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Topic Title: Australia's Carbon Tax
Topic Summary: Biased reporting by E&T
Created On: 11 July 2011 01:39 PM
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 11 July 2011 01:39 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

E&T Article on Australia's carbon tax

Australia's scheme will cover 60 per cent of carbon pollution.... It could also aid global efforts to fight carbon pollution

Please could IET journalists stop referring to the harmless natural gas, carbon dioxide, as "pollution".

We all exhale CO2 and plants need it for photosynthesis - so this 'pollutant' is essential for all life on Earth. Plants stop growing if CO2 drops below 200pm. They benefit from CO2 levels up to 2000ppm. Current levels are 392ppm.

Calling CO2 "pollution" is like calling clouds "Hydrogen pollution". The attempt to re-brand CO2 as "pollution" is an insult to the intelligence of readers. It's a dishonest, politically motivated lie; An attempt to brainwash young readers into being ashamed of the very air they exhale - making them more willing to accept new taxes to feed the bloated public sector.

The rest of the article was similarly biased:

The danger is that a vigorous campaign by the conservative opposition and business groups opposed to the tax, could erode public support

Danger? Some would call it hope. An unbiased report would not attach any adjective.

Abbott has seized upon voter fears of a new tax and higher costs

Seized on fears? How about he "stood up for taxpayers..."

Gillard said more than A$24 billion to be raised from pollution permit sales over the next three years would go to households through generous tax cuts worth more than A$15 billion.

Since when is a net $9Bn tax increase "generous"?

I'm wondering if the author cut her teeth at the biased BBC or maybe the Guardian. Please report the news. Please don't spin it with lies and disinformation.
 11 July 2011 01:55 PM
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roddalitz

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Let's not start all that again.

If you believe "harmless natural gas, carbon dioxide" allow me to fetch a plastic bag and see how you get on with it.

For an opposing view on how carbon dioxide is affecting the world, see Dr James Martin at:
www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/page.aspx?pid=1131

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 11 July 2011 04:19 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

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Thanks for the link Rod. However, there's a difference between an article purporting to be news and an opinion piece with a clear agenda. Readers can draw their own conclusions about Dr Martin's claims. The alarmist nature of his article becomes clear in the first paragraph:

The dangers from future climate change are ratcheting up year after year. The world's media have become increasingly full of images of collapsing ice shelves, stranded polar bears, raging hurricanes, lands stricken by drought, fires sweeping across southern Australia and deserts spreading.

Ice shelves collapse every year as part of the summer seasonal melt. There is nothing unusual or worrying about it. And yes - there are more images since the polar regions are now full of eco-activists with video cameras.

Polar bear populations are at a record high thanks to controls on hunting by man. It's not possible to "strand" a polar bear since they can swim for miles and survived past periods when there was no Arctic ice in summer.

No hurricanes have hit the US for 1,030 days. The longest hurricane-free period since before the Civil War. Tropical cyclone activity is near record low.

Australia is famous for it's droughts and floods. This year rainfall is running well above average and temperatures well below.

So you see that first paragraph is nothing but hysterical alarmist nonsense. This made me laugh though:

A particularly important concept is 'eco-affluence'. It is possible to immensely improve our quality of life without increasing greenhouse gases or using up an unsustainable share of the planet's resources. The term eco-affluence refers to a rich, enjoyable and sometimes complex way of life that does no ecological harm.

I'd be interested to see how the author, a millionaire book publisher, leads his life. Does he practice what he preaches? Or do his beliefs only extend to shouting "You poor people should drive less!" from the window of his Range Rover 4.2HSE as he speeds by.

Edited: 11 July 2011 at 10:08 PM by Ipayyoursalary
 11 July 2011 09:54 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

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I'd be interested to see how the author, a millionaire book publisher, leads his life. Does he practice what he preaches?

According to his bio on Wikipedia he lives on his own private island in Bermuda. Looks nice - here's a picture on flickr.

The island has guest houses, a beach area, a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts and docks. The island is privately owned by British author and multi-millionaire James Martin.... He has built a multi-million dollar development here.... Martin, now in his 70s, divides his time between a mountaintop estate in Vermont, a home in South Africa, and this island.

This from the guy who writes "It is possible to immensely improve our quality of life without increasing greenhouse gases or using up an unsustainable share of the planet's resources."

From Al Gore to James Cameron to this guy; all advocating that poor people make do with less; The hypocrisy is staggering, just staggering. Anyway Rod: thanks for the example!!
 11 July 2011 10:12 PM
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roddalitz

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Apart from travelling between them, which part relates to greenhouse gases? I don't think it is necessary that people who earn a lot of money should live like paupers.

James Martin could do all that and be reasonably green, or he could be prodigiously non-green. You need more information to judge.

By the way some time ago I asked for more information about where you are coming from, which you have never given much hint (apart from your attitude).

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 12 July 2011 02:26 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

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Hi Rod,

Where I'm coming from:

I live in England and I enjoy the beauty of the English countryside. I don't want to see it ruined by thousands of 100m high industrial wind turbines which serve no purpose other than to harvest unjustifiable subsidies for their owners.

I pay household energy bills and don't want to see them inflated by hidden taxes and subsidy payments to Big Green vested interests.

I work in electronic design and don't want to see my job lost to Asia as ever increasing green taxes force more manufacturing and design jobs out of the UK.

I don't want to see government policy dictated by fanatical green pressure groups who place human welfare and development at the absolute bottom of their list of concerns.

I don't want my children or grandchildren to suffer the above fate either.


Back to Dr Martin:

I don't think it is necessary that people who earn a lot of money should live like paupers.

No. Me neither. He's obviously written some very popular books and deserves his success and wealth. However, if he wants to tell poor people they need to cut back and make do with less then it's imperative he does so himself. I'm sorry - but there is no way you can divide your time between mansions in Vermont, South Africa, Bermuda and the UK (16,000 miles round trip) while telling poor people they need to cut back because their emissions are causing catastrophic climate change.

Either he doesn't really believe what he's saying and is just exploiting the fashion for climate hysteria for political or publishing purposes, or he does believe it but thinks that poor people should make all the sacrifices - not him.
 12 July 2011 10:33 PM
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roddalitz

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I live in Scotland and I enjoy the beauty of the Scottish hills. I don't want to see them ruined by wind turbines or by giant pylons. Wind turbines have their place, in Netherlands they fit the landscape and are majestic, offshore windfarms for example off Liverpool and Solway Firth are not bad.

I pay household energy bills but I am installing photovoltaic cells and solar thermal water heating.

I am retired, after a degree in Physics and a long time working in electronics and system design. My son works in software, and my daughter (whose degree is mathematics) worked as an oil platform engineer for Shell and now with an MBA works in finance for Pfizer. If you feel any jobs are likely to be outsourced to other countries, I don't think green policies have anything to do with it, and I recommend "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman as a good overview of how we got to be this way, not to mention the benefits to the world of transferring intellectual work. Hey, if we were still mostly agricultural workers as in the 18th century we would not be doing at all well.

I don't want my grandchildren (who are visiting in two weeks) to suffer an increasingly hostile world. I am deeply aware that the Earth can support only a fraction of the present population, and the process of adjusting to that limit is likely to be extremely painful.

The "wingnuts" in America are denying global warming and the economic logic of balanced budgets, and are likely to go the way of Greece and drag the world down, both financially and ecologically.

I believe the future is GM algae working to fix CO2 into an oil replacement, which will fit the supply chain, and appears not far off.

Climate change is a real problem, whether you believe we are headed for a temperature rise, or a new ice age. Either will destroy our civilisation.

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 14 July 2011 12:48 AM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: roddalitz
I recommend "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman as a good overview of how we got to be this way, not to mention the benefits to the world of transferring intellectual work.


I have read that book and it is full of drivel and biased blinkered viewpoints.
 15 July 2011 05:16 PM
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roddalitz

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Sorry jencam, that is a superficial critique.Which bit is drivel? The Berlin wall? Netscape? Y2K? just-in-time manufacturing? Perhaps the whole modern style of journalistic books?

I could accept that the conclusions about fundamentalist terrorism are not well reasoned, but on the whole the book is an eye-opener and draws together many strands in a logical enough way.

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 16 July 2011 03:05 AM
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Ipayyoursalary

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Tom Friedman's 11,400 square-foot, $9.3M, 7.5 acre mansion from which he writes his NYT column "The Earth is Full". I'm starting to see a pattern here: Looks like claiming "the end is nigh" is a pretty lucrative game.

Edited: 16 July 2011 at 03:12 AM by Ipayyoursalary
 16 July 2011 03:23 AM
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Ipayyoursalary

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I live in Scotland and I enjoy the beauty of the Scottish hills. I don't want to see them ruined by wind turbines or by giant pylons.

Glad we agree on that - although they are being ruined as we speak - and all in the name man-made global warming - on which, even if the model predictions were accurate, the monstrosities popping up all over the landscape would have absolutely no effect.
 16 July 2011 01:27 PM
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roddalitz

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Originally posted by: Ipayyoursalary

Looks like claiming "the end is nigh" is a pretty lucrative game.


You are wandering off subject again. From claiming that green subsidies are driving electronic design jobs offshore, now you are attacking the author of a work which discusses offshoring due to the house in which he lives. Would he be more credible if he lived in a council house? As a successful journalist, he is entitled to live where he likes. Certainly I would like to see some evidence of solar heating and all that, the architecture is not ideal, but most houses were built some time ago in a different paradigm.

even if the model predictions were accurate, the monstrosities popping up all over the landscape would have absolutely no effect.


Again you are choosing your own "common sense" against an array of experts. Like the American Republicans. Of course the climate models are not perfect, but a lot of work has gone into improving them and testing them against reality.

Apart from climate change, the British supplies of oil and gas are finite, and the economy is under some threat from rising world fuel prices. Less reliance on imports must benefit the economy. And, no, I don't see world fuel prices as a political scheme by a cartel.

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 16 July 2011 02:24 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: roddalitz
I am deeply aware that the Earth can support only a fraction of the present population, and the process of adjusting to that limit is likely to be extremely painful.

It's supporting the present population so where does the 'it can only support a fraction of it' come from?

Maybe we need to give our grandchildren and other future generations a little bit more credit and let them decide how they want to live their lives. Listening to some people they may grow up paranoid which may do them more harm than good.

I believe the future is GM algae working to fix CO2 into an oil replacement, which will fit the supply chain, and appears not far off.

Great idea to start messing about with genetics and release it into the environment.

Climate change is a real problem, whether you believe we are headed for a temperature rise, or a new ice age. Either will destroy our civilisation.
Let's say for example there was a new ice age in 15000 years time, how do we know what advances our civilisation may have made by then? The point is we do not and so just to make statements that our civilisation will 'be destroyed' is the type of scare mongering which obviously sells books. If for example by that time the population is a 'fraction of what it is now' who is to say that fraction would be destroyed or that any of the events described would happen? Each generation has to live as it sees fit and we do not owe anything to those who do not exist, basically because they do not exist!!

Regards.
 16 July 2011 02:44 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: roddalitz

Originally posted by: Ipayyoursalary
Would he be more credible if he lived in a council house? As a successful journalist, he is entitled to live where he likes.
No not really because we can still waste energy in a council house. Most of the worlds population are not that interested in his books which is why he has little credibility amongst it. Most people are busy living their lives and not worrying to much about imaginary problems.

Again you are choosing your own "common sense" against an array of experts.

I prefer to trust the 'expert' mother nature and she seems to be doing a pretty good job in my opinion.
Of course the climate models are not perfect, but a lot of work has gone into improving them and testing them against reality.

There is a climate model running at the moment and which has been running for billions of years, it's called the weather. If we go back 1000's of years when there was no so called 'global warming' people still died because weather conditions changed in some areas and thus had to move to other areas....it's life. Did those relatively few people start coming up with doom and gloom theories about the climate or did they just get on with life and move to a better area? The problem is now we have borders and so it is not so easy and thus people are more or less forced to stay in an effected area and suffer the consequences. Then the 24/7 news media get in there with their cameras and all of a sudden 'it's global warming and will destroy the world as we know it'. I think we should open the borders and let some of the effected people move to the green hills of Scotland and then everyone will be happy. After all if we are so concerned about civilisation then why not give up a bit of our doorstep?

Apart from climate change, the British supplies of oil and gas are finite, and the economy is under some threat from rising world fuel prices. Less reliance on imports must benefit the economy. And, no, I don't see world fuel prices as a political scheme by a cartel.

I think the British economy is more under threat from the past greed of those who took out loans of more than they could afford and of an incompetent government and banking sector who both allowed it and actively encouraged it.

Regards.
 16 July 2011 03:01 PM
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roddalitz

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Originally posted by: westonpa

It's supporting the present population so where does the 'it can only support a fraction of it' come from?


The troll is back ...

The earth is not sustainably supporting the present population. Look at energy supplies, fish stocks, the number dying from drought, famine, flood.

Sorry, but this IET forum is not a place to get sucked into an endless digression on pseudo-scientific material from for example climategate.tv which could soak up every waking hour.

-------------------------
regards, Rod Dalitz (CEng MIEE FInstP)
rod.dalitz@blueyonder.co.uk
 16 July 2011 06:50 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

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The earth is not sustainably supporting the present population. Look at energy supplies, fish stocks, the number dying from drought, famine, flood.

Hi Rod. I appreciate your point here but I think you have an overly pessimistic outlook. Take farming for instance. Just look at the massive improvements in productivity we've made through improved crop strains, advanced farm machinery, fertilizers, pesticides and genetic engineering of blight / drought / pest resistant strains. And many of these innovations have yet to be fully deployed in the developing world. Just think of the gains they can make.

Take fishing: Sure, if we're stupid we can fish species to extinction. But with careful stock management and modern fish farming techniques we can continue to enjoy our Fish & Chips long into the future.

Take energy: Just look at shale gas - the DOE estimate that there's enough for 250yrs supply - all thanks to advances in drilling and extraction technology.

And in all these cases the outlook will be further improved by new technologies which will be developed over the next 100yrs - which we can't even imagine today.

I recommend a book called "The Rational Optimist" by Matt Ridley.

(PS. Yes - he's a mansion dwelling ex-Northern Rock board member - but he's not hypocritically lecturing people on how they need to cut back and make do, nor how to manage their finances!)
 17 July 2011 10:44 AM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: roddalitz
The troll is back ...

Immature comment, not befitting a CEng.

The earth is not sustainably supporting the present population. Look at energy supplies, fish stocks, the number dying from drought, famine, flood.

If those in the areas of drought were able to move to another area they would be ok, the problem is they cannot because of the border controls.....that is not the fault of the weather. We have an increasing problem with obesity in the EU and USA and yet we see some people dying because of drought as an indication that the Earth cannot sustainably support the present population. The reasons for a relatively few people dying are many and no so simply attributed to so called 'global warming'.

Sorry, but this IET forum is not a place to get sucked into an endless digression on pseudo-scientific material from for example climategate.tv which could soak up every waking hour.

If someone gets 'sucked' into something as suggested then that is their own responsibility and not the fault of others. If we come to a forum to give our opinion then we should expect that others will give theirs.

The Australian's can raise their taxes as they wish because that is their right to do so.

Regards.
 17 July 2011 05:51 PM
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fadagong

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Solid arguments Westonpa I agree with you 100%
 19 July 2011 10:17 AM
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rogerbryant

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The problem with the man made climate change debate is that it is treated with almost religious fervour. If you don't believe you must be wrong! There does not seem to be a middle ground for logical thought.

The whole concept is based on a predictive mathematical model of uncertain accuracy. The further out you look, the less certain are the results.

The problem with mathematical models was highlighted to me by a college maths project that my daughter had to do a few years ago.
The background of the project was to develop an algorithm that could be used to control the times that street lighting was turned on and off through the year. They were given a table of the 'lighting up' times by week for a year from a city somewhere and a commercial graphing program. The students had to work out a formula without the graphing program and then use the program to produce a 'best fit' to the data set and see which gave the better result.
With a bit of understanding of the earth going round and orbiting the sun the students own formula was a SIN function with a few constants to get the correct values.
The graphing program came up with a forth order equation which fitted the data set very accurately but shot off to infinity outside of the range.
The forth order equation actually fitted the data set slightly better than the SIN function but was completely meaningless as a predictor!

How good is the model used to predict climate change? It will fit the current data set because that's what its based on, but does it settle down to a regular pattern or fly off to infinity?

We know that the climate has changed significantly in the past, it is probably changing now and it is reasonable to expect it to change in the future. Can we predict if we are affecting it?

I believe that we should minimise our use of finite resources, but I do not believe that bad science and political flag waving should be used to justify it. If the current science proves to be inaccurate, the high consumers are going to be able to turn round and say "what was all the fuss about? Let's use more!"
I agree that we should pay a sensible amount for 'natural' resources (how do you calculate sensible?) but using this money to plant eco bling (to quote a previous IET president) around the country is not a good idea.

Can I take the middle ground and not believe in man made climate change but support the reduction in the use of natural resources?

Best regards

Roger
 22 July 2011 02:19 AM
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Ipayyoursalary

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Hi Roger,

Thanks for that very well argued and reasonable post. I think you touch on some key issues:

I agree that we should pay a sensible amount for 'natural' resources (how do you calculate sensible?)

Chris Huhne has done the calculations for us and we'll be paying £18Bn / yr for his useless wind farms and green taxes. Happy?

Can I take the middle ground and not believe in man made climate change but support the reduction in the use of natural resources?

That sounds very reasonable but don't worry, your support won't be needed. The greens intend to impose it on you whether you agree or not. Take this article by Friends of the Earth in this month's E&T:

Shale Gas Should Be Left Where It Is

These people are now dictating UK government energy policy. with the full support of the Lib/Lab/Con political establishment and Institutions like the IET. No doubt if FOE had been around in 1860 they'd be campaigning for a ban on Faraday's electricity experiments and a moratorium on Marconi's new fangled radio waves. And yet, in 2011 the "Institution of Science & Technology" is giving these people a platform to spread their anti-development views. Michael and Guglielmo are turning in their graves as we speak.

Edited: 28 July 2011 at 04:14 PM by Ipayyoursalary
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