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Out of touch
A bad start to 2015
Liberal voters
Ethics
Climate change
Carbon tax
The 'Direct Action Plan'
The RET
Climate skeptic funded
Powering Australia
Profits first alliance
Don't mention climate change
Who needs science?
Health
Actions of the Abbott Gov't
Citizens' actions in response
No action on climate change
PM Abbott and Indonesia
East Timor
Whipping a dead horse
Financial planners
Doctor's gag orders
What is important?
Abbott on wind power
Tony, God and CC
Climate change a joke?
Links
Index

The Abbott Government:
September 2013 – September 2015

Australia had to move on from the Abbott Government. It was only a matter of time. No nation could ever be so backward as to willingly tolerate being led by a man with Tony Abbott's world view for very long.

This page is a mixture of well founded opinion and a collection of items from many sources showing the type of government Australia had under Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Many links are given for the items extracted from outside sources.

Most Australians were very pleased when this, the worst Australian government in living memory, came to an end in September 2015.

 

'Good government' starts 16 months on

After 16 months in power and a challenge to his leadership PM Abbott announces that "Good government starts today" (2015/02/09).

What happened to good government?

In May 2015 it was announced that the Abbott government would spend up to $5b of taxpayers' money in propping up projects in the dying coal industry. But only if they were financially unviable! Most of them are going to be financially unviable; this is tax money down the drain.

Abbott pays off people smugglers?

In June 2015 there have been credible reports that people smugglers have been paid by Australian authorities to take refugee away. Abbott refused to deny the claims. These are not the actions of a democratic or ethical government.
PM Abbott's first cabinet, announced on 2013/09/16, included no minister for science; this was the first government since 1931 to lack a Minister for Science. There was also no Minister for Climate Action.

Most of the world was trying to kick the coal habbit. China and India both have terrible air pollution problems and coal is one of the main causes of air pollution that the World Health Organisation says causes seven million deaths each year. Both countries are working hard to reduce fossil fuel use and increase renewables.

In the late eighteenth century industry powered by coal was innovative, in the twenty-first century coal is finished and any government that cannot accept that fact is doing a great disservice to its people.

The aim of the Abbott Government seems to be to help their supporters make as much money as possible out of mining and selling fossil fuels before pressure, either internally or externally, forces them to stop. The choice is between short-term profits or preserving the planet as we know it; PM Abbott is chasing the quick money.

This Government, in its opposition to renewable energy and support for fossil fuels, has made itself the enemy of the future generations who will have to live with climate change. It would have to be the most unethical Australian government in living memory, and the most out of touch with the realities of the twenty-first century world.

Written 2013/09/20, modified 2016/03/30
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke) – ©
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The Turnbull Government

Exporting death

PM Abbott's Business Advisor

The Liberals

Why accept climate science?

Wind energy opposition

The end of coal

Abbott quote: "Coal is good for humanity"

Madness

An extensive list of PM Abbott's climate misinformation

 
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The Abbott Government is out of touch with what Australians want

 
The preferred energy mix of Australians
Preferred energy mix
Table from the Climate Institute
The Abbott Government's hatred of renewable energy is diametrically opposed to what the Australian people want, as shown by the table on the right.

 
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Popular support for renewables is huge and increasing while popular support for coal is very low and decreasing.

The Climate Institute have done surveys on the preferred energy mix of Australians; some of the results from 2014 and 2015 are shown on the table at the right.

Newcastle council divests

 
Sydney Morning Herald poll
Poll
Newcastle (in NSW, Australia) has the world's biggest coal port. On 2015/08/25 the Newcastle City Council voted to divest from Australia's big four banks so long as the banks invest in coal. This shows that coal is unpopular even in a city that economically relies heavily on the mining and exporting of coal.

Of course the Minerals Council have been scathing in their criticism of the move, and no doubt PM Tony Abbott will do likewise, but the poll run by the Sydney Morning Herald (image on the right) suggests that most Australians strongly approve.

(Read the article by Amanda Saunders in the Sydney Morning Herald, 2015/08/26.)

Also see divestment on my page about The End of Coal.

Shame Australia

 
Emissions
Pit & Sherry
The graph on the right shows how greenhouse emissions from Australian power generation have increased since the Abbott government came to power.

Shame PM Abbott

Climate change damage
Not direct quotes, but a take on the way the man thinks.


While the rest of the world invests in renewable energy – the way of the future – Australia under Abbott attempts to prop up the dying coal industry.


 
Australians are among the biggest greenhouse polluters
Res. elec. emissions
Graphic credit Shrink That Footprint; the full size image can be seen on that page.
Another page on this site deals with the Liberal Party and their war against climate change action previous to the election of the Abbott Government.

Wilcox cartoon
Cartoon credit Cathy Wilcox
 
The graphic on the right shows that Australians, per capita, produce more greenhouse emissions from their electricity consumption than any other nationals other than the Saudis and the people of the USA. The picture for overall emissions, from all sources, is very similar.

Plainly Australia and Australians have an ethical responsibility to lift their game. We cannot say that we should wait until there is a global consensus for action, we should be doing our best to clean up our filthy nest before expecting others to reduce their emissions.

 
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This section written 2015/01/06

A bad start to 2015 for the Abbott Government

The carbon tax worked

 
Greenhouse gas inventory
From DoE Quarterly Update
With his approval rate around 30% PM Abbott didn't need more news showing that he is on entirely the wrong track, but in early 2015 it was comming in thick and fast.

The Department of the Environment released its Quarterly Update of Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2014. It included the graph on the right which shows clearly that the carbon tax that the PM removed was working to lower emissions.

The Earth is continuing to get hotter

 
BoM temperatures
From BoM annual climate statement 2014
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that 2014 was the third hottest on record for Australia (following 2013 which was the hottest ever).

Note that the map shows that in a substantial part of Australia 2014 was the hottest year on record.


2014 was, globally, the hottest year ever. This was reported in January 2015 by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), NASA and NOAA. NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) are both USA based.

JMA, NASA and NOAA are three of the world's four main agencies that report on global weather, the forth is the Hadley Centre (UK). It is expected that the Hadley Centre will release a similar finding within the next few weeks (written 2015/01/17).

Nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since 2000, the remaining one was 1998.

Pope Francis calls for climate change action

Meanwhile, Pope Francis called for serious action on climate change.

So there is more urgency than ever before, and more calls to reduce emissions. Will PM Abbott do the right thing? It seems unlikely.

 
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The Abbott government's renewable energy lies

 
Pig energy
Appreciation Franciscus Antheunis
The Abbott government keeps on telling the Australian people and the world that it is pro-renewables and is trying to reduce Australia's (shamefully high) greenhouse gas production rates. At the same time it has caused investment in large-scale renewables in Australia to fall by 88% from the levels during the Rudd-Gillard governments.

Giles Parkinson listed ten of the Abbott government's biggest lies about renewable energy in March 2015.

April 2015; Bloomberg New Energy Finance published a graph showing that in the year to the end of March investment in large-scale renewables in Australia had been $192m. It the previous twelve months it had been $1 887m. This is a drop of 90%.

 
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Even Liberal voters want more renewables

In a survey conducted by the Australia Institute for Solar Citizens it was found that "64% of self-identified Liberal voters support an increased renewable energy target, while 43% of Liberal voters would support an ambitious target of 50% or more renewables by 2030."

Plainly, the Abbott Government is quite out of step with what even Liberal voters want. The Abbott Government is working for the coal industry and big business, not for the Australian people nor even for their voters.

In the Australian community generally, the survey found that 83% want more "solar energy plants", 74% wand more wind turbines and 85% want more rooftop solar.

 
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Ethics

 
There's a price to pay
The sad part is that to the Abbott Government this is simply a fact of life.
 

Pyne can't understand decision made on ethical grounds

The ABC has reported that Christopher Pyne, Education Minister, sees the Australian National University's decision to divest of unethical investmens as bizarre. A spokesman for the university said the decision was based on environmental impact, social issues and governance.

We should not be surprised that My Pyne was unable to understand a decision based on ethical principles.

There can be no doubt that climate change and ocean acidification are two of the greatest threats now facing our planet. Given the Liberal's record to the present it seems that the Abbott Government will be doing very little to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas production; which, per capita, is among the highest in the world.

It is interesting, and must say something about the relationship between religion and morality, that Tony Abbott is probably the most conspicuously religious Australian Prime Minister in living memory and at the same time the most unethical.

The previous Australian Labor governments did much too little about reducing Australia's climate impact. If the Abbott Government does even less they will be committing one of the greatest crimes against the planet that any nation has ever been guilty of.

Australia alone?

Politicians of both major Australian parties have said that there is little point in Australia acting alone in reducing its greenhouse emissions. If Australia was to take significant action it would not be alone, it would perhaps be catching up.

Many European nations are well ahead of us.

At the end of 2012 China had 75GW of wind power installed compared to Australia's 2.6GW. On 2013/10/25 Grenatec reported that China has plans to built up to 20 high-capacity, high-voltage power lines across its territory in order to connect its western sun, wind and hydro energy sources with its eastern and southern energy-hungry coastal cities.

No medium of long-distance power transmission line has ever been built in Australia to connect a region rich in renewable power with the electricity grid.

 
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Climate change

Why accept that humanity is causing climate change?

First, the science:
  • About 99% of papers published in peer-reviewed climate journals accept the fact of ACC;
  • The vast majority of climate scientists accept the reality of ACC;
  • So far as I know, every scientific organisation that has any interest in climate, anywhere in the world, accepts the reality of ACC.
In addition: A more complete and up-to-date version of this argument is elsewhere on this site.

Direct Action?

 
Sydney Morning Herald poll result
SMH poll
Very few people believe that PM Abbott's 'Direct Action' plan will achieve anything other than wasting a lot of taxpayer's money.

 

PM Abbott surrounding himself with climate science deniers

Maurice Newman, head of the PM's Business Advisory Council, Dick Warburton head of the PM's RET review group and David Murray, head of the PM's financial system inquiry, are all climate science deniers. Is this a coincidence, or does he go out of his way to pick climate science deniers?

2013: A year that PM Abbott would like to ignore

The Conversation reported some points made in the World Meteorological Organization's statement on the 'status of the global climate of 2013'.
  • Globally, 2013 was the sixth-hottest year since records began in 1850;
  • The top 15 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998.
  • Australia had its hottest year since records began;
  • Persistent heat characterised the year, with long periods of above average temperatures and a lack of cold weather. In this one year, Australia also experienced its hottest day, week, month and season on record.
The Abbott Government has consistantly downplayed the importance of climate change and dishonestly criticised the carbon tax and blamed it for all sorts of financial costs. They have also consistantly pushed their "Direct Action Plan", which no independent economist is willing to support as a practical or economically effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Bernard William "Bernie" Fraser is a prominent Australian economist and was Governor of the Reserve Bank from September 1989 to September 1996 (Wikipedia). On 2014/03/13, Mr Fraser, in his current position as chair of the Climate Change Authority, gave a scathing speech to the National Press Club. Lisa Cox wrote about the speech in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). Mr Fraser said that "the Abbott government is working in the short term interests of business and not the long term interests of the community in its policies on climate change."

In the same SMH article, Ms Cox reported that "On Wednesday, former treasury secretary Ken Henry backed comments by economist Ross Garnaut that the Abbott government's direct action policy would cost closer to $4 or $5 billion, rather than the $1.5 billion the government has predicted."

I believe that the Government has promised to limit its spending on climate change action to $1.5b, so it seems very likely that little will be achieved by the Direct Action Policy, but perhaps that is the aim?



Top British Conservatives call PM Abbott a 'flat-earther' because of his attitude to climate change

 
Why Abbott's Liberals support coal
Image credit Dr Mike Kelly
In an article in The Age, 2014/11/20, written by Paolo Totaro, PM Abbott's stance on climate change was severely criticised:
The attitude of Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the global challenges of climate change is "eccentric", "baffling" and "flat earther", according to a group of senior British Conservatives.

The group, including Prime Minister David Cameron's Minister for Energy and a former Thatcher Minister and chairman of the Conservative Party, says Mr Abbot's position on climate change represents a betrayal of the fundamental ideals of Conservatism and those of his political heroine, Margaret Thatcher.

In a series of wide-ranging, separate interviews on UK climate change policy with The Age, they warn that Australia is taking enormous risks investing in coal and will come under increasing market and political pressure to play its part in the global battle against climate change.
Elsewhere on this site I've listed many reasons to believe that the coal industry is in serious and probably terminal decline.
 
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80% of coal must remain in the ground if we are to limit climate change

A letter published in the prestigious journal Nature 2015/01/07 stated that a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and 80% of coal reserves must remain in the ground if we are to have a reasonable chance of keeping global warming to no more than 2°C.





Australia named worst-performing industrial country at Lima

Graham Readfearn reported in The Guardian, 2014/12/09, that:
Australia has been named the worst-performing industrial country in the world on climate change in a report released at international negotiations in Peru.

The climate change performance index ranked Denmark as the best-performing country in the world, followed by Sweden and Britain.

Among the world's top 10 emitters, Germany was ranked the highest at 22. Australia was second bottom overall, above Saudi Arabia – which was not classified as industrial.

The report states: "The new conservative Australian government has apparently made good on last year's announcement and reversed the climate policies previously in effect. As a result, the country lost a further 21 positions in the policy evaluation compared to last year, thus replacing Canada as the worst-performing industrial country."
The article went on:
Jan Burck, report author at Germanwatch, told the Guardian: "It is interesting that the bottom six countries in the ranking – Russia, Iran, Canada, Kazakhstan, Australia and Saudi Arabia – all have a lot of fossil fuel resources. It is a curse.
 
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Carbon tax

 
Big jump in emissions when carbon tax abolished
Emissions graph
Annual changes in NEM emissions based on AEMO's Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Intensity Index data. For FY2014-15 data are projected using the changes recorded in the first 100 days since the repeal of the carbon tax, compared to equivalent periods in the previous years. Data from AEMO, Image by Mike Sandiford.
PM Tony Abbott abolished the previous government's carbon tax. What was the result?

On 2014/11/04 Professor Mike Sandiford, Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute, had an article published in The Conversation. The article included the graph on the right.

Professor Sandiford wrote:

"Across the National Electricity Market (NEM) we are tracking towards an extra 14 million tonnes CO2 for FY2014-15 compared to FY2013-14. If we get lower than average rain, electricity sector emissions might grow by a few more million tonnes and exceed 10% over the year."
This shows that, despite the Abbott government's claims that the carbon tax was not working, it was in fact working very well, and with the abolition of the carbon tax emissions have shot up.

The bottom line: If you want your kids and grandkids to inherit a world greatly damaged by climate change, vote Liberal.

PM Abbott makes another empty promise

Following the mid November release of the agreement between China and USA on carbon emissions PM Abbott was quoted in The Australian as saying: "We'll cut emissions now, not years in the future".

Anyone looking at Professor Sandiford's graph (above) can see that he will have to very quickly reverse his approach if he is going to keep that promise.

Due to the policies of the Abbott Government the wrong power stations are shutting down

By far the most polluting power stations in Australia are those that burn brown coal. With the combination of decreasing electricity consumption and a carbon tax it would have been the brown coal power stations that would have shut down. Without the carbon tax at least one less polluting black coal power station in NSW has closed down instead.

In January 2014 Energy Australia removed one half of the Wallerawang Power Station from service and in March it placed the other half on 'three month recall'; that is, it was not used but could be brought back into service at three month's notice. See Energy Australia's Net site for more information.

This is again showing that PM Abbott's promise of "cutting emissions now, not years in the future" is empty.

 
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The 'Direct Action Plan'

 
Wilcox cartoon
cartoon
The Abbott Government's Direct Action Plan involves taxing the general population to raise money to then pay to the polluters to encourage them to pollute less – the idea that Wilcox illustrates so well in his cartoon on the right. That this can be better and more effective than simply taxing the polluters I find frankly ridiculous.

Bernard William "Bernie" Fraser is a prominent Australian economist and was Governor of the Reserve Bank from September 1989 to September 1996 (Wikipedia). On 2014/03/13, Mr Fraser, in his current position as chair of the Climate Change Authority, gave a scathing speech to the National Press Club. Lisa Cox wrote about the speech in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). Mr Fraser said that "the Abbott government is working in the short term interests of business and not the long term interests of the community in its policies on climate change."

In the same SMH article, Ms Cox reported that "On Wednesday, former treasury secretary Ken Henry backed comments by economist Ross Garnaut that the Abbott government's direct action policy would cost closer to $4 or $5 billion, rather than the $1.5 billion the government has predicted."

I believe that the Government has promised to limit its spending on climate change action to $1.5b, so it seems very likely that little will be achieved by the Direct Action Policy, but perhaps that is the aim?

Not enough money in the budget for defense force salaries

After removing the carbon tax (decreasing government income) and bringing in the direct action plan (increasing government expenditure) we find that in November 2014 the Abbott Government had to decrease salaries in the Australian Defense Forces because there isn't enough money in the budget. Should we be surprised?
 
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The Renewable Energy Target (RET)

 

WWF survey showed how out of touch Abbott Government is

A WWF survey found that 89% of Australians want the RET to be increased or stay the same. The same survey, conducted 2014/11/26 and involving 5,036 voters, found that 84% of people want the Federal Government to invest more in renewables.

(Download the pdf file of the survey results.)

In late October 2014 the Abbott government continued with its campaign to support the declining coal industry and minimise development of renewables.

They proposed reducing the Renewable Energy Target from 41 TWh per year down to 26; according to Lane Crocket, CEO of Pacific Hydro, this would reduce the amount of new renewables to be built between 2014 and 2020 by 70%.

For more see a Sydney Morning Herald article by Peter Hannam.

Earlier in the same week PM Abbott had notoriously said "Coal is good for humanity". By backing the coal industry, which is plainly in a state of serious and continuious decline, Mr Abbott is not only betraying future generations, but he is damaging Australia's economic future. The man is completely out of touch with reality.

It apears likely that, whatever the government does, coal will continue to decline and renewables continue to thrive. While PM Abbott is in charge Australia will foolishly stick loyally to the centuries old fossil fuel industry and neglect the exponentially growing renewables sector.

 
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Updated 2015/05/09

PM finds funding for climate skeptic

 

Update: UniWA baulks, but Pyne determined to 'educate' Australians

The Guardian published a piece on 2015/05/08 discussing UniWA's decision to regect Lomborg's 'Consensus centre'. Staff, students and the general public had reacted strongly against the proposal.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne is determined to set Lomborg up somewhere else. Lomborg's is the type of thinking that the Abbott Government believes Australia needs more of.

It seems that UWA have used Lomborg's book 'The Skeptical Environmentalist' as an example of bad science.

April 2015; In a cash-strapped economy PM Abbott has managed to find $4m funding for Bjørn Lomborg to set up a 'consensus centre' at the University of WA. It seems that Mr Lomborg has been having a hard time getting his message funded in Europe. No doubt he has much more in common with the Abbott government than with more environmentally progressive European governments.

A Facebook friend of mine, Byron Smith, who I have found to be highly reliable, wrote the following about Bjørn Lomborg:

Lomborg has spent years receiving funds from the fossil fuel industry (through the usual network of industry front groups) and in 2003 was formally found to have published a scientifically dishonest book by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (a government body), though he himself was acquitted of intentional or gross negligence due to lack of relevant scientific expertise.

The book in question ("The Skeptical Environmentalist") is riddled with shoddy work, dodgy footnotes and misleading or outright false claims. The title is based on a claim by Lomborg to have previously been a member of Greenpeace. Greenpeace say they have no record of his ever being involved. Lomborg has published a single peer-reviewed paper in an unrelated field (almost twenty years ago).

Since then, Lomborg has built a name for himself as a "lukewarmist", who claims to accept the basics of climate science, but insists that the harms will be minimal and are best tackled through economic growth and research and development. His work has been heavily criticised by a wide variety of relevant scientific and economic experts.
The Abbott Government abolished the Climate Commission in 2013 on the basis that their $1.5 million annual operating costs were too expensive. The people of the Climate Commission relaunched as the Climate Council after thousands of Australians chipped in to the nation's biggest crowd-funding campaign.

Quoting from Tim Flannery of the Climate Commission:

It seems extraordinary that the Climate Commission, which was composed of Australia's best climate scientists, economists and energy experts, was abolished on the basis of a lack of funding and yet here we are three years later and the money has become available to import a politically-motivated think tank to work in the same space.
 
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Powering Australia: a poll in The Australian

This poll, published in late August 2014, shows that the Abbott Government, hell bent on supporting the declining coal industry and cutting back on renewables, is totally out of touch with what the Australian people want.

The poll:

What do you think of Australia's current investment in renewable energy?
Enough10%
Not enough87%
About right2%
Don't know1%
Total votes3,639


Should the federal Government subsidise the use of renewable energy?
Yes87%
No13%
Total votes3,524


Do you approve of the extraction of coal seam gas via hydraulic fracturing (fracking)?
Yes13%
No87%
Total votes3,374


Would you be willing to pay more for your energy if you knew it was from a renewable source?
No17%
A little more57%
A lot more26%
Total votes3,397


What plans do you have for using renewable energy in the future?
Use more85%
Use less7%
No change9%
Total votes3,264


Do you think the government should consider paying coal fired power stations to shut down?
Yes66%
No34%
Total votes3,250


Which power sources do you think will grow the most over the next few years?
Solar69%
Wind14%
Hydropower1%
Ocean power3%
Biodiesel1%
Geothermal3%
Ethanol1%
Nuclear8%
Total votes3,059


Do you think Australia should adopt nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels?
Yes22%
No78%
Total votes2,953


What do you think is the Australian power industry's most important challenge in the next decade?
Extract more fossil fuels4%
Find sustainable options29%
Improve renewable storage38%
Manage rising price costs7%
Ensure cheaper renewables22%
Total votes2,885


At home, do you use renewable energy as part of your supply?
No26%
Yes, a little32%
Yes, a lot36%
Don't know5%
Total votes2,837

 
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Profits first alliance

 
PMs Abbott and Harper: brothers in the tar pits of history
Abbott in Canadia
PM Abbott finds a friend
(PM Abbott called Canada Canadia; I don't think PM Harper really called Australia Austria.)
Image credit: David Pope and Canberra Times
In June 2014 Tony Abbott visited like minded PM Stephen Harper in Canada. The Abbott Government in Australia and the Harper Government in Canada are among the very few in the world that hold short-term profits for their supporters to be more important than the future of the planetary environment.

PM Abbott has proposed an 'alliance of like-minded nations' in an effort to keep the obscenely profitable fossil fuel industry alive and to slow the accelerating rise in clean renewable energy such as wind and solar.

In Australia much of the financial support for Abbott's Liberal Party comes from the coal industry while in Canada PM Harper's support comes from the highly polluting tar-sands and oil-shale mining businesses.

Both Abbott and Harper are strongly opposed to taking serious action on climate change because they see it as not good for the quest for ever more short-term profits.

 
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Don't mention climate change

NSW Fires of October 2013

 
PM Abbott doesn't understand science
Abbott's argument
Mr Abbott really should have a science minister, he needs someone to explain science to him.
Infographic from Where Is My Ostrich
PM Abbott continues to deny that climate change is a major factor in the changing weather and increasing fire danger in Australia.

From news.com.au,

"Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said the NSW bushfires were proof that the world "is already paying the price of carbon", and also criticised the government's direct action policy."
PM Abbott said that she was "talking through her hat"! He might as well have repeated his infamous statement, "Climate change is crap".

Mr Abbott is known for his Christian beliefs. I would remind him of Matthew 7:5: "You hypocrite! Remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

I don't believe that this man can be as stupid as he pretends to be, but still, it is a huge embarrassment to have a man seeming to be this stupid as Prime Minister of Australia.

 
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Typhoon Haiyan November 2013

 
Damage from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
Damage from Typhoon Haiyan
PM Abbott would rather sell more coal than worry about typhoons
ABC news reported "maximum sustained winds of about 315 kilometres an hour" in the Philippines (2013/11/09). There were reports that this may be the biggest and most powerful huricane/typhoon on record.

How long will it be before Tony Abbott tells us that it has absolutely nothing to do with climate change?

The Philippines delegate to the United Nations Climate Summit seems to see a connection (as would any honest and well informed person).



Naderev Sano on Super Typhoon Haiyan

 
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Philippine Climate Change Commissioner and lead climate negotiator Naderev "Yeb" Sano delivered some potent remarks during the opening session of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, saying:
"With an apparent cruel twist of fate, my country is being tested by this hellstorm called Super Typhoon Haiyan".

"It was so strong that if there was a Category 6, it would have fallen squarely in that box ... To anyone outside who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare them, I dare them to get off their ivory towers and away from the comfort of their armchairs. I dare them to go to the islands of the Pacific, the Caribbean, the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling sea ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannahs of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water become scarce."
The above was extracted from an article in RenewEconomy.





Judge Michael Finnane at Kiribati

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 2013/11/13:
"[Judge Finnane] is on the island with Sydney judge John O'Meally, who served on the bench for 27 years. The two met the island's President, Anote Tong.

Judge Finnane said: "If [Mr Abbott] came here and saw the things over here that I have seen, I think he would have a different view. If he looked at them and didn't walk around with shut eyes he would see there is something very significant happening here. "When you talk to people like President Tong and all his advisers you realise that they have very strong views and they base their views on the science of it. And they are affected, they definitely are affected, in a way that makes it an urgent matter and that something must be done."

Judge Finnane said the Prime Minister's plan to abolish the Climate Change Authority and the axing of CSIRO jobs came as no surprise because he had said it was part of his policy.

"I think it is taking a position without any regard to the evidence, which I think is very sad, and in time he may come to regret that," he said.

 
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Who needs science?

 
Abbott's war
After announcing his cabinet, PM Abbott was asked about the absence of a science portfolio: "Ah, um...science? As in CSIRO? That's part of industry". This must have been insulting to all the scientists in the country. (News, December 2014: PM Abbott adds Science to Industry Minister Macfarlane's Industry portfolio title. Lip-service to reduce the criticism?)

If there is no Science Minister, does Mr Abbott think that he can more easily ignore climate science?

Maurice Newman has been employed as Chair of PM Tony Abbott's Business Advisory Council. He is already on record as stating nine fallacies on wind power in one sentence, recently he was quoted as saying:

"The CSIRO, for example, has 27 scientists dedicated to climate change. It and the weather bureau continue to propagate the myth of anthropological climate change and are likely to be background critics of the Coalition's Direct Action policies."
RenewEconomy, 2013/09/17. The article went on:
"Newman said money spent on pursuing the myths of climate change and global action was wasted"
This strongly suggests that he does not believe that anthropogenic climate change is a fact. Is it likely that Mr Abbott would put Mr Newman in as Chair of his Business Advisory Council, knowing him to be a climate skeptic, if Mr Abbott himself takes climate change seriously?
 
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Health

Health and coal

 

What about a study into coal and health problems?

There is a huge amount of evidence that coal is killing people yet the Abbott government keeps on trying to link wind turbines with ill-health. Why not a study into how many Australians are dying due to air pollution from the burning of coal?
A quote from PM Tony Abbott on 2014/05/28:
"It's particularly important that we do not demonise the coal industry and if there was one fundamental problem, above all else, with the carbon tax was that it said to our people, it said to the wider world, that a commodity which in many years is our biggest single export, somehow should be left in the ground and not sold. Well really and truly, I can think of few things more damaging to our future."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report very recently indicating that air pollution kills around seven million people each year. The pollution from the burning of coal a very large part of that. It can conservatively be calculated that Australia's coal exports are responsible for more than a hundred thousand deaths each year.

Yet Mr Abbott says we should not demonise coal! There's money in it!

One of PM Abbott's more infamous statements has been "Coal is good for humanity".



Health and wind turbines

 

February 2014 – NHMRC release new study

The National Health and Medical Research Council released a new draft report in February 2014 stating that "There is no reliable or consistent evidence that wind farms directly cause adverse health effects in humans."

The NHRMC released another report in February 2015 with the same conclusion.

In a piece published in RenewEconomy 2014/01/13, Simon Chapman wrote:
"On January 10 Prime Minister Tony Abbott signaled that it might be timely for the National Health and Medical Research Council to review the evidence on wind farms and health saying 'it is some years since the NHMRC last looked at this issue: why not do it again?' He appears to be poorly informed. The NHMRC reviewed the evidence in 2010, and has been re-reviewing it again since 2012, with the release of a public discussion document imminent."
This shows that, in his rush to oppose anything renewable, PM Abbott is willing to spend tax-payer's money on more investigation of a point that has been settled for years. There is no sound evidence at all that wind turbines cause illness and much evidence that they save lives by displacing coal-fired power.

There have been at least 20 reviews of the research literature that have concluded that there is no reason to believe that wind turbines have any adverse health impacts.

On the other hand coal's health impacts are well known, but while studies of the impact of coal on people's health in places like the Hunter Valley are desperately needed, there is no indication that the Abbott Government will fund any.



Health ratings of foods

The Abbott Government placed a food health rating system on a Net site and then removed it a day later. (See the story in detail on the ABC Net site.)

It seems that the government were more interested in looking after the interests of the big companies that are selling Australians unhealthy food than in informing us about how unhealty those foods are.

 
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Actions of the Abbott Government

Just plain stupid?

At the end of April 2014 the Abbott Government is talking about having an unacceptable budget deficit. In order to reduce the deficit the PM is considering bringing in a new tax (thus breaking a promise to not do so). So far it at least makes sense, but then comes the stupid part.

 
Sydney Morning Herald poll result
SMH poll

  • At the same time he is still determined (or so he says) to abolish the carbon tax (increasing the deficit);
  • And he wants to bring in his Direct Action Plan, which no one believes will work and will cost $1.55b or more (increasing the deficit);
  • And he has announced that he will buy 58 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, that we don't need, there being no apparent threat to Australia, at a cost of $12 billion (increasing the deficit).
Where is the logic in all this? Especially when independent authorities tell us that the carbon tax is serving its purpose and reducing emissions, while only marginally increasing energy prices; and no economist will support Direct Action?





Removing support for climate action

 
Abbott and greenies
 

Other environmental cuts

The Abbott Government also cut funding for the Environmental Defenders Office's in the states.
Most of the list below was extracted from an article written by Luke Menzies and published on The Conversation 'the first 90 days':
  • Abolition of the Climate Commission;
  • Stripping back the previous Department of Climate Change;
  • Cut the budget of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency;
  • Started proceeding to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation;
  • Announced a review of the Renewable Energy Target;
  • Stripped $349m from the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagship program;
  • Stripped $42m from the National Low Emissions Coal Initiative;
  • Suspended the National CO2 Infrastructure Plan;
  • Announced intention of abolishing the Climate Change Authority;
  • Downgraded representation at the annual UN climate change talks in Warsaw.
Very quickly once in power PM Abbott abolished the Climate Commission and has started work on scrapping the Climate Change Authority. But while he has attempted to shut down the Clean Energy Finance Corporation it turns out that this cannot be done without an act of Parliament.

In mid December 2014 PM Abbott was dishonestly blaming renewables for the high price of electricity. This is nothing new for the Liberals.

 
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ABC budget cut

Immediately before the Abbott government was elected Tony Abbott promised that he would not reduce the funding of the ABC. In November 2014, about a year after the election, the Abbott Government substantially cut the ABC's budget.

Following this, Abbott's Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, said that planned cuts to programming by the ABC were some sort of ABC plot and not the fault of the government.

Liberals call on Orwell for help

2014/11/21; In a remarkable piece of Orwellian double-think Finance Minister Mathias Corman claimed that the $254 million to be taken from the ABC's budget over the next five years was not a budget cut but rather an efficiency dividend! This being so, PM Abbott had not really broken his promise at all.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull also got himself in a twist while trying vainly to support his boss. He argued that Abbott had promised not to cut the ABC budget in one interview the night before the election but he, Turnbull, and Joe Hockey had a number of times made clear the broadcasters couldn't be exempt from general budgetary cuts. So, again, according to the Orwellian logic of Mr Turnbull, we are not really to believe that this was a broken promise.

Mr Turnbull went on:

"I've defended the Prime Minister on this today... I think you've got to take his comments, which – look, I mean, what he said, he said, and, you know, it's there, it's on the record. But you've got to take that in the context. And I can only assume that what Mr Abbott was referring to or was thinking about, anyway, was the proposition that there would be cuts in – with the intent of reducing ABC services and we've ruled that out."
(Thanks to Michelle Grattan and The Conversation.)

It must be very difficult for Mr Turnbull to try to justify PM Abbott's support for the coal industry and refusal to take climate change seriously. Turnbull himself, when leading the Liberals, wanted to take climate change action. It seems that everyone in the federal parliamentary Liberal Party has to ignore his ethical principles for the sake of loyalty to the Party.

 
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Tomlin's visionary hydro scheme:
The Abbott Government will see that it is not repeated

 
A small part of the Tomlin's hydro scheme
Tomlin's hydro
Photo credit ABC Landline
Run-of-the-river hydro systems are about as environmentally friendly as any hydro-power scheme can be. They usually involve only a very small weir where the water is taken from a stream, a pipeline and a power station at a lower level on the same stream. The water is taken from the stream, generates power, and goes back into the same stream.

Nigel Tomlin his and son, Josh, who are farmers in southern Tasmania, are working on a visionary 2 GWh/year hydro scheme. They have already built a 100 MWh/year run-of-the-river hydro scheme on the Jones River near Ellendale, they know what they are doing.

Like so many Australian farmers, they have found that they have to work outside their farm to get a viable living. Nigel supplemented the farm's income by working 25 years in the hydro-electric industry.

They are now about 30 months into the bigger scheme, which is on the Humboldt River near the small town of Maydena, 60km WNW of Hobart, on the Gordon River road. Josh tells me that they expect to have it completed by June – in time to take full advantage of the winter's run-off to generate clean-green power. Josh says that it will generate power about eleven months of each year and will be on full power about six months.

The scheme will maintain an environmental flow all the time and there will be periodic shut-downs "during high flow events to ensure flooding influences on habitat are maintained".

The Labor Federal Government gave a $700 000 clean energy grant for the Tomlin's project. The Abbott Liberal government has cut the clean energy grant scheme, so there probably will not be any more schemes like the Humboldt River one while the present government is in power.

Unfortunately the wholesale price of electricity has fallen from around $60/MWh to closer to $40 during the planning and construction period and the price of the Large Scale Renewable Energy Certificates that the scheme will generate is also low. The Tomlins mortgaged their farm to build the project.

When completed the electricity generated by the Tomlin's hydro scheme could displace an equal amount of power currently generated by coal in Victoria and save up to two thousand tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere each year. Our government should be giving all the support possible to such innovative schemes.

The ABC's Landline produced a story on the Tomlin's visionary project. Also see RiverPower, Josh Tomlin's Net site.

 
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This section added 2013/09/24

Citizens' actions in response

One of the earliest acts of the Abbott Government was to decide to reduce the amount of information being given to Australians about refugee boat arrivals (apparently because they don't want Australians to know about how many boats are arriving after they promised to 'stop the boats'). In response, some of the people of Christmas Island, where most refugee boats go, said that they would take it upon themselves to announce boat arrivals.

As mentioned above, the Abbott Government abolished the Climate Commission (apparently because they didn't want Australians to know the facts about climate change). On 2013/09/23 it was announced that an independent non-profit organisation would take over the work of the Climate Commission and be named the Climate Council. The members of the old Climate Commission will volunteer their time while the Climate Council gets up and running.

These are promising developments. PM Abbott is trying to hide the truth from Australians and Australian citizens are volunteering to keep the information flowing.

 
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The Abbott Government wants no action on climate change

The Abbott Government is making Australia an international object of disgust with its support of fossil fuels at the cost of climate change.

Royal Dutch Shell self imposes a carbon price

Climate Progress reported on 2013/11/21 that Shell Oil "includes a high price for carbon dioxide when evaluating new projects. The $40 a metric ton price that Shell uses would &8211; if widely adopted – reshape domestic and international energy consumption and investment trends."

So while the Abbott Government is doing its best to ignore climate change and protect the polluting fossil fuel industries Shell Oil has recognised the need to reduce carbon emissions. From Shell:

"Without clear measures to promote investment in more efficient and low-carbon technologies, [the world] risks setting itself on a course to potentially catastrophic climate change. At Shell we advocate publicly and to governments that a strong and stable price on CO2 emissions will help drive the right investments in low-carbon technologies. But we are not waiting for government policy to develop. We consider the potential cost of a project's CO2 emissions, which we set at $40 a tonne, in all our major investment decisions."
This means that Shell will, in future, avoid investments in fossil fuels and move toward environmental sustainability instead; a more forward thinking stratigy than that of the Abbott Government.

 
Leunig on Abbott's climate change stance
Leunig on Abbott

Abbott Government snubs the UN Convection on Climate Change

On 2013/11/08 The Conversation published the following:
"This week, the Australian Government announced that it would not send a minister to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Poland for the first time since 1997."
Yet another indication that the Abbott Government is supporting the fossil fuel industry and ignoring climate change for the sake of quick profits at the expense of the long-term needs of the planet.


Climate change and animal rights

As I write this section, in November 2013, the Abbott Government is doing its best to dismantle the structures, modest though they were, that the previous Labor governments put in place to achieve some action to slow climate change.

I ask the reader to think, when next he or she sees a bird, what choices does that bird have in whether something is done to slow the climate change that will severely affect that bird's habitat? Is it to the bird's advantage that Australia continues making lots of money by mining and selling coal? Or would the bird's prospects be more advantaged by Australia reducing its greenhouse emissions?

And then think that the same question could be asked in relation to all of the creatures on this planet.

What right do we humans have to damage the habitats of all the animals on the planet simply for our own short-term advantage?

We can carry that question even further. Is it really to the advantage of most Australian's that we take no, or very little, action on climate change, or is it just to the short-term advantage of a few wealthy people and the politicians who pander to them?

 
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PM Abbott and Indonesia

Turning the boats around

PM Abbott's policy of "turning the boats around" was always incredibly stupid and doomed to failure. It would probably be legal for the Australian navy to forcibly board boats in Australian territorial waters and force whoever was in control to turn around. To do so in international waters, or in Indonesian waters, would be an act of piracy.

So what would happen when the navy boarded in Australian waters and forced the boat to move out of Australian waters? How could they legally compel those in control of the boat to continue back all the way to Indonesia? Once naval personnel left the boat, whether in international waters or Indonesian waters, how could they stop whoever was in control of the boat turning around and attempting to come back to Australia? (If it had insufficient fuel and ran out of fuel on the ocean, wouldn't the Australian navy have to accept at least some responsibility for that?) How could they compel the Indonesians to accept the boat back?



Buying the boats that might be used by 'people smugglers'

How stupid is this policy? Indonesia is a nation of islands; according to Wikipedia there are some 18 307 island in the Indonesian archipelago. In 2012 there were a quarter of a billion people in Indonesia.

With more than 18 000 islands and a quarter of a billion people how many boats would there be in Indonesia that might be used by desperate people to get to Australia? If PM Abbott tried to buy them all the greatest effects he would have would be to cost the Australian taxpayers a fortune in buying hundreds or thousands of boats, to produce the problem of disposing of these at Australia's expense, and to cause a boom in the boat-building industry in Indonesia.



Spying on President Yudhoyono

While PM Abbott is heavily relying on Indonesia's President Yudhoyono's cooperation in his efforts to stop refugees coming to Australia he has shown a remarkable degree of ineptitude in his efforts, if indeed he is making efforts, to keep President Yudhoyono on side.
 
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East Timor

Then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, cheated the East Timorese out of their fair share of the oil and gas resources of the Timor Sea back in 2002.

Now it turns out that our government set up spying equipment while 'generously' doing some building work for the new East Timorese Government a little earlier. It seems that they then used that equipment to good advantage when the sharing of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea was being decided.

It also seems that the huge petroleum company Woodside was a major winner out of the agreement that Australia managed. Alexander Downer later left politics and got himself a lucrative job as advisor to Woodside; draw whatever conclusion you like from that.

Most recently, Australia's spy agency ASIO has raided the home of a key witness about the spying allegations. The Attorney General under the Abbott Government, George Brandis, said that this was justified on the "grounds of national security"! Is he implying that tiny East Timor, one of the poorest countries in the world, is a security threat to Australia?

Surely this is a case of ASIO being used to undermine East Timor's attempt to finally get justice over the resources in the Timor Sea.

For more information see The Guardian.

 
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Updated 2015/05/30

Whipping a dead horse

PM Abbott and the COALition has turned its back on renewables – the way of the future – and is doing all it can to support the dying coal industry.

 

Tribal Wisdom

The tribal wisdom of the Plains Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that: "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount." The Abbott Government has more advanced strategies, such as:
  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.
  5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
  6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living impaired.
  7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
  8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
  9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.
  10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
  11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
  12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
    And, of course ...
  13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
 
Wind generation overtakes nuclear in China
Nuclear and wind in China
Wind is overtaking nuclear, next to go under will be coal and the fossils who support it.
Graph credit Earth Policy Institute
For the first time ever, in 2011 investment in renewables for power generation world-wide exceeded that in fossil fuel generation. The trend continued in 2012 and there is every reason to think that the relative decline if fossil fuel power generation will be permanent.

The Abbott Government is committing Australia to an attempt to prop up the failing and polluting technology of the past and actively downgrading support for the renewables that are the way of the future; while the rest of the world moves on.

Abbott government to throw away five billion dollars of taxpayer's money on unviable coal schemes

In mid May 2015 the Abbott government announced that it would set up a fund of $5b of taxpayer's money to support unviable coal projects! Quoting from Lisa Cox writing in the Sydney Morning Herald:
"Coal projects in the Galilee Basin and on the door step of the Great Barrier Reef could receive government financing under a $5 billion loan scheme in the federal budget. But companies would have to demonstrate their projects would not be commercially viable without government funding to be eligible, the Abbott government has said."
All Australians should be asking, if these projects are not financially viable, when we know that they are environmentally disastrous, why is taxpayer's money being thrown away on them?

Jeremy Grantham – coal a stranded asset

Billionaire Jeremy Grantham wrote a GMO Quarterly Letter, February 2014, in which he said:
"... I have felt for some time that new investments today in coal and tar sands are highly likely to become stranded assets, and everything I have seen, in the last year particularly, increases my confidence."
He noted that the Chinese had just increased their solar power target for 2015 by 60%.

Yet our Liberal Government is betting God knows how much of Australian taxpayers' money that coal is still going to be a winner!

China will have to reduce its coal consumption – and imports

The Disaffected Lib reported on 2014/02/25 that:
"Smog in China has become so severe that it's interfering with photosynthesis. Chinese scientists report that China's smog-clogged atmosphere has taken on aspects of 'nuclear winter' and could wreak havoc on the country's already stressed food supply."

and

"Early this month the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences claimed in a report that Beijing's pollution made the city almost 'uninhabitable for human beings'."
Plainly pressure is growing in China to reduce the pollution from burning coal (and other fossil fuels).

While Australia's Abbott Government is increasing its support for coal in hopes of exporting more and more, the rest of the world is seeing that the end of coal burning is inevitable if we are not to destroy our environment.

China backs renewables

While the Abbott government is backing the nineteenth century fossil fuels industry China is going flat-out into twenty-first century renewables. For example, RenewEconomy reported on 2014/02/27 that when you look at the combined capacity of solar water heating and photovoltaics China has about 20GW more installed capacity than the rest of the world combined.

German fossil fuel energy company makes 2.8b euros loss

This sort of story is becoming more and more common. Der Spiegel, 2014/02/28, reported that RWE (Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk: rough translation Rhenish-Westphalian Electricity Plant), which is predominantly involved in coal and gas and generates 150 million MWh of electricity in Germany alone each year, made a loss of 2.8 billion euros in 2013. The loss has been ascribed to oversupply of electricity and competition from renewables.
 
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Updated 2014/01/09

Environment Minister

Greg Hunt is Environment Minister in the Abbott Government; a bit like being Minister for Peace in Gengis Khan's government I would think.

Compromising the Renewable Energy Target

 

Obvious bias

The RET Review Panel has appointed ACIL Allen as chief advisor and modeller. Giles Parkinson says that ACIL Allen is "a consultancy seen as close to the fossil fuel industry, and whose highly contested research formed the basis of the coal industry's attempts to dismantle the RET in 2012."

See RenewEconomy, 2014/04/24.

On 2014/01/08 The Guardian printed an article written by Lenore Taylor which included the following:
"The environment minister, Greg Hunt, has canvassed compromise options with industry including changing the existing target that 20% of energy come from renewable sources by 2020, to one requiring 25% from renewable sources by 2025."
No surprise here, I have been suggesting that this would be a likely move from the Abbott Government for a year or so. By putting back the date the Government will be able to ensure that there is as little action on climate change as possible in the current term of government; they will 'plan' to make most of the action in the last five years or so of the period.

Patrick Gibbons, advisor against renewables

It seems that Greg Hunt is getting well into the feel of the job; he's appointed a new adviser, Patrick Gibbons. Gibbons has a long history with efforts to discourage and dismantle policies supportive of renewable energy, energy-efficiency and carbon pollution reduction more generally.

See Business Spectator, 2013/12/05.

Quoting from Business Spectator...

"Gibbons had been the Victorian premier's energy adviser over a period in which the Victorian government undertook a range of counterproductive measures for emissions reductions. Top of mind for the renewables sector will be the imposition of onerous 2km setback conditions on wind farms. But he was also involved in a concerted campaign of misinformation surrounding the pricing of carbon pollution to scare the electorate – a campaign that reached ridiculous proportions."

Climate science denier Dick Warburton to head RET inquiry

 
Is it caused by Man?
Graphic credit: The Berkeley Blog
This graph shows, in direct contradiction of Mr Warburton's claim, that the vast majority of climate and earth scientists accept that global warming is largely caused by Mankind.
What else would you expect from the Abbott Government?
"The Australian government has nailed its colours to the mast on the issue of renewable energy by choosing manufacturing chief and climate change denier Dick Warburton to head its review into the renewable energy target."
See RenewEconomy, 2014/02/17.

Mr Warburton was on ABC radio on 2014/02/18. He claimed he was not a climate change denier; said that he doesn't deny that the climate is changing, but he is skeptical about whether the main cause is due to the gasses that humanity is puting into the atmosphere. In this, of course, he is at odds with the vast majority of the world's climate scientists, so he probably would more accurately be called a climate science denier rather than a climate change denier.

He was on ABC radio again on 2014/02/23. He claimed that the question of whether carbon dioxide levels were or were not the main driver for the present climate change was scientifically unsettled. In this he is markedly at odds with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the great majority of climate scientists.

For more of Mr Warburton's misleading propaganda, this time denigrating renewable energy as not a viable alternative to coal and gas, see RenewEconomy, 2014/04/09.

 
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Scientific ignorance and climate change denialism

The Abbott Government and the Liberal politicians of the 2013 Parliament must be the most scientifically ignorant of any First World nation, if not of any nation at all.

In the Senate debate on the repeal of the Carbon Tax, 2013/12/09, Senator Ian Macdonald has compared climate change with Y2K. Quoting from an article in the Daily Telegraph:

Liberal senator Ian Macdonald has railed against the carbon tax and the stated threats of climate change, comparing it with the dire Y2K warnings before 2000. "I'm sure in years to come people will look back on history and say, yep, remember global warming ... we're still going," he told the chamber on Monday.
This is ignorance and denialism on a par with that of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki who denied that AIDS was caused by the HIV virus and consequentially may well have been responsible for 300 000 deaths.

In addition to this, and as mentioned elsewhere on this page, we have Tony Abbott denying any link between increasing bushfire risk and climate change and accusing Chritiana Figueres of "talking through her hat" when she mentioned that there was a link.

The Conversation on the Abbott Government's firs 90 days

Luke Menzies wrote a page for The Conversation titled 'Climate and science policy: the Coalition's first 90 days'. It shows how the Abbott Government is continuing to war against any actions on climate change.
 
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Financial planners

Up until a few years ago financial planners in Australia, in general, had a very poor reputation. They worked to generate as much income for themselves as they could, rather than maximising the income of the clients who paid for their services. In effect, the clients paid twice; they paid the fees charged by the planners, and they lost potential income by indirectly paying for the kickbacks and commissions that the financial planners received from the complicit investment organisations.

The previous Labor government brought in legislation that outlawed kickbacks and commissions to financial planners and made the planners "place clients interests ahead of their own". (See an article by Peter Martin written at the time.)

The Abbott Government intended to change this (March 2014), but the Senate would not allow them to do it (November 2014).

 
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Referendum on the Carbon Tax

In a statement Christopher Pyne (Mr Abbott's Minister for Education and Leader of the House) directly implied that he could not conceive of any reason other than the abolition of the carbon tax that could make anyone vote for the Liberals. He said that "Nobody could doubt that the 2013 election was a referendum on the Carbon Tax".

This plainly shows that, in his opinion, the election was a one-issue election and, again in his opinion, the only reason people voted for the Liberals would have been to get rid of the carbon tax.

While I don't accept his view as correct, I find it interesting and revealing that he may believe it.

 
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Secrecy backfires on Government

On 2014/01/22 it was reported that refugees who had been forced to return to Indonesia alleged that they had been beaten and burned by Australian sailors. The burns and other injuries were confirmed by Indonesian police.

Was there improper action from Australian sailors or not? The official word is that there was not; but they would say that wouldn't they?

So long as the Government insists on secrecy the Australian people will not know the truth.

 
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Detention gag orders make it impossible for doctors to do their job

Louise Newman wrote a piece for The Conversation on 2015/06/09. I quote Ms Newman:
"From July, doctors will no longer be able to fulfil their ethical and professional obligations to report mistreatment of detainees. Under new legislation, passed last month with the support of both major parties, health professionals may be sentenced to two years in jail for the unauthorised disclosure of information about conditions in detention centres."

"Doctors have long held concerns about the capacity of the immigration system to provide adequate health care – and about the health impact of prolonged detention itself. So health workers find themselves questioning the morality of a policy that in many ways can be seen as directly causing the health problems they are asked to treat."
Why do both the big political parties collude in the unethical and secret mistreatment of refugees?
 
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What is more important to our future?

A quote from PM Tony Abbott on 2014/05/28:
"It's particularly important that we do not demonise the coal industry and if there was one fundamental problem, above all else, with the carbon tax was that it said to our people, it said to the wider world, that a commodity which in many years is our biggest single export, somehow should be left in the ground and not sold. Well really and truly, I can think of few things more damaging to our future."
Perhaps climate change and ocean acidification will be more damaging to our future Mr Abbott? Perhaps the future of the planet is more important than your precious coal industry?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report very recently indicating that air pollution kills around seven million people each year. The pollution from the burning of coal a very large part of that. It can conservatively be calculated that Australia's coal exports are responsible for more than a hundred thousand deaths each year.

In Australia alone, 27 519 healthy years of life are lost every year from exposure to air pollution of which burning coal is one of the main sources (Environment Justice Australia; Cleaning the Air report).

How can a man who claims to be a Christian, with Christian values, support this terribly destructive industry when its only strong point is the money in it?

 
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PM Abbott was named as one of the five biggest clean energy turkeys of 2014

In late November 2014 Green Tech Media gave our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, this distinction. The following is quoted from Green Tech Media:
Since taking office, Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott has worked to dismantle every policy designed to confront climate change in his country. Alarmed by the government's actions to kill a carbon tax, water down renewable energy targets and boost subsidies to coal, fellow conservatives have called Abbott's actions "baffling" and labeled him a "flat-earther."

"The future for coal is bright, and it is the responsibility [of] government to try to ensure that we are there making it easier for everyone wanting to have a go," said Abbott recently, explaining his desire to subsidize coal export projects and boost the industry.

According to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Abbott has blamed renewable energy targets and the country's former carbon tax on high power prices in the country. However, the government has admitted that renewables only make up 5 percent of consumers' bills and the repealed carbon tax only made up 9 percent – while 51 percent goes to network charges due to an overbuild of electricity infrastructure.
Note that this doesn't even include PM Abbott's statement: "Coal is good for humanity".
 
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Abbott on wind power

 

Benign wind power or killer coal?

We know that the mining and burning of coal kills millions of people each year by the air pollution it creates, we know it is one of the main causes of climate change, we know it is one of the main causes of ocean acidification, but our PM says that "coal is good for humanity", does his best to minimise the development of renewable energy in Australia and throws billions of dollars of taxpayer's money at the dying coal industry.
In a June 2015 interview with radio shock-jock Alan Jones (a long-time wind power opponent) reported by Lenore Taylor in The Guardian, PM Abbott called wind turbines "visually awful" and said that they have "potential health impacts". He went on to say:
"What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things that we are going to get in the future ... I frankly would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more but we got the best deal we could out of the Senate and if we hadn't had a deal, Alan, we would have been stuck with even more of these things ..."

"What we are managing to do through this admittedly imperfect deal with the Senate is to reduce the growth rate of this particular sector as much as the current Senate would allow us to do."
And from the Sydney Morning Herald; Mr Abbott has only been close to one wind turbine:
"Well, I was on Rottnest Island a few years ago and I cycled around the island most mornings and my path took me almost directly under the big wind turbine which has been on Rottnest Island for some time."
and
 
Why not an inquiry into the health impacts of the Australian coal industry? There is ample evidence for that being a killer.
"It's right and proper that we are having an inquiry into the health impacts of these things and, frankly, it's right and proper that we have reduced the renewable energy target because as things stood, there was going to be an explosion of these things right around our country."
Shane Wright in the West Australian newspaper commented on PM Abbott's hatred of wind power and his opinion of the Rottnest turbine in particular. Quoting from the article:
"It [the wind turbine] saves shipping about 430,000 litres of diesel a year to the island and reduces greenhouse gases by about 1100 tonnes a year."

"The Rottnest Island Authority said there were no records of complaints about its noise or appearance."
One has to ask, is our Prime Minister mad, stupid, or simply corrupt? Surely one or some combination must apply?
 
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Tony, God and climate change

How does Mr Abbott justify not wanting action on climate change? (I cannot believe that he is stupid enough to believe that climate change is not happening or is not caused by Man.) He has three young daughters; he must care about the future that they will be living through, even if he doesn't care about all the other people of future generations.

He is not only causing Australia to move slowly in reducing greenhouse emissions, he is doing all he can to maximise coal mining – and therefore world-wide emissions – for as long as possible. How does he square this with his Christian faith?

I have written a short page on this subject.

Christians try to give PM Abbott solar power

First 142 Christians tried to donate a 12 panel solar power system for Kirribilli House. The offer was refused because of "concerns about Kirribilli House's heritage listing and the cost of cleaning the solar panels." (Of course they don't need to be cleaned at all.) Later a group of 1000 Christians urge the PM to accept the gift. The offer was refused again with no justification given.

On top of his obvious bias toward the coal that is poisoning our atmosphere this shows that the Australian PM is actively opposed to renewable energy to the point of obsession.

Just by the way, this reminds me of US (Democrat and environmentally minded) President Jimmy Carter putting a solar water heater on the White House and then (Republican) Ronald Reagan removing it when he came to power.






Climate change a joke?

 
Abbott and Dutton
At a meeting about the implications of climate change and rising sea levels in the Pacific Australia's Imigration Minister Peter Dutton joked about rising sea levels lapping around the doors of Pacific islanders. Prime Minister Abbott laughed at the joke.

This was quite disgusting and shameful to all Australians.

More information on the ABC.






Links

Sydney Morning Herald piece by Peter Martin, Is direct action on carbon no action?

Climate Code Red: As Tony Abbott launches all-out war on climate action, what's the plan?

"The shocking truth about British Columbia's carbon tax: it works"; The Globe and Mail, Canada.

 
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Index

80% of coal must remain in the ground if we are to limit climate change
Abbott on wind power
ABC budget cut
Actions of the Abbott Government
Another empty promise
Bad start to 2015 for the Abbott Government
British Conservatives call PM Abbott a flat-earther
Buying boats
Carbon tax
China will reduce coal imports
Christians try to give PM Abbott solar power
Citizens' actions in response
Climate change
Climate change a joke?
Climate change and animal rights
Climate change denialism
Climate science denier Dick Warburton to head RET inquiry
'Direct Action Plan'
Detention gag orders make it impossible for doctors to do their job
Don't mention climate change
East Timor
Environment Minister
Ethics
Financial planners
German fossil fuel energy company makes 2.8b euros loss
Gibbons, Patrick; advisor against renewables
Health
Health and wind turbines
Health ratings of foods
Judge Michael Finnane at Kiribati
Just plain stupid?
Liberal voters want renewables
Links
Lomborg (climate skeptic) funded
Naderev Sano on Super Typhoon Haiyan
Newcastle council divests
No action on climate change
Not enough money in the budget for defense force salaries
NSW Fires of October 2013
Out of touch
PM Abbott and Indonesia
Powering Australia: a poll in The Australian
PM Abbott named one of the world's five biggest clean energy turkeys, 2014
Profits first alliance
Pyne perplexed
Referendum on the Carbon Tax
Removing support for climate action
Renewable energy lies
Renewable Energy Target
Renewable Energy Target (RET)
Scientific ignorance
Secrecy backfires on Government
Shell self imposes a carbon price
Snub the UN Convection on CC
Spying on President Yudhoyono
Support for unviable coal projects
Tomlin's visionary hydro scheme
Tony, God and climate change
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Turning the boats around
Typhoon Haiyan November 2013
Warburton, climate science denier, to head RET inquiry
What is more important to our future?
Whipping a dead horse
Who needs science?
Why accept that humanity is causing climate change?
Worst-performing industrial country
Wrong power stations shutting down
WWF survey showed how out of touch Abbott Government is


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