The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Nelson to tackle tackling Climate Change

Bruce Petty - The AgeBrendan Nelson is buoyed by a ‘stunning’ result in which two conservative candidates defeated a Labor candidate to retain a seat held by the National Party for the last 40 years. The MSM are convinced that the defeat sends a message to the federal Rudd government, although no-one is entirely clear exactly what that message is. Apparently the electorate is unhappy about the cost of living and reckon that Rudd needs to do something about global oil prices, the rorting of grocery prices by our supermarket duopoly, the tax on alcopops, and falling share prices as the sub-prime shake-down continues. Or something.

Nelson is convinced the electorate is responding to the price of petrol and his plan to cut the fuel excise by 5c a litre. Now he is warning: “I suspect there’s a high probability that we won’t support what the Government chooses to do.”

Never mind that the Garnaut draaft report won’t be released until Friday and the Government won’t outline its options until July 16. Never mind that one of the reasons the Howard government was dumped from office was its climate change denialism and the electorate’s desire to do something done about it. Nelson is, to be fair, not a denialist – he wants to tackle climate change too. Just as long as we don’t have to actually do anything about it and it doesn’t cost us anything. Well apart from using a few government-subsidised energy efficient light bulbs, and maybe some minor carbon trading scheme for those able to make some money out of it.

Good luck with that one, Brendan. There’s nothing like re-fighting the last war as a strategy for winning the next one.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Environment, Media, Politics, , ,

Party on like it’s 1999!

Manilla TyphoonDenialist lobby shills and hacks are pleased with their tiny contribution to the relentless propaganda campaign to undermine public confidence in science which has resulted in an Observer poll that finds the majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans – and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem. Mind you, if scientific understanding depended on public opinion we’d probably still be banging rocks together in a cave somewhere.

The finding is not surprising as Britons are starting to feel the burden of actually doing something about energy consumption and carbon emissions. Much easier to believe that there’s nothing that can be done without Greater Asia following suit so we may as well party on like it’s 1999! It’s not our problem, even if it exists. I dare say the Filipinos in the picture above may have other ideas.

Glad we sorted that one out.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Big Picture, Environment, Pseudoscience, Science, Society,

Polar bears head south for the summer

Must be all that global cooling. It’s enough to make a self-respecting bear wanna head south for some warmer weather.

Another polar bear has been discovered in Iceland, which is hundreds of kilometres from the threatened species’ natural habitat.

Polar bears are rare sightings in Iceland, since they have to swim hundreds of kilometres through icy waters to reach the island from their natural Arctic habitats. The bear discovered on Monday is the second spotted on the island in the past two weeks.

The bears’ appearances could lend credence to warnings from experts that climate change is creating a more perilous environment for the majestic Arctic animals.A warming climate means the ice – where the bears usually hunt the seals – is receding and literally melting under their paws, forcing them to swim ever greater distances.

Another polar bear sighted in Iceland – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Filed under: Environment, , ,

The Ethics of Climate Change: Pay Now or Pay More Later?

Sci AmWeighing our own prosperity against the chances that climate change will diminish the well-being of our grandchildren calls on economists to make hard ethical judgments, says John Broome in a thorough analysis in Scientific American. The economists in our midst are naturally concerned with the impact of dealing with climate change and advertantly or otherwise encourage our politicians to err on the side of recklessness. The denialist debate prefers to cast doubt on the science, but Broome places the ball firmly back in the court of the economists. Climate change is the ethical issue of our time.

In a nutshell Broome argues:

  • Future generations will suffer most of the harmful effects of global climate change. Yet if the world economy grows, they will be richer than we are.
  • The present generation must decide, with the help of expert advice from economists, whether to aggressively reduce the chances of future harm or to let our richer descendants largely fend for themselves.
  • Economists cannot avoid making ethical choices in formulating their advice.
  • Even the small chance of utter catastrophe from global warming raises special problems for ethical discussion.

What should we do about climate change? The question is an ethical one. Science, including the science of economics, can help discover the causes and effects of climate change. It can also help work out what we can do about climate change. But what we should do is an ethical question.

By emitting greenhouse gases, are the rich perpetrating an injustice on the world’s poor? How should we respond to the small but real chance that climate change could lead to worldwide catastrophe?

In going about our daily lives, each of us causes greenhouse gases to be emitted. Driving a car, using electric power, buying anything whose manufacture or transport consumes energy—all those activities generate greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In that way, what we each do for our own benefit harms others. Perhaps at the moment we cannot help it, and in the past we did not realize we were doing it. But the elementary moral principle I mentioned tells us we should try to stop doing it and compensate the people we harm.

Weighing benefits to some people against costs to others is an ethical matter. But many of the costs and benefits of mitigating climate change present themselves in economic terms, and economics has useful methods of weighing benefits against costs in complex cases. So here economics can work in the service of ethics.

No wonder the Bolts of this world would rather deny there is even a problem. It’s much easier than reflecting on the ethics of one’s lifestyle and compensating for the impact we are knowingly inflicting on the world’s poor. We might have to make personal sacrifices! That would never do.

Economics in the service of ethics rather than personal affluence? I’d like to see that!

Filed under: Economics, Environment, Politics, Science, , , ,

Bolt’s Laws of Climate Change

1. Unusually warm weather does not prove global warming.

2. Unusually cold weather disproves global warming.

ABC OnlineWeather does not drive climate. Repeat three times daily until inflammation subsides. If symptoms persist, see a doctor.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Environment, Media, Nonsense, , ,

Climate drives weather: weather does not make climate

ABC OnlineAround our part of the world it is considered that February was rather cooler than normal. All the usual suspects remarked (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) that the cool weather really made the idea of global warming seem a bit of a joke.

Predictably they have been rather silent about the record breaking heat wave that has engulfed the South Eastern corner of Australia over the last couple of weeks.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Environment, Media, Pseudoscience

The IPA and other fossil fuel fossils

skeptics.jpgJennifer Marohasey, environmental fellow for Liberal Party think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, has been ringing in the New Year with her list of climate change sceptics – the “400 dissenting scientists”. “If 2007 was the Year of Al Gore, with his movie, Academy Award and Nobel Prize, 2008 just might be the year the so-called scientific consensus that man is causing the Earth to warm begins to crack.”

Marohasey has small coterie of loyal fans on her website eager to battle with any who dissent from her campaign to prove that global warming is not caused by human activity and to argue that climate change is a plot by leftist academics and others keen to milk the tax payer’s purse to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an evil attempt to destroy our entire way of life and the future well-being of our grand children’s grand children. Long time contributor Luke, Jennifer’s token greenie who owns an ecotourism property in the Daintree, appears to have departed with a scathing assessment of Marohasey’s blog site.

It strikes me as incredulous that Marohasey could have a PhD, conducted field research for more than a decade and yet is now happy to push a denialist agenda in the employ of the IPA. I guess it pays better than field biology.

The IPA receives support from corporations and corporate interest groups (including Gunns Limited, Monsanto and tobacco, mining and oil companies) and provides regular op-ed fodder for the MSM pushing the Liberal Party line. As the Liberal Party struggles to establish what it stands for I’d argue that the IPA also needs to look at what it believes in. Corporate Australia wants action on climate change, if for no other reason than needing to stay competitive in a changing global political economy. Yet the IPA is still pushing the denialist agenda, as if they can somehow reverse overwhelming global political sentiment. They would server their masters better, and advance the quality of public debate, by turning its attention to how Australian businesses and corporations might best respond the forthcoming carbon emission limitation mechanisms.

Regardless of the dissenting opinions of climate sceptics there is no sound scientific argument for continuing increasing global CO2 emissions at an exponential rate into a closed system. Sceptics are simply motivated by the desire to avoid the financial inconvenience that curbing CO2 emissions might entail. If, as the sceptics would argue, the science is far from clear, then the precautionary principle should apply. Curbing CO2 emissions is sensible and prudent precisely because we don’t exactly what the long term ramifications might be. In the meantime, it will encourage more efficient and sustainable energy usage and consumption which will have real long-term benefits for our grand-children’s grand-children.

Filed under: Big Picture, Environment, Media, Politics, Science, Technology, Wingnuttery

Solar now cheaper than coal

NanosolarWhile Jennifer Marohasey is making a list of Climate Change Skeptics and Santa is making a list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, a ‘Silicon Valley start-up called Nanosolar shipped its first solar panels – priced at $1 a watt. That’s the price at which solar energy gets cheaper than coal. Curious that this story is not on every front page.’

The environmental scientist in me says it is simply untenable that we keep pumping ever-increasing hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

A century ago most people could see no problem with using waterways and oceans to dispose of industrial waste. Nowadays no-one is advocating that we continue to do so. Like it or not we need to regard atmospheric pollution with similar urgency.

Perhaps the real motivation of the Climate Sceptic is that it is more convenient to continue as we are than actually doing something about it?

Filed under: Big Picture, Environment, Science, Technology

GM Choice is Buckley’s Choice

Chris KellyWhich would you choose? A sustainable long term future for Australian agriculture as the world’s most sought after GM Free food products or a quick short term cash bonus for signing up to Monsanto’s franchise before the bottom falls out of the global GM canola market?

It’s a no-brainer, of course. Take the money and run! What other choice is there for a nation of clever coupon-clippers?

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Economics, Environment, Politics, Technology

God may be a Liberal but Jesus votes Labor

SpoonerSpeaking in a Korean Christian church in his seat of Bennalong, John Howard proclaimed to the congregation that God is neither Liberal nor Labor, but quipped that He would have reason to be pleased with the Liberals policies.

On Sunday night, ABC’s Compass interviewed an Anglican priest, a Catholic priest, a Muslim Imam and a Christian Lobbyist about what they see as issues that voters should consider when casting their votes. The key issues identified included concern for losing our Australian identity as a generous nation of The Fair Go as family and community life are transformed into consumerism and maintenance of The Economy. The village Church has been replaced with the Shopping Mall.

The subtext was clearly an appeal to values more closely aligned with Labor’s essential value of social justice. Care and concern for others is at the core of Christian and Muslim values. The Lobbyist was more concerned with ‘moral’ issues – no pooftahs and no abortions. I can’t recall Jesus having much to say about either of those, yet he had plenty to say about caring for the sick, the frail and the oppressed and not hoarding wealth. He didn’t seem too keen on banks and lending money for profit either.

While Kevin)7 is scaring us with Costello and Team Howard are scaring with economic destructions by the hands of extremists, it is refreshing see Bob Brown in a TV ad for The Greens taking a an unambiguous moral stand on the Iraq War, climate change, sustainable economic development, and returning the Senate to its proper function keeping the government honest.Family First are saying vote for them because they are not the others and they are actually quite normal, like the rest of us.

So amidst the increasingly bizarre and desperate theatrics of the final week of the campaign, followers of politics are on tenterhooks waiting on the verdict of the 5.5% of swinging voters who have yet to make up their minds. Are they balancing the electoral bribes to decide on the basis of what’s in for them? Probably. Will they get Howard across the line? It would be a miracle like we haven’t seen since Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Praise The Lord and pass The Whiskey!

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Filed under: Australian values, Big Picture, Economics, Environment, Federal Election 2007, Politics, Religion

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

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