Politics has failed climate change:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re: Politics has failed – time for civil disobedience (Crikey, Friday, Item 2) Clive Hamilton’s call for civil disobedience is a disgrace. His own lazy arguments and lack of supporting data can’t persuade people that “the fate of the planet hangs in the balance” so he now dismisses democracy and demands action. Meanwhile, the global temperature in August 2009 was 0.23C above the 30-year mean so there’s still no sign of the coming apocalypse. Given that the temperature data supports the climate sceptics, would it be moral for us to take ‘direct action’ against the likes of Hamilton and Greenpeace? Would civil disobedience to stop the absurd and utterly ineffectual ETS be justified? I am as certain of my scepticism on this issue as Hamilton is of his doom mongering pessimism but we sort this stuff out at the ballot box in this country. I would have thought a “Professor of Public Ethics” would know that.

Mark M Aldridge writes: Having endured and studied the whole argument for many years now, it’s become a fight between the well funded supporters of Co2 caused climate change and the skeptics whom dare to defy the whole political correctness of man made climate change. So the choice seems to have become one of do we believe the many scientists and professionals that are granted an income to find supporting evidence of the Co2 caused warming theory, or the ever increasing range of similar supposed experts whom dare risk their good name by opposing the theory.

I for one have always considered long before the hypocorism of the original findings of the UN, that we must all consider ways in which to lesson our impact on our environment, and during my studies have never considered the life blood of our plant life Co2 to have been the future blame of all our worry’s. The problem we now face if climate change be the biggest worry facing our future, is not one of a decision of who or what is to blame, but more so, what steps must be taken to ensure our populations ability to prepare for what the weather is about to hand out.

I would consider that a smart move would be to ensure adequate infrastructure projects to ensure a plentiful supply of power, food and potable water would be on the agenda, that we would as a world player, be ensuring that we are putting all our resources into preparing for what may lay ahead, be it cooling or warming of our climate. Funnily enough our respective governments seem to be going in the other direction, the diversion of our food production to satisfy the green fuel agenda, the reduction of reliable power sources for the same reason, and very little advancement in storm water harvesting and increased water storage, which combines to also have a great affect on food production. The strange but true part of this whole story is that increased Co2 and warmer temperatures actually would aid food production, which seems to be less than a fearful event considering our world’s huge population growth.

The Government’s position in this whole argument is one of rationing, and increased consumer expense via the introduction of the aptly named RATS Bill, how can we truly survive an increase in population at the same time we have decided to reduce availability or reliable power, food and water supplies? I swear I can hear the scream “ 1800’s here we come” yet who of us is ready for that?

So the argument is not one of are we warming or not, or even the cause of such, but rather what steps are being taken to combat any looming disaster, what ever mother nature maybe about to throw at us, we will not survive by ignorance of foresight, with lack of food and water and without advancements in the technologies to provide and protect our future. I truly doubt that as far as we have come as a race, that any of us think we can truly change the weather, and with the political decision being the more the merrier when it comes to our population, why does this not include our essential infrastructure and the social services to adequately cope.

Fielding’s learning disability:

Cathy Bannister writes: David Lenihan rightly points out that I don’t know for sure whether Steve Fielding’s learning disability is dyslexia (Crikey, Friday, comments). Nor does Bernard Keane, but he still went on to imply the alleged disability probably didn’t exist, wasn’t a good enough excuse for the error, and proved Fielding (or anyone with the same problem) incompetent in his job (Crikey, Wednesday, Item 3.) By suggesting that that anyone with grammar or spelling difficulties ought to be barred from a career in politics, Keane has insulted all intelligent people who can’t spell, a lot of whom are dyslexic and are rightly miffed. My point, that an inability to spell is not necessarily indicative of a low IQ, still holds. I wasn’t so much defending Fielding, but all the others Keane slandered in passing.

On the subject of the good Senator, I don’t agree with much of what he does and don’t see him as the middle-class, anti-elite hero that Miranda Divine describes. However, he’s not quite Australia’s Sarah Palin either. I would like to record my thanks to him and Judith Troeth for voting with the government to scrap the law that charged asylum seekers their own detention fees. We all should have been ashamed of that appalling piece of racist bastardry, and Fielding was right to vote for its removal.

Economics 101:

Jim O’Brien writes: Both Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer (Crikey, Thursday Item 1 & 23) should take a few minutes to grasp the difference between a percentage change and a percentage point change. Bernard: if Tasmania’s unemployment rate rises from 4.1 per cent to 5.1 per cent, that’s a 1 percentage point, not a 1 per cent, rise. The latter would mean an increase from 5.05 per cent to 5.1 per cent. And Glen: you quote the ABS release accompanying the latest labour force data where they apply the right change measure, but fail to follow their lead. The decline in the participation rate from 61.3 per cent to 61.1 per cent represents a fall of 0.2 percentage points (or 0.2 points for short).

Horse whipping:

Ronald writes: If a horse can run 200 meters in under 11 seconds and a jockey can only increase whipping in last 100 meters, the question is how many times can he be hit in about five seconds? (Lee Freedman: Why new whip rules are overkill, Crikey, Friday) Not many I believe.

Army Reserve Training Salaries:

A Crikey reader writes: Your “tips and rumours” piece about the reduction in Army Reserve Training Salaries (ARTS) for Army Reserve lawyers (Crikey, Friday, Tips and Rumours, Item 7) actually says the opposite of its snide, inaccurate and ill-researched introduction.

As the reproduced Minute notes, the reduction results from “a misallocation within DSG”. Now the DSG referred to is that part of the overly-large Department of Defence bureaucracy known as the Defence Support Group, which is largely staffed by Public Servants, so your item actually blamed the victim rather than “exposed” the lawyers concerned or any failing on their part.

But the wider and underlying problem of the piece was simply that the person writing the introduction to the reproduced Minute did not know enough about defence matters to comment and/or was so biased that they could not be bothered researching the true story in their haste to spray some vitriol. My bet is that even if they had done some research, the story would then have been killed as the truth would not have suited the bias of the writer.

The real and significant story missed, of course, was how the political and bureaucratic campaign to harvest supposed “savings” from the Defence budget is not just cutting perceived “fat” but now imperils the right of those accused of offences to obtain appropriate legal advice from the ARES lawyers best suited to that responsibility. Or does Crikey not believe that ADF personnel should have rights? Your item, its biased motivation and unprofessional execution were all well beneath your publication.

ETS:

Viv Forbes writes: Emissions trading schemes proposed for the western world will guarantee another global financial crisis for tourism, transport and world trade. All carbon control schemes have at their core two essential features aimed at reducing man’s production of the harmless gas, carbon dioxide. Firstly, increasingly severe rationing of carbon dioxide (CO2) releases. And secondly, taxes on all permitted emissions and punitive taxes on any excess. They are all Ration-and-Tax Schemes and they will all enforce arbitrary reductions by 2020.

But not one car, truck, bus, train, plane or ship can move without producing CO2. There is no possibility that this will change significantly before the doomsday year of 2020, just a decade away. Therefore neither Australia nor New Zealand can cut CO2 emissions by 2020 without slowly strangling all those industries that rely on moving people or goods.

Our politicians should be asked, individually, what food, mineral products and travel they propose doing without in order to meet the 2020 cuts specified in their Ration-and-Tax Schemes. Australia and New Zealand comprise four lonely islands in the vast southern oceans which stretch from Africa to South America. However, world population, political power and finance are concentrated far away in the Northern Hemisphere.

Apart from a few stock horses used by drovers, the occasional sailing yacht, some suburban bicycles and some hydro power that moves trains, our transport fleets rely totally on petrol, diesel, gas and coal. There are no solar powered aeroplanes or sail powered ocean liners — all produce CO2. Neither country can import tourists, get mineral and food products to their cities or export goods to world markets without producing CO2.

Already France has introduced travel rationing using a carbon tax and the UK Institute for Public Policy says that “the government may need to introduce carbon rationing to cut pollution from everyday activities such as filling up the car, using electricity and flying abroad for holidays”. A UK government committee even proposes that airline taxes should be raised progressively to “a level that would put people off flying”.

Our politicians should be asked what effect these measures and our local Ration-N-Tax Schemes will have on the South Pacific tourist industries. And why are Australian politicians rushing to construct transport infrastructure for trucks, trains, planes and ships if all of these industries are going to be subject to mandatory rationing and taxes – no additional infrastructure or jobs are needed for a world in which tourism, transport and trade are doomed to contract. It is a sad indictment of business, media, opposition parties and union leaders in Australia and New Zealand that so few are asking these vital questions. The Ration-N-Tax Schemes will have zero beneficial effects but, they will cause crippling contraction and job losses in our backbone industries. This is the real global warming crisis.

Racism in Alice Springs:

Jacob Alexander writes: Surely there must be some laws against racism in this country? (“White power” t-shirts for sale outside Alice Springs council offices. Crikey, Thursday, Item 4). Councils and Governments are unlikely to act unless we bring significant discomfort or embarrassment to their current stance. Do we plan to band together to bring more momentum to the move to change existing laws that take a more dim view of such events. Maybe we need to enact new council by laws if offensive behaviour such as this is not already effectively covered in council by laws.

My first reaction was that maybe we should blanket bomb this guys mobile telephone with calls…..making him doubly cautious about posting his mobile number in public in such public fashion. However, I am aware that hate just breeds more hate and I would rather see affirmative action in evidence.

Peter Fray

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