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Why Labor should fight the 2013 election on climate change

If climate change features prominently in the federal election campaign, it will almost certainly be driven by the Coalition. Under Tony Abbott, the Coalition has long smelled blood in the water on climate…

Both sides of politics need to take the carbon tax fight to the election. Flickr/Leonard John Matthews

If climate change features prominently in the federal election campaign, it will almost certainly be driven by the Coalition. Under Tony Abbott, the Coalition has long smelled blood in the water on climate change and in particular the carbon tax.

Abbott has stated repeatedly that the repeal of the carbon tax will be his first order of government business if elected, while Coalition climate spokesperson Greg Hunt has claimed that the 2013 election will be a referendum on the tax.

But this is a risky strategy, and this is precisely why the ALP can and should consider taking on the Coalition on this issue, and taking up the challenge of making the election a referendum on the carbon tax.

First, public attitudes to the carbon tax are softening. Polling has indicated a steady decline in opposition to the carbon tax since it was first mooted. By the end of 2012 opposition to the carbon tax was still at around 56% but was continuing to decline. Complaints to the ACCC about the carbon tax dropped off substantially after three months in operation. Six months in the majority of Australians polled believed that the carbon tax had made no economic difference to their lives.

There is every reason to believe these trends will continue as the tax becomes more institutionalised. Some began to draw parallels to the GST: an unpopular tax but one that was gradually absorbed into the economy and everyday practises, and which stopped short of the economic Armageddon predicted by opponents.

Second, it seems to be working.

Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation hit a 10 year low in early 2013, driven by increases in cost for wholesale electricity and an increase in the share of electricity provided through renewable sources. Both of these dynamics are attributable to the carbon tax.

If part of the reason for opposing or repealing the tax was that it didn’t work this is clearly undermined by the figures to hand so far. The carbon tax is also clearly helping Australia track towards its 20% renewable energy target, at present a bipartisan commitment. One recent industry analysis suggested that without the carbon tax and associated investment incentives in renewables, the Coalition couldn’t hope to achieve this target.

Third, industry wants it. Tony Abbott has long claimed that Australia’s economic competitiveness is being fatally undermined by the carbon tax. The trouble is, the leadership of many of Australia’s largest corporations support it.

In a paper forthcoming in Australian Journal of Politics and History, John Mikler and Neil Harrison present results from interviews with Australian industry representatives, so often portrayed as the immovable obstacles to climate action.

Most industry representatives they interviewed, all from fossil fuel intensive industries, indicated support for increased government intervention to set and maintain carbon pricing mechanisms to create business and investment stability. Tellingly, some representatives lamented that they felt these views couldn’t be articulated in the public arena because of the highly politically charged and short-term oriented nature of the Australian public debates on carbon pricing.

All this suggests that the ALP can and should consider running on a climate change platform, not least in defence of the carbon tax. The carbon tax represents about the only consequential federal response to the most significant global issue humanity has ever faced.

Sure there’s the issue of integrity about the manner in which the carbon tax was introduced. And sure, there’s the fact that Australian public opinion on climate change is divided and fickle.

What has always been missing on climate change action in Australia is genuine political leadership. Kevin Rudd declared climate change a “great moral challenge” and rode a wave of public support for action in 2006 and 2007, but proved himself unwilling to take the big steps necessary for a meaningful response by failing to negotiate with the Greens on his Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. He then proved himself unable to overturn declining public support for his emissions trading scheme.

Julia Gillard should embrace the role of being the (albeit reluctant) leader on this issue, and try to create and sustain public support for the carbon tax and further action on climate change beyond 2013.

Of course Australia needs to do more than reaffirm a commitment to the carbon tax. We also need genuine long-term investment in renewable energy. Most importantly we need to reconsider the long carbon shadow that Australia’s extraction and export of coal casts over any domestic effort we undertake.

Defending mainstream legislation aimed at recognising the costs of carbon emissions is the least we can do. And with polling predicting a solid Coalition victory in September, there’s little for the Labor Government to lose in taking on the Coalition on this issue.

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103 Comments sorted by

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    1. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Optimistic Alex

      I thought she didn't want a carbon tax because she wanted an ETS. That would make "No Greens. No carbon price." a false statement. They were planning to transition the carbon tax into an ETS anyway. Not that that will happen when Tony wins.

      I agree with you on the coal issue.

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    2. Barry White

      Retired

      In reply to Optimistic Alex

      It may well be that it all does not matter anymore.
      A NASA scientist has published a paper that is said to show that increasing CO2 will increase reflection of heat from the sun back into space and cause cooling of the earth.
      I have not seen any comment on his paper, and it is probably too soon to expect comment as it was only announced last week.

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    3. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Optimistic Alex

      Can anyone tell me why the supporters of Carbon Taxes and fears of Climate Change are the very same people who advocate the spraying of defoliating chemicals?
      The Greens will not speak out against herbicides. Why?

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    4. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Barry White

      Thats a bizarre claim, Barry White - has your paper (ref?) somehow re-iced the arctic since last week too?

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    5. Georgina Byrne

      Farmer

      In reply to Barry White

      For goodness sake, Barry! Venus has cloud cover which reflects sunlight back into space and it also TRAPs heat, making the climate on the planet's surface impossible for anything to survive on...that's junior school level science for goodness sake! Wher on earth are you coming from

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  1. John Newlands

    tree changer

    If you look at the emissions time series in
    http://www.climatechange.gov.au/~/media/climate-change/emissions/2012-12/NGGIQuarteryDecQ2012.pdf
    then 6 years of Federal ALP has achieved little. Some will say we had population growth and some will say we may reach the renewable energy target. Others will point out some manufacturing has closed shop and pensioners couldn't afford air conditioning in summer. However what I consider most damning is that we are hopelessly off track to reduce emissions 80% by 2050.

    If Abbott sticks to his ill conceived climate ideas I'd have to say I'm unimpressed with either the ALP performance or LNP promises. I wouldn't vote Greens as they seem to be opposed to everything. At this stage any half-clued independent may get my vote..

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    1. Stephanus Cecil Barnard

      Town planner and freelance writer at Kalahariozzie

      In reply to Trevor McGrath

      The policies of the Greens is exactly why only 10-16% of the population vote for them. Latté lunatics.
      Sadly the two main parties offer little desirable, perhaps I'll vote for the soccer party or the sex party, seems to be the same thing nowerdays.

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    2. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Trevor McGrath

      "Only the impotent are pure" Trevor. It's easy for the Greens to play the games they do because the buck doesn't stop with them. I have a lot of sympathy for the Greens' ideology, but I loathe the Greens' politics. This idea that the Greens believe in something while the others only 'play politics' is a myth.

      If you think "the other side has any policy that they think will win a vote" you're either woefully naive about politics or blinded by dark green tinted glasses.

      The fact is that you need to win an election (something the Greens show no sign of ever doing) to get anything done at all. In order to do that you need to balance ideological and populist policies. You need to compromise and make changes in some areas so that you can achieve what you want to on other areas.

      Are you telling me that Labor only came up with the NDIS because they thought it was a vote winner? Come off it Trev.

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    3. Paul Wittwer

      Orchardist

      In reply to Brad Adams

      First you agree with Trevor on the purity of the Greens in policy and motive, if only to smear them as impotent, then you do a 180 and suggest it's all politics and game playing. Which is it?
      What specifically do you loathe about Greens politics? Is it because they don't play politics due to actually believing in and sticking to their policies?
      Labor still call themselves a Social Democratic party but their massive lurch to the authoritarian right and embrace of Neoliberal market capitalism makes a mockery of what are supposed to be their core values.

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    4. Tony Grant

      Student

      In reply to John Newlands

      Yes the Greens and Abbott have sided a number of times in this parliament (senate) both are big "NOERS"?

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    5. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Wittwer

      First of all I must say I agree with you 100% that reading about Greens policies in the newspaper is not the same as reading the policies. That goes for all political parties, and it's why I subscribe to the mailing lists of the three main parties in Australia. It does get a bit annoying when they all assume I subscribe because I support them rather than because I want to stay informed.

      When I say the Greens are pure I mean that they actually believe in all of their policies and won't compromise…

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    1. Osk Archer

      Chemist/Maltster

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Anyone can write a book, but if no publisher will print it, nobody's going to read it.

      If I was a media (pay tv) mogul, and on one hand there's this government trying to set up a superfast national network that will enable the next generation of home media, and on the other an opposition with a far more limited plan and which is traditionally softer on media ownership rules, I reckon I would be doing what I could to stifle any effective narrative construction, too.

      I personally see more narrative (not a lot, but more) there for the ALP than, say, elegance in how they execute their policies (lots of hits and misses).

      I certainly agree your last two paragraphs!

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  2. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    If the Australian electorate was the same demographic as the readership of the Conversation, this would be an excellent strategy.

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Yes, well leaving aside the bitterness of a man who is mournfully contemplating the climate stubbornly continuing to drastically undershoot projections, the readership of the Conversation might well be exclusivity populated by people of great insight and brilliance, but their concerns may not be the concerns of the wider electorate. Ergo not necessarily a great political strategy.

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    2. Gordon Smith

      Private citizen

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike - I am a little disturbed by your comment. Are you suggesting that only the educated (definition please) are capable of objective decision making.

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    3. Stephanus Cecil Barnard

      Town planner and freelance writer at Kalahariozzie

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Fortunately not all readers of The Conversation swing with the left. It might come as a surprise to Mike but there are quite a few people with more than a Bachelor degree who do not support the left.

      Sadly, neither Labor or LNP offer us a clear vision for Australia, and I find that frustrating. I am sickened by both parties stance on 'unlawful maritime arrivals', their slowness to accept the community's wish to have gay marriage legalised, and the list goes on.

      While I dislike to the extreme ALP's love relationship with the unions, a law on their own, LNP seems to have only the word 'no' in their vocabulary. Both offer no 'roadmap' for Australia into the seriously unchartered new world dominated by China, India and Russia.

      Perhaps a glass of Shiraz rather than a flat white would do me well

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    4. Mike Stasse

      retired energy consultant

      In reply to Gordon Smith

      Maybe capable is the wrong word, but a University education TEACHES you how to think logically and critically.

      Not everyone is blessed with a critical mind at birth......

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    5. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Gordon Smith

      Sorry to hear that you are disturbed Gordon. Probably explains the faux outrage though.

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    6. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Stephanus Cecil Barnard

      Stephanus. Where did I say that people with a degree support the left? We are talking about climate science. While it is certainly true that climate science deniers are almost exclusively from the right, the support for the science is across the political spectrum e.g. Turnbull. It is more noticeable in Europe with Angela Merkel a conservative (with qualifications in physical chemistry) calling yesterday for a "for a redoubling of efforts to forge a new U.N. agreement on climate change by 2015".

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    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Gordon Smith

      Gordon, it's a common perception among some respondents - 'we're educated and we know what's best for the great unwashed out there'.

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    8. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Stasse

      Not necessarliy, Mike. There are myriad ways of learning to think logically and critically. A university education is but one.

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    9. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Left/right, Mike - it's an oversimplisitic paradigm that polemicises debate. The world, the people in it and their opinions are a bit more complex and subtle than that.

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  3. Ngoc Luan Ho Trieu

    logged in via Facebook

    Strong "green" policies are needed. Beside the ETS, policies providing incentives for the search of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biofuels, geo thermal) are also needed. Obvious benefits are: (i) less economic dependency on foreign oil; (ii) less drain of foreign currencies; (iii) more manageable current accounts; (iv) creation of new jobs for the labour market in new green industries; (v) neutralize any oil shocks from overseas; (vi) more sustainable growth in the long run; and most importantly…

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  4. Comment removed by moderator.

  5. ian cheong

    logged in via email @acm.org

    I fail to see much of an academic or evidence based approach to an article suggesting Labor party political strategy.

    Scientifically minded Conversation readers may be interested to know that the "science" of global warming is far from settled.

    See for example http://judithcurry.com/2013/05/07/more-on-the-pause/

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    1. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to ian cheong

      We need to move towards a sustainable society. Climate change is not the only environmental game in town. There are plenty of other environmental issues besides climate change Ian, and they're all interrelated. Overuse of non-renewable resources is one. If the current theories of climate change were false we would still need to lower our consumption of the things that emit carbon. Whether or not climate change is an issue, when the coal runs out it's gone. You can't grow more.

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    2. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to ian cheong

      Ian Cheong,

      The article on Judith Curry you have given us says it all.

      The problem should not be a political one while the science is not yet understood - at all.

      In 1985, Jack Barrett, Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College, London, a leading Infra Red spectroscopist, demonstrated to a conference in Leipzig, that carbon dioxide in any amount in the atmosphere, could not lead to the increase in global warming being claimed by the climatologists, who are generally from the area of…

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    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to ian cheong

      Would you like to make a scientific point ian? I am not sure what you are seeing in David Appell's article that Curry reprinted that would overturn global warming science?

      As Appell notes in the conclusion (omitted by Curry) to his article.
      "There have been hiatus periods in the past — from about 1945 to 1975, and slow downs in 15-year warming rates around 1994-1995 — and there will likely be more in the future. Those times of hiatus are consistent with human-caused warming in the natural world, and they are no reason at all to be lulled into complacency."
      http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/05/wither-global-warming-has-it-slowed-down/

      The point made by the famous "going down the up escalator" graph from Skeptical Science.
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

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    4. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Adams

      Brad, I'd be interested to hear where you feel that global population control fits into this matrix.

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    5. Osk Archer

      Chemist/Maltster

      In reply to ian cheong

      Apart from this veering quite off topic... it's unfeaseable to sift through nearly 900 comments on a blog article to try to conclude who's interpretation of the data is most valid.

      What I do see is quite a few self-proclaimed scientific professionals a) presupposing that scientists are blind to conflicting data that could show our climate is in less peril than otherwise b) blanket-dismissal of, IMO honest and well-referenced, outlets like skepticalscience and realclimate & c) a lot of inaccessible technical language ("she blinded me with science"), mainly used to try to refute segments of the consensus position on AGW.

      Does this mean it's all "far from settled"? Certainly parts of the field are being actively discussed, revised and corrected... just not on blogs but at conferences and through inter-academic correspondence.

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    6. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Phillip

      It's a question of trade-off. The more people there are, the less each individual can consume sustainably.

      What are your thoughts John?

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    7. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Nicol

      LOL. John Nicol is quoting Habibullo Abdussamatov. Hilarious. Abdussamatov has joined the "skydragon" cranks who are so crazy, even Lord Monckton thinks they are nutters. They have also been banned from Curry's blog.

      The quote from Abdussamatov is five years old so we have had plenty of opportunity to experience the "deep freeze".

      Graham Readfearn has the details.
      http://www.readfearn.com/2013/05/the-australian-brings-you-the-climate-science-denial-news-from-five-years-ago/

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    8. Michael Guy

      Clinical Psychologist

      In reply to John Nicol

      "The problem should not be a political one while the science is not yet understood - at all." so 97% of climate scientists advocating for change over 30 years isn't sufficient for you. Does it need to be 98% or 99% or do you want 100%?

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    9. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Adams

      Brad, I think the carrying capacity of the planet is in the process of being exceded (I acknowledge the undefined nature of that statement) . Our concerns over energy are quite valid but ultimately limited in their scope. I believe this to be the case, because the ability of the planet to provide 'adequate' resources and to absorb the environmental impact of that provision will be exceded. It doesnt matter whether we in the western world curb our rampant consumerism, at some point the rest of the world will fullfil their aspirations and, at least, approach our levels of consumption. The ONLY way to stop this eventual species driven calamity is to limit the success of that species - ie population control. Brad, I know I am going to get pounded by the pundits who'll raise all sorts of equity issues but I'd say to you that they are missing the point. Equity is a nice ideal to shoot for but in terms of the long term survival of our species it is a moot point. Cheers.

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    10. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Phillip

      Oh, my I've rabbitted on. The short answer is that your statement is absolutely correct - the problem arises when the consumption has to fall below the level required to sustain life in order to sustain the planet.

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    11. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Guy

      Michael Guy - the 97% figure that you quote is absolute bullshit . It is drawn from a two question survey of more than questionable methodology.

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    12. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Michael Hansen, if you are going to refute John Nicol's position you need to actually argue his points. At the moment all you've done is convince the discerning reader that you have no argument. You can run and hide behind criticisms of his sources but you've still not convinced anyone.

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    13. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      " the 97% figure that you quote is absolute bullshit "

      No it is not. It is peer reviewed science.
      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

      More here
      http://desmogblog.com/2012/11/15/why-climate-deniers-have-no-credibility-science-one-pie-chart

      The climate cranks whine about it but have never written a rebuttal. And mysteriously, though they claim it is bullshit, they can never link to all those peer reviewed papers they claim rebut climate science.

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    14. Michael Guy

      Clinical Psychologist

      In reply to John Phillip

      Even if there was a 10% margin of error (highly unlikely) there would still be a huge majority of climate scientists who strongly support action. Are you willing to risk the life of your grandchildren that they are all wrong? I think Government is irresponsible if they chose to take the risk that a majority of scientists whose projections over the last 30 years have been correct to date are wrong and go with the 3% (or maybe 13%) who say don't worry.

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    15. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      @Grumpy

      I am pretty sure that I rebutted John Nicol. But why don't we get John Nicol to rebut John Nicol.

      Nicol starts by nodding approvingly at an article by science writer David Appell that Judith Curry reprinted on here blog. John Nicol - "The article on Judith Curry you have given us says it all."

      The article is here
      http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/05/wither-global-warming-has-it-slowed-down/

      In a sidebar, Appell says "What has been the actual warming over the past 15…

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    16. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Phillip

      I agree that the only way to stop the calamity is human population control John. The main problem is how to go about it. It won't happen naturally, leaving aside war and famine that might occur as a result of environmental issues, and I don't think legislating against it will work. Somehow we have to convince people to have less children.

      On the other hand, we in the west do have a responsibility to curb our consumption. We are the ones doing the most damage, and we have to stop. The rest of the world won't be able to approach our level of consumption because the resources to support that just aren't there.

      Equity is a nice ideal, and I think it is compatible with environmental concerns. What is incompatible is equity at first world consumption levels.

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    17. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to ian cheong

      "the "science" of global warming is far from settled."

      That's right. Until we have at least two decimal places for climate sensitivity, we should just carry on as if nothing is happening.

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    18. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Mike Stasse

      If we keep increasing the average chemical consumption per person,
      what will a collapsing global population do to help the environment?
      The marketers will just persuade us that we have to use more.

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    19. Mike Stasse

      retired energy consultant

      In reply to Rotha Jago

      Economic collapse will come before population collapse....... so I wouldn't worry about increasing "average chemical consumption per person", it just isn't going to happen......

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    20. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Mike Stasse

      Look around you. It is happening. Millions of litres of defoliating chemicals are sprayed by Councils, more every year. Farmers who use chemicals use more and more.
      Increased use of medicines is paid for by government, ours and others. There is no difference between parties here. Up and up goes the use of chemicals.
      The sicker we get the more chemicals we use.
      Scientific proofs of damage to health are legion.
      But we and our governments listen to the persuaders who frighten us into buying more.

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    21. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, my point is simply this: if you can effectively rebutt John's argument you should do so clearly and concisely. I know you've provided links, but they should be provided to support your stated rebuttal not instead of it. I've observed the different points of view that you and John hold and it could be as easy as articulating your argument, saving it and then reusing it when the opportunity arises. That would achieve two things. Firstly, you actually be presenting a credible, supported position and secondly, it would save you the work of having to rework your argument each and every time. Currently, all we're getting is an attack on John's sources - not his argument.

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    22. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Guy

      Michael, I was being pernickety. The 97% claim has been shot down on a number of occasions. You would have been better off with your statement ...'a huge majority of climate scientists...support action...'

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    23. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Adams

      Brad, I'm with you on this. We do have a responsibility to curb our consumption but let's not kid ourselves about the overall effects of us doing so. If the entire western world focussed on such action, we'll be able to delay reaching the carrying capacity. A simple examination of global demographic trends will identify the populations that are really 'zipping ahead'. What we do in Australia, short of ceasing to exist, makes bugger all difference (or about 0.003%). Cheers.

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    24. Mike Stasse

      retired energy consultant

      In reply to Rotha Jago

      Only possible while there's oil to make them, and money to pay.......... all coming to an end in a town near you.

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    25. Georgina Byrne

      Farmer

      In reply to Brad Adams

      It is happening naturally...virtually every first world country especially the Catholic ones is/are approaching or have passed zero population growth already. it's just not happening quite quickly enough to turn things around in time if we don't also taken. Some drastic measures to limit emissions and abandon coal fired power! The key is educating women...works every time...or has done so far. And yes Labour should be brave enough to really run with it...exposing on the way the farce of the coalition non-policy! Trouble is, yet again, Mr Murdoch!

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    26. ian cheong

      logged in via email @acm.org

      In reply to John Nicol

      john, thanks for that historical reference. i have not been able to find any experimental evidence that ghgs trap heat in the lab. spectroscopy and radiative transfer data is the only evidence ever quoted by climate scientists. from what you say, that has been disputed decades ago.

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    27. ian cheong

      logged in via email @acm.org

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Judith Curry is a climate scientist who is prepared to host discussions on the ongoing debate into global warming. the mere existence of vigorous and ongoing debate is substantial evidence of lack of real scientific certainty - that is the nature of science.

      present belief in global warming is akin to belief in the flat earth or the "sun is a heavy ball of gas" theories.

      science will prevail.

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    28. ian cheong

      logged in via email @acm.org

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      skepticalscience and realclimate are far from balanced scientific sites. perhaps you can find me some experimental evidence of thermalization of IR by any ghg not confined in an IR reflective chamber.

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    29. ian cheong

      logged in via email @acm.org

      In reply to Osk Archer

      one does not have to read all the comments. just what judith writes would be fine!

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  6. Blake Blake

    Professional

    Here is the fundamental problem.

    People vote Coalition unless inspired otherwise, as we are naturally conservative and support the status quo unless convinced otherwise.

    This is why the Coalition no longer has any actual liberal operating theory (ie they reject market-based approaches), they just protect vested interests and promote peoples fears.

    What is there to promote in a tax, unless you can re-ignite a positive feeling in addressing the whole point of it which is climate change.

    Julia Gillard is a fine negotiator, a fine compromiser and hard worker, what she is not though is someone who can cut through to people and inspire them. She is simply not a leader in this sense, unfortunately.

    How much of the defence of the tax has been about the tax, how little impact is will have, how you will be compensated, etc et - but all just about a tax, which is exactly what the Coalition wants to be the main theme.

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    1. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blake Blake

      The whole issue is about the word 'tax.' People reflexively hate taxes. I once worked with a bloke who commented "Why should I pay tax? No government has ever done anything for me." I couldn't help but think of Life of Brian - "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

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  7. Paul Wittwer

    Orchardist

    Labor can't campaign on climate change because it would be stupifying hypocrisy in light of their commitment to population growth, coal mining expansion and coal exporting expansion, gas extraction expansion, minimal carbon price and minimal assistance for renewables compared with fossil fuel subsidies.

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  8. Tony Grant

    Student

    Maybe not for South Australians...hottest days on record and bush fires?

    Too, Optimistic Glen...it's called "duress" and part of the reason Labor needs to be able to govern on their own for one term at least?

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    1. Michael Guy

      Clinical Psychologist

      In reply to Tony Grant

      "There can be no global carbon pricing scheme.." That's a bold statement. I hear Goldman Sachs are now backing an ETS for the US. Given the power they exert in the US political system this makes it an almost certainty. China trailing an ETS in a number of states and cities covering 250 million people. Once the Chinese scheme covers the entire country and you combine that with the European and US schemes there will be a global carbon pricing system.

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    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Tony Grant

      Tony, I dont we'll see Labor governing for a whole term on their own for a while. They had a shot with Rudd and then totally screwed the pooch. For a multitude of reasons they are on the nose with the electorate and it's going to take a long time for them to repair that damage. The unfortunate consequence of their shambolic terms in power is that we'll probably get an enormous swing to the libs and end up with no effective opposition. I think that situation is not good in a democracy.

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    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Michael Guy

      Michael Guy,

      The reason there will be no global carbon pricing scheme is because it requires near full participation. If participation is less than full, the cost to the participants increases dramatically. At 50% participation, the cost penalty to the participants to achieve the same outcome (limit temperature increase or carbon emissions or carbon concentration) is 250%. Participation refers to the proportion of all GHG gasses from all sources that are included in the global carbon pricing system.

      World expert, Professor Richard Tol, provides one insight into why there will be no global carbon pricing system in this one page article: http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-climate-talks-if-17th-you-don-t-succeed

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  9. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    The climate doomsayers have had their day. It’s over. The climate scare campaign has lost its effect. And carbon pricing is over too. There can be no global carbon pricing scheme, and without a global carbon pricing scheme, local carbon pricing schemes cannot survive. The cost penalty is huge.

    For evidence of the waning interest see the Activity charts.
    Climate change: http://climatechange.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?
    Carbon credits: here:http://carboncredits.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?

    These show that the interest is waning world wide since the peak at Copenhagen in 2009. The charts show the interest in climate change and carbon credits in the English speaking media world wide.

    If interested you can also click on the heading at the top of the page and see the charts for alternative energy, biofuels, geothermal, solar , wind etc.

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  10. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    >"Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation hit a 10 year low in early 2013, driven by increases in cost for wholesale electricity and an increase in the share of electricity provided through renewable sources. Both of these dynamics are attributable to the carbon tax."

    This statement is completer and utter nonsense. And fancy an academic referring to a SMH artice as his source for such a statement.

    This is simply another example of the Left wing academics using 'The Conversation' for propagating their Left ideology.

    Shame!

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Do you prefer Murdoch's The Australian

      "AUSTRALIA'S greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation have fallen to a 10-year low as coal-fired power slumped to its lowest level in a decade, a new report says.

      At the same time, the share of renewable energy in the National Electricity Market (NEM) has soared beyond 12 per cent and looks set to continue rising."

      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/aust-co2-emissions-hit-10-year-low/story-fn3dxiwe-1226618378940

      You claim that "This statement is completer (sic) and utter nonsense." yet you provide no evidence.

      Shame!

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    2. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I meant that using any newspaper article as the basis for such a claim is not worthy of an academic.

      The causes are many and complicated, and the carbon prices has little to do with it. Here is something a little more sophisticated, but there is far more to it than the simplistic, ideologically based assertion by the lecturer in international relations.
      http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2013/04/whats-caused-the-drop-in-brown-coal-production/

      >"There has been some reduction in brown coal-fired production – which is examined in more detail above. This analysis highlight how it is difficult (if not impossible) in a complex system such as the NEM to tie back outcomes to a single cause and definitively state things* such as “the output of brown coal plants has declined because of the carbon tax” ."

      I would expect an academic writing an article on the Conversation would be basing it on academic level analyses, not newspaper articles.

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    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Lang

      But a blog is OK? From the blog article that you linked to

      "That said, the Carbon Tax will have had some effect – along with declining demand, increased production from wind in the south and gas in Queensland, portfolio changes and other factors. It’s not possible for us to rank these factors in order of significance."

      Lang debunks Lang.

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    4. Georgina Byrne

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Your interest might be waning along with all the rest, Peter but that might change when things really do start hotting up...which they have already for those of us attempting to carry on farming in the actual countryside, away from air conditioners and next door supermarkets!

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  11. Peter Andrew Smith

    Retired

    Just a question: is the Australian export economy sufficiently resilient to cope with a global economy disrupted by climate change?

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    1. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Andrew Smith

      Peter Smith,

      And just how will the global economy be "disrupted" by Climate Change?

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    2. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Peter Andrew Smith

      Peter Andrew Smith
      Coping with Change is always with us.
      "Climate Change" is effectively and widely sold the world over. What government would disregard it?
      Climate Change campaigning is just part of the reality everyone has to live with.
      If the ALP wants to win the election they need to integrate their "Climate Change" initiatives with commonsense. This is not easy. Farmers sense opportunities in being paid to build up the soil. Will this cause them to vote ALP? No. "Carbon Farming" should build the soil and increase farm incomes. But does it? Farmers are aware of oddities in
      Carbon Farming. There is politics, lots of science and precious little commonsense. ABC Radio National's "Background Briefing" program on Carbon Farming stated the problems and conflicts. If you want to understand the problems confronted by the government in selling it's solid efforts to "Save the Planet" you should listen to this program.

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    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Andrew Smith

      Peter Andrew Smith,

      What no economy can withstand is the economically irrational policies that are being proposed by Labor and the Greens.

      The Australian ETS, as modelled by Treasury, would cost Australians $10 for every $1 of projected benefits. But the $1 of projected benefits will not be achieved because it depends on their being a global carbon pricing scheme, and that will not happen.
      http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/

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    4. Brad Adams

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Of course Peter. And I suppose the Coalition's Direct Action plan is an economically rational policy

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    5. Marion Wilson
      Marion Wilson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to John Nicol

      Climate change will massively disrupt Australia's exports because extreme weather events will effect crop growth, livestock tolerance to disease and temperature, water supply and available arable land. I point out that young paralysis tick have recently appeared in the Monaro region where it has never before been located.

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    6. Georgina Byrne

      Farmer

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      I agree with Marion. Similar things are happening in our neck of the woods. The likelihood of the spread and increased virulence of mosquito borne diseases is another problem associated with already present change in climate. It would be hard to beat the downer of a massive outbreak of disease in humans too...plenty happening in the area of bird and swine flu changes...everything on this planet of ours is linked. How nice it would be if the population could link and do something positive in concert rather than nit-picking over differences!

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  12. Michael Guy

    Clinical Psychologist

    I think the Coalition's policy is ripe for attack. Is it $1,300 per household? Very expensive - where's the money coming from?

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  13. Marion Wilson
    Marion Wilson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired

    Concentrating on whether political leaders have told lies or merely adapted their point of view to accommodate changed circumstances has taken attention away from the prime objective that most people would like to see achieved, Namely reducing greenhouse gases in the least expensive or intrusive way. That needs urgent international action and action at national and individual level. Concentrate on those three and forget the political stuff. In the meantime prepare ourselves to cope with the damage…

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  14. John Robert Brooker

    Retired

    I agree that Labor should campaign on the issue of climate change, since it is the main problem confronting the world's future. Given that the carbon tax is their flagship and moderately successful method of dealing with this problem, they should now resolve the dilemma of coal exports. why not impose the carbon tax on the carbon content of the exported coal. That should slow down the lemmings in the coal industry as they drag the rest of us over the future cliff.

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  15. Chris O'Neill

    Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

    "but Rudd proved himself unwilling to take the big steps necessary for a meaningful response by failing to negotiate with the Greens on his Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme."

    Actually, that was a consequence of the white-anting of Rudd from within his own party (Arbib etc) that no longer gave him the support necessary to proceed with those big steps. It was one of the casualties of the campaign from within his own party to get rid of Rudd.

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    1. Ronald Ostrowski

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Sorry, Chris, I have to disagree. One of the reason Rudd was dumped was because he dropped the ball after Copenhagen. For six months afterward he went to ground on this issue as Abbott, the Murdoch Press, Lord Monckton, Andrew Bolt and the radio hate jocks successfully promoted denial and undermined the integrity of the scientific community. As for the Greens their political ineptitude at the time Rudd and Turnbull agreed on a ETS model is mind staggering, as what they have agreed to now will eventuate into what they rejected earlier. An opportunity lost, particularly with the prospect of Abbott getting a mandate to reverse what has been put into place.

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    2. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      I think the Carbon Tax is a good thing.
      The environment is an essential consideration for Australia's future.
      But why is everyone so blind to the damage done by chemicals?

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    3. Georgina Byrne

      Farmer

      In reply to Rotha Jago

      Dear Rotha, I am a combination of chemicals and water encased in a covering of skin as no doubt you are too. There are far more important things to be worrying about...and in any case a lot of chemical combinations will be hard to make when the oil runs out!

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  16. Liam J

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    @ Matt McDonald - i think you're onto something. Labor & Gillard have got other achievements worth boasting of but none so well known & clearly threatened by the LNP. We could have 4 states in drought by then too.

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  17. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Is the author of this article living on the same planet that I do? There are two reasons Labor won't campaign on climate change.

    Firstly, Labor election strategists are dreading the inevitable re-running of Julia Gillard's famous promise, 'There will be no Carbon Tax under a government I lead."

    Secondly, they know the bulk of Australians who claim they want action on climate change still continue to CHOOSE to burn JetA1 fuel for their own pleasure to fly overseas for holidays. This hypocrisy will be reflected in the polling booth.

    Julia Gillard is already campaigning and I don't hear too much about climate change, except Combet reneging on his carbon tax promises.

    It's all over boys and girls.

    Gerard Dean

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