CPRS, climate change et al:

Megan Hill writes: Re. “Households bail out business on dud CPRS” (yesterday). I’ve read again and again how dirty polluters are going to be compensated for polluting with hand outs and free permits. Yep, got it. What I would like to know is what is the point of a CPRS that compensates everyone for doing the very thing we’re trying to get them to not do.

If there’s no, or minimal, cost to the polluters (including households), how can the CPRS possibly get the behaviour change we need and also shift those dirty coal cost curves up to make alternative technologies comparatively cost effectively (which I’d assumed was what were aiming for here, full accounting of environmental costs to show the real cost of dirty tech).

I understand the point of the CPRS and how it is supposed to work, and this seems to totally negate the point of it. Are we going to end up with a very very very administratively expensive system that does absolutely nothing?

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My mind boggles. Can someone explain?

Sean Hosking writes: I don’t want to disturb James Younger (yesterday, comments) from the intellectual fog that guides his earnest and touchingly naive investigation into the “truth” of anthropomorphic climate change. He  should know however that  if he’s gonna be a serious player in the debate  and completely scuttle the dodgy arguments of all those pin headed climate scientists with lots of letters after their name that:

A) invoking Janet Albrechtsen as a reference for anything other than “loopy outerplanetary wingnutism” is not going to convince anybody other than the hordes of desperate and angry people who lurk on her  blog on the Australian, and:

B) that the anthropomorphic climate warming sceptic Axel-Mormer that Mr Younger, courtesy of Planet Janet, uses as his scientific go-to man is also well known as an expert in the rather unscientific and certifiable art of dousing – that is ‘the practice of finding water, metals, gemstones etc through the use of a Y shaped twig’.

Maybe, in line with the general intellectual rigor of the “sceptics”, this is not a matter of any concern. Ian Plimer for instance has got by on the intellectual equivalent of much less. In any case we now have conclusive empirical proof that it’s not about the science and rather that left wing forces for a one world government have effectively infiltrated the discipline of climate science, using it as a conduit for intellectual charlatanism and scientific fraud of the highest order. Who would have thought…..

However these grave developments aside, I would still advise James to Google someone like James Hanson, NASA’s chief climate scientist,  if he wants to get some of the pesky and elusive facts that are supported by approx 98% of all climate scientists. Apparently Hanson is viewed by those in the know as having sufficient moral back bone to have resisted the surge of his learned and now criminal peers to the dark side. He’s like the Luke Skywalker of this dishonourable profession. It’ll take about a minute.  Hanson has the full resources of NASA at his disposal and apparently dispensed with Y shaped twigs years ago..

Kevin McCready writes: There is no reason why climate denialists saying “I don’t understand the science, but…” should not understand the scientific principles. The science and the principles are two different things. James Younger ought to know that nothing in science is irrefutable. That’s the whole point.

Science is a system of probability statements. We can’t even be sure the sun will rise in the east tomorrow because we may get hit by a meteor. So James, if 99.99% of experts agree that there’s a 99.99% probability that climate change is upon us and we’d better act, what’s your problem?

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re. “Careful with that climate science, Sinclair, it’s complex” (yesterday). Ben Eltham says that “one of the biggest problems for contrarian commentators on climate change is getting to grips with the subject”.   Perhaps, but the global warming “subject” posits a very simple result:  A warmer world.  So where is it?

Oh, I know, there goes that whack-job denialist Calderwood again.  But hang on a second – here is the head of the CRU Phil Jones in 2005:  “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.”

Well, it is now almost 2010 and we’ve had nearly 12 years of cooling since 1998.  At what point can we say the cooling is significant?

Nonetheless, Ben assures us that “the science is settled”.  Ahh, okay… but in October 2009 the eminent climate scientist Kevin Trenberth said: “We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we cannot account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”

This is “settled science”?  We are going to completely change our way of life based on this?  It is a travesty.

Mike Rann:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Sorry Mike, but your integrity counts. We need to know” (yesterday). I find it hard to take Eric Beecher’s opinion seriously. Apparently if politicians allow the media to photograph their weddings, it is “hypocrisy” for them to expect privacy for their s-x lives!  Oh, yes, “wedding pictures” is the first example that Beecher lists.  And yes, “allow” is the correct word, seeing as newshounds hunted down another Premier, Nathan Rees, at a registry marriage in America!   Another red flag on Beecher’s list is “intellectual pursuits”!

Nevertheless, Beecher claims there are “rules of engagement” protecting privacy. One of the exceptions is the old favourite – “risk of blackmail”.  This is a fantasy which has no basis in law or politics but allows journalists to sanctimoniously broadcast any gossip they consider salacious or hurtful.

Another exception, relevant to Mike Rann, is the public denial.  This is more defensible, but in practice it gives reporters carte blanche to pry as soon as a politician denies something, anything.

By the way, Beecher applies these “rules” to “public officials”.  Does this include all public servants!?

At any rate, Beecher argues that the personal lives of leaders demand even “greater scrutiny” because “character and integrity counts in leadership”.  How many great leaders of history would have survived this?

Personally, I think many media operatives wield more real power than our red-tape-entangled politicians.  Perhaps I need to know about their characters.  Any objections?  In fact, most object to their public actions being scrutinised for one minute on Media Watch.  Media morality is always for other people.

Plenty of politicians have resigned over petty misdeeds, but when was the last time a journalist, editor, or publisher resigned over an ethical breach?

Chris Johnson writes: It’s so Monty Python! A State Premier gets whacked over the head at a public function for his role in a domestic that’s been unravelling for years. Security goes on high alert (public purse starts ticking) and doctors treat the leader before he’s carted off early. Identification of the assailant gets muddled by said Premier who’s never seen the attacker until the media refreshes his past.

It turns out the Premier’s had a flirty, fun relationship with the guy’s wife for years and she’s a terrific person, great mother and good friend well known to his wife. So the good friend spills just how flirty and fun their relationship was from her perspective but that’s not what the Premier recalls. As it gets aired across the world the moral of the story is don’t drag a seedy past into public office and if you’re already there don’t flirt with danger.

Les Heimann writes: Who cares? We do NOT need to know anything at all about any affair/s the SA Premier may or may not have had — now or at any time. Perhaps his Clintonesque response is his way of really p-ssing off the silly media circus — and if so this is well deserved. The real issue here is why did Channel Seven run the story — apart from prurient, sensationalistic gossip mongering I can think of nothing — it’s no longer ratings time is it?

John Kotsopoulos writes: Re. “It comes down to this: one of them is lying” (yesterday). “Forget the tryst. It’s inconsequential compared with this. Did Mike Rann the truth, or did he lie, asks Hendrik Gout?”  Who cares and what business is it of the media and Crikey in particular to be chasing up Rann’s private life.

“Didcha or  didn’t’cha.  Either way gotcha.”

No wonder that few people of consequence want to become politicians with this level of unwarranted scrutiny.

This cheap, pathetic tabloid rubbish has this loyal subscriber of many years questioning his continuing loyalty to Crikey.

The Monthly:

Eric Ellis writes from Sebana, Malaysia: Re. “Naparstek v. Ellis in Monthly kill fee drama” (yesterday). Margaret Simons has written an even-handed appraisal of the spat between The Monthly and myself over a commissioned story I had written about the Sri Lankan refugee crisis.

Naparstek can commission, spike and edit as he sees fit. I’ve been a journalist too long to ever be in love with my words, and I’d like to think the editors I have written for around the world would agree, apart from Naparstek of course.

It should also be noted that the 5300 word piece (4000 commissioned) under discussion, firstly regarded as “very good” by the self-absorbed Naparstek, then “sub-standard” and “uneditable” (he was reading the same piece) a few hours later, was professionally edited into 2200 words by The Spectator‘s editors in about an hour on deadline, an outcome I was more than happy with, and which I think says much about Naparstek and The Monthly.

My primary interest after Naparstek decided — if it was his decision — against running the piece he had regarded as “very good” was to simply determine what happened and why the piece was suddenly irretrievable — he is an editor after all — questions he and Morry Schwartz still refuse to answer. In the interests of transparency, I suggest clicking here, naparstek6.htm in particular (and naparstek12 for a laugh).

As for the emails exchanged, I repeatedly advised the irresponsive Naparstek of developing events mindful of the fluidity of the story, events which played out in favour of my argument and piece. If it is ‘bizarre’ for a correspondent to stay ahead of a story, I’ll wear that description.

The other mails sent were fruitless daily efforts to ask Naparstek to explain how he arrived at his bizarre volte-face, and how he planned to redress the vast amounts of goodwill I had spent in Colombo undertaking his commission, with people in Sri Lanka who had put themselves out, and people I must maintain an ongoing professional relationship with, far from the comforts of Naparstek’s favourite Flinders Lane cafe.

I had obtained sole access to the Menik Farm refugee camp via personal contacts within the Sri Lankan President’s office at a time of extreme sensitivity to the Lankans at the end of the civil war there, something never quite understood by Naparstek.

Legal-wise, this spat will ultimately be reduced to a dispute about the $US4000 The Monthly owes me, likely heard in a Melbourne small claims court where it would seem to belong.

As for Wendi Deng Murdoch, that was an entirely different dynamic altogether, as Media Watch and others pointed out at the time, a story edited very professionally by The Monthly‘s former editor. That said, were it that all journalism today was “solid and interesting.” As for the revelations Simons seems to crave, I won’t go into what I left out of that story only to say I erred on the side of good taste and accuracy.

Carbone and Gatto:

Suzanne Carbone, The Age, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Monday). Thank you for putting my name in bold in Monday’s “Tips and rumours” item because normally it is I who puts people’s names in bold in my Postcode 3000 column. What a nice change.

But to put your erroneous item into perspective, I have done the media-monitoring for you. Over the past year, The Age has mentioned Mick Gatto 84 times. Whereas, the Herald Sun has mentioned him 102 times.

To narrow it down, my Postcode 3000 column and my past column, The Age Diary that was co-authored with Lawrence Money, mentioned him 15 times. The Herald Sun‘s Confidential column mentioned him 11 times. I’ve done the sums and my columns have run FOUR more items about Gatto — what a startling revelation !!!

The only eyebrows that have been raised by my coverage of Gatto are those of “Narelle Douglas”, a “reader” with a dime-a-dozen Hotmail address who emailed me to wail about Gatto getting column inches. Obviously, she’s not a fan of the Godfather movies or Underbelly — but millions of people are. But “readers” are entitled to their opinion. And journalists are required to report news in order for “readers” to form an opinion.

Apart from this, your new-look newsletter is outstanding. Congratulations. And keep those legitimate tips and rumours coming.


Pamela Papadopoulos writes: Re. “We think we’ve got problems — Greece has a backlog of 30,000 refugees” (Monday). Tony Barrel’s analysis of Greece’s problem is a refreshing change for Crikey and thanks for bringing it to people’s attention. The land of democracy  has become a far right regime with Karamanlis’ government contributing to the refugee problem amongst many others problems Greece has today.

The people have very little respect for the political process that is sick of the gerontocracy that has become” government” for too long. Let’s hope that Mr Papandreou might tackle the problem and gain some respect  from his Hellenic diaspora.

I subscribe to Crikey because I believe in a free, open and independent media where news and opinions can be published that I can both agree with and be challenged by.

As a Crikey subscriber I always feel more informed and able to think more critically about issues and current affairs – even when they don’t always reflect my own political viewpoint or lived experience.


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