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Federal

Sep 16, 2010

Kloppers reignites climate debate

Politicians should be wary of business leaders - such as BHP CEO Marius Kloppers - urging action on issues like climate change.

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What a terrible hypocrite Marius Kloppers is in calling for a carbon price.

Before the head of BHP is elevated to the status of climate change forward thinker, it pays to recall the wrecking and rent seeking engaged in by BHP-Billiton in relation to the CPRS.

BHP was in the forefront of the gloom and doom warnings about the impact of the Government’s scheme in 2008 and 2009. As the material painstakingly gathered by the Australian Climate Justice Program showed (here — large file), BHP publicly warned of disruptions to gas supply (possibly of “Longford levels”, according to one executive), claimed mining companies would be driven offshore, that the CPRS would cost thousands of jobs, “severely strain the Australian economy” and halt new investment.

bhp1

Any of these claims from a mining company sound familiar?

In fact there’s little new in what Kloppers has said. He explicitly said he wants big-polluting exporters compensated under a carbon price scheme. This is despite the Grattan Institute demolishing the case for compensation in its close analysis of the way the CPRS addressed the purported problem of carbon and jobs leakage.

Kloppers, however, perfectly demonstrates business “support” for a carbon price. It’s support for the idea of doing something about climate change, and of providing investment certainty, but without any support for the consequences of a carbon price — even when they never amounted to more than 4-5% of revenue for emissions-intensive-trade-exposed industries.

This is why, despite declaring support for an emissions trading scheme, most of Australian business went missing in action when it came to the CPRS. Just as they did with the mining tax, they sat back and watched a weak Government be mugged by rentseekers and whingers like the Minerals Council. And this is why, incidentally, Labor and even the independents should think long and hard about taking advice from the likes of the Business Council of Australia on the tax summit next year. Because the politicians can be sure of one thing — Australian business will leave them in the lurch if the going gets tough.

Kloppers’s comments also continue the fetishisation of a carbon price as the only credible climate change policy. As I outlined on Tuesday, the national interest is best served by a three-part policy of pursuing an international agreement to minimise global temperature rise, developing a coherent adaptation policy and pursuing a mechanism — probably a carbon tax — to start ending our world-beating levels of carbon addiction.

There has, I gather, been some debate about whether my elevation of adaptation means I’ve somehow run up the white flag on “real” climate action. There are indeed “adaptation” advocates for whom adaptation is a cover for doing nothing — let the planet cook and we’ll handle the consequences later (coupled with the spurious claim that we’ll be richer by then if we don’t take any action on climate change now, and therefore have more resources to throw at the problem).

But unless you subscribe to the view that a comprehensive, effective and rapid international agreement to halt global temperature rise is imminent, a prudent approach would be to prepare for the consequences of the rise in temperatures already under way, which will be quite enough to cause economic dislocation in more fragile communities in regional Australia. A policy that emphasises reducing Australia’s emissions (whether via a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme or, for example, Warwick McKibbin’s Byzantine scheme) is necessary but not sufficient; adaptation to the likely consequences of our long-term recalcitrance about facing up to the problem of climate change is also required, as is the halting of the remorseless rise in the other 97% of emissions globally.

But Kloppers’ comments ensure the focus will shift back onto the Coalition on the issue, especially given Malcolm Turnbull appears quite happy so far to discuss issues in Greg Hunt’s portfolio as well as his own. For nine months the political focus has, rightly, been on the Government’s position on climate change. Now, perhaps in a manner similar to Clive Palmer’s sudden shift on a profit-based mining royalty regime, Kloppers leaves the Coalition and its “great big new tax” rhetoric looking mildly irrelevant to a debate that has sparked into life in a way that appeared very unlikely before 21 August.

The person who could add most to this debate from the conservative side is Greg Hunt, but he won’t be joining in, except to warn about a great big new tax and the impact on electricity prices of a carbon price — to be distinguished, of course, from the impact on electricity prices of his own policy.

What a terrible shame this once promising figure in climate change politics is now not so much sidelined as an active impediment to effective action.

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57 thoughts on “Kloppers reignites climate debate

  1. Jimmy

    It seems to me that Kloppers wants all the Kudos of being a leader in the climate change debate but doesn’t think his company should wear any of the pain. At the very least it should help to persuade the masses that something needs to be done.
    The really scary thing here is that we seem to be ending up with only the policies BHP approves of (MRRT and carbon price), everybody rightly complains about News Ltd trying to run the country but BHP seeems to be doing a pretty good job as well

  2. Robert Merkel

    Bernard, if you’re referring to my piece, I didn’t mean to suggest you had “run up the white flag”.

    I agree that adaptation will, sadly, be necessary.

    But, politically, I want as much attention as possible on mitigation now. I take your point about the global context, but the global context here is that Australia adopting a carbon price is the best possible message that we can send to the world (most pointedly, that increasingly endangered species, the Moderate Republican Senator whose agreement will required for any substantial American action on climate change) that action needs to be taken and a carbon price is the best way to do it, and need not imperil the economy.

    And, furthermore, I’m not sure that piling up money in an adaptation fund is a good way to tackle the adaptation problem.

  3. Douglas Evan

    Whatever the inconsistencies in Klopper’s position his intervention has greatly strengthened the hand of the Greens as they try to cajole the government into formulating responsible climate change policy. Also as BK writes it has also isolated the opposition despite Abbott’s continuing rejection of a carbon tax. Now Ross Garnaut has piped up to support Kloppers and others will doubtless soon follow. Gillard’s eyes seem to be spinning in her head as she has shifted from no carbon tax and a review of CPRS in 2013 (pre-election) to all options on the table and possible action this term as of today. I reckon we have finally passed the tipping point and progress towards effective climate change policy will accelerate from here on.

  4. Michael R James

    [There are indeed “adaptation” advocates for whom adaptation is a cover for doing nothing — let the planet cook and we’ll handle the consequences later (coupled with the spurious claim that we’ll be richer by then if we don’t take any action on climate change now, and therefore have more resources to throw at the problem).]

    BK was too coy but I am pretty sure he refers to the IPA as described recently by Tom Switzer on Their ABC. (Drum-Unleashed a few weeks back.)

  5. twobob

    Rent seeking aside it is great to see the debate moving on.
    A carbon tax is the way to go and it should be implemented on carbon as it comes from the ground or enters our shores. It should also be applied to imports from countries that do not have an equivalent as well as carbon used in transport, refrigeration ect.
    A rebate should be applied where our PRODUCTS (that means agg, manufacturing ect) are entering markets with no such cost but no rebate should be applied for fossil fuels, minerals or ores.

  6. Jimmy

    Don’t get to excited there Douglas, wasn’t there are similar feeling back in October 2007 that we were finally going to get some action but as Bernard said when push came to shove business were either negative or mute and Abbott & Joyce managed to rally the deniers to bring us to this point.
    Robert – I agree that we need to be negotiating from a position of strength, ie having actually done something, and as most believe we will eventually end up with a global carbon price wouldn’t being infront of the game offer many economic advantages when the world has to cath up.

  7. Observation

    Well, we can all be thankful the people who really run the country have put the carbon tax debate back on the table. Lets hope BHP, Rio and Xstrata have the kindness in their hearts to show us how we should act on other important issues on running the country such as fair tax, infrastructure, health and education. Hey, I’m sure they will even supply a foreign policy for us if we ask them nicely!!

  8. Julius

    BK, you wouldn’t suggest would you that what Kloppers says should have any weight in what we think either about the science or what is good for Australia (except perhaps for Australians qua shareholders in BHP)?

  9. Mike Jones

    Looks like a payback for the mining tax to me. “Just hold this box with the attached burning fuse ….. I’ll be back in a moment …..”

  10. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    If Tony Abbott doesn’t feel like he’s just been ‘taken’ by the mining industry for a grubby one night stand under the promise of romance then he really is thick.

    How many long weeks back was it when we heard the Liberal party, up and down the country, extol their natural relationship with mining and the great ‘free enterprise’ that underpins it? How the Liberals would protect it from another GBNT (Great Big New Tax) whether it be the Super Profits Tax of any form of ETS or carbon tax?

    Big mining used Abbott and his motley crew, used ’em and abused, got what they wanted (ie a big backdown from Labor on the Resources Tax) and then the moment they had to deal with the important issue of pricing projects over the coming decades, Kloppers dumped Abbott with the age old ruse: I won’t get into bed with your sister.

    And he didn’t, for a whole couple of months!

    Abbott’s been publicly dumped, and shown as a fool who has no place at the big table with the adults who will now be doing some serious argy barge over the mechanism for putting a price on carbon.

    Forget the great ‘unhinging’, this is the beginning of the great unraveling of the reactionary Abbott.

  11. DIY_Sunrise

    Kloppers has decided that it is better to just pay off the extortionist and buy a bit of predictability and stability for business.
    Tragic that a company has been forced into this by a government which has created totally unnecessary instability.

  12. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    DIY Opinions now, is it?

    What you’ve utterly failed to comprehend is that global big business has been onto climate change and the necessity of reducing carbon dioxide emissions for well over a decade. Could it possibly be because the people who are CEO’s of these corporations are a lot better informed than people like you? It’s worth a thought.

    Your ignorant musings are funny, but only just.

  13. DIY_Sunrise

    Yes Christopher, I have added my opinion. Like everyone else here…

    “What you’ve utterly failed to comprehend is that global big business has been onto climate change and the necessity of reducing carbon dioxide emissions for well over a decade”

    Well they have certainly seen that they can make a buck out of it if that is what you mean.

    Oh. What?! You thought that BP was doing all those green ads to save the planet??
    HAHAAAAA!!!!!!

    So my ignorant musings include the suggestion that business likes to avoid uncertainty. Do you disagree?

  14. caesarboy

    We account for 1.5 % of global emissions. Friends, (sic) any attempt by Australia to limit emissions is absolutely useless. Total, stupid, ridiculous, suicidal, crap.

    It’s a case of the king’s new clothes.

    There is no way we would be getting the wheat yields we’re getting now without the extra carbon we produce.

    Carbon is NOT pollution!

    Global warming has been going on for 20,000 years in the present cycle. It just sounds great to “save the planet” before it “cooks”. God what a joke.

    I presented more details in a previous article.

  15. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    BK you are doing your intelligent duty, the rest of the media don’t know what to say and sound smart at the same time.

    @CHRISTOPHER DUNNE – Posted Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 5:03 pm – I love your first para.

    However the huge and rich and powerful companies (and their top humans) don’t talk truth or facts (except in areas of tax and value to the appropriates according to the pressure of the law) they talk ‘strategy’ and lead government and ordinary business to support them.
    ‘Strategy’ talk, however you understood it, encouraged PM Rudd to go for the ETS and then to bring Mr Turnbull into the fold with a huge bag of compensation giveaways.
    ‘Strategy’ talk led the reduction of the original weeny (by my assessment) super profits tax.
    Only a large bunch of Aussies led by ‘goon’ pollies thought the ETS was new and Aus should not be out there in front doing it first.
    BHP knows the smart advanced EU economies have had an ETS for 15 years and they have learnt tons about it all ready.
    This is their next ‘Strategy’ talk and it will get them just what they want because it is so designed and the Aussie audience is so predictable to the wealthiest and most powerful, but hey, we (the rest of us who are up to the game) are doomed to stay and talk to the Aussie people as we have nothing else. We are not them (the richest and most powerful companies). We don’t know their language but they know ours. As I said we are stuck where we are and stay healthy by pretending.

  16. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    @CAESARBOY – Posted Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 7:25 pm
    You need to catch up on a number of things. I love your passion but when you catch up you will be able to laugh at your ‘joke’ instead of being angry at it.

  17. kuke

    Yes, my earlier cynicism is justified. Given 8% of BHP’s revenue is from coal, it’s not a big statement. BP wanted to move beyond oil didn’t they? This lip service might even help a heavy conscience if Kloppy’s got grandkids… won’t do much though.

    And, so we’re the rent seekers when we want a mining tax to pay for services, but they just want a “fair go” in compensation?

  18. Glenn

    Gillard has now backed off putting a price on carbon at all, maybe , perhaps.

    I’m sick of these idiots, didnt she push for it ???

  19. freecountry

    BERNARD KEANE:
    [“… Warwick McKibbin’s Byzantine scheme …”]
    I expect the average barfly to scoff at that which he doesn’t understand. I expect a bit more from a journalist. If you don’t understand something which is aimed at solving the very problem you’ve been going on about, why don’t you pick up the phone and ask him some questions to get it a bit clearer for lay persons? Isn’t that what journalists are for?

    As for painting Kloppers’ statement in the worst possible light, you just reinforce the view in some quarters of the business world that there is no point trying to do the right thing, the Left will just twist it into some conspiracy theory to get the crowds hissing and booing all over again.

  20. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    Yes, agreed HARVEY TARVYDAS, they do talk strategically, and especially in these public set pieces. Most of these big companies know what’s coming, some have been changing their energy usage, carbon footprint and offsets for years, but one thing is certain, as Kloppers said yesterday:

    “We do believe that such a global initiative will eventually come and, when it does, Australia will need to have acted ahead of it to maintain its competitiveness”.

    The argument over whether we should or shouldn’t have a price on carbon is over in the boardrooms of the world, and has been for quite some time. But like you, I’d be pretty wary giving BHP the mechanism to price it that suits their interests only.

  21. DIY_Sunrise

    Sums it up.
    The activists were clamouring for BHP to stop resisting,, stop digging in the heels and accede to the peoples demand for a carbon price! NOW!!

    So now when BHP pop out of the blue and suggest it the likes of C Dunne go back into grumble mode.

    As Basil Fawlty said – there is no pleasing some people.

    This also confirms my experience on this site that who says something seems to be of much more importance than what was said. So much for points standing or falling on their own merit.

  22. JamesH

    Caesarboy, I suggest you check out skepticalscience.com and update yourself on what the science actually says about crop yields and the long term climate record.

  23. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE @ Posted Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 9:27 pm

    You quote the most valuable part of his statement and worthily. By definition these companies and their people are hugely valuable and it comes down to us to understand them and understand the concern you express in your last line.

  24. freecountry

    BERNARD KEANE writes:
    [There has, I gather, been some debate about whether my elevation of adaptation means I’ve somehow run up the white flag on “real” climate action. There are indeed “adaptation” advocates for whom adaptation is a cover for doing nothing — let the planet cook and we’ll handle the consequences later (coupled with the spurious claim that we’ll be richer by then if we don’t take any action on climate change now, and therefore have more resources to throw at the problem) … a prudent approach would be to prepare for the consequences of the rise in temperatures already under way]
    Your talk of “adaptation” is the logical progression of having shouted, “Go home, go home, your house is on fire!” for so long, at some point you were bound to throw your hands up and say, “Too late, it’s burned.”

    Relax Mr Keane. It was never going to happen as fast as you wanted to. How long has it been since you took a holiday, anyway? Since you came to work for Crikey?

    Global warming experts are constantly reminding us that the effects of warming would not be uniform. I think you can say the effects would not be locally predictable either. So how do you adapt to something which is not locally predictable? By building dykes, raising bridges, diverting rivers, building underground hydroponic farms …? No, you adapt the same way humans are now able to adapt to Antarctica or space, and that’s by developing productivity and wealth with which to solve problems as they arise.

    Sorry, but there it is. If you’re calling for adaptation, what that really means is a variant of business as usual, in the most efficient possible way. Tax reform, competition reform, federalism reform, irrigation reform, free trade reform, leaner government, and so on. The wealthier an economy, the better its chance of coping with come what may.

  25. DIY_Sunrise

    Well if we cannot handle adaption I don’t know what makes people think that we can steer the climate.
    Does anyone have any idea how complex the climate is? Obviously not.

    So what is the theory? We lower our output of CO2 and all floods end, the droughts end, food production goes up, wars in the third world end and everyone lives happily ever after…

  26. Mr4nderson

    Yay another way to make the Banksters fat & happy!

    Big mining companies want a carbon tax because the they will make a lot of money trading in fake derivatives. Wake up greens, a carbon trading scheme is a scam.

    Obama’s involvement in Chicago Climate Exchange—the rest of the story
    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/9629

    ‘It may be interesting to note that the Chicago Climate Exchange in spite of its hype, is a veritable rat’s nest of cronyism. The largest shareholder in the Exchange is Goldman Sachs.’

    And really would a majority foreign owned company like BHP really care if they moved their top brass overseas?

    Industry will just pass the cost onto us, move offshore and NOTHING gets done about Co2.

  27. tumbrelpusher

    @DIY Sunrise

    Yep, that’s right wave the magic wand and all the climate problems will disappear instantaneously!!!

    Is that really what you think people who are advocating carbon reduction believe? Then, you sir, are a dill of the highest order!

    We are discussing the future of the planet and it’s ability to recover over centuries and then support life. Learn to use a calculator, you may be able do some sums, just like the vast majority of climate scientists around the world already have!

    Go back to your crypt!

  28. DIY_Sunrise

    tumbrelpusher, that is EXACTLY what advocates of carbon reduction believe. All the proposals are token gestrure meant to appease Gaia.
    Do you think people are planning to make any changes that will affect them personally? Of course not. They are just hoping that somehow ‘big business’ and ‘the rich’ will be brought to heel while all the ‘activists’ continue to fly around the world to eco-conferences in Brazil etc.

    Did you notice the sincerity of the delegates in Copenhagen? Never mind the fact that the whole thing could have been done as a video conference did you see how many limousines were used instead of the FREE delegate shuttle bus service??

    “We are discussing the future of the planet and it’s ability to recover over centuries and then support life. ”
    Like our CO2 is going to be a problem for a planet that has been through all this before a hundred times. Did you know that optimum CO2 levels for plants are around seven times what we have now? Did you know that plant growth stops if CO3 levels drop by about 40% of what they are now?

    What calculations do you think I need to do, tumbleweed?

  29. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    DIY_SUNRISE and probably Caesarboy – where were you guys when we were trying to save the tobacco industry? Surely you don’t believe all that pseudo-science, all that social engineering, that economic impost, that dumping on the tobacco farmers and their irrigation areas brought about by scaremongering about tobacco and lung cancer? Have you noticed how well we are all ADAPTING by simply sticking to the smoking habit but staying close to the ground by falling off our perches.
    Oh yeah, there are plenty of smartarses around when the society is trying to line up the ducks. But as the sea level continues to rise, the reefs and crustaceans slowly dissolve and Australian irrigated agriculture retreats to the remaining wetlands, you’ll be the first in the queue for the assisted passage.

  30. tumbrelpusher

    DIY Kochie…

    You may well be a spudboy(plant) or reptile but I and the people I know are mammalian…

    Anyway, shouldn’t you and Minchin/Abbott/Tuckey be in the IPA thinktank plotting the rise of the Fourth Reich? ….The Final Solution to deal with people who give a hoot about others and the legacy they leave…

    Australia Awake….there might be a decrease to the fourteenth decimal place percentage in profit…lovely profit, drool, drool, drooool……

  31. DIY_Sunrise

    ” But as the sea level continues to rise, the reefs and crustaceans slowly dissolve”

    Stop reading fantasy novels.

    Tumbleweed, do you have a point to make?
    Have you made some pointless gesture for the planet recently? A sticker on your car perhaps? Or maybe a brick in your toilet cistern?

    That is the problem with twits like you who grow up in the affluent west and have no idea about the rest of the world. The developing worlds is entitled to produce power to improve their lives and your wimpering will not stop that. Nor should it.

  32. tumbrelpusher

    Yes, improve their lives if and when they pay enough towards the jewel-encrusted, solid gold dunny brush in the power company owner’s 23rd marble bathroom in the weekender beach shack.

    Oh, and the Mum and Dad shareholder stalking horses, of course….

  33. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    DIY – you mentioned ‘reading’. Read your own crap for once – “…Does anyone have any idea how complex the climate is? Obviously not.” No one knows as much as you. So you engage in this conversation as though you have something to contribute but you have already admitted that you (“obviously”) know nothing about the subject. Is that what’s called ‘trolling’?
    Like your mate Caesarboy (“There is no way we would be getting the wheat yields we’re getting now without the extra carbon we produce.”), you happily mix data to sound intelligent. Sea level rise is not “fantasy” and you know it. Ocean acidification is not “fantasy” and you know that too. But I suppose another day brings another Crikey and we can all move on.

  34. DIY_Sunrise

    Hugh baby!!!
    “Sea level rise is not “fantasy” and you know it. ”

    So how come the Maldives are still where we left them 200 years ago? How come none of the Pacific islands have disappeared? Give me an example of sea level rises that are no just subsidence.

    Regarding the complexity of the climate I would say that it is a lot more complex to model than, say, the stock market. What are your thoughts on that point, Hugh (Charley) Mcoll?
    Give us the benefit of your wisdom.

    (or is it just that you don’t like my message but cannot refute it?)

  35. Parag

    Looking at measures to reduce carbon emissions, large companies were concerned about what would happen to the money raised by carbon pricing, and the impact of an early adoption of carbon pricing on international trade.
    http://www.greenliving9.com/bio-cremation-reducing-carbon-dioxide.html

  36. DIY_Sunrise

    Bio-cremation. Hilarious!
    Is there any company that can’t find a way to jump on the AGW bandwagon??

  37. Michael Rynn

    Mr Benard Keane,

    You do stir the debate very well, but your recommendations are an impediment to action.

    The only way towards a comprehensive, effective and rapid international agreement to halt global temperature rise, is action, and not words. If Australia takes effective action and makes it work, it shows the way, and this will have far more effect than innumerable treaties, negotiations and agreements. People and nations believe when they see the actions. As a wealthy nation with a huge income stream from resources extraction, we are well positioned to fund action. The fact we are not taking action from our position is an extremely powerful and credible indication of our political intransigance.

    Getting an international agreement involves the efforts of members of government, diplomats, bureaucrats and experts. We can safely afford to deploy them on a mission now, but we do not have the time to wait around for their success. Their negotiating position really depends on what technology and policies have already been deployed, and on having clear knowledge of what can be achieved in a given time. The more that has already been achieved and is in the pipeline, the better our representatives negotiating position. We have to show what we can do, not what we might do.
    In any case, the maximum world emissions reduction is achieved by each nation doing its maximum emissions reduction.

    The waiting around for international agreement was one of the same old tired excuses of the previous governments for not doing anything. It does not quite beat the excuse of the Liberal government of not signing Kyoto, because it would not be effective after negotiating so many concessions for Australia. Any waiting around for any reason at all, makes us a climate procrastinator, just like Bernard Keane.

    No one has put forward elements of coherent adaptation policy for climate change that amounts to anything more than emergency responses and retreat. These are costly in money, resources and lives. Some responses, like turning up the air-conditioning, indicate how we much we be forced to maladapt. This appears to be a misuse of the word adaptation, which I learned in biology to be a characteristic brought about by natural selection. Because of increasing economic impacts of climate change, expect hardship, higher insurance premiums, and having an economy that is less able to provide for its people, and in time less able to invest in renewable energy. Adaptation means taking the punishment, and having restricted possibilities. Heavy selection pressure can also result in a population crash. After a long while the survivors may indeed be adapted, only because the unlucky and unfit have died, leaving the competition for the future. People promoting adaptation are suggesting we all continue slug it out in the new climate world with business as usual.

    There are many responses that we need to take beyond just a carbon price. A lot of work is going to be needed into administration, implementation, adjustments and responding to unwanted effects once it is applied. A lot complementary policies with environment management and effects are required. Better water policies and agricultural management, with involvement of rural Australian communities are already needed. An effective climate response means achieving a transformed Australia.

    All of these will take time to implement and take effect, and take us into new territory. So its time now to take a big first step..

  38. Mr4nderson

    I suggest every has carbon credits, your consumerism and growth is restricted by what you buy (every product has how much carbon it produces) that is then deducted from your weekly or monthly allowance, if you should need more you purchase credits from others who haven’t used it up.

    We thereby effectively punish useless eaters and filthy polluters.

    That’ll encourage people to eat, travel, spend, procrinate less and we’ll all be better for it.

    Thank your lucky stars the Bankers will oversee this ponzi scheme / bubble

    /sarcasm.

  39. Mr4nderson

    Mmm and does effect spelling too (deary me) lol

  40. freecountry

    Biological adaptation is a long term thing. For humans, adaptation means changes in how we live. Like moving from the Arctic to the tropics. For that you can go on a shopping trip, but for more complex and unpredictable changes, adaptibility is the privilege of those who can keep their options open. Which is to say, the privilege of those who are wealthy.

    So when writers advocate “adaptation”, it may sound all pro-active but what it really means is growing wealth as efficiently as possible. There are a few specific things you can do, like clearing away all obstacles to researching genetic modification of crop plants, while maintaining genetic diversity in food crops as much as possible. And beefing up defence forces to fight off the kind of mass migrations that brought on the Dark Age. But for the most part, adaptation just means business as usual.

  41. mgprichard

    Mr Kloppers should be permitted to change his mind on issues as important as global climate change and a price on carbon. Perhaps it is just a matter of timing.

    I wouldn’t call him a hypocrite in pushing for a carbon price – it might suit him and his company to do so. There is no way he would make such an attention getting public statement without a good reason – good for BHP, that is. I doubt this is primarily about how much BHP might be penalised for generating GHGs from its mining operations (and taxpayer funded rebates), but rather what BHP stands to make from developing the world’s largest deposit of uranium as an alternative fuel. The link below might shed some light on BHP’s view on this.

    http://www.bhpbilliton.com/bbContentRepository/bhpBillitonUraniumMacquarieEquitiesConferencePresentation.pdf

    Is that a problem? Maybe not, but it surprises me that Green’s leader, Bob Brown, gives an unqualified endorsement of the BHP CEO remarks without considering the implications:

    http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/news/greens-go-gaga-over-kloppers-carbon-concession/story-e6frg2qu-1225924718042

    The world needs to develop a global consensus on carbon emissions, and I agree with Kloppers that it would be foolish for Australia to be lagging behind in this arena, given our per capita CO2 production, and the time it takes to turn a ship-at-full-speed around.

    It is also foolish not to debate the broader implications of this subject – Where is the uranium debate in all this? Where is the debate about the leaders of this country sitting on their hands in their tepid support of new technologies, incentives for innovation and national feed in tariff.

  42. Michael Rynn

    All the adaptation we have done since the stone age has been cultural. Biological adaptation, is far out of our possibilities. A lack of political adaptation seems also to be a major problem. As noted by numerous writers, and was well put in Bill McKibbens book, “Eaarth”, the planet in which our agricultures and civilisation have flourished in are adapted to is fast disappearing. So whatever cultural – business adaptations we have to adopt, eventually it will not be business as usual. Just how radically different our planet will become is up to us now. The great mistake is to assume access to the flows of material and energy capital, is our real wealth. The real wealth is our land, our biosphere.

    There is limited time and resources available to change our economy now, and the resources are disappearing. The limits to growth have arrived now, and atmosphere waste gases causing climate change are just one of them. Peak oil is just another one. The “little green handbook” summerized quite a few of these.

    The physics of our entire economy works on using low entropy resources from the environment. In producing the dreams of our lives we turn the low entry resources into products and waste, and unavoidable increase in entropy.
    The major source of fresh low entropy energy we can safely harness is the sun. We really need to harness solar energy, and use it to recycle much our other wastes. Fossil fuels are no good for this because their energy waste is both long-lived in our biosphere and climate toxic.

    As time goes by the severity of the adaptations we will be forced to undergo increases, and the sum of our available resources decreases. at our disposal. The WALL-E movie is something like our future state, in the quantities of unprocessed garbage we shall leave behind, except for the idea of humanity escaping. Business as usual means we have to wait for the collapse of civilisation before carbon emissions fall. And that means no more crikey.

  43. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    DIY – if you want to learn something about sea level rise (for example) don’t ask or expect to be taught by someone on a blog. We have an education system, the internet and books etc. for that. If you are camped out in the Maldives or the Pacific islands you’re looking in the wrong place.

  44. DIY_Sunrise

    OK so what you are saying Hugh Charlize Mcool is that NO, you do NOT have any evidence of sea level rise.
    It would only rise if the ice caps melted and as you are aware, and no doubt to your disappointment, they are pretty much in place.

    Don’t let reality intrude though. Read some of B grade disaster movie script written by the likes of Rynn above and you will be able to flagellate yourself with eco-guilt.

  45. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    You are sort of, almost correct DIY. The ice caps are “pretty much” in place. But how do you know that? I’ll wager that you’ve seen media somewhere reporting about ice caps – there’s no way that you’ve been to the poles to measure this stuff yourself. So what else have you read? In the Australian newspaper earlier this year you could have read that sea level is rising, on average, by around 3mm per year – measured by satellite, don’t ask me how. This rise is not directly connected to melting ice caps; it’s more about the expansion of ocean water due to miniscule changes in temperature through the whole water column. You know, the Earth has increased temperature by about one degree in the past 100 years. That’s all it takes. From little things big things grow. Keep watching DIY, reality will grow on you too.

  46. DIY_Sunrise

    3mm… +/- 3mm
    There is no indication of sea level rise anywhere and, by the way, there has not even been any warming for nearly a decade.
    So it seems that what warming we did have seems to have stopped. Since we have kept on pumping out CO2 for all this time it kind of breaks the link between our CO2 and temperature rise doesn’t it?
    Gee, is it possible that the planet just does what it does regardless of us? Like if did for the previous 5 billion years….

    Keep watching? Of course I will. The only problem is that it will take three to five decades to get even a partial result.
    That, of course, is the ONLY reason why climate alarmists do not have as crappy a reputation as meterorologist or economists whose predictions can be falsified in a much shorter period.

    I admire your religious faith in these hard times…

  47. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    No DIY, you can’t just make stuff up to suit yourself. There’s no “+/- 3mm”. If you think there is then give a reference to a scientific source, or are you a strictly Womens Weekly kind of guy? Regarding indications of sea level rise “anywhere”, have you ever, once, sought to answer your own question? There are numerous sources (other than the blogosphere), both peer-reviewed and more layman friendly scientific journal articles, which very interestingly and engagingly describe the process and the measurement of the outcome. Rather than challenging the views of others about their conclusions why don’t you engage directly with the science itself and draw your own?
    Ditto about “…it seems that what warming we did have seems to have stopped”. “Seems”? What do you do DYI – do you walk outside, lick your finger and stick it in the air? Did we have warming at all or can’t you remember which source told you which bit of bullshit? Again, you’re just making stuff up by compiling crap you’ve read in blogs.
    The IPCC was established to try to present the best available information in an accessible format. Without even reading it you dismiss it out of hand. You turn away from the publicly available summaries (which are perfectly adequate if only you would look at them) and engage in mindless arguments based on drivel.
    Religious faith? I don’t know what you’re talking about and strongly suspect that you don’t know either.

  48. DIY_Sunrise

    I say “seems” because it is clear that an accurate measure is very difficult to make and the best that can be gained is an approximation.
    Of course when someone like Phil Jones says that there has been no significant warming for a decade I tend to take his word for it because I know that he will have done everything he can to find some warming.

    “The IPCC was established to try to present the best available information in an accessible format.”

    Before I delve deeper into that statement do you admit that the IPCC has become an advocacy group? Do you think it odd that all the ‘errors’ have been in one direction?
    The IPCC (church) reputation is in tatters and I have little faith in anything it produces. Even one of their whitewashes admitted that they are abandoned their own rules.

    The bit that you have once again failed to put in though is the critical bit about the link to human activity and climate change. I have stated many times that I am not disputing that the planet has been warming (except for those times when it has not been warming and the present day is one of those periods it seems). I know that the planet has been warming and cooling for 5bn years. No news there.
    I just want some evidence that we are in some way responsible and you have nothing.
    The best you can do is a vague correlation between CO2 and global temperature and even that comes unstuck when you consider the fact that the historical record shows that CO2 LAGS temperature by about 800 years.
    So where does that leave your theory?

  49. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    DIY – I don’t have a theory, I haven’t personally offered “… a vague correlation” and I’m not interested in anti-AGW conspiracy theories, interesting though they may be to you. Go back to Womens Weekly old mate.

  50. DIY_Sunrise

    I see. So when I blow a hole in your AGW assertion you just pike out.
    You have said that you subscribe to the theory that mankind is driving up temperature through CO2 emissions so it is a bit late to try and disown that one now.
    You have failed to explain a gaping hole in your theory – ie how CO2 can be responsible for temperature change when it seems that it is an effect rather than a cause.
    And so your only response is to slither out in a little hissyfit. How lame.

    THAT is religion for you!!

  51. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Blowhole. That’s DIY. Go back to your “+/- 3mm” and face your own music. You say sea level rise does not occur. You say there is no connection between rising atmospheric CO2 and global warming – ie. that there is no greenhouse effect. You say there is no anthropogenic connection, that the scientific community is simply lying to create some sort of conspiracy. You are a know-all DIY – perhaps that’s a DIY KNOWALL. If you think you are holding back the tide simply by asserting it then dream on.

  52. DIY_Sunrise

    And your explanation for the fact that CO2 lags temperature is …. what exactly?

    It seems that you have no idea how to deal with the whole cause and effect problem.

    But you keep putting your faith in snake oil merchants if it makes you feel better. I mean in reality it is not going to affect you much is it? You can demand this and that but when it comes down to it you are not actually going to change anything you do are you? A bit of recycling and maybe but the odd ‘sustainable, low carbon footprint packet of coffee but that is it.
    When the time comes you will still fly off on holiday somewhere and buy a new car and use electricity ….

  53. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    DIY,
    I haven’t pretended that I can explain the (so far) inexplicable. Neither have you. But I haven’t made the “+/-3mm” claim? That one is straight from you. Did you personally invent that number or are you quoting someone? Come on, out with it.

  54. DIY_Sunrise

    “I haven’t pretended that I can explain the (so far) inexplicable.”

    It is not inexplicable. It is quite clear that temperature raises CO2 levels. And not the other way round.

    3mm+/-3mm was an over estimate. I should have said 1.7mm+/-1.7mm

  55. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Bullshit DIY. You are not in the estimating business. You make stuff up and “over estimate” your own ability to paint bullshit pictures.

  56. DIY_Sunrise

    Funnily enough I AM in the estimating business.

  57. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    No Sunshine, that’s in your real life. In this blog-life, where you choose to operate anonymously, you just make stuff up, twist the truth and hide behind bullshit. I think that makes you a troll. Get over it.

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