Welcome to Quadrant Online | Login/ Register Cart (0) $0 View Cart
Menu
October 10th 2017 print

Tony Abbott

A Reborn Abbott Comes Out Swinging

The ousted PM disappointed many conservatives by folding on 18C, putting Malcolm Turnbull in charge of the ABC etc etc. His address in London suggests, were he to replace the usurper, it would be a new and improved leader and Coalition. Meanwhile, he's infuriating all the right people

abbott boxingThank you for giving me the same platform that you’ve previously given to fellow Australians John Howard and George Pell. I will strive to be worthy of their example and their friendship; to offer a common sense way through the climate conflict; and, also, to place this particular issue in the broader struggle for practical wisdom now taking place across the Western world.

It would be wrong to underestimate the strengths of the contemporary West. By objective standards, people have never had better lives. Yet our phenomenal wealth and our scientific and technological achievements rest on values and principles that have rarely been more widely challenged.

To a greater or lesser extent, in most Western countries, we can’t keep our borders secure; we can’t keep our industries intact; and we can’t preserve a moral order once taken for granted. Eventually, something will crystalize out of this age of disruption but in the meantime we could be entering a period of national and even civilisational decline.

In Australia, we’ve had ten years of disappointing government. It’s not just the churn of prime ministers that now rivals Italy’s, the internal divisions and the policy confusion that followed a quarter century of strong government under Bob Hawke and John Howard. It’s the institutional malaise. We have the world’s most powerful upper house: a Senate where good government can almost never secure a majority. Our businesses campaign for same sex marriage but not for economic reform. Our biggest company, BHP, the world’s premier miner, lives off the coal industry that it now wants to disown. And our oldest university, Sydney, now boasts that its mission is “unlearning”.

Of course, to be an Australian is still to have won the lottery of life, and there’s yet no better place to live and work. But there’s a nagging sense that we’re letting ourselves down and failing to reach anything like our full potential.

millar abbottThe ABC’s London operative, Lisa Miller, provides further proof that Abbott now recognises enemies when he sees them.

We are not alone in this. The Trump ascendancy, however it works out, was a popular revolt against politics-as-usual. Brexit was a rejection of the British as well as of the European establishments. Yes, the centrist, Macron, won in France but only by sidelining the parties that had ruled from the start of the Fifth Republic. And while the German chancellor was re-elected, seemingly it’s at the head of an unstable coalition after losing a quarter of her vote.

Everywhere, there’s a breakdown of public trust between voters and their leaders for misdiagnosing problems, for making excuses about who’s to blame, and for denying the damage that’s been done.

Since the Global Financial Crisis, at least in the West, growth has been slow, wages stagnant, opportunities limited, and economic and cultural disruption unprecedented. Within countries and between them, old pecking orders are changing. Civilisational self-doubt is everywhere; we believe in everyone but ourselves; and everything is taken seriously except that which used to be.

Just a few years ago, history was supposed to have ended in the triumph of the Western liberal order. Yet far from becoming universal, Western values are less and less accepted even in the West itself. We still more or less accept that every human being is born with innate dignity; with rights, certainly, but we’re less sure about the corresponding duties.

We still accept the golden rule of human conduct: to treat others as we would have them treat us – or to use the Gospel formula to “love your neighbour as you love yourself” – but we’re running on empty.

In Britain and Australia, scarcely 50 per cent describe themselves as Christian, down from 90 per cent a generation back. For decades, we’ve been losing our religious faith but we’re fast losing our religious knowledge too. We’re less a post-Christian society than a non-Christian, or even an anti-Christian one. It hasn’t left us less susceptible to dogma, though, because we still need things to believe in and causes to fight for; it’s just that believers can now be found for almost anything and everything.

Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia – that have forgotten the scriptures about man created “in the image and likeness of God” and charged with “subduing the earth and all its creatures” – could have made such a religion out of it.

There’s no certain way to regain cultural self-confidence. The heart of any recovery, though, has to be an honest facing of facts and an insistence upon intellectual rigour. More than ever, the challenge of leadership is to say what you mean and do what you say. The lesson I’ve taken from being in government, and then out of it, is simply to speak my mind. The risk, when people know where you stand, is losing their support. The certainty, when people don’t know where you stand, is losing their respect.

bridie abbottThe Guardian’s Bridie Jabour demonstrates why there is no point in extending professional courtesy to a faux news organisation and the activism it gussies up as credible journalism.

Of course, we’re all nostalgic for the days when governments and oppositions could agree on the big issues; but pleading for bi-partisanship won’t create it. As my government showed on border protection policy, the only way to create a new consensus is to argue the case, to make a decision, and then to let the subsequent facts speak for themselves.

The modern world, after all, is not the product of a successful search for consensus. It’s what’s emerged from centuries of critical enquiry and hard clash. Without the constant curiosity and endless questioning that has driven our scientists and engineers, and the constant striving for improvement that’s long guided our planners and policy makers, there’d be no cures for disease, no labour-saving appliances, no sanitation, no urban improvement, no votes for women, no respect for minorities; in other words, no modern world.

That may not actually bother some green activists whose ideal is an Amish existence, only without reference to God. But it should bother anyone and everyone who wants longer, safer, more comfortable and more prosperous lives.

Beware the pronouncement, “the science is settled”. It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages. Almost as bad is the claim that “99 per cent of scientists believe” as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts.

keneally tweet abbott

There is no shame in being condemned by a hypocrite. Ms Keneally faults Abbott for failing Catholicism — the same creed she reckons is more dangerous than Islam and guilty of “killing and terrorising Australians” . Ms Keneally insists she is a Catholic, just so you’ll know

There are laws of physics; there are objective facts; there are moral and ethical truths. But there is almost nothing important where no further enquiry is needed. What the “science is settled” brigade want is to close down investigation by equating questioning with superstition. It’s an aspect of the wider weakening of the Western mind which poses such dangers to the world’s future.

Physics suggests, all other things being equal, that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would indeed warm the planet. Even so, the atmosphere is an almost infinitely complex mechanism that’s far from fully understood.

Palaeontology indicates that over millions of years there have been warmer periods and cooler periods that don’t correlate with carbon dioxide concentrations. The Jurassic warm period and the ice ages occurred without any human contribution at all. The medieval warm period when crops were grown in Greenland and the mini-ice age when the Thames froze over occurred well before industrial activities added to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Prudence and respect for the planet would suggest taking care not lightly to increase carbon dioxide emissions; but the evidence suggests that other factors such as sun spot cycles and oscillations in the Earth’s orbit are at least as important for climate change as this trace gas – which, far from being pollution, is actually essential for life to exist.

malcolm Farr abbottThe Courier-Mail’s Malcolm Farr trots out the sort of in-depth analysis that guarantees him a seat on Barrie Cassidy’s Insiders sofa.

Certainly, no big change has accompanied the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over the past century from roughly 300 to roughly 400 parts per million or from 0.03 to 0.04 per cent.

Contrary to the breathless assertions that climate change is behind every weather event, in Australia, the floods are not bigger, the bushfires are not worse, the droughts are not deeper or longer, and the cyclones are not more severe than they were in the 1800s. Sometimes, they do more damage but that’s because there’s more to destroy, not because their intensity has increased. More than 100 years of photography at Manly Beach in my electorate does not suggest that sea levels have risen despite frequent reports from climate alarmists that this is imminent.

It may be that a tipping point will be reached soon and that the world might start to warm rapidly but so far reality has stubbornly refused to conform to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s computer modelling. Even the high-priests of climate change now seem to concede that there was a pause in warming between the 1990s and 2014.

So far, though, there’s no concession that their models might require revision even though unadjusted data suggests that the 1930s were actually the warmest decade in the United States and that temperatures in Australia have only increased by 0.3 degrees over the past century, not the 1 degree usually claimed.

The growing evidence that records have been adjusted, that the impact of urban heat islands has been downplayed, and that data sets have been slanted in order to fit the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming does not make it false; but it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it.

paula tweet abbott phobicRecently, Ms Matthewson noticed that Abbott and Peta Credlin were out of the country at the same time and assured her readers they must be off plotting and scheming in some foreign clime. They weren’t, but who needs facts when Team Left is piling on?

Then there’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (which is a plant food after all) are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields. In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.

In what might be described as Ridley’s paradox, after the distinguished British commentator: at least so far, it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm; climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm.

Australia, for instance, has the world’s largest readily available supplies of coal, gas and uranium, yet thanks to a decade of policy based more on green ideology than common sense, we can’t be sure of keeping the lights on this summer; and, in the policy-induced shift from having the world’s lowest power prices to amongst the highest, our manufacturing industry has lost its one, big comparative economic advantage.

About 20 years ago, in Australia, limiting carbon dioxide emissions first became a goal of public policy. It was the Howard government, back in 1997, that originally introduced the Renewable Energy Target, a stealth carbon tax, requiring energy suppliers to source a percentage of their power from new renewable generation. But in those far off days, it was just 2 per cent.

During the energy discussions around the Howard cabinet table, I recall thinking “why not encourage more solar hot water systems to reduce power use” and “why not incentivise the installation of solar panels to help power people’s homes”?

Way back in 1980s, in my final provost’s collection at The Queen’s College, Lord Blake had observed: “Mr Abbott needs to temper his robust common sense with a certain philosophic doubt”. If only more of us had realised sooner how easy it was with renewable power to have too much of a good thing!

Unsurprisingly, a conservative cabinet did indeed respond to farmers’ worries about the drought then gripping eastern Australia; and the public’s then eagerness to support environmental gestures with other people’s money. We thought we could reduce emissions, or at least limit their increase, without much disruption to everyday life, hence these gestures to the zeitgeist. Where the subsidy was modest and the impact on the power system minimal, our thinking ran, why not accommodate the feel-good urge to be “responsible global citizens”?

In its last few months, the Howard government even agreed in-principle to support an emissions trading scheme. But Howard was shrewd enough to know how the most important consequences of any policy were often the unintended ones. His government’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto climate change treaty, even though we’d secured a good deal for Australia, showed his caution about the impact of emissions reduction on power prices and the wider economy.

For the incoming Labor Prime Minister after 2007, though, climate change was nothing less than the “greatest moral challenge of our time”. The Rudd-Gillard government believed in an emissions trading scheme, no ifs, no buts, and in a ten-fold increase in the mandatory use of renewables.

For a while, the Liberal-National opposition was inclined to go along with it. My own leaning for the first year or so was not to oppose it; but my doubts about the theory of climate change were growing and my sense that an ETS would turn out to be a “great big new tax on everything” was hardening.

To a party audience in country Victoria in October 2009, I observed that the so-called settled science of climate change was “absolute crap”; and after winning the opposition leadership had a secret party room ballot to oppose an ETS because it was not our job to enter into weak compromises with a bad government.

As it happened, the 2010 election was more about power prices than about saving the planet. Under great political pressure, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, declared “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. But early in 2011, as part of her minority government’s deal with the Greens, she committed to a carbon tax that would put wholesale power prices up by 40 per cent.

The 2013 election was a referendum on Labor’s carbon tax – as well as Labor’s complete loss of control over our maritime borders – with a thumping win to the Liberal-National Coalition.

In July 2014, the Abbott government abolished the carbon tax, saving the average household about $500 a year. In early 2015, we reduced the Renewable Energy Target from 28 to 23 per cent. It wasn’t enough, but it was the best that we could get through the Senate. My cabinet always had some ministers focused on jobs and cost of living; and others more concerned with emissions reduction, even though our contribution to global emissions was barely one per cent.

Inevitably, our Paris agreement to a 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction was a compromise based on the advice that we could achieve it largely through efficiencies, without additional environmental imposts, using the highly successful emissions reduction fund; because, as I said at the time, “the last thing we want to do is strengthen the environment (but) damage our economy”.

At last year’s election, the government chose not to campaign on power prices even though Labor was promising a 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target (requiring a $50 billion over-build of wind farms) and a 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 (requiring a new carbon tax). After a net gain of 25 seats at the previous two elections, when we had campaigned on power prices, we had a net loss of 14 when we didn’t.

And subsequent events have made the politics of power once more the central battleground between and within the two main parties. Although manufacturing, agriculture and transport are also large carbon dioxide emitters, the politics of emissions reduction has always focused on power generation because shifting to renewables has always been more saleable to voters than closing down industry, giving up cars and not eating beef.

As a badge of environmental virtue, the South Australian state Labor government had been boasting that, on average, almost 50 per cent of its power was wind-generated – although at any moment it could vary from almost zero to almost 100 per cent. It had even ostentatiously blown up its one coal-fired power station.

In September last year, though, the wind blew so hard that the turbines had to shut down – and the inter-connector with Victoria and its reliable coal-fired power failed too. For 24 hours, there was a state wide blackout. For nearly two million people, the lights were off, cash registers didn’t work, traffic lights went down, lifts stopped, and patients were sent home from hospitals.

Throughout last summer, there were further blackouts and brownouts across eastern Australia requiring hundreds of millions in repairs to the plant of energy-intensive industries. Despite this, in a display of virtue signalling, to flaunt its environmental credentials (and to boost prices for its other coal-fired plants), last March the French-government part-owned multinational, Engie, closed down the giant Hazelwood coal-fired station that had supplied a quarter of Victoria’s power.

The Australian Energy Market Operator is now sufficiently alarmed to have just issued an official warning of further blackouts this summer in Victoria and South Australia and severe medium term power shortfalls. But in yet more virtue-signalling, energy giant AGL is still threatening to close the massive Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW and replace it with a subsidised solar farm and a much smaller gas-fired power station relying on gas supplies that don’t currently exist.

Were it not rational behaviour based on irrational government policy, this deliberate elimination of an essential service could only be described as a form of economic self-harm.

Hydro aside, renewable energy should properly be referred to as intermittent and unreliable power. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the power doesn’t flow. Wind and solar power are like sailing ships; cheaper than powered boats, to be sure, but we’ve stopped using sail for transport because it couldn’t be trusted to turn up on time.

Because the weather is unpredictable, you never really know when renewable power is going to work. Its marginal cost is low but so is its reliability, so in the absence of industrial scale batteries, it always needs matching capacity from dependable coal, gas, hydro, or nuclear energy. This should always have been obvious.

Also now apparent is the system instability and the perverse economics that subsidised renewables on a large scale have injected into our power supply. Not only is demand variable but there’s a vast and unpredictable difference between potential and dispatch-able capacity at any one time. Having to turn coal fired power stations up or down as the wind changes makes them much less profitable even though coal remains by far the cheapest source of reliable power.

A market that’s driven by subsidies rather than by economics always fails. Subsidy begets subsidy until the system collapses into absurdity. In Australia’s case, having subsidised renewables, allegedly to save the planet; we’re now faced with subsidising coal, just to keep the lights on.

We have got ourselves into this mess because successive federal governments have tried to reduce emissions rather than to ensure reliable and affordable power; because, rather than give farmers a fairer return, state governments have given in to green lobbyists and banned or heavily restricted gas exploration and extraction; and because shareholder activists have scared power companies out of new investment in fossil fuel power generation, even though you can’t run a modern economy without it.

In the short term, to avoid blackouts, we have to get mothballed or under-utilised gas back into the system.

In the medium term, there must be – first – no subsidies, none, for new intermittent power (and a freeze on the RET should be no problem if renewables are as economic as the boosters claim); second, given the nervousness of private investors, there must be a government-built coal-fired power station to overcome political risk; third, the gas bans must go; and fourth, the ban on nuclear power must go too in case a dry country ever needs base load power with zero emissions.

Belatedly, the government is now suggesting that there might not be a new Clean Energy Target after all. There must not be – and the government still needs to deal with what’s yet to come under the existing target.

In the longer term, we need less theology and more common sense about emissions reduction. It matters but not more than everything else. As Clive James has suggested in a celebrated recent essay, we need to get back to evidence based policy rather than “policy based evidence”.

Even if reducing emissions really is necessary to save the planet, our effort, however Herculean, is barely-better-than-futile; because Australia’s total annual emissions are exceeded by just the annual increase in China’s.

There’s a veneer of rational calculation to emissions reduction but underneath it’s about “doing the right thing”. Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause. Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect.

So far, climate change policy has generated new taxes, new subsidies and new restrictions in rich countries; and new demands for more aid from poor countries. But for the really big emitters, China and India, it’s a first world problem. Between them, they’re building or planning more than 800 new coal-fired power stations – often using Australian coal – with emissions, on average, 30 per cent lower than from our own ageing generators.

Unsurprisingly, the recipients of climate change subsidies and climate change research grants think action is very urgent indeed. As for the general public, of course saving the planet counts – until the bills come in and then the humbug detector is switched on.

Should Australia close down its steel industry; watch passively while its aluminium industry moves offshore to places less concerned about emissions; export coal, but not use it ourselves; and deliberately increase power prices for people who can’t install their own solar panels and batteries? Of course not, but these are the inevitable consequences of continuing current policies.

That’s the reality no one has wanted to face for a long time: that we couldn’t reduce emissions without also hurting the economy; that’s the inconvenient truth that can now no longer be avoided.

The only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia’s standard of living first; to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up. After two decades’ experience of the very modest reality of climate change but the increasingly dire consequences of the policy to deal with it, anything else would be a dereliction of duty as well as a political death wish.

I congratulate the Global Warming Policy Forum for your commitment to rational inquiry; your insistence that the theory must be made to fit the facts, rather than the other way round; your concern to do good, rather than just to seem good; and for the hope I share with you: that, in the end, the best policy will turn out to be the best politics.

I’m reminded of the story of a man randomly throwing pieces of paper from the window of a train. Eventually his companion asked him why he did it. It keeps the elephants down, he said. “But there are no elephants here”, his companion replied. “Precisely; it’s a very successful method”.

A tendency to fear catastrophe is ingrained in the human psyche. Looking at the climate record over millions of years, one day it will probably come; whatever we do today won’t stop it, and when it comes, it will have little to do with the carbon dioxide emissions of man

This is the text of Tony Abbott’s address delivered overnight in London to the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Comments [23]

  1. Jimbob says:

    About time!

    I’ve always believed that real power is exercised at the margins. Here is the real leader of Australia. He is doing more to set the agenda for national debate and policy as a backbencher than a whole cabinet of preening peacocks. The fact that is so hated by his enemies is ample proof that they fear him more than the whole of the Liberal National coalition put together. As the old saying goes;

    ‘Show me a man with no enemies and I’ll show you a man with no principles’

    Go Tony!!

  2. Ian MacDougall says:

    In Australia, we’ve had ten years of disappointing government…
    Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia – that have forgotten the scriptures about man created “in the image and likeness of God” and charged with “subduing the earth and all its creatures” – could have made such a religion out of it…..
    Whatever we do today won’t stop it, and when it comes, it will have little to do with the carbon dioxide emissions of man

    Arguably there is something of a shift here from the confident “climate change is crap” Abbott to a two bob each way ‘no matter what we do, what will happen will happen.’ Tony Abbott is not yet openly defeatist on climate change, but he’s heading down that road, quoting from the Bible as he goes.
    Oh dear. So it has come to this, with even his former enthusiastic supporters from the Ostrich School of Climatology saying “he’s infuriating all the right people.”

    • Tezza says:

      Abbott accurately observes: “Even if reducing emissions really is necessary to save the planet, our effort, however Herculean, is barely-better-than-futile; because Australia’s total annual emissions are exceeded by just the annual increase in China’s.“ I’d call that realistic, not defeatist.

    • Jody says:

      Tony Abbott = damp squib. We’ve seen it all before; loads of rhetoric, bombast and promises and then the paralyzed, ineffective deer in the headlights when elected. He’s got form. NEXT!!

      • Warty says:

        You of all people ought to know the constrictions put on a PM by a ‘recalcitrant’ party room. I mean Tony ought to have been on the fast track to sainthood having to deal with Pyne and Payne, with boof head Brandis, waste of space Sinodinos, whining Julie Bishop and all the other clod hoppers, lefties and banana benders. Add to this a senate cross bench that needs to be appeased, appealed to and rhythmically stroked to get anything out of at all.
        I mean what happens to a leader when he is released from all this? I can tell you: rejuvenation of spirit; regained clarity of mind; energised determination and finally, a rediscovery of true ‘self’. This is your ‘NEXT’ and this is what causes the sort of night emissions (of the incontinence variety, i.e. bedwetting) experienced by Turnbull and his bevy of powder puffs.

        • Warty says:

          Did you hear that? Did you hear that subliminal expiration: ‘reshuffle! reshuffle! reshuffle’?

        • Jody says:

          You’re suggesting, then, that leadership is virtually impossible in today’s polity. That being the case, TA is certainly not the man with his very limited skills set and pugistic manner. The fact is, Warty, only the rusted on Right have any time for Abbott – he’s poison with the rest of the electorate. I’d like to see somebody like Peter Dutton have a go because Abbott has had his time.

          • Warty says:

            Peter Dutton: steady, reliable, unflappable, ex clodhopper with the pizzazz of a letterbox. A man I’d like on my side, hate to have opposed to me, but could never see as the leader of my country.

    • PeterPetrum says:

      Tony Abbott said “the SCIENCE of climate change is crap” , not that climate change itself is crap. He is quite correct. The climte has always changed. The physics of long wave absorption by CO2 is well understood, but what happens to the heat after that is not, that is where the models are truly “crap”.

      • Tricone says:

        I thought he said something more like “a lot of the science behind climate change is crap” which many people, and I, and quite possibly even some climate change fanatics, agree with.

        I continue to be astounded at not just the way the Australian media misrepresent Abbott, but how uncritically and unthinkingly so many self-declared independent thinkers simply parrot the media line.

        And I don’t even like Abbott.

  3. Keith Kennelly says:

    Seems he’s infuriating you too Ian.

    What was that about cold producing warming?

    Hahahaha

  4. Ian MacDougall says:

    Tezza:
    “Barely-better-than-futile” is the operative term, qualified by the “even if…” part. It does not exactly convey optimism, whichever way you read it.
    Vide and cf the last days of the Third Reich: nothing left to do but turn on a total bacchanal, with all the ‘right people’, however infuriated.

  5. Menzies, the master, took 8 years [1941 to 1949] to come back and give us 20 years of peace and prosperity. Thank Heaven for Abbott.

  6. ianl says:

    Ignore the scientifically illiterate, please. The real point is that the planet and its’ atmosphere is dynamic – constantly changing. The history of climate change, gradual or brutal, is directly related to a huge range of influences: solar activity, the shapes of the continents and sea floors, constant tectonic crustal movements, opening and closing of ocean barriers, orbital changes, volcanic activity, bacterial activity, atmospheric chemistry, sedimentation, cloudiness and even esoterics such as comet dust. Hard evidence from painstaking geological mapping shows many changes over a wide range of time scales from a few decades to millenia. Solar activity, or lack of, has the most persistent correlation with climatic change, even though correlation is not necessarily causation. The only people who think climate is, or should be, constant are those who do not know these things. A constant climate, even on a dead planet like Mars, is just not achievable.

    The increase in a trace atmospheric gas from 0.03% to 0.04% has no measurable impact from zero against this dynamic background. That is why the goalposts are constantly moved – the ice is melting, except when it’s not, sea levels are rising, except the satellite measurements for this cannot “see” the lands sinking, all weather is so subject to extremes now, except when frequency/intensity of events are actually measured, temperature sizzles are due to the “gas” but early and prolonged snowstorms are not … and so on. People even waffle on about some price on carbon; pretending to price the 6th element in the periodic table when it is the basic chemical requirement for all complex life is so densely mindless that I have no words. It reminds me of a young lady of Antifa persuasion who maintained at a technological symposium that Einstein’s E=mc^2 equation is sexist because it privileges the speed of light over the speed of other things. Oh my …

    CO2 is a very minor GHG, but absolutely essential for life on earth. Water vapour is the most potent GHG due both to its’ ability to absorb then release large tracts of the reflected IR wavelengths and its’ sheer atmospheric volume. Although water forms a condensable atmospheric gas (so the vapour phase is short lived enough), it is also constantly evaporating over huge areas.

    One doubts Abbott knows these things. Certainly most people don’t – they see no reason to. But Abbott is correct in that this has become a new religion.

    • Warty says:

      Oh my golly! Can you send this to Josh Frydenberg? Do you think the various Druidic priests who respond to articles here on QOL might perhaps read this, and even tremble in their collective boots? I’m impressed ianl (scientifically illiterate though I am). I am truly impressed. Best argument I’ve ever read.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    But Ian the scientific data from NASA show the ocean levels to be falling, over the last three years.

    What’s happened to your mantra?

    Is there a shift here?

  8. White Dove says:

    This was a brilliant Address by Tony Abbott but then I was not surprised. I would have been proud to have been a fellow Australian in the audience listening to that Address. Actually there is no science being followed by the people advocating “global warming” or “climate change”. These people aren’t following these policies of renewable energy for their belief in the science. They are following this course for the money. Greed is what is driving the “global warming” policies.

    Tony Abbott is the only one who can lead us out of this mess as he would do it for you and I and all Australians. That is the measure of the man. Joy Heath

    • Jody says:

      You don’t seem to have noticed that much of the western world is in this democratic “mess”. Lack of brand differentiation is a worldwide problem in democracies, hence all the hung parliaments and argy bargy. You can sheet a lot of that home to the alarmism over climate change and the huge reach of the UN in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, as well as the poisoned chalice of political correctness and identity politics. It will take time for this ferment to settle down but I suspect a crisis like an economic or political conflict will eventually galvanize nations. But there will be a huge price to pay first.

  9. Keith Kennelly says:

    It’s seems the doomsayers and Abbott haters are out and about.
    The ‘good old days’ really the good old days of world wars and appeasements?

    Or the good old days of respecting the opinions of those who aren’t elites?

    Oh that’s right can’t do that … they don’t know anything about democracy.

    We know It isn’t in a mess at all. It’s only just temporaiarly in the hands of a bunch of elites who all think the same, who are only interested in the things they believe in and who are utterly out of touch.

    Such people when confronted with the mess they have created throw up their arms and predict Armageddon will occur if democracy is return to the uneducated.

    Seem familiar?

  10. psstevo says:

    Today’s Queensland Sunday Mail has David Penberthy’s usual diatribe berating Abbott’s recent speech on “Abbott’s climate change doctrine needs to be challenged.” I am breaking a vow that I would never read his attempts at journalism again! As a supposed employee of News Corp it seems that Mr Penberthy has definitely gone over to the ‘dark side’. After many paragraphs giving us the benefits of his non-wisdom, he then, generously, give Abbott a ‘D for Year 10 Geography’. Even for a an ABC media hack I would be returning this attempt to him with a grade of NYC (‘Not Yet Competent’). Apparently News Corp has been taken over by the ABC.