Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter



Dec 17, 2009

Hoping beyond hope at

Kevin Rudd has arrived in Copenhagen early, but the star of the show is Mohamed Nasheed, the President of the Maldives, who has become a new symbol of hope -- or perhaps wishful thinking.


Kevin Rudd has arrived in Copenhagen too early. Most other leaders will wait for their officials to thrash out an agreement before flying in to tidy up, sign the document and leave triumphant. After all, if they can give directions to their negotiators from their capitals, why risk being around if the whole thing collapses, as it may well?

With his heart still in Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister seems to want to do the negotiating himself, to eye-ball the other parties across the table. In all likelihood he will become caught up in the feverish atmosphere and, like the bidder at a house auction who exceeds his top price, promise more than he intended.

That would be good for the climate, as well as fulfilling the PM’s desire to be a statesman. It is remarkable how Rudd has managed to position himself as a global climate leader when his plans for domestic action are so timid. He will have to go further at Copenhagen.

Australian negotiators willingly concede that the first question they ask of any proposal is “What is the compliance cost?” No one ever became a statesman by protecting narrow economic interests, so the coal lobbyists here must be sweating.

However, Australia is still doing what it has always done, supporting the United States. At COP15, the agenda — hidden in Australia’s case — is to ditch the Kyoto Protocol and replace it with something broader but weaker.

Yet the Rudd government does not have the immovable obstacle that thwarts the plans of the Obama Administration. It is in Rudd’s power to hold a double-dissolution election and remove the Senate blockage in Australia. That would be Obama’s dream.

Meanwhile, the natural tension of the past week is being multiplied and turning ugly by the chaos surrounding access to the conference venue. Even people with an official photographic pass augmented by the secondary pass created to ration access are caught in a seething crowd and turn away in frustration. The police had to get the dogs out yesterday to maintain order.

Many delegates are cooling their heels in their hotels, such as Mike Rann, the SA premier, whom I passed on the third-floor landing of our hotel in the placid northern suburbs of the city. He was on his mobile doing a radio interview with a journalist who seemed sceptical about the premier’s claim that he wanted to make SA a world leader in renewable energy.

Copenhagen is chock-full of mayors, state premiers and myriad others who are used to being treated as important. The vastness and bewildering complexity of climate conferences make almost everyone feel small, which turns mobile phones into lifelines to people back home who think you matter.

Bill McKibbin, the American author and founder of 350.org, has his own biggish pond in which to swim, the alternative conference known as Klimaforum09 being held at a sports complex near Copenhagen Central station. After a rambling talk to the thousand or so people from civil society groups around the world, he got to the point, introducing the new hero of international climate activism, Mohamed Nasheed, the President of the Maldives. A small man in a neat suit, he spent a long time in solitary confinement for resisting the military dictatorship before becoming the Maldives first democratically elected leader.

Fresh from chairing a cabinet meeting held under water with scuba gear (desperation trumps dignity), he spoke of the need never to give up, and rallied the multitude to chant the three most important words, “three five oh”. The crowd’s projection of hope onto his small frame was something to behold. As he left the stage he disappeared into a scrimmage of independent media.

Of course, we are past 350 ppm already, and getting back to that concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would require technological feats so far beyond our imagination. Sometimes hope can become disconnected from reality, whereupon it becomes wishful thinking.


We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Leave a comment

24 thoughts on “Hoping beyond hope at

  1. Jonathan Maddox

    “technological feats so far beyond our imagination”?

    Clive, there are dozens of techniques which have been imagined that could achieve that. Some are relatively cheap but considered risky (geosequestration with pulverised olivine, ocean iron fertilisation for deep-ocean sequestration); others are absurdly expensive (“artificial trees”)

    But the simplest techniques are inexpensive, well-known and will have net economic benefits rather than costs : these are, combating deforestation with economic measures and enforcement; by improving agricultural techniques over and above slash-and-burn; and an expansion of productive forestry into degraded pasture or agricultural lands.

    Combined with a change away from wasteful fossil fuel use to renewable energy and more efficient use of cleaner fuels, the reduction is well within the realms of physical and economic possibility.

    Political will is, of course, another matter.

  2. stevieholden

    coal is more dangerous than nuclear power. which reminds me that France has had an ETS for quite a while, also they are in the process of introducing a carbon tax, not to mention that 70% of their electricity comes from uranium. All in an effort to slash co2 emissions.

    does this mean Australia is dragging the chain ?


  3. AR

    As maddox sed – there are a multitude of simple actions that could be taken and CHEAP in that they’ll also create jobs. It’s a old saw of the Right that if less of somkething is desired, tax it. The Lef tended to think that subsidies made more things betterly, a notion of which almost a century of tariffs & boards should have disabused them.
    Tax the basic sources of most energy, coal & oil, and use that tax windfall to allow tax holidays for start-ups that are small & local, by definition the best suited for local conditon. Most will fail or fail to thrive but those that succeed will be models to be overtaken and rendered outmoded.
    And all the while, everyone who can hold a hammer at the correct end, or twist a spanner or design a system or any other thing required,will be doing something worthwhile, earning and paying TAXES even if only GST.
    Or wqe can keep shovelling $100 bills into the power generators while they laugh all the way to the bank. One must assume they are eunuchs who don’t have kids or moral myopics, either way we could do with fewer of them, wasting oxygen.

  4. Joan20

    The whole web is inundated with thesis and dissertation thesis just about this post though to receive actually good enough dissertation writing service, some people can look for it.

  5. Frank Campbell

    “Copenhagen is chock-full of mayors, state premiers and myriad others who are used to being treated as important.”

    Exactly. Chaos. Big-noting. A frozen wankfest.

    Mike Rann and Clive Calvin: swapping cliches in a hotel room. Until the escort arrives and Clive leaves.

  6. Ian Rudd

    Clive, I think you grossly overstate Obama’s intent. Yes he has a Congress & Senate that are obstructionist but he has shown no real willingness to actually DO something on climate change or any other issue facing America (eg the wars, health care, the finance industry, Israel etc etc). In my humble opinion he is as useless as any other president since perhaps Roosevelt.

  7. Richard Wilson

    Copenhagen Shopenhagen!

    Talk about an aimless desire to perpetuate oneself. The rich of the world; (I’m talking about the really rich who own this place – not their hand puppets), see fraudulent carbon trading as the replacement for the fraudulent housing bubble, which in turn had replaced the fraudulent Dotcom bubble.

    It’s time for all the puppets and their free-lunchers to go home to their masters “returned empty”. Have you seen the entourage from this country that we taxpayers stumped up for! Must be hundreds! In fact, I want to know what this little junket has cost us? So …. Opposition, Independents and Greens ask the question.

    This whole thing is a complete joke at our expense. Sadly such escapades are always at our expense and even sadder we always agree to pay for this cr@p.

    If there really were anything to this climate change thing, at least anything man could influence, the world would have already mandated no fossil fuels by 2025 at the latest, introduced and incentivised the introduction of non polluting vehicles and established a program to run existing pollution heavy transportation out over the next 20 years.
    All can be done without a global carbon derivatives exchange which looks like it might be on hold now till the next “snout in trough fest” in Mexico and I am doubtful the US dollar can hang on that long. (See new oil money system being set up by the Arabs).

    What upsets me most about all this stuff is people who make money out of being parasites. They don’t produce anything and they don’t fix anything. They sit around concocting schemes which produce nothing and add nothing to productivity. They merely take a margin on the new game of pass the parcel which, if you wake up, is introduced every ten years. In the meantime the middle class and retirees get robbed of their superannuation and other investments and the real world continues to go down the gurgler.

    Carbon trading, I suspect, is designed to replace the housing bubble and fill in the $500+ trillion derivatives hole that the BIS says currently exists. People around the world in the rich and the poor nations have to tell them to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine because we can only lose from a scam that offers to no material improvement in anything anywhere. That people cannot see this obvious scam is testimony to the power of the client follower media and their spinmeister accomplices.
    Its time to tell these crooks to drop dead and start doing things for ourselves. That means taking responsibility for our own futures. This “entitlements mentality” is so 20th century! It is destroying any ounce of human resourcefulness we have left.

    Let’s force access to all the geothermal patents that have been locked away and then get moving on a practical plan to prevent the planet from being poisoned and I am not talking about carbon dioxcide here.

    Where geothermal energy is presently being used, it is costing about the same as wind which is far less than solar. Its advantage is that it doesnt stop when the wind dies down, it is everpresent. I am pretty sure that we are only seeing the inefficient end of the geothermal design spectrum at the moment so lets get moving.

  8. Frank Campbell

    Richard Wilson: I don’t know if your neologism “carbon dioxcide” was intentional- but it’s brilliant. Consider it memed.

  9. Jonathan Maddox

    dioxcide, n : a crime of emission.

  10. Frank Campbell

    J.Maddox: a sin of emission

  11. Ian Rudd

    Richard Wilson,

    You have spent some time checking out the facts on man made causes of climate change I presume since you seem to dismiss it pretty cursorily?

    Perhaps you are not aware that there is a large body of evidence that has pretty well conclusively reached the conclusion that it is the greenhouse gases that we emit into the atmosphere that has so far been responsible for most of the warming that has taken place in the last century or so. Seriously you should check it out.

    Of course what will happen in the future because of our emissions cannot be known with certainty (and no authentic scientist that I know of makes such a claim) but knowing a) that we are spewing CO2 etc into the atmosphere, b) how these gases respond to light waves (or whatever) from the sun and heat waves reflected back from the earth and c) a great deal – but not everything – about how air and water circulation patterns respond to heating, the experts can make reasonable assumptions on what future conditions may be. Funnily enough the experts also are aware of the non anthropogenic causes of climate changes such sun spots, changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun etc and have accounted for these phenomena in their reckoning.

    Is there something you know that they don’t?

    I think doing nothing which is more or less what Australia and the other rich countries are basically doing is the most risky course of action to take if there is a genuine concern for the well being of people already born (someones child or grand child).

  12. Richard Wilson

    @ Ian Rudd

    1) Prove to me that 20th century warming to 1998 is caused by man made C02 when C02 has continued to rise and temperaatures have not changed since circa 1998.

    2) Justify why there were raised C02 levels after WWII yet climate cooled for the next 20 years leading Newsweek to run a cover story in the early 70’s predicting an impending ice age.

    3) Prove to me that the 4000 Russian observation points that were removed from the calculations circa 1975 have had no influence on the temperature outcomes when the Russians say they would have degraded temperature estimates by more than 0.5 degrees.

    4) Prove to me than such an ill defined problem (from global warming to climate change to ?) based on such low statistical tolerance levels warrants a world carbon trades and derivatives scheme which in no way relates to climate change outcomes.

    5) Prove to me that statistical tolerances on ice core samples are not way outside the bounds of the claims being made.

    6) Prove to me that only man made C02 which accounts for less than 1% of the atmosphere – less than 0.5% in fact, is the sole producer of temperature change when for millions and millions of years it has had absolutely nothing to do with temperature change.

    7) Prove to me that notwithstanding the apparent heating of other planets in our solar system, the influence of the sun could not be producing similar outcomes here.

    8) Justify the falsification which gave rise to the hockey stick.

    9) Justify CRU and Hadley doctoring of climate records and Stalinist treatment of non lockstep scientists and media.

    10) Provide counter arguments to the assertion that 650,000 years of ice core records demonstrate that the temperature rise preceded the C02 rise.

    11) Justify why the IPCC and the rest of the warmist fellow travelers are blocking FOI requests from accredited scientists.

    12) Justify why the strongest protagonists of this scam also have major investments in either get rich quick carbon credits trading, Renewable Obligation Certificates or alternative energy technology.

    13) Provide arguments against the UK Met Office being forced to re-examine 160 years of temperature records.

    14) Prove that all scientists who speak out are in the pay of the oil companies or coal producers.

    15) Prove to me that the venomous attacks of CRU and others on dissenting voices were not motivated by personal gain.

    16) Prove to me that households will not be in the hole by an additional $10,000 a year if we adopt this trading scheme crap.

    17) Prove to me that the political class, their media cretins and all the other hangers on
    are not all on a big gravy train where, at our expense, they get to prop up a fraudulent scheme and then spin it out for as long as the system can operate before it collapses

    18) Prove to me at 95% confidence that oceans have risen in the last 100 years and justify the changing measurement system has not impacted the measurements.

    19) Argue forcefully as to why Professor Ian Plimer’s argument that in the face of 4.5 billion year record, a single trace gas is totally responsible for climate change on earth is a load of “bollocks” (my word) is not true.

    20) Explain why UN CC models predicting a hotspot in the upper troposphere over the tropics has failed to appear according to Australian ADCC researcher Dr. David Evans.

    21) Explain why yet again the same tired old Masons and CFR members from Tony Blair to Skull and Bonesman John Kerry to (if you want a list just ask me) are all trotted out for these shamfest.

    22) Explain why William Kininmonth, former head of the National Climate Centre and consultant to the World Meteorological Association wrote the following:
    “ The likely extent of global temperature rise from doubling of C)2 is less than 1C. Such warming is well within the envelope of variation experienced in the last 10000 years and insignificant in the context of glacial cycle les during the past million years”.

    23) Justify why Danish storm troopers are beating the heck out of climate activists after they learned this whole circus was just one big farce and are demonstrating peacefully in the streets.

    24) Explain why public opinion in Denmark is rapidly moving against global warming.

    25) Explain why more than 55% of Australians, 70% of UK residents and 60+% of Americans are no longer convinced that this stuff is on the level.

    I can go on and on and on. This is a total sham and has been proven to be irrspective of what your namesake may happen to burble when he lands.

    Release the technology that will give us clean energy immediately rather than create this BS trading system so global bankers and their hangers on can go one more round, before we are totally impoverished, the Third World drained of all its resources and the world is truly stuffed.

    By the way this is not capitalism. It is shameless rent seeking. How anyone can accuse mum and dad ‘s corner store of being involved in this is a fool. The guys selling jeans at the local market are not involved either. Nor are the local businesses that employ Australians and plan to keep doing so. These people in the real economy, (capitalists you call them), are not looking for govt. handouts and subsidies and they sure as heck aren’t out there, hair on fire trying to frighten us all into signing off on a fraudulent carbon derivatives market.

    Wake up!

  13. Frank Campbell

    Now if y’all were betting on Ian Rudd vs R.Wilson, what odds would you give and how much money would you put on? Be honest. Don’t say “100/1 on” for Ian Rudd and then only bet $5…..

    I wonder what the big British bookies like Ladbroke’s think…they work out the odds on everything…anyone know?

    (the bookies have Clive Calvin at 10,000/1 to enter any parliament at any time, except as a visitor, and 1 million to 1 against him ever having an original idea, but this has no bearing on climate…)

  14. Ian Rudd

    Richard Wilson,

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to reply to your long list of somewhat disjointed “prove to me’s” but refer you to over forty years of work by hundreds of scientists on the whole question of climate change.

    But for the sake of others who may be following this argument I, not a scientist myself, will make a comment on some of your “prove to me’s”.

    Your Item1. 1998 was a record year for average global temperatures so obviously until that record is broken all subsequent years will be cooler. The fact is that that 8 or so of the 10 years since then have been amongst the hottest ten years since records began and 2009 is likely to end up the second hottest on record.

    Your Item2. Do you know the answer to this one? Was it that the Earth wobbled, or because of sunspot activity or what? For those interested here is an explanation that I came across when I googled “post war cooling” in response to your post. For readers who are interested it is worth checking out.

    Your Item4. Carbon trades and derivatives that do not relate to climate change outcomes or are insufficiently addressing the problem are indeed a waste of time and money. This has largely been the case so far.

    Your Item5. By whose reckoning?

    Your Item6. Of course the climate cycles in the past had absolutely nothing to do with man. We weren’t around for much of the time and we haven’t had a significant influence on atmospheric concentrations until about two hundred years ago. Man does not create the climate , that’s the work of the sun, the atmosphere, the land and the oceans and some other things. We only influence it.

    Your Item8. Another tired old complaint from climate deniers. Your arguments on this were long ago lost. This is the graph depicting temperature estimates in the northern hemisphere constructed my Michael Mann etc. Readers google it and make your own minds up.

    Your Item23. I think here we are on the same side (but for different reasons no doubt). Inside the Bella Centre they are looking for ways to continue business as usual and if not to favour big business (& hence the governments they control) interests at the expense of the rest of us and our future. Outside, the activists are looking at genuine solutions to address climate change as well as all the other inequities that the powerful have always inflicted on the rest. The unprovoked actions by the Danish police are there to suppress the interests of the people and protect those of the powerful elite. We can look forward to ever more repressive laws and actions by supposedly democratic governments as a rising tide of grassroots actions take place. (This last statement is not a fact – only a prediction and as Niels Bohr, I think it was, said “making predictions is difficult, especially of the future”.

    Most of the rest of your “prove to me’s” are so outlandish and demeaning of other views and facts they do not warrant a considered answer.

    For those interested in depth reporting on the Copenhagen scene this is a sight had daily broadcasts from Copenhagen itself over the entire fortnight. The broadcasts are archived and available in video, audio and written form.

  15. Richard Wilson

    The problem is this Ian. I am no denier of anything and I have no vested interests other than in the future of humanity. I am not funded nor associated in any way with either side of the argument. I am always concerned with big government and media shills and the ever-growing political class when they crow long and hard about anything and tell us the solution is a lot more tax or a carbon derivatives exchange.

    We have measurable problems that we can do something about such as halting the decimation of the world’s rainforests that are being sold off to Big Forestry, Global Farming and Big Construction by the World Bank and the IMF after loans made to Third World dictators fail to be repaid. This is money created by a keystroke on a computer, by the way, and usually paid directly to Western contractors for dubious infrastructure projects. (See Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins and take a look at some of the following articles: Johann Hari, Jan, 2008 “There is a way to save the Rainforests” in the UK Independent, material from http://www.rain-tree.com/facts.htm, Rainforest Foundation “World Bank Oversees Carve-Up Congo Rainforests” 17/6/2005 and UK Independent, “World Bank Pledges to Save Trees, Then Helps Cut Down the Amazon, Jan 17, 2008, Protest Failed World Bank Congo Rainforests Policy and proposed Ill-Conceived Forest Carbon Payments, Rainforest Portal, Oct 15, 2007).

    Now closer to home, instead of wasting disgustingly large sums of money on an ETS or some carbon exchange scam, the Rudd clique might think about rescuing the water system of Australia. The money proposed to be pi$$’d against the wall on Turnbull& Rudd inspired ETS schenmes would more than fund a national water system which must never be privatised if you believe like me that access to water is a human right. I am no Paul Sheehan apologist but he makes some solid points in his piece in the SMH today (Dec 21, 2009). ..on the most important single issue facing the nation – water security- federalism has failed. We don’t have to wait for climate change – it is already here…The Rudd Govt. has not been in charge long enough to be blamed for the disaster unfolding in the Australian Bread Basket, the Murray Darling Basin, but it has been in power long enough to have no excuse for making the problem worse.”

    The Libs could always claim their failure was the result of hostile state governments but the present government can make no such claim. The truth is we have problems close to home that need to be addressed urgently and decisively.

    How about these globalist buffoons think of Australia for a change instead of grandstanding on a world stage with the hope of getting a ticket on the big red NWO bus.

    And by the way – doesn’t it strike you as rather odd that many of the tax free foundations have been busy preparing paper after paper on what Australia would be like with a population of 50 million when we are running out of water with 20million!

  16. Ian Rudd


    We seem, after all to be on the same side on quite a lot of things. Certainly all the governments of the western world have practically no concern for their or the rest of the world’s people. They have been corrupted by vested interest moneys, revolving doors and the like and have a blinkered, almost religious like focus on growth. Growth at all costs with no thought that the planet provides only finite resources and sinks for our waste.

    I don’t confuse the scientists with the governments though and I strongly believe a large majority of them are concerned about humanity and the pursuit of knowledge and not their own pockets although no doubt they do (and should) get rather well paid.

    As for the ETS it is a sham and, as it is structured in Australia and elsewhere, it imposes costs on the people but rewards the polluters. Really what should happen is that polluters should have do the paying, making of course energy and so on more expensive to all but the individual taxpayers would be compensated by reduced taxes or some other mechanism so that they as a whole would be no, or only a little worse off than before the ETS.

    As for the idiotic idea Rudd and other mainstream politicians have that more or less doubling Australia’s population is a good thing – well its madness.

  17. Richard Wilson

    How about that IR!

    I turns out that the climate fascists at the UN are getting all emotional over being short changed at Copenhagen by the third world. UN Climate boss Rajendra Pachauri, according to today’s UK Telegraph is going to be seriously out of pocket. The Telegraph exposes Pachauri’s diverse dollar driven interests which leads us to the conclusion that there is no way this guy could be independent about anything so why would you swallow anything he or his ICCC said.
    From UK Telegraph, December 20, 2009
    “No one in the world exercised more influence on the events leading up to the Copenhagen conference on global warming than Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and mastermind of its latest report in 2007 …but as a former railway engineer with a PhD in economics he has no qualifications in climate science at all”.
    “What has also almost entirely escaped attention, however, is how Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC’s policy recommendations. These outfits include banks, oil and energy companies and investment funds heavily involved in ‘carbon trading’ and ‘sustainable technologies’, which together make up the fastest-growing commodity market in the world, estimated soon to be worth trillions of dollars a year”.

    Now can you see why Gore and the rest of these guys are bitter and twisted. Their man couldn’t deliver and they are mad as hell! Fortunately, as I see it, the people of the world are increasingly in two minds and becoming ever more leery about this swindle.

    Well I can’t say I am surprised. I am reminded of that great Shakespearean moment when the “lady doth protest too much”!

    These crooks need to be tossed out on their ear all around the world. If it is not this new environmental industrial complex, it is the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about or the medical industrial complex that we all need to be wary of.
    One thing is for sure, once you see how the game works, it makes you aware of what is happening in all areas of life. If we don’t have our wits about us we will all be taken to the carbon friendly cleaners.

  18. Evan Beaver

    Richard, I really enjoy your posts. It’s great to see how the other half think. The grandeur of your delusions is second to none!

    Placing the ‘failure’ of the COP15 talks at the feet of Pachauri is a bit of a stretch.

  19. Ian Rudd

    Richard, I give up on you. You are all over the place.

    Evan. I’m not sure whether other half DO think.

  20. Richard Wilson

    Its not a matter of salvation you two..
    It’s a matter of fact!
    Cognitive dssonance is the crooks best weapon. In the words of J Edgar Hoover:

    “The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists” Just pulling our legs right!

    And Katherine Graham Washington Post Publisher (former):
    “We live in a dirty dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I bellieve democracy flourishes when the governement can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what ot knows”.
    Thank goodness the MSM is there to look after our interests!

    In the words of Frederic Bastiat:

    “The people will be crushed under the burden of taxes, loan after loan will be flouted; after having drained the present, the State will devour the future”.

    You guys got your ringside tickets?


https://www.crikey.com.au/2009/12/17/hoping-beyond-hope-at-copenhagen/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

Show popup

Telling you what the others don't. FREE for 21 days.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.