Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Australian Press Council Is A Hive Of Climate Zealots

By Prof. Ian Plimer, geologist

As a result of an activist campaign, the Australian Press Council took exception to my article in The Australian on November 22, 2019.

They claimed that my statement that there “are no carbon emissions. If there were, we could not see because most carbon is black. Such terms are deliberately misleading, as are many claims” was false.

Journalists in the Press Council should know basic English and the difference between an element (carbon) and a compound (carbon dioxide).

This is elementary schoolkid’s science. For the Press Council to claim that this is factually incorrect shows breathtaking ignorance.

There are eight forms (allotropes) of carbon, one of them (diamond) is not black which is why the word ‘most’ was used. I was showing that to call the odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is the food of life as ‘carbon emissions’ is Orwellian.

The Press Council objected to the use of ‘fraudulent’ in my statement about ‘fraudulent changing of weather records’.

It is clear that the council is not aware of the widely publicized fraudulent expunging of the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age by Michael Mann and failed court cases initiated by Mann. They are clearly not aware of the admission of fraud in the Climategate emails.

The Press Council wrote, “The Council considers that the statement concerning the Bureau of Meteorology fraudulently changing weather records is one of fact and implies an element of dishonesty or deception on its part.”

I made absolutely no reference whatsoever to the Bureau of Meteorology. I have been verballed. When can I expect an apology?

It was claimed that my statement, “unsubstantiated claims polar ice is melting,” was wrong. Polar ice concurrently melts, grows and moves and polar ice includes terrestrial ice and sea ice.

Changes in polar ice are due to a diversity of reasons and my point was that we only hear from activists who claim that polar ice is melting due to human-induced global warming.

We don’t hear that glaciers move due to recrystallization, that many glaciers are growing, or that there are more than 150 volcanoes and areas of hot rocks beneath the Antarctic ice.

The Press Council claimed that my statement “the ignoring of data that shows Pacific islands and the Maldives are growing rather than being inundated” was false.

There is a huge amount of scientific literature based on aerial photographs and satellite images showing that atolls are increasing in the area.

A ten-second Google search would have shown peer-reviewed publications supporting this statement. Why was this not done? Or maybe the Press Council has become yet another activist institution?

As soon as the words carbon footprint, emissions, pollution, and decarbonization, climate emergency, extreme weather, unprecedented and extinction are used, I know I am being conned by ignorant activists, populist scaremongering, politicians, and rent-seekers.

Pollution by plastics, sulfur and nitrogen gases, particulates, and chemicals occurs in developing countries. That’s real pollution. The major pollution in the West is the polluting of minds about the role of CO2.

There are no carbon emissions. If there were, we would not be able to see because most carbon is black. Such terms are deliberately misleading, as are many claims.

But then again, we should be used to this after the hysteria about the Great Barrier Reef. We’ve had reefs on Earth for 3,500 million years.

They came and went many times, thriving when water was warmer and there was an elevated CO2 content of the atmosphere. Reefs need CO2; it’s their basic food.

It has never been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming. Climate models have been around 30 years. They have all failed.

Balloon and satellite measurements show a disconnect from climate model predictions. We emit a trace atmospheric gas called carbon dioxide at a time in the planetary history of low atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Earth’s climate dances to rhythms every day, every season and on far larger lunar, oceanic, solar, orbital, galactic, and tectonic cycles.

Climate change is normal and continual. When cycles overlap, climate change can be rapid and large. Sporadic events such as supernovas and volcanic eruptions can also change the climate.

The main greenhouse gas is water vapor. It is the only gas in air that can evaporate, humidify, and condense into clouds that precipitate rain, hail, and snow. Earth is unevenly heated. Oceans hold most of the planet’s surface heat, not the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is plant food. It is neither a pollutant nor a toxin. Without carbon dioxide, all life on Earth would die.

Plants convert carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight during photosynthesis into sugars, cellulose, fruit, vegetables, and grains, which animal life uses as food. Marine organisms also take up and use carbon dioxide.

Plants need almost three times today’s carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere to thrive. For decades horticulturalists have pumped carbon dioxide into glasshouses to increase yields.

The fossil record shows that a thriving and diversification of plant and animal life occurred every time the atmosphere had a very high carbon dioxide content.

In the past, warming has never been a threat to life on Earth. Why should it be now? When there is a low atmospheric carbon dioxide content, especially during very cold times, life struggles.

For the last 500 million years, the atmospheric carbon dioxide content has been decreasing, and if we halved today’s atmospheric carbon dioxide content, all life would die.

This carbon dioxide has been removed into the oceans and is sequestered into coral, shells, limey sediments, and muds and on the land into coals, muds, soils, and vegetation.

In our lifetime, there has been no correlation between CO2 emissions and temperature. Geology shows us again there is no correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature.

Each of the six major past ice ages began when the atmospheric CO2 content was far higher than at present. The idea that a slight increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will lead to unstoppable global warming is demonstrably wrong.

In the past decade, China has increased its CO2 emissions by 53 percent, 12 times Australia’s total output of 1.3 percent of the global total. The grasslands, forests, farms, and continental shelves of Australia absorb far more carbon dioxide than we emit.

The attack on emissions of the gas of life is an irrational attack on industry, our modern way of life, freedoms, and prosperity. It has nothing to do with the environment.


We’d be unwise to outsource democracy to judges


Not long after I arrived in Australia some decade and a half ago, the quest for a national bill of rights became a hot topic. I am a longstanding opponent of these instruments, not least because they remove significant power from the elected representatives of the people and hand it over to a lawyerly caste of judges. My view was, and still is, that when you buy a bill of rights you are buying the views of a committee of unelected ex-lawyers who resolve their disputes by letting the numbers count. They get a say or vote, while we no longer do. Four judges beat three, no matter the quality of the respective judgments. So the size of the franchise is somewhat reduced on a good many issues once you go down this path.

By contrast, George Williams, who wrote on this page on Tuesday, has long been an ardent proponent of adopting a bill of rights. Indeed, he was a moving force in Victoria’s adoption of a statutory version of one. This is the model proponents now push because Australians have twice, and overwhelmingly, rejected the entrenched, constitutionalised version in two section 128 referendums asking that question.

Williams and I at one point did a series of debates here and there on whether to adopt a bill of rights. Luckily, from my point of view, even the Rudd-Gillard governments gave up on the idea, no doubt more due to Bob Carr’s ­opposition than mine or anyone else’s. But much like a zombie, the push for these anti-democratic, let’s-empower-the-elite instruments never dies.

On Tuesday, Williams adopted the pandemic as his backdrop or rationale for urging the enactment of one of these things. He noted, rightly, that Australian governments have “imposed extraordinary restrictions on our liberties”. He gave us all a potted history of their post-World War II explosion around the world. He noted that the enumerated rights are never absolute. (Put differently, the unelected judges will do the balancing and weighing, not the elected legislators.) He claimed that “the difficulty for Australia is that we lack a national framework for resolving the inevitable tensions between individual human rights and public interests” and pointed to “uncertainty about how far governments can go in restricting our liberties”. And then, the piece de resistance, he suggested that a bill of rights provides “a yardstick for answering” these pandemic-induced questions and that it is unfortunate that one doesn’t “have more of a role to play in Australia”.

I don’t buy it. First off, big democratic countries such as Canada, the US and Britain that have been seriously locked down by COVID-19 all have potent bills of rights. Indeed, Victoria, perhaps the world capital of locking down and imposing “the greatest interference with our personal liberty in history” (to quote Lord Sumption, the recently retired British judge), has one of these bills (and let’s be honest, Williams basically wrote it). Yet what have any of these instruments done, anywhere, to undo these liberty-­infringing laws? Nothing.

That fact shouldn’t surprise you. In times of massive emergency — the once-in-a-century situation — the unelected judges will defer. This happened when FDR rounded up the Japanese-Americans during World War II and the Supreme Court signed off on it. It will always happen when the stakes are huge and you live in a democracy. It’s all the other times when judges will get the last word.

As it happens, I am a huge critic of the coronavirus response that we’ve seen from Scott Morrison and other Australian governments — too heavy-handed, too focused on virus deaths while oblivious to deaths caused by the lockdowns, too insouciant about the looming economic damage and far too wilfully blind about how the young are getting almost none of the benefits (since those under 45 have little to no risk from this virus beyond that which the regular flu poses) but are paying a massively disproportionate share of the costs.

But this is a political failing. It is not for seven unelected judges to alter or undo. You may not trust elected politicians but they are accountable through the ballot box. Judges deciding big-ticket social policy issues are not. Full stop. Nor does a bill of rights provide any yardstick at all other than what past judges somewhere have said. That’s because the rights in a bill of rights are articulated in vague, amorphous terms (“the right to free speech” for example) that leaves all the limiting and considering of community interests to the unelected judges.

If there were ever something that suggested the need for a bill of rights, it is not the pandemic. We should be thankful that here in Australia the elected politicians will make the calls — and they will eventually be held accountable for them.


Fruit and vegetable prices set to soar by 60 percent as border closures shut out seasonal workers – as farmers call for subsidies to boost wages and lure the unemployed

Fruit and vegetable prices are set to soar by as much as 60 per cent as the coronavirus border closures lock out seasonal workers, leaving farms to either lift wages to attract local workers or leave the product unharvested. 

The workforce is usually made up of young people from Europe and South East Asia on working-holiday visas but that labour source has largely dried up as they cannot enter the country, and many who were already here have been forced to return home.

The working holiday visa program accounts for 80 per cent of the harvest labour workforce.

Domestic border closures and restrictions also mean the industry cannot use the itinerant workers who move between states from harvest to harvest, according to the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA).

'The reduction in workers we're seeing as a result of COVID-19, plus the issues we're finding trying to move workers across production locations is making it even more difficult for fruit and vegetable farmers to secure the workforce needed to continue to supply all Australians with fresh food,' AFPA chief executive Michael Rogers said.

A shortage of food due non-harvesting, or higher wage bills will result in higher prices, with Mr Rogers saying consumers should brace for spikes towards the end of the year, with November and December expected to be the most challenging.

AFPA has lobbied government to provide one-off $1,200 payments to lure the growing number of unemployed Australians in cities to move to farms for harvest work.

'Australians have always been encouraged to do this kind of work, but despite high unemployment we still see application rates from Australians for fruit and vegetable picking roles at 8 per cent or even lower,' Mr Rogers said.

There are currently only 70,000 harvest roles in Australia, with the usual number of backpackers sitting at 140,000.

On Tuesday it was announced that farm workers from Vanuatu will be brought into Australia to pick mangoes despite an ongoing travel ban on overseas arrivals. 

Up to 170 of the foreign labourers will be brought into the Northern Territory ahead of next month's harvest despite burgeoning levels of local unemployed, and more will follow if the trial is successful.

All people coming to the country will face two weeks in quarantine, while the NT chief health officer will have final approval on recruitment.

Faced with the prospect of lifting wages to attract local workers, the industry will instead be able to keep production costs low by importing temporary staff.

'The Northern Territory's mango producers in particular are facing a rough road ahead without the workers they rely on for their harvest,' Federal Agriculture minister David Littleproud said on Tuesday.

'That's going to come to a head when the mango harvest starts in earnest in September.'

Mr Rogers said he welcomed the announcement from Minister Littleproud and appreciated the commitment 'the government has shown to finding solutions to workforce challenges'.

'Trials like this are important so industry can work with government to find practical solutions to any labour shortages,' he said.

'It is important to understand that harvest roles in industry support regional economies, full-time ongoing employment of Australians but most importantly underpin access to fruit and vegetables for all Australians.'  


Ben Roberts-Smith: War hero’s lawyer admits personal relationship is ‘unwise’

A senior lawyer photographed holding hands and riding scooters with controversial former soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has spoken out about their friendship.

News Corp Australia published photos of Mr Roberts-Smith — who is awaiting the outcome of an inquiry into alleged war crimes — spending time with his lawyer Monica Allen including holding hands and riding scooters in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens.

Ms Allen’s boss Mark O’Brien from Mark O’Brien Legal said he had spoken to Ms Allen about the matter. “She and I agree that it was unwise to spend some time socially with him,” Mr O’Brien was quoted in The Age newspaper.

“The recent press is a distraction and the case against The Age and The SMH will continue to its conclusion.”

Mr O’Brien did not comment on the nature of the pair’s relationship, instead telling The Age it was “interesting that in 2020 people make assumptions about friendships between adults”.

News Corp Australia reported on Saturday how Mr Roberts-Smith, 41, Australia’s most decorated living soldier, now finds himself embroiled in multiple investigations and legal disputes.

On Australia Day in 2015, the controversial war hero gave a speech about his lifelong ambition to join the military. “Leave school, join the Army, and fight for my country. It was an uncomplicated, old-fashioned dream in lots of ways,’’ he said.

Five years on, that uncomplicated dream has become a complicated nightmare.

Mr Roberts-Smith’s marriage to Emma, the mother of his twin daughters, has imploded, and he is spending personal time with Ms Allen, who has been visiting him in his new apartment in Brisbane.

Ms Allen is part of the Sydney-based legal team representing Mr Roberts-Smith in his defamation case against the Nine media group over a series of articles about his time in Afghanistan.

He is the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation relating to war crimes alleged to have been committed in Afghanistan.

And he is a key figure in the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s “Afghanistan inquiry’’, which is due to report next month after a four-year investigation into allegations Australian Special Forces soldiers committed war crimes, including, as Federal Parliament was told, “unlawful killings’’ and “cruel treatment’’ of non-combatants.

Mr Roberts-Smith’s employer Seven West Media did not respond to questions asked of him. He has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing in Afghanistan.

Ms Allen, who works for Mark O’Brien Legal as a senior associate, did not respond to News Corp questions. Emma Roberts-Smith declined to comment.

The IGADF report, due to go to the Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell next month, is being nervously anticipated by the Canberra establishment, which is expecting bombshell findings into the actions of individual soldiers, and the culture within the SAS in the years leading up to 2016.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds warned the report would make for uncomfortable reading. “This will be one of the most significant events in the history of the Australian Defence Force,’’ one senior source said.

The controversy has been turbocharged by the inclusion among the persons of interest of Mr Roberts-Smith – war hero, holder of both the Victoria Cross and Medal for Gallantry, former Father of the Year and chairman of the National Australia Day Council, and Australia’s only bona fide celebrity soldier.

His patron is Perth billionaire Kerry Stokes, a generous benefactor to the SAS, who is also chairman of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and has “personally guaranteed’’ a controversial $500 million redevelopment of the memorial will not run over budget.

Mr Stokes owns Seven West Media where Mr Roberts-Smith works as Queensland’s general manager.

Late last month, Mr Roberts-Smith and Ms Allen were seen strolling Brisbane’s South Bank hand-in hand, and riding scooters through the Botanic Gardens.

They were seen at his Brisbane apartment on several consecutive days. Mr Roberts-Smith is understood to be living in Brisbane after moving out of the Sunshine Coast home he shared with his wife and daughters.

Documents tabled in the Federal Court show Ms Allen is taking legal instructions from Mr Roberts-Smith.

In an order handed down in May, presiding judge Justice Anthony Besanko refers to a sworn statement Ms Allen has made about the impact of Nine’s reporting on Mr Roberts-Smith.

“The applicant (Mr Roberts-Smith) relied on an affidavit of Ms Monica Helen Allen sworn on 20 April 2020 who is a solicitor at the firm acting for the applicant in each of the four proceedings,’’ Justice Besanko said.

“A number of (Nine’s) articles are produced by Ms Allen. She states that she is instructed that the ongoing impacts of the publication of the matters complained of on the applicant and his family have been considerably exacerbated by the respondents republishing the allegations every few months.’’

The judge notes that Ms Allen has stated that since the publication of the stories, Mr Roberts-Smith had suffered “severe insomnia,’’ had stopped receiving speaking engagements, and was not invited to any events on Anzac Day this year.

“Ms Allen is instructed that each morning the applicant feels anxious and has a sense of dread about what allegations will be made about him by the respondents,’’ Justice Besanko stated.

Mr Roberts-Smith joined the military immediately after leaving school at the age of 17, and had an extraordinarily privileged early life. “He’s West Australian royalty,’’ a fellow WA resident told News Corp.

His brother is Sam Roberts-Smith, a highly-awarded tenor with Opera Australia, who has performed around the world.

His father is Len Roberts-Smith QC, a retired WA Supreme Court and appeals court judge who was himself a Major-General in the Army Reserve. He was the Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the Australian Defence Force and the Commissioner of the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Ben and Sam Roberts-Smith attended prestigious Hale School, which, according to its website has “produced six Premiers, an Acting Prime Minister, numerous recipients of the Orders of Australia, 13 Rhodes Scholars and influential pioneers of the State’s pastoralist, forestry and iron ore industries.’’


 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

1 comment:

Paul said...

"The Australian Press Council Is A Hive Of Climate Zealots..."

The Long March through the Institutions has never ended.