Last night’s Q&A and climate change

Actually it was a good Q&A last night despite the very strange Greg Sheridan.  Would All-Bran help?  Greg Hunt is at least civil and articulate, no matter how touching or touched his passionate soul-deep faith in the government’s “Direct Action” climate change policy may prove to be. Some wag on Twitter noted that Direct Action is a rather interesting name to have chosen:

cover_front_18 It is still hard to forget what Malcolm Turnbull famously thought about the current policy he is now presumably supporting:  Abbott’s climate change policy is bullshit by Malcolm Turnbull.

While a shadow minister, Tony Abbott, was never afraid of speaking bluntly in a manner that was at odds with Coalition policy.

So as I am a humble backbencher I am sure he won’t complain if I tell a few home truths about the farce that the Coalition’s policy, of lack of policy, on climate change has descended into.

First, lets get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal fired power stations with cleaner gas fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money.

To get farmers to change the way they manage their land, or plant trees and vegetation all costs money.

Somebody has to pay.

So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, “bullshit.” Moreover he knows it.

The whole argument for an emissions trading scheme as opposed to cutting emissions via a carbon tax or simply by regulation is that it is cheaper – in other words electricity prices will rise by less to achieve the same level of emission reductions.

The term you will see used for this is “least cost abatement”.

It is not possible to criticise the new Coalition policy on climate change because it does not exist. Mr Abbott apparently knows what he is against, but not what he is for…

Excellent stuff, Malcolm! Coincidentally that came out the same year as the Direct Action cover above. Neither the Socialist paper nor Malcolm’s once fervent beliefs are current in late 2013, it seems.

Rationality on climate change is so hard to achieve. There was a really mad question last night from one I find to be a person with rather a lot of good points – I mean that sincerely, but as one might have guessed a Liberal Party supporter too. Now has she read the 2000+ pages of the latest IPCC Report? Of course not. Have you? No? Neither have I, I must confess, though I have browsed a draft dated June 2013 and clearly marked “not for publication” which I nonetheless downloaded from the IPCC site!  This is a sample:


You may of course have looked at, as I have, the summary version PDF.


The peculiar question last night was:

An IPCC report came out recently confessing that there hadn’t been warming in the past 15 years – and that it’s more likely that the benefits of an increased global average temperature will outweigh the possible harm. Yet people believe that taxpayers money should be diverted from things like hospitals and schools to try and solve an issue we’re not even sure exists as an issue. What are your thoughts on how much we should really invest in climate change?

Just on the second part of the question, the report said that there might be some benefits on the warming but we don’t hear about that in the media and I’d like your thoughts on why we don’t?

How batty is that! Has she been reading James Delingpole? Does she think he is some kind of expert?  Has she taken seriously the spawnings of the Heartland Institute and other such political propaganda organisations?  Does she think *the much debunked Lord Monckton is some kind of credible scientist? God forbid that she has been mistaking Alan Jones or Andrew Bolt for  experts on any kind of science, let alone climate science!

To be fair to Greg Hunt he did dismiss the premise of the question.

GREG HUNT: Look, there are elements that I would respectfully disagree with. What the report said is there has been no significant change at the same rate as previous years over the last 15 but that the last decade has been the most warm or the warmest decade in the modern era. So essentially what happens is that each decade is going up. The last decade reached a high point in about 1998, actually slightly longer than a decade ago, but that each decade has been successively higher than previous ones.


That “15 years” furphy has been around for some years. But see *Understanding the pre-IPCC Anti-Climate Science Misinformation Blitz – which of course goes on. Note that my source [*] there and in the previous paragraph won the Australian Museum’s 2011 Eureka Prize for advancing climate change knowledge. Yes, knowledge. We need more of that! And see the video below to see what “significant” actually means statistically and how the tabloid press and hosts of “skeptics” abuse the term. This is who made the video.


Have you encountered, on another matter, the YouTube annoyance yet? All YouTube audio is muted. Bloody nuisance! Hope it is fixed soon.

While this issue is live, please try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies, or the workaround that rdhuston posted:

The mute will keep coming back for each video you watch, but you can get your sound back each time by pausing the video, right clicking the little X by the speaker symbol and then clicking the speaker symbol itself.  Then start the video again.  Kind of a pain, but at least you can hear the videos until the problem is fixed.