Monday, June 27, 2011

Poll finds only 41 per cent of Australians think climate change is a serious problem

A LEADING climate change advocate maintains public sentiment for climate change action is improving despite a poll showing support has dropped to a record low.

According to the Lowy Institute poll, 75 per cent of Australians believe the federal government has done a poor job addressing climate change. Just 41 per cent think the issue is a serious and pressing problem, down five points from last year and 27 points since 2006. Australians are also much less willing to pay a price to tackle climate change, with 39 per cent not prepared to pay anything extra.

John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, a non-partisan and independent research organisation, said the polling was undertaken in April. "It's a worrying trend but not a surprising trend," Mr Connor said. "We've picked up at least a change in the momentum since we launched the Say Yes campaign."

Analysis of talkback radio by the institute showed an improvement in support for climate change action since February, Mr Connor said. "I'm not at all relaxed but I think we are seeing a turning point."

The polling had tracked the decline of the debate over the years into one that is now extremely partisan. "There was bipartisan support for action and the emissions trading scheme and an international legal agreement (in 2007)," Mr Connor said.


U.S. no help to Gillard and her carbon tax

JIM Sensenbrenner, the most senior Republican in the US House of Representatives, is a long-term friend of Australia but he has just delivered the most lethal external blow yet to the Gillard government's plans to introduce a carbon tax.

The Gillard government has gone to vast and expensive lengths to convince the people of what is essentially a fiction: that the rest of the world is taking action on greenhouse gas emissions commensurate with that which Australia would take if it introduced the biggest carbon tax in the world.

As all the legal international frameworks for carbon pricing agreements have collapsed, the Gillard government has had to resort to taking the vague aspirational ambitions of nations as if they were concrete, settled policy.

In the US case, the Obama administration failed to get a cap and trade system through Congress in 2009. The US Democratic Party then lost nearly 100 congressmen and senators in the next congressional election in 2010.

The Obama administration, having abandoned cap and trade, has made a general pledge to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its 2007 level by 17 per cent by 2020. No one believes that will happen, unless the US is going through such a catastrophic depression that emissions fall as a consequence of a collapsing economy. As Sensenbrenner told The Australian: "As the US economy comes back, emissions will rise."

Sensenbrenner has held a series of key congressional committee chairmanships and has been a central figure in the politics of climate change. He believes that any attempt to price carbon in the US is now dead.

The state-based initiatives for carbon pricing in the US are either collapsing or cover only a small section of the economy, with little impact. Sensenbrenner believes there is no prospect of carbon pricing coming back in the US.

In this critical judgment he is borne out by Democratic strategists who believe neither Barack Obama nor congressional Democrats will campaign for a cap and trade scheme at the next election next year. Dozens of pro-cap and trade Democrats lost their seats at the Republican slaughter of 2010.

This begs the question: if all the big resource-producing countries that compete with Australia are not going down a carbon tax route, and if the US and Canada are not going down a carbon price route, how can it be that a carbon price would not put all Australian industry at a significant competitive disadvantage?


Senior police are demanding prosecutors appeal the aquittal of Carnita Matthews

SENIOR police are demanding prosecutors relaunch legal action against the veiled Muslim woman cleared of lying about being attacked by an officer.

Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas told The Sunday Telegraph new material had emerged about the case over the past few days and a fresh appeal had to be mounted against the acquittal of Carnita Matthews.

"The NSW Police Force is obviously disappointed with the outcome of the appeal," Mr Kaldas said. "The force will examine the judge's reasons for his decision and has requested the Director of Public Prosecutions consider another appeal. "NSW Police will examine further information that has come to light in the media since the appeal judgment."

Ms Matthews was sentenced to six months' jail in November for falsely accusing a policeman of attempting to rip off her niqab during a random breath test conducted in June.

An appeal court last week quashed the conviction on the grounds there was no proof she was really the veiled woman who walked into a police station to make the complaint, a few days after the alleged incident.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, who has been at a conference in Europe, will meet Police Minister Mike Gallacher this week to discuss possible law changes that could give police the power to fingerprint veiled women, or insist upon removal of headgear including helmets or veils.


Australian scientists in snakebite ointment breakthrough

Rubbing snakebites with an ointment that slows the functioning of lymph glands could boost survival times by 50 per cent, according to new research by Australian scientists.

In experiments on humans and mice, researchers showed a class of compounds called nitric oxide donors delays the entry of toxins from potentially deadly snakebites into the blood stream.

Nitric oxide (NO), a molecule involved in regulation of blood pressure and the control of brain activity, has been shown to lower blood pressure in patients who suffer acute strokes.

The new finding is of more than academic interest: every year, 100,000 people worldwide die from snakebites, and another 400,000 must amputate limbs that have been injected with poison.

It has long been known that many snake venoms contain large molecules that transit the human body's lymphatic system before entering the bloodstream.

Separately, scientists have also established that nitric oxide slows down a pumping mechanism within the lymphatic system, a part of the body's immune system that carries a clear fluid - called lymph - toward the heart.

Dirk van Helden, a researcher at the University of Newcastle, put these two facts together to suggest a possible treatment for snakebites.

"We hypothesised that a nitric-oxide-releasing agent applied topically would slow lymphatic transit time and entry of the venom into the circulation, delaying onset of toxicity," he and his colleagues wrote in the study.

To test their theory, the researchers injected a venom-like substance into one foot of 15 volunteers, and measured the time it took for the toxin substitute to reach lymph nodes in the groin.

The experiment was later repeated, except this time the drug-laced ointment was spread around the puncture within one minute of the injection.

The transit time dropped from an average of 13 minutes to 54 minutes, four times slower. Further experiments using real toxins in rats yielded roughly the same results.

Finally, the researchers compared the survival time in rats injected with venom that were treated with the ointment against those that were not, and found the nitric oxide rats kept breathing 50 per cent longer.

"These results point to a new method of snakebite first aid that may also be useful for bites to the torso or head," the researchers concluded.

Currently, the most common treatment is to immobilise the patient and restrict blood flow as much as possible until medical assistance is available.



justmeint said...

Do your readers realise that the Gillard/Brown Government have pledged 10% of all monies raised with their new tax - to the United Nations 'Green Fund'?

The more they tax us the more money the UN will make...... and this is an unelected un democratic body, selling us a scam to make money....

Paul said...

"Analysis of talkback radio by the institute showed an improvement in support for climate change action since February, Mr Connor said."

Analysis of talkback radio?? This is obviously serious science.....not!