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 slow death of a great democracy: carbon sunday

Everyone wants a free lunch, and some people even believe it exists. Julia Gillard is playing to that crowd, offering the impossible. Somehow, we will cool world temperatures while using some of the most expensive forms of energy we can find, and, wait for it, most Australians will become better off too. It’s money for nothing.

Why we didn’t do this years ago?

Quotes from wise men tell us that there is nothing new under the sun, and those who forget history are condemned…

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“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

Possibly, Alexander Tytler (circa late 1700′s)

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“Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage [...]

Gillard’s tax on “carbon pollution”: the facts

It’s 22 times as expensive to to something rather than nothing.

Gillard’s tax on “carbon pollution”: the facts

The PDF version for printing

If the Australian Government’s proposal to oblige 500 big “polluters” to engage in what the City of London calls “trading hot air” were to achieve its stated aim of cutting 5% of Australia’s CO2 emissions by 2020, and assuming HM Treasury’s 3.5% pure-rate-of-time-preference commercial discount rate for inter-temporal investment appraisals –

By 2020, CO2 in the air would be 411.987 parts per million by volume, compared with 412 ppmv if no action were taken. Global warming forestalled by 2020 would be 0.00007 C°: i.e. 1/14,000 C°. 0.00007 C° is 1/700 of the threshold below which modern instruments and methods cannot detect a global temperature change at all. At this rate, total cost of the carbon tax/trade policy will be not less than $127 billion between now and 2020, not counting gasoline and power price hikes. If all the world’s measures to cut greenhouse-gas emissions were as cost-ineffective as the Australian Government’s proposed policy, forestalling just 1 C° of global warming would cost the world $1.7 quadrillion. Forestalling all of the [...]

Galvanising against Gillard

Welcome to another day in the lost democracy. The place where an elected government thinks that cheating is the answer. What was Julia Gillard thinking? This turnaround is happening so fast. She announced the Carbon Tax only last Thursday, and already former members of her own party are discussing what genre of “lie” it qualifies as, or speculating over who will take over as PM, the polls are falling, and thousands of people are getting organized behind the scenes. Even one of the star team at the launch of the Tax has had to admit he’s not completely behind it.  Worse the opposition now has a clear cause to fight for (Repeal the tax!). Rallies are being planned in most capital cities, phones are running hot, new groups have sprung into action, posters and T-Shirts are being printed. O Joy and what not, “Galvanised” is the word. People I’ve never spoken to are emailing me about their plans.

Meanwhile the Greens are falling all over themselves to help the skeptics. Please, someone – organize more mass media  interviews with Bob Brown and Christine Milne where they tell people alternately that the Greens are behind the Big New Awful Tax, and [...]

Does the lie matter? Only if you think Democracy does.

Thank you Julia Gillard. Nothing could have put the fire back into the carbon debate like promising not to tax us during an election, then barely scraping in by the thinnest of “wins”* (with hang-nail support of two men in some of the most conservative seats in the country) and then doing what you said you wouldn’t.

This is much more than just a lie. Imagine if Gillard had announced the Carbon Tax as part of her election platform. How many voters would have changed their vote? It wouldn’t take many.  The two party preferred vote in Australia was split by only 0.12%.

Would the Labor Party have won?

Back in August 2010 Julia Gillard obviously thought the Australian people would not have wanted a carbon tax, or she would have run her campaign on it. Instead she thought we’d want an ineffectual climate committee and the certainty of knowing a carbon tax would not be imposed before another election.

Seven ALP seats were won with less than a 2% margin.

In Corangamite, a mere 769 voters who didn’t want a carbon tax could have changed the leadership of the nation.

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Garnaut: spend billions! Why? So they don’t say nasty things about us.

Photo: ABC

Gillard condemns us to the carbon tax plan (commencing 1 July 2012), and the future emissions trading plans (2015), setting Australia up to be the last dumb-patsy-standing as the rest of the world heads the other way and bails out of the carbon facade.

Australia must immediately pour billions into government coffers, and the man who can justify it all is Ross Garnaut.

For all the expense, the effort, and the pain, what reason did Garnaut put forward?

a/ It will reduce world temperatures. (No.)

b/ 20th century temperatures were perfect. (Says who?)

c/ Australia won’t be so “popular”. Correct answer!

That’s right, the prof of economics has studied it all, crunched the numbers, been paid a stack, and it boils down to “tut-tut-tut, nobody will like you if you don’t do what I say”. (Well, actually it is just foreign “intellectuals”that won’t like you — shucks!)

Garnaut the schoolyard prefect is telling us off. From The Australian:

“ Australia risks a backlash from the international community if it fails to make “proportionate” efforts to cut its carbon emissions.”

But wait, it gets worse, we might confuse them [...]

Gillards non-plan for the Climate

UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more sinister it seems. Gillard won’t put the policy on the table for all of us to debate, but she’ll get a quasi-mandate for an ETS by proxy. She’s playing both sides of the field. The Greens will assume the “citizens committee” will be convinced, they’ll be angry at the delay, but vote for the ALP anyway, the mainstream voter thinks they can  relax and worry about it later. The skeptics know that any committee can be whitewashed or biased, and Gillard has pretty much said an ETS is inevitable. Michael Cejnar in #7 is exactly right (read his comment).

What’s a politician to do to convince the masses? They’ve tried the panel of 2,500 so-called experts at the UN who spend five years writing 3,000 page reports. They’ve tried spending millions on advertising campaigns, prize winning documentaries, coloring in competitions in schools, and they’ve tried bullying, name-calling and endless rounds of repetition.

Now instead of convincing the masses, they’ll just “convince” 0.01%. Democracy be done with it.

By “moving forward”  to the Rudd summit of 2008 (or as Bolt points out, the Republican deliberative-poll farce of [...]