Environmentalism: too many gravy trains and dangerous hidden agendas

The modern environmental, or ‘green’, movement has shifted from overt care for the environment towards activist and economic damage, self-serving agendas and covert promotion of more sinister agendas, often supported, even driven, by politicians.  But opposition grows by the day as evidence and  common sense start to prevail.   

Scroll down to read the most recent articles; links to previous articles follow.

Why, Twenty-One Times Why?

Why, Twenty-One Times Why  By Dr Walter Starck, Quadrant Online, 3 May 2018

Is there no limit to the demands of political correctness, the burden of hypothetical solutions to imaginary problems, and the detachment from empirical reality that can be imposed on a society? Here, a list of questions whose answers would be obvious were they not being obscured.


Although the basic principles of logic are fundamental to the form of symbolic communication and reasoning we know as language, these are all too readily ignored where personal gain or emotional satisfaction are involved. Such disregard for truth not only varies between individuals, but also between cultures and within cultures over time. Currently Western Culture seems to be in a period of decline in this regard with the rise of post-modern political correctness playing a major role and with social media aiding and abetting the malaise through easy propagation and ready access to social affirmation for almost anything one might choose to believe.


Every day the news media spew an irrational swill of dubious opinion parading as fact. Even when directly conflicted by sound readily available evidence, it is simply ignored. Remarkably, and no matter how ill-founded it may be, much of this effluvium is swallowed by a  large audience already primed for unquestioning acceptance.

That we should prefer to believe what we find satisfying and seek comfort and support in others of similar belief is understandable.  What is difficult to comprehend, however, is our willingness to lie to ourselves with irrational conviction simply because we find the indications of reason and evidence discomforting in some way. This is especially remarkable in view of the repeated and disastrous consequences of beliefs clearly not in accord with the actual world in which we exist and/or contrary to the observable nature of our own being.

The following is an arbitrary selection of a score of examples from recent news.  They range in import from the trivial to the critical, but all beg for an answer as to why:

  1. Why do we facilitate the largescale ongoing immigration of refugees from failed states with no assessment of the outcomes? In particular, it would seem worth trying to better understand the effect of a common factor for almost all of the failed states, which is the nature of the culture they share andhow this may be affecting the successful assimilation of these immigrants.
  2. Why is there such a political obsession in Australia with climate change and carbon emissions when no recent extremes of climate are outside the bounds of earlier natural variability, when the claimed warming trend is less than the margin of error in measurement and when this is the only developed economy in which the level of natural uptake exceeds the emissions. As Australia is a net carbon sink, why are we not then receiving credits from other nations who are large net emitters?
  3. Why is there a massive drive for wind and solar power when they require three to four times more installed generating capacity than they deliver and, at current levels, are providing only about 10% of baseload demandat already exorbitant cost with increasingly difficult load management problems? Especially, when the full baseload capacity of conventional power is still required to provide backup for the highly erratic alternative power and it must then be running inefficiently in standby mode much of the time.
  4. Why are we seeking to re-equip the RAN with a handful of extravagantly expensive and vulnerable frigates and submarines which have a very limited capacity to defend the nation when,for far less cost, we could have hundreds of versatile long-range drone ships and aircraft which would provide a truly formidable defence capability?
  5. Why does it require 100 hours driving time to get a provisional drivers licence in Queensland but less than half that time to get a private pilot’s licence, especially when our road accident and fatality rates indicate no benefit over jurisdictions with far less onerous requirements? (see Figure 3.1to see how the state’s road toll had already decreased to a fraction of its 1970 high when the new measures were introduced)
  6. Why is the commercial fishing catch limiton the Great Barrier Reef limited to 3041 tonnes (g. 9 Kg per square Km of reef and lagoon area) when the global status report on coral reefs cites 15,000 Kg per square Km as being sustainable for well managed reef fisheries?
  7. Why is it that with the largest per capita fishing zone in the world we must import between 66% and 75%of the seafood we eat and thus add to the pressure on marine resources with orders of magnitude greater demand on them?
  8. Why do we heavily restrict our tuna fishermen, then import $165 million a year in canned tuna largely from the same stocks we won’t allow our fishermen to catch?
  9. Why do GBRMPA, academics and environmentalists repeatedly and blatantly exaggerate the economic value for GBR tourismby claiming the gross value for tourism in the region when only half of visitors visit the reef at all and for almost all of those who do their reef experience is a single day trip which is an activity that comprises only a few percent of the gross value of tourism? Why, too, is this never challenged, as it surely would be if any other tourism sector claimed credit for the entire value for tourism?
  10. Why do we repeatedly see Aboriginal culture described as being 50,000 years old and “the oldest on Earth” when, all cultures are the same age but some have changed more than others, nothing is known about the culture 50,000 years ago and even the most recent pre-European culture is no longer practiced?  Wouldn’t it be a lot more honest to just say that Aboriginal culture is rich and unique with ancient roots.  By emphasising the age are we not in effect implying something primitive and backward.
  11. Why do we use the term “Aboriginal civilisation”when the culture was that of hunter-gathering with none of the key characteristics by which the term “civilization” is defined?  These include such things as agriculture, social stratification, buildings, civil works, urbanisation, specialisations of labour and some form of symbolic record keeping.
  12. With a national petrol and diesel reserve only sufficient for a couple of weeks and it being at the end of a long vulnerable supply chain while draining billions of dollars from the economy, why do we not have our own synfuel industry using our abundant coal or natural gas?  Especially, when the cost per litre would be no greater.
  13. Why the phobia about nuclear powerwhen we have the largest reserves in the world, ideal conditions for it and, with current technology, can enjoy the cheapest, most reliable, safest and cleanest power of all?  Better still, we also have vast areas of the most remote, geologically stable and driest places to store any waste.
  14. Why do we ban the clearing of native vegetationand increasingly hamstring our farmers and graziers with myriad environmental costs, restrictions and demands? We used to have an abundance of some of the least expensive high-quality food in the world.  Now we have some of the most expensive with increasing dependence on imports.
  15. Do our eco-saviours have no awareness that ecology is above all holistic and that what we do not get in one place only shifts the effect to somewhere else?
  16. Why is it that Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea et al.are always having to impose gross violations of human rights and subject their populations to severe deprivations for some higher purpose which remains permanently in the future? Might there not in fact be some fundamental fallacy in collectivist philosophy that renders freedom, prosperity and equality permanently unattainable?
  17. Why do eyeglasses and dental implants, bridges and capscost vastly more in Australia than they do in the now-advanced economies in Asia, where training, equipment and overhead costs are otherwise similar?  Is there some government-enabled monopoly that permits this?
  18. Why all the celebration of having the most expensive housing in the worldwhen houses are simply a cost of living that is turning Australia into a land of indentured servants owned by the banks?  Is it not like celebrating increases in food prices because they make the food in our pantry more valuable?
  19. Why is it that the prevailing demographic of the Green vote is inner-urban non-producers whose own chosen habitatwhere nature has been virtually annihilated, is the fraction of 1% of the continent?
  20. Why is it that so many of those who profess such great concern over threats to the environment greet any evidence that something may not be as bad as they fear with anger and rejection, never with hopeful interest? Might it be that their real commitment is not to nature but, to displaying their virtue and pleasuring themselves with a delicious sense of self-righteousness?
  21. Why are we continuing to indenture a whole generation with exorbitant HECS debt when most of the education they are receiving could be better delivered at higher quality and only modest cost through online courses?

In short, is there no limit to the demands of political correctness, the burden of hypothetical solutions to imaginary problems and the detachment from empirical reality that can be imposed on a society?

That, at least, would seem to be one question for which we seem well on the way to a decisive answer.

A marine biologist, Walter Starck has spent much of his career studying coral reef and marine fishery ecosystems


Adani opposition ignores reality of world’s energy needs from coal and oil

Adani opposition ignores reality of world’s energy needs from coal and oil  By Julian Tomlinson, The Cairns Post, 8 March 2018

LABOR’S war on coal has exposed puzzling paradoxes and a damaging ignorance of reality.

The real travesty, though, is that the Liberal-National Party has failed to go for the jugular and plant a stake in the ground in North Queensland for mining and the cheap energy fossil fuels provide.

Or could provide, if overly strict regulations on new mines and power stations were relaxed.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan has been unashamedly pushing the coal barrow but his Coalition partners have been content to simply slag off on Labor rather than come out with serious pro-coal policies to assure Australia’s energy future, keep power prices at least somewhat affordable and guarantee North Queensland’s and the whole state’s prosperity.

Labor Leader Bill Shorten has ­publicly opposed Adani’s planned coal mine, which not only puts him at odds with the Queensland Labor State Government, but also members of his Cabinet. Prime Minister ­Malcolm Turnbull said he supports Adani but it’s just lip service.

Real support is actions, not words: actions such as following America’s lead and standing up to the climate change alarmist industry.

The absurdity – and hypocrisy – of anti-coal fanaticism is exposed when you simply replace emotion-charged hyperbole with data.

On one hand, anti-coalers scream that taxpayer money shouldn’t go to billionaires to fund private enterprise such as Adani. But taxpayer money is used to subsidise renewable energy projects owned by billionaires.

Finance for Adani would be a loan paid back with interest but renewables subsidies are gone forever. What’s a worse deal for taxpayers?

Billionaire Elon Musk has charmed untold millions in subsidies from governments for his Tesla electric cars … and then launched a rocket using kerosene. Musk is held up as an environmental champion but surely his use of fossil fuel to power his rocket will make governments realise CO2-emitting power isn’t as bad or obsolete as activists try to make out.

Governments around the world have spent an estimated $US1.2 ­trillion on clean energy investment in just the past four years.

But the global supply of energy by renewables is estimated by British Petroleum at 3 or 8 per cent.

The International Energy Agency’s estimates range from about 13 per cent to 25 per cent, and this includes burning wood, rubbish and dung.

To put that in perspective, 1.2 trillion seconds equals about 38,000 years. This is a grievous amount to spend for such a small impact. ­Especially when the effects on world temperatures will be a fraction of 1C and won’t be felt for decades.

The Australian Government estimates it would cost $219b to switch the nation completely to renewables.

And let’s not forget that the North is a cyclone zone, and any solar farms or bat and bird-killing wind turbines close to the coast will be destroyed in the next big blow. From where will we get our energy then?

According to The Australian newspaper, more than $60 billion in renewables subsidies would be paid by 2030, about twice what the car industry received over 15 years and enough to build 10 large nuclear reactors. The figures make it clear that rather than doubling down on the renewables pipe dream, we should be making coal “cool” again.

Let’s roll out the red carpet to miners and frackers. Let’s establish North Queensland as the home of mining prosperity and energy security.

Last year, Aussie coal exports were worth a record $56.5 billion, and Queensland is due to earn $4 billion in coal royalties this year.

Imagine the cash flow if we fully exploited our natural resources?

Nuclear is a dirty word but we have enough uranium in the North to be a world leader in cheap, clean nuclear power production.

Green groups’ refusal to support emissions-free nuclear energy is the clearest evidence that the goal is not simply “saving the planet”, it’s about bashing big oil and coal while forcing poor people to cook and keep warm with choking fires of wood, dung and rubbish, including plastic.

But the biggest losers are consumers, who will be forced to pay exorbitant prices for unreliable, inefficient and expensive renewable energy.

All we need is for someone in politics to wake up and seize the initiative.



Chilling fact is most climate change theories are wrong

Chilling fact is most climate change theories are wrong  By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 8 March 2018

 You have to hand it to Peter Hannam, The Sydney Morning Herald’s climate change alarmist-in-chief, for his report last month – “ ‘Really ­extreme’ global weather event leaves scientists aghast”.

Hannam is often the ­canary in the coalmine (er, wind farm) when there is a sense that public belief in man-made global warming is flagging. With Europe in the grip of a much colder winter than predicted and with the ­abnormal chill spreading even to Africa, he did his best to hold the line.

Earlier this year, Climate Council councillor Will Steffen also climbed on board — for The Sydney Morning Herald of course. Extreme cold in Britain, Switzerland and Japan, a record-breaking cold snap in Canada and the US and an expansion of the East Antarctic ice sheet coincided with a ­Bureau of Meteorology tweet (later retracted) that January 7 had set a heat record for the ­Sydney Basin. Steffen told us these seemingly unrelated events were in fact linked. “Climate ­disruption” explained both. Whether fire or ice, we’re to blame. No ifs, no buts.

Now a warming Arctic provides the perfect opportunity for Hannam to divert attention from the latest deep freeze. He ominously warns: “Climate scientists are used to seeing the range of weather extremes stretched by global warming, but few episodes appear as remarkable as this week’s unusual heat over the Arctic.”

It’s true, warm air has made its way up to the high Arctic, driving temperatures up to 20C above ­average. But Anthony Watts, who runs a climate change website, puts things into perspective. He observes: “Warm moist air from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans has warmed the Arctic above the 80th parallel. It should be noted, however, that the Arctic Circle actually starts at 66 degrees north, meaning the record heat is over a much narrower area.”

Cato Institute atmospheric scientist Ryan Maue reviewed high Arctic temperature data going back to 1958 and says: “Data before the satellite era … has some problems, so it’s hard to say the current spike is for sure a record.” He says that if the baseline is 1973, when the polar-­orbiting satellites began recording the data, there is not much difference between today’s ice extent and then.

Indeed, we now have satellite confirmation that global air temperatures are back to the same level they were before the 2014-16 super El Nino event and, this January and February, the decline accelerated. Since 2015 satellites also have detected a fall in sea surface temperatures.

Solar expert Piers Corbyn, of British forecasting group Wea­therAction and famous for his successful wagers against the British Met Office forecasts, predicts Earth faces another mini ice age with potentially devastating consequences. He notes: “The frequency of sunspots is expected to rapidly decline … reaching a minimum between the years 2019 and 2020.” Indeed, the present decline in solar activity is faster than at any time in the past 9300 years, suggesting an end to the grand solar maximum.

Critics say while “it might be safe to go with (Corbyn’s) forecast for rain next Tuesday, it would be foolish to gamble the world can just go on burning all the coal and oil we want”. That’s the nub of it. The world has bet the shop on CO2 warming and the “science” must be defended at all costs.

But while spinning unfalsi­fiable “climate disruption” slogans may sway readers of The Sydney Morning Herald and resonate with believers in their centrally heated halls, those in the real world, witnessing hundreds of people dying of the cold and thousands more receiving emergency treatment, will consider they’ve been duped.

Not feeling duped are successive Australian governments that have become committed members of a green-left global warming movement promoted by the UN. On dubious scientific grounds they have agreed to accept meaningless, anti-growth, CO2 emission targets that enrich elites and burden the masses.

And, true to label, a Green Climate Fund supported by Australia and 42 mostly developed countries will redistribute $US100 billion ($128bn) annually to poorer nations as reparation for the unspecified environmental harm the West has allegedly caused them.

Big emitters such as China, India and Russia are conspicuously absent.

Policing Australia’s targets and helping to spread confirmatory propaganda is a network of international and local bureaucracies. The world’s academies and meteorological organisations, frequently found to be unreliable and biased, keep the faith alive. They reject debate and starve nonconforming researchers of funds and information. Students are indoctrinated with unproven climate-change theories that an unquestioning media gladly ­reinforces. Meanwhile, the country ingenuously surrenders its competitive advantage by refusing to embrace its rich endowment of affordable baseload energy. This it happily exports while lining the pockets of renewable energy rent-seekers with generous taxpayer subsidies.

Should the world enter a per­iod of global cooling, we should ­expect concerted denial. Too many livelihoods, too many reputations and too much ideology ­depend on the CO2 narrative. Having ceded sovereignty over our economies’ commanding heights to unelected bureaucrats in Geneva, the West (Donald Trump excluded) repeatedly turns to expensive vanity projects to paper over this folly. If the iceman cometh, there can be no quick fix. Yet we know it takes twice as much energy to heat a home than to cool one. So pity the poor and infirm who respected medical journal The Lancet says are 20 times likelier to die from cold than heat.

While even to mention a mini ice age risks scorn and derision, recent research has shown a close correlation between solar activity and climate on Earth. That possibility alone should cause shivers. But it will take time and experience before we accept the global warming movement is really the triumph of ideology over science. Until then we will continue to commit life’s cardinal sin of putting too many eggs into one questionable basket.



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About Peter Senior

I'm a very experienced and pragmatic management consultant. I've reviewed and led the restructuring of many organisations - large and small corporations and Government Departments, much of the time as President of the New Zealand Institute of Management Consultants. Before that I was General Manager of a major NZ newspaper; earlier, an analyst for IBM UK. I gained an honours degree in engineering at London University, and studied management at Cambridge University. This wide range of experience has left me frustrated: I continue to see too many examples of really bad management. Sometimes small easily fixed issues; sometimes fundamental faults; and sometimes really tricky problems. Mostly these issues can be fixed using a mixture of common sense, 'management 101' and applying lessons from years of management experience. Unfortunately, all too often, politics, bureaucracy and daft government regulations get in the way; internal factors such as poor culture and out-of-date strategies are often evident. So what's gone wrong, and why, and most importantly, how to fix 'it'? I hope there are like-minded people 'out there' who will share their thoughts enabling 'us' to improve some significant management failures that affect the general public. If you just accept bad management, you don't have the right to complain! If you'd like to share thoughts on any aspects of management, send me an email to petersenior42@gmail.com . My latest project has the interim title 'You’ve been conned. Much of what you were taught and read is largely irrelevant, misleading or plain wrong – this is the REAL story of life: past, present and our possible future.' The working paper so far comprises 105 pages, many listing references and interim conclusions. The main problem is finding sufficient credible evidence, and realising the more Iearn, the more I realise I don't know!
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