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Day to Day Politics. Climate Change: A lay person’s dilemma

Wednesday 9 December.

1 The Paris Climate talks are now in their third week. The coverage of this most important and crucial event in the Australian media has been simply sickening. Only the ABC, The Guardian and Fairfax have given it the treatment it so earnestly deserves. Murdoch has given it little coverage.

In a piece for THE AIMN I said this:

“How does the layperson like me reach a view on such subjects without any formal training? It’s simple. There are many areas (medicine for example) that I don’t have a deep analytical grasp. Like many others I listen to experts, apply common sense, observation and what my life experience tells me. It is not difficult to understand a theory. Generally people assume that a theory (for example the theory of evolution) is something unproven”.

In the scientific world, a theory is something that has evolved to fit known facts.

Conversely, those who deny Climate Change and the overwhelming scientific consensus seek to justify their belief by attaching themselves to a minority of science deniers with obscure qualifications or worse, to right-wing shock jocks and journalists with no scientific training what so ever. These people have no way of evaluating the volume of data produced by the various scientific institutions. One of the most outspoken deniers (Andrew Bolt) has, in recent times, been found guilty of deceptive lying in that he defamed some white skinned aboriginals. The Press Council also made him correct misleading figures in one of his articles. One has to wonder how many he has told when writing about his favourite topic climate change.

So for the layperson the choice is to listen to the science or default to the opinions of the Bolts of this world.

And in Paris the latest news is that the world’s biggest climate polluters rallied around a stronger target for limiting warming on Monday, saying they were open to the 1.5C goal endorsed by the most vulnerable countries.

In the final push to a climate agreement, the US, Canada, China and the European Union declared they were now on board with demands from African countries to adopt an even more ambitious goal to limit warming.

Now they are taking it seriously. Julie Bishop must be wetting herself.

2 Guardian Australia has two years to prove itself commercially viable according to a headline in Tuesday’s Australian. Now that a bit of a shocker coming from a newspaper that loses 25 million annually. If fact the only reason it is still in business is because of the power it yields. It has very little public readership but is the go to source for every conservative commentator in the country. It will die with Murdoch.

An observation.

‘It is a pity that fact in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated’.

3 Joe Hockey has said if he did not retire from the Parliament he would have been focused on “getting even with people” who contributed to his downfall as treasurer. What a shocking indictment of politics in general and his party in particular.

4 Donald Trump wants to close the United States borders to Muslims.

“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people who believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” the billionaire real estate developer said.

I wonder if that should also apply to adults entering schools. Maybe tattoos next.

5 The Vladimir Putin Shirtfront won the Insiders Matt Price award in 2014. This year it was given to Christopher Pyne for his ‘I’m a fixer’ comment. There were some excellent entries. Abbott got the most nominations with his onion eating (without tears) act. Knighthoods, Good government starts today and in my opinion he should have been on a winner when he outrageously said that his ministers were performing fantastically well and it was all due to his magnificent leadership. Oh I forgot one. ‘Good government starts today’ Others nominated were Hockey’s ‘Just get a job. ’Scott Morrison for ‘There’s a boom up there’ Bronwyn Bishop ‘It was within the guidelines’ Then there were mentions of ministers with large packages, even snakes. There were many others but for the breadth of its audacity I’ll stick with my choice.

6 Now here is a conspiracy theory to end them all. Tony Abbott was toppled by Malcolm Turnbull, not because of gross incompetence. According to climate sceptic Christopher Monckton it was the UN who brought down Tony Abbott because of his anti-global warming views.

Wrong of course but he tells the truth about Abbott’s denialism.


“At some time in the human narrative…..in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you”.

PS. Early warning. Day to Day in Politics will be taking a break over the Christmas and New Year Periods. I will however be posting some of my short stories, poetry and other things of interest.




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  1. iggy648

    Since the vast majority of gun deaths in the USA are by ordinary non-Muslim Americans, all non-Muslim Americans should be banned from America too. America would be a far better place without Americans.

  2. gee

    are you aware of the casual sexism displayed in your thought for the day?

  3. Keith

    A fully qualified climate scientist in my view would find it difficult to keep abreast of all the information available in peer reviewed papers; then, there are numerous papers from different disciplines that also fit into climate change data. John’s point about it being difficult for the layman is spot on. It is very clear that many conservative politicians have been led by the nose by lobbyists and donations from fossil fuel companies.
    Powell, found that between 2013 and 2014 there were 24,000 peer reviewed papers published specifically about climate change with only a handful from skeptical scientists.

    A huge curved ball has been thrown at deniers by revelations from ExxonMobil.


  4. Chris

    “2 Guardian Australia has two years to prove itself commercially viable according to a headline in Tuesdays Australian. Now that a bit of a shocker coming from a Newspaper that loses 25 million annually. If fact the only reason it is still in business is because of the power it yields. It has very little public readership but is the go to source for every conservative commentator in the country. It will die with Murdoch.”

    Yay. i for one won’t miss it. It has wrecked any reputation it may have had (if it had one). If you want to read the most offensive, horrible, right wing comments, that’s where you will find them and any alternative views are treated very badly. I think they are more about sowing division and disempowering ‘left’ thinking people and ideas.
    It also seems to be Islamophobia day again. Abbott stirring up shit before the Cronulla riots anniversary, just as Howard did. I was ‘terrorized’ once by an English ‘backpacker’ in my own home. The goose had been calling me a ‘Paki’ continuously and I upset him by telling him what I thought of him so he threatened me with a knife. He was also involved with (or at least boasted about it) the ‘Inner City Firm’, the London crime gang. So many Englischers I have met are a bit like that.
    And wow, out of Victoria, who would have thought that the pigs are pigs ? ; )

    This site is one of the best I think for keeping up to date with Global Warming news and developments in the science and denier stuff. I recommend it to everybody… http://climatecrocks.com/
    There are others but that is my favorite. You should subscribe to it for email updates. Always interesting.

    Keith i’m not sure if “curved ball” is quite what that is or how to describe it……Unfortunately Joe Romm is considered Satan to deniers (along with Michael Mann, Dana Nuccitelli, etc) and it appears to be a little dated which doesn’t make it untrue of course.

    Ooh look. One of my favorite stories to tell about the Guardian reporter who shopped old Mr Murdoch and various others to the secret service for spreading malicious gossip about the successes at Gallipoli is gone….. http://www.gallipoli.gov.au/1landing/knightley.html
    I hope everyone gets that there weren’t any successes at Gallipoli…..

  5. Chris

    I’m a bit grumpy today.

  6. John Lord

    Gee It is a bit tongue in cheek.

  7. John Lord

    thanks Grumps.

  8. Keith

    Thanks for pulling me up on my Think Progress reference; it was meant to be this:


    This is the Washington Post reference referred to by Joe Romm:


    I think you would agree that deniers have been bowled a curved ball.

    ExxonMobil have been investigated by the Attorney General of New York for criminal activity. ExxonMobil scientists had been in accord with the consensus view of climate change in the 1970s and 1980s; whereas, ExxonMobil management funded denier groups. A paper trail has been established showing denier groups had been funded. A subpoena has been presented to ExxonMobil seeking their communications and research. The charges are about seeking to mislead shareholders and the public.

    Another development has been that the Philippine Human Rights Commission has been petitioned to investigate major fossil fuel companies in relation to the violent storms suffered by the Philippines which they attribute to fossil fuels usage.

    Sorry for being a goose in relation to the reference.

  9. silkworm

    That bit about Scomo pointing out the microphone was not the offensive bit. It was Dutton’s joke about rising waters in Pacific Islands that brought international condemnation. Perhaps even worse, and edited out of the ABC clip, was Dutton’s and Abbott’s racist joke about “Cape York time.”

    It was this incident that, I think, that really pushed the Libs to overthrow Abbott.

    Also of note was that the incident came to be known as “boomgate,” which was the cleverest description of this incident that has gone unrecognized.

  10. JeffJL

    Thanks again for another great daily read John (not forgiving you for the lack of suppository in the last one though :-))

  11. Chris

    Keith, No Worries. I appreciate anyone posting sensible Global warming stuff. The top story on Climate Crocks is the same thing. http://climatecrocks.com/2015/12/08/new-video-what-exxon-knew/ Which is sort of why I posted a link to the site. I thought that was probably what you were going to be linking to (or what you were talking about).
    I had to go to town to the doctors, which is always annoying…..but my partner and I took the dogs and went to the beach and saw my 10+ year old coastal revegetation plantings. That was very good as they are all doing exactly what they are supposed to do…..including blocking the view of the old bastard who tried to burn them down several times. ; )
    Even my coastal sword sedges (one of those ‘hard to grow/germinate’ plants) is going great guns….
    Found a mummified Port Jackson shark, a newly dead pipe fish and a cricket bat……didn’t bring the newly dead pipe fish home, though.

  12. Chris

    My point about the knife wielding English guy (back in 1993) was that many English have been using the term ‘Paki’ as the worst insult they can think of to call anyone. There is no way I could be misidentified as, in any way, Pakistani…..I guess they hadn’t thought of Islamophobia back then.

  13. iggy648

    Years ago when I was reading on climate change, there were two lines of research that convinced me to be sceptical. One was the study on fish scales in bays in Canada that showed that the thickness of fish scale layers cycled roughly in synch with numbers of sunspots. The second was the finding that global warming preceded the increase in CO2 levels by 800 or so years. These arguments have been successfully debunked here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm, At least successful in the sense that the arguments presented there caused me to reverse my position.

  14. Chris

    iggy648 It is good to hear of people who can be flexible with their opinions. Everyone can be ‘incorrect’ about things at various times it is rare for people to be able to admit it though. I’ve been wrong about things before……..just not very often. ; )
    Skeptical science is very useful especially for finding clearly put answers when arguing with AGW deniers. These days they just refuse that information because it is from a ‘known warmist and climate alarmist’ or at least that is what I keep getting from people. A very weak excuse really.

  15. cartoonmick

    Such a shame this recently launched “Innovation boom of ideas” wasn’t launched a month or more ago.
    Apart from solving some of the worlds (and Australia’s) problems, we may have had a marvellous idea to take to the Paris climate talk fest.
    Although, in this current “pro-mega-business” political atmosphere we have in Oz, the idea wouldn’t have gone any further than the paper used to draw this cartoon on . . .

    Editorial / Political


  16. Chris

    Keith, Exxon should be ‘hung, drawn and quartered’. I don’t think that would be too harsh.
    Other oil and coal execs too……

  17. Keith


    I get the sense that ExxonMobil is involved in a PR campaign at present.
    It has been suggested that they have committed the crime of the geological epoch.

  18. Chris

    Yeah I’ve been arguing with a few hardcore deniers and disinformers in youtube comments. At least one(actually 2 but one was less a denier) of which admitted to working in oil for most of his life. Now he has come back with a name change. Of course I can’t guarantee he is a paid person but there have been a greatly increased number of extreme deniers including many young ‘truther’ type news people…. I hate conspiracy truther types. They seem to be just as willing to totally mislead people as any other sources….and they are ‘never wrong’ or ‘mistaken’ (according to them).

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