Embarrassing: Gillard wanted direct action approach to climate


You won't be laughing...

In other words, Julia Gillard wanted to pursue a policy very similar to that presently advocated by, er, the Coalition. Oops.

It’s common knowledge that Gillard opposed the ETS being pushed by Kevin Rudd in 2009, and now it has been revealed that she encouraged alternatives to a carbon [dioxide] price, which can only realistically mean some kind of direct action policy.

It’s also common knowledge that the carbon dioxide price is the Greens’ policy, but even so, the revelation that she favoured an approach other than a carbon dioxide price is deeply embarrassing for Labor and Gillard, desperate to force through a carbon tax without a mandate and in the face of huge public opposition:

JULIA Gillard faces new pressure over her climate change convictions as Tony Abbott seized on a report revealing she previously pushed for a bipartisan approach that didn’t involve a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

Mr Abbott today questioned what Ms Gillard stood for, saying her post-election carbon tax plan had been dictated by the Greens.

“What that shows is that the Prime Minister’s attacks on our policy aren’t genuine,” Mr Abbott told ABC radio today.

“It demonstrates that the policy that the government is currently adopting is Bob Brown’s policy. Not Julia Gillard’s policy.”

The Australian Financial Review reports that Ms Gillard, as deputy prime minister, had encouraged the Rudd government’s “kitchen cabinet” to shelve plans for a carbon price in favour of other alternatives.

The revelation is extremely damaging for Ms Gillard, who with Treasurer Wayne Swan urged Kevin Rudd to dump his emissions trading scheme.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister today said the government did not comment on cabinet processes, but did not refute the story.

Mr Abbott said it now appeared Ms Gillard had backed the Coalition’s direct action policy.

“No-one can take her seriously,” he said.

“The nearest we get to ‘real Julia’ when it comes to climate change policy is the note that she gave to the inner cabinet just before she became prime minister herself where she said what the government should do is embrace the kind of policy the Coalition’s got.” (source)

Like Combet and the rest of her government, they have been blackmailed by the Greens to take urgent action on climate change, in direct opposition to Gillard’s previous position.

So when Gillard says “It’s the right thing to do”, she says that with a loaded gun to her head, wielded by Bob Brown and Christine Milne.

Few voters taken in by carbon tax bribe


Slightly less bad

It appears that a few Australians have fallen for the carbon tax propaganda over the last couple of weeks, lifting support for Labor by a couple of points. I guess that was inevitable: a small number of wavering voters were waiting for soothing words from the Government, and they got them. This isn’t the massive bounce Labor needs to get back into contention, that’s for sure:

VOTERS have warmed slightly to the carbon tax after two weeks of Julia Gillard wearing out her shoe leather selling the plan’s compensation package across Australia.

Support for the carbon tax rose six percentage points to 36 per cent, after sitting at 30 per cent for almost three months, according to the latest Newspoll survey.

The Newspoll, conducted last weekend exclusively for The Australian, found opposition to the carbon tax fell from 59 per cent to 53 per cent amid a government advertising campaign.

This is the first major poll since the $15 billion package was announced that has shown any improvement for the Gillard government.

Voters still overwhelmingly oppose the tax, but a shift in sentiment among men and young people, who were previously the least impressed with it, has offered some hope to the besieged Prime Minister.

Labor’s electoral support and attitudes to Ms Gillard have lifted slightly from historically low levels in the past two weeks, but there is no real statistical improvement overall. Dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister’s performance remains unchanged at a record high. (source)

And now the unions are forming an unlikely alliance with big business in opposing the tax:

ONE of the nation’s biggest trade unions has turned on the Gillard government, savaging Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans as incompetent and unworthy of his office.

Days after strident criticism of the government by business leaders, Transport Workers Union national secretary Tony Sheldon yesterday likened Senator Evans to a corpse, accusing him of failing to implement Labor policy and endangering the lives of truck drivers.

The condemnation, rejected by Senator Evans, came as a trio of senior ministers dismissed a claim by Suncorp chairman-elect Ziggy Switkowski that there was ” a whiff of illegitimacy” about the government.

While the government has anticipated attacks from businesses affected by the [carbon dioxide] tax, it was blind sided by Mr Sheldon’s assault, based on the fact the impost — which he on Friday called a “death tax” — will apply to the heavy transport industry from 2014.

Mr Sheldon, whose 90,000- member union represents truck drivers, wants the government to prevent trucking companies from passing the cost impact to drivers and owner-drivers. The TWU argues that passing on the costs to drivers will lift stress and drive up accident and fatality rates on roads, not just for truck drivers, but also for all motorists. (source)

Arrogant Combet to plough on with carbon tax


Contempt for the electorate

Poor Greg. He’s got no choice of course. Blackmailed by the Greens into taking urgent action on climate change (thanks Adam Bandt for that bit of intelligence), Labor has the unenviable choice of either:

(a) abandoning the most unpopular tax in Australian history quickly, losing the Greens’ support in parliament, thereby precipitating an early election… which they will inevitably lose; or,

(b) forcing through the most unpopular tax in Australian history, and then having to survive until the next election… which they will, er, inevitably lose.

They’ve plumped for the second option and you have to admit Combet is playing the part well, with plenty of huff, puff and bluster and swagger (none of which he probably believes himself), and in the process managing to alienate even more of the electorate – if that were possible – with his play-acted arrogance and conceit:

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has lashed out over criticisms at how long it’s taking the public to warm to the carbon tax.

It’s two weeks since the federal government released the long-awaited details of its carbon price, and the polls are still indicating a lukewarm response. ["Lukewarm"? More like freezing your nuts off - Ed]

Asked if the government will be forced to rework the tax or consider alternatives if support doesn’t pick up, Mr Combet gave an exasperated response.

“Give us a break will you, God, this is such rubbish,” he told Network Ten on Sunday. [Does he mean the tax or the question? - Ed]

“The detail (of the carbon price) has been out for two weeks. There has been months of deceitful, misrepresentative campaigning by (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott, supported by some others.” [Which is of course nothing compared to the deceitful, misrepresentative campaigning by the Government on the carbon tax - see the Eight Lies - Ed]

He insisted the government won’t waver on its plan to price carbon at $23 a tonne starting July 1, 2012.

“The government is going to stick to its guns here.

“We will continue to explain this to people, in particular that the price impacts are modest.”

As always, they think that the public is plain stupid, and just by explaining it more they will learn to love the tax. But they won’t. You can’t polish a turd. And the carbon tax is a turd alright…

Richard Feynman on "Cargo Cult Science"


Feynman

Following a link in Lubos Motl’s post yesterday (see here) led me to an article by the wonderful physicist Richard Feynman. It’s worth reading the whole thing here, but there were some quotes that were highly relevant to the current AGW debate, in particular to the concept of scientific “integrity”:

But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another.

The easiest way to explain this idea is to contrast it, for example, with advertising. Last night I heard that Wesson oil doesn’t soak through food. Well, that’s true. It’s not dishonest; but the thing I’m talking about is not just a matter of not being dishonest; it’s a matter of scientific integrity, which is another level. The fact that should be added to that advertising statement is that no oils soak through food, if operated at a certain temperature. If operated at another temperature, they all will–including Wesson oil. So it’s the implication which has been conveyed, not the fact, which is true, and the difference is what we have to deal with.

We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.

Damning critique of global warming "science"


Climate sense

In a barnstorming tour de force, Luboš Motl of The Reference Frame exposes the shoddy practices passed off as science by researchers brainwashed with and biased by the dogma of global warming alarmism.

Luboš discusses the recent claims that stratospheric aerosols have “reduced” the global warming we would otherwise have seen from our emissions of carbon dioxide, which, the dogma states, is the main cause of global warming. He compares a recent paper on the subject with one from 1965, and the results aren’t pretty:

The point I want to make is that these difficult and technical questions were studied rationally in the 1960s; but they are no longer studied rationally today. The contemporary authors such as Solomon et al. have neither the expertise nor the scientific integrity to figure out where the aerosols are coming from and what’s happening with them. Consequently, they can’t make any justifiable predictions about the future evolution of the concentrations of these aerosols, either.

Instead of analyzing hundreds of numbers describing various elements etc. in the aerosol samples – which is what the 1965 paper is made out of – Solomon et al. are only interested in one, scientifically unimportant number – the average forcing that aerosols may be adding or subtracting from the energy fluxes that determine the global mean temperature.

Needless to say, they usually want to show that this number is low because aerosols shouldn’t threaten the “climate monopoly” that has been assigned to the carbon dioxide by all these a**holes. On the other hand, when they’re running into real trouble – e.g. when they predict a huge warming for a decade but they get a cooling – they want the aerosols to “explain” the discrepancy. They beg for a while, hoping that the aerosols will be erased from the science again in the future.

But if one only works with one number, such as the change of forcing caused by the stratospheric aerosols, it’s easy to adjust the arguments so that you get the number you wanted to get in the first place. It’s not robust science. To do robust science, one has to work with lots of numbers – such as the concentrations of the elements in various samples etc. in the 1965 paper. A theory can’t be scientific if it just “explains” one number – such as the global warming rate – by one parameter (and usually many more). A scientific theory must explain and/or predict many more numbers than the number of parameters. Using words of Feynman,

When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

The alarmists are violating this rule all the time. The main problem is that they’re not really interested in explaining Nature and the immense wealth of interesting patterns and unexplained numbers. They’re interested in making one ideologically chosen quantity, the global warming rate, high and seemingly believable – so that it may be worshiped by the brainwashed society. But that’s not science.

Read it here.

Government has "whiff of illegitimacy" about it


Ziggy Switkowski

Another attack on the government, this time from business leaders criticising the “thought bubble” policies currently being pursued:

SOME of the nation’s most respected business leaders have launched a fresh and damaging attack on the Gillard government, with one warning there is a “whiff of illegitimacy” about its most contentious policies.

Stepping up the anti-government rhetoric of recent weeks from big business, former Telstra chief executive and Suncorp chairman-elect Ziggy Switkowski said yesterday the bungled announcements of the National Broadband Network and the carbon tax were destined to divide the country.

“There is a whiff of illegitimacy about some of the key events in the life of this and the previous government,” Dr Switkowski told The Australian & Deutsche Bank Business Leaders Forum in Melbourne yesterday.

“The NBN was announced as reality at the stage where it was still a thought bubble, and it became public policy thereafter. It was not a very good beginning for what will be seen by many as one of the more substantive policy decisions of the government.”

Transurban chairman and Westpac chairman-elect Lindsay Maxsted told the forum Julia Gillard’s policies were focused only on short-term political gain and winning votes, as opposed to what was in the long-term interests of the nation.

“It’s probably the most difficult relationship I’ve seen between business and a federal government,” Mr Maxsted said.

Dr Switkowski and Mr Maxsted join a growing number of business leaders who have attacked the government in recent weeks, including casino owner James Packer and mining magnates Andrew Forrest, Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart. Other senior chairmen and directors have warned of concerns about higher levels of sovereign risk being expressed by foreign investors about Australia.

They cite the carbon and mining taxes, re-regulation of the labour market, the skills shortage and lack of vital infrastructure as weighing substantially on productivity and growth.

Business leaders have claimed the carbon tax will damage industry competitiveness and impose additional costs at a time when firms are battling a high dollar, volatile sharemarket and weak consumer sentiment. (source)

As Jennifer Hewett comments:

THE business community has virtually given up on the Gillard government. And now it’s out in the open. The frank criticism of Labor across the board by a range of very senior business leaders yesterday was as remarkable as it was rare.

Strong disagreements between business and government are usually kept relatively discreet.

Occasionally, a particularly contested issue may force concerns on to the national agenda, usually leading to a compromise of sorts. Witness the mining industry’s determined assault on the resource super-profits tax last year.

But in general, big business knows that picking a public fight with the government doesn’t offer good odds. It’s too risky for business. Just look at Telstra. And the public tends to be rightly suspicious that a company’s self-interest doesn’t equate to the national interest.

What yesterday’s comments show is that the private and broad-based frustration with this Labor government is now so intense that business leaders feel they have a responsibility to explain how much is going wrong in Canberra. And why everyone should be worried about the impact and unintended consequences of policies that are not properly thought through. (source)

And the quote of the day from Switkowski:

“Why is this country’s energy policy being defined by the Greens? How can that be?”

An excellent question, to which there is no obvious answer.

BBC needs to be more biased


Biased Broadcasting Corporation

Yes, you read that right. Apparently, there isn’t enough scrutiny of filthy deniers, er, I mean, climate sceptics at Auntie Beeb. It’s just like the ABC, which as we all know looks far too favourably on the nonsense peddled by “deniers” [/sarc off]. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

The scientist appointed to review the BBC’s science output is a regular programme contributor to, er, the BBC. So no conflict of interest there, clearly. It really is beyond a joke:

Climate change sceptics will get less of a hearing on the BBC because they are at odds with the majority view among scientists, a report reveals.

The corporation’s governing body is set to change the way the BBC covers the issue by urging it to focus less on those who disagree with the majority ‘consensus’.

In other words, it’s science by head count. Last time I checked that wasn’t how science worked. But hey, this is only a professor of science, so what can you expect?

The BBC Trust report, out today, is in part based on an independent review of the broadcaster’s coverage by Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London.

He is understood to find no evidence of bias in the corporation’s output, but suggests that on issues where there is a ‘scientific consensus’ – also including the MMR jab and genetically modified crops – there should be no need for the BBC to find opponents of the mainstream view.

Critics of the BBC fear it may use the report as cover to ‘promote a green agenda’. In the past, the BBC has been accused of acting like a cheerleader for the theory that climate change is a man-made phenomenon.

The BBC promote a Green agenda? Surely not. And with PM Bob Brown and his lap dog Gillard planning to regulate the media in Australia (where “regulate” means censor anything which der Staat regards in its infinite wisdom as subversive), we can expect to see much the same at the ABC in the near future.

Read it all here (and bury your head in your hands as you see your hard-won Western democratic rights disappear up in smoke).

Idiotic Comment of the Day: Malcolm Turnbull


Thinks we are stupid…

I long for the day when Malcolm Turnbull decides to stop talking nonsense about climate and abandons his hopeless quest to get his old job back. Let me make this clear: you will NEVER, EVER be leader of the Liberals again. Leader of Labor, very possibly, but not the Liberals.

We all know that Turnbull is desperate to cash in with his merchant banker pals on the carbon trading scam, so he plays the “per capita” trick last night to claim that Australia’s emissions were “higher” than China’s or India’s. And somehow expects people to believe it. Quote lady in shopping centre to Julia Gillard: “We’re not stupid, you know.”

He also rejected the view Australia should wait for China and India to act, saying Australia’s emissions were much higher per capita.

Mr Abbott said this week that Australia’s emissions reduction target, backed by both sides of politics, was “crazy” because it would be overwhelmed by pollution increases in China.

But Mr Turnbull said Chinese emissions per capita were one-fifth of Australia’s and India’s were less than one-tenth. (source)

The reason our emissions per capita are so high, Malc old mate, is because we have a thriving, highly productive, emissions-intensive economy with a tiny (approx 20 million), relatively wealthy population. China and India on the other hand have massive populations (both over 1 billion, and each more than 50 times greater than Australia’s) still barely able to crawl out of poverty. Divide a small number by a very small number you get a big number. Divide a big number by an even bigger number, you get a smaller number. It’s junior school maths.

An insult to our intelligence, Malcolm. Go away.

P.S. And while we are about it, when you urge us all to respect “the science” does that include “the science” published by Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Bob Carter etc etc, or only “the science” which fits with your alarmist agenda?

Sea level rises "decelerating"


Phil Watson

One of the biggest scares used by this government for action on climate change is the threat of rising sea levels, inundating coastal regions and flooding low-lying islands. The IPCC has predicted rises of up to 59cm by 2100, but the Labor government has exaggerated even this, often quoting rises of up to 1m.

Now a new study that actually looks at sea level records has shown that it’s all more of the same: alarmism. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that those who rely on flaky models predict massive sea level rises, but when one actually looks at the empirical data, a completely different picture emerges (much like in the area of climate sensitivity):

ONE of Australia’s foremost experts on the relationship between climate change and sea levels has written a peer-reviewed paper concluding that rises in sea levels are “decelerating”.

The analysis, by NSW principal coastal specialist Phil Watson, calls into question one of the key criteria for large-scale inundation around the Australian coast by 2100 — the assumption of an accelerating rise in sea levels because of climate change.

Based on century-long tide gauge records at Fremantle, Western Australia (from 1897 to present), Auckland Harbour in New Zealand (1903 to present), Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour (1914 to present) and Pilot Station at Newcastle (1925 to present), the analysis finds there was a “consistent trend of weak deceleration” from 1940 to 2000.

Mr Watson’s findings, published in the Journal of Coastal Research this year and now attracting broader attention, supports a similar analysis of long-term tide gauges in the US earlier this year. Both raise questions about the CSIRO’s sea-level predictions.

Climate change researcher Howard Brady, at Macquarie University, said yesterday the recent research meant sea levels rises accepted by the CSIRO were “already dead in the water as having no sound basis in probability”.

“In all cases, it is clear that sea-level rise, although occurring, has been decelerating for at least the last half of the 20th century, and so the present trend would only produce sea level rise of around 15cm for the 21st century.

Dr Brady said the divergence between the sea-level trends from models and sea-level trends from the tide gauge records was now so great “it is clear there is a serious problem with the models”. (source)

As usual, the models are incomplete and unreliable and are no basis for government policy. And I wonder if Gillard and Combet (and Labor MP in drag Malcolm Turnbull), who are always saying we should “trust the science” will be taking note of this? Doubt it – doesn’t fit with their pre-conceived agenda.

And in a shock reversal of its usual pandering to climate hysteria, the UN has rejected climate change as a “global security issue” – despite pleas from Australia’s own moonbat. And again, another empirical study blows the models for sea level rises out of the water (so to speak):

THE federal government’s Parliamentary Secretary for the Pacific, Richard Marles, used dire warnings of rising sea levels and the impact on low-lying islands to urge the UN to adopt climate change as a global security issue.

Evoking images of standing atop Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands and feeling the “intense vulnerability” of a flat landscape against a rising sea, Mr Marles said that a sea level rise of 1m could lead to the erosion of up to 80 per cent of the atoll, which measures just 3m at its highest point.

However, a new paper in the Journal of Coastal Research by Murray Ford of Hawaii University, based on an analysis of 34-37 years of aerial photos and satellite imagery, says sea levels are only rising around Majuro by an average 3mm a year.

If the present rate of rise is maintained, the total rise at the start of the 22nd century would be about 27cm.

Mr Ford found that while the rural lagoon shore is mainly eroding, “the ocean-facing shore is largely accreting”, or growing, although that may be in surface area rather than in depth.

Strong pleas from Mr Marles and Nauru’s President Marcus Stephen in New York on Wednesday failed to convince the UN Security Council to adopt climate change as a priority.

Climate sense from the UN? Am I dreaming?

Read it here.

Abbott on the attack


On the attack

Morris Iemma’s comments earlier today have prompted Tony Abbott to renew his attack on the Gillard government’s toxic carbon [dioxide] tax:

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has seized on comments by a former Labor premier to further the cause of his campaign against a carbon tax.

At the same time, he’s called on other senior Labor officials to stand up against the Gillard Government’s planned carbon pricing scheme.

Former NSW premier Morris Iemma has questioned the environmental benefits and economic cost of the scheme, saying the Government had adopted a policy that was part of the Greens’ agenda of “anti-growth and anti-investment”.

It would cause lower growth and investment and lead to lower incomes and fewer jobs, while only slightly reducing the rate of increase in greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Iemma told The Australian newspaper.

He echoed Mr Abbott’s stance on protecting jobs from the impact of a carbon tax.

“We should always stand shoulder to shoulder with steelworkers and miners and factory workers before we stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of (Australian Greens leaders) Bob Brown and Christine Milne,” Mr Iemma said.

Mr Abbott, unsurprisingly, used the reports of the former premier’s comments during a joint press conference with Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu in Melbourne.

“Morris Iemma knows exactly what the problem is in Canberra and he’s nailed it,” he said.

Mr Iemma was the third senior Labor figure, after Transport Workers Union boss Tony Sheldon and Dean Mighell from the Electrical Trades Union, to voice opposition to the carbon tax, Mr Abbott said.

“I say to decent Labor people right around the country, it’s high time that you stopped making excuses for this floundering prime minister, stood up for the workers … and drop this toxic tax.”

And let’s savour for a moment Julia Gillard’s considered and thought our response to Iemma’s concerns:

“I think Morris Iemma has called this one wrong.”

Wow, I’m kinda stunned by the incisive and razor sharp logic at work there. I don’t know about you, but the power of that argument has really won me over! Duh.

And as a reader has pointed out, Gillard is happy for Labor has-beens to wade into the argument, just as long as they’re on Gillard’s side, like Keating and Hawke.

Read it here.

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