Last chance on climate change policy

With August 2016 setting yet another record for global temperatures, the need for action on climate change is obvious. The good news is that most national governments are finally recognising the urgency of the problem. The bad news is that Australia is not among them. Having commissioned a Special Review from the Climate Change Authority (of which I’m a member) and received recommendations designed with the current policy as a starting point, the government’s response has been that it might take another look at the problem in 2017.

I’ve written the statement over the fold in response. Comments very welcome. I won’t engage in discussion; in this context, I’d rather let the statement speak for itself.

Statement by Professor John Quiggin regarding government response to Climate Change Authority Special Review report
1. The Climate Change Authority is an independent body responsible for delivering independent expert advice on climate change policy within the principles set out in the Climate Change Authority Act 2011. In my view, the Authority’s primary obligation is to provide the Parliament, which established it, with a basis on which Parliament can adopt, and the government can implement, policies to meet Australia’s international obligations. As stated in previous reports by the Authority, and reiterated in the current report, our commitment to internationally equitable policies consistent with holding global warming below 2 degrees will require emissions reductions of 40 to 60 per cent below 2000 levels by 2030. This is consistent with the evidence of climate science and with the actions being taken by other countries to meet their commitments.
2. It is therefore appropriate, in my view, for advice on the design of climate policy to take account of the existing settings of policy, the general desirability of consistency and stability in policy, and the policy commitments already made by parties and members of Parliament, . That is, it is appropriate to recommend a policy or policy toolkit that is:
(i) able to be implemented in the short run and scaled up over time to meet Australia’s international obligations, bearing in mind that our existing indicative commitments will themselves be scaled up over time; and
(ii) based on existing policies and capable of commanding broad support in Parliament
even if, in the absence of the constraints imposed by the history of policy in this field, other policies might be regarded as more cost-effective and reliable.
3. Conversely, it is not appropriate for the Authority, as an independent advisory body to accept political constraints that would be inconsistent with the obligation to make recommendations consistent with our international obligations.
4. I believe that the toolkit proposed by the Authority meets the criteria set out in point 2 and I therefore commend it to the Parliament.
5. The Authority’s report has received favourable responses from stakeholders including the Business Council of Australia, AIGroup and the Australian Energy Council.
6. However, an effective response to Australia’s international obligations is feasible only if the major parties, and particularly the government parties, understand the urgency of the problem and are committed to adopting a comprehensive response as soon as possible.
7. Unfortunately, government’s response so far suggests that
(a) the government is unlikely to contemplate any further action before the completion of a review scheduled for the second half of 2017; and
(b) even in the context of this review, the government does not intend to make substantial modifications to current policies along the lines suggested in the Authority’s report.
8. Of particular concern are statements by the Minister for the Environment and Energy to ABC radio that the CCA recommendations were “a report to, not by, government” and that:

Now we’re doing a review in 2017, but it has to be said we are seeing a dramatic transition already in the energy markets in Australia and we are transitioning to a lower emissions future successfully with the policies we currently have in place.

The dismissal of a report requested by the government has been widely interpreted as a rejection of the recommendations. The claim that existing policies are sufficient to achieve a transition to a lower emissions future is entirely inconsistent with the findings of the Authority’s report.
9. These statements are of even greater concern in the light of:
(a) The earlier characterisation of the 2017 review as a ‘situation report’; and
(b) The statement, attributed to the Minister, that the government does not plan to refer any further issues to the Authority for review.
Taken together, these statements suggest that a substantial change in policy as a result of the 2017 review is not anticipated, and that no serious consideration of policy options will be undertaken prior to the review.
10. The problem is exacerbated the omission from the 2016-17 budget of any additional funding for the Emissions Reduction Fund;
11. In practice, the government’s apparent position is likely to preclude the implementation of any effective policy response during the term of the current Parliament.
12. Should the government fail to act now, the toolkit proposed by the Authority is unlikely to prove sufficient to meet Australia’s international commitments. More radical and costly action in the future will be needed to offset the growth in emissions caused by short term inaction.
13. I urge the government to reconsider its position and adopt the recommendations of the Authority’s review as a matter of urgency. I urge the Parliament as a whole to seek agreement on an approach to climate policy that can be sustained, and scaled up, over the period to 2030 and beyond, consistent with Australia’s international obligations.

68 thoughts on “Last chance on climate change policy

  1. We’re all wasting our energy expecting the purchased political process to solve AGW.

    We need to be finding arguments to take to the courts unfortunately.

  2. Is there any hope left?

    We have the strange situation where the government uses the argument that Syria is a global problem, so we should do our bit to “fix” it, and yet that same argument, when used in the context of Anthropogenic Global Warming (aka AGW), they dismiss by saying that Australia is only 1.3% (or whatever the current figure is) of the problem, so we shouldn’t worry about doing too much (or anything).

    If it involves blowing stuff/people up, the gov is all for it, but if it comes to doing something constructive, the gov is far less supportive; indeed, they are positively obstructionist.

  3. Donald, Syria is a great lesson to us… we let it fester for around a decade before deciding to act, by which time it was well and truly out of hand (ignoring the history that got us there in the first place).

    70 million Syrian refugees is going to look like a Sunday School picnic compared to 300 million future refugees from Bangladesh (ie: those living/depending on land less than a metre above sea level).

    Unfortunately the “I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone” attitude abounds and, sadly, I’m with Zvyozdochka… although I’d much rather be investing in solar power than lawyer time.

  4. There is no last chance. There is no chance. More oil exploration is underway and if there has been any change in coal consumption this is only because of a slow down in economic growth.

    The necessary changes are beyond the scope of society.

    The current pledges [Here ] are far too little and far too late.

    The best pledge is from “Europe 27” which is:

    EU-27: 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 but this is just pap for the masses and a media stunt.

    2020 is 3 years away.

    It’s a joke but I wouldn’t laugh.

    1990 was over 20GT CO2. 20% below this is over 16GT CO2.

    Just go to a calculator and tell me how 8 billion people can emit less than 2 tonne per year in 2020.

  5. @Ivor
    Ivor: “if there has been any change in coal consumption this is only because of a slow down in economic growth.”

    Citation wanted. The IEA says industrial emissions have stayed flat for the second year running, led by a fall in coal consumption, with global growth still over 3% a year. Are they incompetent? Lying? Are you a energy statistician qualified to criticise their work?

    You really don’t like good news, do you? Of course it’s not good enough. But we have started, even if “we” does not include Australia.

  6. You want bad news, James? How’s this? The expedition that found the wreck of Sir John Franklin’s ship, one of two involved in the ill-fated attempt to find the Northwest passage, was funded in part by the Harper government. This was part of a plan to assert Canadian sovereignty – because they saw the melting of the sea ice as an opportunity to exploit Arctic oil reserves. Of course, Harper is gone. But if Trudeau or a successor don’t drill, the Russians will. Rather than combating climate change, we’re going to seize the opportunities it opens up for more emissions.

  7. J.Q.’s approach and statement are reasonable and realistic in the context. I haven’t read all of the reports, majority and dissenting, but I suspect I would have been torn if I had been on that committee. Not that I have anywhere near the qualifications to be on that committee, so this is purely a hypothetical for me. As I say, I would have been torn. I probably would have gone with the dissenters for a few reasons. The main one would have been that I would have assessed/guessed that this reactionary government would ignore the committee anyway. In that case a dissenting report is a gesture. I am not sure how effective a gesture is but it is the case that considered majority reports based on the best of climate science and standard economics are very predictably not heeded by the Tories, so what can one do?

    I fear Ivor is right, at least partly. This current political-economic system (Australian and global) has proven, or at least is midstream in the process of proving, that it will not or can not address climate change issues. The system itself (yes, boringly I mean late stage capitalism) has to be radically changed into a new system. Where I hope Ivor is wrong is in that I hope that all last chances are not yet gone. I put my hope in a final world climate emergency response after nature gives us some serious salutary demonstrations of what is in store for us. When people finally get truly frightened and desperate on a mass scale things will change. The task then will be to make rapid enlightened changes via developing a system of eco-socialism and full democratic control by the people of all enterprises and to not let an absolutist right-wing, plutocratic, reactionary and barbaric process take over.

  8. Sorry, but this is a cop-out, and wrong.

    It is NOT the CCA’s role to provide advice consistent with the current policy settings. It should be giving advice on how to achieve our commitments to limit warming to less than 2C, and ideally to less than 1.5C. The current policy settings will NOT achieve this, and it was the responsibility of the CCA to say so.

    The recent CCA report is an utter failure to do its job properly, and the majority board members should be castigated for their failings.

  9. @James Wimberley

    How do you interpret the word “if”? Your “industrial emissions” is not “coal consumption”

    While it is possible to spin some line about intensity (which does change consumption), still coal consumption goes up (0.4%) according to this:

    Global coal consumption grew by just 0.4 percent–its slowest rate since the Asian crisis in 1998. Global coal production, on the other hand, declined by 0.7 percent mainly due to a decline in China’s coal production. China’s coal consumption grew by just 0.1 percent in 2014–compared to 2 percent in 2013 and a 74-percent increase since 2004—as output from the energy-intensive sectors in China declined. Coal also lost share in China’s electricity sector as a result of exceptionally strong growth in hydropower of 15.7 percent, as new capacity came on-line and high levels of rainfall increased utilization rates. As a result, China’s coal production declined by 2.6 percent. Coal prices in 2014 fell to their lowest level in 5 years.

    Other countries, however, increased their production of coal. India’s coal consumption increased by 11.1 percent and its coal production increased by 6.4 percent–the largest increments to global demand and supply of coal. The majority of the increased demand for coal in India came from the power sector, where total power generation increased by almost 10 percent in 2014–its strongest rate of increase since 1989. Indonesia increased its coal production by 2 percent and Australia increased its production of coal by 4.7 percent.

    Did you note Australia’s particular role????

    In fact the IEA has downgraded its coal outlook for 2020 but says demand will increase outside China

    The (IEA) report sees coal demand outside China modestly increasing through 2020 as the structural decline in Europe and the United States is more than offset by growth in India and Southeast Asia. The Indian government’s push for universal energy access and an expansion of manufacturing will drive electricity growth. In addition to India’s ambitious renewable targets (175 GW of renewables by 2022, of which 100 GW are solar PV), coal will provide a significant share of the additional power requirements – as much as 60% through 2020. Indeed, preliminary data show India overtaking China as the world’s largest coal importer this year.

    Did you notice the words “structural decline”???? as the factor for Europe and UNited States?

    How does this compare to slowdown in economic growth?

    Changes in coal intensity can easily be offset by GDP growth.

    It is far too late to think there is any benefit in a ‘flat industrial emissions’. This just means the current rate of CO2 emissions will continue and we will soon be at 500ppm.

    CO2 emissions from coal fuel combustion have increased 76% since 1990.

  10. most national governments are finally recognising the urgency of the problem

    Better hope that Donald Trump doesn’t win the election, because if he does … (It’s still more likely than not that Hillary wins.)

  11. The death of Charmian Carr aka Liesl von Trapp on the weekend brought to mind a good many songs from Sound of Music, not least How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

    Josh Frydenberg is probably singing to himself How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Climate Change Authority?

    Like Captain von Trapp and Maria, the Minister might grow to love you, but it will take a while.

  12. @Mandas

    I disagree. Any fair minded person would see the committee was placed in an invidious position. It must have been a hard decision, I think, to come down either way, majority or dissenting. Unfortunately, the LNP parties lie and operate in bad faith. They are not the only political parties that do this but they are the worst at it. It is very difficult to deal with people who deceive and operate in bad faith but the realpolitik of it is that sometimes one has no choice but to try this in the real world. The alternatives under a rigged system are just a complete opt-out… or a complete revolution.

    There is clearly no public stomach for and maybe not even adequate justification yet for a peaceful revolution (always peaceful on the people’s behalf as per theorists and practitioners like Tolstoy and Gandhi). So in the interim you deal and try to outmaneuver or you just take your bat and ball and go home, giving up entirely. The majority report and the dissenting report are both maneuvers within the current system. They are both valid maneuvers within the current system. Each in its own way attempts to add incremental pressure where it can to the government. I see the two as not cancelling but actually, in practice, forming a two prong pressure maneuver (even if, as is likely, not conceived with that mind). In the current stacked system, neither can add much pressure, however things can sometimes change by small increments rather than by near-instant reversals.

    Did not J.Q. write “3. Conversely, it is not appropriate for the Authority, as an independent advisory body to accept political constraints that would be inconsistent with the obligation to make recommendations consistent with our international obligations.” I think this draws a line in the sand. The tone is “we want to be realistic and practical in the current political context but there is a bottom line and certain targets have to be met”.

    I wrote in a post above that I would have dissented but I would have found the decision a tough one. There are purist standards and then there is practicality. This is one of those cases where the choice of being purist or making a practical attempt was quite difficult, I think. I admit I am an armchair critic. What about you? It’s a lot easier to be a purist when one is just an armchair critic. We armchair critics need to remember that.

  13. On the good side we now have clear evidence that wet side of the coalition is as clueless as the Neo-cons and your trials John are setting this knowledge in stone. But you shouldnt feel bad about being conned in the past. On three occasions which might be described as up close and personal in different ways to Turnbull, he also convinced me he understood climate and other environmental issues such as water management and marine conservation. It is now plain his protestations were just spin reflecting his talent for picking up briefs and dropping them as one would a hat or a wig. One hears about the abilities of smart lawyers but it is another matter to see confronted by them and learn first hand that you cannot communicate/negotiate/discuss even such life and death matters in good faith with such people because they are hollow.

    On the down side its regretable you have had to deal with such duplicity John as it takes its toll. Still look on the bright side. You now know that carbon markets are not the solution to carbon change mitigation because these players play be another set of rules which include – if the rules dont suit the real ends i.e. pursuit of wealth and power, they will merely change them or deny they exist.

  14. As a way of educating the MPs in Parliament, and as a way of engaging in constructive debate, the CCA should have put forward two broad policy options.

    Option 1 would have been specifics on how the “…other policies might be regarded as more cost-effective and reliable” were the best choice, including modelling how they produce the maximum reductions in CO2 for the minimum cost. Then put forward Option 2, which is the toolkit of existing policies. Recommend Option 1 but have Option 2 there for completeness.

    Not everyone in Parliament is incapable of being persuaded and it helps if independent expert panels give people the best advice on what needs to be done.

  15. La di da! This would all be hunky dory if everybody would just follow the script. Alas! That rogue AGW is out of step with the bandmaster and shall be thrashed to death with a feather duster.

    I agree Mandas, it is a cop out and it is wrong, but what would you expect from a bunch of red-necked neocons commonly known as the COALition! According to my figures we are at 1.5 degrees already and will top 2 degrees sometime soon, probably before the CCA meet again!!

    Cheers @Mandas

  16. @tony lynch

    HRC (and her doctors) will be hard put to save HRC or at least her motor add cognitive functions for any length of time. The truth is not being told about her condition. HRC would not pass any physical for any kind of government or municipal work. She wouldn’t pass the physical to be a library assistant, for example. But somehow she is OK to be president. This is a joke. One notes that the elite can be in any kind of dreadful health and still get and hold the top jobs in the land. Too bad for ordinary people though, you need to pass stringent physicals for the lowliest of menial jobs. Trump is just as bad. He has an obvious narcissistic personality disorder. You wouldn’t put a guy like that in charge of a mail-room floor… especially not a mail-room floor if you think about it.

  17. @Ikonoclast

    The truth is not being told about her condition.

    Not to mention the truth not being told about 9/11 and the truth not being told about the so-called moon landings.

  18. @Ikonoclast
    Any fair minded person would NOT see that the CCA was placed in an invidious position – they should have done their job properly. And that meant saying unequivocally that the current policy settings are inadequate.
    It is not, nor has it ever been, the role of independent bodies – or for that matter, the public service – to accept political constraints on its advice. You correctly identified that JQ believes that himself (and said so), so that begs the question – why did it (he)?

  19. Given the absolute contribution of Australia to Co2 emissions, the political response of the Australian government is simply not relevant to whether climate change is successfully tackled. Unless we can make a convincing argument that curtailing admissions will lead to an improvement in short to medium term living standards and economic growth, then it is not in Australia’s interest to take a leadership role. We are simply not that important.

  20. @Neil

    Ivor: the report you cite clearly relates to 2014. The press release I referred to covers 2015. It’s advance news of the full report to come later. Recent news from India reveals a marked slowdown in coal, with rising stocks and plant cancellations. Your Keeling Curve point is true enough, but changes the subject. Since the trends that have led to the emissions peak are very strong and continuing, I confidently predict that this time next year the IEA will report a modest actual fall.

    Neil: oil companies have been pulling out of the Arctic. IIRC only the Russians are left. At the current price of oil, the astronomical development costs do not pay. Easier sea access in summer only shaves these a little. It’s still a very hostile environment.

  21. @Mandas

    Figure 1, page 6 of summary, of the August Review, unequivocally states (in tabular form) that the current policy settings are inadequate. Under current policy, I see many empty boxes. Under toolkit, I see boxes with recommended policies. A person capable of understanding tables and drawing inferences gets the picture.

  22. @Happy Heyoka

    “70 million Syrian refugee”. A fat finger typo seems to have occurred for Syria’s population is less than half the stated number of refugees.

  23. @Andrew

    “We are simply not that important.” No, actually you are making the opposite argument in a selfish manner. You are saying we are so important that ONLY OUR short to medium term living standards and economic growth matter. You are saying nobody else and nothing else matters.

  24. @James Wimberley
    PS: Update on coal consumption on 2015 from well-known fossil shills Greenpeace:

    Between the months of January and September 2015 coal use around the world was down by at least 2.3% and by as much as 4.6% versus the same period last year.

    CoalSwarm – a site that actually tracks this stuff – reports that since the Paris Agreement, the pipeline of coal generating plants planned and under construction has shrunk by 158 GW. 158 GW. Australia’s entire generating capacity is under 45 GW.

    That still leaves 932 GW in the pipeline, which is 932 GW too much. Still, it’s an a amazing turnaround. It won’t stop there- the falling capacity factors of coal (now below 60% on average) must be spooking banks as well as government planners.

    You still think Paris was nothing but a paper tiger? Brecht on a Chinese Tea Lion:

    Die Schlechten fürchten deine Klaue.
    Die Guten freuen sich deiner Grazie.
    Hörte ich gern
    Von meinem Vers.

  25. @Andrew
    Look again at the famous Hokusai print of the giant wave. Everybody in the tiny boats is rowing for dear life. Everybody. Their individual chances of survival are not terrific, but they are increased by rowing, and reduced by panicking, throwing a fit, or – as you are doing – saying it won’t make any difference so why bother. Get with the f***ing programme. Row.

  26. @Andrew

    Australia makes an immense contribution to the future destruction of the environment by mining and exporting fossil fuels.

    Australia is making itself rich by denying future generations the same rights.

  27. @Ikonoclast

    HRC would not pass any physical for any kind of government or municipal work. She wouldn’t pass the physical to be a library assistant, for example.

    I’ll echo Apocalypse here and suggest you’re venturing into conspiracy theory territory. I have been unable to find any claims that HRC has serious health problems that would render her unfit to be president except on rightwing and conspiracy web sites, and they all seem to be based on speculation by doctors who have not actually examined HRC.

  28. @Ernestine Gross
    Ernestine, I also accidentally doubled the population of Bangladesh. Mea Culpa.

    My point still stands – it’s a ticking time bomb in our region that is due to go off in the near future. During a 1991 cyclone an estimated 138000 people were killed by the storm surge and flooding. Millions of people were left homeless, and billions of dollars worth of infrastructure destroyed. We’re talking about making this kind of event a permanent feature of their landscape and they will – obviously and sanely – not hang around for that.

    I apologise if my absolute dismay at this kind of data makes me incoherent and unreliable from time to time….

  29. @Ivor
    We aint seen nothing yet. Wait till the world moves on from nations making equal reductions in the name of a version of equity to three principles that will emerge. The first is we do have our own clear incentive to invest more than that- we stand to benefit more than most countries from the reining in of our extraordinarily variable climate. The second; our emissions per capita are higher than anyones so it will cost more to get them back closer to a sustainable average for the planet. The final principle relates to our polluter pays /duty of care obligations arising from the legacy of accumulated past emissions.

  30. @Tim Macknay
    Your #30

    Re Ikonoclast:

    I’ll echo Apocalypse here and suggest you’re venturing into conspiracy theory territory.

    Yeah, for some reason Ikono really has a problem with HRC and his usual fairness entirely deserts him. Not that I’d ever claim that she is an angel, but neither is she a demon. Basically just your average politician who’s had a very long time in politics – and some mud always clings over 30 or so years – and has been subjected to an intense and wholly irrational Right Wingnut offensive for nearly all that time.

  31. @GrueBleen

    I have said HRC is ill. She very clearly is ill. I have said Trump has NPD (narcissistic personality disorder). Neither is fit to be POTUS.

    “Hillary Clinton – Healthy As Any 68-Year-Old On a Bunch of Meds!” – TMZ.

    “got herself a doctor’s note confirming she’s battling pneumonia … and also loading up on her medications.

    The doc just released a letter in response to all the hysteria over Clinton’s fainting spell and it includes a list of the drugs she’s currently taking:

    – Armor Thyroid (for hypothyroidism)
    – Coumadin (blood thinner)
    – Levaquin (antibiotic) for 10 days
    – Clarinex (antihistamine for allergies)
    – B12

    The candidate’s cholesterol count is 189 (103 LDL, 56 HDL) and her blood pressure is 100/70 — all within normal parameters for a 68-year-old woman. Dr. Lisa Bardack says she’s evaluated Clinton’s health “several times” since Sunday, and she’s improving and fit to be POTUS.” – TMZ

    I think there is one they are leaving out. There’s good evidence HRC is also on Levodopa: Therapeutic Class: Antiparkinsonian, Pharmacologic Class: Dopamine Precursor.

    There’s good evidence that HRC needs it. But of course, the authorities and the MSM would never lie to us would they? I mean Assange, Snowden, Manning, Woodward, Bernstein etc., they never uncovered anything real did they? <- That's sarcasm obviously.

    Maybe I don't have absolute definitive evidence but I am deeply suspicious we are not being told the whole truth about HRC's health. There is a lot of very reasonable circumstantial evidence that HRC has a neurological disorder. It's not all from conspiracy sites. Who can blame a person for distrusting the authorities these days? They have been exposed in a LOT of lies over the last 20 years or so have they not? WMD springs to mind. If Repubs can lie about WMD, the Dems and Clinton camp can lie about little Levodopa pills can they not?

  32. Ikon I had almost gotten over the horrible things you used to say about Julia Gillard and now you’re starting with Hillary Clinton. You’re not a bad guy but you need to do some serious soul searching.

  33. @Ikonoclast

    There’s good evidence HRC is also on Levodopa: Therapeutic Class: Antiparkinsonian, Pharmacologic Class: Dopamine Precursor. There’s good evidence that HRC needs it.

    What’s the good evidence?

    There is a lot of very reasonable circumstantial evidence that HRC has a neurological disorder. It’s not all from conspiracy sites.

    So provide one credible source then.

  34. Neither are fit to be president.

    One is a hawkish neoliberal in cahoots with Wall St, the other a deranged maverick crank.

    Here is one candidate who might have been the answer, except for the state of US politics:

  35. @Val

    What “horrible things” am I saying? I said it looks to me like Hillary Rodham Clinton has a neurological condition, likely Parkinson’s disease. I also said it looks to me like Donald John Trump has NPD (narcissistic personality disorder). There are doctors willing to suggest HRC’s possible condition from evidence on the public record. There are psychologists willing to suggest DJT’s possible condition from evidence on the public record. I happen to find the suggestions credible in both cases. Indeed, the circumstantial evidence is close to compelling in both cases.

    Nevertheless, it is indeed circumstantial evidence. Whilst it is tough to make a finding on circumstantial evidence alone in a court of law, in the court of public and political opinion we do do that and perforce at times we have to do that. Both are public figures whose health and capacity for the position they seek are matters of public concern, first for US citizens and then for citizens of the world as either of these figures will wield considerable power to affect the entire world if elected.

    My contention re DJT went unremarked. My contention re HRC gets called as “horrible”. Yet I am even handed.

  36. @Tim Macknay

    Back when I was saying the WMD charge against Saddam/Iraq was a beat up, right at the start of that imbroglio, I could not have provided what you would call “one credible source”. Yet, from the accumulation of circumstantial evidence, my knowledge of much of the lead-up history, my knowledge of the actors involved and their levels of duplicity already exposed in other matters, I was able to form the form conviction that I was right. In the event, I was right.

    The above is not proof I am right this time. However, I am using the same heuristics again, namely accumulation of circumstantial evidence, knowledge of certain lead-up history, knowledge of the actors involved and their levels of duplicity already exposed in other matters. Over my mature years, these heuristics have stood me in very good stead. “The elites are always duplicitous”. That pretty much sums it up. I certainly don’t think the Democrats and Clinton’s are any different or any better.

    “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has promised that his next publication on Hillary Clinton will bring her presidential campaign to an abrupt end.” reports:

    “Assange… claimed he has in his possession, damning emails on how Clinton made secret deals with sponsors of the terrorist organization, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Assange said Clinton’s secret dealings with this ISIS sponsor have resulted in huge funds donated to the Clinton Foundation from the sponsor.”

    Be careful all you people defending HRC. You might all look very silly, very soon. This is not a cause for any hope of course because Trump is probably worse in many ways. It’s really hard to know what a person as erratic as Trump will. However, the US secret state almost certainly fully manages each President. They are pretty much puppets now.

  37. Now, of course one cannot say this is a certainty but it certainly looks grim for HRC. Wikileaks usually delivers.

    I am amazed at the binary thinking (or is it limited Boolean thinking?) that says;
    If B is corrupt then A must be clean. This does not follow. It is also possible that A and B are both corrupt. But people so often seem to fall for the Manichean good person/bad person narrative.

  38. Trying to get this back on track. How many undecided American voters read this blog?

    Re Australia’s international commitments on climate. The country joined the consensus for adopting the text in Paris and signed it (i.e. declared its intention to ratify) on April 22. The Turnbull government has tabled the Agreement for public comment and parliamentary approval.. Now would be a good time to write to your MP or Senator supporting JQ’s statement.

    Signature does oblige the signing state, even before before ratification, “to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty” (1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 16). You could make a case that Australia’s current coal policy does just that.

  39. @Ikonoclast
    I’m not interested in “good person/bad person” narratives. I was just nonplussed that you’ve chosen to wade into conspiracy theory territory on the subject of HRC’s health, when you’ve disdained those kind of sources in the past (you castigated James not too long ago for conspiracy theorising, and he relies on the same kinds of sources you’re now citing). For the record, I do object to the armchair diagnosis of Trump as having narcissistic personality disorder, but I’ve stated my objection to armchair mental health diagnoses often enough on this blog before that I didn’t think I’d have to do it again. Also, the Trump “diagnoses”, objectionable though they are, don’t rely on conspiracy and right wing propaganda web sites that you normally wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. The HRC ones do.

    Based on your last couple of comments, it seems to me that you’ve admitted that you don’t have anything that’s not conspiracy/right wing talking points to support a belief that HRC has serious neurological illness, and your actually reason for believing it is that you dislike HRC on policy and character grounds. I have no problem with you objecting to her on policy and character grounds, but that doesn’t make believing in conspiracy theories or right wing propaganda a rational thing to do. I reckon Val is on the money and you need to think more about why you’re choosing to believe those sources on this subject.

    It’s clearly got your goat a little, or you wouldn’t have impliedly accused me of naively defending HRC or having a double standard wrt Trump. Get over it, son. 😉 for the record, my view on HRC is that she’s the lesser evil.

  40. @Ikonoclast
    Your #35

    You say that there is “good evidence HRC is also on Levodopa”, but you only quote a celebrity gossip and entertainment news service TMZ. Did your “good evidence” come from there ? If not, from where ?

    You also say: If Repubs can lie about WMD, the Dems and Clinton camp can lie about little Levodopa pills can they not?”

    What kind of fairness is this ‘false equivalence’ nonsense ? By “fairness” I mean applying reasonable critical analysis to the evidence presented, not promoting some “both sides do it” claim.

  41. @Ikonoclast

    But, butt, Ikono, HRC died on 11 September – according to the kind of sources you’ve been quoting anyhow – so it’s all up (or down) to her ‘body double’ now.

    And I wouldn’t trust Assange as far as I could kick him – he’s got an even worse attack of Hillary hate than most. He even makes you look semi-rational on the matter.

    As to your site, well just Wau! mate. I do love a conspiracy theory, especially how 9/11 was a planned demolition by explosives. Are you sure it’s HRC that needs Levodopa ?

  42. @Tim Macknay
    Your #42

    You say:

    I have no problem with you objecting to her [HRC] on policy and character grounds,

    Does this mean that you (also) think that HRC is objectionable on those grounds ? If so, why ?

  43. Quote:

    “The State Department was given a voice in the intensity and timing of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan after then-Ambassador Cameron Munter reportedly opposed certain covert operations that occurred during especially sensitive points in the U.S.-Pakistani bilateral relationship, or when domestic opposition to the strikes was at its highest.

    As he later described this process: “I have a yellow card,” Munter recalled, describing the new policy. “I can say, ‘No.’ That ‘no’ goes back to the CIA director. Then he has to go to Hillary. If Hillary says, ‘No,’ he can still do it, but he has to explain the next day in writing why.”

    It was after Munter raised objections to drone strikes that Secretary Clinton and her aides would debate the merits of them, including through emails that were forwarded to Clinton’s private account.

    Entous and Barrett’s reporting includes this critical passage:

    With the compromise, State Department–CIA tensions began to subside. Only once or twice during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure at State did U.S. diplomats object to a planned CIA strike, according to congressional and law-enforcement officials familiar with the emails.

    During Clinton’s tenure between January 2009 and February 2013, the CIA conducted 294 drone strikes that killed 2,192 people, 226 of whom were civilians. (For the data, see here, which is based on averages within the ranges provided by the New America Foundation, Long Wars Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.)

    In other words, of the 294 CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Clinton’s State Department objected to fewer than 1 percent of them. If elected to the White House, would she similarly prioritize CIA counterterrorism operations over the concerns of senior U.S. diplomats?

    The evidence from her time as secretary of state suggests that the answer is overwhelmingly “yes.”” – Newsweek.

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