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Smokescreen

May 21st, 2008

As I’ve said in the past, I’m tired of stoushes with global warming delusionists, and of blogwars more generally. I’ve adopted a policy of banning/deleting trolls here, and, as far as possible, ignoring them elsewhere. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel I could ignore Graham Young’s attack on me, Robyn Williams, Tim Lambert and others in Online Opinion of which he is Chief Editor. OLO has made a valuable contribution to Australian public debate, and has a well-justified reputation for serious discussion (despite Young’s propensity for publishing silly anti-science pieces on climate change). That reputation will be trashed if it becomes a platform for intemperate and partisan rants (violations of Godwin’s Law are a pretty good indication of this, in my view).

I did write to Young to attempt a resolution, and sent him a lot of links and documents trying to explain why (contrary to his claims) I thought it was appropriate to report Fred Singer’s close involvement with the tobacco industry, and its relationship to his role in the global warming debate (prominent now, but even more so in the 1990s when he and Fred Seitz got the organised delusionist movement going with the Leipzig Declaration and Oregon Petition)[1][2]. However, apart from the offer of a reply (if I want to say that I’m not a brownshirt, I can do so here in much less than 800 words, and have done), he wasn’t interested.

At this point, I’m going to let the documents speak for themselves. Over the fold, I’ve linked and quoted an article from the American Journal of Public Health, and two (of many) documents from tobacco company archives, released as part of a settlement of litigation against them by US state governments. If any readers feel that I’ve been unfairly selective here, I invite you, as I did Graham, to Google “Fred Singer” + tobacco, or search the archives yourself.

That’s it from me on this. If readers’ comments indicate general agreement that I’ve unfairly traduced Singer’s reputation, I’ll retract. Perhaps, if the evidence appears convincing to most, Young might respond appropriately.

American Journal of Public Health 2001, Junking Science to Promote Tobacco by Derek Yach, MBChB, MPH and Stella Aguinaga Bialous, DrPH, MScN, RN

In addition to creating front groups and contributing funds to groups that have a mission broad enough to carry some of the tobacco industry’s goals, the tobacco companies also use publications by allegedly independent think tanks, such as the Virginia based Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. This group’s 1994 report “Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy: A Critical Examinationâ€? 35 criticizes the US Environmental Protection Agency’s risk assessment methods …although no direct financial link has been established, several members of the report’s academic advisory board have been involved with different tobacco companies’ activities.36 The report’s principal reviewer, Dr Fred Singer, was involved with the International Center for a Scientific Ecology, a group that was considered important in Philip Morris’ plans to create a group in Europe similar to The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), as discussed by Ong and Glantz.37,38 He was also on a tobacco industry list of people who could write op-ed pieces on “junk science,â€? defending the industry’s views.39

APCO Associates memo to Phillip Morris (this is the one cited by Yach and Bialous)

As you know, we have been working with Dr Fred Singer, and Dr Dwight Lee, who have authored articles on junk science and indoor air quality respectively… We discussed with Dr Singer Ellen’s[3] suggestion for the junk science article to have a more personal introduction, however he is adamant this would not be his style.

Most notable, since it shows how Singer used attacks on global warming to push the tobacco line, is this memo about Singer’s work for PR company Shandwick on behalf of tobacco company Brown and Williamson

SEPP initially was reluctant to publicly take the lead on a tobacco issue, so Shandwick recommended the concept of creating a “myths list .” Although the CRS report would be the focal point of publicity activities, SEPP packaged four other issues – global warming, radon, “zero risk” and stratospheric ozone. The publicity plan was launched January 10 with a national press release (attached). Dr. S . Fred Singer, SEPP president, agreed to an aggressive media interview schedule arranged by Shandwick.

[1] Young also objects to my statement that the late Theodor Landscheidt (who never held an academic or research appointment of any kind, let alone one in climatology) was an amateur climatologist. As ought to be clear from my paper with Dan Hunter, I have nothing against amateurs, and Landscheidt did get some papers published in academic journals. But that doesn’t make his eccentric theories a credible alternative to mainstream science. In any case, this is not a dispute worth pursuing further.

[2] A new version of the Oregon Petition has just come out.

[3] This is a reference Ellen Merlo, Vice President of Philip Morris Corporate Affairs department.

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  1. wilful
    May 21st, 2008 at 10:19 | #1

    Singer et al have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Now really only of interest to historians. Are you a historian Professor Quiggin?

    I’d far rather hear about adaptation and mitigation of climate change than about now irrelevant American ex-scientists.

  2. jquiggin
    May 21st, 2008 at 10:25 | #2

    Agreed. Normal service will resume shortly.

  3. May 21st, 2008 at 11:13 | #3

    I’d far rather hear about adaptation and mitigation of climate change than about now irrelevant American ex-scientists.

    Hear hear! We really need to focus on how we can get better policy outcomes for climate change, especially after the very disappointing budget, and rampant populism from the opposition.

  4. Ken
    May 21st, 2008 at 16:40 | #4

    When it comes to important and influential media services failing to do their job and accepting the denialist “arguments” on face value, I think they need to be confronted. The temptation is to ignore them but in the public/political arena, silence counts as assent. Whether or not OLO counts as important or influential is a question, but if they are well informed and informative on other issues, their readers will be inclined to believe they are on climate change.
    I have to agree that overall the focus needs to shift to policy based on the best science provided by the people and orgs that do it.

  5. chrisl
    May 21st, 2008 at 17:02 | #5

    Lets have a robust discussion on the pros and cons of mitigation vs adaption.Lets dispense with the use of The “d” word.And lets remember that we live in the real world where some people recieve only $270 per week(not per day) and the cost of mitigation is real.

  6. Seeker
    May 21st, 2008 at 18:27 | #6

    And lets remember that we live in the real world where some people recieve only $270 per week(not per day) and the cost of mitigation is real.

    And the cost of not mitigating would be cheaper?

  7. Tim M
    May 21st, 2008 at 18:50 | #7

    There is no “mitigation v adaption”. Those two concepts are not incompatible.

  8. jquiggin
    May 21st, 2008 at 19:03 | #8

    Tim M, you’re spot on. I’ll be making this point in my Adelaide video presentation.

  9. wbb
    May 22nd, 2008 at 00:32 | #9

    Anybody who obstinately ignores science just to pander to their own prejudices against “greenies” deserves a response every now and then. If they were an absolute fringe then ignoring them would be appropriate.

    But while the science may be in, the popular jury is still open to ‘learned argument’ in quite large numbers.

    Denialists still need to be confronted. They can cause serious damage.

  10. May 22nd, 2008 at 02:38 | #10

    These aren’t responses to the skeptics. This is simply an excercise in character assassination.

    The attitude here is one opposed to heterogenous thinking… which is a bad thing. I hope that some people continue to question the norm, despite the continued hate mail from JQ & friends.

    Note to John Humphreys. If you are going to change to a pseudonym (or switch pseudonyms) you should announce this, rather than just posting under a new identity, which leaves you open to a charge of sock-puppeteering, particularly if you post abusive comments under your new name. (BTW, is it meant to imply a position to the right of Genghis Khan?). I’m assuming this is an innocent mistake on your part – deliberate sockpuppeteers will be permanently banned

  11. May 22nd, 2008 at 09:11 | #11

    John, what would be more relevant would be showing that Singer’s science is wrong. I asked you to do that and you refused, or at least didn’t respond to the email, which given your conduct since, is the same thing.

    It beggars belief that a professor of anything would rely on smear and innuendo rather than addressing the arguments.

  12. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    May 22nd, 2008 at 09:46 | #12

    Graham,

    Steady on with the “smear and innuendo” clichés. How about this week’s attack on Tim Flannery. According to you, he is an “alarmist” who spouts “flummery” and has “disregard for due diligence”.

    How about showing that his science is wrong? Or does this rule not apply to you?

  13. John Mashey
    May 22nd, 2008 at 10:00 | #13

    re: #11 Graham Young:

    “what would be more relevant would be showing that Singer’s science is wrong”

    I’ve read both of his books, and peruse http://www.sepp.org now and then. Singer has written on many topics.

    Can you be more specific about which topic? Is this still on tobacco? If so, do you mean the AdTI report Singer wrote with Kent Jeffreys?

  14. Patrick B
    May 22nd, 2008 at 10:13 | #14

    “How about showing that his science is wrong? Or does this rule not apply to you?”

    Yes, Graham you are painting yourself as a petulant contrairian. Why should anyone waste their time refuting Singers science to you Graham? There is mountains of information out there. It is pathetic to try and carry on an argument that is based on having everyone who disagrees with you personally explain why you are wrong rather than allowing them to refer you to reputable sources that will prove, on the balance of probabilities, that you are wrong. Either reveal to us your new evidence that categorically refutes the current consensus or continue to embarrass yourself.

  15. Salient Green
    May 22nd, 2008 at 10:24 | #15

    Graham Young, it’s pretty obvious that Tim Flannery’s ‘sulphur pumping’ is merely an attention grabber to draw readers in to the real message, that climate change is not being taken seriously enough and unless more action is taken sooner, much more drastic measures will be needed later.
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23724410-29277,00.html

    This is standard practice and it says little for your character that you deliberately ignored the real message, and chose to indulge in abuse of Tim Flannery by calling him a ratbag.

  16. frankis
    May 22nd, 2008 at 11:20 | #16

    Anyone know whether Graham Young has had any education in the sciences (any of them)? Of opinions we can see he has plenty, and a presumptuous attitude to go with them. If it’s true that Mr Young has had no scientific training whatsoever …. well I don’t suppose I’ll be paying too much more attention to his outraged outbursts on scientific issues, or even on the politics around them. Does he also hold strong, rudely expressed opinions in his own area of expertise, anybody, or is it mostly just other people’s business that he claims to know so much about?

    At this point I’ll also subscribe to Jack Strocchi’s earlier suggestion that it would perhaps be a pity if OnlineOpinion, which I don’t read but which seems to be worth something to some people, were to have its reputation damaged by the one person better placed than anybody else to do that to it – its editor.

  17. Patrick B
    May 22nd, 2008 at 11:42 | #17

    “…were to have its reputation damaged by the one person better placed than anybody else to do that to it – its editor.”

    Could it be the OLO will follow The Australian?

  18. John Mashey
    May 22nd, 2008 at 11:54 | #18

    1) My only argument with JQ’s info on Singer is that it was far too nice. In particular, Singer is also known for:

    - personal attacks on scientists (like Ben Santer)
    - manipulation/abuse (like of Roger Revelle)
    - threatening lawsuits often
    - writing OpEds and speaking endlessly, but not publishing real science, while using decades-ago credentials for credibility

    2) In general, Singer’s approach can be summarized as:
    “If the government ever regulates anything, it will be The End”

    One need only read Singer’s two books, noting that the first says there is no global warming, and the second says there is, but it’s natural on a 1500-year cycle, but in either case “no regulation”. When assessing arguments, it is *very* important not to just take a snapshot, but to watch as they evolve (or not) in the face of changing evidence. Real skeptics weigh evidence and change their minds.

    One might peruse the SEPP website occasionally, in summary:
    - AGW is wrong [although the reasons change from year to year]
    - the IPCC is wrong
    - the US EPA does horrible things like regulating ozone & particulates, and its “favorite targets have been emissions from automobiles and electric powerplants.”
    - CFCs are fine, there is no ozone hole problem.
    - no risk from secondhand smoke
    - mercury is a fine natural element, and no problem, especially as little comes from coal

    3) Watch Naomi Oreskes’ 58-minute video. The first half is a clear history of the development of climate science. The second half is about The George C. Marshall Institute, with Nierenberg, Jastrow, Seitz, and Singer, of which only Singer is still alive.

    4) The problem is that Singer is *still* widely used and quoted. Note that the denialism side need only cast confusion and slow things down, well-learned from the cigarette wars. Tobacco interests have had an amazing influence on the rise of lobbying/thinktank/misinformation entities in the US.

    Let’s imagine an alternate history: when the US Surgeon’s General report appeared in 1964, the US and other governments, recognizing the strong scientific evidence of smoking:disease linkage, phased out smoking, among other things, by increasing taxes high enough to drastically lessen teenage smoking. People born after 1950 mostly didn’t start smoking, and cigarette companies shrank, and many went out of business. Today, hardly anyone younger than 68 smokes, and within a few years, none will be left.

    Of course, in the real world, Australia is trying to ban candy-flavored cigarettes, clearly a horrifying government interference with free enterprise, possible only because Australia has few (if any, any more?) tobacco growers left to defend it :-)

  19. Brennie
    May 22nd, 2008 at 12:24 | #19

    The mistake was to see OLO as having made ‘a valuable contribution to debate’. Unfortunately it too often selects such poorly written or researched pieces in areas which appear dear to the editor’s heart. The same is true of the Australian edited aggregation site Arts and Letters Daily. That is their editorial prerogative, of course, but when it occurs the whole site becomes suspect: when I see it in topics I understand, or see barrows being pushed by selection, I assume the same will be true in topics I don’tknow about. I don’t go back.

  20. observa
    May 22nd, 2008 at 12:55 | #20

    “..it’s pretty obvious that Tim Flannery’s ’sulphur pumping’ is merely an attention grabber to draw readers in to the real message, that climate change is not being taken seriously enough and unless more action is taken sooner, much more drastic measures will be needed later.”

    Careful SG or that could easily be turned into-
    ‘it’s pretty obvious that (fill in any denialist/skeptics) ’sulphurous thumping’ is merely an attention grabber to draw readers in to the real message, that climate change is being taken too seriously and unless more considered action is taken, much more drastic measures to ameliorate the consequences of misguided exuberance will be needed later.’

    Then immediately think corn to ethanol while you’re perhaps busy writing a cheque for the Burmese.

  21. Steve Bloom
    May 22nd, 2008 at 13:19 | #21

    John, you should have a look at this paper. It’s primarily about the “Marshall Institute 3,” but references Singer as a second-stringer on that team. In any case its description of the milieu seems thorough. It’s noted that Singer also had involvement in promoting nuclear power and the SST, which I didn’t see mentioned in the WP article.

    Re the Singer-tobacco connection, it seems to me that it provides valuable insight into the functioning of the anti-regulatory think-tank network since tobacco fits with that paradigm (anti-regulation) rather than what might be called the “defense of technological progress” motive that got Singer interested in this stuff (plus, as Ray Pierrehumbert points out, access to a nice retirement income supplement). The nature of that network is neatly framed by considering why someone like Bate would have thought it not a waste of time to apply to a tobacco company for DDT promotion funding along with why Singer would have agreed to take a role in a pro-tobacco campaign that wasn’t really a fit with his history or other activities.

    So while the tobacco connection isn’t the only Singer fact worth mentioning, it’s the most salient one.

    A little tangentially, I noticed this sleazy episode from Fred’s past (SEPP’s founding act or very close to it) on the discussion page.

    Also this:

    “I am persuaded to think that any climate change is bad because of the investments and adaptations that have been made by human beings and all of the things that support human existence upon this globe. Even minor fluctuations of climate could change the distribution of fish, … upset agriculture,…and inundate costal cities…… Such changes could occur at a faster rate perhaps than human society can evolve.” S. Fred Singer, ed. 1975. The Changing Global Environment pp5.

    Interesting! Note that this was a few years before Fred went on the payroll. Well, one can also contrast his claim (as recently as 2003) that there’s no warming with his recent “Unstoppable” book in which there’s warming from natural causes and nothing can be done about it.

  22. Donald Oats
    May 22nd, 2008 at 13:58 | #22

    You have characterised Singer in a manner that is quite defensible, based on publicly available evidence and Singer’s own contributions. Jeremy Leggett’s interesting to-and-fro debates with him in the early 1990′s* certainly paints a compatible picture with the one that you (JQ) have presented.

    Singer is a free-enterprise man, American style. Work backwards from that and you can generally discover the construction of his typical arguments about actions on climate change are to do-nothing (the tacit warrant being it is bad for free enterprise to interfere with consumer choice), irrespective of how rapidly and how rigorously the climate science has firmed up.

    For all I know, Singer might be a very nice guy; that is not the point though.

    * p91–92, Jeremy Leggett, “The Carbon War”, (2000), Penguin Books

  23. Andrew
    May 22nd, 2008 at 14:18 | #23

    “..it’s pretty obvious that Tim Flannery’s ’sulphur pumping’ is merely an attention grabber to draw readers in to the real message, that climate change is not being taken seriously enough and unless more action is taken sooner, much more drastic measures will be needed later.�

    and there’s the problem in a nutshell. The boy who cried wolf.

    It’s a point I’ve made many times on various posts and topics…. the vast bulk of public opinion is very much in the centre of most debates. Rudd cleverly exploited this to fill the void when Howard shifted too far to the right over his last term.

    Shrill voices on either extreme do not help any rational debate – all they do is give rise to equally shrill voices at the other extreme. For every Bob Brown there’s a Pauline Hanson. For every evangelical greenie crying ‘we’re all doomed from climate change unless we make dramatic changes today’ there’s a denier saying ‘AGW ain’t real don’t worry’.

    Unfortunately, Flannery is putting himself in the extreme camp with his silly statements about Sulphur.

    AGW is real, we need to work out how to mitigate and adapt to its effects. But we need to make sure the medicine isn’t worse than the disease before we do anything we might regret.

  24. Salient Green
    May 22nd, 2008 at 14:20 | #24

    observa, if denialists think they need an example of ‘mis-guided exuberance’ then they should use the ‘palm oil to biodiesel’ one, as too many of us know that ‘corn to ethanol’ is as much about AGW as Iraq is about WMD.

    In any case, the forest destroyed and species exttinguished so far for biodiesel would have been destroyed anyway in the business as usual/endless growth scenario advocated by delusionists.

  25. Salient Green
    May 22nd, 2008 at 14:43 | #25

    Andrew, I don’t believe Tim Flannery is crying wolf and I don’t believe it was a silly statement when taken in context.

    ‘shrill voices on either extreme’ will always be tested by the general population against the available and developing evidence and are a necessary part of healthy debate.

  26. John Mashey
    May 22nd, 2008 at 15:28 | #26

    re: #21 Steve
    Yes, I’ve seen that paper, which is also useful, we’re thinking of the same Revelle episode.

    There’s no doubt that {Nierenberg, Jastrow, Seitz} were the first team, but Singer has generated much more material. And keep an eye out within a year for Naomi Oresekes’ forthcoming book on all this.

  27. observa
    May 22nd, 2008 at 16:54 | #27

    SG, I understand where you’re coming from on both corn and palm oil. However you might need to view the corn outcome as the logical result of political response to ‘misguided exuberance’, whereas palm oil is simply the logical result of players continuiing with business as usual in the constitutional marketplace(CM)they find themselves in. Do you really think raising the price of fossil fuels via tax or cap and trade (C&T) will reduce the supply of palm oil diesel? Even more business as usual land clearing we’d all concur. So my take is AGW is not the be all and end all here, but rather the catalyst to look calmly and carefully at the serious shortcomings of our current CM, swirling all about us now. I’ll have more to say on my blueprint for that on Weekend Reflections for you to critique over the coming weeks. Feel free. However, that said, hot button CO2 emissions reduction has now largely boiled down to price (straight taxing) or quantity controls (C&T). Actually the latter is in the political ascendancy now, which I’ll claim right here, I believe is due to much ‘misguided exuberance’. To say that is apparently to be branded a denialist or delusionary skeptic. My answer to that(refer to the last few comments on John’s ‘Wind’ post) is to say- show this ghostbuster what you’ve got you spiritual lot, because all you really have now is a delusionary vision. Or as I put it-
    ‘You nail the problems I have with CO2 cap and trade pretty well Peter. In fact I don’t really know what form C&Tcan take to overcome the problems demanding its solution by that path. It’s not like water in the MD Basin where there is a fixed average flow available, albeit that might be falling over time somewhat if the science is right. That essentially means a fixed quantity available per year as a natural cap. OTOH we have a relatively fixed amount of CO2 emitted per year now(albeit that seems to be growing with demographics somewhat)and want to decrease that, presumably annually to our ideal. Let’s say by 60% by 2050, although 90% reductions are now being bandied about. In other words, presumably the cap needs to be shrinking by 1.5% pa to get that 60% over 40 years, the low hanging fruit argument for front end loading aside here. How on earth do you invent a cap and trade system to do that, other than auction a 1 tonne permit today, that the successful bidder understands is shrinking by 1.5% pa and can take ownership and trade same accordingly, presumably to gain the maxm benefits of C&T. Either that or you auction say some 3yr permits and they have to come back and bid for the next lower tranche. That negates the benefits of C&T and becomes a defacto tax. If so why not cut out all the admin/policing dramas and slap on a straight tax? The alternative one off auction of declining permits is fraught with the long term information problem, just like MD water rights all those years ago. It seems to me we’re really arguing about a C&T ghost here. These high priests need to how us the substance, rather than their incantations. Failing that, their ghost who walks is really an AGL flogging make believe carbon credits to banks. You can’t cover up rubbish tips and walk away from them without tapping the methane, or you’ll end up with a bigger bang than Chernobyl. The fact that AGL saw an opportunity to claim the necessary as an emission credit is as facile as Origin’s similar try-on when it took over Snowy Hydro.’

    Basically it’s like the bloody Republic all over again. Noone wants to tell you how the new HOS gets elected/appointed. ‘Don’t you worry about that now’ all you skeptical delusionists is their spiritual mantra, which we reckon we’ve heard somewhere before. Let’s all get down to tin tacks of what’s really going on here. Show us your C&T ghost now.

  28. Ian Gould
    May 22nd, 2008 at 20:49 | #28

    “observa, if denialists think they need an example of ‘mis-guided exuberance’ then they should use the ‘palm oil to biodiesel’ one, as too many of us know that ‘corn to ethanol’ is as much about AGW as Iraq is about WMD.”

    Conaisering that the price of palm oil is now well above the price of diesel and palm-based biodiesel mahfactuters are shutting down as a result I’d say that one’s equally wonky.

  29. Salient Green
    May 23rd, 2008 at 08:12 | #29

    Ian, I suppose that’s good news. Now, if we can only get the stuff out of our food!

  30. Paul Norton
    May 23rd, 2008 at 09:18 | #30

    I continue to use the “d word” in the following sense (from Wikpedia):

    “Denial is a defense mechanism’ postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

    “The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimisation) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility (transference). The concept of denial is particularly important to the study of addiction. The theory of denial was first researched seriously by Anna Freud. She classified denial as a mechanism of the immature mind, because it conflicts with the ability to learn from and cope with reality.”

  31. observa
    May 23rd, 2008 at 10:02 | #31

    I brushed into Origin’s little try-on via my 88 yr old father. He’s still in his own unit getting increasing Govt funded assistance to keep him out of the more expensive, higher care, log jam for as long as possible now. The working family does its bit too after hours. On one such drop in, there’s an Auspost ticket to say there’s a parcel for him at the local PO. Like many oldies now, he’s an easy prey for everyone from Readers Digest to the charities and cadgers which is an increasing problem. At Xmas I found eight, forty dollar tickets for one charity on the sideboard, which no doubt some doorknocker was more than happy to unload. Time for a ‘Do not Knock’ register methinks, but I digress. Turns out the package is not some ‘free gift’ from Readers Digest, but a box of goodies from Origin Energy consisting of a water saving shower head, some CF light globes and a green fluro Chinese mini footy with guess who’s name on it. Out of the frying pan and into the fire I thought, as I read the glossy brochure thanking Pops for signing on to Origin’s new version of green power. Oh and would he be so kind as to sign the attached claim to say he’s faithfully installed said appropriate goodies and send it back in the post paid envelope thanks. He can keep the footy as a bonus. Naturally, being a delusionary skeptic, I rang origin to express my skepticism among other things, like preying on the mentally failing and finacially less well off, to up their power bills. Well the gist of it was I don’t have to worry sir as the Govt has unfortunately not allowed our worthy scheme and there will be no increase in your father’s bills. As the follow up letter explained, seems they weren’t impressed with Origin claiming carbon credits when they took over Snowy hydro distribution. You don’t say? As for the shower head and CFs, who knows? Alls well that ends well because there was a great grandson for that utilitarian footy of theirs.

    So when I’m perusing Rupert’s kind business reporting I spot the greenies nirvana that corporate Oz has taken up the baton and practical C&T is off and running to everyone’s delight no doubt. But what’s this? My electricity provider AGL flogging carbon credits to my banking provider? Now my name’s not Manuel and I don’t hark from Barcelona so little alarm bells are immediately going off all over the neurons at that piece of news. So what’s the go I ask and JQ’s optimistic answer is ‘liquidity’ pointing to AGL’s sources. Hmmm… thinks I. Must be some of that same liquidity I comprehend so well, when State Govts offer 2 for 1 buyback of solar to the grid and the Feds hand out another $8000 subsidy plus $1500 in RECs to boot to make a risk free after tax return over 10% and don’t you ever let a chance go by old son, lest all that liquidity suddenly dries up, heh, heh! Now where’s AGL’s version of all this liquidity O meboy. So I scan down their list and wouldn’t you know it? There’s the mothballed Wingfield Tip on the list, and the penny drops, seeing as how the O has an intimate connection with all his forgone consumption in its mighty shadow and all that. So AGL are tapping the methane off the hill and flogging it to industry for a tidy profit, since someone has to or it will go bang sometime. They probably get some extra greeny points for covering it up and planting tree offsets on it too, just like all their other tips on the list. Then they neatly bundle all this profit making enterprise up and sell it off to Westpac so Westpac has all the liquidity to sell and they have none when those optimists in Canberra are asking who needs some liquidity come C&T time. Ah, liquidity, aint it grand?

  32. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    May 23rd, 2008 at 10:12 | #32

    Would it be possible to have a word limit for regular threads? Observa is giving Jack Strocchi a run for his money in the long-winded stakes.

    Succinctness is a virtue in any form of writing.

  33. observa
    May 23rd, 2008 at 10:46 | #33

    Your point’s valid Lord Dolly, but remember you’re paying these corporate high flyers to do exactly what I’m giving you a sample of here, which is why your cheap alternates in the public circus don’t stand a chance. That’s why you shouldn’t set them up to fail.

  34. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    May 23rd, 2008 at 13:53 | #34

    Quite so, Observa.

    Yours,
    Dolls.

  35. philip travers
    May 24th, 2008 at 22:41 | #35

    I note it is getting lateish Satuday night.I read Observa’s story and found it useful.And my own story is,I was bored almost incoherently by the need for sulfur pumping.[Have I spelt that right!}I need a break from not being able to worry,because there really does seem too much to worry about! And specialising in self sometimes could be an over-reaction.I dont believe,Australia should be messing around with Cloud-Seeding,if the judgement on global dimming isn’t in yet.Hence I become incoherent,with all the great exponents of applied reason and scientific understanding,I guess I am being a bit dim-witted in thinking that! Although I read years ago from stuff gathered by The Planetary Association for Clean Energy Inc. Canada,and elsewhere,that,this was dubious science.Whereas Cloud-busting Wilhelm Reich mode wasn’t as risky,if my memory serves me correctly.He doesn’t get much approval as a thinker in Australia,but there are moments in reading his books that a wisdom drawn in its own peculiarities of definitions still can ring bells of insight.Sadly the pace of combatative Expertise seems to disallow,the more long-winded summaries cautions and extrapolations,borne of surviving as an individual rather than as intellect.Weird as that seems to me,it remains a serious provocation, whenever someone can claim their knowledge of weather is tantamount to complete understanding..and what will be the temperature on Shea’s Nob tomorrow at three am!?

  36. May 27th, 2008 at 21:17 | #36

    Put in the context of his time and situation, the original Temujin was a progressive. :)

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