Rudd the weathervane


Twisting in the wind...

The Australian’s Cut & Paste section exposes Rudd’s blatant hypocrisy by helpfully collecting together all of Kevin Rudd’s previous spin on climate change into one handy cut-out-and-keep guide for your wallet:

As Kevin Rudd once said, there are only two stark choices: action or inaction

Monday, November 4, 2006 on The 7:30 Report:

Kerry O’Brien: Kevin Rudd , what is the one thing more, than anything else, that will define your leadership?

Rudd : We’ll have a clear alternative on climate change.

Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong at the UN, New York, September 23 last year:

EVERY time a nation delays, every time a nation puts up its hand and says, “It’s all too hard”, it’s a further excuse to put off the measures we need to take to deal with the challenges for climate change for Australia.

The PM on November 6 last year, at the Lowy Institute in Sydney:

WHEN you strip away all the political rhetoric, all the political excuses, there are two stark choices: action or inaction. We choose action, and we do so because Australia’s fundamental economic and environmental interests lie in action. Action now. Not action delayed. Now the Liberals and Nationals have said wait for Copenhagen and for President [Barack] Obama’s scheme.What absolute political cowardice. What an absolute failure of leadership. What an absolute failure of logic.

The PM in Copenhagen on December 17 last year:

THE time has come for a grand bargain between the past and the future. Each and every one of us here will be judged as individuals. For what we say. For what we do. And for what we fail to do. Words without deeds are a dead letter. There have been millions of words spoken here, but as one of our colleagues said, it is time to stop talking and start working.

Rudd yesterday:

The rest of the world has been slow to act, or slower to act on appropriate action on international climate change. The real deadline facing us is the expiration of the current Kyoto commitment period, which concludes at the end of 2012.

Rudd is just a political weathervane, blowing this way and that, following the winds of public opinion, and all the time having no genuine policy convictions whatsoever. More spin than a launderette.

Read it here.

ABC: alarmist business as usual


Not science, but alarmism

I suppose we should have expected the green-left brigade at the ABC to go into alarmist overdrive in response to the government’s dropping of the ETS, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. The flagship TV science programme, Catalyst, opened last night with a hysterical piece on the melting Antarctic. Yes, the Antarctic. Note how, without dropping a beat, the ABC switches its attention to the South pole, since as we all know, ice levels in the Arctic are the highest they have been for years.

The segment played out like a disaster movie: scary voiceovers, scary music, dramatic footage of, er, melting ice, scary “what ifs”, and, to suck away any last vestige of credibility, quotes from James Hansen. Here are a few choice extracts, starting with the creepy opening:

NARRATION: The seas are rising [Yes, at the same rate they have been for thousands of years – Ed]. How fast and how high they will go is the big unknown. But one thing is certain. What happens in Antarctica will be critical. Around 90 percent of the planet’s snow and ice is found here. Is the sleeping giant stirring?

NARRATION: The Wilkins Ice shelf is the latest of seven ice shelves on the Peninsula to start collapsing, and it’s the furthest south. Ice shelves are already floating, so they can’t contribute to sea level rise. It’s what’s behind them that’s the big concern. But now it is all too familiar. Seven shelves on the Antarctic peninsula have collapsed in the past two decades. This is a region of the huge Wilkins ice shelf which collapsed in 2008.

Dr Ian Allison: If you take that barrier away, the big glaciers behind it will flow more quickly.

NARRATION: Glaciers that drained into the Larsen B ice shelf have sped up by a factor of seven.

Neal Young: That does contribute to sea level rise. The quantity of ice in the Antarctic Peninsula region though is small. The key message is what would happen in the east and to the major glaciers in the West Antarctic if such changes were to occur there? That would be a consistent, persistent and very ominous I think change in the scenario.

NARRATION: And there’s strong evidence that change is already occurring. In the Amundsen Sea region, glaciologists have found the major glaciers are speeding up and losing mass, thinning by up to nine metres a year. What’s remarkable is the thinning extends hundreds of kilometres into the grounded ice sheet.

Mark Horstman: It’s the middle of summer here in East Antarctica, and right now the air temperature is minus four degrees and dropping. There’s no way that air temperatures like this are going to melt any ice. And In fact, until just recently, it was thought that the ice sheet on this side of the continent was actually growing in size.

NARRATION: But alarming new evidence indicates this trend has reversed.

Mark Horstman: What we’ve revealed here is a complex story about Antarctica under changing climates. And the take home message, like the continent itself, comes in two parts. Here in the East, it appears that it’s a warming ocean that;s driving the changes in the ice sheet.

Dr Paul Willis: Whereas here in the West the ice is melting from above and below. When it comes to sea level rise, Antarctica the sleeping giant is waking up.

Business as usual at Their Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation.

Read it (and watch it) here.

ETS shelved "until at least 2013"


Interrupting work on my other current climate project to bring you the news that the Rudd government has put the “greatest moral challenge since the dawn of time” firmly on the back burner. As the ABC reports:

It was once a centrepiece of the Federal Government’s election strategy, but now the emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been relegated to the shelf until at least 2013.

Delaying the scheme means the Government could save $2.5 billion from its budget over the next three years, because it would not be paying compensation to households and industries.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently said climate change remained a fundamental economic, environmental and moral challenge, whether it was popular or not.

But Government sources say it was decided last week to remove the scheme from next month’s budget, bowing to the political reality that the Senate is unlikely to pass the ETS any time soon.

The Upper House has already blocked the ETS legislation twice.

The bills are before the Parliament again but the Senate has delayed the debate while it examines the deal that Mr Rudd struck with former Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.

The bottom line is that neither the Opposition, now led by Tony Abbott, nor the Greens like the amended legislation, so it remains in limbo. (source)

And the Sydney Morning Herald readers will all be choking on their skinny lattes:

The decision means the government is likely to take its ETS legislation off the table until after an election, expected later this year.

It also means Labor will not use its latest legislation as a double-dissolution trigger, nor its original bills twice rejected by the upper house last year.

The Senate was expected to vote on the legislation when parliament resumes sitting in May.

“The prime minister clearly has no commitment to climate change,” Mr Hunt said, adding the ETS was a tool to get Mr Rudd through an election.

“And he’s dropped it the moment it’s become inconvenient.” (source)

Just goes to show that Rudd will do whatever it takes to get re-elected in November, even as much as scrapping his centrepiece policy.

At least the Australian taxpayers have dodged the bullet for the time being. But it also means that the Opposition will not have the ETS stick to beat the government with, which will make winning this year’s election even harder.

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