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Extremism: So Hot Right Now

According to Liberal frontbencher Eric Abetz, the Australian Greens Party is the “epitome of extremism”. Talk about the pot calling the kettle extremist.

Abetz was inspired to his alliterative epithet because a couple of Greens Senators, notably party leader Christine Milne, refused to condemn the anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan, over a hoax which — for about 90 minutes, until it was discovered — decreased the value of Whitehaven Coal by more than $300 million on Monday.

It was the simplest of hoaxes. Moylan dummied up a press release, purporting to be from the ANZ Bank, saying it had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan for a new coal mine.

(The trick, we might add, would not have had its effect if members of the financial media had bothered to check the veracity of Moylan’s fake press release before publishing stories.)

Milne described the hoax as being part of “a long and proud history of civil disobedience” in Australia.

This was, when you parse it, a pretty mild endorsement, more a statement of the bleeding obvious, really.

<p>Cole Bennetts/Getty</p>

Cole Bennetts/Getty

Greens leader Christine Milne

More importantly, Milne specifically denied any foreknowledge of the hoax. She also said “nobody is above the law”. She went on to draw the links between coal mining and climate change, and to question the ethics of those involved in mining or the funding of mining.

You can hear her whole argument, in context, here.

To be fair, we should note that another Greens Senator went further, in a tweet congratulating Moylan for “exposing ANZ investment in coal mines”.

But again, there is no evidence of direct involvement of the Greens party in the stunt.

But to Eric Abetz, this made the Greens “extremists” with “communist connections”.

“With the Greens,” he said, “it is always a case of the ends justifying the means.”

This all prompts a couple of observations.

First, Eric Abetz should know a thing or two about hoaxes. He was the man who first produced, in a Parliamentary estimates committee, an email — subsequently proven a forgery — which purported to show then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had received mates’ rates on a car in return for favours to a Brisbane car dealer.

The source of the information was one Godwin Grech, a Treasury official identified by other members of the Coalition as its “mole” inside the department who channelled information to them.

Abetz was the conduit by which this libel made its way into Hansard. Which puts him rather closer to the scene of the crime than the Greens in the ANZ press release hoax.

Second, there is the broader issue of Liberal Party spies in the bureaucracy, digging dirt on the government, contrary to all notions of public service neutrality. Sounds a lot like the means justifying the ends, does it not?

The Grech affair ultimately played a role in losing Malcolm Turnbull the Liberal leadership, not that it would have upset Abetz a whole lot.

The Senator, you see, was an implacable opponent of the introduction of a carbon-emissions trading scheme, which Turnbull favoured.

Turnbull, an intelligent, informed and rational person, believes human-caused climate change is a real and huge problem, which requires action.

Abetz, like perhaps a quarter to a third of Coalition MPs and Senators (by the estimate of a Coalition source who is in a position to know), is a climate-change sceptic.

How these people can remain unconvinced is a mystery. Of course, one of the hallmarks of extremism is its resistance to rational argument, its insistence on belief in the face of the evidence.

<p>Bureau of Meteorology</p>

Bureau of Meteorology

This week’s weather, like Eric Abetz, was on the extremes and full of hot air.

And with climate change, the evidence is overwhelming. Christine Milne, in the interview cited above, noted Australia has just experienced its two hottest days ever.

But an even more startling factoid appeared in The New York Times of January 8, in a story reporting that 2012 was, by one full degree Fahrenheit, the hottest year ever in the United States.

“Nobody who is under 28 has lived through a month of global temperatures that fell below the 20th-century average, because the last such month was February 1985,” it reported.

Got that? Nobody. In the world.

And here in Australia we have two major political groups: the Coalition parties which don’t know whether they believe in climate change or not, and the Labor Party, which pays lip service to the need to do something but is intent on extracting more fossil fuels as fast as possible.

And then there are the Greens, who accept there is a crisis, and actually have the temerity to suggest it is unethical to mine ever-increasing amounts of the stuff which is causing the crisis.

Is this extremist? Or just logical?

66 comments on this story
by Phil Laird

The open cut coal mines in the Leard State Forest will cumulatively emit more GHGs from the produced coal than 160 entire countries. More than Sweden, Hungary, New Zealand.

ANZ is not merely supporting a customer while we transition through to renewables but is facilitating incredible damage to our climate.

If Moylan didn't expose this, who would?

January 10, 2013 @ 8:14pm
by Russell Yann

Nicely put, thankyou. I wish this well researched piece would be more widely available within the Australian media. (I guess there are some obvious reasons for that though)

January 10, 2013 @ 9:02pm
by patrickg

Amen, preach it, Mike.

January 10, 2013 @ 9:25pm
by Tony H

Well said Mike. Australia is an embarrassment on climate change, with neither side of the political spectrum at any level of government prepared to slow down the extraction of dirty coal from environmentally sensitive areas and productive farmland. The carbon emissions from these policies make a mockery of any green policies they might otherwise implement.

When will someone actually stare down the false economic arguments that he likes of Whitehaven make when duping our policy makers and financiers into approving these projects?

Read Professor Ian Lowe's assessment of the Maules Creek mine....

If it were a country, it would be the worlds 75th highest carbon emitter. Sheer lunacy.

January 10, 2013 @ 10:11pm
by dave lennon

I'd like to address a couple of the terms you used.

The first is climate-change sceptic.

You used the term to describe coalition members who are not convinced by the science of climate change.

They are not sceptics they are deniers.

The sceptics are every climate scientist who accepts that the data strongly suggests humans are responsible in the largest part for global warming.

But because they are scientists and therefore perpetual sceptics they will continue their research on the minuscule (you would have to say at this stage) chance there is another explanation.

The other term is "believe " in climate change.

I believe my football team is the best in the league.

The fact our last premiership was over 30 years ago suggests otherwise.

Some people believe in God.

Belief is what you have when evidence is ultimately lacking for your viewpoint.

I do not believe in climate change.

I am convinced by the science it is real.

I am convinced by the modelling that is now old enough for real time data to be meaningfully compared to it.

This may seem pedantic in the extreme but so long as deniers can be sceptics and and man made climate change is merely a belief the linguistic chasm the deniers are driving their false arguments and slick PR campaigns through will remain open.


January 10, 2013 @ 10:24pm
by Peter Franklin

I reckon if Bob Brown said to Abetz " look out there is a bus coming" he would take no notice and keep going even if it killed him.

January 10, 2013 @ 10:35pm
by Alastair leith

Well said Dave. When will writers start using this terminology correctly? Of course I was convinced god loves me at one time so belief/knowledge issue is never clear cut a dichotomy as some like to male out but we need to stand firm on cc issues because the enemy (fossil fuels and axis orgs like IPA & Heartland) is using every deception money can buy.

January 11, 2013 @ 2:18am
by Anna

Such a blessed relief to read this clear-sighted account. Thanks.

January 11, 2013 @ 3:39am
by higgs boson

This is proof there are no mirrors in Abetz's home.

January 11, 2013 @ 7:46am
by Fisho

Hard to argue with this article

January 11, 2013 @ 10:56am
by Kevin LaCoste

And how exactly did this fraud help the environmentalist cause? The winners were the capitalists who bought Whitehaven at the bottom and made $300m in a single day, and now the coal lobby have plenty of ammunition to use against the Greens. The Greens lost 75% of their vote in the ACT election last year. This act of immaturity will only scare off the majority of working voters, most of whom have investments in superannuation funds.

January 11, 2013 @ 11:00am
by Steve

I assume that when you say the 'trick'(fraud) wouldn't have worked if people checked ignores the fact that Moylan impersonated an ANZ spokesman when Fairfax journalists called to check. Facts ... not a strong suite for the Greens Party.

January 11, 2013 @ 11:40am
by George

Cheap coal from Australia helps developing countries produce electricity for their citizens which both improves their standards of living, including lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, higher literacy, and provides more jobs for the poorest in the world. No green religion can deny this fact.

January 11, 2013 @ 12:19pm
by Bruce Knobloch

Thanks for the clarity and the honesty Mike Seccombe. Well done Jonathan Moylan, his forest colleagues and the public figures willing to defend him and encourage others to stop business-as-usual politics 'by any means necessary'.

January 11, 2013 @ 12:36pm
by Robyn

Excellent article. Warren Truss, in yestersay's Australian Financial Review, said it was "utterly simplistic to suggest that we have these fires because of climate change. Indeed I guess there'll be more CO2 emissions from these fires than there will be from coal-fired power stations for decades".

And this from Alan Moran from the illustrious Institute of Public Affairs, railing against the amount of money spent on renewables: "... Governments should reject the lobbying of subsidy-dependent renewable energy businesses and allow the market to provide the cheap energy we have in abundance.

Mike, Dr Lowe's article is a red rag to the big mining interests, particularly deniers like LNP, Rinehart, Palmer, Forrest etc.

No doubt, as the election nears, there will be many more articles by the likes of IPA, LNP etc published in our mainstream media.

A sad situation indeed.

January 11, 2013 @ 12:54pm
by Bronwyn

This is not the 'environmentalist cause'.
We all will suffer (all over the world) if we don't stop the use of fossil fuel.
There is no us and them here.
Climate change is bad for everyone; extremely bad.
Burning fossil fuel is indeed unethical.
Our short-term comfort is not worth selling out the future of the entire population of the planet.
The financial, human and other species consequences of climate change are set to be horrific, with financial and property losses for individuals at the bottom of the pile of problems. For example, at a global average 4 degree rise in temperature, unfarmable agricultural land is set to rise to a global level of approximately 44 Percent due to increased drought. This is very likely to lead to famine (which is likely to lead to death of humans and other species, especially in third world countries).
And that is just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun).
Do the research. The facts are out there and chilling the thinkers of the world with their projected consequences.
Comfort now versus extreme discomfort in the future.
Make your choice.
And Steve, the Greens do have the facts, and choose not to ignore them to fill their pockets or get votes.

January 11, 2013 @ 1:17pm
by Jed

Steve, you are kidding aren't you? The fact that professional journalists "research" included ringing the bogus number on the bogus release and then spoke to a bogus spokesman somehow lets them off the hook?

January 11, 2013 @ 2:55pm
by Andersand

Great article Mike.

The religion's all the other way, George. Cheap coal does all these things, but only at the expense of the (not so distant) future, in which mortality will increase, food will be harder to produce, sea level rises will threaten a large percentage of the world's population that lives on the coast, there will be more extreme weather, etc. Try this for a fact: the world is heading for between 4 and 6 degrees warmer by the end of this century. Humans (and many other species) will be lucky to survive that. Your facts are completely out of context .. that makes them more like convenient factoids.

January 11, 2013 @ 2:59pm
by Ben

Great article mike. incredulous PR spin that abetz and peter reith get their daily coalition ' line of the day ' attack memo to call greens extremists based on what these guys represent. Truly astonishing!

January 11, 2013 @ 3:09pm
by Roxee

ANZ is a signatory to a scheme that requires signatories to not lend money to orojects that harm human health, or the environment.
@by George, It's nice those people in developing countries are getting electricity, improved standards of living etc.; it can make many feel justified in continuing to sell them coal. Do you think they'll thank us when their river deltas flood permenantly with seawater, their local crops fail and local fauna go extinct. Perhaps you'll let them come and stay at your place, if you survive that is.

January 11, 2013 @ 3:12pm
by fiona486

"Cheap coal from Australia ... improves their standards of living, including lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, higher literacy, and provides more jobs for the poorest in the world."

And what is the point of all those lovely things if there's no liveable planet to support it all?

January 11, 2013 @ 3:52pm
by Epi

George, it's just as possible to export cheap solar cells (Some interesting developments in that recently - bendable polymers instead of thick glass and silicone plates, that, though less efficient, are much cheaper), or set up geothermal energy plants, or wind - it'd just require effort on our part. Given climate change affects all of us, I don't think an investment like that would be a big ask.

January 11, 2013 @ 4:07pm
by Jez

Kevin - Greens did not lose 75% of their vote.

Steve - Your comment doesn't make sense.

George - I guess your not worried about global warming which will wipe out these standard of living gains.

Sure, the law was broken, but it is for a good cause. Funny that none of you comment on Abetz fraudulent activities which were clearly not for a good cause.

Lessons - The investors exposed their vulnerability. They need to work on their bs detectors and be prepared for market destabilisation, given that their activities are contentious.

Moylan is not hiding. You may think that his tactics are irresponsible, but I find them more responsible than investors making profit from activities incompatible with sustainable resource use.

We could live without coal mining. The working poor can't accept a lowering of their incomes. Investors don't want their profits harmed, no matter what the cost to our habitat. We are not going to fall for investors insisting that our standard of living wll suffer, aside from more expensive imports. The working poor can't afford to lose any income. If they do, our economy will temporarily shut down until investors relent from their gouging of those who provide them with everything. Basically, what would happen is that investors money would be devalued, because they provide very little to the economy in terms of labour. Inflation will render their "security" useless. Those providing labour will be the ones holding the economy together, as they are the only ones holding anything of value that is immune from inflation.

This country was built with hand tools and we were quite self sufficient. It is only a matter of time before the majority redefine the value of labour. Innovation becomes less important with every new technology, in terms of putting roofs over heads and food on the table. All that is required is for those who actually provide labour to make and deliver the essentials, to realise that inflation is not a threat to them, no matter how much investors insist otherwise. This confidence among workers is a terrifying prospect for those who believe that their past activities entitle them to the lions share of our production at huge expense to those delivering them goods and services.

This working group realise the importance of government, human services, science, education and other professions. They also realise the importance of market forces. They just need a plan that can provide confidence to make rent seekers redundant. The ALP do not provide this - unionists are paid extremely well, but they have little interest for those not in this "club". The Greens offer this confidence, which explains why investors are so vociferous in their condemnation. They are scared. So much for market confidence.

January 11, 2013 @ 4:21pm
by Daniel Kasak

I applaud the Greens for not caving in to supposed 'respectability' and refusing to condemn Moylan's stunt. Further, I hope Moylan ( who was only seeking to draw attention to an important environmental issue ) gets as much jail time as those who orchestrated the financial crisis ( who extracted TRILLIONS of dollars in bail-out funds ). Miners don't care about our health or future. Banks don't care what they fund. These kind of actions of civil disobedience will increase until things change, radically.

January 11, 2013 @ 4:56pm
by Stephen Beverley

@ Kevin LaCoste I presume you refer to the ACT Greens losing 3 out of 4 MP's (75%) at the last ACT election rather than their primary vote falling by 75%. Their vote actually fell 4.87% to 10.75% (

January 11, 2013 @ 5:22pm
by John Fraser

I'm voting for the Labor party because I think there is Green out there ........................ but I am certain that there are no conservatives out there.

January 11, 2013 @ 5:36pm
by Rocco

The thing that scares me nearly as much as climate change is the prospect of Eric Abetz being a senior minister in an Abbott government. apart from the fact that he shows every sign of being a card carrying member of the lunar right, that voice ....

January 11, 2013 @ 6:45pm
by Chris Crash

Yes and of course we all know that Erica is a bleeding Nazi!

January 11, 2013 @ 8:48pm
by darryl cheal

I`m glad to hear that Christine Mile & Co. support "Our proud history of civil disobedience" ! Hope she continues this in the event that the Greens go for confiscating our firearms, as that will surel cause some "civil disobedience" !!!

January 12, 2013 @ 11:45am
by Michael Swifte

What is hot is circumventing the manufacturing of consent around which law and regulation have been built.

January 12, 2013 @ 12:21pm
by rumtytum

One day the world will recognise a second revolutionary tipping point in human evolution. The first brought science to the fore, the second sent it packing. Eric Abetz and his fellow morons have joined the religious crackpots from the US in howling for Galileo's head. Will they manage to re-write the text books to replace science with fairytales? It's looking increasingly likely. If the coalition wins the next election will we see Erica as Minister for Climate Stasis?

January 12, 2013 @ 1:22pm
by Suzie Wright

Hello Darryl - civil disobedience is where the intention is to hurt no one! Those of us that support a rational reduction in the use of fossil fuels in our economy to protect our climate are well aware of the radical extremists that support the fossil fuel industry. This includes people like you who value profit over people as well as banking institutions that support these types of projects. To threaten people who are simply trying to protect our (including your) environment is reprehensible.

January 12, 2013 @ 2:32pm
by Max Bourke AM

Yes add the Abetz comment to Warren Truss and his amazing assertion re carbon emissions from bushfires vis a vis power stations (see Phil Gibbon's excellent clinical analysis of this in The Conversation Thursday) and you sure have some doozies on the 'sceptics' side (is 'sceptics' still the right word...flat earhters perhaps?)

January 12, 2013 @ 4:07pm
by Matt

Seems to me that this Whitehaven affair is insignificant compared to the AWB scandal the LNP had their paws all over

January 12, 2013 @ 9:01pm
by GB

How can you translate "he hottest year ever in the United States." to "Nobody. In the world."?
And given that our records only go back 200 years or so, how can you or anyone say with any degree of certainty that "Australia has just experienced its two hottest days ever"? How would you know when we have records for a minuscule period of time? Give me a break. You're just making it up to fit what you would like to believe.

"Of course, one of the hallmarks of extremism is its resistance to rational argument, its insistence on belief in the face of the evidence."

There is evidence that the world has not warmed in 16 years, so you sure got that right!

January 13, 2013 @ 12:23pm
by daniel

GB, don't skim read. Read the article in it's entirety. "Nobody who is under 28..." that is what Mike Seccombe is referring to when stating "no body. in the world" -
And before you make incorrect statements such as "the world has not warmed in 16 years", you'd be best to check the temperature record first, and two, when it comes to climate, it's the trend we're concerned more about. And whilst the trend is up, the minimum time-span most scientists are concerned about is around the 30 year time-span. If the world had not warmed in 16 years (which it categorically hasn't, but let's talk hypotheticals) then if it continued down for another 14 years, there is some basis for an argument. But as your starting point is incorrect and we keep topping 1998 (which was the previous hottest from memory) then all we are doing is continuing the UPWARD trend evident from the past decades.
If you have a reputable source to back-up your assertion, please link to it.

January 13, 2013 @ 6:08pm
by faust

So the end justifies the means? That is a very extreme point of view to take, Mike, and indicates that you are less an "independent" journalist than a mere mouth-piece for left-wing causes.

January 13, 2013 @ 8:57pm
by fiona486

Profits from fossil fuel mining in Middle Eastern countries is spent on providing FREE healthcare, FREE education and improving the quality of life for all their citizens. Where's Australia's free education, world class healthcare and infrastracture? Our living standards are a crying shame compared to many Middle Eastern countries whose fossil fuel profits go back into their country. It is clear that coal has done nothing for Australia, as the profits largely going to foreign investors and local fat cats. Most ordinary Australians will not benefit from the mining boom so why should we pay the environmental cost of coal?

January 14, 2013 @ 10:06am
by George

"Try this for a fact: the world is heading for between 4 and 6 degrees warmer by the end of this century."

A 'fact' is something that HAS really occurred. Note the past tense.

January 14, 2013 @ 12:08pm
by Phil

It seems to me that in recent years, objective political analysis is consistently being howled down as left wing propaganda. Thanks Mike for an article putting things in perspective. Such pieces are few and far between these days.

January 14, 2013 @ 1:23pm
by Pablo

Do you know how much tax payer money Abetz wastes gumming up the workings of government with vexatious FOI requests? It would have to be in the hundreds of thousands every year. Now that is extreme.

January 14, 2013 @ 7:12pm
by Helen Errington

Great article Mike. People like Abetz truly need to be exposed for who they are. He and his associates who think climate change is a left wing conspiracy are sentencing the Australian people to an unimaginable life. As a person with disability, climate change has far reaching implications for me in a number of ways. I can't just trot off to the beach to 'cool down' a term used by many ignorant journalists which trivialises the whole debate. Similarly it is irresponsible for the Opposition to continue to excuse away human induced climate change by glibly referring to past heat waves as a cyclical occurrences. It isn't that simple.

January 15, 2013 @ 6:51pm
by Rob Lindsay

Abetz, Abbott & the LNP are the political representatives of big coal, big oil, big banks, big mining, big christian religion, big corporations, big private health, big private education, big armaments & big oligarchs & other vested interest rich elites.

The very groups contributing to climate change in the first place. To even admit climate change, or human induced climate change challenges & threatens the profits & power of the elites.

January 16, 2013 @ 11:35am
by Daniel

The Greens are the only political party with any long term vision instead of short term political careerists. Abetz has always hated the Greens. He will do anything and say anything to try and get rid of them.

January 16, 2013 @ 12:48pm
by Wazza

Turnbull may be intelligent and informed but your own definition of rational puts him out of that group. In the face of overwhelming evidence believe ing in Catholicism is not rational.

January 16, 2013 @ 1:36pm
by John

Wow, an article candid and critical of the Liberals. No wonder TGM is considered 'non-mainstream' media. More power to independent journalism for speaking the truth the MSM/ABC dare not.

Good to see you referred to it as the Grech affair and not "utegate". It never did have anything to do with a ute.

January 16, 2013 @ 2:44pm
by Wes Paas

My father used to say "If you become a member of something, being a political party, a church or wathever, you lose your indepence"

January 16, 2013 @ 9:48pm
by Anne

Great article, which deserves a wide readership, and completely agree with Daniel in his assessment of Abetz. The man's loathing of the Greens borders on the pathological, and he certainly isn't rational where anything that remotely resembles 'Green' or 'environmental' is concerned. The thought of his being a minister in an Abbott government send chills down the spine.

January 17, 2013 @ 11:07am
by Phil

With every article I read by Mike Seccombe my respect for him, his work and journalism in general increases. Wouldn't it be good if more articles lifted the lid on the hypocritical nonsense put out by the likes of Abetz.

January 17, 2013 @ 1:50pm
by Rotha Jago

Yes, a good article, well written and clear.
But there are more powerful players than our own politicians in this game. They surely have heavy pressure on them, all of them. Has anyone paused to question why so many Climate Changing poisons are so widely used and so often paid for by all levels of government in this country? Take Glyphosate for example. Glyphosate is used as a 'harmless' herbicide in every State of Australia. By every roadside, round many a garden and park it leaves a 'tidy' brown line where some motivated citizen or publicly paid contractor has spread it. Because it is not a poison but a changed molecule, it's inventor Monsanto has assured everyone that it can do no harm.
People who have been taught how to use it say "You can drink it!". That is a lie.
But plants are different from people. There is no denying it's effect on them. It also destroys the soil structure. It quickly reduces the water availability in the soil. Leaves of trees dry out for a long time before the trees die. Drought tolerance is reduced and fire vulnerability is increased. Plant diseases and pests proliferate because the whole landscape is sick. We don't realise how active soil is and how much damage we are doing to the unseen wealth of the nation.
Google Professor Don Huber if you want to hear about Glyphosate from someone who has researched plants and soils all his working life. Sometimes I think the wisest thing to do would be to tax all herbicides if we are really serious about Climate Change. But just watch the media campaign against any politician who suggested that!

January 17, 2013 @ 2:15pm
by Peter

I am an exception to the others that have commented on this article. I normally enjoy your material, even though most of the time I don't agree with everything you write. But this article is well below your usual standard and reeks of prejudice.

The comparison of Christine Milne's comments in sympathy with the actions of Moylan, and Abetz's involvement in the Grech affair is completely fatuous. The former was involved in direct support of an known fraudster and the latter was involved in a hoax that only became apparent after the event. You are comparing chalk and cheese and you should be ashamed of yourself.

But you compound the asinine nature of your article by venturing into the debate on Climate Change. Any statement about the "hottest day ever" needs to be placed in the context of the database on which the statement is based. I do understand that journalists' understanding of statistics is close to minimal, which is a good reason why they should hedge their words carefully.

The New York Times:
“Nobody who is under 28 has lived through a month of global temperatures that fell below the 20th-century average, because the last such month was February 1985”.

Statistically this is nonsense. I am so disappointed.

January 18, 2013 @ 1:03am
by g o'callaghan

Thank you Mike.
I have to wonder how long the Coalition proposes to pretend they are the Liberal Party? They bare not even the slightest resemblance to the original brand. It has become an embarassment to them privately, if not publically. They more resemble a rag tag group of timid lifers, nuts, agents of fossil fuel interests and lazy card punchers all hoping to sail into superannuated glory at the next election. Australia deserves better.

January 18, 2013 @ 12:44pm
by shane

Thank you g 'ocallaghan

January 19, 2013 @ 4:13pm
by Neville

If the financial media wants to tell us something useful about fraudsters, how about an update on the London Interbank Borrowing Operating Rate ("LIBOR") scandal?

$300 trillion (that's not a typing mistake) has been ripped off by a few banks that set the standard borrowing rate across the world.

Outrageous that finance people think they have anything to say about fraud right now.

January 20, 2013 @ 9:16pm
by michael mills

Perhaps you should read the latest estimate of temperatures by the English met office which proposes no increase to 2017 which will make 20 years of no measurable increase. By the way the hottest recorded day in Sydney was 0.2C above the previous in 1939. 70 years and a small increase in temperature with a massive increase in atmospheric CO2.

January 21, 2013 @ 11:24pm
by Alex Nicol

Don't approve of forging a press release that has the impact of costing real people, real money. That said the real problem is that we have a lazy press, too lazy to check a press release and too willing to fill 'news' with pap. Technology is not serving us well

January 22, 2013 @ 3:01pm
by James In Footscray

Mike, Abetz might be a crazy extremist hypocrite.

But you've deftly avoided answering his assertion that the Greens have 'disrespect for the rule of law'. Why is that statement wrong? You need to say.

While Milne stated 'nobody is above the law', she also said the hoax was part of 'a long and proud history of civil disobedience'. Aren't these contradictory?

You seem to suggest Abetz is accusing the Greens of having prior knowledge of the hoax. When did he even imply that?

January 23, 2013 @ 7:32am
by Jai

Perhaps Alex, those real people should have a little think about how they are making that money.
Maybe if everyone made logical and ethical choices we wouldn't be in this mess.
But no its the 'F*#k you jack I'm alright mentality' as usual.
It seems Michael hasnt heard of tipping points or lag times either?
Technology is not serving us well because we haven't changed. Same selfish, short sighted dumb apes, with better technology

January 23, 2013 @ 11:58am
by Linda

Everyone seems to have such a strong opinion about "climate change". Perhaps it's time to drop the pointless debate and just start an effort to be better environmentally anyway. Climate aside, I don't think there's any debate that we are in a hurry to destroy all the nature on this planet.

January 23, 2013 @ 11:29pm
by Bill

@James: Perhaps there is no contradiction in what Milne was saying. The law applies to those who practice civil disobedience, and they are part of a proud tradition. Not one or the other, but both.

January 24, 2013 @ 1:43am
by Dennis Sullivan

As a professional geologist I cannot understand why the author takes the position he does on climate change. Like a lot of people he has no idea about the science.. He believes the spin from the IPCC, the CSIRO, et al, even though they have political agendas. How about asking an investigative journalist with an open mind to research and write about the science.
Thank you...

January 24, 2013 @ 11:38am
by James In Footscray

Bill, I do take your point. I guess I'm assuming, when Milne said this was part of a proud tradition of civil disobedience, that she's implying Moylan shouldn't be prosecuted.

On the other hand, it's hard to imagine Milne is urging the authorities to enforce the law here.

January 24, 2013 @ 9:39pm
by Boris

Dennis -- since when are geologists engaged in the science of climate? Stick to your rocks and propping up the multinationals that are the source of your income and the source of so much environmental degradation in this country.

January 25, 2013 @ 9:44am
Show previous 63 comments
by Paul

Dennis is an old mate of mine, Boris, and a very bright and perceptive man yet I can't help but agree with you. Dennis feels that like Ian Plimmer, another geologist (with a few mining interests), he understands climate better than the climate scientists do. He and I have had so many impassioned email exchanges on the subject that we just don't discuss it anymore. It does seem to me, however, that despite the best efforts of the sceptics, there is indeed growing acknowledgement of and action on climate change. But things will continue to go from bad to worse in the world because it's probably all too little and too late. I wonder how bad it has to get before blind men like Eric Abetz pause to consider they might just be wrong...

January 25, 2013 @ 5:15pm
by Georgina from Gidgegannup

Maybe the heart of the problem lies in the fact that so many of the non- believers of the approaching global catastrophe have removed themselves so far from the natural world. Children tend to live in a virtual world where all is possible so why should they care? Geology, mining, politicking, disseminating of the news are undertaken these days by so many people who don't give the natural world a second thought. Here's one: when an enormously high percentage of the world's trees and smaller plants have died due to heat stress, dried out soils, chainsaws etc etc where is the oxygen they manufacture and we creatures need to breathe, going to come from?

January 28, 2013 @ 3:10pm
by Dean R Frenkel

Thanks for this tremendously well written article Mike. Human-influenced climate degradation is a no-brainer and the Libs do have their share of extremists; but I'm starting to question how Malcolm Turnbull can identify with the Liberal Party's core values and continue to work in the same tribe as Abbott, etc. The Liberal Party is no place for progressives. He's starting to look a little like Peter Garrett for much of his time in Parliament - a singer without a voice.

October 21, 2013 @ 9:26am
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