JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Emissions Trading Scheme monster idea is back – but the conversation is booby-trapped with fake words

It’s a tax that’s “not a tax” and a “free market” that isn’t free.

Joy. An emission trading scheme (ETS) is on the agenda again in Australia. Here’s why the first priority is to clean up a crooked conversation. If we can just talk straight, the stupid will sort itself out.

The national debate is a straight faced parody — it could be a script from “Yes Minister”, except no one would believe it. Bill Shorten argues that the Labor Party can control the world’s weather with something that exactly fits the definition of a tax, yet he calls it a “free market” because apparently he has no idea what a free market really is. (What union rep would?) It’s like our opposition leader is a wannabe entrepreneur building a  Kmart that controls the clouds. Look out Batman, Billman is coming. When is a forced market a free market? When you want to be PM.

The vandals are at the gates of both English and economics, and we can’t even have a straight conversation. The Labor Party is in flat out denial of dictionary definitions — is that because they can’t read dictionaries, or because they don’t want an honest [...]

Labor wants to waste $100b to make Australian energy 50% renewable, more expensive, by 2030

The Coalition in Australia must be thrilled that Bill Shorten wants to make the next election about “climate change”. What a gift from Labor.

Just before the last election Labor had a plan to spend $60,000 dollars per person to try to change the weather by 2050. Labor lost nearly a quarter of their seats. Bill Shorten’s new election vision is to repeat the same mistakes. Like the G7 leaders, he wants symbolic and unachievable promises — only, unlike them, he’s making pie-in-the-sky, uncosted plans for 2030, not 2100. Five of the seven G7 nations are increasing their coal use. Get with the game Bill, other countries are winding schemes back and putting off the promises til long after most people alive today will be gone.

Shorten is pushing a dead dog. The sweet end of the wind and solar power deals have already been done and the numbers get uglier from here. As more and more of the grid is taken over by a massive erratic and unreliable supply, the marginal returns shrink, prices go up. The carbon “savings” falls. Full baseload back up must be maintained regardless, whirring away inefficiently on standby. The Labor Party are making [...]

The simple trick to solve the impasse in the climate debate — have one (Tell the Australian govt).

For the last twenty years, the IPCC and co. have spared no expense in inundating us with full gloss, swanky adverts and catchy bumper stickers. The Rudd government spent $13.9 million on one advertising campaign “Think Climate, Think Change”. Yet the number of skeptics is growing — fully 53% of Australians are skeptical. The debate is more polarised than ever, and the “deniers” are often blamed for slowing action. So resolving the impasse, the stalemate, ought be the highest priority for the planet, right? But more advertising won’t change the trend, the issue has been marketed to death. What hasn’t been tried is the old fashioned, hard but honest way to resolve an issue — real public debate.

Tony Abbott could be the most forward-thinking scientifically-advanced world leader. He could be the first to take the bull by the horns and really tackle the climate stalemate. He might break the impasse. For the planet’s sake, we can’t afford to wait. Right?

The Australian Federal Government is seeking public consultation 

What should the Greenhouse Gas Target be? The Federal Government is seeking your input for the UNFCCC meeting in Paris, COP 21 (see ABC news). The government also wants to know [...]

The invisible swinging environmental vote (20% of the population?)

There’s another more subtle message to politicians from the Gallop poll last week. The headline we discussed was that a whole quarter of the US are emphatic skeptics who don’t worry “at all” about climate change. But the other message is that if the politicans want to show they care about the environment, nearly every major environmental issue is more important to voters than “climate change”: 55% of the population worries about water pollution but only 32% feel the same level of concern for global warming.

On environmental concerns, climate change has the highest profile, but is consistently low ranking in the concern-stakes. People are much more worried about clean water, lakes and rivers, and air pollution rather than “climate change”. There is room here for either side of politics to step over the top of the supposedly greenest left wing parties and win voters by tackling real pollution rather than the fantasy kind. Any party that took serious action on rivers and water would earn environmental kudos and swinging votes. They wouldn’t win the die hard green vote, because those votes are not about the environment anyway. But true swingers shift between the major parties, and they are less [...]

Australian government finally gets slightly serious with CSIRO board

The Abbott government has at least grown enough backbone to not renew the Labor appointees Chairman to the CSIRO board, who have allowed scientific standards to decay so badly. It’s about time. As long as any director of CSIRO claims that “consensus” has any meaning in science, then the board is an unscientific failure.

UPDATE To clarify: There is no official policy to not reinstate people because they were appointed by Labor. But three directors/panelists say they have heard unofficially there is.  I think board members should be sacked if they don’t serve the public, not because of who appointed them. It would be a silly thing for a Minister to say. But in the case of the CSIRO, the Labor appointee appears to be a political assignment rather than a scientific one, and should have been replaced long ago. See my comment #1.1.1 for names and more details.

UPDATE #2: Bolt calls it an anti-Abbott rumour. “And a spokesman for Tony ­Abbott told The Weekend Australian there were more than 50 government agencies with boards where a person was appointed by Labor and reappointed by the current government… “

Not surprisingly, this has [...]

The leadership “challenge” in Australia

I’m calling for readers to send messages to their MPs. It does matter. The Coalition needs to hear from voters. It worked before, and it can work again. For foreign readers, yes, there are rumours of another leadership spill or challenge all over the Australian press.  See my comment #10.2 for background.

Malcolm Turnbull could’ve stayed leader in 2009 — all he had to do was agree to delay the emissions trading scheme until the rest of the world acted. But he fell on his sword for a pointless scheme which benefits few outside bankers, brokers and the renewables industry. And he has never said he would do anything differently.

We can’t get rid of a carbon market. Why risk it?

Malcolm Turnbull is the leader that the ABC wants for the party that most in the ABC won’t vote for. If you follow the ABC and Fairfax and feel despondent about our national debate, don’t give in to apathy. That’s exactly what the “consensus” crowd wants — your submissive acquiescence. The same people who tell us a carbon trading scheme is inevitable are the now ones calling the government dysfunctional, even though it achieved its three largest goals [...]

Leadership debacle in Australia — Tell the politicans what you think

UPDATE: Spill vote is now Monday, not Tuesday. Turnbull has not resigned, but announced he will challenge if the spill vote passes, and is mocking Abbott. — Bolt  Polls show Turnbull would deliver only a 6% bounce in the honeymoon. Not even enough to win a snap election.

UPDATE#2: The spill vote defeated 61:39. Abbott stays on as PM, but will have to do something differently, or he has only bought time until the next one.

Firey emails are crossing my desk today of people vowing to quit the Liberal party.

Malcolm Turnbull lost his leadership in 2009 because he wanted an emissions trading scheme. But that extraordinary wave may get reversed. Australia may still end up with an emissions trading scheme which will send billions in brokers fees to bankers, won’t change the climate, and will be almost impossible to unwind. It’s not about free markets, it’s about fake ones. What’s worse than a carbon tax? A carbon market.

In 2009, a week after ClimateGate, and two weeks before Copenhagen, the furious outcry from Coalition party supporters and skeptics turned the Liberal party upside down. The skeptic message has spread since then. In 2014, even [...]

Leadership spill thread. It’s on, it’s off… who will be the PM next week?

The thread for discussing “the spill motion”. Will we get a new PM next week?

The attempted spill of the Australian PM is on.

Some skeptical MPs and commentators have been aggressively and publicly attacking Australian PM Tony Abbott, yet he’s has been one of the most skeptical PMs in the Western World. The climate debate is heating up again with Paris on this year. Seriously — is any alternative better?

Potential candidates include Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison. According to Dennis Shanahan both Turnbull and Morrison have said they will not challenge. The WA MP rebels (both skeptics) are apparently angling for Julie Bishop, a fellow West Australian.

Malcolm Turnbull is Australia’s version of David Cameron. Will Turnbull, ex Goldman Sachs, former opposition leader who died on the sword of an emissions trading scheme, be our PM next week? If Turnbull did run and win, the only bright point is it will be the best thing for those hoping to set up the equivalent of the UKIP in Australia. It could be the trigger for the conservatives to split from the Labor-lite Liberals. The passion against Turnbull runs deep.

The Nationals have vowed that Turnbull would have to [...]

Maurice Newman: conservatives outsmarted — they apologise where they should demand apologies

A wake up call from Maurice Newman. The gravy train of bigger and bigger government is grinding to its inevitable halt, and Greece is the destination the Western Express is headed for. Those who promised that big-government could solve everything have bought votes, while using schools and universities to train a generation to hate free market competition. Young people were raised to blame the system and demand the handout, rather than take responsibility. The soft-west has gone too far left. The weak right has rolled over and tries to be a mini-left, settling for being the team B of “progressivism”. Newman’s best line is that the conservatives apologize where they should demand apologies. So true.

To illustrate dismal standards in science and the media, Newman cites joannenova.com.au (thanks Maurice), and thousands more Australians find out a small part of the scandalous failure of academia (specifically, Lewandowsky at UWA) and the ABC. The stories he refers too are: “Lewandowsky peer reviewed study includes someone 32,757 years old” and the “ABC got it wrong, BOM not concerned with Australian public being misinformed“. Ken Stewart at Kenskingdom deserves credit for catching out the ABC and BOM. Readers, when you want to throw your shoe [...]

Australia tithes $200 million to Green Blob. Time to stand up to the bullies and out-Green them instead.

Pander to the crocodile. Danegeld. The Australian government has offered $200 million for the UN Green Climate Fund. It’s more advertising money for the Green Blob, guaranteed to fund nice jobs that depend on the belief that man-made climate change is real, dangerous and can be solved by the UN. The cluster of dedicated climate-changing lobbyists will grow (slightly) and Australia’s foreign aid budget will shrink. In the end, it won’t make any difference to the global climate, but it will increase the number of press releases pushing the meme, and demanding more money from the public. Shame.

When Green bullies use outrage to push for money, the answer is not to pay them off, but to out-Green them and expose the hypocrisy.

Imagine if the Abbott government stood up to the so-called environmentalists and said: “We’re doing something real to help the poor and the environment — we’re funding programs direct to make sure the funds go where they are needed most. Large conglomerate centralized groups are inefficient, they tend to feed bureaucracy and junkets. We are going to be the first nation to fund an independent science program. For the sake of the environment we going to audit [...]