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Nov 16, 2009

Take your CPRS and shove it

Bernard Keane is sick of Penny Wong's tedious droning, Kevin Rudd's sanctimony, Coalition climate denialists, Barnaby Joyce, rentseekers and everything else tied up in the never-ending CPRS debate.


Welcome back to Parliament for the final time this year. Two more weeks of this stuff and then we’re finished for a summer that already feels like it’s been going a month. That’s assuming Anthony Albanese doesn’t keep his colleagues confined here at the end of next week, or even brings them back for another spell in December.

Wouldn’t want all those end-of-year “let’s all be best mates” speeches to get in the way of proper legislative business eh?

The job of a political journalist — not of course that I would know, since according to the national broadsheet I’m not a “real journalist”, and strangely proud of it — is somewhere between theatre critic and sports commentator. The main tasks of sports commentators are to tell you who’s winning and pretend something exciting is happening when it isn’t. That’s where it is closest to political journalism. Media coverage of politics is always about who’s winning and who’s losing, naturally, but the trivial and meaningless are routinely built up into events of monumental importance simply for the sake of pretending something significant is happening.

But you also need to appraise the performances of the principal actors (not to mention the ambitious walk-on players), assessing the conviction or otherwise with which they utter their lines, paying close attention to the effect not on professional observers such as oneself, who to use the immortal phrase “don’t know jack”, but the hoi polloi in the cheap seats at the back, from which vantage point scenery-chewing hammery or mindless repetition may look like the stuff of the Great Tragedians.

Once in a while, we’re reminded that this isn’t a show or a game that we’re watching. This morning the Prime Minister made an apology to the “Forgotten Generation” in the Great Hall in Parliament House. He was followed by Malcolm Turnbull. Both made heart-felt and emotional speeches, without political polish, the sort of speeches we can point to when people lament the lack of Australian political oratory. The tears and smiles and applause of those present who as children were abused in institutional care show how significant the actions of government can be, even in simply acknowledging those whose pain was ignored for so long.

This fortnight also sees some sort of climax in the emissions trading debate, another issue of more-than-usual gravity.

I don’t know about you (no, really, I don’t) but I’m utterly over the CPRS debate. It’s been a long road since early last year, when Penny Wong blithely called the Garnaut Review “one input” into the Government’s consideration, in effect spilling the beans, or giving the game away, or belling the cat, or whatever cliché takes your fancy. I’m now sick of emissions trading. Sick of Wong’s tedious droning, of Kevin Rudd’s sanctimony, of the Coalition climate denialists who make a virtue out of their own intellectual and emotional disabilities.

I’m sick of Barnaby Joyce and the National Party, so plum-stupid that they can’t even understand when the National Farmers’ Federation tells them it’d be a good idea to back the scheme. I’m sick of the rentseekers, the whingers, the sooks and Hookes, who preach the virtues of the market when it suits them but whose natural posture is of a hand stuck out, demanding assistance, and assistance in ever greater quantities, like blackmailers who just keep coming back for more.

And I’m sick of the media and their inability to understand what’s going on or their blatant support of denialists as part of an infantile ideological game. I’m fed up with ever more iterations of the CPRS that seek to obliterate, like an artillery shell aimed at an ant, any skerrick of carbon price signal, which is the only damn point of the entire exercise beyond the political gamesmanship of Kevin Rudd and Nick Minchin.

I’m sick, above all, of the vast gap between the farce being played out before our eyes and the real human and economic consequences of failing to stop the planet cooking, consequences I probably won’t see the worst of, but which my kids will.

Fortunately they and all the future generations who’ll really enjoy the fruits of out stupidity don’t get to vote now.

So I’m giving this elaborate production, this whole, interminable, mind-numbingly banal show, zero.

Let us hope that decades hence, the descendants of our current MPs — I mean their political descendants, not their actual kids, assuming the major parties don’t adopt preselection by hereditary right — will not have to stand up in the Great Hall and apologise for it. Apologise to the people who died of dengue fever or in bushfires, apologise to the families of the elderly who succumbed to heatwaves. Apologise to the tourism employees who lost their jobs when our great reefs died. Apologise to the farmers forced off the land as the Murray-Darling dried up. Sorry, dried up even more.

Apologise to the whole community because of all the economic opportunities we missed by locking our economy into some sort of carbon-era cryogenic freeze when we could have started the transition to the low-carbon economy that we will need to be in the future, now.

Hell, they may even apologise to all those foreigners who will die in far greater numbers than Australians because of the actions of developed countries like ours, one of the world’s premier carbon dealers on a planet unable to kick its addiction to the stuff.

Hysterical? Alarmist? Green religionist? If only. I’d give anything to see the Andrew Bolts and Barnaby Joyces of the world proved correct, to be shown that the whole thing is a left-wing con, the ultimate scam cooked up (ha!) by some lazy academics and watermelon greenies who accomplished what millennia of Illuminati and weird hand-shaking Masons and sinister religious orders failed to do — fool the world with a global conspiracy.

Because that’s the only basis on which our international position and the CPRS make any sense.


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122 thoughts on “Take your CPRS and shove it

  1. Graeme Lewis

    Gee – that’s the best Keane effort ever!!

    At last, someone gets it – we are all being hood-winked. But who by and why??

  2. meski

    An inevitability if the government and media kept droning away about it was that the public would get fed up with it.


    Bernard, we feel your pain and are, thanks to efforts like yours and a few others, quite aware of the pain the planet will feel in the coming decades; and no thanks to this hobbled camel aka the CPRS.

  4. whatiris

    Hear hear, I’m totally fatigued by the whole thing. The gulf between the debate and reality is vast. And the debate is dominated by ideology and sheer stupidity. It’s sad, slowly chipping away at my faith in humanity to be anything much more than reactive in the face of true crises.

  5. stephen

    I believe it’s “rent seekers seeking rent” Graeme. Well put Bernard, even if it’s just my latest “oh sh!t moment.

  6. jchercelf

    Sorry Kevin,

    Sorry, but time is running out for you to actually DO the most urgent item on your election Agenda – begin to fix Climate Change.

    Your beaming face in photo-ops is no substitute for making the unpopular decisions essential to save our planet. We will blame you – not Penny Wong – when we find it is all too little – too late.


    Spot on Bernard Keane

  7. Evan Beaver

    Terrific stuff BK. Your Falling Down moment? Let us know if you turn to the bottle.

  8. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…begin to fix Climate Change…”

    It’s not a flat tire dear.

    Statements like that show how stupid the debate has become and just why Bernard has rightly given up.

    Oh and the fact that he now realises it’s a crock.

    What took you so long?

  9. Evan Beaver

    Haha Mama!

    Immediate fail for using the wrong tyre.

  10. Most Peculiar Mama

    Not where I come from (EDIT: no thanks MPM)

  11. Redwhine

    You know how people tell you that one should (if you’re an optimist) look at the glass as half-full empty not half-empty? Normally this works for me. Except when thinking about climate change. When it comes to CPRS, climate change etc, I’ve been inclined to just consign all of this to the half-empty side of the room. I now find myself feeling comforted by the thought of my eventual demise. You know, one has to die anyway sooner rather than later, and so I won’t have to see this planet burn in hell (literally). Bugger my future relatives.

    I feel your pain Keane.

  12. meski

    I sense … hostility.
    Tyre – Australian /British
    Tire – US

    This is an Aussie site…

  13. Evan Beaver

    Snigger. A little tetchy today MPM?

  14. Mark Duffett

    Maybe not tetchy, just tired.

  15. wilful

    Funny, i thought dickhead was rarely used by septics…

    but anyway, how depressing, how accurate. This CPRS is worse than useless.

  16. jlloyd

    My God, you sound as exasperated as I am. The CPRS / ETS has just become a complicated additional tax which will make some consultants wealthy. The objective has been lost in all the noise ie; lets get away from dirty energy and fossil fuels. It has now become a lot of dirty hot air that only achieves a lot of pointless red tape. There is another gap: the one between what Rudd says and what he actually does. Unfortunately it seems that we cannot work this out. OUr political systems are incapable of solving this.

  17. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…This is an Aussie site…”

    On the WORLD WIDE Web.

  18. jchercelf

    Stop attacking each other and get the culprit – Kevin – who calmed us with sweet talk pre-election and hasn’t delivered anything towards the planet’s health.

    Battler for Kelly’s Bush which lead to
    The World’s first Green Ban
    right here in Sydney

  19. Angus Sharpe


    @Evan and Meski:

    US: “Not where I come from dickhead.”
    Australian/British translation: “If you are going to be a pedant, then you should at least get it right.”

    If I posted in Spanish on Crikey, it wouldn’t be “wrong”, it would just limit the number of potential readers. I agree with @Mama that quibbling about Americanisms is either nonsensical or xenophobic. Let’s be nice and agree that it was the former.

  20. james mcdonald

    MPM, Meski is of course neither stupid nor xenophobic. It’s just, what better way to relax on a stressful Monday, than to kick a Freudian basket case calling himself Most Peculiar Mama. Give your Mama my regards.

  21. Evan Beaver

    I’ll admit, I was just giving the chain a little yank to see what happened. The toilet flushed as expected.

    I’m not sure if Rudd is 100% to blame. Answer this; if he proposed the rolled-gold, perfect, 25, nay 40% target, give a price signal, put the pain on the polluters model the Left (me included) want, would it have passed the Senate? I think no.

  22. meski

    @MPM: When in Rome, wear a pasta coloured shirt, when in Australia, use Aussie spelling, or you’ll be mocked.

  23. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Well I am tired, or tyred, or both of the CPRS chook-squabble but I am even more tired of three weeks of Question-Time devoted to pie-fights over 78 people on or off a customs’ boat. That’s how I know we really are screwed.

  24. meski

    @Puff: When we charge the 78 people for the cost of Question Time, will be when you know we are truly screwed.

  25. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    For benefit of MPM : Chook = fowl, slang being the term for juvenile fowl i.e. chickens.

  26. Altakoi

    I wonder how long democracy as currently practiced in Australia can be considered a serious or acceptable form of government.

  27. james mcdonald

    Bernard, have they reached the point yet where they rush through the three readings of 75 per cent of the year’s legislation, after having frittered away the year up until now? As they do most years.

  28. meski

    Altakoi, you could omit “in Australia” and still have an acceptable question.

  29. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Democracy: The system of government that gives you the illusion of selecting your own leaders.

  30. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    BK, good on you.
    Your approach has more power than most will appreciate.
    The recalcitrant luddites, or those posing as denialists as all are in the habit of calling them, laugh at the effort made to convince them with good science and smart reason. It’s a waste of time.
    You may, on the other hand, be showing them that their self serving motives are best put aside for the time being as the whole thing is starting to give them a bad look of the kind they won’t afford.
    Especially as on the same page Clive Hamilton is doing an excellent job of discovering a brand new gruesome very hairy look to boot.

  31. Ian Bryant

    @meski but it still wouldn’t be authentically Australian unless Altakoi spelled it ‘practised’ would it?

  32. meski

    @Ian: It all caught me at a bad moment, Septics seem to think their spelling is The Only Way, which ends up giving me the sh*ts sometimes.

  33. JamesK

    I particularly laughed aloud at this sentence of incomprehension:

    “And I’m sick of the media and their inability to understand what’s going on or their blatant support of denialists as part of an infantile ideological game.”

    The person who never squanders the merest obtuse opportunity to denigrate the national broadsheet for partisanship apparently because Paul Kelly, George Megalogenis, Mike Steketee, Lenore Taylor et al subscribe to the IPCC as that which should not be questined and they believe in wait-for-it ‘global action on climate change’.

    I can see why you didn’t do the morally right thing and decry the KRudd’s disgusting speech last Friday.

    You too believe in the Krudd’s alternative ‘conspiracy’ apparently in the face of all evidence.

    Can I join this conspiracy? I’d like to. Tell me where to sign up. My concerns have been ignored so far.

    But apparently according to Bernard Keane my side is winning…..

    Now Bernard, that’s what I call ‘denial’ and it ain’t no river in Egypt…..

  34. david gilroy

    i agree Bernard. its all maddeningly frustrated bollocks.

  35. Heathdon McGregor

    Im sick of a PM who says a lot and does sweet fa

    Im sick of the non deniers thinking it is beneath them to debate and then crying that there wasn’t enough debate. If the risks are as great as you say they are then it shouldn’t be beneath you to debate them at any level.

    Im sick of being treated like a flat earther because I actually ask for proof more than “he scientist said so idiot and data that actually represents somebody noting down the information as it happened not theorised on it later.

    Im sick of Al Gore and the slick willy type of frontman he and George W represent. Got an unpopular idea? get a good ole boy with charisma top front it. I remember him from the last time. Censor.

    Im sick of seeing jet planes fly when I have been told that burning fossil fuels causes global warming and the only defence we have is carbon capture by trees which are down on the ground. With internet communications why arent Propeller planes good enough? At least for short trips?

    Im sick of the economists leading the arguement rather than the ecologists. Any wonder that people are starting to think it is the new millenium bug. Hard to disprove but very costly.

    Im sick that nobody has taken the time to explain how this statement is wrong “It doesn’t matter what we do in Oz until the big omitters have their plan in place” The only reply I have heard is “so you would rather do nothing”

    Im mostly sick that this government seems to be more concerned about how it/they look on the global stage than the country they are elected to govern.

  36. JamesK

    Hey maybe we ‘denialists’ may yet still acknowledge the self evident truth?


  37. Most Peculiar Mama

    The back-tracking and pathetic mealy-mouthed apology-making in the lead-up to Copenhagen will be HILARIOUS.

    Where the rubber meets the road, Rudd and his Climate Warriors will be a laughing stock.

    Even better, the warmgasming proselytes will be despondent.

    In that, true karma is a wonderful thing.

    Then we can all get on with living life without the daily doomsday prophecies of liars and misanthropes.

  38. D. John Hunwick

    For goodness sake give over about spelling and comment on the substance! Don’t reply to such distractions – it just wastes my time as I look for meaningful debate in the comments. To BK I say – we have never met but I weep with you. Please continue to articulate your view – it puts words to my own feelings. Is it not time that people walked (not march) to Parliament House and stood quietly outside with a sign saying “you will have to apologise for this one day”?

  39. Scott

    Well that’s great Bernard…A journalist who basically says he is fed up reporting the news. Thanks for the detailed analysis on that. I look forward to more insight in the future.
    This CPRS will be the biggest economic shift in the next few years and it deserves due consideration and airing of all views held in the community. Including the ones we don’t agree with, think are stupid etc.
    Sometimes you have to fight for what you want. Sometimes the victor is the guy left standing after 12 rounds, not the guy who knocks down his opponent in the first.

  40. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    McGregor old son, its quality human reason that tells us that the science that we do know may be telling us that we have been corrupting natures balances that control climate and the most likely scenario is lousy for us in too many ways.
    At this stage, in this scientific subject, there are good scientific arguments that we may have the reasoning (not necessarily the science) wrong or at least be over evaluating the consequences or even ignoring nature’s amazing self-righting (to its normal NOT to our happiness) adaptation powers which are in the league of the super-human compared to our own weeny powers.
    While we should all be allowed to talk about all this in any way we please NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PREVENT THE ACTION OF PURCHASING APPROPRIATE INSURANCE FOR THE FUTURE of the world and human life as we know it.
    Show me someone who doesn’t scramble their resources to buy pertinent necessary insurance when there’s a ‘JUST a good’ chance of need of protection.

  41. JamesK

    @Harvey Tarvydas
    Interesting you raise insurance.
    Ziggy Switkowski reviewed trends in insurance loss claims for evidence of any of the features of climate change that we’ve been told are already upon us. There was no such evidence. He was surprised.

    @Evan Beaver
    Ziggy is also as apparently as unintelligent and misinformed as you tell me I am.
    He too can’t see renewables replacing even the 20% target let alone your pie-in-the-sky aspirations for our energy requirements by 2020


  42. Liz45

    I’m sick of it all too! It’s so repetitive and the govt talking about the need for cutting emissions blah blah, and then treating us like morons with a ‘pretend solution’? If I see or hear one more person from the mining lobby, I’ll tear out my hair! (groan/scream).

  43. Richard Murphy

    The most dispiriting thing tho, is that Prefect Kevin has made us all look like toadies in the eyes of a GFC-stricken world that was taking heart from his moralizings.

  44. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas
    We’ve had a very recent lesson from the Global Financial Crisis in this science.
    PM Rudd as quick as lightening brings on one of the most stupendous Keynesian experiments in history before any of our western (and eastern) global peers get into the same and as soon as it starts to work ……… ‘what global financial crisis, STOP all that NOW’ or ‘OK, OK its working so STOP all that NOW.
    I can hear it now, ‘OK so we done all this to abate climate corruption and they say its working, SO STOP all that NOW’ from the idiots that abound (especially the ones who say PM Rudd does nothing he’s just all talk – well one just can’t get further from the truth than that)

  45. Heathdon McGregor

    Dr Harvey

    “Show me someone who doesn’t scramble their resources to buy pertinent necessary insurance when there’s a ‘JUST a good’ chance of need of protection.”

    Some people insure their pets, some dont insure their cars. Not sure of your point. If somebody told you to insure the wind would you? Could you? Don’t know.

    In my world some things are more important than insurance, food, lodging and health all are put before it.

  46. Heathdon McGregor

    (especially the ones who say PM Rudd does nothing he’s just all talk – well one just can’t get further from the truth than that)

    As one of those idiots that abound I call sook. Keep the name calling out of the arguement if you have enough faith in your arguement. Judging by your first points I can expect more and more name calling.

    Sook. Nobody just agrees with me, I better start calling them names.

  47. Ben Aveling

    I’d love for global warming to be a myth, a plot, a fiction of someone’s imagination.

    It isn’t. It’s real. It’s going to hit us and hurt us. At least, that’s what all the science says.

    @MPM. Perhaps you know better than all those scientists?

    Or perhaps you prefer anecdotes over analysis?

    If so, consider this: about 20 years ago Mt Isa had a 46 degree day. I remember it, I was there. And it was a record. For Mt Isa, a town in the middle of a desert in the middle of northern Australia. Earlier this year, we had 47 degrees in Marysville, a town in the middle of the Victoria skifields. Explain that, if global warming is a myth.

    Or this: Dengue fever has just struck Queensland for the second time in two months. Tropical diseases are moving further south.

    We can accept that, we can try to prepare for it, we can try to prevent it. Or we can stick our heads wherever and try to persuade ourselves that it isn’t happening.

  48. Heathdon McGregor

    Ben i cannot believe I didn’t agree before, one hot day in Mt Martha how many years ago. Dengue fever! Sold! Now you wonder why we have doubtsw?

  49. Evan Beaver


    Surprise surprise! A nuclear scientist who doesn’t think renewables will cut it. Who’d have thought?

  50. JamesK

    @Ben Aveling

    “At least, that’s what all the science says.”

    No. It doesn’t Ben.








    First of all there is no such thing as ‘science’ that tells us unequivocal truths. There are merely operative theories that apparently explain observations until the said theory is proven incorrect.

    It comes down to believing the IPCC or not. And they tell us that it’s all apparently too ‘complex’ to explain and we’ll just have to have faith.

    Bernard Keane deprived of his ancestral Faith has found a new one…….

  51. JamesK

    @Evan Beaver

    Yes a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Melbourne Uni and apart from CEO of Telstra he was also awarded the Advance Australia Award for outstanding achievement in Industry and Commerce.


  52. AR

    Bernard – you’ve done Trojan work in the slime filled trenches (much appreciated when I can be bothered) but you’ve finally had your epiphany – it ALL BULLSHIT!
    Inadequate people pretending otherwise, upon whom one would not piss were they ablaze.
    We, the PEOPLE, have the solution in our pencil wielding hands, vote them OUT, better a raving lunatic answerable to their LOCAL (‘member that concept?) electors than any vat bred apparatchik, party-line toeing timeservers.
    Any group mthat demands subserrvience is, by self definition, less than the sum of its parts.
    To quote the greatest Marxist of them all (Groucho) ” I wouln’t want to join any club that would have me as a member.”

  53. john2066

    Bernard, great post.

    The one good thing though is that in 10 years time, with the evidence in, hopefully we can give the climate deniers the rich, full credit they so rightly deserve for the climate we will have then.

  54. gregb

    John2066 I fear it will be cold (excuse the expression) comfort to give the deniers credit once the predictions have come true.

  55. Robert Garnett

    As someone with a modicum of insight once said,

    “We get the politicians we deserve.”

    This was true up until perhaps 25 years ago. It is now untrue. The world is not run by politicians, it is run by corporations. It is much like King John and the Barons circa 1200 AD. The deal between the Barons and the King was: You agree to what we want and you can be king. If you don’t you are dead. The unfortunate child of this arrangement was the Magna Carta of 1215. This document, venerated as the cornerstone of British Justice, did nothing to deliver freedom to the serfs of England, that had to wait seven hundred years when the industrial revolution created the middle class. The Magna Carta was a deal done to protect the Barons. It also spurned a raft of rent seekers known as the legal profession who now run most of our major companies and provide about 80% of our politicians.

    Today any western leader who does not pay homage to the industrial barons (CEO’s) of the world’s major companies is dead , not physically, but politically. So whoever we vote for we get a sycophant for corporate Australia. The US get a sycophant for corporate America, The British, and these people are the ones we really should feel sorry for, got Gordon Brown. For those who are unfamiliar with his contribution, he was the great architect of the recent collapse of the City of London which has been bailed out by the collective contribution of the British and Icelandic serfs.

    As John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out in the fifties, societies are blighted by “conventional wisdom”. This is not wisdom in the sense that it has intellectual integrity, but a wisdom that maintains the vested interests of the modern Barons. Conventional wisdom always falls and is replaced, but almost invariably this involves substantial collateral damage to the serfs and their political representatives.

    The Barons as always keep the loot, retire a safe distance from the action until the coast is clear and then return for a repeat performance.

    So will it be with climate change. I can’t understand why Bernard would expect it to be otherwise. When you own everything and are in charge why would you change something that works so well?

  56. Altakoi

    Which is the point Jared Diamond makes in ‘Collapse’. Heirachical societies, including the Mayans and the Easter Islanders so its not just us industrial types, fail in part because the upper eschelons are the last to feel the consequences of their disasterous actions. By that stage it is too late to do anything about what ails society in general and the whole ediface falls. The fin de sicle is ‘kleptocracy’, or the GFC as we know it today, in which everyone tries to maintain their position of priviledge until the ship sinks. This is sounding so very depressingly like current events.

  57. La+zy

    Thank you Bernard.

    …and, ffs, don’t become a journalist.

  58. pedro

    Yes, you are right Bernard, on current estimates we are screwed. Nobody is going to do a frigging thing. Copenhagen is already being called a failure.

    As noted somewhere I read, humans are genetically programmed for fight and flight. Without an immediate and present threat we will never do anything about what will guarantee the destruction of our species over the following decades.

    We will just keep on releasing all that stored CO2 into the atmosphere (coal and oil), even after the tipping point is reached.

    Did anyone else see the ABC doco called ‘Crude’ (don’t watch if you are already depressed about our inaction on climate change). It only covers oil, not coal, and could still be viewable at the http://www.abc.net.au/science website.

  59. pedro

    Perhaps a software upgrade is the only answer. Hello God???

    On present predictions, with human inaction on anything less than a tsunami (quite often not even acting until the wave is rocketing onto the beach) we are fully screwed on something like this. Something that occupies a ‘longer than my life’ time-span.

    It is a grave challenge for humanity, but considering there is little humanity among us I think we are doomed.

    Clever but stupid, that is my definition of being human.

  60. JamesK

    That’s too clever and stupid by half

  61. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    I love you raising Ziggy and the good point that goes with it.
    Science worries about ugly climate outcomes in the future due to man’s corruption (input) of the natural pattern of influences (CO2). Looking at recent weather especially and even future weather not to far away and relating negatives or undesirable episodes to ‘climate change’ is worse than unscientific, it’s pathetic and that insurance work alluded to is probably meaningful.
    I was using the word ‘insurance’ symbolically. And I want to say to

    Heathdon McGregor
    you’re right about name calling. I was ordinary. Our own human psychology is both personal and not. It owns us more than we own it.
    It is always present both as our most dangerous enemy and best friend.
    The persistent relentless repetition of ‘PM Rudd does nothing’ strongly reminds me of the nature of persistent symptoms of mental illness.

  62. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    Robert Garnett,
    the youth in me loves your contribution.
    However things will change in timely and appropriate need spoiling your romantic prediction.
    There are things afoot unheard of in the debate to date.

  63. Julian Robinson

    Bernard, I’ve not been a particular fan of yours but this is a beauty. Well said and may more say similar more often in more places until we get constructive policy and action.

    The second saddest part as we probably slide into the abyss is that the denialists will NEVER be called to account, whether their stupid strident screeches are responsible for the abyss or not. It is so easy for people with more ego than sense to make a virtue of going against mainstream/reality, but it may have consequences for which they really, truly should be made to pay.

  64. John Bennetts

    OK, JamesK, I have taken a good chunk of my evening to wrap my head around the references you cite.
    1. Nonsense reference to an inane discussion topic, contribution number 99 or so. A poor start.
    2. Better. This bloke has a PhD and cred. However, his gripe with IPCC’s 4th report is on page 690, Part 8.x. That’s really scratching for an argument. What about the first 689 pages? Or those following?
    3. A list of 450 peer reviewed papers… except that many of them are not peer reviewed at all, merely a listing of opinion pieces. Some that actually come from recognised journals, have been peer reviewed, but unfortunately about 50% are 5 to 20 years old, ie past their use-by date. If I was ever to cite work which was more than 4 years old, at most, in my postgraduate offerings, I would be struck down by the equivalent of lightning and pilloried, the exceptions being those seminal works which defined the future of the discipline during the ensuing decades. I don’t recognise many such in this list of papers. It is better described as an unfiltered listing of assorted readings which have been selected to reinforce the a priori assumption that the great majority of scientific knowledge re global warming is mistaken and that you are not.

    I have not bothered to review the remainder – the strength of your offering is clear.

    Thank you for providing this opportunity to review your thought processes – it was quite bold.

    Unfortunately for you, the world’s citizens are becoming impatient about the effect that your ilk have had on an otherwise rational and urgent debate.

  65. Scoogsy

    Absolutely spot on Bernard. A great piece fill with a bit of hot blooded emotion that hits the nail on the head when it comes to the BS MPs are feeding the community on the CPRS and the amazing lack of backbone shown by anyone in Parliament House on the most important issue to face man kind.

    I can only hope these initial, pitiful, actions are a precursor to start the ball rolling on real action. If not, our children will and should cook with disgust and rage at what we’ve left them in a time when we had every chance of doing the right thing, but wouldn’t.

  66. Ben Aveling

    @JamesK – dipping into your sources:

    “this rise in CO2 can explain only between 1 and 3.5 °C of the warming inferred from proxy records. We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming” –http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/abs/ngeo578.html

    Well, that’s quite clear. They may believe that CO2 causes an increase in temperature, but at least they believe there are other causes.

    “Warming, from whatever cause, is more likely to produce economic benefits than economic losses.” –http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/deFreitas.pdf

    So that’s alright then.

    “Over the 20th century, CO2 has increased in concert with temperature.” –http://www.freesundayschoollessons.org/pdfs/climate-history.pdf


    PS. freesundayschoollessons ? A well respected scientific journal in many quarters!

    Perhaps you might like to point out the bits where respected scientists explain in peer reviewed journals why climate change isn’t happening? Because I’m not seeing it.

  67. JamesK

    @John Bennetts

    I could have cited hundreds more but that’s not the point.
    I cited them in support of my response to Ben Avelings far from unique assertion of what he thinks ‘science’ says.

    1 Joanne Nova writes a forceful critique of Rudd’s speech last week.

    In it she explains the nature of science and why assertion like Ben’s are wrong.

    She was a delegate at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali in Dec 2007 and a speaker at International Climate Change Conference in New York this year. She was a lecturer at ANU and helped to develop the Graduate Diploma in Science Communication there.

    The essay I cited was I think quite extraordinary and wonderful. I urge everyone to read it. You don’t need to be a climate change sceptic in order to decry Rudd’s disgraceful effort last week at the Lowy Institute.

    Somebody with an open mind would have given pause before accepting the MSM and prime ministerial sliming of climate change sceptics.

    2. Dr. Roy Spencer is probably the second best well known climate change sceptic in the world. He received his Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. Before becoming a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencer’s work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. (That measures global temperatures John Bennetts). He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming.

    The article was but one article on his website. In it he argues that despite the fact that the magnitude of anthropogenic global warming depends mostly upon the strengths of feedbacks in the climate system, there is no known way to actually measure those feedbacks from observational data. This is one of the very live issues in climate science. Co2 doubling of itself even in the IPCC models raise global temps by only 1 degree Celsius at most. For the predictions positive forcings from feedbaks have to occur. (Incidentally Jo Nova addresses this too in the first article I listed thst you so casually denigrated after supposedly reading it all evening.)

    But there are hundreds more articles on that website , backed up by hundreds of graphs and tables of you know…..data…you know from observations and stuff like that.

    Spencer is one of those odd climate scientists. The kind of scientist that still prizes data from observation. You know boring measurements to support his theories.

    I’m not sure that he would be overly concerned with you’re in-depth analysis.

    3. I looked at it again. Yep ….. 450 articles all published in peer review science journals. I’ll stick my neck above the parapet here and risk a hansonian: “Please explain.”

    Furthermore when a research paper is published does not invalidate it. Almost no science publications I know fail to cite papers that are considerably older. Most in that reference were are within the last 7 years.

    Wow John Bennetts ! …….”a good chunk of my evening to wrap my head around the references” you say?

    You commented on three.

    Perhaps this was as a result of my posts in response to yours yesterday?


  68. thedukeofmadness

    I remember reading about Vaslav Nijinsky, the Ukranian born Russian ballet dancer and the diary he wrote in Switzerland in the six weeks before he was committed to an asylum. It shows his decline into incoherent ranting. I get the same feeling reading Bernard’s little treatises.

    But fret not my little watermelons (red covered by green) Malcolm Turnbull will force his party room to pass the E.T.S. as he is terrified that the Prime Minister will call a double dissolution election. He should just let the E.T.S. pass then wait for the next election. Or at least Tony Abbott should, who will be leader after Malcolm falls on his sword.

    Tony Abbott should wait because when Queensland folk find out just how much the E.T.S. will cost them (the Dominion post says today – Tuesday the 17th – that N.Z.’s will cost 92,000 dollars per person when it passes so our bill will be much higher) and what it will do to the mining industry, the Prime Minister will most likely lose his seat.

    Of course, were it possible for the watermelons to stop this E.T.S. nonsense, as most of the rest of the world seems to have done, then I would go back to supporting the Prime Minister 100% again as other than this foolhardy exercise, he’s done a bang up job and made me happy I voted for him. But they won’t so I can’t.

  69. JamesK

    @Ben Aveling

    Now you are discussing something other than what my post to you addressed.

    Before we go on to discuss something else you need to first concede.

    Otherwise argue sensibly why you have proprietary rights on science such that you can assert what it “says.”

    I will merely point out at this time that Richard Linden, Roy Spencer, Ian Plimer to name but a few are climate scientists and they would disagree with your view that global warming will kill our children and our children’s children and make us at least awfully uncomfortable.

    Moreover they all acknowledge global warming but they also acknowledge global cooling and they say anthropogenic CO2 is merely a bit player. They assert that these changes in the latter half of the 20th century are part of natural cycles and in no way out of the ordinary.

    Furthermore they say nothing we plan to do will make a difference except to increase poverty and human suffering on a global scale.

  70. evidently

    Well Bernard


    I have always got a lot out of your daily insights but I am concerned, shellfishly, that you are raising the white flag while pointing out the p*ss poor efforts and the lack of real action. I wrote in the same key in reply to your popular piece on new Hansonism last week where I said.

    “I lay the blame for inaction on climate change at the feet both major parties, and I have to say I’m bloody disappointed in the stupidity of deniers who just wont join the real fight… which is step up to the government to fulfil their promises of taking real action – whether they believe or don’t believe.”

    And just so you know, I think you need to get over what ever ails you, and put a size 12 boot up the a*se of the denialist journo’s good and hard. They are obscuring a clear view of our underachieving ministers. We are relying on you since we can’t rely on our major parties to get off the easy-money teat.

    I swear its true, the australian public are gagging for that rare commodity that you have continually shown you’ve got, an abundance of guts and literary incisiveness. Australia is ready for it, roll those tosser deniers, they are just asking for it and let them take it out there frustrations on our shiny boy scout prime minister who just wants to be friends with the rest of the world’s leaders at our children’s expense. f*ck him, he has had his chance.

    go bern go bern go bern flame ’em bern burn bern

  71. David Allen

    I cant help thinking of ‘angels’ and ‘pin heads’

    Spot on again Bernard.

  72. Evan Beaver

    I mentioned this before, but it was lost in the noise. As pointed out by others, democracy as a system has it’s flaws. Churchill said something like “democracy is the worst form of government available; apart from all the others that we have tried.”

    The legislation behind the CPRS is so ineffective, because it has to be watered down to pass the senate. For legislation to pass, it must be supported by the Greens plus the 2 indies; or the Liberals. The indies includes Fielding, and his God has told him everyone else is wrong, and man definitely did NOT evolve from monkeys. Then, due to the awesome power of the party system, that means the Liberals as a block have to vote for it. As so often happens to a party in opposition, they are in disarray over this issue; a leader who seemingly wants to take some action is trying to herd cats and get some support. As long as Barnyard breaths air, this won’t happen. So we’re stuffed. A better scheme is not Ruddd’s to be proposed; we are at the whim of a christian fundy and an opposition party who are trying to score points by opposing everything. Nothing he can do will make a lick of difference. Unless of course he orders a hit on Fielding.

    The legislation will continue to do nothing until we change the senate. I hope it’s an actual issue at the ballot box. Fur will fly, and I suspect we’ll see a very different senate to the one we have.

  73. Ben Aveling

    > Now you are discussing something other than what my post to you addressed.

    James, I’m quoting from the papers you linked to.

  74. JamesK

    @ Ben Aveling

    You know because you are not stupid Ben, that “quoting from the papers you linked to” does not equate to not now “discussing something other than what my post to you addressed.”

    Try honesty. It’s still the best policy

    @ Evan Beaver

    An internal document of the British Electricity National Grid says wind power could cost “£300 – £800 per mega watt hour (MWH) compared to conventional generation at £23 per MWH”.


    Ah those psensible renewables as opposed to the stupidity of all those who doubt their practicable rapid deployment. Eh Evan?

  75. JamesK

    @ The Moderator.

    Please insert “Edit” when you censor chunks of my posts.

    Not advising others of what you have censored means that apart from not reading very well they mislead readers that my posts are anodyne and of course their not.

    Furthermore the “Edit” may at least give a hint of where I was headed and I would appreciate at least that courtesy 🙂

    [Edit – Yes, fair enough, sorry about that, an oversight. If you could address other commenters without insulting them that would be appreciated too and also reduce the workload considerably.]

  76. Evan Beaver

    How is that relet James? An internal, predictive document from the UK, talking about what prices compared to traditional generation might be? Why not use actual costs from actual farms? Further, do those conventional prices include a price on carbon? And anyway, what does that have to do with this discussion? I know wind is more expensive.

    I strike your comment from my personal record, sighting relevance.

  77. JamesK

    @Evan Beaver

    Are you reversing your strident advocacy for renewables Evan?

    It’s just that you have told me that you are informed on the topic in contrast to my ignorance as I recollect it. I have cited two very recent references that point to its impracticality and now you are ducking and weaving?

    I’m disappointed that my comment has been struck from your “personal record” as it was citing only two very recent well written and well researched references that rather call in to question your aggressively asserted position on renewables.

    You seemed to engage with the first reference but now not the second? Well that’s not quite true either really.

    Very strange.

    I may have to strike you from my…. ahem… personal database.

    A tit for tat strike so to speak.

  78. james mcdonald

    JamesK, rather than read the articles you cite, or verify their scientific rigour and due process, I’m just going to take your word that they say exactly what you say they do, and that they support your claims very well.

    It changes nothing, unless they convince the weight of the scientific academies and associations to change their positions. What you’re doing is like arguing over a court case that’s already gone through all its appeals, arguing it on individual bits of evidence rather than flaws in the judgements. If you assume that all levels of judgement have been flawed, then we really have been in a pickle for much longer than this debate has been going.

    If so many scientists and scientific organisations are wrong about this in the face of weight of evidence to the contrary, then perhaps we should be ignoring–whenever there is any rigorous but outlying dissent–the weight of scientific advice on diet, exercise, disease control, quarantine, soil science, water resource science, disaster warning schemes, air safety investigations, and building safety standards.

    Personally, when I hear of some research saying milk will kill me or I should eat high protein and low carb or similar, I don’t change my habits without first asking a doctor about it. No matter how rigorous and peer-reviewed that one tiny piece of the puzzle may be.

  79. Heathdon McGregor

    Dr Harvey

    I only bring attention to the name calling because it is a trap I personally fall into too often. The reason I continue with the “Rudd doesn’t actually do anything” is that I fear he is another Blair where the intelligentsia told us how great he was without him actually doing anything until he sold out the lower classes on education and sent them to war before going on a reformation tour to Isreal and the UN looking for validation. I also am frustrated as the main thing Mr Rudd has done he was forced to. The economy. If only he was proactive in light of the anti-liberal sentiment that abounds at the moment. When might a labour leader have this much sway over the country again? With fixing the economy they amassed such a large debt to do it which as I understand is almost a caricature of how labour governments have acted in the past.

  80. james mcdonald

    Oh and I almost forgot, there remains the induction principle. The IPCC’s predictions of medium-term trends have outperformed dissenting predictions in the last two decades, subject to short-term noise, southern oscillation and other variables.

  81. JamesK

    Groan….. James McDonald

    Do you agree with Ben Aveling’s assertion that “that’s what all the science says”?

    Citing references in support of one’s argument does not imply that everything in the article cited is one’s opinion. That would be silly.

    So what is your point?

    I could cite many fold more articles in support of the sceptics position and along the spectrum of climate alarmism not just what they incorrectly assert ‘the science says’.

    Where even have I asserted that the theory of AGW is wrong?


    If you prefer to argue in an infantile manner, I may cave in and assert something like:

    “I strike your comment from my personal record, sighting(sic) relevance.”

  82. Evan Beaver

    No James, admitting it is more expensive does not mean I’m not advocating. Of course it’s more expensive. I’ve never disputed that, never will. I am and remain a strong advocate for renewables.

    All those papers show is that renewables are more expensive. So what?

  83. Julian Robinson

    JamesK – what if you win the argument, and you’re wrong?

    As such a knowledgeable scientifically literate person, you know that we are dealing with, and can only ever deal with, theories. If you added some real-world applied science to your credentials (i.e. engineering or project management with real outcomes) you’d be talking risk management. Because the consequences of ‘possible’ global warming are so terrible/catastrophic, any prudent manager (of the world) would be taking the hardest anti-warming actions possible, at great cost. Why aren’t you advocating this?

    It can only be because you believe not in scientific method and the status of theories, but have decided your view is fact. Rubbish. Not just rubbish, but extraordinarily dangerous rubbish for which there is no justifiable basis.

  84. John Wood

    I just wanted to say – ‘Good on you Bernard!’, couldn’t agree more with your sentiments.

  85. james mcdonald

    JamesK: “Where even have I asserted that the theory of AGW is wrong?”

    Fair question.

    Ben Aveling says: “[Global warming is] going to hit us and hurt us. At least, that’s what all the science says.”

    You say: “No. It doesn’t Ben.”

    No doubt there are whole realms of possibility between these two non-mutually-exclusive assertions that (a) the science says global warming is going to hit us and hurt us, and (b) the theory of anthropogenic global warming is wrong. The most obvious of these being that non-anthropogenic global warming is going to hit us and hurt us, while anthropogenic global warming is not going to hit us and hurt us.

    In any case, it begins to look as if you’re playing mind games with people. Witholding more of your position than you reveal, in order to catch someone out in an error of misconstruing you. And the thing is, nobody cares about what one man thinks. They have bigger fish to fry.

    So how about you state your own position clearly. Including what you’re confident of and what you’re still unsure of, and where you think Australian policy should go from here.

  86. james mcdonald

    Or rather, “… the most obvious of these being that AGW theory is correct but AGW is not going to hit us and hurt us.” Or whatever. The rest of my post … please answer the question. What’s your position?

  87. JamesK

    @Julian Robinson

    You started producing an argument which is good but then fell over a cliff in a downward spiral of grandstanding.

    As if making your assertion without an argument in a grandiose and self-righteous manner was actually meaningful in making your case.

    In fact it sounds rather like an old fashioned denunciation of sinners from a fervent pulpit bible thumper.

    As I said in a much earlier post on this article:

    “It comes down to believing the IPCC or not. And they tell us that it’s all apparently too ‘complex’ to explain and we’ll just have to have faith.”

    Now like it or not there are informed and respectable fellow human beings and experts in this area who also are sceptical and this can’t be said to be ‘too complex’ for them as many of them still research and publish in the field.

    Some of them even argue that there is more than enough evidence already to dismiss this ‘greenhouse theory’. I suppose at a stretch such individuals could be called something more than merely sceptical.

    They would be the ‘atheists’ to my ‘agnosticism’ I guess.

    You, however are a religionist as is Bernard Keane.

    Malcolm Turnbull isn’t a religionist (at least I don’t think so) but he does accept the theory and some at least of the IPCC projections. He certainly accepts that it is worthwhile to attempt an amelioration by way of reducing anthropogenic CO2.

    I disagree with him as do many of his colleagues. That does not mean that I think Australia should not be a good global citizen and play its rightful part in a world-wide agreed strategy to decrease man made CO2.

    I personally think its pointless and without foundation and can only do harm but at least that harm should be fairly shared.

    There are others but they are in a very marked minority who don’t accept that we play our part as world citizens. in fact I’m not sure you could fairly characterise the Nats that way

    I suspect the Krudd isn’t a ‘religionist’. He thinks it just suits him to appear so. I suspect he is merely, in Bernard’s words, an opportunist in “an infantile ideological game”

    Now if I take a contrary position to yours based on my reading of the topic, including critiques of the IPCC, why does that enable you to call me a ‘denier’ with all its connotations of Holocaust denialism (see Clive Hamilton’s latest addition to his disgraceful series of articles along these lines yesterday)?

    Even worse why is reasonable that our PM, the leader of a modern western democracy that champions free speech be allowed, without denunciation in Bernard’s supposed counter-evidenced partisan MSM, ad hominem and offensive attacks on named individuals including incredibly Malcolm Turnbull and indeed generically me because I fit into his sick definition of ‘denier’?

  88. Pete WN

    I know I’m late in the game here, but the irony of Evan Beaver’s pedantic correction of MPM re: ‘tyre’ was hilarious.

    You’ve got to love the pedantic focus on superflous detail, while ignoring the main point of a AGW denialist! Brilliant!

  89. JamesK

    @ James McDonald

    Lol at the irony of you accusing me of playing mind games.

    Ben Aveling has an opinion. No problem there.
    I took umbrage with his assertion that “that’s what all the science says”

    Now it simply isn’t. What part of that do you not understand?

    [Edit – Why is this so difficult? Discussion yes, insults no]

  90. JamesK

    @ Pete WN

    Perhaps MPM could conversely enjoy Evan’s “sighting relevance”?

  91. JamesK

    Good article by Alan Kohler in Crikey’s sister publication.

    One that Bernard Keane should read and digest before turning on his usual gushing fountain of crocodile tears:


  92. Evan Beaver

    Yeah James, I can certainly see the comedy in my own failure.

    He who throws the first stone and all that.

  93. james mcdonald

    Moderator, I know you have to keep up standards, and we don’t want to offend everybody. But I can’t make head or tail of most of JamesK’s hair-splitting. Life is too short. And I’m not thin skinned. So can you either include his insults towards me only, or at least tell me whether reading his insults would help enlighten me as to what he goes on about?

  94. Evan Beaver

    That is a good article, thanks JamesK. I agree with virtually all of it too. For the same price as the compensation for industry, they could have just bought out the brown coal generators. I have a feeling that the big gas pipeline required for a gas turbine is already in the La Trobe; and the electricity infrastructure is definitely there. The prime intent of this legislation is to wedge the Oppn.

    I’m liking Rudd less and less as the days tick by.

  95. james mcdonald

    JamesK I agree everything you say at 12:08pm NSW time. Thank you, that also answers my earlier questions.
    The only opinion I don’t share with you there is the one about Turnbull being wrong. Both on balance of probabilities, and on balance of risks, I think Turnbull is right.
    I also agree with the Business Spectator article you linked to, and I’ve argued for more practicality elsewhere.
    Finally, I strongly believe on everything I’ve ever seen of Rudd that he is 100 per cent grandstander, no policy substance at all. And you can put that down as an ad hominem attack on Rudd, if you like, I’ll stand by it until he gives me any reason to think otherwise.

  96. Pete WN

    @Jamesk – yep good article! Politics over substance – who would’ve thunk it? It’s a very good example of the shortcomings of democracy, unfortunately.

  97. acannon

    Maybe we should settle this once and for all with a giant scrum! Climate change believers vs climate change deniers! We can beat each other to our hearts’ content. We can taunt each other’s spelling. We can poke each other with copies of our various reports. After we have all killed each other the environment will be left to recover itself to the best of its abilities and some other species can try for top dog position. My bet’s on ants, or germs.

    For the record I’ll be on the believers’ side. I’m going to start weightlifting now to improve my upper body strength. Also I’ll be sharpening my nails.

    Even if you don’t believe climate change is happening because of us, surely it’s still a good idea to reduce reliance on coal and petroleum? They’re finite resources – they are going to run out and we’ll HAVE to come up with alternatives some way or another. Also, it is probably cheaper to instigate earth-based water saving strategies than trying to retrieve it from the moon (I’m sure someone’s planning that already).

  98. Robert Garnett

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas, Perhaps you could elaborate on these things that are affoot.

    It may give me hope.

  99. GeorgeD

    JamesK, you are acting like a denialist. You throw us about a dozen completely unrelated links with no attempt to explain any of them. Then you say, that it’s “too complicated”.

    Svensmark _is_ discredited. His theory has been torn to shreds. Time and time again. There is no evidence for it. Any person with a fragment of dignity or sense would see that, take the the theory, and quietly put it to bed.


  100. JamesK


    You are incorrect and disingenuous.

    I didn’t throw you about dozen completely unrelated links as you put it.

    All make the point (and by ‘all’ I mean every single one) that it clearly is not “what all the science says” as Ben Aveling had asserted and it was to his post that I responded.

    All of that is perfectly clear to anyone with an once of nouse reading the posts. But apparently not to you George. I wonder why not? Hmmm?

    Moreover the first link and many others explained in very clear terms why Ben’s assertion (far from universal) was false.

    I see that you quote RealClimate run by the thoroughly discredited and dishonest scientist Michael Mann creator of the infamously misleading hockeystick graph and ‘removalist’ of the Mediaeval Warm Period from (at least his) climate historical record.

    Mann’s and RealClimate’s ‘techniques’ are what is known universally in the climate science community as “GARP” – Generally Accepted Realclimate Procedure aka ‘lying’, ignoring and manipulating of data to suit alarmists’ agendas.


    GeergeD, you act like a religionist.

  101. Justin Wood

    I wanted to leave a comment saying I emphatically agree with Bernard. (And I do!)

    Being somewhat new to Crikey [comments], I then skim-wade through the comments… Ahh the musing of @JamesK. Good god. I think my favourite is throwing up the notorious ClimateAudit against RealClimate; ie, a couple of right-wing hacks versus routinely published, seminal climatologists. I’d point out that not only is M Mann not discredited but that the ‘hockey stick’ has been substantially updated in recent times anyway, and confirmed by multiple independent sources (although with a less flat ‘stick’); or that M Mann doesn’t actually actively contribute to RC anymore in any case; but what would be the point.

    Funny stuff though! How crestfallen I am to find that ClimateAudit and WUWT have — apparently! — mightily overthrown the weight of the 10,000+ peer-reviewed scientific papers appearing each year that continue to reaffirm and deepen the unequivocal reality of anthropogenic climate change.

    And I just can’t resist. Regarding the Nature paper[1] which was cited in that list of 450 papers disagreeing with AGW (many of which from Energy & Environment no less!): if persons placing it on such a list had read it, or been able to understand it, they might have realised that it was referring to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. It specifically says that at the current mean climate sensitivity estimate of ~3 oC for 2x CO2, the increased atmospheric CO2 could only explain up to 3.5 oC of the observed warming. Other forcings feedbacks would likely have occurred to cause the rest. What this means is that there are other processes which could cause even greater warming, not in the slightest that CO2 didn’t do precisely as expected; at the very least for the PETM event.

    This all reminds me why I often try to avoid reading comments…

    [1] http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/abs/ngeo578.html

  102. evamary

    Terrific post, Bernard. You have your finger on the pulse of a nation. Something is shifting – what a pity one of the mainstream pollies (apart from the Greens) couldn’t say it instead.

    Your respondent Joe Boswell completes the picture. What’s standing in the way is the people behind the politicians. One example is the electric car. India developed a car 15 years ago (the REVA) Its range was only 70 ks, but that’s enough for most Australian commute journeys. It’s been running around Europe for years and when Red Ken introduced the 8 pound bounty on cars using the London CBD in the day, the rich bought REVAs and left their Mercs at home. Bingo – a quieter less polluted London!

    Go forward to 2005-6 – the Solar Shop imports a REVA for a trial. The Howard government deems it to be unsafe and imposes a $60,000 + penalty if it’s driven on the road. Alannah McTiernan, the then transport minister in the WA Labor government, transports the car to WA and asks for 50 volunteers to buy the cars for a trial. No permission was given by the Feds. Bye bye REVA.

    Studies in Europe showed the car to be safe, so what was the problem? My opinion is that the car industry (sales and maintenance) and the fossil fuel industries used their political weight to nobble it. Why? First of all we don’t want profits going to Indian companies – that’s not de rigueur!

    Secondly, many jobs depend on sales (still fairly safe for electric cars) and spare parts etc – where jobs will certainly be lost, because electric cars require almost NO maintenance. And then there are all those American V8s, SUVs and Hummers to get rid of. Finally – they don’t use diesel, petrol or gas.

    Oh- I hear you cry -but what about the coal for the electricity? Well the cost to plug in to the grid at the moment is about $4 a week. It is a very efficient way of delivering energy to an automobile. Secondly it’s easier to control emissions from a power station (in the interim period between status quo and alternative) than from the tailpie of 2 milliom cars). Finally – the cars don;t wear out – also a negative for the car industry.

    This scenario is being played out in many industries and shows the failure of capitalism to address these problems. What’s good for the market is clearly not what’s good for the planet, in the short term at least. And the short term is what politicians have to deal with, because the electorate is so fickle. On this issue however, the grumblings are everywhere.

    Your piece says it all. More power to your arm.

  103. james mcdonald

    GeorgeD, I’ve been paying closer attention to JamesK’s posts in the past week, and I’ve begun to glean a method behind his abrasive style. I don’t think he’s a denialist. Actually I no longer think he’s a lot of things I’ve called him or implied him to be.

    Partly this scrutiny of him has been motivated by the effort to interpolate the insults he apparently throws at me which keep getting edited out. I haven’t really been insulted properly since I came to live in Sydney, kind of miss the entertainment of a good free-for-all (like John Cleese looking for an argument–insults are next door) and I find it a bit frustrating they keep getting edited out. Though I appreciate that the moderators are concerned with weightier matters than my personal entertainment.

    Anyway, I’m going to hazard a theory here that JamesK is actually on a mission to raise the standard of discourse in these threads, no more and no less. I base this on:

    1) His personal position is always in the background, evidence and devils-advocacy in the foreground
    2) He challenges us on our rationality and our methods of sophistry, not so much on our underlying politics

    So I’ve been re-examining my own style and finding that it leaves a lot to be desired. I also found an interesting book by Deborah Tannen criticising Argument Culture, which I intend to learn about in the hope of rising above the trench warfare of words that characterises so much of public debate in this country, as much in the Crikey threads as anywhere else.

  104. james mcdonald

    I’m getting my Pythons mixed up in my head. That was Palin, not Cleese.
    And don’t let it go to your head, JamesK. You’re still Lenin compared to me 🙂

  105. Ben Aveling


    You may be right about JamesK. And he is right in his claim that I cannot prove that Climate Change is real. I cannot. Nor can I prove that smoking causes cancer. All I can do is look at a smattering of the evidence which goes past, and make a calculated guess, based on accepting what looks sensible (the anti-smoking literature, and the it’s-getting-warmer brigade), and rejecting (declining) what looks less than sensible (the smoking-is-harmless literature and the climate-skeptic brigade).

    But if his objective is to raise the (often low) level of debate then he could do better at leading by example.

    I am prepared to look at his evidence. Indeed, I have done so – in part, I admit. I have not looked at each of his 450 papers. But those that I have looked at, I have found wanting. In some cases, because I couldn’t understand what they were trying to say. Those I have had to ignore because whether they are either a lot smarter than I, or vice versa, I have failed to understand what they are trying to say. In other cases, I found the arguments unconvincing. I have listed 3 such examples above, and I am still waiting for James to respond. Until he does I will continue to believe that credible scientists overwhelming accept the reality of carbon driven global warming. If I had more time I would investigate his claim that Linden, Spencer and Plimer should be taken seriously. But, at the moment, I don’t. If he wants to persuade me, he will have to do some more legwork himself.

    And I will take this opportunity to add one more comment:
    >First of all there is no such thing as ‘science’ that tells us unequivocal truths.
    This is true.

    >There are merely operative theories that apparently explain observations until the said theory is proven incorrect.
    This is false. At least, it is as false as the previous theory is true. All theories that require the exercise of science for their validation are only approximations (though some of them are very good approximations indeed). As such, theories are neither true nor false, just better or worse.

  106. JamesK

    “Nor can I prove that smoking causes cancer.”

    You can Ben. You just need to say “Hill & Doll”.

    Because they did it for you.

    They didn’t predict it beforehand and get past data to fit into a complex computer program and ascribe various weightings to literally hundreds of variables in order that the computer could ‘predict’ the past known data. The hope is it then predicts the future accurately. Only trouble is it doesn’t. No upper atmosphere equatorial ‘hot spot’ and global cooling in the last 8 years again not predicted.

    Hill & Doll sought to use well defined populations in oreder to have all other variables constant to study the actions of one variable.

    In short normal simple science with observations that could be explained by one theory and one theory only.

    Namely that smoking causes lung cancer.

    No new data has come forward to refute the theory.

    Look it up on Google.

    They did longitudinal studies on GP’s actually.

    They demonstrated beyond doubt that the incidence of lung cancer was many many fold higher in smokers and there was no otherwise significant differences between the populations.

  107. JamesK


    I’ve told you once…..

  108. Ben Aveling


    Perhaps lung cancer causes a desire to smoke? Perhaps there is a gene that causes both a predilection towards smoking and a tendency towards cancer in all its forms?

    Demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt is not the same as proved.

    I agree that all the science says that cancer causes smoking. Or, if you prefer, the science, on balance, strongly says that cancer causes smoking.

  109. JamesK

    Where did you get the 3.5 oC Justin?

    I haven’t heard that one before.

    The IPCC models have 1deg Celsius due to CO2 rise and the majority of their predicted rise due to forcings. as I said earlier.

    Is it your contention that the IPCC are grossly underestimating their projections of global warming this century?

  110. JamesK

    As an addendum. I’ll be away from posting for 2days.

    Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit was one of the duo that uncovered Michael Mann’s great lie. I’ve never heard him described as rightwing before. He just opposes Mann’s soothsaying and criticises in substance the scientific prognostications of the IPCC.

    Happy for everyone to compare both blogs. I think ClimateAudit stands clear as the more honest and much least spectacular in predictions.

    Mind you that tends to be the nature of people who gainsay catastrophists

  111. james mcdonald

    Yes, touche Ben.

    Just goes to show you don’t need to be a walking library or claim scientific expertise to demonstrate winning logic.

  112. Justin Wood

    @JamesK writes:
    Where did you get the 3.5 oC Justin?

    I haven’t heard that one before.

    Oh good lord. You’re just underscoring my point — either you haven’t read, or don’t understand, what you cite. At least for this nature paper: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/abs/ngeo578.html. It, and I, refers to the 3.5 oC temperature rise inferred from proxy records for the PETM event some 55 million years ago. Clearer?

    IPCC AR4 — ie, the science — has actual observed temperature rise of 0.76 oC since pre-industrial. No idea what 1 oC you’re talking about. For the record, ‘climate sensitivity’, commonly defined in terms of a doubling of CO2, is currently estimated to be about 3 oC. Many (eg, Hansen, etc) in recent times argue from the paleoclimatic record that this does not properly account for slow feedbacks (vegetation, the cryopshere, cloud effects, etc) and is likely to be too low.

    I swore I wasn’t going to reply… and so now I shan’t further.

  113. David Howe

    Spot on Bernard. The only question really is how come it took you so long to realise what’s been obvious since almost day one with this bunch of crooks. All talk and no walk, the only thing they have done is suck up to our corporate overlords. The politics of deception.

  114. JamesK

    The latest news is that it looks like the hacked data from the Hadley Centre depicting emails like this that demonstrate the ‘real’ scientists from RealClimate are indeed in a conspiracy:

    From: Phil Jones
    To: “Michael E. Mann”
    Subject: IPCC & FOI
    Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008


    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

    I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!



    Prof. Phil Jones
    Climatic Research Unit

    In this case a conspiracy to keep Justin’s right wing non scientists from ClimateAudit (referred to as CA in the above leaked email, AR$ the 4 th IPCC report and FOI freedom of information request… on scientific data??????) in the dark about another one of Michael Mann’s doctored research papers published in Nature.

    I note my earlier response to Justin after deigned to give us a second post has not passed the Moderator.

  115. twobob

    A sad reality of any post like this is that discussions on it will invariably lead to an argument between some sceptic and those who feel as the author did why penning his disgust in the way that the politicians have treated the science of this matter.

    Sceptics like james k who on one hand refutes all the evidence of thousands of peer reviewed articles and then holds up Ian Plimer as an absolute authority of scientific correctness. But james seeks to mislead us all for if he was sceptical surely he would be equally sceptical of every thing.

    And fyi james and all Plimer IS NOT A CLIMATE SCIENTIST. to claim that he is is an outright lie. Some thing that inevitably happens when delusionists are forced to justify their arguments.

    I think you should have spent more time at your sunday school lessons james because you fail at the honesty and integrity level of this discussion.

  116. SBH

    indeed twobob

    “If then, said I, the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet who employs those faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion – I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape. ”

    Thomas Huxley 1860 defening Darwinism from ‘skeptics’

  117. JamesK


    1. Show me where in your words I “on one hand refutes all the evidence of thousands of peer reviewed articles and then holds up Ian Plimer as an absolute authority of scientific correctness”

    2. Are not Paleoclimatology and Geology part of the climate sciences?
    Ian Plimer is a Ph.D.(Monash) in Geology and teaches the subject at Adelaide Uni.

    3. I resent you calling me dishonest Twobob.
    Sadly all too often that’s what leftists do.
    Ad hominem sliming when they are bereft of an argument.

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