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Coal: Bigger Than The Elephant In The Room

By SEEChangeIncCanberra - 1 February 2012 136

What is even bigger than the elephant in the room?  Find out next Tuesday – 7th February, 6.30 pm at the Finkel Theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU.

Jeremy Tager is stepping down from his post as senior political advisor to Greenpeace Australia.  Before he leaves Canberra, SEE-Change has arranged for him to deliver a talk about our coal industry.

This talk will present the anomaly of massive government subsidies to the coal industry and Australia’s responsibility as a major coal exporter to other countries at a time when we are ostensibly committed to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.  Questions will be taken after the talk.

To reserve your place, please vist our event page here.

What’s Your opinion?


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136 Responses to
Coal: Bigger Than The Elephant In The Room
16
IrishPete 10:22 am
05 Feb 12
#

Solidarity said :

Sounds really unbiased.

Worthwhile to counter the bias of the mining industry and its lobbying.

IP

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17
IrishPete 10:27 am
05 Feb 12
#

PA1 said :

I think the elephant in the room is that green movement is trying to have one’s cake and eat it too (Low emissions and no nuclear power). The problem is they are yet to come up with an alternative which is remotely close to the cost of coal generation.

Man-made (anthropegenic) climate change is a problem of pollution – releasing large amounts of C02 which have been locked up for millions of years, over just a few decades.

Nuclear power comes with its own pollution problems (from mining and waste). It’s not a long-term solution to replace one pollution problem with another. Never mind the issues of nuclear weapon proliferation and the risk of catastrophic accidents.

Somewhere around the world, 24 hours a day 365.25 days a year, the wind is blowing and/or the sun is shining and/or tides are moving. Virtually free energy, waiting to be harvested.

IP

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18
AndrewW 11:27 am
05 Feb 12
#

Waiting For Godot said :

When I look out the window and see the rain and put on my winter clothes during an Aussie summer I can’t help thinking how badly many people were conned by the global warming brigade.

Global warming stopped in 1997, it only went for a few years and normal climatic patterns were restored. We are now cooling, in fact many are predicting we are heading towards another ice age.

You can understand why so many people fell for the great climate change con. We were in a huge drought which just went on and on, and in the middle of it all came a former US vice president – Al Gore – and a Hollywood movie which put forward the theory of global warming which was eagerly taken up by environmentalists and others in the broad left.

Now it all just seems to be a sick joke. When you have people writing to The Canberra Times saying that exercising causes climate change and we should stop all physical activity and take up reading, and when you have people calling carbon dioxide a pollutant, when in fact it is a building block of life which plants inhale, then it becomes abundantly obvious that the climate change brigade lacks credibility and intelligence and can’t be taken seriously anymore.

Slowly but surely the climate change bandwagon is falling off the rails as more and more people reject the hype and lies and see it for what it is – a massive con promoted by a compliant media in conjunction with leftists and other naive dreamers and hucksters.

I love it when buffoons like John Moulis waddle into an argument about climate change between intelligent folk and say things like “it’s cold at my house” and “carbon dioxide is just plant food”.

Mate, you are so far out of your depth in any kind of rational debate and should stick to working your biceps and other less mentally challening activities.

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19
welkin31 1:08 pm
05 Feb 12
#

I beg to differ Irish Pete – if China could not buy our coal – then they would replace that in various ways – they could both increase coal imports from other countries and increase domestic production – they could substitute some gas for coal and bring forward plans for more Nuc power plants. Ramping up their own coal mines would greatly increase deaths from mining acidents – whatever they do – standing by idle and seeing their economy set back will not be on their agenda.

Alternative imports would tend to be from places with less environmental regulation than Australia, countries in SE Asia, Africa and Mongolia.
So all in all – a lose lose situation for the environment and sky-rocketing Chinese emissions would not be affected.
And the Australian economy would be damaged.
Great result all round – but thats typical for Greens policy when you examine it.

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20
astrojax 1:42 pm
05 Feb 12
#

IrishPete said :

welkin31 said :

And I assume that if we locked our coal up as Greenpeace wants – China would stop burning coal ?

They’d stop burning our coal, which would give me a warm inner glow.

More seriously, probably worldwide coal prices would rise, and everyone currently burning coal would become even more motivated to look for alternatives.

IP

good to see you’re on the side of the good guys, IP, but we can see your handle in the left column, beside your interjections, so no need to sign each of your posts :)

and good point about the rise in price from demand in the absence of a major supplier – ie strylya – a point too often overlooked ion such a discussion (i shan’t denigrate the intelligence being opposed to the ignorance here as a ‘debate’)

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21
Waiting For Godot 2:55 pm
05 Feb 12
#

AndrewW said :

Waiting For Godot said :

When I look out the window and see the rain and put on my winter clothes during an Aussie summer I can’t help thinking how badly many people were conned by the global warming brigade.

Global warming stopped in 1997, it only went for a few years and normal climatic patterns were restored. We are now cooling, in fact many are predicting we are heading towards another ice age.

You can understand why so many people fell for the great climate change con. We were in a huge drought which just went on and on, and in the middle of it all came a former US vice president – Al Gore – and a Hollywood movie which put forward the theory of global warming which was eagerly taken up by environmentalists and others in the broad left.

Now it all just seems to be a sick joke. When you have people writing to The Canberra Times saying that exercising causes climate change and we should stop all physical activity and take up reading, and when you have people calling carbon dioxide a pollutant, when in fact it is a building block of life which plants inhale, then it becomes abundantly obvious that the climate change brigade lacks credibility and intelligence and can’t be taken seriously anymore.

Slowly but surely the climate change bandwagon is falling off the rails as more and more people reject the hype and lies and see it for what it is – a massive con promoted by a compliant media in conjunction with leftists and other naive dreamers and hucksters.

I love it when buffoons like John Moulis waddle into an argument about climate change between intelligent folk and say things like “it’s cold at my house” and “carbon dioxide is just plant food”.

Mate, you are so far out of your depth in any kind of rational debate and should stick to working your biceps and other less mentally challening activities.

Gee, Andrew it’s great having people like you reading this board. I’m guaranteed a bite every time! Just keep reading and responding, there’s plenty more to come :-)

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22
AndrewW 3:13 pm
05 Feb 12
#

Waiting For Godot said :

AndrewW said :

Waiting For Godot said :

Mate, you are so far out of your depth in any kind of rational debate and should stick to working your biceps and other less mentally challening activities.

Gee, Andrew it’s great having people like you reading this board. I’m guaranteed a bite every time! Just keep reading and responding, there’s plenty more to come :-)

There’s no use pretending you you enjoy a verbal challenge, John. If I’d posted my comment on your blog, you would’ve deleted it, disabled further comments, called the police and then boarded up your doors and windows until they arrived.

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23
Waiting For Godot 3:29 pm
05 Feb 12
#

AndrewW said :

Waiting For Godot said :

AndrewW said :

Waiting For Godot said :

Mate, you are so far out of your depth in any kind of rational debate and should stick to working your biceps and other less mentally challening activities.

Gee, Andrew it’s great having people like you reading this board. I’m guaranteed a bite every time! Just keep reading and responding, there’s plenty more to come :-)

There’s no use pretending you you enjoy a verbal challenge, John. If I’d posted my comment on your blog, you would’ve deleted it, disabled further comments, called the police and then boarded up your doors and windows until they arrived.

See what I mean 😉

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24
breda 3:39 pm
05 Feb 12
#

No rational person disagrees with the notion the the climate changes. Where the pea and thimble trick comes in is with people who have a view based on models (which aren’t working out too well) that CO2 emitted by human activity is driving whatever changes are occurring. It’s a religious belief, in the worst sense, including the need to purchase indulgences in the form of worthless carbon credits and paying higher prices for energy.

Poor people, who pay a high proportion of their income on energy costs, are the sacrificial lambs. Now we find that the AGW crowd are having a bet each way – if the models don’t work out, it’s ‘natural variation’, and if they do, ‘we were right’. But either way, we need to keep throwing virgins into the volcano, just in case.

Even the lead perpetrators of the fraud are backing off. The next big (C02 emitting) confab in Rio, the 20th anniversary of the Virgin Birth, is focusing on ‘sustainability’. Apparently the climate thing is causing more trouble than it is worth. It is the next Trojan Horse, now that the last one is now widely recognised as the scam it is.

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25
AndrewW 3:50 pm
05 Feb 12
#

Waiting For Godot said :

AndrewW said :

Waiting For Godot said :

Gee, Andrew it’s great having people like you reading this board. I’m guaranteed a bite every time! Just keep reading and responding, there’s plenty more to come :-)

There’s no use pretending you you enjoy a verbal challenge, John. If I’d posted my comment on your blog, you would’ve deleted it, disabled further comments, called the police and then boarded up your doors and windows until they arrived.

See what I mean 😉

These “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I?” style responses may have worked back when you were a schoolboy, but unfortunately you’re dealing with adults these days. I know you are genuinly terrified at the thought of confrontation.

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26
Jethro 6:04 pm
05 Feb 12
#

breda said :

No rational person disagrees with the notion the the climate changes. Where the pea and thimble trick comes in is with people who have a view based on models (which aren’t working out too well) that CO2 emitted by human activity is driving whatever changes are occurring. It’s a religious belief, in the worst sense, including the need to purchase indulgences in the form of worthless carbon credits and paying higher prices for energy.

Poor people, who pay a high proportion of their income on energy costs, are the sacrificial lambs. Now we find that the AGW crowd are having a bet each way – if the models don’t work out, it’s ‘natural variation’, and if they do, ‘we were right’. But either way, we need to keep throwing virgins into the volcano, just in case.

Even the lead perpetrators of the fraud are backing off. The next big (C02 emitting) confab in Rio, the 20th anniversary of the Virgin Birth, is focusing on ‘sustainability’. Apparently the climate thing is causing more trouble than it is worth. It is the next Trojan Horse, now that the last one is now widely recognised as the scam it is.

Natural variation is all well and good, but it simply does not and cannot explain the rate and consistency of global climate change. Indeed, many of the things that affect natural variations in the Earth’s climate (eg. solar minimums ) would actually have lead to a decrease in global temperatures over the past decade. The continued trend upwards is happening despite these things, not because of them.

The ability of CO2 to capture heat radiation has been known by science since the 19th century and the impacts of emitting vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere were theorised well before they were observed. If we are to argue that adding CO2 to the atmosphere won’t lead to warming, we would need to also argue that the current CO2 in the atmosphere never worked to trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere in the first place, which is clearly false. The fact you don’t freeze to death every night is proof of this.

This isn’t a religious belief in any sense. It is supported by an incredible amount of research, data and analysis. Religious belief requires faith without evidence. A non-evidence based belief in natural variation is more akin to religious faith than the belief in decades of climate research and centuries of basic scientific knowledge.

Climate change denialists point to failures in the models, yet no climate scientists have ever claimed they are infallible. The climate is an incredibly complex system and it would be impossible to accurately predict every singe change that will occur and when it will occur. However, this does not take away from the central premise of climate science, that pumping massive amounts of extra CO2 into the atmosphere will have dramatic changes on the Earth’s climate.

Also, the climate models have actually been better than you claim. Predictions such as the loss of arctic sea ice, sea level rises, ever increasing global average temperatures, even the cold snap you referred to in your first post (climate models that have taken into account the impacts of climate change on the flows of air currents predicted that extra masses of hot air outside of Europe would act to trap cold air systems on the continent and would lead to an increase in the number and severity of severe cold weather events in Europe), are all coming to fruition. In fact, the main problems with the climate models is that they may have actually been too conservative in their predictions.

Climate change denial boils down to people who are either simply ignorant to understand how science works, or simply unwilling to accept the political, economic and social implications of the science. In this sense climate change denial is very similar to the denial of evolution. The evidence is there, but people choose to ignore it or dispute it because they don’t like the implications. in doing so they put forward theories that are much less grounded in evidence and much more grounded in faith.

The argument has moved on from whether or not we are impacting the climate, and on to how we should deal with it. This is where you can make your criticisms of things like carbon credits or the emissions trading scheme. You’re right, in many ways carbon credits are a complete scam. The reliance of the government’s climate change policy on the purchase of overseas carbon credits is a big issue that should be discussed. You could also mount legitimate arguments about the cost effectiveness of carbon pricing versus other models of either limiting climate change or dealing with its impacts.

But to simply deny the science because you don’t like its implications is reckless ignorance.

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27
p1 6:08 pm
05 Feb 12
#

Some of these posts make Jeff Manny seem completely sane.

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28
dungfungus 6:27 pm
05 Feb 12
#

Jethro said :

Waiting for Godot – because Canberra is the globe and local weather reflects global climate.

As a globe, we are not cooling. Global temperatures continue to increase. The first decade of the 21st century was the hottest on record.

But I guess your ‘looking out the window’ model is more exact than the culminated efforts of thousands of scientists using collated data from around the globe.

I wish a scientist would explain to me why I have only turned the air conditioner on once this summer but I have had the electric blanket put back on my bed and it has been switched on several times.

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29
dungfungus 6:36 pm
05 Feb 12
#

breda said :

No rational person disagrees with the notion the the climate changes. Where the pea and thimble trick comes in is with people who have a view based on models (which aren’t working out too well) that CO2 emitted by human activity is driving whatever changes are occurring. It’s a religious belief, in the worst sense, including the need to purchase indulgences in the form of worthless carbon credits and paying higher prices for energy.

Poor people, who pay a high proportion of their income on energy costs, are the sacrificial lambs. Now we find that the AGW crowd are having a bet each way – if the models don’t work out, it’s ‘natural variation’, and if they do, ‘we were right’. But either way, we need to keep throwing virgins into the volcano, just in case.

Even the lead perpetrators of the fraud are backing off. The next big (C02 emitting) confab in Rio, the 20th anniversary of the Virgin Birth, is focusing on ‘sustainability’. Apparently the climate thing is causing more trouble than it is worth. It is the next Trojan Horse, now that the last one is now widely recognised as the scam it is.

Agree – the same people that believe in man made climate change also believe in the tooth fairy.

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30
The cat did it 7:19 pm
05 Feb 12
#

dungfungus- I’m not a scientist, but if i were, I’d suggest you try to understand the difference between weather and climate- weather is what we experience from day to day; climate is weather averaged over at least a decade, usually over 30 years. This and last year’s mild summer get averaged along with the stinking hot summers we had a few years ago.

Also, there are a number of weather phenomena that are cyclic over periods of several years, notably (for Australia) ENSO (el nino/la nina), but there are similar phenomena in eg the Indian Ocean and the North Atlantic. The prevailing La Nina is responsible for the current cool damp summer. These shorter period events can temporarily mask the longer term increase in global temperatures. Just because temperatures aren’t increasing steadily year-on-year doesn’t mean they’re not increasing just the same.

You can get a good idea of what is happening by looking at the chart of temperature at http://sks.to/escalator. It shows how you can select the short term decline quoted selectively by sceptics, and the increase over the longer term.

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