Fair Trading

uncertainty IIThe politics of international trade are, once again, rumbling ominously, and predictably so. Instead of criticising the views of those who have missed out on jobs and opportunities, perhaps it’s time for intellectuals to catch up with reality.

It’s said that the case for free trade is counter-intuitive. While the principle of comparative advantage tells us that both sides gain from trade (because I take advantage of what you do best, and you take advantage of what I do best), many people see trade as a zero-sum game, with exports as a gain and imports as a loss.

The reality, of course, is a good deal more complex than either the pro- or anti-free-trade views would have it. The opportunity to trade undoubtedly stimulates growth. On the other hand, countries that have modernised over the past century through trade, such as Japan, South Korea and most recently China, are hardly examples of free trade. All three, in their different ways, developed their manufacturing industries through policies that controlled access to their domestic markets for competing products while making the most of export opportunities.

Australia has benefited from these developmental policies in two ways. Exports of Australian raw materials and energy helped to power manufacturing in each of these countries in turn. Second, as Australian consumers, we see the everyday benefits of cheap imported manufactured goods.

You can buy a kid’s T-shirt for $5 which, when you think about it, is truly astonishing. The cotton has been grown and processed, turned into fabric, fashioned into a T-shirt, put on a ship and exported to Australia for not much more than the price of a cup of coffee.

Of course, as an importer of manufactures, there has been a price to pay. Australia has long since lost the middle-to-larger-scale manufacturing firms which once constituted the textile, clothing and footwear industries. About the best you can do, if you want to support Australian brands, is to search out clothes that have been designed in Australia. For a while, it was hoped that Australia might demonstrate an advantage in more technology-intensive manufactures. But even more complex goods, where labour costs are not so important, have lost the battle to survive. Very soon, Australian-made cars will be a thing of the past.

Most Australians seem to accept this. We accept that we export raw materials, and buy back manufactures. When jobs are lost, we expect that the workers concerned will either find others, or more likely, will simply be absorbed into the huge pool of people on benefits of one kind or another. Unlike the Americans, who do little to support displaced workers, Australia usually makes retraining of some kind available. While older workers will almost certainly struggle to get a proper job again, there is enough support, or so we console ourselves into thinking, to keep them going until the pension comes up. Younger job-seekers can always go into tourism or other services.

So sure are we of the benefits of this world of managed trade, that we do little to maintain even those industries where we do have a comparative advantage. Access to cheap power for processing raw materials is no longer assured, because we export so much of our gas and shut down coal-fired power stations. Green politics produces strange choices. Although we have plenty of uranium, which produces carbon-free power, nuclear energy is off the agenda. Even burying other people’s nuclear waste may not be allowed.

Tasmania has been particularly affected. The state is not allowed to produce more hydro-electricity, which is renewable, because that involves damming rivers. So desperate has the Tasmanian employment situation become that less-sustainable industries are replacing those that are more sustainable. Commercial forestry based on managed native forests is out of the question, yet fish farming, which is anything but sustainable, continues to grow.

We are a land of happy consumers, with big houses and fine apartments to put all our stuff in. Indeed housing is one of the few activities we support, to the detriment, in this case, of consumers. While common sense may yet prevail in relation to targets for renewable energy, if only because we do not like it when we have to eat pizza by candlelight, we like to think that, whatever happens elsewhere, matters will trundle on much as before. Are we being clever, or foolish?

The answer depends upon the way we view the global economy. If globalisation represents the triumph of market forces, then more of the same will, over time, allow more countries to lever themselves up to the light. As wages rise in one country, investors turn to another, spreading employment even more widely.

At least, that is the dream. The reality is that all human enterprises are, in part, political constructs, and global markets are no exception. The underlying story is not about trade, it is about international political economy—the relationship between economic and political power. The US has been both a winner and a loser in this struggle.

It is investment that makes trade happen, and that means not just capital but also investment in knowhow and in technology. Japan and South Korea developed their own industries, but also benefited from their security-based relationship with the United States. Both have more-or-less democratic governments. China is different. China has parlayed access to its cheap labour in return for technology. It knows all that the West knows, and more. It has no concerns about its environment, and with no democracy, does not need to do much about rising inequality, either.

At the same time, democracy in America has been distorted, some would say even destroyed, by corporate power. With little effective labour market regulation and fewer manufacturing jobs, many people and many areas too have simply fallen out the bottom. Wall Street’s hyper-competitive banks figured out ways to extend mortgages to many of these unfortunates, and came up with all sort of financial products to achieve this, with predictable results.

Unfortunately for the Americans, there are no simple remedies for this kind of damage. What, as Australians, should we do about our own situation? Just let it rip? Winners are meant to compensate losers, and in fair-minded Australia, where everyone votes, we have lots of transfer-payments.

As with any policy value, free trade can go too far, especially when, in the real world, it is facilitated trade, not free trade, that prevails. Australia has ridden its luck well, but if China falters, so do we. Apart from housing, there is not much to fall back on. As for innovation, no Australian government shows any signs at all of understanding the relationship between innovation and having firms, well-established ones, not just “start-ups”, to do the innovating. Innovation can only really occur when we have virtuous cycles of production, investment, training and research.

Investment in people is most important of all, yet I am not sure that we “get” this. Too often, we grab what we can, without building for the future. Take the case of the higher-education sector. More and more Australian universities are importing academic stars from overseas to boost their international rankings. This enables them to attract more students, who are sources of income for buying in even more expensive stars. But the playing field is not exactly level: Australian academics have a hard time plying their wares elsewhere. We are not seen as “stars”, and in any case, comparable countries, such as Canada, give preference to their own academics.

Insufficient investment in our own people will eventually prove unsustainable. It’s a bit like the top English soccer clubs, who recruit the best players from all over the world to play in the premier league, but can no longer sustain a competitive national team.

What are our kids going to do? In a caring country, each region, indeed each city has a responsibility to its own people, not just to help them when they have lost their jobs, but to support their careers. Yet we have no sense at all of national human resource development. We import people to fill gaps, rather than training our own. The most adroit job-seekers will no doubt have the contacts to make it somewhere in the global workplace. But many other job-seekers will not.

It is disturbing that unless unemployment rises, we don’t even acknowledge that we have a problem. In an increasingly competitive world, you get what you pay for. But you also pay for what you get.

52 thoughts on “Fair Trading

  • Bruce MacKinnon says:

    This is the elephant in the room of Australian economic policy making. The country blessed with the largest resources of coal in the world, the largest resources of uranium, of iron ore, is shutting down its cheap power coal fired power stations We have no nuclear power, and is the only substantial developed economy in the world which does not. We have a miniscule steel industry, and Australia is now among the few countries which now has the most expensive electricity and soon consumer gas in the world. We should have far and away the cheapest. For a long time we did.

    All this because of a product of quack scientism, “global warming” which is demonstrably a vast hoax to fool the gormless electors of the western world into accepting an undemocratic and exploitative world government controlled by the shadowy banking cartel.

    Australia is comparatively remote, with long lines of supply, a small industrial base, so we must look for areas where we have comparative advantage. Lying in the Horse Latitudes, most of the continent is hot and dry, and of little value for agriculture though excellent soils are in abundance in the dry areas. Australia has one of the three Permian deltas known in the world in the Great Australian Bight. The other two are the Mississippi delta and the Niger delta, both world class oil provinces. Not one drill has ever been put in the delta under the Bight. The Greens (ridiculously so called) are trying very hard for it to stay that way.

    In the Perdika Basin in Central Australia there is a coal deposit, coking grade, which are huge that it looks to exceed in size all known deposits in the world put together. Some seams and there are a lot, in the 1st 1000m are 200m thick. 4 holes in a square 50kms apart.

    We have some of the worlds best gemstone deposits. Most of these are barred now because of silly environmental rules and aboriginal land claims.

    It just goes on. As Lee Quan Yew PM of Singapore once said, how could God have given such vast resources to a people so stupid?

    • Jim Kapetangiannis says:


      I like what you write. Here is some ancient wisdom that might help to answer Lee Quan Yew’s question;

      “… God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong…”

      Seems the more stupid we are, the greater the “Grace”. I actually think LQY got it right about a “…people so stupid…”. Our real stupidity is forgetting all in our culture and history that brought “grace” to us and swapping it for the leftist modernists perversions. When that process has run its’ course we’ll get a doubly whammy. We’ll be doubly a “people so stupid” and the grace will have been withdrawn.

    • ianl says:

      > “Australia has one of the three Permian deltas known in the world in the Great Australian Bight”

      Sorry Bryce, but the Bight is part of a Jurassic/Cretaceous limestone/dolomite basin. Still prospective for offshore hydrocarbons, however.

      I’ll avoid a long rant here, but both Bryce and the essay author Jenny Stewart make a very common mistake – one which irritates geologists immensely. To go directly from “Aus has amazing geological resources” to “greenies do their destructive best to prevent development of these resources”, while both statements are accurate, is to avoid acknowledging the enormous effort and expertise developed by Aus geologists, both in the applied and academic fields … we are peer-recognised as amongst the very best in the world. When I read statements such as made here by both Bryce and Jenny, I *know* they are geologically clueless, unknowing of the enormous complex, technical efforts made to supply and maintain the economic backbone of the country.

      And that’s shameful.

      • whitelaughter says:

        ianL, could you provide a link to a rant explaining the situation; one that doesn’t require a professional knowledge of the field?
        Would be interested to read.

    • ian.macdougall says:

      All this because of a product of quack scientism, “global warming” which is demonstrably a vast hoax to fool the gormless electors of the western world into accepting an undemocratic and exploitative world government controlled by the shadowy banking cartel.

      Perchance, Bryce, are you at the moment reading The Protocols of the Elder of Zion or one of its numerous derivatives?

      • ian.macdougall says:


      • en passant says:

        Ian MacD,
        Unfortunately you interrupted an intelligent thread with your trolling.

        How (even in your distorted mind) did you get from the discredited and false Climate Con for Clowns to the discredited and false ‘PROTOCOLS OF the Elders of Zion’ (at least get the title right)?

        I suspect that your quoting this fake reference as a fact indicates that you may be an anti-Semite racist. Then again, maybe not, as you also quote other fake reference sites all the time. Could be that as Occam’s Razor implies, the simplest answer is the right one and you are just a simple soul who is easily fooled by the smarter cultist priests.

        At least you are consistent in being wrong all the time, though most of the time (as in this case) you just make disconnected random statements of no substance.

        So, you think the world is heating up catastrophically and the cause is CO2? Then enlighten us all:
        1. What is the ideal average global temperature? and
        2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2 in this perfect world?

        I know that you do not know and cannot answer, but your failure to do so nails your level of intelligence to the wall for all to see.

        What I do not know about you is whether or not you throw a shadow or if there is a reflection when you look in a mirror. You need substance for both of those …

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    The government here is in fairy land. The current issue is taxation. Most overseas economies have between 15 – 17.5% tax targets for business. Australia can’t even reduce taxation to 28%.

    I invent and manufacture. I have had two great problems. The first is sourcing items for new machines. Eg recently one way or clutch bearings. Not made in Australia any more and the size I want just were $ far to prohibitive to buy. I had to buy a minimum of 100 as well.
    The second was skilled tradesmen experienced in machinery fabrication and maintainence. By chance I came across a 60 year old fitter who had vast experience in this. He was working for a pittance fixing lawn mowers. I needed a welder metal worker. I found the best a middle age builder and we learned to weld together. I’d tried younger metal workers, none could even build square frames. I tried younger welders similar problem and the welds seldom took. Many had experience in mining industry and were basically too rough.

    Now we are looking at moving the manufacturing operation to the US and sending

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Ready to assemble machines back to Australia.

    All the steel we use comes from China.
    All power prices have kept rising.
    Regulation and certification of manufacturing and/or packaging machinery is complex.

    Safety concerns are based on possibilities just to remote to be realistic.

    I’ve never had any help from government and never even received a response from my local member when I enquires about what assistance might be available for development and marketing new inventions.

    The silence I though probably what I should have expected. Yet if I had c proposed an opening ceremony for a factory producing locally manufactured product I’d have the bastards queueing for photo ops.

    • Bushranger71 says:

      Keith; you highlight the technical deskilling of Australia.

      I recall in the 1950s/60s, Australia had a few high standard universities and also quite a few excellent technical training colleges.

      Some years later, the politicians allowed many of the technical colleges to be converted to low grade universities to further the ambitions of academia.

      Up until about the early 1990s, high standard apprentice training schools were widely established throughout industry, the airlines and the military. These institutions created the supervisory nucleus for a highly skilled workforce. But then Canberra decided to withdraw financial support for this essential skills training; most such institutions were closed down or substantially downgraded and a very inadequate TAFE substituted. The latter has since been replaced by an even more inferior and dysfunctional privatized training system.

      Qantas and the military for example now have fast diminishing capability to perform any of their own maintenance in house.

      We no longer have an Industry Commission but a bloody Productivity Commission that seems more focused on capitalistic ideals and social engineering than the essential skills base for the nation.

      It is not too much of a stretch contending that the political realm has effectively sabotaged the potential of the nation.

  • kingkate@hotmail.com says:

    Great article. Australia is currently exporting the best thermal coal in the world to other nations while if a fraction of this supply was mandated to be diverted to our own power stations for cost, NSW and Qld would experience cheaper power prices. It’s not just the RET that has pushed up prices but the privitisation of the power stations and the mines that surround them. It was a disaster from a taxpayer perspective (sold off too cheaply) and a consumer perspective (we now pay higher prices).

    In the next decade politicians will need to make some hard decisions re building new black coal fired power stations in NSW and SA. The upside is with our premium coal we could build the most environmentally friendly and cheapest coal fired power stations in the world. The downside is that it will most likely need to be paid for the state given the capital cost and that no private investor would touch it given the changing minds of politicians and with subsidised renewable energy which eats into the profits of base load generators ie the general public will again be asked to step up.

    • ianl says:

      > “Australia is currently exporting the best thermal coal in the world …”

      Actually, the NZ South Island, West Coast, has higher quality thermal deposits but not the infrastructure nor benign geological envelopes to increase scale much. South Africa and Canada also have high quality deposits, Indonesia not so much. Nonetheless, some of the black coal thermal deposits in NSW and Q’ld are of good export quality if washed (beneficiated). Our own power stations have sufficient supply as things stand, irrespective of export tonnages, but things are not standing – successive State Govts of left or LINO persuasion are determined to destroy the power grids to save the planet. Also, the previously Govt owned mines were *not* cost-effective or productive despite wishful nostalgia (I was involved in advice over the various sales so I know exactly what their costs and industrial relations actually were).

      I agree that the sovereign risk of building a new USC coal-fired generator is now insane. No non-Govt organisation could contemplate risking $billions on this. The left have been very successful in this area. Their lack of success in replacing the grids with reliable, affordable generation is evident in the experiences in SA, soon to be visited upon Victoria, Q’ld and NSW. Such is the pattern of electoral voting.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Ok, OZ industry isn’t competitive. Reasons given have been i) power costs, ii) tax levels, iii) environmental restrictions, and iv) inability to get qualified staff.

    The power problem is pretty self evident, and solution – hydro – link in to the environmental restrictions. Tax levels are a circular problem; the worse business does, the more people who will need help, requiring more taxes. Cutting the public service always backfires because the cuts never remove the legislative *need* for them; as Sir Humphrey’s said, the civil service will keep expanding as long as government gets legislating. Ministers *can* get around an obstructive parliament by taking an axe to ‘delegated legislation’ such as regulations.

    The inability to get qualified staff isn’t going to be fixed until we fix the education system though; frex apprenticeships should be completed in the teen years, not be an add on after year 12. Carving away the pointless rubbish from schools would do more than anything else.

  • ian.macdougall says:


    Access to cheap power, for example, is becoming a memory as green policies distort the market and hobble the use of coal

    If it was just ‘greens’ with their ~10% of the vote, there would be no issue. But the support for AGW goes a bit beyond the Greens. It has its supporters in both the ALP and the Coalition. Not helped by the present heat across Australia.
    If we had out of season snowfalls and blizzards plus falling sea levels due to accumulation of snow and ice at the poles, etc, you might have a point.
    The Greens on their own are euchred.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Explain the current cold in the northern hemisphere.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Is it caused by warming too?

    • ian.macdougall says:


      Could be a factor. As I have told you before, more energy in the atmosphere can lead to more rapidly moving cyclonic depressions which can in turn drag more cold air from polar latitudes towards more temperate regions.
      Whatever might be happening locally, the planet is warming, ie gaining energy: evidenced by continuous sea-level rise and glacial melting.

      Global Mean Sea Level Rates

      CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
      CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)


      But if your religion tells you that it can’t be happening, (bad for established business and all that) well that’s another problem: for you. Not for us ‘warmists’.

  • en passant says:

    I think I understand your point, but you kept throwing in distractions. When I was studying Economics in the 1970’s (truly a most dismal pseudo-science) the world was facing catastrophe in just 25 years. It was inevitable, unstoppable and ommm, ommmm, o well.

    Even then I could not have any academic answer a series of questions I raised. The economic fashions back then were ‘user pays’, free trade, the theory of economic advantage and sustainability. Yes, the same zombies that haunt us today, although 2000 was supposed to be Millennium Doomsday. It was written …

    It hardly seemed worthwhile going on with such little time left … Maybe best just to party …

    Here are five questions I raised that went unanswered:

    1. What is the advantage to Australia if we send our manufacturing jobs overseas? How do we employ or pay the workers made redundant? This may be good for the world, but is this good for Australia?

    2. What are the competitive advantages Australia has over every other country? If there is none and at least one country can do everything better, should we not just export EVERY job to someone around the world, and if not, why not?

    3. We have everything we need in Oz, except oil. So, should we not just close our doors in ‘Lifeboat Australia’ (a paper I wrote about this) and only export what we need to buy the commodities and technology we do not have?

    4. As the Club of Rome’s ‘The Limits to Growth’ projects that the world will face the depletion of key products by 2000, that famine will kill millions and violent chaos is coming is not Point 3 the only rational answer?

    5. As the ‘user pays’ principle is the recommended method for assessing development, why are we giving aid money to countries that could use it to develop their industries and economies and eventually become a threat to Oz sovereignty? Why are international dealings different from Australian assessments?

    The answer broadly was that globalisation and world government would solve the future and that Oz had to embrace it or we would be left behind. [Oh, good!].

    The world has stood on the precipice, but BREXIT (if it ever happens), Trump, Le Pen, Wilders, Putin and the Eastern Europeans are our salvation.

    The totalitarians have used every scare and scam from the climate con (just a tool), Agenda-2030 (just a non-binding stranglehold destroying Australia [just ask Greg Hunt], deliberate destruction and denigration of the Australian culture, our ‘open’ borders that have resulted in terrorism in Oz just being a fact of life, TPP (killed by Trump on Day-1. [worth mentioning that MalPM looked at the corpse and saw a flicker of life. No wonder he did not get invited to visit the USA!], our scientifically illogical anti-fracking , anti-coal, anti-gas (and for the MacDougall Troll), anti-nuclear stance to de-energize Oz, resulting in REAL economic decline, etc.

    Unfortunately, the current crop of treasonous politicians we have will continue to sell out Australia until they are removed and replaced by those who have AUSTRALIA as their first and only interest.

    In short, we are choosing to be doomed …

  • Joel B1 says:

    Household electricity bills in Tasmania include a 5.6% Renewable Energy Certificate charge. It’s there to “support renewable energy generation.”

  • Jody says:

    Keep the discussions open here and don’t try to censor people with whom you disagree; this is what The Guardian and the Conversation both do. I’ve been banned – not for trolling or ad hominems – but because I deviate from the group-think pervasive of these sheltered workshops for the largely unsuccessful. Keep the air circulating in “Quadrant” – dissent or not – and don’t turn into the very things our adversaries are.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    The trouble with your hypothesis of the energy in the atmosphere is that the weather systems in the northern and southern hemispheres don’t interact.

    So how the hell can hot weather in the Southern Hemisphere cause cold weather in the northern hemisphere or vice versa?

    There have been no cyclones in our region this year so how can you claim greater energy in the atmosphere. So where does that fit in with your fantastic revelations?

    Surely, then in your theory, no cyclones would indicate a lack of energy in the atmosphere?

    Actually Ian my positions have the backing if 600 years of observation and empirical evidence. RN Officers … remember? And yours … rather dubious computer models and faith in a band of, soon to be unfunded, American climate liars.

    Your devotees of the climate scam are helping bring Aus industry to its knees. That is my problem.

    Yours problem, if you are a pensioner or reliant in any way in taxpayers to fund your lifestyle, will be the collapse of the Australian Economy if urgent action isn’t taken to reverse our dive into an economic banana republic.
    It will be here much sooner than you’d imagine and far sooner than any fantasy climate warming.

    I don’t believe in a God but I do follow logic and I belief stupidity is its own reward. And logic tells me climate warming is a scam and the economy is about to collapse… and the stupid educated elites who created this over the last 30 years will be the ones to suffer the greatest deprivation.

    • ian.macdougall says:


    • ianl says:

      The term “polar vortex” is a very precise meteorological one, used to describe atmospheric oscillations centred on both poles during their relevant winter periods. The Coriolis effect is the primary driver. Currently, the NH is experiencing one; the SH has them during winter on occasion, with NZ experiencing them often enough. One such NH episode is credited with saving George Washington and his army from annihilation at the hands of the advancing British forces, as Washington’s armaments (cannon and so on) were mired in mud. The advent of a vortex basically overnight froze the watery mud and allowed George to scamper and fight annother day. Nothing to do with atmospheric CO2 levels or “increasing atmospheric energy”.

      If you want to read through the actual descriptive science of these vortexes (which I recommend when you have a wintry Sunday afternoon at your disposal), I suggest:


      A virtual feast …

      • en passant says:

        How did we descend from Jenny’s article into the MacDougall global warming cult? Ian MacD can quote the Colorado Beach tide measurements many times over, yet he cannot answer the two fundamental question of what is the ideal temperature for the planet and the ideal concentration of CO2.

        My beachfront home 1.5m above king high tide mark and 15m back from the sure is coming along quite well. I have put my money where the evidence says it is OK to build. I took a photo at this exact spot 46 years ago (it is a pity I cannot post it for all to see. According to the 3.3mm sea-level rise ‘measurements’ I should already be a climate refugee and I should have witnessed a 150mm rise lapping over my toes. There has been no noticeable change, but I am probably just lucky and my plot on the obloid Earth is exceptional.

        It is all just and expensive joke – as the renewable subsidy tax in Tasmania shows.

        And one for the MacD: ban coal and go nuclear!

        • en passant says:

          MS autocorrect changed shore to sure.

        • ianl says:

          > “How did we descend from Jenny’s article into the MacDougall global warming cult?”

          Describing polar vortex meteorology, however ineptly, is not actually a descent, is it ? I was just adding to Kennelly’s comment. Standard mild-level science, is all.

          But I’ve noticed that such topics are not responded to on this forum, despite my own interest, so I see there is not much point in persisting and clogging the thread.

    • ian.macdougall says:

      The trouble with your hypothesis of the energy in the atmosphere is that the weather systems in the northern and southern hemispheres don’t interact.

      That is largely but not completely true of the NH and SH atmospheres. But they do as an oceanic/atmosphere system Because river water from glacial melt flowing into an ocean does cross the Equator by participation in ocean currents. I am sure you must be familiar with those. Heat can travel back and forth with them. This I suggest is one reason why the two hemispheres remain in around the same average temperature range, despite differences in landmass.

      And logic tells me climate warming is a scam and the economy is about to collapse…

      In the other areas of your life Keith, do you also only accept the bits and pieces of science that you like and choose to, according to the same ‘logic’? Do you for example accept Newton’s third law, but not his first and second?


  • en passant says:

    Does anyone remember two films that in the end we find out everyone is actually dead? Well, according the the former Wizard of Oz Science, that’s all of us because in 2009 ‘Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper reported: “We’ve got 5 years to save world” says Australia’s chief scientist Professor Penny Sackett’.

    It’s all over folks, the climate clowns have spoken and we exited Stage Left 3-years ago.

    Now for their next alarmist pseudo-scientific prediction … given with the mandatory 97% certainty.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Ian the dynamics of the currents are not as simple as you are claiming. I’m not going to bother explaining it as you couldn’t possibly change your fixed beliefs.

    I’ll simply say cold currents cool the air warm currents warm the air. Where there are no currents heat from the sun warms the surfaces as it does the he currents. The complexity of where, how and why that happens would take an inordinate amount of time and effort. The vagaries involved are mind boggling.
    For you to make the generalisations show you are clutching at straws.

    Now back to the point you are evading.
    Mate explain how the extreme cold in the northern hemisphere is being caused by the warm events in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Mate averaging in climate would be computer modelling. Which is a total Joke.

    Ian I have an interesting, rounded and developed intellect and your simplistic ranting really are becoming contemptible.

    Newton .. really.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Your like Ian was debunked by an article in this site sometime ago … but here you go again recycling the debunked crisp.

    Don’t you ever learn … some of us have memories. You are much better off concentrating on clowns and circuses.

  • ian.macdougall says:

    Ian I have an interesting, rounded and developed intellect and your simplistic ranting really are (sic) becoming contemptible.

    Having read that, my instinct is to grab the nearest sponge and chuck it straight in. 😉

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    As I said … contemptible

  • ian.macdougall says:

    The CSIRO, AAAS, Royal Society etc scientists say that the Earth is warming; with consequences down the track, and the CO2 emissions are mainly to blame.
    This puts the fossil carbon industry and its cheer squads into a bind. Scientists are supposed to be dispassionate researchers, going wherever Nature leads them. So the defenders of fossil carbon are compelled to search for an ulterior motive or two. And they believe they have found one: the basest of all. The scientists may perhaps sincerely believe what they say, or perhaps not. But they have to be in it for the money, namely for research grants.
    Yeah. That’s it. For research grants.
    And never mind what motivates the merchants of fossil carbon. They are different. So anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has to be the greatest scam in history, and its victims are the ordinary multitudes, plus of course the innocent intermediaries: the fossil carbon owners and merchants.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Yep … contemptible.

    Ian prove the link between global warming and mademan carbon emissions. If you can then you’d be the first.

  • ian.macdougall says:


    Ian prove the link between global warming and mademan (sic) carbon emissions.

    It appears to me from that, that you at least endorse the idea that global warming is occurring. So that is commendable, not ‘contemptible’.

    The best available stuff in the direction of the Holy Grail you seek (ie seek in order to dismiss) you will find IMHO at the following American Institute of Physics site.


    I sincerely hope that you do not find it too contemptible. To paraphrase The Good Book: there is more joy in Heaven over one ‘sceptic’ who lifts the black bag from off his head, than there is for all the legions of the AGW supporters and Arctic seals. But I am sure that the Arctic seals will all applaud as well.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Do you have a memory problem?
    You’ve referred to that HISTORY before. And I pointed out Nowhere within it is there proof of the link between global warming and man made co2 emissions.

    So here you go again round and round in circles. Same old regurgitated nonsense leading to the same (non)justification you expect us to take on as belief.
    It’s not my Holy Grail. I do not need a grail , I just want proof.

    It is the Holy Grail of climate nutjobs .,. It’s just they don’t seem to think it important now that they’ve decided ‘the science is settled’.

    Really quite contemptible Ian … again.

  • ian.macdougall says:


    The key contributions were by Fourier in 1824, Tyndall in 1859 and Arrhenius in 1896: all relating to the heat trapping properties of CO2.
    Their assumption, since confirmed by both lab experiments and reality here on Earth, was that adding the heat-trapping gas CO2 to the atmosphere through industrial emissions would cause the atmosphere to trap more heat than before, raising its heat content and thus its temperature. The confirmation has come in the dimunition of the Earth’s glaciers and the consequent sea-level rise, as confirmed by satellite measurements which use the centre of the Earth as their reference point, with half millimetre accuracy.
    You and your co-thinkers appear to me to work on the assumption that the known heat-trapping properties of CO2 do not apply if it is added to the air as a consequence of major industry. Thus if we burn as much coal as we like, those heat trapping properties of CO2 will somehow be not turned on, and will fail to appear in that situation.
    What has been predicted from laboratory experiments over the best part of 200 years is also being seen in the field. The Earth is warming.
    You can call me what you like. But your attitude, Keith, is not ‘contemptible’.
    The word I would choose is pathetic.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Ian since emissions have soared with the expansion, and the ongoing expansion, of the Indian and Chinese industrial development over the last 20 years explain the pause in rising temps.

    • ian.macdougall says:


      In all this climate discussion on this QO site I have never placed any store by thermometer readings, even when they appear to support my case. The simple reason is that they are endlessly disputable, as was shown by the geologist and fossil carbon cheerleader Ian Plimer in his book Heaven + Earth. ‘Heat island effects’ etc, etc, etc, can be cited endlessly.
      I simply go by what the mid and high latitude glaciers and the sea levels are doing. Take a trip to Alaska, as I did a few years ago. The locals there testify to dramatic loss of glacial ice and snow. But the big concern amongst glaciologists at the moment is the Totten Glacier in Antarctica.

      In any case ‘a pause in rising temps’ can be due to many possible factors. The Earth’s climate system is chaotic. But sea level rise can only be due to glacial meltwater and/or thermal expansion of seawater.


    • ian.macdougall says:

      Reply posted: “awaiting moderation”

      Ian MacDougall
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      February 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    But but … Ian. Oh never mind.

    But Ian you’ve quoted CSIRO, ASSS, Royal Socirty, I assume other scientists include NOAA and NASA. None of them despite the pause.

    The pause undermines some of the scientific conclusions of the French physicist and mathematician Fourier, the Irish physicist Tyndall and Swiss physicist Arrhenius.

    That’s quite normal in scientific enquiry. Even The conclusions of Einstein are questioned and may prove to be in error.

    So why doesn’t the pause fit the ‘settled science’?

    So what are the some of ‘the many factors’ that may cause the pause?

    I know the climate is chaotic … it is you who has a difficulty in understanding that. You think you can explain it!
    I don’t!

    Now tell me why sea level rise can only be because of

    glacial melt or thermal expansion(I presume heating, … sigh… which I’ll point out again was debunked here in another article) are the only causes of rising sea levels.

    I can think of two. Neither has anything to do with weather or climate.

    • ian.macdougall says:

      glacial melt or thermal expansion(I presume heating, … sigh… which I’ll point out again was debunked here in another article) are the only causes of rising sea levels.

      Keith: I wish you and all other climate ‘sceptics’ were right. I really do.
      But I am not prepared to bet the future on it, as you apparently are.
      Between your sighs, could you post a link to that ‘debunking’ article?
      And also, could you list and explain the causes of sea-level rise that are NOT down to runoff water and/or thermal expansion?
      I am eager to learn.
      Submarine volcanoes perhaps?
      Comets dropping from outer space into the ocean?

      I wait with eager anticipation.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    To the moderator. Please just print Ian’s responses. I am having such great fun.

  • Keith Kennelly says:


    Sinking islands and tetonic plate movements.

    You go look for it. It was around the time you told us warming caused cold.

  • ian.macdougall says:

    Sinking islands and tetonic (sic) plate movements.

    You…………have…………..got……………to be…………………..joking….!

    Is that the best you can do? That black bag you wear over your head must be cooking it.

    As I said: pathetic.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    No not joking. Sinking Islands are held up as rising sea levels by people like yourself. So if I now quote the same thing you bag me. Ironic? Or just your usual hypocrisy.

    Have you ever been to Napier/ Gisborne coast of NZ?
    There Ian you will see evidence. Huge tracts of land
    lifted out of the sea after a major earthquake. The displacement raised sea levels. Similar events occur quite frequently and have done for years.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Come on now Ian, explain ‘the pause’. I asked you Friday and you’ve not yet replied.

    • ian.macdougall says:


      I long ago suggested you visit the Colorado University site, http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
      I also suggest to you that whatever thermometer readings might be doing and wherever, there has been no ‘pause’ in sea-level rise, as the UofC site will clearly show you.
      And as I have also explained to you before, if sea levels are rising, it can ONLY be due to an overall warming of the planet.
      So please be a good fellow and stop wasting your own time and mine with these ostrich antics.
      I frankly have better things to do.

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