Home > Boneheaded stupidity, Economic policy, Economics - General > The “job-killing” carbon tax

The “job-killing” carbon tax

June 11th, 2014

Tony Abbott hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory on his overseas trip. But he has found one ally: Canadian PM (at least until next years election) Stephen Harper, also a climate denialist. They made a joint statement denouncing carbon taxes as “job killing”. I didn’t notice any massive destruction of jobs when the carbon price/tax was introduced in 2012, but rather than do my own analysis, I thought I’d take a look at the government’s own Budget outlook, to see how many jobs they claim to have been destroyed by the carbon tax, and what great benefits we can expect from its removal. Here’s the relevant section of the summary (note that the outlook is premised on the Budget measures being passed)

The Australian economy is in the midst of a major transformation, moving from growth led by investment in resources projects to broader‑based drivers of activity in the non‑resources sectors. This is occurring at a time when the economy has generally been growing below its trend rate and the unemployment rate has been rising. During this transition, the economy is expected to continue to grow slightly below trend and the unemployment rate is expected to rise further to 6¼ per cent by mid‑2015.

In this environment, the Government is focused on implementing measures to support growth and jobs while putting in place lasting structural reforms to restore the nation’s finances to a sustainable footing. The timing and composition of the new policy decisions mean that the faster pace of consolidation in this Budget does not have a material impact on economic growth over the forecast period, relative to the 2013‑14 Mid‑Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

Since MYEFO, the near‑term outlook for the household sector has improved. Leading indicators of dwelling investment are consistent with rising activity, while household consumption and retail trade outcomes have improved recently, consistent with gains in household wealth. This is partly offset by weaker business investment intentions, particularly for non‑resources sectors.

The outlook for the resources sector is largely unchanged from MYEFO. Resources investment is still expected to detract significantly from growth through until at least 2015‑16, as reflected in the outlook for investment in engineering construction which is forecast to decline by 13 per cent in 2014‑15 and 20½ per cent in 2015‑16. Rising resources exports are only expected to partially offset the impact on growth. Overall, real GDP is forecast to continue growing below trend at 2½ per cent in 2014‑15, before accelerating to near‑trend growth of 3 per cent in 2015‑16.

The labour market has been subdued since late 2011, characterised by weak employment growth, a falling participation rate and a rising unemployment rate, although outcomes since the beginning of 2014 have been more positive. The unemployment rate is forecast to continue to edge higher, settling around 6¼ per cent, consistent with the outlook for real GDP growth. Consumer price inflation is expected to remain well contained, with moderate wage pressures and the removal of the carbon tax.

The reference to the CPI effects of the carbon price (around 0.4 per cent) is, as far as I can tell, the only mention in the whole of the Economic Outlook statement.

  1. Ivor
    June 11th, 2014 at 10:13 | #1

    Is it the case that:

    The Australian economy is in the midst of a major transformation,…

    or is Abbott (and Gina, Twiggy, Bolt and Jones) seeking transformation of the Australian political-economy in the interests of Capital?

    Capitalism is for Capital, not the environment or for future generations.

  2. David Allen
    June 11th, 2014 at 10:27 | #2

    I think it’s funny, John, that you are reading their documents hoping to find some kind of measurable reality. It’s like reading the instructions that come with a pack of Tarot card to find out why their predictions aren’t working out.

  3. Nevil Kingston-Brown
    June 11th, 2014 at 10:46 | #3

    @David Allen
    I am in awe of that analogy and will shamelessly steal it from now on.

  4. Midrash
    June 11th, 2014 at 10:46 | #4

    One should be wary of abstractions. A lot of people have been killed by the devotees of (and enemies of particular) abstractions.
    So may I take you as meaning by Capital actual people who have large savings? (Savings being money and assets which could be turned into money which are not being currently or in the near future used for consumption).
    If so, please consider the age distribution of the major holders of that capital. Is it remotely plausible that they don’t care for and listen to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren?

    Is it indeed plausible that they don’t actually care more for the environment than people who live hand to mouth, including marginal farmers, and, if one understands the reality of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, anyone with typical earlier level priorities?

    But, assuming you are not as carried away with abstractions as a Wahabi preacher, perhaps your acquaintance includes such a number of crass Philistine multimillionaires that you can reliably generslise about those with the big savings.

    An afterthought. You could be referring to the capitalism which transformed the world (with reciprocal help from the beginnings of modern science and maybe religious reformation) from its Malthusian miseries to what we enjoy today however little we may have contributed personally to prosperity.

  5. Ivor
    June 11th, 2014 at 11:16 | #5


    There was no abstraction.

    Capital is not savings.

    “If so” – is if not.

    Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is subject to morality, equity, social justice and ecology.

    Millionaires capture savings and use them as Capital. Capital and savings are two different things.

    You afterthought was no thought. Capitalism only transformed part of the world to great heights by imposing opposite conditions on the many. Prosperity is unknown to most of the global population including most of the working poor in OECD and OPEC economies.

  6. Michael
    June 11th, 2014 at 11:19 | #6

    “Canadia” has voluntary voting and the LNP haven’t figured out how to lock in that “reform” here so Abbott’s high stakes strategy is bound to come up against reality eventually. Although the press is still giving “the greatest opposition leader in history” a free pass the public has wised up to Abbott. The question remains – will the LNP all go down together or will they come to their senses and get rid of this brace of right-wing loonies before it’s too late.

  7. Michael S.
    June 11th, 2014 at 12:01 | #7

    David Allen :
    I think it’s funny, John, that you are reading their documents hoping to find some kind of measurable reality. It’s like reading the instructions that come with a pack of Tarot card to find out why their predictions aren’t working out.


  8. Collin Street
    June 11th, 2014 at 12:54 | #8

    I tell you again, I think the PM has autism.

  9. J-D
    June 11th, 2014 at 12:58 | #9

    Rich people may care about their children and grandchildren if they have them (not everybody does), but even if they do (and even that is not automatic) they still may not care about other people’s children and grandchildren.

  10. Hermit
    June 11th, 2014 at 13:13 | #10

    We need a five year time series to disentangle the various factors that have led to a modest reduction in our electricity sector emissions. These factors include the manufacturing downturn, the physical displacement effect of increased renewable energy, the price effects of subsidies and network ‘gold plating’, the effect of high rainfall w.r.t. hydro and coal mine flooding and finally the carbon tax.

    Within Canada a couple of provinces appear to be doing low carbon well. BC has a carbon tax which we are told has popular support and Ontario has emissions intensity as low as France. Shame about the Alberta tar sands which are a carbon nightmare. Obama has perhaps wisely deferred a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline for diluted bitumen imports from Canada to the US. He is pinning his green cred on domestic coal plant emission limits. A possible scenario is not much happens with US coal but the Canadian tar sands keep coming. Harper can then say ‘not my problem’.

  11. kevin1
    June 11th, 2014 at 14:34 | #11

    Abbott’s comment in Canada that he, like Obama, also believes in a Direct Action policy has been pinged by various commentators as showing his problem with truth-telling. Another example Greg Jericho gave last week at the ABC site “Government’s low blow on higher education”was the policy taken to the last election: “We will ensure the continuation of the current arrangements of university funding”.

    Since then, Christopher Pyne has discovered economic religion, and it sounds so elegant, pure and exciting. I wonder how much of his hubris can be put down to his mere two year work experience as a solicitor before entering Parliament.

    Policy incoherence, inchoate analysis and lying are deep-seated flaws which look like continuing themes.

  12. Tim Macknay
    June 11th, 2014 at 15:02 | #12

    @Collin Street

    I tell you again, I think the PM has autism.

    There’s that mentally ill-bashing again. Cut. It. Out.

  13. rog
    June 11th, 2014 at 16:29 | #13

    Page 20 of the latest BREE publication puts employment by the mining sector at 2.3% – hardly a job creator.

  14. Russ
    June 11th, 2014 at 17:47 | #14

    I note also that a number of retailers are linking a downturn in activity to the release of the budget. Not much employment growth there.

  15. Tony Lynch
    June 11th, 2014 at 18:10 | #15

    So he definately doesn’t? Or the hypothesis is beyond the pale? Or it is insulting to those with autism to suggest they have anything in common with Abbott? Please, I would like to know.

  16. Tim Macknay
    June 11th, 2014 at 18:55 | #16

    @Tony Lynch
    It’s insulting to those with autism to “diagnose” a public figure with autism because he or she behaves in a way you don’t like. IMHO, the habit of blog “diagnosis” of public figures (or people who are the subject of media attention) with various kinds of mental illnesses or psychopathologies is offensive. It uses mental illness as a kind of insult.

  17. Neil
    June 11th, 2014 at 19:00 | #17

    @Tim Macknay

    I agree entirely. It is worth adding that the diagnosis is almost certainly wrong (Abbott tries to intimidate with a glare; someone would avoid eye contact). Second, even if it were true it is entirely irrelevant to Abbott’s flaws (people with autism do not have a deficit with moral judgment).

  18. Midrash
    June 11th, 2014 at 19:02 | #18

    It seems to me that you really are referring to actual people, even if not known to you, who have large savings in the sense that they (typically the modern CEO) control the use of large aggregations of savings to the exclusion of those savings being spent on consumption in the short or perhaps medium term. In any case you are apparently referring to people who must in practice include a high proportion who care about the environment and future generations. BTW you seem to misunderstand Maslow. His was an empirical observation or hypothesis and, if near enough to true, as most people who understand what he was saying agree that it is/was it does make it prima facie unlikely that the rich would be careless about the environment. The Australian Conservation Foundation was founded by the conservative before the activist left’s “long march through the institutions” took it over. Did you know that?

  19. J-D
    June 11th, 2014 at 19:17 | #19

    Midrash in the eighteenth comment accuses Midrash in the fourth comment of misunderstanding Maslow. What’s going on here?

  20. Midrash
    June 11th, 2014 at 19:26 | #20

    Somehow my reply to you became a reply to myself, so please see the one above this.

  21. June 11th, 2014 at 19:34 | #21

    Collin’s opinion is the PM has autism whereas I am almost completely certain that he does not. Now I think that in all fairness since I am without a doubt the sexiest man in Australia, my opinion should count for more but to be fair I will just say that my opinion cancels out Collin’s and we can return to our regular programming. In fact I would go as far as to opine that Tony Abbott’s behaviour is more or less be the opposite of autism, but that would just be encouraging further discussion on this topic, so I won’t say that. If there is a sandpit open I would be happy to discuss autism and schizophrenia there, but only if people promise not the mention the names of anyone living who hasn’t come out as being on the autism spectrum.

  22. faust
    June 11th, 2014 at 19:41 | #22

    Hasn’t covered himself in glory?

    Compared to Rudd/Gillard, Abbott is looking like Australia’s Kissinger on the world stage.

  23. Midrash
    June 11th, 2014 at 19:49 | #23

    Your point is incontestable as a matter of logic and it is true enough that rich people may care about their own issue but not that of others. The opposite is also true though not as often.
    One of the problems for the rich who want to be and, presumably, to be regarded as, good people is that they are inevitably likely to be in the situation of the judge who is judge in his own case. They tend to be relatively free from the pressure of outside judgment although many, no doubt, are as agonising in the examination of their consciences as devout Christian aristocrats in the earlier centuries. But I would suggest that the empirical truth of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs makes it inherently implausible that the rich or powerful would, on average, not be amongst the leading exponents (especially in public acts) of the conventional, traditional and also fashionable virtues. It is no accident that wives (less often husbands) of highly paid senior executives and leading professional people are found amongst the leaders of charities which care for the environment and other people’s children.

  24. ChrisH
    June 11th, 2014 at 19:51 | #24

    The (rotating) chair of the G20 cancels the meetings he had booked with the heads of the IMF and the World Bank, but finds time for tinkling the bell on Wall Street and having an expansive dinner with Rupert Murdoch. This, after two days of mutual congratulation with the current leader of a country the name of which escapes him and which could hardly be less likely to increase investment here – there’s no diversification in it. If that’s Australia’s Kissinger, then Australia has a Kissinger who covers himself in something rather less attractive than glory.

  25. faust
    June 11th, 2014 at 20:08 | #25


    He doesn’t manage to insult the Chinese, American, Indian, Japanese and Indonesian Governments though.

  26. zoot
    June 11th, 2014 at 20:30 | #26

    Be fair, he did a pretty good job of offending the Indonesian Government. You can’t take that away from him.

  27. bjb
    June 11th, 2014 at 20:39 | #27

    Russ :
    I note also that a number of retailers are linking a downturn in activity to the release of the budget. Not much employment growth there.

    Surely not :) I thought we were “open for business” in this brave new paradise where business was to be unshackled from the dead hand of government. Maybe the Tories might belatedly realise it takes two to tango – business needs consumers more than the other way round.

  28. John Quiggin
    June 11th, 2014 at 20:44 | #28


    I must admit I’m not following here. Abbott has insulted the Indonesians, rattled sabres at the Chinese, and made an idiot of himself in the eyes of the Americans. It’s true he negotiated a worthless agreement with Japan, but so what?

  29. faust
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:26 | #29

    1) Called the Chinese Govt “rat-f**kers”
    2) Lied about GWB re: G20 comments to the editor of The Australian and then relayed a private conversation overhead between GWB and Putin to Aus press
    3) Halted live cattle trade overnight to Indonesia and then in 2009 authorised the phone-tapping of SBY and his wife
    4) Unilaterally halted uranium trade to India while allowing the said trade to continue to other countries
    5) Sent Japan to the ICJ re: whaling

    Oh yeah, that’s right, Labor did a great job in Government managing our foreign relations. JQ you have to be honest sometime in your life!

    FYI, talking about sabre-rattling who was in power in the 2009 Defence White Paper that specifically identified China as a military threat?

    Please, let’s not kid ourselves here. You are partisan to the point of being so blinded by your hatred of Abbott that you would excuse the worst excesses or idiocies of others just because you passionately hate the man and his party/coalition.

  30. faust
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:28 | #30


    Who halted live cattle trade and who bugged SBY’s phone?

    Oh yeah, Labor.

    LNP is repairing the broken links because of moronic policies by the party that you (balance of probabilities) voted for.

  31. alfred venison
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:36 | #31

    jesus, faust, you’re even a bigger prick now than you ever were at larvatus prodeo. -a.v.

    p.s. dear John Quiggin, hope i haven’t violated the code with that remark, but if i have, feel free to delete my comment without further ado. -a.v.

  32. faust
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:39 | #32

    larvatus prodeo? I haven’t been on that site. I know I stole my moniker but it is nice that being Dr Faustus is spreading amongst erudite right-wingers!

  33. Fran Barlow
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:40 | #33


    Who halted live cattle trade and who bugged SBY’s phone?

    Abbott didn’t condemn the latter, and I applaud the former. And the Indonesians already had a plan to become independent in cattle.

    Abbott is shaming the country before the civilised world. The stuff you cite about Rudd was trivial by comparison.

    Rudd’s most shameful acts relate to his border security policy and he shares that with Abbott.

  34. Megan
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:40 | #34


    What are Abbott’s best attributes?

  35. faust
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:47 | #35

    @Fran Barlow

    1) Halting live cattle trade was under Gillard
    2) Bugging SBY’s phone caused massive problems between the leaders.

    You advocate unilaterally banning live cattle? So you don’t want Indonesians to enjoy cheaper and more protein-rich food? That is disgusting. You are enjoying the benefits of living in a rich country and want to deny it to a developing economy. You are not compassionate to the Indonesians because your policies will make it too expensive for Indonesians to enjoy the type of food we take for granted.

    You think that Abbott is shaming Australia? What the hell makes you think Rudd and Gillard made Australia look respectable? Do you even know anyone who works in foreign governments to take their soundings? Seriously Fran, pathetic.

  36. faust
    June 11th, 2014 at 21:48 | #36


    Difficult to say… being underestimated.

  37. June 11th, 2014 at 22:05 | #37

    About money and its morals.

    I think, Midrash, that it is a mistake to look at the behaviour of money as though it was controlled by the people who own it. Most of us have money in banks and superannuation, and guess what, we don’t manage that money. Someone has a job that involves investing your money, and they won’t be making decisions for the long term good of humanity, they’ll be chasing the best returns.

  38. kevin1
    June 11th, 2014 at 22:30 | #38

    @faust 35

    I think halting live cattle exports, as distinct from humane passage for live cattle, is the wrong objective. Led by populism, Gillard and Ludwig were contemptuous towards foreign buyers for knee-jerk domestic reasons, and their regulatory failure which had to be projected towards the foreign “Other”. The islamic way is slaughter close to consumption site; an Australian analogy would be the practice of coffee bean grinding close to consumption site, the only major exception amongst Australian coffee suppliers being Lavazza (“stale coffee, taking 6 weeks from factory to consumer” as the CEO of a major local grinder described them to me).

    It also provides value-adding jobs to destination countries which desperately need them. In Jakarta I would see butchers at local markets doing the deed in public; a low-level tradesman job rather than capitalised factories as in Australia, and gory because on public display. Drop your prejudices Australia: Indonesia is very receptive to encouragement; don’t close them down from education and improvement.

  39. Fran Barlow
    June 11th, 2014 at 22:31 | #39


    1) Halting live cattle trade was under Gillard

    Fair enough. One positive thing about Rudd moved to the Gillard column.

    2) Bugging SBY’s phone caused massive problems between the leaders.

    I would have opposed this, but let’s be clear — Howard would have done the same. The embarrassing thing was being sprung.

    You advocate unilaterally banning live cattle?

    Yes. The live cattle trade is brutal and needless, even if one wants to eat meat, which is for the vast majority a lifestyle choice. In Indonesia, and in most developing countries, it is a luxury of the rich rather than a staple of the poor.

    So you don’t want Indonesians to enjoy cheaper and more protein-rich food?

    Strawman and also specious dichotomy. I don’t want humans torturing animals, even for food. It is not necessary because cheap quality protein is already there.

    In any event, it was and is the Indonesian regime’s policy to phase out live cattle imports by 2015 so apparently the government there doesn’t think stopping Australian live exports will have the consequence you suggest.

    You think that Abbott is shaming Australia? What the hell makes you think Rudd and Gillard made Australia look respectable?

    You can’t show that Abbott is respectable by arguing that Rudd and Gillard were not. That really is pathetic. It is however the case that Rudd was fairly highly regarded amongst the imperialist allies of this country. That is of little interest to me, and rather shames him IMO, but right-wingers ought to be impressed. Gillard did rather seem to impress Obama and Clinton of the Hillary variety also spoke up for her. I doubt anyone will speak up for Abbott. Even ex-Tory cabinet ministers and people like John Key are laughing as Abbott lies on a world stage about matters like carbon pricing and his DAP.

  40. Fran Barlow
    June 11th, 2014 at 22:35 | #40


    That’s appalling. Simply dreadful. The live animal trade is an exercise in systemic cruelty. It simply has no warrant. Raising cattle in the Northern Territory is also an environmental disaster, worse than raising cattle in general at commercial scale.

    We ought to end it without delay.

  41. zoot
    June 11th, 2014 at 22:46 | #41

    So your argument is that Abbott didn’t offend Indonesia because Labor did?
    Logic’s not your strong suit, is it?

  42. Ikonoclast
    June 11th, 2014 at 22:49 | #42

    How long does one have “below trend growth” before it is recognised as the new trend? What is Australia’s supposed “natural” trend growth? Why do conventional economists (not JQ) assume that growth will always sooner or later return to “trend” (whatever that means exactly)?

    Does “trend” mean “well things aren’t so good now but we assume without any evidence that they will get better sooner or later”?

    Does anyone at all in conventional economics and the broader community realise that growth cannot go on forever in a finite land or on a finite planet? Are they making any preparations for steady state economy not an endless growth economy? The latter of course (endless growth) is an oxymoron under the known physical laws of this universe.

    Finally, I will pose and answer one question. Is there any end to the blind stupidity of conventional capitalist economics? Surprisingly, yes! That which is unsustainable will collapse… eventually. In human time it might take a while. Why, it might take another 50 years. In geological or cosmological time, the collapse of endless growth capitalism is due in the blink of an eye.

  43. alfred venison
    June 11th, 2014 at 22:54 | #43

    faust :
    larvatus prodeo? I haven’t been on that site. I know I stole my moniker but it is nice that being Dr Faustus is spreading amongst erudite right-wingers!

    so you weren’t “faustusnotes” once, even here? then you’re a prick without a pedigree. -a.v.

  44. James Wimberley
    June 11th, 2014 at 23:10 | #44

    Throwing Putin out of the G8 worked quite well: it pricked his vanity while leaving substantive diplomacy unaffected. I propose ejecting Tony Abbott from the G20 if he doesn’t accept the communiqué in favour of motherhood-sustainability-and-apple-pie.

  45. kevin1
    June 11th, 2014 at 23:22 | #45

    @Fran Barlow

    So the live cattle trade is “systemic cruelty”; are you suggesting purposive intent? I’ve joined this discussion late, but what aspects of the “system” necessitate cruelty, and can nothing be done about these aspects? (Not consistent with Left Reformism).

    And raising cattle in the NT is an environmental disaster? (previously we were talking about treatment of the animals not the environment). Perhaps you have explained this before, but please elaborate for this latecomer. Do aboriginal-run stations agree with you? Why or why not?

    Regarding the phone tapping of the president’s wife, if you concede that legitimate intelligence is about finding out who your targeted threats are talking to, and what they are saying, then surely you do what you have to do? (The niceties of personal relationships are less relevant.)

    Ms Kristianto’s relationships with the numerous power brokers are of legitimate interest. Sorry folks, but this is not Australia: experts say she IS a political player and the back-room negotiations and pillow talk are not off-limits!

    Indonesia is a notoriously opaque political environment and family dynasties, as elsewhere in Asia, are closely scrutinised. With one of the two major Presidential candidates being Prabowo (who is banned from entering the US as a presumed war criminal in Timor Leste), the stakes are too important to get squeamish. Time to get real!

  46. Patrickb
    June 11th, 2014 at 23:58 | #46

    This was generated by some for of random phrase generation device, right?

  47. Patrickb
    June 12th, 2014 at 00:10 | #47

    I enjoy cheap protien rich food. Unlike you I don’t feel the need to inflict unecessary pain on the animal whilst you slaughter it in your back garden.

  48. Midrash
    June 12th, 2014 at 02:07 | #48

    I presumed you were being rude and deserved to be told that I was providing brain training exercises for slow learners but I will take it that you are referring to my accidentally appearing to reply to myself.

    If you have ever tried tapping out a contribution with thumb or one finger on a smartphone you will have no trouble understanding how easily the slip can occur. Does that answer your question?

  49. Midrash
    June 12th, 2014 at 02:22 | #49

    In writing of the inevitable collapse of perpetual growth capitalism you are, I suspect, one of the many doomsayers who have a vision of the economy which is stuck in the past. Setting aside the real problem of population growth in the poorest countries which may not add much CO2 to the atmosphere but devastates aspects of the natural envirionment that our descendants might enjoy what’s wrong with growth which consists of the production of things made out of renewables or the recycled, miniaturised almost everything, renewable energy, robotics etc.? Keynes’s 1929/30 “Prospects for our grandchildren was unreasonably optimistic but gives some idea of how growth might be sustained and enjoyed in a much changed world.

  50. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 06:10 | #50


    So the live cattle trade is “systemic cruelty”; are you suggesting purposive intent? I’ve joined this discussion late, but what aspects of the “system” necessitate cruelty, and can nothing be done about these aspects? (Not consistent with Left Reformism).

    As I understand it, the commercial viability of the trade in live animals entails resort to cramped conditions over a long period of time, on roads, at docks and on ships. Maybe we could fly them in business class direct from farms from which they had been conveyed in horse trailers, but I suspect not.

    And the slaughter system at the other end is a developing world system in a context where cost saving is prioritised over welfare. It’s worth noting by comparison that the Reagan era deregulation in the US meant slaughterhouses became far less humane both to their animals and those unfortunate enough to be working in them.

    And raising cattle in the NT is an environmental disaster? (previously we were talking about treatment of the animals not the environment).

    see for example


  51. rog
    June 12th, 2014 at 07:27 | #51

    @Fran Barlow The argument against live trade was more to do with the treatment of animals once they had arrived at the destination. DFAT publish mortality rates on ships and they are quite low, between 2 and 0.5%, so transportation is less of an issue.

    From what I understand live trade is good for graziers on marginal country in central and far north Qld. Farmers I have spoken with are living hand to mouth and rely on off farm work or farmstay tourism to make ends meet. The seasons are just not with them and they hang on until they are forced to sell cattle at a discount. Or shoot them as transport is too costly.

  52. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 08:02 | #52


    Long distance transport of animals always entails suffering. In the cramped conditions of the animals for slaughter trade, this is especially so. We have seen some dreadful examples with sheep. It should stop.

    I don’t much care what is good for graziers on ‘marginal country’. If the country is ‘marginal’ then let us rehabilitate it to something that can support the life it did pre-European settlement. What warrant is there for seeking to deplete its nutrients and disrupt its integrity?

  53. Hristos
    June 12th, 2014 at 08:08 | #53

    Meat is murder and the unnecessary killing of sentient beings. There is no justification for killing cattle here or Indonesia.

    But what does any of this have to do with job killing carbon tax?

  54. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 08:16 | #54


    Faust would prefer not to have a conversation about Abbott’s shameful work and one way of doing that is to talk about something else that also interests those of us who regard Abbott as shameful.

    I don’t mind because the live trade and animal abuse issue is more controversial.

  55. Collin Street
    June 12th, 2014 at 08:20 | #55

    Nothing more on these lines, please. JQ

  56. rog
    June 12th, 2014 at 08:31 | #56

    @Fran Barlow The argument for live trade is political, or emotional, and is not cost effective. Govt freebies like rail links (eg Adelaide to Darwin) port facilities etc only serve to prolong farmers agony. Farmers need to be subjected to a CBA.

    Any movement away from home pastures is a stress to animals, even stud cattle presented at shows lose condition.

  57. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 10:51 | #57


    Oh I agree. Were it up to me, we would not be raising animals for commercial purposes at all.

  58. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 10:53 | #58

    That said, I might leave a loophole for a modest, very well-regulated, companion animal industry.

  59. Ikonoclast
    June 12th, 2014 at 11:03 | #59

    In reply to Midrash.

    No, I have a vision of the economy which is based on material and energetic reality, the laws of physics and especially the laws of thermodynamics. The economic system is a sub-system of the biosphere. The biosphere is that slim layer of earth crust, earth surface, ocean and atmosphere which envelops the earth and which supports life. The biosphere is finite (since the earth is finite) and it has a finite set of stores and flows of materials and energy. It also clearly has finite physical space. Endless growth (of anything) cannot occur in a finite system.

    Growth in physical infrastructure of the economy will have a final limit. Growth in population will have a finite limit. Growth in throughputs of materials and energy and growth in outputs (waste) which the natural geoservices and bioservices of the biosphere can process will have a finite limit. Even growth of knowledge and technology will have a limit in the biosphere. Knowledge and technology growth equals growth in complexity. Growth in complexity and manitenance of complexity require energy available for useful work. Thus ever more complexity will require ever more energy use and the ever growing waste heat that will accompany it. This will place limits eventually even on knowledge and technology complexity albeit these limits (on knowledge and technology solely) may well still be a long way off.

    However, on the other hand, planet geo and bioservice limits and input resource limits will place limits on the growth of physical infrastructure and population very soon. These limits are fast approaching and parts of the globe are actually actually hitting these limits right now. The rise of problems in countries like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, Ukraine, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Haiti and even Potugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain (to name a few) are actually the first symptoms of the limits to growth.

    Likewise, the slowdown or stagnation of growth in the USA and EU are symptoms of the same phenomenon. China and to a lesser extent India are out-competing the USA and EU for resources which are becoming scarcer and more expensive; resources like oil. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) can do this because their labour costs are lower so they get more export earnings bang from the buck from even expensive oil. Or they have their own oil like Russia does; albeit for all sorts of reasons Russia’s economy is a bit of a basket case anyway. So for China to grow more, the USA and EU must stagnate and even go backwards. Very soon, even China will not be able to grow its economy.

    Those who deny limits to growth, like those who deny climate change must deny all the accumulated evidence and knowledge of the whole opus of the hard sciences; physics, chemistry, biology, ecology and so on. The Enlightenment and the Scientific revolutions started about 350 years ago. That ought to be enough time for people to update their views.

  60. Ikonoclast
    June 12th, 2014 at 11:05 | #60

    Am I allowed to state that I dislike intensely the moderation algorithm? It is ridiculously over-censorious and capricious in stopping reasonable comments.

  61. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 11:09 | #61


    I agree. It’s annoying for example not to be able to use words like S0malia, g%mbling, m&lice, soc|alism and tab00 without going into automod.

    We also ought to be able to write a second link.

  62. Troy Prideaux
    June 12th, 2014 at 11:39 | #62
  63. Ken Fabian
    June 12th, 2014 at 12:00 | #63

    Not much doubt that the carbon price will soon be removed and I can’t see Labor prepared to fight to reverse that reversal at the next election.

    Also not much doubt that Obama will fail to convince Abbott that action on climate is high priority; I’m sure that climate obstructionist Republicans will be in Abbott’s ear, assuring him that they will soon undo everything Obama does and more, and praising him for his taking a wrecking ball to anything climate related. They will seek to do similar but perhaps not quite in similar style to Abbott, because they tend to open and proud of their rejection of mainstream climate science whereas Abbott hides his rejection behind a pretense of accepting it as having some reality but rejecting it’s seriousness or urgency – and rejecting all climate policy that might reflect that seriousness.

    I’m never quite sure that when he speaks of a “real climate problem” that the “climate problem” he actually has in mind is that of it being on the agenda at all and the problem of successful political advocacy that seeks to elevate it to high priority. ie it’s a case of people thinking they understand what he meant when he sincerely says stuff that means something entirely different. It used to get called “jesuitry”, but I suspect modern Jesuits are more inclined than most religious to take climate science seriously.

    Abbott the LNP leader has never been open and forthcoming about what he really thinks of the science on climate, “access” journalists consistently fail to insist he do so, investigative journalists are out to lunch on the issue and the public is left sifting through the vague and contradictory utterances that get trotted out should being opaque and unavailable be inappropriate.

    It looks a lot like we have someone who is not merely reluctant to commit our nation to action on climate, we have a crusader in The Lodge, who is determined to prevent it. He prefers to be opaque close mouthed about it by preference, vague and contradictory if pressed – and willing to say the problem is real and needs to be addressed if that is necessary to dodge the open, public debate that might get out of the bounds that allow him to act so ruthlessly against climate action. Are the utterances of accceptance just ironic and insincere nods to imagined political correctness in public discourse that climate science deniers believe has gone mad?

    Judged by Abbott and team’s actions rather than words it looks like we are not seeing an expression of reasonable doubt that the climate problem could be as serious as mainstream science says it is, but an expression of unreasoning conviction that it is not.

  64. June 12th, 2014 at 12:17 | #64

    @Ken Fabian

    Well said Ken. Abbott is deeply in denial.

    I see that Palmer (and hence all his stooges in the senate) will vote for the repeal of the carbon tax, provided power companies are legislatively compelled to reduce their charges commensurately.

    I can see that going like this, “OK, here is your 3 cents per kWh reduction, but oh, look, our poles are suddenly more expensive, so you won’t actually be getting a reduction. Sorry!”

  65. David Allen
    June 12th, 2014 at 12:28 | #65

    @Ken Fabian

    Also the RET is almost certainly going as well despite renewable energy actually lowering the wholesale price of power. There’s no logic to this. It’s just bone-headed.

  66. Troy Prideaux
    June 12th, 2014 at 13:08 | #66

    @Ken Fabian
    Let’s not forget why Abbott is the LNP leader [sigh]

  67. David Irving (no relation)
    June 12th, 2014 at 13:27 | #67

    @Collin Street
    As someone who probably does have (undiagnosed) autism, I can assure you Abbott doesn’t.

    His behaviour’s not consistent with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

  68. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 14:10 | #68

    For mine, the PM’s conduct casts him as a person of fairly typical intellectual acumen working way above his paygrade and engaging in unconvincing attempts to fake competence. Deep down he knows he’s a fraud, but tries to salve his pain through dissonance, outlandish narcissism and programmed responses — his ‘battology’ if you like.

    I doubt he has ever been in a context where he has ever had the need to have empathy or to reflect in any serious way on anything beyond the banal, and certainly, in his public appearances, he has not betrayed anything like a genuine interest in the challenges others face.

    He may well have some sort of personality disorder but I don’t know him well enough to declare.

    Really though, like most politicians, he’s a mere mannequin — a vehicle for the wishes of people he neither understands nor still less influences. He’s a piece of figurative flotsam on a turbulent and unruly sea, driven by currents he lacks the tools to analyse, even were he interested.

    In many ways, he is better for not knowing, because if he understood more, he’d probably be in more pain and be less effective as a tool of the bunfights amongst the wealthy and a much less useful fall guy when his shelf life at mannequin comes to an end.

    When he finally is dumped, he will probably cope far better than Rudd and perhaps Gillard, both of whom probably imagined that they had earned the right to lead the country, rather than having achieved it by happening to be in the right place at a time when his rivals were shooting each other, Murdoch thought he was useful and a significant swathe of the populace had taken sufficient leave of their senses (if they ever had any) for Murdoch to drive them, with ALP help, into his arms.

  69. Ikonoclast
    June 12th, 2014 at 14:57 | #69

    @Fran Barlow

    Ah, so this time my “sin” was mentioning S0malia. Why is this word and the other ones you mentioned pinged as problem words? What possible reason could there be that these words are objectionable? It makes no sense. They belong to normal discourse in commenting on economics and world affairs. Clearly, the algorithm is bugged or very badly designed. No system analyst / programmer worth his or her salt would design and/or code such a poor algorithm. Poor show.

  70. Hermit
    June 12th, 2014 at 16:06 | #70

    I’d like to know what the anti carbon tax rally attenders now think. Do they feel vindicated or are they concerned how things have evolved? We know one MP had a ‘ditch the witch’ placard and despite being on the winning side is no longer an MP but an academic and a director of a government owned company. Perhaps protesters will not be expressing their current thoughts over the new fangled internet if their preferred medium is talkback radio.

    As with Obamacare in the US some of the protesters didn’t look at all wealthy. If their financial outlook now looks worse they’ll have to suck it in.

  71. Megan
    June 12th, 2014 at 16:17 | #71



    I accidentally found another odd one to add to Fran’s list: permutations of “tyr@nny”, ironic!

  72. Fran Barlow
    June 12th, 2014 at 19:06 | #72


    Oh yes … I forgot that one …

    Sic semper tyr@nnis … To add to excessive linkin’ #badpuns ;-)

  73. alfred venison
    June 12th, 2014 at 19:28 | #73

    ” His behaviour’s not consistent with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder ”

    ” he may well have some sort of personality disorder ”

    you haven’t go with the mental spectrum think – he’s delayed onset punch drunk. he displays symptoms of someone whose brain has impacted the inside of his skull too many times for his own good. additionally imo he’s stupid, rhodes scholarship not withstanding. drunk & stupid, that’s what you hear. -a.v.

  74. alfred venison
    June 12th, 2014 at 19:32 | #74

    punch drunk & stupid.

    and if he really really is unable to empathise with the plight of others then he’s a sociopath too.

    i don’t believe in god, so i sincerely hope that when his death does come, it is prolonged & painful. yes, i’m an abbott hater, yes. -a.v.

  75. Collin Street
    June 12th, 2014 at 19:47 | #75

    Ikonoclast :Clearly, the algorithm is bugged or very badly designed. No system analyst / programmer worth his or her salt would design and/or code such a poor algorithm. Poor show.

    Sigh. It’s a heuristic: the things it flags are manually checked. Which means that it’s by-design pretty approximate, and also probably weighted strongly to the false-positive [because the cost of a false-positive is someone's deathless prose waits a bit before people can see it: not a huge problem, and rather better [presumably] than a bias the other way].

    Also, because it’s designed for a very very focussed role it can probably take advantage of exceedingly local correlations that don’t make a lot of “sense” outside that context. For a complete hypothetical, there might be a regular poster with a penchant for rants with some distinctive language use, say calling some individual a “silly sausage”: in that case you could catch those rants pretty effectively with a filter triggered by “sausage”, and the occasional message on salami-making techniques can be left for manual cleanup. Not something you can do everywhere, but if it works for the purpose it works.

    IME if people do things that don’t make sense to me it’s a reasonably reliable provisional coonclusion that there’s something about the situation that I am not understanding. Actual genuine “that makes no sense even by their values” situations are pretty rare.

    [one of the most important things you learn as a programmer -- I'm not a programmer as such, but I have the training and it's a part of my current job -- is to carefully analyse the requirements: very often they aren't what you'd expect.]

  76. Debbieanne
    June 12th, 2014 at 19:57 | #76

    Thank @Ken Fabian
    Well said, thank you.

  77. Midrash
    June 12th, 2014 at 20:44 | #77

    @Ken Fabian
    How do you argue against the view that
    1. Whatever the degree of doubt about the more extreme scenarios of climate disaster
    2 .Nothing Australia does will have any appreciable effect on atmospheric temperatures that might cause net damage to Australians’ welfare (or anyone else’s) or on sea levels which might be bad for Australia;
    3. There might be cost-effective ways that Australia can best help low lying Pacific island states if it turns out that rising sea level or subsiding land threaten their liveability in the shape of either or both of adding a metre of clay,rubble and topsoil to some of the islands and effective help with family planning since the threatened future exodus under pressure of climate change is nothing compared with what is already happening because of overpopulation – for which you might blame Western missionaries?
    Actually my own “nothing Australia does” reminds me that Australia could have some impact on CO2 emissions for a while by stopping all exports of hydrocarbons. Any takers? If not, why not?

  78. June 12th, 2014 at 21:01 | #78

    Can someone make Midrash stop?

  79. June 12th, 2014 at 21:02 | #79

    Or at least explain to Midrash about sentences?

  80. Megan
    June 12th, 2014 at 21:22 | #80


    I doubt it.

    But (apart from the obvious fact that the human population simply cannot continue to grow at the present rate), I would refer him to “skepticalscience.com” for his other ‘points’.

  81. Ken Fabian
    June 12th, 2014 at 21:31 | #81

    I’m not sure I agree that it’s a matter of Mr Abbott being outside the norms personality wise; an unwillingness to challenge one’s own assumptions, especially when they appear to have contributed to notable personal successes, and when reinforced by other successful and influential people and organisations, is by no means unusual or necessarily pathological. I think it’s unhelpful to simplify his approach to climate as the results of pathological personality, rather I see it as our PM being mislead and misinformed and lead into inappropriate responses to science rewriting and overwriting dearly held assumptions down to some kind of pathological distortions of personality.

    If the working assumption is that fossil fuels and the cheap energy they supply drives growth in prosperity and results in poverty being relieved then it’s logical to see those who seek to impede their use as being the ones who lack empathy. Even being deceptive and misleading can be seen as practical and worldly and even essential in fields like marketing or politics, especially when that is considered ordinary practice. It’s not an uncommon belief that some ends are so important that being misleading and deceptive shifts is justified but such decisions necessarily require that it actually be right and correct. It’s that unwillingness to examine and challenge deeply held working assumptions, especially when at odds with overwhelming level of agreement amongst those with expertise that makes the course Abbott and team are taking so dangerous and irresponsible, instead of being, as I suspect they see it, noble efforts to advance Australian and global prosperity.

    Much the same as Abbott’s successes fuel the belief that he is on the right path the notable ‘successes’ – assumed and until recently unexamined – about the role of fossil fuels as reliever of poverty and essential ingredient of exceptional prosperity are assumptions that fuel the conviction that must be vigorously defended against detractors – the “alarmists” and “catastrophists” – who appear to only offer up replacements that will be more costly and deliver less of that prosperity. Especially when the revenues governments derive from them contribute so much to their coffers – and are used in building schools and hospitals and the like – those urging restriction of the use of fossil fuels can readily and even rationally be seen as dangerous wreckers. But that relies on crucial assumptions about the full costs vs benefits. The significance of long term consequences and costs to excessive fossil fuel use has only recently become apparent, but, whilst ordinary citizens can believe what they like, however those who hold positions of trust and responsibility in our society have an obligation to rethink their assumptions when confronted with clear, repeated and consistent expert advice.

    Even when Abbott avoids explaining himself, it’s clear from his supporting commentariat and cheer squad, that these kinds of assumptions underpin the direction his government is taking. There is depth of conviction but, because the underpinning assumptions are false, that direction has become dangerous and irresponsible rather than a noble effort to retain and build prosperity.

  82. Ken Fabian
    June 12th, 2014 at 22:13 | #82

    Inadequate proof reading before posting above, probably overlong comment, sorry.

    Midrash, I argue that the mainstream scientific view, with it’s overwhelming level of agreement across many institutions and multiple approaches, about fundamentals of how our climate works and will respond to rising emissions must be the basis upon which our nation’s leaders base their policy responses.

  83. Patrickb
    June 12th, 2014 at 22:16 | #83

    I was being rude. Your pompous, rambling discourse is lends itself to ridicule. It’s like listening to a 19th century water closet.

  84. June 12th, 2014 at 22:17 | #84

    Abbott reminds me of Rudd. Rudd was a brilliant campaigner, but a dud PM. Abbott was a fantastic opposition leader (except for totally destroying faith in politicians), but as PM it just feels as though no one is in charge. Maybe that’s why the ratbag right love him.

    No wonder Turnbull is getting attacked, he almost looks like he could run the country.

  85. Patrickb
    June 12th, 2014 at 22:27 | #85

    “what’s wrong with …” (more rambling fact free free-association). Gob knows where Midrash thinks all the energy and resources will come from. Nuclear fusion and asteroids I expect. What seems to be missing from their rose coloured world view (although inadvertently acknowledged by the mention of frightening increase in the numbers of poor people whose presence will deprive Midrash’s descends of enjoyment) is the unprecedented level of consumption and its attend unsustainable demands on energy and resources both of which have been gifted to us via the natural environment over very long periods of time. Still I expect Midrash has plans for a perpetual motion machine under development, paid for by their philosophers stone and its nuggets of purest green.

  86. June 12th, 2014 at 22:45 | #86

    Midrash @25

    I feel a bit contrite now, I didn’t really intend to launch a series of gibes at you, although I have to admit the water closet one is funny.

    But let me make two points. One, saying things to the effect that Australia shouldn’t have to do anything about climate change because we have a relatively small population (which is what your first two points appear to be saying) is just silly. It doesn’t make sense and it’s a waste of time for people who have to read it.

    Either climate change is important, in which case all countries should do something about it, or you don’t think it is important, in which case say so. Please don’t waste people’s time by writing nonsense.

    Second, your point 3 is really hard to read. It makes me feel sea-sick trying to read it. If you tried to write in shorter sentences, it would be a lot easier to read. Also if you have to stop and think what you’re saying, it helps you make more sense.

  87. June 12th, 2014 at 22:57 | #87

    By the way on present trends the global population is expected to stop growing about the middle of this century and then start to decline. I know it’s not as quick as many might like, but we do appear to be going through a remarkable slow down. Good to consider this when discussing the topic.

  88. Bernard J.
    June 12th, 2014 at 23:19 | #88

    2) Bugging SBY’s phone caused massive problems between the leaders.

    I would have opposed this, but let’s be clear — Howard would have done the same. The embarrassing thing was being sprung.

    Actually, Howard did do the same. The Indonesian bugging commenced under Howard, with Downer as foreign minister.

  89. Megan
    June 13th, 2014 at 00:14 | #89

    @Bernard J.

    And don’t forget Keating and Lavarch bugging the Chinese embassy in Canberra.

    I’m pretty sure Australian “Indonesian bugging”, by any description, started under the US aegis in about the 1960s.

    We are serfs, factotae and hypocrites.

  90. Fran Barlow
    June 13th, 2014 at 00:14 | #90

    @Bernard J.

    Thanks Bernard. I thought I recalled this but I couldn’t be bothered looking it up to confirm.

  91. kevin1
    June 13th, 2014 at 00:35 | #91

    @John Brookes

    Not surprising really that the skills to campaign and win office are different to those to govern effectively. But Abbott has had 9 years as a Minister under Howard. How on earth did he demonstrate the superior intelligence to get a Rhodes scholarship? I dream of the day when I will see the newspaper masthead “Abbott told: On your bike!”

  92. Ikonoclast
    June 13th, 2014 at 05:52 | #92

    @Collin Street

    True, the overall routine is a (very poorly designed and executed) heuristic. The individual parts are algorithmic in nature as they go along and flag individual strings. One simply wonders why it would flag a string like S0malia and indeed some of the other quite reasonable words to use in discussing economics and world affairs.

    I would argue also that there is very little evidence in its extant performance of any weighting beyond 0 and 1. It is very binary apparently. If we could characterise the “logic” of this routine with its own internal monologue it would go like this;

    “One link good. Two or more links bad.”
    “One occurence of any string I don’t like (many of which strings are quite arbitrary) is bad.”
    “Reject anything bad.”

    It bears all the hallmarks of lazy analysis and implementation. It is rudimentary, ineffective and obstructive.

  93. Collin Street
    June 13th, 2014 at 07:07 | #93

    > (very poorly designed and executed)

    If you start from there you’ll never get anywhere.

    Remember, finding facts in support of your position tells you no more than that your position is within the scope of possibility, which you “knew” anyway. To move beyond that you need to either try to find facts against your position and fail, or try and find facts in support of alternate positions and fail.

  94. Julie Thomas
    June 13th, 2014 at 07:09 | #94

    From a text book point of view, abnormal functioning is considered to be deviant distressful dysfunctional and dangerous but it must also be considered in the context in which it occurs so the concept of abnormality depends on norms and values of the society in question.

    So although some of us may know that there is something ‘wrong’ with Abbott, this is only our judgement or assessment, and it is not ‘appropriate’ – ethical in the psychology profession – or useful to categorise him with a disorder of functioning.

    I think the idea of the “white hierarchical and individualist male effect”is a more useful way of understanding his – and the other alpha male behaviour and personality.


    This locates the problem in the society and not the individual.

  95. June 13th, 2014 at 08:06 | #95

    @Julie Thomas

    Thanks Julie that’s interesting. I’ve recently completed a lit review on climate change “denial”. The evidence strongly suggests those most likely to deny anthropogenic climate change are conservative males in countries that rely heavily on fossil fuels. Not a surprise, I guess! ( sound like anyone you know?)

    Actually there was evidence that it was “conservative white males” but there was only a relatively small amount of evidence around race and climate change in that particular search frame.

  96. Julie Thomas
    June 13th, 2014 at 08:21 | #96


    Amazing man and such a lot of thinking he does! There are some interesting comments on some of the ideas he puts forward also.

    And…you might find some interesting ideas at this blog, also. I do. :)


    This blog in particular is relevant to the idea that there is a type of personality that is primed to take advantage of less or differently abled people and explores the way that the invention of money allows this type of person to create a society in which ‘wealth’ is created and therefore ‘poverty’.


    “Contrary to what is said in nearly all economic textbooks, money did not arise to help people barter goods with one another. In every historic instance where some kind of coinage was introduced the scenario was the same.

    A warrior chieftain would rise to power, build a professional army, and begin to pillage neighboring lands. Soldiers were unable to grow their own food, make clothing, or build shelter. So they had to be paid money (and the conquered were forced by the threat of violence to accept it).”

  97. Julie Thomas
    June 13th, 2014 at 08:23 | #97

    oops two links.

    I’ll try again.

    Hi Val,

    Amazing man and such a lot of thinking he does! There are some interesting comments on some of the ideas he puts forward also.

    And…you might find some interesting ideas at this blog, also. I do. :)


    This blog in particular is relevant to the idea that there is a type of personality that is primed to take advantage of less or differently abled people and explores the way that the invention of money allows this type of person to create a society in which ‘wealth’ is created and therefore ‘poverty’.

    “Contrary to what is said in nearly all economic textbooks, money did not arise to help people barter goods with one another. In every historic instance where some kind of coinage was introduced the scenario was the same.

    A warrior chieftain would rise to power, build a professional army, and begin to pillage neighboring lands. Soldiers were unable to grow their own food, make clothing, or build shelter. So they had to be paid money (and the conquered were forced by the threat of violence to accept it).”

  98. Ken Fabian
    June 13th, 2014 at 10:15 | #98

    @Julie Thomas
    Julie, I don’t think there is anything particularly abnormal about Abbott, especially in context of his associations, but “normal” just isn’t good enough for a leader in a pivotal time when long held assumptions have to be ditched in the face of science based understanding.

    Abbott and his convictions, no matter how heartfelt, are simply inadequate; given the apparent level of determination to maintain them in the face of – in the case of climate – overwhelming scientific agreement, they are dangerous and falling back on them instead of turning to our scientific institution is irresponsible.

    There appears to also be a strong element of desperation along with that sense of conviction, which may be a significant element in maintaining a determination to not seek to be unconvinced. Choosing to not be well informed is an expression of that creeping desperation.

    I do suspect that those who have a stake in the commerce of fossil fuels, who must face the real prospects of future lawsuits, can have incentive in maintaining a high level of ignorance, and not knowing or being badly informed may be a conscious or unconscious defense strategy.

    Unfortunately marketing aimed at community perceptions tend to fall back on the old reliable emotive triggers – fear, lust, greed, envy – especially when expert knowledge is so clearly contrary to their aims.

  99. Ken Fabian
    June 13th, 2014 at 10:23 | #99

    More Oops. That should be “determination to seek to remain unconvinced”.

  100. Hermit
    June 13th, 2014 at 10:26 | #100

    BoM and some US weather agencies tell us this summer could be a shocker. Suppose it lingers on til 2016 or remains imprinted in the public’s mind. For example decent people losing their farms to drought or their homes to fire. In the next federal election it may come to down to climate action vs. stopping the boats. My hunch is that stopping the boats will win.

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