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Our politicians must be held accountable

Each year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) publishes, in its annual World Energy Outlooks (WEOs), its perspectives on the energy sector over the next 25 years. These explore the implications of taking alternative climate and energy pathways.

They present three scenarios: current policies (CP) which assumes business-as-usual, new policies (NP) which extends CP with policy governments have committed to but not yet implemented, and the 450 scenario which is the pathway to keep global average temperature increase below 2C.

This information is highly influential in justifying investment decisions. In the WEO 2015 released last November, under CP assumptions global demand for coal would increase by 43% by 2040 compared to current levels, under NP by 12%, but under 450 scenario it declines by 36%.

NP figures imply an absolute increase in coal use of 23%. However the 450 scenario, to which the government supposedly committed in Paris, shows coal’s share of electricity demand falling from 40% to 12% by 2040, an absolute reduction in coal use of 57%.

The IEA have made it very clear that the first two scenarios are incompatible with the goal of restricting warming to below 2 degrees and therefore unsustainable.

“We look to the negotiators in Paris to destroy our projections in our central scenario (NP), which we show to be unsustainable, in order to create a new world in which energy needs are met without dangerously overheating the planet.”

But apparently our new Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, missed that bit.

“The IEA tells us that 40% of today’s electricity demand is met by coal and by 2040 it will still be 30%.”

Likewise, Steve Ciobo, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, who assures us that “Global demand for coal is still going through the roof.”

The deliberate omission of the consequences of this path by these two politicians, whose very duty it is to make policy based on the available information, amounts to criminal negligence.

Criminal negligence is a ‘misfeasance or ‘nonfeasance’, where the fault lies in the failure to foresee and so allow otherwise avoidable dangers to manifest. In some cases this failure can rise to the level of willful blindness where the individual intentionally avoids adverting to the reality of a situation. The degree of culpability is determined by applying a reasonable person standard. Criminal negligence becomes “gross” when the failure to foresee involves a “wanton disregard for human life.”

Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

Last year, three judges ruled that the Dutch government plans to cut emissions by just 14-17% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were unlawful, given the scale of the threat posed by climate change.

The successful case was based on the fact that at the climate conference in Cancun, in 2010, all 195 signatory states to the United Nations climate treaty agreed that two degree warming of the average temperature of the Earth constitutes ‘dangerous’ climate change as defined by the treaty itself.

“… industrialised nations of the world also agreed, based on IPCC science, that to have a 50 per cent chance of staying below two degrees [they]would have to mitigate their greenhouse gasses by 25-40 per cent by 2020.”

When public office-holders misuse or abuse their power, thereby putting the whole planet at risk, they have breached their duty of care.

The collusion between the Coalition government and groups like the Minerals Council of Australia to mislead and misinform, to deliberately ignore known threats to our very existence that are already causing death and destruction of property and the environment, is an offence for which they should be held personally accountable.


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  1. economicreform

    An election is one way in which a government’s accountability may be resolved, by means of its exposure to the judgement of the people.
    Given all of the information about climate change that is in the public domain, if the people then decide that the government is fit for office, then it is the people who must be held accountable. The problem is that not all of the information they require in order to make an informed judgement has been provided to them by the corporate-controlled media.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Not only has information been kept from the public, they have been willfully misinformed. There has been a very deliberate campaign exposed. Ordinary people should not be expected to understand the science. They could be forgiven for believing what they read in the corporate-controlled media. Politicians, however, who knowingly abrogate their duty of care to take part in this deliberate campaign, despite having all the evidence available to them, should be prosecuted. It seems to me the only way to stop their destruction.

  3. townsvilleblog

    It may not be common knowledge so I’m sharing the fact that even on the pension we were able to pay off a small 3kw solar system and a Solahart water heater over 3 years, and the best part was that the solar power reduced our electricity bill from $300 a quarter to $20 a quarter, which helped enormously in the repayments. It is the investment that continues to pay. As pensioners we now have a little more to spend on food and no longer run out a day before the pension payment.

    Climate change is our biggest enemy, where we live in tropical N.Q. our main weather foe is cyclones, the strength and frequency of which have been noted in recent years, now up to Cat5 which is enough to frighten the bravest of souls I can assure you. If Australians were told the truth by their government Ministers there would be a spike in solar related sales I’m sure. The absence of the truth from the CLP/L&NP/LNP government will surely be repaid in kind at the next election.

  4. diannaart

    …when it comes to science denial, it’s reality that always has the last word.

    …This is a year of politics. That means everyone has opinions about where the world should be headed and how we should get there.

    No matter how weird this political season has been, however, there remains a key difference between opinions and facts. That difference comes into the starkest relief when people must face their own inconsistencies in reconciling the two domains.

    And nowhere is the gap between opinions and facts more apparent than the subject of climate change. As a recent action by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) demonstrates, for climate deniers there is a chasm between what is said and what is done.

    I believe there will be a future where politicians guilty of preventing action on climate change will be held to account just as we hold war criminals to account.

    Which is a shame, when we could be taking action on mitigating the worst of climate change NOW.

  5. phil

    Many a sound point made there Kaye Lee.

    ‘economicreform’ – its a bit of a stretch to claim “the people” decided that the government is fit for office. True, a percentage did (and I think their sanity should be questioned) but also a goodly percentage did not, so surely it would be unjust to hold them accountable for the government’s gross criminal negligence, as Kaye Lee argues?

    It’s sad and dispiriting to watch the climate ‘inactionists’ in government and business working so hard to secure their belief in the paradigm of infinite growth and limitless consumption, on a planet at absorption capacity and bursting at the seams from humanity’s wastes.

    Australia’s neoliberal governments are chock full of inactionists and I can’t see how sitting back waiting for election after election in the hope that voting will make any difference – change is never going to happen this way is it?

    So what the hell do we do?

  6. Kaye Lee

    Sue the bastards. Climate litigation.

  7. David

    The effects of climate change will be far worse than even the scientists are making public. Imagine being able to skate from Sydney to Auckland…

  8. Matters Not

    I live close to the water. If I drive along the bay, there are signs warning me if there is, or there is likely to be, (salt) water across the road. It’s good information. I modify my behaviour. From my computer, I can track (in real time): the share market, bank accounts, superannuation account, the current temperature, the weather forecasts, the price of fuel, road alerts, and so on. For me, it’s good information to have at hand and it’s a constant reminder of ‘how I am going’ and I can modify my behaviour accordingly.

    Seems to me, it would also be useful if information relevant to the level of ’emissions’ and other climate ‘forces’ was also available in real time. I am pretty sure that information is available to people, for example, who monitor the various electricity grids around the country on a minute by minute basis. Coal companies know how much they mine each day, how much they export over a time period and how many tonnes of Carbon Dioxide is resulting. That info should be on public display, if not in real time, then as soon as possible.

    I know I have only scratched the surface of what info might be made available but I think it would be a valuable goal to pursue. People need constant reminders as to the ‘state of play’ so that behaviour can be modified over time and pressure put on governments, business and individuals to be accountable.

  9. jim

    Here’s a treasure on the miners and the mining tax Treasurer Joe Hockey has hailed the agreement to axe the mining tax – which will cost the budget $6.5 billion – as a “damn good deal” for the Australian people.

    The Senate voted to repeal the mining tax today after the Federal Government and the Palmer United Party (PUP) struck a deal to keep the schoolkids bonus until after the next election.

    But the agreement also further delays superannuation increases for Australian workers, putting them on hold until 2021.

    read more:

    By Gus Leonisky at 2 Sep 2014
    palmer and abbott playing together…
    Mr Palmer rejected the suggestion that it was a conflict of interest for him, as a politician with mining interests, to be negotiating on the repeal of the mining tax.
    “We all pay tax, does that mean that members of Parliament don’t vote on income tax bills?” he said.
    Mr Palmer said his party had only reached a deal with the government on Tuesday and as recently as Tuesday morning talks were continuing over sticking points.
    Labor and the Greens attacked the government for what Labor Senator Penny Wong called “a dirty deal”.
    “We have another deal… another dirty deal where they try to ram through the chamber just like we’ve seen before,” she said.
    Greens Leader Christine Milne called the move to gag debate on the amended bill “contempt for the Senate”.
    “I can’t remember a time when we had amendments dropped on the desk with no attempt to explain what they mean,” she said.
    Senator Cormann rejected accusations the government was rushing the legislation through.” he said.
    Senator Cormann said the deal would benefit the economy.
    “A strong mining industry… is good for Australia, good for the economy and it’s an important part of generating more jobs,” he said.
    Senator Milne called the deal “an absolute disgrace” that would hurt the super entitlements of millions of working Australians.
    “This is exactly what the Australian people were concerned about at the prospect of a mining billionaire coming in here.”

    Read more:

    I would remind readers that one of the biggest miners in Australia, Glencore, pays so little tax on a profit of about $15 billions, one needs a microscope to see it.
    The Mining Tax was designed to remedy this unsavoury situation somewhat…
    By Gus Leonisky at 2 Sep 2014 – 9:51pm …

  10. Matters Not

    Speaking of ‘data’ and ‘accountability’, I have just received an update from NBN which reveals:

    That’s a lot of data to get through in a year, and is reflective of an impressive 45 per cent year-on-year increase. On top of that, homes connected to a service over the nbn™ network have been found to be consuming approximately 35 per cent more data than the average Australian household.

    Yes that’s right a an impressive 45 per cent year-on-year increase. That’s astronomical. And that’s through third rate broadband. And it can’t all be porn. ? ?

    At the end of 2013, around 861 thousand terabytes were downloaded in the three-month period leading into December. This was an increase of approximately one third of what was found in June that same year (657 thousand terabytes). By December 2014, the ABS found over 1.14 million terabytes were downloaded within the same three-month period.

    Six months later in June 2015, these figures exceeded 1.38 million for the three months preceding. You get the idea.

    Yes we get the idea but Malware doesn’t. The ALP should be going ballistic.

    These days, downloading a video game, or even updating one you already own, is often now several gigabytes, or more. HD video streaming isn’t even a stranger to family calls anymore, with people turning to better cameras to keep in touch with loved ones, meaning Netflix-esque bandwidth requirements to maintain a clear image.

    As we progress into the future, it’s easy to see how and why we’re consuming data. From viral videos, binge watching our favourite series streamed online, to other forms of entertainment and even keeping in touch with loved ones, we’re on it and digital technology is only making it is easier to consume it all.

    The figures don’t lie – Aussies are hungry for content,

    No the figures don’t lie. Neither does the ‘science’. Where is the accountability not only from the Government but from individuals within government and also the MSM. Will the ABC report this? You know, give Sales another opportunity to have a giggle with Malware? ? ? ? ?

  11. Freethinker

    Kaye LeeJuly 28, 2016 at 1:08 pm
    Sue the bastards. Climate litigation.

    Kaye, I share your views, frustration and even anger but we are the minority.
    Politicians are looking for their seat, their position in power and to be safe they follow the wishes of the majority and not the manority that includes us.
    The majority do not give a dam about climate change and the future of their children, they do not are prepared to sacrifice even $20 a week to put a price in carbon, they are only concerned in their standard of living, their greed for consumption and perhaps the only concern will be that their insurance will cover any damage to their propriety in case of a severe climate event.
    You can bet your home and assets that many of those in the waterfront that have lost their home voted for the coalition.
    Yes, in a democracy politicians should follow the wishes of the majority and not the “lefties” “corrupt scientists”, “tree huggers” etc which include us.
    It is sad Kaye, but it is a reality and only education will change the situation of financially suffering for people to change.

  12. Matters Not

    But NoS do you believe in anthropogenic climate change? Yes or No?

  13. Mark

    Someone should have told the Antarctic peninsula.

    Editor’s summary

    The Antarctic Peninsula is frequently presented as a case study of rapid warming. John Turner and colleagues now show that the late twentieth-century warming trends have moderated considerably and that for the early years of the twenty-first century the peninsula has in the main been cooling.

  14. Keith

    Prior to last Christmas the Philippine Human Rights Commission indicated they would investigate fossil fuel companies in the New Year; it looks as though that is about to happen.

    Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil has stated in a recent advert in the New York Journal that ExxonMobil supports the science created in the 1970s by ExxonMobil scientists. ExxonMobil scientists supported the consensus position on climate change.

    Part of what the advertisement stated:

    “Exxon’s CEO Rex Tillerson agrees that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are raising global temperatures and sea levels.

    “I’m not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have an impact. It’ll have a warming impact,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations in June of 2012.[i]
    Tillerson said that sea levels would rise as a result of human-induced climate change, and that changes in weather patterns could move crop production areas. [ii] And to help control emissions, Exxon Mobil has called for a carbon price.”

    The evidence of human induced climate change is quite overwhelming.

    Here is a reference that displays just how nonsensical the opinions presented by climate change deniers are:

  15. Kaye Lee


    I too am disappointed by the Queensland Labor govt’s approval of mines in the Galilee Basin but at least they have said they will not give them taxpayers’ money as Newman was going to do.

  16. Möbius Ecko

    Mark you do know that the cooling only applies to a part of the Antarctic, not the whole of it, and the reason is well understood, which doesn’t disprove global warming at all.

    That you point out just one area of cooling I gather means you accept the rest of the globe is unusually warming, especially the Arctic, which has not such cooling zones.

  17. johnlward010

    In the matter of Senator Cormann and former Treasurer Joe Hockey’s failed attempt to close down the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, using the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act itself; but ignoring the fact that section 65 of the Act, limits and precisely forbid with mandatory language, the very action they propose.
    The treasurer and now his replacement have run an outrageous bluff on the renewables industry, and the effect of their public utterances means they have almost got away with it.

    When you examine the behaviour of the cabinet; it is in fact, deceptive and misleading enough, to still destabilise the entire industry to have bankers and investors become gun shy. Turnbull claims he is retaining something he was never able to abolish; and he still pretends his ministers were able to change an Act of our Parliament by making a change to the investment mandate that was beyond their authority.

    Section 65 Limits on Investment Mandate.
    The responsible Ministers must not give a direction under subsection 64(1): (a) that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment; or (b) that is inconsistent with this Act (including the object of this Act).
    People in the renewable energy industry are afraid to take on the Government due to their apprehended consequences. [The bullies are winning so far].
    We need help, to run a section 75.(v) of the Constitution, to get an injunction or a writ of Mandamus from the High court to put these ministers back in their box.
    Any negotiations with banks are such, that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is the preferred lender, but the intention of the government to shut it, the CEFC, down has made me read the documents these political bullies, produced; they appear to be political documents that seem not to match, the public utterances of former Treasurer Hockey and Christopher Pyne but, would appear designed, to cause fear and confusion in the Industry. I am amazed that these guys think they could undo an Act of Parliament and ignore the limits the CEFC Act 2012 designed to prevent the revoking the previous Government’s investment mandate .
    Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt, Josh Frydenberg and Senator Cormann simply cannot change the Act without going back through Parliament. The original Mandate to the Board of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation was made by section 64(1) of the Act was there, for Treasurer Wayne Swan, to empower the corporation, in the first instance, to proceed. Section 64 is not a vehicle for ministers to point the organisation in a direction against the object of the Act or to make or not make a particular investment.
    The object of the Act is to ‘facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector. The present Ministers have demanded a higher investment return from the corporation to minimise exposure risk of taxpayers’ funds. It appears the direction is actually inconsistent with the object of the CEFC Act.The direction does seem to be cut and pasted across from the Future Fund Investment Mandate Directions 2006.
    The key sections of the CEFC Act are set out below. It is worthy of note that the Ministers advisors have studiously avoided section 65 of the Act, which limits the ministers attempts to write a contrary investment mandate.
    Treasurer Swan and Senator Wong have been prescient, in putting an ‘Effects test’ in section 65(a) just as Malcolm Turnbull has recently done in his ‘Competition Policy. Section 64 Investment Mandate (1) The responsible Ministers may, by legislative instrument, give the Board directions about the performance of the Corporation’s investment function, and must give at least one such direction. The directions together constitute the Investment Mandate.
    (2) In giving a direction, the responsible Ministers must have regard to the object of this Act and any other matters the responsible Ministers consider relevant.
    (3) Without limiting subsection (1), a direction may set out the policies to be pursued by the Corporation in relation to any or all of the following:
    (a) matters of risk and return;
    (b) technologies, projects and businesses that are eligible for investment;
    (c) the allocation of investments between the various classes of clean energy technologies;
    (d) making investments on concessional terms;
    (e) the types of financial instruments in which the Corporation may invest;
    (f) the types of derivatives which the Corporation may acquire;
    (g) the nature of the guarantees the Corporation may give and the circumstances in which they may be given;
    (h) broad operational matters;
    (i) other matters the responsible Ministers consider appropriate to deal with in a direction under subsection (1). Section 65 Limits on Investment Mandate
    The responsible Ministers must not give a direction under subsection 64(1):
    (a) that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment; or
    (b) that is inconsistent with this Act (including the object of this Act).

    As you will be aware the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Abolition Act 2012, Was a trigger for a Double Dissolution of the Parliament although there was a certain reluctance to use it to fight an election. The responsible Ministers, the now Treasurer Scott Morrison and Minister for Finance Senator Mathias Cormann are attempting to take the key investment mandate, which is of course, was the engine that starts and maintains the life of the corporation,they wish to open it up to be, a vehicle, a mechanism for the Ministers to have more control of the terms of the board reporting back to them.

    This is an attempt to change the Act without taking that change back through the Parliament.

    The Arrogance is breathtaking.
    The correspondence to the Board of the corporation from the Treasurer stated, “the Government’s policy is to abolish the Corporation”. As the responsible Ministers Senator Cormann and the Treasurer were defacto Directors clearly acting against their duty to protect the interests of the corporation under their direction; not to cut it down.
    The public and verbal instruction to move away from Wind and Roof top Solar, towards emerging technologies were not only against the object of the Act, it had the effect to cause many in the industry to have greater difficulty in attracting investment or gain financing. There are many who could run a class action against this government.

    Lenore Taylor pointed out that Turnbull was simply taking $1billion from the CEFC which funded his new CEIF and intended to simply have the ARENA act as an administrator. The main concerns I have are, Turnbull, Pyne, Hockey, Cormann, Hunt and now Frydenberg are trying to convince the public and the Industry, that they and cabinet can ‘re-purpose ‘ the corporation without going back through parliament; in the face of fact of the CEFC Act strictly limiting what changes can be made by the overseeing ministers in the terms of the ‘investment mandate’.

    Mr. Turnbull is not, the King he would love to be. He is just a voter, like all of us, who happens to have the privilege to be holding in trust, many of our individual ‘sovereign registered votes’ and therefore to have the authority to occupy the position of Prime Minister; or until he loses our trust. I say he cannot change an Act of our parliament simply because he is the PM.

    He must go back to our parliament and get it (both houses plus the Queen) to make the change. A lot of people have lost badly in the solar and wind industry and a lot are in Tasmania. There will be a class action that further delays the industry and the public just getting on with moving away from the hugely subsidised ($20 bn per annum), coal, gas and oil industries.

  18. mark

    Just saying that not everything is settled mobius.

  19. Möbius Ecko

    For you Mark, you do know Kenskingdom is attempting to falsify the data, so thanks for again proving the proponents correct.

    Our local Anthony Watts: kenskingdom

    A good example is a new blog over at Kenskingdom, in which the author downloads publicly available data for temperature records around Australia, applies some quick and ready analysis and “hey presto” claims the data is either wrong is being manipulated.Typically the blogger finds errors which highly trained scientists have either overlooked or are deliberately manipulating as in this attempt to analysis historical temperature records for Mackay Queensland:

    Dunning Kruger

  20. Möbius Ecko

    Not everyone is saying it’s settled, especially the climate scientists who are proponents of AGW themselves. In the meantime until science proves the current theory wrong by showing something else fits the mass of climate data and the abnormal trend it’s showing then AGW is it.

    The ones who are mostly saying it’s settled are the deniers saying the proponents are saying it’s settled.

  21. johnlward010


  22. diannaart


    This is an attempt to change the Act without taking that change back through the Parliament.

    Where is Shorten on this? MIA? Again? Still resting on laurels Labor didn’t lose as badly as predicted?

  23. Kaye Lee

    kenskingdom can hardly be quoted as a reference for anything at all. Ken is a retired teacher who states “I am very wary of any people with strongly held beliefs they hope to foist on others, such as fundamentalists, jihadis, Greenpeace, global warming fanatics, creationists or intelligent design promoters, neo-Nazis.”

    Interesting grouping there Ken. Whacko alert.

  24. mark

    So what part of this data is incorrect or is this just a blanket statement

  25. Keith


    Thank you for your reference, a far more rigorous reference than provided by Mark.

    Despite ENSO now being in a neutral state we are still being impacted by warm Ocean currents.
    ENSO temperatures have been increasing parallel to surface temperature for decades.

    The Ocean takes up about 70% of the Earth’s surface and warm up very slowly, something ignored by those who persist in suggesting temperature has not been going up. Lately, the term of “heat dome” is being used to describe extreme temperatures impacting on large areas.

    Where there is little, or no reference to science papers through hyperlinks commentary about science becomes very suspect. Too many times I have come across material from deniers which displays a misunderstanding of what scientists have been writing about; your reference displays this inadequacy.

    Last year I came across a paper trail that showed how much ExxonMobil was paying denier groups; it dovetails into what John has referenced from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    Mark, you might consider:

    ALEC, Heartlands, Cato Institute, George C Marshall Institute et al do not get funded for the sake of it.

  26. Egalitarian

    The seeds of deceit go hand in hand. The conservatives are so far up the bottom of big business Whether it be gaming yes gambling “gaming” what a great Orwellian word that is. Privatised prisons,Mining for any sake.Privatised Employment agencies.
    The Conservatives love Kaos that’s what extreme capitalism is all about.There is a solution to climate change pollution etc.Its called sustainability.

    The Liberal party is corrupted by ideology. They all should be thrown into jail every last one of them.They literally take on Maggie Thatcher statement that there is no such thing as society.When you confuse and destroy society The Dirty greedy rule with their nose in the trough.The Churches pay zero tax.

    Our Prime Minister is an empty head despite what were all lead to be believe. Yes the Conservatives love Kaos because all their rich mates can make plenty more money, And theirs always payback in kind.

    And greatest scandal of all time THE HOUSING CORRUPTION thats been going on for last 18 years.There is no way they want to stop this little beauty as keeps on giving doesn’t it.

  27. Keith


    UAH temperature measures are provided by Dr Spence and Dr Christy, skeptical scientists. The temperatures are derived from satellites, there are articles in the Conversation about how modelling is required from inferred data to produce temperature. Satellites take slabs of data meaning that it is not possible to compare satellite data with temperature taken from land stations.
    The flights of satellites vary especially as they become older and the data needs a greater degree of modelling. Check out The Conversation.

    An interesting article in the Guardian about Dr Spencer:

    Follow the hyperlinks in the article.

    WUWT, is a more sophisticated denier site than the reference you provided; but, close checking shows how Anthony Watts is wrong.
    When Anthony Watts was questioned why he wrote so much against climate science; his response was an ideological one, he indicated he did not like the regulation which is implied by climate change. There is a reference, it would take me a while to find it, since it is months ago that I saw it; and so, would only be willing to find it if you give an assurance you have read the previous references and hyperlinks provided.

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