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Senator Fielding ventures to the climate sceptic heartland

Well the Heartland Institute is certainly doing its job. The right-wing American think-tank explicitly aims to influence politicians and, while they normally aim at state legislators in the US, doubtless they’d be chuffed that such an influential Australian political figure as Steve Fielding has been giving their climate change scepticism a detailed hearing.

Heartland has extensive links with the tobacco industry and has previously received extensive financial support from Exxon Mobil. The Institute’s sloppy, biased approach to climate change is best summed up by an incident in 2007 when Heartland published on its website “500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares”.

Dozens of the scientists named on the Heartland list subsequently demanded the removal of their names, saying they had not been contacted by the Institute and had views diametrically opposed to those presented by Heartland.

Heartland refused to remove any names and declared “they have no right — legally or ethically — to demand that their names be removed,” although it did amend the title of the page to “500 Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares”.

Heartland also typifies the “fallback” approach of climate sceptics  — as each aspect of the debate is lost, they fall back to other positions that justify taking no action on climate change.

After decades of rejecting climate altogether  — a position still clung to by some local dills  — they appear to have reluctantly accepted that some “moderate warming” has occurred but that, variously, either it is nothing to do with human activity  — it’s the fault of solar flares (the Fielding argument) or natural climatic variation, or that it is in fact a good thing  — a warmer climate will enable people to live longer because old people tend to die in winter, and increase food production in currently hostile northern latitudes.

The fallback argument from that position is, even if humans are responsible for climate change, developed countries should take no action.

In Washington, Fielding attended a conference with the splendidly-named Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner Jr. Sensenbrenner  — literally heir to the Kotex fortune  — actually agrees that climate change is happening, but isn’t sure how much is caused by humans.

He believes technology will provide the solution (although he thinks regulations for greater fuel efficiency in US vehicles is hurting the American economy) and is in a good position to push that agenda as the lead Republican on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming  — although he voted against its establishment.

Sensenbrenner opposes any climate change agreement that doesn’t include China and India and, he told Fielding, the entire issue is about “the Third World using the collective guilt of the First World to have a massive transfer of wealth to help them fund their development.”

Climate scepticism has been enjoying something of a local renaissance, primarily at The Australian, long the house organ of greenhouse denialism, which gave extensive publicity and op-ed support for Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth, although it did run at least one review demolishing Plimer’s sloppy conspiracy theories.

The fallback argument here is the same one that has been trotted out for decades, that there is no scientific consensus on climate change. This “lack of consensus” is best summed up by Tom Baker’s sea-captain in Blackadder, who claimed there was no consensus about how necessary it was for sailing ships to have crews. “All the other captains say it is; I say it isn’t.”

It was such commitment to balanced coverage that earned Chris Mitchell the fossil fuel lobby’s JN Pierce Award for Media Excellence in coverage of climate change policy.

The refreshing irony of The Australian’s climate scepticism is that it is The Oz which for years has  — commendably  — railed against the relativism and obscurantism to be found in modern  — or should that be post-modern  — academia. But when such willingness to debase science, ignore intellectual rigour and elevate all claims to equal status regardless of merit are employed by climate sceptics, they get direct backing on The Oz’s editorial page.

Fortunately Fielding’s solar-flare-powered vote won’t be crucial in the ETS debate. Fielding was never likely to vote with the Government anyway, so his trip to the US looks a lot more like self-promotion than a genuine attempt to enter the debate. He hasn’t explained why he felt it necessary to skip Senate Estimates for the trip, or why he waited until now to apprise himself of the “facts” about climate change.

The ETS will either pass with the support of the Liberals or it will go down with only Labor senators standing up for it.

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  • 1
    jchercelf
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    How ridiculous for us to fund this ‘influential’ odd ball politician to visit the other proven odd balls at Heartland. Are they not a discredited group.? How can we allow our Parliament to be hostage to the wayward impulse of this ‘stupid’ man who can’t think for himself?

  • 2
    Paul Ferraro
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    @JCHERCELF: Apparently it was a self-funded trip.

    Either way, it was clear from his ten minute chat on ABC local radio this morning that his trip was a total waste of money. His conclusions sounded simplistic and his noteworthy points included the basest of climate denier clap-trap (i.e. ‘the no global warming since 1998’ meme).

  • 3
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The “consensus” argument originated from the climate change lobby, Al Gore et. al., who jumped the gun two years ago to say there was a scientific consensus, and “the debate is over”. You can cite Blackadder all you wish, but you’re squealing because that claim has been smashed, and the climate change agenda is being exposed to analysis that it cannot stand up to.

  • 4
    David1
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    So Robert Barwick you support the fool Fielding? If you do then you are as stupid as he is. If you do not why pick on one point in Bernards excellent article to use as your rebuff and leave it there.
    Sen Fielding has been sloping around this nation proclaiming and promoting the most absurd, idiotic agendas, written for him by his religious masters. The man is a puppet. To use a well known Christian phrase in the Fielding context..’Forgive him, for he knows not what he does.’
    It is a joke that this individual has in many cases the destiny of legislation in his vote. Such power in the hands of an intelligent, level headed, clear thinking person would be dangerous in itself, that Fielding has it, is tantamount to catastrophe.
    The sad side of this is Fielding acts like he knows what he is talking about, a sad pathetic little man.

  • 5
    Kerry Lovering
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s time these climate alarmists stopped playing the man and looked deeply at the science.
    Scientific theories are NEVER consensus driven. Gallileo was punished for the rest of his life by the church-led scientists of his day, because he believed the world was not the centre of the solar system but went round the sun.
    To-day people like economists who no longer have credibility in their own discipline are supporting the climate alarmists because it suits them to develop new economic products like the emissions trading schemes.
    Almost everyone believes the earth is constantly changing — No one can stop it as King Canute illustrated when he could not control the tides.
    The sun, the earth and the planets in our solar system have a very complicated relationship which is constantly being explored by astronomers, physicists and geologists.
    To say the argument is over reveals the arrogant ignorance of many of the climate alarmists and their political friends.
    Certainly it is a good idea to find alternate sources of energy and to reduce pollution but not to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of Australians.

  • 6
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Hey David1, I hit a raw nerve, huh? The most honest thing about Bernard’s “excellent article” is its total lack of pretense of objectivity. Consensus is the key point in the article, because only if people accepted that claim, would the climate change agenda be successful. It’s similar to the way fundamentalist religions rely on their followers’ unquestioning belief in the infallibility of their written scriptures. Whatever people think about climate change, they now know their is no consensus, and that means there can be an honest debate.

  • 7
    Richard Wilson
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Is “climate change sceptic” a label like “conspiracy nut” or “flat earth protagonist”?
    Is it not possible to believe that there could be other reasons for variations in the earth’s temperature? I note that the “carbon dioxide is bad and is responsible for climate change and probably everything else people” use the French Taunter strategem as they chief form of argument.

    I am completely anti pollution as I believe it to be a violation of the rights of every human being on the planet; yet I cannot quite buy the argument that carbon dioxide is worse than soot or poisonous gas or plastics or chemicals in general or microwaves or a dozen other things murdering mother earth. Can someone enlighten me on this? Does this mean that one day I can expect to be taxed for breathing out?

    In my view this is only about tax and who collects it. Call me cynical?

  • 8
    David1
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Robert the only thing you hit was my funny bone. I note you avoid all mention of Fielding, while I can understand your reluctance to admitting you agree with him, at least be honest enough to say so. But then honesty is not a trait the Libs sit easily with. 12 years of Howard was proof of that.

  • 9
    James Bennett
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Gee David1 ,

    What have you got against Fielding?
    After all his belief in religion is probably not too much different from yours in Climate Change. You both need a fair bit of trust and a closed mind to keep to the path.

    As for Bernard ,he just has to write a couple of columns each day on lots of stuff he knows bugger-all about and while he can’t always be wrong , he is making a good effort.

    If a consensus of scientists is 20% ,what is a consensus of media alarmists and what would they fill their pages with if they didn’t have the Climate Change or the currently super dangerous Swine Flu to excite us about. How many million deaths is it now?

    God forbid they find some real news..

  • 10
    Stuart Moore
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    T’is only the unquestioning braindead whom accept that the primary cause of variation in global temperature is the (relatively) trace gas that is carbon-doxide - more commonly mistakenly labelled as carbon, which for some reason is now demonised by the enviro-congergation.

    Bernard needs to move aside from the Arts Faculty (where ‘climatology’ is taught alongside Geography) and into the realm of Science Faculty, where he will rapidly appreciate how the influence of CO2 declines logarithmically with increasing concentration; such that any impact is essentially swamped by water vapour. Failing this can Bernard please outline to us all the fundamental thermodynamic change that must recently have occurred. No, as an Atheist I am not typically a devotee of Sen. Fielding; however this is one issue where he is correct and it is appropriate to confront the ‘Carbonistas’.

  • 11
    Bruce Messmer
    Posted Tuesday, 9 June 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Mr Keane misses the point when he infers that the debate on climate change is settled. It is anything but and until the final scientific truth (as much as we can discover it) becomes apparent, the debate has to continue.. To accuse so-called climate sceptics of “debasing science, ignoring intellectual rigour and elevating all claims to equal status regardless of merit” is equally applicable, if not more so, to the proponents of the global warming theory; and it is just that - a theory. What happened to the Hockeystick graph of the IPCC - it was disproved because it was virtually fraudulent, in spite of all the initial publicity. The IPCC has made a basic scientific error in assigning a positive radiative forcing to water vapour in its effect on CO2 and global warming. The science of weather forecasting is such that it is hardly possible to accurately forecast the weather three months in advance and yet the IPCC diegns to give climate forecasts into the next century, some of which are patently absurd.

    One must remember that the climate is a non-linear, complex and chaotic system which is still rather poorly understood, and anyone who dares to make long term forecasts does so at their peril. Furthermore, it is quite possible that climate change may revert to a cooling system over the next twenty years. If such happens, the measures now being bandied about to conteract a rise in carbon dioxide levels (which are not crucial anyway) and costing hundreds of billions of dollars annually, will be wasted instead of being used more fruitfully in relieving human and environmental distress such as poverty, disease, the need for reforestation, water conservation, coastal marine pollution, etc.
    One hopes that the CPRS meets a terminal fate. (This is a misnomer anyway as carbon (dioxide) is not a pollutant).

    Finally, two relevant quotes :-
    ‘The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance’ – Albert Einstein

    The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.’ - The late Dr Michal Crichton, Address to the Commonwealth Club :

  • 12
    Harry Lucas
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Senator Feilding reminds me of the response of many gastroenterologists to Dr Barry Marshall’s research which asserted that stomach ulcers were caused by a virus named heliobactor pylori. Many of the Gatro’s went berserk. After all they had been working on the notion that stress was entirely to blame. What nonsense they said. Barry had quite a job convincing the skeptics. Indeed a researcher in Scotland set out to disprove his research only to discover why it was so and what caused ulceration.

    When the empire is threatened it’s very hard to accept a proposition which has the potential to bring down the accepted reality.
    Let’s hope Mr Fielding listens to those whose quest for the truth is their primary concern.

    Harry Lucas

  • 13
    Richard Wilson
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Senator Fielding instinctively feels there are two sides to the story and it is my experience of late that particular position is considered a non starter by doctrinaire scientiific cabals, health and education cliques and political opportunists everywhere.

    I’d like a far more comprehensive debate amongst our real scientists on both sides of the argument preferably without that NASA vested interest guy (Hanson isn’t it) in the way!

    It is far from over and far from settled. Just read the debate above and remember what happens every time this issue is raised in Crikey or anywhere. It is not settled!

    The politiciams will press on with their pay to pollute tax which basically means if you are big enough and rich enough you can buy up everyone elses carbon (dioxide) credits and “pollute till you are blue in the face” to use a famous Qld expression.

  • 14
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    What an incredible load of nonsense here from the deniers. Science is not a debate, nor is it based on consensus. Should we have an open debate on the existence of the Higgs Boson as well? That would be really informative. There also needs to be an acknowledged difference between ‘belief’ and ‘trust’. I do not ‘believe’ in the AGW hypothesis, but I trust that the scientists trying to figure out what is going on are probably those best skilled to do it.

    The obfuscation from the deniers side is a pretty transparent tactic; muddy the waters so they can continue with the status quo which is making them personally rich. Fortunately, very few of these people have any real power, and are just trying to derail the argument for a few minutes, hours, years to try and continue with their comfortable, lazy existence. The fact stands though, that the EU, UN, US, Chinese, Indian, Australian, Canadian etc Governments have all put their best minds onto this, and despite enormous political and financial cost have all deemed that it is necessary to do something about climate change. For Christ’s sake, even the coal industry in Australia acknowledge that CO2 emissions (among others) are affecting the climate. If you think you know better than these people, then I would suggest the deniers should be wearing the Order of Arrogance medallion proudly on their chests.

    The science was so rock solid 20 years ago people stopped debating the mechanisms and started talking about what to do. That was when it became a political football; once the big emitters started to realise that their grasp of world resource income was about to be affected. The Heartland Institute has nothing useful to add, and their junk-science is easily refuted.

    The fact that someone takes a stand does not make their opinion any more valid. For every renegade that was proven right over the years, thousands of kooks have been shown to be just that. Fielding’s grasp of the issues is appalling and easily disproven. He doesn’t even read the paper FFS. Fortunately his opinion will have no baring on the passage of the legislation, and nor will any of the crowing sceptics.

  • 15
    meski
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Kerry, you’re right, try and hold a scientific debate using facts, and you’ll end up being attacked by people who think an ad hominem argument is the best way to go. This occurs on both sides.

  • 16
    Richard Wilson
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    To Evan Beaver

    eVAN, I would have thought from the above tirade that anyone going against your status quo (climate change is 100% the preserve of man made carbon dioxide emissions) would be the intrepid renegade given that your clique now control the science as you insist.

    I have to admit I am far more concerned about hormone levels in Sydney water from outlying reservoirs and streams than I am carbon dioxide in Sydney’s air. But I am even more concerned about the corporate takeover and subsequent deforestation of the world’s rainforests and their decimation at a frightening rate and no one seems to want to argue this at all.

    Can I remind you that people with your voltage were scaring us out of our wits 30 years ago about the impending ice age so why should we believe the climatologists about carbon dioxide now - are you one?

    As for the Coal Industry - all busines is about taking opportunity when it presents - Business will make money out of any eventuality particularly if it can enlist govt to grant it a monopoly or legislate it an advantage. That a corporate scientist shill would admit coal is bad means he must have something to sell that is better - sorry more profitable! Try being a little more sceptical of the motives of everybody or you could easily fall into the role of a dupe.

  • 17
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Richard, I am extremely sceptical of people’s motives. It’s a competition between the IPCC/UN/Governments who have a lot to lose by CC being true, and the resources companies who also have a lot to lose. Seems to me the most opposed are the ones with the most vested interest. The poorly structured attacks on the science by Heartland etc strike me as the moves of a desperate industry.

    Do you really think the coal industry has more opportunity supporting CC than fighting it? It’s not like there’s much choice in where we get our power from.

    No, I don’t think CC is 100% man made, never said it was. The IPCC report doesn’t even say it is. But carbon compound emissions definitely aren’t helping either.

    I wouldn’t worry about hormones in your water supply. They are mostly found in the sewage outflow, which doesn’t feed into the major Sydney reservoirs any more. A huge percentage of Sydney’s water comes from Warragamba, the catchment of which is now ably managed by the SCA. All the STP’s in the upper Blueys have been closed and their flows redirected out of the catchment, and the western border is formed by the Kanangra/Blueys NPs. This water is treated at Prospect, and pumped vast distances around the network. Hormones levels in potable water are virtually non-existant. Don’t drink grey water in Rouse Hill though.

    The deforestation point is an interesting one. Given that Australia won’t actually reduce their emissions at all, but will instead buy up permits in SE Asia to protect forests, it could be argued that a CPRS is the most effective way to protect these forests. Never mind the inherent value argument.

    Sorry, my paragraphs are out of order.

    I’m not trying to scare anyone, just get on with solving what is a fairly simple problem. All we need to do is reduce our CO2 emissions by, what, 30%? The coal plants will most likely stay open, there’ll be more renewables on the grid, and more forest protected in Asia. That’s it. These are the steps required to cover a risk that has been identified by pretty good science. The doom and gloom from both sides covers no one with glory. And debating science in a flawed public arena like the press doesn’t help anyone either.

  • 18
    Andrew
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Everyone is entitled for his opinion, but not to his “facts”.

    Some climate realities::

    1. Current climate change is now exceeding the maximum natural greenhouse radiative forcing level of the last 2.8 million years by 38% based on CO2 alone (387 ppm) and by 53% based on CO2+methane (430 ppm CO2-equivalent). Up-to-date studies define the upper atmospheric forcing limit of the Antarctic ice sheet at about 500 ppm CO2. Due to carbon cycle feedbacks and ice/water interaction feedback, this threatens accelerated collapse of polar ice and rapid meter-scale sea level rises within time frames shorter than originally projected by the IPCC, as reported by Hansen et al. 2008 and 2007.

    2. The threat of irreversible tipping points in the climate system is more urgent than has been envisaged by the IPCC-2007 Report, as indicated by Lenton et al., 2008 and recent studies of the vulnerability of the atmosphere and ice sheets during the most recent history of the Earth (Steffensen et al., 2008).

    3. In view of the cumulative long residence nature of CO2, reduction of emission is no longer sufficient to avert positive Carbon feedbacks, notably release of methane from permafrost and from bogs, with consequent climate runaway process.

    4. Based on the above , Hansen et al. 2008 indicate the maximum CO2 level allowable should be defined at 350 ppm. As this level has already been exceeded, to avert climate crisis, every effort should be made to develop rapid CO2 atmospheric draw-down technology, such as already exists in principle, including chemical capture and fast-growing CO2-sequestering vegetation.

    Andrew Glikson
    10 June, 2009

  • 19
    The Zebras
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Richard Wilson - “It is far from over and far from settled. Just read the debate above and remember what happens every time this issue is raised in Crikey or anywhere. It is not settled!”
    Horseshit. The debate is only not settled within the ranks of fringe-dwelling, blog-commenting bludgers like you and me. However, higher up the food-chain towards people who actually have the expertise on this subject, the debate has moved on. You can choose to ignore expertise but that proves only one thing - you suffer from ‘Dunning-Kruger-itis’ - a humiliating affliction where the more incompetent you are on a subject, the less you are are able to perceive that incompetence. Whether you like it or not the the scientific debate is now about what will the specific impacts of AGW be - not whether it exists or not. Oh and can you name a single climate scientist who has ever claimed climate change is “100% the preserve of man made carbon emmissions”?. This just shows how little you are interested in the actual the science and how boring you must be to rather drag this subject into the culture wars.

  • 20
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    You Zebras are showing your stripes. On the other hand, we people are not down the food-chain, and can think for ourselves, and don’t need to be hand-fed “facts” to be accepted without question.

  • 21
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    You, ah, missed the point of Zebra’s post spectacularly then Richard. Then proved his point.

    Excellent.

  • 22
    Richard Wilson
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    You are all missing the point. As earnest as you may all be.

    Take a look at this headline from Bloomberg today:

    France Finds ‘Carousel’ Tax Fraud in Carbon Emissions Market

    The French government has found evidence of “carousel fraud” relating to value-added tax on trades of European Union carbon dioxide allowances, according to an official in the nation’s budget ministry. June 9 (Bloomberg, by Helene Fouquet and Mathew Carr)

    According to the report, French officials have not disclosed the size of the fraud but note that the exchange handled 19.8 metric tonnes on June 2 alone. Evidently, sellers committing carousel fraud, or “missing traders,” collect the tax and then disappear before submitting the money to authorities. France, the article continues, will remove the tax on emissions trading as early as tomorrow since it now considers carbon allowances to be financial products rather than goods, the official said today. Exactly my point. This is about money not the environment.

    According to Bloomberg, BlueNext is the biggest exchange for spot carbon transactions. It has halted prompt trading in Paris until tomorrow to allow dealers to adjust their information systems to new value-added tax rules. BlueNext is 60 percent-owned by NYSE Euronext. France’s state-owned lender Caisse des Despots et Consignations owns the rest.

    As I have been saying all along, this whole thing in my view is a financial con trick. Whatever the actual environmental merits happen to be, I for one am not in favour of Wall Street or even O’Connell or Collins Streets running this!

  • 23
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    So, please clearly define your stance Richard. Do you think that Climate Change is not occurring because it is a financial instrument? Or, are you suggesting that the IPCC has created this whole theory so that they can make money on the markets?

    You’ve got to be very clear on the issues with this topic. Whether or not some French guy is making money off the markets makes no impact on the fact that we’re changing the climate. Like Zebra said, the science debate is done and gone, all that’s left is how to respond. You rightly criticise flaws in the market approach to fixing the problem, but remember that it does not mean the problem isn’t there! The only debate left to have is how to proceed.

  • 24
    Stuart Moore
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Andrew: so if we are now beyond the forcing of both CO2 and CO2 + Methane, there must then be a factor (or factors) involved other than these trace gases. I would suggest that these factors influence water vapor and that the impact of these (a) provide greater impact than the aforementioned and (b) they are beyond the direct control of mankind whom had best start learning to manage the impacts instead of allowing financiers to rip us off for no measurable benefit. Consider direct sublimation of ice to water vapor phase for example as but one of many. Simplistically demonising carbon simply illustrates how much other science has been ignored.

  • 25
    James Bennett
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Hey The Zebras,

    That current scientific debate that is’ now about what will the specific impacts of AGW be - not whether it exists or not’ sounds like it should be riveting. Not much margin for error there.

    Lets see - the debate is based on ( climatic? ) events over say the next 20 to 100 years and what may or may not happen if some countries cut ( or trade ) carbon emmissions and others do or don’t follow and then different ( currently non-existent ) clean technologies take over from the co2 emitting ones and save the day.

    That should be some mass debate and well worthy of your input.

  • 26
    Richard Wilson
    Posted Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    What I think Evan is immaterial to the true purpose of this program which in my view represents the biggest ever taxation rip-off yet. And it is global.

    Do you really think that if the UN, and all of the other bodies invested with the care of the planet, were truly concerned about climate change they would have allowed the forests of the Congo, Sumatra, and Borneo and ever increasingly Brazil and the rest of South America to be decimated along with their attendant wildlife and plant life? It is criminal. Think about what is happening. You are trapped in a debate - scientific or otherwise which is nothing more than a spectacle while the real issue namely a massive funds transfer from the people to the state and the financial services industry is being put in place. I have shown you how open to corruption this system is and how tempting it will become to exploit the goodwill of the scientific community and the people of the world. Imagine how tempting in the future it will be to crank up the taxation mechanism to a point of bankrupting the planet as an ever expanding state demands more to sustain itself.

    Adam Morton disclosed in the Age on March 20, 2009 that the proposed scheme stood to yield to the Australian government up to $20 billion per year in the not too distant future. Andrew Fraser confirmed this same estimate in the Canberra Times.

    Can you imagine that once any tax addicted government gets its hands on an income stream of this magnitude, how hard it will be for them to relinquish it. In fact it is possible to argue that any recipient govt could conceivably have a vested interest in ensuring an ongoing army of well heeled polluters to sustain it.

    Go on call me sceptical but I think you may find that there is more to this than meets the eye.

    Don’t get me wrong I am 100% for clean energy alternatives and a pollution free planet - now! It’s just that I don’t believe that if one were serious about it they would do it this way.

  • 27
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Thursday, 11 June 2009 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    So Richard, you don’t dispute that pollution etc is changing the climate, but disapprove of the mechanism chosen to fix it? Fair call, and I’m with you brother. Sadly, the UN has virtually no power in any of these realms, and have only collated the science. Due to the widely held belief that Nationalism is a worthy cause, no one really meddles in the politics of other countries (previous Oil-wars of course excluded). Those nice Europeans certainly don’t anyway.

    Yes, I agree that the current legislation to curb emissions is hopeless and will likely result in a massive transfer of wealth. Some of it might be good though? I think making polluters protect forests in other countries is a decent outcome, however ineffective. The sad thing is that we’re trying to mould selfish human nature with a financial mechanism that is open to all the selfishness we’re trying to fix.

    Sadly for me, today is one of those days when I very strongly doubt we are actually capable of group altruism. There’s always going to be some bastard out there trying to exploit the system for their own benefit. Our challenge is to rein them in.

  • 28
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 11 June 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Pollution????!!!!!!?????!!!!!! How much did you just pump out with your breath while you were typing your message? It doesn’t matter how many superstitionists call CO2 pollution, and how many witch doctors and high priests of academia and politics and the judiciary enforce the lie, it isn’t pollution, it’s a natural gas, essential to life, and it’s time to wake up Alice — get out of Wonderland.

  • 29
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Thursday, 11 June 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    What an incredibly ignorant comment Robert, thanks for putting your foot in your mouth to better explain my point.

    I did not refer to CO2 at any stage, and was in fact referring to the suite of gases, which includes CO2, that are contributing to the Greenhouse effect. I suppose next you’ll tell me that the R-series refrigerants and SF6 are also natural gases and have no influence on the climate. Please do at least a little basic reading before you fly off the handle next time.

    Terrific example of an ad hominem attack as well. Classic of the genre. No facts, just lots of emotive, meaningless catch phrases, sung straight from the Heartlnd Intitute hymn book. You do your cause no good at all with pointless tirades like that.

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