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Sep 28, 2010

Climate committee is better without the Coalition

The Climate Committee announced by the Government yesterday will benefit from the absence of a disruptive and untrustworthy Opposition.


Since climate change kicked its way out of the policy morgue to which both major parties had consigned it, there’s been more progress toward effective action on climate change from Parliament than at any time since the end of 2009 and, really, since 2008 when the Rudd Government started pre-emptively caving in to the demands of industry to neuter its CPRS.

Until the election delivered a minority government, we were on course for complete inaction on climate change for this term, a policy silence broken only by the insistence of the major parties that risible policies like a citizens’ assembly, or soil carbon (more correctly titled “soil magic” by Lenore Taylor) amounted to effective action on commencing the restructuring of our carbon-addicted economy.

Now, courtesy of Labor being reluctantly dragged back to the idea of being serious about climate change rather than treating it as a political wedge, there is a process that conceivably leads to a carbon price mechanism with support from at least one independent — Tony Windsor, who is on the committee — and the Greens, and one developed with input from business via an advisory group, that could be legislated after the Greens take the balance of power in the Senate on 1 July.

The process may fail to produce a consensus; business representatives, for example, may continue to argue that we need a carbon price, but not one that might actually do anything or affect their costs. It’s fair to say there’s quite a bit of scepticism on the part of some Cabinet ministers about the utility of the committee. Nonetheless, it provides a path to a carbon price where, until 21 August, none existed for the foreseeable future.

The only recalcitrants are the Coalition, and as more high-profile businesses join the calls for a carbon price, that recalcitrance means the Coalition will lock itself out of a role in shaping what should be the most significant economic reform of this decade. The committee is being attacked as some sort of infernal innovation, a “repugnant”, “secret” thing that breaches, in the words of Greg Hunt yesterday, “110 years of parliamentary practice” and a breach of Julia Gillard’s pre-election commitment that there will be no carbon price in this Parliamentary term.

Conventional wisdom is that politicians breach such promises at their peril, and clearly the Coalition thinks that it is on a winner by pointing out what is an obvious case of not honouring a commitment by the Government. But the last nine months suggests that every time Labor took a step away from a carbon price — convinced that it was being politically savvy and minimising the risk of being damaged on the issue — it shed support. It shed it mainly to the Left, giving a huge boost to the Greens, and it shed a little support to the Right, from people convinced Labor stood for nothing.

As yesterday’s Essential Report showed, there remains very strong support for “quick action” on climate change among Labor and Greens voters, and 37% of voters overall see it as very important, versus 27% who regard it as less important (a quarter think it is “somewhat important”). Even 20% of Liberal voters see quick action as very important.

On that basis, if only in terms of what will now be a years-long struggle against the Greens, Labor may be quite happy for Tony Abbott to persistently point out that Labor is moving ahead with a carbon price. That clearly is what voters want to see.

The Coalition are also putting on some confected outrage that the committee is only open to members who believe in man-made climate change and support a carbon price. Reduced to basics, that means you have to be rational and economically-literate to participate, and if Tony Abbott wants to declare his MPs are neither, that’s his lookout.

In truth, though, there’s no point in involving the Coalition. It’s not really about the fact that Tony Abbott believes in global cooling. We saw last year the extent to which the Opposition can be trusted on climate change action, and we’ve had continual demonstrations that Tony Abbott will walk away from any agreement, verbal or written, that becomes inconvenient for him. Even if an Abbott-led Coalition somehow agreed to a carbon price mechanism, there’s no evidence that such an agreement would be adhered to and the Government would be foolish indeed to take Abbott’s oft-broken word on such an issue.

The Opposition is, however, very sensitive to the line that it doesn’t support a market-based solution. Its “direct action” policy of billions of dollars of handouts to polluters is, it insists, a “market-based approach”, although Hunt yesterday described it, confusingly, as a “third way” and compared it to the water market, perhaps forgetting that lots of other purchasers than governments buy water. What the Coalition proposes on electricity is indeed a market, a market in which there is one buyer, the Government, and only one seller.

Only International Power can sell “abatement” from Hazelwood. Only TRUenergy can sell abatement from Yallourn (TRUenergy’s parent, China Light and Power, is looking to get out of Australia anyway). There can’t be a “market” in soil magic because it’s barely at carbon capture and storage-level viability, you can’t measure what you’re “buying” and independent experts say the Coalition’s proposed price of $8-10 per tonne of sequestered emissions (necessary for the Coalition policy to add up to anything approach a 5% reduction by 2020) is a quarter or a fifth of what would be needed to make it viable for farmers.

The only other card in the Coalition deck is its argument that a carbon price will drive up electricity prices, which are going up anyway due to the uncertainty engendered by the failure of Labor and the Liberals to establish one. The Coalition skips over that increasing electricity prices is the entire point of a carbon price, given the goal of changing behaviour and driving investment into lower-emissions technology. Under the CPRS, most households would have been fully or even over-compensated for the increase in electricity and other prices, so they would not have been net worse off, but the effect of a higher price signal would have been felt by households and industry – demand for electricity is moderately elastic in response to price increases, though seemingly more elastic at certain times of year than others.

Given the untrustworthiness of an Abbott-led Coalition, and the fact that it has wandered into a policy dead-end of fanciful solutions and endlessly-repeated rhetoric, its non-participation in the work of moving toward a carbon price isn’t really a problem. Everyone else — the independents, the Greens, Labor, the business community, NGOs, welfare groups and economists — have serious work to do on the issue.


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61 thoughts on “Climate committee is better without the Coalition

  1. David Sanderson

    “Confected” has become the word of choice to describe most things to do with the Abbott Liberals.

    They are on a confectionery sugar high at the moment but how long can it last?

  2. Jimmy

    You get the impression that Gillard has got the best of both worlds, she has invited Abbott in to show she is trying to work in the “new paradigm” but doesn’t have to put up with him on the committee wrecking things. That said it would have been good to get Turnball and the Greg Hunt that believed in an ETS on the committee.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    Hunt must be the biggest hypocrite in the parliament today.

  4. Dr_Tad

    I agree that this committee *should* be one only to those who want to act on AGW.

    However, it shouldn’t only be open to those who are in favour of carbon pricing as a central aim. Rather than being “economically literate”, those obsessed with carbon pricing (sadly including BK and the Greens) are merely being hopeful that neoclassical economics will deliver here when there is not much evidence that it will.

    I fear that we will get a carbon price and 2-3 years from now people will wake up realising that it was too little, too late. By then the social consensus that we must act may be up in smoke too.

    In that sense, it matters little if the Coalition are involved or not. The bigger problem is the committee’s raison d’etre.

  5. Jimmy

    So Dr, if not a carbon price then what? Direct action will not get the job done by itself! The fact that we may be acting later than we should of shouldn’t stop us acting at all.

  6. Scott

    I disagree BK. To get a carbon price over the line and into law, a structured stakeholder dialogue is the only solution, with all primary and secondary stakeholders represented. And it’s hard to do that when business representatives in parliament (i.e the Libs) are outside the room.
    If Labor are really serious about this committee producing an outcome, they should appoint two more business representatives to the committee as a proxy for coalition interests.

  7. D Smith


    Why should Labor appoint business representatives to the committee? They asked the LNP to attend but the Libs decided not to be a part of it. If the outcome is something that big business isn’t happy with let them take it up with the infantile Libs.

  8. Dr_Tad

    Jimmy, Abbott’s direct action is a joke because it is not about shifting the capitalist economy away from its central dependence on carbon emitting production.

    The kind of direct action I envisage would be the rapid building of renewable energy industry, mass public transit, retrofitting buildings and/or more climate-friendly construction, etc, etc.

    That would be massively job-creating but expensive and there would be no just solution but to make big business pay more tax. But state industries (where private actors were unwilling to accept the government’s terms to join in) also create value because they also produce sellable goods and services, so in the longer term they would do all the things private companies do… innovate, create efficiencies, even (gasp) make profits.

    Once all this was being rolled out, non-renewable power production would be shut down, private car use limited, etc. Lifestyles would improve under the new arrangements. The state could also guarantee retraining and meaningful jobs for those dislocated from the “old” industries. None of those protections are guaranteed in a market-based approach, even if it were more successful than I predict it will be. It would also create a social consensus for climate action as a social good.

    Of course it would really upset those who currently make untold wealth from the current arrangement. It would restrict their “freedom” to profit from the mess they have gotten us into.

    I like this plan, from the trade union group of the UK Campaign Against Climate Change. Neoliberals need not apply. 😉


  9. Scott

    @D Smith

    I’m sure they will. But remember how Gillard was able to get an outcome on the mining tax..engagement with business. Engagement works. Do you want this committee to be another Copenhagan, or do you actually want a quality outcome?

  10. D Smith


    I see your point. Although the latest version of the mining tax doesn’t go nearly far enough. Gillard basically gave the miners what they wanted. Even the miners came out saying they were prepared to pay more than what Gillard negotiated.

    No matter what the outcome of the Climate Committee, Big business will say it’s anti business, the Libs will say it’s going to hurt all businesses, bankrupt moms and dads, lead to socialism and marxism, and end all life in Australia as we know it, and the MSM will say “yeah, what the libs and big business said”.

  11. Jimmy

    Garnaut is an economist & on the board of Lihir Gold surely he can represent business interests.
    Also now that the greens will hold the balance of power in the senate whatever comes out of this committee is going to be legislation (assuming Wilkie & Oakeshott are supportive) and as Big Business never supported labor anyway putting them offside is not a big risk.

  12. Scott

    There is always a danger of obstructionism in any dialogue, but I think business is starting to lean towards a price on carbon. It is true that there is still a lot of old-world thinking out there regarding sustainability, thinking that CSR should just be used just for “green washing” and liability protection purposes. But there is a new generation of business leaders believing that CSR is a strategic imperative, and a source of competitive advantage. Carbon pricing is a big part of that.
    Remember that business people are also consumers, parents and even environmentalists. And environmentalists are often shareholders, directors and employees. There is always common ground. It is amazing what can be achieved when you look for what unites stakeholders rather than what divides them. I think you will find that getting a solution that equals a (partial) win for everyone is not out of the ball park.
    But, you need to get them in the room.

  13. jenauthor

    Abbott’s MO appears to be attempting to ‘de-legitimise’ everything the govt. does.

    The rhetoric about the CC c’tee has been appalling from the opposition ranks — just listen to the nonsense from Mirabella in the past 24 hours!

    The negative tactics worked (so they thought) at the election, thus they think such tactics will have the same effect during the parliament.

    What they fail to understand is:
    the public is not so silly that they think CC will be a cheap quick fix and are mentally ready to let govt do whatever is necessary;
    that the independents aren’t susceptible to the scare tactics that were effective because of the compliance of the media;
    they need cogent policies that do not shut out 65% of the population who want fast action on CC.

    Currently, the opposition has itself painted into a corner where they lack any credibility on this subject. Hunt is going against ALL his natural instincts. MT, who is also a CC advocate, is going against all his natural instincts on the NBN — which makes his convictions questionable.

    I agree that having NO opposition members on the c’tee will give the govt the upper hand. I hope the opposition keep up their belligerence in all areas — the more peulant they become, the more the voting public will suspect they are there purely for their own political purpose — AND, the mainstream, media will realise they are betting on a terminal loser and will HAVE TO start becoming more objective.

  14. Jimmy

    Yeah I agree that it would be great to get business on side but I think there comes a time when the govt of the country just needs to say we’ve commissioned studies, we’ve listened to the experts and this is what we have decided and business just have to deal with it. Look at the ETS by the time business had finished lobbying it was reduced to a point where it was no longer credible. There was a report today that claimed the main reason BHP had come out in support of a tax was to stop an ETS.
    I am sure business will be consulted I’m just not convinced they need to be on the committee.

  15. Jimmy

    Don’t get me started on Mirrabella, saw her on Q&A last night, the word fishwife came to mind. She made absolutely no sense, didn’t listen to anyone else and just repeated the same thing over & over regardless of the question

  16. zibraltor

    Climate committee have so many qualities . And his members is Better than the other
    Coalition .

  17. Scott

    I agree that the ETS lobbying process was rubbish. Again, a failure of stakeholder management. The environmentalists weren’t represented in those negotiations so the proposed solution became too pro-business. Hence the Greens couldn’t vote for the proposal, putting carbon reduction on the backburner yet again. Bilateral negotiations work well in some instances, but not with something as complex as climate change when there are numerous stakeholders all with very strong views.
    What I fear is that we will now go the other way. If business does not have a true champion in the committee, we will end up with a proposal that is so anti-business that even those business leaders leaning towards carbon taxes will feel they have to oppose it. And we have seen how powerful the business community can be when it actively opposes the Government.

  18. Meski

    If the Coalition is the only ‘business representative’ in Parliament, then they’ve only got themselves to blame. (businesses, that is)

  19. fredex

    Lots of things would be better without the COALition.
    Australia for example.

  20. Robert Barwick

    “…moving ahead with a carbon price. That clearly is what voters want to see.” Bernard Keane is in a bubble–Canberra–inside another bubble–Crikey subscribers. Sure Bernard, voters who pay 30+ per cent of their income on their mortgage, cop 20 per cent annual price hikes for groceries, and juggle school fees, fuel costs, utilities and the rest clearly want to cop another whack. Why wouldn’t they? They love bleeding hard-earned money. I mean, seriously. Get out in the real world.

  21. Venise Alstergren

    A very thoughtful article indeed. And “”their peril, and clearly the Coalition thinks that it is on a winner by pointing out what is an obvious case of not honouring a commitment by the Government”” Is the Opposition forgetting its own lack of honour by ripping up everything they’ve agreed to do?

    Last night on Q&A the audience was subjected to the picture of the loathsome Sophie Mirafea (opposite of Mirabella) giving her voluminous admiration and support of Tony Abbott. Happily she was doing neither the Coalition nor herself any favours at all.

    Time for Mr Rabbot to rabbit off.

  22. Venise Alstergren

    SHEPHERDMARILYN: His father, who was also a parliamentarian, was worse.

  23. Venise Alstergren

    SHEPHERDMARILYN; Sorry, I left out this “”Hunt must be the biggest hypocrite in the parliament today.””

  24. David

    Now thats buggerd up my a/noon, the mere mention of that serial big mouth fool Mirrabella is enough to throw a sickie and get onto the turps. She has not the faintest idea what she is talking about not only a fool but ignorant with it

  25. Barbara Boyle

    Well argued, Bernard and thankyou.
    Nice positioning on Q&A last night, with Mungo and Mirabella giving us all the opportunity to compare and contrast…..

  26. Jeremy Yapp

    @Robert Barwick:

    I think a lot of those stressed-out aussie bleeders you mention are genuinely worried about what a 3C rise in global mean temperatures could do to their weekly budgets. That’s why they want swift action on climate change. Unless you know something we don’t, and actually carbon emissions aren’t a problem? In which case, please publish (or p*ss off).

  27. Robert Barwick

    @Jeremy Yapp:

    Of course carbon emissions aren’t a problem. You’re a carbon emission yourself. (Actually “emissions” is an inaccurate term; it would be more correct to use “flow”, as it identifies carbon moves in a cycle.)

    As for the Aussie bleeders, they aren’t worried–any more. They were once, just like they once worried about Saddam’s WMDs. But, as in the case of WMDs, it has dawned on them that they were fed a line, “the greatest moral challenge of our time” and all that crap. The day after Gillard took over from Rudd, just 11 per cent of Australians listed climate change as the number one issue. They voted for the Greens. But because of the other 89 per cent, neither major party went near it during the campaign.

  28. Jeremy Yapp


    That’s a pretty shaky grasp of the carbon cycle you got there, buddy. The carbon loop used to be closed, and if we had stuck to hunter-gathering and muscle-powered farming, it might have stayed so for ever. But wait! Then we discovered a rich seam of hydrocarbons, squirreled away underground during the carboniferous period and now being burnt like nobody’s business. It’s all hydrocarbon, that stuff, and emits CO2 when fried. Nine billions tons a year and rising.

    Like I say, fella: publish or p*ss off.

  29. Robert Barwick

    What planet do you live on? There is no such thing as a closed cycle, except as a mathematical construct.

  30. Jeremy Yapp

    Life’s too short to debate denialists, so this will be my last response to Barwick. The carbon loop was closed in the sense that atmospheric carbon levels were relatively stable in pre-industrial times compared to the last 200 years. What changes there were to atmospheric carbon levels can be explained by such things as vegetation changes, volcanic activity and a few other things that do not include the burning of the hydrocarbons laid down during the carboniferous era.

    Post-industrial burning of said hydrocarbons precipitated rapid a increase in atmospheric carbon and a related rise in global temperatures.

    I also should correct a mistake in my last post. It’s 29 billion tons of CO2, not 9 billion. Sheesh.

    Meanwile, back on earth, Jimmy I agree with you that business has no specific need or right to be on the committee. If the business community can think of a better way of making the cuts we need then they should do the costings and submit the plan to the Committee. But I guess that would mean actually doing some work and proposing a solution to the problem. A tough ask if you’re more interested in rent-seeking and special pleading.

  31. Flower

    Yay Robert Barwick – loser! When you have the science on your side, you argue the science. When you don`t have the science on your side you attack the messenger.

    The Coalition, the dancing boys of big polluters, have been sabotaging climate action for twenty years. Abbott’s ‘climate is crap’ ruse has been debunked by 97% of actively publishing climate scientists. That majority happens to be a ‘consensus.’

    Now the Coalition have declined the invitation to participate in the Climate Committee debate – hallelujah – we’re moving forward. Yet the free market racketeers continue to believe the planet’s for sale – hilarious.

  32. harrybelbarry

    What about Steve Fielding and the Flat Earth Party or did he get the seat in the corner. I watched Miribella on Q & A , she was laughed and Booed at and she got a bit red faced and madder (unhinged ). My two bob on the Carbon Tax , would be start off at $10/ Tonne and raise it $5.00/ Tonne a year till it gets to the real price to remove a tonne of Carbon. that way it starts off cheap and gives people time to change their polluting ways and reduce/ recycle and gives Big business the chance to change to Greener ways of making money. Abbott cannot call it a GBT at $10/Tonne and he and the Flat earthers will be silenced and Rupert will be silenced when the NBN is finished. We can only hope.

  33. harrybelbarry

    Robert Barwick stop wasting blog space and go back to news crap. BYE BYE.

  34. CecilB

    This article ignores the fact that significantly more of the Australian populace voted for the coalition than Labor … what does that say about your claim of the coalition being ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘recalcitrant’ .. and, why would you join a committee that has a predetermined outcome …. ‘confected’ my a….

  35. j-boy57

    face it cecil Tony couldn’t knock over a government that was reeling,
    his chicken little in budgie smugglers routine almost got it done but
    no cigar…

  36. Jeremy Yapp

    Cecil it looks like you didn’t finish your post. Did you hit “post comment” accidentally, or did you read what you had so far and lose the will to finish because it was such complete shite? Before you answer, could you post a link to the bit on the AEC website where it says significantly more of the Australian populace voted for the coalition than Labor? Thanks maaate.

    J-Boy, I think there was a cigar in those budgie smugglers.

  37. KMK

    The Coalition, and more so in their present form of this Abbott-led opposition, are only comfortable when they’re on their feet fighting to avoid the future. As if any Movement can! Abbott does not even seem contented in the ‘here and now.’ Just how glaringly obvious it is that this opposition is not cool ‘in it’s own skin’ is scary.
    For all the shortcomings with policy explanation and in some cases – delivery, at least Labor is willing and unafraid of the getting on with it!
    Also, it is abundantly obvious that this Abbott-led opposition heeded absolutely zero from the very simple, stark message voters delivered all politicians via the ballot boxes, August 21, being – “out here in ‘voter-land’ we are utterly over ‘old politics’ in this country.” We understand just what is we need to do to demonstrate this – did this Coalition not deduce this given the election outcome?
    Labor have certainly been ‘smarted’ back into the reality, they need to understand voters elect parliamentarians to get on with it. We want policy action. Abbott and his negative cohorts can paper over the divisions we all know sit under the surface in the deeply divided party regarding climate change, but they had bettwer deal with this issue, the public is across it.

  38. David

    [@ CecilB… CecilB
    Posted Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink
    This article ignores the fact that significantly more of the Australian populace voted for the coalition than Labor …]

    Cec it appears you are happy to continue the lie that even your hero the unhinged one, has now stopped throwing around. Read and try and digest…

    The Australian Electoral Commission has finalised the last of its two-party preferred Labor-versus Coalition counts, and it confirms Labor has won a narrow victory on the national total of 6,216,439 (50.12 per cent) to 6,185,949 (49.88 per cent), a margin of 30,490.

  39. Robert Barwick

    The various manifestations of the Coalition–Liberals, LNP, Nationals, Country Liberals–got about 690,000 votes more than Labor.

  40. Malcolm Street

    Barwick – so we’re talking about votes for coalitions of different parties. Fine, add Labor, Greens, Wilkie and the other independents together and see what you get.

    If you don’t recognise the Labor-led arrangement, then we’ll go back to party vs party. In which case Labor thrashed the Liberals.

  41. David

    Robert Barwick….from the Electoral Commission. Two-Party-Preferred Vote

    The two-party-preferred vote is the total number of votes received by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Coalition (Liberal & National Parties).
    These totals are a combination of the primary votes (also known as “first preference” votes) and the preferences distributed from other candidates.
    The two-party-preferred statistics are also used to show the overall level of support for each of the main political groups. Two-party-preferred statistics are for all federal elections since 1949 .

    The Australian Electoral Commission has finalised the last of its two-party preferred Labor-versus Coalition counts, and it confirms Labor has won a narrow victory on the national total of 6,216,439 (50.12 per cent) to 6,185,949 (49.88 per cent), a margin of 30,490.

    Hardly difficult to understand for most intelligent observers although it did take the unhinged one some time to get it through his thick skull.

  42. Robert Barwick

    In the Higgins by-election last year, Labor didn’t run a candidate, so it was Libs vs Greens. Record numbers of blue-collar Labor voters voted Liberal, rather than Green. Look it up.

    I hate the Libs, but they are in open coalition; Labor didn’t campaign in coalition with the Greens. So when people voted Labor, you can bet a big percentage did so because Gillard dumped the ETS, and without any expectation that Labor would be in a Green coalition. If they knew beforehand, and if Higgins is anything to go by, I’d bet a lot of Labor voters would have thought twice.

  43. Fran Barlow

    [If they knew beforehand, and if Higgins is anything to go by, I’d bet a lot of Labor voters would have thought twice]

    Barwick moves the goalposts to “what he would have bet ALP voters might have done” from “did”. We don’t know what basis he has for this bet, but clearly, the benchmark has shifted. If we are to allow counterfactuals, then we might speculate on what tactical Liberal protest voters would have done if they’d had access to the data about the costings, or the “red book” or the mining revenue figures or the behaviour of Abbott generally post-election.

    The fact of the matter is that if you add all the primaries of all parties and individuals that are now backing the ALP government and compare them with those backing an official conservative coalition regime, the former out number the latter by about 500,000 votes and exceeds 50%. Do the count yourself from the AEC. I have.

    There can also be no doubt that those who gave the ALP their effective preferences knew that

    a) it was committed to a price on CO2 emissions
    b) it was going to need the support of the Greens in the senate to get its legislative agenda through post June 2010
    c) the ALP could expect the Greens to support them in all areas where ALP policy did not conflict with Green policy i.e a great many core things
    d) that Windsor and Oakeshott were supportive of key ALP policies e.g the NBN, price on Co2, and supportive of the Green position on asylum seekers. The coalition candidates in New England and Lyne repeatedly pointed this out and both of them increased their vote over the last election.

    What is also clear is that the coalition made effective use of the unpopularity of two state ALP governments (QLD and NSW) to engineer a protest vote against the ALP. Ironically, the key reason for the unpopularity of these two regimes reflected their desire to adopt Liberal policies on privatisation, which, it turns out, aren’t even popular with many Liberals.

    In short, in the two states where the Libs made up the key ground in seats, the Liberals traded on voter policy preferences hostile to what the Liberals nationally favour and on issues irrelevant to Federal governance. That’s no kind of mandate, as can be seen by the 60-40 vote in Tasmania for the ALP (where there is an ALP-Green coalition) and stong results in Victoria and SA.

    It is very clear that the consensus in this election strongly favours a centre left coalition rather than a conservative right coalition and especially favours what has become known as the New Paradigm.

    The Liberals are free to test the contrary, but one suspects this will not play well for them if they persist.

  44. Damo

    As a small business owner, the Libs stopped representing us 10 years ago. If I become a racist, God botherer or single mother I consider rejoining the Liberal Party, highly unlikely.

    I think all committees I’ve been on have had a predetermined objective. The committees job is to work out how to achieve that objective.

    If the Coalition don’t want to join, then that’s just another sign that they no longer support business. Business needs to know the rules of the game. We have had a Carbon Price and/or ETS hanging over our heads for too long. You can’t make longer term investments when you don’t know what the rules will be.

    I think all committees I’ve been on have had a predetermined objective. The committees job is to work out how to achieve that objective.

    And how anyone can proclaim to support businesses and oppose the NBN is beyond me.

    I’m just happy my new representatives, The Greens, are on the committee.

  45. freecountry

    Lenore Taylor’s description of ground carbon sequestration as “soil magic” is as stupid as Greg Hunt dribbling cliches about a “third way.” It’s surprising that a journalist of Taylor’s stature would offer her august scientific advice regarding “implausible assumptions about the greenhouse-abatement capacities of the earth,” without first checking with someone like the CSIRO.

  46. freecountry

    Damo, pull the other one. What sort of “long term investments” would any Greens-voting business operator be securing — a lifetime supply of Fair Trade coffee beans? An extended warranty on a Toyota Prius?

  47. Venise Alstergren

    ROBERT BARWICK: “”it has dawned on them that they were fed a line”” Some line.

    Kilogram for kilogram, human beings produce more heat than the sun. So take the eight billion inhabitants on our planet, and the exponential rate of this figure doubling within ten years, and without bringing Carbon into the issue, man is-on his own-is having a radical warming-up effect on the planet. ie: Global Warming”. Then add the ‘non-existence’ as the Luddites claim of Carbon emissions, to get a receipe for disaster, hither-to, on an unimaginable scale.

    ALSO ROBERT BARWICK: “”In the Higgins by-election last year, Labor didn’t run a candidate, so it was Libs vs Greens. Record numbers of blue-collar Labor voters voted Liberal, rather than Green. Look it up. “” I am a native of Higgins and I’m wondering where you got your figures from?”” How can anyone truly quote other people’s voting in an election?

    I used to live just off Chapel Street in an area which was predominantly Greek, who voted Labor, to a man. Yet I cannot swear that once in the polling booth they didn’t change their vote to Liberal. The area is full of gays, small businesses, second-hand book, and clothing shops, Op-shops, antique dealers, tram drivers and assorted occupations. I don’t recall masses of blue-collar workers swearing they would vote Liberal.

    On the other hand, in the area where I live now, is ‘the blue’ in a blue ribbon Liberal seat, currently in the clutches of a hand-me-down Peter Costello supporter, Kelly O’Dwyer-she of the iron jaw. Surprise, surprise there are even the occasional Labor voters here.

  48. Venise Alstergren

    PS: Given the variety of different Parties who fielded candidates, there was a plethora of available candidates in the Senate to choose from. In the lower house the SEX Party was an agreeable alternative to all those rabid right-wing conservatives. As were the Greens.

  49. Flower

    True Damo – just ask Abbott clone and megalomaniac, Col Barnett (over in WA) who also thinks climate change is crap and whose latest ‘independent’ committee is stacked with industry lobbyists while behind the scenes, the ‘independent’ committee is sponsored by our ‘big Australians.’

    “WA is the most polluting, energy-guzzling, waste producer in the nation”, according to a damning new study published this month, by Murdoch University academic, Peter McMahon.

    “West Australians will pay dearly through their hip pockets for living in one of the least-sustainable societies in the world,” said McMahon.

    Thanks for nothing Col!

    Undeterred, the Abbott clone has given the green light for a new Coolimba power station at Eneabba, the Bluewaters power station and the refurbishment of the Muja A/B power station despite the Environmental Protection Authority’s grave prediction that “in the next few years Western Australia will increase its carbon pollution by nearly 75 per cent.”

    And money bags Col thinks it’s terrific that one company alone has acquired mining and exploration leases throughout millions of hectares of land, encompassing national parks, farming areas, town sites, state forests and the last vestiges of our threatened Jarrah and Wandoo forests. And no badges for guessing the name of its Chairman. Barry Carbon – former head of the EPA and mining consultant – of course! Then one must make way also for Barry’s proposed alumina refinery and yet another big polluting refinery.

    All new projects will again be ‘regulated’ by a department of environment and conservation whose senior ‘regulators’ regularly jump camp to get on the payroll of the ‘regulated’ who by some strange ‘coincidence’ share the same office complex as the regulators. Beudy Col!

  50. ray

    The author shows his gullibility. He is not aware that the socalled Climate Committee’s terms of reference are based on the false premise that anthropogenic gas emissions are THE DRIVER of global warming. It is false, because there is no scientific proof to back it up.

    Anthropogenic global warming is simply an assertion — an assertion that mistakenly has been accepted as science by socalled scientists who should know better , and thereby it has become unquestionably accepted by the media, by the misinformed electorate and by politicians swayed by populism rather than evidence-based policy.

    Assertion is not science. Populism is not science.

    Climate science is not settled. If the Committee is at all serious about serving the national interest, the terms of reference must call for a review of the veracity of socalled climate science.

  51. Flower

    “Anthropogenic global warming is simply an assertion — an assertion that mistakenly has been accepted as science by socalled scientists who should know better…”

    That’s terrific news Ray and could you provide the names of the climate scientists who have debunked this “assertion?” It seems I must have missed some vital peer-reviewed publication since April of this year when the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a paper where Stanford researchers et al found that 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field, support the tenets of ACC.

    And any reputable climate scientist that you will name for us here, who has the data to overturn in excess of twenty years extensive research and the subsequent consensus on climate change will become absolutely famous – fantastic!

    With grateful and anticipatory thanks.


  52. ray

    Flower, the statement “Anthropogenic global warming is simply an assertion” needs qualification. The belief that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are THE DRIVER of global warming is an assertion, irrespective of what socalled scientific bodies might claim. There is no irrefutable scientific proof that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the MAIN DRIVER of global warming. If you think you have such irrefutable scientific proof, then table it.

    Given that the IPCC has been studying the subject for 20 years, it is surprising that the strongest endorsement that the IPCC could give in its 2007 Report, was the assertion: “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperature since the mid-20th century is VERY LIKELY due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

    The scientist at the centre of the Climategate scandal at East Anglia University, Phil Jones, candidly admitted in a recent BBC interview that his surface temperature data are in such disarray they probably cannot be verified or replicated, that the medieval warm period may have been as warm as today, and that he agrees that there has been no statistically significant global warming for the last 15 years.

  53. Flower

    Oh dear, Ray my friend – you had me in a tizz believing that we could continue with BAU and our decadent and avaricious lifestyle. I reiterate, who are your scientist buddies who support your denials on AGW?

    Alas you failed to provide any evidence – no peer-reviewed publications, no citations, no alternative reason for warming – just a BBC interview with Phil Jones that you believe is proof that anthropogenic activity is not responsible for global warming over the last seven decades?

    The BBC? Tsk tsk. That interview was conducted after the criminal hackers and their rent boys had ripped out the hapless Jones’ jugular. Furthermore, all three independent reviews of the hacked emails of all scientists at CRU declared that it “did not find any evidence” of improper behaviour that would undermine the consensus on human-caused global warming.

    “On the specific allegations made against the behavior of CRU scientists, we find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt,” the final, 160-page Independent Climate Change Emails Review researchers said.

    Only dropkicks in possession of a half a sensory neuron would be so gullible to believe the propaganda of rent boys and criminal hackers – the subjects of a police investigation.

    The increase in temperature during the medieval warm period, was regional as far as can be ascertained and was not higher than the global temperature during that period. Regional does not mean global and today’s world temperature data is supported by thousands of meteorological stations reporting around the globe.

    Corrections continue to be published by reputable climate researchers, the speed and loss of glaciers and sea ice is trending towards the lowest in several millenia, the evidence on AGW is unequivocal and time and science have moved on even if artful dodgers, Watts, Plimer, Monckton and you haven’t:

    US National Climatic Data Centre in collaboration with 300 scientists from 160 research units in 148 countries:

    January – August 2010 – Global Warming (out of 131 years):

    Land 1st warmest
    Ocean 2nd warmest
    Land and Ocean 1st warmest

    Yes and carbon perturbations (both natural and anthropogenic) impact on climate but humans now emit an estimated 130 times more CO2 than volcanoes, a cause of past extinctions so please try to keep up Ray.

  54. Meski

    @Raay: Your 2 quotes seem to contradict each other, somewhat.


    “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperature since the mid-20th century is VERY LIKELY due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.


    Phil Jones, candidly admitted in a recent BBC interview that his surface temperature data are in such disarray they probably cannot be verified or replicated, that the medieval warm period may have been as warm as today, and that he agrees that there has been no statistically significant global warming for the last 15 years.

    One says it is statistically significant, the second not. VERY LIKELY indicates a HIGH statistic significance.

  55. ray

    Like many others, including media, politicians and non-evaluating scientists, Flower has been conned into believing the warmist hypothesis that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of global warming.

    It is unscientific to claim that the hypothesis is true until such time as it is proven wrong. The onus of proof rests firmly upon the proposer of the hypothesis, not with its refutation. The warmists have failed to produce that proof , after searching for more than 20 years.

    With regard to the CRU, it is not surprising that the three allegedly independent reviews of the hacked emails “did not find any evidence” of improper behaviour , as they were superficial at best. For a review with real substance, you should see “The Climategate Emails” by John P Costella at

    It is sad that warmists choose to deride, rather than read, what Watts, Plimer and Monckton and other climate realists have to say. One should study both sides, so as to get a proper understanding of the climate change question.

    It is false to claim that AGW has scientific consensus. See for instance, John O’Sullivan’s article, “Climate Change Has No Scientific Consensus” at http://www.suite101.com/content/no-scientific-consensus-on-human-climate-chan-a218400.

  56. Flower

    Ray – Again your turgid, repetitive and erroneous rubbish has as much believability as a declaration of eternal love from a King’s Cross street walker:

    Watts: No credentials – a cut and paste radio TV weather man

    Plimer: No papers on climate science published in peer-reviewed journals – a ridiculed geo and CEO/Chairman of several mining companies

    Monckton: No science credentials – an out of work hack, fraud and a joke in the Motherland. Sometimes referred to as ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ in the old country

    John O’Sullivan: No science credentials – a cut and paste hack, liar and irrelevant ‘johnny cum lately’

    Costella: Physics – PHD – zero papers published (or accepted) on climate science (or any on anything else as far as can be ascertained), sometime actor, conspiracy theorist and fool, known for plastering photographs of his children all over the web

    1. Plimer’s “Heaven and ‘Mirth’” nonsense – debunked by Professors Woodroffe, England, Bindoff, Brook, Low, Lambeck and Karoly and Drs Pearman Marchant et al.

    2. August 2010: The House of Lords sent a letter to ‘Lord’ Monckton “stressing that he should not refer to himself as a member of the House of Lords, and nor should he use any emblem representing the portcullis.”

    Michael Pownall, clerk of the parliaments, wrote to ‘Lord’ Monckton stressing that he should not refer to himself as a member of the House of Lords, and nor should he use any emblem representing the portcullis.

    A document on the Buckingham website says misuse of the emblem is prohibited by the Trade Marks Act 1994, meaning Monckton could potentially be liable for fines and a six-month prison term if the Palace pursued the matter and successfully prosecuted him.

    3. John O’Sullivan in his “important post,” eagerly circulated by ignorant denialists, where all crooked roads lead to Monckton’s SPPI stink tank, claimed that the Norfolk Police were investigating “The Climategate Scandal”. In fact they were investigating the leaking/hacking of emails. He then rants about how Phil Jones “could get 10 years for fraud?” What fraud?

    In the UK, these days, murderers may only get about 5 years and community work. Big time fraudsters, Premiers Burke and Oconnor got 13 months and 6 months respectively and the despicable Alan Bond got three years for embezzling $1.2 billion but O’Sullivan says ’10 years for nothing?’ Strewth what a tosser.

    O’Sullivan brags that Costella’s study (‘Climategate’) has been widely accepted by all sides of the global warming debate as a faultless assessment. Good God – spare us from this jabberwanky!

    4. September 2010: A coalition of leading climate scientists filed a 48-page document to the US Congress refuting an attack on climate science made earlier this year by the Ukip deputy leader and self-professed ‘Lord’ Christopher Monckton

    The detailed rebuttal addresses nine key scientific claims made by Monckton, to a house select committee hearing in May. It includes the responses of 21 climate scientists who variously conclude that Monckton’s assertions are “very misleading”, “profoundly wrong”, “simply false”, “chemical nonsense”, and “cannot be supported by climate physics”.

    So off you go to the simpletons’ corner again Ray and please take your unscientific, stupefying swill with you whilst collaborating with the rock apes who clearly possess the IQ of a beach ball.

  57. ray

    Flower, what a load of hot air (pardon the pun)!

    As you suggest the possibility that you may be science-literate, do us all a favour by simply tabling the scientific evidence that proves that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused global warming.

    If you can’t, then you should just shut up.

  58. Meski


    Diss wiki all you like, but the links to organisations are authentic, and in one place.

    Otherwise, I’d refer you to lmgtfy.com

  59. Flower

    Hey Ray – Since you feign to rant from a scientific point of view, do us a favour and support your poppy cock with documented evidence. Where is it? Got none? Oh that’s right, the bleatings of Anthony Watts and old Swizzle Eyes is the evidence? Hilarious!

    Apart from heating the planet, carcinogenic, teratogenic and/or mutagenic hydrocarbons from anthropogenic sources have contaminated every corner of the planet. Fossil fuel emissions continue to desecrate ecosystems around the planet. Thermal pollution from power plants is wiping out marine organisms by the billions. Forty percent of the watersheds in the US’ western continental are contaminated by mining.

    Depositions of petroleum hydrocarbons are choking marine oxygen and causing massive fish kills in oceans, rivers and estuaries. The US EPA advise that the mining and mineral processing facilities generate more toxic and hazardous waste than any other industrial sector in the US. The mining sector in Australia are responsible for the slaughter of millions of native animals every year, threatening what’s left of this country’s biodiversity.

    1. “Rio Tinto believes that emissions of GHGs resulting from human activity are contributing to climate change. Avoiding human caused changes to climate is an important international goal”

    2. In its revised Climate Change Policy, BHP Billiton advises:

    “BHP believes that accelerated action is required to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels guided by the research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    “BHP Billiton will take action within their own businesses and work with governments, industry and other stakeholders to address this global challenge and find lasting solutions consistent with our goal of zero harm”.

    3. Chevron says: “Chevron shares the concerns of governments and the public about climate change and recognizes that the use of fossil fuels to meet the world’s energy needs is a contributor to an increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Earth’s atmosphere.”

    4. Shadow Minister for climate action, Greg Hunt says: “Australia’s environment policies should encompass more than dealing with global climate change issues. The Coalition’s policy will reduce emissions as well as address some of Australia’s serious environmental problems.”

    The debate is over Ray. Your contribution to the science? Zero! Your literacy skills are obviously at remedial levels since debate on climate science has been thoroughly examined and thoroughly exhausted for years. 97% of all actively publishing climate scientists and global polluters at the top of the list endorse the tenets of anthropogenic climate change.

    The greed merchants including the sick twisted freaks who try to sabotage the endeavours of our finest scientists need to retreat to their subterranean hidey holes from whence they came. And since you obviously cannot differentiate between a VOC and a sock, I believe that includes you too pal. All mouth – no nous!

  60. ray

    Flower, you are all bluff. As expected, you have failed to table any scientific evidence that proves that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused global warming.

    All you do is come up with emotive argument, assertion, exaggeration, hearsay and environmentalist ideology. None of these qualifies as science.

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