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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Turnbull, Hunt suggest carbon emissions trading could start mid 2016 (Thank Gore and Palmer for the open door)

Australians have voted against a carbon tax twice. Liberals threw out Turnbull over the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in 2009, yet here he is, barely leader for two weeks and already they are floating a timeframe for the introduction of emissions trading.

I did warn that the Turnbull agreement  with the Nationals to keep Tony Abbott’s climate policies means almost nothing. It’s easy for him to keep the “target” and shift towards an Emissions Trading scheme (ETS) and he and Greg Hunt are suggesting that already.

Indeed, some of the fine print Turnbull probably wanted was already written in Abbott’s plan. Thanks to Al Gore and Clive Palmer, the possibility of emissions trading was left in the Direct Action legislation.Why else would Gore fly out here to stand next to a coal miner? And what did he offer Clive in return we wonder? Suddenly, Palmer demanded an ETS for his vote, but finally settled for a clause saying an ETS should be “reviewed” if our main trading partners brought one in. So Turnbull can technically keep the Abbott “plan” but entirely break the spirit of it. The Nationals (and 54 pro-Turnbull Liberals) will look like fools if they have [...]

Turnbull is already saying climate policies are “not set in stone”. Beware the emissions trading scheme.

It’s only been a week, and already the door is open to the emissions trading monster.  The Nationals may have got Turnbull to agree in writing last Tuesday that he would not change the Abbott policies, but writing things on paper is not enough, apparently it needs to be carved in stone.

If the member for Goldman Sachs still wants the fake “free” market solution — the one he threw away his leadership for in 2009  — he can keep the current coalition plan but use foreign credits to meet the targets. The global carbon market is the $2 Trillion dollar scheme to enrich financial houses, crooks and bureaucrats. It’s a whole fiat currency, ready-to-corrupt. The vested interests in this are knocking at every door. They’d be mad not too. But what kind of world do we want to live in? We don’t have to reward the do-nothing unproductive sector and the corrupt.

A carbon tax is a pointless waste, and the worst kind of carbon tax is a global trading scheme.

If Australians don’t want to be sold out in Paris, they need to protest now. I suggest writing to The Nationals, Libs, Nick Xenophon and media outlets.

Six [...]

New PM in Australia — Malcolm Turnbull

Despite the resounding win a mere two years ago, and achieving his main promises, Abbott has been ousted in his first term. Politics is dirtier than ever.

He was elected with a big win, but lasted just two years in office. Gillard barely made a government, needing help from two turncoats, and her legacy legislation burnt her solemn promise –  yet she held office even longer than Abbott did.

The anti Abbott, Abbott, Abbott campaign in the media has been relentless and successful.

Turnbull has said he will stick with Australia’s carbon emissions cuts (26% by 2030) but this means nothing. Firstly, the target is obscenely high, and secondly, there are so many possible ways to waste more money and give up more sovereign rights in Paris. He can sell us out to the financial houses that want carbon trading, and waste additional billions on renewable energy.

Labor, Liberal, what’s the difference?

Joy. Great news for climate bloggers in Australia. : – (

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 [...]