Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Three current articles below

"Prodos", global warming and the CIS

"Prodos" is a flamboyant Melbourne libertarian of Greek extraction who has done some good work in publicizing libertarian ideas but who is in my view a bit too sensationalist for me to take much notice of. For that reason, I don't think I have ever linked to any of his writings. On his occasional blog, however, he has recently put up an attack on Greg Lindsay, head of the Sydney-based "Centre for Independent Studies" claiming that Greg is a supporter of global warming. Greg is an old friend of mine and I was one of the first donors to CIS so when Gerry Jackson of Brookes News sent me a link to the Prodos article, I immediately emailed Greg expressing amazement that he had fallen for such humbug.

Greg emailed back noting that he has NEVER personally taken any position at all on global warming but referred me to a post on the subject by John Humphreys, which in turn links to his CIS monograph on the subject.

The work of CIS is to offer scholarly contributions to public policy debates from a free-market viewpoint and CIS publications often get respectful mentions in the press. And on this occasion, Humphreys took as a starting point the apparent intention of both major Australian political parties to implement global warming laws of some sort. From that point he set out to argue for the least harmful set of laws that could be adopted.

And that is what Prodos objects to. He thinks that CIS should just oppose all global warming laws and thus have no influence on what laws are adopted. I think Prodos's ego has run away with him. He thinks that his own approach is the only defensible one, whereas it is my view that you are more likely to defeat the enemy if you attack him from all sides. And the currently-proposed Warmist laws would certainly be a major enemy of Australia's prosperity. So I welcome the CIS approach and deplore the narrow-minded hostility of Prodos towards an organization that is much more influential than he is. And putting a picture of Greg Lindsay at the top of his post when Greg has never said a word in public about the subject is just plain dishonest.

Global Warming Pauses

By His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

The tide on climate change is starting to turn. The Australian government is becoming more cautious. It is rare to read a new book likely to make a huge difference to public opinion. Professor Ian Plimer's 500 page book with 2300 footnotes "Heaven and Earth. Global Warming: The Missing Science" is such a book. 30,000 copies were sold in its first month.

Plimer is not a climate change denier, because history shows the planet is dynamic and the climate is always changing, sometimes drastically. Ice Ages have come and gone and we don't know why. History has seen glaciers at the equator and at one time Scandinavia was under 5 kilometres of ice. Sea levels have been 130 metres lower than today. Some consolation comes from the fact that ice sheets predominated for only 20 per cent of the earth's history.

Plimer demonstrates that a considerable amount of scientific evidence has been produced to counter the still predominant view that human activity, especially through industry, has polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which will produce disastrous climate changes including a rise in temperature, a melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels.

Contrary evidence is already changing the debate. Australia, with its tiny economy, is no longer aiming to lead the world. The threat of massive job losses and increasing awareness of new evidence will provoke even greater caution in the future.

Originally we were warned about the "greenhouse effect"; then it was "global warming", followed in turn by "climate change". Now we talk about reducing the "carbon footprint". The light is dawning and 30 per cent of scientists are sceptics or deniers.

Non-scientists should not blindly follow expert opinion and this includes Plimer. To the extent we can, we should examine their evidence. While it is still early days in the debate, Plimer's critics have been heavy with the abuse and short on counter evidence.

We should also look back at history for more accurate information and ignore computer models of the long-term future. Climate models making claims for decades into the future cannot work, because we do not know enough about many factors which influence weather, such as the level of activity of the sun, the earth's orbit and wobbles, the level of cloud cover, volcanoes.

One basic claim of Plimer is that an increase of carbon dioxide does not cause temperature rises, but might follow such rises. What do we make of these facts? The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise, but the world's temperature has not risen since 1998. In Roman times and in the Medieval Warming (900 - 1300 A.D.) temperatures were higher than today by five and six degrees Celsius. No industries then! In different Ice Ages the earth's atmosphere contained five and ten times the amount of carbon dioxide today.

Evidence shows the wheels are falling from the climate catastrophe bandwagon.


New election needed to pass Warmist laws

VOTERS are closer to an early election after every federal political party yesterday manoeuvred to ensure the defeat of the emissions trading scheme. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull raised the stakes yesterday by proposing the Government defer the vote of its ETS legislation until after global climate change talks in December. But he failed to secure numbers in the Senate, which means the legislation will be brought on in June and defeated.

With the gun now half-cocked and the Bill set for defeat, the second and final trigger for a double dissolution will be sounded if the legislation is re-introduced within three months and voted down again. The election is due in November next year but can be held as late as April 2011. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Mr Turnbull and all the cross-benchers have lined up for a game of chicken, warning they would be willing to go to an early election if they cannot get what they want on climate change.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne, who wants the Bill defeated in exchange for greater mitigation, said the Government's policy stance was untenable and she was ready for an early election. "If the Coalition and the Independent Senators have a three-month delay or a six-month delay, it is dead as far as the Government is concerned . . . (and) let's bring it (an election) on," she said.

Mr Turnbull said he would give Mr Rudd a bi-partisan mandate to take to the meeting in Copenhagen so he could argue for targets of 5-25 per cent and urged him to wait for the advancing US legislation next year. But he said he would not vote for it in its current form. He also outlined a plan to set up a Government-authorised voluntary carbon market from January so business could start banking carbon credits.

Despite knowing the Bill is set for defeat, Mr Rudd has refused to delay it and accused Mr Turnbull of being at the mercy of climate change sceptics within his own party. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will not support the Coalition's ploy to delay the Bill and wants the vote in August or September, but he has no support. He also plans to defeat it in its current form. Family First's Steve Fielding, who does want the Bill delayed, will vote against the "dog of a policy" when it is introduced in the week beginning June 15.

At the heart of Mr Turnbull's position of trying to delay the Bill until after Copenhagen is his untenable position of trying to unite his party.


Apprehended illegals to get an immediate right to seek employment in Australia?

The Federal Opposition says a proposed overhaul of the bridging visa system would further soften Australia's border protection policies, sending the wrong message to people smugglers.

A Parliamentary inquiry says there need to be changes to how the system works, including offering applicants increased assistance to health care, legal services and accommodation.

The Greens say the changes do not go far enough, the Opposition's immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone says the recommendations would allow people into the community before they have had their identity and security status checked.

"That is just another message right now that I think is very unhelpful as the people smugglers literally get bigger and bigger boats, and become more and more active in what is a very dangerous and inhumane trade," she said. "The message says, 'Look, we're not even going to complete all of your identity checks before we pass you into Perth or Adelaide or some other community where you can work, where you'll be given unemployment benefits if you can't get a job, where we'll find you decent accommodation'."


Swine flu family slams treatment at Gold Coast hospital

A GOLD Coast family struck down by swine flu has slammed Queensland Health's handling of their plight as "Third World". Newlyweds Nik and Kiralea Campbell, who contracted the disease on the P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn during their wedding voyage, said the Gold Coast Hospital was "totally unprepared" for the 13 suspected swine flu patients who arrived on Monday night. "Dogs would have received better treatment," Mrs Campbell said last night from her Oxenford home where she and her family were under quarantine.

She hit out as it was revealed the number of swine flu cases in Australia doubled to 50 in just 24 hours.

The Campbells fell ill on the cruise the day after they were married in Vanuatu last week. They flew home to the Gold Coast on Monday after the Pacific Dawn docked in Sydney and were later taken by ambulance to hospital as the Pacific Dawn swine flu crisis deepened. Mr and Mrs Campbell, their sons Trae, 2, Jordan,15, and Josh, 16, and Mr Campbell's mother Gloria, 67, were put into a small room at the hospital with one bed and a chair.

"They were totally unprepared for us – we were given no blankets, no food or medication," Mrs Campbell said. "Our three sons had to lay on the floor. It was terrible, especially the way we were feeling. Queensland Health should have been far better prepared."

Mrs Campbell said they were "filthy" that P&O had allowed them and other passengers to leave the cruise ship. "We were tested for swine flu on board but no one stopped us leaving," she said. Mr Campbell feared his sons and mother also had swine flu but had to wait until today for results. His Gold Coast friend Stephen Till and three members of his family, had also tested positive for swine flu after also going on the cruise.

Queensland Health yesterday said the five who had tested positive for swine flu at Gold Coast Hospital were all passengers on Virgin flight DJ531 from Sydney to Coolangatta on Monday and advised other passengers on that flight to call 13Health (13 432584) for advice.


Youth allowance criteria face Senate review

THE Coalition and the Greens have teamed up to frustrate a budget measure pushed by federal Education Minister Julia Gillard to tighten the work criteria for the youth allowance, agreeing to press for changes and to establish a Senate committee investigation.

The Rudd Government has proposed doubling the number of hours students must work to prove they are financially independent of their parents and qualify for the youth allowance independent rate of support.

The Coalition is concerned because many rural students take a gap year before starting university to earn enough money to qualify for the independent rate. Greens education spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said her party would refer the budget changes to a Senate inquiry and move to amend the legislation in the Senate.

"The Education Minister's dismissive response shows how ill-thought-out and unfair this policy is, and that the minister is out of touch with the realities for these young people and their families," Senator Hanson-Young said.

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said MPs had been overwhelmed by concerned students and parents after the changes were announced. "Many young people in the regional areas have told us they will not be able to pursue further study, purely because they can not afford to do so," Mr Pyne said.

The Government argues the budget has boosted the parental income threshold from $32,800 to $42,559 next year, meaning 68,000 more students will qualify for support and another 35,000 will receive higher payments.

"This change will increase access to student income support, including for students from rural and regional areas," Ms Gillard said.


No comments: