October 31, 2011

2010 11 29 - COP16/CMP6 at Cancun



Australia‘s fair share

550 ppm C02-eq

Australian policies to reduce carbon emissions

Would you like to know more?


16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
6th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
29 November to 10 December 2010.

  • Climate Change Review — Update 2011, 31 May 2011.
    Ross Garnaut.

    Pledging the future

    To date, 89 developed and developing countries, representing more than 80% of global emissions and about 90% of the global economy, have pledged large cuts and actions under the Cancun Agreements.
    The pledged target ranges for the United States, the European Union and Japan all correspond to entitlements for a global agreement between 450 ppm and 550 ppm …
    (p 3)

    The targets pledged by Canada and Russia, by contrast, are less ambitious than suggested for a 550 ppm global agreement.

    [On] average, developed countries‘ pledged 2020 targets are somewhat less ambitious than are needed under a 550 ppm scenario. …
    (p 4)

    In May 2011, the UK government announced new emissions reduction targets — 50% from 1990 levels by 2025 — that are binding under domestic law.

    A number of major developing countries have pledged reductions relative to a business-as-usual scenario (including China, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and the Republic of Korea). …
    These, too, are as ambitious—or more ambitious—than were called for under the modified contraction and convergence framework developed and proposed in the 2008 Review.

    Australia‘s fair share

    The Australian Government and Opposition accepted the 2008 Review‘s proposal that Australia should reduce emissions by 5% in 2020 from 2000 levels whatever the rest of the world was doing as our contribution to keeping hopes for a strong international agreement alive. …
    Australia should offer to reduce 2020 emissions by 25% from 2000 levels in the context of a strong international agreement focused on holding concentrations at 450 ppm or the temperature increase to 2°C.
    If the world had reached effective agreement on emissions reductions that would lead to concentrations of 550 ppm, our fair share would, in my judgment, be 10%.
    Given our starting point, the realistic ambition is to catch up with our fair share, rather than to be a leader.
    (p 5)

    Choosing the future

    If we are clever, we can apply mitigation policies that have relatively little effect on the rise in living standards in the years immediately ahead. …

    Australians in future will have to manage the world as they find it.
    We may be leaving them with a difficult task.
    We should seek to avoid leaving them with an impossible one. …
    Once we put the carbon pricing incentives in place, millions of Australians will set to work finding cheaper ways of meeting their requirements and servicing markets. We don‘t know in advance what the successful ideas will be, but I‘m pretty sure that there will be extraordinary developments in technology.
    That will lower the costs of our transition to a low-carbon economy. …

    If we didn‘t do much [it] would be contrary to our national interest because
    1. it would make a strong global mitigation outcome less likely [and]
    2. because it would lead to our political and economic isolation and eventually to action being taken against us in international trade and other areas of international cooperation.

    [If] we sought to do our fair share through direct action [we would be relying] on the ideas of a small number of politicians and their advisers and confidants.
    While some of these ideas might be brilliant, in sum they would not be as creative or productive as millions of Australian minds responding to the incentives provided by carbon pricing and a competitive marketplace. …
    (p 12, italics added)

  • Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, IPCC, adopted section by section at IPCC Plenary XXVII, Valencia, 12-17 November 2007.

    550 ppm C02-eq is falls within the Category III family of post-TAR (Third Assessment Report) projected stabilization scenarios.
    Based on current commitments it is likely that this will be exceeded.
    118 Category IV scenarios (590 — 710 ppm) project the following range of temperature and sea level outcomes [adapted from Table 5.1, p 67]:

    Global average temperature increase above pre-industrial at equilibrium, using ‘best estimate’ climate sensitivity 3.2 — 4.0 °C
    Global average sea level rise above pre-industrial at equilibrium (from thermal expansion only) 0.6 — 2.4 m

    There is high confidence (8 out of 10) that temperature and sea level changes of this magnitude will have the following impacts [adapted from Figure 3.6, p 51]:
    • Increased water availability in moist tropics and high latitudes
    • Decreasing water availability and increasing drought in mid-latitudes and semi-arid low latitudes
    • Hundreds of millions of people exposed to increased water stress

    • Up to 40% of species at increasing risk of extinction
    • Widespread coral mortality
    • Terrestrial biosphere tends toward a net carbon source as ~20% of ecosystems affected
    • Increasing species range shifts and wildfire risk
    • Ecosystem changes due to weakening of the meridional overturning circulation

    • Complex, localised negative impacts on small holders, subsistence farmers and fishers
    • Tendencies for cereal productivity to [progressively] decrease in low latitudes
    • [Initial tendencies] for some cereal productivity to increase at mid- to high-latitudes [progressing to] decrease in some regions

    • Increased damage from floods and storms
    • About 30% of global coastal wetlands lost
    • Millions more people could experience coastal flooding each year

    • Increasing burden from malnutrition, diarrhoeal, cardio-respiratory and infectious diseases
    • Increased morbidity and mortality from heat waves, floods and droughts
    • Changed distribution of some disease vectors
    • Substantial burden on health services

  • Learning the hard way: Australian policies to reduce carbon emissions, Grattan Institute, 2 April 2011.
    John Daley and Tristan Edis.

    Reducing Australia’s emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 will not be easy or costless.
    Between now and 2020 a number of sectors in the economy that consume fossil fuels are expected to grow substantially.
    For Australia to both accommodate this growth and meet a 5% emissions reduction target will require government policies (beyond those already committed to) that by 2020 will reduce emissions by 160 million tonnes of CO2-e a year. …

    To give a sense of scale, it requires measures equal to:
    • Eliminating emissions from all of Australia’s planes, trains and automobiles, and in addition replacing the current use of gas for heating and industrial production with a zero emission energy source;
    • Expanding from 10% to 75% the amount of electricity that is sourced from renewable energy;
    • Reforesting an area of land at least half the size of the State of Victoria. …
    Because coal has been considerably cheaper in Australia than in many other developed nations, we have for many years not only relied on coal but also used it inefficiently in power stations.
    As a result, our electricity production is the most carbon-intensive in the developed world.

    There is also great potential for Australia to become more efficient in consuming energy and in using emissions-intensive materials.
    Australia’s energy use per unit of industrial output, for example, is one of the worst in the OECD. …
    The amount of energy used, per kilometre, to transport people in Australia is the second highest in the developed world …

    Australia could substantially reduce emissions while still driving cars and keeping the lights on.
    But we would need to put in place incentives to produce electricity using less carbon-intensive fuels, and become more efficient in our use of fossil fuels — as many other wealthy developed nations already do. …

    The average size of new Australian homes increased by 40% between 1985 and 2009.
    Australia’s new homes are now the largest in the world — well above those in the US, and almost double those of the UK.
    [Larger] dwellings require more heating, cooling and lighting.
    (p 40)

October 24, 2011

Blue Army: Finance, Research and Development

Global War on Disinformation

Climate change scepticism — its sources and strategies

Riley Dunlap and William Freudenburg

[There's] just been an explosion in these books quite recently. …
We've jumped up to 64 books espousing some version of climate change denial since 2000.
[How] many of these books are linked to conservative think-tanks? … 78%.
[The] really consistent thing, that most books [say is:]
No matter what, don't pass legislation, don't [ratify] treaties.
[The] bottom line remains the same,
This reflects the near universal conservative ideology behind all versions of climate change denial.

[An] earlier study [Dunlap] did with Jacques and Freeman, found [of] 141 books expressing scepticism about anything environmental [92%] were from conservative think-tanks.

(AAAS Forum, The Science Show, ABC Radio National, 3 April 2010)

October 23, 2011

Blue Army: Communications

Global War on Disinformation

George Megalogenis (1964):
[News Corp] deploys more resources to attack to the [ABC, the Australian public broadcaster,] than analysing the economy.
(Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal, Quarterly Essay, Issue 61, February 2016, p 3)

Fair, Balanced and Wrong

Australian Press Council
General Principle 1:
Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.

The Press Council has considered [and upheld] a complaint about a number of items published in The Australian in September 2013, a week before the release of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). …

[The Australian has] acknowledged … that the headline …
… and [central premise] of the original article were incorrect,…
The Australian:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment reportedly admits its computer drastically overestimated rising temperatures, and over the past 60 years the world has in fact been warming at half the rate claimed in the previous IPCC report in 2007.
(16 September 2013)
[but that,] in all other respects, the article was fair and balanced. …

The Australian said there was no reason for it to have suspected errors in the articles in The Mail on Sunday
The linear warming trend over the 50 years from 1956 to 2005 (0.13 [0.10 to 0.16]°C per decade) is nearly twice that for the 100 years from 1906 to 2005.
(Climate Change 2007, Synthesis Report, p 30)

The Australian:
The 2007 assessment report said the planet was warming at a rate of 0.20°C every decade, but according to Britain’s The Daily Mail the draft update report says the true figure since 1951 has been 0.12°C.
(16 September 2013)
[And it] noted that The Wall Street Journal had also published an article containing the same error. …

An editorial headed
was published the following day.
Amongst other things, it said:
Exaggerated, imprecise and even oxymoronic language pollutes the climate change debate,
and emphasised the need to have regard to the facts of climate science, not simply “beliefs”.
It accused specific people and organisations of inaccurate and unbalanced contributions which had generated undue alarm about climate change.
It reiterated the key [false] assertion in the previous article, saying:
Later this month, the next iteration of the IPCC’s climate assessment will revise downwards (by close to 50 per cent) warming trends.

The same issue included a letter to the editor from David Karoly, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Melbourne and a contributor to the IPCC report, which pointed out [the factual error in the reporting of the findings of the 2007 assessment report.]
The letter was placed fifth amongst six letters published on that day under the general heading
The writers of the first four letters were highly critical of the IPCC, clearly having assumed the newspaper’s original article was correct.

{[The Australian] said the IPCC had been asked to comment but had declined to respond as the assertions were based on the alleged contents of a draft report which had not been completed or published.}
[This was characterised as:]
The Australian:
[The] IPCC was forced to deny it was locked in crisis talks.
(16 September 2013)

The Council has concluded that the erroneous claim about the revised warming rate was very serious, given the importance of the issue and of the need for accuracy (both of which were emphasised in the editorial that repeated the claim without qualification).
Although based on another publication’s report, the claim was unequivocally asserted in The Australian headline, "We got it wrong on warming, says IPCC", which also implied the IPCC had acknowledged the alleged error.
The impression that the claim was correct was [further] reinforced by The Australian saying the IPCC had been “forced to deny” that it was in crisis talks. …

Four days after the original article appeared, the online headline was changed to read "Doubts over IPCC’s global warming rates".
A brief “Clarification” was added [regarding the Mail's misreporting of the AR4] stating
In fact, the new rate of 0.12°C every decade is almost the same as the IPCC’s 2007 figure of 0.13°C every decade over the 50 years to 2005.
It also acknowledged the original article erred in saying the IPCC conducted its own computer modelling, explaining:
That error was made in the production process.
Five days after the original article, a single paragraph headed “Correction” was published in the lower half of page 2 of the print version of The Weekend Australian.
It provided the same information as the online “Clarification”. …

The Council considers the gravity of the erroneous claim, and its repetition without qualification in the editorial, required a correction which was more substantial, and much more prominent than a single paragraph in the lower half of page 2. …

The Council welcomes the acknowledgements of error and expressions of regret which the publication eventually made to it.
But they should have been made very much earlier, and made directly to the publication’s readers in a frank and specific manner.
It is a matter of considerable concern that this approach was not adopted.

(Adjudication No 1598, 24 July 2014, emphasis added)

Chris Mitchell

Former Editor in Chief, The Australian

[John Howard] was too pragmatic.
We would have liked him to be more ideological. …
(p 16)

[The] evidence for man-made global warming is equivocal. …
(p 17)

[Surfers] who have frequented the same beaches for 50 years have found no increases in sea levels.
(p 18)

(David McKnight, Rupert Murdoch — An Investigation of Political Power, Allen & Unwin, February 2012)

October 15, 2011

Grattan Institute

Green Army: Research and Development

Founding Members

Grattan Institute is grateful for the support of our founding members:
  • the Australian Government,
  • the State Government of Victoria,
  • The University of Melbourne and
  • BHP Billiton.
They contributed to an endowment that provides ongoing funds towards Grattan Institute’s programs.

Their support was structured to maintain Grattan Institute’s independence, and is not conditional on Grattan Institute undertaking particular programs or positions.

October 12, 2011

Theater of Operations

Global War on Disinformation

Climate Change Opinion: Cause is Human — by Country

Proportion responding 'yes' when asked,
Temperature rise is part of global warming or climate change.
Do you think rising temperatures are … a result of human activities?
(Wikipedia, 18 January, 2010)

Vocal Minority vs Silent Majority

George Marshall

Researchers in Australia found that these [media echo-chambers have] created what they call a “false consensus” effect around climate change, which led both sides to believe that their opinion was more common than it actually was.
[Because] the loud and very vocal climate change deniers were also heard far into the mainstream media, both sides tended to hugely overestimate their numbers, guessing them to make up a quarter of the population.
In fact they made up less than 7 percent.

When people misread the social norm in this way, it can lead them to suppress their own views, thus widening the divide and further reinforcing the false consensus — and at its most extreme, creating a society in which the majority of people keep silent because they fear that they are in the minority.
This process, known as pluralistic ignorance, helps to explain the extreme polarization around key markers of political identity such as abortion, gun control, and, increasingly, climate change.
(p 28)

[While] three-quarters of Americans still trust climate scientists as a source of information on global warming, they are nearly as inclined to trust television weather forecasters who are greatly less qualified as scientists but have a far more friendly, familiar, and approachable public profile.
Unfortunately … only half of television weathercasters surveyed [in 2010] believed that climate change is occurring and more than a quarter believed that it is a “scam.”
(p 117)

(Don't Even Think About It, 2014)

Stephan Lewandowsky: Winthrop Professor in Psychology, University of Western Australia

In Australia … the number of people who deny that climate change is happening is around 5% or 6% of the population.
[If] you then ask [those 5%] how many people they think [share] their opinion, their response is … about 50%.
[This] is called a false consensus effect [and] is usually indicative of a distortion in the media landscape.

[If people] are inflating their self-importance, that [is an indication that] the media [are] not doing their job properly.

(Attitudes to climate change, Science Show, ABC Radio National, 24 November, 2012)

Public Opinion on Climate Change

Perception of Scientific Consensus

Most Americans do not perceive that there is a scientific consensus on the need for action on climate change or global warming. …
[In 2009:
  • 38% of Americans] said scientists [thought] the problem [was] urgent and well enough [understood] to take action.
  • [43% thought] that scientists’ views [were] pretty evenly divided [and]
  • [17%] said scientists [thought it was] not an urgent problem. …

In the average of 16 countries, a majority — 51% (13 points higher than for Americans) — said that most scientists think the problem is urgent and enough is known to take action …

Not surprisingly those who do not perceive this consensus are less likely to perceive global warming as a serious threat. …

[Responses as to whether most] scientists agree that climate change is even occurring [have ranged from: 59% (2010) to 39% (May, 2011)] saying that there is such agreement. …
{[In 2011, only] 13% said that 81-100% of climate scientists believe climate change is occurring …}

[Public] perceptions of “a lot of disagreement” among scientists may reflect the amount of publicity given to debate as compared to majority consensus and the conclusions of collective scientific bodies.
(p 2-3, italics added)

Effect of Greater Information and Perception of Scientific Consensus

[Willingness] to take action in regard to climate change rises with greater levels of information and greater perception of a scientific consensus on the issue.
(p 5)

In June 2005 … 76% of Americans favored taking some steps to address global warming [— however,] only 34% favored taking steps with significant costs.
[When asked] to assume that
[An overwhelming majority of scientists] have concluded that global warming is occurring and poses a significant threat …
[—] those willing to take steps with significant costs rose 22 points to 56%.
(p 6)

Assessments Of Other Leading Countries’ Role

Most Americans regard China as the worst offender in harming the global environment, while most other nations blame the United States.
Americans retain a large amount of trust in their own country to protect the environment, while Germany has the best ratings globally.

(p 13)

Perception of Climate Change as a Problem or Threat

[In 2010,] a large majority of Americans [said] that global warming or climate change [was a serious problem (70%)] or a threat [over the next ten years (75%).]
[However,] this majority has been declining over the last few years, so that American concern is now lower than the global average.
Large majorities believe that human activity plays a role in climate change.
However, Americans do not perceive that there is a scientific consensus on the need for urgent action on climate change and those who do not perceive this consensus are less likely to perceive climate change as a serious threat.
A large majority think that they will be personally affected by climate change eventually, but only a minority thinks that they are being affected now, contrary to views in most other countries.
Americans tend to underestimate the level of concern among other Americans. …

US concern [about climate change] is now lower than in most other countries.
[In 2010] 70% of Americans thought that global warming was a threat (37% a critical threat) …
{[By comparison, in 2006,] 85% of Americans said that global warming would be a threat over the next ten years, with 46% saying that it would be a critical threat. …
In China — the largest producer of greenhouse gasses — an average of 93% of respondents said that climate change was serious, with 41% saying it was very serious.}
[Of] those polled across twenty-two countries an average of 84% said the problem was serious, with 53% saying it was very serious.

Role of Human Activity

[In June 2010, 74% of Americans said they believed] the world’s temperature has increased over the past 100 years …
[Of those who thought temperatures were rising, 75% thought] that people [had] contributed to the [increase.]
(p 1)

Perceptions of the Effect of Climate Change

Globally, Americans are among the least convinced that climate change is substantially harming people in their country now.
[In 2009, 34% of Americans] said that climate change was affecting people in the US at the time …
In the average of all sixteen countries polled, 59% said that people are being harmed now …
(p 3)

[Respondents were] asked a series of questions that began:
If climate change is left unchecked worldwide, how much do you think climate change will affect each of the following in our country?
Large majorities believed climate change would affect the following factors “some” or “a lot”:
  • the price of food and other essential goods (76%),
  • likelihood of natural disasters, like droughts or floods (73%),
  • rainfall and available water resources (73%),
  • the coastline (73%),
  • the types of animals and plants that can live there (72%) …
  • the types of food produced (72%) [and]
  • peoples’ need to move their homes to different locations [56%. …]

[Only 23% of Americans believed climate change] would be more harmful to poor countries [than rich ones.]

Readiness to Take Action

[In 2010 77% of Americans thought] that addressing climate change should be a priority.
{[In 2009, 53% thought it] "should be given priority, even if it causes slower economic growth and some loss of jobs."}
However, in most cases less than a majority of Americans give it top priority or place the highest level of urgency on it, and this … appears to be declining.
Readiness to take action is higher among those who have more information about climate change and who perceive a scientific consensus on the need for action.
Americans tend to underestimate how ready other Americans are to support taking action. …

[Polls] consistently find that a large majority favors taking [some] action, but usually less than a majority chooses the option of taking the most urgent form of action.
(p 4)

Willingness to Accept Increased Energy Costs

To motivate changes in energy usage, Americans are willing to increase the cost of energy that causes climate change.
[In 2009, 62% said they] would accept increased economic costs equal to just under $20 a month.
Majorities also favor requiring increasing fuel efficiency of automobiles and reducing subsidies on private transportation even if this increases the cost to the consumer.
The idea of raising taxes on such forms of energy meets with mixed responses; however, support becomes high if respondents are told that the revenues of such a tax will be explicitly earmarked to address the problem of climate change, or will be offset with tax reductions.
[In 2007, 79% of Americans believed] that it will be necessary for people to change their lifestyle in order to reduce their production of climate changing gasses.
However there is also optimism that there will be economic benefits from the changes that will come with increasing energy efficiency.

(p 6)

Effect of Perceived Scientific Consensus

Those who perceive a scientific consensus on the need for action on climate change show a greater readiness to accept increased energy costs. …
[When] compared to [fifteen other countries] Americans' views were considerably more correlated with their views of the scientific consensus.
(p 8)

Reducing Reliance on Oil and Coal

As a means of addressing climate change, a large majority of Americans favor reducing reliance on oil and coal by
  • limiting the construction of coal-fired power plants [64% — 2009],
  • creating tax incentives to encourage alternative energy sources [84% — 2010],
  • requiring automakers to increase fuel efficiency [67% — 2010],
  • requiring more energy efficient home construction and appliances [2010],
  • increasing the availability of public transportation [80% — May, 2011],
  • installing bike lanes [77% — May, 2011] and
  • making changes in zoning to reduce the need for transportation [57%.]
(p 9)

Other Forms of Government Action

To address the problem of climate change majorities of Americans support the government
  • treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant [77% — 2010],
  • limiting climate changing gasses from business [76% — June, 2010], and
  • preserving or expanding forested areas [75% — 2009.]

Assessing the US Government

Americans give their government a low rating [3.84 / 10] in terms of how high a priority it places on addressing climate change.
A modest majority [52%] thinks that the government should give climate change a higher priority than it does.

(p 10)

Support for Multilateral Action

[In May 2011, 66% of Americans supported] participation in an international treaty to limit climate change.
[In 2008, 61% of Americans said] that multilateral cooperation on climate change is very important, but [gave] the United States a mediocre rating [C-] in advancing this objective.
[In 2010, 62% of Americans believed] there should be a new international institution to monitor compliance with climate treaty obligations.

Participation in Climate Change Treaty

[In 2009, 73%] of Americans said the US should take action even without an agreement.
(p 11)

Role of Developing Countries

[In 2007, 75%] of Americans — along with [an average of 59% of] people in developing and developed countries alike — [thought] that developing countries have a responsibility to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions in an effort to deal with climate change.
There is also a consensus [across both developed and developing nations (73%)] that developed countries should provide aid as part of a deal to help developing countries commit to limiting their emissions.
If developing countries refuse to limit their emissions, [68% of] Americans think the United States should nonetheless proceed to limit its own emissions. …

[However, the] US Senate has taken the position that the United States should not do so.
(p 12)

(US Opinion on Climate Change, Chapter 13a, Public Opinion on Global Issues, Council on Foreign Relations, 30 November, 2011)

October 9, 2011

Green Army: Communications

Global War on Disinformation

John Quiggin (1956) [Professor of Economics, Queensland University]:
[The] culture wars are just a device to keep the right-wing base agitated enough to turn out, losing time after time but still providing the votes needed to keep pro-rich politicians in office. …
The great majority of [climate change] “sceptics” are, in fact, credulous believers in what they are told by trusted authority figures, notably including conservative political leaders.
(Climate claims a victory in the culture wars, Inside Story, 17 December 2015)

The Right to Personal Security

Jeff McMahon

If we didn't have all these guns in the United States, we would have far, far fewer homicides.
And we have all these guns in the United States only because people want to have them.
We could have legislation prohibiting private ownership of guns and putting all guns in the hands of the police tomorrow if the gun advocates didn't oppose it.

This is one thing that I think law abiding gun owners and criminals are both complicit in.
They both want access to guns.
And the thing that is disturbing about gun owners who are not criminals is that they are willing to insist on their own private possession of guns at the cost of criminals having guns as well.

(Philosophy Bites, 17 February 2013)

October 7, 2011

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

Global War on Disinformation

William Yeats (1865 – 1939):
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
(The Second Coming, 1919)

Freidrich Hayek (1899 – 1992):
[John Maynard Keynes] was the one really great man I ever knew, and for whom I had unbounded admiration. …

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

Nothing is more clearly written in the book of destiny than the emancipation of the blacks; and it is equally certain that the two races will never live in a state of equal freedom under the same government, so insurmountable are the barriers which nature, habit, and opinions have established between them.
(Memoirs of Jefferson, M Conseil, Editor)

In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve.
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.
The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories.
(Notes on Virginia, quoted by Carl Sagan, Demon Haunted World, 1997, p 400)

If the last king can be strangled with the entrails of the last priest, we will have destroyed the institutions that have stood in the way of human freedom.
(John & Abigail Adams, PBS American Experience, 1997)

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past …
(Letter to John Adams, 1 August 1816)

Maurice Newman (1938)

Prime Minister Abbott's top business advisor and former ABC chairman and investment banker

I am not a climate change denier …

Maurice Newman:
Many of the people who have a different point of view on the climate science are respectable and credentialed scientists themselves.
… I'm not a scientist …
I have to listen to all points of view and then make [a judgement.]

Brendan Trembath:
Would you say you're a climate change denier …

Maurice Newman:
I am an agnostic and I have always been an agnostic and I will remain and agnostic until I've found compelling evidence on one side or the other that will move me.
I think that what seems fairly clear to me is that the climate science is still being developed.
There are a lot question marks about some of the fundamental data which has been used to build models that requires caution.

(ABC Chairman criticises media's climate change coverage, PM, ABC Radio National, 10 March 2010)

I am not a conspiracy theorist …

Even before they threatened my property, I was opposed to wind farms.
They are
  • grossly inefficient,
  • extremely expensive,
  • socially inequitable,
  • a danger to human health,
  • environmentally harmful,
  • divisive for communities,
  • a blot on the landscape, and
  • don’t even achieve the purpose for which they were designed, namely the reliable generation of electricity and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Even if you buy the anthropogenic global warming case, experience shows that wind energy is not the answer. …
Surely the economic effect of taxing hardest those who can least afford it was thoroughly examined ahead of politically motivated empty gestures designed to placate climate change alarmists?
Apparently not.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but we have witnessed the birth of an extraordinary, universal and self-reinforcing movement among
  • the political and executive arms of government,
  • their academic consultants,
  • the mainstream media and
  • vested private sector interests (such as investment banks and the renewables industry)
[—] held together by the promise of unlimited government money.
It may not be a conspiracy, but long-term, government-underwritten annuities have certainly created one gigantic and powerful oligopoly which must coerce taxpayers and penalise energy consumers to survive. …

All political parties to a greater or lesser degree follow the same irrational policies, mindlessly repeating slogans about renewable energy targets and CO2 reductions plans, lest they be labelled climate change deniers. …
Yet nowhere is there evidence that these policies work.
Even Europe, with its huge investment in wind energy as well as an ETS, has not reduced emissions.
[The] much-vaunted Kyoto Protocol … saw emissions of signatories grow substantially faster than those of non-signatories.
So why should we be optimistic that any future global agreement on emissions will be more successful?

Experience with trade and nuclear nonproliferation treaties suggest domestic considerations will prevail over lofty ideals.
Political correctness may go down well at elite gatherings, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
This fact is finally being recognised in Europe, where climate tipping points are now of less concern than economic tipping points. …
[Yet, in Australia, with] religious zeal and the voice of authority, we plough ahead as if consumed by a deathwish. …
At the local level this religion is evangelically spread by state bureaucrats who regularly pander to the oligopoly’s wishes. …

The harmful health effects [of wind turbines], despite peer-reviewed and anecdotal evidence, are dismissed as being unconfirmed, psychosomatic or the politics of envy. …
Not everyone who lives near wind turbines experiences adverse health effects.
But then not everyone who smokes contracts lung cancer. …

[Politicians] are lending their support to oligopolistic insiders [who] are destroying the property rights of the very people they have pledged to protect. …
[And] don’t expect help from academia, mainstream media or the public service.
They are members of the same establishment and worship together at the altar of global warming. …
Our once independent public service is no longer servant but master!
Sir Humphrey is firmly in control.

(Against the Wind, The Spectator (Australia), 21 January 2012)

October 2, 2011

Balance of Forces

Theatre of Operations


Balance of Forces

The Personalities of God

Right Wing Authoritarianism and Integrative Complexity



Green ArmyNon-AlignedBlue Army

Command and Control
Finance, Logistics and Supply

GovernmentsCountries who have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol (171)[Note 1]Countries who have not signed (2) or signed but not ratified (1) the Kyoto Protocol [Note 1]
Non-Government OrganizationsEnvironmental
International Development

Regulated Industries Renewable Energy
Energy Efficiency

Fossil fuels

Research and Development

Scientific Bodies
[Note 2]

Free market libertarian think tanks [Note 3]
Climate Researchers97%3%
Synthesis ReportsIPCC
US Global Change Research Program
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

National Academies of Science32

General Science8
Earth Sciences85 [Note 4]
Meteorology and Oceanography61 [Note 5]

Biology and Life Sciences7

Human Health7



Media Hubs

News Corporation
Network HubsConsensus Websites
Contrarian Websites

Field Operations

Industry front organisations, spokespersons and "white coats". [Note 3]
Washington Lobbyists [Note 8]Renewables (138)
Fossil Fuels (2,672)
Foot soldiers and insurgents

Tea Party (Mayer, 2010)


  1. Wikipedia.  List of Kyoto Protocol signatories, 11 October.
    Countries who have signed but not ratified: United States.
    Countries who have not signed: Afghanistan and Chinese Taipei (Tawian)
    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) observers not asked to sign: Andora and Vatican City.
  2. Wikipedia (2011):
    Since 2007, when the American Association of Petroleum Geologists released a revised statement, no scientific body of national or international standing rejects the findings of human-induced effects on climate change.
  3. Exxon Secrets

  4. Wikipedia (2011):
    American Association of Petroleum Geologists
    American Geological Institute
    American Institute of Professional Geologists
    Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences
    Geological Society of Australia
  5. Wikipedia (2011):
    American Association of State Climatologists
  6. Goodell, Jeff.  As the World Burns, Rolling Stone Politics, 6 January 2010.
    [According] to the Center for Public Integrity, the number of lobbyists devoted to climate change had soared by more than fivefold since 2003, to a total of 2810 — or five lobbyists for every lawmaker in Washington. …
    Only 138 of the lobbyists were pushing for alternative energy — the rest were heavily weighted toward the old fossil-fuel mafia, most of whom oppose tough carbon caps.


Parental Bonding Instrument
High Control / High CareHigh Control / Low Care
Low Control / Low CareLow Control / High Care

America's Four Gods

The Baylor Religion Survey

Figure 13: Categories of America's Four Gods
(p 26)

Type A: Authoritarian God

Individuals who believe in the Authoritarian God tend to think that God is highly involved in their daily lives and world affairs.
They tend to believe that God helps them in their decision-making and is also responsible for global events such as economic upturns or tsunamis.
They also tend to feel that God is quite angry and is capable of meting out punishment to those who are unfaithful or ungodly.

Type B: Benevolent God

[Believers] in a Benevolent God [also] tend to think that God is very active in our daily lives. [However,] the Benevolent God is mainly a force of positive influence in the world and is less willing to condemn or punish individuals.

Type C: Critical God

Believers in a Critical God feel that God really does not interact with the world.
Nevertheless, God still observes the world and views the current state of the world unfavorably.
These individuals feel that God’s displeasure will be felt in another life and that divine justice may not be of this world.

Type D: Distant God

… These individuals tend towards thinking about God as a cosmic force which set the laws of nature in motion.
As such, God does not “do” things in the world and does not hold clear opinions about our activities or world events.

The Four Personalities of God
(Adapted from Figure 14, Atheists removed)
High Engagement (57%)
Low Engagement (43%)

High Anger (50%)
Low Anger (50%)
(p 27)

(Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion and Department of Sociology, Baylor University, September 2006)

Does God Have a Heart?

Andrew Newberg and Mark R Waldman

The Cultural Evolution of God

In Western culture, the authoritarian notion of God dominated human through until the 1400s, when a series of events undermined the power of the [universal] church.
The Black Plague wiped out half the population of Europe [undermining] religious authority [and as science] gained favor … God retreated farther into the heavens.
In a minority of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian texts, God's wrath also [receded,] to be replaced by [conceptions] of a more benevolent and mystical force.

[In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europe was wracked by religious wars] between competing Christian theologies [and the] Catholic Church splintered as people [sought] a more personal God.
[Some of these fled to the New World, seeking] the freedom to practice religion as they saw fit …
(p 117)

The War Between the American Gods

According to the Baylor study, more than half of Americans are intolerant of non-Christian values …
Two other studies … found that 17-18% of Americans … believed that their religion should be the only true religion in the world.
[29%] said that we should … try to convert people of other religious faiths [to Christianity. …]
(p 121)

[Nevertheless, if] you put all the surveys together, there appears to be a slow decline in religious intolerance, especially over the last five years …

[In] each new generation Americans shift their allegiance from Christianity to other faiths or systems of belief. …
[Indeed,] Protestantism has been slowing declining since 1965.
(p 122)

(How God Changes Your Brain, Ballantine, 2009)


Right-wing authoritarianism

Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) … is defined by three attitudinal and behavioral clusters which correlate together:

  1. Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
  2. Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.
  3. Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one's society should also be required to adhere to these norms.

… The "right wing" in right-wing authoritarianism does not necessarily refer to someone's politics, but to psychological preferences and personality.
It means that the person tends to follow the established conventions and authorities in society.
In theory, the authorities could have either right-wing or left-wing political views.

Milton Rokeach's dogmatism scale was an early attempt to measure pure authoritarianism, whether left or right.
The scale was carefully designed to measure "closed mindedness" without regard to ideology.
Nevertheless, researchers found that it correlated with British political conservativism.

In a similar line of research, Philip Tetlock found that right wing beliefs are associated with less integrative complexity than left wing beliefs.
People with moderate liberal attitudes had the highest integrative complexity in their cognitions.

There have been a number of other attempts to identify "left-wing authoritarians" in the United States and Canada.
These would be people who submit to leftist authorities, are highly conventional to liberal viewpoints, and are aggressive to people who oppose left-wing ideology.
These attempts have failed because measures of authoritarianism always correlate at least slightly with the right.
There are certainly extremists across the political spectrum, but most psychologists now believe that authoritarianism is a predominantly right-wing phenomenon.

Although authoritarians in North America generally support conservative political parties, this finding must be considered in a historical and cultural context.
For example, during the Cold War, authoritarians in the United States were usually anti-communist, whereas in the Soviet Union, authoritarians generally supported the Communist Party and were opposed to capitalism.
Thus, authoritarians generally favor the established ways and oppose social and political change.

(Wikipedia<, 8 September 2011)

Integrative complexity

Integrative complexity … refers to the degree to which thinking and reasoning involve the recognition and integration of multiple perspectives and possibilities and their interrelated contingencies. …

Integrative complexity is a measure of the intellectual style used by individuals or groups in processing information, problem-solving, and decision making.

Complexity looks at the structure of one's thoughts, while ignoring the contents.

[Integrative] complexity has two components: …
  • Differentiation refers to the perception of different dimensions when considering an issue.
  • Integration refers to the recognition of cognitive connections among differentiated dimensions or perspectives.

(Wikipedia<, 5 November 2011)