UN agog at “extreme” Australian climate stance

sdcs

Cross-posted from Giles Parkinson at Reneweconomy:

It has taken just seven days, but already the reputation of Australia as a constructive force in international climate policy has been completely trashed — both in terms of its domestic actions and in the wrecking ball tactics it has sent to the UN’s annual climate summit in Poland.

The two-week summit is just over halfway through, and Australia is now seen as an “anti-climate” nation that is actively working against any consensus.

Australia has — many times over the 20-plus years of climate talks held by the UNFCCC — been seen as an outlier, courtesy of its huge reliance on coal, but its actions in Warsaw have come as a shock to negotiators who are dealing with familiar faces who had previously been constructive, if not progressive.

The most common refrain being posed to Australian representatives is: “What is going on down there?” Even a Bush-era US negotiator found Australia’s negotiating position extreme. Its opposition to a climate finance position paper prepared by other “climate fiscal conservatives” such as US, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada has dumbfounded participants.

Actually, what is going on is that Australia is simply taking its domestic sloganeering to the international stage, regardless of diplomatic sensitivities. As Prime Minister Tony Abbott told The Australian: “We are determined to say what we mean and do what we say, so we will never say one thing at an international conference and another thing at home.” He may be consistent, but he’s failing Diplomacy 101.

Abbott’s comments came as Australia made the unprecedented step of dissenting on the final communique at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, joining with Canada in refusing support for the UN-sponsored green climate fund, which he dubbed the “green capital fund”.

In Warsaw, observers are simply aghast. The refusal to back the green climate fund (which has a similar function to our Clean Energy Finance Corporation, or even Abbott’s proposed emission reduction fund, apart from the spooky words green, climate and clean energy) is seen as a threat to these talks, because the fund is a crucial piece of common ground between developed and developing countries.

“There is no intention for Australia to be in any way constructive or really participate in these talks,” said Wendel Trio, European director of the Climate Action Network.

Australia seemed to be deliberately working against any agreement. “I think it is evident at these talks. I wonder if Australia would be really interested in joining a legal treaty in 2015.” A big test in coming days will come as Australia responds to a draft text to move the negotiations towards the proposed UN Paris agreement on climate in 2015.

The draft UN text includes commitments for the green climate fund, and urges countries to “significantly lift” ambition before 2020 and move to the top of their target ranges. Australia’s Climate Change Authority came to the same conclusion, one dismissed by Abbott, and it is not yet clear that Australia will indicate its support for that range when it makes its speech to the conference on Thursday.

Trio was speaking after an analysts group known as GermanWatch released its annual climate performance index, which shows that Australia now sits, along with Canada, as the worst performing industrial country in the world. Both countries get a resounding fail, and are only saved from last spot by Iran, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia.

Australia’s position was already poor because of its high emissions levels and limp-wristed renewables policies, but the decision by the Abbott government to repeal the carbon tax and dismantle all climate and clean energy institutions and initiatives sent it down six places to number 57 of 61.

Yet this is taking place as researchers declared a “glimmer of hope” that global emissions could actually peak before 2020 — thanks mainly to the slowing down of emissions in developed countries, and decisive action taken by China to limit coal use.

The first three places in the index are declared vacant, because no country is acting strongly enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees C. Denmark ranks top, followed by the UK, Portugal and Sweden. Germany fell to 19th spot. China rose to 46th, just behind the US in 43rd.

The decision by Australia not to send a minister has frustrated negotiators, and the EU is bitterly angry about the decision to repeal the carbon price. Even the Chinese are nonplussed, having studied the Australian carbon price intensively before launching their own.

Australia, of course, is a coal nation — along with host nation Poland. (It should be noted that coal exports were not included in Australia’s ranking. Had they been, it may well fallen to last place). And coal is seeking to extend its influence by hosting a major summit at the Polish Ministry of Economy. The line being trotted out by the coal industry here is that ultra-efficient coal plants are a “low-emissions” solution.

But Dr Bert Metz, a former co-chair of the IPCC’s working group on climate change mitigation, said alternatives to fossil fuels are already available and affordable. UNFCCC executive director Christiana Figueres told the coal industry that it needed to “look past next quarter’s bottom line and see the next generation’s bottom line”. She told the World Coal Summit:

“The coal industry faces a business continuation risk that you cannot afford to ignore. Like any other industry, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your workforce and shareholders … And by now it is abundantly clear that further capital expenditures on coal can only go ahead if they are compatible with the 2 degree Celsius limit.”

She suggested that the industry should close all existing subcritical plants, implement carbon capture and storage on all new plants, even the most efficient, and leave most existing coal reserves in the ground. All suggestions that the industry shows not the least sign of wanting to adopt.

Houses and Holes

Comments

  1. Wrecking ball tactics? Meaning that we are actually aligning our talk with our actions, rather than saying one thing and doing another. Thus exposing the emperors of climate change conferences as having no clothes.

    How distasteful. What bad manners.

      • It’s a dramatic reversal from Australia’s previous position which has been held since the Howard years.

        Such wild swings in foreign policy leave an impression of unpredictability on the world stage.

        That doesn’t matter to most who really couldn’t give a shit what the world thinks of us, but it does make a difference when we go to sit down at negotiating tables for deals that are in the national interest.

      • “That doesn’t matter to most who really couldn’t give a shit what the world thinks of us…”

        An astute position, given the reality that the world does not think of us much at all.

        Far too much hubris in our pissant little island.

      • “Do you know what diplomacy is?”

        On reflection, this question merits (in context) a more detailed answer, although the overall conclusion is the same.

        Diplomacy in general is the art of persuading the naked emperor that he is wearing the finest garments money can buy, as exemplified in the folk story.

        In the case of climate policy, at least the following elements can be identified:

        Inculcating in the populations of western nations an existential sense of anxiety and guilt over climate change, while at the same time reassuring them that the paltry, overpriced initiatives fostered, encouraged, subsidised and implemented by their governments will actually solve the problem, rather than simply enriching the carpet-bagging rent seekers on the green energy bandwagon.

        Reassuring third world and emerging nations that global warming, or indeed any adverse climate change or weather event, is, always has been and always will be the fault of evil, filthy, greedy westerners.

        Giving emerging nations, and China in particular, a green light to do whatever they like as long as they keep producing cheap stuff for westerners to consume.

        Providing numerous jobs for useless bureaucrats and numerous junkets to desirable locations to keep them happy.

        Given I support none of these actions, I revert to my previous summary that diplomacy is mostly a load of crap.

      • No, I am not that Alex. Sorry to disappoint you by showing the world is a bit bigger than you thought.

      • I’ve contacted the guy who wrote that page and he confirms he was dealing with an Alex Heyworth. Is he lying?

      • Probably not, I am reluctant to impute such motives to anyone. But he is at best either mistaken or being taken for a ride by someone pretending to be me for who knows what obscure reason. I have never had a talk page. As I pointed out, my comments are there for the world to see, under my own (full) name.

      • So Alex.

        What’s your solution then?

        If its to do nothing, I guess that means you’re ignoring the fact that there is not a peak body on this planet that says AGW is crap.

        I’m expecting silence again.

        If it is silence – I’m still unable to comprehend how you rationalise your position.

        I’m human, I’m flawed – I take irrational positions at times – but I never do it deliberately.

      • I think if governments are really persuaded that climate change is the threat many of them say it is, they should embrace wholeheartedly the nuclear option.

        In this I am fully in agreement with activists such as James Hansen.

      • Alex,

        I agree, nuke may well be a good plan C. Especiallly the newer plants as planned in Cornwall. (I say plan C because an LCOE of $150/MWh would be an outrage in Oz – it’d be the equivalent of ~$100/t carbon). So on the basis of cost, nuke is irrelevant in Oz.

        But, on what rational basis have you decided that the 90% chance of a 2C rise is overcooked. Because, there is not a peak body that shares your position…. How is your view that the are all wrong and you are right, indeed rational?

        • On the basis that they do not yet seem to have convinced the governments of their own countries to take serious action on the issue. Either their governments think 2 degrees is unlikely, or, more probably, they think on balance it will be beneficial. As argued eg by Bjorn Lomborg. As far as I am concerned the Stern Report was long ago discredited by its ridiculous choice of discount rate and later analyses, such as by Richard Tol, are more balanced. His analysis also shows net benefits of warming up to a point.

          And I take issue with your characterisation of the probability of 2 degrees temperature rise. Where did you get that from? The latest IPCC report is ful l of the usual waffle words on probabilities.

          PS, the other reason I am in favour of nuclear power is simply that I think it is the only viable long term option. The sooner the world gets used to it the better. I don’t think the cost will be anywhere near as high as you are suggesting. You could check out some of the analysis at Professor Barry Brook’s brave new climate web site. Eg http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/04/22/ifr-fad-13/

          • Hey Alex,
            Bit slow here, got a business to run.. So, you probably won’t see this but just to let you know I try to only stick to quantifiable – peer reviewed evidence, from experts in their field. I’d never be so irrational as to draw a conclusion on science from opinion..
            Firstly the 2c/90%;
            http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/18/renewable-energy/charts-make-ipcc-easy-abc
            This is a distillation of the hopelessly communicated info from the IPCC. If we hold to 450 ppm – there’s a ~75% chance of 2C or higher – but as we are going to blow way past that (assume optimistically new policies) then greater than 2C rises to 95% – with the highest single probability being 3.5C…
            You can assume all this is wrong – but you won’t find a peak bod that agrees with you. You’re on the scientific fringe – which I’d argue is an irrational basis for policy making…
            On nuke. Barry is a good guy. I’ve met him he put me onto the idea of hormesus – but that’s a another story.. On the price – well that’s fact based on the contracted price of the recently approved Hinkley C – 92.5 squid/MWh.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station
            Don’t forget ol’ Barry is an academic – he’s never built a nuke PS…

    • When are you guys going to recognise the lunacy of your position? There is not a single peak science body on the planet that doubts AGW. If it’s conspiracy – Then please explain how the US< Russians, Germans and Saudis are all in there together.

      Or you can just do the usual and ignore this elephant in the room.

      What next are you going to do – stop immunizing your kids too – that's a conspiracy too, I hear….

      I bet none of you offer a reasoned response to this.

      And yes, the peak body's have notice the slowing in terrestrial warming and you guys haven't noticed the unequivocal ocean warming, or that slowings in terrestrial warming has occurred before and will occur again…

      But hey, why am I bothering you with obvious logic, when your mind is already set.

      • I bet none of you offer a reasoned response to this.

        .... .... crickets .... .....

        It would be soooo nice if the antiscience element just went away and posted their nonsense in the brain-dead conservative blogosphere where it belongs. 🙄

      • ” the unequivocal ocean warming”

        There are no useful data on it before argo (mostly done northern hemisphere, and not reliable either), and since argo we only see a cooling ( and even argo data is not too reliable either).Sea level increase has been going on for centuries at pretty much the same rate ( unless you use data adjusted with numbers pulled out of asses), not much to do with GW.

        no need to swallow everything with the hook 😉

      • Dam.

        The NOAA and IPCC disagree with you.

        But again – you cherry pick and misquote.

        Again DAM – tell me why there is still a peak body consensus – despite the apparent slowing. Or if the data did show ocean cooling – why do the Russians and the Saudis and the Germans all continue to say -There is a problem …

        So no response to my specific point.

        Cherry pick and misquote all you like – I’m not interested – it’s not responding to my challenge.

        and when your done deciding not to immunise your kids, get on a cardiology blog and start to question the finer points of stent inserstion and then go and have yourself a good ‘ol book burning.too ..

      • One’s position on the extent of future global warming is irrelevant to whether one sees the current circus as a valid response.

        Either you think there is no problem, in which case you think the whole process is a waste of time, or you think there is a very real problem, in which case the lack of real results so far suggests the whole process is a waste of time.

        So which is it?

      • R2m

        What I see is when we use a much more accurate and complete measurement ( since argo (2005-2007)) there is no more warming, and even when there is a bit of cooling you can read here how some try get rid of it to fit their “findings” ( http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page1.php “First, I identified some new Argo floats that were giving bad data; they were too cool compared to other sources of data during the time period. It wasn’t a large number of floats, but the data were bad enough, so that when I tossed them, most of the cooling went away.” LOL I m sure he did not do it to the float that were too warm 😉 )

      • Crickets….

        Whatevs Dam – you haven’t answered the question. You’ve left the elephant standing …

        I don’t suppose it’s occurred to you that the peak bodies position is actually supported by reason? that they’ve openly debated all the questions in papers and at conferences, for years and despite all that, they still hold the position they do. I guess you must think they are all stupid moronic ghouls. All of them. In all countries. regardless of their politics. Even the ones at at NASA. ALL stupid ghouls …

      • HR

        Every single one of their models which they base their “predictions” on have been badly wrong so far (especially the one with climate sensitivity LOL), why on earth would you still believe them ???

        They are not interested in global warming they openly advocated social engineering and wealth redistribution between countries ( i.e here the “green” fund).

        It s pretty sad you give them any credence, there not much science there.

      • Well, again I can only deny that that is me. I have never attempted to edit anything on Wikipedia. Wouldn’t know where to start.

        PS, I reject completely the characterisation of me as “anti-science”. I think there is too little notice taken of science in this world, not too much.

        PPS, neither am I an “activist”. More an interested observer and occasional commenter.

      • As I said, an occasional commenter. Feel free to google me and see what other comments I have made. At least I make them under my own name, unlike some.

        I don’t expect you to agree with me. I admit in many cases I am probably wrong.
        So what?

        You don’t need to see a denialist conspiracy under every rock, you know.

      • You seem to have a tremendous amount of time to comment here, at The Conversation, Judith Curry’s website, Watts Up With That website, wikipedia and numerous other venues about global warming.

        I hope it pays well, “Alex”.

      • I’m retired. My time is my own. I have bursts of commenting on this subject, sometimes I get bored with it and stick to economics, sometimes I get bored of the Internet altogether and take a break, read a few books. OK with you?

      • Alex, your dedication to commenting on this topic, every day on numerous websites, bespeaks more than a passing interest.

        I believe the going rate is 50c a comment, last I heard. Can you confirm please?

      • General Disarray

        That’s some dedication to commentary right there, Alex. I’m impressed by your work ethic.

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

    Thermal coal has no long term future. It is clinging on to the infrastructure built up around it.

    Slow but steady technological advancement will push it to the periphery until only the cheapest mines in the world can continue to operate.

    When push comes to shove with dangerous emissions levels, countries will adopt nuclear as a last resort.

    Until then solar continues its heroic push down on $/kw and around the world very talented people are working on energy storage solutions that don’t involve batteries and their limitations.

    My bet would be on Ultracaps winning the storage race, but flywheel storage and Power-to-Gas are dark horses waiting in the wings.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_to_gas

    • I don’t give a crap where my energy comes from, as long as the market determines how to produce it and not corrupt UN bureaucrats.

      • That’s a fair call Jono, but do you really think the market determines the price?

        I reckon there is plenty of subsidies and favouritism in Australia’s energy policy. Along with choking amounts of government regulation.

      • Do you really want Australia to be left out of negotiations on future energy supply and subsidy?

        Abbott’s playing hardball with nothing but a pair of 5’s.

      • Dam, we’re only the supply for as long as people use us – China is already mandating less Coal usage in their fuel mix. We should be very interested and involved in any discussions about moving away from fossil fuels – as it will directly effect our economy.

        Alternating between feigning ignorance and transparent attempts to stifle/delay discussions is just going to get us shut out of negotiations altogether.

      • Jason you do realize than in Chinese context, less coal means less INCREASE.

        there are no discussion or negotiation

        Yes I agree with you we would benefit tremendously from implementing a (almost) 100% renewable energy policy ( and we would export more) but doing so to reduce CO2 is utter BS, especially from a country that digs Carbon like mad.

    • They may be funding the summit to an extent, hoping for some sort of quid pro quo, but what did you expect? Did you really think these giant fossil fuel companies would ignore the coming guillotine?

  3. Excellent news. I think we are finally providing world leadership.

    Canada, Japan, Poland, all joining.

  4. No longer content with making us the ignorant white trash of Asia, Tony & Co. are taking us on a world tour!

  5. ”We are determined to say what we mean and do what we say, so we will never say one thing at an international conference and another thing at home.” He may be consistent ..

    No he isn’t. He’s told the Australian people he believes in climate change and that he’ll match the Labors target. Well he’s formally stated he won’t increase ERF funding if we don’t reach our target and now he’s placed Australia in the most internationally anti-climate position.

    He’s a class A BS artist.

    Laurie Oakes has gets what he deserves.

    This must be doing in the heads of the sane people in the Coalition.

      • Rudd would have been a different kind of disaster.

        I’m a sane, free market capitalist and Malcolm is my man.

        He needs to head for the back bench and hit the agitation button, now. This is more important than the NBN.

        And.. He might get somewhere – because only the barking right like Tony.

    • The line being trotted out by the coal industry here is that ultra-efficient coal plants are a “low-emissions” solution.

      The “low emission coal” fantasy — the last refuge of the scoundrel.

      And yes, Jevon’s Paradox means were it even possible, coal use would climb dramatically, negating any emission abatements.

      • Have to agree with you on that one, R2M. Great big load of crap.

        My position: if governments seriously want to address reducing fossil fuel use, large scale nuclear is (almost) the only game in town at the moment.

  6. Really. Who cares what a bunch of climate conference junkies think about Australia’s new and refreshingly frank approach?

    • 3d,

      What does a seemingly sane person like you make of the peak body consensus? Noting – that there is not a single one that doubts AGW and noting that the Saudis are in there with US,Germany and Russia.

      How does a sane person ignore the fact that according to the peak bodies, there is a 90% chance there is a significant problem?

      I hate to say it – but I’m expecting to be ignored. But I am genuinely interested to hear a reasoned position.

      BTW – I’m not sure how long the Chinese will tolerate our position … That’s more significant than a bunch of climate change junkies ….

      • My response to this is that the handful of leaders and committees at the top of the “peak bodies” you mention, are utterly unrepresentative of their memberships.

        Their memberships are getting tired of being misrepresented and are rebelling; hence the leaks of Draft IPCC Reports that give the game away that the Summary for Policy Makers is constructed almost out of whole cloth by a small cabal.

        Skeptics are now making hay out of quoting sections from the Report itself, contributed to by the actual thousands of scientists, against the hysteria of the alarmists and the fabricated, unrepresentative SPM.

        For example, here is James Delingpole in his latest column, quoting the IPCC Report itself:

        “…..Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin… In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low……”

        This is as an argument against all the hysteria from the BBC, the Guardian, and science bodies that should know better, following Typhoon Haiyan.

      • Phil,

        That’s a convenient answer. It seems highly improbable though, that not one handful of leaders in one single peak body has been convinvced to change their minds in the last 10 years. Why would that handful of leaders in Saudi or Emerati Academies hold on to a position that you think is so clearly moronic.

        Your convenient explanation might satisfy your mind – but most would find it a bit of a stretch.

        As for your quotes re-hurricanes. This clearly demonstrates that you are outside your area of expertise. Even id the models and correlations were perfect, statistically speaking, there are simply not enough hurrianes per annum and that the historical number has quite a high deviation to draw a conclusion over a 2o year period – you need 50-100 for that … as has been pointed out.

        You’ll have to cherry pick somthing else, but while you do, be sure that all the peak bodies have heard it all before and hold the positions they do, with reason.

  7. HRH I’m agnostic on the subject. There may be warming occurring, it is neither unprecedented nor alarming. If it is occurring it may or may not be caused by human action and co2. God knows deforestation may play a role. Or cosmic influence we don’t yet understand. Or it may reverse. Or take a pause…

    The science such as it is has not been rigorous and the modelling has been under inspiring at best. I await improvements in these areas – some predictive capacity supported by evidence and not speculative language like ‘possible’ ‘may’ ‘likely’ ‘suggests’ etc.

    I especially loathe the apocalyptic alarmist zealotry that infests so many involved in the debate. Exhibit A Revert2Mean 😉

    Frankly I’m pretty sanguine about the whole matter. She’ll be right mate, trust me.

    • Mate, you are so fucking far from agnostic on this subject. Revert2Mean may go a bit OTT but at least his views are his own. You sir are nothing but a shameless shill for the mining lobby.

      Please go away.

      • Are you sincere, or just parodying a typical hysterical alarmist?

        BTW I use “alarmist” as a polite term, just as “skeptic” is the polite term and “denier” is the impolite one that alarmists use of me.

        Want to know the impolite equivalent for “alarmist”?

    • 3d,

      The peak bods have looked at deforestation, cosmic rays, solar activity, checked the models, rechecked the models, quantified the unceratinty and they all agree there is a problem.

      They haven’t arrived at this conclusion without reason or flippantly. They have openly debated all the issues, they have assessed all the sceptic challenges.

      How is it rational then to dismiss their position? Are you about to stop imunising the one kid and 3 dogs too?

      If your waiting for more certainty, note that we will never be able to carry a double blind trial on a statistically significant number of earths. We’ve only got one. So infact, the normal experimental confirmation methods are not available to us, here.

      On the alarmism – do you not find the expected conequences of a 2C rise alarming? So you don’t find a return of last decades drought on a vitually permanet basis alarming?

      On the uncertainty – we’ll it’s not that uncertain. Considering that we probably won’t hold to 450 ppm – then there is a 90% chance of 2C or higher. That’s pretty certain. Yes, you can have your own opinion, but it’s not rational, given that you can’t point to a single peak body that agrees with you.
      And on the uncertatinty.

  8. Comment of the thread:

    Alex Heyworth November 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    “One’s position on the extent of future global warming is irrelevant to whether one sees the current circus as a valid response.

    Either you think there is no problem, in which case you think the whole process is a waste of time, or you think there is a very real problem, in which case the lack of real results so far suggests the whole process is a waste of time.

    So which is it?”

    This is exactly what I have been saying all along. The policies being enacted in the cause of CAGW mitigation are such mere tokenism that the people responsible, who apparently endorse the alarmist argument, are either too stupid to do the necessary sums, or they do not actually believe in it anyway and are just enacting policies they like anyway, or are cynically enacting policy to appease the media and the other alarmists who are too stupid to do the sums.

    • Watch the great botanist David Bellamy arguing that the contemporary policy responses are so inadequate and tokenist if the IPCC modelers figures are correct, that the promoters of the policies must not actually be sincere believers at all, but rather are political opportunists who like the policies for their own sake, not their actual effectiveness at mitigating CAGW.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuYEJTtbG94

      Yet how many of the thousands of scientists who allegedly believe in the full alarmist position expressed in IPCC press releases, are jumping up and down saying “we are doing far too little”?

      Probably about ten of them, I reckon. The same ones that the Wegman Report in 2007 called a “cabal” that had hijacked the newly formed IPCC right from the start.

      • Phil, I think you could exempt James Hansen from the accusation of being in the “cabal”.

        He seems to genuinely believe that climate change is a massive threat, so much so that he has now quit his job to focus on activism.

        And he is also fervently in favor of embracing the nuclear option as the only realistic response.

        Although I don’t agree with him on the certainty of climate change being an imminent threat, I think he is right on the money in advocating nuclear. In fact I think we should be embracing nuclear anyway, because I consider coal in particular a “dirty” fuel that probably has numerous health effects we don’t know about. Far worse effects than nuclear, on the evidence we already know about. Not to mention the many deaths caused by coal mining.

      • I think I see what you mean; you mean Hansen actually believes, while the other cabal members are possibly just opportunists with requisite political backgrounds?

      • That is certainly part of it. The other side is that Hansen has the sense to see the only real solution.

    • http://joannenova.com.au/2011/07/gillards-tax-on-carbon-pollution-the-facts/

      “Conclusion: Mitigation policies cheap enough to be affordable will be ineffective: policies costly enough to be effective will be unaffordable. It is unlikely that any policy to forestall global warming by regulating, reducing replacing, taxing or trading greenhouse-gas emissions will prove cost-effective solely on grounds of the welfare benefit foreseeable from global-warming mitigation. No such benefit is discernible.

      High abatement costs, and the negligible returns in warming forestalled, imply that focused adaptation to the consequences of such future warming as may occur will prove more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation. The opportunity cost of diverting trillions of dollars to mitigation is heavy. Therefore, the question arises whether mitigation should be attempted at all.”

      • Phil,

        you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Your sources are, without exception, politicised fringe hacks (Joanna Nova, really…). Just stick to urban planning. Not your forte either but at least it is your hobby and you need one.

        BTW still waiting on that ref regarding cost of roads vs public transport. I won’t hold my breath.

      • You need to check the thread, Jason old chap. I replied about 5 hours ago, which was about 5 hours after you asked the question.

        Ad hominem attacks are just disgraceful, especially given that the information contained in the article referenced is authoritative, and it is even more disgraceful that the mainstream media are not doing the investigative work. Hence alternative media has all the more relevance to the preservation of liberal democracy.

      • “Ad hominem attacks are just disgraceful, especially given that the information contained in the article referenced is authoritative, and it is even more disgraceful that the mainstream media are not doing the investigative work. Hence alternative media has all the more relevance to the preservation of liberal democracy.”

        Joanna quotes, verbatim, Monckton’s “paper”. Talk about beating the same dead horse. Two can tango Phil. Here is a rebuttal>

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-lesson-for-monckton-and-co.html

      • “Jo Nova, a biology BSc with ties to Shell, News Corp and the Heartland Institute (itself funded to the tune of millions by the fossil fuel industry).”

        And lets not forget another recipient of money from the Heartland Institute, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, which has one David Bellamy as a member. Phil’s quote cherry-picking bandwagon rolls along.

      • That’s not a rebuttal at all.

        To deal with some of the points; the “oceans are absorbing the heat increase” is NOT supported by the IPCC report, main body, with any certainty at all. That is cobbled-up, impressive-looking pseudo-science. It is thermodynamics bullshit to claim that a vast mass of cold water can be warmed by a small mass of warmer air and even worse bullshit to claim the greenhouse effect can do it. It is solar influence or nothing. Undersea geothermal might make a detectable difference but we don’t know much about that yet.

        They do not dispute Monckton’s calculations re the actual temperature increase averted by the carbon taxes. All they do is appeal to the authority of some economist who says carbon taxes are a good idea.

        The idea that “the costs of mitigation” are lower than the costs of adaption is based on a flaw of reason that a bus can be driven through. This flawed assumption is that “the costs of mitigation” have avoided 100% of the costs of inaction. They have NOT – they have avoided perhaps 5 percent of them. The CORRECT comparison, is “the costs of adaption” VERSUS “the costs of mitigation PLUS 95% of the costs of inaction”.

      • “They do not dispute Monckton’s calculations re the actual temperature increase averted by the carbon taxes. All they do is appeal to the authority of some economist who says carbon taxes are a good idea”

        No Phil, they caught him misquoting, like you have just done. This straight from the link I sent you:

        The sole peer-reviewed economics study which Monckton has referenced to support his argument was published by Richard Tol in 2009. Tol is one of the most conservative economists when it comes to estimating future economic damage from climate change. Nevertheless, this is what Tol said in the paper Monckton cited (emphasis added):

        “A government that uses the same 3 percent discount rate for climate change as for other decisions should levy a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of carbon (modal value) to $50/tC (mean value). A higher tax can be justified by an appeal to the high level of risk, especially of very negative outcomes, not captured in the standard estimates”

        Come on Phil, you can do better. BTW, I replied to your refs. No idea where you got your ratios (thin air I suppose) but apologies for not seeing your response in the feed.

      • Oh for Pete’s sake, no connections are allowed between concerned citizens and no sources of funds may be sought to counter monolithic, bureaucratic capture of public funding for allegedly objective research?

        I say thank goodness for a few well off people brave enough to toss amounts that represent 1% of the funding that the CAGW machine gets, mostly from taxpayers money, in the direction of defunded scientists and research programs and the honest investigative writers who are shunned by the MSM. They deserve some kind of medal.

        The assumption that bureaucrats are saints is one of the most damaging assumptions the public can make today. I have come to assume that the bureaucratic position on almost anything today is untrustworthy. Certainly on urban planning, transport planning and on science. I know others suggest the same about crime and justice; family policy; history; economics; and education.

        It is as simple as that the bureaucrats pay, job security, perks, promotions and departmental expansion trumps all other factors. Lee Kuan Yew set up the Singapore Civil Service on the basis that staff would serve 3 year tenures and then be back out into the real world. VERY WISE man. The pay is high for the 3 years and the positions sought after by the best people.

        I was encouraged to see a viral YouTube protest video recently of a sing-along that included a chorus of “Bugger the bankers, the politicians, and bugger the bureaucrats too…..” Perhaps people are waking up?

        Bill English and other key ministers in NZ are becoming strong skeptics of the bureaucracies they are heading. They have been trialing a few “localist” initiatives. Such as getting some local community heroes to end truancy completely in a busted-arse rural town; something a massive bureaucracy has never achieved and has never come up with a means of achieving.

        Another similar “localist” initiative has boosted local secondary school graduation exam pass rates to nearly 100% from below 30%. The only opponents to extending “localism” as a principle, are the big centralised bureaucracies themselves. I have a sneaking optimism that their time has come in NZ; people all over the political spectrum are declining to defend them.

      • Monckton takes Tol’s figures and the IPCC’s and calculates the actual temperature increase mitigated per unit of carbon tax cost.

        I see no rebuttal of this in anything you are saying or linking to.

      • “The assumption that bureaucrats are saints is one of the most damaging assumptions the public can make today. I have come to assume that the bureaucratic position on almost anything today is untrustworthy. Certainly on urban planning, transport planning and on science. I know others suggest the same about crime and justice; family policy; history; economics; and education.”

        Oh, I see now. You are a Southern Hemisphere Tea Partier. You are all for freedom (to do on to others but not viceversa) and small government (dispensing with what you don’t like yourself), and as long as ideas fit your preconceptions you endorse them.

        Alas you are free to have your own opinions but not your own facts. So please leave science alone, it is not yours to bend to your particular view of the world. And by science I mean the real ones not the social “sciences” you indulge in and quote profusely.

  9. The rock bottom problem is this. The vast majority of people will get very, very anxious to “know the truth” about the basis on which very severe policies that hurt them as much as “necessary” to save the planet going by the alarmist’s figures, are enacted. I believe that the reasonable man in the street would not be prepared for the sacrifices “necessary” on the basis of the “evidence as it stands”.

    And I even wonder just how much evidence it would take, for people to make the “necessary” sacrifices. This is why, whether CAGW is true or not, it will almost certainly come down to “courageous” non-democratic totalitarian political movements to actually impose the “necessary” sacrifices on unwilling majorities by force.

    I judge that the “great majorities” are indeed unwilling, because surely people who believe sufficiently already, to be “willing”, would already be making major radical lifestyle changes that would be noticeable to all of us? Such people exist, but are very few in number and are universally regarded as cranks.

    Tokenism is low-percentage carbon taxes and “smart growth”. Sincerity is hippie subsistence living in eco-villages, and “1 child or less” per couple, and abstinence from the use of modern hospital facilities to assist survival rates. Possibly some basic and cheap modern medicines might be justifiable but their carbon footprint should be calculated before we decide.

    In other words, pre-civilisation Aborigines had it about right, except they had too many children for an age where modern medicine is available. If you want to save the planet, I think there are some pretty traditional communities to be found in the outback that you can move into.

    • Phil, your position on this subject is so intellectually bankrupt it’s actually insulting you expect anyone to accept it.

      If there were a spectrum of “belief” about climate change and humanity’s part in it from 1-10, where 1 was a fundamental disagreement with the possibility of human activity influencing the climate, and a 10 was complete conviction that immediate and significant action would effectively doom us all, then…

      Most scientists sit around a 7.
      You are picking out the handful of people at 10, and saying since the people around 7 disagree with them, they’re really more like a 3-4 than a 7.

      There are very, very few scientists in the field who don’t agree that a) climate change is real and b) human activity has a significant influence on it.

      • Re: the constant denialist use of the word ‘belief’:

        “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” (Neil deGrasse Tyson)

    • I judge that the “great majorities” are indeed unwilling, because surely people who believe sufficiently already, to be “willing”, would already be making major radical lifestyle changes that would be noticeable to all of us? Such people exist, but are very few in number and are universally regarded as cranks.
      You could have (and I’m sure many people did) make the same argument about slavery, back in the day.

      I see no reason why we need to choose between your false dichotomy of consuming resources without concern or constraint and assuming magic will save us vs living like cavemen.

  10. It’s on MB blog entries about AGW that you see the Trojan Horse posters disgorge their troops and go on the attack, sometimes tag-teaming from one to the other against the 2 or 3 sane, pro-science posters.

    Management should have a think about it.

    Let’s say I am correct and that quite a few of the regular commentators here are paid shills for coal/gas/uranium miners. The evidence is clearly there: they become vociferous when the topic of AGW is raised, and they have all the latest denialist blogosphere talking points at the tips of their fingers. Coincidence? I think not.

    Of course, most of the time they can be found making what looks like the occasional thoughtful comment on housing or some such, which is exactly what you’d expect from cleverly concealed astroturf agents. ‘Blending in’ is their MO.

    A degree of heightened suspicion is sorely lacking here. Some of the moderators are more vexed by my flamboyant style than by the obvious (to me) infiltration of the site by corporate bots. Time to get a clue, chaps.