Australia Burns

by Clive Hamilton, Alex Doherty

As Australia suffered a record breaking heatwave, David Jones of the Australian Bureau of Meterology remarked that ‘‘Clearly, the climate system is responding to the background warming trend. Everything that happens in the climate system now is taking place on a planet which is a degree hotter than it used to be.’’ As Australia continued to burn NLP's Alex Doherty spoke with Australian philosopher and climate change activist Clive Hamilton.

What is the state of the climate change debate in Australia at present? Does Julia Gillard's public linking of the bush fires to climate change indicate a shift in that debate? What about Australian media - do you detect any shift in climate change coverage and the way in which related events are reported?

The Prime Minister's linking of the bushfires to climate change was a significant event, because it makes it much harder to backtrack politically. Astonishingly, the Australian (the Murdoch broadsheet) continues its campaign of climate science denial in the midst of our worst heatwave with a major piece on the weekend built around the claim that the British Met Office had "quietly" downgraded its forecast warming. It was a dishonest and disgraceful beat-up. Nevertheless, the deniers are having a harder time of it. Importantly, the ABC seems to have made a decision to give climate change its proper weight, with a series of programs scheduled to consider the science behind the extreme events we have experienced. For years the ABC pandered to denialism, reflecting the appointment of conservatives to a number of senior positions by the Howard Government. The previous chair of the board was an out-and-out denier and pressured editors and journalists to provide "balance". When Chistopher Monckton visited a couple of years ago his demented views received massive exposure across the ABC mostly without challenge, even on the serious current affairs programs. The Loopy Lord has since been back at the behest of Gina Rinehart, the right-wing mining magnate slated to become the world's wealthiest person. Rinehart has been trying to wrest control of the Fairfax press (publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age in Melbourne), the only print competition to Murdoch. She has said she wants to influence their editorial line, including promoting climate denial. Monckton is due back in Australia soon and will be feted by deniers around the country. In Canberra he will be the special guest at the launch of a new political party, Rise Up Australia, formed by a Christian fanatic known as Pastor Danny Nalliah of Catch the Fire Ministry. Nalliah is notorious for attributing the Victorian bushfires, which killed 173 people, to God's wrath, vengeance for the abortions carried out in that state. Nalliah believes witches have cursed the Australian parliament and took 100 supporters to Canberra to drive out the Devil. Monckton's endorsement of this lunacy cannot help the denial movement in Australia.

What is your opinion of the carbon pricing system introduced by the government last year? How would you characterize the government's climate and energy policies in general?

The carbon price has now been in effect for seven months and will shift to an emissions trading system in 2015. It was part of a package of Clean Energy legislation the Labor Government negotiated with the Greens, who hold the balance of power in the Senate. Other elements of the package include the Renewable Energy Target, which requires that at least 20 per cent of the country's electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2020, and a $10 billion finance facility to promote low and zero-emission energy. No-one who understands the science believes that the present policies are adequate to the enormous task of transforming the energy economy with the alacrity necessary to limit warming to a tolerable level (assuming the rest of the world were to respond in a similar way). But, for all of their inadequacies, the carbon and complementary policies are a start in a difficult political environment, one in which rising electricity prices (due mainly to over-investment in poles and wires) are the source of public angst. The conservative opposition, led by Tony Abbott, a climate denier, mounted an inflammatory and untruthful campaign against the "carbon tax". It seems more likely than not that the conservatives will win government later this year and immediately unwind many of the measures now in place to cut or limit the growth of Australia's emissions. I should say that as part of its Clean Energy package the parliament established the Climate Change Authority. Modeled closely on the UK's Committee on Climate Change, it is the principal advisory body to the federal government on climate change policy. I was appointed a member of the Authority.

What is your view of the Australian climate change movement at present? Could you outline the strategies and tactics you think the movement ought to adopt given the increasing threat.

For some years parts of the environment movement in Australia have been seeking campaigning methods that would allow it to "cut through" and reach a public that has been resistant to absorbing the message of climate science. Others have stuck to parliamentary politics in the hope that politicians will go where the public will not. Most environmentalists now recognize that climate change jeopardizes all of the victories won in the past. It has become something of a sport, played by those that might be called free-market environmentalists, to blame the environment movement for the lack of action on climate change (Mark Lynas in the UK and Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus in the US come to mind), and even to hold them responsible for climate change itself. This is grossly unfair, but music to the ears of the fossil fuel lobby. In an interesting development, an anti-coal activist caused a sensation here last week with an innovative tactic. He sent out a media release purporting to come form a major bank announcing it was withdrawing a loan to a company planning a major new coal mine. The company's share price fell sharply and trading was halted until the hoax was exposed. The reaction from the Big End of Town, the investment community, the press and some politicians verged on the hysterical, although the Greens leader, Christine Milne, courageously back him. Enormous pressure is being applied to the regulator to make an example of the activist, a young man named Jonathan Moylan. The penalties for making false statements designed to influence the stock market are severe, up to $495,000 and 10 years in jail. A number of grass-roots groups have sprung up in recent years, in part due to dissatisfaction with the established environment organizations, some of which have become institutionalized. The anti-coal campaign is dispersed but its members seem young, determined and not afraid to engage in some well-targeted civil disobedience. Australia's spy agency, ASIO, is monitoring the activists closely, probably tapping their phones and infiltrating their organizations. State governments have been introducing draconian laws to "protect" polluting energy infrastructure. An unlikely alliance has emerged in some regions, especially in New South Wales and Queensland, between environmentalists and traditionally hostile farmers to oppose the rapid spread of huge new coal mines on rich agricultural land and coal seam gas reserves being accessed by fracking.

Clive Hamilton is Charles Sturt Professor of Public Ethics, based at the Australian National University. He is the author of 'Requiem For A Species' – an extract from the book can be read here. His new book on geoengineering, 'Earthmasters', will be published next month.

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First published: 15 January, 2013

Category: Environment

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22 Comments on "Australia Burns"

By lapogus, on 15 January 2013 - 23:03 |

I find it ironic and sad that a Professor of Ethics has to resort to personal attacks on sceptics like Christopher Monckton, who merely questions the activist-sponsored IPCC science of CO2 induced anthropogenic climate change (which is still a thesis at best - despite David Jones’ contention, heat waves are nothing new in Australia and are certainly not evidence of AGW).  Are Professor Lindzen or Dr Spencer or many other eminent scientists who also dare to question the very unsettled science of climate sensitivity also to be classed as a loony demented deniers?   

The world has not been warming for 16 years now, and none of the IPCC or UK Met Office climate models predicted or projected this hiatus.  Are we not allowed to question the value and accuracy of these models and the dubious ASSUMPTIONS (e.g. that water vapour is a positive feedback) that they are predicated on?      Is scientific questioning to be proscribed? 

By Alex Doherty, on 16 January 2013 - 05:32 |

“the argument that a slowdown in temperature rise in recent years shows global warming has “stopped” certainly isn’t new - and has been extensively picked apart, discussed, rebutted and critiqued many, many times online. Here, for your amusement, are a selection of responses…”

http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/01/all-the-reasons-why-global-warming-hasnt-stopped

By lapogus, on 16 January 2013 - 08:26 |

Alex, even Phil Jones of CRU/UEA agreed in a BBC interview a couple of years ago that there has been no statistically significant warming for 15 years.  And I would suggest that this period is long enough to demonstrate that the IPCC’s climate models were / are fundamentally flawed, just as Prof. Lindzen and others have been suggesting for many years now. 

http://s9.postimage.org/ktkpeaurz/IPCC_Pic_1.png
http://s9.postimage.org/bztsx77tb/IPCC_Pic_2.png
https://twitter.com/BigJoeBastardi/status/289514330087641088/photo/1

Clive Best’s analysis of the UK Met Office’s attempts to salvage their reputation (interesting that they now describe their previous model as ‘experimental’): http://clivebest.com/?p=4500

It is also worth looking at Dr Norman Page’s summary of where we are for some climate warming/cooling context: http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/global-cooling-climate-and-weather.html

By Robin Guenier, on 17 January 2013 - 12:26 |

This post epitomises for me one of the worst features of the climate debate: why are many supporters of the dangerous AGW hypothesis so unpleasant about those with whom they disagree? Thus Clive Hamilton refers constantly to “deniers”. It’s a nasty word anyway, but why use it when, so far as I can see, most people who question the hypothesis do so because of a sincerely held view that it’s not properly verified? 
My point is nicely illustrated by Hamilton’s extraordinary attack on Christopher Monckton. I find Monckton pompous and irritating and, despite the praise he gets from many sceptics, I doubt if he is an asset to their cause. Nonetheless, he is very knowledgeable about the issues involved and (if you ignore his pomposity) makes his case cogently. Therefore, to describe him as “demented” and a “Loopy Lord” is plainly ridiculous. 

Such lack of courtesy and apparent disinclination to try to understand a different perspective is not something I would expect from a Professor of Public Ethics – especially one who has been appointed to the Australian government’s principal advisory body on climate change policy. Surely a modicum of objectivity is a requirement for such an appointment? 

It’s an attitude that discredits those who adopt it. And it’s unfortunate that Alex didn’t challenge Hamilton about it.  

By Alex Doherty, on 17 January 2013 - 17:20 |

“it’s unfortunate that Alex didn’t challenge Hamilton about it.”  

The reason I did not put the climate “sceptic” position to Professor Hamilton, or challenge his description of those who hold those views, was for the same reason that I would feel disinclined to introduce a question regarding the 9/11 truth movement’s claims about the attacks on the twin towers and the pentagon if I were interviewing a knowledgeable commentator regarding Al Qaeda. The scientific consensus overwhelmingly supports the case for anthropogenic climate change. Until the so-called sceptics are able to meaningfully make a case to the contrary it remains unclear to me why NLP should be a platform for such views.

I invite readers to investigate the work of Christopher Monkton and decide for themselves how knowledgeable and cogent a commentator on these issues he is.

By Geoff Chambers, on 17 January 2013 - 20:06 |

The “denier” name is so well established that I see little point in combatting it. “Quaker”, “Tory”, Whig” all started as insults - let’s just accept it. 
What can’t be accepted is the factual accusation that we deny the existence or possibility of anthropogenic climate change. I accept it, Steve McIntyre accepts it, Anthony Watts accepts it, Andrew Montford of Bishop Hill accepts it.  Alex Doherty is simply wrong in asserting that that is what separates us. He must find out what we believe if he wants to disagree with us; then he must state why we are wrong. 
I’m quite happy to prefix an article of faith based on the IPCC position to every comment, if that will satisfy the NLP editors, along the lines of: 
“I believe in global warming, and that anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are in part its cause, so help me Gaia.”
Then we can get down to discussing why Kyoto, CO2 reduction, and current energy policies in the Western world are insane and suicidal.

By Alex Doherty, on 17 January 2013 - 21:33 |

I was responding to Robin’s comment - in which he refers to “the dangerous AGW hypothesis” and claims that Christopher Monckton has something useful to say.. 

By lapogus, on 17 January 2013 - 22:12 |

Alex, you defend your intrinsic bias by another slur, and strawman.  Since this is on topic perhaps you could read this recent letter to Editor of The Australian:

=======================================================
“A pattern of extreme weather should not be confused with climate change.

The recent heat wave across much of Central Australia and its occasional extension east and south is a pattern of extreme weather. Climate is the recurring patterns of weather that inure us to such extremes. The climate of Alice Springs is exemplified by 1887, the previously hottest January with an average maximum of 40.7oC. The extreme, nearly 5oC above the long term January average, was made possible by a spell of 11 days over 40oC, a brief respite then another 10 days over 40oC.

Climate change, of course, is a persisting significant departure from the experienced pattern of weather. The current pattern of extreme weather is not outside the envelope of experience that describes Central Australian climate.

William Kininmonth

William Kininmonth headed Australia‘s National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology from 1986 to 1998.
=================================================================
Source:  http://joannenova.com.au/2013/01/william-kininmonth-is-it-extreme-weather-or-climate-change/

Consensus is for politics, not science.  Not real science anyway.  You must have heard the story of the Nazis getting 100 scientists to write a letter criticising Einstein for his Theory of Relativity, which the Nazi authorities found rather unsettling to their world of order.  Einstein’s reply?  “You didn’t need 100 of you to write the letter - It would only take one scientist to prove me wrong”.

As I said, Consensus is for politics, not science.  CAGW is a thesis, and is is up to the alarmists to prove that anthropogenic CO2 emissions can have a measurable and deleterious impact on global climate.  Despite 30 years and about $80 billion spent on climate change research (and how much clean water could have that much dosh provided in the developing world?) there is no evidence what-so-ever that increasing atmospheric content of CO2 from 300 parts per million to 390 parts per million had a measurable impact on global average temperature; it hasn’t in the last 15-16 years anyway, despite the extra emissions from Asia.  The models have overestimated the climate sensitivity by a long way to say the least.  Which is why we are now seeing all these anecdotal assertions that droughts, heat waves, floods and cold spells are more extreme and more frequent than they were in the past. But humans have short memories, and people don’t look up history books now they have the internet, which doesn’t index the pre-digital world well if at all.  For Gaia’s sake please take some time to look at some British climate history - e.g. 1750-1799 - http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1750_1799.htm -  and you will see that nothing we have experienced in the last 30 years in the British Isles is in any way unusual or unprecedented.  I am trying to help you here Alex. You are making a fool of yourself, that said you can console yourself that you are far from being the only journalist who has fallen for the green groupthink and spin: http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

Oh, and enjoy the Holocene while it lasts:  http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/lappi/gisp-last-10000-new.png


 

By Robin Guenier, on 18 January 2013 - 09:31 |

Alex:

Geoff is probably right about “denier”. A pity: labelling opponents with pejorative terms (“denier”, “alarmist”) indicates that minds are closed and debate effectively over. But that doesn’t excuse the use of insults such as “demented” and “loopy” – as I said, that reflects an attitude discrediting those who use it. I wasn’t remotely suggesting that you should have put the sceptic position (assuming you understood it – see Geoff’s comment) to Professor Hamilton, merely that it was unfortunate you didn’t challenge him on his use of silly insults.

I referred to “dangerous AGW” to distinguish it from “AGW”. As Geoff says, most sceptics accept the AGW hypothesis – i.e. that the world has been warming over recent years and that mankind has contributed to that. Most however question the dangerous AGW hypothesis – i.e. (a) that mankind was the principal contributor to warming and (b) that, if that continues, (largely via GHG emission) the result will be dangerous (possibly catastrophic) for the environment. Perhaps I should have used the more common “CAGW”. 

You mention consensus. As lapogus has indicated, science is based not on consensus but on empirical evidence. But, insofar as there is a scientific consensus supporting the AGW hypothesis (and I’m unaware of any evidence for one), as I’ve said, most sceptics would accept it.

By Robin Guenier, on 18 January 2013 - 10:07 |

Back on topic, I think this says it all about the central Australian climate.

By Geoff Chambers, on 18 January 2013 - 14:05 |

Alex Doherty said (17 January 2013 - 17:20) says:“The scientific consensus overwhelmingly supports the case for anthropogenic climate change.”
which nobody contests.
As Robin and lapogus have made clear, most sceptics are arguing about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). If it’s not anthropogenic, there’s nothing we can do about it, and if it’s not (at least potentially) catastrophic, there’s nothing to worry about.
For every single drought, heatwave, flood and hurricane which has been put forward recently as evidence of climate change, more extreme examples can be found in the historical record. Droughts are reasons for building better reservoirs; storm surges are reasons for building better flood barriers. No weather that has happened or will happen, or might happen,  can ever be a reason to reduce CO2 emissions, unless it can be shown that CO2 emissions are causing dangerous global warming. Current warming, on whatever data or timespan it is measured, is slow, and decelerating. If it ever looks like getting dangerous, let’s do something. But it’s not, so let’s not.
Now; can we talk about spending those billions on eliminating poverty?

By Paul Matthews, on 18 January 2013 - 14:52 |

“All comments are moderated, and should be respectful of other voices in the discussion”

It appears that this rule does not apply to the original blog posts - Clive Hamilton has a free rein to express “his demented views”. 

By Robin Guenier, on 18 January 2013 - 15:46 |

Alex:

Yesterday you invited readers “to investigate the work of Christopher Monkton and decide for themselves how knowledgeable and cogent a commentator on these issues he is.” Now, for the reasons I stated above, I wouldn’t normally go out of my way to read his stuff. But, in view of your invitation, I decided to do so this time. And I found this recent article.

Now it’s my turn to issue an invitation: keeping an open mind, read the article and let me know where you think he displays a lack of knowledge or cogency. Note: I’m not concerned here with whether or not you accept his views or conclusions. For example, I don’t much like his reference to profiteering – just as I don’t much like claims elsewhere that sceptics are organised and funded by “Big Oil”. 

Incidentally, in view of your belief that “so-called sceptics” reject the case for anthropogenic climate change, here’s an interesting extract:

“Notwithstanding a couple of decades of stasis in global warming, one should not assume that global warming has altogether ceased. The greenhouse effect is real, and our enhancement of it by enriching the atmosphere with CO2 can be expected to cause some warming in the long run.”

A further suggestion: send the article to Professor Hamilton and ask him if, on the basis of this evidence, he stands by his “demented” and “loopy” epithets. That would be real journalism.

By geronimo, on 18 January 2013 - 21:35 |

It’s best to go to the IPCC for information on climate science isn’t it? So I did, and this is what they said:

” … In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing
with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the
long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

3rd IPCC report, Section 14.2 “The Climate System”, page 774.

So WTF are you arguing with denialists about?

By Ian, on 18 January 2013 - 21:36 |

Good interview Alex.  If I were you I’d moderate the comments a bit more.  Most comments to NewLeftProject articles are thoughtful, and don’t seek to shout down the author with discredited arguments that already have more publicity than they deserve, as Clive Hamilton’s comments on the Australian press attest.

By JamieSW, on 18 January 2013 - 22:51 |

geronimo: that’s pretty selective quoting.

By Alex Cull, on 18 January 2013 - 22:55 |

Hopefully not too OT but one thing I’ve noticed amongst quite a few commentators from the “act now on CO2” part of the spectrum is a tendency towards reducing the debate to almost a binary model, rather like a light switch or logic gate. 

One position is held by those who “accept the science of climate change” and with that comes (like corollaries, almost) traits such as concern for the environment and tenets such as the overriding need to decarbonise the world’s economies, and so forth. The other position is “doesn’t accept the science” and with that comes its own set of traits, which are - by definition! -  negative, such as being “anti-science”, selfish, short-sighted, in denial, insane and so forth. It’s sometimes presented as an either/or proposition, just as a light switch must be either on or off, with no intermediate states.

A quote from geneticist Steve Jones, I think, demonstrates this way of thinking (this is from an ABC Science Show transcript from 2011):

“I think there is an overwhelming consensus among scientists that climate change is happening. There a slightly less but still overwhelming consensus that it’s due to human activities. There is a large body of people, literally thousands of whom have commented on my report who don’t believe that because they want to believe it. That becomes just a boring argument. Whether you want to believe it or not is neither here nor there, it’s of no interest to anybody, it’s either true or it isn’t, and I honestly don’t understand the logic of the climate change deniers. Because, let’s accept that it’s happening, then the interesting questions begin; what are we going to do about it?”

So: light switch on - “climate change is happening” and also “due to human activities” (exactly how much due to human activities Jones doesn’t go into) and light switch off - the position of the “deniers” who, illogically, don’t believe it or accept it.

I was reminded of this by Alex Doherty’s comment that the “scientific consensus overwhelmingly supports the case for anthropogenic climate change” and that we “so-called sceptics” need to “meaningfully make a case to the contrary” before our views should be represented here.

I would respectfully disagree with this (to my mind) limited model of the climate debate, given that most of us on both (all?) sides actually agree on the basic science and that going even a short distance beyond the basics takes us into the realm of politics and culture, which are clearly nothing like either/or propositions. I’ve been casting around for a useful comparison and one that has occurred to me is that of food, where there is a core of basic science around the human body’s physical requirements for amino acids, vitamins and so on, but then a vast and complex spectrum of more contentious science and also of culture (and indeed politics and economics) around the question of what we should eat. (That’s probably not a very good metaphor or model, and I’d be interested if anyone can come up with a better one.) It would be inaccurate and limiting in the extreme to divide the whole world simply into - for example - vegans and non-vegans; so why does this happen when it comes to climate change?

By Geoff Chambers, on 18 January 2013 - 23:27 |

Alex

lapogus, Robin, Guenier, Paul Matthews, Geronimo and myself have been suggesting that you should engage with the science. 

I cant speak for the others, but my motivation for being here is the fear that the NLP, and the Left in general, is making a serious mistake in putting its faith in the word of the official government authorities. How radical is that?

We are more than willing to debate seriously any aspect of global warming science, or attitudes to it, or the policies flowing from it. So far, we have heard only: 1) Your assertion that global warming hasn’t stopped
2) Your assertion that the scientific consensus overwhelmingly supports the case for anthropogenic climate change, which we don’t contest.
3) Ian’s suggestion that you should apply stricter moderation
4) JamieSW’s accusation of selective quoting by Geronimo from the IPCC. (There’s 3000 pages of it. What else is he supposed to do?)

I’m a believer in Engels’ concept of scientific socialism (a rather quaint idea these days - and I doubt whether Robin and the others will agree with me). Surely we can agree to debate the question of climate, weather, and the policies to deal with it in a rational manner? 

By geronimo, on 19 January 2013 - 09:37 |

JamieSW:
“geronimo: that’s pretty selective quoting.”

It was taken word for word from TAR, I had hoped that showing the IPCC as the source of the well known and understood fact that coupled non-linear chaotic systems cannot be modelled to show their future state would be taken on board by even alarmists. I take it you didn’t read the puff piece you referred me to, because if you had you’d see that what they were actually saying was that it was possible that a forecast from a model of a coupled non-linear chaotic system to be right. Well, that’s true, but not scientific, the probaility is that it will be wrong at around 0.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999…
Even if they could make the models right, which they are a million miles from doing. here’s the money quote from Kevin Trenberth on his Nature Blog,                                      4 June 2007                              
                                                         
“In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers “what if” projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios. There are a number of assumptions that go into these emissions scenarios. They are intended to cover a range of possible self consistent “story lines” that then provide decision makers with information about which paths might be more desirable. But they do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents. There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess.

Even if there were, the projections are based on model results that provide differences of the future climate relative to that today. None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models. There is neither an El Niño sequence nor any Pacific Decadal Oscillation that replicates the recent past; yet these are critical modes of variability that affect Pacific rim countries and beyond. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, that may depend on the thermohaline circulation and thus ocean currents in the Atlantic, is not set up to match today’s state, but it is a critical component of the Atlantic hurricanes and it undoubtedly affects forecasts for the next decade from Brazil to Europe. Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors. I postulate that regional climate change is impossible to deal with properly unless the models are initialized.
The current projection method works to the extent it does because it utilizes differences from one time to another and the main model bias and systematic errors are thereby subtracted out. This assumes linearity. It works for global forced variations, but it can not work for many aspects of climate, especially those related to the water cycle. For instance, if the current state is one of drought then it is unlikely to get drier, but unrealistic model states and model biases can easily violate such constraints and project drier conditions. Of course one can initialize a climate model, but a biased model will immediately drift back to the model climate and the predicted trends will then be wrong. Therefore the problem of overcoming this shortcoming, and facing up to initializing climate models means not only obtaining sufficient reliable observations of all aspects of the climate system, but also overcoming model biases. So this is a major challenge.” 

Alarmists would have us bet the ranch on these models.

By Robin Guenier, on 19 January 2013 - 16:54 |

Geoff:

As I explained in detail on the Climate Change And The Left thread, my motivation for being here is that I believe the climate issue offers the Left a radical opportunity to bypass sterile debate and focus on the best interests of ordinary people. The UK’s current climate policy is hugely expensive – harming the poor in particular while benefiting wealthy individuals and greedy “green” corporations. Moreover – for the reasons I’ve explained – it’s completely pointless. Given that the Coalition, the Labour Party and pretty well the entire Establishment (media, academia, civil service, big business, etc.) support that policy, people would really take notice if the Left were to announce that it was no longer (as you said), “putting its faith in the word of the official government authorities” and that, from hereon, it was abandoning the Establishment position and pursuing a policy designed to provide maximum benefit now (re living costs, jobs etc.) for ordinary people – and particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable.

BTW, you’re right: I’m not over keen on scientific socialism.

By Geoff Chambers, on 19 January 2013 - 20:28 |

Robin
I entirely agree. This is off-topic on a thread about an Australian heatwave. Perhaps we could continue on Alice’s introductory thread? NLP welcomes contributions. It’s only a blog, not affiliated with any party. I’m wondering whether they’d accept a contribution from us, possibly written jointly? If this conversation comes to an end, ask Alex Cull for my email address.    

My comment of 18 January 2013 - 23:27 was for Alex Doherty of course, not Alex Cull. (If only we denialists were better organised!)

By Robin Guenier, on 20 January 2013 - 08:38 |

Geoff: I agree - this discussion is drifting way off topic. So, as you suggest, I’ve posted a continuation on the introductory thread

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