Julia's Australia Day present: another new tax

Just what we wanted… not.

By all accounts, the flood levy is going ahead. Thanks, Julia. And a happy Australia Day to you, too. So not only is there a new tax, but people will be paying a fortune for food. What planet are the pollies on?

THE federal government has agreed to hit taxpayers with a one-off levy to help cover the cost of flood damage, at the same time warning that food prices will skyrocket during the next three months.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, held meetings in Canberra yesterday with the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, the Finance Minister, Penny Wong, the Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, and officials to thrash out the details of the levy as well as budget cuts to find the billions needed to rebuild roads, railway lines and bridges in flood-affected areas. [Not difficult, chaps: NBN, Pink Batts, BER etc etc - Ed]

While the levy was still being finalised late yesterday, the main option involved an increase in the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy over 12 months. It is understood other options were being canvassed.

Ms Gillard was to announce the levy next week after Mr Swan outlined the financial impact of the floods during a speech on Friday.

But it was decided to bring forward the announcement to a National Press Club address tomorrow while public sentiment over the floods was high and so the government could start selling the levy against opposition attacks.

Joe Hockey, however, nails it squarely:

You would have to have rocks in your head to impose a new tax on Australian families on the back of rising fruit prices and vegie prices,” he said. (source)

But they have, Joe, they have.

Simon on Melbourne Talk Radio (MTR 1377)

Luke Grant interviews Simon about the bias in the media, and in particular in relation to tonight’s Channel Ten “6pm with George Negus.”

The Daily Mail article about BBC bias can be found here.


The 5-second Channel Ten soundbite

Blink and you’d have missed it. Out of ten minutes of relevant and substantial material they recorded, just one tiny soundbite made it into the final cut of tonight’s “6pm with George Negus”, a trivial point that we “need more debate.” I’m not going to give a link to it – it’s really not worth watching. It was a typical alarmist piece with Will Steffen featuring heavily.

This is the battle we face with the media. They are afraid to give people the tools to let them make up their own minds.

Welcome to the world of the mainstream media. All I can say is, long live the blogosphere.


Simon on "6pm with George Negus" – tonight

6pm with George Negus

Just to let readers know that a short interview with Simon on the recent Queensland flooding and links to climate change will be broadcast TONIGHT at 6pm on Channel Ten, as part of George Negus’ new 6pm show.

It will probably be available on the 6pm website in due course.

BBC: "propaganda machine for climate change zealots"

Blows the lid off the BBC

In another damning article in the UK’s Daily Mail, former BBC newsreader Peter Sissons blows the lid off the institutional climate change bias at the BBC. The results are truly shocking, if not entirely surprising. For “BBC” you can substitute most other news organisations, ABC, Fairfax, AFP… Bias against climate realism is endemic in the left-leaning media, it’s only a question of degree:

For me, though, the most worrying aspect of political correctness was over the story that recurred with increasing frequency during my last ten years at the BBC — global warming (or ‘climate change’, as it became known when temperatures appeared to level off or fall slightly after 1998).

From the beginning I was unhappy at how one-sided the BBC’s coverage of the issue was, and how much more complicated the climate system was than the over-simplified two-minute reports that were the stock-in-trade of the BBC’s environment correspondents.

These, without exception, accepted the UN’s assurance that ‘the science is settled’ and that human emissions of carbon dioxide threatened the world with catastrophic climate change. Environmental pressure groups could be guaranteed that their press releases, usually beginning with the words ‘scientists say . . . ’ would get on air unchallenged.

On one occasion, after the inauguration of Barack Obama as president in 2009, the science correspondent of Newsnight actually informed viewers ‘scientists calculate that he has just four years to save the world’. What she didn’t tell viewers was that only one alarmist scientist, NASA’s James Hansen, had said that.

My interest in climate change grew out of my concern for the failings of BBC journalism in reporting it. In my early and formative days at ITN, I learned that we have an obligation to report both sides of a story. It is not journalism if you don’t. It is close to propaganda.

The BBC’s editorial policy on climate change, however, was spelled out in a report by the BBC Trust — whose job is to oversee the workings of the BBC in the interests of the public — in 2007. This disclosed that the BBC had held ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’.

The error here, of course, was that the BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus.

But the Trust continued its pretence that climate change dissenters had been, and still would be, heard on its airwaves. ‘Impartiality,’ it said, ‘always requires a breadth of view, for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.’

In reality, the ‘appropriate space’ given to minority views on climate change was practically zero.
Moreover, we were allowed to know practically nothing about that top-level seminar mentioned by the BBC Trust at which such momentous conclusions were reached. Despite a Freedom of Information request, they wouldn’t even make the guest list public.


Himalayan glaciers "advancing"

Glaciers not retreating…

Inconvenient Fact of the Day. The ABC has to grit its teeth to report that a significant proportion of Himalayan glaciers are actually advancing, contrary to the expectations of the global warmenistas. But of course, nothing changes the IPCC predictions, and how long will it be before someone chimes in with the inevitable: “advancing glaciers are consistent with global warming”?

The researchers believe a blanket of dust and rock debris was apparently shielding some glaciers in the world’s highest mountain range from a thaw, a factor omitted from past global warming reports. And varying wind patterns might explain why some were defying a melt.

“Our study shows there is no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change and highlights the importance of debris cover,” scientists at universities in Germany and the United States wrote in the study of 286 glaciers.

The findings underscore that experts in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were wrong to say in a 2007 report that Himalayan glaciers could vanish by 2035 in a headlong thaw. The panel corrected the error in 2010.

The report says 58 per cent of glaciers examined in the westerly Karakoram range of the Himalayas were stable or advancing, perhaps because they were influenced by cool westerly winds than the monsoon from the Indian Ocean.

But just in case you think this is all too good to be true, the ABC brings us back to earth with a bump:

Elsewhere in the Himalayas “more than 65 per cent of the monsoon-influenced glaciers … are retreating,” they write in the journal Nature Geoscience of the satellite study from 2000 to 2008. Some glaciers that were stable in length were covered by a thick layer of rocky debris. (source)

Another “science is settled” moment, I think…

Climate sense from Miranda Devine


Climate sense

In her inimitable style, Miranda Devine exposes the lunacy of the green policies that are putting lives at risk:

Eco-catastrophists always cite the precautionary principle: if they are right and we don’t reduce CO2 emissions, we face Armageddon. If they are wrong, all it costs is dollars.

But when money is allocated and attention prioritised to making contingency plans for vague hypothetical scenarios in the distant future, real priorities are neglected and real risks overlooked.

When leaders proclaim climate change as the greatest moral challenge, the entire machinery of government becomes preoccupied with the busy work of solving an imaginary problem. It is then easily blindsided by a real emergency.

This all-too-human phenomenon of selective attention is depicted in the famous psychology experiment with a gorilla. Volunteers have to watch a video showing a group of people passing a ball and count the number of times the ball changes hands. Most people concentrate so hard on the ball they don’t notice the big gorilla that walks through the middle of the screen.

We have been so busy fretting about carbon dioxide that we have neglected the real challenge — how to adapt and protect ourselves from natural disasters. (source)

And on a similar subject, Marc at ABC News Watch shows just how “unprecedented” the current floods really are:

Of note are the following headlines from the Sydney Morning Herald February-March 1893: “Trememdous downpour in Toowoomba” “Terrible Floods in Queensland, “Floods in the Tweed District, “Flood in the Clarence“, “Floods expected in the Hunter“, “Grafton Flooded“, “The flood in the Richmond“, “Another terrible flood in Brisbane“, “Lismore Flooded“,  “A flood at Bowral“, “Heavy Flood at Bega“, “Great Flood at Branxton“, “Disastrous Flood at Maitland“, “Great Floods in New Zealand“.

There’s waaaay more… here.

Green Climate Monster to cause "more natural disasters": expert

Blamed for more extreme weather

Look, he actually says global warming and greenhouse gases (which he refers to as if they are just two sides of the same coin, rather than totally independent phenomena) but readers of this blog know better. The Green Climate Monster causes all these natural disasters and severe weather events, but people haven’t woken up to the fact yet. Give it time.

An expert says Australia will see a higher incidence of extreme weather events like the flooding in Queensland.

Global Change Professor Peter Grace from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) says greenhouse gases and global warning are contributing factors, whether people want to accept it or not.

He says it will not happen tomorrow, but it will happen in years to come and people will come to know major flooding. [Like they "came to know" the severe flooding in 1893 and 1974, before the global warming scare was more than a twinkle in Bert Bolin's eye - Ed]

“We will have an increased frequency of quite major events similar to what we had, particularly the flooding event in south-east Queensland,” he said. [I mean, has he actually looked at the flood records for SEQ? - Ed] (source)

Perhaps Professor Grace could let us know what climate signal or weather phenomena would demonstrate that the Green Climate Monster wasn’t to blame…

We can’t stop the Green Climate Monster – he will just keep on doing whatever he wants. All we can do is adapt and prepare for it – and look at history to remind ourselves (we have very short memories) that nothing that’s happened in the last few weeks, tragic though it is, can possibly be regarded as unprecedented, even just taking into account our tiny record of 150 years, let alone in any longer timescale.

Cosmic rays "contribute 40% to global warming"

Cosmic ray shower

From The Science is Settled Department. This is what happens when you decide on a pre-conceived politically-motivated conclusion (that man-made CO2 is solely to blame for climate change) and then set up an entire bureaucracy (the IPCC) to build a scientific case to support it. You only look at matters that will support your case, and you shut your eyes to anything that might challenge that case – and the result is not science at all.

So it’s little wonder that independent researchers who have no political axe to grind are constantly making discoveries about the climate that the consensus boys don’t want to hear. Like this:

A key belief of climate science theology — that a reduction in carbon emissions will take care of the bulk of global warming — has been questioned in a scientific paper released by the Environment Ministry on Monday.

Physicist and the former ISRO chairman, U.R. Rao, has calculated that cosmic rays — which, unlike carbon emissions, cannot be controlled by human activity — have a much larger impact on climate change than The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims.

In fact, the contribution of decreasing cosmic ray activity to climate change is almost 40 per cent, argues Dr. Rao in a paper which has been accepted for publication in Current Science, the preeminent Indian science journal. The IPCC model, on the other hand, says that the contribution of carbon emissions is over 90 per cent.

‘Cosmic ray impact ignored’

Releasing Dr. Rao’s findings as a discussion paper on Thursday, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh noted that “the impact of cosmic ray intensity on climate change has thus far been largely ignored by the mainstream scientific consensus.” He added that the “unidimensional focus” on carbon emissions by most Western countries put additional pressure on countries like India in international climate negotiations.

The continuing increase in solar activity has caused a 9 per cent decrease in cosmic ray intensity over the last 150 years, which results in less cloud cover, which in turn results in less albedo radiation being reflected back to the space, causing an increase in the Earth’s surface temperature. (source)

Expect to see this story reported widely on the ABC and in Fairfax…

Was the Brisbane flood avoidable?

Spillway at Wivenhoe

The Australian publishes an article analysing the events surrounding the releases from the Wivenhoe Dam (previously reported here at ACM) and its possible effect on the Brisbane flood. The inquiry will certainly have its work cut out::

For reasons that are now highly controversial, in the early hours of Thursday, January 13, Australia’s third-largest city was devastated by a major flood in the Brisbane River. Thousands of homes and businesses were severely damaged; priceless possessions including artefacts and photographs of incalculable sentimental value were destroyed; and a multi-billion-dollar bill was inflicted on the River City. Large swaths of a spectacular city were submerged as the sun shone.

At first it was put down to the wrath of Mother Nature. The video footage of vehicles and people being swept down large streets in Toowoomba (700m above sea level on the Great Dividing Range) by a raging torrent of dirty-brown floodwater after a freak downpour on January 10 was powerful. There were remarkable images of families safe on the roofs of their houses surrounded by floodwater in the Lockyer Valley, below Toowoomba and west of Brisbane (and outside the Wivenhoe catchment).

But, as engineers and hydrologists model increasing amounts of data from the Bureau of Meteorology and SEQWater on the performance of the dam – its inflows from the vast catchment, its releases during crucial periods, the changes in river heights and flow rates, and the manual that the operators are instructed to follow – a very different picture emerges.

The picture being painted before the start of a commission of inquiry, headed by Supreme Court judge Cate Holmes, is that the Brisbane River flood was largely the product of water released from the dam.

These calculations, yet to be tested by SEQWater, show that the urgent release from the dam of huge volumes at unprecedented rates of flow of up to 7500 cubic metres per second, when the operators were gravely concerned late on January 11 that the dam’s rising levels could trigger a collapse of the system, produced most of the flood in the Brisbane River. (source)


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