Hanging on a nail inside our beach box:

by SH



  • 1JustMEinT // Jun 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Do your readers realise that behind our backs the Gillard Government has pledged 10% of all monies raised by this soon to be implemented Carbon Tax to the United Nations? That is on top of all the other funding which goes towards other needs around the world?
    It does not seem to matter how much money is pledged – they will keep adding more…… out of our pockets and into the UN’s bank account!

  • 2Ken McMurtrie // Jun 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Greg. Very impressed with your post. Your general assessment and conclusions sit well with me.
    I have spent days putting posts together and commenting on media blogs, after months of researching and trying to pick the real from the unreal.
    In general, I am completely negative about the IPCC and associated wheeler and dealers. What I see is an unjustified attack on carbon emission, for many reasons. Most of which tally with yours, that there is insufficient substance for the need for immediate action, other polluting factors are likely more important and the money angles involved are overwhelmingly suspicious.
    Many of the AGW supporting scientists are genuine and of course, get upset if I suggest there is corruption, especially at the top. They are believers and I am questioning their science. Not an easy task to counter the AGW propaganda machine.
    Certainly the debate must be kept open. The trouble is they don’t debate, claiming the science is valid and settled. Relying on discrediting the opposition and rubbishing quite sound alternative views.
    Excellent to see another sensible “blogger”

  • 3Ned S // Jun 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    And another point that never even seems to occur to Aussies is there are lots of people in lots of the chillier bits of the world who think that global temperatures going up a few degrees might actually be a very GOOD thing …

  • 4Greg Atkinson // Jun 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks Ken, I just try and look at the issue with an open mind, refer people to some reliable sources and then let them make up their own minds.

    It’s a bit of a worry though that we have the government effectively trying to silence debate in order to slide in a new tax that they said they would not implement in the lead up to the last election.

    If it such a major national/global issue then why doesn’t Gillard call an election and seek a clear mandate?

  • 5JustMEinT // Jun 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Julia cannot call an election for a number of reasons.

    (1) She would not win it and she knows that.
    (2) Bob Brown won’t allow it ! He has some power now and certainly will not wish to relinquish it.
    (3) The people of Australia are becoming more and more aware – through people like yourself who write openly and honestly- that CAGW is a total scam…. a political ploy to get more money and control, but the science is just not there to back it up -except for those scientists already on the Governments pay roll.

    Please keep up the good work – andkeep spreading this far and wide. NO CARBON TAX – let the truth become known – there is power in truth and knowledge!

  • 6Lachlan // Jun 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Good on you Greg.
    What on earth will be done with these taxes anyhow to save us???….considering what’s currently being done I’d suggest increased development/polluting/consumption. There’ll be a lot more poorer people then who have not the resources to even reduce their personal contribution to pollution.

  • 7Greg Atkinson // Jun 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    JustMEinT it appears that Gillard has painted herself into a corner and now can’t get out. I am not quite sure what the rush is since the U.S, China and Japan do not appear to be racing towards implementing a carbon tax.

    I guess the government has a cunning plan to wipe out what’s left of the manufacturing sector and ensure Australia ends up as a mining colony?

  • 8JustMEinT // Jun 28, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Greg I agree with you that Julia has painted herself into the proverbial corner…. but I query the comment regarding wanting Ozzy to become a ‘mining colony’…. seems Uncle Bob would rather we stopped mining all together and HE seems to get his way these days.

    Sen Brown said he did not believe the carbon tax would close coal mines immediately.

    “But that has to be the outcome. The coal industry has to be replaced by renewables,” he said.

    I just put up another page today… readers maybe interested – we MUST keep this in the forefront of peoples minds.

    I hope you are all excited, waiting with ‘baited breath’ for the soon to be released Television Commercials you have paid for? Order in a Pizza and a 12 pack, plump up the cushions on the sofa, invite a few friends to come over and watch with you – YES this is going to be fun (not).


  • 9Ken McMurtrie // Jun 28, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Like JustMeinT says, we need to keep “putting it out there”, or words to that effect. My last email to Greg Combet has not been replied to.
    Most of my critical letters to the ABC News Drum blog “Conversations” and other articles, get the usual treatment- “that I don’t understand the science”. There are several versions of this “science”, the IPCC have picked one of them that suits them, apparently.
    My latest contribution to “clearing up the debate” is “CLIMATE CHANGE and COMMONSENSE, are they COMPATIBLE?” Ref:
    Any comments would be welcome.

  • 10Ned S // Jun 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm


    Bob Brown wants to see our coal mines all close up shop. He has to be deranged surely?


  • 11Ken McMurtrie // Jun 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    @ Ned.
    With all coal mines and nuclear power shut down, we return to the dark ages. This may be what they want, with affluent leaders and slaves as a society. (To some extent we are almost there, except us ‘slaves’ don’t realize it.)
    Some of the future-world-engineers do want nuclear but the cost (set-up, waste handling, decommissioning and radiation) hardly make sense. On the other hand, wind, solar, wave/tidal power won’t provide much quality of life alone. I believe coal and gas burning may still be justified. I also believe that numerous claims of alternative cheap power production may have been suppressed in the past and should be seriously investigated.
    Certainly Bob Brown does not make sense, at least from a fair and just, society point of view.

  • 12JustMEinT // Jun 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    As so often happens I came across another blogger today with much to say that makes sense in regard to the damage being done – that has already been done by Green Policies……

    READ THIS… He sure has a descriptive way with words


  • 13JustMEinT // Jun 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    NED: Bob wants total control…. Julia will fight him and win the odd round or two – all for show, however should the mining industry be closed down – heaven forbid, where would they raise income from then?

  • 14Ned S // Jun 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Ken: “This may be what they want, with affluent leaders and slaves as a society” – Bob Brown strikes me as being quite genuine Ken. (Non-genuine people don’t put themselves in the position of potentially going bankrupt fighting cases against State Forestry departments to protect {supposedly?} endangered species like the Swift parrot and Wielangta Stag Beetle maybe?)

    But either way, he still strikes me as a total nutter – Albeit a genuine one. (Though having mates like Dick Smith who can bail you out when you look like going bankrupt over an “ideal” presumably helps shore up one’s ideals a bit.) Not that it’s an option that is available to most of us; Or even our nations I fully expect?

    Brings the whole political system here into question when what is effectively a fringe group that attracts only about 14% of the vote can have so much power. Pauline Hanson was/is another nutter – Though a bit more right leaning type nutter than left leaning type nutter maybe? She was pulling about 10% of the vote in One Nation’s heyday as I recall? And I would have probably been equally disturbed if she’d picked up enough extra votes to have the sort of power the Greens now seem to.

  • 15JasonD // Jun 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Again thanks Greg, i agree with most of it and also believe such a system is not only pointless but will result in nothing more than redistribution of wealth.

    A tax is just a stick and never works unless there is a carrot attached to the end, and frankly i do not see any incentive in this tax concept to go “green”

    Also would love some one to explain to me how taxing the shit out of some thing then giving it back to the main causes of human contribution to climate change is actually going to help the environment????

    First you had the farmers, then the miners, then the house owners, then the old people, then the dole people, and now the steel industry…. I wonder if anyone is left????

  • 16Lachlan // Jun 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Very few things are “settled”.

    Ian Clark,Pubs hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa:
    “That portion of the scientific community that attributes climate warming to CO2 relies on the hypothesis that increasing CO2, which is in fact a minor greenhouse gas, triggers a much larger water vapour response to warm the atmosphere. This mechanism has never been tested scientifically beyond the mathematical models that predict extensive warming, and are confounded by the complexity of cloud formation – which has a cooling effect. … We know that [the sun] was responsible for climate change in the past, and so is clearly going to play the lead role in present and future climate change. And interestingly… solar activity has recently begun a downward cycle.”[25]

    William Happer, physicist specializing in optics and spectroscopy, Princeton University:
    “All the evidence I see is that the current warming of the climate is just like past warmings. In fact, it’s not as much as past warmings yet, and it probably has little to do with carbon dioxide, just like past warmings had little to do with carbon dioxide”[33]

    Anyway it seems scientists are realising that a mini ice age is coming now due to changes in solar activity which are documented. A tax will be required to fund some hair brained thing to keep us all warmer. Ha!

  • 17Lachlan // Jun 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    “I do not deny that the climate changes”
    “……what I do question is by how much our activity is affecting climate change on a global scale and if it is truly the most serious threat humankind faces.”

    Exactly. The poles have melted completely a number of times in the distant path when no man walked the earth.

  • 18Greg Atkinson // Jun 29, 2011 at 8:13 am

    What I also cannot understand is why we need a carbon tax at all even if it is true that we humans are responsible for heating the planet.

    It seems to me that CO2 caused by human activity is linked to consumption so if we want to reduce our emissions on a global scale then if we consumed (and wasted) less then it would solve quite few problems. I.e. CO2 emissions would drop, people may not eat so much that they become overweight and we would end up with less E-trash, toxic waste etc.

    So why not raise the GST? I am sure the Treasury boffins could come up with a number that would result in consumption being impacted and any extra revenue could be used to improve public transport and make the switch to cleaner energy perhaps?

    We could then slap on a special tax on any imports coming from nations that were not doing their bit to reduce CO2 emissions and thus Australian companies would get the level playing field they are after as well.

    But the fatal problem with my plan is that the Government wishes to convince people that they can go on with their lives unchanged and somehow CO2 emissions will be reduced on a global scale by the tooth fairy. In fact if you are a lower income earner, you will get money from the Government to help you consume more.

    Then again the Government could stop wasting money on such things as the NBN and use that money instead to build high speed rail links and fund clean energy projects…but I guess that would be too simple.

  • 19JustMEinT // Jun 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Hey Greg I went and read your 2009 article and re read this article. I want to make some observations and will try very hard to do so with dignity (grin)

    Can someone tell me why ‘they’ would want to expend time money and energy on saving those 36 million people(going to die )from NCD such as Cancer, Diabetes,Lung Disease etc etc etc….. you must realise by now that I am a total skeptic and not a lover of Big Pharma either, but these 36 million sick people are the paycheck for Big Pharma and their shareholdres. There are other ways – than taking some of these horrendous drugs to live longer, but anyone who discovers a way, or tries to get a different way patented – is dismissed as a crank! Or worse still is deliberately disuaded from attempting to go forward with their findings. Ask your readers to view this movie which is self explanatory.


    How much of the money raised every year from wearing pink/green/blue etc ribbons acually goes into research for the CURE? How much is spent on advertizing and wages of the ‘higher ups’? their cars? their trips? the office space etc? Why would they want to cure those diseases when treating the symptoms is a money spinner for them?

    Look at the number of road deaths every year. Look at those statistics versus say the (tragic) number of troops killed in Iraq (for example). Look at the number of deaths every year from medical errors….. those are very conveniently hushed up!

    USA FIGUREShttp://www.civilisationis.com/medicine/usamed/deaths.htm

    You wonder why we hear nothing about this in the media. Ask yourself about media ownership and media censorship. Freedom of the press is a thing of the past, freedom of the internet will follow the same way.

    Now I think I should get off this soap box, but I must add finally that I believe there is too much money invested in the CAGW Scam for it to slide quietly away like a well behaved kid. Without people like yourself and others keeping this all in the forefront….. we would be gonners for sure.

  • 20Greg Atkinson // Jun 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    JustMEinT there is certainly a lot of money to be made or lost depending on how the climate change debate goes. There are people with vested interests on both sides of the debate so it’s not always easy to work out who the villains are.

    You raise a good point about preventable hospital deaths. We have enquiry after enquiry and yet:

    “Professor of health economics at Monash University, Jeff Richardson, said that if the last major Australian study to estimate the number of deaths due to preventable adverse events was right, 350 patients were dying every two weeks because of the problem.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/thousands-dying-from-preventable-hospital-errors-says-professor-20110307-1bl7e.html#ixzz1Qdpl3CfZ

    But I guess a few thousand people dying every year is not enough to get celebrities involved? Better to focus on something that has some Hollywood glitz hey?

    I wonder what happened to KEV07′s health revolution?

  • 21JustMEinT // Jun 29, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Kev’s health revolution was not (so it would seem) economically feasable – they ran out of money insulating roofs and building school gymnasiums…. but hey down here in Tasmania they are proposing closing down lots of schools and selling them off…. anyone interested in a new gymnasium?

    What about our children?

    Just a general conversation with young kids, about (so called) Climate Change, will reveal that they are being fed much disinformation – be it via the media, the school curriculum or even from their parents and close relatives.

    It seemed to me that much of the ‘knowlege’ espoused from these children’s mouths was very biased towards the THEORY of Carbon Based Man Made Climate Change (CAGW). Please remember a theory is still unproven.


  • 22Senator13 // Jun 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Some very interesting points.

    I would much rather see Australia investing in alternative energy sources for both our own needs and to be exported. Not because “catastrophic global warming” is going to kill us all but from a good governance perspective.

    Here is an interesting article I found tonight: Nuclear: ‘Best energy option for 2020′s’ – http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/nuclear-best-energy-option-for-2020s/story-fn3dxity-1226084373475

    There are far too many variables to say the science is settled and it is extremely arrogant to make that claim.

    It is foolish for Australia to be wanting to tax entire industries out of existence. And all for what? A symbolic gesture that will do nothing but be an example of what not to do….

  • 23Ken McMurtrie // Jun 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    @Senator13 (#22).
    Interesting article indeed (the linked promo for nuclear PP’s.
    Dr Ziggy Switkowski is ‘one of them’ so this comes as no surprise.
    However, the Fukushima radiation problem is, or appears, potentially so serious that the death and sickness toll might be spell the end for future nuclear power.
    Newer, safer plants are no doubt possible. But unless people conclude that they are going to die prematurely anyway, one way or the other, much opposition can be expected.

    I agree with your ‘symbolic gesture’ in its effectiveness, but politically it may have more to do with international lobbying and pressure.

  • 24Ken McMurtrie // Jun 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    @ JustMeInT (#12)
    Just catching up with some of these comments and had a proper look at the link.

    Are there any published, available statistics, or other anecdotal stories to enable a bigger picture?
    Not that these are not convincing. But it might take more to bludgeon the general public into believing that we have a serious problem, directly related to current policies.

  • 25Kelly Liddle // Jul 4, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Thermal emissions warming.

    The following study done by myself and assisted by a scientist is only to demonstrate that the warming can be mostly if not all explained by thermal emmissions or basically a large scale heat island study using energy use data. This is not intended to give any exact warming extent as average values are used and wind land cover etc are not taken into account (this is virtually impossible despite the claims of organisations such as NASA or CSIRO) Also the energy use is not constant and will have greater effects when weather is cold and heating is more widely used.

    The energy use we shall use is the total annual use of fossil fuels and nuclear. These 2 energy sources are being released by humans.

    Numbers used for calculations.

    Area m2 is square metres

    USA 9626091000000 m2

    China 9596960000000 m2

    France 547030000000 m2

    Germany 357021000000 m2

    United Kingdom 244820000000 m2

    Planet Surface 510066000000000 m2

    (Source : http://www.worldatlas.com)

    Annual energy use based on energy use in 2009. Includes fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Does not include others such as wind solar biofuels geothermal or hydro.

    Mtoe is Million tonnes or oil equivalent.

    USA 2119.8 Mtoe

    China 2037.7 Mtoe

    France 228.8 Mtoe

    Germany 285.6 Mtoe

    United Kingdom 197.7 Mtoe

    World 10424 Mtoe

    (Source : Statistical review of world energy full report 2010 (Beyond Petroleum))

    The following formula was used. It basically is working out the amount of energy in continuous watt output per hour per metre squared and then calculating out the expected change in temperature by using the average input of energy from the sun using Albedo and Suns energy per square according to NASA. This is not intended to give any accurate prediction but just a general prediction.

    Mtoe* 11.63*            1 000 000 000 000       (conversion of Mtoe to Watts)*0.7 (energy available as thermal energy)/365/24(conversion to Watt output per hour)/land area in square metres(to give energy output per square metre per hour)*Kelvin 287/342/.703(to give estimated temperature change where Kelvin 287 is earth average temperature 342 is available energy from sun and 0.703 is the amount available to the troposphere after the albedo)

    After doing these calculations if the air never left the country and everything else such as albedo remained constant mentioned these would be the approximate temperature changes.

    USA 0.24 degrees increase
    China 0.23 ,,
    France 0.46 ,,
    Germany 0.88 ,,
    United Kingdom 0.89 ,,
    World 0.0224 ,,

    Conclusions: If a climate model printout has not taken this into account the printouts highest value shall be the greater of the recycling price to the use as a biofuel (but watch out for the thermal emissions). Most fuel use is over land and in the northern hemisphere so this is where the expected highest results are likely. Anecdotely this could be the effect in the antarctic peninsular but it is very difficult to get any fuel use figures. If this is the case the increases are likely to be in summer as this is when the scientists travel there.

    Note; The energy available is a very conservative estimation based on average power station efficiency and vehicle efficiency and uses eg. domestic use of energy is far higher with average households spending over 50% of energy dirrectly for heating (hot water cooking and space heating). The amount of energy from sun will not be accurate as the albedo and latitudes on the earth could have a big effect.

  • 26Ned S // Jul 4, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Gillard reckons ‘petrol’ will be exempt. Does that mean she is telling me I should trade my relatively fuel efficient deisel ute in on a relatively inefficient petrol ute? This all becomes curiouser and curiouser …

  • 27Greg Atkinson // Jul 4, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Ned I am starting to wonder who exactly will be paying the tax as it seems a new handout appears every day. I guess Gillard’s number crunchers told her that she had zero chance of being re-elected if the carbon tax pushed up petrol prices.

    By the way, I wonder what the Petrol Commissioner is doing these days?

  • 28JasonD // Jul 4, 2011 at 7:26 am

    lol not much left over for the poor old envirment this is meant to help

  • 29Richard // Jul 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Greg,

    I have been reading your blog for quite a while, I thought I would respond to this post as here our concerns have crossed paths.

    I am an artist. I thought I should mention that first. (I predict, based on experience, that most will subsequently dismiss the rest of this comment, but better to be honest.)

    I have been following the carbon tax debate with interest, and having many discussions about it.

    I think the situation is very horrible one for Australia and demonstrates bad stuff about the way that we think.

    It has become a divisive debate where people are categorised in to ‘believers’ in ‘global warming’ and ‘non-believers’ who believe that it cannot be proven. (I am neither)

    However, in reality, global warming is such a giant concept, covering so many fields of thought, that reducing it down to black and white options make it very difficult for the individual, caught between these two options. It is not so much a fabrication that acheives political ends, as you have depicted it here, as a philosophical nightmare, at least it is so for me.

    Too many from all sides of this debate are posting readings, or trying to change people’s minds.

    I think if anything the best proposal is that it’s time to rethink decisions we have made and will make. These can be big decisions, such as “will I start a family?”, or small decisions, such as “will I buy this product” or “will I give 50 cents to this begger” or “will I say hello to this person”.

    The Carbon Tax debate is not actually about the tax, and I think the reason is that at the moment a lot of the assumptions about the way we live are being put under threat.

    I encourage you and your readers not to see this as a threat by anyone in particular, including me, but as a devestating possibile future that requires a major philosophical rethink.

    For economics and investment, which your blog focuses on, I think the future probably holds (very broadly speaking) more focus on innovation, science and technology, and less on consistent performers which rely on exploitation or base production and do not innovate. But also I think probably the old models of economics that have served us well for however many years will change. Those companies with inefficent production models and high waste will be forced out, those with streamlined models which maximise production for little cost will thrive. The carbon tax is designed, I think, to carefully nudge producers, especially large-scale producers, (i.e not small businesses, who have less ability to innovate) in this direction.

    Bob Brown’s statement regarding wind power is probably fantastic but in many ways it is a statement coming from a place of truth, albeit idealistic and problematic, certainly easy to pick holes in. Julia Gillard is probably not an idiot trying to impose a stupid policy but a brave politician putting her career at stake back totally against the wall fighting for something which it will be too easy for people to reject.

    I predict she will lose this fight. Politically, this failure will be a disaster for Australia because it will mean there will not be a politician from either party able to build policy that marries the concerns of economics and the environment again in the near future, it having taken down two prime ministers and one opposition leader. For this reason, a lot hinges on this debate, and on the success of the carbon tax, and indeed on the rising popularity of Tony Abbott, who at times has shown a conservative extremist streak likely to keep policy the way it is.

    I imagine, from what I know of Cate Blanchett, who is also an artist, the decision to support a carbon tax would have been very difficult, and she would have been aware of the contradictions of this support, though she has some credibility for her “Greening the Wharf” project at STC, which has encouraged many in the Theatre Industry to rethink their production methods, and perhaps other industries. I imagine also that she is undergoing her own review of the way she has lived and will live in the future.

    As for your article, this is awkward because for the most part I admire your expertise in investment, but I fear that here you fall back on easy options and calculated appeals to parochial values, where I think that new approaches and ideas are required. I would like to hear your ideas for new economic models which tackle the fundamental problem of sustainability in a growth and consumption-based economy, which has presented an impossible illusion of endless growth. We may not have reached the exploitative capacity of the earth, but it probably has one.

    Note: I am interested in people’s responses to my thoughts but could I please request that you do so gracefully – I’m conscious that I am posting on a blog that will naturally have a conservative readership and I do not mean to insult anyone, or attack this position, which I hope to understand and sympathise with. I don’t want to enter a slagging match, and I am not a Greenie, I am not neccessarily for or against a Carbon Tax, and I feel a bit overwhelmed by the violence of “with us or against us” opinion that is being demonstrated by some blogs and in the Australian media.

    If anything, I think this debate has shown us, in Australia, that we must change in order to stay the same, and how we are largely, it seems, unwilling or perhaps unable to do this.

  • 30Ned S // Jul 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    To the extent that there may or may not be a problem, it’s a global issue. (One can’t call it a global “problem”, because it’s quite possible some countries might be beter off if the world was warmer overall?) And the other point is that the climate change issue is just part of the bigger picture global sustainabity issue anyway.

    I’d like to see some sort of globally agreed plan going forward – On sustainability generally. But there isn’t one. And in the absence of one, the question becomes Should Australia act idependantly? And if so why? What are we hoping to achieve? (With the question of whether a carbon tax as presently proposed is the way to go being very much a secondary one.)

    And my personal thought is that we are not acting wisely in acting independantly outside of any broader global plan. At best, we achieve little of real practical benefit globally. While presumably harming our competitive ability.

  • 31Ned S // Jul 15, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Global sustainability versus competition – Couched in terms of the vexed question “Why did the chicken cross the road?”, at one end of the spectrum we have:

    JOHN LENNON (the artist): Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

    And at the other end:

    COLONEL SANDERS (the businessman): Did I miss one?

    With a whole host of other possible responses – Including this one:

    BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken.

    See original list here:


  • 32Greg Atkinson // Jul 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Richard I think the carbon tax is simply a political measure that tries to convince people that they don’t have to alter their behaviour and that via the magic of economics, global carbon emissions will be reduced. This is a myth – but it does allow people to justify their overseas holidays by putting solar panels on their eco-mansions.

    I appreciate your comment but can you please explain to me how the carbon tax will help feed the hungry, prevent millions dying from NCD’s or reduce global carbon emissions? Who is going to pay for the developing world to embrace expensive renewable energy technology? If carbon emissions must be cut on a global scale why doesn’t Australia wind down coal exports? Why is petrol to be exempted from the carbon tax? Is there good and bad carbon?

    I think we need to address more core issues like over-consumption and waste if we want to make a real change and not get carried away with feel-good “earth hour” type exercises like the carbon tax.

    Finally it’s no use just blaming big polluters for all the carbon swirling around, the blame lies with all of us, the consumers, but I guess saying that doesn’t make good politics right?

  • 33Ned S // Jul 18, 2011 at 8:46 am

    From the sublime to the ridiculous:


    To the extent that people might get some compensation, it gets whacked by bracket creep anyway. And that’s before the ‘compensation’ stops coming and the truly high price increases kick in after a couple of years I gather?

    About all we can hope for is that the Libs actually DO sort it all out when they get back in I guess.

  • 34Richard // Jul 19, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Hi all sorry I posted a huge rant and didn’t follow up. Appreciate the considered responses (including or perhaps particularly, the chicken metaphor).

    I don’t want to quote statistics, and in some senses I think my wanting to talk about this here is wanting to have a different discussion from the one I’ve been hearing over and over again, where the Carbon Tax is seen as merely a rude intrusion of Green politics into the economic sphere, some sort of new-age hippie protest. It’s being rejected with such vigour by critics who are otherwise in favour of market-based solutions to practically everything else.

    I know where your comment regarding consumption is coming from Greg but I don’t think I need to point out the impossibilities of winding back consumption given our current context in which consumption and economic growth are idolised. This would certainly be politically unpopular. (But I agree with it. And I have chosen a frugal (but not unhappy!) life that proves this.)

    But I think we would agree on this point – where it’s been such a poor-quality sell from the government has been that they’ve failed to explain why we might have a carbon tax, what it’s useful for, in plain terms. e.g Business owner Joe has two means by which to produce his product. Method A uses heaps of carbon and roots the planet, but is cheap. Method B requires expensive innovation but does not root planet. If we make Method A more expensive through a tax, and Method B cheaper through grants, what happens???

    Joe innovates, and produces more with less. He may even choose to sell his innovation to other businesses, or countries.

    And that, I believe is how it’s s’posed to work. Hearing this would actually get people thinking pro-actively about how they might change their systems to suit the future, in the pragmatic way you ask for (which I agree is far removed from what is happening). I THINK this is what the government intends by the Carbon Tax.

    Now, if I can work that out, and I’m an artist, why is it that all I’m hearing about is that my airline ticket is going to be $3 more expensive???

    Just to reiterate that I’m not for or against. I’m “bemused”.

  • 35Ned S // Jul 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    It just seems such a crazy way to try to effect change: “We’ll tax you more so that you have to be innovative to remain globally competitive; Because you are competing globally against others that are not being taxed more.”

    It sounds like a good way to go broke to me. In fact it’s just too strange for me to really get my head around. Who is to say that the innovation will actually be forthcoming? Even if it is, who will we sell it to? – Our overseas competitors have no need for it unless they being taxed the same way as us – As, in the absence of such a tax regime, such innovations add no “value” to their industries/businesses. What will prevent our industries/businesses that can move to other bits of the world where they aren’t taxed this way, from doing so?

    As I said above “we are not acting wisely in acting independantly outside of any broader global plan”.

    So I’m bemused as well.

  • 36Richard // Jul 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    As far as tech-trading, this seems a fair enough point that any innovation is hypothetically valueless, in the same way that any environmental measure, such as cycling to work, is also valueless. I suppose we would have to hope that more countries sign up for emissions reduction and trading schemes. But the UK for example, with its 50% target by 2027, would be a country that might be a buyer. Although as their target is higher than ours, it seems likely that we will be buying from them rather than the other way around, if this situation actually does arise.

    Also if there actually WERE a binding international agreement for emissions reduction, ie if we weren’t going it alone, it would be the worst thing to happen to Australia’s mining industry, particularly coal, as it would make it a much less attractive commodity globally. Collective global action on climate change would be the worst possible result for the health of the Australian economy, especially if you consider Greg’s recent analyses on the underlying sickness of the economy masked by the mining sector.

    And anyway, aren’t there all sorts of anti-competitive measures in place?? What about minimum wage? Or tarriffs? I’m not suggesting knocking those down. But the Carbon Tax is hardly alone in attempting to steer industry towards benefiting the whole, even if one disagrees with the stated benefits.

  • 37Senator13 // Jul 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    The government is selling this tax as if there has never been any innovation before – and wont be any until – a carbon tax.

    I have found I am questioning the motives of this carbon tax. Is it an environmental policy or is it a revenue raiser?

    Leaving fuel out and all the compensation hand outs to everyone does not provide much incentive for anyone to change their current behavior.

    As for it raising money – it has to be the first tax that is going to cost more than it raises!

    It is very odd indeed.

    Sounds more the case of Bob Brown told Gillard to do it, or else…

  • 38Richard // Jul 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Senator13 my point was that the government has NOT sold the innovation that this is supposed to stimulate. Unless you disagree with this???

    Also you have said in your post that the government is both raising revenue and that that tax will cost more than it raises. I’m no mathematician but it probably can not be both.

    It seems to me that all the compensation hand-outs are designed to ensure that the cost of the tax is not met by households, small business, consumers etc. So I don’t think it will change people’s consumption habits, no, and this was Greg’s issue with it, which he commented on. Though it will drive up those products that rely heavily on carbon emissions, such as brown coal power.

    Your statements read as designed to inflame fear and suspicion of the tax, which does not do anything to further this discussion. It doesn’t even seem like you’ve followed the comments thread.

    Mis-information being a problem I outlined when I initially posted, and resulting in some disenchantment on my part, I would appreciate it if you’d re-post above statements with some fleshing out, if they are what you actually beleive.

  • 39Senator13 // Jul 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Hi Richard – may I start off by saying that I did enjoy your post (number 29) as it has been one of the more thoughtful postings on the subject that I have read on the matter. I do try and read widely and agree with you that there is a lot of rhetoric that often muddies the water.

    My post was not directed at any individual – just a general comment on this article and its topic that this carbon tax is a swindle.

    I admit that my motives for my comment (number 37) are not entirely pure. I object to the carbon tax – I see no point in it and do not think Australia should go down that path – especially since the rest of the world is not doing very much at all.

    Given that the contribution to all global emissions by Australia is around 1.5% I do not see much point in Australia acting alone. It becomes a rather futile activity.

    I object to a government when the Prime Minister says a few days before an election that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. And after the election and a deal done with the Greens – we will now have a carbon tax that will do little to the temperature of the Earth.

    A lot of time, money and effort has gone into this debate over the many years. If all of those resources had been put into medical research as Greg has suggested I think it would have been money better spent.

  • 40Richard // Jul 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Pardon me Senator13! Because you mentioned innovation I supposed your post was a response to the conversation. It’s not my place to target anyone individually, and this is Greg’s blog and not mine. Thanks for responding all the same.

    Futile is an interesting word to use because to me in many ways this situation is futile, and this is governing my thinking and feeling about it at the moment.

    However, I think that comparing us to the rest of the world in terms of total emissions is much like saying that a kid at school can punch the other kids because he ain’t the biggest. Morality is not determined consequences but in its own terms. Should Australia reduce emissions? That is getting a clear “yes” from many, whether or not it will make a difference.

    I am with you in objecting to the backflip the government made. However, my problem is not with the backflip itself so much as the initial promise not to have a carbon tax. This was made late in the election campaign, represented a big political change of policy, and was clearly in retrospect a last-ditch attempt to snare votes in a close election. I would prefer the government to give leadership in their decisions and if that means breaking a promise then so be it, but I wish they had won the election on honest terms. Perhaps I am an idealist – elections are often immoral, and I’m sure worse has happened. (From what I’ve read of the Children Overboard incident, there was some very serious and knowing mis-representation going on, for example.)

    I certainly think medical research would have had clearer and more tangible results. The proof of the carbon tax will be in the eating, whether Australia succeeds in its adaptation. At the moment this looks very unlikely. Personally, I foresee that the Carbon Tax will not make it to the next election, and Australia will lag behind on what will, it seems clear (to me at least), be the biggest threat we have faced collectively for a long time. History will probably celebrate Great Britain’s and Germany’s carbon ambitions, and China and India obviously carry the cards in terms of the future if you look at the modelling for growth in emissions. America will eventually need to act and as will Australia, but by then the time for risk-taking will have past, and any opportunity for bravery gone.

    But I am a pessimist. I look at people and the situation and I try to read it, not change it. I don’t feel one way or the other about this. And it could, of course, be different, if certain anomolies occur.

    Man it’s an intersting time to be alive for an artist though, I can tell you. Imminent world destruction unless we all act together?!??? AWESOME. It’s like the Cold War, Alien sightings and the sinking of Atlantis are all colliding in one giant Reneissance of The Future. I can’t tell you what it all means, but it’s extreme :)

  • 41Ned S // Jul 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Costs? Initially given the compensation, the tax seems to lose more than it raises. Though it’s pretty obvious the compensation gets eroded by bracket creep very quickly – For those earning more than $30K pa the compensation is over in about 2 years. And surely it must be a concern that there is no particular upper limit to the tax? Namely in 2 (or 3???) years gov stops saying what the cost is and it gets to be ‘set by the market’ as I understand it – Whatever that might mean? (But it certainly does sound scary. So Gillard better do some work on that sales pitch. If she can.)

    But moving away from the specifics of our particular tax back to general principles, I think it’s important to be FULLY aware that lots of countries have immensely different attitudes to the environment than (many/most?) Australians. Spend some time in a water rich country and most Aussies would get a heck of a shock at how they use their water I think? Hop in a car overseas; Go for a drive; And watch where the food wrappers go – Yep, straight out the car windows. So the attitudes ARE fundamentally different. (Which means we are very unwise to assume they are the same or even might become the same anytime soon.)

    The three biggest CO2 emitters are the US, China and Russia. (Though just as an aside, Oz IS the biggest per capita as I understand it.) I don’t know what the US and Chinese attitudes are. But I surely don’t get the impression that Russia is convinced it will be a bad thing if the world gets a bit warmer. Heck, they even seem to think they have figured out how to stop global warming dead in its tracks whenever they want??? (Maybe the plan is to do it when the temperature in Russia is just what they’d like it to be? :) )


    I truly don’t know – I’m “bumfuzzled” in fact! But the point is, there’s a lot of very different viewpoints out there to the rather narrow parochial Australian ones we hear day to day. And within that context, the phrase “bunny for the mob” comes to my mind?

  • 42Ned S // Jul 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    “Imminent world destruction unless we all act together?” – Nah, just ask the Russkies nicely if they mind if we move there? (And nuke the baskets if they do!) :D

  • 43Greg Atkinson // Jul 20, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Ned raises a very good point in that it seems odd to me that to reduce carbon emissions a tax will be used that will in fact use a lot of the money raised to compensate people for their carbon emitting lifestyle.

    Of course all this assumes that carbon (the building block of life) is actually a problem in the first place.

    This article Respect the science and don’t call CO2 a pollutant is well worth reading.

  • 44GoWest // Jul 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    The National Press Club debate between Lord Monckton and Richard Denniss showed why both the carbon tax and direct action are not needed. Watch it and learn.
    The other give-away was the 10Billion given to the Green (before the tax is even paid) so they can hire another 4 departments of canberran public servants for “the common good” – as if!

    To Summarize – Temperature goes up 1 degree centigrade with the doubling of CO2 percentage not 3 degrees as published by the IPCC and not 5 degrees as claimed by our Aussie politicians.
    The cost of doing nothing and adapting as we have in past is far cheaper than than the ETS.

  • 45Richard // Jul 22, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Hi all I really appreciate the reading/viewing directions but I don’t really wanna learn any more than I already know about Climate Change or Carbon emissions or anything like that, it strikes me as weird that I have to be a Scientist just to live in the world nowadays. I mean, why the hell should I have to know about Coal power or rising sea levels or any of that stuff?? Shouldn’t we be able to just live in the world???

    GW what is the debate about I honestly can’t be bothered watching it can you just tell me about it and why it’s important??

    And what is the 10 billion dollars that seems like a stupid amount of money are you sure that’s not an exaggeration.

    I also don’t understand that last statement I reckon the IPCC is more likely to be right than you are if you’re just sounding off or were you referring to the discussion you posted??

    Greg I think the compensation is more to ease people and buisinesses into structural adjustments so that they don’t lose too much moeny overnight and it’s not too much economic shock, standard economic practice I thought like for example tarriffs. We probably shouldn’t have tarriffs but if you just removed them overnight then people would lose heaps of jobs in one go and it would be horrible. So I guess bracket creep swallowing it up like a whale will be not a disaster because ideally the structural shock would have dissipated by then anyway.

    Yeah all this assumes it’s a problem but I have weighed it up and I think it is a problem, I mean you hear people talking earnestly about how the world’s gonna end obviously it is a problem, plus 95% of scientists agree with it or something like that. Also try talking to people about it it’s really hard to look people in the eyes and see the fear.

    Dunno what Bunny for the Mob means.

    Also that article seems to be just one Russian scientist I’m sure if it was that simple people would have just done it.

    The more I think about it the more it seems like Australia’s really going it alone here. I mean we have the highest CO2 emissions in the world, every other wealthy country seems to be at least trying to do something if not really making changes. Europe’s had a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme since 1995 and they still have a good lifestyle but that argument just doesn’t hold any water over here because in Europe they can all trade with each other and it makes sense whereas here who are we gonna trade with there’s no-one except NZ. I reckon Aussies are so used to being out here on our own and protective of our lifestyle we don’t wanna change any of it or admit we might lose it. Look at Julia’s speech for god’s sake she mentions the Barrier Reef. I love the Barrier Reef but what the hell does it have to do with having a Carbon Tax. Those two things are so disconnected from each other in my head, I realise there are scientific connections but seriously I’m not going to turn the heater off to save the Barrier Reef that’s just silly. I have it on right now and my feet are warm and I feel comfortable and I want to stay that way. Don’t threaten me with the fish dying so that I turn the heater off. Sorry I know it feels like I’m joking but the time we live in is incredible where there’s a connection between my fan heater and the fish in the Barrier Reef. I feel guilty now I’m going to turn it off. But I’m going to feel angry at the fish for dying – that doesn’t seem to make sense either.

    Maybe the best argument here are the ones that don’t make sense because also the situation doesn’t make sense. Like maybe if I went to the Barrier Reef and directly killed the Fish by clubbing them with my fan heater. I wonder if that would acheive anything, or what it would feel like, whether I would have a connection to what I was doing then. I spose I’d just be killing a fish for no reason. But I would know, I’d experience it, see it with my own eyes. Or maybe if I got some coal and burnt it and then tried to breathe the fumes. I guess I’d just get the black lung. Or what if I built a beach in my neighbourhood in Brunswick so that when the sea finally arrives to 43m above sea level it’ll be ready for everyone to use and we can all lie on it and look out at Lake Melbourne

    These ideas all seem stupid I know but in a way they make more sense than all this talk of Carbon emissions and rising sea levels and stuff that as a human being I can’t ever hope to understand. I could talk about them in a way that sounds knowledgable and I actually do know stuff about it probably too much but what would be a point of that. It’s hard to find the right path or even a useful one.

  • 46Greg Atkinson // Jul 22, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Richard for me the carbon tax is simply a case of ‘politicians logic’ as explained to Sir Humphrey.


    Enjoy :)

  • 47Richard // Jul 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Yeah I agree with this logically but if we followed it we’d just do nothing, but I like doing stuff. I’ve tried doing nothing you just fall into the pit of despair, from where surely you’d be even more susceptible to rising sea levels than from the Mountain of Triumph.

    I think we should do stuff. I always feel better when I do stuff.

    VLADMIR: Well? Shall we go?
    ESTRAGON: Yes, let’s go.
    They do not move.


  • 48Ned S // Jul 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Bunny for the Mob – I think Yanks call them the patsy, the fall guy etc …

    While Uri Izrael is “just one Russian scientist”, he’s a pretty important one when it comes to this stuff (or he has been at least):


    Vladimir and Estragon? I quite enjoy doing nothing – My philosophy on life incorporates the view “Never run when you can walk; Never walk when you can stand still; Never stand still when you can sit still; Never sit still when you can enjoy a nice lie down.” :)

  • 49Richard // Jul 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

    yeah that sounds reasonable too

    Izrael says something on the wiki that I find disturbing “The people of Bangladesh, who live at sea level, may face problems if the Indian Ocean rises. Still, their resettlement would be much cheaper than projected Kyoto Protocol expenses.”

    This sounds totally stupid almost Dr. Strangelove as though the people of banga will just want to leave their homes. I think he probably said this but it must have been put up by an activist I think surely this must be taken out of context no-one is that insensitive???

    Hey all feels like we should wrap this one up – I’m not sure if we achieved anything but speaking with complete sincerity for a moment thank you for the conversation really appreciate it :)


  • 50Ned S // Jul 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    “Izrael says something on the wiki that I find disturbing … no-one is that insensitive???”

    As I’ve implied to date Richard, lots of people think very differently to “us” – About lots of issues. And given that I know that, I’m hesitant to start trying to ‘solve(?)’ global ‘problems/issues(?)’ outside the frameworks of global agreements. And Copenhagen did just basically go guts up.

    But yep, enjoyed the chat too,
    Cheers and regards.

  • 51Lachlan // Jul 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Gidday Ned.
    Here is another view.

    Temperature measurements used in warming arguments which are skewed higher by creating weather stations which breach the guidelines.

    “Of the 860 thermometers inspected by early 2009, 89% fail to meet
    NOAA’s siting requirements that they be more than 30 meters from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source.”

    “Why don’t NOAA move their thermometers or put new ones in proper locations (level, open clearings over ground that is typical of the region)? Why do they persist in measuring the official temperature
    record from thermometers near air conditioner outlets?”

    (quotes from David Evans who helped build the carbon accounting model for the Australian Government that tracks carbon in plants, debris, soils, and agricultural and forest products)
    Check his website sciencespeak.com for a heap of photographs of thermometers set up near urban heat sources.

  • 52Ned S // Jul 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    G’day Lachlan – Yep, it is just possible the whole thing is a crock? (With me accepting that I don’t actually know.)

    So regardless of whether it is or isn’t, from the point of view of remaining ‘competitive’ I just sort of take the attitude that if we are going to get our hands tied behind our backs I’m happy enough to go along with it providing the rest of the world gets their hands tied behind their backs too. But I’m NOT if they don’t!

    And even remain a bit iffy about it regardless to the extent it just could be some sort of extra tax ‘wealth’ re-distribution thing that is the product of social-democrat minds? (With there being lots of reasons to be suspicious that such thinking is prevalent amongst the pollies in welfare orientated democracies these days I reckon.)

    It would be nice to be able to trust our pollies. But as they are obviously inherently untrustworthy we’d be silly too hey! :)

  • 53Lachlan // Jul 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Untrustworthy eh Ned, yes. I do reckon they’re just normal people. It can be very hard to give up a good thing or even to just change a routine (even if it is a stale old habit). Politicians like spending and they like increasing their wages. And lets face it, revenues are not looking up. Over time the political culture has grown more and more deceitful in order to preserve the status quo… which we cannot afford.
    Then there is the little problem of serving the global financial interests. This would affect things somewhat considering the stranglehold.
    If an honest political force emerged they would triumph…. and maybe if the media gave them a fair go. I did not go along with Pauline Hanson’s ideology/outlook (apart from her tiring of political correctness) but she was honest and that’s why she got votes. If someone more clever and worldly had the same opportunity things may have been far more interesting. In the end she new she was in over her head and was happy just to dance with the stars ;)

  • 54Lachlan // Jul 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Even the term “Greenhouse Effect” is just hysteria… at the risk of repeating myself. We are preventing heat loss in a real greenhouse with a physical barrier to stop heated air escape…somewhat different to the complex atmosphere.

    Below is an excerpt from this article…


    Russian Expert Endorses German Physicists
    To an expert space scientist like Abdussamatov the ultimate proof is that when seen from outer space the Earth is shown to emit the same amount of radiant energy as it receives from the Sun. This is a fact ignored by advocates who seek to blame human emissions of carbon dioxide for predicted future climate catastrophe.

    The Russian, who is head of Space research laboratory at the Saint Petersburgh-based Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences and an avowed global warming sceptic, shares views remarkably consistent with those of two eminent German physicists, Gerlich and Tscheuschner who similarly debunked the greenhouse gas theory in their widely reported peer-reviewed publication.

    Abdussamatov, like his sceptical colleagues, bemoans the IPCC’s political agenda and insists scientists should stick to the observable facts; “There’s no sign of radiation being trapped, despite the UN IPCC’s claimed ‘straightforward physics’ involved.”

    Yet a shrinking minority of elite political appointees of vocal scientific institutions hold onto the belief that the Earth’s surface somehow gains heat despite satellite data showing no increase in the planet’s energy budget so that CO2 and water vapour must be transporting it away (a clear negative feedback).

  • 55Lachlan // Jul 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Yes Minister…thanks Greg, loved that show. Brilliant.

  • 56Greg Atkinson // Aug 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    The recent CERN findings may put the cat amongst the pigeons so to speak. See: CERN Experiment Confirms Cosmic Rays Influence Cloud Seeds

    Gee, and I thought the science behind climate change was ‘settled’ according to the well known scientists Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard ;)

  • 57Chris // Sep 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    this article is the biggest load of crap I have read for sometime. The only part that is right is the Carbon swindle story.
    If you want to do something to help the planet, do something about reducing the primary cause of all our troubles, namely POPULATION.
    Just as well we have some dieses. Something has to assist in reducing our numbers.
    Alleviating starvation and “research on projects to help people out of poverty or improve their standard of living via better healthcare for example.”, will hasten the Human demise by expotentially increasing consumption and waste.
    If you can understand 3 Cows to the acre, well X number of people to a Planet carn’t be too hard to comprhend.

  • 58Ken McMurtrie // Sep 7, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Interesting sentiment Chris, #57.

    Unfortunately the same concept that is probably driving the carbon trading/central government/de-industrialization/de-population organization that funds the IPCC and all associated organizations and people.

    Are you going to volunteer to depart this life early to assist in your proposed program, or any of your family, or friends?
    Maybe you are aware of population types/areas/development status/social status/financial status etc., who you think should volunteer or perhaps be chosen by you to help achieve this goal?
    If not to be chosen by you, then who do think should have the power and right to make such choices?
    I hope there is a God and/or that there is Karma.
    I am not saying that a reduced population wouldn’t solve some problems, but it has nothing to with global warming nor CO2 control.
    I am saying that we need practical, HUMANE, CORRECT solutions.
    Unfortunately, it is the people who think that others, present or future, should sacrifice their existence, who are the ones least deserving to be part of the human race. IMHO.

  • 59Chris // Sep 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    That’s the issue. Who decides who stays and who goes. I don’t know. All I am saying is that population is the root problem.
    More people equals more consumptiona and waste.
    It’s a matter of how or are willing to live in consideration to the natural resources, Either we lower our standards to that akin to Bangladesh and maybe we survive. Or we Live like Americans with fewer people.
    And lets face it. If you were given the choice between you and your family or them and teirs, I bet I know who you’d pick.
    Planet Eath is finite. Belief in that Science will somehow over come resource problems is a dream. By the time we can cross space to go to another mythical planet to escape here, we’d have blown ourselves to oblivion anyway once the resource wars start. It’s only a matter of time. We have that with the Iraq and Libera campaigns. They,the powers that be weren’t interested in saving the people of Rawanda. Nothing tehy wanted resource wise. We already are in the embryonic stage of poulation shift. Migration, Asylum Seekers world wide etc.
    One day the trickle will become a flood. eg Australia is a big place. 70% is considered arid to semi arid.
    As other countries due to too many people eg: Ehtiopia, have denuded their landscapes so will we if we continue to populate. It ain’t rocket science.
    And I say again, 3 Cows, X people.
    If the rural industry can understand it, why can’t the rest.Or do they take a scientific approach and stack the cows and feed them genetically engieer proteins etc etc.
    GOd, just imagine the outcry about Genetically engieered food. Or I guess we get rid of the Cows and just eat processed Protein and Baked Beans. mmm..Where will we grow them. Oh yeah, vertical gardens. Problem solved. What about water. Oh we just desalinate the ocean. well we’d better power that up. NMore Solar Panels please. May as well cover all Australia from the Great Divide to the Indian Ocean. Should have enough power then to fire up a City or 2.
    All this sustainability while poulating is just bull. It’s organic pepetual motion and is about as realistic as the mechanical type.
    Save the starving.Oh the poor dears. Yes they are. But you didn’t know about it until you had a TV. They been starving on and off for thousands of years. We throw millions of $ trying to save them and for how long ubntil the next famine. Oh we’ll bring them into the 21st Century and raise their living standar and give them all a washingmachine. Up goes your consumption rates.
    Anyway, what to do I don’t know. All I know is I am on piece of rock flying aqround in space and an increasing nujber of people chipping away at it. It’s only a matter of time before the whole thing says enough.

  • 60Chris // Sep 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    or maybe you should read this….

  • 61Lachlan // Sep 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Chris, when the global economy collapses, the supermarket shelves are empty and everyone starts killing for survival the world population will be grossly reduced anyhow. See, nothing to worry about. Nature always takes care of these little problems.

  • 62Richard // Sep 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Chris I’m pretty sure this is extreme and also unfounded plus for all your big direct talking I don’t know exactly what you’re suggesting beyond that the population is too much, which is not a new idea??? I mean that article is from 1992 for example

    The rest of it is just Dr. Strangelove meets Dawn of the Dead

    I like your big floating rock concept though

    And your post is revealing of the current dog-eat-dog philosophical trend which prevails in our times i.e self-interest. I think a more fundamental shifts would have to happen before the things you talk about could change.

    I reckon it is a disturbing reality that we are a long way from this in Australia and to be honest your comment doesn’t bring us any closer

    e.g Would I kill my own family. This is obviously not the right question to ask.

  • 63Ken McMurtrie // Sep 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Chris @ #60.
    Interesting thesis.
    Of course you are right in suggesting that for everybody to have a moderately comfortable survival/subsistence, it is impossible to maintain excessive lifestyles at the top.
    A compromise means the ‘top’ must reduce their level, and they won’t.
    This shouldn’t mean the ‘low’ should be wiped out to support continuation at the top.

    Survival of the fittest probably means the ones with the money and the weapons. That is what is occurring currently.

    I am suggesting that they are not necessarily the fittest from the point of view that they are fit to live on, just that they are capable of living on, at the expense of the weak.

    It would be nice to think that we could all be happy with food, shelter, family, friends, love, compassion, even if it meant no more TV, expensive cars, etc., etc.

    We must admit, as a civilization, we have ‘cocked up’. Past the point of no return. We now are subject to the rule of the psychopathic rich.

    Discussing it doesn’t change a thing!

  • 64Richard // Sep 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I don’t agree with this I think having bad discussion doesn’t change a thing and having good discussion everyone can learn and change. It’s like a family dinner table where no-one is listening to each other vs one where the family is unified in their differences. Emo son can talk to bourgeoius mummy and they don’t see eye to eye with stuff but they come to understand each other’s position. Then when mum meets a teenager on the street she’s able to offer sympathy and understanding because she knows the position because she has listened. Or emo son is able to have a conversation with his friend’s mum about sewing or something

    Same rules apply if you have bad convo no-one gets anywhere if you have good convo we get somewhere so let’s have a good convo and try to understand stuff even though I admit it is hard

    For example we are clearly not having enough conversations with Bangladesh. You can blame the government for this or you can take it personally and track down some bangladeshis or just take notice when next you have a chance to meet one and ask them what they think about global warming. This way you transform yourself into an active political figure and can make a difference to bigger conversations

    What do you think?

    I think this is what I’m trying to do but maybe it’s wrong I dunno

  • 65Ken McMurtrie // Sep 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Hi Richard.
    We have reached a stage where ‘confusion reigns supreme’. It may be because we started off with, but have wavered from, Greg’s very meaningful assessment of our global predicament and, if I understood it correctly, his suggestion that carbon taxing was of lesser importance than sustaining civilization in general. Greg said:

    If someone can explain to me how a carbon tax will help save the lives of millions of children who die annually of starvation then I would be very interested. The reality is that we would do more good by taxing over-consumption and imposing penalties on individuals, organisations and corporations that waste food but I guess that just wouldn’t work too well at the Oscars or at those lavish climate change conferences.

    So let’s keep the debate open and encourage people not to be swayed by the emotional rants from either side of the climate change debate, because if we make the wrong decisions – they may just turn out to have very deadly results

    I am in agreement with him all the way.
    Firstly, the carbon tax is not a solution. It supports the rich and introduces controls over sovereign countries.

    Secondly, it does not assist the underpriveleged, but encourages their elimination. It does assist the over-priveleged, and reduces the middle class to a service level.

    I can see nothing good about carbon trading, and much bad, from a civilization point of view.

    Obviously, it is the point of view that is crucial. It is different for everybody.

    The aim of the upper echelon is to survive, basically bugger everybody else.

    I suppose it would be fair to hope for the well-being of the greatest number. This will not happen if we blindly follow the rules set by whoever is influencing the Australian politicians.

  • 66Greg Atkinson // Sep 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    A growing global population is a major challenge but let me just toss a few comments into the ring although I agree largely with what Ken said at comment #58.

    Firstly we have plenty of room to improve the way we manage resources such as food and water. We waste enough food in the developed world for example to feed everyone and it seems a little callous to me to blame overpopulation alone for the problems we face.

    Secondly we don’t have to lower living standards in developed nations to make our lifestyles more sustainable. We don’t need for examples new mobile phone every two years, imported bottle water or an urban 4WD recreational vehicle to do the shopping and drive into the CBD.

    Thirdly I believe there are ways to address our problems that don’t need to be radical or extreme. But they would require some personal restraint and learning to waste less.

    Finally need to stop being obsessed with GDP growth as I have ranted on about many times. This obsession encourages over-consumption and wasteful behaviour in my opinion.

  • 67Ken McMurtrie // Sep 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Greg #66
    “Finally need to stop being obsessed with GDP growth as I have ranted on about many times. This obsession encourages over-consumption and wasteful behaviour in my opinion”
    I just spent 1/2 hr writing and lost it, the writing that is.
    Quickly: (and simply),
    Growth is finite so an economy based on growth will fail.
    Un-earned money, ie. made from money without the creation of any tangible asset only causes inflation. End result, no increase in value.

  • 68Richard // Sep 8, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Ken – I don’t know if you’re accusing me of being over-emotional or not practical and perhaps both are true.

    Certainly not trying to cloud the issue. I think my point boils down to a concern about the death of humanism in the name of self-interest.

    I heard this guy speak earlier in the year about the economics of enough and I think it is probably the way we’re headed although I worry that the fundamentals of economics are flawed. Objectives like the distribution of wealth and production efficiency are not valid anymore when you factor in climate change, (let’s say the science is accurate). But his talk was kind of interesting in relation to gdp and what he called and I believe it’s popularly referred to as “the economics of enough” which aims for no-growth economies and alot of the things Greg just posted.

    He was interesting because he was exploring alternative economies but he was still locked within the boundaries of economic thought and its foundations, and I wondered if his mission was inherently flawed because of this.

    For example, doesn’t the whole thing depend on growth? I kind of thought that was the entire point of the economy. It doesn’t bring us enough, it brings us more.

    Maybe what we are talking about then is not different economic system but a system that’s different to economics.

    But perhaps that’s too radical or too difficult to imagine.

    Or too impractical.

  • 69Chris // Sep 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I think this is a why we are on the road to nowhere.
    Greg #66
    “Firstly we have plenty of room to improve the way we manage resources such as food and water. We waste enough food in the developed world for example to feed everyone and it seems a little callous to me to blame overpopulation alone for the problems we face”
    Feeding everyone will lead on again to ‘too many’
    The more you feed themore there will be.
    There is no evidence to show that the Human can control it’s breeding.

    Ken #63
    “Survival of the fittest probably means the ones with the money and the weapons. That is what is occurring currently.”
    Too right.
    A modern version of natural selection.
    This is only going to increase.
    Those with the most guns wins.
    I know which side I would want to be on.

    Yeah the floating rock. Can’t get off, better deal with what we have.
    All we do is come up with band aid strip ideas. The root problem will still exist until one day the ‘reality’ kicks out the ‘I feel good about myself’ compassionate fantasy.

  • 70Ken McMurtrie // Sep 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    @ Richard, #68
    “For example, doesn’t the whole thing depend on growth? I kind of thought that was the entire point of the economy. It doesn’t bring us enough, it brings us more”

    The question might be ‘brings us more what?’.

    More luxuries, more toys, certainly variety in foods etc., but, in general it has brought us more debt!
    Because of the huge dependence on oil it has also brought us more wars.
    On the other hand, our ‘more’ has resulted in less for many others. Starting at home – less affordable health care, less jobs.
    I don’t know the situation in the US, but in Aus. we have hospitals depending on charity donations. Thousands depend on charity organizations who are daily asking for financial assistance.
    What does the government do with our taxes? Support wars and themselves.
    Expenditure on wars is criminal and EXCESSIVE.
    Back to the growth factor. It is logically unsustainable because, to work it has to have never-ending increases in demand. Obviously resources are finite, therefore the system must fail!

  • 71Greg Atkinson // Sep 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Let’s also not forget that in Japan, Russia, much of Europe & even Australia the birthrate has declined and in some cases the population is shrinking or would be without immigration.

    So this suggests that an ever expanding global population not set in stone and clearly there are forces at play than can put a lid on the birthrate without the need for draconian measures.

    As for GDP growth. There is a video clip in the post I wrote about that I suggest is well worth watching. Please see: GDP growth does not equal a quality Australian economy

  • 72Lachlan // Sep 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    On the other hand there are people worried about populations declining. Quick import some more. Can’t win.

  • 73Ned S // Sep 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Important thing is to not stress about it Lachlan – We all know how it will ultimately play out – Some sort of catastrophic f***up. As humans aren’t good at learning from their past mistakes.

    So the only really important question is will we get another chance or who out of the dolphins and the pigs and the roaches will … :D :D :D

  • 74Lachlan // Sep 10, 2011 at 6:33 am

    “Important thing is to not stress about it Lachlan”

    Exactly for mine too Ned. Its up too individuals to each be responsible and if they cant be then no amount of intervention is going to help so I just forget about saving the world and look after myself and those people and things who rely on me/are affected by me. The rest is inevitable so relax and enjoy what good things we have.

  • 75Stillgotshoeson // Sep 16, 2011 at 10:29 am
  • 76Lachlan // Sep 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    That certainly is a good one Shoes…which I have saved for later use.
    Science is settled hey?

  • 77Greg Atkinson // Sep 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    The science was once settled that the earth was the centre of our solar system but some bright spark had to ruin the whole party.

    It is pretty clear that there are plenty of very qualified scientists around who think that AGW theory has some holes in it. But heck, what would they know, Al Gore won the gong based on a movie (which was in colour) so he must be right hey?

  • 78Ross T // Nov 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Great news – The results from the IBUKI, CO2 and Methane monitoring satellite are IN and the implications are clear. Rich developed nations are not CO2 emitters as claimed by Bob Brown and company, they are in fact net Carbon Sinks. Since the Carbon emission-emitter tag was applied because of our industrialisation and economic growth, we can now affirm that the same industrialisation and economy is a net carbon sink on the worlds global warming.
    That means stronger western industrial output will keep global warming in check and the carbon taxers gagging debate in the Australian senate to one week will infact add to net global warming with their partial-science based policies.
    Carbon tax passed in one week — Durban IPCC knees-up in two weeks – cannot possibly be a link for new global Julia can there?

    The Great News AND the death of Climate change “as we know it”!

  • 79richard // Nov 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    um… thank god for that?

  • 80Greg Atkinson // Nov 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Ross it just highlights the the stupidity of implementing a carbon tax in Australian as a means to combat global CO2 emissions. I don’t suspect China will be rushing in such a tax any time soon..if ever.

  • 81Richard // Nov 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Hi I read this article and it just repeats common skeptic claims, Ross T you haven’t been part of this conversation… what’s your reason for posting this? Or did you just happen to stumble accross this conversation?

    My understanding is that though human beings do contribute ‘just’ 4% of emmissions, and this is accepted science, it ‘s the cumulative effect that is likely to cause climate change, that 4% per year just stays around in the atmosphere, and then another 4% is added the next year etc. I’m no scientist – but that comment which appears in this article is suspiciously selective of scientific reporting by saying “it’s just 4%”.

    Whilst some developed countries emit lower than some developing countries, this doesn’t mean anything really. If I am king of my own island and I’m the only one living on it, and I emit 60 tonnes of carbon per year, I should probably reduce my emissions or how the hell do I possibly expect my neighbours to do so. Or does the author expect that we just ask the China and India, who still have large percentages of population living in poverty, to please reduce their emissions, even though each Australian is responsible for emitting approximately 4 times the amount of CO2. I’m sorry I have friends in both countries who are poor, I refuse to ask them to reduce their emissions, they are living very difficult (but not unhappy) lives.

    So thanks alot for the “great news”, but even if this were true it would just place the blame on China and India which results in what exactly? Should we go to war with those countries for trying to improve their standard of living? Trade embargoes? Political isolation?

    You and I and greg are responsible for approximately 54 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year, that is an incredible amount. Don’t you reckon it’d be a good idea if we reduced that? If we were Chinese it would be 15. If we were Indian it would be about 6.

    Great to have a high-spectral-resolution Japanese satellite though! Which I knew what that was. Sounds ghastly!

  • 82Greg Atkinson // Nov 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Richard I don’t own a car and use a bicycle to get around so I I reckon I contributing much less than 54 tonnes of CO2. Also the power where I am mainly comes from a nuclear power plant so that should cut down my CO2 footprint as well.

    Anyway if people have time then I reckon this is a good read: Scientific heresy: http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12844&page=1

    As for China & India, of course they have the right to improve the lifestyles of their citizens. We can’t really complain about them burning fossil fuels when developed nations did the same during their high growth periods.

  • 83Greg Atkinson // Nov 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Richard I don’t own a car and use a bicycle to get around so I I reckon I contributing much less than 54 tonnes of CO2. Also the power where I am mainly comes from a nuclear power plant so that should cut down my CO2 footprint as well.

    Anyway if people have time then I reckon this is a good read: Scientific heresy: http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12844&page=1

    As for China & India, of course they have the right to improve the lifestyles of their citizens. We can’t really complain about them burning fossil fuels when developed nations did the same during their high growth periods. (and still consume vast amounts of fossil fuels today)

  • 84Richard // Nov 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Greg I think it’s great you do all those things and I do most of them too although I do own a scooter (‘Anne’) which I should get rid of (but I love her! etc). From my reading it uses 1/6 of the amount of fuel as smallest car but it’s still there. However as an Australian I take responsibility for our 18.6 tonnes of emission per capita and my own part in that (through political apathy for example, which Australians are mighty good at).

    That’s an epic 8 pager you posted hopefully I’ll get to it at some stage.

    Where is the nuclear power plant? I didn’t think there was one in Australia! Are we funneling in some clean energy from Europe? :)

  • 85Greg Atkinson // Nov 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Richard, I am actually up here in sunny Japan that’s I am tapped into a nuclear power plant.

    My view is we could all do a lot more to lower dangerous emissions and live in a more sustainable way. Focusing on CO2 however, which I don’t consider a pollutant, is the wrong approach.

    Having said that I don’t think we should be adding vast amounts of any gas into the atmosphere and finding technological ways to reduce CO2 emissions while solving other problems seems to be a logical approach to me.

    Also the reality is we could make a big difference by simply cutting back on waste and moving away from a society where we buy, dump & upgrade.

    I have read for example that up to 30% of all food produced globally for human consumption is wasted. That’s a pretty obscene statistic when we think about the millions of people who die from hunger every year.

    In my opinion we don’t need a carbon tax, we need a reality check. But I doubt that approach would get anyone elected.

  • 86Ken McMurtrie // Nov 6, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Hi Greg, Your #85 impresses and just about sums up the situation.
    “Focusing on CO2 however, which I don’t consider a pollutant, is the wrong approach”, I agree strongly.
    “finding technological ways to reduce CO2 emissions”, is a bit contradictory to the above.

    Increased CO2 may be bad if it has a corresponding reduction in the oxygen level, which happens with industrial pollution. Otherwise it is good for our flora, reflecting in food production, oxygen generation and increased ability to absorb what might otherwise be, excessive CO2.

    Of course, this makes sense only if CO2 is not driving CAGW, a claim with which I am quite comfortable.

    Well done on producing a sensible and interesting blog.

    [I am greatly impressed by this comment facility allowing editing, brilliant!
    I hope your being in Japan is not a health hazard for you. Do you have any knowledge of what is really going on with the NPP disaster and radiation dangers?
    This question being off-topic – if you have information, perhaps it might be appropriate to comment at my website].

  • 87Greg Atkinson // Nov 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Thanks Ken. When I mentioned technology I was referring to more efficient engines for example or hybrid cars etc. Improving the power transmission network would also be a big help as power loses in that area are quite considerable. A high speed rail link between Syd-Can-Melb would also be a good idea in my view and come in handy when the planes are grounded for whatever reason.

    As for the NPP issue, we get almost daily news updates here but I think many people forget that tragically most people were killed in March by the Tsunami. Yes the Fukushima incident was quite worrying and a lot needs to be done to resolve the issue, but much of the reporting by the foreign media has been way off the mark bordering on inaccurate in my opinion.

  • 88Richard // Nov 6, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Hi Greg I think this position is a rational one but only if you are willing to ignore almost all scientists, as there is reasonable consensus about the link between CO2 and Climate Change.

    I think the common sense approach will serve you well though, for example with this approach you lessen any anxiety you might have about Climate Change. If the science is correct, the situation is totally out of control and will get worse. Focusing on factors we can control makes the situation more managable and we can actually do some good. For example, I work in a Hotel (no money as an artist) which wastes a lot. One of the areas of waste is that the hotel will dry-clean your uniform after every shift, shrink-wrap it in plastic and put it on a wire coathanger. This has been concerning me, and yet I have kept doing it for 3 years. A few weeks ago, I was having a whinge to someone about how I thought it was a waste, and she said she just took hers home and put hers in her wash cycle. So I did that. No negative consequences so far!!

    Ken I think Carbon Dioxide is fine in small doses (and naturally occurring), but when you get heaps of it, over a long period of time, it seems like that’s not ok?

    Japan + Nuclear = a great headline, unfortunately one that the press can’t resist. It’s a shame that the nuclear threat overshadowed the humanitarian disaster.

    I looked at a map of Aus for the Bris-Syd-Melb-Canberra line a little while ago and I can see what their problem is and why it hasn’t been built. If you were building it the logical thing to do would be to go through Canberra (otherwise it’s probably not viable) but to do this you need to either build through National Park or take a big detour from Yass, kind of defeating the purpose of ‘high-speed’. I think these are the two routes being considered – so ironically it’s probably environmental concerns holding that one back.

  • 89Greg Atkinson // Nov 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Richard there is a link between C02 and climate change, just as there is a link between climate change solar cycles. The big question is by how much do we humans influence climate change and if we do, is it enough to distract us from other more pressing problems.

    I would focus on cutting back on waste, over-consumption and reducing pollution especially the really nasty stuff we pump into the air like Sox/Nox emissions.

    As for high speed rail, it requires the will and a grand vision. If the Japanese can build a high speed rail link through mountain ranges and between islands then we should be able to get a link between at least Syd-Can-Melb. But we need to have a vision; for example establishing new towns along the route and setting up low tax zones to encourage companies to relocate there. We could even build a nuclear power plant to provide power for the link and the new towns, but that sort of talk will get me into trouble ;)

  • 90Ken McMurtrie // Nov 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Richard (#88),
    There is a problem in debating this issue in that the same old arguments are reiterated endlessly.

    ” but only if you are willing to ignore almost all scientists” – Sorry, this statement is not credible.

    ” If the science is correct, the situation is totally out of control and will get worse. Focusing on factors we can control makes the situation more managable and we can actually do some good.” – There is so little proof that the scientists you refer to are correct, that any action based on that “science” is unjustified.

    “Ken I think Carbon Dioxide is fine in small doses (and naturally occurring), but when you get heaps of it, over a long period of time, it seems like that’s not ok?” – I do not agree that we are talking about heaps of CO2. There are reasons for believing that negative feedbacks are in play sufficient to accept that we are no where near, or heading for, serious problems due to CO2 levels.

    “Japan + Nuclear = a great headline, unfortunately one that the press can’t resist. It’s a shame that the nuclear threat overshadowed the humanitarian disaster.” –
    The thing is that the media are not tackling the danger issue, that’s what I am saying.
    Only the alternative internet blogs are onto the real issues. It is unbelievably naive to suggest that there are no serious radiation problems.
    Indeed it is a shame, but it is reality, because the tsunami was a natural disaster (I hope), the nuclear damage is directly related to man’s seemingly inherent nature to self-destruct.
    Nuclear radiation seriously damages people, and is undeniably out there in the air, on the ground, in the ground, in the water table, in the oceans.
    I speculate that the future toll on human health from this Fukushima radiation, will in fact far outweigh the tsunami losses, large and devestating as they are.

    All these issues are included on my website if you wish to read the relevant posts and pages, and on many other reputable blogs referenced there-in. (http://tgrule.wordpress.com)

    Regards, Ken.

  • 91Richard // Nov 6, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Hi Ken

    I think Greg was just saying that the tsunami was the real tragedy for Japan rather than the Nuclear stuff, but I could be wrong there and that’s not to say that radiation is not an issue, only in comparison with the tsunami it was not on the same level.

    I don’t understand how that statement is not credible. Greg’s argument was based on CO2 emmissions not being a cause of climate change, and I said “almost all scientists” made this link. Don’t most scientists have the opinion that rising Co2 emissions cause Climate Change? I can quote sources and stuff but I can’t be bothered looking it up to be honest it’s like 90%, I think that’s a UN statistic so it’s probably biased towards the western world’s scientists. But I see what you mean, obviously if you don’t buy this initial thing, the rest of my argument there is not credible.

    You and I are not scientists so I don’t know how we cn say wherther or not Co2 is an issue, surely we must trust the scientific community to make that judgement? And if 90% of them reckon it’s an issue, I’d say it’s pretty foolhardy to disbelieve them! But I’ll let you do your own research if you want I’m not in the business of pursuading people, I’m just curious and I like good conversations :)

    Greg that sounds like a pretty big vision, personally I think it’d make more sense to avoid Canberra and just run it along the old line that’s already there and just move the government to Albury :)

  • 92Ross T // Nov 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Richard, as a shareowner it is important I look at all sources of info – that is the main reason I post links here. – Jo Nova is a skeptical blog, I read it and about 30 other govt, overseas and skeptical sources, to counter to all the doom, gloom and lies we get from our mass media in Australia. For example every time ice melting is mentioned I can bring up the sat photos from a week ago and check them against those from years ago. It is so easy these days to check the BS continually being foisted on the general public. How you interpret that info is of course your choice.

    The JAXA link on the site shows the detailed sampling that this satellite now achieves. This CO2 and Methane satellite is a definitive check on the carbon tax. Now at last we can actually see if we are getting a bang for our carbon investment. Good for us, tough on those trying to rip us off!

  • 93Greg Atkinson // Nov 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    @Ken: Regarding nuclear radiation, indeed it is a serious problem in some areas in Honshu (near Fukushima) but I can tell you honestly that the most frightening thing I saw when watching the disaster unfold was the wall of water that wiped out whole towns and was responsible for most of the 20,000+ dead or missing.

    @Richard: I reckon with high speed rail you either have a grand vision or drop the whole project. You might be right about bypassing Canberra, but let’s leave the government where they are..it won’t make much difference :)

  • 94Biker // Nov 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Greg: “I can tell you honestly that the most frightening thing I saw when watching the disaster unfold was the wall of water that wiped out whole towns and was responsible for most of the 20,000+ dead or missing.”

    Damned tectonic plates! Someone has to stop the damned things moving… . Once we’ve fixed that minor issue, we can just bury nuclear waste anywhere we like, in the sure and certain knowledge it won’t come back to bite us… .

  • 95Greg Atkinson // Nov 7, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Biker I am not sure why you are using my quote to promote an anti-nuclear stance. Are you trying to ignorantly link the thousands who died to the Fukushima incident? If so you should be a journalist.

    Anyway enough of this. I have said all I want to say about that tragic day back on March 14th in: Thoughts from Japan – a terrifying earthquake & tragedy

  • 96Biker // Nov 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    The Fukushima incident was the last straw in the nuclear debate, for many of us, Greg. You’ll find more citizens opposed to this dirtiest of energy solutions, after that tragic day.

    This is unlikely to be the last such disaster of its kind.

  • 97Greg Atkinson // Nov 9, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Ross what amuses me is that with climate change there appears to be no upside. We will either get more floods, more storms or less rain but nowhere on the planet it seems will benefit from warmer temperatures. How can this be?

    If carbon levels increase wouldn’t this increase plant growth? Wouldn’t crop yields increase in many areas? Surely there must be vast areas of the planet that will benefit for more carbon in the air an a warmer climate? (just as there was the last time it happened)

    I am not saying this outweighs the adverse impact on other areas but I have not seen much from the IPCC on this subject. I wonder why…

    By the way, if the IPCC were truly an in dependant scientific body they would welcome debate, not try to shut it down.

  • 98Ross T // Nov 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    The Russians were very keen to claim the frozen north not that long ago, they were getting really keen about opening it up for exploration, damn cooling has slowed them a bit.

    The global warming is lot like the sharemarket – you know, what goes up can also go down just as fast – damn market always does the opposite of what the experts forecast – get the drift!

    As far as the Carbon Tax is concerned I cannot see polluters buying Carbon Credits from Bob at $23+CPI when they can get them cheaper on other markets and TA has notified them that the tax may go post 2012, something to do with duty to shareholders etc

  • 99Lachlan // Nov 11, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Excellent points Greg.

    If any of the claimed temperature increases were realised it still seems ludicrous for anyone to claim with certainty what the practical outcome of would actually be…. predicting tomorrows weather is already a challenge enough.

    Guess we’ll never know what the real temps are though because many observation stations are improperly constructed near urban heat sources. The evidence of this is documented with photographs.

  • 100Ken McMurtrie // Nov 12, 2011 at 10:33 am

    @ Richard #91:
    Words and meanings can be unclear at times and I think this has contributed to some misunderstandings.

    Re CO2 and climate change
    Atmospheric CO2 has an influence on the “greenhouse” effect on planet temperature, 90% of all scientists would agree on that. What 90% scientists do not agree on is the degree of this influence.
    So it all depends on the use of the term ‘Climate Change’ and the implied meaning. In reality it means nothing other than that the climate changes. An absolutely natural part of our planet’s systems. Everyone can agree to that definition.
    The AGW warmists are using the term to mean undesirable changes and claiming that CO2 is the main cause of the undesirable changes.
    Do you see the difference and understand my original statements?

    Re Tsunami and Fukushima comparisons.
    This is a bit of a waver off topic, in that any comparison is irrelevant.
    Undoubtedly the tsunami damage is horrific, devestating and thousands of lives have been lost. The media seem to have largely forgotten this natural catastrophe. I agree that much more attention should be given to restoring the facilities and lives of the survivors.

    The Fukushima catastrophe is basically man-made, the radiation dangers somewhat unspecific and the human damage is unfolding with time. Only after many years will this damage be assessable.
    My comment is that the radiation dangers are being under-estimated and under-reported.
    My emphasis is that the dangers are being deliberately down-played and world is not responding appropriately to these issues.

    Indeed Richard, we cannot know these things, especially as even the scientists cannot know themselves. They only make assessments and even if 100% agreement was reached they can all possibly be wrong. However, in this case, as the scientists are arguing, it is impossible to know who is likely right.
    So you and I can but read and be swayed by our understanding of their data and conclusions. Judge what seems to be logical to us and comment accordingly.

    Thus here we are, enjoying this conversation, attempting to contribute something meaningful, perhaps wise (or not as the case might be), perhaps true (or not), perhaps helpful to a reader or two, and hopefully helping to make Greg’s blog a success.

    Regards to all!

  • 101Richard // Nov 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    can we talk about everyone’s beef with the IPCC briefly? Why you say they are trying to shut down debate etc? I understand that because it’s a UN body maybe there would be Western bias but you guys have brought them up in suspicious ways a couple of times now

    here’s a cut and paste from the wiki about the 2007 assessment report. Guessing you will have read all this but it was news to me (as in, I have got all this info second hand from people, such as the 90% thing)

    * Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
    * Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (>90%) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (human) greenhouse gas concentrations.
    * Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized, although the likely amount of temperature and sea level rise varies greatly depending on the fossil intensity of human activity during the next century (pages 13 and 18).[41]
    * The probability that this is caused by natural climatic processes alone is less than 5%.
    * World temperatures could rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 °C (2.0 and 11.5 °F) during the 21st century (table 3) and that:
    o Sea levels will probably rise by 18 to 59 centimetres (7.1–23 in) [table 3].
    o There is a confidence level >90% that there will be more frequent warm spells, heat waves, and heavy rainfall.
    o There is a confidence level >66% that there will be an increase in droughts, tropical cyclones, and extreme high tides.
    * Both past and future anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will continue to contribute to warming and sea level rise for more than a millennium.
    * Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values over the past 650,000 years.

    So if this is true then I don’t understand ur arguments, you must have some reasons for questioning its integrity, that’s clear from a coule of comments but I’d like to know so I can make up my own mind

    Also I’m making an art project for my local community about climate change and my discussions with y’all have been invaluable, thank you

    it’s a beach 43m above sea level in Brunswick melbourne for rising sea levels, so people can come together and talk about climate change and create a common ground sorry probably should have mentioned it earlier

  • 102Stillgotshoeson // Nov 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I will try and be brief Richard.

    * Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

    Global temperature has not risen for nealy a decade, this in itself has the pro (man made) global warming scientists puzzled.
    Then the issue gets broken down to. a) Is a natural occurrence in the earths weather. b) Is it mankinds influence and if so to what degree (no pun intended) c) Is it Solar and Volcanic activity.

    I am not a scientist so can only go on the information I have read about climate change.

    Many areas of the planet were not under water but are now, many areas were under seas and are now not, these changes occured naturally tens of thousands of years ago, long, long before man had any impact on the planet industry wise.

    Earths atmoshpere is poor at retaining heat, one need only be in the desert at night time to realise how cold it quickly becomes. Another simple test is with your home central heating, turn it off on a cold night and your house cools down very quickly, even with insulation. Heat the house with an open fire and that radiant heat physically heats the building not just the air so stays warmer longer after the fire goes out than if it was using central heating.

    Water on the other hand is better at retaining heat. From all the information I have read on the subject it makes more sense to me that volcanic and solar activity heating the oceans plays more part in the change in our weather patterns than does the questionable impact of CO2.

    Not suggesting for a minute than we need not take positive steps to reduce all pollution, not just emissions. If not for the questionable benefits to the climate but for the unquestionable benefits to our health.

    Destruction of rainforest and forests in general without replanting new forests to replace them can not be good for our long term future either.

    So in short, I believe there is not enough proof that mankind is the major cause of climate change.
    I also fail to see the sense in Australia “symbolic” gesture of a carbon tax ( to become an emissions trading scheme) that has the potential to damage our economy and will drive investment off shore for absolutely zero benefit to the climate.

  • 103Ken McMurtrie // Nov 13, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Yes, Richard, as ‘shoeson’ intimates, (#102), the IPCC reports contain much that is blatantly incorrect or questionable.
    To not have an open mind when reading their, and much other ‘official’ AGW claims, leaves you open to many misconceptions.

    My website “http://tgrule.wordpress.com” has a great deal of relevant information and links to many other sites which may be more authentic than mine. (WUWT, for a start.
    I am ‘biassed’, if you like, and labelled a “denier”. The site explains why.
    You don’t have to believe in my side of the picture, but you can at least give yourself a chance for a balanced understanding by reading further.

  • 104Richard // Nov 13, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Ken do you have a specific post about IPCC? Or the 2007 report? Sorry I don’t have time to read your whole website at the moment because of building the beach

  • 105Stillgotshoeson // Nov 13, 2011 at 10:10 am

    The report is full of words like probably, likely and could.. That in itself is enough, or should be enough for someone to read information on all sides of the debate and make a decision based on what they believe to be the most accurate or likely. Parts of both arguments are valid. After reading the arguments for and against I believe that mankinds influence on the global climate is not as great as reported and that nature and the sun play a bigger part in the historic and future impact of global climate change.

  • 106Richard // Nov 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    from what I remember of maths >90 is a really high probablility, yes it is not absolute but it means if you had a 10 sided dice and rolled it, the chance of a 6 coming up is the same as the chance that we have not contributed to rising temps.

    Also there is not just for and against arguments there is many arguments about many things, it’s not black and white like that I reckon, you actually don’t need to make that clear decision.

    You might say their language was actually too soft, for example I haven’t read the thing but if you were to describe >90 as “likely” or “could” these would be the wrong terms. It would be more accurate to use terms like “extremely likely” or “almost certain”. but they could have been under political pressure to moderate their language.

    I don’t have central heating just a little gas heater. I turned it on for a bit last night and then turned it off. The heat disappeared really quickly. But we have really big windows that let the heat out. And also it was a warm night, so when I say the heat disappeared really quickly I mean it was still pretty warm after it had disappeared. And also I didn’t leave it on for that long beacause I felt bad about wasting the energy for heating when it was a warm night anyway. So I’m not sure what conclusions we might draw from this. We have central heating at my folks place and from memory the idea with it is that you can leave it on 24/7 and it perpetually heats the house and doesn’t waste energy, so I don’t see how it would disappear quickly, that would be an inefficient system.

  • 107Stillgotshoeson // Nov 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    “leave it on 24/7 and it perpetually heats the house and doesn’t waste energy, so I don’t see how it would disappear quickly, that would be an inefficient system.”

    They are incredibly innefficient.. It is just that gas is cheap and central heating on a thermostat is far more convenient than fire places. Wall and roof insulation, double glazing and heavy window furnishings all help keep the warmth in and improve efficiency of central heating.

    I question their modelling and math to come up with these figures.
    Industrial revolution may have started around 1800 but really there was no significant industry and population until the early 1900′s. Earths population was around 2 Billion, it took around 50 years to get to 3 Billion people and industry really kicked off around WWII. It seems illogical to me that mankind can have that much influence on the global climate in such a short period of time, considering the geological proof of climate change that has occured over tens thousands of years prior to the industrial revolution. Both warming and cooling of the climate. Rising and falling of seas and the changing of the landscape due to this.

  • 108Richard // Nov 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Yeah fair enough it’s their claim not mine – I was always a bit suss about it. Still seems weird that it would dissipate faster than a gas heater.

    Dunno about your logic on the industrial revolution seems to me like we’ve been increasing our stuff exponentially it’d make sense to me that our environmental effect was also exponential with small gains for efficency and technological progress.

    But yeah climate did surely change before there was much pollution in fact I think the dinosaurs were killed because it got too hot or at least that’s one of the theories, doubt they were causing much pollution, although T-rex farts – pretty leathel surely.

  • 109Stillgotshoeson // Nov 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Personally, I think destruction of rainforest and habitat for urbanisation plays more part in raised CO2 levels.

  • 110Greg Atkinson // Nov 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Certainly the clearing of trees on a large scale can’t be doing any good for the environment. That is one of the issues we should tackle directly and not via a tax.

    By the way, the link between when the planet apparently started to warm and when modern instruments for measuring temperature became available is interesting. When did both these events happen? During the industrial revolution. That’s why most those long term temperature charts start in the 1800′s.

    200 years of reasonably accurate climate data compared to how long life has been on the planet doesn’t appear to me to be the best set of data to basing assumptions on. There would appear to be room for huge errors and mus-interpretations I imagine.

  • 111Stillgotshoeson // Nov 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Those very same advances in technology show us hoe tectonic plates have and continue to move, continual volcanic activity both above grouns and below sea level creating more land mass. It is logical to conclude that sea levels would rise due to this.

    Sampling of geological sample shows that oceans/seas were once in places they no longer are and are now in places they once were not.

    Fossilised remains give indication to the types of flora and fauna of certain periods give indications that certain plants grew in areas that are now not of sufficient climate for them to grow in those same areas.

    With all the climate/landscape changes the planet has gone (and continues to go) through, I find it hard to believe that mankind in the last 60 years has had such dramatic influence on the earths climate, destruction of ecosystems without a doubt, yes, pollution, ye it is bad and we should do more to reduce it. Such a dramatic change to climate? No sorry, I don’t buy it.. We may have some influence, not to the extent as the AGW mob would have me believe.

    I cetainly do not support the redistribution of wealth for the symbollic only gesture (no difference will actually be made to the worlds climate from the ETS). Encourage alternate fuel sources, is the reply.. This will occur naturally as existing forme so energy become too expensive.

  • 112Leigh // Nov 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I too am a sceptic on how much humans are involved in global warming. However I don’t think we should even be debating the issue . We should as someone said, give the planet its best chance by doing all we can not to pollute it.
    On the Carbon Tax,get this. My neighbor has, over the past thirty years, cleared his land and sold all the timber so he is now eligible to get a carbon rebate if he replants. I have kept my trees and have been storing carbon for those thirty years that he hasn’t, but I cant get anything because it is considered business as usual for me. My incentive therefore is to cut them and reap the benefit of their timber value. When my place is cleared we will be back to square one as far as carbon storage is concerned but we will be paying the neighbor for his seedlings.

  • 113Lachlan // Nov 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    AGW is pseudo science…created for a reason…which anyone can work out for themselves.


    An excerpt….

    But how do we know if global warming is a problem if we can’t trust the temperature record?
    This report, by meteorologist Anthony Watts, presents the results of the first-ever comprehensive review of the quality of data coming from the National Weather Service’s network
    of temperature stations. Watts and a team of volunteers visually inspected and took pictures
    of more than 850 of these stations. What they found will shock you:
    We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units,
    surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and
    near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas.
    In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail
    to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements that stations
    must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating
    or reflecting source.
    The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable. And since the
    U.S. record is thought to be “the best in the world,” it follows that the global database is
    likely similarly compromised and unreliable.

  • 114Greg Atkinson // Nov 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    One thing that’s for sure is that AGW theory covers all bases. When it’s hotter than normal it’s due to AGW. When a big freeze hits that is also due to AGW. AGW also cause droughts, floods, storms & I am told was also responsible for the Beatles break-up :)

    Sorry..I may have lost it. I have just spent the last seven days unpacking boxes after moving house.

  • 115Ken McMurtrie // Nov 22, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Hi Richard, ref #104.
    You were asking about my site having anything on the IPCC.
    This aspect of the AGW story is included in “IPCC and related Organzations”. Admittedly it is currently a hotch-potch of articles, not yet summarised or co-ordinated. However, the gist of their suspect bona-fides can be seen.
    Here is the link:
    Hope this helps. Ken.

  • 116Greg Atkinson // Nov 23, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Here is a very good article from Spiked Online about some ‘interesting reporting’ regarding climate change data etc: Not the BEST way to debate climate

    Note that the writer provides links to sources and references which few mainstream journalists do – especially at the ABC & BBC.

    I think this passage reflects my view of much of the reporting by the mainstream media:

    “Complex debates are reduced to simple, moral stories of ‘scientists versus deniers’, in part because of the shortcomings of news organisations and their journalists’ attachments to the debate. Anxieties about the end of the world give moral orientation to commentators. Taking a stand to ‘save the planet’ elevates journalists who, without the narrative of possible climate disaster, would quite probably struggle to overcome mediocrity and define a sense of purpose for themselves. It looks like bravery, but it is merely vacuity that drives sensationalism.”