Greens taking a few hits

The green ascendancy can be a depressing thing but there have been a number of recent developments that have cheered me up.


First, of course, is the growing recognition that the greens are a fire hazard. This is an issue that we have already discussed extensively .

Noel Pearson’s response to the Queensland government’s plans to “protect” aboriginal land in Cape York will help to discredit green politics and hopefully give them a bloody nose. (See here.)

The challenge by “Lawyers for Forests” to the government approval of Gunn’s Bell Bay Pulp Mill project failed in the courts.

Australia’s first GM canola crop has been a roaring success and the farmers love it.

I’m not following climate stuff much now but I suspect that Plimer’s new book will make a splash. It will certainly make it easier for politicians and others to raise their doubts. There was also a great story in The Australian about how the Antarctic is definitely NOT warming.

Jennifer Marohasy made an interesting point about how there are now whole scientific disciplines that have developed around the belief that Nature is a “fragile life-support system”. So it is not just a matter of few greeniess with PhDs. It is worse than that. Oh dear. I’m not feeling quite so cheered up now.

65 Responses to “Greens taking a few hits”

  1. 1 Barry

    Plimer’s book is off to a good start. Paul Sheehan, who up to now has been hostile to the skeptics, reported on it in the Sydney Morning Herald last week and began his review-article thus: “What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years. Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I – and you – capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits?”

    His article is titled “Beware the climate of conformity” and can be read here:

  2. 2 Bill Kerr

    The Noel Pearson example is nothing to be cheerful about. He has had to divert his energies from the great work he was doing with the Cape York Institute. This sorry episode has the potential to put back the aboriginal cause another generation and this makes you cheerful? Yeah, every cloud has a silver lining and in the long run we are all dead. But in the case of aboriginal people they are dead a lot sooner. It makes me sad and angry.

  3. 3 Steve Owens

    I agree with Bill about Noel Pearson. I was also suprised that no one commented on the Victorian government lowering the fire safety standards of housing despite the opposition from the CSIRO. This seems to be a victory for the developers over people.
    Bill did you see that the SA government has doubled the Adelaide Hills burn off this year.

  4. 4 tom

    I too agree with Bill and Steve re Noel Pearson and the recent the developments up north are truely disgraceful. What there is to be ‘cheerful’ about however is the exposure of the reactionary collusion between the Qld government and the Conservationist lobby. This aspect is a positive development and we need to assist in our modest way with this exposure.
    Pearson has indeed done exceptional work with the Cape York Institute; he will also do excellent work on the barricades.

  5. 5 Bill Kerr

    I went to Ian Plimer’s book launch today in adelaide, with pat

    He gave a long and detailed speech explaining his position. His position is based on a deep historical analysis and the broad view (just the position which I think needs to be taken) that the earth’s climate is affected by many diverse factors, hence the title of the book, Heaven and Earth. One aspect of his position is that we still don’t know enough to understand the environment fully. He also argues that computer models are not up to the task. He accepted questions at the end and there were lots.

    The book is heavily footnoted (over 1200 references) and represents 8 years of research

    Plimer suggested that the tide is beginning to turn in part since there hasn’t been much warming this decade and thinking people are suspicious of religious environmental dogma.

    He has a section at the end, “What if I am wrong”, and mentioned that dogma is the enemy of science, the possibility of being wrong is always there but not admitted by those who say global catastrophe is imminent

  6. 6 Arthur

    Saw a news item recently along the lines that tide already almost turned in US, with numbers rejecting the green message comparable to those accepting it.

    BTW I still think we should be cautious about siding with denial of anthropegenic global warming in view of what IS a very clear consensus among people qualified to have an opinion that its real.

    Its sufficient to stand against the dishonesty with which that gets promoted for public consumption (which proves advocates act dishonestly but not that they are wrong) as well as against the attempts to suppress qualified dissent such as Plimer and the religious stuff etc.

    Also its “obvious” that whether or not the climate models are as dubious as Plimer claims, the economic models are sheer fantasy and people entirely ignorant of economics are demanding that patently stupid measures be taken in response. That’s based on their philosophical attitude of horror at the thought of human industrialization changing the climate rather than any actual catastrophic consequence.

    I’m sure Plimer’s right that the climate changes anyway in ways beyond our present capacity to model it. But I’d be surprised if human activity has not yet reached a point where it can affect climate as it affects everything else. (Overall a warmer climate due to human activity might well be as positive as desertification due to human activity has been negative).

  7. 7 Bill Kerr

    For a critical review from a scientist who has read Plimer’s book and has some history of debates with him see this article by Barry Brook

  8. 8 Arthur

    I haven’t read Plimer but am instantly hostile to Barry Brook after following links from his passing reference to p442 on DDT and subsequent refutation at the end of comments there.

    Gives clear impression of an ideological prize fighter out to defend greens from any attack (and consequently nitpicking Plimer who may indeed represent the same sort of approach from opposite direction).

    ie Plimer presumably mentions DDT not as having any relevance to climate change but as (supportive but essentially ad hominem and irrelevant) illustration of how harmful green ideology can be.

    Brooks responds with a dishonest pretence that greenies did not cause great damage with their stand on DDT by suggesting it never really happened linking to a flurry of indignant nitpicking of a substantive article recording the turning of the tide on DDT.

    BTW I think the turning of the tide on DDT should be included in the list of good news on rolling back greens (with appropriate nuances to frustrate the nitpickers).

  9. 9 barry

    Other signs of a turning of the tide are the findings of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, as reported by the head of the Australian Antactic Division’s glaciology program, and the findings of the British Antarctic Survey. The SCAR report has found that ice is increasing not shrinking while the British survey team report that Antarctic ice has increased at a rate of 100,000 square kilometres per decade since the 1970s.,25197,25372987-11949,00.html,25197,25349683-11949,00.html

    This is very significant given the emphasis by the alarmists on the melting ice caps as proof of potentially catastrophic warming.

    There are signs that some of the alarmists are being brought down to earth a bit, too. Peter Garrett, the Australian federal Environment Minister, has backed down from the claim he has previously made this year that sea levels could rise by six metres.,25197,25349683-11949,00.html

    The IPCC’s worst case scenario is a 59 cm rise by 2100. This is very different to Al Gore and Robin Williams, of Radio National’s “Science Show”, who have spoken of the prospect of a hundred metre rise. Garrett clearly doesn’t want to be seen to be too close to such crazies. Hopefully, he will soon also realize that carbon is not a pollutant!

  10. 10 Arthur

    The Australian report on Garrett was a beat up. He was asked to comment on some report that new evidence showed sea levels could rise by 6m and he said he hadn’t seen it but stupidly went on to say something like that it wouldn’t surprise him and we must all be very afraid or whatever.

    “Alarmist” stuff about 200m or even 6m or “worst case” 1m rises in sea levels aren’t the problem. The problem remains a strong push against economic growth (including open enthusiasm for recession) to “save the planet”.

    Whether or not we face rises in sea levels of 6m, 1m, 0.5m or less and whether or not such rises are due to CO2 or could be reduced by cutting back on emissions, and likewise if we face falls in sea level, we obviously need more economic growth to deal with whatever opportunities and cope with whatever problems the uncertain future holds. Consequently we don’t want measures, such as emissions trading schemes, designed to inhibit economic growth. We do want measures such as intensified R&D to prepare for whatever climate engineering and/or changes in fuel we do need to undertake, relying on the power of consciously using our productive forces to change the world rather than retreating in fear from the possibility that we do indeed have the capability to be harmed by our failure to master and understand those forces.

    Related to that we insist on freedom of science and oppose “official science” (as opposed to taking sides in scientific disputes).

    Th0se ar the fundamental lines of demarcation. Don’t get distracted into taking sides in disputes about glaciology.

  11. 11 Dalec

    Arthur, glad to see you have not abandoned the scientific method the way many of your comrades on this site have.
    Economic growth is absolutely essential if the people of this planet are to move beyond the nasty brutish and short existence that a move back to the 17th century would bring on. I guess the point is that growth that destroys or degrades the living space for humanity can hardly be considered economic for the people. It may be “economic” for the ruling class but not for us. The green attitude is to have no growth, the sensible attitude is to have lots of economic growth but to do it in a way that is really economic.
    The “success” of Capitalism has been largely built on the successful exploitation of fossil fuels and resources. Capitalism is not very good at organising things – global economic crisis any-one?
    The critical task is to organise a vast increase in real economic growth while at the same time not relying on the exploitation of finite and environmentally damaging resources such as oil.
    If capitalism cannot do this it is buggered. I think it is this realisation that strikes total terror into the hearts of some of your comrades and that drives them into the arms of the nutters.

  12. 12 davidmc

    Hereis some more good news. Jared Diamond has been accused of making up stuff.

  13. 13 Anonymous

    Brook’s review is cited above and the DDT issue is criticised by Arthur.

    Dalec then says “The green attitude is to have no growth, the sensible attitude is to have lots of economic growth but to do it in a way that is really economic.”

    I don’t see evidence on Brook’s site that he is anti-energy. Just look to his strong and ongoing support for nuclear power and critique of renewable energy:

  14. 14 Arthur


    I haven’t followed the links but that page certainly looks like Brooks supports an at least plausible shift to nuclear rather than the usual claptrap about renewables. That would indicate his concerns about climate change are not part of being in the raving looney camp.

    Dalek on the other hand is squarely in the raving looney camp.

    His sucking up to me in contrast to others here is an interesting development, but not inconsistent with his usual pronouncements distorting what anyone says or thinks about anything as further confirmation of his own preconceptions.

    It would be remarkable if Dalek ends up on the pro-growth side of that line of demarcation. If he means it, that’s good. Claims that capitalist economic growth depends on environmental exhaustion/destruction ARE different from opposition to economic growth as such. Wrong, since overall the environment has dramatically improved as capitalism has developed, but significantly less insane.

    But I’m suspicious. Dalek’s last rave on the economic crisis claimed it was due to the Iraq war. This one seems to imply that the collapse in prices of oil and other raw materials confirms capitalist crisis is due to exhaustion of finite resources! There simply isn’t any way to engage a Dalek in logical analysis.

  15. 15 Dalec

    No Arthur I would not suck up to you if you were the last person on the planet. I do recognise however that you have not entirely forgotten all the rudimentary analytical skills that you once had. Barry and the others have entirely lost it on the climate change issue, they are clacking like total nutters.

    There is only one way forward and it is to massively increase economic growth. It is also clear that the easy low hanging fruit of “natural” resources is being rapidly depleted – most rapidly in under developed countries.
    I was recently in China and I doubt if the Chinese would agree that the environment there is improving at present under capitalism. They correctly see the present phase as one that they must pass through to achieve rapid growth in their economy, at the same time they are doing more to reduce their CO2 emissions and to bring the air and water pollution that is really really bad under control than any other country. They clearly understand, at a high level, that environmental degradation is cost to the economy and that CO2 emissions must be dramatically reduced.At the same time they know there is no way back.
    Meanwhile as over a billion people work to fix the problem the sad and pathetic denialists are talking dark conspiracies and publishing denialist drivel.

  16. 16 Dalec

    A reference for my statement about China’s efforts to “green” their economy is here
    Extract” they are setting targets and investing billions of dollars to spur the development of entirely new markets in wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, energy efficiency, high-speed rail, and other
    clean and innovative solutions to global warming.”
    I note the lack of response from denialist central.

  17. 17 cyberman2

    Its fair enough to accuse the Greens of taking a few hits. But they’ve given out a few hits of their own too.

    I would argue that one of their biggest has been to point out that most people do not understand the arithmetic of the exponential function. Prof Albert Bartlett understands it perfectly. As he explains in:

    If you want to defeat the Green argument you should at least have an answer to the points made.

  18. 18 Barry

    Another example of the greens giving out a few hits of their own is the deal signed by Prince Charles to write a book and do a movie about global warming. It will be called ‘Harmony’, reflecting the Prince’s green belief in humans harmonising with Nature rather than continuing to master it.

    From Brendan O’Neill’s report about it:

    “Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne who is most famous for talking to plants, has signed a deal to make a movie and write a book about climate change. The project will be called “Harmony,” because, in Charles’s words, humankind must “rediscover that sense of harmony, that sense of being a part of, rather apart from, nature.””

    O’Neill’s report may be read in full here:

    Whatever happened to the spectre that actually haunted the princes and the popes?! Now they have their own spectre, a green one, that haunts the working classes who favour economic growth and whose interests are served by abundance for all.

  19. 19 Dalec

    Economic growth has to occur by substituting intelligence for raw materials. There is no limit to intelligence but there are finite limits to raw materials and the degree to which we can simply exploit the environment for no economic cost. For example if we measure standard of living by energy consumption its a very poor metric. It is the services provided by energy that improve the standard of living. Lighting with the latest generation of LEDS is about 80% efficient against 5% for the Edison lamp (the incandescent lamp that we all use)that Edison stole from Swann. So an improvement in standard of living is actually measured by a decrease in energy consumption. Virtually every benefit that we get from energy consumption can be improved by using smart thinking to actually reduce energy consumption.
    The endless posturing about “economic growth” vs “greens” is missing the point.
    The greens are wrong if they say we must reduce economic growth to save ourselves from “disaster”.
    The reactionaries are also wrong if they say that economic growth will save us from “disaster”.
    The two are not linked. “Disaster” is irrelevant. It’s all about working smarter; better design and more intelligent systems can reduce the energy and material content of all goods and services by about 60-80%. Do this and we will get some serious economic growth. But while you have total idiots enthusing over the energy consumption of a work light, for example there is no way forward. “My local Aldi supermarket is selling a Halogen work light for $50. It is the equivalent of 5 million candles. Way to go!”davidmc

  20. 20 Arthur

    Candelas are a measure of luminous intensity, not energy.

    Economic growth has been characterized for centuries by a growing per capita production and consequently consumption of both “energy” and “raw materials”.

    One of its most striking features has been the long term decline in the costs of “finite” primary raw materials (“commodities”) of all kinds compared with the costs of other goods and services produced and consumed. Smart thinking has in fact made “resource” costs less and less economically relevant compared with the days when a “mill” had to be located near a source of energy.

    The current accelerated collapse of “commodities” is a result of economic crisis just as the previous peak when raving about “peak oil” became popular was a product of boom. Nevertheless with oil and coal prices at half their recent peak, it is a spectacularly bad time to be peddling this stuff. One looks for efficiency savings in costs that are increasingly important, not in those that are decreasingly important. (Hence the sheer desperation of proposals to drive up costs of resources that would not otherwise be conserved by imposing taxes or cap and trade systems on them).

    What really needs to be conserved is human effort. All proposals to make people work harder to conserve something else are reactionary.

    Virtually every benefit that we get from energy consumption can be improved by using smart thinking to actually reduce energy consumption.

    And if only you could persuade workers to live more thriftily, you could pay them less. No wonder this stuff is being pushed endlessly in the bourgeois mass media.

  21. 21 Dalec

    Arthur. “Candles” ( as in “5 million candles”) are a measure of lumen’s per steradian. Go figure -its marketing speak in this case and poor Bill thought it was meaningful.

    “Virtually every benefit that we get from energy consumption can be improved by using smart thinking to actually reduce energy consumption.” (Dalec) That’s right – is it smarter to use a heat pump in your house than an electric radiator? Well it seems that people are voting for the heat pump (Air conditioner) that gets them warm for less than half the cost of running a radiator. Its not a matter of thrift (get a grip Arthur) its a matter of choice. What is on offer. No doubt in the Arthur dictatorship energy saving devices would be forbidden. You should check out the nifty little boiling machines that people use instead of the conventional electric kettle. Boil just the amount of water you want. They sell really well as they save time,energy and money. Are they some-how less usefull?

  22. 22 Arthur

    “Candles” may be “marketing speak” for candelas but both are intended to compare levels of illumination with the output of a traditional candle. How much energy is required to generate the light is an entirely different question, with “efficiency” usually measured in lumens per watt. What people actually care about is $ per hour for the total cost of the amount of illumination they want.

    Fortunately people in modern societies now have access to vastly more illumination than Dalek thinks necessary at astronomically less cost than if Dalek’s proposal to shift to White LEDs was adopted.

    Nobody other than Dalek has suggested switching to white LEDs for normal lighting requirements, not even the most stupid greens. So Dalek simply changes the subject to boiling water.

    When something is actually cheaper overall, people do use it without much need for lecturing or coercion.

    White LEDs are more expensive overall so there is not the remotest possibility of them replacing other light sources in places that have a modern power grid.

    But for tiny amounts of light they use even tinier amounts of electricity and are therefore capable of being used even in places where there is no power grid where people have to only use pitifully minute amounts of much more expensive energy such as solar via batteries. This is necessary and extremely useful in places where the alternative would be kerosine lanterns. But that can only be a temporary measure while building the power grid.

    BTW DavidMcM’s cheering about halogen lamps available cheaply providing vast amounts of illumination isn’t just “market speak”. Overall they are still more expensive than typical lamps, but just as White LED is cheaper for tiny amounts of illumination, halogen is cheaper for large amounts. (Both are more “energy efficient” than incandescent lamps and both cost more to manufacture at levels of lighting commonly required).

    Dalek is resolutely determination to not think about actual economics and avoid dealing with the fact that resource costs have become less and less economically significant by simply changing the subject and denouncing non-existant dictatorial proposals to prevent people using more economical heating.

    Its the same sort of complete obliviousness as documented for Prince Charles at Barry’s link above. Its highly unlikely that Dalek has any more consciousness of how ridiculous his arguments look than Prince Charles does.

    This thread is about the decline in green ascendancy. Dalek’s contribution provides an excellent illustration of why more and more people who naturally assumed good faith from people claiming expertize and spouting all kinds of gobbledegook are figuring out that the people lecturing both don’t know what they are talking about and don’t really care.

  23. 23 Dalec

    Arthur, you don’t have a clue. You really need o get out more. LED lighting is rapidly taking over in office and industrial applications and moving rapidly into domestic.
    Last week I saw $100,000 worth of white lED products for the home market shipped out of a factory next door to where I work, next week another $100,000 will ship and more the week after that. This is in the face of a recession!
    Have a look at this — not exactly hippy shit:

    You said “But for tiny amounts of light they use even tinier amounts of electricity” LEDS are used for street lights, high bay lighting and all traffic lights are now LED. You simply do not have a clue, you are mired in the ’70’s and you have the temerity to lecture on modernism!

    The reasons for this shift are recent technological breakthroughs and the simple fact that they last for over 10 years of continuous operation (In a typical domestic situation they will last a lifetime). They use about 20-30% of the energy used by incandescent.
    Also there is mercury in the competing Compact Fluorescent Lamps and they have a poor power factor and will be phased out over the next few years.
    Now you will raise the banner beloved of every conservative “it costs more”: They said it about the automobile,as it pushed the horses off the street they said it about the steamship as it took over from sail. Oh electric vehicles are only for the rich they bleat. Oh LEd lighting is only for the rich they bleat also. Well I have news for all those sad conservatives, the new always costs more modernism does not come cheap. That’s the history of every technological breakthrough, who used the telegraph? the telephone? How much in real money did a TV cost back in the ’50s ?
    Wake up Arthur, it’s a brave new world and the rich are paying for it – always have at first until a Henry Ford comes along. It’s what Capitalism is all about, endless change , always on the edge of feasibility.

  24. 24 Arthur

    Yes LED lighting is already competitive for 100-150W equivalent traffic lights, not just for the tiny lamps I mentioned. This is mainly because cheaper traffic lamps fail more often and in that application its worth reducing the traffic disruption and maintenance truck rolls costs per lamp replacement.

    No doubt there will be other applications (or other lighting technologies). But we were discussing current (domestic) “lighting” technology in the context of Dalek’s claim that:

    an improvement in standard of living is actually measured by a decrease in energy consumption

    “Don’t have a clue” followed by rave about how “recent technologigal breakthroughs” make LEDs cheap for ordinary domestic lighting use. Followed by admission that they are still more expensive and only the rich can afford them (as toys).

    If they were remotely competitive they would be available now (or within a few weeks if it was that “recent”), in supermarkets. There are LOTS of greens who would be delighted to buy them for their “energy efficiency” (and dinner conversation) even if they cost a LOT more overall, as long as they don’t cost PRHOBITIVELY more (like $1000 traffic lamps).

    Dalek knows that, so ends with a defiant “always on the edge of feasability”.

    However I must withdraw my statement that nobody other than Dalek has proposed using White LEDs for domestic lighting now. As demonstrated by the link, there’s even a web site soliciting orders (or at least gathering email addresses for what should be a very profitable list of people into buying anything “green”…).


  25. 25 Dalec
  26. 26 Barry

    Dalec, (just to toss it back in your face): you need to get out more – if you don’t realize that consumers no longer have much choice to purchase the old incandescent light bulbs, as the previous federal government in Australia (with Turnbull as Environment Minister) regulated to phase them out by 2009/10. When I go to my local Woolworths store to but the much cheaper incandescent bulb – the one I prefer, because it’s cheaper and I reckon better – I find the shelves either bare or fairly bare. When they stock some, they seem to go quickly. But, when the ban becomes total (later this year or next), you will – surprise, surprise – find a huge increase in ‘demand’ for the alternatives.

    We are being forced to ‘go green’ by people who don’t represent the interests of the working people and who earn a lot of money and always have a lot in their hip pocket. To them, perhaps, there’s no much difference between less than a dollar and ten or more dollars, but to the rest of us….

  27. 27 Dalec

    Yes, Barry I know about the phase out. Actually as I said the lamps that replace them are crap on two grounds, high mercury content and poor power factor — in particular high harmonic injection into the power network.
    The Fluorescent lamps give at least 4 times the lumens per Watt than incandescent and have at least 6 times the life.
    There are plenty of atavistic aesthetes who will pay more for the comfort of the same sort of light they had growing up in Brunswick but the economy is definitely on the side of the CFL’s – unfortunately.
    The point of my post/s is that energy consumption is not a proper measure of standard of living.
    For example refrigerators have steadily improved in energy consumption and utility while the real cost has stayed pretty constant is this a bad thing? Air conditioners are replacing bar radiators. LCD TV,s are replacing energy hungry plasma and CRT.
    In general modern consumer goods and industrial processes are using less material and energy per item produced than before.

    There is a good reason for this, intellectual effort counts as labour so it is much more profitable to make products that embody intellect rather than raw materials and energy. Seems like you guys have forgotten the basics.

  28. 28 Barry

    Dalek, The point of your posts has not just been that “energy consumption is not a proper measure of standard of living” but that “an improvement in standard of living is actually measured by a decrease in energy consumption”.

    You can mock my Brunswick origins all you like (for overseas readers, Brunswick was an archetypal migrant industrial working class suburb in Melbourne when I grew up there in the 1950s and 1960s – it started to gentrify when I was still there in the late 1970s) but the reality is that people on low-and-medium incomes would like the option of an incandescent bulb. Your position is like that of the churches and reactionary union bosses when they opposed the introduction of Sunday trading. They knew that if they gave the people a choice, no amount of threats of hell from the pulpit would deter everyone in the congregation from shopping on the ‘day of rest’. Thus they relied on the state to deny people the option. Hey, the result: people didn’t shop on Sundays! Until things changed and they were given the option….

    Methinks that if people had the option of incandescent bulbs, they would buy them – mainly because they’re cheaper.

    Hold onto your hat, but us miserable Brunswegians even had access to a modern power grid – there was a small sub-station in my street.

  29. 29 Arthur


    The LED lights at Target are clearly for low illumination desktop and decor purposes.

    Even for those purposes they are clearly being marketed at a premium in the “Home – Eco-friendly” category for people who are willing to pay more overall for that.

    eg This eBay lighting guide doesn’t even mention them yet.

    The only domestic applications where they are actually competitive (and I use them myself) is for battery operated lighting (eg torches) where the convenience outweighs the additional costs for the very small amounts of illumination and energy involved.

    Compact Flourescent Lamps (CFL) are another matter. I prefer them (mainly for convenience) and have always assumed that the overall cost is comparable to or below the overall cost of incandescent lamps.

    On that basis I had no objection to the compulsory phase out of incandescent lamps as not differing in principle from other kinds of regulation that enforce quality standards.

    If Barry was right that the incandescent lamps are cheaper than CFL overall, taking actual energy costs into account, then the phase out would be highly obnoxious.

    If Dalek was right that the CFL lamps are “crap” and will be replaced by another technology such as LEDs within their lifetimes then the compulsory phase out is a totally obnoxious con job since the cost per lamp would not be amortized over its longer life and it would have been cheaper to stick with incandescents until the LEDs actually became viable.

    This kind of calculation, taking into account “moral depreciation” through obsolescence of fixed capital is routine, and equally applicable to consumer durables such as lighting. People are familiar with it in the rapid depreciation of computers and other electronic equipment.

    What Dalek is claiming is that Greens have successfully compelled people to pay more for CFL lighting through compulsion as a preliminary to switching over to LEDs.

    If he’s right, their noses should be rubbed in it in the same way as with bushfires. Unfortunately Dalek is generally wrong about any subject he takes up.

  30. 30 Dalec

    Barry; you are so wrong, I have been a strong opponent of coercion or subsidies at the point of consumption since forever. I am on the public record on this. In my view it is one of the best ways to stifle innovation. For example the global PV rooftop subsidy has been an unmitigated disaster. The PV systems have not improved in 15 years. There is no incentive to do so, just pocket the subsidy
    The proscription of incandescent lamps and the (effective) mandating of CFL’s is really stupid policy because it has had the effect of locking other emerging technologies out of the market – or at least delaying their entrance.
    Historically the development all new and improved technologies and services has been paid for by the rich. Motor cars, ‘planes, trains, telephone , electricity the list goes on. Equally if the rich want to wear button up boots or collect antique technologies – who am I to argue?
    BTW Barry, over 10 years ago I installed a large PV array and a Wind turbine that fed power into the grid in Brunswick. If you lived there then you paid for it – one way or another Ha Ha.

  31. 31 anita

    Hi Barry, I’ve noticed the same thing with the globes in the supermarket and it drives me absolutely spare as there are some applications where incandescent bulbs are preferable but I just want the freedom to choose!!. I can’t stand the thought of being told what light bulbs I can buy, and I can’t believe that people will put up with this for very long but I live in SA and well…

    Shopping bags are now banned in SA, which comes into full operation on May 4, when if you want a bag you will need to bring your own, or purchase one for a dollar for the cloth kind, or 10c as in Target which has ‘invested’ in specialised compostable bags and is going national after having conducted their experiment first in SA. (Talk about conducting your experiment in an environment that will give you the result that you’re after!!) We just had bottles and cans lifted to 10c from 5c and still the only state in Australia to be dopey enough to use this idiotic system that everybody pays for.

    These policies of the Rann Labor government are contrary to both public health and occupational Health and safety standards.

    Even though the Shoppies union dominated by the ALP doesn’t seem to care about this very much. Those few that may can’t break through the ‘ideological correctness’ within the media here regarding going green to get the message out.

    With the flu season around the corner and the next pandemic possibly on the way the poor old check out chicks have to handle all the germ laden re-useable items thus increasing the risk for transmission to them from things like flu as well as handling generally dirty bags. (Especially so as you hear that one of the few public spaces open in Mexico are supermarkets)

    Apparently this bag ban may be coming to other states soon.

    Fancy having an authoritarian labor government forcing retailers to charge for basic items from which to transport the goods they sell home!? I have no idea why the relevant unions have not yet mounted a High Court challenge to the SA legislation on the basis that it is contrary to their members health and the public health interest.

    I think this madness is beyond the powers of State government’s, or if it is not ought to bring on a big enough fight to see them tossed out of government! The negative consequences of green policy and their contradictory nature are taking their toll on green thinking and support. (What with the weir, the Coorong conundrums, and the desalination option that all my green friends hate).

    Anyway we shall see, we are a year out from the next election that we have on fixed-four-year-terms, but I know a lot of people have had a gut-full of these thugs imposing their conservation of petrochemical religion, with lies about how the shopping bags are damaging the ‘environment’ and decimating species.

    Ohh for a high quality nuclear waste facility in my back yard!

  32. 32 Dalec

    Anita, perhaps you should look at this:
    “Lies about how the shopping bags are damaging the ‘environment’ and decimating species.” Lets see now, the Independent is part of a vast green conspiracy to rule the world – right? The South Auatralian Government also, apparently.
    Hey talking of freedom to choose; what is your view on Australias gun laws ?

  33. 33 Barry

    I think the only problem with plastic bags is a behavioural one. It should be addressed at that level. People shouldn’t dispose of them in irresponsible ways. But, hey, the little cupboard under my kitchen sink is now full of those thick cloth recyclable bags rather than the old plastic type. Have you ever seen a baby whale choke on one of those?! Very ugly indeed.

    I feel a stand-up routine coming on.

  34. 34 Arthur

    “The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States.”

    “It moves around like a big animal without a leash.”

    Mr Moore, a former sailor, came across the sea of waste by chance in 1997, while taking a short cut home from a Los Angeles to Hawaii yacht race. He had steered his craft into the “North Pacific gyre” – a vortex where the ocean circulates slowly because of little wind and extreme high pressure systems. Usually sailors avoid it.

    He was astonished to find himself surrounded by rubbish, day after day, thousands of miles from land. “Every time I came on deck, there was trash floating by,” he said in an interview. “How could we have fouled such a huge area? How could this go on for a week?”

    Professor David Karl, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii, said more research was needed to establish the size and nature of the plastic soup but that there was “no reason to doubt” Algalita’s findings.

    “After all, the plastic trash is going somewhere and it is about time we get a full accounting of the distribution of plastic in the marine ecosystem and especially its fate and impact on marine ecosystems.”

    Professor Karl is co-ordinating an expedition with Algalita in search of the garbage patch later this year and believes the expanse of junk actually represents a new habitat.

    Mr Moore said that because the sea of rubbish is translucent and lies just below the water’s surface, it is not detectable in satellite photographs. “You only see it from the bows of ships,” he said.

    Wow! Imagine being the discoverer of an invisible undetectable monster twice the size of the USA wandering around without a leash. Knowing for a decade while the world remained oblivious! Must have felt like being a UFO abductee with nobody taking him seriously.

    Fortunately for humanity, expeditions will be dispatched to search for it as soon as Professor Karl gets his funding. They are certain to succeed since, after all, we already know its twice the size of USA. So no matter how much it wanders around without a leash, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will certainly be tracked down.

    Be afraid, be very afraid. And don’t you dare complain about idiotic inconveniences like bans on shopping bags or you will need to be burned as a witch.

    Hope Barry does do that stand-up comedy routine.

    PS My views on gun laws are that gun ownership should be compulsory as in Switzerland.

  35. 35 Dalec

    Barry certainly should not give up his day job and Arthur should give up on the 40 year old rhetorical tricks, we have heard them all before. If your measure of modernity is how many plastic bags we discharge into the environment or that new technology costs too much for ordinary workers, it proves that you really have no concept of the world as it is. Most of the owners of this site are mired in Idealism of the most facile and banal kind. “Progress” is never defined but used all the time as a measure of things.
    I have never claimed that the “Greens have successfully compelled people to pay more for CFL lighting through compulsion as a preliminary to switching over to LEDs”.
    The Greens are basically total technological morons; who think that solar panels on rooftops will solve energy problems, for example. They also promoted CFL’s without a proper investigation of the downside – mercury in landfills and the power factor problem that would emerge with large scale usage. The average green would not know any-thing at all about the emerging led lamp technology because the specific energy consumption has only recently been radically improved. In a report on LED lighting I wrote for one Australian government about 10 years ago I was very lukewarm towards LED’s because at that time they were no where near as good as CFL,s (I researched these in depth and reported on this research the ESAA as well). I have kept a close eye on developments in both technologies since. The latest generation of LED lamps are now as efficient as CFL’s the actual light emitting part uses tiny amounts of materials and the support electronics are vastly simpler as they require only a current controlled supply that runs directly off the network voltage no transformers or starting circuits.
    I started using CFL’s over 20 years ago in off grid solar powered home systems, they then cost over 20 times the cost of an incandescent but paid for themselves because of the high cost of energy in such systems. The people who bought these systems were not the bloated rich by the way; they were ordinary working people who lived in the bush but who had been quoted $20,000 to connect to the grid. The system costs were unsubsidised.
    BTW Arthur the clincher on the LED traffic light deal was the fact that we could buy green LED’s – previously traffic light manufacturers had used incandescents run at under-volts to get long life. This meant that they had virtually no energy at the green end of the spectrum.
    It is worth noting that Lenin did not run away screaming when he heard of the cost of the then new technology – electricity (the way you guys do). He went on to promote widespread electrification for all people in the Soviet Union (to the widespread scorn of the reactionary conservatives of the day). So successful was the project that the conservative Victorian Government sent engineers to the Soviet Union to be trained in the then new technology of mass electrification. If you guys had your way I would be sending this by steam powered telegraph or something.

  36. 36 anita

    I can assure Dalec that a conspiracy theory has nothing to do with my opinion of the Rann Labor government or the media.

    Arthur, thanks for the run down on the sea rubbish vortex, but I’m not sure I agree with you about the gun ownership question, it would need clarification.

    I have extremely mixed feelings about gun ownership and use. Given that the last time I handled a gun, a 303, I was 19 and I accidentally fired it, and the bullet went between myself and 2 others and out the ceiling in my small bedroom. I can say the only thing that saved us is the fact that I’d had it drummed into me never to point a gun at a person.

    I think gun laws are needed rather than some open slather approach. Training is required followed by licensing and there has to be regulations on just how armed people can be etc. I would not like to see 50 caliber machine guns all over the place.

    Howard’s policy took guns from the hands of people with legitimate interest in them but of course could do nothing about criminals and organized gangs.

    When I was very young I lost not one but 2 friends to guns both suicide and the fact that country people routinely have guns and shoot bunny’s etc., making guns easy to pick up in a moment of emotion is of deep concern. The impulsive nature of young men, and in general young people, makes it essential to include in any policy to compulsory arms, a policy to incorporate training into an Army Reserve kind of national service system doesn’t it? Anyway, I’ll have to check out the Swiss model before commenting further on the compulsory gun ownership question.

    Though not that the best training saved Flinders comrade Nick, who had a rifle accident while real Army training and tragically through a misfiring situation shot his mate, and then through lack of Army support 3 years or so later hanged himself at Christmas time in a Sydney Hotel. Nick’s Mum and Dad can sometimes be seen on news bulletins commenting about military inquiriesn or otherwise about the problematic military culture and lack of supports for soldiers. (Officer and grunt alike)

    Anyhow, even though I disagreed with the policy at the time I thought that Howard showed courageous leadership after the Port Arthur massacre by introducing a policy that was really against his short term political interests, in that it really upset the National Party and the governing coalition. (Remember Howard wore a flack jacket to a country meeting about surrendering their weapons?) But hey, I’d rather have this kind of leadership over opportunism anytime.

    Premier Rann is an opportunist who is surrounded by nasty right-wingers who blame irresponsible individuals for their policy woes, and routinely implement policy that is determined to divide the population in Hollywood style into the goodies and the baddies, with the goodies following them and staying quiet about their reservations as Arthur suggests, and the rest? – Well they are pond scum deserving all the draconian measures they can dream up to bring them into line.

    The national bikie odyssey to Adelaide occurred to protest the introduction of draconian laws against supposed outlaws – Freedom of Association restrictions for some motor cycle clubs. Recently, we saw a lone Democrat (David Winderlich) join bikies on the steps of parliament house to speak in favour of their civil rights. Even though I found the display of the Confederate flag at the lead of their group off-putting, I can’t help but think of the wider implications of setting the precedent for freedom of association restrictions outside of some necessary specific judicially proscribed situations.

    So much to investigate and so little time – but life is nevertheless good here in downtown Adelaide through the drought and flooding rain, and we too shall cheer through seeing the worm turn on Mike Rann, who currently can’t/won’t sack Tom Koutsantonis (ex Uni of Adelaide student politician) the Hon. Tom Koutsantonis is Member and Candidate for West Torrens Minister for Correctional Services; Minister for Road Safety; Minister for Gambling; Minister for Youth; Minister for Volunteers; Minister assisting the Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    Tom Koutsantonis has recently lied to the public while explaining to the media (while being a Minister for Road Safety etcetcetc)- what the story is with numerous road safety infringements, with some left unpaid which led to the original break in the story.

    Now that story could make a really funny sketch – because at first he’s trying to run the line that a ‘few’ (the numbers changed and currently stand at 59 infringements) – “Hey don’t you think that QUALIFIES ME for the position?” (beam,smile,blink,blink, Cut. rightthen I’m off now bye)

    Me too, one more thing and I’m off to google TK and the anti-Bikie laws brought to a Labor government in your state soon. Update; Tom Koutsantonis has been sacked from Minister for Road Safety but retains other portfolios.?! Go figure.

    Last, back to the bag bans when it comes to the media there have been some negative complaints in the ABC talkback I listen to – some people saying now I’ll have to buy bin liners etc.,but by and large what people have said was dismissed as being cheapskates or jerks for not wanting to pay only 10c to save ‘The environment’. Mostly what we’ve heard in the initial phase were complaints of people being charged for bags prior to the May 4 deadline – as my 10 year old observed in the Target queue that her Nan went through being asked if she wanted a bag for free while at another the same time I had to pay for one if I wanted it.

    Commenters were told/implied they were harassing poor staff if they commented and to accept the new regime relating to plastic bag use now. Other media reports were of how the check out chicks were complaining of being abused and were not to blame and how this is unacceptable behaviour on the part of consume,rs and not that they the check out operators are being made to touch every one else’s stuff as opposed to clean plastic bags used in ergonomically designed spaces.

    What is to be expected but a rise in sick days and a decline in productivity over double handling an often inferior method and product? Yet no surprise that the Union only bitches about check out chick bully’s while it is the retailers association that is saying hang on aren’t there some Occ. Health and Safety questions?

    This scheme has been in trial since the beginning of 2009 and all shops have now phased in some kind of bagging option that requires consumers to pay for what was once factored into the overheads and pricing of goods? What sort of consumer protection record does that enhance?

  37. 37 Dalec

    Anita I would not take Arthurs comments on Gun laws too seriously -it is just a 40 year old debating trick. Note that he used Switzerland as an example, Israel has much the same law, it applies to conscripts in both countries. No doubt Arthur would like to introduce conscription as well. The Swiss laws are cited with great approval by every gun nut, survivalist and right wing conspiracy theorist in the US. In Switzerland the amminition for the gun is contained in a sealed container, breaking the seal without authority is a criminal offence. Arthur would not tell you that.

  38. 38 Barry

    Anita, I’m sorry to hear of your personal experiences relating to guns. For me, however, I just don’t get the idea of governments taking guns from people, such as farmers and other law-abiding types who hand them in voluntarily during amnesties. It leaves monopolisation of guns in the hands of the criminals (who won’t and don’t hand them in) and the police.

    Whenever I read about the terrible tragedy at Port Arthur in Tasmania, I just wish that one person present on the day – perhaps the bus driver or the local pharmacist, or whoever – had just one gun on them. That was the only way in which the massacre could have been averted, and it’s one of the reasons I’m not enthused by Howard’s gun control measures of that time. If any one person other than Bryant had had a gun, then they could have shot him, thereby saving the lives of many.

    dalec accuses Arthur of incomplete information but it is he who fails to point out that members of the Swiss Army militia, who are the ones who have their ammunition sealed (and inspected periodically), are allowed to keep the weapons after their period of service. The ammunition is unsealed and the weaponry retained by the citizen, though modified, usually as semi-automatics (from fully automatic).

    There’s no way I’ll continue to be part of the diverting of this thread from its proper topic – the hits being taken by the Greens this year – but felt it worth pointing out the above information.

  39. 39 Barry

    Getting back to the increasing hits the green world outlook is taking, I think we’ll see an increase in humour against it, too. Those on the side of the oppressed have often used humour to poke fun at the privileged and bring the ruling classes down a little from their perches. It’s a highly effective ‘weapon’ of struggle and one that the reactionaries find very difficult to deal with. From my experience as someone who went along with a basic green outlook for most of the 1980s, they did strike me as a fairly humourless bunch. But then I think that probably applies to most people who think they’re on a mission to save the world from possible extinction and to save humanity from itself.

    In Australia, I’ve seen a comedian – our very own lesbian-Mormon, Sue-Ann Post – have a very funny go at those who regret the advances of modern industrial society. And I’ve seen one of our best stand-up comedians, Wil Anderson, descend into politically-correct humour that attacks skepticism. It’s about as funny as repeating “Bush is an idiot” ad infinitum.

    I’m pleased to report a funny item from the Spectator in the UK, which can be read here:

  40. 40 DavidMc

    I remember an interview with Sue-Ann Post where she made the obvious point that there is no right way to leave a toilet seat. Down is convenient for women but inconvenient for men and visa versa when up. Well it should have been obvious but it is one of those things that only becomes obvious when it is pointed out by someone standing above the prevailing nonsense.

    I sent her a copy of my book. Hopefully she had a flick through it.

  41. 41 Arthur

    As well as the “hits” there’s also a rather serious danger of green’s achieving a solid alliance with some very dangerous protectionist forces.

    I was struck by the op-ed from Paul Krugman openly calling for protectionist “carbon taxes” to penalize Chinese “pollution”. Its hard to figure out the bourgeois support for patently stupid economic policies but one factor has clearly been strategic concerns about dependence on middle eastern oil. There was also some suggestions of Margaret Thatcher being keen to make Britain less dependent on coal miners when in conflict with the miner’s union.

    Protectionism is a very real danger in the current economic situation and it’vs hard to believe Paul Krugman doesn’t know what he’s doing in adocating it and suggesting an ideological “green” rationale.

    Interestingly the comments selected by NYT editors were fairly hostile – including from those who support imposing reduced emissions but were struck by Krugman’s blatant hypocrisy of developed countries with far higher per capita emissions penalizing less developed countries with lower per capita emissions.

    That is so strikingly blatant that the article can be classified as Keynesian liberals pushing protectionism rather than greenies pushing protectionism. The problem is that it does suggest a quite viable reactionary alliance with real potential for mass influence.

  42. 42 Bill Kerr

    The Paul Krugman Op Ed that arthur refers to: The Perfect, The Good, The Planet

    Another interesting link worth reading in full about the changing relationship b/w aboriginal and environmental groups over time, not only in Cape York was: Indigenous-Green alliance cracks . Aboriginal groups form alliances with capitalists for development and jobs for their people. Green groups form alliances with Labour Party to help Labour win elections for deals such as the so called “wild rivers” in Qland.(btw Indigenous people regard the use of the term “wild” as insulting; it infers that the land is uninhabited and “terra nullius”. The Government has treated indigenous people as if the land is “terra nullius” – why they’re wild about wild rivers ) Labour Party is at least sometimes hesitant about pursuing the green agenda due to economic crisis.

  43. 43 Arthur


    Thanks for adding the link (I had intended to include it, but forgot that I hadn’t).

    Yes, the “Wild Rivers” stuff looks like deepening the split between blacks and Greens. As Peter Garrett mentions there’s no natural alliance and hasn’t been one since it became obvious the Greens wanted to stop uranium mining while the blacks wanted royalties.

    Noel Pearson is pretty consistent in his opposition to Narodnik/romantics and support of development.

  44. 44 Arthur

    Just noticed, Bill’s link was to a different article by Krugman on same theme. The one I forgot to include is here. (Saw it in yesterday’s Age or Australian).

    Haven’t checked whether editors selected comments reflected the general comments.

  45. 45 Bill Kerr


    “As Peter Garrett mentions there’s no natural alliance and hasn’t been one since it became obvious the Greens wanted to stop uranium mining while the blacks wanted royalties”

    That’s true but worth mentioning that Peter Garrett was once an environmentalist singing in the western desert about aboriginal rights:

    The time has come
    To say fairs fair
    To pay the rent
    To pay our share

    The time has come
    A facts a fact
    It belongs to them
    Lets give it back
    – Beds are Burning

    Rousing song and more background at: How do you sleep, Peter Garrett, when your bed is burning?

  46. 46 Bill Kerr

    Norman Yoffee’s (an archaeologist) critique of Jared Diamond’s Collapse theories. I heard this on the ABC today. He is one of the editors of a soon to be released book Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire

    “Collectively, these essays demonstrate that resilience in the face of societal crises, rather than collapse, is the leitmotif of the human story from the earliest civilizations to the present”

  47. 47 melaleuca

    “I’m not following climate stuff much now but I suspect that Plimer’s new book will make a splash. ”

    Heh. Unfortunately for Plimer, his book landed in a puddle of pig shit and the splash back hit him right between the eyes. Not one credible climate scientist has described it as anything more than an embarrassment due to its copious errors.

  48. 48 Barry

    “Credible” climate scientists being those who share melaleuca’s view.

  49. 49 melaleuca

    Wel what it doesn’t mean is old farts who are way past their prime, which sums up most of the credentialed AGW critics. If, and only if, the young turks rebel against the mainstream AGW position would it make sense for outside observers to seriously question the mainstream view.

    To understand what I mean, I suggest you read a book documenting the history of scientific discovery, such as “Science: A History” by John Gibbon. A theme that recurs over and over again is young men making scientific breakthroughs and old men resisting change. It’s rather sad to see the strangetimes crew align themselves with the reactionaries. As Marxists you should be well aware of the pitfalls of letting ideology interfere with science. Lysenko anyone?

  50. 50 melaleuca

    Well I’m glad we all agree on climate change skeptics mostly being grumpy old farts who should be put out to pasture.

  51. 51 Arthur


    Its the religious fanaticism of climate alarmists that prompts people to defend the scientific skeptics (rightly in my view) against attempts to shut them down in the name of “official science”, including by ridicule as ‘boring old farts’ etc.

    This naturally spills over into others assuming the skeptics are more likely to be right than the alarmist fanatics who engage in deceitful manipulations to browbeat opposition. While that is natural, I don’t go along with it as it’s obviously possible (and likely) for people who are genuinely convinced they are right and that they therefore desperately need to convince the world in order to avert disaster, to engage in dishonest and bullying tactics (especially when their view is endorsed by both governments and fanatics). But the fact that someone is a lying bully doesn’t prove they are wrong. Also, the skeptics engage in similar dishonesty and the relative lack of bullying from that side may simply result from the lack of opportunity.

    Your criteria that the mainstream view should only be questioned by outsiders when it’s challenged by “young turk insiders” (whether men or women) is absurdly unscientific. The history of science tells us that the mainstream view is ALWAYS wrong (this follows simply from the observation that science does indeed have a history). But it also demonstrates that which particular non-mainstream view will overturn the prevailing orthodoxy can only be recognized after it has done, so the overwhelming majority of “young turk” challenges will only contribute the (necessary) elimination of various dead ends.

    Incidentally Lysenko is a spectacularly bad choice to illustrate your thesis. Part of the problem was that the geneticists who turned out to be right were “boring old farts” while Lysenko represented the “young turks” and was enthusiastically backed by the Central Committee on that supposedly “Marxist” basis.

    A bigger part of the problem was that boring old farts were also fake communists who were too cowardly to stand up to the CC and tell it to pull its head in on matters it knew nothing about. I have a copy of the verbatim transcript of the Academy proceedings where the leaders of the geneticist side were responding vigorously to the Lysenkoist arguments and then instantly capitulated when an official editorial appeared siding with Lysenko. They certainly weren’t fit to be in either the Academy or the party.

    There are simply NO criteria for “public opinion” to evaluate scientific truth. It HAS to emerge from the scientific process itself or it would be at the mercy of such absurd anti-scientific criteria as the one you propose.

    What we CAN and MUST do is defend those who do know enough to actually participate in the scientific debate from attempts to rally “public opinion” against them, let alone to enforce “official science”.

    Equally essential is rejection of the pretence that scientists expert in such fields as “climate science” should be taken seriously when they propose economic policy. This absurdity flows naturally from the green nature worshipping religion, which has to have shamans or priests to tell them what to think since nature doesn’t actually do that. Just because the witchdoctors knew a bit about herbal remedies, and priests could calculate the calendars for the seasons (and consequent weather expectations affecting harvests) did not make them much use at farming.

    If the climate is changing AND the change is due to human greenhouse emissions AND the costs are likely to be huge, it simply DOES NOT FOLLOW that urgent measures should be taken to impose caps on greenhouse emissions.

    The fallacy ought to be obvious to anyone competent in any area of science. The fact that it apparantly isn’t obvious to many climate scientists adds to doubts about the maturity of their science.

    It is especially difficult to take their confidence in their climate models seriously when they express equal faith in economic models extending 200 years into the future and demand drastic actions based on those models. The sheer absurdity of the economic models that they also believe in so strongly, suggests that they just don’t grasp how mathematical modeling actually works. Until Kepler developed an entirely different mathematical model, the experimental data fitted the Tychonic geocentric model of the universe far better than the heliocentric model proposed by Copernicus, which actually had even more epicycles than Ptolemy.

  52. 52 Steve Owens

    Arthur is right about those weak-kneed scientists who wouldn’t stand up to the Central Committee.
    Look how weak Nikolai Vavilov was. He criticizes Lysenko and then meekly accepts being arrested.
    He was imprisoned for a mere 3 years, that’s all only 3 years.
    The authorities then released him, on compassionate grounds apparently you cant stay in prison when your dead.
    Looks like he died of malnutrition.
    Still what was stopping those other scientists from standing up to the CC.
    Arthur you make it sound so easy stand up against the CC please.

  53. 53 melaleuca

    But Arthur your own views are alarmist only from the opposite direction. Same shit, different side.

    As regards mitigation costs, the economist did a study of a CBAs pertaining to a dozen or so environmental matters where there was legislative intervention. He found costs are virtually always overestimated by a factor of at least 2. Conversely, he found that mitigation costs are usually well above CBA estimates.

    I’m not aware of any studies that challenge these findings.

  54. 54 melaleuca

    Sorry that should say “the economist Eban Goodstein”

  55. 55 Arthur


    People claiming the planet faces imminent catastrophe unless drastic measures are taken urgently are, by any definition “alarmist”. Whether they are or are not justified in being alarmist is a separate issue.

    Their opponents are obviously not alarmist.

    Why should I be alarmed when the sort of argument you put up is about “boring old farts” and your response to challenge is not to even attempt to reply but meekly change the subject.

    Your inability to debate is frustrating, but quite unalarming.

  56. 56 melaleuca

    “and your response to challenge is not to even attempt to reply but meekly change the subject.”

    Huh? English translation, thanks.

  57. 57 melaleuca

    Arthur says:

    “People claiming the planet faces imminent catastrophe unless drastic measures are taken urgently are, by any definition “alarmist”. Whether they are or are not justified in being alarmist is a separate issue.”

    Nope. Here’s the definition of alarmist:

    “a person who alarms others needlessly.”

    Is English your second language?

  58. 58 Steve Owens

    Its an interesting idea about whether scientists should yeild to threats. I believe that Galileo renounced his ideas about the movement of planets after the Inquisition showed him their instruments of torture.
    Brecht was critical of Galileo for this and in a perfect world with perfect heros Galileo should have told the Inquisition to go to hell but alas we live in a far from perfect world.
    Brecht wrote a poem in praise of Lysenko. Ive read it but can make niether head nor tail of it, maybe someone with a poetical bent could explain it to me?

  59. 59 Steve Owens

    Let us thus with ever newer arts
    Change this earth’s form and operation,
    Gladly measure thousand-year-old wisdom
    By new wisdom one year old.
    Dreams! Golden If!
    Let the lovely flood of grain rise higher!
    Sower, what
    You creat tomorrow, call it yours today!

  60. 60 Steve Owens

    Arthur I would be interested to see the transcript that you have. If you cant scan it I would at least like to know the date that you are talking about.

    Im refering to the transcript of the scientific debate over Lysenko that you said you have.
    ps what do you think of Vavilov?

  61. 61 Arthur

    The Situation in Biological Science”, Proceedings of the Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the USSR, Session: July 31-August 7, 1948, Verbatim Report. FLPH Moscow 1949. 631pp

  62. 62 Barry

    I nearly ran my car off the road when driving home from work and listening to Radio National’s Counterpoint program on Monday 10th August. It featured Austin Williams talking about progress and I kept letting go of the wheel in order to clap my hands, cheer and raise a clenched fist. Austin represents the spirit of the left prior to the takeover of the zombies. It’s a big pity that the very notion of progress has to be defended and justified, but these are our times.

    I recommend listening to the broadcast rather than reading the transcript. Austin’s voice has all the bounce of a rational optimist, someone who enjoys taking on the reactionaires. (Makes interesting comparison to the robotic tones of Wong and Gore). Austin’s Geordie accent adds to the no-nonsense approach.

    I found it very uplifting and reckon there must be more people who think like this ‘out there’.

    The program can be heard here:

    Here’s the blurb from the Radio National site: “In 2009 are we even allowed to talk about Progress? Popular sentiment tends towards the feeling that whereas humanity was once viewed as solving the world’s problems, we are now viewed as the source. Things are going from bad to worse and it is all our fault. Austin Williams won’t have a bar of this”.

    Rock on Austin!

  63. 63 Barry

    Humphrey McQueen on the “Climate Change Faithful” here:

    Jennifer Marohasy ran the article at her blog and it’s interesting to se the vehemence of the comments from the ‘Faithful’ who hate sceptics. Why, one outraged green-type even recalls that Humphrey was a ‘Marxist’, so how could he be taken seriously?!

  64. 64 paul

    The greens are the reactionaries of our time.

    They lie and exagerate every aspect of climate change in order to drive us back to pre industrial time.

    these are useful links to further examine the facts

    to summarize the science a doubling of CO2 will increase temperature about .7 C and not 4C the IPCC tell us about.

    AS actual CO2 levels are currently below IPCC predictions made 10 years ago a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere may not even be possible as CO2 does not just stay in the air but gets absorbed by oceans , soil , plants and trees , coral etc etc. Remembering that oil and coal is finite and according to some we are half way through our oil.

    Slightly warmer temperatures will be beneficial.
    Just ask the russians and canadians.
    Food production will increase especially because of the higher CO2 levels . Some farmers currently pump CO2 into their greenhouse to dramatically lift production.

    Currently the only people standing up to green fanatics are the consevatives . I hope all this helps

  65. 65 Barry

    Humour is a fairly powerful weapon against the fairly humorless hardcore green leaders. Here is Tunku Varadarajan’s A-Z of Hopenhagen (Jokenhagen?), based on Ambrose Bierce’s “Devil’s Dictionary”: Some light fun reading for the Silly Season.

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