and its wilful ignorance at that
Category Archives: idiot politicians
We all know it and are struggling to understand the absolute blind lunacy of this backward, elitist, tea party government. Abbott is basically repaying the debt he owes to the billionaires that bought him. There is nothing like setting up your own economic future at the expense of every future generation. I can only hope now that future historians will discuss Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey and Greg Hunt truthfully and honestly ensuring that their descendents are shamed beyond belief.
A test solar thermal plant in Australia has broken records for steam production making it a serious rival for fossil fuels. However, with the most scientifically illiterate, backward, fossil fuel funded, conservative government in our history, the technology will struggle to take off. The Abbott government is dismantling all incentive schemes for renewable energy technologies as well as the renewable energy target. Read about it here.
How much more internationally embarrassing can our loony right wingnut government be? Backwards thinking and arrogantly and ignorantly proud of it.
What do the four things in the title have in common? Another C word…..Campbell Newman. Let me explain in 5 steps….
1. A coal company (X) wants to do something dodgy that will damage the environment (surprise surprise)
2. Coal company X donates a large amount of money to the the conservatives (surprise surprise)
3. Conservatives employ coal company X person to assist in developing environmental policies
4. Coal company X person still paid by coal company X while working for conservatives.
5. Coal comapany X granted permission by conservatives to damage environment and bypass environmental legislation requirements.
Corruption: n Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery (Oxford, 2014)
from the Sydney Morning Herald
A mining company’s corporate affairs chief has been in charge of developing environmental policy for Queensland’s Liberal National Party government since 2012, the ABC reports.
James Mackay also worked full-time for the LNP during the 2012 election, while he was being paid $10,000 a month by the company, QCoal, the broadcaster says.
QCoal is embroiled in controversy over plans to divert Coral Creek in north Queensland to mine the coal underneath.
QCoal’s owner, billionaire Chris Wallin, is one of the LNP’s biggest donors, according to the ABC.
The diversion was approved by the State Government without requiring a new or amended environmental impact assessment, despite being classed as an assessment that carried “risk of serious harm”, the ABC says.
It says Mr Mackay has chaired the LNP’s state environment and heritage protection committee, which develops policy for discussion at the party’s annual conference, since joining the committee in 2012.
QCoal boss Mr Wallin gave $120,000 to the party in two donations just before the 2012 poll, the ABC says. One of those donations was for the “loan” of Mr Mackay to the LNP between January and March 2012.
A funding disclosure to the Australian Electoral Commission shows QCoal described the $30,750 donation to the LNP on March 23, 2012, as “an administrative staff member donated in kind”.
The diary for Energy and Water Minister Mark McArdle shows he met Mr Mackay on March 22 last year “to discuss QCoal”. The diary provided no other details.
QCoal won a water licence from the government to divert Coral Creek to extend the life of its Sonoma mine by six to eight months.
Now, I like to consider myself a smart guy. I mean, I’m a scientist with a publishing record. I’ve lectured at university. I’m pretty good at scrabble and I kick arse in Cluedo. Does this look really really really dodgy? It does to me. What do you think this is?
I’ll give you a hint. It looks, walks, smells and quacks like a duck. It’s a duck. So if the story above highlights something that looks, smells and sounds like corruption? It is corruption and it is way past time Queensland had its own Independent Commission Against Corruption so that dodgy dealings like those between Campbell Newman’s government and QCoal can be investigated and brought to the voting public’s attention. I suspect it would find a whole lot more than an overrated bottle of Grange.
For the full SMH story go here
by James Wight at Precarious Climate
Australian coal mining billionaire politician Clive Palmer announced on Tuesday that his party’s Senators will vote against the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the Abbott government’s proposed replacement for the carbon price it wants to repeal. Palmer wants the promised ERF funding to be redirected to pensions, and says he is even prepared to block budget bills if necessary.
Undeterred, the Government has pressed on, releasing the ERF White Paper on the eve of Anzac Day (in the tradition of the Green Paper released on the last day before Xmas). But with Palmer offside, ERF legislation will struggle to find any support from non-government Senators.
Labor and the Greens oppose the ERF as too weak. The Motoring Enthusiasts will vote with Palmer United. The Liberal Democrats, Family First, and Democratic Labor are unlikely to support any climate policy because they don’t believe the problem is real. And independent Nick Xenophon won’t support the ERF unamended. That makes up to 43 votes against the ERF, and only 38 votes are needed to block legislation. So it is very unlikely that Abbott will be unable to pass the legislation. This leaves Abbott with almost no climate policy (except the soon-to-be-neutered Renewable Energy Target, and some other bits and pieces that won’t achieve much).
Whether or not Abbott is able to implement the ERF probably won’t make much difference to emissions, because the ERF is a laughable scheme which will pay polluters to (in theory) voluntarily act to avoid emitting CO2 they otherwise would have emitted. I’ve written previously about 21 reasons why Abbott’s policy won’t work, including some issues which have received little attention – and almost all of what I said then remains essentially accurate.
Another thing which will make no difference is the “safeguard mechanism”, the penalty for polluters who exceed their baseline emissions levels under the ERF. Too many people are withholding judgment until the details are announced, when in fact we already know all we need to know. All ERF policy documents have made clear that both the fund itself and the supposed safeguard will allow emissions to increase wherever production increases (even if historical absolute baselines are used they will not apply to new companies or significant business expansion). In other words, the ERF is designed to cut emissions intensity (emissions per economic output), not absolute emissions. This is pointless as emissions intensity will fall automatically even if emissions rise; the problem is that those efficiency gains are being cancelled out by the exponential growth of the fossil fuel economy. The Government is budgeting zero revenue from the safeguard mechanism because they know it will never come into play.
What’s new in the White Paper?
- The policy objective, which used to be to meet Australia’s inadequate emissions target of 5% below 2000 by 2020, is now merely “to reduce emissions at lowest cost over the period to 2020, and make a contribution towards Australia’s 2020 emissions reduction target”.
- The White Paper contains endless impenetrable text about how the Government will design emissions-reduction-verifying “methods” (through consultation with polluters), but there is still no reason to think these methods will have any validity. We do learn that methods will be reviewed by an “independent expert committee” called the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, which would be reassuring if the Abbott government didn’t have a history of appointing ideological allies to such panels.
- ERF funding is still capped for the first four years, and it sounds like beyond that funding will be decided in each budget. Again this is hardly reassuring, as every climate program’s funding seems to diminish over time.
- Polluters who fail to deliver emissions cuts contracted by the government must “make good” by purchasing offsets from other domestic companies. I cannot find any mention of earlier proposals to allow international offsets, though business groups continue to lobby for this.
- The 2015 review of the ERF will focus merely on operational elements.
A few journalists have made some half-hearted attempts to get more information out of Environment Minister Greg Hunt, but whenever he is asked a question about the ERF he just starts rabbiting on about how bad the carbon price was. Meanwhile, we’re hearing more and more from government members and advisors that climate change isn’t real after all. In the last fortnight, Attorney-General George Brandis, government backbencher George Christensen, and Abbott’s business advisor Maurice Newman have all challenged the science of climate change.
Perhaps they’re ramping up their attacks on science because they realize the ERF is losing credibility. Because there is one way in which it does matter whether the ERF goes ahead. If it proceeds, Abbott will be able to use it to support the talking point that his government has a policy on climate change, reassuring voters who are concerned about climate change but nervous about the alleged costs of a carbon price. But if the ERF founders, and Abbott succeeds in his overall agenda of climate deregulation, then he will have no significant policy to greenwash his government. And as the hot summers keep coming, there’ll be nothing to stop those concerned voters from becoming alarmed.
Read the original and check out all the other excellent articles at Precarious Climate here.
UN climate change report card: Scientists predict Australia will continue to get hotter | ABC Radio Australia
and yet our dopey politicians are prepared to let Australia burn along with the rest of the world because taking action on climate will burn holes in the very very very large pockets of the business people who pay for their electioneering.