Thursday, November 02, 2023

'Utterly irrational': Abbott slams net zero plans

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has slammed the government’s plan for net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 as “not just utterly irrational but actually impossible”, in his most critical comments on climate policy since declaring climate change science was “absolute crap” in 2009.

Speaking at the launch of an Institute of Public Affairs report on Australian energy security, Mr Abbott predicted Australia would not meet any of the Albanese government’s legislative targets for renewable energy supply recently enshrined in legislation, for both scientific and political reasons.

“The climate cult will eventually be discredited, I just hope we don‘t have to endure energy catastrophe, before that happens,” he told an audience in Westminster, London on the sidelines of the inaugural Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference.

Launching a report by engineer and economist Stephen Wilson entitled Energy Security is National Security, Mr Abbott said Australian voters had and would continue to put their economic well-being ahead of demands to slash emissions in line with government plans to lift renewable energy to 82 per cent of national supply by 2030.

“The anthropogenic global warming thesis, at least in its more extreme forms, is both ahistorical and utterly implausible,” he said, arguing periods of significant climate change throughout history, including the Roman warm period and the Medieval Warm period followed by the Little Ice Age, had nothing to do with human activity.

Mr Abbott led the coalition to federal election victory in the 2013 on a promise to reverse Labor’s emissions trading scheme, which has not be reintroduced since.

The former Liberal party leader and prime minster until 2015 also decried how Australia exported large quantities of coal, gas and uranium, but was reluctant to use them for its own domestic energy needs.

“My country should be an energy superpower, not a green energy superpower, but an energy superpower,” he told the supportive audience, including senator Matthew Canavan.

Last year the government legislated to reduce Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, without recourse to nuclear power, including a reduction in emissions by 43 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, in line with internationally agreed plans.

Over 150 countries have committed to net zero by 2050, including almost all major economies and the majority of Australia’s trading partners, the government said in May, as it legislated to create a National Net Zero Authority to coordinate the shift to majority renewable power.

Mr Abbott said the infrastructure requirements to meet Labor’s 2030 targets were unrealistic, requiring “in the words of the incoming energy minister, the construction of 22,000 solar panels every day, and the erection of 14 large wind turbines every month for eight years, plus the construction of up to 10,000 kilometers of new transmission lines”.

The ARC conference featured speakers who similarly criticized the likelihood and desirability of moving towards net zero emissions by 2050, including from President Obama’s former undersecretary for science professor Steven Koonin, who denied there was a “climate emergency”.

“There is scant support for the notion of a climate catastrophe, climate emergency… we need to cancel the climate crisis,” he said.

“The notion of an emerging energy revolution is just an oxymoron if you try and push things too fast,” he added, warning governments not to repeat the mistakes of Germany, which has spent trillions of euros in its quest to shift to renewable energy without obvious success.


Toward a new totalitarianism

Kevin Donnelly

There’s no doubt cultural-Marxist-inspired Woke ideology is destroying the best parts of Western Civilisation. Rationality, truth, and a spiritual or even transcendent sense of life have been critiqued and undermined as a result of the long march through the institutions.

As to why this cultural amnesia has occurred look, no further than Augusto Del Noce’s The Crisis Of Modernity, in particular, the chapter titled, Toward a New Totalitarianism.

Del Noce is one of Europe’s most prescient and insightful philosophers and cultural critics who argues that after the end of the second world war it was no longer valid to define totalitarianism in terms of communism and fascism or left and right.

In their place, Del Noce refers to a ‘new, more dangerous, and more radical form of totalitarianism’ involving ‘an unbreakable unity of scientism, eroticism, and secularisation theology’. Del Noce sees this as a new totalitarianism that negates the past in favour of revolutionary change.

Whereas science is based on rationality and reason remains open to disputation, scientism is rigid and doctrinaire. Del Noce argues that scientism represents a totalitarian view of science; one that sees itself as the ‘only true form of knowledge’ where ‘every other type of knowledge – metaphysical or religious – expresses only subjective reactions’.

Illustrated by the way pharmaceutical companies, health experts, and public officials like America’s Anthony Fauci responded to the Covid pandemic by enforcing draconian and illiberal policies, scientism is all pervasive.

In addition to experimental and untrialled vaccines being forced on citizens with dire results, citizens’ freedoms and liberties were curtailed, unwarranted lockdowns enforced and, in Victoria, police acted more like East Germany’s Stasi instead of upholding individual rights and protecting the common good.

In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews (aka Dictator Dan) justified trashing Westminster parliamentary customs and traditions by referring to ‘the science’ that supposedly sits beyond criticism.

Illustrated by Wilhelm Reich’s The Sexual Revolution, where capitalist society, the church, and the monogamous family are condemned as enforcing a repressive morality that denies sexual freedom, Del Noce argues eroticism also represents a totalitarian threat.

Reich argues classical Marxism’s emphasis on the modes and means of production failed to recognise that equally as necessary for the revolution to succeed was to sexually liberate citizens. Del Noce argues Reich ‘replaced the categories of bourgeoisie and proletariat with those of the advocates of repressive morality’.

Such is the pervasive influence of eroticism Del Noce writes: ‘Today the average man, i.e., the normal man (meaning neither nostalgic nor neurotic) accepts without any moral reaction displays of sexuality that a few years ago were inconceivable’.

Modesty and restraint based on agreed morality and virtues have given way to a libertine culture where sexual freedom and liberation are paramount. In addition to Reich, Del Noce argues the cultural revolution of the late 60s and early 70s also contributed to the West’s descent into a Dionysian world of physical self-fulfilment and narcissistic pleasure.

Graphic pornography is available on the internet 24/7, marriage no longer is defined as involving a man and a women, and school students are taught gender and sexuality – instead of being God-given and a biological reality – are fluid and dynamic social constructs imposed by a heteronormative, capitalist society.

Along with scientism and eroticism, Del Noce identifies secularisation theology as another factor contributing to the West’s decline. Unlike what Cardinal Ratzinger terms ‘aggressive secularism’ (where advocates argue religion is a private affair and Christians are banished from the public square), secularisation theology sublimates traditional aspects of religious teaching.

In his preface to The Age of Secularization Del Noce refers to ‘people in progressive circles (who) were talking about adopting to mankind that has ‘come of ‘age’’. An example of what Del Noce describes as secularisation theology is compromising the concept of original sin and the fall of man, leading to a ‘theology without God’.

By attempting to become more worldly and failing to acknowledge what the American academic David Lyon describes as ‘the transcendent God of traditional religion’, secularisation theology compromises essential elements of Christianity in an attempt to accommodate itself to modernity.

Del Noce warns, ‘By going down this road, religious thought can only absorb the ideas that used to be the secularised version of itself and, ultimately, its own negation.’ While not mentioned by Del Noce, examples of secularisation theology include ordaining women as priests and blessing same-sex unions.

While much of Del Noce’s writings were published over 50 years ago, what he warned about has come to pass. The impact of scientism and the rise of the technological society has resulted in a world bereft of a transcendent and spiritual sense of the world.

Society is characterised by the incessant search for material fulfilment and wellness that, while offering temporary release, fails to assuage the primal need for a deeper and more lasting sense of meaning.

Del Noce, years before others announced the death of Europe, also foretold Europe’s demise given the impact of a technocratic, soulless totalitarinism where instead of family, community and religion, people’s allegiance would be to a new world order.

Long before the rise of the cultural-Marxist-inspired LGBTQ+ movement infected schools and universities, Del Noce also warned about a world where eroticism, pornography and radical gender and sexuality ideology prevail.


Anthony Albanese can’t spend his way out of trouble

Anthony Albanese has rightly identified spending restraint as a key feature of what should be the government’s response to the acute cost-of-living pressures now facing many Australians. His resolve on this will be tested as electoral anger builds.

Yet the Prime Minister has at least signalled that having delivered on Labor’s election commitments, the tap has been turned off for the meantime.

“Spraying money around in search of a headline, as our predecessors so often did, would make the problem of inflation worse not better,” Albanese says in his speech to The Australian’s economic and social outlook conference.

Albanese’s address is the first significant commentary on cost of living since the failure of the voice referendum. He talks of the long term over short-term fixes and putting Australia’s economy on a sustainable path.

He sees the government’s mission as one that shields the country from the worst of it without resorting to protectionism. The policy prescriptions for the future response are yet to come.

So far, it is a narrative built around the existing Labor agenda. Conflicting with this is the government’s industrial relations reform, which business argues will have an inflationary impact. At the same time, Jim Chalmers also warns of a failure of the energy transition without more government intervention.

The Treasurer says this, and a new industry policy approach are now a major focus of reform around the cabinet table.

But it is the productivity challenge and the decline in living standards that must remain central themes to Chalmers’ thinking.

Albanese has come under increasingly acute pressure to address the broader economic problem, both the short-term pain it is delivering through inflation as well as the longer-term agenda, having been accused of being distracted by the politics of the voice.

It’s a problem that is getting worse rather than better, with the likelihood that the central bank will begin a new cycle of rate rises next week.

The bureau of statistics on Wednesday proved the point that mortgage holders were copping the biggest hit in living standards in decades. They are about to get hit again.

At a time when households are struggling, the temptation for the government to spend its way out of the political problem would be significant. If only it were that easy. Albanese is right to say that the best thing the federal government can do is not add to the problem by leaning on the budget.

The test for Albanese is whether he can match the rhetoric with action. Nothing would be more economically irresponsible than to start throwing money around, as he himself has acknowledged. If that discipline is maintained, none of what the government can actually do will deliver short term electoral benefit.

The restraints that Chalmers needs to put on the government make the retail politics of the economy even more tricky for Albanese.


Law reform puts ACT teens ‘at mercy of crime groups’

What this is all about is excusing crime committed by young Aboriginals

The ACT has become the first jurisdiction in the nation to increase the minimum age of criminal ­responsibility to 14, igniting concerns that young teenagers could be “manipulated by adult offenders or serious organised crime syndicates”.

ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the shake-up in the nation’s capital was aimed at preventing young people from “ending up in the criminal justice system”.

The ACT legislative assembly passed the bill on Wednesday afternoon, with the Liberals unsuccessfully trying to limit the increase to 12 years of age to ensure any consequences could be carefully considered before taking further steps to lift the minimum age to 14 years.

Under the new regime, the minimum age of criminal responsibility will be lifted to 12 years before increasing to 14 years on July 1, 2025, with Mr Rattenbury saying the reform was aimed at “changing the trajectory for young people and improving the safety of our whole community”.

While Australian Federal Police Association president Alex Caruana said he accepted increasing the criminal age of responsibility in the ACT to 12 years of age, he flagged major concerns at the “automatic movement to the age of 14 in two years’ time”.

“The AFPA’s preference would have been to review and ­interrogate the data obtained before the move to 14 years of age to determine if that movement was required,” he said.

“We do have some concerns with young people aged between 12 and 14 committing serious ­offences … and not being held criminally responsible.”

He suggested that young children in Canberra would now be at greater risk of being used by organised crime groups to commit burglaries and other crimes.

“We also have concerns that 12 to 14-year-olds may be manipulated by adult offenders or serious organised crime syndicates for the purpose of committing criminal offences on behalf of the adult or syndicate,” he said. “These adults and crime syndicates will know that the young person can’t be charged or held criminally ­responsible.”

The increase to the minimum age of criminal responsibility came as the head of the ACT Australian Medical Association, Walter Abhayaratna, expressed concern over the proposed voluntary assisted dying regime for the nation’s capital which would allow patients to access assisted suicide without having a predicted time of death of 12 months or less. Professor Abhayaratna said: “I am very wary of losing the safeguard of a six or 12 months timeline in terms of the duration of the illness before end of life.

“I am very concerned that this makes decision making more difficult. It has been a safeguard in other states and I would have thought that our first implementation of voluntary assisted dying should have included that.” He said the introduction of ­assisted dying should not come at the expense of investment into “palliative care services which are there to ensure that patients who have debilitating conditions – which are often terminal conditions – have access to comfort care.”

However, Professor Abhayaratna said he supported the aspect of the legislation which allowed nurse practitioners with expertise in the field of terminal care management to become part of a “multidisciplinary team making assessments for suitable participants in the VAD program”.

“I think that is quite a reasonable approach,” he said.

Defending the increase to the minimum age of criminal responsibility, Mr Rattenbury said young people got themselves into “harmful situations” and that “they need support to address that behaviour”.

“What we want to make sure is that young people are not ending up in the criminal justice system, but rather that they are being delivered therapeutic supports (and) that their lives are on a different track,” he said.




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