Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Have the Australian anti-deniers fallen at the first hurdle?

There is a new site here which rather grandly announces that it is going to put an end to "deniers" for once and for all.

The anti-deniers seem as usual to be heavily reliant on appeals to authority and offer a long list of academics who support Warmism. Most of them are not climate scientists or anything like it however so are irrelevant authorities.

And a lot of them are the usual suspects. I note that Hoagy is there for instance. Hoagy used to be very vocal about how warming was going to destroy Australia's huge and much-loved coral reef (the Great Barrier Reef). Since his own research showed that was not going to happen, however, he has been strangely quiet.

Then there is my old sparring partner, the greatly overpaid economist John Quiggin -- who is about as far-Left as economists get.

And the list of academics would amount to only about 1% of Australia's acdemics anyway so it is pretty poor even as an appeal to authority.

Nonetheless, the site has attracted a lot of comments, both pro and anti, and a lot of the comments are "answers" to one-another.

There is however one super-simple question (by someone I know) that everybody has at the time of writing avoided like the plague. It reads as follows:
Hey guys!

I gather that the global temperature has risen by less than one degree Celsius in the last 150 years

That sounds to me like we live in an era of exceptional climate stability

What am I missing?

Is no answer possible?

Carbon tax to hit the cost of the average shopping cart

CONSUMERS will be slugged with price rises on everyday items like milk, cheese, chocolate and pizza's as the carbon tax puts the squeeze on retailers and producers.

Even plane tickets and phone bills won't be spared when the Gillard government's greenhouse emissions scheme comes into effect as early as July 2012.

While Labor is preparing to compensate pensioners and low-income families, supermarket bosses are predicting across-the-board price rises.

Bega Cheese executive chairman Barry Irvin is also worried about the impact on the company's export business, including milk powder sales to Asia. "Anything that adds to our inability to compete is a challenge for us. The reality is that it's about our competitiveness in the international marketplace," he said.

Despite Canberra's spin that only the biggest polluters will face extra costs, the effect of a carbon tax will be felt on companies as diverse as the Uniting Church Property Trust, Nestle and Tabcorp.

Telstra, Optus and other telcos will also consider passing on higher energy costs to customers.

The Australian Coal Association claims that the carbon tax could force eight black coalmines to close, costing nearly 3000 jobs in regional NSW and more than 1100 jobs in Queensland in its first three years.

Murray Goulburn, with its 2700 dairy farmer shareholders claims it faces annual cost rises of up to $10,000 each. Robert Poole, head of industry and government affairs at Australia's biggest milk producer, said it was "highly likely" that dairy farm businesses will "still see significant additional costs from a carbon tax" due to higher costs of electricity, fertiliser and fuel.

And farmers will be forced to absorb this extra cost rather than pass it on to consumers, he said, "given that the price of dairy products is primarily set by international factors".

Coca-Cola Amatil group managing director Terry Davis is also worried about the impact of a carbon tax on local manufacturing. "Any costs associated with a carbon tax would be passed on (to consumers)," he said. "Our view is that a carbon tax is discriminatory because it advantages imported goods."

Based on a $26 a tonne carbon price, Wesfarmers - owner of Coles, Target and Kmart - faces extra annual costs of $134 million. This is based on calculating the direct costs of a carbon price, known as Scope 1 emissions, along with Scope 2 emissions, which measure the indirect costs of polluting based on energy consumption.

Woolworths' annual bill will rise by $73 million, while Qantas faces a yearly rise of $108 million. The company expects domestic ticket prices to increase by up to $4.

Retailer Harvey Norman is facing extra costs of $4.7 million, with boss Gerry Harvey saying his electricity bill will likely increase by 12.5 per cent under a carbon tax. Despite the government's offer of compensation for some consumers, Mr Harvey believes it "won't be a positive for retail. The majority of retail is in a pretty sorry state. If the mining boom disappears, we are in a bad way".

Chief executive of grocery wholesaler Metcash, Andrew Reitzer, also warned that struggling families would suffer, telling the ABC: "I think it's going to push prices up - the question is by how much. All I can tell you, the consumer's going to pay for it."


Call for ban on teens playing football

YOUNG footballers should not be allowed to tackle each other as teenagers to avoid brain damage and serious bone injuries, according to a leading sports medicine expert.

Sports Medicine Australia Professor Caroline Finch, a sports epidemiologist at Monash University, said rugby was a challenging collision sport and as such could produce serious harm. "The body gets an injury when it sustains a force that it can't withstand," Prof Finch said.

"Force equals mass times acceleration so if players are running fast and you get hit by a bigger player you are going to get more force transmitted to you and have a greater chance of injury," she said. "And that is when it becomes a problem when we have a lot of lightweight children playing with bigger kids."

Professor Finch said young people's brains were still developing. "If an injury occurs it could stop laying down important pathways," she said. "There is a fear that the cognitive development of younger people, their ability to learn, could be impaired from too many head impacts."

Other impacts on young bodies were also musculoskeletal because they were not fully developed and "excessive forces could easily break bones", she said.

Prof Finch said it was important to gradually introduce contact in sport particularly for those 16 and under. "The responsibility is also on the coach to take in all factors when making up a team," she said. "Rather than have a win at all costs approach they need to approach the game in a balanced way and care about the health and well being of their young players."

A new study by Sports Medicine Australia found the harder NRL rugby league players train, the more injuries they will sustain. "This study shows if you don't train at all you will sustain injury but if you train to much it can also lead to injury," she said.

These findings create a challenge for coaches, who need their players to train hard to improve game performance, while also minimising the risk of injury.


Australian women to join men on the front-line in Afghanistan by next year

This decision is driven by politics, not military concerns. It will cause great distractions and thus harm unit morale, and morale is a major factor in military performance. And military performance is a life or death matter

MALE Diggers have been told that female soldiers will be eligible to join them on the front-line in Afghanistan by next year.

The Army has pre-empted the government's final decision on allowing women into combat roles and this week began briefing infantry soldiers that they will be joined in battle in 2012 by women who can pass the physical and team tests.

In the past, females have been given extra time to complete the tests, but the new tests will be done on equal terms with the men.

Despite the rising death toll in Afghanistan, the top brass strongly supports the government's push to open all combat roles to women, but the troops themselves have mixed views.

One serving infantry soldier, who asked not to be named, told The Courier-Mail that the decision would result in anger among some troops.

"Some guys are open to the idea if women can prove they are capable (of deploying to the front-line) but others are dead against it,'' the digger said. "We use some pretty colourful language so will that change? Do we have to become more PC (politically correct)?''

Troops from the Townsville-based 1st Battalion received the blunt news yesterday morning during a briefing by the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). Soldiers who feel unable to adapt to the massive cultural change have been advised to find another job.

According to the troops, they were also told that physical strength and fitness requirements would be tightened for all genders, regardless of age, before the unisex door was finally opened.

The gender bar will continue to apply to the SAS and Commandos.

Brisbane-based troops have already received gender equity training in preparation for the government's announcement.

The army's most senior female officer, Reserve Major General Liz Cosson, welcomed the news and recalled that when she joined just 23 per cent of army jobs were open to women. However, she warned that Defence would need to properly prepare the force to integrate women into combat roles.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the minister would take a submission to Cabinet for a final decision within weeks. That will be a rubber stamp after he made it clear military opportunity for women, ``should be determined on the basis of physical and intellectual capacity, not gender''.

Outgoing defence chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said it was imperative that women were able to apply for all ADF jobs.


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