Fossil Fuel Producers Should Pay For Bushfire Recovery Fund : TAI

Image: Scott Morrison via Facebook

The Australia Institute welcomed the Morrison Government’s $2 billion bushfire recovery fund announcement, but questions why regular taxpayers will be paying for it.

TAI says a levy on fossil fuel producers would be a more appropriate approach.

Back in mid-December, TAI released details of its proposed National Climate Disaster Fund (NCDF) that would be funded through a $1 per tonne levy on carbon emissions associated with all coal, gas and oil produced in Australia.

TAI estimates the fund would raise around $1.5 billion a year based on current levels of production. Coal mining would be the biggest contributor to the fund – almost $1.2 billion.

“A modest levy on fossil fuel producers would help to shift the economic burden of these disasters from regular Australians to the coal and gas companies that are fuelling the climate crisis,” said Deputy Director of TAI Ebony Bennett.

The use of the word “modest” in relation to the levy is bang-on as it doesn’t come close to covering all the impacts of fossil fuels. But the levy isn’t considered the end game; just a “next step” as TAI mentions.

$1 A Tonne – Grab It At This Low Price Glencore

Increased, prolonged and/or more severe natural disasters aren’t the only nasty results from the contents of the fossil fuel sector’s Pandora’s box. For example, there’s also the human health impacts associated with toxins spewed into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. The health costs of coal alone have been estimated at around $4 billion per year in Australia.

While the $1 a tonne might go some way to addressing some of the damage caused by climate change,  it doesn’t solve the root cause – it’s just paying (very little) to pollute. TAI acknowledges fossil fuel producers will hardly feel the impact of it, so it’s not about to bring about major change on its own.

These companies can certainly afford it  – some pay little or no income tax.

In its proposal, TAI provides the example of Glencore, one of Australia’s largest coal producers. TAI says in 2016/17, Glencore had total income of $14,970,581,402, a taxable income of $3,333 and $1,000 tax payable – how good is that?

Beyond the proposed National Climate Disaster Fund, what is crystal clear is much more will need to be done and more rapidly to transition from filthy energy sources to the prosperity, energy security, better environmental and health outcomes that renewable energy + storage can help bring about.

In his coal show-and-tell in Parliament in February 2017, yet-to-be-PM Scott Morrison stated:

“This is coal. Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared. It won’t hurt you”.

Coal can, does and will continue to hurt us. And being fearful of its impacts is justified.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. I’m all for it. As long as the government can’t get it’s hands on it, or have a say in who runs it, and how it’s used. $1/tonne is just the start, I hope.

  2. Daniel Debreceny says

    https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20190510002336/http://www.garnautreview.org.au/

    https://www.rossgarnaut.com.au/climate-change/

    A carbon tax is/was the cheapest way to decarbonise.

    The federal Labor party, introduced the carbon tax (with intention to turn it into a carbon market), however, the Liberal party rolled back the Carbon Tax with their “Superior Economic Management”, and then our Liberal overloards have attempted to throw the spanner into the works in worldwide efforts to decarbonise.

    Now we’re (the world generally, and Australian specifically) 30 years behind … so we get another 10 years of increasingly bad weather/ extreme events and then 10 years reducing back to now, and then another 10 years to get back to where we would have been, if the carbon tax stayed instead of being rolled back 10 years ago.

    Liberal: 30 years of STFU Earth, with 10years of “superior economic management”.

    • Well written. The last 6 years of government were created by Murdoch and Stokes media interests and the right wing machine. It ran propaganda to get its man (Abbott) in and nothing changed in the following two elections. Now we have a rich man’s government refusing to disrupt the coal industry……and the donations the industry sends to the government at re-election time.
      We are 30 years behind and our reputation at the latest climate meeting took another hit when coal man Taylor talked the coal BS and said Australia was using credits to avoid its responsibility.
      Will voters ever be smart enough to see they are being gamed? Probably not.

  3. Shane Hanson says

    Ebony Bennet is a feminist

    EDIT: Good. I’m a feminist and think my mother should have the same legal rights as my father. Only arseholes aren’t feminists.

    There is no global warming due to carbon. It’s all a part of the natural cosmic cycles, where earth orbits a bit closer to the sun for a while and then a bit further away for a while, these are part of the earths brief warming cycles and long glacial periods.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Shane

      That’s not correct. The area swept out by earth’s orbit barely changes:

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2019/01/03/earth-is-drifting-away-from-the-sun-and-so-are-all-the-planets/#452101596f7d

      If you want to lean about the actual changes in the earth’s orbit, the wikipedia page on Milankovitch Cycles is probably a good place to start:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

      • Please explain the world’s previous cooling and heating periods then they have occurred since the dawn of time…

        • Ronald Brakels says

          You’ll probably want to check out Milankovitch Cycles then:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

          • I can’t reply to your last post (no reply button on that post?)

            To me it just looks like we are just at the peak of the current C02 emissions cycle that has been occurring since the dawn of time? C02 seems to spike then drop constantly.

            Australia’s C02 contribution is very very very small compared to natural C02 production and the rest of the world.

            (Also why was my post cut? all the details about how much C02 is in the atmosphere, how much Australia contributes..etc is missing…)

          • Ronald Brakels says

            You wrote humans have only raised the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by about 3%. That is not correct, so I cut it out. I haven’t got time to correct multiple mistakes per post, so I thought I’d just give you information, as you asked, on past climate changes.

            If you think the more than 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past 200 years is due to natural causes then you are wrong. I’m going to follow the principle of charity and just assume you’ve listened to some stupid people and aren’t stupid yourself. I’m also going to further assume you have a heart full of curiosity and are motivated to learn! To help you out, here’s a link:

            https://grist.org/series/skeptics/

            There are links there that will explain why you are wrong. You’ll probably want to pay specific attention to this:

            https://grist.org/climate-energy/current-global-warming-is-just-part-of-a-natural-cycle/

            And this:

            https://grist.org/climate-energy/the-co2-rise-is-natural/

            Now that I’ve provided you with a link to that site I expect you not to post anything that is refuted by that site. Of course, if you can provide good evidence that something on those pages is wrong I’ll publish it, but I doubt that will happen.

          • EDIT: I’ll just leave two sentences of what you wrote:

            “Also, the point I made originally is I read that the earth atmosphere contains around 0.04% of C02 I think we can agree on that…

            OF that 0.04% it’s said that 97% of that C02 is produced by nature meaning around 3% (of that 0.04%) if human made…”

            This is not something it is possible for reasonable people to disagree on. If you can count you shouldn’t be making this kind of mistake. If you agree that burning 12 grams of carbon causes it to combine with oxygen to form 44 grams of CO2 then all you have to do is look at the approximate amount of coal, oil, and natural gas humanity has burned to see that it is more than sufficient to account for over 40% of the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

            To double check this we can look at the isotope ratios of CO2 in the atmosphere. Carbon in fossil fuels contains no carbon 14 and we can see the concentration of carbon 14 in the atmosphere is dropping in just the way we’d expect if a large amount of CO2 was being added to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

            I think you need to challenge everything and start again from the beginning. If you need to look up children’s school books that’s fine. I learn new stuff from them all the time.

          • Jonathan Couvaras says

            Hi Ronald

            I managed to find an older article I remember putting some time in reading last year when I was trying to better work my way through this debate that I though You might also like to have a read of perhaps, some of the comments on this site are also a very interesting read in that many publications will not publish any articles that disagree with IPCC data which to me also raises a huge red flag is that science is supposed to be about idea’s, theories and working together to either disprove or prove these questions posed, however, I find it very interesting may journals refuse to publish any findings against ‘climate change’ and is part of the reason I’m starting to question allot more but I do agree with you knowledge is power and we are always learning and I love learning I’m just become what I suppose some would now call a sceptic as I’m questioning the unproven science… (although that’s exactly the point of science is to throw things and try disprove ideas to try find the right answers….)

            It’s a bit of a long one but I detect you are a person of detail and might actually enjoy the read… I understand it’s by no means an answer but it’s an interesting view I think that should be analysed and tested and IPCC should take the challenge to disprove this point of view against their findings else I don’t see them as scientists as that should be their job!

            https://edberry.com/blog/climate/climate-physics/human-co2-emissions-have-little-effect-on-atmospheric-co2/

        • The facts from my response was cut it seems? (Most of my reply is missing….) What’s going on?

          • Ronald Brakels says

            You asked me to:

            “Please explain the world’s previous cooling and heating periods then they have occurred since the dawn of time…”

            That’s a big ask. It’s something you might want to get sorted before moving on. Do you now understand the world’s previous cooling and heating periods since the dawn of time?

    • Geoff Miell says

      Shane Hanson,
      You state:
      “There is no global warming due to carbon.”

      IMO, this is an assertion by an apparently wilfully ignorant climate science denier, that has no basis in the very large body of objective scientific evidence. What’s your evidence to support your statement, Shane? I don’t see any.

      The atmospheric CO2 record for the last 800,000 years can be seen in this animation: [The Keeling Curve Hits 415 PPM] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z43FQCSg4Ow

      A leading climate scientist, Professor H. J. Schellnhuber, in his address on 17 Oct 2018 (see the YouTube video below), from time interval 0:05:31 through to 0:40:20, includes an outline of humanity’s escalating influence on Earth’s changing climate state and where the climate is heading towards, subject to the GHG emissions path the human species chooses to take in this decade.

      From time interval 0:18:26, a graph is presented showing the periods of the past ten glacial period inceptions over the last 800,000 years, and an explanation of why the Earth has had ice ages previously. Schellnhuber then says that there will be no more ice ages (during the next 100,000 years) due to the already powerful effects of human-induced GHG emissions.

      In this age of information, ignorance is a choice.

      Shane (and Jonathan), I’d suggest you view the videos – you may just learn something new (if you dare?) about what is really happening.

      [Keynote Debate Can the Climate Emergency Action Plan lead to Collective Action_ (50 Years CoR)]

  4. PS. … The cheapest ~ and only realistic ~ way the to decarbonise is to vastly and forcefully reduce the causes of carbon/etc-production. By far the greatest and most important of these is NOT coal-burning power-stations: it’s the CONSUMERS insist upon ever-increasing consumption of myriad goods ~ ALL of which contribute to the problem, either in production or consumption or disposal.
    The ONLY solution is hugely restrict human populations (a guesstimate would suggest reduction by 85%). The ONLY alternative to that is to forget about prohibition on any level and prepare to adapt to the new realities: ie accepting that the Evolutionary Cycle will enforce the solutions upon us, as it’s been doing, inarguably and successfully, for 4,000,000,000 years.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Or we could, like, install some solar panels. That sounds a bit easier. If we stop burning coal and electrify road transport that should hopefully be enough to stabilize CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Renewables are cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity and electric cars are way better to drive. And world population may peak in 2050 anyway. China’s population may have already peaked while India’s fertility rate is only just above replacement rate.

      • And what is going to supply the base load? Wet don’t have neighbours like the European countries do that supply the base load power when solar and wind is not working… Come on this is a ludicrous suggestion.. the technology is simply not there just yet but hopefully will be in the very near future

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Without coal generation Australia’s grid would be firmed by gas, hydroelectricity, pumped hydro, and battery storage. The exact amount of each will depend on cost, environmental regulations, etc.

          • And the amount of ‘firming’ power needed would take decades to build. And all the time the amount of power needed would be rising exponentially to charge all the electric vehicles you want on the roads.

            EDIT: It doesn’t take decades to build dispatchable energy sources. You must be thinking of nuclear power. Hornsdale power reserve is a 100 MW battery and was built in under 100 days. The gas turbine Hallet power station has 203 MW of nameplate capacity and was completed in under a year from commissioning. Also, you complain about firming power taking decades to build and then you complain about the energy needs of electric vehicles. If you think about it, some sort of solution might leap out at you into your face.

            A Hyundai Ioniq driven the average number of kilometers for an Australian passenger car will use about 6 kilowatt-hours a day. That’s the energy produced by about 5 solar panels. If road transport goes all electric it doesn’t come anywhere close to a geometric increase in electricity consumption, let alone an exponential one.

        • Des Scahill says

          Who needs ‘base-load’ ?

          My household solar PV system (without any battery attached) provides around 65% of my total household consumption.

          As far as I’m concerned, my PV system provides nearly all of the ‘baseload’ for my household I need, and the rest is dribbled in at exorbitant prices from ‘near to collapse’ huge generators of various kinds.

          Same with Woolworths – huge arrays of solar panels on roofs of warehouses etc, plus extensive battery for overnight needs. They’ve got their ‘baseload’ pretty much 100 % covered at some locations with more to follow.

          What I’m suggesting is that the existing concept of ‘baseload’ spoken of by various politicians is rapidly being replaced.

          • Everyone needs baseload unless you are happy to not have any power the remaining 35% of the time your solar is not working in your example above… also remember if you don’t have baseload you can also start to damage electrical equipment in your house and of cause things just will not work… you also will need to accept if a cloud passes past your house you must be willing to wait for it to hopefully pass before you can continue watching your TV, washing your clothes, enjoying your lights at night..etc..

          • Finn Admin says

            Jonathan, you do not understand what baseload is.

        • Geoff Miell says

          Jonathan,
          You state:
          “And what is going to supply the base load?”

          Twentieth century “baseload” generation can be replaced with a mix of variable plus ‘dispatchable’ generation technologies, like pumped hydro (on-river and/or off-river), batteries, supercapacitors, concentrated solar thermal with molten salt thermal storage, renewable hydrogen, geothermal and biomass. Interconnectors can also transfer excess electricity generated from one zone/region to supplement others.

          ARENA commissioned a report titled “Comparison of Dispatchable Renewable Energy Options – Technologies for an orderly transition”.
          See: https://arena.gov.au/projects/dispatchable-renewable-electricity-options/

          For an idea of how Australia could transition to 100% renewable electricity with pumped-hydro energy storage (as soon as 2030), I’d suggest you also watch the YouTube video: [2017 CURF Annual Forum – Andrew Blakers keynote] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1IC6TiNDRc

          In 2010 (second edition Aug 2011), Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) published its “Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan”, outlining a ten-year roadmap for Australia to reach 100% renewable, low-carbon emissions electricity generation. Since then, renewable energy technology costs have continued to substantially fall – see CSIRO/AEMO’s “GenCost 2018” (an update in draft form was prepared late last year for peer-review and is due for public release soon, possibly next month). There’s also “Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – version 13.0” and “Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis – version 5.0”.
          See: https://bze.org.au/wp-content/uploads/stationary-energy-plan-bze-report-2010.pdf
          See: https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2018/Annual-update-finds-renewables-are-cheapest-new-build-power
          See: https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-and-levelized-cost-of-storage-2019/

          The information is there, Jonathan, but only if you avoid all the climate science denier and fossil fuel (and nuclear) propaganda propagators.

          You then state:
          “Wet [sic] don’t have neighbours like the European countries do that supply the base load power when solar and wind is not working…”

          Jonathan, does it rain all the time? – I’d suggest no, it doesn’t, and yet Australian cities and towns usually have a reliable, safe and affordable supply of water by having adequate and resilient water collection, storage capacities, treatment and distribution systems.

          The trick to ensure we have a reliable electricity supply using 100% primary solar- and wind-based renewable energy is to also have adequate energy storage that can store sufficient energy when excess wind and solar energy is available, and then that stored energy can then be ‘dispatched’ with adequate power capacity and endurance later to the electricity grid as and when needed (at times when the variable wind and/or solar primary energy availabilities are temporarily inadequate).

          Why is it apparently difficult for you to understand this concept, Jonathan?

          You finish with:
          “Come on this is a ludicrous suggestion.. the technology is simply not there just yet but hopefully will be in the very near future”

          It’s apparently ludicrous to you because you seem to be ill-informed and unaware of available, affordable and rapidly deployable solutions at large-scale – IMO probably due mainly to a failure of mainstream media to provide adequate information, and you probably (wilfully?) looking in all the wrong places.

          It seems to me a range of technologies for 100% renewable electricity generation are already available, with known project delivery costs and rapid deployment times, and with substantial proven reliable operational histories around the world. IMO, what’s missing is the political will to implement these technologies at large-scale here in Australia, more than likely due to powerful and influential vested interests that are determined to maintain the status quo for as long as possible (at our specie’s long-term expense).

    • Actually NO Jackson.
      We need to STOP world population growth as things are only going to get much worse as the third world joins us in the 21st century. It horrifies me to think about over 2 billion people in India and China driving cars let alone everything else they’ll do in the future.
      The other part of this is removing the endless carbon polluting of the planet. If we don’t start now it’ll be too late as you can’t reverse nature in a year. There’s already momentum there and what we experienced this year will get much worse because the planet will continue warming. Even if we do roll back carbon release.
      Sadly most people are too simple to see beyond today. The classic lobster being cooked in the pot syndrome.

      • Des Scahill says

        Jackson,

        What makes it worse is that in India they still use LEADED petrol, not unleaded as we do here.

        The exact number of ICU’s in India is unknown, as in addition to cars are things like motor scooters, small generators for households and businesses. factory power units, farming equipment, all kinds of things.

        At any one second it would be likely that at least I billion of such large and small items, possibly more, would be in operation, just in India alone, and this is happening 24/7 and has been for decades

        • Lawrence Coomber says

          Des yes you are basically correct regarding India.

          But there are also other things {counterbalancing] happening there as well.

          Prime Minister Modi introduced a “Smart Villages Program” in 2016 to roll out alternatives to inefficient and costly water pumping systems traditionally used.

          I have been involved since then [in numerous capacities] in Solar Pumping Solutions within the Indian Government Program, which will be transformative over time and offer guideposts to bigger and better alternative power technology projects at the village level to come.

          https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2016/sep/24/A-smart-village-which-runs-on-solar-power-1524416.html

          Lawrence Coomber

          • Lawrence Coomber says
          • Des Scahill says

            Thanks for that info Lawrence.

            I had a look at the web link you gave, Its heartening to be reminded of the huge and enduring difference a relatively small outlay can make in the lives of the truly poor.

            Its also great that people like yourself, with the skills and knowledge needed, are willing to go to faraway places in order to share what they have. There can be times when great personal risk arises from doing such too.

            ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’

            I’ve worked with Indians in the past, almost all of whom I’ve found to be hard-working, intelligent and with a great sense of humour. Some send much of what they earn back to poverty stricken relatives. I have no time at all for the false narratives of the ‘extreme right’, and draconian refugee intake processes advocated by Dutton and others.

            A ‘mono-culture’ of any kind has the effect of slowing down and stifling ‘innovation’ because everybody in that culture thinks the same way. There will still be some innovation and improvement but only within a more rigid or fixed intellectual framework. You have far less people around who can think ‘creatively’.

            As a matter of minor interest, when you look at the scientists involved in the long process that lead to to-day’s solar PV cells, there’s hardly any WASP (white anglo-saxon protestant) names to be seen during the period 1839 – 1929, when the initial creative thinking and experimentation was done
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_solar_cells

            But German, French, Russian, Polish, and Hungarian names abound.

            Overly restricting immigration to ‘people who look and think like us’ or who ‘easily fit-in’ can have very detrimental effects on a nation long-term, including a steady fostering of intolerance.

            As yet it seems that not that much of the assistance grants to farmers has actually been paid out, which is not helpful, and what is described as a ‘retail apocalypse’ has occurred among retailers post-Christmas.

            see: https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/inside-australias-2020-retail-bloodbath-as-brands-rocked-by-mass-closures-by-midjanuary/news-story/14c50866e94b06b94f2a392310a12056

  5. Laurie Stonehouse says

    Thank you Jackson. However, we can’t afford to wait that long. Instead of bleating about PRODUCERS as the problem we should focus on why they produce. They produce because we consume. To stop us consuming we should simply be charged the real cost of our consumption. This means much increased electricity prices and much increased petrol and diesel prices. Let’s say 100%. Then we might slow it a bit. It works for tobacco, so it should work for carbon dioxide. In the meantime, what are YOU doing to reduce your electricity and petrol usages?

  6. Graham Johnson says

    We should have a carbon tax – ten years ago, Now we just need to stop burning and exporting (and extracting) coal – within ten years.
    The State Planning Authority made burning coal in a donkey fired domestic boiler illegal some time ago (One law for the poor people and another for the power stations).Just make burning coal illegal. One way for the government to ‘sidestep’ the carbon tax ‘problem’.

  7. Hitting the fossil fuel industry with huge fines will not work because they will simply increase (electricity) prices. The way to go is the fines PLUS the government controls the price of energy.
    They’ll hate that but it’ll work. Better still the rest of the planet will see that it works and the stranglehold which the industry has on every one of us will be broken. Of course our puppet government will not pursue this option the same as they did not prosecute one CEO or executive employee after the Banking Royal Commission was done. No real fix is ever anticipated. Just band aid BS in the media to make us all think they care (they don’t) and are doing something real (they’re not).
    Tell me I’m wrong in a year. I’m not.

  8. Geoff Miell says

    John Quiggin thinks that Australia’s bushfire emergency recovery (so far) will cost $100 billion.
    See: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/10/perspectives/australia-fires-cost/index.html

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Ouch.

    • Des Scahill says

      I know I’ve made this point before, but its worth making again.

      John Quiggen’s estimate I’m sure would be a sound one.

      In effect it is what one could term a ‘fix-up’ cost, ie a cost which more or less restores things pretty much to how they were BEFORE the disaster occurred.

      Sure, no doubt there will be some relatively small portion of those expenditures which are aimed at mitigating the possible effects of any future disaster of the same magnitude and type plus maybe a little above.

      It’s plain commonsense to do that – you’ve got most of the equipment needed already on the spot, you’ve got a supply chain for the needed raw materials pretty much in place, trained personnel on the ground etc etc. and it would be ‘dumb’ not to do that.

      My point though is this – 100 billion dollars is a massive amount money for a country with a population the size of Australia. Most of this will be spent on ‘restoration’, and it will take some years before everything gets back to a ‘normal’ Comparatively little extra gets spent on mitigating/countering or even deflecting, likely FUTURE effects of FUTURE disasters yet to come.

      So when the next ‘disaster’ arrives, (and it seems virtually inevitable it will be ‘soon’ and could even be of another type), yet another 100 billion gets spent, then another, then another, then another etc. You might even get 2 or 3 occurring in the one year.

      Eventually, you simply run out of money, with no way out because mitigation expenditures whose benefits can take some years to show up aren’t around to start ‘kicking in’ at your hour of need.

      Now, even if you are person who is ‘doubtful’ about pending climate change and pollution consequences on the world immediately around you, it seems to me to be very unwise to do nothing at all. Commonsense suggests you should have ‘back-up’ plan of some sort just in case you are wrong.

      Here’s some food for thought. A world -wide average of 1.5 degrees seems small, but you get a different picture when you look more closely at separate regions. Latitude also plays a significant part.

      President Putin has announced that Russian scientists have recalculated the expected average temperature rise for their region at 2.5 degrees instead of the previous estimate of 2 degrees that formed part of the 1.5 degree average.

      The average Australian living at Broken Hill would probably yawn and say ‘What’s the problem mate, wouldn’t even notice it if things got 2.5, even 5 degrees warmer. Look on the bright side, no need to put the sausages on the barbie if it happens, just leave them outside for a bit and save on the gas bill”

      Not so in the USSR – a 2.5 degree rise in temperature the Arctic region increases the ‘melt rate’ of ice considerably with all sorts of consequences and flow-on effects over a vast area. Some of those have begun already.

      President Putin has in fact done a complete 180 degree turn, and no longer sees ‘climate change’ as just an issue, and has assured his population that he aims to do as much as he can as soon as possible. He has taken notice of the protests both in his own country and elsewhere, he has taken notice of the Russian scientists, he has taken notice of the huge fires in the Siberian forests and their effects on residents and industries in the area, and he knows full well that if he ‘does nothing’, he will have some mammoth political and economic problems on his hands,and that he won’t get away with ‘seeming to be doing something but actually doing nothing’.

      • Although it’s perfectly fine for John Quiggin to spread his opinions, commentary, political views and what many would say is propaganda it does not make his opinion piece right…
        Credit to John in that it does state the article is an ‘opinion piece’ and not factual! He also got it published on CNN… enough said..

        Keep in mind the vast majority of all climate change models and prediction has been wrong (by a long way) in fact I’m not seen any that have even come close to being right!

        EDIT: Jonathan, you’ve already said you said you thought only 3% of the CO2 in the atmosphere is the result of human activity. It is obvious you have no capacity to tell what is right or wrong in this area. You haven’t looked at the evidence because if you had you’d you wouldn’t be making mistakes like that. When you are wildly wrong about the most basic facts it’s impossible for you to have anything worthwhile to say on the topic.

        But you can learn. Go back and cover the basics:

        1. What is a greenhouse gas?
        2. How much has human activity increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?

        I mentioned children’s textbooks books earlier. I was serious. They’re not a bad place to start.

        Then, when you show me you’ve got the basic facts straight you can comment here.

        • Geoff Miell says

          Jonathan,
          You state:
          “Keep in mind the vast majority of all climate change models and prediction has been wrong (by a long way) in fact I’m not seen any that have even come close to being right!”

          Where have you been looking, Jonathan? Would it be all those climate science denial websites, per chance, Jonathan?

          The global models are UNDERESTIMATING the impacts and speed of climate change.
          See: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08745-6

          So, technically yes, the “climate change models and prediction” are wrong – they are underestimating the dangers and rate of change (NOT overestimating as it seems to me you imply) – the dangers are worse, happening faster, and are potentially existential if we choose to continue business-as-usual.

          Like all good scientists do, they continually improve the models to match the observations, to gain a more accurate understanding of the real world.

          Whether we like it or not, the Laws of Physics ‘govern’ how the universe we live in behaves, and doesn’t ‘care’ what anyone’s politics, ideology or beliefs are – it will do what it has done since the “Big Bang” and continue to do so long after we are all long dead. Humanity must work within these rigid and unyielding constraints, or we are kidding ourselves – this is not a movie or computer game; it’s real life with no reset/replay!

          The objective scientific evidence (whether people “believe” it or not) indicates the current trajectory of human-induced GHG emissions means a temperature rise of 1.5°C (above pre-industrial age) could arrive as soon as 2030, 2.4°C rise by 2050 and 4.0–5.0°C rise by 2100.

          1.0–1.1°C rise (above pre-industrial age), which is where Earth’s average global temperature (note: most of the Earth’s surface is ocean/sea – approx 70%) is at now, is already apparently dangerous – for example, see the current and ongoing fire emergency in NSW, VIC & SA.

          2°C rise means an “extremely dangerous” boundary will likely be reached.
          3°C rise means “outright social chaos”.
          4°C rise means “incompatible with organised global community”, or “civilization collapse”, with a human population likely reduced to less than 1 billion.
          See: http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/08/at-4c-of-warming-would-billion-people.html
          Also: http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/05/can-we-think-in-new-ways-about.html

          So, do you wish to continue ignoring the potentially existential risks for you and your family (if you have any?)? Do you feel lucky, Jonathan?

        • Des Scahill says

          Jonathan,

          Sometimes the logic of some climate denialists goes something like this…..
          ————————–
          “Everyone tells you that the value of Pi is a constant you can rely on, but it’s not. That’s yet another reason why the claims of these climate change loonie panic merchants are totally wrong. Their so-called models use the value of Pi in many of their calculations. They say they do this because the earth is round and they need it to accurately calculate areas and atmosphere volumes, but in fact its done to falsify the results.

          I got a scientist to check this. He told me that if NASA used the value of Pi in their equations, then if they sent a rocket to a planet in the Andromeda galaxy, its 100% certain it would end up trying to land on nothing because it would be millions of kilometres away from the planet they aimed it at.

          That shows you just how wrong these climate change models are, and why they have to keep changing them all the time. Nobody even knows what the actual value of Pi is. They are still trying to work that out. You can prove this by going to this page: http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~huberty/math5337/groupe/digits.html
          ——————————————–

          Jonathan – the ‘denialists’ aim is often to simply ‘cast doubt’ on things, and so retard progress, and this occurs not only in Australia but elsewhere in the world.

          What I’ve done in the above is – somewhat tongue in cheek – picked a single small point, ‘proved’ its wrong with some totally irrelevant comparisons plus an outright lie or two and a supposed reference that looks as though its relevant but doesn’t prove anything at all except that Pi exists. I’ve then ‘piggy-backed’ on that to cast doubt on anything and everything associated with climate change.

          As Science Minister Karen Andrews said today :
          see: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-15/cabinet-ministers-karen-andrews-climate-change-time-wasters/11868694?section=politics

          QUOTE:
          “Australia is wasting time debating the merits of climate change and should instead focus its attention on responding to the impacts it is having on the country, a senior Liberal minister has warned.

          Karen Andrews wants people to move on from ideological debates about climate change. The Science Minister says the focus should be on adaptation and mitigation strategies

          She says the science of climate change is settled…

          Science Minister Karen Andrews said it was time to move on from ideological battles, which she said had robbed the nation of the time and energy needed to respond to climate change. ”

          END OF QUOTE

          I remain sceptical, not about what she says, but why she is saying it. I doubt she would make such a statement unless it had the prior approval of those senior to her.

          I suspect that any future discussions about ‘adaption and mitigation strategies’ will STILL include discussions about the timing of closures for large coal power stations and the introduction of nuclear power plants, because both those fall within the ambit of the phrase ‘adaption and mitigation’.

          So.. business as usual has 99% probability in my view. The Australian ‘denialist’ bus will continue firmly on its way. However, it will have a new coat of faintly green paint and the slogan ‘We really do view climate change as a serious issue and are taking positive action’ painted on its side.

          We’ll be so busy admiring the new look, we wont’ notice the bus is stilling chugging along at 6 kph, and the 200 or so kph tidal wave of ‘climate change inaction consequences’ is now nearing the beach and catching up really fast. I’ve slowed down its approach speed from its original 810 kph, because tsunamis slow down as they near shore for a variety of reasons. Their inherent ability to remove anything directly in front of them completely off the face of the earth,regardless of its size and weight still remains though.

          All speculation aside though – here are two news article about the city of Venice.

          The first is dated 19 Nov 2019: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50401308

          It relates to massive flooding in Venice

          Here’s a quote from it:

          “Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says.

          The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years would leave “a permanent mark”, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

          “Now the government must listen,” he added. “These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”

          Notice he is NOT saying: ‘Oh, we’ve had floods like this before, nothing to worry about, we’ve handled this sort of event for centuries. Venice was built back in 5 AD, and we’ve been around for 2 thousand years and we’re still here despite everything Mother Nature has thrown at us. Stop fretting’.

          The article is worth reading fully, because it gives some historical and geographic background (including the fact that Venice is also ‘sinking’ and the government has already spent BILLIONS of Euro’s on flood protection from 2003 onwards). There are some pretty graphic photos too.

          I’ll draw attention to this particular quote from the article:

          ‘St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, according to church records. Pierpaolo Campostrini, a member of St Mark’s council, said FOUR of those floods had…occurred within the past 20 years’.

          Fast forward just 2 months till to-day and we find that the pendulum of extreme flooding events in the Venice area has swung sharply to a complete opposite.

          Due to drastically low tides, nearly all of the city’s canals have emptied of water, with Venice residents gazing out their windows early one morning in complete disbelief.

          “Venice’s famous waterways are lying bare as the tide has fallen dramatically, just two months after the city’s streets were flooded. The Italian city built on a saltwater lagoon often sees tides rise and fall, but the EXTREME drop recently has created transportation issues, as gondolas and other boats struggle to get around.” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb9HqwKDBaI )

          Of course, just as you would expect, ‘denialists’ take this single low tide event and say things like ‘So much for that global warming that was going to melt the ice caps and flood all the cities’, (that quote is an actual one) making no mention of the events 2 months prior.

          That’s the kind of idiocy that exists today. It’s on a par with taking 25 photos of different beaches at low tide in different parts of the world, getting a person with PhD in Photography Science to certify the photos are not fake, and claiming that you have rock-solid scientific proof confirmed by an eminent scientist, that ocean levels world-wide are actually falling. That’s just a more sophisticated form of the same idiocy. Except whats actually happened is that the person making the more sophisticated of such claims is not in the idiocy zone, he’s in the outright deception zone.

          I’m not suggesting Jonathan that you are in either of those two categories

          Some effects on Venice over recent years have been: the number of permanent residents is declining and has been slowly doing so for some years. Its dropped from 175,00 in 1951 to around 55,000 in 2019. This in turn creates problems in servicing the 36 million or so tourists who visit the city annually. The tourist volumes also put great strain on services such as sewage and water. Its very expensive to live there permanently because just about everything needed by the city has to be shipped in.

          As well, the various aquifers that supply much of Venice’s drinking water supply are ‘compacting’ due to the demand for water, and parts of the city are ‘sinking’ as a result.

          All this is very similar to what’s been happening to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, except that in their case its not a mere 55,000 permanent residents, its 10 million residents. That’s equivalent to the combined populations of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

          There’s some nice graphics here https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-24/jakarta-is-running-out-of-time-to-stop-itself-sinking/11190928

          which show the past history and the current projections as to which further parts of it will be underwater and when. The current rate of sinking is around 25 centimetres a year. There’s the same combination of subsidence into emptying aquifers beneath the city or nearby to it, (aquifer compaction) and rising sea levels as there is in Venice

          The Indonesian government has known about the problem for decades along with the clear scientific evidence that it was happening and what was causing it, and at least took ‘stop gap’ and ‘mitigation’ effort.

          We haven’t really done much of that in Australia, just argued about whether climate change exists or not. After all, if ‘climate change’ doesn’t exist it wouldn’t make any sense to do anything at all about combating its effects would it?.

          Sadly, all of that past Indonesian ‘mitigation’ expenditure in the form of embankments, channels, sea walls etc is now about to vanish beneath the waves too.

          The Indonesian Government finally decided in May 2019 to approve a ‘plan’ to build a new capital 100 miles away on much higher ground, at a cost of $USD 33 billion.

          The Indonesian government was not able to act quickly enough despite mounting evidence, and they now have a mammoth problem on their hands which could well turn into a massive humanitarian disaster the likes of which has not been seen before. I can truly sympathise with them – relocating 10 million people also means relocating all the businesses and factories that operate around them too.

          You can do your own research on whats been happening there, but this article in the Economist gives a quick insight into what’s just happened on
          31st December 2019: https://www.economist.com/asia/2020/01/09/flooding-in-jakarta-is-the-worst-for-over-a-decade

          There’s numerous other large coastal cities around the world where this combination of aquifer compaction + rising sea level + extreme weather event is causing major problems or has potential to.

          Because climate change is truly global, Australian’s in general need to pay far more attention to global events and natural disasters in other countries, rather than just ignore everything beyond the Australian beach high tide mark.

          It’s pretty easy to get more info. Most countries have English versions of their particular national news and you can get far more details IF you make the effort to look for them.

          • Hi Des ,

            Thanks for taking the time to reply and for your links, I will read and look at them all… Unfortunately, I’m having to leave the discussion and just about every single one of my posts are edited including sources and other major and much more directly impacting points relating to topics as they don’t fit the climate change narrative…

            I’ve expressed this site has become an echo chamber and different views are not allowed… which is fine it’s not my site.. it’s just sad to see… I like that you can post such long replies and sources are all kept in place I wish I would be granted the same level of respect whilst trying to navigate through these complex topics but it’s not the case so good luck to you and the site…

            I hope we do manage to get a global solution (as anything Australia does will have absolutely NO impact what so ever to the globe other than virtue signalling)…

            All the best to you all… over and out!

  9. It seems facts and reasons other than climate change is not allowed on this site? My posts keep getting edited and changed!

    You are proving my initially posted points further by editing my posts (although I think my original points/posts have been edited and my points are not listed so no one even knows what I’m referring to reading above which is not good!)

    I personally think its good people are questioning and that’s always been the point of science to question and to challenge theories yet it seems it’s no longer allowed when the topic is global warming (sorry I mean climate change as things started cooling down so the old name did not work out..hahaha)

    EDIT: Jonathan, if you are interested in questioning theories you need to understand the basics of those theories first, otherwise it’s a waste of everyone’s time. You previously said human activity was only responsible for 3% of the CO2 in the atmosphere. Have you looked up the correct figure yet? If you’re not going to bother to make the effort to learn basic facts about a topic then what possible reason could anyone have to engage you one it? To engage in discourse here you have to show a bare minimum of knowledge about the real world, or at least show that you’re willing to learn.

    • EDIT: Jonathan, what is wrong with you? Seriously. You stated human activity was only responsible for 3% of the CO2 in the atmosphere. This wasn’t a typo, you wrote it twice. I told you the correct amount but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on you at all. The normal human response would be embarrassment at making such an colossal blunder. You should be wondering how you managed to make such a huge mistake and where you went wrong in your thinking. Your entire understanding of climate change should be turned upside down because you were using a figure that was off by more than an order of magnitude. You should be reconsidering everything you think you know on the topic. Your mind should be blown. But your error doesn’t even seem to register with you. Why isn’t your mind blown, Jonathan?

      • Wow, 100% removal of what I’ve said.. let me try once more in point form:

        1) Australia has very very little control over global C02 emissions (essentially NOTHING Australia can do with its C02 production can make any difference what so ever! That’s a FACT and more than happy to be proven wrong!)

        2) Items we can learn from, prepare for and have impacts on I belive are as follows:

        – The IOD effect (the last time we were in a positive IOD period we had our last very bad bushfires and lost approx 170 people in the bushfires!) This is one of the core reasons it’s been so bad this year and we can perhaps try to over plan for and think of new strategies to be better prepared the next time we are in a positive IOD period!

        – Arson (this one just gets me upset how people are starting fires on purpose, being careless with cigarettes, starting campfires during a fire ban..etc..etc.. Especially as everyone knows we are in a critically dry period and time.. allot more needs to be done to send a strong and firm message this will not be tolerated as a matter of urgency!)

        – Land management issues more need to be done and learnt how to better deal with this, like I posted before in detail (but was removed), in summary, we have been working for YEARS to get land around our townhouse complex cleared and better prepared for fire yet local council, laws and green tape prevent us from doing so and we face criminal charges if we cut down even dead trees not only causing fire hazards but also great risk of falling and causing severe damage to property (if not death as some of these are very large trees)

        Once again I agreed the 3% total contribution was wrong but you edited out my reply when I posted that then attacked me as above essentially calling me stupid and saying I should be embarrassed, you also are belittling someone trying to learn by editing my posts to look like I’m an idiot… Really poor form!

        P.S.: My mind is blown by your polarising edits…

        Once again I’m tapping out as it’s clearly an environment not to debate, share idea’s, help find solutions and learn but rather push a predetermined narrative and remove any other possible criticism that is not pro-climate change due to silly suggestions such as this blog posts title and suggestions made in it when there is much more positive, practical and tangible reasons for such a bad bushfire season this year!

        … so once again I say… enjoy your Echo chamber… I’m out of here!

  10. Wow, did not know how bad moderating is on this site. Very disappointing.

    EDIT: Actually the moderating is good. This is because I enforce a very low standard of requiring people to know basic facts about a topic before they give opinions on it. Let’s find out if you are more interested in basic facts than your friend Jonathan. Can you look up, or just tell me, how much human activity has increase the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 100 to 200 years? An approximate answer is fine.

    • Good on you Quzus,

      I told the moderator I’m tapping out as my post keeps getting edited (the last post was no exception and completely removed where I said the 3% stated originally WAS incorrect and I now understand it’s compounding each year..etc.)

      Can you tell me what type of an impact climate change has contributed to the bushfires compared to basic common sense items such as being in an IOD Positive phase (the last time this occurred we lost over 170 people in the bushfires!), Arson (at crazy high levels during this critical time) and land management issues all of which I would argue are items that are allot more tangible and things we can have very quite solutions in place to deal with tna learn from compared to ‘climate change’ due to C02 what Australia has absolutely NO effect on a global scale and is really out of our control!

      this has been my core point since the beginning but it keeps getting deleted from this site and C02 levels are the only argument allowed and because I had an incorrect 3% figure initially it means all my other points above are somehow invalidated now (although unrelated to that 3%)…

      As above Australia has very very little to NO control over the global C02 levels and is essentially out of our control is my main point BUT items such as above we do have control over and can address, improve and implement change for better management and reducing loss with bushfires..etc

      I’m getting called all sorts of names for my posts yet I’m not allowed to say the above… good on you guys…

      Once again enjoy your Echo chamber!

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