David Leyonhjelm guest post. Gaping hole in greenhouse gas emissions

Imagine a librarian sitting in the corner of her library, wishing that her noisy library was quiet. But the only thing she does to make this happen is to be quiet herself.

There might be dozens of people scattered around the library, but she wouldn’t try to work out where the noise was coming from. Nor would she ask the noisy patrons to keep it down, perhaps by persuading them of the benefits of a quiet library.

She would simply sit in her corner, quietly telling herself she was doing the right thing and setting a good example.

This recipe for frustration and failure is akin to Australia’s approach to greenhouse gas emissions. While we sit in our corner of the world, promising ourselves to reduce our emissions over the decade ahead, the rest of the world increases its emissions.

Even using the rosiest projections, just the increase in global emissions will be double Australia’s total emissions in the decade ahead. So even if Australia disappeared — twice — global emissions would still rise.

It’s as if the librarian sewed her lips together, yet still the noise in the library became deafening.

If we were genuinely concerned about global emissions, a good start would surely be to establish which countries are set to increase their emissions, particularly if those countries are already big emitters.

In Senate Estimates, I have been asking the bureaucrats in Canberra about the projected emissions of big emitters over the coming decade. Anyone who thinks climate change is our greatest moral challenge would have found the replies disappointing.

The bureaucrats didn’t know the projected emissions of the big emitters. Many of the world’s biggest emitters haven’t bothered to advise the rest of the world how much their emissions are expected to rise over the coming decade. And it seems Australia has not only failed to seek an answer to this basic question but has also not made its own projections.

Others estimate that China, whose annual emissions in recent years were nearly 12 gigatonnes, might come close to doubling its emissions over the next decade. India, whose annual emissions have recently exceeded 3 gigatonnes, might double its emissions too. And countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, each with much bigger annual emissions than Australia’s half a gigatonne, also fail to report their likely emission increases.

And it seems, at least from outward appearances, that our governments and bureaucrats don’t care.

It’s as if our librarian won’t even wander the aisles to see who the noisiest patrons are. Or perhaps she secretly thinks the patrons have a right to make as much noise as they want. Yet, if this is the case, the library is destined to be noisy and it is pointless for the librarian to take a vow of silence herself.

The greenhouse effect is a global phenomenon. We don’t have big screens at our borders keeping Australia’s emissions in and China or India’s emissions out. Emissions from any one country swirl around the globe. If anything is to be done about the greenhouse effect, it has to involve the major emitters. It is quite pointless for Australia to reduce its emissions unless they do too.

It is farcical that Australia is engaged in an acrimonious debate about which side of politics is doing enough to combat climate change. Australia’s commitments, no matter what anyone thinks of them, are quite pointless unless they are conditional on action by the world’s big emitters.

And of course, the big emitters are barely even aware of Australia’s efforts, let alone influenced by them.

Nonetheless, the cost of implementing Australia’s commitments is far from trivial. We have world record electricity prices and a precarious supply situation as a result of policies discouraging new fossil-fuels-based generation. Thousands of jobs in energy-intensive industries are heading overseas and even more depend on whether we develop or expand coal mines.

And despite being opposed to a carbon tax, on Monday the Coalition Government committed $2bn of taxpayer’s funds to paying emitters to emit less than some hypothetical benchmark. The money, naturally enough, will come from tax revenue.

Debating Australia’s emissions policy while ignoring what is happening in the rest of the world is nonsensical. And it is made worse by the fact that our experts in Canberra, who recommend policy to the government, are barely even aware of what else is happening in the world.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

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31 Responses to David Leyonhjelm guest post. Gaping hole in greenhouse gas emissions

  1. Mark M

    German industry eyes massive imports of ‘solar fuels’ from Australia

    “Power-to-X is a broad term referring to the transformation of electricity into synthetic gases – such as hydrogen, methane or other gases and liquids, according to the European Commission.

    “Probably the most powerful driver will be the transport sector,” Rolle told journalists during a visit to Brussels last week, saying the heaviest users of synthetic fuels are expected in aviation and shipping, where electrification is not yet feasible, especially for long distances.”


  2. Iva Right

    Australia is the canary in the mine!

  3. Arky

    Imagine a librarian sitting in the corner of her library,

    Is she a hot librarian? Why is she hanging out in an anecdote by a libertarian loser?

  4. Arky

    If you are going to start a story with a hot librarian in her library you have to take it somewhere other than some stupid shit about greenhouse gases.

  5. Arky

    Is she going to gay marry another hot librarian or sponser a well- endowed reffo bloke?
    There are so many better ways you could tell this story.

  6. Arky

    The greenhouse effect is a global phenomenon.

    No you dumb arse.
    The greenhouse effect is a load of crap designed to de- industrialise the West.
    Hence their lack of interest in anyone else’s emmissions.

  7. David L does not say what emissions he is talking about. Is it the emission of farts. Of course that emission from China and India is large. They both have over a billion (ie 1000 million) people in comparison to Australia with 25 million. If he is talking about CO2 then again India & China are big emitters. Every person has about 5% CO2 in the breath they exhale. On the other hand CO2 is necessary for plants to grow so China and India are contributing the the greening of the planet. Is that the reason CO2 is regarded as a greenhouse gas? It can easily be shown that CO2 has no affect on atmospheric temperatures. For a start measurements ( for a single day, over seasons, over cycles of 60 years and cycles of 800 to 1000years ) have shown that changes in CO2 lag changes in temperature- ie temperatures drives CO2 not the opposite claimed by alarmists and scammers. Governments should be considering economic outcomes not supporting those liars who want keep people in poverty and create more poverty.

  8. RobK

    Perhaps if the librarian was sitting in a smokey bar….
    Vaping 🙂 , under the massive No Smoking sign and playing with a pack of nicorettes.
    Hmm. Its very hard to find an analogy for the stupidity of trying to mitigate the CO2 conjecture.

  9. J.H.

    Is this librarian wearing panties underneath her conservative, sensible clothing?…. are her CO2 emissions going up in short little hot gasps?

    Catastrophic CO2 warming is an utter fantasy…… But Hawt librarians are a better one. 😉

  10. struth

    Only western countries cause climate change and only western borders must come down.
    I wondercwhat that could all be about.
    Well I don’t, but DL seems to be scratching his head.

  11. jupes

    Well I think the librarian analogy is a good one.

    Would have liked to have seen DL questioning the clueless bureaucrats over this too. I imagine they would have reacted like that brainless bint over the man-hours question linked to earlier.

  12. tgs.

    Great article DL.

    Lol @ arky the autist.

  13. Herodotus

    The hysteria has now evolved into unquestionable dogma, and by arguing about emissions we fall into line.
    Too much ground has been surrendered. But if we must play emission games, the formerly surrendered ground of new hydro (not pumped) and new nuclear have to be retaken.
    Anything less is craven surrender.

  14. egg_

    German industry eyes massive imports of ‘solar fuels’ from Australia

    Isn’t that sequestered sunlight?

  15. Mark M

    “The greenhouse effect is a global phenomenon.”

    “The greenhouse effect” is political fraud and BS.

    Show one greenhouse that regularly catches fire because of CO2:

    If carbon dioxide is so bad for the planet, why do greenhouse growers buy CO2 generators to double plant growth?

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    There is no noise in the library, it’s all imaginary noise in the librarian’s head.

    Real world temperature has not risen for over 20 years. I say “real world” because the temperature data reported by the climatista-captured government agencies has apparently risen – but strangely the snow extent trend remains unchanged. How exactly can the global temperature rise yet the area of the Earth at or below zero degrees Celcius stays unchanged?

    The answer is it can’t. Temperature has not changed, except for swings either side of the average. What has changed is the bias which the climatistas have been sneaking into their data. We saw this last month with BoM’s latest temperature dataset.

    Snow extent ignores temperature adjustments. It melts at zero C. That is an unchangeable constant. Snow extent is easy to measure directly by reading a satellite photo. So it needs no arcane adjustments.

    Therefore since there is no actual increase in global temperature there is no global warming occurring at the moment – despite rapid increase in CO2. How can that be? It means that most of the global warming last century was due to natural cyclical processes not CO2, and that CO2’s real world effect is too small to be dangerous.

    Pandering to the fraudsters by imposing any CO2 emission controls is therefore immoral. We should immediately cease all “climate change” efforts except for sensible actions unrelated to CO2, like flood and drought mitigation.

    That is what the real world data is saying. Men may lie but the Earth does what it does. Thermageddon is not happening. The sky is not falling.

  17. Australia – The Stupid Country.

  18. Mark M

    It’s not nobel prize winning ‘science’ of the Al Gore schoolin’ …

    by William Happer
    June 2011


    The Trump Train. Get onboard, Mr Australian Senator, it’s a winner.

  19. Eyrie

    Is Leyonhjelm too silly to realise that Co2 emissions don’t matter. I think any mention of this failed CO2/climate change conjecture be met with a brutal and brusque dismissal of the idea.

  20. Biota

    Ah, but the learned Judge said the big emissions problem is made up of lotsa seemingly insignificant little bits. On that score our attention to detail will be effective- not.

  21. Old Irrelevant me

    If ever you wish to get serious about climate change then do it in 45 millennia when we are due for another Ice Age. Using coal then to drive carbon up to 800 to 1000ppm could very well avoid a snowball Earth. Between now and then what ever power usage you choose, please lets only accept baseload power sources. That will mean the windfarm must go to a storage place first before entering the grid, how much is stored will determine how much we can have to provide it over 24hours. Solar farms the same. Me I say don’t accept any power unless they can provide it 24/7 and are prepared to put in the infrastructure to do so. Then we’ll see how much they can provide it for and at what price our usage is likely to be. You can put the trees back that you took over the last 200 odd years but then you will have to wait about 300 years for them to mature. Me I’m unlikely to see any solution arrive in my lifetime. But we do like to post on the subject.

  22. Old Irrelevant me

    Hold on that 25 millennia in not 45 we’re already 20 in.

  23. dover_beach

    Arky is right, terrible analogy, but on the substance, DL is dead right.

  24. Petros

    The people who need to read this won’t. Therein lies the problem.

  25. Yes, on substance DL is correct.
    But he puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable!
    Forget EMISSIONS.
    CO2 has NOTHING to do with the weather.
    In fact, human beings do no affect atmospheric CO2, either.
    That is the argument that will turn this religious juggernaut around.

  26. Entropy

    The bureaucrats didn’t know the projected emissions of the big emitters. Many of the world’s biggest emitters haven’t bothered to advise the rest of the world how much their emissions are expected to rise over the coming decade. And it seems Australia has not only failed to seek an answer to this basic question but has also not made its own projections.

    As I recall:
    When the Kyoto Protocol was being set up ABARE with Brian Fisher at the helm it tried to do that. In fact it went even further and demonstrated the economic impact of likely emissions targets of the various signatories. No surprise that the collapse of the eastern bloc, Kyoto and its 1990 starting date was projected to do little to the Euro “umbrella” of countries, and most harm to the US and Australia ( although we weren’t targeted, just collateral damage). ABARE was of course pilloried for this sin by the greens, sit ins and all, and then subjected to a Liz Jackson hit piece on 4 corners.

    Lesson learned and it hasn’t been done since.

    On forward to Ross Garnsult and the design of the CPRS. The key assumption was we had to do something to get in front of a global trading scheme that was inevitable for implementation by 2016. No sensitivity analysis was allowed. It was explicitly Not Allowed. So no alternative scenario where there was no global ETS by 2016 for example was considered in the analysis.
    The Photios faction, sorry, “moderates” of the LNP are part of the same zeitgeist. Don’t explore anything that might call into question your goals.

  27. A logical extension of DL’s opinion on the matter of global CO2 emissions is that if the big emitters agree to fvck up their economies, then DL is perfectly fine to fvck up ours.
    Is that about right DL?

    DL is a senator. The senate is where all the oversight happens. How about DL do his job and expose the fraud that’s being perpetuated by the BoM, CSIRO and the modelling numpties at Melbourne University (A big hello to our chief modeller David Karoly. How are you, you lying sack of shit?)

    Oh by the way, on the science of greenhouse hypothesis?
    Water in all it’s forms is what drives the climate. The Sun provides the energy for a planet that is evaporatively cooled.
    Water keeps our winters warmer than otherwise, and keeps our summers cooler than otherwise. That’s why we don’t suffer the extremes that our Moon does, even though we are essentially the same distance from the Sun.
    CO2 has nothing to do with it while there is ample water.

  28. John A

    The money, naturally enough, will come from tax revenue.

    The only question is will they be our taxes or our grandchildren’s?

  29. Cec R

    In developing a theory to explain the ice ages, Arrhenius, in 1896, was the first to use basic principles of physical chemistry to calculate estimates of the extent to which increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) will increase Earth’s surface temperature through the greenhouse effect. These calculations led him to conclude that human-caused CO2 emissions, from fossil-fuel burning and other combustion processes, are large enough to cause global warming. This conclusion has been extensively tested, winning a place at the core of modern climate science. Arrhenius, in this work, built upon the prior work of other famous scientists, including Joseph Fourier, John Tyndall and Claude Pouillet.

    Arrhenius wanted to determine whether greenhouse gases could contribute to the explanation of the temperature variation between glacial and inter-glacial periods. Arrhenius used infrared observations of the moon — by Frank Washington Very and Samuel Pierpont Langley at the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh — to calculate how much of infrared (heat) radiation is captured by CO2 and water (H2O) vapour in Earth’s atmosphere. Using ‘Stefan’s law’ (better known as the Stefan–Boltzmann law), he formulated what he referred to as a ‘rule’. In its original form, Arrhenius’s rule reads as follows:

    If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.

    Here, Arrhenius refers to CO2 as carbonic acid (which refers only to the aqueous form H2CO3 in modern usage). The following formulation of Arrhenius’s rule is still in use today:

    {\displaystyle \Delta F=\alpha \ln(C/C_{0})} \Delta F=\alpha \ln(C/C_{0})
    where {\displaystyle C_{0}} C_{0} is the concentration of CO2 at the beginning (time-zero) of the period being studied (if the same concentration unit is used for both {\displaystyle C} C and {\displaystyle C_{0}} C_{0}, then it doesn’t matter which concentration unit is used); {\displaystyle C} C is the CO2 concentration at end of the period being studied; ln is the natural logarithm (= log base e (loge)); and {\displaystyle \Delta F} \Delta F is the augmentation of the temperature, in other words the change in the rate of heating Earth’s surface (radiative forcing), which is measured in joules of heat energy per second, per square meter — a joule per second is one watt. Derivations from atmospheric radiative transfer models have found that {\displaystyle \alpha } \alpha (alpha) for CO2 is 5.35 (+/- 10%) for Earth’s atmosphere.

  30. Thomas Ray

    Maybe it is because 97% of scientists agree. LOL

    What an ignorant article. While I agree that it is idiotic to go this alone, it is a fool that becomes Don Quixote and doesn’t understand what is going on with this sham.

    Go clean coal and nuclear!!!

  31. Thomas Ray

    German industry eyes massive imports of ‘solar fuels’ from Australia

    Isn’t that sequestered sunlight?

    Egg, I assume that Kevin Rudd and his sunshine emitting backside are being exported to Germany? Thank goodness for that.

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