Home > Economics - General > My response to Monckton’s conspiracy theory

My response to Monckton’s conspiracy theory

January 29th, 2010

As we’ve been discussing, my invitation to debate Lord Monckton was withdrawn before I could make a decision on it. But, for those interested, my column in yesterday’s Fin presents my thoughts on Monckton’s key claim: that the scientific literature on climate change is a gigantic fraud, cooked up in the service of a conspiracy to inaugurate a communist world government at Copenhagen.

A tepid conspiracy

Australia is currently enjoying a visit from Lord Christopher Monckton, a former education adviser to Margaret Thatcher, who is here to warn us that the climate change negotiations are a plot to destroy the global economy and impose a communist world government. The plot, according to Monckton is led by President Obama and supported by Kevin Rudd, who are, it seems, communists who ‘piled into the environmental movement after the fall of the Berlin Wall’. 

In an interview with Alex Jones, host of the conspiracy-theoretic radio/TV show Prison Planet, Monckton attributed the plot to a ‘“deliberate desire to control population by killing people in large numbers deliberately if necessary”. His co-speaker, Ian Plimer, assented to similar views on the same program.

It might be thought that such views should be enough to consign Monckton to the lunatic fringe. But his conspiracy theory has received enthusiastic endorsement from large sections of the media including such prominent commentators as Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen (though Albrechtsen later backed away a little).

And Monckton doesn’t lack political support. Opposition Senate Leader Nick Minchin echoed his views a couple of months ago, saying ‘”For the extreme Left [global warming] provides the opportunity to do what they’ve always wanted to do, to sort of deindustrialise the Western world … you know the collapse of communism was a disaster for the Left, and … they embraced environmentalism as their new religion. ’

The Lavoisier Group, founded by former Labor Finance Minister Peter Walsh asserted that the Kyoto Protocol represented the greatest threat to Australia’s sovereignty since that posed by Japan in 1942. 

It is, then, necessary to make a serious assessment of the claim that Kevin Rudd, Barack Obama and the United Nations are engaged in a communist conspiracy to destroy the global economy and seize world power, as asserted by Monckton, Minchin, Walsh and others.   

One problem with the theory is that the chosen instrument, a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme, seems grossly inadequate to the task of destroying the economy. Even without the massive exemptions loaded in to the Rudd government’s CPRS, an emissions trading scheme with full auctioning might be expected to raise about $10 billion a year, or 1 per cent of GDP over the next decade. By comparison, the GST raises over $40 billion. No credible economist suggest that the economic impact will be more than marginal.

Even if the world can manage a comprehensive agreement to reduce carbon emissions to near-zero levels by 2050, the best estimates suggest that the economic effect will be to reduce the level of GDP by a few per cent. 

An even more puzzling aspect of conspiracy-theoretic claims is that part-time nature of the conspiracy. Most of the time conservatives like Bolt and Minchin treat Rudd as an ordinary political opponents, attacking him for being indecisive and more concerned with spin than substance. 

But if Rudd is engaged in a conspiracy to destroy the global economy and institute a communist world government, surely this fact should drive any analysis of his economic policy, health care and so on. Full-time conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones are at least consistent. In the same program as his interview with Plimer, Jones explained how the Obama Administration’s apparently modest health care reforms are actually a genocidal plot.

It is tempting to dismiss all this as overblown hyperbole. But the continuous attacks on the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only make sense if the whole scientific consensus on climate change is the product of a fraudulent conspiracy. This claim has been made repeatedly, most notably with the recent discovery of a couple of erroneous or poorly-source claims in the 1600 page IPCC report released in 2007.

Finally, there is a particular problem for Lord Monckton, given his past career. According to the film The Great Global Warming Swindle, the climate change conspiracy began with a British politician who said, as early as 1990, 

I want to pay tribute to the important work which the United Nations has done to advance our understanding of climate change, and in particular the risks of global warming .. The (first) IPCC report is a remarkable achievement … the need for more research should not be an excuse for delaying much needed action now. There is already a clear case for precautionary action at an international level.

The name of this climate arch-conspirator? Margaret Thatcher.

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  1. wilful
    January 29th, 2010 at 15:44 | #1

    Not nearly harsh enough. The character assassination of Monckton in crikey a week or two back was far more to my taste. things like claiming to have received the nobel prize, to be a member of the house of lords, to have won the falklands war, that the solution for AIDS was incarceration…

  2. gerard
    January 29th, 2010 at 16:24 | #2
  3. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    January 29th, 2010 at 16:44 | #3

    I note catallaxy has a response to your article.

  4. jquiggin
    January 29th, 2010 at 16:59 | #4

    The comments at Catallaxy have already made most of the points necessary. The biofuels boom was primarily a response to high oil prices and concerns about energy independence. The green movement was among the leaders in raising the alarm about its adverse effects. Since the whole piece depends on the assumption that biofuels are central to the response to global warming, there’s not much more to be said.

    Davidson made no attempt to challenge the central claim that all mainstream studies show the cost of a response to global warming to be small – he jsut dragged a red herring across the track.

  5. Fran Barlow
    January 29th, 2010 at 18:13 | #5

    @jquiggin

    While corn-to-ethanol is certainly a stupid idea, biofuels based on biomass waste (including corn waste), from sugar cane, and from feedstocks such as algae do have merit.

    Not that there is any prospect in the foreseeable future of them supplantiong any serious part of liquid fuel demand …

    Mind you, using corn to feed cattle or produce the 27% of supermarket product in the US it now does is every bit as stupid as biofuels and then some …

  6. Freelander
    January 29th, 2010 at 19:01 | #6

    @gerard

    Yes, agreed. The ‘improvements’ to our ABC, another John Howard success story. Not too unlike his ‘improvements’ to the public service.

  7. John Coochey
    January 29th, 2010 at 20:18 | #7

    So if Monckton is such a charlatan why not take him on in open debate and humiliate him once and for all. The Flaghship of denialism sunk with all hands? Have you yet decided if you are prepared to meet him in open debate or not? As an aside I do not think Wilful understand English humour but it would take me too long to explain.

  8. January 29th, 2010 at 20:20 | #8

    What’s your opinion of the NEF’s ‘Growth Isn’t Possible’ report, which claims that

    It shows that, even with the most optimistic likely uptake of low-carbon energy, it is seemingly impossible to reconcile a growing global economy with a good likelihood of limiting global temperature rise to 2C.

    That implies a far greater cost than the 2% of GDP you mention, correct?

    Off topic, I haven’t read the report, but it starts with this quote:

    all the evidence shows that beyond the sort of standard of living which Britain has now achieved, extra growth does not automatically translate into human welfare and happiness.

    The above is from Lord Adair Turner, Chair of the UK Financial Services Authority who I would bet has an income several times the UK average. I would also bet that he enjoys every penny of it. Pretty rich (haha) for him to prescribe less wealth for others!

  9. John Coochey
    January 29th, 2010 at 20:49 | #9

    It is time that some rational debate is introduced into this issue. There is no point in pointing out some retired public figure who believes this or that. “Hitler prohibited private fiream ownership in 1936 (or whenever) and the world lived happily ever after nor of questioning who pays for research once again old Adolf ordered the first study which showed that smoking causes cancer but does that mean that smoking does not cause cancer. It is equally stupid to present argumentum ad populem “the majority of … believe this therefore it is true. This lead to absurd endeavours such as rounding up as many “economist” as possible to say that AGW/ACC or whatever can be cured without economic cost. Or rounding up as many meteorologists as possible to say it does not exist. In all probability only a small percentage of such populations have even looked at teh issue. Nor is there any advantage in using perjurative terms such as denials so I will use the relatively neutral terms alarmists and skeptics
    To me the alarmist have five hurdles to cross and must cross all of them

    Significand warming is occurring

    That is harmfull

    Human activity is a significant component

    There is technology to overcome this

    There is the political will to implement such technology

    I do not believe that any of these hurdles has been crossed, Let us assume for the moment that the first four have been there is no way that India and China will curtail their growth and poverty removal by avoiding technology that the firs world has used to get there. It is not even fantays it is wishfull thinking.

    The other issue is what evidence is there that the world was at its perfect optimum just before the industrial revolution, the increase in C02 emissions in the 1940′s or whenever or when mankind learned to make fire? The world has been much hotter in the past as is shown clearly by coal deposits in Antarctica and Spitzbergan, Coal comes from wood which only grows in quantity in warm climes. Carbon in wood comes primarily from the atmosphere so are we not simply putting it back where it came from?

  10. Alice
    January 29th, 2010 at 20:59 | #10

    @gerard
    Leftist bias Gerard ??- what? So facts and the exposing of the charlatan that is Monkton is leftist bias? Thank goodness for leftist bias then. Substitute the words “common sense” or “accummulative scientific research”for leftist bias and there you have the answer. It is closer to the facts and the truth than right wing delusionism obviously.

    So left wing bias is the new right wing conservatism and the old right wing conservatism is now up in a tree somewhere swinging in the branches throwing bananas and screeching “left wing bias” at ordinary sensible civilised normal people on the ground with sufficient intelligence to work it out for themselves.

    So it seems to me.

  11. Pterosaur
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:09 | #11

    J.C @ 9
    “I do not believe that any of these hurdles has been crossed, ”

    And there we have it.

    Incapable of arguing the science, JC peddles his superstition.

    In breaking news, it has been revealed that, unfortunately, physical phenomena do not respond to politics.

    Apparently, JC’s (are those initials a coincidence ?) is also apparently unable to use any of the myriad search engines available on the web, given his “questions”.

    Of course, such questions could be easily answered at

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/

    but I doubt JC has the courage to try it on there. :-D

    But he will find like minded souls at

    http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/

  12. rog
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:11 | #12

    His Lordship was on RN yesterday morning, he tossed in that deaths by malaria before the DDT ban were 50,000 pa.

    The DDT ban was used as an example of the intimacy between governments and their scientific employees in constructing govt policy.

    Ditto with eugenics and the holocaust in Germany with Lysenko in Russia tossed in for good measure.

  13. gerard
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:34 | #13

    @Alice
    FFS Alice, between you and chris warren I guess I’m going to need this:

    http://02d9656.netsoljsp.com/SarcMark/modules/user/commonfiles/loadhome.do

  14. gerard
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:37 | #14

    PS Alice, Radio National wasn’t “exposing” Monckton as a charlatan, just giving him a prominent national platform to air his fact-free flatulence

  15. Chris Warren
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:45 | #15

    This is just crazy:

    “Hitler prohibited private fiream ownership in 1936 (or whenever) and the world lived happily ever after nor of questioning who pays for research once again old Adolf (etc etc)

    I couldn’t work out how this thread had come to such a nutty point. So I did some research and found that we are due for a full moon.

    see:

    http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#Moon

    So obviously the “looneys” are at full cry. It may get worse over the next few nights, but it will soon be over.

  16. John Coochey
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:46 | #16

    Corrigenda I goofed, missed out a step, that the costs of intervention do not outweigh the benefits and here I include the issue of why for example I should shoulder a twenty per cent loss of income so that manking can exist for one more generation. Eventually the world will end, when the sun goes out or whatever, if there is one less generation of man what does it matter?

  17. January 29th, 2010 at 21:47 | #17

    Apparently Readfearn is on holidays from 21 Jan., I usually avoid News Ltd clicks, but went there to see what he said about the ‘debate’ today.

    Nothing.

    ‘Brisbane Times’ had one of those “I wasn’t invited and didn’t go in but here is my journalism from outside the “sold out” event” reports that passes as Brisbane’s “other” corporate media presence.

    We stopped in to the Irish Club for a few kilkennys and a stickybeak at about 3pm.

    The club has been renovated since the last time we were there (a couple of years ago for another climate change talk featuring Rev. Tim Costello) so there’s no more keno, and no more eavesdropping on events because the bar is now downstairs and the Tara ballroom was protected by a very bored looking security guard. Didn’t see the guest of honour, but the CEC LaRouche people and young liberals were out in force.

    It seemed that the $20 crowd was tiny whereas we are supposed to believe that the $130 crowd at the Hilton was a sellout.

    The actions of our 2Party politicians support the deniers’ point of view, so I guess there’s no controversy, hence no interest – unless you’re seeking to confirm your bias.

    If you were a clever Monckton fan you’d be much better off going to the Irish club and spending the remaining $110 on their beef and guiness pies and some Kilkenny.

    Actually, you’d end up rat-arsed if you did that! Better still, see the show, have some nice smooth beers, have a pie, then catch a cab home and still end up with change!

    As for the Irish Club, it’s a nice place. At least Brisbane still has a few left.

  18. John Coochey
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:56 | #18

    @Chris Warren
    I think you are deliberately missing my point which is that the author of a statement or who paid for it is essentially irrelevant. The real issue is the veracity of that statement. Gun lobbyists, for lack of a better word, of which I am proudly a member, could point to someone unpopular, Adolf Hitler, who had done something that others might emulate, therefore such actions when emulated are incorrect. If I were inclined to question that smoking is linked to cancer (god forbid) I would be stupid to say that Hitler had proved it therefore it must be wrong! My point remains that choosing personaliteis to support your point is a hapless task

  19. Chris Warren
    January 29th, 2010 at 22:00 | #19

    Geez, ya just gotta laugh …

    Didn’t your priest tell ya,

    God wins all the time?

  20. John Coochey
    January 29th, 2010 at 22:00 | #20

    @Pterosaur
    I am perplexed, how do these links actually support your case?

  21. Fran Barlow
    January 29th, 2010 at 22:01 | #21

    Mr Coochey

    Hitler? Guns? Putting back the carbon into the atmosphere?

    It’s clear that you are desperately trying to hijack this thread with irrelevant but provocative tosh.

    This is simply a microcosm of the tactics of any debate that might be held with Mr Monckton or those in his fringe.

  22. Alice
    January 29th, 2010 at 22:07 | #22

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran on this we agree (if not on nuclear)

    Coochey (hooch) says

    “why for example I should shoulder a twenty per cent loss of income so that manking can exist for one more generation. Eventually the world will end, when the sun goes out or whatever, if there is one less generation of man what does it matter?”

    Well… that says it all Fran. Selfish provocative tosh is right. God help Coochey if his pub runs out of dutch courage.

  23. Freelander
    January 30th, 2010 at 00:53 | #23

    @John Coochey

    Why don’t you go back and post on Catalepsy?

    In the state of Catalepsy I am sure you would make a lot more sense.

  24. jquiggin
    January 30th, 2010 at 05:49 | #24

    I admit myself convinced by the power of Coochey’s arguments. If either Monckton or Plimer is willing to debate me on the specific topic “Obama and Rudd are planning a communist world government”, I’ll be happy to present the negative case outlined above. Over to you, Cooch.

  25. iain
    January 30th, 2010 at 07:40 | #25

    Sky have been playing the Plimer/Monckton v Brook/Readfearn “debate” on a continuous loop this morning on sky active.

    Hate to say it – but Brook and Readfearn have performed a disservice to the community by engaging in this debacle.

    Plimer and Monckton controlled the terms of the Q&A and got their points across effectively – as well as getting a serious amount of national tv airtime.

    My general observation is that this is consistent (either wittingly or unwittingly) with regards to Brook’s approach to climate change.

  26. Donald Oats
    January 30th, 2010 at 09:46 | #26

    John Coochey ignores that rational discussion of the issues have been taking place, just not in the newspapers and television. Debates with the likes of Monckton et al are good public spectacle but don’t do anything to move the issue forwards.

    John Coochey also neglects to inform that unless we choose to slow down human GHG emissions to the point where the natural carbon cycle can extract those emissions from the environment, we will be forever increasing the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere. That means that the global temperature continues to rise, even while we are carrying on about how it is more costly to “take action now” than to presumably do nothing. Doing nothing is in fact a commitment to ever increasing GHG concentrations and to subsequent increases in the global temperature.

    For the globe as a whole there will be winners and losers on different time scales. For Australia, the South Australian regions will lose there ability to grow crops without large changes in water supply. Due to the statistically verifiable increase in heat extremes, plants may need additional protection from heat stress – spraying water into the air above the crops and using fine mesh fabric as a shade cloth may be two necessary summertime protective actions. Makes growing crops a much more expensive proposition. On the other hand, some areas in the Northern parts of Australia mightn’t be adversely affected, since the wet season already brings sufficient rain to in principle water crops during the dry season. The degree of impact in the Northern parts of Australia is regionally much more variable than the Southern parts, and is consequently harder to assess for specific regions.

    But I don’t get the impression that any of this is of concern to an agitator such as John Coochey. If Monckton has a genuinely scientific argument to present concerning why AGW isn’t real etc etc, he would have done it well before now. But he hasn’t.

  27. BilB
    January 30th, 2010 at 09:47 | #27

    You’re giving Monckton way too much attention, JQ. Monckton fits into that box with Tom Cruise and John Travolta. What is the connection? They are all cultists. John Travolta loaded up his plane last week with medical supplies, food, and a bunch of Scientology Evangelists. What the???? Are they going to go around Haiti telling people that the pain from their crushed limbs is all in their mind? With a pure mind they will discover that it is all not real, the limbs are not really damaged??

    Monckton is flogging the same type of snake oil. Thank him kindly for the “good” things that he has done in the past, then usher him back to the asylum.

  28. conrad
    January 30th, 2010 at 10:10 | #28

    “I admit myself convinced by the power of Coochey’s arguments.”
    .
    You might not be convinced by Coochey’s arguments, but at least the arguments about how much would should care about the next generation are much better expressed by Derek Parfit (see here) who was/is one of the leading philosophers that looks at how to value people, and I believe he comes to the conclusion with quite reasonable arguments that we shouldn’t care too much about the next generation. Mirko Magaric over at Deakin Uni was using similar arguments which were expressed in a way the average punter finds more easy to understand here.

  29. Hal9000
    January 30th, 2010 at 10:15 | #29

    Prof Q – ‘overblown hyperbole’, eh? As opposed to understated hyperbole perhaps? ;-)

    Seriously, though, I do find it remarkable that the delusionist movement, if that’s what it is, has been so successful in demonising scientists. This is something of an achievement, given the generally high esteem in which scientists have been held for generations. Science heroes have featured on the Austraian currency for half a century. Getting significant traction for the concept that scientists are corrupt and dishonest conspirators is akin to spreading the belief that volunteer firefighters or the armed forces are cowards. It seems no one is safe.

    Then again, US voters have twice in the last forty years been convinced that highly decorated war heroes were cowards, while their opponents who had themselves managed to avoid serious military service were great war leaders. So maybe there isn’t anything original about a successful smear campaign.

  30. Alice
    January 30th, 2010 at 10:52 | #30

    @Hal9000
    The scientists will prevail as they always do and the noisy antagonists will pale into a barely recalled murmur in the span of history…

    @Freelander
    LOL Freelander – catalepsy

    @gerard
    yes I missed it Gerard – I thought we had lost you.

  31. Ernestine Gross
    January 30th, 2010 at 10:56 | #31

    @conrad

    Your reference:
    “Mirko Bagaric: Warming isn’t our biggest worry.” Nor is Mirko Bagaric.

    He is the guy who advocated torture – I seem to remember – to save lifes. It was during the epoch when terrorism must be our biggest worry. The then Minister, Amenda Vanstone, took him off a committee.

  32. Doug
    January 30th, 2010 at 10:57 | #32

    The following observations by Peter Doherty, a Nobel prize winning scientist in an article in The Month recently are relevant to much of the blogosphere debate that remains uninformed by any real understanding of how science is done: http://www.themonthly.com.au/monthly-essays-peter-doherty-copenhagen-and-beyond-sceptical-thinking-2112

    The reality that multi-faceted science must necessarily be collaborative is the basis of my extreme scepticism regarding climate-change deniers in the media, who purport to command an enormously complex field from the Promethean perspective of the superior detached intellect. Like all other science, climatology is data-driven, and the data is constantly flooding in: measurements of change in bird-migration patterns; details of ocean temperatures and wind pro?les; measurements of the calcification of coral, the ripening of grapes, the retreat of glaciers, and so on. Those who try, like Plimer, to cover the field simply by reading the specialist literature will inevitably make major mistakes. It’s essential to talk to other scientists, especially as relevant findings inevitably occur in areas outside your expertise. Meteorologists, physicists, geologists and oceanographers each have contributions to make, but the issue of climate change doesn’t belong to any one of them individually.

  33. Hermit
    January 30th, 2010 at 11:09 | #33

    @conrad
    After reading those links I believe there are good reasons why we should care about future generations. First the present generation might feel guilty above having trashed resources like oceans, forests, rivers and the atmosphere. We did that, not the future generations and that guilt is a negative. Second even if we are only concerned about juveniles in our peer group, grandchildren for example, the wider fallout may affect them. For example an influx of climate refugees may overtax the welfare system here.

    As an aside I think time discount models are too high falutin’. I suspect things will happen so fast in the next decade with water, fuel, food, demographic shifts and so on that we’ll fly by the seat of our pants.

  34. Freelander
    January 30th, 2010 at 12:00 | #34

    @conrad

    Arguments that are designed to conclude that we should ignore our impact on futures generations are simply rationalizations.

    These arguments. like many libertarian arguments, have the sole purpose of helping a-holes feel like they are not a-holes.

    Myself, the argument I prefer rationalizing why we should ignore the consequences for future generations is: “Why worry about future generations? What have they ever done for us anyway?”

  35. conrad
    January 30th, 2010 at 12:03 | #35

    Ernstine,

    I’m not saying I agree with Mirko (generally I don’t) — I’m just saying there are reasonable arguments against caring too much about the next generation, even if at first glance it appears unreasonable. I personally, haven’t thought hard enough about Parfit style arguments about valuing the next generation to come to any reasonable conclusion about them (although I have read his earlier book).

    Hermit: I’ll probably be dead by the time these things happen, and you can’t feel guilty when you’re dead. In addition, I don’t feel guilt about the environment getting trashed now (which is not say I wouldn’t rather have it the opposite way, but there’s a distinction between feeling guilty and correcting a problem) — why should I?

  36. John Coochey
    January 30th, 2010 at 12:06 | #36

    The basic problem is what science? Where is it? If we take the IPCC as the gold standard, after all it won the Nobel then even then there are very major problems. If we leave aside the amount of that report that has no basis whatsoever such as imminent glacial meltdown in the Himalayas. Of course the latest scandal about the section describing the disappearance of the Great Barrier Reef being written by Greenpeace. Again with no factual basis. To dismiss these as only a small part of a long report is nonsense as 95 per cent of the IPCC reports is padding. The central pillar of alarmism is the Mann (of the CRU) Hockey Stick, showing a marked temperature rise. This is purely a computer generated model not supported by actual temperature readings. Try if for yourself. I started with the NZ record which is readily available and then went on to a number of Australian records. There is no visible sudden upward trend. This is what gave rise to a Canadian mathematician to ask Mann for his data and computer program. To his surprise Mann said he would need time to find them. McIntyre and others thought they would have been at his finger tips. Eventually they were obtained and showed no Hockey Stick. Subsequently it appears that the hockey stick was caused by improper use of Primary Component analysis designed to smooth out a ragged time series. When correctly used. No hockey stick. Similar debacles occurred when tree ring studies were repeated on a larger scale the original data was not support. McIntyre’s Climate Audit also showed that a study of Finnish lake sediments showing a hockey stick had actually inverted the final table, the real data showed the opposite. The paper was withdrawn, didn’t show what people wanted to hear. This was of course before Climate Gate which showed how Mann and others had tinkered with falsified and threatened to destroy data rather than release it. As I said. What science? There is no hockey stick. In these circumstances it is little wonder that Monckton crushed the opposition in Brisbane and will probably do the same in Melbourne. Nor little wonder Quiggin will not meet him in open debate about climate change or the lack of it

  37. conrad
    January 30th, 2010 at 12:06 | #37

    “Arguments that are designed to conclude that we should ignore our impact on futures generations are simply rationalization”

    No it isn’t . The extent that we care about the next generation is a serious philosophical argument — one which many people have to deal with on a smaller scale when they think about, for example, what they should do with their inheritance (which, incidentally, is a different argument to what you think about the next group in general, as kinship relationships get treated differently). It’s also one people don’t think about when they, say, ride a bicycle versus drive their car to work.

  38. nanks
    January 30th, 2010 at 12:16 | #38

    @conrad
    Of course there are reasonable arguments why not to care – but they are arguments that, when held, define the holder as selfish and uncaring.

  39. Freelander
    January 30th, 2010 at 13:07 | #39

    @nanks

    I completely agree. These philosophies, like “Atlas shrugged”, the idea that it is the rich who are really being exploited and they are being exploited by the poor, are simply consumer products so the a-holes who buy into them can fill good and moral about themselves while they continue to be and behave like a-holes.

    People tend to prefer to feel moral and upright while they are doing evil. Feeling moral and upright seems to provide them more gusto. History is full of examples and the history of religion in particular.

  40. BilB
    January 30th, 2010 at 14:04 | #40

    John Coochey,

    You are being very selective in your “demolition” of climate change. The real proof of climate change is that which is plainly visible, rather than that which is projected. Retreating glaciers, thinning Arctic ice, shorter Winters, hotter average night time temperatures, advancing tropical zones, visible sea level rise, more energetic weather systems, extreme cold spells in temperate zones, thawing permafrost, escalating methane releases from artic tundra,,,,,,. There is plenty of it to see if only you choose to look.

    But that is only one small part of a vortex to disaster that we have created. Depleting fossil fuel reserves, depleting mineral reserves, widespread devastation of eco systems, depletion of biodiversity, acidification of oceans, dwindling fresh water resources, food production to food demand ratio becoming more acute, and of course the primary driver for all of the above continued increase in the world’s population.

    The IPCC is an attempt to quantify that which is plainly obvious, and build some sort of understanding in a manner that enables a quantifiable, definitive and effective action plan to reduce the perceived rate of change.

    The outcome so far of all of this concern has been a dramatic acceleration in the development and implimentation of efficiency technologies for the better use of materials and resources, for better processes of living, for better uses of energy, for a greater determination to concerve the natural world. Non of this is detrimental in any way to peoples economies or business.

    But then there are those revolutionary snipers who seem determined to demolish the perception of change, who seem determined to destroy rather than contribute. Nothing is added, other than doubt. There are no peer reviewed studies of the natural world to demonstrably prove that the world is in fact not changing, only highly selective, highly inflated, mostly personal demolition attempts of individuals in the scientific community. What is the purpose of this. To what end is this heading.

    Monckton proudly declared that it took a lot of fuel to get him to Australia and he was keen to use plenty more of it, as though it was some sort of proof that climate change was not real. What is real is that there is that much less fossil fuel available for future generations to enjoy in the manner in which our short span of “civilised” life has been able to. This contains the only motive that I can see behind this “cult of denial”, and that is some sort of self centred selfish ignorance determined to preserve the lavish extravagances of the present.

    Maybe you can show that there is some great purpose behind the Moncktons of the world? Some thing that the rest of us cannot see.

  41. January 30th, 2010 at 14:21 | #41

    I agree that Alex Jones is wrong on a number of issues and dangerously wrong on the issue of global warming, but it should also acknowledged that he reports a lot of truth that the mainstream media won’t report, the latest example, being the gaping holes in the official story about the story of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab and Flight 253, “Authorities Quietly Reverse Underwear Bomber Official Story”.

  42. Chris Warren
    January 30th, 2010 at 14:30 | #42

    For all the denialists.

    Here is the data – comma separated values:

    316, 317, 318, 316, 315, 313, 313, 315, 316, 316, 317, 318, 318, 318, 317, 315, 314
    313, 315, 316, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 320, 318, 316, 314, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318
    319, 319, 321, 320, 319, 317, 315, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 321, 321, 320
    317, 316, 315, 317, 318, 319, 319, 320, 321, 322, 321, 320, 318, 316, 316, 317, 318
    320, 322, 322, 320, 319, 317, 317, 318, 319, 319, 320, 321, 322, 322, 322, 321, 319
    318, 317, 319, 319, 321, 322, 322, 324, 324, 324, 322, 320, 319, 318, 320, 321, 322
    323, 323, 324, 325, 324, 323, 321, 319, 319, 321, 322, 323, 323, 324, 325, 326, 325
    324, 322, 320, 320, 321, 323, 324, 324, 326, 327, 327, 327, 326, 324, 322, 322, 323
    324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 328, 328, 326, 325, 323, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 327, 328
    329, 329, 327, 325, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 328, 330, 330, 329, 328, 326, 325
    325, 327, 328, 329, 330, 330, 332, 332, 332, 331, 329, 328, 327, 328, 329, 329, 331
    331, 333, 333, 332, 331, 329, 327, 327, 328, 330, 331, 331, 332, 333, 334, 333, 332
    330, 329, 328, 329, 332, 333, 333, 335, 335, 334, 333, 331, 329, 329, 330, 332, 333
    333, 335, 336, 337, 336, 335, 333, 331, 331, 332, 333, 335, 335, 337, 338, 338, 338
    336, 334, 332, 332, 334, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 339, 339, 338, 336, 334, 334, 335
    337, 338, 338, 340, 341, 341, 341, 339, 337, 336, 336, 337, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343
    343, 343, 341, 339, 337, 337, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 344, 343, 342, 340, 338
    338, 339, 341, 341, 343, 343, 345, 346, 345, 344, 342, 340, 340, 341, 343, 344, 345
    345, 347, 347, 345, 343, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 348, 346, 345
    343, 343, 344, 346, 346, 347, 348, 350, 350, 350, 348, 346, 345, 344, 346, 347, 348
    349, 350, 351, 352, 351, 350, 348, 346, 346, 348, 349, 350, 352, 352, 354, 354, 354
    353, 350, 349, 349, 350, 351, 353, 353, 354, 355, 356, 355, 354, 351, 350, 350, 351
    353, 354, 355, 355, 356, 357, 356, 355, 353, 351, 351, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358
    359, 358, 356, 354, 352, 352, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 359, 359, 357, 355, 353
    353, 354, 355, 357, 357, 358, 359, 360, 359, 357, 355, 354, 354, 355, 357, 358, 359
    360, 361, 361, 361, 359, 357, 355, 356, 357, 359, 360, 361, 362, 363, 364, 363, 362
    359, 358, 358, 359, 360, 362, 363, 364, 364, 365, 365, 363, 361, 359, 359, 361, 362
    363, 364, 364, 366, 366, 365, 364, 362, 360, 360, 362, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369
    369, 368, 366, 364, 364, 365, 367, 368, 369, 369, 371, 371, 370, 369, 367, 365, 365
    367, 368, 369, 369, 370, 372, 371, 372, 370, 368, 367, 367, 368, 370, 370, 371, 372
    373, 374, 373, 372, 370, 368, 368, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 375, 374, 372
    371, 371, 372, 374, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379, 378, 377, 374, 373, 373, 375, 376, 377
    378, 379, 380, 381, 380, 377, 376, 374, 374, 376, 378, 378, 380, 381, 382, 382, 382
    381, 379, 377, 377, 378, 380, 381, 382, 383, 385, 385, 384, 382, 380, 379, 379, 380
    382, 383, 384, 384, 386, 387, 386, 384, 382, 381, 381, 382, 384, 385, 386, 386, 387
    389, 388, 386, 384, 383, 383, 384, 386, 387, 387, 389, 389, 390, 389, 388, 386, 385
    384, 386, 387, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Here is the source:

    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt

    How is this not proof of CO2 concentration increase. Where are wrong assumptions? Where is there scientific trickery?

    A change from 320 to 380 is over 18%.

  43. Freelander
    January 30th, 2010 at 14:30 | #43

    @daggett

    Interesting. Not unusual. Covering one’s posterior is far more important than national or international security. Shows how effectively security agencies can kill or incapacity stories in the ‘free press’. These security agencies have been behaving like Keystone Cops, yet the public now has to undergo increasing, and largely pointless, rituals before getting on a plane.

  44. January 30th, 2010 at 15:50 | #44

    @freelander, please see @daggett on Monday Messaage Board.

    @Megan, in “Climate sceptic warmly received during debate” Murdoch‘s Courier-Mail reports:

    LORD Christopher Monckton, imperious and articulate, won yesterday’s climate change debate in straight sets. …

    Aided by Adelaide’s Professor Ian Plimer, Lord Monckton cruised to victory before a partisan crowd of suits and ties, movers and shakers. …

    It would be hard to know if this were because Monckton actually won or because of the choice of Graeme Redfearn and Professor Brook to argue against him.

    To be fair to Graham Redfearn (even being the Murdoch employee that he is), and Barry Brook, it is a difficult kind of debate to win verbally.

    Georged Monbiot, who actually performed brilliantly on Lateline in November, refused to debate Plimer unless he was first prepared to answer 11 written questions concerning the sources of his claims. Plimer never did.

    When the Lateline debate occurred, George Monbiot stayed focussed on Plimer’s lack of credible sources and his outright falsification of his sources and, because of that concincingly routed Plimer.

    However, it is easy, in such debates, for ‘skeptics’ to make spurious anti-scientific claims in a few seconds and for upholders of the AGW theory to then have to spend much longer debunking such claims. It is because of this that deniers can appear to have won such debates.

  45. John Coochey
    January 30th, 2010 at 15:51 | #45

    Regarding comments about sea level changes. This is an issue close to my heart when it comes to the use of tide guages which were really the only available data before satellites, which I understand only work 60 degrees N or S. Meaning a third of the world is not covered. I use to work for the RAN Hydrographer and was told that he did not have tidal datum more accuate than half a meter for most of Australia but now I see alarmists telling me of minute changes measured on tide guages! I do not think so. There is no reason why they should be that accurate/sensitive they are designed for navigation of large ships. You know the things that bring you plasma TV’s from China Japan and Korea. There is no way they could measure changes of such small magnitude. So if the hydrographer does not have the data how could the alarmists?

  46. Year 8 Maths
    January 30th, 2010 at 16:24 | #46

    JQ
    I think you should debate climate change with people who have sufficient belief in their convictions to have invested in Cubbie Station, because if Climate Change is “crap” then Cubbie Station would represent a great investment.

  47. January 30th, 2010 at 16:41 | #47

    Thanks for that, Daggett. It seems to have gone up at midnight.

    The second paragraph sums it up nicely:

    “Forget facts and fictions, numbers and statistics, this British high priest of climate change sceptics is a polished performer, even against the most committed of scientists.”

    As for the tactic you refer to, I think it’s called the “Gish Gallop”.

    The comments on that story demonstrate how effective the BAU machine is. Everything ranging from ‘it’s been happening forever and humans have no effect’, ‘it isn’t happening’, ‘CO2 is natural and good’, ‘we can’t stop meteorites or volcanoes’, ‘Galileo’, ‘the sun is hot’, ‘the UN is a plot’ etc… I think I even read an ‘Al Gore is fat’, but that may have been on the Brisbane Times site.

  48. BilB
    January 30th, 2010 at 16:48 | #48

    Again, John C, it is about directly observable realities. With sea level changes, it is the increasing number of countries and islands around the world where the sea levels are now overunning land once liveable and productive that tell the story properly. It is about survival, so when salt water innundates garden plots destroying the vegetable crops required for living, then people have to move to higher ground. And that is what is happening now with some island populations moving to mainlands. Water surrounding ones house is far more meaningful than marks on a hydrographer’s.

  49. Ernestine Gross
    January 30th, 2010 at 16:49 | #49

    @conrad

    There was no intended suggestion that you are promoting Mirko B’s ‘stuff’. I just found it interesting that he showed up in this context. As for Derek Parfit, I don’t wish to comment on the basis of the wiki entries. However, I can say that the problem of intergenerational resource allocation is not a new one in mathematical economics (axiomatic theory). I recall a presentation by Prof. Birgid Grodal, then University of Copenhagen from around 1990. Furthermore, there is one assumption on preferences, non-satiation, which matches what scientists tell us about animals reasonably well, namely they act in a manner which is consistent with the assumption that they want to survive as a species. While the assumption of non-satiation has been popularised as ‘greed is good’, the formal definition does not correspond to this interpretation. In particular, even for one generation, the assumption of non-satiation says that people want to live as long as possible (and hence they want to consume ‘stuff’ not only today but as along as possible).

  50. Chris Warren
    January 30th, 2010 at 17:09 | #50

    @John Coochey

    Stupid denialist – there is plenty of data – plenty of accuracy.

    http://www.pol.ac.uk/ntslf/sadata_tgi_ntslf_v2.php?code=Barmouth&span=1

    and similar.

    And our denialist cannot even find his supposed problem with the data above at @42.

  51. David C
    January 30th, 2010 at 17:15 | #51

    @John Coochey

    …and was told that he did not have tidal datum more accuate than half a meter for most of Australia…

    Half a meter! According to this article from the BOM:

    The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration developed Seaframe gauges in the 1980s.
    Conventional tide gauges had, until then, measured water levels to an accuracy of 1cm. This was not sensitive enough to measure small and gradual changes in just a few decades.
    Seaframe sensors can accurately measure to one millimetre.

  52. Ernestine Gross
    January 30th, 2010 at 17:25 | #52

    @John Coochey

    I don’t wish to be impolite. However, as a long-time reader of this blog-site I find it exceedingly boring to read about the Hockey stick in your post. We’ve been through this many times.

    Isn’t it clear from JQ’s article in the FinReview that JQ has won the argument againt the nobel Lord M.?

    The Lord provides ample material for a show like The Chasers; he is a charming eccentric.

  53. nanks
    January 30th, 2010 at 17:29 | #53

    that’s another one of the lies David C – the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been conspiring against humanity for decades. – Check the incomes of the scientists there – all billionaires, and all communists, or Muslims, or Jews, or Democrats. Or they’re not and they’re under deep cover. Coochey has his finger on the pulse for sure – so much so I’m wondering how he gets his inside information – is he compromised, playing both sides? Are we compromised even talking about this?

    David C :
    @John Coochey

    …and was told that he did not have tidal datum more accuate than half a meter for most of Australia…

    Half a meter! According to this article from the BOM:

    The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration developed Seaframe gauges in the 1980s.
    Conventional tide gauges had, until then, measured water levels to an accuracy of 1cm. This was not sensitive enough to measure small and gradual changes in just a few decades.
    Seaframe sensors can accurately measure to one millimetre.

  54. Selti
    January 30th, 2010 at 18:10 | #54

    What else could I call it when their data shows no global warming since 1998 as shown in this chart with increase in CO2 for more than a decade?

    In science, when a theory mismatches with observation, you chuck the theory.

    CO2 driven global warming must be chucked.

    Also, why is Dr Phil John’s not his job as the head of CRU?

    Why “hide the decline”?

    Why “It is a travesty” that we can not account for the non warming?

    Why “Himalayan Glaciers” will disappear by 2035?

    etc, etc

  55. David C
    January 30th, 2010 at 18:25 | #55

    @nanks
    I don’t know nanks. I reckon that Coochey is a triple agent. Just look at the way he spells “metre”. One thing is for sure, I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight now that I know that the BoM have been infiltrated. Better not say any more.

  56. Chris Warren
    January 30th, 2010 at 19:08 | #56

    Selti

    Are you that stupid?

    _Stupid Peoples Chart_

    Hadcrut3 is a dataset of anomalies. The HADCRUT3 mean is constantly positive (0.4) which I interpret as indicative of warming temperatures.

    The CO2 Mauna Loa data is of measurements (not anomalies). It could have a linear annual anomaly trend.

    To have zero warming, you would need zero mean anomaly. Your chart demonstrates warming.

  57. conrad
    January 30th, 2010 at 20:15 | #57

    “What else could I call it when their data shows no global warming since 1998 as shown in this chart with increase in CO2 for more than a decade?”

    Did God create the Earth in 1998 and is everything that happened before a test of our faith?

  58. Freelander
    January 30th, 2010 at 20:31 | #58

    @conrad

    I suggest you go and re-do all those climate science classes you have taken and then try and pass the exams this time.

    If God was part of the climate science mechanisms where you were taught, I suggest you do your study this time at a reputable institution.

  59. Chris O’Neill
    January 31st, 2010 at 02:18 | #59

    Selti:

    What else could I call it when their data shows no global warming since 1998 as shown in this chart with increase in CO2 for more than a decade?

    And why, pray tell, did you quote data out of context and why, pray tell, did you fail to normalize the temperature data as well as the CO2 data?

    Looks like there’s plenty of half-wits around.

  60. Chris O’Neill
    January 31st, 2010 at 02:54 | #60

    John Coochey:

    So if Monckton is such a charlatan why not take him on in open debate and humiliate him once and for all.

    Plimer was humilated in an open debate. Did that shut him up once and for all? I don’t think so.

  61. Jim Rose
    January 31st, 2010 at 14:13 | #61

    In global warming debate, and most public policy debates, there is a tendency to overstate claims to gain attention.

    An example is Professor Quiggin’s book title: Zombie Economics. A good marketing ploy – it grabs wider reader attention in a crowded media market full of shrillness.

    Of course, such rhetorical excess limits the ability of Professor Quiggin to denounce the rhetorical flourishes of others.

    The left wing bias of the green movement is well documented in the second voting preference patterns of green voters in preferential systems and standard analysis of which side of politics they take votes from in first past the post and proportional representations systems.

    The biographies of green party MPs and leaders is from the socialist left, unapologetic ex-communists and recovering student union politicians.

    Green parties are not known for wishing free market capitalism well. That is Monckton’s poorly made point. The Greens form political parties that are well to the left in the political spectrum.

  62. Ernestine Gross
    January 31st, 2010 at 15:02 | #62

    @Jim Rose

    Muddying the water with red herrings isn’t going to salvage Monckton’s case unless you now provide evidence that Margaret Thatcher is the founder of the Greens in the UK and these Greens have characteristics as described by you.

  63. Ken
    January 31st, 2010 at 15:21 | #63

    I think that casting climate change debate (though not the scientific basis for the existence of a serious manmade change to the world we live in) as Left versus Right has some legitimacy; the ideologies of the Right (which are, IMHO, just as flawed and ethically challenged as the Left’s), are failing to find how to incorporate the requirement to deal with the serious manmade changes being wrought upon the world without international government intervention and regulation. And they are ongoing victims of their politically expedient choices to deny the scientific basis for real global problems their ideology lacks the capacity to cope with, rather than face those inadequacies. Of course the Left, left to itself is just as impotent as the Right and, whilst it isn’t up against innate opposition to intervention and regulation, is hampered by being, in recent times, more of an amalgam that tries to be all things to all people. Of course Monckton’s cartoon caricature portrayal of the Left as a cohesive power for evil is barely more loony than the cartoon caricature version of the Right that Monckton typifies.

    In any case, trying to sheet home blame for the complete inadequacies in the response of mainstream political parties and institutions to serious global issues like climate change on the extremist of Right, Left and Green (which, despite the tendencies in that direction, doesn’t strictly follow Left ideologies) looks increasingly like scapegoating.

    It’s not the extremists that are to blame, it’s the complete failure of the Mainstream to deal with isssues like sustainability, ecosystem degradation and climate change in any meaningful way that is doing the real damage and deserves the most scathing criticism.

  64. Freelander
    January 31st, 2010 at 15:31 | #64

    @Jim Rose

    Interestingly, a number of the extreme right have biographical histories in the extreme left and communism and so on. Probably a good reason to ignore them as well? If they are now apologetic does that change the assessment?

  65. Alice
    January 31st, 2010 at 16:51 | #65

    @Jim Rose
    says

    “The biographies of green party MPs and leaders is from the socialist left, unapologetic ex-communists and recovering student union politicians.”

    I have a few points for Ken.

    A. communism never existed – except in China and all other commnist leaders were closer to fascist leaders or dictators.

    B. fear of communism has been overplayed to death by the right wing hardliners who are no better than mcarthyists in their search for internal imaginary enemies within their own peace time nations. Communists to them just means labour voters and Greens voters and anyone else who doesnt vote liberal.

    C. What is a recovering student union politician recovering from? The flu? What of the rest of the students who didnt participate in student politics?. If it was only student politicians that joined the greens, that wouldnt account for the numbers.

    D. Most major parties have politicial leaders that emerged from student politics in Australian history including the liberals and their current political leader Tony Abbott, that is, until Nelson closed down student politics. As usual it was portrayed as the “fight against communism”…but it was really just to keep uni students from engaging with student politics at all at uni, so John Howard could just to educate them about politics his way….with television ads…. so the children just grow up like some of the zombies in here, mimicking instead of thinking. Thats handy for training of future leaders, not.

    E. Fear of communism is spomething you really need to see a psychiatrist about Jim Rose…but you should also see about your political preferences while you are there.

  66. Alice
    January 31st, 2010 at 16:52 | #66

    Should say above “I have a few points for Jim”

  67. hector
    January 31st, 2010 at 17:38 | #67

    Dont forget the other participants in this global warming swindle- the stupid old dead bastards who insisted on ‘dying’ of heatstress in the vicious melbourne heatwave of January 2009.

    These gutless animals clearly thought snuffing it in the heat would be ‘just the ticket’ to trick us into thinking global warming is real. Well, I’ve got news for you, you dead bastards, knock it off! Quite frankly, if you weren’t dead, I’d have some pretty strong things to say to your faces.

    PS melting arctic ice, you can f-ing well stop it as well !

  68. Ernestine Gross
    January 31st, 2010 at 17:42 | #68

    Ken :I think that casting climate change debate (though not the scientific basis for the existence of a serious manmade change to the world we live in) as Left versus Right has some legitimacy; .

    You may be right on this point. However, it seems to me that the public interest aspect of John Quiggin’s article in the public press (AFR) is that he disentangles the political debate from the scientific basis for a practical economic policy problem. Moreover, in line with mainstream economics, which takes the individual as the basic unit of analysis, he clearly shows where the entaglement happens.

    As a byproduct, so to speak, John Quiggin exposes Monckton as a lousy conspiracy theorist on technical grounds.

  69. hector
    January 31st, 2010 at 17:45 | #69

    I forgot to add another conspirator in the global warming swindle – high air temperatures.

    The temperature hit 46.4 degrees in Melbourne on Feb 7th 2009 smashing all previous records (in 150 years of records).

    The con is obvious. The air temperature, by increasing itself, is hoping to panic us into thinking global warming is real, just like the old dead bastards who ‘died’ from heatstress.

    Oh yes so now global warming causes high temperatures – what a wank!

    We’re in safe hands with the deniers who can see through this conspiracy!

  70. John Coochey
    January 31st, 2010 at 18:53 | #70

    The comments on tidal datum are innane because even if correct they could not measure movement before the “new technology was introduced” But why not publish the actual figures if you have them and the we will match them against actual RAN records” The basic rule is that at any one moment, and I choose my words carefully, there is only so much water in the oceans, but there is only so much water in existence which for practicable purposes is the same as when the world came into existence. Some water will be in the form of vapour other parts will be fresh. Some will be frozen. So… for water levels you need a huge number of readins world wide simulaneously. Not possible. Or and I hate to start a sentence with a conjunction, a long time series at common locations. These have not been done for Australia and given the daily revelions about the IPCC nor has anyone else. But once again the questons of why; was the temperature of the world, if anyone knows what that was, just before the return of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the most beneficial that the world has experienced? There have been some previous metaphors about champion boxers not meeting challenges from drunks. I do not consider Quiggin a champion in anything but I do remember when “workng security” (bouncer) we had staff who could have always removed the obnoxious bikie but were never there when it happened. We sacked them. Put up or shut up!

  71. Ernestine Gross
    January 31st, 2010 at 20:08 | #71

    Good night everybody. I don’t wish to be in the company of a commenter who uses foul language in a most disrespectful manner and another one who writes, IMHO, incoherent stuff, except for an order: Put up or shut up.

  72. Alice
    January 31st, 2010 at 20:11 | #72

    @Ernestine Gross
    Exactly Ernestine – Im with you (going to bed early). Id say both of their days are numbered. All I can think is JQ must have gone to bed early too.

  73. hector
    January 31st, 2010 at 22:02 | #73

    Hang on, all I was doing is congratulating my fellow deniers. We’ve uncovered the world socialist conspiracy about global warming, and I was rightfully expressing our anger at the silly people who died in the heatwaves (they are trying to trick us through their deaths).

  74. Alice
    February 1st, 2010 at 05:17 | #74

    Hector – go read the comments policy …the prof doesnt like bad language and he doesnt like bad language disguised as hyphens or **** either. He also may not like beer drinking on Sunday nights but I am not completely certain on that one.

  75. Ken
    February 1st, 2010 at 09:58 | #75

    Alice and Ernestine – Regarding the history and philosophies of Left and Right, I admit I’m not that well informed. It does seem that the Right prefers denial of scientific reality than do something about their inability to deal with an issue like climate change. Having chosen denial as their primary response they have deeply damaged their ongoing ability to deal with it in any reasonable way. But the reality is the Left as represented by Labor are failing to deal with it any better. It’s been made clear that as far as the ALP is concerned coal is the future energy source for Australia; the only concession to climate is some ineffective R&D spending on CCS. I can’t see how that’s communist – or any kind – of ideology at work.
    My main point remains that it’s not the extremist responses that are the problem; the failure of mainstream politics as represented by Liberals and Labor to deal with climate change in any meaningful and effective way is the problem.

  76. Alex
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:23 | #76

    Speaking briefly of the left/right divide; I see it as often nothing more than tribalism, akin to rabid support of a soccer team.

    I identify as being of the left, and my father who’s American, is a Republican who thinks Fox News is fair and balanced, and that Ann Couter is a ‘great woman’.

    We get on great because our values are actually similar; dislike of racism, poverty etc…

  77. Ken
    February 1st, 2010 at 15:26 | #77

    Alex, if that divide is preventing unilateral action on something as serious as human activities impacting the planet’s climate it’s a kind of tribalism that’s doing us no good. I’m not sure the failure of these ‘sides’ on this issue is really more than fiddling whilst Rome burns. Maybe sending a few Greenies to the lions could be good too – if it wasn’t for them the physics and chemistry of our planet’s climate wouldn’t be an issue and plundering and pillaging our environment would still be held in high regard.

  78. Doug
    February 1st, 2010 at 15:53 | #78

    Further grist to the conspiracy mill – the Pentagon is now including climate change as a real and pressing threat to national security. Those communists are everywhere.

  79. Ken
    February 1st, 2010 at 15:56 | #79

    Sorry, being a bit sarky. I think that the Greens have significance because a lot of mainstream people think the issues they are vocal about are significant – and mainstream politics has failed to adequately address them. Lots of people have genuine concerns about environmental degradation and sustainability and climate change that looks certain to seriously impact both. The Right appears to support the right to exploit for profit and the Left support the right to exploit for continued employment and compromises to protect those keep leaving the underlying problems unaddressed. The most obvious impacts are largely out of sight, far off or appear unstoppable but the best science tells us failure to address them is no longer about appeasing a tree hugging minority; it’s about our long term prosperity and security and isn’t optional.

  80. Fran Barlow
    February 1st, 2010 at 16:07 | #80

    @Alex

    Speaking briefly of the left/right divide; I see it as often nothing more than tribalism, akin to rabid support of a soccer team.

    While there certainly is an element of tribalism in such things, this radically trivialises politics. The left is centrally concerned with questions of equity, especially in relation to governance and one’s life chances. The right sees its social concerns about “rights and freedoms” as manifest in the security of property holding and privilege.

    It is easy enough for both leftists and (some) rightists to repudiate racism and oppositoion to poverty. The rubber hits the road at the moment one asks how?, with what resources? and “for whom?

  81. Jim Rose
    February 1st, 2010 at 16:28 | #81

    It is ironic that the responses to a posting on how people all too often over-state their claims in political debates should themselves fall in the trap of extravagant rhetoric.

    If there was a prize for conspiracy theories of politics and history, the left would win hands down.

    Left wing politics are not known for attributing the beliefs and policies of their opponents to their right and to their further left to no more than intellectual error.

    The left talks of class war, robber barons, history is the history of the class war, the bosses and the workers, class loyalty, class traitors, class consciousness, imperialism, capitalist running dogs, deviationists but to name but a few.

    It is natural then, given this intellectual toolkit, for the non-democratic left, when it comes to power, to blame their inevitable and rapid economic failures and stagnation on traitors, spies and wreckers and hold show trials. Set-backs are blamed on the remnants of capitalism. Failed socialist policies were rarely abandoned, and often inspired more radical steps.

    The left’s approach to the current financial crisis is to round up the usual scapegoats rather than blame government interventions that favoured home ownership and several years of loose monetary policies. Much easier to blame a hidden cabal of international bankers. The market system is frequently criticised for features of contemporary economic society which should, in fact, to be properly attributed to regulatory interference with the market.

    The far left in particular must resort to conspiracy theories and hidden persuaders to rationalise away their abject failure at the ballot box.

  82. Alex
    February 1st, 2010 at 16:36 | #82

    Alex, if that divide is preventing unilateral action on something as serious as human activities impacting the planet’s climate it’s a kind of tribalism that’s doing us no good.

    I agree.

  83. Alex
    February 1st, 2010 at 17:30 | #83

    With respect, Jim Rose, your description of ‘the left’ is an absurd caricature.

    Knocking down strawmen may be easy, but it’s also intellectually lazy.

  84. jim rose
    February 1st, 2010 at 18:01 | #84

    alex,

    the constitutions of the british and new zealand labour parties commit the party to democratic socialist principles.

    in my post i differentiated between the left, the far left and the non-democratic left.

  85. Freelander
    February 1st, 2010 at 18:56 | #85

    @jim rose

    Do they still? Even if they do the inclusion is an artefact, not anything that has any enduring significance. For that matter, the government of China probably still claims to be communist and Mao’s visage is probably still in evidence. So what?

  86. Alex
    February 1st, 2010 at 19:11 | #86

    Jim,
    NZ and England are not socialist countries despite labour parties having been in power for a majority of the last decade, so what’s your point?

  87. jim rose
    February 1st, 2010 at 20:40 | #87

    so there are no communist countries, no socialist countries, and the parties of the left do not speak for the interests of the working class.

    what people will say to avoid admitting that the left questions the motives of its opponents in vivid terms. An example might be the title of professor quiggin’s book.

  88. Freelander
    February 1st, 2010 at 20:41 | #88

    @jim rose

    You are so delusional you would qualify for a job at the Productivity Commission!

  89. John H
    February 1st, 2010 at 20:49 | #89

    The left’s approach to the current financial crisis is to round up the usual scapegoats rather than blame government interventions that favoured home ownership and several years of loose monetary policies. Much easier to blame a hidden cabal of international bankers.

    Isn’t the issue here that in relation to the USA’s specific problems there is certainly plenty of blame in regard to lending “initiatives” of the government and loose monetary policy, but the international spread of the problem directly relates to unregulated derivatives market that spread the risk across the world? I suspect there is an issue of culpability on a grand scale by the financial sector because I am at a loss to understand how so much risk management ideas were thrown out the window in the pursuit of the big bonus.

    I have little knowledge of economics so would appreciate ideas from those who do know something about this matter.

  90. Alice
    February 1st, 2010 at 20:50 | #90

    @Jim Rose
    Oh for goodness sake Jim Rose – you do have your charicature of the left nicely boxed in your mind dont you with the following comment…
    “The left talks of class war, robber barons, history is the history of the class war, the bosses and the workers, class loyalty, class traitors, class consciousness, imperialism, capitalist running dogs, deviationists but to name but a few.

    Are you aware Jim Rose that charicature can be as easily applied to thr right who talk of

    “freedom of choice, the individual takes all, user pays, the darwinian survival of the fittest, the fundamentalism of religion, the oppression of labour to complete flexibility, the crude elevation of the entrepreneur beyond the ethics of their behaviour, the mocking of the role of the state in any service, the quest for ever lower taxes and the shrinkage of government, the failure to admit privatisation disasters, the ignoring of education and health needs for the majority, the failure to pursue greater equality for women, the worship of wealth for some at the expense of wellbeing for many, freedom to carry guns, deny climate change, the penchant for war and national might over peace time government services, and finally the deeply flawed assumption that competition prevails in any market (and every market) if you just stand back and watch it”

    Heard it all before Jim Rose – heard it all before but you have no inkling of the charicature of the right.

    Charicatures are tribalism and tribalism obstructs progress.

  91. Alice
    February 1st, 2010 at 21:00 | #91

    @jim rose
    As for “capitalist running dogs” – please – the last person who spoke of that was probably Mao Tse Tung and he died years ago – but here we have jim Rose raising the spectacle of an enemy who is no more “communism” here, in downtown Sydney.

    A communist in Australia means anyone who doesnt vote liberal..

    All of them – every one Half the Australian population in fact go round complaining about “capitalist running dogs” in Woolies on Saturday mornings…. Ive heard them..I swear I have. They hate capitalism but they still by their vegs there and they dont always vote conservative Jim Rose – so maybe you should start filiming all those commies in Woolies.

  92. February 2nd, 2010 at 00:41 | #92

    @Chris Warren

    I’m curious as to how many people here (and JQ if he wants to respond) agree with Chris Warren’s interpretation of the anomaly chart above? I note that people here are generally very quick to jump on comments they consider wrong or silly, but nobody has responded to Chris… so should I take that to mean that most people here agree with him?

  93. asdusty
    February 2nd, 2010 at 00:56 | #93

    It is a source of great amusement to me that so many people, and climate change deniers in particular (not to mention conservative voters), still seem to be fighting the cold war. Well heres a news flash folks; We won! Yep, twenty years ago the cold war was won by the capitalists, the wall came down and there was much rejoicing. Subsequently, we are all capitalists now. The communists are dead and in reality they never were communists, they all ended up fascists (except for the chinese who just attached a marxist tag to something they have been doing for the last few thousand years – warlords, ya gotta love em). Anyone claiming to be a communist today should be given the sort of consideration reserved for civil war re-enactors or members of the SCA, ie a pat on the head and direction to go play in the backyard. The same goes for socialists.
    The problem is that there has not been a paradigm shift with which to describe the new playing field. The ‘right/left’ thing is a bit old fashioned, what with its ‘capitalist/communist’ connotation and its original use to describe which side of the river you were on during the french revolution (the right bank was with the king, the left bank against him). I reckon, and as someone touched on earlier, that a better description would be the ‘Humanists’ versus the ‘Tribalists’. Humanists believe that capitalism is a tool that should benefit all humanity, wheras Tribalists believe that capitalism is a tool to be used for the benefit of their tribe, their group.
    To continue fighting a war that was won twenty years ago only distracts people from seeing where the real evil is growing in our society, such as the rapacious growth in power of multi-national corporations, or the undermining of democracy by elite fundamentalism. As Bertrand Russell wrote, a world government is inevitable if we are to have any hope of saving humanity. Lord Monkton is wrong to fear communists however. The real danger is that we end up with a corporatised fascist state, but we wont have to worry cause we will have been put up against the wall and shot by then.

  94. Freelander
    February 2nd, 2010 at 02:25 | #94

    @John Humphreys

    Have you considered the other possibility?

  95. February 2nd, 2010 at 07:02 | #95

    @John Humphreys
    I didn’t see that comment. As is the case more often than not, Chris is wrong. A constant anomaly means temps not increasing. The problem with the chart is that it starts in 1998 (not to mention thinking anything particularly meaningful about long-term climate trends can be extrapolated from 12 years – try this one instead).

    “I note that people here are generally very quick to jump on comments they consider wrong or silly”

    You mean compared to the loving support group that is Catallaxy? ;-)

  96. Donald Oats
    February 2nd, 2010 at 07:56 | #96

    I notice a few indications that some journalists are repositioning Mr Monckton as a bit eccentric now, Janet Albrechtsen being the first. I think they appreciate that the public at large see his political comments about AGW as “out there”, and they want to preserve the more “reasoned” part of his performances as credible science (which it too often is not).

  97. jquiggin
    February 2nd, 2010 at 08:39 | #97

    So, John, putting the point back to you. Given that you are keen to see Chris’ response to the graph debated, do you agree that the choice of 1998 as a starting point is, at best, silly and (much more likely), at worst, dishonest cherrypicking.

  98. Ernestine Gross
    February 2nd, 2010 at 10:46 | #98

    @Donald Oats

    I suppose it is anybody’s guess as to how the association with Monckton will reflect on Prof Pilmer.

    By the way, I like your comments and I admire your patience.

  99. Ernestine Gross
    February 2nd, 2010 at 10:48 | #99

    Not Pilmer but Plimer. Sorry.

  100. Michael
    February 2nd, 2010 at 14:00 | #100

    @asdusty
    I agree the left/right polarity is of declining relevance to the present. Intergenerational conflict is also flawed but of more relevance to the climate debate than left vs right. I expect there will be opposition to this idea and for the record I don’t think everyone fits the intergenerational stereotypes.

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