Combet on climate action

Half-truths and misrepresentations

The Sydney Moonbat Herald prints Greg Combet’s response to an article by Julie Bishop, which gives me a perfect opportunity for a spot of deconstruction and hopefully demolition. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen. Here we go:

The puerile opinion piece by Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop shows how the Coalition perpetuates misinformation to hide the fact it does not have a credible plan to cut Australia’s carbon pollution.

Combet accuses the Coalition of misinformation? That’s ripe for a start. How much of a cut in global temperature will our “carbon price” achieve Greg? What did Julia Gillard say before the election about “no carbon tax under the government I lead”? And what is “carbon pollution” anyway? Soot? Because it certainly isn’t carbon dioxide. Misinformation is your speciality, and it’s there for all to see. And his petulant use of the word “puerile” to dismiss any dissenting view speaks volumes of the arrogant, contemptuous mindset of this government. And all of that in the first sentence? It’s not looking good so far…

It is appropriate to correct the record.

It is incorrect to imply that Australia risks going it alone on pricing carbon.

Thirty-two countries and 10 US states already have emissions trading schemes. California, one of the largest economies in the world, is due to start emissions trading next year.

Other countries, including China, Taiwan, Chile and South Korea, and a number of Canadian provinces, are either considering developing their own or already have trial emissions trading schemes in place.

Carbon taxes are in place in Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Canada and under discussion elsewhere, including in the EU, Japan and South Africa.

China has a tax on coal, oil and gas extraction in its largest gas-producing province and plans to extend this to all other western provinces.

India has nationwide tax of 50 rupees per tonne levied on both imported coal and coal produced domestically, to be used for clean energy development.

South Africa has released a discussion paper for public comment on a broad carbon tax.

This, again, is simply nonsense. Most of the countries in the world with emissions trading schemes are part of the EU arrangement, where corruption, fraud and organised crime have made the carbon market over there a joke. The US has abandoned federal plans for climate mitigation schemes, with Obama desperately trying the EPA back-door route. US states are bailing out of their go-it-alone plan, with New Hampshire voting to leave the scheme (which only covered less than a fifth of US states anyway). Japan has just abandoned plans for an ETS.

And please don’t insult us by quoting China or India. Both of those massive emitters are far more concerned about their economic growth than tilting at climate windmills (or wind farms, perhaps). Their emissions will continue to rise over the coming decades, dwarfing any mitigation that Australia may put in place. To believe that the world is heading towards greater climate action is just delusional.

Bishop suggests it is not relevant if Australia’s per capita emissions are high. The fact is that Australia has the highest per capita emissions of all developed countries, about 27 tonnes per person.

This compares to a world average of about 6 tonnes per person, and an average of about 14 tonnes per person in other developed countries.

Developing countries consistently point to Australia’s high per capita emissions to justify why we should take strong action on climate change.

If we did not make our fair contribution to international efforts, how could we expect the big emitting developing countries such as China and India to take meaningful action?

Of course, a country’s total level of carbon pollution is important. That’s why the government is working with the main emitters – the 20 countries responsible for about 80 per cent of the world’s emissions – to support an effective global outcome. Australia is one of these top 20 emitters.

A really good effort to justify pointless unilateral action, Greg, but no-one will buy it. Australia has a small population, with a very high emissions economy – due primarily to the geology of our country. Therefore per capita emissions will inevitably be high. But that is totally irrelevant in these discussions. We contribute less than 1.3% of global emissions, and nothing, repeat NOTHING, we do alone will make the slightest bit of difference to the climate. One of my commenters pointed out that by land area, Australia’s emissions are negligible: 60 tonnes per square km compared to 700 t/km2 in China and 3000 t/km2 in Japan.

Australia is in the top 20 emitters, but again, that is meaningless, because the top ten alone contribute nearly 80% of global emissions. The remaining 20% comprises the entire rest of the world, including Australia.

It is the case that the 2009 conference in Copenhagen did not deliver all that was hoped for. But it is wrong to say that there is no action happening globally or that Copenhagen did not make important progress.

In the lead up to Copenhagen all the big emitters pledged to reduce their carbon pollution. These pledges were formally incorporated into the United Nations process at the most recent negotiations, in Cancun last December. The Cancun meeting also made concrete progress on other key elements needed to underpin an effective global response.

Irrespective of what happens under the UN negotiations, countries, regions and states around the world are taking real action on climate change now.

Please don’t mention Copenhagen… oh, you just did. Copenhagen was an utter disaster, irrespective of how you spin it. The worthless Copenhagen accord was of less value than the paper it was printed on. And you know it. And Cancun did very little to advance that process. And you know it. The reality is that there is less desire for global action on climate now than there was five or ten years ago. And the GFC has focussed people’s minds on what is really important – economic growth and prosperity, rather than chasing the nebulous chimera of climate change.

The Coalition has ridiculed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the US. But look at some facts. The RGGI scheme caps carbon pollution for the electricity sector in the 10 participating north-eastern states. The combined population for these 10 states is 50 million – more than double Australia’s total population.

Each state auctions pollution permits to power stations, and commits to use at least 25 per cent of their auction revenue for clean energy programs, and to assist consumers to reduce their use of electricity.

In practice all participating states are far exceeding this commitment, investing 80 per cent of their proceeds – totaling $775 million so far – in renewable and energy efficiency programs.

The RGGI’s executive director has said that these programs show $3-$4 in benefits for every $1 invested. Furthermore, several businesses have realised energy cost savings great enough to retain or add new employees.

See above. New Hampshire has bailed out. And what effect will this have on the climate? NOTHING. Nada, Zip, Zilch. Just money thrown away that could have been spent on hospitals, schools, or in fact anything other than climate mitigation. And don’t start on the mythical “green economy”. It doesn’t exist. For every “green job” created, between 3 and 4 proper jobs are lost. And for every dollar spent on “green investment”, real investment suffers.

The Coalition has also alleged that emissions trading schemes are bad because of vulnerability to fraud, referring to cyber attacks on the European Emissions Trading System. Europe has taken steps to strengthen the integrity of its carbon market to prevent criminal activities in the future.

See above – the EU ETS is mired in fraud.

High standards of security and a range of anti-fraud measures are being applied to Australian emissions registries. For example, Australia’s Kyoto Protocol registry complies with IT security standards set by the Defence Signals Directorate and the United Nations. Australia’s registry systems have remained safe from cyber attacks.

Big deal.

It is all very well for Bishop to tell the electorate what she doesn’t like. What she and the Opposition need to tell everyone is what they actually propose to do to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution at the lowest cost.

A fizzle-out ending for a fizzle-out article, full of half-truths and misrepresentations. If this is the best that our minister for climate change can come up with, it shows a total lack of any grip on reality. What the Opposition should do is say we will do nothing to mitigate climate change, because it is money down the drain, but we will spend where necessary to adapt, at far less cost.

Even Bjørn Lomborg, the non-sceptic’s sceptic, who believes in the reality of man-made climate change, thinks that carbon taxes are the worst way to deal with climate change:

“The current solution is to make fossil fuels so expensive that nobody will want them,” Dr Lomborg said, adding that this is “economically inefficient and politically impossible”. (source)

And finally, it’s “carbon dioxide”, Greg, not carbon pollution.

The article source is here.


  1. Poor Greg.
    I wonder if he yet realises that any ambitions to high political office that he may entertain are all going to crash and burn as a result of his efforts to try and polish this turd.

    Judging by the the above substandard effort, I’d have to believe that it’s a “yes”.

    • The Loaded Dog says:

      The first comment I read on Combet’s dribble piece (comment reproduced below) supports your conclusion.

      The only good thing about the carbon tax is it will see this Govt destroyed at the next polls and finish Combets career (probably as Shorten planned).

      Mike | laughing at the left – March 11, 2011, 7:38AM

      Yep, the surest way to finish a career, if you felt your position was threatened by an upcoming golden boy, would be to lumber your opponent with the “Climate Change” portfolio..

      • Even for the SMH there are only about 1 positive comments there.

        There is no turning opinion around on this one. When you can’t rustle up a few positive ‘let’s all get together and act on climate change’ comments in the SMH, well, you’re doomed.

        If I were Greg Combet I’d be circulating some memos now saying you don’t think it’s a good idea. And then saving them away for later leaking as a lifeboat from the sinking ship.

        I got a comment published here where Gillard is now reimbursing the Americans as well.

        As I said, it’s a real loaves-and-fishes tax, this one. All Australian familes, all trade exposed industry, 10% for the UN and enough to fund the dept of weather. And they have the hide to criticise the opposition costings on policies. The opposition might be wrong but at least they handed their homework into the teacher.

      • “to lumber your opponent with the “Climate Change” portfolio..”

        It used to be Aboriginal Affairs. Jenny Macklin must permit herself a wry smile when she has a drink with Greg Combet in the Parliamentary Dining Room: “Kicking any goals, Greg? No – well, hang in there.”

  2. Does he really believe that in this age of information that any fool will believe him? He probably still uses Australia Post.

    Its so sad to find out that some of these politicians are really not very smart.

    • rukidding says:

      Vince says

      He probably still uses Australia Post.

      Well he gives interviews on the ABC probably the same thing.

    • “any fool will believe him?”

      We believe there is suddenly a shortage of fools?
      Good luck with that one.

  3. Fiona Murray says:

    Here is the letter my brother wrote to Greg Combet yesterday (10/03/11). I think it is quite good:

    ——- Original Message ——–
    Subject: Carbon Dioxide Tax
    Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 10:08:32 +1000
    From: Billl Morgan
    To:, Fiona Murray

    Dear Greg,

    Please dont insult the intelligence of the Australian people by
    suggesting there is any integrity in the way you
    are endeavouring to increase the burden on hard working Australians
    through the proposed Carbon Dioxide Tax.

    You know that state and Federal governments are primary beneficiaries of
    royalties from ever larger exports of coal to China and others which
    will result in higher emissions than ever. There is no integrity in this

    You also know that Government could with existing technologies phase
    out burning of coal for power and replacing it with gas in small
    increments over the next twenty years. The industry would have certainty
    and Australia would get lower emissions!

    Why is it that Labor’s reforms always involve the imposition of a new
    tax on hard working Australians.

    More tax…bigger less accountable government and less freedoms for the

    Please….start putting some integrity into policy development and stop
    insulting the people who have put you there.


    Bill Morgan

    • A good letter – but I can see 2 major issues with it:

      1) It’s longer than 2 sentences
      2) It contains words with more than 2 syllables.

      And as for playing the “integrity” card — puhleeeeeeeeeze!
      He’s an ex-trade unionist and a politician.

  4. Baa Humbug says:

    Yep, they’re all crawling out from under their rocks to support Juliars new tax.
    We get Combets meme diatribe, we get Garnaut the hypocrite looking and sounding oh so wise and posh (hows the dirty polluting gold mines of yours going Ross?) they bring out a sheila named Duggan from the EU to misinform us about what’s happening there (how’d you go with Andrew Bolts interview Ms Duggan? not so easy when you don’t get dorothy dixers like at the ABC ha?) still waiting for Flanners, Karoly and maybe an Oppenheimer or two from the US to keep drumming the politburos message.

    Funny isn’t it, Germany, that model environmental citizen and champion of AGW gets a 4th extension from the EU to shut down their old coal power stations (apparently Herr Merkel is worried about the loss of jobs) whilst commissioning 26, yes TWENTY SIX new coal fired power stations in the last 3 years.

    The only ones buying this scam are the rusted on leftard watermelons. Nothing will change their minds anyway.

  5. Baa Humbug says:

    may I suggest you consider giving this very apt and funny article some exposure.

    Carbon Bob: Can he fix it?

    “I mean, take environmental progressive Bob. Bob’s a model citizen and busy man trying to save the world from the hundreds of big bad carbon polluters required by law to report their environmental vandalism to the government….

  6. Four fantastic comments to an excellent piece of work,and all i can come up with at this point is,” way to tear him and this stupid ALP a new one…………….MEDIC”.

  7. rukidding says:

    A figure I find very hard to find is how much CO2 Australia sequests a year.
    I can find our emissions quite easily but the amount we sink? can’t find it.Is that a coincidence?

    About Combet.Has anybody noticed how his adam’s apple does back flips when he is ask a curly question.:-)

  8. Commendable deconstruction and demolition job. There’s so much twaddle to deal with, knowing where to start must be a nightmare! Combet says

    The fact is that Australia has the highest per capita emissions of all developed countries, about 27 tonnes per person

    Nice try, Greg. Never mind the facts:

    …the top per capita emitters of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (in tonnes) in 2007 were Qatar 51.3, Kuwait 34.0, United Arab Emirates 30.9, Bahrain 29.5, Trinidad and Tobago 27.7, Luxembourg 24.2, Brunei 19.5, United States 19.0, Australia 17.7 and Saudi Arabia 16.9

    Combet says

    Thirty-two countries and 10 US states already have emissions trading schemes.

    and going gang-busters, Greg? Going bust, more like. He’s been spending too much time with this blow-in, Europe’s hairier version of Tim Flannery.

  9. COMBET: Thirty-two countries and 10 US states already have emissions trading schemes.

    This is a direct lie by Combet –

    CHRIS UHLMANN (7.30 Report 09/03/11): “Well the United States has basically – the Democrats have lost at a national level, they have lost the debate on pricing carbon. So, now what’s happening, and particularly those people who ran the Tea Party campaign, they are moving on to the state-based schemes that the Prime Minister talked about. Now, there are about three of them in the United States that are running that do involve various states of the United States.

    But to give you just an example on one: in the western region, there are seven US states and four Canadian provinces which were signed up over a period of time to being – to a carbon trading system. Well, the only one left in that now is California. All the Republicans states are removing their states from those carbon trading systems. So, the US is in retreat on this. And it interesting to contrast really what we’re told often in Australia about what’s happening on an international stage and what is actually happening.”

  10. And finally, it’s “carbon dioxide”, Greg, not carbon pollution.

    Over a week ago on MTR, Bolt managed to squeeze “carbon dioxide” out of him. “There you are, Andrew”, he said. Lesson learnt? Fat chance. Back to peddling the same old deceit, he is, the deliberate bald-faced lie to fool people.

  11. SOYLENT GREEN says:

    You’re right, his IQ is lower than whale s–t, pretty average for a politician…

    “the Coalition perpetuates misinformation to hide the fact it does not have a credible plan to cut Australia’s carbon pollution.”

    Duh, Greg. That’s the point–they don’t have a plan. But, psst–hey Greg, they aren’t hiding it. They are screaming it.

  12. I know nothing about Australian poltics, but I know a few thing about the euro-carbon tax.

    There is German lobbying/research group (one of many) called the “International Heat Flow Commission” ( arriving in Melbourne for “sustainable planet” business ( in late June, ealry July. Probably to support your PM’s cause. The Germans, (who I believe are behind the Green Scam) desperately need more non-EU countries to impose a carbon tax, as the UK and Ontario are strirring and Kyoto appears shaky. They are driving this whole thing since they made policy of AGW between 1985 and 1987.

    Without a quasi global carbon tax the whole thing is off.

  13. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    We all know that Greg’s stated vision for Australia is to have the Unions run the country. Presumably this vision includes himself as Australian General Secretary under the green/socialist new world order.
    That he has no genuine conviction about the pap he mouths about CO2 Armageddon is exemplified by the fact that he has recently purchased for himself a seaside residence. His predecessor Penny Wong is at odds with Combet, although maybe that was not the real Penny speaking when she told us that a “Carbon” (carbon dioxide) tax was not the way for Australia. But then maybe she too suffers amnesia like her boss.

  14. It’s ironic that a political party that at one time claimed to represent the interests of the working class, going so far as to give itself the label ‘The Labor (sic) Party’, would introduce a tax that will, without doubt, cripple many workers already struggling to pay their bills. Greg Combet used to be a union leader, and this betrayal of working-class interests makes it all the more despicable.

    ‘And what is “carbon pollution” anyway? Soot? Because it certainly isn’t carbon dioxide. Misinformation is your speciality, and it’s there for all to see.’
    – Simon
    It’s glaringly obvious that these people don’t even understand basic science, and yet we have these lunatics running the country. How did we ever end up in this predicament?

  15. Toscadad says:

    Greg Combet has a Mining Engineering degree, an Economics degree and a Grad Dip in Labour Relations and Law. He cannot be accused of being of low intelligence. Let no-one excuse him on the grounds that he does not know contemporary truth about Climate Science – it is in a tighly written and densely referenced 39 page document delivered to him by registered mail,
    Greg Combet’s problem is that he is a member of a political party that has abandoned every smidgeon of integrity; sadly lying is now an integral part of Labor Party culture. Its leaders are convinced that WW2-style propaganda can work in Australia in 2011; viz tell and re-tell huge lies often enough and the people will eventually accept those lies as truth.
    This has become so much the case that Gillard, Combet et al in the Labor Party have even convinced themselves that they are actually telling the truth about climate science and how to fix it. Group-think is a powerful and destructive force. And yet Combet cannot deny his tertiary education that taught him to the contrary.
    Employing a man of immense gravitas (Ross Garnaut) to reinforce those lies is aimed at sandbagging Climate Science lies.
    It would appear that Coalition Leaders have fallen for the Garnaut gravitas. They might even have fallen for the skilfully written obfuscations embodied in Dept of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency websites plus hyperlinks.
    Coalition leaders have yet to “come out” and declare that colleagues such as Nick Minchin, Corey Bernardi and Dennis Jensen (the only physicist in the Parlaiment) are correct. These courageous politicians have had the courage to tell the truth about climate science. Their voices, and no doubt others’, are being gagged to ensure that nonsensical “direct action” on Climate Change is fostered.
    Australians despise politicians (from any Party) who lie to them.
    The quicker Coalitian politicians openly declare the truth about Climate Science (nothing Australians do about CO2 emissions will make any difference whatsoever) the quicker they will gain the respect and hence votes of the Australian people.
    A bit of Climate Science courage will attract the respect of all manner of voters. Greens voters are a lost cause in any event.
    Come on Tony – you can do it!!

    • Patience, my friend.
      The best thing that Tony Abbott can do at the moment is to keep his (and the rest of the Coalition’s) mouth firmly closed on matters of belief. The minute he comes out and “openly declare[s] the truth” is the moment he paints a H-U-G-E target on himself and the Coalition. All this would do is make Abbott the issue – the ABC and Fairfax would have a field day, which will let Juliar and Waldo off the hook.

    • Lying is also an ‘integral part’ of Liberal Party culture as well, so don’t look for salvation from those people. After all, this was the party that gave us the biggest tax of all, after promising to ‘never, ever’ introduce it – I speak of the GST (Great Stupidity Tax) of course.

      • Getting tired of writing this… Howard changed his view, yes, and then WENT TO AN ELECTION ON IT.

        • He actually won the election on the back of the ‘children overboard’ scandal, and by tapping in and exploiting the fears that One Nationn founder Ms. Hanson had promoted about this country being swamped by Asians, but you can believe your fairy-tale if you want to.

        • The Loaded Dog says:

          So Peter, are the ALP paying you by the hour or per comment?

          Either way they’re not getting their moneys worth; but then again – being capable of getting value for our money has never been one of their strong points has it?

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