Climate change:

John Bushell writes: Re. John Hunwick (Friday, comments). This week sees the start of a big push to get public and business support for a carbon tax and given the recent bleating  of the business community this could be an uphill job.

For the business doubters out there (and regular punters too) I thoroughly recommend reading the paper “Sustainable Energy Security — Strategic Risks and Opportunities for Business“, produced by Lloyd’s 360 Degrees Risk Insight.

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This paper would surely have been a major contributor to the Conservative British government’s 18 May commitment to legislate for a  halving of the nations carbon emissions by 2025, based on 1990 emission levels.

The Brits were first cab off the rank in the Industrial Revolution Stage 1 around 1750 and it’s fair bet that they have correctly identified Stage 2: the phasing out of declining fossil fuels and introduction of renewable energy, some nuclear power and  a general “greening” of the whole economy. Nations at the forefront of this stage of the industrial revolution will prosper greatly, just as the Brits did in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Mick Peel writes: Although many, as implied by John Dowling (Friday, comments), are led to believe that scientific “debate” occurs in the mainstream media, this is usually because they are unaware of professional scientific journals and the realities of scientific work.

The global scientific community has been investigating the effects of higher concentrations of methane, nitrous oxides, carbon oxides and several hundred other gasses on atmospheric systems, climate, and natural ecosystems since at least the 1960s. This arose out of paleoclimatology that looked at trends over inter-glacial time-scales and pointed to relationships between these occurrences. By the late 1980s it became increasingly apparent that statistically significant trends were emerging in hundreds of studies dealing with a multitude of observed phenomena and laboratory research.

In 1992, the first major multilateral initiative, the Rio Summit, was undertaken by policy-makers to understand the science, consider potential long-term impacts and decide what, if anything, should occur in terms of future research and decision-making.

This thinking resulted in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol — an ambitious and comprehensive multilateral plan to measure, record and move towards mitigation of identified ‘greenhouse gasses’ (those being particles irrefutably associated with a contribution to the ‘greenhouse effect’, identified from over 20 years of scientific research in the preceding decades).

Different specific elements of scientific research continue to be undertaken and new findings are engaged in the long-standing practice of review and audit. But, it really is time for climate “sceptics” (and those who completely deny what has been discovered over the last 40-50 years) to stop pretending that there is some sort of validity to a “debate” over whether climate change is real and whether humans contribute to it, and moreover, to also stop pretending that the body of scientific evidence should somehow be wiped and started from scratch.


H S Mackenzie writes: Re. “PR outfit behind Monckton backers a company ‘beyond ideology‘” (yesterday, item 3). Andrew Crook says that Christopher Monckton is a “false lord”.  There are many things that Monckton can be criticised for — the climate change denial that is the point of Crook’s article for starters. Monckton is however not a false lord but a real one.

As the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley he is an hereditary peer of the UK. Maybe Crook was thinking of Monckton’s undeniably false claims that he was a member of the House of Lords and is confused about the difference between being a peer and having membership of the Lords since the reform of that house, but the entire issue is totally irrelevant to his argument anyway.

If one wants to mount an ad hominem attack when it isn’t necessary, one should really ensure that at least the facts are correct.


Rod Metcalfe write: Re. “Groupon, Scoopon … Jewpon: the divine comedy of daily deal sites” (yesterday, item 4). John Addis wrote:

“There are more than 100 US competitors to Groupon, including Jewpon — group deals for Jews in New York and Haifa — and gluten-free deals — for people that live, in all likelihood, Portland.”

It is indeed fortunate that Mr Addis does not suffer from Coeliac disease and have to avoid gluten. And I don’t live in Portland. Gluten free meals are very expensive and sufferers of the disease have to put up with many things – but not cheap shots.

The Oz:

Andrew Haughton writes: This weekend The Australian newspaper journalist George Megalogenis referred to Tony Abbott’s “grotesque rhetoric” on the carbon tax and compared him to the American evangelist, “end of the world Rapture”, Harold Camping and another Australian writer, Peter Van Onselen, talked of Abbott’s hypocrisy regarding the Entsch authored email on Turnbull and detailed Abbott’s sleeping through a division in an alcohol induced stupor.

Could it be that at News Ltd “The times they are a-changing”?

Parliamentary privilege:

Sam Palmer writes: Re. “Parliamentary Privilege’s Greatest Hits” (Friday, item 14).I am appalled that you are ‘walking down memory lane’ and taking the opportunity to repeat the offensive comments made under parliamentary privilege. These things were inappropriate to have been said then and should not be repeated now.

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Peter Fray
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