Say no more

Further to James Paterson’s comment (see below),  an example of government funded university research.

Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship


Project Title: Moving with dignity: a human rights approach to slow-onset climate change-related displacement and relocation in the Pacific.

Duration: 2011-2015

Total Funding: $814,913

Project Summary: At the international, regional and national levels, climate change-related displacement poses a significant challenge to law and policymakers. This project examines potential legal responses to displacement resulting from slow-onset climate change and, in particular, the feasibility of en-masse relocation of whole communities in the Pacific.

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43 Responses to Say no more

  1. C.L. says:

    My one hope for this project is that it can help Tim Flannery move with dignity from his waterfront compound.

  2. Biota says:

    en-masse relocation does not follow slow-onset climate change

  3. Milton Von Smith says:

    $814,913??? What the???

  4. C.L. says:

    en-masse relocation does not follow slow-onset climate change

    Good point.

    But you can’t get 800 large for a study on how to manage the re-settlement of old Sammy Whalebone who lives out on the point in a shack.

  5. ar says:

    How much for anti-waddling lessons? Can they get Gillard to move with dignity?

  6. ken n says:

    As I understand it (explained by Steve Keen) it costs about $100,000 a year to buy an academic out of teaching. I gather the rule of thumb is the salary package plus 20% handling fee to the university.
    So $800K is roughly only two academics freed from teaching for four years.
    I wonder how many university academics these days do no teaching?

  7. Jack says:

    I thought wall street was doing the looting. Where can I sign up for my research grant. For that sort of money I’ll speed it up to fast-onset climate change.
    See, this is what you catallaxians don’t understand. In the magical world of Canberra, where money grows on trees, a $1m research grant is the benchmark against which upto $40/hr for wait staff is cheap…what are the peasants complaining about ?

  8. Peter Patton says:

    This particular – and HUGE – ARC grant is an example of why I find the idea of academic law scholarship/research to be batty. And once they go off-piste – as in this project – the results are cringe-inducing.

    How corrupt has our society become, when vested interests can screw nearly $1 million out of taxpayers to give to university law lecturer, so s/he can write a report on “human dignity” mixed in with the carbon cycle, atmospheric physics, and so on?

  9. boy on a bike says:

    en-masse migration = that explains the Maldives needing a new $50 million air port.

  10. val majkus says:

    Jo Nova has a post which is relevant
    I’ve made a few comments there but the most relevant to this post is:
    Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus
    Richard S. Lindzen

    I must state at the outset, that, as a scientist, I can find no substantive basis for the warming scenarios being popularly described. Moreover, according to many studies I have read by economists, agronomists, and hydrologists, there would be little difficulty adapting to such warming if it were to occur. Such was also the conclusion of the recent National Research Council’s report on adapting to global change. Many aspects of the catastrophic scenario have already been largely discounted by the scientific community. For example, fears of massive sea-level increases accompanied many of the early discussions of global warming, but those estimates have been steadily reduced by orders of magnitude, and now it is widely agreed that even the potential contribution of warming to sea-level rise would be swamped by other more important factors.

    Such weak predictions feed and contribute to what I have already described as a societal instability that can cascade the most questionable suggestions of danger into major political responses with massive economic and social consequences. I have already discussed some of the reasons for this instability: the existence of large cadres of professional planners looking for work, the existence of advocacy groups looking for profitable causes, the existence of agendas in search of saleable rationales, and the ability of many industries to profit from regulation, coupled with an effective neutralization of opposition. It goes almost without saying that the dangers and costs of those economic and social consequences may be far greater than the original environmental danger. That becomes especially true when the benefits of additional knowledge are rejected and when it is forgotten that improved technology and increased societal wealth are what allow society to deal with environmental threats most effectively. The control of societal instability may very well be the real challenge facing us.

    That’s a cut and paste of the lead in para and the conclusion
    Sound familiar? Remember it’s written in 1992

  11. Simon says:

    Wow $800k to come up with a boat, a map and a refugee camp, if you want dignity pay for these kooks yourselves islanders.

  12. JakartaJaap says:

    With a ‘Wink, wink’ here and a ‘nudge, nudge’ there. How does one get in on The Giggle, The Laugh? That’s serious lunch money they’re talking about.

  13. Occam's Blunt Razor says:

    I’d liek to conduct a long-time series study of the effects of climate change on Rottnest Island, WA.

    Where do i apply?

  14. MichaelC58 says:

    Words fail me. But then they already failed me on the NBN.

    Any chance of Australian businesses and individuals getting together and refusing to pay tax this year?
    Can the ATO prosecute most businesses and hundreds of thousands of individuals for social disobedience?
    Jail thousands of individuals?
    Of course, I am not encouraging anyone to break any law, just asking…

  15. papachango says:

    I’d liek to conduct a long-time series study of the effects of climate change on Rottnest Island, WA

    Why confine yourself to Rotto? It’s all these idyllic coral atolls in the South pacfic thata re supposedly going to be flooded, so book yourself a cruise ship… besides more chance of getting grant funding if it’s non-western people being ‘oppressed’ by the rich Western ‘polluting’ countries.

  16. . says:

    This would be hilarious.

    If even a large minority of taxpayers withheld tax, it could force the Government to cut back.

    Is it illegal to encourage this sort of thing?

    Personally I prefer the approach of setting up a charity devoted to doing the work of tax agents for free and even being a resource for tax agents.

    We ought to aim for cultural change.

  17. Occam's Blunt Razor says:

    papachango – the islands of the Andaman sea would be quite nice.

  18. cohenite says:

    Government grants to the academic parasites of AGW, in 2009, about $300 million:

    Look at the familiar names.

    Yet when you go to a pro-AGW ‘chatsite’ and don’t show the requisite deference these bludging dickheads affect a superior attitude.

    Pickering is still the best and this one sums up this country under the green and the ALP sluts:

  19. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    The sort of politically-inspired hand-out is just par for the course in a lot of current university research funding; nothing to see here guys, move along now.

  20. conrad says:

    I must admit that despite all the whining here, I don’t see the problem with it. It is in fact a very directed project which tackles an issue very likely to confront Australia in the future that wouldn’t be picked up elsewhere (c.f., developing nanotubes with carbon bucky balls…).

    If he/she can offer reasonable suggestions as to what’s legal and what isn’t, it could well save the government a fortune in money as well provide a reasonable direction for future policy. How much, for example, did the Malaysia solution alone cost? Given it went to court etc. just to get rejected, my bet is millions.

  21. val majkus says:

    the sinking Maldives which haven’t sunk

    I think the Malaysian solution cost about $75M

    I posted a comment yesterday which outlined that cost

  22. cohenite says:

    Conrad, what a confused post; you say “an issue very likely to confront Australia in the future”; what issue is that; inundation with bucky balls?

    As for what’s legal; that would be everything we’re prepared to put up with.

  23. conrad says:

    “I think the Malaysian solution cost about $75M”

    So a little bit of forethought from what would be a rather expensive expert probably isn’t a bad idea then.

    “what issue is that”

    Having lots of Pacific Islanders wanting to move here. Presumably a rather relevant issue for a number of reasons. There are already islands sinking in the Pacific incidentally (and over-population also).

    “As for what’s legal; that would be everything we’re prepared to put up with.”

    Unfortunately big-talk doesn’t necessarily get you or the government anywhere on many issues (alternatively, it seems to get the High Court much futher).

  24. cohenite says:

    “There are already islands sinking in the Pacific incidentally”

    Name one.

  25. val majkus says:

    conrad to my mind the problem with the grant is its perceived purpose

    At the international, regional and national levels, climate change-related displacement poses a significant challenge to law and policymakers.

    this presupposes that AGW will result in significant sea level rises and that certainly doesn’t look like happening; so far as I’m aware sea level has remained remarkably static notwithstanding all the alarmism about its imminence

    Cohenite will know more than I
    but to ease your fears check out this post

  26. val majkus says:

    and to ease Conrad’s fears

    by Vincent R. Gray | August 16, 2010
    The SEAFRAME sea-level study on 12 Pacific islands is the most comprehensive study of sea level and local climate ever carried out there. The sea level records obtained have all been assessed by the anonymous authors of the official reports as indicating positive trends in sea level over all 12 Pacific Islands involved since the study began in 1993 until the latest report in June 2010. In almost all cases the positive upward trends depend almost exclusively on the depression of the ocean in 1997 and 1998 caused by two tropical cyclones. If these and other similar disturbances are ignored, almost all of the islands have shown negligible change in sea level from 1993 to 2010, particularly after the installation of GPS levelling equipment in 2000.

  27. conrad says:

    Sea levels are increasing: e.g.,

    “Name one.”

    Tuvalu (see Patel, S. S. 2006. A sinking feeling Nature 440:734-736)

    Note that they’re already talking to Australia apparently about all moving here.

  28. val majkus says:

    I do recall there was a recent article about a sand dune island off the Australian coast (Australian territory)

    does anyone have any recollection about that? Cohenite?

  29. conrad says:

    Yes, I’ve seen that Val. If you read through that debate, it’s not ALL islands, and furthermore some are growing in ways that arn’t very helpful (i.e., mass that isn’t habitable).

  30. val majkus says:

    AND one of the world’s foremost sea experts
    Nils-Axel Mörner was head of paleogeophysics and geodynamics at Stockholm University (1991-2005), president of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution (1999-2003), leader of the Maldives sea level project (2000-11), chairman of the INTAS project on geomagnetism and climate (1997-2003).
    Apocalyptic warnings that islands such as the Maldives will sink beneath the waves are “nonsense,” says Nils-Axel Mörner, former head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. Any rise in sea levels has to do with natural historic fluctuations.

    At this year’s climate conference in Durban, South Africa, Mohammed Nasheed, President of the Maldives, warned that his country was ‘an island nation that may slip beneath the waves if all this talk on climate does not lead to action soon’.

    ‘We are drowning, our nation will disappear, we have to relocate the people,’ Nasheed repeatedly claims.

    “If this is what President Nasheed believes, it seems strange that he has authorised the building of many large waterside hotels and 11 new airports,” says Mörner. “Or could it perhaps be that he wants to take a cut of the $30 billion fund agreed at an accord in Copenhagen for the poorest nations hit by ‘global warming’?”

  31. entropy says:

    Conrd, even if the prediction sin seal level rise a true, the issue they are studying is “slow-onset climate change-related displacement and relocation

    Under what slow -onset climate change would there end up being a migration problem? Are the researchers suggesting that the citizens of an island capable of supporting, say, 10,000 people are going to wake up one day and discover that they have ignored 50 years of slowly rising sea levels and suddenly discovered they are thirty cm underwater?

    I can answer their research question immediately: There are no legal or human rights implications: the population will leave slowly, one family at a time, to be absorbed by the country(ies) to which they immigrate. This rate of migration would be indistinguishable from the current rate of emigration.

    That will be $800,000 please.

  32. entropy says:

    The only scenario that could have a mass migration scenario is if nothing happened until the island was devastated by a major storm, a la stradbroke island a century ago that then become north and south straddie.

    Then the citizens would be evacuated and given accommodation, with every benefit to those that have lost everything. The PM might even welcome them off the plane with a hug and a kiss*.

    * I admit I was envisaging Howard or maybe Rudd pulling that one off: I doubt Gillard could manage it with any sincerity

  33. cohenite says:

    Sea level, Pacific Island generally:

    Tuvalu specifically:


    The WUWT post discusses the Houston and Dean paper and the attempt by Rahmstorf and Veneer to smear H&D’s paper which must be regarded as definitive given their rebuttal of the half-baked critique by Rahmstorf and Veneer; H&D show general deceleration of sea level rise and conclude:

    “The important conclusion of our study is not that the data sets we analyze display small sea-level decelerations, but that accelerations, whether negative or positive (we reference studies that found small positive accelerations), are quite small. To reach the multimeter levels projected for 2100 by RV requires large positive accelerations that are one to two orders of magnitude greater than those yet observed in sea-level data.”

    The idea that sea level rise is unusal or caused by AGW, or is threatening any islands is typical scare-mongering.

  34. conrad says:

    “the population will leave slowly, one family at a time, to be absorbed by the country(ies) to which they immigrate”

    Where and how? Especially because the population of many of these places is increasing — sure they’re emmigrating, but that doesn’t mean many are stuck there still and there won’t be more than now in 30 years.

    Thus, whilst we can argue about the science all day (I don’t really care nor know enough about to evaluate it all), many peopole think this is a problem, it’s a problem related directly to Australia’s interests, and something worthwhile thinking about (especially from legal experts) even if they come to the same conclusion as you.

  35. . says:

    Tuvalu is sinking at 0.07 mm per year. Who cares?

    “A tide gauge to measure sea level has been in existence at Tuvalu since 1977, run by the University of Hawaii It showed a negligible increase of only 0.07 mm per year over two decades It fell three millimeters between 1995 and 1999.”

    This is a non issue.

  36. val majkus says:

    Thanks cohenite, I think that’s settled then

  37. val majkus says:

    BTW Tim Blair had a recent post
    Just hurry up and sink already. The complainiest islands in all of the Indian Ocean are at it again:

    The President of what could be the first country in the world lost to climate change has urged Australia to prepare for a mass wave of climate refugees seeking a new place to live.

    The Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed, said his government was considering Australia as a possible new home if the tiny archipelago disappears beneath rising seas.

    ‘’It is increasingly becoming difficult to sustain the islands, in the natural manner that these islands have been,’’ he told the Herald in an interview in Male, the Maldives capital.

    Then he attended a ceremony to mark the construction of a new airport. President Nasheed has more urgent problems than a few little waves:

    An epidemic of cheap heroin has swept through the archipelago, but taken root in Male in particular. The UN has estimated 40 per cent of the country’s youth use hard drugs.

    Nasheed, a Muslim as the Maldives constitution obliges all Maldivians to be, also faces a rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism. Wahhabist Islamic scholars, most schooled in madrassas in Pakistan, are radicalising Islam in the Maldives.

    Female circumcision is practised, and is reportedly on the increase, across the archipelago. There are calls for the return of amputation for crimes and for the banning of music and dancing. Women are flogged for having extra-marital sex.

    This “global warming” we sometimes hear about … any chance of speeding it up?

  38. entropy says:

    Conrad, many people think it is a problem as they assume that one day the population of a large island will wake up one day and find the water lapping over the tops of their gumboots. But with something like a rising sea level, that isn’t what happens. It’s not like a flood: it would be so gradual that it is only something you would realise over a lifetime (or two). Some would recognise it early on, and leave, others would take a little longer; and others will never leave, even to the extent of living in stilt houses.

    My argument is that for the islands in question, the standard emigration routes will be used: via NZ, and family reunion. The general population of this country would never notice it.

    The exceptional event scenario does not need climate change to happen, but that case they would all have to come at once, and would be welcomed and looked after, just like genuine refugees they are.

    But that is a practical outcome, and actually what happens to the people isn’t the real interest of the researchers. This project is more likely trying to quantify what punitive damages might look like, and find a way to stick it to whitey, as they know damn well the Chinese wouldn’t give a stuff.

  39. Lazlo says:

    “(I don’t really care nor know enough about to evaluate it all)”

    Which means you are talking bullshit. These islands are not being innundated.

    The underlying premis for the $800K of our money being spent is bullshit.

    But that’s fine by you because it is in support of the Green/Left narrative.

    Intellectual (and probably emotional) dwarf..

  40. conrad says:

    “Which means you are talking bullshit.”

    No, I’m just willing to admit I’m not an expert on everything. Obviously you are an expert on the area, as many people here seem to be. What an amazing place.

    Entropy, I understand your point. As I haven’t read the grant (I only have the 200 character characeter or whatever the limit is now), I’m just saying that it doesn’t look too bad to me — and since it needs to get through a panel of around 6 experts, I doubt it’s too bad.

  41. conrad says:

    I should say Entropy, that even if you are completely correct, I don’t see this something bad — looking at legal implications and immigration policies for family reunion etc. (and the effects of these) seems like a reasonable thing to me. It might seem simplistic at one level, but it seems reasonable to believe you could do a very detail and very useful analysis of it, both in terms of its legal implications and its effect with different policy assumptions.

  42. dover_beach says:

    But this is something that could be done by existing staff in A-G and the like with 1/20th of the funding. This example constitutes waste precisely because it provides funding to a project that could or would be completed anyway.

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