Feb 13, 2017

The climate denialist right now has the sweetest victory of all

The climate denialists of the Liberal Party now have things even better than when Tony Abbott was leader -- for now Malcolm Turnbull is leading the party against climate action.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Under Tony Abbott, it seemed that the hardline climate denialists of the Liberal Party had achieved a remarkable victory. A man who declared he would not lead a party that wasn't as committed to climate action as he was had been purged from the leadership in a successful putsch; his replacement was a man who dismissed climate science as "crap", and he was successfully savaging Labor for taking climate action, based on an entirely invented scare campaign about price rises.

But now, remarkably, they have gone one better. The problem with Abbott was always that the man he forced out, the man who crossed the floor to vote for an emissions trading scheme, might always strike back. And strike back he did, sending Abbott packing from the prime ministership in 2015. But what looked like a defeat for climate denialists has become a remarkable win: Malcolm Turnbull, has joined the denialist camp himself.

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33 thoughts on “The climate denialist right now has the sweetest victory of all

  1. zut alors

    I once thought Trumble’s legacy would be the third-rate NBN (rather than the Rudd Rolls Royce model) but now it appears he will be infamous as the frog who came slowly to the boil…and took us with him.

    The question is, why?

    1. no chiefs

      Well said Zut. I will have a stab at answering your question:

      The two major parties now represent an obstructionist coalition funded by an immensely powerful ecocidal global industry in order to perpetuate an unrepresentative status quo. As such, both the planet and democracy are in serious crisis. The more this crisis deepens, the less the mainstream media can afford to host an honest discussion of it through fear of alienating both its readers and its paymasters. Thus, we bury our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and cook in the pot like the proverbial frog.

      1. CML

        I take issue with your comment “The two major parties now represent…”.
        How can you link the Labor Party with the Coalition on climate change policies?
        Firstly, Labor has EXTENSIVE policies out there on this issue, including the re-introduction of a price on carbon, when they are returned to government.
        Secondly, the Coalition doesn’t have ANY policies…so is “obstructionist” all by itself!!

        1. no chiefs

          Despite their attractive product positioning, ‘centre-left’ governments come to the legislative battle armed with a plastic butter knife and no serious conviction. No effective policy is implemented and right-wing obstructionism provides the exculpatory narrative. The masses are distracted by the false spectacle and the media generates revenue over a non-event. That is how the fossil fuel industry maintains control.

          1. CML

            I take it you were missing in action when Labor’s Julia Gillard PM introduced an emissions trading scheme? And very effective it was too!
            It was removed by that obstructionist mob you keep trying to link Labor with…so now our carbon emissions have soared.
            Funny thing that!!

          2. no chiefs

            CML, I don’t deny the good intentions of a few in the Gillard government but I am looking at a systemic picture in political-economic terms. If you’re still interested, here is an article that elaborates on my point:


    2. mike westerman

      Somebody, fortunately, has whispered to Mr Trumble that hydro pumped storage is a thing. So even with his morals of a car salesman, his backing of this self evidentiary necessary addition to our networks may accidentally save his arse (tho’ I’m cynically convinced his only reason for backing it is to give Marshall something to belt Wetherall over the head with in SA).

  2. LucyJr

    There is hope. Some angry old white men have turned. What out for climate leadership from America and their Conservatives.

  3. magnet

    Whats the chances that my great grand children and beyond will look back on this period of time and consider the history of the likes of Abbott and Turnbull with the same affection as this generation has of Hitler.The possible pending disasters caused could be of the same magnitude.

  4. Douglas Evans

    ‘How hot does it have to get before the angry old white men of the Liberal Party accept the need for real climate action?’ I’ve been pondering that. I think that part of the problem is that the frog just doesn’t know that it is boiling. The Coalition cane toads look around, note that the weather is a little strange but that we are still coping (more or less) and decide on this basis that nothing has to be done yet. They can’t quite believe that even if everyone started rigorously winding back GHG emission now (and we are at least a decade away from this) two degrees of warming is ALREADY locked in. Two degrees of warming is of course the generally accepted threshold beyond there is a 50/50 chance of runaway warming about which we will be able to do nothing. Of course the scientists may be wrong ………

    1. no chiefs

      This kind of willful ignorance may characterise some of the paleoconservatives but Turnbull is, under a level of feeble psychological supression I’m sure, all too aware of the reality of the situation. I wonder how he can concile his private thoughts about the future his grandchilderen face and the policy position he has now adopted to save his career. If he had one shred of integrity, he would fall on his sword and denounce his colleagues as retrograde venal pariahs.

    2. Murray Scott

      Quite right Douglas. The conundrum is that 350.org’s Climate Emergency campaign, while amply justified, does not prepare us for the long, long grind. Bushfires or Australia’s legendary 1942 war effort offers models of do-or-die emergency from which people will rapidly disengage at the urging of populist saboteurs, as from the ALP-Greens carbon tax. We need GHG emissions elimination, not just reduction and that must happen in the remaining first half of the 21st century.

      1. Roger Clifton

        @ Murray Scott – “We need GHG emissions elimination, not just reduction and that must happen in the remaining first half of the 21st century”

        Amen to that! If the world is to achieve “net zero emissions” by 2100, that’s in the next 80 years, the nations that can zeroise easiest must decarbonise first. The know-how and technology proven in the process will then aid the laggards. The only thing still “reducing” should be the list of nations yet to zeroise emissions.

        That could include Australia by 2050. However our right wing is still getting rich exporting gas, coal and potentially oil. Our left wing is besotted with wind backed by gas. Neither side will easily submit to decarbonisation.

  5. Roger Clifton

    If this article speaks for the most effective movements in Oz against carbon emissions, we are doomed. The message is crippled by self-righteous denial as much as the emitting side. Posing “renewables” as the by-definition alternative to fossil carbon is a suicidal denial of non-carbon fuel. It is blindingly obvious that we must go nuclear to make significant progress in eliminating fossil carbon.

    While we continue to chant off, “renewables, renewables” we will continue to be dismissed as an ideological irrelevance. If instead we speak in terms of “non-carbon” , we are more likely to find bipartisan support. And our thus-framed legislation would more likely survive a change of government.

    1. Nudiefish

      Thanks to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the broken power-plant will probably be poisoning the Pacific Ocean for thousands of years and only a fool would consider it the answer to anything. Best we put our energies into capturing the sun’s rays through storage technologies. Besides which, apart from attacking “renewables” in nonsensical terms, you have completely failed to give an explanation at to how they are “suicidal”. The sun’s rays are free and clean. Tidal action will be around for a few years yet and the wind blows quite efficiently – just go for a wee drive through Europe and you will see plenty of wind collection with no drama or fuss.

      1. Roger Clifton

        A lemming asks, “what’s suicidal?” and leaps into space, shouting “yahoo!”

        No one died from radiation around that broken power station at the time or since, but thousands were dying in Tokyo from stress as the anti-nuclear movement chanted to them, “you’re all gonna die, you’re all gonna die”. Against advice, the PM ordered the area around the power station to be evacuated and a further thousand people died in consequence. A victory for malice, a victory for bigotry, and heavy damage to the only proven non-carbon technology that was providing heavy-duty carbon-free power to Japan.

        Meanwhile, we are progressively replacing all coal-fired power plant with wind-backed-by-gas. Csiro has advised the Australian government that grid stability requires that wind can only be a max of 40%. The Danes and Germans were similarly advised. After the coal, we will have to replace all open-cycle gas turbines, and the windmills that need them, with the more sluggish steam turbines. – Powered by a certain non-carbon fuel, demanded by the grandkids, currently growing up.

        1. Nudiefish

          Thousands died due to chant stress? You sound unbalanced, feller?

          1. AR

            I too was shocked to see that line which is funny coz the Dodger is usually horribly dispassionate, dreary and direct about his beloved nukes.
            The strain of his delusion seems to be overwhelming him.

          2. negativegearmiddleclasswelfarenow.com

            It will soon become apparent that Obama’s Fukushima cover-up is the greatest crime in human history.

          3. Roger Clifton

            Nudiefish questions whether thousands of people were killed by antinuclear fearmongering. Try: “NYTimes com 2015 09 22 science when radiation isnt the real risk”

            Those were immediate deaths, due to fanaticism. No one died from gamma radiation at Fukushima. The global death toll due to AGW, from not going nuclear, will be far more.

        2. Nudiefish

          Dear Roger. I suggest that you consult a story published only yesterday. [See: https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/helen-caldicott-the-fukushima-nuclear-meltdown-continues-unabated,10019%5D

          They have photographed the radiation damage for the first time. There is no known fix for what has happened. “The reactor complex was built adjacent to a mountain range and millions of gallons of water emanate from the mountains daily beneath the reactor complex, causing some of the earth below the reactor buildings to partially liquefy. As the water flows beneath the damaged reactors, it immerses the three molten cores and becomes extremely radioactive as it continues its journey into the adjacent Pacific Ocean.”

          You either are willfully blind to the dangers of radiation poisoning, have no idea how cancer works, are very ignorant, or you are on a ideological bandwagon where fact don’t mater.

          Nuclear energy is neither clean, safe, or particularly cheap – that’s why so few companies are investing in them. The future is in renewable energy and the entire world is moving in that direction, albeit in some cases like Australia, kicking and screaming. Solar or wind energy will not poison the planet or leave drums of toxic waste moldering in their containers for centuries and making there way into the groundwater. Nor will wind-farms explode and cause thyroid cancer in children. This isn’t even debatable, it is happening now.

  6. Janno

    As an aside, Bernard’s article suggests Julia Gillard’s low-cost ETS was the best of a bunch. This is in addition to her implementation of Gonski and establishment of an inquiry into institutional abuse of children. Not a bad legacy for a witch. What a contrast to today’s policy denial on climate change while we burn. And other policies still limping through Parliament.

    1. Suzie_darling

      Well said Janno. Julia Gillard’s achievements and legacy stand head and shoulders above Turnbull. Does he stand for anything at all? He runs with the hare and hunts with the hounds and hasn’t got the guts to stand up for what everyone thought he believed in. Perhaps he never really believed in what he said anyway and was just being downright deceitful.

  7. Steve777

    Maybe next formMalcolm is to head up Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy.

  8. Steve777

    Maybe next for Malcolm is to head up Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy.

    1. zut alors

      Would anyone be surprised….

  9. Dog's Breakfast

    You couldn’t write this shite…..

    Except you just did. I am still amazed at where we are. There is no way I would have predicted even 5 years ago that we would have gone back to an almost pre-Menzian era, insular, fearful, ignorant, did I say fearful?

    Gillard’s government is looking absolutely gobsmackingly brilliant in retrospect. Actually, if your eyes were open at the time you would have known it then.

    Rudd, Abbott, Howard even. What did we do wrong to deserve such catastrophe.

    1. AR

      Voted for them – and worse.

  10. The hood

    The answer is as Malcolm says, we need more baseless power with these new ultra supercalafragilistic coal fuelled power stations in SA.

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