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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 22 February 2010
Minister MacDonald to kill redgum forests of the Murray River, NSW?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: ecology

Sent: Monday, February 22, 2010 8:01 AM
Subject: River Red Gum National Parks Under Threat


The River Red Gum National Parks are under threat.

A final decision on Red Gum Parks is likely this week but there is a strong chance it will not be a good one.

The Minister for forestry, Ian MacDonald, has said he does not agree with the recommendations of the Natural Resources Commission and he is doing everything he can to bring them down.

In the mean time, forestry are trying to open up new areas for logging in the Millewa forest.

Please make a phone call today in a last ditch effort to save the Red Gum.

Premiers Office:  0292285239
Minister for Environments Office:  0292285811

Ask for the adviser working on River Red Gum.  Let them know:
  • They need to deliver on the promises which they made last year.
  • The full reserve areas recommended by the Natural Resources Commission need to be protected.
  • Logging has to stop in the Millewa forest.
For more information, see our website www.npansw.org.au

Thank you.


Red Gum Icons Campaign
National Parks Association of NSW

Posted by editor at 10:10 AM EADT
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Sunday tv talkies: After the financial crisis, a new electoral mandate ASAP?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

 Picture: Signed poster picked up at ANU film club in 1983, same venue apparently where the Rudd's hooked up some years earlier. Doug Scott even then was famous for breaking two legs in 1977 at the shins in a looping 30 foot fall at the end of a safety rope on The Ogre ("It is famous for being one of the hardest peaks in the world to climb: twenty-four years elapsed between the first ascent in 1977 and the second in 2001." ) and then crawling down the mountain ... on his knees (for 8 days) and surviving to tell the tale. There's a metaphor for Minister Garrett in there somewhere.



Author’s general introductory note   


This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies in Big Politics and Big Media. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.  

- SAM here started a trend perhaps with our gibe about Kevin ‘science’ Rudd meant in an ironic way: That is talk not substance on ecological science let alone other issues.

  - Our latest view is the so called GFC has wiped the election platform of late 2007 and the government must go to an election based on the current economic status because it’s not their fault but they must renew their mandate.


 - The desperate beat for burn offs goes on promoted by the logging industry who truth to tell have a 50 year history of highly mechanised broadscale conversion of wet forest fuel management to dry schlerophyll regrowth forest (as per Hastings and Tantram Case in Vic Supreme Court illegal rainforest logging around 2005).

Prof Lindenemeyer et al have done the science too.

Devine runs the redneck line in SMH yesterday in choreography with Bolt in Vic Herald Sun on Friday. Crikey bites back with a grim rejoinder by bushfire victim on Friday, not least comment by former Wildfire editor Frank Campbell in the string. So called Timber Communities Australia (name change from Forest Protection Society given  breach of s52 of the fair trading legislation for deception) convene a public meeting in Eden yesterday as the area is declared a natural disaster area - for flooding rivers, and high rainfall.

Does the logging industry in the business of killing things (and now indirectly lots of people) have any shame politicising the death of over 100 people as result of their own transformation of landscapes to dry schlerophyll?  Don't get us wrong - called as a witness at the NSW 1994 bushfire inquiries for The Wilderness Society (Parliament, and coronial inquiry) - we are all for fire breaks at town bush interface, but logging 600 year old wet forests should be banned as a crime against public safety and the eco system. And real accountability for ripping the moisture out of our forests should start like yesterday.


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Hugh Riminton as compere (Bonge!?), guest is Joe Hockey, Ross Garnaut.


Footage of PM and Opp leader on hustings including Abbott with children. Lead in questions about Garrett and insulation. Garrett is the fall guy?  Traverse same issues, ‘1,000 homes death traps’. ‘Rudd bet the house on Copenhagen and lost’ ‘Direct action’ until world agreement’. Whaling, next November after an election. Haven’t seen the legal advice to decide. [False] choice about dialogue or threats.


Panel Alison Carabine RN abc, question on penalty rates to stay. Award modernization worse off effects. Panel – Peter Hartcher on cost of debt promises. Medibank private should be sold. PH goes in hard re lack of economic cred re TA praising NZ, Finance minister chicken little routine sky falling, Hock in tutu (on network 10).


‘avoid recession while you help us avoid boredom?’ Hockey says they take some credit for avoiding recession including his bank laws. Spend the deficit.


$250M fee cancellation for tv fta opposition flip flop? Against now due to Murdoch meeting.  Denials. Humour out take Moir cartoon on Hanson going to pomme land.



Govt running a mile from climate ETS? Need a price on carbon. Mainstream science costs better to act ahead of time. Diabolical policy problem so politics reflect that, momentum against action. Go with the Greens proposal – says it’s not theirs but yes.


Hawke says Garnaut co architect of reforms of 80-90ies.


Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Good package skeptical tone about Tony Abbott lead in with the truck incident. Forget rest.



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 


Looks like Winter Olympics and no show, refer also Saturday Sydney Daily Telegraph, about Garrett and insulation and broader context of ALP utilizing the guy.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


$250M fta tv license freebie. Shakeout puts Abbott with Murdoch. Package to Bruce The Boss music 56 channels nothing on. Strong policy lead in by Insiders.


Tangent on smears/scandals of golfing day passes etc, PM and a $2 raffle ticket. Dynamics of sector.


Conroy on license fta fee, Kaiser appointment, Rudd pace on PS etc. All quite convincing.


Vox pop ANU film club [know it quite well, where we met Doug Scott – famous mountaineer here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Scott - as per this picture.


Panel on insulation – kids on roof footage, Minter Ellison advice is “the smoking gun”. Didn’t answer it on PM. Implication is had it for a long time. Broader implications – grab of Hock on MTP 10, goes to Rudd PM as well.


Panel on subsidy to fta tv $250M.  Discussion of News Ltd emphasis attacking the govt. Heavy lifting on ideological issues. Marr runs “peculiar dual role” newspaper. Fran says Govt is in trouble, could be a oncer she says.


Talking pictures funny as usual. Follow up about big rig Joe Hockey as the driver?




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .

Talking Point – lack of competition in the bank sector is flowing on to lack of competition generally in the small business sector for lack of finance. Ouch.

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/ 


Posted by editor at 11:13 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 21 February 2010 11:33 AM EADT
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Dear Tony, how to turn right safely on a fast two way country road ....
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: aust govt


Politician demands driver makes right hand turn "just here"?  City based Comcar driver stops in the middle of the road thinking a right hand blinker provides adequate protection and warning for traffic behind?

Here is our experience of 6 months living on Wisemans Ferry Rd Cattai in the Hawkesbury in 2009 (where the sand trucks barrel along to the sandmines at Maroota via Pitt Town). And we already had 5 years delivery driving cars and vans around the inner city, with license for 25 years and no crashes.

Whenever you slow down on a country road with fast traffic and apply the right hand indicator - in our case most every day returning home - this ambiguously suggests you are encouraging an overtake on your right. Like a gesture you want to drive below the speed limit. If they do overtake and you do turn right your driver door will connect with their bumper bar and quite possibly instant death.

You have two much safer choices than relying on the correct interpretation of an ambiguous right hand blinker, as you approach your right hander:

1. The best method is put your hazard lights and start slowing down 200 metres from the right turn. This will cause the traffic behind to slow right down behind you every time. They will be wondering if you have an engine failure or there another danger like animal on the road. Traffic further behind will slow down on the brake lights in front. They key is to do this gradually and well before the turn, avoiding any necessity to actually stop. Then you will have enough time to turn right well clear of traffic behind when you switch from hazards to right indicator. It seems like alot of fuss for simple right turn but it's heaps safer.

2. Indicate left and pull over to the left and stop leaving the open road for the traffic behind. This is not always as easy as it sounds because inevitably there will be 2 wheels on gravel and you want a spot with real clearance on the road's edge. Once there wait for traffic to pass then make wide turn right across both lanes of the road, watching out for any new oncoming traffic in the meantime.

There is nothing like a sand truck up your *rse on a country road on a down hill incline where the trucks go faster than your 1989 Ford Corolla sedan to clarify safe turning method!


Posted by editor at 9:54 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 19 February 2010 3:26 PM EADT
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Oh, those comments ...
Mood:  chatty
Topic: independent media

We have just trawled 16 pages of comments from back stories here on micro news SAM.

Regretably we didn't realise our email prompt was out of date having shifted servers to the national carrier due to 3 quick takeovers and bust for the old server.

Perhaps now we can be more timely and responsive to folks who comment.

Sorry if anyone felt ignored, or snubbed this last year or more. Nor are we particularly offended by sledges. We only care about being sued for defamation for illegal comments, excessive use of memory space, or porn intrusions.

Otherwise we feel secure enough in ourselves to handle most genuine comments for or against. For instance we percieve emotionally violent comments reflect more on the writer - take note supporters of Tim Blair, who surely doesn't benefit from reflected aggression.

By the by yesterday we posted on a certain peak green group and daily readership figures jumped to 1750 odd pageviews which is alot more than usual. The sincere piece works on several levels - as we knew it would.

Posted by editor at 8:18 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 February 2010 8:34 PM EADT
Punchy Abbott does have alot in common with Latham but less brains
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

We have just corrected Richard Glover ABC Sydney radio in an email to the announcer as follows:

Abbott is Latham

Latham is smarter with a first class honours in economics.

Abbott punched Peter Woof out in student politics at Sydney University. Peter Woof was a teacher on the NSW South Coast, and in Canada, later worked as mechanic for Paul Watson Sea Shepherd, was a housemate of mine in the early 90ies, Peter's parents live in a leafy suburb Wahroonga from memory.

I've interviewed Peter Woof about the same incident. Abbott took a bevy of lawyers threatening costs to Glebe Magistrates Court and intimidated Woof to withdraw the charge.


tel. ....

Indeed here is our story right near the start of this micro news website journey 3 years ago:

Why did student activist now minister Tony Abbott punch Peter Woof?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007

By Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog 

The editor had an interesting interview recently with long time qualified high school teacher here in NSW, and Canada, Peter Woof, a long time supporter of environmental causes.

He tells an interesting story from his parents lounge room in Killara  (a pretty exclusive north shore suburb of Sydney):

In 1978 25 year old Woof stood up to student politician, now federal government health minister, Tony Abbott who he says was allegedly caught doing unethical or perhaps illegal things like changing the locks on the student union offices and other things.

Woof says Abbott, a well known boxing enthusiast now if not then, punched Woof in the face. Woof was a 24 year old technician employed at Sydney University.

The date can be corroborrated by reference to civil assault suit documentation against Abbott presumably created for Woof in the Glebe local court at the time. Woof represented himself but was totally out muscled financially, he says, by 'half a dozen' barristers and lawyers who turned up at the preliminary hearing turning the civil suit into a high risk of huge legal costs against the alleged assault victim Woof.

Woof assumes these expensive lawyers taking a student activist dispute to another level were paid for by Abbott's 'rich father'. (It also suggests a serious fear of a  blossoming conservative political career almost destroyed at birth.)

This legal bullying tactic arguably at the expense of justice has the echo of the vexatious legal suit by Gunns Ltd bullying of Tasmanian environmentalists in the last few years.

Woof withdrew the civil suit he says under financial duress.

Peter Woof is a very experienced and qualifed person. He has an engineering degree. He is a qualified radio operator and mechanic who ws driving an LPG 4 cyllinder sedan in the early 1980's years before LPG was so popular. He owns his own house.

Woof is no shrinking violet. He is a friend and colleague of anti pirate whaler Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd fame.  Woof has participated in environmental protests including conviction for entirely peaceful protests against a nuclear warship in Sydney Harbour and the docking of a rainforest timber ship in the 1980ies and 90ies. During this period in 1986 Woof held down a high school teaching job in Bombala, a well known 'Timber Town' in NSW.

The Canadian teaching accreditation authority are aware of this lively history and have endorsed Woof's employment as a talented and committed non prosletising high school teacher. He is flying out today to continue his teaching job in remote Saskatchewan Canada


Woof notes that global warming has massively contracted the viability of traditional 'winter roads' (over frozen swamp and bog) in remote Saskatchewan, such that only one month mid January to mid February is now safe for high volume road transport during winter. This is too small a window he says to properly provision remote areas prefacing a depopulation of large swathes of North America in the future.

Peter Woof can be contacted by email on:

[pwoof dot bigpond dot net dot au]

Woof whose eyesight is suffering long sightedness in middle older age is no longer able to do much close work but obviously has some very interesting tales to tell still in his career of environmental advocacy back to the Franklin River blockades and earlier.

The alleged assault by Tony Abbott was openly discussed at a recent reunion of the Sydney Bushwalkers Club in 2006 and there are likely to be several sources to corroborate this version of student activist history of the 1970's here in Sydney.

One such witness in the 1970's approached Woof (attending with his elderly parents) at the dinner and said words to the effect of "It's a pity Peter you didn't knock Tony Abott's block off when you had the chance."

Obviously the student politics back then was very willing. Woof's social companion who made this comment unprompted is now a senior executive with a NSW Govt agency (details held by the editor).

Posted by editor at 5:06 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 March 2010 9:54 AM NZT
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Exposing J Lambert power player in The Wilderness Society machinations
Mood:  sharp
Topic: aust govt

"The experience Judy gained in more than a decade of work as a research scientist has been applied to policy development, the preparation of analytical and policy papers and liaison with a diverse range of conservation and resource use interests.

Many years working in a liaison position in Canberra and as Environmental Consultant to a Federal Environment Minister have ensured that Judy is very familiar with the federal public service and political processes. Her more recent Local Government experience is also invaluable in addressing urban sustainability.

Judy's interests lie particularly in natural resource management and bridging the gap between producers, scientists, governments and the community."



The saga of The Wilderness Society national cohesion limps along it appears.

After reading the Tasmanian industrial relations commission decision on sacking of veteran David Wanless as IT expert, we made some discreet inquiries. We posted two stories here this last fortnight on SAM after The Age story some 2 weeks back to the effect, business as usual tensions and growing pains in an organic community organisation.

Then we received an unsolicited phone call from deep in the organisation yesterday which lasted half an hour. We responded to an indymedia posting based in Perth last night and spiked a smear on far right blogosphere "vexnews".

We started reflecting on our time when we were trusted enough to be the legally appointed public officer of "The Wilderness Society (Sydney) Inc" as per our separation certificate "resignation due to sickness" in 1994. (So 'sick' we pulled 10% vote in the state election as a minor party candidate 3 months later, elected to Waverley council against a football team of candidates soon after based on similar numbers.)

At the time a Sydney Morning Herald journalist asked us why we left. Now at last, part at least of the real story can be told some 14 years later, as a service to the green movement and to democracy. Probative of the current power struggle in the mix today.

Because there are some undeclared power players not revealed in open source big media, particularly The Age and ABC but also Tasmanian press on the web.

One is Lyndon Schneiders, who led the successful/controversial Wild Rivers Cape York campaign and we are advised is the undeclared and so far thwarted rival for Alec Marr's director job. Whether Lyndon would be better or worse we defer to others. They are big shoes to fill. Schneiders is spouse of Felicity Wade NSW TWS public representative and spokesperson for the NSW leg of the internal pressure group.

The second figure is one Judy Lambert, ex staffer to ALP Minister Ros Kelly in the Federal Environment Department. It is to J Lambert, spouse of TWS veteran Geof Lambert (employee at some stage by ANSTO) that we bring these primary documents below to bear.

The upshot of them is that:

1. Sydney based J Lambert runs a private consultancy called Community Solutions (previously Community Campaigns) which has done paid work over the years for TWS and we presume government clients. Potentially she has a future financial interest in who runs TWS in the future.

2. J Lambert made a dishonest report about national campaign team job review in 1995 - airbrushing evidence which even her own spouse G Lambert referred to as "outrageous" behaviour. It related to the subject of the job review Debbie White head hunting replacement staff for this writer - deliberately undermining the public officer and state organiser for NSW. We know because the approach to the ostensible replacement Steve Taylor repudiated the approach and blabbed to us about it.

(What is not evidenced though is that this divisive cynical power mongering by one Debbie White was in combination with another Sydney staffer one Jules (female) McMahon who apparently was seeking revenge for being romantically spurned. McMahon resigned 1 month after the date of our submission below July 1995.)

The submission censored by J Lambert referenced in handwriting in 1995 here appears below section by section.

3. J Lambert has been a long time colleague of Karen Alexander quoted recently in the Big Media in support of the pressure group seeking to oust Marr. Refer Wombat TWS internal newsletter here, generated by G Lambert (the "wombat").


4. J Lambert was also integrally involved in the coup of late 1993 to remove then director Karenne Jurd.

We have other documentation not revealed here - about J Lambert - for instance how she engineered the appointment of one James Day into a position at TWS Sydney in 1995 which came close to causing a rebellion amongst forest activists. All activists and experienced staff in the sector knew James was nice enough but woefully out of his depth. The suspicion that he was to be J Lambert's bureaucratic puppet is easy to arrive at.

It is most revealing that J Lambert jointly with G Lambert are named by our phone caller as having requisitioned the "rebel" meeting of 220 TWS held at Fitzroy Town Hall last Saturday 13th Feb 2010.  Judy Lambert is up to her self serving power games again trying to puppeteer policy and power structures in her Wilderness Society. 

We have sometimes wondered if she had her own children or at least adopted we wouldn't have to suffer the consequences of her perverse manipulations. Short of stature, ruthless shadowy bureaucrat would be our summary.

Whatever the pop psychological explanations J Lambert power mongering should be exposed in the current power struggle which looks for all the world like an attempted stack by vested interests against the current Tasmanian branch based director and AGM stack in reprisal.

Meanwhile we hear ex federal court judge Murray Wilcox is available to do mediation/arbitration. We feel confident that Wilcox won't airbrush submissions drafted by a trained solicitor then, or now - unlike J Lambert.









Posted by editor at 12:09 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 February 2010 1:14 PM EADT
Monday, 15 February 2010
Glenn Milne's strangest non sequitur yet?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: big media


The insulation controversy marches on, sadly. (The picture above is more to symbolise the role of greed in this situation than anything else.)

But we almost choked to read Glenn Milne run this opening line today in The Australian:

"more Australians have died as a result of the Rudd government's home insulation program, "administered" by Environment Minister Peter Garrett, than lost their lives in the Iraq war"

Now what the hell is the point of this weird compare and contrast?

Put aside 500K -1M deaths in Iraq, human beings but not Australians: The grotesque insensitivity puts xenophobia on a whole new level. Indeed 250-500K Sydney residents marched against the Iraq war in Feb 2003 exactly because they feared this disgusting outcome.

So what about the war 'in Iraq' that visited Australia with terrorist bombings in Bali #2? Jakarta hotel bombings? How many Australians killed there?

[Bali #1 with mass fatalities of Australians was in October 2002 some 5 months before the Iraq war commenced in March 2003. Bali #1 is probably better understood as Australia's 9/11 - attacked by Islamist fanatics, but then PM Howard was loudly posturing too about invading Iraq with POTUS Bush so one wonders the dynamic there. Refer Opposition leader Crean here 26 Jan 2003 : in "Crean Says Howard Has 'Gate-Crashed' Iraq War And Ignored UN" some 2 months prior to the invasion].

Australian blood has being spilled copiously have no doubt. At least in part, and arguably mainly, because of the Howard-Abbott Govt eager participation in the mad Iraq war.



Posted by editor at 9:17 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 15 February 2010 11:01 AM EADT
Exposed: Paul Sheehan's mix of fact and fiction echoing Cardinal Pell
Mood:  sad
Topic: globalWarming



Today's opinion piece by Paul Sheehan (Fairfax Sydney) - who it has to be said has major credibility/ethical problems for urging the Israeli war on Gaza without declaring secret Israeli funding, promoting a shonky bottled water product - has again got it badly wrong today.

The drum beat of misconceived non sequiturs and egotistical posturing by science gumbies marches on.

Here is Professor James Hansen of NASA responding to all the fakes and phonies on 9th Dec 2009 on our ABC Lateline show just prior to Copenhagen debacle. We highlight in bold the section on heat island effect and the NASA sourcing of global temperature metrics:


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Now to our interview. Dr James Hansen heads NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Science. The institute has been publishing global temperature data since 1987 and is now one of the key sources of data for climate scientists.

Hansen's own testimony to the US Congress in 1988 brought world attention to global warming. His latest book Storms of my Grandchildren carries the subtitle, "The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity".

He joins us from New York. Professor James Hansen, thanks for joining us.

JAMES HANSEN, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, NASA: Sure, glad to be with you.

TONY JONES: Now you're accusing governments of lying through their teeth even as they sign up to large emission reduction targets for Copenhagen. Why so pessimistic?

JAMES HANSEN: Well it's very easy to show that they are either lying or kidding themselves because all you have to do is look at the geophysical data. You know, the governments all around the world now agree that we're going to have to stabilise atmospheric composition, carbon dioxide in particular, at a relatively low level.

And if you look at how much carbon there is in oil, gas and coal, what you quickly realise is that oil and gas is already going to be enough to get us up to approximately the dangerous level. The only way we can solve the problem is by phasing out coal emissions and prohibiting unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and oil shale.

But in fact, if you look at what's happening, the United States just signed an agreement with Canada to make a pipeline to carry oil from tar sands to the United States, and Australia is expanding its port facilities to export more coal.

And coal fired power plants are built all around the world. Oil is even being squeezed out of coal. So there's absolutely no way that the world can meet the kind of targets that they're talking about for future decades. So they're just putting out numbers, you know, goals which absolutely cannot be met.

If you're going to use that coal, then you would have to tell Russia to leave its gas in the ground and tell Saudi Arabia to leave its oil in the ground but nobody's proposing that and you know they wouldn't do it anyhow.

TONY JONES: You've also described the whole Copenhagen approach as fraudulent because of its, quote, "ineffectual cap and trade mechanism". Now why do you say global emissions trading won't work?

JAMES HANSEN: Well we can prove very easily that cap and trade with offsets is not going to work. We tried that with Kyoto and the global emissions actually accelerated, even the rate of growth increased after the Kyoto Protocol.

A few countries cut their emissions a bit but as long as the price of fossil fuels is the cheapest energy, then they're going to be used by somebody. So this cap in trade and offsets, that's, basically what this is, it's like the indulgences of the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church would sell forgiveness for sins.

This was great for the bishops, they collected a lot of moolah, and it was great for the sinners, because they got forgiven and they could still go to heaven or at least they thought they could.

That's what's happening in Copenhagen. Developed countries are coming and they're looking for these offsets so they can continue business as usual, they can continue their sinning, but developing countries, well they're happy to go along with that if the developed countries give them some money, you know, for climate adaptation or for the offset mechanisms if that will result in some money going to developing countries.

So that's what's happening. You've got both parties making this kind of a deal, and who's getting the short end of the stick? Our children and grandchildren, because the emissions are not going to decline. In fact, they'll continue to increase. That's as plain as you can see that very easily.

TONY JONES: There's been a huge debate in Australia over emissions trading. Are you saying that even with the best will in the world an emissions trading scheme in Australia will be ineffectual.

JAMES HANSEN: Absolutely. These cap and trade trading schemes are a terrible idea. You can see what they do. They are a way to continue business as usual because they include these offsets, for example. They're not attacking the fundamental problem. Who they're good for is the big banks. In the United States it's going to be Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, the trading companies.

They have trading groups within their bank who are very skilled and they're going to make money, and where does the money come from? It comes from the public. There will be increased energy prices, big banks will make money, but the problem will not be solved.

There will be little reduction in emissions. Unless you attack the fundamental problem, you cannot solve the problem. And the fundamental issue is that fossil fuels are the cheapest energy. You must put a price on carbon emissions.

And the way to do that, and to make it acceptable to the public and actually very beneficial to the public, is to return the money that's collected from a carbon tax, and that tax needs to be applied at the source, at the mine or the port of entry.

You then distribute that money to the public, so that they will have the money to invest in more efficient vehicles, in insulating their homes, and that would encourage innovations, innovators would develop carbon free or low carbon energy sources.

That's the way that you can drive the system to slowly phase out fossil fuels, but the cap and trade doesn't do that at all, and it's impossible. As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, you're not going to phase them out.

TONY JONES: Now you've proposed what you call a uniform rising price on carbon; effectively a global carbon tax. Now it's a simple approach but it would require carbon tariffs to be levied against those who refuse to put a price on carbon. But isn't that a serious problem? Won't it lead to trade wars?

JAMES HANSEN: No, in fact it is far simpler. As we saw in the Kyoto Protocol, you cannot get all the countries to agree, you have to bribe them one by one to try to get them to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol or a Copenhagen follow up.

But, in the case of a carbon price, which is simple and honest, it's a much easier task. All you need to do is get the major players to agree to put a carbon price on. And then if any countries don't want to do it, well then you put a tariff on the products that you import from those countries that are made with fossil fuels.

In effect, most countries would then decide, well, we would rather have our internal carbon tax because then we get to collect the money rather than the other country. That is much simpler than cap and trade.

TONY JONES: Can we talk about the science of global warming and climate change now, because as we've gotten closer to Copenhagen, the sceptics have become much louder. There's been a fierce backlash against the science. What do you think is going on here?

JAMES HANSEN: Well, the science, as you know, has become very clear. The evidence for climate change around the world is widespread.
The Arctic Sea ice melting, glaciers receding all around the world, climate zones are shifting, the subtropics are expanding, and that's affecting Australia, by the way, as well as the south-west United States and the Mediterranean region, and that's a reason why we have more extremes, including heatwaves and fires.

But also, when we have rain, it is heavier, because warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour. We see the climate change all over the planet, there's no question about that.

TONY JONES: But why do you think there's been a revival of scepticism against the science? You must have been disturbed yourself recently by the leaked email exchanges between your fellow scientists at Britain's climate research unit.

Now sceptics are using these emails to support their case that scientists are trying to hoodwink us, that scientists are falsifying data or hiding away evidence that disproves their arguments.

JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, these are very desperate efforts by the contrarians and those who are supporting the business community that wants to continue business as usual. But, you know, the data that is used to determine the temperature change over the last century or so, that data is available to everybody.

If there was anything wrong with the analyses that showed the magnitude of this warming, don't you think that these contrarians would quickly show, do their own analysis and show that there really wasn't any warming? Of course not because they know very well.

You know, they've tried to examine or data and they did find one flaw, which turned out to be 3/100ths of a degree and was an easily explained mistake, but that's the kind of thing, they're looking for nitpicking. They try to find small things and then they question the integrity of the scientists.

But in fact, there's the evidence for climate change, and the analyses is very strong. It's true that in some of these email exchanges that some of the scientists did some things which I think they probably regret.

For example, we should always make our input data available to the community, to anybody, so that they can check our analysis. But, in fact, we've been doing that for many years, and as I say, nobody can find anything that disproves proves our analysis.

TONY JONES: Okay well one of the published emails we're talking about goes to the key part of the sceptics argument that since 1998, the hottest year on record, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere kept going up, but the temperature didn't keep going up with it.

Now you've been bombarded, I understand, with scores of messages along those lines from people who want you to repent and admit that global warming is a hoax. So how do you respond to them?

You know, if you look at this global temperature curve and smooth it over a few years you'll see that it's continued to increase over the last decade. And in fact, it's not true that 1998 was the warmest year. 2005 was the warmest year.

The British analysis shows 1998 as the warmest year because they exclude polar regions, because there are no weather stations there or very few. But there are other ways to estimate the temperature in the polar regions and in fact, because of the decreased sea ice in the Arctic it has been warmer and warmer in the Arctic.

And when you include these polar regions, it turns out that 2005 was the warmest year. And when you average over a few years you'll find that the temperature curve has continued up. And besides, you don't expect the temperature to go up every year.

There's a lot of natural variability in the system primarily due to the tropical El Nino/La Nina cycle. And now we are moving into the El Nino phase, so it's a pretty good bet that, first of all, this year is going to be one of the warmest years, 2009, and 2010 will probably be the warmest year on the record.

TONY JONES: Is there already evidence for that? I mean are you seeing early data from your global temperature recordings?

JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, we see the data up to now, and we know that the global temperature tends to lag a few months behind the tropical temperature. So it's because the El Nino started a few months ago, it's likely to have its greatest effect on 2010, but it's already having an effect this year making this year some place between the second and the fifth warmest, it depends on the November and December data, which we don't have yet.

Okay, can you tell us how the Goddard Institute takes and adjusts these global temperatures because sceptics claim that urban heat centres make a huge difference; that they distort global temperatures and they make it appear hotter that it really is.

So do you adjust, in your figures, for the urban heat zone effects?

JAMES HANSEN: We get data from three different sources and we now, in order to avoid criticisms from contrarians, we no longer make an adjustment. Even if we see there are eight stations in Alaska and seven of them have temperatures in the minus 30s and one of them says plus 35, which pretty obvious what happens, someone didn't put the minus sign there, we just, we don't correct that.

Instead we send an email or letter or a letter to the organisation that produces the data and say, you'd better check the Alaska temperatures, because we don't want to be blamed for changing anything. But as far as adjusting for urban effects, we have a very simple procedure.

We exclude urban locations, use rural locations to establish a trend, and that does eliminate - though urban stations do have more warming than the rural stations, and so we eliminate that effect simply by eliminating those stations, but it's very clear that the warming that we see is not urban, it's largest in Siberia, and in the Arctic and the Antarctic, and there aren't any cities there, and there's warming over the oceans, there are no cities there. So it's not urban warming that's just nonsense.

TONY JONES: Well if I understand you correctly your biggest fear now is that these built in temperature rises will trigger what you call feedback mechanisms. Can you explaining how they work, and what are the implications of them?

JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, well that's what makes climate a really dangerous situation, because of the inertia of the system. It takes the ocean a long time to warm up, it's four kilometres deep, and it takes icesheets a long time to get started to move, they're very thick and have a lot of inertia.

The problem is that as these changes begin to occur, and they are beginning to occur - Greenland is losing ice faster and faster and Antarctica is beginning to lose ice at a rate of about 150 cubic kilometres per year - as you get to a certain point, you can get to a point where the dynamics of the system begins to take over.

If the icesheets begin to collapse, by that time it's too late. You've passed the tipping point and the icesheet is going to end up in the ocean. So, that's one of the tipping points. Another one is methane hydrates. We're beginning to see methane bubble out of the tundra as it's melting.

There's a lot more methane hydrates on continental shelves. As the ocean warms that methane hydrate can also begin to release methane, which is a very strong greenhouse gas and can cause amplifying feedback which makes the global warming much larger.

And this is not idle speculation, because we can look at the history of the earth. And in past global warming events we have seen those kind of amplifying feedbacks which then make the change extremely large.

TONY JONES: Okay, well you're talking about what you find from the examination of ice core data. Is there a comparable period in history, the history of the planet that is, where warming accelerates due to these feedback mechanisms, and do you get much more rapid sea level rises during that period?

JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, well, in the relatively recent paleoclimate, coming from the last ice age to the present interglacial period that we've been living in for 10,000 years, when that icesheet, the big icesheet on North America began to disintegrate, sea level went up five metres per century. That's one meter every 20 years for several centuries. So once an icesheet begins to melt and begins to disintegrate, things can move very rapidly.

TONY JONES: Okay let's go quickly through a couple of the other key arguments put forward by the sceptics. Why worry about carbon dioxide when water vapour is a stronger greenhouse gas and actually occurs naturally?

JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, that's the screwiest argument which keeps being made again and again and again. The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere is determined by the atmosphere's temperature, everyone should know that. Look at the difference between winter and summer.

As you go to a warmer climate the atmosphere holds more water vapour because at the places where the humidity reaches 100 per cent the water vapour falls out as water or snow. And therefore, as the planet becomes warmer, the atmosphere holds more water vapour.

That's why we get heavier rain falls as the planet gets warmer. So this water vapour is an amplifying feedback. It makes the greenhouse effect much stronger. But it's not something that just changes on its own accord; it changes in response to the temperature changes.

TONY JONES: Okay, if I understand it correctly your argument is that climate change is not only about droughts, but that effect you're talking about will cause much more frequent and much more severe storms; is that correct?

JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, the, both extremes of the hydrologic cycle must increase, become more intense as the planet becomes warmer. At the times and places where it's dry, the increased heating of the surface makes it hotter and drier.

On the other hand, the oceans, the places where you have water, the increased heating evaporates more water, so the atmosphere holds more water vapour and at the times when you get rainfall you will get heavier rainfall and greater floods, so the extremes of the climate increase, the extremes of the hydrologic cycle.

Now as far as storms are concerned, the storms that are driven by latent heat - that means thunderstorms, tornados, tropical storms - the strongest ones will get stronger because there's more fuel. The water vapour provides the fuel for those types of storms.

Not all of them will be stronger, but the strongest ones will be stronger than the strongest ones now. But in addition to that, and one thing I talk about in my book, Storms of my Grandchildren, I'm talking about the mid-latitude storms, the fact that as the icesheets on Greenland and Antarctica begin to melt more rapidly than they are now, they will discharge ice fast enough that it will cool the surface of the ocean, nearby ocean, in the North Atlantic and in the circum Antarctic Ocean.

That will cause the temperature gradient between low latitudes and high latitudes to increase, so the storms that are driven by horizontal temperature gradients will become stronger, and these can be very damaging storms, this is like the storms that hit the Netherlands and England in the 1950.

They can do enormous damage. So, yes, it's true that all the storms that we can think of will become stronger as the climate becomes warmer.

TONY JONES: James Hansen, one final question: what's your estimate; how long do we have before the planet reaches one of those tipping points that you're talking about and global warming is irreversible? And if that happens, what are the consequences?

JAMES HANSEN: Well, you know, we are probably, we're already into the dangerous level of carbon dioxide and it's going to increase more. If we would phase out the coal emissions over the next 20 years, then CO2 would peak at something like 425ppm.

Doesn't look like we're starting to phase out coal though, so it may go higher than that. We're going to go well into the dangerous zone, and some things are going to happen out of our control. But that doesn't mean we should give up, because whether we get a sea level rise of one metre, or 25 metres makes a huge difference.

What we will need to do once people really see what's happening, is we're going to need to restore the planet's energy balance, or make it negative, and you do that by reducing the amount of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and so the planet begins to cool off a bit.

And then, even though we're going to get some icesheet disintegration anyhow and we're going to lose some species because we're already pushing some of them, we're putting a lot of stress on many species, but we don't, that doesn't mean we should give up and decide we're willing to give up all of them.

TONY JONES: James Hansen, we're going to have to leave it there. We thank you very much for coming to join us right on the eve of the Copenhagen conference.

JAMES HANSEN: Thank you for listening. Thanks.

Posted by editor at 8:30 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 15 February 2010 8:48 AM EADT
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Sunday tv talkies: What a choice - loud mouth Abbott versus burnout Rudd?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

  Picture: Barry Cassidy compere of Insiders ABC TV: Call us speculative but BC looked a bit annoyed the PM was on Meet The Press at 10, and ABC's own Q&A but still no show on his premier Sunday tv show. Well not so much annoyed as angry. 


Author’s general introductory note  

This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies in Big Politics and Big Media. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.  

Some images from last week:  

Picture above: A frothing Sophie Mirabella MP Victoria's redneck answer to Barnaby Joyce?

Picture above: Louise Markus MP (Liberal) at left, outside Windsor Railway at 7 am earlier this week with a Tony Abbott climate 'direct action' pamphlet. And notice the upgrade works - upgrade infrastructure to support Richmond RAAF base as 2nd airport?


And not to forget the egregious Cardinal Pell (below) doing the devil's work hand in glove with the barbarians who drove Leonardo Da Vinci and other champions of science to despair in centuries past:


Just one example from the dissembling articles above: Pell says the globe was warmer in Roman Times, but ignores the much faster rate of change in recent decades as per profound NASA graph below. That is unnatural rate of change. It's sly commentary like that makes Pell a simpleton or a cynic putting millions of lives in jeopardy by promoting dangerous climate change denialism.



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Opening footage Abbott Rudd Garrett re increase polls for Opposition and insulation controversy. Press round up: Brumby holds safe seat, Bligh in Qld on skids. Quotes Garrett scandal story in Sydney Sunday Telegraph – but it’s hidden away in our copy.


PM Rudd is main guest – “industrial manslaughter” raised re Garrett. 138K industrial accidents, 130 deaths per year investigated. Accusation by Abbott extremely poor judgement. Waiting for police, coronial, safety authority.


2 core issues – 2002 standard on foil insulation. Training standards – introduced by Garrett. Prejudging by Abbott. Redesign, good idea gone bad? Huge programme wait for authorities.


ETS on climate – sticks by it like 35 other advanced economies.


Panel is Hewitt and Farr both of News Corp – health compromise with the States. Says wants to get it right. [obviously GFC has crueled the implementation – should just say it?] Farr goes on immigration for mainland processing.


Viewer question homelessness. Earnest response. Farr question about his “credibility problem”. Quotes GFC, hundreds of promises kept. Afghanistan


Overall PM Rudd looks tired.


Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Abbott iron man theme. Interesting footage. Garrett “massive botch up” on insulation. Chats after – Garrett keeping his job. Tactically PG has done well. But practically still big problem beyond politically. Sullied the whole industry due to cowboys. [Riley exaggerates ‘4 deaths’ as if ‘foil over bare wires’]. 



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Winter Olympics so no LO interview. Refer Sydney Daily Telegraph Saturday column.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Shabbiest week in Rudd Govt history starting with Q&A PM appearance, business unhappy, Garrett in trouble. [Barry Cassidy upset over PM appearing on Meet The Press earlier today. Everywhere including ABC except Insiders.


Riley style package Rudd getting sledged, Barnaby Joyce sledged, ALP Perrett MP stupidity. Abbott says Joyce hasn’t killed anyone with a policy. [But he wants to by cutting aid budget, as Abbott has with Iraq policy]. Garrett sound track.


Press roundup: Toohey - Conroy story about $250M license fee cancelled for free to air networks. Meglo says bankrupt economy if bailout every company after GFC. Brumby on racism. Middleton on Bligh polls, next election 2012.


Talent is Chris Pyne MP manager Opposition business on Garrett insulation programme. Call to suspend. [Motive to call off stimulus or safety? Opportunism now?] Relies on ministerial responsibility – Abbott record employer employee responsibility. What about Joyce heart of economic credibility. Pyne argues double standard re Keating on US debt [doesn’t wash]. Pyne flip flops on $250M fee cancelled to tv networks.


Panel on Garrett, Joyce, various


Meglo refers to indications of PM Rudd early burnout. [Compared I suppose to Abbott dangerously energetic empty vessel]




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .

Kloppers on China resources client, CEO Pimco global bond traders.


Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/ 


Posted by editor at 1:54 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 14 February 2010 1:58 PM EADT
High class barrister Tania Evers wins defamation case against News Ltd?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal

We received a copy of this recently, which apparently ran on the Sydney Daily Telegraph website late afternoon last Tuesday 9th Feb. It may have run in print the next day but we didn't see it.


Which looks to be an echo of Fairfax blunder 2 years previously here:

Apology to Tania Evers - National - smh.com.au 2 May 2008

SAM was closely following this big media conflict with a leading human rights and social justice advocate about 2 years ago. We may have stayed out of print at the time but recall talking to Ms Evers about the brutal approach News Ltd take to inconvenient facts. It relates indirectly to Evers challenging legal work like this:

Erosion of the Accused's Rights in Sexual Assault Cases by Tania Evers

We first became aware of her through a reference from the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (refer penultimate story) who were most impressed with her competence and honesty.

Posted by editor at 1:02 PM EADT

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