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Category Archives: Climate

Phil Coorey asked a good question at Morrison’s Press Conference Jan 5th 2020, taking the PM by surprise with his unexpected tack, when he asked the PM if, seeing that the PM belives that reducing Australia’s 1.3% world contribution of Greenhouse Gas emissions to zero would have no effect on Climate Change, then would Morrison pressure Trump to reduce the emissions of the USA. The answer from Morrison was of course no he wouldn’t.

If I was at the Press Conference I would have asked Morrison

  1. You have dismissed the advice of Greg Mullins, former NSW Fire Commissioner, as being irrelevant as he is ‘no longer in the job’ but you seek out the opinions of John Howard, a former Prime Minister, who is also ‘no longer in the job’. Isn’t that inconsistent ?
  2. You have stressed that management and delivery of services in the crisis is paramount and political aspects of the issue are meaningless and should not be discussed. If you then choose to seek the advice of unemployed former public servants wouldn’t the advice of Greg Mullins be more practical than the advice of John Howard ?
  3. Since you are in fact seeking the advice of John Howard in preference to that of Greg Mullins doesn’t this show that you are more interested in the political aspects of the crisis than in the practical aspects of the crisis ?

[By the way, notice that Morrison bit his lip when he admitted taking advice from John Howard on the fires. This was obviously a slip, an inadvertent admission from Morrison, and a fact which Morrison would prefer not to be known]

4. The Government agrees with Climate Change science and that the increased Bushfire Season length and intensity is a product of Climate Change. This being the case and considering the unprecedented nature of this year’s Bushfire Season shouldn’t the government call a moratorium on opening more domestic coal mines ? Bear in mind that Coal burned anywhere in the world affects Australia’s Bushfire Seasons.

5. Current Global Warming stands at approximately 0.9C and has produced these unprecedented fires and devastation. What can we expect from 1.5C (almost double) ? Bear in mind that effects of Global Warming increase geometrically, not linearly.

6. I understand the area burnt this season to currently stand at 6.3 million hectares. This is the close to the total area of Tasmania. Twice the size of Belgium. Larger than Croatia. 50% larger than Switzerland. What area would conceivably be burnt under 1.5C Global Warming ? Given this, could the Government consider foregoing the use of Kyoto Credits in order to do just a little more than the minimum in order to protect Australian lives, industry in property ?

7. In general, would the government consider doing more than the minimum necessary in order to protect Australian lives, industry in property ?

8. You have said that your climate policies will not be allowed to cripple traditional industries by which you mean coal. This years fires have savagely impacted upon industries such as wine (Adelaide Hills), agriculture (dairy and apples), tourism (compromised travel and inability to travel, 30% of NSW North Coast Koalas dead, destruction of resorts). Are wine, agriculture and tourism traditional industries ? Shouldn’t we protect all traditional industries or just coal ? If coal is destroying several other traditional industries shouldn’t we think twice about continuing with coal ?

9. In the planning for this year’s fires (around April 2019) you gave the Fire Services less than they asked for (no guarantee of permanent increased funding for aerial capacity just a one year top up) and now as the crisis has manifested you have given them much more than they have asked for (four planes instead of one). Isn’t this an example of policy-making veering between extremes which you always say should be avoided ? Why not just give the experts what they ask for ? Especially since the Fire Management asked for very little in Budgetary terms (just $11m per year ?)

10. Why was funding for aerial fire-fighting capacity allowed to degrade in the first place by freezing the budget for it in the several years up to 2018 ? Isn’t Fire-Fighting an essential service ?

11. You say that your government has both excellent economic management and excellent climate policies and these are in balance, delivering both outcomes. Is this excellent balance of economy and climate therefore evident in this  unprecedented Bushfire crisis and if your policies and government continue should we expect more of the same ?

 

On January 4th 2020 Scott Morrison announced that ADF Personnel would be deployed to assist emergency services with bushfire fighting activities. Shortly thereafter a  video was posted on the prime minister’s Twitter and Facebook pages summarizing the announcement. The video was backed by a jaunty* musical soundtrack and rythmic finger clicking.

David Marr had the insight to see that Morrison, whose professional career prior to politics was in Marketing, had released a jingle. A jaunty jingle. In the midst of Australia’s worst-ever bushfire emergency.

Immediate criticism followed. The tone of the jingle. The fact that it was a jingle. The use of Australian Defence Personnel in a Party-Political communication against long-standing conventions regarding prohibition against politicising the Australian defence force (The head of the Australian Defence Association, Neil James, said it was “plain wrong. It’s simple: you don’t use the defence force for party political advantage” ), posting the jingle on a web-page which solicits donations for the Liberal Party, and, most of all, using bushfire response announcements for party-political purposes.

Here’s Why Morrison’s Bushfire Jingle Is Party-Political

Morrison vehemently denies that his Bushfire announcement jingle was designed for party-political purposes, but his own explanation shows you that he is lying.

Morrison explained that the reason for his Bushfire Ad was that he couldn’t rely on the Media to properly transmit the contents of his Bushfire response to the Australian public.

Morrison said

As much as we’d all like to only rely on the reporting of the media to get those information out, I will also seek to carry that message directly to the Australian people to ensure they are aware of what we are doing.

So, Morrison would have you believe that the Australian Media cannot be trusted to reliably transmit the contents of the Federal Government’s Bushfire response to the general public. What nonsense. The man is patently lying.

What Morrison means is that the media will not transmit the message in exactly the way in which Morrision wants it transmitted – with a jingle and jaunty finger-clicking – in a way which uncritically makes Morrison look fantastic.

Not Concerned With Facts

If Morrison was merely concerned about the facts of his response being transmitted then he would have been satisfied with his media release which contained those facts and which he posted, like his Ad, on the Liberal Party and Government websites.

But, in fact, all the facts of his response had already been reported over and again in fine detail on TV and Radio on every and all channel and station. The facts were out there everywhere.

Morrison’s Ad is not designed to address a deficit of information, of transmission or of factual reporting. Its there to address image. Morrison’s personal image. That;s how we can tell the Ad is party-political. Its there to make Morrison look good.

And the second give-away that this Ad is party-political, also vehemently denied by Morrison who says this is unimportant , is the authorisation at the end of the Ad is from ‘S. Morrison, Liberal Party, Canberra’.

Morrison has faced constant criticism since the beginning of summer for his dismissive attitide towards, ham-fisted handling of, dishonest statements about, miserly outlook towards, and indifference to the Bushfire Emergency.

The Ad is designed to repair those perceptions. So the Ad says that the Government Bushfire Response is fantastic and the person responsible for this fantastic bushfire response is S. Morrison, Canberra.

Its nothing about the supposed inadequecy of the Media to report the facts of  Government Bushfire Response.

It is 100% about the inadequecy of Scott Morrison as Prime Minister.

Hence Morrison’s Jaunty Party-Politcal Bushfire Jingle.

Acknowledgement

*Thanks to Stephanie Covery for so aptly providing the appelation jaunty for Morrison’s bushfire jingle

#LibNatClimateApology

What I really think is that all Federal Liberal and National Ministers since 1995 should publicly apologise to the people of Australia for seeking to delay, undermine and prevent effective action on Climate Change.

Why 1995 ? The first UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (i.e COP 1 ) took place from 28 March to 7 April 1995 in BerlinGermany. That was the meeting that led to the Kyoto Protocols of 1997. As we know,the LNP attempted to prevent effective action on Climate Change throughout the COP 1 – Kyoto process and has continued to work against effective Climate action ever since.

As I wrote in Relaxed, Comfortable and Neutralised

 the Howard government attempted to sabotage the Framework Convention On Climate Change (which became the Kyoto Protocol), reasoning it would damage our economy too much to try and meet any respectable challenging lower target for Carbon emissions.

It did this by introducing the idea of different targets for each country in the Geneva Conference of the Parties(1996) with Australia to be granted special privileges to raise Greenhouse emissions. The special provisions demanded by Australia were so high and so unreasonable it almost caused the 1997 Kyoto Conference to collapse, delegates working to 3 a.m. on the day of the final session to accommodate the intransigent Australian delegation. This achieved, Senator Robert Hill then demanded at 4 a.m further huge increases in allowable emissions to accommodate changes in land use.

Australia’s Performance At Kyoto

The basic outcome at Kyoto was that Australia was allowed to increase emissions by 8 per cent on the 1990 base year level. European nations agreed to reduce by a total of 8 per cent, the United States by 7 per cent and Japan by 6 per cent. We got a sweetheart deal.

ABC environment reporter Alan Tate was in Kyoto during the 1997 discussions which led to the Kyoto Protocol. He filed  daily reports during the 12 days of the conference whoch are recorded on his web page Kyoto Diary

The reason Australia achieved that deal was that the world community was anxious to begin the process of Climate Mitigation with an agreement that encompassed all First World (roughly meaning G20) nations. The COP parties reasoned that it was better to accomodate a recalcitrant Australia than not have us in at all. Symbolically, the world would embark on Climate Change Mitigation “together”

To this end the Parties allowed Australia two enormous concessions. The first was to allow ‘Differentiated Targets’ in which different first-world regions to commit to different targets. As you can see. the COP Parties envisioned all parties commiting to a roughly  8% reduction in CO2 emissions. And this the world basically did, except notably Australia which was permitted an 8% increase. Norway and Iceland were also permitted increases of 5% and 10% respectively

If this was not enough, Australia was also demanding to allow changes in Land-Use to be counted towards mitigation totals. i.e. by agreeing to reduce the rate of Land Clearing so as to conserve Carbon ‘sinks’ and also to conserve the actual emissions expended by Land Clearing operations. As Alan Tate writes, the great majority of the Parties were opposed to this but Australia did have support from New Zealand and The United States.

Tate noted 

most environment groups and many scientists [opposed Land Use Changes to be counted toward mitigation targets] chiefly because the ability to measure how much the sinks actually absorb carbon dioxide is very dodgy. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change has said the area for error in sink measurement is plus or minus sixty per cent

Holding Kyoto Together

The Kyoto Parties had not achieved a full agreement by the end of Day 10, the scheduled last day of the conference. The negotiations had many difficult and complex areas to resolve. Australia exploited this fragility by insisting on demands which exempted it from meaningful Climate Action. John Howard was happy for Kyoto to collapse and had floated a ridiculous proposal of an 18% increase in emissions as Australia’s rightful target.

As Day 10 closed without agreement the redoubtable conference chairman Raul Estrada refused to dissolve the proceedings and allow the historic opportunity for the commencement of world-wide Climate Mitigation to fail. Some delegates left anyway to catch airline flights

So it was in this fraught and fragile environment in the early hours of the morning of DAY 11, at 3am and 4am the conference voted to accept Australia’s demands to be allowed a large increase in emissions and  that emissions from land clearance could be included in its greenhouse gas emission measurements and that carbon sinks be counted in mitigation targets. Australia now had an easy way of cutting its total emissions by reducing land clearing and meeting any target which came from a Kyoto agreement. In fact, it gave us precisely nothing to do.

Immoral, Wrong and A Disgrace

As Lenore Taylor of The Guardian writes–when it was done, the European environment spokesman raged that the deal was “wrong and immoral … and a disgrace” and the then executive director of the Australia Institute, Clive Hamilton, quickly calculated that Australia’s emissions were likely to come in under the new target without the need to do anything.

Australia’s Clause

Taylor goes on to say  that

so particular to our circumstances were the land-use changes it was called “the Australia Clause”. It allowed the inclusion of land-use changes in emission calculations in a way that meant restrictions that had already been imposed on large-scale land clearing – especially in Queensland – allowed Australia to rest assured it had achieved its new target before it even signed up to it.

Taylor, reporting on that meeting for the Australian Financial Review, recalls Australia’s Delegate Senator Robert Hill

demanding the Australia Clause changes when the translators had already left the building and the cleaners had started rearranging the room for the next scheduled conference.

Deceitful DNA

That was how the LibNats embarked on Australia’s International Climate Mitigation: by attempting to collapse the Kyoto Conference and demanding immoral and disgraceful deals that required zero effective action.

And that’s what’s in the LibNat DNA on Climate, And how they have conducted themselves on Climate to the present day. Which is why Australia, burning in unprecedented bushfires across four states in unprecedented temperatures requires of the LibNats a #LibNatClimateApology

#LibNatClimateApology

From Wikipedia:

The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They serve as the formal meeting of the UNFCCC Parties (Conference of the Parties, COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change, and beginning in the mid-1990s, to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

 

January 2nd 2020

Australia is in the middle of an unprecedented Bushfire Season. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, gives a press conference as the carnage piles up higher around him and is asked some basic questions about whether or not his Climate Change policies are adequate. Katharine Murphy, Political Editor of The Guardian, notices something different about Morrison during the interview – a never before seen uncertainty.

I find Morrison remarkable for being so well on top of his interviews. He is obviously very intelligent, mentally agile, very well briefed and normally several steps ahead of his questioners. He is so in control of interviews, even hostile ones, that he often sneers in scorn at the futility of the interviewer as he yet again easily counters and parries their questions. If ever in trouble Morrison just filibusters, endlessly streaming sentences together, drowning out his TV or radio opponent. Either way his self-assurance is unwavering.

But in this interview Murphy sees a different Morrison – hesitant, hemmed-in, uncertain.

On the same day Treasurer Josh Frydenburg also gives a press conference. He is also asked about the Morrison government’s climate change policies. He has just been given an update on the Victorian situation. Guardian reporter Amy Remeikis notes that Frydenburg looks visibly shaken. And he does. His speech is halting; He regularly stumbles. He lacks confidence. Here’s the vid.  Yes, Frydenburg is visibly shaken

Hesitant, hemmed-in, halting, uncertain: shaken.

Statesmen and Fathers

The hestitancy and shock of Frydenburg and Morrison is something beyond normal sadness at a disaster. Morrison a typical politician, flourishes at Plane Crashes, Terror Attacks and the like. (Frydenburg avoids this posturing). Its an ideal opportunity to play the Statesman, to exude steely resolution and fatherly compassion among endless photo opportunities, to grow in stature. But here and now, on the same day,  the two most senior Government figures neck-deep in an unprecedented natural disaster ripe for TV and clicking cameras, they shrink before our very eyes. Why ?

What’s Going On ? 

I wanted to see this new Morrison for myself. So I watched the full vid. My impressions were similar to Murphy’s. To me Morrison looked somewhat ashen-faced, nervous; his speech racing in shallow breaths. Yeah, Morrison tried to gee himself up with a rousing mention of meeting and beating Kyoto 2020 commitments (typically disingenuous of Morrison – AFAIK the figures are not yet finalised). But Morrison lacked the usual complete belief in his own words.  Yes, he gives it a good shake even cracking the trademark smile at his own brilliance at one point. But for once his assurance is not total. Amazingly, as Murphy notes, Morrison even concedes the necessity to adapt to Climate Change. And, again as Murphy notes, the stress of acknowledging reality turns his normally precise locutions to sludge

I watched a few vids of Morrison touring the fire groundsgetting basically chased out of town at Cobargo (though other localities were generally happier for him to visit – though the perception he was using ther fires as a personal photo opportunity still clung).

Morrison’s posture in Cobargo was hunched, tentative – Morrison looked like he was frightened of getting punched in the face or spat on. This is a million miles from the aggressive, snarling ScoMo, so familiar to us this past decade. Morrison is normally unflinching, countering aggression with super-aggresion. He is physically large and intimidating and uses his size and vigour to advantage, staring down challengers. He’s not scared of anyone.

But not now; not this week. He’s shaken; and so is Frydenburg.

What’s going on ?

Playing With Matches

Reflecting on the demenour of Morrison and Frydenburg, they seem to me to be exhibiting the horror and guilt of children who start a paddock fire while playing with matches. Cattle burnt alive; fences and sheds incinerated; the fire brigade called out; men putting themselves in danger because of their own stupidity. Mum told us…but we didn’t think…We didn’t know…

This week Morrison and Frydenburg learnt that Climate Change is real. 

They were shocked. Now they realise. What have we been doing ?

To be fair: none of us could have imagined fires on this scale.

But Morrison and Frydenburg weren’t even listening to the warnings.

This summer we learnt what 0.9C of Global Warming can do. Morrison knows that 1.5C (almost double) is the supposed ‘safe upper limit’.

Safe ?

I suspect Frydenburg was thinking ‘Maybe we should stop playing with Matches’. 

And I suspect, for the first time, Morrison was too.

Other Posts About Morrison

What did the lazy arrogant elitist say to the deceitful Xenophobe ?

Scott Morrison Apalls His Own Colleagues…Again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thing is, Democracy will end.

At some point the current dominant expression of Democracy – Universal Franchise with mass political parties and redistributive taxation – will fail to deliver solutions to urgent problems: Climate; Migration;War; National Sovereignty – and it will be discarded for something else.

And so begins David Runciman’s thesis How Democracy Ends  which I picked up from Episiode #71 of his Podcast Talking Politics broadcast December 2017.

Like I said before, you must subscribe to Talking Politics. Its contemporary Political analysis in the best traditions of British academia – very high quality but accessible to the layman and easy on the ear.

Trump Is…

En Passant, Runciman offers the observation that Trump is neither Hitler, nor Mussolini, but Berlusconi. To which I must differ. Trump is Nero. Trump, like Nero, would burn down Washington merely to build himself a larger Villa topped by a 35 metre tall Bronze Statue of himself, and would indeed overturn by decree any decision that he had come 2nd in any competition whatsoever and declare himself the winner as apparently Nero once did in an Olympic Rowing event in the Ancient Games – my source is Horrible Histories Series 4 Episode 8.

How Democracy Ends

What follows is my notes and interspersed commentary from Runciman’s talk. Apologies in advance to David for any errors of misinterpretation of his presentation.

Democracy has failed before – and though it has recovered,  its collapsings have led to some terrible expressions of murderous, even genocidal, authoritarianism.  When speaking of a crisis of Democracy, people commonly refer to how German Weimar Republic was thrown aside by the Nazis in the 1930’s, but there have been other awful usurpations inclusing a spate in the 1970’s when Spain, Portugal, Greece and Chile plus many nations in Africa and Asia reverted to Military or Authoritarian rule.

But Democracy can fail in other ways other than to be usurped by Fascists – Democracy could simply stagnate where the dominant forms of Democratic expression – voting, Parliament, competing Parties – endure, but they become ineffective at solving problems or providing representation.

Democracy can reach a stagnated state where dominant paradigms control the mind of the polity – e.g. Market Forces are the only legitimate way to adjudicate the best course of action – or where the forms of Democracy have been hollowed out or stripped of vitality – e.g by propaganda or partisan or Fake News dominating the media with a subsequent polarisation and hardening of positions, which can also be caused by individuals only consuming “news” or viewpoints which confirm their own biases. This last of course is the current problem beseiging our media through personalised and targeted news feeds such as through Facebook, Cambridge Analytica or by intentional consumer choice.

Runciman hypothesises that Democracies such as those of the Anglosphere or Japan could stagnate for a century or more in this hollowed-out or ineffective state while urgent problems remain unaddressed and the polity remains hypnotised and anaesthetised by a religious belief in Democratic forms and by propaganda, even of the type intentionally chosen by the power of Confirmation Bias

Runciman also observes that Democracy could be hollowed-out by being taken over by an Authoritarian or Demagogue. Military Dictatorships frequently hijack the power of Government while leaving the institutions of Democracy in place as a facade. These kinds of populist or authoritarian figures lead coups or popular seizures of power stating that it is necessary for them to take over to cleanse and renew the institutions of government and protect and restore true democracy on behalf of the people.

In this vein, Trump’s promise to ‘Drain The Swamp’ carries the rallying call of the Demagogue as he usurps the Democratic institutions of America, hollowing them out, rendering them as ineffective as possible, and seeking to run the nation as a Mafia Boss with the assistance of Concilliars appointed from his personal circle. For this allusion – Trump as Mafia Boss with Concilliars – I thank Sarah Churchwell from Talking Politics #123 – ‘America First’

Why We Will Not Repeat The 1930’s

Runciman spent the majority of his talk explaining why he believes that the Anglosphere and similar Democracies will not be superceded by Authoritarianism, Military Dictatorship or Religious or Racist Populism.

His basic point, which I found interesting though not totally persuasive, is that the societies of the modern Anglosphere and Europe are highly dissimilar in Demographic, Socio-Economic, and Crime and Violence-related metrics.

Simply put – we are different societies and are therefore far less suscptible to Fascism.

How Modern Western Democracies Differ From 1930’s Democracies

Runciman measures modern Democracies against the European Democracies of the 1930’s which succumbed to, or nearly (including the USA) succumbed to Fascism -again Sarah Churchwell is brilliant on this point – and finds that modern Democracies are much richer, much older and much less violent than our counterparts of the 1930’s. He marshalls convincing statistics and research to show how poverty and youth are linked to Fascism and also notes that 1930’s USA and Germany carried levels of Political Violence which are simply not seen in today’s democracies.

Runciman extrapolates from those statistics and demographic factors to conclude that current democracies are unlikely to fall prey to Fascism in the way that 1930’s Europe did.

Runciman brings a convincing case study in Greece, which has not fallen into Fascism in recent times despite huge falls in GDP, an economic depression deeper and longer than the Great Depression, and critically high levels of unemployment and the presence of a large, well-funded and alert Armed Forces (on alert against Turkey) and despite a recent history of Military Dictatorship in the 1960’s.

Runciman ascribes the survival of democracy in Greece, or more exactly the failure of Fascism to ignite in Greece, to the fact that Greece is demographically old. The foot-soldiers of Fascism are always young men. And Greece is full of older men. The Weimar Republic had a high population of young men who were also traumatised by the recent experience of World War 1. These became the muscle of the Nazi movement.

How Will Our Democracies End ?

Based on the above analysis and noting our Wealth, Age and low levels of political violence, Runciman argues that our Democracies, even though they may fail, are unlikely to fall prey to Fascism and is more likely to exhaust into ineffectiveness, unable to solve pressing problems such as Climate Change,  simply rotating our governments and ruling parties in a futile grasping for a government that will finally have the answers.

Interestingly, Runciman feels that we are unlikely to lapse into War either, as the costs of a putative World War 3 are too great to contemplate, with Nuclear Holocaust being a likely outcome.

For What Its Worth

I think that Demagoguery is very likely in the USA and the other democracies of the Anglosphere. Personalities like Trump and Boris Johnson are pushing the USA and the UK in this direction and conservative political parties in the UK, USA and Australia are inciting public contempt for the courts, parliament, science and fact-based debate. Futhermore, conservative parties continue to accommodate the viewpoints of racist and anti-immigrant groups as they seek to extend their voter base.

In addition, Social Media and targeted news feeds are polarising debate even while debasing it with Fake News. Political paries are supporting this trend.

In the meantime Climate Change and the associated Migration Crisis is applying pressure to Western Societies which is both unrelenting and increasing.

The demand for solutions will accompany economic disruption, water shortages and an intolerable climate.

Its an open field for the Demagogues.

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From Kristina Photios in The Guardian, today:

The irony is that our coal industry exports about 95% of its coal. Its key markets are offshore, predominately in Asia, and not at all domestic. In theory we could be 100% renewable and those workers could still keep their jobs.

That’s pretty clear.

We export basically all of our Coal.

Therefore if Australia goes to a 100% Renewable energy grid, not even one Australian job would be lost.

Just for the icing:

The coal export demand will only be curtailed if Asian demand drops as they transition to a clean economy, which is outside of the control of our domestic politics.

Kristina Photios, you are a genius.

Andrew Blot just called.

The winning distance in Olympic Men’s Long Jump has been in decline since 1968. The cooling trend proves that money spent on Long Jump for half a century is a complete waste, not to mention a self-loathing anti-human Green-Left conspiracy which is destroying the minds of our children.

The data is incontestible

BARNABY JOYCE MP, MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE: He comes across as sort of the effervescent, sometimes bumbling character and that is a ploy. You do not get to where you are by being a fool. You’re a fool if you think he’s a fool.

Can we please dispense with the nonsense that somehow Clive Palmer and PUP will be a hindrance to Tony Abbott and the LNP?

They both want the same things: destruction of The Greens and repeal of the Carbon and Mining Taxes. Palmer is a Coal Miner. From this all else follows. The Great Barrier Reef, the Tasmanian Wilderness and everything else is valueless to Palmer except insofar as they may sit on gigantic seams of coal. And Abbott’s organisation is funded by coal maniacs.

As we get closer to the new Senate taking their seats from 1 July 2014, Palmer has become explicit on his utter disdain for the (non-coal) natural environment, AGW Climate Change and the IPCC. Here are some Palmerisms on these subjects:

On PUP’s Intention To Repeal The Carbon Tax :-

As a matter of principle, we favour the repeal of the carbon tax, as does the Government,” Palmer said.

“And our party has the balance of power in the Senate right now, even if we’re unsuccessful in the election in WA, which we won’t be. So the carbon tax is definitely going. It’s a fait accompli.”

On Climate Change :-

There’s been global warming for a long time. I mean, all of Ireland was covered by ice at one time. There were no human inhabitants in Ireland.

On How AGW Is A Conspiracy :-

I can get a group of scientists together and pay them whatever I want to and come up with any solution. That’s what’s been happening all over the world on a whole range of things

On How The IPCC Is Completely Useless :-

TONY JONES: [The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report is] based on 309 scientists from 70 countries and the summary for the policymakers has to be agreed line-by-line by 115 countries. I mean, that’s the sort of consensus that you’re rejecting here.

CLIVE PALMER: Well I think it’s a – camels were designed by a committee. With so many people, you’re really not going to get anything worthwhile. You need to have a proper report with people that can do something. But, look, I’m just talking about …

It has been fashionable for the media to treat Palmer as a buffoon and somehow as a hindrance to Abbott’s anti-Carbon agenda. It is the media who are buffoons for entertaining these propositions. Even the estimable Lenore Taylor imagined PUP intransigence on Carbon Tax repeal. While it it entertaining to see Abbott squirm a bit while Palmer teases him about the possibility of non-cooperation, it should have been obvious that the interests of Palmer and Abbott are aligned, not in conflict.

Palmer will make Abbott pay a premium for the passage of the Carbon Tax repeal. This premium will be composed of a small populist gesture, most likely the restoration of increased benefit payments to orphans of deceased servicemen, removed by Abbott in his typically heartless manner, and a very large personal premium to Palmer personally, which will be favourable conditions for the opening and servicing of Palmer’s huge coal tenements, currently closed. Abbott will pay these premiums and the Carbon Tax repealed.

The genesis of Palmer’s fall-out with Abbott is built around Liberal/National power dynamics within Queensland State politics. In brief, Abbott is a supporter of Liberal Party federal vice-president, Queenslander Santo Santoro. Santoro is an opponent of Palmer. The Australian Financial Review covered the issue in The Clive Problem: Why Palmer is Abbott’s Nightmare Best Friend.

Santoro’s modus operandum as a political fundraiser had so shocked the Queensland LNP that in 2008 it sent a dossier on his activities to the police. The police exonerated Santoro and the subsequent LNP internal feud left the Liberal arm in control and the National arm sacked from prominent positions and disenfranchised. The Liberal state arm was supported by John Howard, who championed Santoro’s career in Queensland politics, Abbott and Premier Campbell Newman.

Palmer’s opposition to Santoro is principled. Palmer feels Santoro’s methods are unhealthy and could divide or even corrupt the the Queensland LNP.

“Santo’s a very divisive fellow,” Palmer told the Financial Review. “He gets his power by raising funds for individual ­politicians. “My donations have always been to the party, that way you can’t affect the internal politics.”

Palmer’s opposition to Santoro has been costly for him. Palmer wants to develop his China First coal project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin but his plans have been blocked by the Newman government in apparent retribution for Palmer’s stand against Santoro. Santoro, for his part, has held a grudge against Palmer for the way in which Palmer engineered the merger of the Queensland Libs and Nationals in 2008 and probably for Palmer’s role in forwarding Santoro’s dossier to the police. Santoro resigned from John Howard’s ministry and from the Senate in the wake of a number of breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct and of the Register of Senators’ Interests. He is still a Federal Liberal vice-president and important fundraiser. This last would explain his support from Abbott.

Newman and Santoro are very tightly linked. The AFR story implies that Newman stalled Palmer’s China First mine in the Galilee Basin and other ventures because of Palmer’s opposition to Santoro. Palmer criticised the Queensland LNP government for stalling his mining operations and was promptly dismissed from the LNP. Shortly afterwards PUP was born.

So, PUP exists as a vehicle for Palmer’s personal enrichment. Palmer himself only teases and taunts Abbott as a means of payback for Abbott not supporting Palmer in the power struggle with Santoro. The criticism of Abbott is also intended to strip some votes from Abbott and the LNP and draw them to Palmer and PUP. Hence Palmer’s criticisms of Abbott over orphans’ benefits.

And as for buffoon – Barnaby Joyce was spot on. Anyone who thinks Palmer is a buffoon is themselves one. Since the moment Abbott supported Newman and Santoro over Palmer, Palmer has been assiduously working for balance of power in the Australian Senate and he has achieved it. Clive wins. Tony must now deliver.

But all the talk and teasing from Palmer masks the basic confluence of interests between the two men. Palmer will get his China First mine approval and Abbott will get his Carbon Tax repeal. Quid Pro Quo.

Pell On Climate (Part 2, Part 1)

A little while ago I came across the talk given by Cardinal George Pell for the 2011 Global Warming Policy Foundation Annual Lecture. That talk is entitled One Christian Perspective on Climate Change.

Reading the talk I was shocked at how completely Pell is centred within the AGW denialist camp. His talk encompasses all the major memes of AGW denialism: Climategate, research funding gravy train, central government conspiracy with scientific community knowingly complicit, modern temperature increases are being driven by natural processes (not AGW), CO2 is plant food, climate change community is totalitarian and bullying, only computer models, cannot predict climate with certainty, alarmist school cherry-picks time periods, climate models are deficient, medieval warm period was warmer, CO2 precedes temperature increase and does not lag it, percentage of CO2 miniscule, its El Nino stupid, planet is not warming uniformly and AGW an irrational false religion.

Denialist Insider

In fact, reading through the footnotes to Pell’s talk I think there is evidence that Pell is not merely a fan of the denialist movement but an active principal within it along with other Australian and international notaries such as Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, Christopher Monckton and Bill Kininmouth.

A number of footnotes to Pell’s talk contain the notation ‘(typescript)’. ‘Typescript’ is the academically correct way to cite unpublished manuscripts such as typewritten or word processor documents such as might be presented to an academic journal when submitting for consideration for publication.

Here are the typescript citations from Pell’s talk:

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, “Is CO2 mitigation cost effective?” Lecture to the Prague School of Economics (typescript), May 2011, 17.

Timothy Curtin, “The Garnaut Review’s Omission of Material Facts” (typescript) 2011, 11.

Carter, Climate: The Counter Consensus, 245-46; & Robert M. Carter, “Climate Change in Natural Context” (typescript, n.d.),4-5.

Pell and Monckton BFFles ?

Pell’s citation of drafts and journal manuscripts from the presses of Monckton, Carter et.al. indicates he is privy to denialist literature before publication or that he receives original typescripts post-publication. This is a clear indication that Pell occupies a privileged position within the denialist community.

I speculate that Pell operates in the role of influencer and mouthpiece for the denialist community receiving insider access to denialist articles for the purposes of disseminating such within his Church, political contacts (e.g Tony Abbott) and the general community under cloak of Pell’s ecclesiastical position, which position is assumed by the general community to operate under and provide impartial moral leadership.

Not Impartial

Pell holds himself out to be impartial and unbiased on the issue of AGW but he is not. In fact, as his talk to the Global Warming Policy Foundation makes clear, Pell’s attitude toward AGW is based on his abhorrence of the ‘Deep Greens’ which he considers command the ecological and environmental movements. Pell states plainly that an important part of his motivation in stating his skeptic position on AGW is to counter the influence of Deep Green ideology which Pell sees as anti-human and a false religion, a modern manifestation of Paganism.

As Pell stated in his talk:

Why might a Catholic Bishop Comment ? I first became interested in the question in the 1990s when studying the anti-human claims of the “deep Greens”, so I had long suspected that those predicting dangerous and increasing anthropogenic global warming were overstating their case.

As to Neo-Pagan, in this article in The Catholic World Report, January 2008, Pell ‘indicated his disappointment’ with the way Australians ‘have embraced even the wilder claims about man-made climate change as if they constituted a new religion.’

some of the more hysterical and extreme claims about global warming appear symptomatic of a pagan emptiness, of a Western fear when confronted with the immense and uncontrollable forces of nature … In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions!’

and from his GWPF talk:

A final point to be noted in this struggle to convince public opinion is that the language used by AGW proponents veers towards that of primitive religious controversy. Some of those campaigning to save the planet are not merely zealous but zealots. To the religionless and spiritually rootless, mythology – whether comforting or discomforting – can be magnetically, even pathologically, attractive.

More on Pell and AGW Paganism here

Pell also worries that AGW Paganism is infecting the Catholic priesthood which is the substance behind his comment that ‘I was speaking out […] to provide some balance to ecclesiastical offerings’,
and that the issue of AGW distracts clergy from their proper duty to attend to Christ’s commission to evangelise the world in His name.

In short, Pell’s denialist attitude to AGW science is based on his pre-existing bias to reject Green propositions because of his fear of the ‘Deep Greens’, in particular their position on population control which is in conflict with Catholic teachings on human fertility. He has second-order fears that the Green movement is distracting Catholic clergy from specifically Catholic pastoral care priorities and that the clergy will neglect Christ’s Gospel as a result of over-weighted concern for environmental issues.

The very title of Pell’s talk ‘One Christian Perspective…’ offers a significant clue that Pell’s rejection of AGW follows from his belief that AGW is rooted in a non-Christian or anti-Christian ideology. That’s why Pell adorns his response with the signifier ‘Christian’.

Holy Green Unholy Insanity

Pell’s specific concerns about anti-human deep greens, climate-driven pagan syncretism in Catholicism and distraction from priestly mission are shared by certain other conservative Catholics and are exemplified in this article ‘Holy Green, Unholy Insanity: Religious Leaders Hoodwinked Into Global Warming Hysteria’ linked on the web site of Catholic Apologetics Information n.b. not an official web site of the Catholic Church.

The Crux

Pell does not oppose AGW because of the science. He opposes it because he fears Climate Change policies will includes limits on human fertility and authenticate abortion, such positions undermining the authority of the Catholic Church. On this one must say that some statements from Green organisations and personages are downright frightening. Pell is justified to be concerned about these remarks:

For example, from David Browser, founder of the Sierra Club:

“Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”

Pell has been absolutely explicit about his fears concerning the rise of the anti-human Deep Greens.

He strongly criticized the Medical Journal Of Australia for publishing a letter from Obstetrician Dr. Barry Walters, who proposed an annual Carbon tax on families with more than two children.

As the blog Cafe Theology reported, Pell, speaking in Seoul, where he was awarded the Mysterium Vitae Grand Prix award for his outstanding efforts for the pro-life movement, said

this is a striking illustration of where a minority neo-pagan, anti-human mentality, wants to take us.

But no matter crazy some Green person’s ideas might be, or how different they may be to one’s own ideals, this does not justify denying factual science. I will address Pell’s disconnection with AGW science as demonstrated in his GWPF talk in a subsequent post.

Watching a fishing program called ‘Big Fish Small Boats’ featuring three blokey blokes trolling for Mako Sharks, I was amazed to hear the presenter suddenly eyeball the camera and issue a climate change dogwhistle. The presenter, Al McGlashan, said (to paraphrase):

‘The Labor Government recently tried to ban fishing for Mako Sharks based on false science, but the results of the tag and release program showed the Mako are still in plentiful numbers. Now we can continue to enjoy wonderful fishing expeditions such as these.’

What the..? False science ? That sounds just like the denialist phrase ‘Junk Science’ and coupled with the reference to the ALP and tied in with activities directly based on interaction with the natural environment…He’s not dogwhistling is he ?

He is.

Al McGlashan was No.2 on the NSW Senate ticket for the Shooters and Fishers Party in the 2010 Federal Election. Here’s how he went, with S&F gaining the highest primary vote of the minor parties, finally excluded on count 32 of 35 and pushing the Liberal Party candidate into a quota.

The Shooters and Fishers are AGW denialists. Their pamphlets and platform papers are full of references to deep-green climate alarmist extermists. In fact, their election materials mention the Greens as much as they do the S&F itself. The S&F could just as well be named “The Anti-Green Party” as that is largely how they present and publicize themselves and their objectives.

McGlashan described his decision to stand for the Senate in the Sydney Angler forum:

Basically guys I am running as a fishing rep for the Shooters and Fishers becuase I am sick having my rights to fish being eroded away by radical greenies who sit eating canned tuna talking about how bad fishing is!

The Proposed Mako Ban And Reprieve

As Fishing World reported in November 2009, the Mako Shark was added to the species listed in Appendix II of the international Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). Under laws introduced by the LNP Howard Government any species listed in either Appendix of the CMS was automatically banned from catch in Australia.

RecFish, the national organisation representing recreational fishermen, along with commercial operators, then lobbied the ALP government to rescind the ban which was duly done by Environment Minister Peter Garrett in January 2010.

The rationale for overturning the decision was that the listing in the CMS was on the basis of severely reduced Mako numbers in the Mediterranean Sea but that Mako in Australian waters do not migrate to the Mediterranean and therefore the reason for the listing was irrelevant to Australian Mako.

As a spokesman for Garrett put it:

“Noting the lack of evidence suggesting that Australian populations of these shark species face the same threats as other parts of the world, the government will be moving to make legislative changes to address the ongoing uncertainty for recreational fishers”

No False Science

Which leaves me wondering what McGlashan was on about. The CMS ban on Mako was not based on false science and was not based on ALP legislation. Mediterranean numbers were indeed down so the scientific basis was sound. Garrett listened to RecFish, took into account the Australia scientific data and lifted the ban based on that data.

McGlashan’s claim that the Mako ban was based on Labor shenanigans enabled by false science was itself false in both of its premises. Garrett’s department simply enacted the laws on the books, laws created by the Liberals uner John Howard. Garrett then modified those laws in the face of popular representation and scientific data. Isn’t that really a textbook example of the ALP behaving in responsible democratic fashion ?

McGlashan is close enough to the issue to understand the reality of what transpired and why but chose to be fast and loose with his telling of the story: anything the better castigate the deep-green extremist alarmists, even to injecting some anti-AGW, anti-Green dogwhistles into his otherwise highly entertaining television program.