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What do you do when you have made a bad decision?

When what you are doing is not achieving the desired goal, do you stick with it because that’s what you said you were going to do?

Data from the Australian Department of the Environment reveal that whether or not you liked the carbon tax, it absolutely worked to slash carbon emissions. And in the first quarter without the tax, emissions jumped for the first time since prior to the global financial crisis.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector (which accounts for about a third of total emissions, the largest single share) in the quarter from July to September dropped by about 7.5 percent after the carbon tax was imposed, and jumped 4.7 percent after it was repealed.

It’s especially important to note that the jump came in the context of an overall decline in electricity consumption, as Australian climate economist Frank Jotzo explained to the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Frank Jotzo, an associate professor at the Australian National University’s Crawford School, said electricity demand was falling in the economy, so any rise in emissions from the sector showed how supply was reverting to dirtier energy sources.

“You had a step down in the emission intensity in power stations from the carbon price — and now you have a step back up,” Professor Jotzo said.

…[Jotzo] estimated fossil fuel power plants with 4.4 gigawatts of capacity had been taken offline during the carbon tax years. About one third of that total, or 1.5 gigawatts, had since been switched back on.”

cedex-emissions-march-590x217

After taking office in 2013, the Abbott government chose not to send a minister to the climate change talks in Warsaw in November.

Julie Bishop, who has remit over the international climate change negotiations in the Abbott government, instead attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the “international negotiations are a matter for the Foreign Minister. Minister Hunt indicated a month ago at the Sustainable Business Australia forum that he will be fully engaged in repealing the carbon tax during the first two weeks of Parliament.” Obviously climate change is not part of our Environment Minister’s brief.

When 125 heads of state met in September 2014 in New York to discuss international action on climate change, Tony Abbott chose not to go even though he was attending a UN Security Council meeting in New York the next day. Julie Bishop attended instead.

Next Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry is opening a meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Washington. The forum is meant to bring together ministerial representatives from 17 major countries in a bid to accelerate work on a climate deal.

Once again, Australia is facing questions in diplomatic circles for not sending a minister or its chief climate change negotiator.

If the Abbott government truly believed that their direct action plan will be successful in reaching our emissions reduction targets then why aren’t they at these conferences sharing their ideas? Why aren’t they interested in collaboration with other countries?

In the absence of any concrete information from Australia, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including China and the US, have delivered a list of queries questioning the credibility of Australia’s climate change targets and “direct action” policy, demanding answers from the Abbott government.

Among major carbon emitters, the United States, the European Union and Russia have already put their positions on the table for the Paris talks later this year, with the US vowing a reduction of 26-28 per cent in its emissions of greenhouse gases by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. It seems inevitable that sanctions will be placed against countries who refuse to pull their weight.

There is a growing voice among scientists urging that the world must turn by mid-century into a zero-carbon society or we are risking disaster for humanity, with unmanageable sea-level rise, heat waves, droughts and floods.

In the Netherlands, the Urgenda Foundation is suing the Dutch government for knowingly endangering its citizens by failing to prevent dangerous climate change.

In the face of this diplomatic pressure and increasing global concern and co-operation, the Abbott government decided to spend $4 million on a think tank created by the “sceptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg at UWA.

Last week a spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The government is contributing around a third of the total cost of the centre based on a proposal put forward by the University of Western Australia and Dr Lomborg’s organisation.”

Unfortunately for Pyne, this lie has been exposed by the University who state that “UWA was approached by the federal government” and that “it does not plan to spend any money on the centre and that it believes government funding will largely cover its cost.”

Dr Lomborg has links to some of the government’s most senior figures.

andrew robb

In November, Trade Minister Andrew Robb had a meeting with Dr Lomborg and later tweeted a picture of them together. “Had a good chat with Bjorn Lomborg about the power of trade in eliminating poverty,” Mr Robb tweeted.

 

In March, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop appointed him to a reference group advising on Australia’s foreign aid programs.

Tony Abbott quoted Dr Lomborg in his 2009 book, Battlelines, to explain why it doesn’t make sense “to impose certain and substantial costs on the economy now in order to avoid unknown and perhaps even benign changes in the future”.

Former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery said it was “extraordinary” that the government had abolished the Climate Commission “which was composed of Australia’s best climate scientists, economists and energy experts” on the basis of lack of funding only to find the money to “import a politically-motivated think tank to work in the same space.”

“Mr Lomborg’s views have no credibility in the scientific community,” Professor Flannery wrote.

“His message hasn’t varied at all in the last decade and he still believes we shouldn’t take any steps to mitigate climate change. When someone is unwilling to adapt their view on the basis of new science or information, it’s usually a sign those views are politically motivated.”

Once again, rather than accepting that they have made a bad decision, the Abbott government have given millions to a mate to tell them what they want to hear.

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38 comments

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  1. Florence nee Fedup

    Also advises foreign minister on foreign aid. Not a good look at all. Seems to be work of Abbott. Another of his brain farts, I wonder.

  2. Kaye Lee

    In 2010, Lord Monckton was invited to give a personal briefing to Tony Abbott. In 2011 he delivered the annual Hancock Free Enterprise Lecture at the University of Western Australia. He has the same view as Bjorn, that it costs too much to take action to mitigate climate change. I expect Geert Wilders will soon be signed up to help us deal with social cohesion, multiculturalism, and relations with the Muslim community.

  3. Kaye Lee

    That will be the end of THEIR funding John!

  4. diannaart

    Excellent article Kaye Lee.

  5. Brad

    A positive outcome for the plaintiffs in the class action against the Dutch govt for failing to do enough about climate change should send a few shudders through ‘toxic’ and his government.

  6. Matters Not

    It would seem that Professor Paul Johnson, by agreeing to the employment of Bjorn Lomborg, has sold his university ‘down the drain’.

    And, as I understand it, he is well skilled in that area.

    I imagine the science faculty is somewhat excited.

  7. flohri1754

    A very sad commentary on the thinking motivating the current hands at the helm of Australia ….

  8. Jexpat

    Here’s an excellent resource for dealing with Lomborg, as matters arise:

    http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/

    Why is it essential to point out the errors?

    First, because in the handling of errors, Lomborg does not act like most persons would do. A normal person would apologize or be ashamed if concrete, factual errors or misunderstandings were pointed out – and would correct the errors at the first opportunity given. Lomborg does not do that. For example, when The Skeptical Environmentalist was heavily criticized in a review in Nature, Lomborg´s reaction was: “If I really am so wrong, why don´t you just document that?” – and then, when this was documented, he ignored the facts. Read more about Lomborg´s reaction to criticism here.

    Second, because you cannot evaluate Lomborg´s books just by reading them and thinking of what you read. For every piece of information in the books, you have to check if it is true and if the presentation is balanced. If the concrete information given by Lomborg is correct and balanced, then it follows that his main conclusions are also correct. But if the information is flawed, then the main conclusions are biased or wrong. Therefore, in principle, you can only evaluate the books after having checked all footnotes, read all references, and checked alternative sources. This will be a huge task for any reader, but when the errors are described and presented in one place – this web site – then the task becomes manageable.

    Third, because the errors seem not to be inadvertent, but to follow a general pattern, they give a bias in a certain direction, probably an intended bias. If the errors remain uncommented, the readers of Lomborg´s books will be misled in this distinct direction . There are many examples where the misleading seems to be deliberate, which indicates that Lomborg is dishonest and covers up a hidden agenda. If this is so, then this has consequences for the understanding of Lomborg´s intentions.

  9. Terry2

    It seems that there are those in the EU who are impressed with Abbott’s refugee management strategies : perhaps we could do a deal with them to take Abbott and Morrison on a long term consultancy and perhaps throw in Dutton as a bonus (although that may kill the deal).

  10. Kaye Lee

    It would certainly kill the mood

  11. Kyran

    Some time ago, RN did a story on an unusual refugee case in New Zealand. A family from Tuvalu, a Pacific island, had gone to NZ seeking refugee status on the basis of climate change. However, “Victims of climate change are not recognized as refugees by the International Refugee Convention.” So they ran a case through the NZ legal system, which was the first of it’s type in the world and followed closely on a global basis. Many parties from countries with vested interests in the status quo being maintained (ie that those fleeing the effects of climate change never be recognised as refugee’s) have sought to influence the outcome.

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=12&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CFsQFjAL&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fblogs%2Fworldviews%2Fwp%2F2014%2F08%2F07%2Fhas-the-era-of-the-climate-change-refugee-begun%2F&ei=G4I4VcXEKoKD8gXQgYHwBw&usg=AFQjCNFohTU1lV_B3BFNLIqOSf6eAoXqLA

    Whilst the legal case is still proceeding, the whole notion of ‘climate change refugee’s’ has been gaining momentum. I mention this because it seems one stupidity, the appointment of Lobotomy (or whatever his name is) will end up in the Rabid’s other favourite “bad decision” portfolio, asylum seekers. Why just trash science, when you can use trashed science to trash international conventions on basic human rights. Everyone’s a winner!

    As to the opening sentence, I think that is what the Australian voters having been asking themselves every day since this shambles was installed! Take care

  12. Graeme Henchel

    Why is Abbott a Dead man Walking?

    Was it justice, was it Karma?
    Was it Murdoch, was it Palmer?
    Was it lying and conceit?
    Was it backbenchers fear of defeat?
    Was it Mathias and Joe’s cigars?
    Was it because we’ve stopped making cars?
    Was it climate change denial?
    Was it putting Julia on trial?
    Was it the daughter’s scholarship prize?
    Was it debt and deficit lies?
    Was it removing the Carbon Tax?
    Was it trying to give the RET the axe?
    Was it cutting Foreign aid?
    Was it being so retrograde?
    Was it the Minister for Women joke?
    Was it all the promises broke?
    Was it Brandis’s bigots rights?
    Was it prancing around in lycra tights?
    Was it cutting the SBS and the ABC?
    Was it costing more for university?
    Was it imposing a GP tax?
    Was it the disregard of facts?
    Was it the ridiculous Dames and Knights?
    Was it the threats and talk of fights?
    Was it Joe’s “lifters and leaners”?
    Was it cutting the pay of parliament’s cleaners?
    Was it punishing pensioners and the unemployed?
    Was it the total moral void?
    Was it the embarrassing G20 address?
    Was it the ongoing budget mess?
    Was it the book-launch travel rort?
    Was it knighting the Queen’s consort?
    Was it use of the sham inquiry stunt?
    Was it the weasel words of Hunt?
    Was it the 800 Million given to News?
    Was it longer unemployment queues?
    Was it a budget most unfair?
    Was it too much body hair?
    Was it nobbling the NBN?
    Was it lying again and again?
    Was it exploiting terrorist threats?
    Was it job applications of Eric Abetz?
    Was it the sex worker wink?
    Was it being too slow to think?
    Was it the surprises and constant excuses?
    Was it asylum seeker abuses?
    Was it the work of Peta and the IPA?
    Was it repeating slogans day after day?
    Was it the dog whistle of “Team Australia”?
    Was it the pungent smell of failure?
    Was it wimping Putin’s shirt front?
    Was it because Christopher Pyne is a pain?
    Was it Arthur’s memory at ICAC?
    Was it giving Mr Burns the sack?
    Was it ever declining polls?
    Was it funding Internet trolls?
    Was it Newman’s election loss?
    Was it the submarine double cross?
    Was it saying the “Adults are in charge”?
    Was it making the deficit more large?
    Was it the whole damn useless crew?
    Was it the ties of bogus blue?
    Was it the hubris and the swagger?
    Was it Malcolm and Julie’s dagger?
    Was it saying he would change?
    Was it becoming even more deranged?
    Was it eating an onion raw?
    Was it the data-retention law?
    Was it exploiting Dr Karl?
    Was it frequent smirking snarls?
    Was it the daughter’s low rent at Kirribilli?
    Was it “Fixer” Pyne being silly?
    Was it acting like a bar room yob?
    Was it giving Bjorn Lomborg a job?
    Was it saying “I suppose we must grieve”
    Was it the constant attempts to deceive?
    Why will Abbott get the shove?
    The answer is, all of the above.

  13. Jexpat

    Music to go with the lyrics above ^

  14. Kaye Lee

    Great music which would go so well with Graeme’s poem turned rap.

    What we need is worldwide climate action concerts like we had for Live Aid. In 1985, my husband and I had 2 Australian and 9 wandering Canadians camping at our two bedroom house. Even with a campervan and floor space and a tent, we had to take turns to sleep so we watched continuously and taped and replayed all the concerts around the world. Music can have a profound effect in mobilising people.

  15. stephentardrew

    It is become apparent that we will exceed the 2 degree C limit by the end of the century which will require 100% mitigation of carbon by 2050. I will be long gone, however, who in their right mind would willingly gamble the future prosperity and environmental sustainability of humanity?

    Only self destructive greed infested antisocial personalities would do such a disastrous thing. I am really coming to despise these bastards and the fawning self righteous “oh we are the balanced (totally biased) media.”

    Johan Rockström, chair of the Earth League:

    ““The window of opportunity is closing fast,” says Johan Rockström, chair of the Earth League, an international group of scientists from leading research institutions working on issues caused by climate change, natural resource depletion, land degradation and water scarcity.

    We are on a trajectory that will leave our world irrevocably changed, far exceeding the 2°C mark. This gamble risks disaster for humanity, with unmanageable sea-level rise, heat waves, droughts and floods.

    “We would never consider this level of risk in any other walk of life, yet we seem prepared to take this risk with our planet. Conversely, the scientific evidence shows that we can create a positive future, but only with bold action now.”

  16. pilgrim

    The Chancellor of UWA is Michael Chaney, who is a well known right wing Liberal. Is there a connection here?

  17. diannaart

    Stephen

    Looking into my crystal ball I see a future of climate-controlled domes, within are the sons and daughters of neo-con right-wing-nuts, pointing their fingers in outrage, while crying,

    “It was all the namby-pamby bleeding heart left-wing-nuts’ fault. If we only could’ve had complete capitalistic freedom, market forces would’ve solved all our problems – without having to think or do anything.”

  18. Kaye Lee

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office drove the push to provide government funding for “sceptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg’s climate think tank, not Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

    Fairfax Media has confirmed with multiple sources that the idea was conceived in the Prime Minister’s Office, with Mr Abbott and chief of staff Peta Credlin personally driving the decision to fund the centre.

    One insider said Mr Pyne had “nothing to do with the idea”, while another said the Education Minister had been “crucified” for the decisions of others.

    The idea to fund the climate change centre was first discussed in the middle of 2014 and the search for a suitable location began soon afterwards.

    The Australian Catholic University’s Canberra campus was one of a number of locations considered for the controversial centre, as were a range of other locations before UWA was settled on. The ACU’s vice-chancellor is prominent constitutional conservative Greg Craven, who was appointed by the government last year to lead a major review of teacher education.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/prime-minister-tony-abbotts-office-the-origin-for-controversial-bjorn-lomborg-centre-decision-20150423-1mrha2.html

  19. stephentardrew

    The nepotism will never end until this mob are removed. They are literally holding the world to ransom.

    We need a version of the Urgenda Foundation right here and right now.

    Surely some of our best progressive legal minds could donate the time and effort to help save the environment and to prosecute those who would lead us to wrack and ruin.

    This is a plea for sanity and direct action.

  20. Kyran

    In a previous life, I recall a hole in the Ozone layer created a scientific problem that was accepted and dealt with on an international basis by politicians addressing the issue of CFC’s. My memory is that this was done over a two to five year period. The problem was identified by scientists, its solving was addressed by scientists and the politicians accepted the science. My, haven’t we progressed. Science is now some form of heresy.
    Graeme Henchel must be a reincarnate Dr Seuss, surely. Like stephentardrew, I expect I’ll be off the mortal coil by 2050. I hope to emulate his calm acceptance of political reality (rage) until my departure. Ms Lee, music is indeed a great bond and a great motivation in seeking what are common denominators, not opposing sentiments. I must, however, take exception to your post “One insider said Mr Pyne had “nothing to do with the idea.”. I have yet to hear of that fool being associated with any ideas. Take care

  21. tet02

    Couple of clips, one that show how embarrassing the climate argument really is and the other how embarrassing Abbot is

  22. tet02

    Abbot

  23. Matters Not

    pilgrim said:

    Chancellor of UWA is Michael Chaney, who is a well known right wing Liberal

    Not sure about what I think you imply. Michael Chaney, while a ‘liberal’, doesn’t play in the same ball park as Abbott et al.

    He is a genuine ‘liberal’, in the more pure sense of the term. Would be considered as a liberal ‘wet’. Just ask anyone involved in Aboriginal Affairs.

  24. Howard Stagg

    I’m afraid that you have the wrong Chaney there, matters not. The real liberal Chaney (Fred) would probably be upset at being confused with the Michael variety!

  25. totaram

    Chancellors are generally figureheads. Vice-Chancellors run the show. Paul Johnson was just some minor professor in the LSE when he got himself appointed as Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University. Just implemented Management 101. Talk smart about meeting challenges, rearrange the deck-chairs (re-structure is the buzz-word) and presto, before everyone realizes you haven’t done anything except stuff things up further, you move on along the ladder of success! Vice-Chancellor of WA! “Whose arse should I lick now to get ahead? “. The answer is before you. Nothing new. Well-worn modus operandi.

  26. John Fraser

    <

    Matters Not

    I always refer to the current government as the Abbott Party or the Abbott Political Party.

    Because Abbott terrorised the Liberal Party out of existence.

  27. eli nes

    sorry that it is off the topic how awful is this editorial correctiom
    I am fuming these ignorant butchers on the paper did this to my letter
    my original
    I have developed the dread disease ‘anzacitis’. It is caught from those media ‘jumping on a bandwagon’ specialists.
    Whilst it is not terminal, it obfuscates the meaning of ANZAC.
    The hero of ANZAC, in my youth, was a life saving donkey and a stretcher bearer named ‘Simpson’ but his story and the words of Mustafa Kemal have been sanitised from ANZAC history(Simpson gone from being depicted on the $100 note to ???)
    Now the focal hero of ANZAC is???? Someone as important as Albert Jacka or???
    my answer:
    I wrote to the nt news and they printed a butchered vision.
    “Wild(sic) and the omission of 3rd of the trilogy Albert Jacka”
    It a shame that the ‘editor’ who substituted ‘wild’ for ‘whilst’ and misinterpreted my letter missing the point that Australians, under a historyless pomm may down grade simpson and kemal but not to laud Albert Jacka was atrocious.
    For your info he went from private to captain and the war correspondent:
    C.E.W. Bean wrote: ‘Everyone who knows the facts, knows that Jacka earned the Victoria Cross three times’.
    and you had the temerity to cut the reference,
    .

  28. corvus boreus

    Howard Stagg,
    Thank you for the clarifying info.

  29. Matters Not

    Howard Stagg

    I am embarrassed re not doing my homework as to the real ‘Chaney’.

    For no excusable reason, I just associated the surname of Chaney with the more rational faction of the Liberal Party.

    And yes Fred would, as I suggested in my post, be aghast.

    Mea Culpa.

    And thanks.

  30. paul walter

    According to Fairfax , the real culprit is not so much Pyne, who has been patsied, but Abbott himself.

    I’m not quite sure what the people running UniWA thought they were up to either, lending the institution’s name to this anti science fraud, but apparently academic staff are now going ballistic.

  31. Awabakal

    This is the glaring banner of existence in Australia – the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations, with Julie Bishop panting on the leash.

  32. Kaye Lee

    Australia can make deep cuts to its carbon emissions and become entirely powered by renewable energy by mid-century, all for a relatively low cost, a new study has found.

    The report, which was released this week, was prepared by researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra on behalf of WWF-Australia.

    It argues that the country’s renewable energy potential is 500 times greater than the current installed capacity, and notes that forecasting by the Government’s Treasury Department regarding the cost of large-scale renewable energy plants is outdated.

    “The costs of some carbon-free technologies, including solar and wind power, have fallen much faster than expected,” the report states. “For example, large-scale solar panel power stations are already only half the cost that the Treasury’s 2008 and 2011 modelling studies estimated they would be in the year 2030.”

    The report also highlights that Australia’s economy can continue to grow while achieving ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emission over the short and long-term, and says the country could achieve net-zero emissions by offsetting limited fossil fuel use in remote areas with farming and forestry initiatives.

    http://www.sciencealert.com/australia-could-have-zero-emissions-and-100-percent-renewable-energy-by-2050-new-study-finds

  33. Jexpat

    paul walter wrote; “apparently academic staff are now going ballistic.”

    Not just academic staff, but PhD candidates (whose degrees will be tarnished) and especially stakeholders and collaborators, some of whom have now lost their cover.

  34. Kaye Lee

    The head of the School of Animal Biology Sarah Dunlop said one international research fellow is already set to transfer their fellowship to another institution in protest.

    Professor Dunlop also asked the university’s chiefs to clarify how the federal government decided to award $4 million in taxpayer funds for the think tank when academics involved in “nationally and internationally competitive research” were typically expected to perform at extremely high levels to attract funding.

    “It appears that $4m has been awarded without undergoing independent peer-review. Peer review is essential as it minimises conflict and bias and is at the very heart of Australian and, indeed international, world class standards for the ethical conduct of research,” she wrote.”

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