Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Plus ca change ...

Rejection of Green/Left global warming prophecies is "a dangerous pathology", we read below. Leftists were saying the same about conservatives in 1950. Demonization is the Leftist's ugly substitute for facts. Much of what is paraded below as fact is false but since it is unreferenced, I will not reference my rejection of it either. My sidebar covers most of it anyway

By Haydn Washington

Denial is as old as humanity but is not the same as scepticism. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a sceptic as "A seeker after truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite conclusions". We should thus all seek the truth. Genuine scepticism in science is one of the ways science progresses.

Denial is very different; it is a refusal to believe something, no matter what the evidence. Climate change deniers often call themselves "sceptics". However, refusing to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence is not scepticism but denial.

Paradoxically, as scientific evidence for human-caused climate change pours in, interest and belief in climate change within the public is on the decline. In Norway, the percentage of people who were worried dropped from 40 per cent in 1989 to less than 10 per cent in 2001. In Australia in 2009 the Lowy Institute reported that 56 per cent of those surveyed thought climate change was very important. However, this was down 19per cent from 2007. How can this be?

One can divide psychological denial into three categories literal (the denial industry, often funded by fossil fuel companies); interpretive (e.g. government spin or describing a massacre of civilians as "collateral damage"); and implicatory (denial "we the people" engage in). Implicatory denial is not denying the facts about climate change per se, but denies the implications and is a failure to transform your belief into action. People accept information about human-caused climate change as true, yet choose to ignore it. We can thus let denial prosper within ourselves, through a sort of self-interested sloth.

There are various types of denial arguments. One useful classification breaks them down into "conspiracy theories", "fake experts", "impossible expectations", "misrepresentations" and "cherry picking". Space precludes covering all the denial arguments about climate change in detail (there are 160 of them!) though you can find the full list at my co-author's website

Commonly, deniers cherry pick what evidence they present. One key example is "global warming stopped in 1998", picking one particular data source which showed a temporary levelling in air temperatures. It ignored other studies that show temperature is still increasing, and that most of the warming goes into the oceans. Global warming has not in fact gone away.

Why do we let denial prosper? Many things are involved, including fear of change, failure in values, the belief in endless growth, ignorance of ecosystem services, and also the media itself. Researchers note the "balance as bias" within the media, where a denier is given equal prominence with all climate scientists. Thus the public could be forgiven for thinking the science is in doubt when it is not, as every academy of science in the world has concluded. The media thus gives deniers prominence as it loves a controversy. It is actually even worse than this, for it is common in Australia for the media to fail to give equal time to scientists.

How do we roll back climate change denial? "Accept reality!" [Since when is a prophecy reality??] is an obvious response. Climate change denial has succeeded because we as a society let it prosper. We let ourselves be deluded by the siren song of denial. When we worry about something, if it makes us afraid, if it clashes with our self-image, then we can move into denial.

However, when denial threatens society and the Earth's ecosystems, it has become not only a delusion, but a dangerous pathology. If we abandon denial, we can both solve climate change and make the world a better place. That, nobody should deny.


Wind farms aren't just a blight, they're a folly

It's bad enough that these turbines spoil the landscape, but they don't even work, writes Philip Johnston from Britain

For the thousands of holidaymakers who visit Cornwall each year, there is a particular vista that lifts the spirits after the long and arduous drive. Just south of Bude on the A39, provided the weather is fair (a rarity, it is true), the twin peaks of Brown Willy and Rough Tor rise out of Bodmin Moor.

For those of us who have travelled to this corner of England since childhood, it is a view that has changed little. However, if developers get their way, in a year or so there will be 16 wind turbines, each of them 415 feet high – taller than St Paul's Cathedral – right across this wild and wonderful landscape. They won't be the first, either. As I saw when I visited last week, wind turbines have sprung up all along the route into Cornwall, like mushrooms on an autumn morning.

True, many of them are relatively small; and alone or in pairs they can possess a certain elegance. They are less of an eyesore than coalmines and their attendant slag-heaps. And, let's face it, our countryside has seen worse. The arrival of the steam train was greeted with horror, as the railways snaked their way across pristine meadows, and tunnels were blasted out of the hillsides. The speed of construction left contemporaries bewildered. In Middlemarch, alarmed villagers worry that the railway will tear apart the very economic and social structure of daily life. Dickens, in Dombey and Son, likens its impact on north London to an earthquake.

Nor was it just the railways. Canals, forts, roads, mines, docks, mobile-phone masts, electricity pylons, the New Towns – all have desecrated the countryside in their own way. So why does everyone get so hot under the collar about wind farms?

At the weekend, I was speaking to campaigners against the Bodmin Moor scheme who are gearing up for the public inquiry: for them, this is an all-consuming issue. In Wales, there has been uproar over plans for 800 turbines across the Cambrian Mountains. In fact, from the Isle of Wight to northern Scotland, local people are coming together to fight the windmills.

The odds, it must be said, are stacked against them. They are made to feel like latter-day Luddites, irrationally railing against the forces of progress. Worse, they are denounced as Nimbys – usually by green lobbyists secure in the knowledge that they will never see a turbine planted in the back garden of their Islington terrace. They get no backing from the Government, since it is in favour of wind power to meet its wholly unrealistic and reckless renewable-energy targets, nor from the Opposition. Indeed, when he was climate change secretary, Ed Miliband said it should be "socially unacceptable" to oppose wind farms.

Landowners love them, because they can make a packet from subsidies and rents for erecting just a few turbines on their property. Other supporters say they are really quite beautiful additions to our countryside, and will help save the planet by allowing us to switch from fossil fuels. So what's the big deal? Why don't the protesters just shut up and accept the inevitable? After all, if the early textile factories had been closed or if railway construction had been prevented, we would still be living off the land.

Except that there is one fundamental difference between the great transformative projects of the 19th century and today's wind turbines: the latter don't work. The impression is given that since wind is free, plentiful and doesn't produce CO₂, then it must be the answer to our renewable-energy conundrum.

If this were true, then it might be worth sacrificing a few views: but it isn't. To produce the same amount of electricity as one coal-fired power station, you'd need a wind farm the size of Greater London. And when there is no wind – or even when there is too much – the power produced is minuscule or the turbine has to be switched off while fossil-fuel stations take up the slack. They can be useful in powering a collection of farms, or a small industrial site, but that is about it.

So to see remote tracts of countryside that, by and large, survived the industrialisation of the landscape now threatened with defilement for no good reason is scandalous. A conspiracy of vested interests is seeking to bludgeon communities into accepting what has become a money-grabbing free-for-all masquerading as an environmental panacea.

These turbines produce small amounts of electricity at great cost to the taxpayer and electricity consumer. The money being invested would be far better spent developing nuclear power – especially thorium reactors, which have none of the risks and waste associated with the uranium fission cycle. Thorium is a cheap, clean and safe alternative, and there are plentiful deposits in Cornwall and in Wales.

Instead of covering the countryside in wind turbines, which are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy, the sensible policy would be to plough money into thorium reactors, or even shale-gas extraction. But the very green lobby that has, bizarrely, allied itself to big business to push for wind turbines is also opposed to nuclear power. And its political clout is considerable, as seen in Germany recently. It is the greens, not the opponents of wind farms, who
are the true heirs of the 19th-century Luddites, standing in the way of an energy policy that would benefit us all – and protect our landscape.


After 15 Years, Europe Kills Its Unilateral Kyoto Policy

Delegates from around the world are meeting in Bonn to prepare the way for this year's climate summit in South Africa. The UN's climate chief seems to think the time has run out for a second round of the Kyoto Protocol.

It is unclear, as yet, what will happen when the first commitment period of the sole treaty setting out legally binding emissions targets expires at the end of 2012.

The plan was to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, but with Russia, Japan and Canada all saying they will not sign up to a new round of cuts unless emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil get on board, that is not looking very likely.

The US, which has always refused to ratify Kyoto, is one of a number of countries which favors an approach based upon voluntary commitment.

Developing countries and many environmental groups observing the talks consider voluntary pledges to cut emissions a step backwards. "We need political commitment by the end of the year at the latest," Jan Kowalzig, climate expert with the German branch of the charity Oxfam, told Deutsche Welle. "And if that is not forthcoming, it will spell the end of the Kyoto Protocol."

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has also indicated that it may already be too late to come up with a successor to Kyoto before the existing treaty runs out.

"Even if they were able to agree on a legal text for a second commitment period that requires an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, it requires legislative ratifications on the part of three-quarters of the parties, so we would assume that there's no time to do that between Durban and the end of 2012," she told reporters at the Bonn talks, which run until mid-June.

Referring back to the climate summit in Cancun last December, when governments agreed to limit global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, she said a target temperature range had been set, and that it was now essential to work towards it.

Worldwide levels of CO2 emissions have increased since that pledge in Mexico last year. A recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report says emissions reached a record high in 2010, and that if more is not done to bring them down, the two-degree target will be beyond reach.


Big white lies amid the corn fields

"Political pandering comes in all shapes and sizes, but every four years the presidential primary bring us in contact with its purest form — praising ethanol subsidies amid the corn fields of Iowa. Though it sounds like a caricature, the photo tells the story: Mitt Romney, holding a golden ear of corn, declaring recently, “I support the subsidy of ethanol.”

We should all be forgiven that occasional white lie told to a neighbor to preserve the peace. Complimenting a display of Christmas lights that looks better suited to Times Square, for example, or agreeing to a second helping of tuna casserole that pushes the limits of edibility. Call it politeness or neighborhood diplomacy or simple compassion. It serves a purpose, avoids hurt feelings, and costs you nothing.

Politics is another story; the white lies have a cost. The nature of democracy only intensifies what for most politicians is a natural impulse: They just want to be liked.

I don’t know where every presidential candidate stands on ethanol (a hunch: Ron Paul is a “no”), but the bipartisan history is ugly. Al Gore, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all sang the same song from Ames to Sioux City. John McCain took a lonelier road bucking the trend in both 2000 and 2008. Channeling McCain, Tim Pawlenty has called for the subsidies to be phased out — in Iowa, no less. He’s positioning himself as a direct alternative to Romney, and it’s a pitch that may strike a chord this time around. With the deficit hovering around $1.5 trillion, even voters in Iowa understand the importance of cutting spending and eliminating corporate subsidies.

Ethanol hits the taxpayer in three ways. Manufacturers benefit from a 54-cent tariff that discourages low-cost ethanol imports, gasoline blenders receive a 51-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol they use, and the federal government will mandate that consumers buy 14 billion gallons this year. The 2011 price tag for taxpayers runs over $7 billion and continues to grow.

Until recently, the environmental costs associated with growing “biofuels” have avoided much scrutiny. But this year, over 30 million acres of land will be dedicated to ethanol production — an area twice the size of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Two studies released in 2008 also suggest that using land to grow corn results in a net increase in greenhouse gases. In a ruling last year, the EPA avoided the issue by simply assuming that ethanol plants would be powered by only the newest and cleanest technology available.

Despite the lingering questions about economics and environmental benefits, the political draw remains powerful. Members of Congress from corn states argue that they are just supporting their constituents. Many genuinely believe that the virtues of ethanol are endless, but about half will privately admit that the level of support is a bit over the top.

In either case, they are guilty of telling people what they want to hear. Farmers are reassured with support for investment, jobs, and “family farms”; the American people hear promises that ethanol will lead to “energy independence.” These messages have been championed to no end by the farm and environmental lobbies, and they’re not backing down now. The have too much invested in protecting the status quo — as do politicians who have voted time and again for expanding the subsidies.

They’re all at risk should the tide begin to turn. At some point, even a member of Congress should be able to set aside parochial issues when a policy fails to serve the national interest.

Republican voters are anxious for leaders that will speak hard truths. They continue to seek out candidates with specific ideas for controlling spending and remain highly skeptical of claims that government intervention will make health care less expensive. And most voters give Paul Ryan credit for at least offering a concrete proposal — unlike the president — for reining in the unsustainable growth in Medicare spending.

It’s a long road ahead, but this anxiety may provide an opening for Tim Pawlenty. A stand against ethanol in Iowa shows he’s serious about rolling back costly subsidies. It’s also a chance to weigh the environmental cost of using 30 million acres to grow fuel. Perhaps most important, by refusing to tell the white lies that many in Iowa expect to hear, he has a chance to show voters some character as well.


GM chief wants gasoline prices to go HIGHER!

General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars, and he’s confident the government will soon shed its remaining 26 percent stake in the once-bankrupt automaker.

“I actually think the government will be out this year — within the next 12 months, hopefully within the next six months,” Akerson said in a two-hour interview with The Detroit News last week.

He is grateful for the government’s rescue of GM — “I have nothing but good things to say about them” — but Akerson said the time for that relationship to end is coming because it’s wearing on GM. “It’s kind of like your in-laws: It was a nice long weekend. We didn’t say a week,” Akerson said with a laugh.

And while he is eager to say goodbye to the government as a part owner of GM, Akerson would like to see it step up to the challenge of setting a higher gas tax, as part of a comprehensive energy policy.

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards. “There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits,” he said. “What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs.”

For the years 2017-25, federal officials are considering 3 percent to 6 percent annual fuel efficiency increases, or 47 mpg to 62 mpg. That could boost the cost of vehicles by up to $3,500.

“You know what I’d rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson said. “People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”

With gas already over $4 a gallon in parts of the country, a higher gas tax is a hard sell.

Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, said higher gas taxes in Europe did lead consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars. But she acknowledged that’s virtually impossible to see in the United States. “It’s career suicide for a politician to call for raising gas taxes,” Lindland said.

Akerson isn’t the first auto exec to float the idea of a gas tax to encourage consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has previously advocated a gas tax increase.

On Monday, a Ford spokeswoman said the company “will leave the policy decision to Congress”; in 2009, GM CEO Rick Wagoner called a higher gas tax “worthy of consideration.”



Three articles below

Mind the gap on climate

Janet Albrechtsen

SOMETIMES the most quotidian matters tell a story. Here's one about the deep disconnect between the political class - the politicians, the activists, the Hollywood stars and the feel-gooders who are imploring us to "SAY YES" to a carbon tax - and the rest of us.

You go online to buy an airline ticket. Say it's Jetstar. You choose your flights, fill in the passenger and contact details, answer some more questions, then you are given this option: "Help reduce your climate change impact by offsetting the carbon emissions (CO2) from your flight for just $1.96." The airline tells you all its carbon offsets are independently accredited, its program is certified under the government's National Carbon Offset Standard Carbon Neutral initiative, that the airline passes on all funds and does not profit from this purchase. Sounds like a small, low-cost way to help reduce emissions?

As at January this year, 88 per cent of people said no thanks to paying less than $2 to offset carbon from their Jetstar flight. When buying a ticket on a Qantas plane, only 8 per cent of online flyers consciously ticked the "yes, offset flights" button to pay $1.82. By May this year, that figure had dropped to 7 per cent.

To make things clear for the political class, most people are saying no to spending less than $2 to apparently help the environment when they fly. Unless you're travelling through the rich hippie town of Byron Bay, where you'll find the highest uptake of those saying yes to buying carbon offsets. By contrast, those travelling through Hamilton Island, your more middle Australia holiday destination, account for the highest number of people saying a polite "no thanks" to paying for a feel-good shot of carbon offsets.

That divide tells a story that the Gillard government may want to listen to. No doubt, a large swath of those saying yes to buying carbon offsets are on flights taken by our politicians as they jet back and forth across Australia, trying to keep in touch with the voters. Apparently, the get-in-touch-with-voters exercise is not working. Let's get real here. Whether it's the politicians or their staff who tick the carbon offset options, it's easy being green with other people's money.

Yesterday, Wayne Swan was spruiking Labor's carbon tax policy to a bunch of insiders at the National Press Club. Outside Canberra, most Australians recognise that a carbon tax is nothing more than a symbolic, emotionally charged policy that will hurt our economy when most other countries are not taxing carbon. It will do nothing to help the environment, given that Australia accounts for less than 2 per cent of global emissions.

Along similar lines, in the US, eco-friendly cleaning products are nose-diving in popularity. Clorox, the manufacturer of Green Works, a line of natural cleaning products, has seen its sales drop from $US100 million in 2008 to $US60m this year. As one woman told The New York Times, buying more expensive, green products is "something you buy and think about when things are going swimmingly". Reality trumps emotion.

Irving Kristol, the American writer who died in 2009, knew something about reality principles. The editor of Commentary magazine, Public Interest and National Interest once remarked that bad politics is like bad poetry, which as Oscar Wilde said, doesn't get any better just because it springs from genuine feeling. In 1972 Kristol wrote: "It seems to me that the politics of liberal reform, in recent years, shows many of the same characteristics as amateur poetry. It has been more concerned with the kind of symbolic action that gratifies the passions of the reformer rather than with the efficacy of the reforms themselves."

The insistence, said Kristol, was "revealing, in the public realm, one's intense feelings" . We must care; we must be concerned; we must be committed. Unsurprisingly, this goes along with an immense indifference to consequences, to positive results or the lack thereof.

More than 40 years later, Kristol could have been describing the protest marches last weekend when Greenpeace, the Climate Institute, GetUp!, Climate Action Network Australia, the ACTU and their supporters took to the streets for a National Day of Climate Action.

There was plenty of passion and bad political poetry imploring us to adopt a carbon tax.

"Today is a big day because today Australians will ask their government for a price on carbon," said Simon Sheikh, rally organiser and national director of GetUp!. Australians did no such thing. The vast majority stayed home. Eight thousand people turning up to a rally in Sydney is not a success. Across Australia, the turnout was said to be about 40,000. That is not Australia talking. In May 1970, hundreds of thousands of people marched to protest against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. In November 1992, 100,000 Victorians protested against budget cuts introduced by then premier Jeff Kennett. About 150,000 took to the streets of Melbourne in February 2003 to protest against a war in Iraq.

The Sunday carbon tax rallies, the second part of the Say Yes campaign, fell as flat as the opening shot when actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton fronted a misleading advertisement telling Australians to say yes to a carbon tax. While the Gillard government publicly applauded the efforts of the multi-millionaire Hollywood actor who is happy to incur the cost of a carbon tax, the grim reality is that this carbon tax will never satisfy Blanchett and the vocal activists behind her.

That's the thing about green groups. As Tony Blair wrote in his memoir, moderation is not in the lexicon of the NGO culture. Its raison d'etre depends on a continual crisis.

Nothing the Prime Minister does will satisfy the green groups momentarily supporting her carbon tax. Conversely, anything Gillard does with her tax - short of dumping it - will attract from voters deep scepticism about policy outcomes, not to mention political motives. If the overwhelming majority of people who fly are refusing to pay less than $2 for a carbon offset, you can see why Labor backbenchers are nervous about Gillard's determination to appease the Greens and press on with a carbon tax. After all, the PM who promised there would be no carbon tax under a Gillard government cannot even claim to have the bad poet's genuine feeling.


Another stupid bicycle scheme

Brisbane's CityCycle scheme costs $520 per bike per year, as less than one in five used

EVERY bike available for hire under Brisbane City Council's beleaguered CityCycle scheme is costing ratepayers more than $520 a year. A financial breakdown of the scheme provided by the council's town clerk, shows each of the 1040 bicycles is being subsidised at a cost of $132.04 a quarter.

The number of bikes for hire is due to rise to 2000 by the end of the year, increasing the total cost to ratepayers to $264,080 a quarter.

As part of deal, 192 advertising panels and signs, as well as signage on bikes, have been allocated to French advertising company JCDecaux, which runs the scheme.

As of May 13, fewer than 5000 people had subscribed to CityCycle and less than one in five bicycles were being taken out each day.

Despite the lukewarm response, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the "scheme was growing". "We've said before, it's not a revolution in growth but it is growing every month and that will continue to occur as we roll more CityCycle stations out," Cr Quirk. "There will be another 50 stations built and they will be out around the University of Queensland and South Bank, around Eleanor Schonell Bridge and that will extend cycleway opportunities for a lot of people, particularly university students."

The main criticisms of CityCycle have been the difficulty and cost of subscribing, the lack of hire helmets available and the style of the bicycles themselves.

Subscriptions cost $11 for a day, $27.50 for three months and $60.50 for a year. Users pay extra if the bikes are not returned within 30 minutes.


Carbon copying

Countries are like people: they have a childhood where they are nurtured, usually by a colonial parent; they have an increasingly strained adolescence as people argue why, how and when the tie with the parent should end; then they enjoy a prime of a self-sufficient and independent sovereignty when they both define their place in the world, and make such contributions to it as their citizens can with originality imagine, with determination develop, and with perseverance achieve. And, lastly, they have an old age, in which, weak and senescent, they loose interest in the world, which then recycles whatever remains, and the process starts again.

Australia, in 2011, is very much the pimply adolescent, still arguing about its relationship with England, our colonial mother, and America, the foster father to whom England handed us when we refused to grow up.

So what has this to do with a proposed carbon tax, an emissions trading scheme, or global warming? Well, everything actually.

We all know about or can vaguely recall the emotional traumas and hormonal difficulties we had to deal with as adolescents during what we now quaintly call the “maturation” process. Thus, our young men and women are highly critical of themselves; they love to copy trends by displaying their command of fashionable vocabulary, exhibiting their versatility with imported dance crazes, or parading in the most extreme cuts of coloured clothing, while stainless-steel rings hang from parts of their bodies, the piercing of which must have involved considerable suffering. They are also quick to sense the hypocrisy of adults, and delight in assuming the moral high ground in resulting arguments.

My argument is that in relation to climate change and our national response to it, Australia is behaving just like these adolescents. We are highly critical of the coal-fired power stations that supply our base-load energy needs, even to the extent that some Australians suggest we stop exporting coal to China and Japan. And even before the recent, predictable and very preventable problems at Japan’s Fukushima reactors, discussion on Australia’s use of our abundant uranium for the nuclear generation of energy was always discouraged. And yet, major Australian breakthroughs in photovoltaic research, such as at the ANU, have not proceeded to envisaged manufacture in the Canberra region because of the shortage of venture capital; if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, they were probably made in Germany or one China or another.

In December 2009 Australia was represented at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen where it lectured the world on its climate change hypocrisy. Meanwhile, anyone in Australia who queries the wisdom of legislation that, in taxing carbon, will significantly increase the costs of goods and services is accused of being a “climate change denier” with the same religious zeal and angry intolerance that the Spanish inquisition once applied to supposed heretics.

Few of us have the scientific expertise to assess either the extent of climate change, or the degree to which human activities have contributed to it. Many of us would agree that something significant is happening to the world’s climate. But we all of us should be suspicious of a theory, any theory, about which free and open discussion is either not possible, or where dissension is followed by personal denigration and ridicule.

Regardless of the price of the tax on carbon in Australia, the rigor with which we regulate, penalise, or shut down industries producing it, or the delight with which we shame people and institutions into parroting politically correct mantras about it, Australia’s net greenhouse emissions of 576 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year still only amounts to 1.5 percent of world emissions, according to recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics.

In other words, because our economy is so small relative to the rest of the world, we cannot make an impact of any consequence on climate change no matter what we do. But Australian businesses involved in exporting, or in import-competition, will certainly feel an impact. Why, then, are we prepared to put so many Australian jobs and businesses at risk by forcing them to pay a carbon tax? Perhaps because (again, like those adolescents) we are critical of, and feel guilty about, our use of fossil fuels to produce energy? Perhaps because we want to demonstrate that we can take the economic pain (and the rest of the world can’t)? Or perhaps because we want to show the “adults” in that big, wide world how hypocritical they are? Whatever the reasons, they’re childish.

And the silence of our artists on this subject is deafening. Where are the plays and satirical novels about the posturing of politicians, and shenanigans of academics in climate change research? Unwritten, because the authors capable of such imaginative work know that these plays and novels would not only never attract Australia Council publishing subsidies, but would prejudice future dealings with arts bureaucracies.

Climate change has become a religion; our parliaments and universities are its temples, and their staff its high priests. Professor Garnaut has supplied the sacred texts. But whilst services are conducted daily and redemption is on offer, there is no after-life. You’re just going to have to pray you don’t need one.

Published in last week's Spectator Australia magazine. Written by Timoshenko Aslanides and illustrated by ZEG


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