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December 08th 2015 print

John Slater

Climate Aid: Bait, Switch, Preen, Deceive

The $800 million the Prime Minister is diverting from foreign aid might have done real and genuine good in the Third World. Instead of funding clinics and clean water, that cash is underwriting a cynical exercise in climate showmanship and green-eyed moral vanity

climate justice IIMalcolm Turnbull, by way of making a splash at the Paris Climate Conference, has just pledged a billion dollars to help poor countries meet the challenge climate change. This forms part of a broader promise by ‘rich nations’ to provide $100 billion a year in ‘climate aid.’ What Turnbull was less keen to emphasise is that $800 million of the funds would be redirected from the existing foreign-aid budget. That means $800 million less for disaster relief, treatment for preventable diseases, access to clean drinking water and malnutrition. That list is bad enough, but the worthy causes shouldered aside in the name of warmism number many more than that.

How many people died from climate change last year? Directly, none.

But what about indirectly? That’s a tougher one. The earth’s weather patterns have defied prediction since long before multilateral climate love-ins became an annual entry in every posturing world leader’s travel diary. So we shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking that isolating the impact of carbon emissions on natural disasters, bushfires and draughts is anything more than educated guesswork.

It’s a question made more complex still by the fact that the dominant cause of the alleged anthropogenic warming – fossil fuels – saves the lives of a sizable number of people each year simply by providing cheap energy. This isn’t just about heating and access to medical care. Access to cheap power helps developing nations build industries, jobs, infrastructure and in turn, raise living standards. Not to mention longer lifespans. For most of those countries, shunning electrificy produced by fossil fuels in favour of holding out for renewables will have a human cost far greater than the impact of their individual emissions on global temperatures. Bear in mind that malaria killed a million people worldwide just last year. What makes this number so very heartbreaking is that the illness is readily curable when diagnosed and treated promptly, yet the aid that might have helped now goes towards what exactly? Giving ‘climate aid’ to countries preoccupied with inadequate and irregular power supplies, poverty and airborne diseases smacks of moral exhibitionism. Meanwhile, Third World clinics do without the electricity needed to power the refrigerators, if they have any, needed for serums and medicines.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has painted Australia’s pledge of $1 billion in climate aid as a ‘very important statement.’ To the extent that it shows the PM’s readiness to play loose with the facts in order to be seen as doing the right thing, at least by the transnational climate commissars, he is most certainly right. Climate doomsayers are quick to point out that the planet’s warming will increase the spread of diseases such as malaria, ebola and tuberculosis, especially in the vulnerable region of sub-Saharan Africa. But how we respond to this depends on our priorities. Are we more interested in self-congratulations or doing the most good with the limited resources we have at our disposal?

If wealthy countries want to tackle this by reducing emissions, the European Union’s 20/20 climate policy gives us some idea of how that’s likely to play out. Modelling suggests the policy costs $250 billion each year and will reduce the earth’s temperature by 0.05C come 2100. According to one peer-reviewed study from the Global Policy forum, the cuts on the table in Paris will reduce warming by 0.306 degrees Fahrenheit for the princely sum of $1 trillion a year worldwide.

By comparison, the United Nations’ Roll Back Malaria Partnership estimates the cost of treating and preventing the vast majority of the world’s Malaria deaths would cost about $4.2 billion a year.

Many will be quick to label this a false comparison on the grounds that the costs of climate change far exceed an uptake in airborne disease. That overlooks the uncompromising reality even if every major country threw itself head first into far-reaching climate action today, the effect on the earth’s temperature, come the latter half of the century, would still be negligible.

A global agreement to funnel trillions upon trillions of dollars into windmills and solar panels over the next few decades will gratify politicians keen to add ‘saving the planet’ to their list of career accomplishments. Yet in terms of aiding the world’s benighted, arresting insignificant rises in global temperatures would amount to precious little. Indeed, it will be cold comfort for the untold millions in Asia and Africa who over the coming years will die premature deaths from preventable disease while living in conditions of abject misery.

As Bjorn Lomgborg has demonstrated, and drawn the unrelenting ire of warmists and rent-seekers for doing so, if we care more about facts than expensive gestures, the best value climate mitigation lies in researching better green energy technology. And as renewables become more cost effective, we’ll start to see them replace traditional sources without having to foist the unnamed billions in costs onto long-suffering taxpayers.

Some will argue that when the stakes are this high, holding out for better renewable technology is a risk not worth taking.  At least a more intellectually honest position than claiming untold billions worth of wind farms and global greenhouse slush funds are needed to save countries where clean drinking water is still a work in progress.

So let’s call Mr Turnbull’s gesture for what it really is: a cynical exercise in climate showmanship and green-eyed moral vanity.

Comments [14]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Level headed journalists continue their endeavour of trying to keep us interested in the dismal subject of CAGW and all its corollaries. In spite of their best efforts, most of us “sceptics” are fed up to the back teeth hearing and reading about it. Not because of not being interested, but because there seems to be nothing left to be said about it that hasn’t already been said over and over again and none of it makes any difference to the muddle-headed “true believers” and the despicable rent seekers. Sadly and infuriatingly both camps are utterly satisfied that “the science is settled”. While we have no choice but accept this status quo, we must remain grateful to those continuing to shine light into dark places.

  2. Ian MacDougall says:

    For most of those countries, shunning electrificy (sic) produced by fossil fuels in favour of holding out for renewables will have a human cost far greater than the impact of their individual emissions on global temperatures.

    On the face of it, the most amazing part is that despite the support of such entities as the international Murdoch press, the bulk of the US Republican Party, the Koch brothers, the Heartland Institute, the (minority) Abbott faction of the Liberal Party, and a fair slab of the Nationals, plus the Saudi Royals, Cardinal Pell, Quadrant, and hangers-on too numerous to mention, the political battle seems to be going to the cash-strapped ‘warmists and rent-seekers’ and other critics and opponents of the true ‘sceptics’.

    The Great Climate Conspiracy has to go down in history as the greatest challenge ever faced by reason, religion, common sense, science, history, art, literature, and everything that is good and proper.

    • PT says:

      Cash strapped Warmists? Really? Malcolm Turnbull, George Soros, et al are many things, but they are not “cash strapped”. More importantly, look at the “cut” such people stand to make from trading “carbon credits” and the money they’re already making from “carbon offsets”. Far too few people see the parasitic a nature of this – the ultimate in rent seeking activity, as they actually produce nothing!

      • Bill Martin says:

        No use debating Ian MacDougall, PT, he seems to be one of the “true believers” and as is the case with faith based ideology, empiric evidence and reason does not get a look in.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        I could not agree with you more. But the people who make the money out of carbon credits and flogging carbon offsets are not in the circles I move in.
        I and a lot of other farmers I know have spent a lot of time and money planting trees where none have grown before, (probably at least for the last 50,000 years). And planting old man saltbush to replace that eaten out by the sheep of the early settlers. All that will drag a helluva lot of carbon out of the air, but are we in the line for any of that money? Pigs will fly first.
        Tony Abbott’s ‘Direct Action’ was only ever a way to pass taxpayer dollars in high volume to Big Agribusiness. A total con: nothing more.

  3. en passant says:

    I am a true environmentalist as the following article is a recycled extract from one I wrote over to years ago.
    As we know, if you are a grant seeking cultist proposing that you can prove an ignoble and false hypothesis by presenting a case that defies the Laws of Physics then no facts can be allowed to interfere. In this Orwellian Scientific mutation: freezing cold will be declared hot and every year will be the hottest year evaaaa, even though every day was below average (before homogenisation, of course). [I have no doubt that a shameless priest will declare 2015 the warmest evaaaa], etc, etc.
    Ian McD will recognise this approach as it is fairly standard procedure as the cultists cannot evaaaa admit that CO2 is not pollution, it is plant fertilizer. This remains true until you flood the system with more than it can handle. As we know, too much of anything can be harmful. In some cases biologists kill mice by massive overdoses of xx and then declare xx is bad for you. So they try it on with CO2 to get their grant money. Even 8,000ppm of CO2 will not hurt you and we are at about 400ppm.
    While cultists can deny global warming, you can’t deny physics, nor that other pesky law of cause and effect. I prefer the term cause and consequences, because the amoral misallocation of massive resources has killed millions of people through a lack of funds for medical research, hospitals, infrastructure, poverty alleviation, withdrawal of effective ‘tools’ to fight disease (such as the ban on DDT). Truly and utterly (compassionately) amoral, yet supported by most NGO’s compassionate ‘churches’, lying scientists and false ‘propheteers’. You can now accuse me of greed, denierism and racism, while the Green Stalinists merrily murder people without the slightest hint of conscience touching their bank accounts. Want to feel good? Go and support Band-Aid for Bono with a donation, or any other pseudo-solution. As Robert Burns said, ‘there are none sae blind as those who wilna see”. The evidence surrounds you, but the scammers and conmen, the totalitarians and the politician pimps deliberately refuse to see it. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and when you pump gigatons into the atmosphere, it has an effect. Not measurable, and not for the last 19-years – contradicting ALL the models and toys and PROVING them wrong, but … (read Burns again)

    400/1,000,000 is so tiny as to have little effect on our climate. It is irrelevant. In fact we are CO2 deficient with somewhere between 2,000ppm & 8,000ppm being the optimum by my research. This is relevant, if you track ppm vs. global temps. We have all seen the graphs. They are real and I have assiduously followed them – and CO2 follows any period of warming as the oceans expirate dissolved CO2. Al Gore’s execrable film is still shown in UK schools, but one of the nine corrections is to correct the graph he ‘corrected’ to agree with his lies. An own goal one would think? But why bother if there is a buck to be made as nobody cares about the poor killed by the withdrawal of resources?

    I am a long-term Malthusian and would like to see the population stabilise or even arbitrarily decline to no more than 3Bn, but that is opinion and has no scientific or logical basis. Now all we have to do is agree on how to kill about 5Bn people. Pass it to the UN, they are better at it than amateurs like IS and the Nazis. Banning DDT was a good start, but banning fossil fuels would be much more successful and has a nice feel-good ring to it.
    So, has anyone noticed that the people who are breeding fastest are the lowest barbarian levels of civilisation: Africans & muslims – which means unconstrained growth will mean either succumbing to a new Dark Age of Unreason or fighting a very dirty and bloody war to save ‘civilisation’. Read David Archibald’s article as he said it first. Neither option is attractive, but with the deliberate decline of ability of the USA to project its power, perhaps the Chinese or Russians will sort it out as they have fewer concerns for the niceties of civilised. Obamanation success!. “Breeding”? Wow, let me help: ‘what a racist position! Sad and unsurprising’. There I saved the national suicidists the effort, but let’s wait and see how it works out for Sweden, Belgium, Germany and France. The Global Warming scam, PC frighteners and the execrable political hacks we are asked to elect, will very likely be the unravelling of civilization, taking most of the civilisation with it. The average family in Kuwait is 8-children. Now that is people puppy-farming if you prefer. There is nothing racist in stating facts and interpreting them.
    The Earth does not have infinite capacity, but the ingenuity of mankind is unlimited (if not constrained by superstition and political interference). In 1972 The Club of Rome studied the runes and chicken entrails and concluded the world would run out of oil by 2000 – by which time Friends of the Earth had declared the world would be a snowball anyway. Well, I have access to the asset records of all major oil (and gas) deposits and can safely tell you that we have more than 150 years of extractable oil, 250+ years of gas and 500+ years of coal. All three are romantically referred to as fossil fuels which means they were once alive. The temperature was much warmer and life thrived. I see no cause for alarm should the world warm, but I fear we are already cooling.
    Just before I wrote the original article I reread Orwell’s ‘1984’ and his vision for all our miserable futures. As Margaret Thatcher said “Socialism is the equal sharing of misery”, but as Orwell pointed out in “Animal Farm” some socialist totalitarians and NGO’s are more equal than others.
    Why are we lied to and told that we have we only a few years left … until what? There has been no warming now for 19 years, the seas are not rising and the evidence for a deadly cooling period is already quite substantive. Maybe FoE got it right after all. There are more cold records than hot being broken. At worst the oceans are becoming less alkaline (by a tiny fraction, if at all). Warming will stop it altogether as CO2 bubbles out as it gets warmer (if you wish to continue believing in CAGW, but the overwhelming evidence is that we are cooling).
    I am driven by humanity and scientific logic. I have seen the energy poverty and hopelessness of Africa with its corruption and inability to look after its people. It is amoral to deny them the electricity that will save the forests from being burnt for fuel, yet Greenpeace managed to stop the World Bank funding a dam in Kenya – so when the next inevitable drought comes, people will die – and Bono gets another multi-$M concert. That is the amorality CoP-21 and the scam the CAGW tyrants blindly support without recognising the deaths occurring for their Noble Cause Another NGO successfully stopped an Australian bank funding a coal-fired power station in South Africa.
    I need no mythical Gaian god and certainly not one that kills people for the betterment of mankind. Almost all gods are amoral, misogynist and psychotic sociopaths and the Green Cult fits the mould. 18M people will die of malaria this coming year. DDT and medical research could have prevented that, but $Bn’s of our financial resources went into burying CO2, building windmills, stopping coal-fired power stations (and nuclear ones) and deliberately starving the poor by diverting food to fuel. I have nothing to regret from opposing this scam that has followed Eugenics, Alchemy, Astrology and all the other false religions that have gone before and like them will one day end up in the dustbin of history with the millions of ghosts of the people sacrificed for nothing.

    • rogerfranklin says:

      en passant: one suspects you are casting pearls before swine, as Mr Mac favours facts of the po-mo variety. At his invitation I visited his blog, where the first item is an amalgam of error. No doubt others are the same. The north pole will be ice-free in ten years etc etc, and this prophecy is compounded by a palsied grasp of the past. John Franklin, “the man who ate his boots”, was not “Lord Franklin, but a mere “Sir John”. Quadrant is very keen on free speech and, personally, I’m loathe to ban any commenter who spurns obscenity, avoids incoherence and knows that sentences require verbs. But that doesn’t mean piffle commands a response at every ludicrous turn. — editor

    • Gogs says:

      “Now all we have to do is agree on how to kill about 5Bn people. Pass it to the UN, they are better at it than amateurs like IS and the Nazis.”
      No need for this expensive and nasty process, en passant.
      Just provide the 300 million women who have no access to family planning with this cheap and effective technology, and they will solve their own problems (and yours) within a generation or two.
      Empowering women to control their own fertility, according to UNFPA, is the most cost-effective technology we have for the reduction of poverty.
      While the poor may always be with us, at least they will be better off if they can contribute to their family economy, rather than producing another mouth to feed every year.
      I can’t help you with gods, however. In some parts of the world, separating folklore and fantasies from reality seems to be a bigger problem than climate change.

    • gardner.peter.d says:

      The Vostok andEipa ice cores both sho that during warming phase temperature leads co2 as you say. Vostok covers four glacial cycles of 100,000 years, Epica, eight. Just these facts, are simple to understand and show incontrovertibly that AGW is bunkum. AGW and mass migration are the two principal means by whic post-democratic supra-national government leading from theEU and treaties like TTIP and tTP to one world government. The leading promoters my of war sim, lik Soros, are not remotely interested in saving the planet. They know there is no need but the fear that the trumped up threat poses may well get them what they want: government in their pockets and no troublesome parliaments.

  4. Ian MacDougall says:


    “Quadrant is very keen on free speech and, personally, I’m loathe to ban any commenter who spurns obscenity, avoids incoherence and knows that sentences require verbs. But that doesn’t mean piffle commands a response at every ludicrous turn.”

    When I took out my subscription to Quadrant Online, I did it in good faith. I expected that I had bought the right to submit comments, which would be published without editorial interference, as is the standard practice in the liberal-democratic press world-wide, and in line with the statement found at http://quadrant.org.au/about-us/:
    “Quadrant magazine is Australia’s leading journal of ideas, essays, literature, poetry, and historical and political debate…. its pages are open to any well-written and thoughtful contribution.”

    Now I see that I was mistaken. The tag ‘your comment is awaiting moderation’ really means ‘awaiting censorship’. And your statement above “… that doesn’t mean piffle commands a response at every ludicrous turn…” neatly sums it up. You, as editor, will decide what is ‘piffle’; not your readers.

    And where exactly is the piffle?

    In my humble experience, critics are at their shakiest when they abandon the substance of whatever it is under their consideration, and choose instead to nitpick. Your main pedantic indignation apparently arises from the fact that the man popularly known as Lord Franklin, and perhaps a relative of yours, was not so entitled. Well, knowing a little of the man’s achievements, I could resort to the Bob Ellis defence: “If it wasn’t true, then it should have been.”

    Sir John and his marvellous wife Lady Jane Franklin came to my youthful attention as the subjects of one of the greatest of all the great sea songs of the 19th Century, known simply as ‘Lord Franklin’. (I recommend the Bert Lloyd, and also the Bert Jansch/‘Pentangle’ versions. I have myself given a live performance of it on Ian McNamara’s ‘Australia All Over’ on ABC (gasp, choke) Radio National.)

    As you probably know, Franklin led an expedition in the 1840s to find, chart and navigate the fabled Northwest Passage, that would make it possible for ships to sail west from Europe into the North Atlantic, over the top of Canada, down into the Northern Pacific, and thence to the ports of Asia. He was lost in June 1847 and reportedly buried by his surviving crew, but his grave has never been found.

    But back to your pedantry: “At his invitation I visited his blog, where the first item is an amalgam of error. No doubt others are the same. The north pole will be ice-free in ten years etc etc….
    Quadrant is very keen on free speech …. But that doesn’t mean piffle commands a response at every ludicrous turn…”

    Ah, the age-old resort of the censor: “I am saving my readers from having to read Error… and what is in my view piffle… etc… etc.”

    Meanwhile, you, sir, have given us an ‘amalgam of error’ entirely of your own concoction. Nowhere have I said anything like “The north pole will be ice-free in ten years etc etc….” What I did say in my submission to the 2009 Australian Senate Inquiry on carbon abatement, as I reported on my blog
    https://noahsarc.wordpress.com/plimers-climatology-104/ was this:

    “Though air temperatures whether local or worldwide, daily or annual average, may for various reasons not reflect it, the world is none the less clearly warming. It is now possible to fulfil Lord Franklin’s dream and sail the Northwest Passage over the top of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, at least for one month or so in the Northern summer. Possibly within the next ten years ships will be able drop anchor in an essentially ice-free Arctic Ocean, right at the North Pole.“ (Emphasis not in original –IM)
    Were you writing your report of this in a high school or undergraduate essay, I have no doubt it would earn you a severe reprimand, if not an outright score of FAIL. Misquotation goes into the same slops-bucket as plagiarism.

    I grant you that you DO NOT THINK that the planet we live on is warming, and perhaps headed for danger. I grant you also that you DO NOT WANT TO THINK that. But for what it’s worth to readers other than yourself:

    Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge and who has been measuring Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British Navy submarines, says that earlier calculations about Arctic sea ice loss have grossly underestimated how rapidly the ice is disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.


    I conclude, Roger, that you don’t want free speech and open debate. You want an echo chamber, with comments that keep to your party line.

    • RayM says:

      What I observe is that free speech is alive and well at Quadrant.com.au. You are free to express your views, and others, including the editor, are free to express theirs.

  5. en passant says:

    I did not particularly enjoy reading your rebuttal of that nasty Roger’s criticism of you, because it soon became clear that you did not read the material you quoted. Let me criticise you on one minor point and one more serious one. If I spent more time on it I would need therapy to recover.
    Roger criticised you for calling Sir John Franklin, ‘Lord’ Franklin. I have read extensively about the Franklin story and had never heard him referred to as Lord. You defend your error by quoting a song that calls him Lord as your authority. So, I googled ‘Sir John’ and got 17,600,000 hits. I checked the first 20 entries and all called him ‘Sir John’. I then googled ‘Lord’ and got 21,300,000 hits, so you win by consensus. Congratulations, one in the eye for Roger.
    Unfortunately, I scanned the first 20 sites and all of them referred to ‘Sir John’ and none to ‘Lord John’. Fortunately, you are saved by one entry referring to the ultimate authority of a 19th century pop song that calls him ”Lord’ John’. The apostrophes are theirs, so the authors recognised the error. So, 0.70 seconds and 38,900,000 references say he is ‘Sir John Franklin’. All this is minor stuff, but what I do not understand is why you bother to defend your position when it is so easily proved to be wrong? Remember that old Labor slogan: ‘two wongs do not make a white’? Maybe you should just amend your website and say thank you to Roger or you will sound like a Franklin Denier who cannot accept he erred.
    You could not have read your own quote and the url from 2012 before posting it:
    “Peter Wadhams, … says Arctic sea ice loss [is] rapidly … disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.”
    You may not have noticed, but this is 2015 and I can assure you the ice was still there this past (northern) summer – and is recovering at ‘unprecedented’ rates while the Antarctic ice cover is reaching the greatest extent evaaa!
    An explanation of your failure to connect the dots (when they are in Bold) would be appreciated.
    Enough! No time to comment on Plimer, but please do not quote Bob Ellis in polite company, even if you can get Mike Carlton to say he is very nice.