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G20 reveals Tony Abbott’s climate change denial is complete

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source: g20.org

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has learned a few things over his first year and a bit in government. He can, for instance, make a carbon price disappear. He might even be able to make a renewable energy target disappear, along with billions of dollars in projects and thousands of jobs. But try as he might, he cannot make climate change disappear – either as a political or an economic issue, or as a fact of science.

For the past year, the Australian team managing the G20 process has been working with a grim determination to not mention climate change – either as a matter of substance in the talks or in the final communique. Abbott didn’t want simple messages about economic growth to be complicated by things as complex and confounding as climate change.

It didn’t work. Of course.  In the end, the G20 became all about climate change. And even if the Abbott cheer squad in the Murdoch media sought to criticise and downplay the role of China and the US, some at least recognised the “headache” it posed, even if they were pitched as political, rather than economic terms.

We also learned something more about the Abbott government – that on the world stage it is incapable of grappling with sophisticated policy issues other than boiling them down to three word slogans or absurd schoolyard bravado – “stop the boats”, and his pledge to “shirt-front” Vladimir Putin.

At the G20, Abbott was more interested in complaining about the problems of implementing a $7 GP tax on medical visits. Fairfax described it as Australia’s “pimply youth” moment, the satirical website The Shovel said Abbott might just as well have been talking about parking meter problems in his home electorate of Warringah (and it’s true, there is a major issue).

World leaders couldn’t care less. But it speaks volumes of the inward nature of Abbott’s entourage that they could presume that the G20 would be interested in medical co-payments, and that they should be blindsided so easily by the climate commitments.

And don’t mistake the deliberate efforts of the G20 nations to embarrass Abbott on this issue, having grown exasperated by the Australian government’s actions over the past year.

A year ago, in Poland, Australian negotiators did a complete about-face on their negotiating strategy for a new climate deal. Where once the team had been co-operative and progressive, it became stubborn and intransigent. Even then, officials from the EU, the Americas and Asia were asking “what’s going on, Down Under.”

They were exasperated by Australia’s intent, at that stage behind the scenes, to exclude climate change from the G20 agenda. They were horrified when Abbott took domestic politics to the global stage at the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka and labelled the Green Climate Fund, a critically important institution for the global climate talks, as a “Bob Brown bank”.

So the two most powerful leaders in the world, to declare their intent, chose a meeting just two days before the G20 to announce their landmark climate pact. Obama went further, using his opening speech on the sidelines of the G20 – to the youth of Australia in Abbott’s own back-yard – to underline the importance of climate change, to berate those countries who didn’t act, and to announce his country’s $3 billion commitment to the “Bob Brown” bank.

Japan chimed in with $1.5 billion. Even Canada said it would make a contribution. UK’s Prime Minister also chipped in with a back-slap against countries that didn’t take climate change seriously. German chancellor Angela Merkel followed suit on Monday, warning that the impact of climate change did not stop at Pacific Islands.

It seems clear that the biggest issue on the final communique were around Australia’s last ditch efforts to minimise the importance of climate change. “Trench warfare” is how the Guardian described it, quoting negotiators.

Treasurer Joe Hockey may be considered by some to be more moderate than Abbott, but he is no less ignorant. He said he was “too busy” to either listen to Obama’s speech, or to absorb its contents.

His dismissal of China’s share of the climate pact was to borrow the climate-denying Republican leaders who said that it was not incumbent on them to do anything until 2030. In fact, China will build 1,300MW of clean energy plants a week until 2030 to meet part of its undertaking. That’s nearly 200MW of wind, solar, hydro, biomass and nuclear a day – for the next 15 years.

That also means China will not need so much coal. And not so much Australian coal. It has halved imports, and may halt them altogether within years. It has slapped a tariff on Australian thermal coal imports that it will not lift for another two years, despite the much-heralded free trade agreement.

So when Hockey – looking decidedly uncomfortable – pretended that climate change was no impediment to economic growth, he was ignoring the fact that the two biggest customers for Australia’s biggest export may no longer have any demand at all for the Australian product.

But Abbott and Hockey’s ignorance knows no bounds. Abbott insists that China’s “20 per cent” non fossil fuel target means that 80 per cent of China’s electricity will come from coal in 2030. No, that 20 per cent target is for all energy, not just electricity, so the non fossil fuel component is more likely to be more than 30 per cent. And there will be plenty of gas in the final equation.

Abbott says he will “stand up” for coal. But he is about the only one. Because no banker now will take the risk on the long term infrastructure to bank-roll the possible short term gains of the Galilee Basin coal provinces, the Queensland government will throw in taxpayers money.

These are exactly the sort of fossil fuel subsidies and investments that the International Energy Agency, and the United Nations is arguing against, and goes against the undertaking of the G20 – repeated in the latest communique – that all the developed nations will seek to phase out those subsidies.

Abbott insisted that coal was critical to lifting 1.3 billion people out of poverty, but even the International Energy Agency has dismissed this as nonsense, on several occasions. Others have too. India says it will solve its immediate energy poverty problems with solar and storage, and may even drop imports of thermal coal in coming years. (Update: India PM Narenda Modsi says he doesn’t want energy sources that will “melt glaciers”.

Despite all this, nothing appears to have registered with Abbott. He emerged from a meeting with Merkel, who is leading the most radical decarbonisation of any major economy, and was the first big funder of the Green Climate Fund, to announce that Australia will not contribute anything.

He insisted that Australia was doing “quite enough” with its $2.5 billion Direct Action program, and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation that he is also trying to close. Australia, therefore, will continue to be a pariah on the world stage, digging its economy into an every deeper black hole.

We are, quite possibly, witnessing the most incompetent and ideologically blind government ever to hold power in Canberra. It’s effectively the Tea Party of Australia, pretending to be something else.

   

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  • barrie harrop

    Aust PM will be come unelectable in climate change denial,and some 1m householders want solar –these punters vote.

    Most Aust households would be off the grid tomorrow if the battery storage was economical today–but that is only few years away before it becomes more viable,where will his dirty coal fired generators be then?

    Expecting lots of stranded poles/wires assets anytime soon.

    • Well said Barrie and a good report. I agree if batteries were available we’d all go off grid. India will tackle energy problem with off-grid/distributed energy and won’t need our coal. It’s pretty embarrassing to get asked continually by our potential investors ” what’s your government up to”!

  • coomadoug

    Giles
    Brave to describe this government as you have in your final paragraph. The question we should ask is perhaps a bit more confronting. To be so openly against science and world opinion, to adopt what is obviously a ridiculous economic stand, the only obvious motivation is corrupt intent.

    I thought Keating was harsh when he described Abbot as an intellectual dwarf back in 2006. If Abbot is not pushing a corrupt agenda, Keating’s words were soft and kind.

    As for the Tea party, generally they believe in much of what they say, as weird as it gets. But Abbot doesn’t often believe in what he says. Slogans and out of sync hand waving are not from the heart.

    • mike flanagan

      A corrupt agenda to be true, Coomadoug.
      The very embrace of the chant ‘infrastructure’ and ‘roads’ implies consorting with the more corrupt elements of commerce and industry, let alone the obvious associations with the bulk earth movers of the mining industry, who only marginally less corrupt than the drug trade financiers.

  • Marg1

    So well said Giles and yes coomadog, I’m very sure this government is corrupt – the stench emanating from them is putrid.

  • johnnewton

    Hope you’re right Barrie. Thy might be off the grid but will they not vote for the tough guy who stands up to the world? We are far from a clever country. I despair.

  • Alan Baird

    I’ve visited the Hunter Valley in recent times and the coal trains run practically nose to tail, and as each wagon passes it taps out rhythmically,”A hundred tons, a hundred tons…” over and over, dozens (and dozens) of times per train, reflecting the rate at which the stuff is burned into the air. The whole coal corridor has been also changed into an area with a dramatic charm reduction action plan. This area should be billed by the tourist promo people as, “The Hunter Valley… It’s all mine!”

  • Alex

    G20 has also revealed Tony Abbott’s incompetence is complete.

  • lin

    Abbott will continue to use taxpayer money to subsidise his beloved coal for as long as we let him. It’s in his DNA. He will not let facts, reason or even economics stand in his way. It’s an article of faith for him.
    This sort of “thinking” will be economically disastrous for the Australian tax payer, and environmentally disastrous for us all.

    • Ron Horgan

      I love the catch 22 reference Lin. The Victorian election might be the “canary in the coal mine”

      • lin

        I think Catch-22 is an appropriate analogy for where our politics and media have led us. It would be nice to think that the Vic election might turn things around, but I doubt it. The Libs are so on-the-nose that the Labs do not need to present decent policies to win. If you are only as good as your opponent, we in Vic are screwed unless we are fortunate enough to get a hung parliament with some good quality independents or minor party reps.

        • Ron Horgan

          Has to be a big green vote!

        • wideEyedPupil

          Labor are backing off their commitments to tear up wind energy restrictions. now they will only reduce residents veto boundary from 2km to 1km and leave exclusions on all the windiest locations in Victoria. They may allow community wind projects inside the exclusion zone, which kind of bells the cat. Also not supporting the Great National Park since the myopic and belligerent CFMEU pulled rank over Andrews.

          • lin

            Andrews’ “leadership” appears to involve kowtowing to pretty much any right wing pressure group around. Not much prospect of hope and change from Labor with him nominally at the helm. I am fully expecting him to fold on blocking the EW link at the first opportunity, and to ditch funding public transport projects if he wins the election in the same way Ballieu did for the Desal plant and public transport. None of them have any spine or vision for nation-building of the sort that benefits citizens. Ghastly bunch of career politicians beholden to the status quo across the spectrum, with few notable exceptions.

    • Steve Griffin

      It gets much worse before it gets better: The Investor State Dispute elements of the China-Aus and TPP FTA’s will make it impossible for us to wind back the damage done to the environment over the next two years without being sued or invaded by foreign armies. Abbott’s way of guaranteeing we’ll have no answer to this is by divesting responsibility for the environment to the states and all but dissolving the federation. The states will not have the individual means to contest these challenges – which will be subject to an international tribunal and not a legal court – thus making the loss of our sovereignty complete. This in light of the distinct possibility that Abbott is indeed a citizen of a foreign power and may yet still have allegiances to it. In other words a foreign operative or spy.

      Regardless of their competence though, the LNP are in fact a criminal gang of traitors which has taken control of the fundamental basis of the way we create our way of life. They are systematically going about removing the basis on which we are able to fund (and imagine it in the future) that way of life by confecting budget emergencies and terrorist threats in order to distract the population form the theft occurring in plain sight.

      The new surveillance laws are, clearly, designed to keep track of threats to this plan in order to win the war against Australia waged from within.

      Deregulation of Universities and the increased cost of degrees will make us indentured slaves unable to challenge the powerful for fear of being sidelined and bankrupted.

      The under 30’s demographic will have the added threat of job loss combined with complete loss of property, family and prospects to deal with if they do not keep quiet.

      All measures designed to create compliance with the status quo.

      The conscious evil of this government is terrifying and I hope we can recover from it in 2016.

      • metro70

        Looks like CAGW hysteria has turned
        into a serious case of paranoia.

        This unmitigated drivel must be the
        clearest case ever of Abbott derangement syndrome.

        Does the LW propaganda that induces
        CAGW hysteria, in fact also induce paranoid schizophrenia along with it—as marijuana does in some cases?

        It’s hard to see whether it’s your own
        mob you’re scared witless of— COP of the UNFCCC that your
        GreenLabor wants to sell us out to—whose armies would invade us to punish us for some unnamed damage to the environment that you’re foreshadowing—or the Chinese threat from the North—and it’s all Tony Abbott’s Fault!

        If you’re scared of the UN alone,
        leaving out Tony Abbott, then you’re onto something.re military
        strife and takeovers etc.

        Hans Werner Sinn’s Green Paradox spells
        that all out—how the UN would appropriate the mineral wealth of the
        resource countries to force them to leave it in the ground and forego
        all the revenue, in order to enforce the global governance that Labor wants to lock us into—- in the name of CAGW.

        That scenario certainly portends military strife,
        strife which Sinn sees as just the means [ and the price ]we have to
        pay for his and Labor’s desired global governance ends.

        As always with the Comrades, the ends
        justifies the means, however horrific they may be.

        The divestment you talk about is a very
        sensible policy that will still comply with both state and federal
        legislation, and mean far fewer costs in time and money.

        For all that the Greens claim we need
        endless regulation and monitoring—more than the country can
        possibly afford—– under GreenLabor neither the Greens nor Labor
        prevented Sea Shepherd— Bob Brown’s mob— from deliberately
        fouling reef waters with oil.

        Under the changes, the states will take on Commonwealth
        environmental assessment powers and consider applications under state and federal legislation—-limiting Commonwealth decisions to only those aspects of proposals concerning matters of national
        environmental significance.

        The matters you’re hissy-fitting about , are things your own
        party wants to hand us over to—international courts and tribunals.

        There’s no way on earth an Abbott government would ever allow an
        Australian state to founder in such a forum for lack of funds.

        Since ASIO et al , with all of the
        data, surveillance capacity and international connections they have
        available, tell us there’s a serious terrorism threat [ as anyone
        who’s not in a coma can tell is true] and since you say our
        authorities—- linked and sharing info with counterparts
        worldwide—- have got it all wrong —-tell us exactly what is your
        evidence that they’re wrong and you’re right—-and where and how did you collect it?

        Likewise Labor’s last toxic IED of a
        budget.

        What are your figures and confirmation
        thereof, that tell you the head of the Budget Office, the head of
        Treasury at the time, Martin Parkinson and the governor of the RBA
        have all got it wrong and you know more than they do?

        The MSM —who now have convenient
        collective amnesia —were commenting vociferously at the time about
        Swan’s crazy assumptions of revenues and outcomes, made to justify
        his desperate expenditure to buy votes and to at the same time, to cook up a passable bottom line.

        The real story is the absolute
        antithesis of your desperately disjunct fairytale.

        Tony Abbott as a ‘ foreign spy’—head
        of ‘a criminal gang of traitors’—terrorist laws devised only to
        allow TA to win his war against Australia–‘indentured
        slaves’–‘conscious evil’—would all indicate that you’re probably
        completely off your cotton-picking head.

        Of course it’s entirely possible that
        you’ve gotten it a bit mixed up and are instead really talking about
        your own GreenLabor, that does pretty much fit like a glove the
        description of your band of villainous traitors and schemers against
        Australia.

        It’s they who want to sell out our
        sovereignty to the UN, to have the UN force us to leave our resources
        and therefore our export income and energy advantage in the
        ground—to make us dirt poor.

        It’s they who treasonously want an end
        to FF while we have almost no hydro and zero nuclear to provide base-load power for industry—industry that we have to presume would cease to exist or go offshore to China—as has much of Germany’s.

        It’s they [ your mob] who would ensure
        thereby, that we have no funds for Medicare, NDIS, PBS, education, HECS [ decimating the number of students and thereby of your ‘indentured slaves’], health, welfare—and that we have no jobs.

        And when there was no money for all of
        those vital elements of a civilized society, you can bet your socks
        there’d be no money and no appetite for looking after any part of the
        environment.

        And by the way the only—only—threat
        there has ever been to private property in Australia—and it’s
        always lurking there in the background—is the threat from your own
        miserable LW side.

        As recently in the scheme of things as
        1983, Labor and the Left’s Socialist Objective was still full of
        yearnings and plottings for appropriation of property from ordinary
        citizens and industries without just-terms compensation.

        Their gripe was that the evil pesky
        Australian Constitution wouldn’t allow them to take our private
        property without paying us for it, as committed Fabians [ and Fabians
        they are] always want to do.

        How could they get around it, they wanted to know.

        Terrifying is you and the fact that
        your lot have destroyed democracy in Australia with your juggernaut
        of lies unfettered by conscience and respect for law and enabled by
        your infestation of what should be a fearless and truth-seeking MSM,
        but is instead Labor’s wholly-owned propaganda unit.

  • Thylacine

    Abbott is “building the infrastructure for the twenty first century, in the form of more roads” and that is what many people want. He is playing to his audience and despite the comments displayed in these columns, we are still a minority, albeit hopefully a growing one.
    As for whether he and the government members are corrupt, I would suggest that they are merely being true to their core constituency, the corporations in Australia and overseas.

    • wideEyedPupil

      which is corruption. Alan Stockdale sold of a bunch of State Owned property during Jeff Kennet’s budget emergency. mostly it was sold to banks who flipped it for a tidy profit. What was Stockdale’s first post-parliamentary appointment? Board of Directors of a recipient bank. Martain Ferguson’s rewards for setting ASIO on coal and CSG protestors? Goes on and on.

  • D. John Hunwick

    Don’t overlook the fact that the Green Climate Fund is likely to get some serous money at last. I don’t suppose an individual Australian can make a small donation to this Fund? If so, how??

    • mike flanagan

      I would suggest the query should be directed through the RTCC site, maybe!

  • tokenpom

    I’m glad you mentioned the Tea Party at the end there, for there is a high degree of policy ‘Harmonisation’ between the them, the LNP in Aus, and the UK’s very own ‘Angry Brigade’, the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

    Would it be too much too suggest that all three have their snouts in the same (financial) trough ?

  • Peter

    Tony Abbott’s stance remains me of an episode in Faulty Towers ‘Vhatever you do don’t mention the war’ Basil kept on telling his staff. One could easily substitute ‘climate change’ for ‘war’ in Tony Abbott’s case.

  • Huw Slater

    Powerful article. Could do with a once-over by an editor though. The typos, grammar and misused metaphors distract from the point.

    • Motorshack

      Jeez. Parkinson has personally turned out several thousand words a day, five days a week, every week, for almost three years. In that time he has gone from a standing start to one of the best renewable energy websites in the world, with minimal budget and minimal help. And you want to focus on minor stylistic errors?

      The question here is not typos, but rather it is how long he can sustain such a pace, while continuing to produce information and analysis of such high quality.

      I suggest if you don’t like the results you should start your own website and show us all how it should be done. Meanwhile, those of us who are focused on the huge value to be found here will continue to ignore the inconsequential glitches.

      • Huw Slater

        Jeez. Maybe take it down a notch?
        I like what I read very much, that’s why I described it as a “powerful article”! I want to share articles like this with a critical audience, thus the suggestion. A little misplaced aggression methinks.

        • Motorshack

          First, there’s a very good management principle that says “praise your employees in public and criticize them in private”. I think that applies here as well. If your suggestion is indeed friendly then perhaps you should take a moment to check out the contact page of the website, and send a private note. Some of us do that on occasion, and I can say from personal experience that Parkinson will often take the suggestion very much to heart.

          Second, you offer no specifics, just a vague broadside that has little use as effective feedback. Again, a private note citing chapter and verse might be much more effective.

          Third, anyone who has ever done writing for a living can see at a glance that Parkinson is probably going flat out to get the job done. Not only thousands of words of actual editorial content every day, but lots of research, legwork, and interviews before the writing can even begin. So, if you are such an expert, perhaps you should volunteer to do a little free copy-editing. That way you would get the clean product you seem to crave, and Parkinson would get a little help he could probably really use.

          Fourth, however you may have intended your suggestion, it came off as condescending. You seem to assume that Parkinson is completely oblivious to his stylistic glitches, when, in fact, they are much more likely to be just a minor consequence of the tight circumstances under which he works. It is a simple trade-off: more polished (but fewer) articles or more useful information for his readers. Personally, I vote for more information, and screw the polishing. So, long as he remains generally comprehensible, which he nearly always does, the rest is inconsequential.

          Fifth, any hostility I may be showing here is the direct result of the existential threat that we all face. We are literally talking about the end of the world as we know it, and there is nothing at all “misplaced” about the anger that this problem provokes in me. What is misplaced is your focus on the inconsequential.

          Sixth, if you see a few sharp words as “aggression” then I would suggest that you live in a very sheltered world. I was conscripted into the war in Vietnam and spent a year helping to call airstrikes on complete strangers. To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, that’s aggression. In contrast, what I dished out to you was a mere tweak of the nose, and was only verbal at that. So, get some perspective. You could apparently use it.

          Finally, you mistake defense for aggression. I was not attacking you, but defending an editor who is doing a world class job, minor infelicities notwithstanding.

          Moreover, you are just one of a flock of “grammar grouches” who show up here regularly. So, I am investing ten whole minutes on the point, not simply in response to you, but in response to all the ditherers who seem to be missing the far more important issues at stake. If you want to complain about distractions then go look in the mirror.

          Conversely, if you actually want to see a better product, then I suggest you get off your butt and do something concrete to help the actual cause. Merely having a fit of the vapors is useless.

          • Huw Slater

            Dear “Motorshack”,

            Thanks for the response. Your concern obviously comes from a good place, so I’ll take it in that spirit.

            I must admit I hadn’t heard of the management principle of which you speak, so please forgive my ignorance. I also hadn’t realised that there may be a protocol regarding these comments sections, especially for a fairly boring suggestion such as the one that I made.

            On specifics, it didn’t seem like the place to provide a detailed edit, and I dare say had I done say you would have taken issue with it, so let’s let that slide.

            On your third point, I also write for a living, specifically in relation to climate change policy in China. I spend all day every day with my head in this space, and was attempting to make a helpful point in terms of communicating the message of the piece. For the record, when I have time I’d be more than happy to help out with some copy-editing if that would be useful. To the editor, feel free to get in touch if you’d like.

            Fourth, I honestly find it hard to see how anyone could read my comment as condescending. It was straight forward and matter-of-fact. It was certainly taken in that spirit by Giles, judging from his response.

            “Misplaced” because your anger is directed to someone making suggestions about the readability of an article on the internet. If you care about climate change, perhaps your energy is better used in other ways. Just a suggestion.

            Sixth, this is getting silly.

            Thanks again.

          • Motorshack

            Yes, silly. That was my original point, after all. It is silly to worry about grammar when we are killing the entire planet.

            And it is nice to see that I am wrong. You are not some shallow dilettante, but are apparently working hard on the problem yourself. So, good for you. Glad to hear it.

            On the other hand, my reaction to the climate problem is not at all coming from a good place. Very much the contrary.

            What you perceived as “aggression” is actually just part of the outward manifestation of near-terminal despair.

            My generation is dumping the worst mess ever created on our children, including three of my own, and, had I known how bad things would get, and how fast, I would have spared mine the experience by not having them in the first place. However, 25 years ago, I had a few years of misplaced optimism, so here they are. They’ll just have to cope as best they can.

            In particular, everyone is all excited about replacing fossil fuels with renewables, but that will hardly be the end of our environmental problems. In most respects, industrial activity is all the same. So, we will go right on wrecking the water, air, and soil, as well as all the ecological systems on which we depend. We will just use a different, and hugely abundant, source of energy to power the process. We could run out of oil and coal, but we will not soon run out of wind or sunlight.

            My own efforts to solve the problem have focused on the lifestyle changes that individuals can make to minimize our impact on the environment, and there is certainly much that we could do. I have cut my own carbon footprint by a factor of ten, and my other impacts have been reduced very substantially as well. These changes have also made me very secure financially, because I waste almost no money on consumer junk. Just the actual essentials.

            The problem is that I seem to be regarded as, at best, a mere eccentric, and one whose example has very little appeal to the average citizen. Most people go right on, focused on getting their share of “the good life”, which means very high consumption of environmental resources.

            So, the surprise here is not that I am a bit cranky on occasion. It is rather that I have not blown my brains out long since.

          • Pedro

            It is hard not to be pessimistic with humanities hell bent accelerating race to self destruction. Personally I don’t find pessimism particularly helpful as like you say if you can’t squeeze some joy out of life then you might as well blow your brains out.

            I hope that there will be some quantum phase shift in human culture like a new enlightenment. Probably wont happen unless there is some monstrous environmental disaster.

            Have been pondering for some time on finding a mechanism that excludes, tyrants, psychopaths and other similar nutters from gaining any real economic and political power. Trouble is they seem to be really good at getting the things they should not really be allowed to have.

    • Hi. Apologies Huw. My laptop packed up, and if anyone has tried to do some actual work with an IPad, they will know the difficulties. We will try and fix it up, I understand the frustration.

  • The behavior of not just the Abbott government, but the whole neo-con establishment, in relation to profound intellectual and market failure to deal with the environment rationally, calls their social license into question. Worse, their control of around 70% of the information market means that they can corrupt democratic discourse sufficiently to prevent rational action to save our children and grand childrens’ future. If they persist in this, it will destroy the social compact because I and people like me, who are sufficiently informed to know what is going on, aren’t going to stand around wringing our hands for much longer. There will come a time, if this isn’t resolved, when I for one will be funding projects that will change the way political conflict is sorted out….

  • disqus_3PLIicDhUu

    I think what we need to do is to recognise oligarchy, that’s what is needed.
    There will always be that hierarchical order,of neo-feudal overlords, in the human sphere and to move on.
    I think it easier collaborating with them and transmute their power.
    I think this is entirely possible with the fuel industry, for transport, from fossil fuel over to electric ‘fuel’, opening up massive markets.
    The coal industry is tricky, how to move that over to a clean industry and keep the oligarchs happy?

    • Motorshack

      Why should we bother to worry about their happiness? They are already obscenely rich, so let them go buy all the happiness they want.

      In any case, we outnumber them at least a hundred to one, so we hardly need to worry about their opinions if they do get unhappy. Let them stew in their own over-priced juice.

      • disqus_3PLIicDhUu

        We outnumber the oligarchy, by a million to one, but the lesser wannabe moguls, yes hundreds to one.
        But you will have to understand, they will always be, often hidden away from scrutiny, a revolution comes and then the struggle of another oligarchy, raises it’s head, so good luck taking power from them.
        They are best collaborated with, the true power of leadership is one that can appease both management and the workers, to work together.
        This is possible in the transition from an oil based economy, but coal?

        • Motorshack

          Well, to put my point in a lighter way, I’m big on camouflage.

          That is to say, if the assholes in charge don’t notice you in the first place, then you can do just about anything you please.

          For example, in the days when I was running software projects for big companies, I did not bother asking the boss for much in the way of resources. There were so many quiet little ways of scrounging stuff from odd corners that it wasn’t necessary. As a result, the boss was usually far more in my debt than the other way round – when I bothered to talk to him at all.

          Moreover, the whole consumer economy is just more of the same, but on a vastly larger scale. These days there is so much good stuff being sent to landfills that you only need to skim a microscopic fraction of the waste stream to have nearly anything you need.

          So, why should I “negotiate” with the oligarchy when they have already decided to give me practically everything I need for free, all on their own volition?

          After all, if they realized what I was doing, they might actually find some way to make me work for what I am getting. Much better just to keep my mouth shut, and get on with it.

          • disqus_3PLIicDhUu

            Ahhhh, that’s an advantage of specialisation, specialised knowledge within the system.
            I just discussed that on another forum.
            Eg say you are a technician or engineer and the oil economy changes to an electricity economy, where electrical fuel is delivered, directly or indirectly, at service stations, you could possibly circumvent that financial outlay and gain advantage, same as people inside the finance, or whatever industry insider you are, there are nearly always advantages in you becoming a mini mogul.

        • Harry Verberne

          I think you make a good but not very welcome point. The reality of life is that our democratic system is rather tokenistic in that our influence as ordinary citizens is is not very much compared to that of the uber wealthy oligarchs. Arguably we live in a society dominated by vested interests, some of whom have disproportionate power to get their way.

          Given that I agree it will be more productive to work with them rather than against them. Unfortunately I am not sure if this is going to happen with a government that just uncritically supports the current energy status quo.

    • Chris Fraser

      The oligarchs might have their privileges to donate to parties removed, as should all interest groups, businesses, with caps on electors. Maybe their businesses should be made to serve society like the public administrations, and the police and judicial wings of government. They should be responsible employers, serving environmental and social outcomes, sharing profits between shareholders and customers responsibly, and paying tax in countries where the profits are earned. Their power is something that we created because of our obsession with growth at the cost of everything else.

  • Rob

    I’m with you Barrie. As soon as the storage component becomes economical we’re a headin’ off grid pardner. Yeehah! They can stick their poles and wires where the sun ( apparently ) don’t shine!

  • Jenny Goldie

    Brilliant article and a wonderful antidote to the actions, or non-actions, of this “the most incompetent and ideologically blind government ever to hold power in Canberra”.

  • Harry Verberne

    I am a relative new comer to this site and would like to commend Giles and other writers on the steady stream of informative articles. I am learning a lot from the stimulating articles and the subsequent discussions.

  • The only solution to limit global warming is to stop burning coal and reduce oil. It can be done and must be done but there are a lot of vested interests in Australia who have supported Abbotts political aspirations. Its not in Australias best interests to continue on this path. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/blog/in-a-2c-to-3c-warmer-world-more-like-the-pliocene-epoch-what-can-we-expect-to-happen-to-our-trees

  • metro70

    Giles Parkinson:

    There has been no GW for more than 17
    years[ admitted by IPCC] while CO2 apparently continues to
    rise.

    With the correlation non-existent, if you still claim
    CAGW , then what is your explanation for the hiatus?

    There’s no
    significant increase in OHC, so it’s not that the oceans are
    sequestering any heat.

    [‘ The cold waters of
    Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since
    2005,
    according to a new NASA study’ ]

    So the only real warming trend was from 1976 to 1998—and
    from 1998, none.

    Pre-1976 the earth was cooling, and the alarm —well and
    truly on the record worldwide—was about ‘the coming ice age’–the
    main alarmist being the late climate scientist and latterly committed
    warmist, Steven Schneider.

    In 1976/7 there was a completely natural event , The Great
    Pacific Climate Shift, which caused a step change in the overall
    slightly warming trend that’s due to the emergence from the LIA.

    That was followed in 1998, by another step change due to the
    uber-El Nino of that year.

    Since 1998, there has been no significant warming , as CO2
    apparently continues to rise—so no correlation.

    Most climate scientists now conclude , and the IPCC agrees
    that the sensitivity of the earth’s climate to a rise in CO2 is
    much lower than previously thought , and much less than is
    factored into the models, explaining part of the reason they’ve all
    been wrong.

    Another reason they’ve been wrong is that some of the
    absolutely vital elements of climate have been disregarded in the
    models–like clouds and whether their feedback is positive or
    negative—most believing it’s negative, explaining why the
    models exaggerate warming.

    The lower sensitivity fits with the known logarithmic nature
    of the reponse of temperature to CO2— the warming effect
    increasingly approaching negligible.

    Researchers have also found that the soils retain much more
    carbon than was originally thought, and warmer soils release less
    carbon into the atmosphere than the models assume.

    Warmists try to alarm us re the Arctic melt.

    But many of the world’s top researchers—warmists amongst
    them—have concluded and testified en masse to Congress—that up to
    50% —maybe more—of the Arctic melt is caused by soot [ black
    carbon]—nothing to do with CO2—that can be seen blanketing the
    Arctic ice and that of Greenland and many of the world’s glaciers and
    the permafrost.

    The soot is generated by the incomplete combustion of biomass,
    including trees, other wood, dung etc– from very old coal-fired
    power stations—not modern ones—and older diesel vehicles.

    A black curtain of soot deposited on the ice, cuts down the
    reflectivity or albedo of the ice and so more heat from the sun is
    absorbed rather than reflected, melting the ice and creating areas of
    warmer dark and heat-absorbing water where once was reflective ice.

    The process originated by the soot sets up a catastrophic feedback
    cycle, which has global effect as the warming is amplified.

    This problem is much more easily mitigated than the CO2
    problem—and for almost immediate effect.

    You would think therefore that scientists would be very vocal
    about this to mobilize the world to do the mitigation—but instead
    all we hear from warmist scientists is the hysteria abot the Arctic
    melt, which is their only remaining indicator of warming. They don’t
    appear to want to calm the hysteria they created.

    Maybe you can explain too how warmist scientists claimed consensus
    on CAGW when most of the research hadn’t been done—decades before
    it became possible to reliably measure the temperature of by far the
    largest part of the globe—the oceans—which have only been able to
    be reliably measured since the advent of the ARGO floats in 2003.

    The ARGO floats found no significant warming—and there has been
    none since.

    So how can this add up to CAGW requiring massive diversion of
    trillions of dollars—upheaval of the world’s energy
    systems—threats to the economies, energy security and future
    prosperity of resource countries like Australia—the spread of alarm
    and propaganda to populations worldwide—threat of dangerous
    geo-engineering—and the threat of loss of sovereignty to global
    governance?

    What trend there’s been has been very very short, for heavens
    sake—22years, but even then mostly made up of two completely
    natural step changes that had nothing whatever to do with CO2.

    The correlation just isn’t there.

    Abbott’s view is infinitely more rational than yours, the IEA’s [
    which is ridiculous] and the UN’s.

    And his is backed by the fact that no country in the world is able
    to do without fossil fuels unless it has massive hydro or
    nuclear—certainly not RE poster child Germany, where a new brown
    coal mine is being built along with new coal-fired power stations,
    where they still have numerous nuclear power stations and are
    enormously reliant on gas from Russia—and not China which expects
    to still have at least 62% of its energy mix in coal by 2030, along
    with massive hydro and nuclear power—and not the US, UK, not
    anywhere.

    So it’s not Abbott who’s clueless. He’s looking after Australia
    and Australians.

    And, by the way, when warmists kill fossil fuels—and mining—
    where will the energy come from to provide base load power for heavy
    industry, and where will Australia’s export income to fund Medicare,
    NDIS, PBS, HECS, education and welfare come from?

    Do you and GreenLabor want to be responsible for turning our
    country into a poverty-stricken backwater?

    The whole world is being conned on this issue
    and hypocrites and carpetbaggers with undisclosed vested interests
    abound —-but Tony Abbott isn’t one of them.