Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Graham Readfearn is very shouty in his latest climate peroration
Graham lives in Australia and makes part of his living by writing articles in support of global warming. So he is not an impartial commentator. He is well-funded for his puerile efforts. But he has clearly run out of ideas. What he writes below is just a shouting match -- a stream of abuse. It's totally "ad hominem", which is the antithesis of science.
He mentions not a single climate statistic. No mention, for instance, that after all the El Nino excitement, the global temperature has returned to its 21st century plateau level. I guess that would be too awkward altogether.
All he was able to do in his article below was to summon up a host of boogeymen. You are just supposed to agree with him without any benefit of facts and rational argument. He comes across in his article as a would-be ecofascist Dr. Goebbels, a propagandist for hire. If he ever knew any science, he seems to have long since forgotten it
For well over a decade now, Australia’s climate policy has been battered, torn and held back by climate science denial and a broader antipathy towards environmentalism. The same interests and ideologies that have worked for decades to reach the current crescendo in the US have been doing the same thing here.
Neatly connecting Australia and the US is the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who earlier this week met with a who’s who of the climate science denial industry in Washington DC, including Ebell.
Think we’re immune to the Trump denialism? You haven’t been paying attention.
When Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal party leadership to Tony Abbott in 2009, it was Turnbull’s then refusal to back away from pricing greenhouse gas emissions that turned the party room against him. From that point onward, pricing carbon became a no-go zone for the Liberal party.
A chief architect of that leadership coup was the then South Australian senator Nick Minchin, who, a month earlier, told ABC’s Four Corners he didn’t accept that humans caused climate change. Rather, Minchin considered the issue a plot by the “extreme left” to “deindustrialise the world”.
After the ABC program aired, the journalist Sarah Ferguson said Turnbull had refused interview requests because he “didn’t want to face the sceptics”.
You might think Turnbull would have learned his lesson. But, from his latest meek surrender to the deniers in his party, it seems not. He still won’t take them on.
Earlier this month, the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, said a review of Australia’s climate change policy would include a look at an emissions trading scheme for the electricity sector – the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Australia.
Within 24 hours, Frydenberg backed down and, soon after, Turnbull said carbon pricing was not party policy and this would not be considered – even though all the expert advice tells him that it would be the cheapest way to cut emissions and would likely deliver billions of dollars in savings on power prices in coming years.
That capitulation was another example of Turnbull giving in to the deniers in the right of the party – in particular, another South Australian senator in the form of Cory Bernardi.
Bernardi, too, refuses to accept the mountains of evidence that burning fossil fuels is causing climate change.
The recently appointed chairman of the Coalition’s backbench environment committee is the Liberal MP Craig Kelly – another climate science denier.
Going further back, Abbott’s position on climate science was heavily influenced by the mining industry figure and geologist Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth – a tome packed with contradictory arguments, dodgy citations and errors too numerous to count (actually, celebrated mathematical physicist Dr Ian Enting did count them and found at least 126).
Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Roman Catholic, also took his lead from Plimer’s book.
And who can forget Abbott’s business adviser Maurice Newman and his claims that climate science is fraudulent and acting as cover for the UN to install a one-world government – the exact same position taken by Roberts and other fake freedom fighters.
Another Coalition MP seen as influential is the Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen.
Like Roberts and Bernardi before him, Christensen has attended US conferences of anti-climate science activists hosted by the Heartland Institute (that group has been heavily funded by the family foundation of Robert Mercer, the ultrarich conservative hedge fund manager whose millions helped get Trump elected and whose daughter Rebekah is a pivotal member of Trump’s transition team).
Just like the US, Australia too has its own “free market” conservative groups pushing climate science denial. Look no further than Melbourne’s Institute of Public Affairs (which only last year was called in to “balance” a climate science briefing to Kelly’s committee).
How about the media? Rupert Murdoch’s outlets the Wall Street Journal and Fox News help to push themes that climate scientists are frauds, that action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will wreck the economy and that renewable energy can’t keep the lights on.
The stable of flagship commentators working on Murdoch’s News Corp Australia, led by the likes of Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Chris Kenny and Terry McCrann, are all happy to repeat and embellish those same talking points.
On the radio, the US has popular conservatives such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh pushing climate science denial. In Australia, we have Alan Jones and his stable of shouty Macquarie Radio colleagues.
At this point, some will argue Australia and the rest of the world is investing heavily in renewables. The US, like Australia, is seeing strong growth in the renewable energy sector. That’s all true.
Also true is the progress made through the international agreements made in Paris, even though the climate pledges that make up the deal still fall well short of averting dangerous climate change.
But there’s little doubt that climate science denial is on the march, backed by a conspiracy culture that’s rapidly gaining audiences online.
Trump is climate science denial’s greatest propaganda victory so far. Australia is not immune.
Stop begging, Queensland
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had her begging bowl out at COAG last week, panhandling for billions from federal taxpayers to kickstart the Queensland economy.
Palaszczuk's pockets are empty because she ruled out asset sales at the last state election.
Queensland's LNP government wanted to raise $37 billion through the lease of assets to pay down $25 billion of state debt and finance roads, hospitals, schools and public transport. Instead, Palaszczuk promised to hold onto assets and cross her fingers that 32,000 new jobs would somehow materialise.
Unfortunately, employment growth has been dismal except in the public service, where 6,600 full-time equivalent staff were added in the last six months --, a further burden to state debt already projected to peak at $77 billion. That gives Queensland the dubious honour of the highest debt to GSP ratio in Australia, even after Treasurer Curtis Pitt dumped billions of dollars of debt on government-owned corporations and raided the state's superannuation funds.
Compare this with NSW, where the Baird government will raise more than $30 billion from the lease of its poles and wires. It is now debt free and investing the funds in its $20 billion Rebuilding NSW plan. WA's Liberal Government has also seen the light and is selling Western Power to generate $11 billion. Even Victoria's Labor government is leasing the Port of Melbourne to raise $9.7 billion.
Perhaps if Palaszczuk were not so busy discouraging investment by introducing legislation to ban 100 percent fly-in, fly-out mines, restore objection rights, create chain of environmental responsibility laws, and funding nearly a dozen green groups to oppose the Adani coal mine, the private sector could generate jobs without taxpayers being forced to put state spending on the national credit card. Luckily, despite the best efforts of activists, the $21 billion Carmichael mine should go ahead -- and Palaszczuk should stop begging.
The Queensland gravy train: Palaszczuk appoints 26 Labor people to plum public postings
One Nation national secretary Jim Savage has attacked the appointment of former politicians to plum taxpayer funded roles as Queensland Labor Party figures cash in on lucrative board jobs.
The Australian can reveal that since taking office last year, the Palaszczuk government has appointed at least 26 Labor Party figures and supporters to government-owned corporations, health boards and other bureaucratic appointments.
In addition, the minority government has appointed former Liberal National Party MPs as part of a long-held process, which Mr Savage said “pisses off” voters.
“I think (these appointments) piss people off. Especially when people are struggling, and ex-politicians, many of them on massive pensions, get handed taxpayer funded roles,” he said.
“These (fees) are more than what a lot of people earn. I don’t believe that just because you’re an ex-politician who retired or was kicked out precludes you from earning an income.
“But, what a coincidence, when you hear some of these people get appointed to these roles.”
Former Labor Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley pocketed $73,000 package as chairman of government owned corporation CS Energy. Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie (appointed to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation) and former senior ministers Terry Mackenroth (QSuper) and Steve Bredhauer (Trade and Investment Queensland) are expected to receive between $45,000 and $50,000.
Last week, former Labor ministers Mike Reynolds and Paul Lucas were appointed to the boards of Port of Townsville and Powerlink.
Former state ALP president and union boss Dick Williams was earlier this month appointed chairman of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, alongside former Public Works and Housing Minister Robert Schwarten, named as a director.
Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls, who as part of the Newman government was also accused of hiring party apparatchiks, said Ms Palaszczuk had “continually broken her election promise to make merit-based appointments”.
“Instead she has decided to appoint former Labor mates and union hacks to taxpayer-funded positions,” Mr Nicholls said.
“It is time Annastacia Palaszczuk put the interests of hard-working Queenslanders ahead of the interests of her own and that of her party.
“Queenslanders deserve better than a government that is only interested in appointing their Labor mates and union hacks to cushy and highly-paid positions.”
Mr Nicholls, who in response to the rise of One Nation has increased his visibility in regional battlegrounds, yesterday declared the major political parties needed to offer voters “real policies and actions that will make people’s lives better”.
A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk said the government selected members of committees and boards “based on merit and what contribution those appointments can make to the benefit of Queensland”.
“We want the best people working for Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk’s spokesman said.
“That is why we have appointed former National Party minister Vaughan Johnson as a Wild Dog Commissioner.
“He is doing a fantastic job in helping revive the sheep and wool industry by ensuring the government helps landholders protect flocks from the devastating threat of wild dogs.
“The government has also reappointed former Coalition government health ministers Mike Horan and Terry White to chair health and hospital service boards.”
In defence of major parties appointing former politicians, Ms Palaszczuk’s spokesman said “people should not be disqualified from making a contribution because they’ve served in cabinet”.
“Several of these appointments are former cabinet ministers — on both sides.
“These people have a proven track record of administration at the highest level on behalf of Queenslanders, including overseeing significant budgets,” the spokesman said.
Teach for Australia: Turnbull government provides new funding to extend controversial program
This is a clone of an American programme. The American version has had some success in getting bright university graduates into teaching
A program that parachutes "career changers" and high-achieving university graduates without teaching degrees into disadvantaged high schools will continue for at least another four years thanks to a funding boost from the Turnbull government.
The government will announce in Monday's mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) that it will spend $20.5 million to fund another two cohorts of the Teach for Australia program.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said there was growing evidence that the Teach For Australia program is making a ...
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said there was growing evidence that the Teach For Australia program is making a positive impact on and in schools. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Launched by the Gillard government in 2009, the highly competitive program provides non-teachers with 13 weeks of intensive training before they begin a two-year classroom placement at a regional or low-socio-economic school. While teaching, the participants work towards a master's of teaching degree.
The program has proved controversial since its inception with teachers' unions decrying it as an "expensive distraction" that undermines the teaching profession. Victoria, Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory have signed on to the program but NSW, the state with the country's biggest teaching workforce, has steadfastly refused to join.
The new funding, which runs until the 2020-21 financial year, will allow up to 300 more new teachers to participate in the program.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: "There is a growing body of evidence that the Teach For Australia program is making a positive impact on and in schools.
"The data shows that after two years in the classroom almost 90 per cent of principals considered TFA graduates to be more effective teachers than other graduate teachers with the same level of classroom experience."
Senator Birmingham said the program focuses on intensive mentoring, classroom observation and professional development – the key features of high-ranking schooling systems of Hong Kong, South Korea, Shanghai and Singapore.
Melodie Potts Rosevear, chief executive of Teach for Australia said: "This funding means we will be able to continue the program and get hundreds of excellent people into where they are needed most."
Teach for Australia received more than 1500 applications for just 130 positions in its most recent round of offers.
Ms Potts Rosevear said participants were evenly split between those who had recently finished university, young professionals and "career changers" who decided to become teachers late in life. Participants come from a wide range of backgrounds including aerospace engineering, atmospheric physics and zoology. There is a particular focus on graduates with science, engineering, technology and mathematics skills given Australia's poor performance in these areas in recent international studies.
Ms Potts Rosevear said 65 per cent of those who complete the program remained in classrooms as teachers in the long term.
She said she hoped NSW would join the program and that it would become truly national. NSW Board of Studies president Tom Alegounarias has said the state opposes the program because student interests should not be "compromised for the convenience of short-term packaged approaches".
The government has commissioned an evaluation of the program which is due to report next year.
A recent review by the Australian Council for Educational Research found Teach for Australia was "generally successful", had a high retention rate and that participant schools had been "very positive" about the calibre of the associates assigned to them. But it found the program was "very costly given the very small numbers of associates involved".
Victorian McDonald’s store closed during African brawl
A brawl involving up to 150 teenagers erupted outside a McDonald's outlet in western Melbourne, terrifying customers and staff.
At least four police cars with a helicopter rushed to the fast foot outlet in Tarneit at about 9.40pm on Sunday to break up the unruly gathering but no one was arrested.
It was just days after a group of at least 40 youths harassed staff and attacked customers last Thursday after damaging nearby cars.
This time there were no reports of injuries and only one broken window, but witnesses said food and broken glass was everywhere and the youths were shouting and threatening to fight each other.
Residents also spotted police helicopters circling the area well into the night and siad police used dogs to help them disperse the crowd.
Video posted on social media shows dozens of teenagers, who appeared to be of African descent, outside the McDonald's with some getting into physical confrontations.
Leigh Meddings, whose 15-year-old son works at the McDonald's, said the scene was mayhem when she arrived to pick him up.
'It was just disgusting, food left everywhere, staff were cleaning up broken glass. It was very intimidating walking through this group of people to pick my son up,' she told 3AW radio.
Police said on Monday they believed they knew who broke the McDonald's window and anticipated making one arrest.
'We understand the community is concerned about large gatherings that can cause unrest but their safety is our number one priority,' Commander Russell Barrett said.
'We will work with community leaders to find alternative activities for young people.'
It was just days after a group of at least 40 youths harassed staff and attacked customers last Thursday after damaging nearby cars
It was just days after a group of at least 40 youths harassed staff and attacked customers last Thursday after damaging nearby cars
Residents posting on social media said youths of African appearance were terrorising the neighbourhood and made them feel unsafe in their own homes.
'And guess what? Yet again, no arrests made. No arrests made when they break in to peoples homes also, 8 people at a time, why? Too young they say,' one wrote on Monday.
Others said the youths sped around the suburb in unregistered cars and banged on doors before running off.
'I’ve called the cops... but seriously, two of them in a van aren’t going to pull them over, they’re scared,' resident Ward Halket told the Herald Sun last week.
'It’s frustrating because I don’t feel safe walking 100m up the road whether it’s day or night when they’re around.'
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here