Tag Archives: climate change

CEO of ExxonMobil admits burning fossil fuels warms the planet.

CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, in an on-the-record speech to the Council of Foreign Relations that is publicly available online, has now said that it is clear that burning fossil fuels warms the planet.

His actual words are:

“So I’m not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have an impact. It’ll have a warming impact. The — how large it is is what is very hard for anyone to predict. And depending on how large it is, then projects how dire the consequences are.”

I discovered this video in an article by Bill Blackmore on the US ABC News about how American news directors just aren’t covering the latest stories on climate change – possibly because of political and corporate agendas but also possibly because it’s TOO BIG TO HANDLE. It’s worth a read but I think it’s letting news directors off the hook. The real reasons they aren’t talking about the new data is due to corporate agendas. Yes, the story is huge. Of course it is. But that’s only MORE reason to give it the coverage it deserves.

Where’s Will McAvoy when you need him?

CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, in an on-the-record speech to the Council of Foreign Relations that is publicly available online, has now said that it is clear that burning fossil fuels warms the planet.
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No Illusions 20 – John Cook from Skeptical Science

My guest IN THE STUDIO today is John Cook, astrophyscist, web developer, and founder of Skeptical Science, an absolutely brilliant resource for anyone needing to refute the common climate change denialist.

We talk about what motivates climat change denialists (and the difference between being a SKEPTIC and a DENIALIST) and some of the refutations of their most common arguments.

Follow John on Twitter at @skepticscience.

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Australia: The Unlucky Country?

While waiting in the Apple Store Chermside today (waiting, that is, for them to replace the hard drive on my 5 month old 17″ Macbook Pro for the second time in a week), I started reading the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 report. The report was recently released by Beyond Zero Emissions, a non-profit group based in Melbourne. Their report details how Australia can become a zero carbon-emitting country by 2020. In their introduction, they remind us that Australia has the highest carbon emission per capita ranking in the entire world.

I had forgotten that fact, so I tweeted:

Let’s remember during this election that Australia has the highest emissions per capita IN THE WORLD. We are a disgrace.

A few hours later I saw this tweet in response:

I wish to express my utter disdain for what @Vzzzbx just retweeted from some twat called @cameronreilly (see next tweet)

I don’t know who this Ches Trulson guy is, but it always amuses me when someone just slags me off and doesn’t try to debate the facts. It’s usually the sign of a limited intelligence. But I popped over to read more of his Twitter feed, just in case he was someone to take seriously.

Here’s a sample of his Twitter feed, following on from the ‘disdain’ post:

We live in a first world country, this means our emissions are worse than much of the world. Bad? Sure.

France is also a first world country, but their emissions are one-third of Australia’s. And France’s emissions per capita have reduced by 40% since 1979, while Australia’s have grown by 40%.

It’s also really fucking big, and our population is spread across a large area. Again, bad. We also have a varied and harsh climate. Bad.

Russia is a pretty big country as well and their climate is pretty harsh. Their emissions have dropped by 30% since 1992, while Australia’s have grown.

Except of course, that none of that is practical to change, or any of our fault. Yet I should feel ashamed? Get fucked.

This is what amuses me the most. “None of that is practical to change or any of our fault.” That kind of lazy, defeatist attitude is precisely WHY we are the worst emitters in the world. Huge brains like Ches just throwing up his hands and saying “not my fault”. Of course it’s not your fault, Ches. Meanwhile, the ZCA2020 report says it *is* practical to change – in fact, we could be a zero carbon emission country within ten years – if we can get people like Ches to pull their heads out of their asses.

I’m all for living sustainably, but Aus is not a significant problem IMO, and making us feel bad about it is helpful in no way whatsoever.

Aw, diddums. Did Bad Cameron make you cwy? Grow up, dude. It’s precisely because we are a first world country that we are a significant problem. The rest of the world (read: the developing countries who are still trying to pull themselves out of poverty) are looking towards the first world countries as guidance. If we don’t seem to be taking this stuff seriously, then why should they? Australia should (IMHO) be leading the world on this issue. We have the wealth. We have the political stability. We have the intelligence (well…. some of us). Perhaps most importantly, we have huge sources of renewable energy. Let’s lead the world for once in something other than sport and racist actors.

Hard to argue convincingly over twitter, but whatever, rage subsiding.

Well here’s you chance, Ches. Argue convincingly here. If you can.

Oh, and this from a guy who does marketing for cigars and pergolas? Hilarious.

Yeah I see what those things have to do with each other. No, wait…. I don’t. Please enlighten me. Of course, this is all coming from a self-confessed “car nerd”. I guess when you’re a “car nerd”, the whole idea of reducing carbon emissions is likely to induce cognitive dissonance.

On other Twitter fronts….

My mate Ben Wilks took umbrage to my retweet about how stupid Gillard’s “small Australia” policy is.

@cameronreilly umm, ok. Population has doubled in the last 15 years. Property prices and traffic ARE QUALITY OF LIFE. Seriously, WT?

Actually, Ben – no. Property prices and traffic are NOT quality of life. At all.

This whole “small Australia” policy is seriously dysfunctional. Here’s why:

According to the IMF, Australia ranks #10 in GDP per capita.

On top of that, we have one of the lowest population densities in the world.

If we can’t have quality of life while we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world with one of the lowest population densities – then we are seriously messed up.

This all reminds me of a story Clive Hamilton (he of the internet filter) wrote about in one of his earlier books, Affluenza.

I don’t have the book in front of me, so I’ll paraphrase it. He wrote that the average net household income in Australia has increased by something like 300% since 1950. And yet when you survey the Australian population and ask them “do you have enough to get by”, something like 75% of people say “no”.

We’re messed up, dysfunctional.

When you have an individual who has everything going for them and yet they feel oppressed, it’s often a sign of a psychosis or mental illness.

When you have an entire population who has everything going for them and yet they feel like they don’t have enough to get by, what does that say about the general psyche of the country?

(pic via suburbanbloke’s flickr)

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No Illusions Podcast 08 – Dominion Over Fowl

Tonight we try something we haven’t done in a long time – Chrissy joins me on the podcast. We lit up a Perdomo Lot 23, sat outside on our deck, and talked about a lot of things including:

– Why comics are like classical music (I recommend reading DMZ and KICK-ASS) and admire the work of Aussie Ben Templesmith
The head of Australia’s Reserve Bank is ANOTHER crazy Christian running the country
– The rise of Dominionism in Australia
More evidence that evil oil companies are paying a small handful of scientists to oppose climate change
The very small list of scientists who actually oppose climate change
The very LARGE list of scientists who support climate change

If you enjoyed this show, you can stay in touch by following Chrissy and Cameron on Twitter or by joining our Facebook page.

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Ethics vs Economics

I was reading more of Clive Splash’s writing over the last few days and it struck me why I’m always getting into arguments with people about how we’re handling climate change. The problem, I think, stems from the fact that, to me, our approach to tackling climate change is about ETHICS. And the people I get into arguments with, aren’t talking about ETHICS – they are talking about ECONOMICS. And while ECONOMICS is a subset of ETHICS, the reverse is not true.

Ethics examines morality, good and bad, right and wrong, justice, etc. And economics has to be part of ethics. We need to consider how ethical the system of economics in our country is – does everyone have equal opportunity, enough money to afford a reasonable standard of living, access to health care, education, etc.

Economics, on the other hand, doesn’t care anything about ethics. Economics just thinks about the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. How ethical a particular system of economics is, is not the concern of the study of economics.

Unfortunately, I can’t find an ethics portfolio in the Federal government. There is a Treasurer, who worries about the economy, but nowhere to be found is a Minister for Ethics. I think we should have one. The Ministry of Ethics would take the lead on issues such as our treatment of our indigenous population, the handling of boat people, whether or not we should have equal rights for LGBT, and how we handle climate change.

And I think, in future, when I’m having debates with people over climate change, I’ll make sure I clarify at the outset whether or not we’re having a discussion about ethics or economics.

Image credit:

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A few words from Clive Splash

It was announced today that Dr Clive Splash has resigned from the CSIRO because the organisation was censoring his attempts to criticize Cap and Trade schemes. As I’m meeting Dr Peter Ellyard tonight to discuss the current ETS situation, I reviewed some of the materials on Dr Splash’s site. Here’s a short excerpt of a piece he wrote for Adbusters in 2008 (the bold parts are mine):

Well, we’ve been here before. Major international political attention was first paid to climate change in 1988. At a meeting in Toronto, governments agreed to 20 percent cuts in CO2 emissions by 2005. The same year, the Hamburg World Congress recommended 30 percent cuts by 2000 and 50 percent by 2015 (with some dissenters). However, instead of government action, we only saw the IPCC established to “study” the issue further. A decade later, Kyoto’s few percent emissions cuts for developed economies were still seeking ratification. Businesses in the US spent $100 million fighting the Kyoto Protocol, claiming it would hurt the economy. The highest per capita polluters, the US and Australia, withdrew and remained outsiders in the international consensus of concern. Underlying this government backtracking, delay and timid target-setting is economic power politics.

And here we are, 21 years later, with the Rudd government still pussy-footing around, trying to appease the fossil fuel industry, and the new “leadership” (and I use that word with derision) of the Liberal Party sticking to their 1988 rhetoric.

I’m sick of it. We need a people’s revolution.

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Australia Needs To Lead The World

I’m reading the Australian government’s CPRS white paper tonight and there are some issues that I don’t understand.

In the Foreword, the paper says:

“… we have more to lose than any other developed nation if the world fails to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”

Wow, we better take it seriously then.

A couple of pages down, it goes on to say:

“By 2020, we have committed to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution by up to 15 per cent below 2000 levels in the context of a global agreement where major economies agree to substantially restrain carbon pollution and advanced economies take on reductions comparable to Australia.”

“Where major economies agree?” And what if they DON’T agree? We will do nothing? I thought this was serious?!

In debates on Twitter, people have tried to explain to me that it’s about balancing our long-term priorities (eg staying alive) with our short-term priorities (eg keeping people in jobs that are threatening our ability to stay alive).

I don’t see why we should be protecting the jobs of people when those jobs are threatening our ability to LIVE. That’s like protecting the jobs of the terrorists because, well, they have families too.

Mining in Australia employs about 129,000 people. That’s about 1.3% of the work force.  If we shut down mining and pensioned them all off with $100k a year, that’s about $10 billion a year, which, coincidentally, is about the same about of money the government has set aside for financial assistance to businesses and households anyway. So it’s not inconceivable to just shut it all down today.

Anyway, that’s not my point. My point is that you can’t justify continuing to do something that’s just WRONG by saying “yes but it makes money”. For example, slavery is profitable. But we don’t do that anymore (officially, anyway). We also don’t invade poor countries and kill all of their indigenous population and steal their assets (officially, anyway). Why not? Because it’s WRONG. And it’s NOT justified by saying “but we need to stay competitive”. It’s not dissimilar to countries developing nuclear weapons with the rationale that “they have them so we have to have them too”. I call BULLSHIT on that argument.

I would much rather see the leaders of our country stand up for doing what is RIGHT regardless of whether nor not other countries are willing to take that step. We should be LEADERS, not bureaucrats.

As for the mining companies – I don’t feel the need to protect their asses, either. They’ve had plenty of warning that what they were doing was unsustainable. And how much of their BILLIONS of profits did they spend on coming up with alternatives over the last 20 years? Pretty much ZERO. Did their investors force them at their AGMs to change their practices? No, they didn’t. So screw the mining companies AND their investors. Why should we protect the interests of companies that have been deliberately destroying the planet in the name of profit for decades?

Hell, even Bob Hawke understands.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-QksZZCMjo&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

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CRU Hack Has Nothing Of Interest

Oh come ON. This CRU hack story is the biggest beat-up I’ve heard in a long time. Of the 4000 documents and emails they hackers got their hands on, the best dirt people can find is a request to delete some non-specified emails and some discussion about how to present the data in the best way to make it easy for non-scientists to understand the trend? That’s a pretty lame smoking gun, especially when the other side have been caught red-handed literally making shit up.

From the excerpts I’ve read, it just sounds like a bunch of scientists trying to win an infowar against a much more powerful and fully-financed opposition. We might wish they could hold to a higher standard of ethics and transparency, but these folks are in the bunker. Their credibility and intelligence is being challenged on a daily basis. They are fighting for the survival of their species. It’s only natural for them to be a little cautious about what how the data gets presented and to fight against the people who are trying to manipulate the data for nefarious purposes.

But there’s *nothing* I’ve seen that even suggests these scientists fudged data or even manipulated the data to prove a dodgy theory. If you’ve seen something like that in the evidence, point me to it.

This whole beat-up reminds me of when Michael Moore’s critics try to attack his films on the basis that he edits the footage with an agenda. No kidding.

(source of the melting ice photo is UNSW)

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GDay World 395 – Bill Liao, Neo.org

Bill Liao is one of those people who makes you realize that you aren’t trying hard enough. He chatted with me recently about two of his current projects – neo.org and WeForest.com. Bill explains how he is building a new organization with resources and partners to reforest 20 Million Square Kilometers of the Earth in order to cool the planet. Check out the videos on WeForest.com and the Voices Of Neo podcast as well.

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