Classy Crikey:

Mathew Jones writes: So the week after Christopher Monckton is rightly criticised for comparing a public servant to the Nazis, you publish a letter (“Polls and political parlance”) that compares the Prime Minister’s language on the value of work to the revolting and infamous sign over the entrance to Auschwitz. Classy, Crikey, very classy.

Crikey says: Fair call. That comment slipped through the net and we regret running it. Our apologies.

Climate change:

Dr Tim Stephens, Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, writes: Tamas Calderwood (yesterday, comments)  in his comment yesterday selectively quoted from the June 20 decision of the US Supreme Court in American Electric Power Co v Connecticut.

On pages two and three of its opinion, in summarising its landmark Massachusetts v EPA judgment which held that the Clean Air Act required the EPA to regulate carbon emissions, the Court said that:

“Acknowledging that not all scientists agreed on the causes and consequences of the rise in global temperatures … EPA concluded that ‘compelling’ evidence supported the ‘attribution of observed climate change to anthropogenic’ emissions of greenhouse gases…Consequent dangers of greenhouse gas emissions, EPA determined, included increases in heat-related deaths; coastal  inundation and erosion caused by melting icecaps and rising sea levels; more frequent and intense hurricanes, floods, and other “extreme weather events” that cause death and destroy infrastructure; drought due to reductions in mountain snowpack and shifting precipitation patterns; destruction of ecosystems supporting animals and plants; and potentially ‘significant disruptions’ of food production.”

Massachusetts v EPA was a significant decision which AEP v Connecticut does not disturb. AEP v Connecticut concerned a common law nuisance claim (which the Court said could not be pursued while the EPA works on pollution regulations) while Massachusetts was all about a federal statute and how it should be interpreted.

Among other things the Court found in Massachusetts that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are an ‘air pollutant’ because of their dangerous effects. This is not questioned at all in AEP v Connecticut.

What is it about climate change contrarians and the dark arts of selective quotation and cherry picking?

John Bushell writes: Tamas Calderwood asked:

“So remind me again, why are we introducing a huge new tax that will have no perceptible affect on the climate even if this unsettled science is true?”

A modest part of the reason for pricing CO2 emissions to atmosphere but a very large component driving climate change denialism is the peaking of fossil fuels. Peak oil is expected in 2014 in accordance with the International Energy Agency, analysts expect peak gas around 2050 and peak coal around 2100 – 2150,  depending on the success of reigning in this most generous contributor to global warming.

What happens when commodities become scarce?  Well their prices rise of course.  The fossil fuel industry does not want to miss out on windfall profits – even at the risk of wreaking earth’s climate and possibly sending us all to extinction.

People who resist effective pricing of CO2 are doing themselves a double disservice: they and their descendants will pay high costs relating to dwindling fossil fuels and the unavoidable costs of massive destruction of assets caused by rising sea levels and increasing incidences of extreme weather events.

Do you really want to take either of these risks?

Martin Gordon writes: Is the Labor government trying to lose all its credibility? Climate change was the great moral imperative of our time, but now it’s not talking about climate change but a spend up to buy Labor back to power. Apparently 90% of us will get tax cuts etc but the sums don’t add up. The tax cuts etc are considerably less than the new carbon tax revenue which will ultimately fall on consumers (not emotively loaded term ‘polluters’ as the spin masters would have you believe), and for all but 10% to get a tax cut (or whatever) means that most people are nowhere fully compensated.

For those 15% (3 Million) of the population that are claimed to be more than fully compensated, they can spend even more on energy and consumption (i.e. the opposite of the policy intent), whilst 85% are worse off. It’s worse than the classic rob from Peter to pay Paul. The huge churn of money, which does little for the environment, or incentives to little change behaviour, is befitting a morally bankrupt government trying to buy its way back into government.

Competition winners:

Crikey writes: Drum roll please … We reached into the barrel to pick Simon Harford and Janice Dutton as the winners of Crikey‘s subscriptions drive prize — they both walk away with a 32GB 3G Apple iPad 2. Congratulations! And we’ve still got one left — renew your subscription before June 30 to be in the draw.