Malcolm Turnbull: climate change (apd) and (massively reduced) living standards

For some time I have argued that the foundation of policy in response to climate change (apd) is to reduce living standards. Evidently, when per capita “Australian emissions” (of CO2?) equal those of China and India, Malcolm Turnbull will be content. A number of critics of western governments’ obsession with climate change (apd) have held that the object is to reduce the possibility of rising living standards in the developing world. This always seemed a somewhat forced line of reasoning. To the degree that it was true, it also held for people of the west whose living standards, as Mr. Turnbull makes abundantly clear (and as have many before him) must reduce greatly. Anybody arguing for renewable forms of electricity generation have that as their starting point.

Then, too, Mr. Turnbull holds the old furphy that sceptics of means—presumably he includes scientists such as Richard Lindzen—simply endeavour to maintain the filthy sources of their wealth. Thus:

Mr Turnbull said parties with vested interests were trying to muddy the waters on climate science to prolong the export of coal, comparing their actions to tobacco companies discrediting the connection between smoking and lung cancer.

Some may do so; there’s always someone. Otherwise the claim is outrageous. It tells, again, of the pitiful state of Australian political and intellectual life. One should make mention, at this point, of the rent-seekers pursuing so-called renewable energy.

And contrary to this particular best friend of the ABC, this is an ideological issue for it is about remaking the world in which we live, mostly with a view to stamping out the human frailties that have resulted in climate change (apd). Contrary, too, to the ABC (AM and radio news), Mr. Turnbull appears not to have defended the science of climate change (apd). Rather he implicitly denies the right of Liberals—for starters—to ponder arguments of sceptics, what he reviles as denial. Science represents a monopoly of truth, what Bob Hawke used to call consensus.

In that context he is right to observe that the Liberal Party offers no substantial alternative to the government in the race to reduce living standards not only of those least able to manage but of the great majority of the population.

He also offers a false argument, or rather creates degree a straw man by which to indulge his want of curiosity. Opponents of the carbon tax, he said, would castigate a Liberal government no less than they do the incumbents. In short:

[T]he opponents of the science of climate change will be criticising that expenditure as pointless and wasteful with as much vehemence as they are currently denouncing Julia Gillard’s carbon tax. . . .

I mentioned a few days ago the public is piling a great deal onto the phrase “Julia lied”. Evidently Mr. Turnbull has failed to recognise this. He assumes that criticism of the carbon tax is based on the public’s perception of the science of climate change (apd). No doubt that is a part of it. Even so, the great bulk of the criticism is that the Prime Minister lied in order to win re-election.

No effort at parsing events and statements can change that. It provides the essence of the current political climate. If the government has not the courage of its convictions—even with the collaboration of numerous Liberal Members of Parliament such as Malcolm Turnbull—then it may expect to pay a very heavy price in future time. What form that price may take remains to be seen. At present the public is encountering the very heavy head winds of parliamentary despotism, despotism supported by the media which, much to its chagrin no doubt, has found itself heaping fuel onto the fire by its own overt support of the ideology and implicit support of the government.

Bear in mind that no branch of Australian media questions climate change (apd), least of all The Australian (although that paper has, apparently, ignored Mr. Turnbull’s speech). Look at the language of any article; one or two op-eds a year change nothing even if they are too much for true believers for whom absolute control of the debate is reckoned a proper duty. The political outlook is most discouraging.

Which brings us briefly to the NBN. In short what proportion of the public will be able to afford an internet connection when the entire system is controlled by a government monopoly? The great attraction for government and, it seems, opposition, is to stifle even the possibility of dissent. Like smoking, stamp it out by means of price.

Update:  “Tony Abbott says he and Malcolm Turnbull are at one on climate change.” If so, then the Liberal Party is irrelevant, at least on this issue—and probably well beyond. They could fight an election on the government’s apparent determination to terminate the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. meanwhile mark Colvin of the ABC makes the absurd claim that “The former Opposition leader gave a strong defence of climate change science last night”. He did nothing of the sort. Instead he denied that citizens here (0r elsewhere for that matter) have a right to question the so-called “science” of climate change (apd—which he fails to acknowledge).

 

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