Posts filed under 'Global Warming'

President Klaus’ address to the National Press Club

Yesterday morning I went along to the National Press Club to see Czech President Vaclav Klaus’ address on the subjects of climate change as well as socialism, communism and the like. When I arrived, I was a tad early, so I was directed to the club’s lounge where I had a cup of coffee and was pleasantly surprised to find that Lord Monckton was in the room, however he was busily engaged in conversation so I did not interrupt, although I was fortunate enough to say hello to him and have a quick chat with him when he opened himself up to the handful of people in the room who wished to say hello.

After this, I went downstairs and found that for some peculiar reason I was registered on two tables, eight and nine. I forget which table I ended up sitting at, however I had a very pleasant conversation with the other people at the table. The club provided barramundi for lunch and then the speech began.

President Klaus made it quite clear that he was no in the country to advise the government, but rather to offer up his own views based on his own experiences and observations.

On the subject of climate change, President Klaus spoke at some length about how he sees no real evidence of the changes in the climate being unusual, extreme or dangerous, and that to the same extent he sees attempts to control the climate as futile, and from an economic perspective considers adaptation to any changes to be the more prudent approach, and one that has worked well for us for a very long time.

President Klaus also recounted some of his observations from his time within the former communist state of Czechoslovakia, including some of the difficulties he encountered being a believer in the free market in such a state. He also, while making clear that he does not believe that the global warming agenda is a socialist plot (he did mention at one stage that he simply does not believe in conspiracy theories), noted that he sees many similarities between the actions of those who claim that global warming is a problem and have a solution, and the actions of the socialist leaders, and this worries him greatly.

After his address, during the period of time dedicated to questions from the media, President Klaus was asked about his views on the policies of our current government and opposition. Having already made it clear that he sees carbon trading as a pointless and economically destructive idea, he focused on the Coalition’s “direct action” policy which he said was slightly better than carbon trading because it was a more tangible idea and easier to account for, but that he still regarded it as a “crazy” idea, something which those of us in the room who believe that the Coalition really wouldn’t do anything about climate change took some comfort in.

After all of this, the Press Club presented him with their usual gift, a bottle of wine and a pen, which caused some amusement within the room due to an incident which occurred in Chile earlier this year where he was caught on video pocketing a pen during an official visit and was widely accused of theft in the international media, however both he and the Chilean President deny that there was any theft and instead say that the pen was a gift to President Klaus.

I thoroughly enjoyed the address and the company of the various people that I met, and found President Klaus’ address to be quite illuminating, and I’m very glad that I went in person and did not merely watch on television.

That said, it is good that it was televised as this allows me to share the video of the event with you in the hope that you will also find it quite interesting.


1 comment July 27th, 2011 at 05:04am

If the carbon dioxide tax was really about the environment…

Then public transport costs wouldn’t go up, and would probably go down.

COMMUTERS could be hit with public transport fare increases of up to $150 a year when the carbon tax kicks in, confidential state government figures show.
the NSW Treasury estimated that the potential fare rises for all modes of public transport in NSW alone – due to increased electricity costs for trains and fuel costs for buses and ferries – could be expected at an average 3.4 per cent.
[NSW Premier Barry] O’Farrell said yesterday it was “crazy” that public transport would be hit by the tax when petrol for cars would be exempt: “This will create more pollution and defeat the whole purpose of a carbon tax.

“The federal government is crazy if it thinks this tax is going to reduce carbon emissions when it will lead to higher public transport fares and create an incentive for people to use their cars.”

(h/t Simon Benson, writing exclusively for The Telegraph. Follow the link for more from his great article)

Precisely Barry. We get told that car drivers are evil and public transport users are saints, and yet it’s those “saints” who pay a bigger share of the tax, which will be more likely to encourage them to drive than to stay on the trains and the buses and the ferries.

I keep saying it. This tax has less to do with climate change and more to do with social change, even economic change.


July 15th, 2011 at 01:39pm

Canberra cooling

An email to MTR 1377’s Andrew Bolt and Steve Price.

Good morning Steve and Andrew,

I think Julia’s tax is working. Up here in Carbon Tax Central (aka Canberra) it’s minus five this morning.

Either the tax is working and is about to freeze us all to death, or we could use a bit of global warming. I’m turning the electric blanket back on!

Have a great weekend.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

July 15th, 2011 at 08:05am

Carbon Dioxide Tax

I can sum this up very easily.

A $23 per tonne price on carbon dioxide emissions which will raise less money than the government is promising to spend in compensation for the price increases which this tax will cause (which leaves less than nothing to spend on the stated aim of “fixing the climate”). In fact, over four years, the compensation will cost the government $4.3 billion more than what the tax will raise. The last giant scheme which cost more than what it raised was the solar feed-in scheme where people were paid more than the retail price of electricity for the power which they generated from their solar panels. Not surprisingly, that plan had to eventually cut costs, and the compensation was where the cut was made…the same thing will happen here. Do not believe that you will be better off under the carbon dioxide tax. 20 cents per week will be reduced, and you will be worse off in the long run.

Industries will pass the cost of the carbon tax on to you. Even if the government compensates you for this, this will cause inflation. If the tax’s compensation then rises to meet this cost, then either the carbon tax has to go up to cover this cost which causes prices to go up which causes more inflation, and we enter a deadly cycle which will destroy our economy, or some other tax has to go up resulting is less money for consumers to spend which will result in less sales, less jobs, and even more economic turmoil.

And if you believe that you will be better off under this tax, consider this. Julia Gillard has admitted that a dual income household earning $120,000 per year (that’s an average of $60k each, it’s a fairly typical household) with a teenage child (read: receiving some extra benefits from the government) will be $375 per year worse off, or $7.20 per week. Just think how much more worse off they would be without the government benefits for the child, a situation which is fairly common among young couples. Perhaps one of them will work less so that they get more carbon tax compensation.

This is a convoluted version of socialism. Socialism denies people the opportunity to make something of themselves by disincentivising success and incentivising reliance on the government by taking from people who earn a living and giving to people who don’t. It fails everywhere it is tried because people learn that there is no need for them to do any work if the government will provide for them, and then eventually not enough people are producing for the needs of the population, and the scheme collapses.

The big question for me is, if, by the government’s own admission, this tax will not affect the climate, why bother having it at all? One can’t help but believe that this has nothing to do with climate change, and everything to do with social change.

Without being melodramatic, this tax will ruin this country. We must fight it. We must make all members of parliament aware that we will not support them if they support this tax. We must cause the repeal of this hideous and destructive assault on our country.


2 comments July 10th, 2011 at 03:02pm

Those “green” electric cars…well, they’re not really all that “green”

It turns out that the good old-fashioned petrol car isn’t that evil after all…or that it is evil, and the electric car isn’t the saintly solution that it was supposed to be…or something like that. I’ll let Yid with Lid explain.

Global Warming Moonbats believe that electric cars are one of the major solutions to the problem of man-made global warming which is causing the snow caps to melt, animals to die and your public library to run out of the book you have been waiting to read. According to a new study, electric cars could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than gas equivalents.

According to the study, an electric car owner would have to drive at least 80,000 miles before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 90 miles on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 100,000 would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.

Yid with Lid then goes on to quote from an article out of The Australian:

a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.

Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.

Darn, and there I was feeling all warm and fuzzy because my not-overly-efficient petrol guzzling car and my penchant for going on long drives for little reason (I’ve averaged 139 km per day over the last nine months, not including the kilometers travelled in the few weeks that I had a hire car) was helping to boost the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and feeding all of the plants, when all along I would apparently have produced more carbon dioxide in an electric car.

Then again, given that I can travel further before needing to refuel in my car than I would be able to do in an electric car, I probably am coming out ahead on the carbon dioxide count, but if I ever do become one of those “I only ever drive to work and the corner shop” people, then I’ll change to an electric car to keep that carbon dioxide count up.

(h/t to: Yid With Lid for the linked and quoted blog post, Mark Levin for bringing the blog post to my attention, and Ben Webster of The Times in London for the article which was reprinted in The Australian.)


June 15th, 2011 at 12:22pm

Enough about Fukushima already

Padders over at The Right Aussie, noting an article about anti-nuclear power protests in Japan, makes a few very poignant points about nuclear power.

1. Nuclear reactors did not cause the tsunami on March 11, nor any other tsunami for that matter.

Nor did global warming, but it didn’t stop people from claiming it.

2. Think the March 11 earthquake and tsunami were catastrophic? Well, if all nuclear power plants were immediately shut down, you would need to re-define ‘catastrophic’.

Indeed, however it is the aim of the radical types who are driving this agenda to have us use less power, perhaps even no power, thus sending us back to the stone age. What those of us who are sensible would see as catastrophic, the radical left would see as “good”. This is the battle which we face.

4. More people have been killed from an E. coli outbreak at an organic sprout farm in Germany than from the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

And despite this, nobody on the left has called for the banning of organic sprout farms. Hmmm, funny that.

Read more, including the point that I omitted because it relates exclusively to an article to which I am not linking, over at The Right Aussie.


June 12th, 2011 at 02:29pm

Why wait five years?

Remember that story, was it last week, about the “anthropogenic global warming is real” climate scientists at the Australian National University who were receiving death threats because of their beliefs? Did the timing seem as odd to you as it did to me?

It certainly seemed odd to Andrew Carswell from The Daily Telegraph who did some digging and discovered that these death threats which supposedly had the ANU put these scientists in lockdown very recently, actually occurred up to five years ago.

CLAIMS prominent climate change scientists had recently received death threats have been revealed as an opportunistic ploy, with the Australian National University admitting that they occurred up to five years ago.

Only two of ANU’s climate change scientists allegedly received death threats, the first in a letter posted in 2006-2007 and the other an offhand remark made in person 12 months ago.

Neither was officially reported to ACT Police or Australian Federal Police, despite such crimes carrying a 10-year prison sentence.

The outdated threats raised question marks over the timing of their release to the public, with claims they were aired last week to draw sympathy to scientists and their climate change cause.

The university denied it was creating a ruse, maintaining the initial report, in the Fairfax-owned Canberra Times last week, failed to indicate when the threats were made.Reports also suggested the threats had forced the ANU to lock away its climate change scientists and policy advisers in a high-security complex. The Daily Telegraph has discovered the nine scientists and staff in question were merely given keyless swipe cards – routine security measures taken last year.

(The article goes in to much more detail, read more here.)

A few points about this:

One. When you receive a death threat or similar, the advice from police is to not talk about it, lest it encourage more threats…but of course these threats were never reported to police, which makes one wonder who seriously the threats were taken in the first place.

Two. If it happened so long ago, why bring it up now (and tell the left-leaning, global-warming-is-going-to-doom-us-all Canberra Times) unless you’re fishing for sympathy and trying to paint a negative image of people who believe the science from the other side of the debate?

Three. Why lie about the lockdown?

Now, don’t get me wrong, death threats are wrong, threats of harm are wrong. I’ve witnessed the effects first-hand and know how awful it can be to be on the end of such threats. The people who make these threats should be punished to the full extent of the law. But to the same extent, lying about receiving threats is also wrong, and strikes me as a sign of someone who is either unstable or seeking undue attention.

Now, can we please get back to the actual debate about climate change rather than the debate about which side of the debate is insane?


June 9th, 2011 at 02:14pm

Camels for Carbon. These people really are nuts.

I first spotted this story this morning on The Drudge Report. Most of the stuff I spot on Drudge turns out to be correct, but this story was just so out there that even I wasn’t sure. Drudge was linking to a Financial Times article, this made me wary as the Financial Times, while filled with interesting stories, is a British newspaper…could this be our royal overlords having fun at our expense I wondered?

Then I noticed that the story is in The Australian this morning, which increased the story’s credibility even though The Oz credits the Financial Times for some of the story, and was noted by Reuters last week. My fears about the story being a hoax were quashed, but my fears about the Australian Government being insane were confirmed.

Details from The Australian’s Graham Lloyd:

A consultation paper issued by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency gives the first insight into how the federal government will decide what will qualify for carbon permits and what will not. Feral pests are firmly in the sights.

A proposal by Northwest Carbon to cull the estimated one million feral camels roaming the outback has made the list. The company’s plan, first revealed in London’s Financial Times newspaper, was based on an agreement with the West Australian Department of Agriculture and Food to develop a market solution to control feral camels.

Large areas of Western Australia are overrun with the camels, which do enormous damage to vegetation and have been known to terrorise townships in their search for water.

In its written proposal to government, Northwest says it would shoot the animals from helicopters or four-wheel-drives, muster them and send them to an abattoir or process them for pet food in the field.

The company has promised to use marksmen trained and accredited in animal welfare.

One camel is estimated to emit about a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, measured as 45kg of methane, and they each eat about a tonne of vegetation.

Camels are bad. We get it. So just go and shoot them and make pet food out of them. Don’t start insisting that you need carbon credits for it, especially when you’re flying around in carbon dioxide emitting helicopters to do it, because once we go down this road of saying that killing animals warrants carbon credits, there is no turning back and the ramifications are massive.

If killing a camel warrants a carbon credit, then it won’t be long before killing cows warrants carbon credits (and more of them than the other plan in the government report of giving cows some sort of medication which makes them belch less), and given the current ruminations about compensating farmers whose cattle isn’t going anywhere, I can see killing off their herds and giving them resettlement funds while the farms get turned in to government-run solar power plants as an option which the government will consider.

Or even worse (if there is such a thing as worse than destroying our agricultural sector), domestic pets. If the government sees camels as polluters (not that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, but you get my point), what about the domestic pets which also emit carbon dioxide? Will the government issue carbon credits for killing these animals…or even humans?

If people want to turn feral animals in to pet food, then good, go for it, make money by doing it like you would have done before the term “carbon credit” existed, but don’t expect the government to reward you for it with a set of carbon credits…the ramifications of such a scheme are alarming at best. The really worrying thing though is that the government is considering it and taking it seriously.

Mark my words. If this gets beyond the “consultation” stage and becomes policy, this country will not be worth living in. Obamacare’s death panels will be quite tame compared to this.


June 9th, 2011 at 11:14am

The Sunday Bits for Sunday June 5, 2011

Good Sunday Morning. Plenty to get through this morning, so we’ll dive straight in.

A little while after I posted many details on the fact that the US economy is in serious trouble, more evidence of this came to light.

The US government’s jobs report showed hiring by US companies slowed markedly in May, while the unemployment rate kept rising.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 54,000 last month as the private sector posted the smallest job gain in nearly a year, according to the Labour Department. The jobless rate, which is obtained from a separate household survey, unexpectedly rose to 9.1 per cent in May.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 97.29 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 12151.26, led lower by Alcoa, which dropped US28 cents (1.7 per cent) to $US15.92. The blue-chip index has dropped 5.1 per cent during its five-week losing skid and closed today at its lowest level since March 23.

(h/t Steven Russolillo, Dow Jones Newswires, via The Australian)

The fact is, the US economy was never in recovery despite what the Obama administration would have you believe. It had a decent period of stability on the back of over-the-top government spending, but it never entered a recovery, and as was always going to happen, the government’s crippling debt is now an even bigger problem than the original economic woes were. If there ever was any doubt (I’d say that there wasn’t, but it’s an arguable point), it’s gone now, Obama owns this recession and seemingly has very little idea of how to fix it.


On a similar note, another market isn’t doing so well. The carbon trading market.

THE World Bank has revealed the global market for trading in carbon permits has stalled, just weeks out from the federal government’s release of its detailed plans to shift to an emissions trading scheme.
The value of the primary Clean Development Mechanism market fell by double digits for the third year in a row, ending lower than it was in 2005.

(h/t Graham Lloyd and Siobhain Ryan from The Australian)

Even the bankers can’t work out how to make a quid out of this crazy scheme. It seems that trading in fresh air just isn’t lucrative, so what makes Ms. Gillard and friends think that taxing the air will be any more successful?


In the news today we have a rather interesting story which seems like a good idea…and like many good ideas these days, somebody in the media has decided to label it as “radical”.

CHILDREN as young as 12 would be allowed to drive under a radical road-safety training proposal to be put to the State Government this week.

That opening line sounds crazy, but if we dig a little deeper, we find that it’s misleading.

Under the CAMS plan, schoolchildren would be given up to four practical lessons each year from age 12. CAMS will explore the idea of using dirt tracks or paddocks for lessons, which would include driving along a skid pan.

CAMS president Andrew Papadopoulos – who taught his own children to drive at age 12 – said the existing school driving courses needed to include a much greater practical component.

He said waiting until students were 17 or 18 to teach them driving skills was too late, because many young people had already developed attitudes towards driving by that age.

“This is about instilling the right attitude to driving in kids early,” he said.

(h/t Linda Silmalis, The Sunday Telegraph)

If, as the opening line suggest, this idea was about letting twelve-year-olds loose on the roads, then I’d agree that it’s “radical” and alarming, but the actual idea is an incredibly good idea. Our current system puts kids (they’re under 18, they’re kids, even if the ACT government disagrees and thinks 12-17 is “young person” and not “child”) in a position where driving is a novelty to them, and generally a fun thing rather than a serious thing. The problems tend to be attitudinal ones more than capability ones.

This idea would change the attitudes of kids before they are old enough to drive on the open road by taking them through practical sessions which would imprint the fact that driving is a serious activity.

If it were up to me, I’d be implementing this idea immediately. I also have ideas to overhaul the driver’s licence system in a way which would make the process of getting a licence similar to the current arrangements for motorbike licences, with an emphasis on solo learning under limited demerit points. People who could successfully graduate from such a system would then go straight on to a full licence, while people who fail either by racking up too many demerit points or by failing assessments would be forced through a logbook system for basic skills before they could graduate back to the solo-learning system.

I believe that one of the great flaws of our current system is that it teaches reliance on a passenger rather than on one’s own judgement, and considering that the vast majority of driving is done on one’s own, it is important for people to learn on their own…and people who are incapable of that simply shouldn’t be on the road. Of course another thing I would do is get rid of the crazy system which is in place in New South Wales where artificial speed limits are imposed on L and P platers which prevent people from learning to overtake, prevent them from learning to handle a vehicle at highway speeds, and provide a slow-moving hazard for the rest of us.

Anyway, my plan could probably be legitimately considered “radical”. The plan from CAMS on the other hand should not be considered radical, and should be implemented immediately, and it’s good to see the O’Farrell government taking it seriously.


Also in New South Wales, and the sideshow this week has been centred around filibusters, not that I can work out why this has caused so much excitement.

The basic story is that the O’Farrell government introduced a bill which would give the Premier the ability to set wages for public servants, something which sounds like a sensible idea for a boss to be able to do. The Greens and Labor, predictably, didn’t like the idea and so tried to block it with a filibuster and a deluge of amendments. Nothing out of the ordinary here, this is a regular tactic in politics and is permitted under the rules of parliament, even if it’s not a regular occurrence in Australian governments. Then, after a few days of this, the Liberal/National coalition used their majority to, as is allowed under the rules of parliament, break the filibuster and restrict debate on the deluge of amendments.

The bill passed the lower house yesterday, and will pass the upper house soon.

Yet, incredibly, this has all sparked outrage from both sides of politics. On the right, there was outrage about the Greens babbling on and on for hours and hours and hours, with individual members setting new records for the amount of time a person has spoken in the New South Wales parliament, and now on the left there is outrage over the government using their massive majority to break the filibuster and pass the bill. Both sets of outrage are ill-considered. It could just be that, due to the rarity of these events in Australian parliaments, people think there is something wrong with the events, but it’s more likely that people are just using the opportunity to make their points on the bill rather than the actual events which have occurred in the parliament.

Either way, I think the simple solution here is to say “move along, nothing to see here” as the political machine just moves through its regular processes.


Of course there was also a sideshow in federal politics this week involving cat noises. While it was dumb of Senator David Bushby to meow at Senator Penny Wong, at least he had the grace to apologise for it afterwards. We’re still waiting for the apologies from Ms. Wong’s colleagues for the similarly sexist comments which are shouted at Julie Bishop during every session of parliament.


Back to the New South Wales parliament, and Queen Princess Clover is AWOL.

FOUR overstretched and stressed-out State MPs will quit their second jobs as mayors, declaring they can’t cope with the workload of both positions.

But the most prominent double-dipping MP – Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore – refuses to concede there is a problem despite missing every day of parliament last week while on a mayoral junket to Brazil and New York City.

In fact, while parliament was open for business yesterday continuing its marathon session about public sector pay, Ms Moore was tweeting from New York City, where she was checking out bike lanes.

Ms Moore, who has missed 25 per cent of parliamentary sittings since Barry O’Farrell took office, is tightly holding her grip as the Lord Mayor and the MP for Sydney despite politician mayors from all sides of politics admitting it can’t be done.
Ms Moore, who pulls two six-figure salaries, has three offices and two distinct sets of advisers and staff for each position despite insisting there is overlap in the positions.

(h/t Linda Silmalis, The Sunday Telegraph)

It should be illegal to hold political office in multiple governments. It’s illegal to be a public servant and hold a political office, and the conflicts of interest there are similar to the conflicts of interest in holding multiple political offices.

In Clover’s case, it’s beyond me why she needs to inspect bicycle lanes in New York City when she has already plastered the darn things all over Sydney. And the climate change summit in Brazil…catch a plane to that one did we Clover? Wouldn’t a teleconference have been less carbon dioxide intensive? And how exactly are you being an effective member of the New South Wales Parliament if you’re absent a quarter of the time?

Beyond Clover, we’ve seen similar issues with politicians missing votes in the federal parliament. Here’s a thought, perhaps the rule should be that in order to get paid, the politicians have to turn up to the parliament. If you don’t turn up, your pay is docked…just like it would be in the private sector.


The AAMI building in Fyshwick
In business news, AAMI Insurance is set to close all of its branches, moving all of its customer service to the phone and online.

Spokesman Reuben Aitchison says the branches these days contribute just two per cent to the business and transactions of the Suncorp-owned company, while there has been a significant growth in business through the Internet.

He says the insurer will now concentrate on providing telephone and online services, and hopes to employ half of about 100 affected staff in call centres.

(h/t Australian Associated Press via The Herald Sun)

Personally, I don’t have a problem with this. If the branches, which are retail outlets anyway and not really able to manage insurance claims, are costing more to run than they are bringing in, then effectively my premiums are subsidising the branches, and I would much rather see AAMI’s running costs reduced than to see my premiums go up. I have no problem with their telephone and online customer service, in fact I have nothing but praise for it. If people really want to sit across a desk from an employee of their insurer, then they can go and pay some other insurance agency the extra money to make it happen.

(Image: AAMI’s Fyshwick building at a tad after 5am yesterday morning).


As a general rule, I find that most reasonable people like to help other people. A decent proportion of people are nice enough to want to go out of their way to help people that they don’t know, and are often willing to pay more for a product if they think it will provide a better deal for the person who produced the product. Unfortunately, as a result, these people tend to open themselves up to charlatans who have no qualms with pretending that an expensive product is helping someone, when in fact it isn’t.

For a very long time I have suspected that the “Fair Trade Coffee” market was a scam which was, at best, not helping farmers, and at worst, making their lives worse. Until recently, this was just a suspicion which lacked proof. Now though, proof exists.

That fair-trade cup of coffee we savour may not only fail to ease the lot of poor farmers, it may actually help to impoverish them, according to a study out recently from Germany’s University of Hohenheim.

The study, which followed hundreds of Nicaraguan coffee farmers over a decade, concluded that farmers producing for the fair-trade market “are more often found below the absolute poverty line than conventional producers.

“Over a period of 10 years, our analysis shows that organic and organic-fair trade farmers have become poorer relative to conventional producers.”

(h/t Lawrence Solomon, National Post, and additional h/t to Casey Hendrickson who alerted me to the story some time back)

Have a read of the article. Lawrence, its author, is very well versed in the coffee trade and goes in to some detail about how much of a scam the whole fair trade coffee thing is, and how it discriminates against the poorest of farmers. The highlight of which, for me at least, is:

It discriminates against the very poorest of the world’s coffee farmers, most of whom are African, by requiring them to pay high certification fees. These fees -one of the factors that the German study cites as contributing to the farmers’ impoverishment -are especially perverse, given that the majority of Third World farmers are not only too poor to pay the certification fees, they’re also too poor to pay for the fertilizers and the pesticides that would disqualify coffee as certified organic.

Their coffee is organic by default, but because the farmers can’t provide the fees that certification agencies demand to fly down and check on their operations, the farmers lose out on the premium prices that can be fetched by certified coffee.

To add to the perversity, it’s an open secret that the certification process is lax and almost impossible to police, making it little more than a high-priced honour system. Although the certification associations have done their best to tighten flaws in the system, farmers and middlemen who want to get around the system inevitably do, bagging unearned profits. Those who remain scrupulous and follow the onerous and costly regulations -another source of inefficiency the German study notes in its analysis -lose out.

I won’t repeat the whole thing here, although I do implore you to read it. Lawrence Solomon’s work here is exemplary.


In domestic media news, Derryn Hinch continues to fight his decades-long battle for the right to name sex offenders who prey on children, despite the fact that it could very easily see him spend his final days in a jail cell.

3AW drive time host Derryn Hinch has been found guilty this afternoon of breaching suppression orders relating to the naming of two sex offenders.

AAP reports that the journalist is facing the possibility of up to five years in prison, after Magistrate Charles Rozencwajg ruled he had breached suppression orders four times on his website and at a public rally. A fifth charge was dismissed.
Hinch remains defiant over his decision to name those guilty of sexual offences towards children.

“I still feel the same way I always have… people have a right to know,” he said outside the court.

“I know what I have done. I am not sorry for what I have done. It is a good cause and the law is a bad law.

“I don’t like getting convictions. There are always risks in doing the sort of work that I do and you pay for it.”

(h/t “Big Dan”, Mediaspy)

I happen to agree with Derryn on this one. I am of the belief that people who commit sexual offences against children are sick, vile people who are beyond help. I think they should rot in jail for life or face the death penalty, however in lieu of such laws, we should have the right to know exactly who these people are. The existing laws are wrong.

I hope that Derryn doesn’t have to spend his final days in prison, although if he does, then I have to admire his courage and his convictions (moral, that is, not legal).


To sport, and you may have noticed that I gave up on the footy tipping again. Truth is, I’m pretty hopeless at it, and I’ll gladly accept it and move on. I just can’t see the point in continually tipping with less than 50% accuracy.

That said, I am still a fervent fan of the Bulldogs in both the NRL and AFL. Alas that means this weekend has been a pretty poor one.

Watching David Smorgon’s (AFL Bulldogs’ President) body language yesterday, I got the distinct impression that he had a heavy heart from a difficult decision, and as such, I believe that Rodney Eade’s days as coach are very limited and he will not see out the season. This is a shame, because I think Rodney is doing a good job, and it’s the players which are letting him down. Just watching Rodney’s pure frustration in the box each week makes that obvious to me.

As far as I can see, the Dogs had a great chance at winning the Grand Final last year with a team which could not physically last beyond the year. The chance was squandered by the powers that be when they sacked Jason Akermanis. Jason provided the team with the extra option on the field that they needed, and were never able to fill once he left. Rodney Eade tried to work around the loss, but it simply wasn’t possible.

This year, be it through injury or an aging lineup, the situation is worse.

I strongly believe that Rodney could build up a great team within a few years if given the chance with some new talent in the side, and that this is our best shot at a flag in the coming years. A rebuilding phase is needed, but sacking Rodney is a bad idea at this time. I do hope that I misread David Smorgon yesterday.

In the rugby league’s version of the Bulldogs, it is reported today that coach Kevin Moore has lost the support of the board. I can’t say that I’m surprised. I’ve never been a big fan of Kevin Moore as a coach, and I don’t credit him with much of the success the club had in 2009 as I see a lot of that as being the result of board decisions and good players rather the coaching decisions. Kevin is one coach who I won’t miss should he happen to leave.


Some audio for you this morning which will touch the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.

Mark Levin, a great radio host and constitutional lawyer in America (we’ve discussed his work here previously), is a dog lover. Sadly his best friend, the lovely dog Pepsi passed away a couple weeks ago. Mark took a week off to mourn the loss and spend the time with his devastated family. I was very saddened when I heard about the loss (Mark mentioned it on Facebook before disappearing for a week) and sent a card to Mark which apparently arrived on Friday. Many thanks to the nice people in Landmark Legal Foundation’s Virginia office for passing the card on to Mark.

When Mark returned to work on Tuesday, he devoted some of his show to explaining what had happened, and just how much Pepsi meant to him. I cried when I heard it, and I gave Nattie a really big hug when I got home. The audio moved me so much that I have to share it with you, with thanks to Citadel Radio for the audio.
Download MP3

Mark Levin's dogs Pepsi, Griffen and Sprite

Mark, whose two other dogs Sprite and Griffen were shelter dogs whom he and his family rescued, is very passionate about rescuing dogs which have been abandoned. To that end, he and his family have set up a special fund, “Pepsi, Griffen & Sprite’s Legacy Gift” to help dogs who have been abandoned for one reason or another. All proceeds of the fund go to the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation who provide dental services, surgery, heartworm treatments, diagnostic testing and more for dogs who would otherwise be overlooked in crowded shelters. I know that Mark contributes greatly to the fund, so I simply ask that if you are at all interested in helping out and can spare a few dollars, please consider donating. I know that you will make a dog somewhere very happy if you do.


And that’s it for this week’s rather large Sunday Bits (3,500 words or thereabouts). I visited the Captains Flat weather radar during the week, so you can look forward to some photos from that trip soon.

Until next time, tada.


June 5th, 2011 at 09:49am

Live export ads and the rambling dangers of 0.05% of global warming

An email to 2GB’s Mike Williams

Good morning Mike,

You had a correspondent a little while ago who was a bit concerned about those ads about the live export of animals being quite graphic, and was concerned that they might air at times when children are likely to be watching. I’d like to allay those fears to an extent for you.

The ads have been rated “M” which means that they can only be broadcast at certain times of the day. To quote from the Television Industry Code Of Practice, M rated ads:

“May be broadcast during the following hours, except during P and C programs or adjacent to P or C periods:
• Weekdays (schooldays):
• 8.30pm–5.00am (see Note 1)
• 12 noon–3.00pm (see Note 2)
• Weekdays (school holidays) & Weekends:
• 8.30pm–5.00am (see Note 1)
Note 1: not in G or PG programs or sport starting at or continuing past 8.30pm. If the program continues past 10.30pm, this restriction ceases to apply.
Note 2: see Clause 2.10.3 of the Code of Practice for time zone difference adjustment.”

So the absolute earliest time that these ads can be shown is 8:30pm, except on school days where they might be shown between midday and 3pm as well.

And in regards to the call you had about global warming from the guy who just droned on and on, I think he came up with the analogy of the week. 0.05% of carbon dioxide is a very dangerous thing because, in this country at least, that’s the cutoff point to be chanrged with drink-driving. Based on his logic, I should ensure that I don’t fill more than 0.05% of my mug with milk when I make coffee, lest the cows explode.

Fair dinkum! I’m just going to assume that he was sleep talking, which is why he was rambling incoherently. Regardless, I got a really good chuckle out of the way you handled him.

Have a great week Mike.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

June 5th, 2011 at 03:54am

Good morning and welcome to winter

You can put my absence over the last couple of weeks down to a combination of a lack of time and a lack of effort…so anyway, I’m back, and I missed me so I’m going to assume that you did too. But enough about me.

The title on this post “welcome to winter” makes me wonder, how much colder can it get? Today, the next couple of days, and even the last few days are quite balmy compared to the cold temperatures we have been experiencing of late. We had that extraordinary run of temperatures down in the negatives at the start of May, including the day on which it got as low an -6.9°C. In fact, I count 18 days which had a negative overnight temperature and 21 days which were below Canberra’s May average overnight low of 3.2°C. The days were also quite cold, with 16 days having a maximum temperature at or below the May average maximum of 15.5°C.

So, in many ways, it felt like winter came quite early this year. No surprise then, to see this:

Canberra has recorded the coldest autumn in 27 years, while the month of May has been the coldest since 1975 according to meteorologists from The Weather Channel.

The average minimum temperature over autumn of 5.7 degrees is a full degree below the historical average, and daytime maximums have also been half a degree cooler than average.

(h/t Canberra Times’ Hamish Boland-Rudder)

While it is true that weather is not climate is not weather, at some point the average of the weather becomes the climate, and while it is also true that we are only now coming out of a La Nina cycle which one would expect would bring some colder temperatures, the fact remains that we just had a pretty cold autumn, which does fly in the face of the current “the world is getting so hot that we have to tax the air” line emanating from the government.

In the aforementioned article, Ms. Roze from The Weather Channel does go on to say that our winter will probably not be colder than average, in fact she expects it to be ever so slightly warmer than average based on current ocean temperature (read: end of La Nina) trends.

Looking at longer trends and, well, shock horror! Canberra and most of south-eastern Australia hasn’t warmed in the last century.

This all goes to prove something which has been blatantly obvious for longer than I care to count. The notion that humans have caused warming of the planet through carbon dioxide emissions, when it is so clear that natural cycles produce such great variations in the temperature from one year to the next, is downright arrogant. Even more so when you consider that, historically, carbon dioxide levels have followed temperature, not led it. It is even more arrogant, even ludicrous, to suggest that a tax on this carbon dioxide will reduce the temperature.

Oh, and did I mention that the government’s climate expert chief architect of socialist reform Ross Garnaut played the government’s hand yesterday. The carbon dioxide tax is not about the temperature at all, rather it is a giant redistributionist scheme:

Under his plan to distribute carbon tax revenue, Professor Garnaut recommended 55 per cent be given to households, about $6.3 billion under a $26-a-tonne carbon price that raised $11.5bn. Thirty-five per cent of compensation ($3.9bn) would be devoted to business assistance and 10 per cent ($1.5bn) to innovation, of which $750 million is already contained in the forward estimates.

So, 90% of the tax will be given back to the people, and only ten percent of it goes in to the stuff which the government claims will help to keep the temperature under control…make that five percent, because five percent is already in the forward estimates and is presumably coming from somewhere else in the great money cycle of the government, which leaves five percent of the tax unaccounted for. That almost certainly means that it goes towards “administration”, better known as “flying politicians and public servants to pointless conferences about mythical-man-made-warming on carbon dioxide emitting aeroplanes”.

And if you still need convincing that this tax has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with social change (to borrow a line from Jim Ball), we can go back to the article:

the tax-free threshold for low-income earners would rise almost $9000 to $25,000 under recommendations now being considered by the Gillard government.

Julia Gillard’s chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, who handed his final report to the government yesterday, has called for compensation to be provided only to those on incomes up to $80,000, while higher income earners would have their tax rates or thresholds altered to ensure they did not receive any benefits from the increase in the tax-free threshold.

(h/t The Australian’s Sid Maher).

Or to put it simply, the “poor”, those earning under $80,000, pay less tax and get more handouts from the government, while the “rich”, those earning over $80,000, foot the bill. It’s called socialism, and it doesn’t work. It stifles productivity through the entitlement mentality, meaning that less wealth gets produced overall, resulting in less tax revenue and the collapse of the whole system.

If the government really feels the urge to play with the tax system, then something they can do which would have a positive impact is the abolition of automatic income tax deductions. That way, rather than having your income tax automatically deducted so that you don’t really notice that it’s gone, you get to keep the money and do with it as you please throughout the year, increasing the amount of money which is flowing through the free market and the amount of productivity which it creates. At the end of the financial year, you simply fill out your tax return as normal, and pay whatever amount of tax you owe. It would be advisable for you to set some or all of this money aside during the year in a savings account or similar, much like many people do for their other bills…but this allows you to earn extra income from interest, which is derived from the money the banks make in investing your money in the free market economy.

This would, of course, also abolish the tax refund, but this is a good thing because that “refund” is really your money which the government has been hanging on to for the better part of a year. This would also have the benefit of making the government more accountable, as they would no longer have rivers of gold pouring in to their coffers every week. Instead, they would have to budget around when money would actually arrive for them to spend, much like the rest of us do. Ultimately, they would probably receive more tax revenue as a result of increased private sector activity due to this scheme, but rather than being able to waste it as soon as it comes in, they would have to carefully plan how to spend it…who knows, it might even make them spend it on stuff we actually want. Now that would be a change.


June 1st, 2011 at 10:53am

The crazed greenies tell us how to save the planet

KSFO San Francisco host Brian Sussman went undercover at Earth Day celebrations in Santa Cruz to ask the attendees one simple question “how can we save the planet?”. The results are highly disturbing and just as amusing.

I tend to be a tad too trusting when it comes to picking up hitch-hikers, and am usually happy to pick up a hitch-hiker if they seem OK to me, however if the nutbar in that video who is hitch-hiking across the country happened to somehow slip through my defences and get a lift from me, I can guarantee that I’d be dumping her quick-smart the moment she started spouting that nonsense at me. Either that, or I’d lock the doors and force her to listen to Andrew Bolt and Mark Levin for a while…this would be more satisfying, but probably wouldn’t have any effect on someone as ditzy as her, so probably wouldn’t be worth the hassle.

As for that guy who reckons carbon trading is a good idea…well I know it’s not exactly the same thing, but he should take a look at the Institute of Public Affairs’ Tim Wilson’s piece in The Australian yesterday about how ridiculously convoluted a carbon tax will be if the Gillard government ever manages to introduce one. Tim examines the carbon tax calculation on a birthday cake and discovers that it can’t be thoroughly calculated in a 1,000 word article because of its complexity. You can bet that a carbon trading scheme will be just as crazy.

Tim was interviewed by Alan Jones yesterday morning. I sent Alan an email about that interview and further problems with the carbon tax after the interview.


April 19th, 2011 at 05:35am

They’re trying on their old tricks now that they’re losing the argument

An email to 2UE’s Jason Morrison who had Mark Dreyfus MP who is the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Senator Barnaby Joyce of the Nationals on his show at the same time this morning to discuss yesterday’s anti-carbon tax rally. During the discussion, Mark declared that carbon dioxide is “pollution” despite it being plant food, but stopped short of calling Jason a “climate change denier” pr an “extremist” even though he branded most of the anti-carbon tax rally’s attendees as such.

Good morning Jason,

I love Mark dreyfus’ logic. Firstly, the cherry picked more sensational signs at the rally are representative if everyone at the rally, and they are therefore all insane. Secondly, if you don’t believe every word that Al Gore says, then you’re wrong and should not be allowed to have a view on the issue.

It’s amazing how Mark and politicians on that side of the debate are so scared by a few thousand conservative protesters that they have to go back to pre-climategate “the science is settled” nonsense, while Barnaby and similar politicians want to debate the issue and, as yet, have not said a bad word about the people who were presenting pro-carbon tax petitions yesterday. The difference is stark.

I would have loved to be at the protest yesterday but I couldn’t make it. My hat tips for all the people who did make it and represented the silent majority…perhaps Mark Dreyfus should look St the Ninemsn poll yesterday which was at least 90% against the carbon tax.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

March 24th, 2011 at 08:53am

The anti-carbon tax rally and how our politicians reacted

It was wonderful to see thousands of people attending the anti-carbon tax rally outside Parliament House today. I’m just disappointed that I wasn’t able to make it there myself. If I had been at work, it’s possible that I might have been able to attend the end of the rally, however I was asleep thanks to some sedation from some medication. It’s a pity, because I’ve been looking forward to the rally for weeks.

Anyway, I was very happy to see the footage on the television news. It was amusing to see Christine Milne from the Greens claiming that the protest was very much like the tea party protests which we saw in the US not that long ago, as if that was a bad thing. This amused me because, while Christine is right about the protest being very much like the tea party protests in that they were organised at the grass roots level by concerned citizens (not by 2GB’s Chris Smith as GetUp tried to claim, although like many of the tea party protests, interested media personalities provided some publicity). You would think that someone who is in favour of democracy would be in favour of people protesting…but apparently not.

I can understand Christine’s reservations…I mean it’s quite unusual for protests outside Parliament House to be promoting a view which is contrary to her views. Most protests outside Parliament House are organised by left-wing groups for left-wing purposes, so it must be a shock to see those of us on the right gathering in large numbers to defy Christine’s wishes.

I have no problem with Christine disliking the message of the protest, but it is wrong of her to try and paint the protest as being something which people should not attend.

It was even stranger inside parliament, with Wayne Swan among others claiming that the protesters were lying about climate change. That’s a bit rich coming from someone who still believes the doctored graphs and figures provided by the IPCC…data which has been shown to be doctored in the Climategate emails and in many independent studies since. That to one side, one would think that, at the very least, the fact that with the exception of a brief El Nino last year, the planet hasn’t warmed for about the last decade and has in fact cooled slightly, and is cooling again right now, in vast contradiction to the IPCC’s climate model forecasts, would be enough justification for us to be at least a tad sceptical of the theory of man-made warming.

But no, according to Wayne, we’re all liars or delusional or something along those lines.

Wayne can hold a differing point of view, that’s fine and he is entitled to do so…but to claim that those of us who doubt that humans are responsible for “dangerous climate change” are delusional, when the scientific community’s debate on this topic is more active than it has been in a long time, is more than a tad deceptive.

It was interesting to also see petitions supporting the carbon tax being handed to politicians inside Parliament House by groups such as the Youth Climate Coalition. Fair enough, that’s the good thing about our democracy, all of these voices get to be heard…but did you notice the difference between the politicians supporting the anti-carbon tax rally and the politicians opposing it?

Yes, the big difference is that the politicians who addressed the rally (Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce in particular) reserved their criticism for the politicians who are supporting the carbon tax and didn’t have a bad word to say about the people presenting or signing the pro-carbon tax petition, whereas the politicians on the other side of the debate were directly attacking the people involved in the anti-carbon tax rally.

It’s sad in some ways, but it’s also an important demonstration of what our politicians think of the democratic process. Christine Milne only supports the democratic process if it follows her agenda…otherwise it’s a bad thing that people have a voice according to her. Wayne Swan doesn’t like to talk about the issues, he just likes to smear the protesters. Julia Gillard runs away to a windfarm…not just to avoid the protesters, but to provide a very clear “I disagree with you all and hold you in such contempt that I’m going to ensure that I end up in your news story supporting something which you don’t” message to the protesters. Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce on the other hand are happy to support a protest and not say smearing things about the people on the other side of the debate. Pauline Hanson was even in the crowd at the rally…hopefully this helps her on Saturday and she gets a seat in the NSW Upper House.

I do hope that this rally helps to prevent the carbon tax from every actually occurring, and it was wonderful to see so many thousands of people descend of parliament for a peaceful protest. I’m just saddened that I wasn’t able to be there myself.


March 23rd, 2011 at 09:18pm

The cuts to “green” programs

I’m not in the least bit happy about Julia Gillard’s proposed flood tax, and I have a few reasons for that which I’ll try to get to when I have a bit more time, however there was one thing which Julia Gillard did which pleased me greatly.

Julia’s spending cuts, whilst they should go further, are a very good start, especially the cuts to the so-called “green” or “climate” programs. It’s very nice to see, even if Julia won’t say it aloud, that Julia recognises that wasting money on programs which try to limit the non-existent global warming is quite a silly thing to do.

When I saw Green Senator Christine Milne on the television last night shrieking about how awful it is that these programs are being cut, and putting on an hysterical rant about climate change causing the floods (that one gave me a good laugh), I was the happiest that I’ve been all week. Seeing The Greens being put back in to their lunatic fringe box is delightful, and seeing that Julia Gillard was responsible for that…well it’s definitely a good start…if she can drop the flood tax and scrap the NBN instead then I’ll send her flowers.


January 28th, 2011 at 11:17am

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