent of the Apple Isle. Climate change fuels fires which now ravage fragile, ancient, high-altitude ecosystems that are not adapted to fire at all — relict forests from when Tasmania was a part of the vast Gondwana supercontinent, 180 million years ago at least.

Tragically, stands of pencil pines and magnificent King Billy Pines are gone forever.

Like an arsonist who must return to the scene of the crime, ScoMo-FIFO pays a flying visit to the Huon Valley, Monday. His quick pit-stop photo-op earns him a serve from The Greens’ Nick McKim who tells Scott Morrison to stop the nonsense; accept responsibility. And climate science. Stop pretending the Coalition has a climate policy.

Climate science is clear that Tasmania will face more bushfires and they will be more dangerous as a result of burning fossil fuels. Fossil fools like Mr Morrison should stay out of Tasmania until they are prepared to accept the science and adopt a decent climate policy,” McKim tweets. Ouch. ScoMo sulks and sooks; gets all huffy.

Morrison’s untimely riposte is to tell Nine Media that “many bushland areas in the state were unaffected by fire.”

Yep. Another captain’s call. Be of good cheer, me hearties. There are still parts of RMS Titanic not under water.

Labor’s leader, William Richard Shorten, whose party’s policy platform promises an emissions target of a 45 per cent cut and a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, pays Tassie a visit, too. He’s been there before. He knows the Beaconsfield Mine quite well. Bill’s no dill. He gives the conflicted Liberal leader permission to get real.

“Even the most extreme climate deniers are probably at the point of acknowledging that we are having more and more extreme weather events. New weather records are being set and the economic cost is growing … I think it is legitimate to talk about climate change.”

Shorten knows Morrison’s Coalition leadership rests on his continuing the party line of climate change denial. Just after ScoMo knifed Turnbull, deftly riding the wave of instability; cutting in on Hunt and Dutton’s plot to make “Dutts” PM, Turnbull held a final press conference before he had to leave to attend to pressing, sniping business.

Turnbull’s lame excuse for failure on climate change policy is to blame his oddball colleagues; climate change is “very hard” for the Liberal-National Coalition because MPs have “bitterly entrenched” views, “actually sort of more ideological views than views based, as I say, in engineering and economics.” Or, God, forbid, science.

Ideological? Try ignorance. Last September, Party climate guru, cuddly Craig Kelly, the electric chair of the Coalition backbench environment and energy committee stood in for a no-show Tony Abbott. He knocked the socks off Mosman’s true blue-rinse Liberal branch by claiming that fossil fuels make us safe from climate change.

“The reality is we live in a time where our generation has never ever been as safe from the climate because of fossil fuels, concrete and steel,” Kelly confabulates.

“The climate was always dangerous. We didn’t make it dangerous.”

Emboldened, by November 2018, Malco spells it out. “The truth is … the Liberal Party and the Coalition is not capable of dealing with climate change,” Turnbull tells the Australian Bar Association’s Annual Conference. He adds, helpfully, that many of his former colleagues are convinced, like Trump, that climate change is a giant hoax.

Climate science denial is a huge electoral liability, according to the polls – even if – as Pyne threatens on ABC Insiders – to wheel out their totally discredited Direct Action, Emissions Reduction Fund, boondoggle again.

(Governments pay farmers to plant trees they would have planted anyway.)

But there’s a bit of ground to make up. Forest-clearing elsewhere in the country created enough emissions in two years to wipe out the gains of the emissions reduction fund.

Bazza Cassidy politely fails to mention that after the abolition of Gillard’s price on carbon – and despite the daylight robbery of the Direct Action fantasy, our greenhouse gas emissions are sky-rocketing. As are our electricity and gas bills.

ScoMo’s burning issue is less how to protect his own and his party’s ignorance than his politically sensitive skin, an engaging conundrum given, like Craig Kelly, or Abbott, he has the hide of Dürer’s Indian rhinoceros. He’s offended by Nick McKim’s tweet, he says. It’s always about him; never climate change, policy or any other issue at hand.

The Monthly’s Sean Kelly writes brilliantly about how Scott Morrison has made a career of never being responsible for anything that goes wrong; how he adroitly always removes himself from the frame.

“Morrison, in his own telling, is so often a mere observer. When reckless and false accusations have been made, it turns out Morrison has only presented the facts as presented to him; when offensive comments have been made, he has been only the dutiful messenger of the sentiments of others; in the rare cases he has made mistakes, they have been minor errors of timing. Events occur, but Morrison’s involvement is passive, tangential, almost accidental. He may be the minister, but he is not an instigator, only a vessel through which others’ bidding is done.”

ScoMo keeps shtum about Premier Will Hodgman’s requests for help with funding beyond the Commonwealth’s National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). While the Federal Government will fund up to 75 per cent of the damage bill, it applies only to people, public assets, some business grants and the clean-up.

Thousand-year old pines, and many older, not only burn; their seeds are destroyed, their soils incinerated, notes science writer, Nature’s Emma Marris. The pines represent species which have survived only because of their cooler, wetter microclimate. Now, extinction beckons, as drier, warmer weather is wrought by global warming.

Threatened also are pockets of a smaller but no less iconic tree, the Southern Beech, Nothofagus gunni, Tasmania’s only deciduous native with its spectacular rust-red to gold Autumn display whose relatives are found in New Zealand and South America, a distribution which provided first clues that the landmasses were once joined.

Climate change also brings its own tinder box; dry lightning strikes in the Southwest, now, while nearby logging and the record dry of 2015 leaves trees which surround the alpine forest with less capacity to act as a firebreak.

“There was no doubt pencil pine was on the mainland, but the fire and climate regime meant it couldn’t persist,” says David Lindenmayer, a professor of ecology and conservation biology at Canberra’s ANU.

“If Tasmania is going to become more like the mainland, there is a distinct possibility that its time is going to be done. That is a huge loss for the world.”

But the biggest loss is to ourselves and our federal government afflicted by the mental and moral blight of denialism, men (mostly) for whom climate change is “absolute crap” to quote Tony Abbott, the most destructive MP in politics today, whose ignorance and obdurate stupidity not only cost us a carbon price, but which inspire a small band of fellow saboteurs just big enough to abort Coalition climate change, energy or environment policy.

Lyndon Schneiders, federal director of the National Wilderness Society (NWS) says the Coalition is “missing in action” after five years’ undermining environmental protections. The Society targets former PM Abbott, former environment ministers Hunt and Frydenberg in its first major federal election campaign in a decade.

Tony should worry. A poll commissioned by GetUp! has Abbott losing his seat to Alpine skier, Zali Steggall. She’s leading the former PM 54% to 46% on a two-party-preferred basis, according to a ReachTEL poll of 622 residents commissioned by activist group GetUp and published in the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on Sunday.

AFR’s Phil Coorey sneers on ABC Insiders Sunday, The poll’s too small to be significant. Yet in Warringah, in the 2016 election, after preferences, Abbott got 61.55% of the vote vs 38.45% for the Greens candidate.

Abbott was saved by his nemesis. Oddly, last April, it was Coorey who reported Turnbull intervened personally by making robocalls during the final week of 2016’s election campaign to help save Tony after internal party polling showed the former prime minister was so unpopular in his own seat of Warringah, he risked losing it in a landslide.

The Guardian reports that Warringah’s voters worry about climate change. “Private polling conducted for the environment movement and for the major parties suggests community concern about climate change is currently sitting at levels not seen since the federal election cycle in 2007. Abbott, our own Dr No, naturally, denies this.

Morrison’s government needs to stop obsessing over photo-op politics and look south. Drop its populist posturing and take responsibility. But that would require an open mind. And heart. The heart of Tasmania’s World Heritage area is dying, reports Richard Flanagan. The island’s sea waters are warming at two to three times the global rate.

Giant kelp forests which once dominated Tasmania’s east coast are dying. 95 per cent have been lost over the last few decades. They may soon become extinct, despite some brilliant long-term programmes to restore them. Kelp forests are vital to forming habitats on reefs around temperate Australia, and have been home to hundreds of species of animals and plants, Hobart-born journalist Lucy MacDonald reports for the ABC.

Yet ScoMo can manage only a token show of interest. The quick change artist dons another outfit. Heads north. He lobs in Townsville wearing an unbuttoned camouflage jacket. It’s useless. His blue shirt shows through; betrays a Liberal vainly trying to hide.

He’s photographed in a tank. A tank? It’s supposed to help with his posing as one of the troops cleaning up after floods, Tuesday. Abbott couldn’t resist dressing up in uniform either. Apart from macho image, it’s a prop to help him with his faux populism, a cunning way to evade any real engagement; answer any of the real issues of the day,

“My thinking is the support for Townsville people,” he puffs in his trademark humbug. “I’m not engaging in broader policy debates today. I’m engaging in the needs of people here on the ground, people in evacuation centres.”

ScoMo never engages in broader policy debates. When not plotting, his effort goes into scripting absurd Trump-like scare campaigns to prevent Kerryn Phelp’s bill to allow medical evacuation.

We’ll be overrun with refugees. Our national security is at stake. Murderers, terrorists, rapist will all race to the mainland if we allow sick refugees medical evacuation. We’d even have to spend over a billion dollars opening Christmas Island to contain them all.

Meanwhile, Tasmania’s wilderness is burning. Our greatest river system, The Murray Darling Basin is mortally wounded by mismanagement, maladministration and a man-made drought. 1,200 billion litres of water were extracted for irrigation in 2014-15 in the Northern Basin yet only about 35 billion litres, actually arrived at Bourke from upstream in the past year, according to the latest data.

Former Water Wallah – or Water Wally, ex-minister Barnaby is in witness protection.

Freak floods deluge Townsville. Two million hectares of Queensland forest have been cleared in the past five years. In the past three years, land clearing in NSW has increased by 800 per cent.

“The Darling River is dying, the Tassie wilderness is in flames, two million hectares of forest have been cleared in the past five years in Queensland alone and iconic species such as the koala are hurtling towards extinction,” NWS head, Lyndon Schneiders says. “Climate change is making an already bad situation catastrophic.”

Schneiders says the Coalition government has been “missing in action” after five years undermining environmental protections. Of course, it’s easier and more fun to put on RM Williams gear and be photographed “drought-proofing”. Flood-busting. Deal with climate change and its dangers? Our PM and his colleagues are in denial.

Or worse. Then Environment Minister in the Abbott-Credlin government, Greg Hunt, rings Tim Flannery personally to sack him; nuke the Climate Commission in September 2013. But brute force and ignorance fails. The Climate Council rises like a phoenix from the ashes. Like its predecessor, but with no government funding, the Commission’s mission is to warn us of effects of global warming and to advise us of possible ways to deal with it.

In the meantime, Tasmania is the canary in the climate change coal mine. The federal government can gain much by pledging its unconditional support and as much expert help as it can muster. It can help in other ways, too. And it can learn a lot about climate change and the dangers of mining and gambling on people and habitat.

This week sees an ANU report once-believed pristine lakes are contaminated by mining. Then Tassie’s a case study of a government captured by corporations some even donating proceeds of gambling, revealed only this week by virtue of lax political donation disclosure laws. But the commonwealth can’t criticise, the laws are as effective as expecting ASIC to hold our banksters to account, the most risible proposition in Royal Commissioner Justice Kenneth Hayne’s report.

Spending four million dollars, but reporting only a quarter of its war chest, Tasmanian Liberals were able to buy the election. And lease political power. Wealthy corporate donors buy influence, off the record. in other states, too. It’s a major threat to our democracy. Yet no-one can buy time from the inexorable progress of global warming.

Or fathom its cost. The Council reports that extreme weather cost Australia $1.2 billion last year alone. While ANU scientists try to break the nation’s obsession with The Clayton’s Royal Commission into Ken Henry, with a bogus claim that solar and wind will mean we meet our Paris targets, the spotlight falls on the frenzied fear-mongering of a Morrison government unable to cope with any opposition, let alone the prospect of a whole ten sitting days until the election although Tasmanian Labor’s backflip on “gaming” – industry spin for gambling, our nation’s destructive $200 billion a year love affair with the punt -does raise the attention deficit stakes for a moment.

Tasmanian Labor abandons a policy to put pokies out of pubs and clubs by 2023. Did they cave in to federal Labor policy? Were they worried they’d shut themselves out of power? Whatever the reason, Tasmanians will suffer. Tassie Labor will suffer.

Along with the rest of us. Australians lead the world in wagering a staggering $11,000, per person, per year. Gambling ruins at least 200,000 Australians; causes families to suffer. Pokies’ addiction, can lead to self-beggary, theft and interpersonal violence (IPV) commonly, misleadingly, termed “domestic” rather than male violence.

Another ANU report, this week, has it that Tasmania, Hodgman’s Poker Machine state (Inc), a rambler and gambler’s natural paradise, has poisoned the water of its Highland Lakes – but it’s OK because it happened long ago.

Allowing miners to freely use lead, copper, arsenic and cadmium to extract precious metals, is a legacy of the environmental disaster our nation knows as “the mining industry”, Hodgman, dynastic Premier of the land of the eternal punt, takes pains to explain it’s just the way they did things in the past, by which he means 1893-1994.

Mining’s toxicity is a century old mystery? But there’s good news, too. TasWater says it’s OK; boosting Tassie and the nation’s global reputation as a budget holiday destination, with only 2000 natural species at risk of extinction, a third world country where it’s safe to drink the water – if you’re OK with slow, expensive, NBN broadband.

Fortunately, our country’s run of luck continues, The Royal Commission into Ken Henry has a happy ending. Banksters are sent to the naughty corner to be licked to death by ASIC, our toothless corporate watchdog which Kenneth Hayne criticises for hopping into bed with banks rather than litigate.

The Royal Commission show helps distract us all from our self-inflicted and our natural disasters and the love that dare not speak its name; our coal-lobbyists cum leaders’ climate change denying nihilism.

Two cheers for Kenneth Hayne! Happily there’s a big win for banks this week as Hayne’s Clayton’s report, a thorough flogging with a wilted celery stick, recommends that borrowers pay brokers’ fees upfront, a nip and tuck in the usury and extortion racket that is our banking oligarchy that will save our banksters $3 trillion dollars

Deputy PM Macca (Michael McCormack almost has the last word –“We are looking at climate, of course, (but) climate has been changing since year dot,” he says, before adding: “We don’t want to go down a path of renewables, which is not going to solve anything apart from de-industrialising Australia and making sure we don’t do manufacturing here and pushing electricity bills into the unaffordable state.”

Put that in your coal-fired chimney-pipe and smoke it. But lucky last word goes to cranky Kenneth Hayne whose wonderful performance of forensic irritability during the hearings, most capably assisted by the formidable Rowena Orr, was mistaken for the prelude to heavy penalties for banksters clearly capable of criminal misconduct.

His image has tarnished rapidly since the ACTU obtained a copy of a letter from Ken Henry to Josh Frydenberg laying down the scope and time frame of the commission. We’ve been had. Who knows if longer, better resourced commission would have led it to impose more serious penalties; more effective deterrents. What’s sure is that the government got the report it wanted rather than the one the industry needed.

“Experience shows that conflicts between duty and interest can seldom be managed,” Hayne observes. “Self-interest will almost always trump duty.”

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  1. Robyn Cleland

    It is bloody disgrace & they wonder why we have no confidence in Government , Nero fiddle while Rome burn, looks like the liberal party are doing the same. Generations to come will ask why we all sat by & allow this to happen, my answer to them is No-one listen, they were all to busy getting ready for the election, May God save us all, because this morons wont..

  2. whatever

    Scott Buchholz has gone to NthQLD to observe flood clean-up. Did the RAAF strap him to a trolley like Hannibal Lecter?

  3. Kaye Lee

    BARNABY Joyce’s actions as water minister have been singled out and savaged in the royal commission into the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the report suggesting he ignored the law.

    The report also slammed Mr Joyce’s suggestion to use environmental water held by the federal government to “grow the fodder to keep the cattle alive” during the course of the drought. Mr Joyce pitched the idea in his role as Special Envoy on Drought.

    “This suggestion is not in the interests of the people who live and work in the Basin, nor in the interests of the broader Australian public, or that of the environment,” the report stated. “It is contrary to the objects and purposes of the Water Act and Basin Plan. It is against the national interest. It has been rightly rejected by, amongst others, the MDBA and the CEWH [Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder]. Adaptation to the challenges of a warmer and drier climate will require a vastly more sophisticated approach. That approach must be based on proper scientific research and analysis, as well as a basic level of common sense.”

    So much for our former water minister and special envoy for drought. No common sense.

  4. Josephus

    Brilliant analysis. What can we do? Go out into the streets in many thousands, especially the young, who will suffer the most. Vote out this lot , and force Labor to stop its complacency and double talk.

  5. Diannaart

    Hoping Barnaby Joyce will, finally, be called out for the fraud he is.

    Barnaby Joyce’s call to divert environmental water to drought-hit farmers panned by conservationists
    By national rural reporter Brett Worthington
    Updated 28 Aug 2018, 1:57pm

    Environmentalists have slammed Australia’s new drought envoy Barnaby Joyce, describing his calls to divert water to farmers as “ill-informed” and likely to inflict further harm on river communities …

    … National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said her organisation was “still getting our heads around what exactly Barnaby will be doing”.

    She described him as a “passionate advocate for rural and regional Australia” and said she wanted to see how his role would work alongside the newly announced drought coordinator, Major General Stephen Day.

    But not all in the farming community have welcomed Mr Joyce’s appointment.

    Farmers the ABC spoke with said Mr Joyce had five years as the agriculture minister and had failed to implement an adequate government approach to drought.

  6. David John Tyler

    Thanks, Josephus. Thank you also, Kaye. Timely note. My impression is that the federal government will file the MDB report – as happens with so many inquiries and commissions. NSW’s water minister has said he and ScoMo will meet for a cup of tea and a tim-tam, later in the year – by which time Morrison’s mob will not be in power. (OK, I made up the tea and tim-tam.)

    Scandalous that Scott Morrison himself is too chicken to face the folk at Menindee, yet he can grandstand on other tragedies from Townsville to Tasmania. When his deputy PM, Michael McCormack, faced the locals, they were beyond angry. Applying the spin machine, his comment was that they were “passionate”. This is a government that can not only turn its back on science and environmental catastrophe, it is happy to turn its back on the people. ScoMo’s mis-government is only interested in the cheers and applause of the Murdoch press and its own spin. Listen to the people? What the people have to say is merely fodder for the spin doctors. And happily the river system is all fixed up now according to good news spin broadcast at face value on ABC. Some Murray Cod were rescued. Aerators have been put in the Darling. Millions of fish have died. Apart from the fact that the damage to local fauna is irreversible, the spin is outrageous. Tinkering with the results of disaster is a terribly cruel and cynical way of evading the real issue of conniving in the illegal over-extraction of water by wealthy corporations.

  7. Diannaart

    Speaking of fraudsters and following on from Kaye Lee’s most excellent and comprehensive summary of our taxes at work 😋 Josh Frydenberg says he has nothing to apologise for …

    Sales: Was the Coalition wrong to strenuously oppose the royal commission into banking for as long as it did?

    Frydenberg: Oh, we can debate for hours what Labor failed to do when they were in government …

    Sales: No, I’m asking about you.

    Frydenberg: I’m looking to the future.

    Oh, dear. Frydenberg had time to practise a halfway articulate response. It’s been obvious for months that Commissioner Kenneth Hayne was winding up for a full-tilt mugging of the self-satisfied suits inhabiting the temples of the money-changers.

  8. Kaye Lee

    And it’s not just Barnaby. A relative of David Littleproud’s wife (or should that be ex-wife according to bonkgate rumours) who also happens to be one of his constituents, John Norman, was accused of “significant fraud against the Healthy Headwaters Program” – $20 million as the story goes.. His property was raided. TV programs were aired on the ABC. He appeared in court in August last year and was bailed. He was scheduled to appear again on October 15 but I can find no record of what happened there.

  9. David Tyler

    Yes, Kaye. Norman, a relation of DLP’s ex-wife and his financial manager Stephen Evans were bailed amidst opposition given the harm (Ruin in some cases) they have allegedly caused downstream farmers. Perhaps the 15 October hearing was adjourned?
    Littleproud was Barnaby’s captain’s pick under the secret Coalition agreement. A former rural bank manager put in to warm the seat before Barnaby resumes Nationals leadership. Climate science denying homophobe. Yet his electorate of Maranoa did vote no in the marriage equality survey.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Shades of Kathy Jackson. It’s amazing how quickly some people can be prosecuted – eg Michael Williams, Craig Thomson, Peter Slipper – while others are given years to organise their affairs before they may eventually have to front up.

  11. Keith

    Last week Keryn Phelps created a podcast with John Hewson and Tim Buckley (7 /02 / ’19) which appears to have disappeared. John Hewson, former Opposition leader of the Liberal Party, stated that people who do not believe in climate science are fools. That’s quite a mild comment in comparison to the points Tim Buckley, financial analyst, made about how privatisation of the energy market has handed control to foreign interests thereby creating a monopoly. Tim Buckley’s message was very clear in that we are now in a situation where the government has little control in managing energy costs.

    In relation to McCormack’s comment that the climate has always changed .. scientists are in full agreement, so it is nothing more than a very facile comment. McCormack and his band of deniers ought to delve into palaeo-climatology to gain a better understanding. An increase and decrease in greenhouse gases has been a major feature of climate in the past. The issue boils down to trusting politicians know better than scientists, or whether scientists have studied science for around a decade, and then worked in the field collecting objective data and making observations.

  12. Kaye Lee

    And just to rub salt into the wound, Norman farming then went on to sell their properties

    The ad said

    “Key investment highlights include:

    • A combined land area of over 18,000* hectares, inclusive of over 5,100 hectares of highly developed flood irrigation, over 9,000 hectares of dryland cultivation, with the balance comprising water storage, grazing and support land.
    • Significant water entitlements (Maximum Volumetric Limit of 76,000* megalitres, 7,000* megalitres take per day), including large nominal volumes of supplemented and unsupplemented allocations, overland flow and on-farm storages, all certified and licensed.”

    The group, backed by Chinese billionaire Li Ka-Shing, is in due diligence to buy the southern part of the Kalanga farm at a price between $20 million and $25 million. Such a price would value the overall farm aggregation at a much higher valuation than Ruyi’s level ($100 million). The deal with CK Life Sciences is still likely to proceed regardless of the investigation outcomes.

  13. guest

    Graham Lloyd writes anti-climate change trash over the weekend under a by-line “Weather has always been wild; don’t assume it is part of a trend.” He quotes Aynsley Kellow, climate science sceptic in Tasmania, who says it is “distasteful to try to make political capital out of misfortune.” The forests, he says, are “fire adapted”. As for Qld floods, Lloyd says they have had floods before, but nowhere does he pinpoint past floods of a year’s rain in a week.

    Somehow we need to nobble Lloyd with the real facts, not stand for his shameless frolic with the real truth.

  14. helvityni

    ‘This summer is angry: Are you?’

    Dr Geoff Davies asks on IA.

    In1990 Paul Keating referred to Australia as ‘the arse end of the world’….

    Are we willing to change, and start electing better leaders….?

  15. Keith


    I wondered whom Graham Lloyd was, so went to Mr google.

    The third reference to crop up was:

    If you take the opposite view to Lloyd your in the ball park .. on climate change The Australian is not a reference.

  16. Vikingduk

    Perhaps the tide begins to turn: last Friday the chief judge of the NSW land and environment court, Brian Preston, delivered a landmark judgment refusing to approve a new coal mine because of its impacts on climate change.

    “The ramifications are likely to ripple across Australia and possibly the world. This is climate litigation writ large.”

    The court accepted the evidence put by Professor Will Steffen about the global carbon budget — that is, there is a limit on the fossil fuels that can be burnt if we are to meet the Paris Agreement targets and avoid dangerous climate change.

    A fossil fuel proponent must now establish why their project should be allowed to proceed at this time in history, when it is clearly recognised that there is an urgent need for rapid and deep decreases in greenhouse gas emissions.

    Now the land and environment court’s most senior judge has accepted the causal link between a project’s contribution to cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change.

    “We suspect we are only beginning to understand how influential this judgement will be on the legal landscape in Australia. This won’t be the last project consigned to the dustbin of history on the grounds of climate change. It is just the first.”

    David Morris, CEO NSW environmental defenders office; Brendan Dobbie, acting principal lawyer. SMH, today.

  17. David Tyler

    The IPA’s fingerprints can be found across climate denialism in Australia. “Of all the serious sceptics in Australia”, IPA executive director John Roskam told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2010, “we have helped and supported just about all of them.”

    And so, while a majority of Australians now believe climate change is a real threat to their future, and want more investment in renewable energy, the IPA and its allies still has a stranglehold on Australian politics.

    It’s unlikely to let go without a fight.

    How one think tank poisoned Australia’s climate debate

  18. guest

    you are lucky not to know about Graham Lloyd. He makes my blood boil because he deliberately sets out to create controversy so that Murdoch can sell his papers, presumably. And the whole stable in the Surrey Street bunker peddles the same old debunked climate scepticism. Ex-editor Chris Mitchell weighs in today with weird claims about fire cycles in Tasmania. Birds of a feather flock together. But in my opinion the Murdoch media is getting tired as the evidence piles against them and their propaganda fails the Right wing ideologues in Oz, the UK and the USA.

    There is a great deal of gnashing of teeth and crying of tears of blood in the WE Australian. The court decision against the coking coal Gloucester mine has upset the coal munchers. It’s not for electricity, they say; it’s for making steel. The Paris Agreement says nothing about no new coal mines, they say. Anyone who is against the mining of our top-selling commodity is not a patriot. It will cost us $100bn, they say. How could one mine make a difference to world emissions? Etc, etc.

    My question to them is: What is the cost of cooking the planet?

  19. David Bruce

    Yes, climate change is real! Is it caused mainly by burning fossil fuels? I am not convinced!

    This article was ignored by the main stream media which most Australians seem to rely upon for their information.

    In a recent paper published last September, scientists exposed new results showing a much lower impact of CO2 on climate change. They reviewed their model and announced their previous estimation for the impact of CO2 was 50% overestimated meaning the emission budget is now 2 to 3x higher than announced making Paris agreement more feasible.

    Is this why ScuMo believes Australia will reach its emissions targets?


    Projections of the response to anthropogenic emission scenarios, evaluation of some greenhouse gas metrics, and estimates of the social cost of carbon often require a simple model that links emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) to atmospheric concentrations and global temperature changes. An essential requirement of such a model is to reproduce typical global surface temperature and atmospheric CO2 responses displayed by more complex Earth system models (ESMs) under a range of emission scenarios, as well as an ability to sample the range of ESM response in a transparent, accessible and reproducible form.

    Here we adapt the simple model of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report (IPCC AR5) to explicitly represent the state dependence of the CO2 airborne fraction. Our adapted model (FAIR) reproduces the range of behaviour shown in full and intermediate complexity ESMs under several idealised carbon pulse and exponential concentration increase experiments. We find that the inclusion of a linear increase in 100-year integrated airborne fraction with cumulative carbon uptake and global temperature change substantially improves the representation of the response of the climate system to CO2 on a range of timescales and under a range of experimental designs.

    The results indicate previous estimation for the impact of CO2 was 50% overestimated, meaning the emission budget is now 2 to 3 times higher than announced. The IPCC model only included Carbon EMISSIONS. It did not include the Carbon up take by the land (forests) and sea (corals). Neglecting CO2 uptake feedbacks would fail to incorporate well-understood physical mechanisms governing the response of ocean carbonate chemistry to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Hmmmm. So the Sun is causing coral leaching?

    Go figure!

  20. Matters Not

    David Bruce, yes Australia could reach its emission targets but only via accounting trickery.

    By insisting land use emissions be included in the calculation, Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions could be miraculously reduced by doing diddly-squat and pave the way for the big polluters to increase theirs. … Other major countries such as Germany and U.K. have now cancelled their Kyoto carryover credits.

    … unless Morrison is foolishly planning to pull a rabbit out of the hat using old, unused Kyoto credits . It’s estimated that the carry-over credits amount to nearly half of its 2030 goal. If that’s the case, yes, we’d meet our Paris target “in a canter ”. But at what cost to the government’s international credibility?

    Does anyone think that Australians really care about international credibility? What with asylum seekers and … international credibility is for suckers. No doubt one of our fearless journos will put the question. And if they refuse to answer then … they’ll simply move on to the next question. QED

    Is Howard’s Kyoto con trick about to be played out again?

  21. guest

    Sorry, David Bruce. The Resonance Science Foundation sounds a bit like Scientology, with mystical tours of Peru and “self-empowered knowledge”.

    Tony Eggleton (2013, pp 34-35) tells us that sunspots have little effect.”Most recently a review article by Judith Lean of the US Naval Research Laboratory concluded that the 11-year sunspot cycle causes a temperature fluctuation of about 0.1 degree C, and that since 1850 a gradual increase in the Sun’s irradiance has added perhaps another 0.1 degrees C to the global temperature….The observed temperature change since 1850 of about 1 degree C has not been caused by the Sun.”

    As for CO2 having only half the effect scientists say it does, it sounds a bit like the late Bob Carter who wrote that the more CO2 we have the less effect it has. Weird!

    At 280ppm, CO2 has kept the average earth temperature at about 14 degrees C for at least the past 10 000 years. Now the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 410 ppm, the highest level in at least the past 24m years (Eggleton, p177).

    You think it has no effect if we keep adding to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere?

  22. Shaun Newman

    David, as usual, I agree 100% with every word you have written. And as usual I have shared to Facebook and Twitter.

  23. guest

    Yes, Shaun. That is the way to go. Just keep spreading the compost.

  24. David Bruce

    Guest, did you read the paper on the FAIR model? It was one of the main sources for the Resonance article. If you read the article, you will see that warming occurs quickly for a few years before it plateaus and the Earth adapts, as it has done in the past.

    I have requested access to their data for fast Fourier transform analysis. The development of fast algorithms for Fourier Transforms can be traced to Gauss’s unpublished work in 1805 when he needed it to interpolate the orbit of asteroids Pallas and Juno from sample observations.

    The other sources are even more relevant for the longer term. Scientists are still discovering how the Sun and our solar system works.

    There is no question about the pollution caused by humans on planet Earth. Fossil fuels and carbon emissions are easy to measure and monitor. If this was the ONLY cause for climate change, and we reduced our emissions, I would be extremely happy.

    However, I am NOT convinced that burning fossil fuels is the ONLY cause and the MAJOR cause of climate change.

    Simple climate models, like a half brick in a fight, go further when thrown and repeated often enough.

    Al Gore started off with Global Warming as the elephant in the room. Now we are calling it Climate Change, after George Bush was told to change the agenda. I am wondering how long before we change it to Global Cooling and the next (highly predictable) Ice Age?

  25. New England Cocky

    Why does anybody expect any change in the banking and super industries the there is an NLP (No Lasting Policies) misgovernment in Canberra? The political dogs are unlikely to bite the hand(s) that feeds millions of dollars into party funds for the unelected political hacks who control pre-selection to distribute according to gender preferences.

    Why even Turdball contributed to save Toxic RAbbott and look how that generosity was repaid.

  26. John Boyd

    David Bruce: You seem to be at it again. Reminding myself of a previous encounter, I do not expect to change your views, but you comment cannot go unchallenged. Your first source could hardly be regarded as authoritative. Maybe Mr Morrison reads them with some comfort, but the argument that somehow the earth’s magnetic field is weakening and allowing cosmic rays to influence the climate is just not sustainable. That whole site is devoted to fringe arguments related to the influence of solar and other particulate radiation on the earth’s climate, which have been shown to be insignificant.

    Your second and third links are to the same article, which is a very technical discussion of the response of climate models to the forcing effect of the increase in concentration of CO2. I would not wish to accuse you of being deliberately misleading, but your third paragraph stating: ‘The results indicate previous estimation for the impact of CO2 was 50% overestimated…’ actually comes from the first link, and is not a conclusion of the second article as your contribution seems to imply.

  27. Kaye Lee

    David Bruce,

    Anyone who is not convinced by the absolutely overwhelming evidence just doesn’t want to be. I know you love your conspiracy theories but this is far too damaging to allow the debunked deniers to deflect us.

    For the about kazillionth time, global warming causes climate change. Every time I hear someone say oh they changed it from global warming to climate change it infuriates me. The same old lines trotted out every time whilst deliberately ignoring the evidence.

    The fact that we are still even engaging in this conversation shows just how successful the fossil fuel industry has been in their misinformation campaign using exactly the same tactics as they used for the smoking campaign.

  28. Kronomex

    The Resonance Science Foundation: A bunch of people who deal in pseudo-science and mumbo jumbo run by a charlatan.

    Then there’s this piece of crap –

    Great big con job!

    No empirical evidence of any sort or peer reviewed papers from the scientific community (Graham Hancock and other pseudo-“scientists”) don’t count.

    It’s all about the money.

  29. guest

    David Bruce, you say “if [burning fossil fuels] was the ONLY cause for climate change…”

    If you are talking about all the kinds of things that make carbon dioxide, then it is true that there are many things. There is natural carbon dioxide and there always has been to varying degrees. Some people want to talk about volcanoes, for example,to be responsible they would have to emit at 30 times their present rate of 300m tonnes a year. Humans breathe out CO2, but at some 2 bn tonnes a year it is nowhere near the 30bn tonnes of CO2 added per year. Then there is CO2 from rotting organic matter. And warming from the Earth’s orbit in the Melankovic cycles. So it goes. Lots of possible sources of CO2/warmth.

    But the really telling bit is the presence of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere which come only from the burning of fossil fuels. No wonder that deniers try to downplay the role of CO2 in global warming / climate change. They start from total denial, to sometimes yes, to nothing to worry about, to not important yet. What we see is that deniers cannot even agree among themselves – but the commonality is the presence of vested interests. They all agree we must keep burning fossil fuels – for the money!

    Not sure who is a denier? Find out who pays the piper.

  30. David Tyler

    Mr Bruce, Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    Naturally, like Big Tobacco, a lot of money has been spent by fossil fuel lobbies on disinformation. One of the key tactics is create doubt around the scientific consensus on climate change. In fact, a strong consensus existed in 1991 and has only grown stronger as more evidence is found.

    Another Big Coal tactic is the spurious argument that we don’t know how much global warming is caused by humans. We do. The science on the human contribution to modern warming is quite clear. Humans emissions and activities have caused around 100% of the warming observed since 1950, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment report.

    Stopping burning fossil fuels and switching to renewables is one major way we can help – if it’s not too late already – but not if we are governed by climate science denialists who fiddle the figures to include land-clearing or the pipe-dream boondoggle of “direct action” – and who spread disinformation. Or our Monash Group who argue it’s either jobs in coal mines or power plants or the environment along with much other nonsense such as clean coal, carbon sequestration or being “technology neutral”.

    There is sadly a mountain of pseudo-science published to help confuse voters. And, of course, weak-minded politicians, many of whom belong to political parties who enjoy generous donations from mining corporations and associations. A key culprit in Australia is the IPA which likes to keep its funding secret but there is enough evidence around to know that it is heavily backed by mining.
    Gina Rinehart, herself, may even give them a few dollars.

    Global warming is not up for debate. What is worth discussing are ways to get governments to get serious about climate change. School children get it. But our PM ridiculed them. Rebuked them and their teachers. What does it take to convince him that we need to reduce our own pollution and CO2 production by moving as rapidly as possible to renewable energy?

  31. Kaye Lee

    After the Wentworth by-election, Tim Wilson trotted out to urge “action on emissions reduction”

    Yet in 2013, before he got his Brandis boondoggle and was still climate spokesmodel for the aging Young Liberals creche, he wrote in an article titled ‘Australia steps off road to a climate dead end’ in the AFR:

    “Recently the Abbott government announced it wouldn’t be lumbering Australia with more burdensome emissions cuts at this week’s climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland.

    Instead the bipartisan 5 per cent cut of emissions off 2000 levels would remain and no further tax dollars would be on offer for emissions reduction financing programs.

    It’s difficult to overstate the strategic realignment of the new government’s sensible policy change.”

    Ever the opportunist our Tim. He’ll say whatever he thinks will advance his career.

    If he doesn’t cop some flack over this franking credits roadshow and website then we may as well give up and say anything is ok.

  32. Kaye Lee

    When Wilson was called out on his backflip, he replied with the following:

    “I stand by both views, though confess enjoy using cheeky humour to mock radical left-wing activists who are a parody of themselves.

    As the only Federal MP who has studied climate science at a postgraduate level I take these issues seriously and neither dismiss them, nor slave to them.

    In case anyone’s wondering what my views are, they’re encapsulated as follows: we should take the primary science seriously and be sceptical of hysteria and unsupportable claims; countries should seek to cooperate, but ultimately determine their own emissions policies and not have them imposed by the United Nations; Australia’s policies should act consistent with driving economic growth; consistent with that objective sustainable emissions reduction will principally be achieved through technology, not taxes; and the future is going to be awesome.”

    According to Wikipedia, his post-grad study of climate science was a Graduate Certificate in Energy and Carbon Management from Murdoch University. Does that qualify as climate science and would it be churlish of me to ask to see his student record before accepting that? I winder if Tim always bets each way?

  33. David Tyler

    Great posts, Kaye. Tim Wilson, a George Brandis protégé and an IPA MP is the former “freedom commissioner” who in 2011 said he’d like to “turn the water cannon on protesters”. (Occupy Melbourne protesters.) But you are right he does tend to flip-flop – freely.

    Remember his fact-finding tour of Nauru? Tim did call for the government to apologise over its sacking of nine Save the Children staff. ScoMo’s compassionate work from that era needs to be front of mind with an election approaching.

    October 2014, ScoMo alleged that the workers were coaching children in self-harm. The Coalition government ended up paying compensation of a million dollars to the nine workers subsequently unfairly dismissed and grossly maligned. This could be brought up when he boasts of his economic management skills. How did he keep his job? Imagine if he were a Labor MP.

    You are right. Murdoch University makes it clear that its online course is for beginners and generalists. Fear no rigour. Or depth.

    “The Graduate Certificate in Energy and Carbon Studies is designed to cater for graduates of any discipline who wish to acquire knowledge and skills in the areas of renewable and sustainable energy, as well as energy and carbon management. You’ll also explore social and environmental aspects of energy use, as well as economic, policy and technical issues.”

    No way any respectable Uni would classify this introductory tour as climate science.

    On the franking fiasco and debacle, Tim does own shares in his relative, Geoff Wilson’s business. Legal if you declare it, I guess. Has he? But he’s certainly broken the law by putting the Commonwealth Coat of Arms at the bottom of his Stop the Retirement Tax website.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Too funny. Wilson’s post grad studies in “climate science” was a 6 month online course for which he got a certificate which could have gained him entry into a diploma course which he obviously chose not to pursue (or didn’t have the qualifications to enrol – I note physics is a prerequisite which I very much doubt Tim covered in his BA.)

    What a pretentious little twat he is.

  35. Kronomex

    “Wilson’s post grad studies in “climate science” was a 6 month online course…” To pass the course he had to get up before midday, look out the bedroom window and make a note of what the weather was like and send an email each Sunday with that weeks observations.
    His reports looked something like this –

    Monday – Weather.
    Tuesday – Weather.
    Wednesday – Weather.

    The final exam question was, “Do you agree that the climate changes each day? Choose one answer.”
    1. Yes.
    2. No.
    3. Maybe.

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