David Hand writes : Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Your editorial beautifully illustrates the dichotomy between the scientific and the political challenge of global warming.
If a pollster had asked the inhabitants of Europe at the time of Copernicus “Does the sun go round the earth or does the earth go round the sun?”, it is my opinion, based on scanty factual data I might add, that a significant majority would say “the sun goes round the earth”, mostly because of the consistent, unrelenting view expressed by the clergy at the time to anyone who might ask the question.
If you think my speculation of public opinion at the time of Copernicus has merit, then your admonition that the climate debate is “post political” through the overwhelming belief of 14 year olds, has the look of green leftie desperation that the global warming cause is in difficulty.
If a bunch of astrophysicists were to walk into Kevin Rudd’s and other world leaders’ offices and say “We have proof that an asteroid 20km across will strike the Earth on Feb 20th 2012”, they would not need to run a massive public relations campaign over a number of years to convince 90% of 14 year olds that something must be done.
Nor would they be swayed by a public that is not paying attention but is besotted with infantile radio shock jocks and missing four year old girls. I am confident that Kevin et al would think about their place in history and not want to be known as the leaders who did nothing. They would mobilise to do something about it, even if it cost a sizeable percentage of the world’s GDP for a couple of years.
And this illustrates the problem that the climate change lobby has. It doesn’t really matter how many 14 year olds want action. The climate change lobby, with their array of eminent scientists, committed advocates, government resources and media allies, only have to convince a limited number of people in governments around the world to act but they don’t seem to be able to. Copenhagen will be a significant test of this.
Rudd, et al don’t look like true believers in the science to me. They look more and more like leaders grappling with a political problem, except Penny Wong, of course.
Peter Bent writes: The top “Yes” line of the table in yesterday’s editorial contributes much to the notion of acclaiming scientific “truths” by consensus but nothing at all to the weighing of scientific evidence by dispassionate data collection and analysis.
Would you believe a similar analysis that asserted that 90% of American youth between 14 and 24 believed in God?
Andrew Lewis writes: Re. “Coalition’s a muddle, but that doesn’t make Wong right” (yesterday, item 1). I’m intrigued by the similarities between the CPRS debate and the republic debate of years gone by. An overwhelming majority of people support CPRS, like the republic, but I’m not sure that same majority agree with the suggested form, which was ultimately what killed the republic.
A majority of Australians may desire a CPRS scheme, but I bet the survey did not enquire whether they had any idea about the proposed scheme and whether they supported this particular scheme, or a CPRS in general!
But whereas the form of the republic really didn’t matter, the form of the CPRS does. Penny Wong plays nothing but politics, but apart from that the scheme is a dog, with apologies to all dogs. Any scheme that leaves individual households with no incentive to reduce their carbon emissions is a poor outcome. Surely that is axiomatic.
In fact there is a significant disincentive to reducing household carbon emissions, as anything I personally do will go into the bank of carbon credits for the worst carbon polluters to sell on a market for gawd’s sake. At the core, whatever scheme is used must increase the prices of the most polluting activities substantially, with compensation at the family level, thus rewarding those who reduce their impact. This scheme will not do that.
But what I really can’t understand is why the great anti-extreme-capitalist, Mr Kevin Rudd, is putting his faith in a carbon market. I am yet to hear an argument against a carbon tax, which will surely be more transparent, easier to administer, and all proceeds go to the government of the day, not carbon traders and major polluters.
No doubt one or more of your readers will point out some argument, but everything I have read thus far relies on the ‘if a government gets the money, it must be wrong’ ideology. In other words, no argument at all.
Bill Cushing writes: CPRS? More likely a “Carbon Reliance Abatement Program”.
John Kotsopoulos writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks” (yesterday, item 12). Richard Farmer labelled South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon as a sensible independent? I don’t think so. Xenophon went beyond what many of Turnbull’s own party would refuse to do and that is to stand with Turnbull as he announced his non-policy on climate change. What an excellent image the Labor party now has for the next election.
First Dog on the Moon:
Shaun Cronin writes: In response to Greg Williams (yesterday, comments) I’m dismayed that he did not find the complaint form I slaved over a hot email for at least four minutes useful. On the other hand I’m happy that his response reinforces the point my idle moment of humour was trying to make.
As an atheist, I’m happy for First Dog to poke fun at any of the world’s major religions and the minor ones as well Especially the Unitarians. Bunch of wishy-washy spiritual commitment phobes. I bet First Dog has not made fun of them either. Oh where is the balance!
Maybe Mr Williams should work at getting an someone elected to the senate who is Muslim, holds crackpot views and is wildly unsuited to the task as Senator Fielding is. Then we could really test the even handedness of First Dog’s humour.
Skink writes: Re. “Newsreader fashion: a Crikey field guide” (yesterday, item 19). I am surprised you missed this cracker: ABC Perth newsreader Karina Cavalho in the week Michael Jackson died. Courtesy of theworstofperth.com.