From Carbon Economy Editor to Environment Editor: still bollocks

If I’m not mistaken, Peter Hannam once went by the dubious – nay, hilarious – title of Carbon Economy Editor of the Silly.  Someone must have seen the light (powered by coal burning electricity generation, of course) and decided that Environment Editor might be a better title. (Pause for laughter.)

But really, I think, Pete has lost the plot completely, notwithstanding his change of title.  He really is sounding a bit desperate; maybe worried about his future in this rapidly heating world.

Check out this piece:

  • Note pictures of bushfires, droughts (including Tony Abbott sympathizing with drought stricken farmers – note to picture editor: why did you include that one?);
  • Who precisely in the NSW government declared, we believe in Climate Change! (! very important);
  • So what if a few politicians, including the socialists newly elected in Victoria, now use the term climate change (what happened to global warming, Pete?)
  • Oh and the socialistic, Peronist Pope from Argentina is glowingly mentioned, which is marked contrast to the Silly’s treatment of every other issue related to Catholicism;
  • Citing two farmers (not one, everyone) does not amount to journalism, mate.

At least the piece is honest in one sense: ” this could be the year of extinction for climate-change denier” or PETE.

 Heat is on Abbott government over climate change as world turns

Peter Hannam

Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

This could be the year of extinction for the climate-change denier, writes Peter Hannam.

Parched properties: The risk of bushfires, like this near Lithgow last October, is elevated in a heatwave.Parched properties: The risk of bushfires, like this near Lithgow last October, is elevated in a heatwave. Photo: Dean Sewell

When the Baird government unveiled the first high-resolution mapping of how global warming is expected to shift the climate for NSW, Victoria and the ACT by 2070, officials were quizzed why they weren’t using “climate variability”, a term favoured by federal Coalition counterparts, to describe the outlook.

“This is the NSW government, we believe in climate change!” came the immediate response at the last month’s media briefing.

In the next few weeks, 2014 will likely be declared the hottest year on record globally, beating 2005 and 2010.

So, it seems, does Victoria’s new Labor premier Daniel Andrews. His minister for climate change – Lisa Neville – is expected to take a higher profile on the issue than her Liberal predecessor Ryan Smith. NewEnergy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has also signalled a keen interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy – both areas largely stalled under the previous government.

Farmers frazzled: Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits a drought-hit farm near Bourke, northern NSW, in February 2014.Farmers frazzled: Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits a drought-hit farm near Bourke, northern NSW, in February 2014. Photo: Andrew Meares

Gone, too, is the Coalition preference of eschewing “climate change” in Victorian agencies, such as in 2011 when agriculture minister and now state Nationals leader, Peter Walsh, launched a Climate Challenges Centre at Melbourne University. The jointly funded research interests include how crops might adapt to rising carbon-dioxide levels in an “evolving climate”.

At the federal level, meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce in October outlined his department’s paper on competitiveness in the sector without a single reference to climate change in its 111-page report. “Australian farmers, even more so than their global competitors, must adapt to climate variability,” was about the closest it got.

Such an aversion to the topic – and for some Coalition MPs, outright dismissal global warming is at all a threat – may leave the Abbott government even more out of step with the electorate and the governments of its two most populous states.

Not cool: Records were broken in 2014 - the world's warmest year on record and Australia's third-warmest.Not cool: Records were broken in 2014 – the world’s warmest year on record and Australia’s third-warmest. Photo: Steven Siewert

If climate change was a liability for Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2014 – witness how it dogged his visit to the United States and then dominated G20 coverage after President Barack Obama’s “Save the Reef” speech – there are many reasons to think it will be an even bigger issue in 2015.

By the end of this year, almost 200 nations will gather in Paris to negotiate a global treaty aimed at keeping temperature increases to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial times (versus about a 1-degree increase so far). Each meeting in the run-up will scrutinise pledges, including Australia’s, for cutting greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020.

Pope Francis will weigh in too, issuing the first-ever Vatican teachings to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to act on climate change. He is also expected to bring together other religious leaders for a summit ahead of the Paris gathering.

The big dry: Farmer Neil Kennedy musters his cattle in December 2014 in Coonamble, NSW.The big dry: Farmer Neil Kennedy musters his cattle in December 2014 in Coonamble, NSW. Photo: Dean Sewell/Oculi

At home, the government’s centrepiece $2.55 billion pay-the-polluter Direct Action plan will finally be tested – just as power sector emissions start to climb in the wake of the carbon tax it replaced. Any rollback of the Renewable Energy Target – so far blocked in the Senate – will only add to the scheme’s task.

Reminders Australia is vulnerable to climate change will also come in updates from the NSW government of its assessment of risks for south-eastern Australia to 2070, including for water availability and sea-level rise, and more data on Victoria. The release of CSIRO’s Natural Resource Management report on climate risk – which the Abbott government is understood to be delaying – will add to concerns.

Polls suggest voter sentiment is starting to shift, such as the Lowy Institute’s annual survey released mid-2014, which showed the first increase of climate concern in six years. Almost two-thirds of respondents said the federal government should be taking a leadership role in cutting emissions, with just 7 per cent saying it should do nothing.

Amanda McKenzie, chief executive of the Climate Council – which was scrapped by the Abbott government as its first act on taking office in September 2013 – said the mood will continue to move as people understand the link between extreme weather and climate, with recent heat a clear signal. “We’ve had two very extreme summers and this looks like it could be another.”

In the next few weeks, 2014 will likely be declared the hottest year on record globally, beating 2005 and 2010. For Australia, it was the third-warmest behind 2013 and 2005, with only 2011 a below-average year this century.

El Ninos tend to result in relatively hot and dry years for most of Australia, and the current near-threshold conditions in the Pacific point to a tough couple of months ahead. This weekend’s heatwave across south-eastern states will also likely elevate anxiety about bushfires.

Farmers concerned

Two farmers well understand the impacts and risks of climate change – and also the difficulty of convincing others in their industry.

Bill Yates, a farmer from Garah in northern NSW, serves as a “Climate Champion” as part of the federally funded Managing Climate Variability R&D program and is unhappy with the body’s title.

“You’re allowed to talk about climate change in terms of variability but change is change,” the 65-year-old, third-generation farmer said.

His region has been hard hit by drought but it is the rising temperatures, particularly in spring, that is most concerning. Wheat and other crops are flowering earlier, reducing their output for harvest even when the rains do come, he says.

“The really smart farmers are sowing earlier because it’s warming up,” he said, adding though that wheat may be unviable in his area within 30 years.

The NSW government’s survey found northern and western parts of the state – including areas such as Garah – could endure maximum temperatures above 35 degrees for one-third of the year by 2070 if global emissions remain on a high-growth path.

Mark Wootton, a farmer almost 1500 km to the south, last year took in 520 black steers from northern NSW for agistment on his property near the Grampians in western Victoria.

The animals arrived by truck emaciated and blind from pink eye in “a scene like Gallipoli”, Wootton said.

Wootton’s farms, though, are now also extremely dry as the normally well-watered regions become parched.

As with Yates, Wootton is also outspoken on climate change. He helped found and continues to chair The Climate Institute, one of the country’s leading non-government agencies on the issue.

Wootton said the most ardent climate change sceptics in his industry tend to be “male, over-70 and cranky”, and that younger farmers – particularly   the agronomy students he hosts from the Marcus Oldham College near Geelong – need much less persuasion that the matter is serious.

And it’s not just the physics of climate change that is a threat. Wootton said Chinese customers alert to the positive branding opportunities in Europe and elsewhere now enquire about the carbon neutrality of his merino and cattle farms. “Who the hell would have thought they’d come and ask those sorts of questions?” he said.

Key issue for government

Doubts the Abbott government was about to give climate change greater urgency were fanned last month when the PM appointed Bob Baldwin to be the new parliamentary secretary for the environment – replacing Senator Simon Birmingham.

The affable NSW MP told Fairfax Media he sticks by comments he made to a Chinese audience in 2010 that without climate change the dinosaurs would still be around.

“Since the very beginning of time there has been climate change,” he said, adding he was “neither a climate sceptic nor a denier”.

Baldwin said, though, that the planet should be given the benefit of the doubt and that he was “strongly committed to Direct Action”.

“We accept the science and we’re going to do something,” he said. “We as individuals can make a difference, as we did under Clean Up Australia.”

Whether such a response is enough, or whether the electorate will start demanding a lot more of Australian governments at all levels, will be a key issue to watch in 2015 and beyond.

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28 Responses to From Carbon Economy Editor to Environment Editor: still bollocks

  1. blogstrop

    Global Warming/Climate Change is the creation of the zombie left, and remains hard to kill off. There’s certainly more than a whiff of Black Knight bravado in declaring sceptics to be the threatened species.

  2. 70s Playboy

    Funny Judith, your post hit my inbox just as I was reading about the snows in Sicily and northern Africa

  3. Petros

    Here’s one of Pete’s great predictions. He’s a joke. Things are so wet in SE Qld at present.

  4. Lem

    The posturing is strong in them all, for various reasons.

    As an aside, I was watching Daniel Andrews give a bush fire press conference on the greatest contribution Australia gives to carbon emissions (how much do Labor’s allies The Greens contribute to these annual events through their opposition to land management strategies that might reduce them I wondered), and next to him was a woman giving interpretation in sign language. Now, I think sign language is just fine, comme toutes les autres langues, and it is important for deaf people to be informed of emergencies, but I wondered just how many people were in need of this service, so I googled and found out that there is maybe 7,000 or so deaf users of sign language in Australia. I’m not sure how many deaf users of sign language were in the areas possibly affected by the bush fires. I don’t know how many non English speaking people were similarly located and in need of urgent advice in their own language. But they weren’t represented on the screen.

    But I guess for politicians it’s all about the image, the posturing. In sign language.

    Maybe I’m too cynical.

  5. .

    When the Baird government unveiled the first high-resolution mapping of how global warming is expected to shift the climate for NSW, Victoria and the ACT by 2070, officials were quizzed why they weren’t using “climate variability”, a term favoured by federal Coalition counterparts, to describe the outlook.

    How has it changed since 1990 or 1980?

    Bueller? Bueller?

  6. .

    Lem – the signer for the QLD floods was completely absurd. It was actually bizzare they made such an emphasis over it.

  7. Tom

    This could be the year of extinction for the climate-change denier, writes Peter Hannam.

    That’s not born out by what Hannam actually wrote in that piece of activist hysteria. That sentence appears to have been written by ShakeMyHamas assistant editor Ben Cubby, who, days before Hannam’s piece was published, had decided on a new wishful activist narrative for 2015:

    By the way, my observation is that the #climate skeptic movement has crumbled significantly in the past two years. Seriously losing ground.

    My observation, fuckknuckles, is that the CAGW climate hysteria doctrine is on its last legs because it’s anti-scientific nonsense and the politically disengaged proletariat were the first to realise they were being bullshitted to.

    Hannam and Cubby will likely never go to gaol for their role in whipping up public hysteria and defrauding taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars to fill the bank accounts of their good mates in the CAGW industry. They will simply be identified finally as propagandists who sold out the ethics of journalism they were supposed to uphold to lie and cheat and spin for a lost cause, like the worst of journalism’s traitors such as Wilfred Burchett.

  8. Rabz

    This is not journalism. It is quite simply, fact and evidence free rubbish, aimed squarely at ignorant, ahistorical imbeciles.

    BTW, Hannam, you tilty headed twat, Fauxfacts will be extinct long before any of your mythical “climate-change deniers”.

  9. Rabz

    That sentence appears to have been written by ShakeMyHamas assistant editor Ben Cubby

    Thanks, Tom – the cubster is yet another hysterical parodic imbecile.

  10. Lem

    Lem – the signer for the QLD floods was completely absurd. It was actually bizzare they made such an emphasis over it.

    Overseas viewers of Labor Party leaders press conferences must marvel at how many profoundly deaf people there are here, to have to provide such a service.

    If the ALP are the party of fairness, where are all the interpreters for the nonEnglish speakers? Ye Gods, that podium could get crowded.

  11. Frank

    They will simply be identified finally as propagandists who sold out the ethics of journalism they were supposed to uphold to lie and cheat and spin for a lost cause, like the worst of journalism’s traitors such as Wilfred Burchett.

    No, they won’t. They will just go quiet on this and move on to the next thing. This is wholly in keeping with the journalistic ethics they are upholding.

  12. handjive

    It demonstrates that the GreenAbbott government’s environmental policies are even more a mess than the previous GreenLaboUr.

    At least GreenLaboUr didn’t hide behind a facade about their climate agenda.

    Gifting $200M to the UN-IPCC to stop climate change hasn’t stopped greenies blaming the last round of doomsday summer bushfires on Abbott.
    Even less impressed were voters who question the doomsday climate cult.

    Now Abbott appeals to neither.

  13. cohenite

    All it will take is for abbott to lose and for the filth who have their crusty claws around the shrivelled balls of the alp to return to power and then bastards like this will saying crap like this again.

    This turd hannan and the fuckwit cubby are right; AGW is just dozing waiting for abbott to lose.

  14. handjive

    “Oh and the socialistic, Peronist Pope from Argentina is glowingly mentioned, which is marked contrast to the Silly’s treatment of every other issue related to Catholicism”

    Pope Francis: ‘I believe in guardian angels…and everyone should listen to their advice’

    https://www.google.com.au/#q=pope+%22i+believe+in+angels%22

    The 97% certified climate science is now settled. By angels.

  15. Turtle of WA

    Wootton said the most ardent climate change sceptics in his industry tend to be “male, over-70 and cranky”, and that younger farmers – particularly the agronomy students he hosts from the Marcus Oldham College near Geelong – need much less persuasion that the matter is serious.

    In my experience, global warming/climate change belief centres around middle aged people trying to seem young and hip. Many of the most knowledgeable and experienced people are male and over seventy. That they do not need ‘much less persuasion’ is a credit to them. If they are cranky with the young and dumb bothering them with nonsense, they have earned the right. Those 70 year old farmers have a detailed knowledge of their local climate greater that just about any scientist.

    Global Warming belief is strongest among young females who smile a lot. Am I allowed to say that?

  16. cohenite

    Global Warming belief is strongest among young females who smile a lot. Am I allowed to say that?

    I hadn’t noticed the dumb bints smiling much.

  17. Andrew

    Global Warming belief is strongest among young females who smile a lot. Am I allowed to say that?

    Strong form CAGW is most widely believed by 19yo female Arts undergrads. I should bow to this overwhelming argument from authority, even though virtually no one independent (unpaid) and with access to the data believes in it.

  18. stackja

    SMH/Age like most of the MSM are going the way of the dinosaurs.
    Regarding the Pope, God alone knows.

  19. CAGW is most widely believed by 19yo female Arts undergrads

    Strange, since there has been NO Global warming for 18 of their nineteen years.

  20. Turtle of WA

    I hadn’t noticed the dumb bints smiling much.

    Good point Cohenite. I was thinking of Anna Rose, the young believer who did that ABC Climate doco with Nick Minchin. When presented with a logical argument she just stood there with a dumb smile on her face.

    The young female part is true. Just as it is with the ‘ban live exports’ issue.

  21. MartinG

    In the next few weeks, 2014 will likely be declared the hottest year on record globally, beating 2005 and 2010. For Australia, it was the third-warmest behind 2013 and 2005, with only 2011 a below-average year this century.

    The bolded part found in the article is unlikely to be true according to UAH satellite data, also the statement “with only 2011 a below-average year this century” is meaningless because an average becomes a floating value as more data is added. It’s for that reason temperature graphs use an anomalous base line.

    As an aside BoM has now disabled this site ‘http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/cli_var/area_timeseries.pl’ and now expects, as far as I can work out, independent researchers to pay for area rainfall and temperature data.

    This means they can make any statement to the press they like and unless you are willing to pay for it, you have no immediate way of of checking it out.

  22. MartinG

    of of, OMG I’ve developed a stutter.

  23. MartinG

    That’s a poxy link in my last message, try this one.

    Link

  24. Farmer Gez

    Wootton know if his arse was on fire. Sounds like one of the loony organic crowd.

  25. Ros

    Mr Yates
    “The really smart farmers are sowing earlier because it’s warming up,” he said, adding though that wheat may be unviable in his area within 30 years.”

    What Mr Yates had to say in August, The Land, for other farmers,

    Mr Yates has always sown his crops relatively early to avoid the yield being affected by a hot or dry spring, although this subjected his crops to a higher chance of frost damage.

    This year, Mr Yates planted wheat, barley and faba beans on minimal moisture, which had started to cause it to stress.

    “At some stage you have to make a call,” he said.

    “You can put the animals on the crops to try and get them up to weight because at the moment, you’ve got to get them into a feedlot to get any value.”

    So he has always planted early based on his weighing up of the advantages and risks of early or later planting, seemingly not because of climate change. Or farming in Australia as usual.

    Hard not to agree with Turtle. A very different message when offered his moment of fame with the chattering classes.

  26. Ros

    Anb now I am better educated about Mr Wootton. Just another farmer who in passing founded and chairs Climate Institute. no mention that he is a major player in the climate change wars. A geography teacher who bought 10 farms in Victoria, wow. How, well he married a Murdoch, her wealth because Rupert bought her mum out for 200 million, then she inherited another Kantor’s share, left to them to give away. When they are not knowing everything about farming and worrying why the government doesn’t get that droughts are caused by climate change, they are giving money for music to local private schools and having Garrett open.

    I would love to know how these pious rich, he feels it is wrong to have lots of money but not work hard, treat the peasants in their fiefdom of Hamilton. His pronouncements leave little doubt he is a man of great importance, intelligence and of course good.

    Don’t really get PH’ point, but certainly get that a man who has promoted himself for many years thanks to Murdoch’s wealth is being presented as a humble farmer yet doing great things that other farmers aren’t.

    Anyone know how successful jigsaw farms is, as a business.

  27. Boambee John

    “Rabz
    #1557634, posted on January 4, 2015 at 10:05 am
    This is not journalism. It is quite simply, fact and evidence free rubbish, aimed squarely at ignorant, ahistorical imbeciles.”

    “ignorant, ahistorical imbeciles”:

    That would be the core Fauxfacts/ABC audience, then!

  28. rocks

    Peter Hannam is a living illustration of Wendy Bacon inspired post normal journalism

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