Sunday, October 05, 2014

In which the pond looks at the heart land of climate denialism down under ...

(Above: and more cartoons from the 29th September New Yorker edition here)

Speaking of daylight saving, how's saving the planet going?

Wow, what a great, reassuring headline, and the story at the Graudian here.

Australia’s investment in renewable energy projects has slumped below that of Algeria, Thailand and Myanmar, new figures have shown, with the sector “paralysed” by the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.

That's bloody heroic, what an astonishing result ...

What's the bet that Greg Hunt has raced off to his wiki with an update which shows off this singular achievement?

Kobad Bhavnagri, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, told Guardian Australia that the renewables sector is “in the doldrums.”  
“The government’s position has caused this, it has had some pretty strong anti-renewables rhetoric, particularly anti-wind, and wants to close certain clean energy programs,” he said. “The review has been particularly protracted. The industry was fearful the recommendations would be extreme and they were. It has been shattering. 
 “I think the government has backed itself into a corner because the Warburton review lacks credibility. I don’t think it’s in Labor’s interest to agree to any changes to the target.

So where's the Huntster?

”Earlier this week, Greg Hunt, the environment minister, said suggestions that the RET would be abolished are a “Labor scare.” 
 “We’re looking for a balanced, sensible middle path,” he told the ABC.

Yes, a classic response from a lickspittle fellow-travelling quisling.

If you take a look at the graph handily provided by the Graudian's story, you can see what the Hunster means by balanced and sensible:

If it isn't jolly Joe rabbiting on about the aesthetics of wind mills - cigars being so aesthetically pleasing - it's the Hunster conspiring and conniving with tricky Dick ...

Yes, it was Ian Macfarlane and Greg Hunt who put their names to the joint announcement of the release of the panel's report (you can find it here), so how long can the dissembling Hunt go on speaking with forked tongue and out of both sides of the mouth?

Well if the Abbott government is generally any guide, until the 12th of Never, which is a long long time ...

It's rather like the reptiles at the lizard Oz insisting that they actually accept the science of climate change when all they do on a daily basis is feature the efforts of climate denialism, or climate scepticism or highlight the efforts of Graham Lloyd to introduce a note of deep uncertainty, with a whiff of conspiracy, and overtones of an earthy plum paranoia.

These days the pond can't be bothered biting - what's the point of contemplating Maurice Newman contemplating his navel?

There are however a few people that attempt to carry on the fight.

You can, for example, find in The Australian Newspaper's War On The Bureau of Meterology, find an exemplary set of links useful for any shrink interested in studying paranoia at work in a media setting. It turns out, if you read the piece, that the paranoids are being led by Graham Lloyd, going busily about the business of demonising the Bureau and producing evidence, at the least, of corruption ...

That series of stories was before the reptiles' latest effort, which was to feature Maurice Newman confirming that indeed there was a conspiracy and someone ought to look into it...

Newman's piece was a logical outcome of the campaign, the cherry on top ...

The illustration said all a stray reader needed to know about Newman's approach:

Yes, we've seen this sort of thing before:

Good old Capricorn One, the grand daddy of conspiracy movies.

What's interesting about Newman's article wasn't the standard cry of conspiracy and someone needs to look in to the conspiracy, it was the way that the reptiles have an unbroken information loop which feeds on itself:

Fast forward to today. This newspaper’s environment editor, Graham Lloyd, published information that raises questions about the quality of Australia’s temperature records. In a series of articles, Lloyd published details about the Bureau of Meteorology’s data “homogenisation”, the practice that involves the mixing, matching and deletion of temperature records and that seemed to create its own discontinuities. The bureau claims to observe world best practice. Perhaps. But homogenisation practices globally are under challenge, so conformity provides little comfort. If temperature manipulation can happen somewhere, why not elsewhere?

It was Newman feeding on Lloyd feeding off denialists.

After using words like "temperature manipulation", Newman went on to ask penetrating questions:

In response to The Australian’s report, the BoM quietly released a “nothing to see here” summary of the impact of temperature adjustments at 112 locations around Australia with the list of reference stations used for comparison. The stated reasons for homogenisation seem arbitrary. Words like “merge”, “move” and “statistical”, provide little understanding of the thinking behind each decision or the reason stations were chosen. Colonial records are dismissed, notwithstanding the existence of Stevenson screens and the undoubted diligence of record keepers pre-1910. To the layman, the list of so-called “nearby” stations used to homogenise data raise questions of suitability. Is Bathurst jail really an appropriate site to include for homogenising Bourke’s records?

So how interested was Newman in answers? How eager was he to indulge in an actual robust exchange of information and opinion?

Unsurprisingly, yet still remarkably, Maurice Newman has rejected the opportunity to meet with Australia’s top scientists for a briefing on climate science following his disturbing article in The Australian on Tuesday that called for an investigation in the Bureau of Meteorology
The Climate Council, disappointed and concerned with Abbott’s chief business advisor’s comments, sought to organise a meeting with him and the top scientists available in Australia to discuss the real impacts of climate change on business and the economy. 
 “It is tempting to simply ignore Mr Newman’s ignorant and unfounded utterances,” said Professor Will Steffen. “However, climate change is an important issue and it deserves to be properly understood. The Australian business community accepts the science of climate change and understands that the economic impacts could well be profound. 
 “It is unacceptable that the Prime Minister’s Chief Business Advisor puts his head in the sand rather than make himself aware of the serious and growing risks for people, the economy and businesses from climate change. 
 “Mr Newman has a responsibility to avail himself of the facts. His recent attack on the Bureau of Meteorology, one of Australia’s most highly respected institutions, is irresponsible. People at BoM are highly qualified professionals that provide important information to support many people’s economic decisions – from farmers to the aviation industry. (Maurice Newman refuses briefing with top scientists)

What's even more amusing is the barking mad tone of the paranoid conspiracy theorists that lurk in the comments section below Newman's piece.

That's the readership that's being cultivated by the reptiles. That's the bunch of mushrooms being kept in the dark and fed a daily dose of Lloyd.

It would be tempting to call it a conspiracy.

Newman and Lloyd and the reptiles all beavering away together, a down under Heartland doing for climate science what the tobacco industry once did to research into the effects of tobacco (still echoing today in the Senate, though in all the stories on Leyonhjelm the pond didn't catch a whiff of a notion that he was an addicted smoker willingly lining himself up for cancer and ruined lungs and an agonising death by way of emphysema of the kind two in the pond's family circle are currently facing, but rather all that could be spotted was a deep addiction to tobacco industry funding. Oh yes, get that into your lungs).

Never mind, a few brave souls did attempt on Friday to tackle Lloyd's latest meme, which was to take up the notion that there was no point doing much about limiting the damage to two per cent.

No link to Lloyd because that just leads to a begging letter from the paupers of the press,  and the response was also behind the Crikey paywall:

But you could also find it here under Time to give up on 2 degrees?, and a pdf here featuring Rebuttal of "Ditch the 2 degree C warming goal!"

So what does all the fuss about Lloyd signify?

Well the Newman piece features a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that his views are his own, but in fact they're not, they're views derived from Lloyd and they're views shared by the Abbott government, which routinely speaks with forked tongue, protesting with one fork how it's doing its best in an affordable way, while at the same time doing its level best to drive various programs, such as renewables into the ground, or at least down to the levels of Thailand and Myanmar ...

They did that by way of a review ... so what's the betting that at some point momentum will build for an inquiry into the BoM?

Sorry, the pond reckons the odds are too short for a responsible gamble ...

(Below: well at least we can get a laugh on our way to daylight saving and summer, and more Judy Horacek at her website here)

But in any story about Newman, surely there should be dinosaurs. Where are the dinosaurs? Send in the dinosaurs ... no morries, they're here ...


  1. DP - you provided an excellent link to a fan site for Round the Horne, and who can forget Polari? Immortalised by Williams and Paddick in said radio series. It's origins as argot date back to the 1850's and possible even the 1600's.

    I have a 19th century dictionary of thieves cant which is a joy to read.

  2. As I've said elsewhere..; Mr. Newman is to be congratulated in perfecting the pubic-hair comb-over !

  3. Has Newman ever said anything important about business? He seems to comment on everything but (though as you point out, his views are mostly his own ...)

  4. ASIO is looking to increase their powers of 'coercive questioning."

    What does this mean? Just watch The Code on ABC to find out. Doubtless aunty will be forbidden from broadcasting such subversive stuff in the future if Brandis has his way.

  5. Good Le Lievre. Attack of the 50 foot Muslim!


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