ABC’s ridiculous ‘false balance’ at odds with own policy

The ABC’s approach to reporting on climate change is motivated more by politics than science, says Independent Australia’s environment editor Sandi Keane — who compares its coverage to that of the BBC.

In recent years, the gulf between Coalition and Labor voters on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has widened. Annual surveys by Australia’s peak science body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) show a dramatic shift since politics overtook science in determining conservative attitudes on climate science.

When did the right relinquish its stewardship of the natural world to cast doubt on environmental problems? According to Sharon Beder, the answer lies in environmental regulations. Environmentalism is increasingly seen by neo-liberals as the ‘slippery slope to communism’, threatening free markets with costly regulations and ‘green tape’.

It was the father of the Liberal Party, Sir Robert Menzies, who established the CSIRO. But instead of knowledge and facts being the traditional realm of scientists such as the CSIRO, unqualified sceptics have grabbed the limelight.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) are in accord that ‘AGW is real’. New editorial guidelines for both emphasize two imperatives: the need to ‘distinguish fact from opinion’ and to give ‘weight’ to the ‘body of evidence’.

Continue reading

Global Warming. What do we do about the United States?

What do we do about the United States?  This essay examines the competing pressures and imperatives that have shaped the U.S. response to global warming and why it has failed, thus far, to assume a leadership role.  It will be discussed how, on the one hand, the U.S. is under pressure from the global community to show leadership, but on the other, is constrained by the imposition of business interests on public policy, institutional barriers, neoliberal political ideology and American unilateralism.

Whilst the Federal government has failed to prosecute its traditional leadership role, the economy is slowly transitioning to a low carbon economy thanks to initiatives by State and institutional forces.  These factors, along with the current devastating drought, are combining to fill the leadership vacuum vacated by Washington.  Genuine progress is now being made to decarbonize the economy.  How significantly this will address the question of what to do about the United States is discussed later in this essay. Continue reading

Abbott burns his budgies over U.S. carbon

cartoon by Wes Mountain

Tony Abbot made such an ass of himself trying to put one over us with a pensioner’s electricity bill, he’s been on the naughty mat ever since. Thankfully, we appear to have been spared the daily litany of carbon tax misdemeanours, lest we remember his.

But if Mitt Romney wins the U.S. Presidential election in a fortnight’s time, Abbott may well be tempted to make an ass of himself again on this subject.

There’s no doubt a Romney win will signal a return to Bush’s ‘business first, people last’ agenda. He opposes fuel-economy standards, wants to expand tax breaks for big oil companies and wind down investment in wind power; in other words, the same agenda we’d see in Australia if Abbott gets into the Lodge.

But, before the next election, Tony Abbott will need to convince the Australian public to get shot of the carbon tax ― like the Republican-dominated Congress dispensed with Obama’s cap and trade bill. Abbott will likely come up with the same absurd argument he voiced on his return from the United States in July this year, when he claimed:

“The last thing they want to do is damage their competitiveness, score an economic own goal without doing any good for the environment by hitting their people with a carbon tax.” Continue reading

Waubra Fights Back

It’s Spring in the quiet sheepfarming hamlet of Waubra, an hour’s drive northwest of Ballarat in Victoria . With the shearing done and the crops in, local farmers have turned to a bit of Spring-time mending.  Not fences, but the town’s image. After three years saddled with the negative legacy of the “foundation” that stole their name, local farmer, Karen Molloy, says the community is fighting back with a bumper festival.

Back in 2009, Waubra hit the news when powerful forces linked to mining interests, and Australia’s climate skeptic factory, the Institute of Public Affairs, used what was then the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere as an easy target for their anti-wind scare campaign.  The establishment of the Waubra Foundation followed.

“For three years, we’ve lived here quite happily.  We love the wind towers and love Waubra.  But it is so much more than wind so we’ve dropped the word “Wind” from the Waubra Community Festival”, Molloy said.

The Festival on Saturday 6 October will showcase the positives of renewable energy as well as the fresh produce grown in its red volcanic soil.  There’ll be a “Waubra Gift” running race, free rides, entertainment for the whole family, a free bus from Ballarat and a tour of the wind farm.

“So, come on guys, give us a fair go, give us some positive news”, Karen Molloy pleaded. Continue reading

The Ugly Landscape of the Guardians

Have you been suffering from stress lately? Feeling exhausted, irritable? Losing sleep? Kids declared a jihad on school?

It could be you’re suffering Wind Turbine Syndrome, according to the Waubra Foundation.

Symptoms claimed include sleep problems, headaches, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion, anxiety, anger, irritability, depression, tinnitus, concentration problems – and a new one – children refusing to go to school!

Continue reading