[ Canberra Times ]

Climate-change extremists to blame for growing apathy

Date: January 4 2014


It was refreshing to read Maurice Newman's commentary on climate change and I thought the editorial ''Time for CEOs to challenge a sceptic'' (Times2, January 2, p2) made some worthwhile counterpoints. I would like to see more discussion along these lines.

Regarding your views on growing apathy about climate change, may I suggest two reasons why people are less enthusiastic these days. First, extreme and inaccurate predictions by the likes of Tim Flannery and many others in politics, science and the climate-change industry have shattered the credibility of the more measured proponents of climate change in general. Second, the warming pause over the past 17 years, which has been acknowledged by the IPCC, has been a welcome but incredibly embarrassing development for those who argued that by now the final tipping point would be behind us and no amount of effort could save the world. The climate has always been changing and most serious commentators (including most on the right in this country) accept this reality. The challenge is, what, if anything should be done about it? Opinions differ widely on this point. Rather than engage in more mudslinging, may I suggest that the Productivity Commission be tasked with a wide-ranging review starting with the carbon tax, emissions trading schemes and renewable energy subsidies with the primary aim of informing the debate, which desperately needs some guidance .

H. Ronald, Jerrabomberra, NSW

Qualified how?

As Brisbane faces its first 40 degree day in some time, I do wonder as to the rationale of the climate science attack by Abbott adviser Maurice Newman and other businessmen. In common with climate-change denier David Murray, Newman was an executive in banking, an industry where managers usually have no scientific training but instead excel at devising fees to filch customers. How this qualifies them to attack climate science and abuse a distinguished scientist like Tim Flannery, I know not. Such views show a lamentable ignorance of science and suggest short-term economic self-interest rather than a concern for the future viability of Australia.

That Newman is a chosen adviser to Tony Abbott is as understandable as it is regrettable. This is a government that has no minister of science and an Environment Minister who relies on Wikipedia for research. I fear this will be a very hot year.

Thos Puckett, Ashgrove , Qld

Maurice Newman must have an amazing brain. He has recognised that anthropogenic global warming is a delusion. He also discovered that thousands of climate scientists have for several decades been fooling bureaucrats and politicians all over the world into repeatedly giving them heaps of taxpayers' money. Ninety-seven per cent of the world's climate scientists are delusional, but must also be highly organised and devilishly clever.

The depth of Newman's perception goes on: he's found some of his own kind using the ''climate-change delusion'' to rip off the poor and enrich themselves. Just how this works is unclear, but those climate scientists aren't the only geniuses, it seems.

Mr Newman needs to have a long and serious talk with someone like Ian Dunlop, a former coal company senior executive.

(Dr) Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

I am puzzled by your leader writer's use of the term ''climate denialist'' to criticise Maurice Newman and, by extension, his call to end economically damaging taxes and other policies enacted in the name of mitigating climate change.

A climate certainly exists; surface and satellite temperature records show average global temperatures are higher now than 100 years ago, and measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide show concentrations have increased over the past few decades. Anyone who denies this is not denying the climate, but their own intelligence.

However, the inconvenient truth is the climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have failed to reproduce observed climate change, consistently overstating observed temperature rise. This is true not just for the past 15 years, which the IPCC writes off as short-term anomaly, but in comparisons with satellite observations of tropical temperatures made from 1979 onwards and against global surface records for the past 20 years.

Climate models that cannot reproduce observed changes are of no use in guiding governments in what, if anything, they should do about climate change. Opposing policies based on these models' predictions is entirely reasonable.

Stephen Jones, Bonython

Ban is vital

Alcohol is a legitimate partner to relaxation and entertainment but there is no justification for its continued glamourisation with advertising. As with cigarettes, alcohol advertising should be banned. Irresponsible users of alcohol have long demonstrated they cannot distinguish between it as an attractive product and as a minor lifestyle accompaniment.

Its bewitching allure to a minority of drinkers needs to be airbrushed from its image if there is to be any prospect of it being removed as a catalyst for gratuitous violence. Too many families are left devastated because its social status is exaggerated and legitimised.

Mark Slater, Melba

And so, the glorification continues in the media of assailants who resort to using their fists.

ABC Local Radio 666 has just devoted a program to discussing what is an appropriate description of death or maiming by a single punch.

It seems obvious to me that, whether such damage is done by a single punch, or 10 punches (or a knife or a gun), the moral result is the same. Surely, all that needs to be reported is that someone was killed or maimed in a fight and that the perpetrator has been charged with murder (or manslaughter or assault, as the case may be).

Denis Wylks, Holder

We laugh at Americans' harmful gun obsession. They can reciprocate about our alcohol obsession.

Politicians with guts (mostly women) should enact the following:

■ Close bottle shops and retail sales, except for pubs (would reduce domestic violence);

■ Confine drinking to indoors;

■ Raise drinking age to 25, the age at which medical experts say a brain starts operating beneficially, to protect young people from irresponsible elders;

■ Mandatory installation in vehicles of equipment to ensure sobriety before engine starts;

■ Restrict alcoholic products to "light" alcohol content.

We took on tobacco to lead the world against that scourge, so let's see us take on the alcohol industry.

John Wright, Chisholm

Mark saved night

I was booked on the Railway Historical Society's fabulous sleeper train to Sydney to see New Year's Eve fireworks from a boat on the harbour, with a sleep on the way back.

I got the instructions on where to park my car and walk to the station wrong, and was running late. A kind man called Mark (in a red car) picked me up, only for the train to depart as we approached the station. He offered to drive me to Queanbeyan to catch the train. He refused any money, and I don't know his full name. Chivalry and kindness are still alive and well. Thank you, Mark.

Maxine Edmonds, Scullin

No to fireworks

I would very happily deny children - and everyone else - the fun of fireworks (Letters, January 2) because they terrify all animals. Every year we read about panic-stricken dogs running under the wheels of cars, choking on their chains or having to be put down at animal shelters because their owners have not been found.

A horse spooked by New Year's Eve fireworks was found dead with a horrific leg injury, leaving a 10-day-old foal orphaned. Another impaled herself trying to jump a broken fence. What right do we have to inflict this suffering on these creatures for a bit of short-lived entertainment?

Jenny Moxham, Monbulk, Vic

Choice Joyce

What on earth are we to make of this sentence from the pen of Barnaby Joyce (''No place for complacency in changing world'', Times2, January 2, p5)? ''While you drive along the road it is bitumen and speed limits with little thought for the longer drive, but unfortunately that is one grace that luck no longer lends an avenue to.''

Perhaps this particular sentence was mangled in the subediting. But the abundance of logical and grammatical horrors in Joyce's piece is evidence against this charitable interpretation - too many to quote, but here's just one more: ''Australia is like a student leaving high school who was polite to the other schools but held the conceited belief that they lacked somewhat because they had not had their secondary experience.'' Joyce concludes with the truism that politicians need to think deeply about the issues our country faces.

His skills in logic and literacy don't offer much hope in his case. Freedom of expression is clearly all the go under the Abbott government but does The Canberra Times need to give space to this massacre of English?

Helen Moore, Bruce

Why so silent?

I am fascinated by the almost total silence on all manner of issues - local, national and international - by those we pay so much to represent us. I speak to you, Gai, Andrew, Kate and Zed.

You're probably skiing in Switzerland or basking on the Gold Coast right now but maybe your minions will read this and we'll get a reaction from you in due course, about April.

I would have thought you all would have deep and impressive opinions about all kinds of things, even when we don't agree with you. But, while you are the most expensive kind of pets to keep, we sometimes wonder if we are getting our money's worth.

How do we account for this silence? Do you need to get the boss's permission to say anything about anything? Are you watching out for your future, and don't want your career on the frontbench, two years from now, jeopardised by somebody quoting what you in all sincerity might say publicly this year?

We letter writers are far bolder and have far more ideas than you. How about earning your keep?

Barrie Smillie, Duffy

TO THE POINT

BENEFITS FOR THE RICH

A Medicare co-payment should not even be contemplated as long as the government continues to hand out Seniors Health Care cards, with all the attendant benefits, to super-rich retirees with an untaxed income stream.

David Pederson, O'Connor

GLOBAL WARMING MYTHS

Maurice Newman (''Time for CEOs to challenge a sceptic'', Times2, January 2, p2) was simply stating the bleeding obvious. The adherents to the mythology of global warming, and their green policies, are costing a lot of money and achieving absolutely nothing.

Owen Reid, Dunlop

BRUCE NO KNIGHT

Stanley Melbourne Bruce was not in fact a knight, as suggested by G. Spence (Letters, January 2), but received two honorific appointments of higher rank than a knight bachelor: companion of honour (1927) and viscount (1947).

Michael McCarthy, Deakin

MOLECULAR MUNCHIES

I very much appreciate Frank O'Shea's explanation about molecules transferring from one item or body to another (''Speaking up in the face of Abbott's silence on science'', Times2, January 1, p5). This obviously explains why I gain weight when I just look at chocolate cake!

M. Pietersen, Kambah

CHEERS FOR RUNNERS

Bravo for the accomplishment of Aussies Janette Murray-Wakelin, 64, and Alan Murray, 68 of their 366-day run in Australia. This incredible feat landed them into the world record book. These folks are living proof of an active healthy lifestyle and deserve more cheers because of their age and reached goal. Phenomenal job, its nice to see some good rather than crime, corruption, political scandals, greed and mayhem.

Kerwin Maude, Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada