July 13, 2016

Tom Switzer

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) [6 October 1952]:
Neither a wise man or a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.
(Adriana Bosch, Eisenhower, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 1993)

Friedrich von Schiller (1759 – 1805):
Against stupidity
The Gods themselves
Contend in vain

Tom Switzer (1971):
[Malcolm Turnbull] needs a new model of governance that sidesteps an obstructionist and riff-raff Senate.
The side that picks the issues dominates the political debate, and the advantage lies with the Bully Pulpit if the Prime Minister will use it.
Why not call on the states to ditch the politically correct Safe Schools [anti-bullying] program?
Or encourage Muslim leaders to assimilate to Western cultural norms?
The culture-war list is endless, and it would resonate with what [John Howard] once called:
The decent conservative mainstream of Australia.
(PM must play the Right card, The Age, 11 July 2016, p 16)

The Wrong Side History

Tom Switzer:
I'm joined by [Nigel Lawson] the chairman of The Global Warming Policy Foundation
[Nigel, do] you think there will come a time when historians will look back at the past decade or so and say that this climate hysteria reached its peak and rational debate was at its most restricted and politicians at their most gullible?

Nigel Lawson:
Yes, I think that this will be seen … as one of these outbreaks of collective madness which happen from time to time …
(New climate deal faces hurdles, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 21 May 2015)

Tom Switzer:
[Patricia Adams is the author of a recent report from] The Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. …
[Patricia, there are those that] insist that climate change represents such a grave threat to humanity … that the world has no choice but to … end fossil fuels entirely.
Is history on their side?

Patricia Adams:
No, it's not on their side.
Countries that have developed in the last 200 to 300 years have done so because of the use of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels have empowered our economies:
  • to raise standards of living, [and]
  • to provide jobs for people.
The key … is to use fossil fuels cleanly. …
And when I say cleanly, I mean to get rid of the emissions that come out of them that kill people …
CO2 is not a killer. …
I don't think CO2 is as dangerous as some of the other forms of energy.
It may be a problem, we have to keep a watch on it, but I don't think that it solves any problem by saying we've got to eliminate fossil fuels:
  • [firstly, it's not] going to happen … certainly not in [the] foreseeable future [and]
  • [secondly,] what about the alternatives that are being proposed?
    They also cause environmental problems …
[The Paris climate change agreement is just] a cash-grab … by the developing countries. …
(Is China really showing 'leadership' on tackling climate change?, Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, 31 October 2016)

Freeman Dyson [Academic Advisor, Global Warming Policy Foundation]:
[The problems caused by global warming] are being grossly exaggerated.
They take away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent and important.
Poverty, infectious diseases, public education and public health.
Not to mention the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans.
(Commencement Address, University of Michigan, Winter 2005)

[The] environmental movement [has been] hijacked by a bunch of climate fanatics, who have captured the attention of the public with scare stories. …
China and India have a simple choice to make.
Either they get rich [by burning prodigious quantities of coal and causing] a major increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, or they stay poor.
I hope they choose to get rich. …
The good news is that the main effect of carbon dioxide … on the planet is to make [it] greener, [by] feeding the growth of green plants of all kinds [and] increasing the fertility of farms and fields and forests.
(Misunderstandings, questionable beliefs mar Paris climate talks, Boston Globe, 3 December 2015)

Miranda Devine:
Environmentalism is the powerful new secular religion and politically correct scientists are its high priests …
It used to be men in purple robes who controlled us; soon it will be men in white lab coats.
The geeks shall inherit the earth.
(John Quiggan, Innovation: the test is yet to come, Inside Story, 10 December 2015)

Peter Van Onselen [Associate Professor in Politics and Government, Edith Cowan University; Contributing Editor, The Australian]:
[According to Miranda Devine, the Delcons (Delusional Conservatives) believe] the Liberals should lose the election.
[That] it's better for the Liberals to lose to Labor.
And there is a candle being held to the possibility of a Tony Abbott comeback. …
Andrew Bolt decided he was one …
Nick Cater from the Menzies Research Centre …
[Tom Switzer's] definitely a Delcon.
(Gambling on Turnbull, Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 7 September 2016)

Against Public Broadcasting

David Marr (1947):
Over the last twenty years, the impact on public debate of cuts and the fear of further cuts at the ABC is incalculable.
  • The politicians mask their revenge behind a barrage of abuse about bias;
  • the Howard government stacks the board with angry ideologues; and
  • [its] commercial news rivals print near-lunatic attacks.
(His Master's Voice, Quarterly Essay, Issue 26, 2007, p 52)

Tom Switzer (1971)

[Privatisation] would say to the ABC management:
You can put on as much Left wing ideological, tainted, journalism as you like — be frank about it — but just not at tax-payers expense. …
[And,] you'd be saving taxpayers up to more than million dollars every year …
Some programs, clearly, would not sell.
And others would continue to aggravate people like me.
But the point is, at least taxpayers would not be forced to pay for it. …

[Then] of course you've got this digital evolution … that's costing jobs … it's threatening the very viability of newspapers …
And let's be frank, when Rupert Murdoch goes, its highly unlikely that good quality flagship papers like the Australian will prevail.
In that environment, why should a tax-payer funded, free-to-the-consumer competitor, be allowed to expand on their turf?
There's something fundamentally unfair about that. …

My point is, that with the bias there and the changing media landscape, I don't think the ABC can be a public service broadcaster …

All things considered, the ABC News is more professional and it covers the big issues of the day in more detail than the commercial networks.
But my point is: [there's] a plethora of [digital] news and media [out there …]
[These] days, people … can read the New York Times or the Guardian newspaper online — we're well informed.
Do we need a publicly funded broadcaster to fill us in on those issues? …

[If, as the polls indicate, public broadcasting has 89% support in the community, why] would the marketplace let [such a] valuable franchise die?
If it were a commercially viable entity … how would privatising lead to diminishing the quality of it's product?

(Should the ABC be privatised?, Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, 10 June 2013)


Climate Hysteria

Against Public Broadcasting

Bring on the Culture Wars

In Trump We Trust

Tom Switzer (1971)

Executive Director, Centre of Independent Studies.
Senior Fellow, United States Studies Centre, Sydney University.
Presenter, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National.
Senior Advisor to former federal Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson.
Former Op-Ed Editor, The Australian.
Former Assistant Editor, American Enterprise Institute.

  • The intellectual decline of American conservatism, Between the Lines, ABC Radio National, 28 September 2017.
    Bret Stephens (1973): Columnist, The New York Times.
  • Political climate changing?, Between the Lines, ABC Radio National, 23 February 2017.
    Bob Inglis (1959): Former Republican Congressman for South Carolina's 4th district.
  • New climate deal faces hurdles, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 21 May 2015

    Tom Switzer:
    {[Nigel,] I think your views are always worth hearing (at least on my show) …}
    Listeners should know that you and I have been talking about [climate] issues for the best part of a decade …

    Tim Flannery did not predict permanent drought

    Tom Switzer:
    Here is Tim Flannery predicting permanent drought in NSW on ABC's Lateline 10 years ago …

    Tim Flannery:
    Since 1998 particularly we've seen just drought, drought, drought — particularly [in] regions like Sydney …
    If you look at the Warragamba catchment figures since 98 the water has been in virtual freefall and they've got about 2 years of supply left …
    So when the models start confirming what you're observing on the ground then there's some fairly strong basis for believing that we're understanding what's causing these … rainfall declines and [that] they do seem to be of a permanent nature.
    I don't think it's just a cycle …
    [The] worst case or Sydney is that the climate that's existed for the last 7 years continues for another 2 years.

    Drought and reduced average rainfall are not the same thing.
    Multi-decadal declines in average rainfall have been observed across southern Australia.
    These trends may well be permanent.
    Reductions in average rainfall are likely to increase the frequency and severity of droughts.

    CSIRO / BoM:
    [Since] 1970 there has been a 17 per cent decline in average winter rainfall in the southwest of Australia. …
    [Similarly, south eastern Australia] has experienced a 15 per cent decline in late autumn and early winter rainfall since the mid-1990s, with a 25 per cent reduction in average rainfall across April and May. …
    (p 6)

    Further decreases in average rainfall are expected over southern Australia [in future.]
    [Consequently, droughts] are expected to become more frequent and severe in southern Australia. …
    (State of the Climate 2014, p 15)

    Tim Flannery:
    Between 1990 and 1996 the total flow into all eleven of Sydney’s dams had averaged 71,635 megalitres, but by 2003 this had dropped to just 39,881 megalitres, a decline of 45 per cent.
    (The Weather Makers, Text, 2005, p 131)

    Tim Flannery did not predict that Sydney would never again experience heavy rainfall

    Tom Switzer:
    [When] Flannery appeared on the same show just recently … he was allowed to say that recent heavy rains in Sydney (that he said were not going to happen) were due to … global warming.
    When we're in drought, we're told its the fault of global warming; when there are heavy storms and floods, that's also the fault of global warming!

    Scientifically speaking, there is no inconsistency between reduced average rainfall and increased heavy rainfall events.
    Global warming tends to increase average rainfall in already wet regions while reducing rainfall in already dry regions.
    Warmer air carries more moisture, so while in some places it may rain less often, when it does rain, the rain is heavier.

    Available research suggests a significant future increase in heavy rainfall events in many regions, including some in which the mean rainfall is projected to decrease.
    (Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, 17 November 2007, p 49)

    CSIRO / BoM:
    For Australia as a whole, an increase in the number of dry days is expected, but it is also likely that rainfall will be heavier during wet periods.
    (State of the Climate 2012, 13 March 2012, p 11)

    Arctic sea ice and global glacial retreat is progressing at an accelerating rate

    Tom Switzer:
    We're all aware of those debunked predictions such as the vanishing Himalayan glaciers, the disappearing North Polar ice cap …

    CSIRO / BoM:
    Arctic summer minimum sea-ice extent has declined by between 9.4 and 13.6 per cent per decade since 1979, a rate that is likely unprecedented in at least the past 1,450 years.
    (State of the Climate 2014, p 10)

    [Under adaptation only scenarios:]
    • a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in September before mid-century is likely [and]
    • global glacier volume … is projected to decrease … by 35 to 85% [by 2100]
    (medium confidence).
    (Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis — SPM, 27 September 2013, p 17)

    For every climate scientist that rejects the consensus position there are 32 who accept it

    Tom Switzer:
    There are many distinguished climate scientists such as [who have] criticized the IPPCs line on climate change. …

    Robert Mendelsohn [Professor of Economics, Yale University]:
    If Canada is a well-meaning member of the world community, Canadians might want to stop (global warming) because it's bad for the world.
    It's important that we start trying to control greenhouse gases. …
    Eventually it's going to get too warm [and the damages] will far exceed the benefits.
    (The UP side of global warming, The StarPhoenix, 10 January 2009)

    Stephen Schneider (1945 – 2010):
    [Not only did] Spencer and Christy [mislead] the world [and the scientific community for 25 years] based upon their [biased University of Alabama] satellite reconstruction, [its evident from their blogs that they did it] on purpose …
    [It] turned out they ['forgot' that] satellites fly in a proton soup [which] slows them down, lowers them, [and] changes the angle of the orbit [—] that's why they had a false cooling trend.
    (Climate Change Scepticism: Its Sources and Strategies, AAAS Forum, Science Show, ABC Radio National, 3 April 2010)

    Raymond Pierrehumbert:
    We now know, of course, that the satellite data set confirms that the climate is warming and indeed at very nearly the same rate as indicated by the surface temperature records.
    Now, there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes when pursuing an innovative observational method, but Spencer and Christy sat by for most of a decade allowing — indeed encouraging — the use of their data set as an icon for global warming skeptics.
    They committed serial errors in the data analysis, but insisted they were right and models and thermometers were wrong.
    They did little or nothing to root out possible sources of errors, and left it to others to clean up the mess — as has now been done.
    (How to cook a graph in three easy lessons, RealClimate, 21 May 2008)

  • Should the ABC be privatised?, Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, 10 June 2013.

    Tom Switzer:
    I do think there are a lot of very good, decent, sound and intellectually honest journalists at the ABC …
    [However,] most of the journalists who work [there come from a] cultural left liberal background — the university classes.
    [80% of Australian journalist have university degrees — even Rupert Murdoch had a bust of Marx on his desk when he was at Oxford.]
    You see the same thing at the BBC in Britain.
    And when they get in a room, they naturally think alike.
    There's hardly any case for dissenting views. …
    There's very little political and ideological diversity in many of these important producers' rooms at some of these current affairs shows — and it shows. …

    Amanda Vanstone:
    Would you say the same if, you felt that — if we're restricting ourselves, for the sake of this discussion, to the current affairs programs — did exhibit, what was accepted universally as an even hand, would you still say privatise?
    In other words, do you accept that there's a place for a national broadcaster to inform, enlighten, educate and offer diversity that the marketplace might not always seek? …

    Tom Switzer:
    Newsradio … is a first rate 24 hour network …
    Most of the journalists are just reading the news.
    There's not much commentary.
    There's not much chance to interpret the news, the way that you do on many of the current affairs programs.
    So I think there's a case there …

    … I'm told time and again … that the ABC consistently rates very highly in public opinion polling.
    Prestige and credibility has never been higher, according to these polls. …

    Amanda Vanstone:
    I'm told 89% of the public say … the ABC has a valuable role to play. …

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