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back to article 'Climate change is like Y2k!' - Oz senator

The Australian government's debate about climate change and carbon pricing has taken a turn for the silly. The government's bill to repeal the country's price on carbon is stalled in the senate, to the frustration of the government, which led to this (as reported by AAP via the Murdoch press): “Liberal senator Ian Macdonald has …

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Y2Kyoto

AL GORE is my shepherd; I shall not think.

He maketh me lie down in Greenzi pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still-freezing waters.

He selleth my soul for CO2:

He leadeth me in the paths of self-righteousness for his own sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of reason,

I will fear all logic: for thou art with me and thinking for me;

Thy Gore’s family oil fortune and thy 10,000 square Gorey foot mansion, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a movie in the presence of contradictory evidence:

Thou anointest mine head with nonsense; my mindless conformity runneth over.

Surely blind faith and hysteria shall follow me all the days of my life:and I will dwell in the house of ALGORE forever.

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EJ

If you really want to impress me, sit in your car in an enclosed garage for 30 minutes, then emerge and tell me how unrealistic a threat pollution emissions are.

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WTF?

I hate it when people go on about a Y2K hoax. I worked for an airline and we spent a lot of time and money making sure there was no issue. As part of our testing at the start of the project we mocked up an airport with check in counters, baggage handling, display boards etc. Then let the clock tick over to 1 January 2000. People couldn't check in, display boards showed the wrong flights. bags went to the wrong gates. All because the systems thought that it was a Monday and not a Saturday.

We then fixed all the issues ahead of the 1 January deadline and then spent the evening monitoring all the systems across Asia making sure that everything was working. Finally got back to the hotel around 6am after everything had checked out.

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Mushroom

Y2K nearly destroyed my marriage

I was working as a contractor in bank at the time and for 18 months I was fly in and fly out 12 hour plus days replacing the old system with one that was Y2K compliant. I even ended up riding shotgun when it went live waiting for the first ATM/EFTPOS transactions to start flowing. I ended up having to do a patch on the live production system, THAT was scary!

It totally stuffed me, but at least I ended up with an awesome amount of frequent flier points and help with a good holiday.

Tools like this senator have no idea and it is extremely dangerous that these idiots get elected.

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Happy

Re: Y2K nearly destroyed my marriage

lucky sod. All I got was a little overtime and the joy of watching nothing happen multiple times as I logged into servers around the world at 23:55 local time. Nothing like staggering home in the middle of the first day of a new millenium reeling sober with fatigue. At least some old servers got needed upgrades, which I suspect covered much of the reason for new hardware. Just happened to be Y2K compliant also.

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I was at Mrs Macquarie's Chair with a perfect view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The biggest Y2K concern in the assembled crowd was that the fireworks might not go off (although I like to think they were triggered by a coyote with a plunger).

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Yes, the climate is changing.

No, it has nothing to do with carbon dioxide, because a gas comprising 0.04% of the atmosphere is not going to affect it.

What people are annoyed about is the carbon trading, which was going to make a few people rich at the expense of many.

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Mushroom

rent seekers

Amazing how something marxists are supposed to hate is now part of the ex-marxist/now greenie salvation plan. As for CO2, yep, dihydrogen monoxide has twice the concentration in atmosphere and contributes much more the the real green house effect. Yet a lack of same is one scare the AGW lovers use to threaten the unbelievers and children. Wheres the irony icon ?

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Anonymous Coward

Iron makes up approximately 0.008% of the human body by mass. I suppose we don't need to regulate that, either, since it's such a small amount and won't have any effect?

Iron deficiency and heavy metal poisoning from iron overload are clearly things that Doctors have made up to scare the masses and we really have nothing to worry about!

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Facepalm

lets try one more time

@AC. Analogy is not proof. Not even an argument. Aside from that, the toxicity of trace amounts in humans can be tested, unlike oh I dunno, AGW prostignations. BTW, I am surprised you did not use selenium as an example. The required dose, about 100 atoms, is about the level at which it becomes toxic. Would be a much better non-argument.

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That's you opinion, it's not supported by empirical evidence.

Please, provide link for peer reviewed research that support your claim. The last time I've checked, thousands or studies come to a 98% conclusion that human play a significant role in climate change.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: lets try one more time

"Analogy is not proof. Not even an argument."

It wasn't intended as proof or an argument. It was intended to point out that the statement that 'a small amount has no effect' is flawed logic. Maybe you should work on honing your understanding of satire...

"BTW, I am surprised you did not use selenium as an example."

Because selenium is not produced naturally within the human body. We get the selenium we need from our food and other sources of external contact. Iron was chosen as an example because it does occur naturally in the human body, i.e. as a component of our blood, and is therefore a better analogy to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere!

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Holmes

oh there are differences

Y2K, one could do real repeatable tests to demonstrate that some machines _would_ have problems.

So far, AGW, climate change/whatever has had proponents make sellable scare stories but never been able to demonstrate accurate predictions. yes, sure models adjusted after the events to explain them. Always after the events. So far, Oz head panic merchant predicted the end of big rains, 3 months before the sky fell i for two years. The current back pedalling on warming real soon now, its just delayed , smells of a hope that sooner or later AGW disaster predictions will come true, as all disasters do if one waits long enough. Finally, if there really was the threat AGW proponents claim, they would be actively pushing for workable alternatives. So far, the result has been the shutdown of nuclear power stations in Germany and Japan with payments to keep gas and coal plants working, years of delays in other ex-western countries for updating nuclear plants and lobbying for massive taxpayer funded green power generation that do not provide affordable base load power. This puts the cost of energy up,making it harder to keep an economy growing so there is money for when the carbon fuels of all kinds do run out, which is not contested.

The exception is a command economy where there still seems to be some grasp of the need for affordable energy to maintain tolerable living standards. Anyone who thinks life on a subsistence level is enjoyable is in need of help to heal their self hatred. Might sound great, until you break something or your children get sick.

We cynics who distrust everybody without a testable hypothesis find being labelled as idiots or worse because we don't go along with the stranglehold panic pressure groups have on the bureaucracies of governments more than irritating, There used to be something called the spirit of the age. Group think is the closest phrase left in the shrivelled newspeak that passes for sound encoded dialogue in this dark age Mk2. No need for conspiracies, simple group pressure and stupidity explain enough disasters, especially those committed by the clever and trained. Read up on human factors in aviation accidents or that marvelous book The Hinge Factor. As for the current crop of oz pollies, dunno how we did it, but worst ever of all colours.

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Re: oh there are differences

"We cynics who distrust everybody without a testable hypothesis"

Riiight, I suppose you live on a mountain, but this guy doesn't:

"More recently, President Tong has spoken of climate-change induced sea level rise as "inevitable". "For our people to survive, then they will have to migrate. Either we can wait for the time when we have to move people en masse or we can prepare them—beginning from now ...""

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiribati

So If you want to test the hypothesis: talk with people like him how you can test it without him having to leave his birthplace.

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Holmes

Re: oh there are differences

not quite, but in a fire and drought prone area, so climate matters to me. Also lived in a low lying island area where I know still know some of the people who would be made homeless if the AGW turns out to be true, if the erosion from mangrove loss does not get the island first. However, for your edification, please read that misread/non-read tome by Charlie Darwin with testable hypothesis on atoll formation. Then explain why a hypothesis that has failed to predict anything in advance has anything to do with subsidence. Also, apply the first rule of inquiring minds. "How do you _know_ that ?"

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Re: oh there are differences

President Tong, like most other third world "leaders" have their hands out for "compensation" from the evil westerners and "climate change" is the tool by which they mean to achieve this windfall.

Of course he is going to say something like that, even if it is patently untrue.

The fact is that Kiribati is growing not shrinking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: oh there are differences

"We cynics who distrust everybody without a testable hypothesis find being labelled as idiots or worse because we don't go along with the stranglehold panic pressure groups have on the bureaucracies of governments more than irritating."

I don't have a problem with people being cynical or skeptical and wanting to see some sort of evidence.

What I don't care for is people who stubbornly insist that without that evidence then there isn't a problem at all. It doesn't take any sort of special 'Spidey-sense' tingling to realise that all isn't right with the world. You only have to look at all the extremes of weather that we've been seeing over the last few years to know that something hinkey is going on!

We seem to get a lot of new records for whether conditions that are the (hottest/coldest, dryest/wettest, lowest/highest, longest/shortest, best/worst) since records began these days...

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Pint

Re: oh there are differences

I think of myself as a skeptic. I *want* scientific evidence. But in the case of AGW, I don't think it's possible to get that. After all, how can you scientifically prove what will or can happen on a global scale until it happens ? Extreme weather conditions now are not evidence or proof.

OTOH, deniers can't prove anything either... So my stance is basically : less consumption (of meat, electronics, and car). It won't make any difference on a global scale, but it does make a difference in my wallet. Reducing my eco-footprint leaves me with more money to spend on the essentials. See icon.

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Boffin

@Tabor - what we do know

Is that the climate has been different in the past. We can be pretty sure it'll be different in the future. If nothing else the fact that the continents are moving (and that is measurable) will take care of that. The real problem is people acting as if we being responsible or not is even relevent. Even if all our industry is responsible for a component of current changes in climate stopping it all tomorrow isn't going to stop any of the other natural processes that will be responsible for equally dramatic shifts in climate that threaten the comfortable civilizations we are used to.

As a species we really do need to get over the notion that we're at the centre of everything.

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Re: oh there are differences

There are differences between Y2K and Climate Change, and I suggest that one of those differences has trapped your thinking.

Nassim Taleb of Black Swan fame essentially cries foul on making predictions or even trying for repeatable tests within extremely complex systems where you cannot possibly know all the inputs/outputs, particularly over time. He calls this Extremistan. Within bounded systems where you can understand what is going, predictions are safe. He calls this Mediocristan.

Your testable hypothesis position is fine in Medocristan, and for structured experiments, but falls over in Extremistan.

An example of extremistan is the famous Turkey problem. If you are a Turkey bred for thanksgiving then for most of the year you are happy, well fed, and protected. The farmer who raises you is your friend and carer. Then on Thanksgiving he chops your head off. Repeatable observations and prediction confirm all is well - until they don't.

Climate Change is Extremistan. Y2K was Mediocristan (in a symptomatic sense anyway, not necessarily in the outcome after the deadline - but we could tell that the clocks were going to stop working, and when and how they were going to stop working. Essentially we knew that thanksgiving was coming and that on that day something bad was going to happen, but not what that would be. We don't have that luxury with Climate Change).

In Extremistan the best way to proceed is avoid messing with the system you do not understand, and also to try to not leave yourself vulnerable to whatever strange things will eventually befall you - design for robustness or even better, antifragility (a subsequent Taleb concept). Therefore I believe the best approach to dealing with Climate Change (which I accept as occurring, and that acceptance is supported by vast reams of published and peer reviewed evidence, even though systemically predictable outcomes and effective modelling cannot be reliably derived from that) would be to try and rein in the potential causes of divergence - in this case excessive fossil fuel consumption etc. How? Renewables and ETS would be a good step, carbon sequestration would also be useful.

Nuclear power would also be an option - but not a preferable one because it has its own known raft of unpleasant issues. It also comes with a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the public mind, and strong ideological opposition from the more extreme Green elements. It should not be a first choice. It could be a part of an integrated solution or a stopgap. It may yet become a last minute panic option.

Another issue with asking for provable results on Climate Change is that by the time you can really, categorically state we have an issue, the momentum will be very difficult to reverse, and may lead to attempts at direct intervention (eg. particulates) which risk having their own unknown effects. Thus a wait and see approach is terribly risky, whereas a sensible and staged shift to renewables and lower impact manufacturing etc will not only help to address climate change risks by seeking to be as close to the non-industrial status quo as we viably can, but will probably lead to a more robust and competitive energy and manufacturing market in the long run.

I do agree though, that to accept you need to act on Climate Change does mean we take the risk of wasting a lot of effort and time we didn't need to waste. But given the foreshadowing we have, the costs of inaction are truly terrifying. Really. Death on a biblical scale. WW3 level horror.

Lastly, and back on the Y2K issue - I am also very annoyed at people that think it was a hoax. I was a programmer and I worked on stopping that issue - and I know firsthand that we would have had some sort of trouble if no action had been taken, likely big trouble. But because it was dealt with, many people just choose to think it was never an issue at all.

People respect and recognize a disaster repaired, they don't respect and recognize a disaster averted (except in cases where the dodge was narrow and so usually obvious).

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Re: @Tabor - what we do know

True enough, except that normal climate change events will be slower to manifest and thus we can adapt more easily. Barring crazy outlier/black swan type events like Super Volcanoes erupting anyway.

When climate change bites, it will probably bite hard and fast, tap into amplifying feedback loops and may nail us just as encounter other issues which would be challenging to deal with even if everything were normal (e.g. ever increasing population).

The idea that humanity can't cause climate change at a truly influential level is false humility that is not supported by the current peer reviewed consensual position on the matter. We not only can do it - we are. I'm not talking about models, I'm talking about current factual evidence. We have dead zones in the ocean, obliterated species, a hole in the ozone layer, and ocean acidification. These are facts. Whether they will get worse is somewhat speculative but their existence is fact, and directly attributable to human action.

I guess what I'm saying is that as a species we really do need to get over the notion that we can't have monumental effects on our environment.

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Not all Aussies are clueless

This makes for great reading, from Australasian Power Technologies Publications in Brisbane

http://www.powertrans.com.au/UserFiles//file//PDFs//EG-4-13.pdf

I recommend the articles starting on Page 1, Page 19, Page 23 and Page 26.

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Re: Not all Aussies are clueless

Right, so a magazine for power companies (which essentially all are reliant on cheap coal) that explicitly states in its leader:

<q>important DisClaimer

No responsibility is accepted by APT Publications, the editor, the

authors or the printer of any articles for the accuracy of any

information contained in the magazine or the consequences

of any person relying upon such information. The contents

of this magazine should not be relied upon as a substitute for

professional advice</q>

Is more reliable than a council of scientists??? I am curious how you get this kind of information in such an obscure publication? Are you a paid AGW denier? I have an article for you to read (in the Guardian, a well known publication with a somewhat larger circulation):

The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it's working

Think environmentalists are stooges? You're the unwitting recruit of a hugely powerful oil lobby – I've got the proof

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Re: Not all Aussies are clueless

Well, first you would need Global Warming before claiming it was caused by man.

Too bad the facts don't support the first part of the trick.

Of course, you have only to wait, I'm sure we will have ice-ages, mini ice-ages and thaws for millions of years to come. I'll bet there was some idiot at the end of the last ice-age saying "look, all the ice is melting, we're all going to drown, It's all your fault with your fires"

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Re: Not all Aussies are clueless

@Paul J Turner

The amazing hypocrisy of non-scientists using things like ice ages and climate cycles in defence of their position is that such things are only known because of all the scientists who spent years doing painstaking (and sometime dangerous) research across numerous inter-related fields. These scientists who you evidently believe (because you take the historical occurrence of ice ages as a fact) are the same ones you simultaneously say you do not believe.

Worse, you use the evidence they have collected and the work they have done as 'proof' that they can't be trusted.

I don't mean to be rude but you, and others who make similar statements are using the findings of climate scientists to call into question the findings of climate scientists. In doing so, you ignore the fact that understanding ice ages, climate cycles and the causes of these, is a key part of the evidence for man-made climate change.

No one is suggesting that the planet's climate will forever be static but for human influence, but given the knowledge of how climate changes can cause feedback loops, even small additions to natural processes stand the chance of having comparatively large effects.

On a more specific note, the entire (public) argument of the coalition appears to be that it will cost money to address climate change. Or, rendered in the current political language, "be bad for the economy". And that's the crux of it; because addressing climate change will cost money in the short term, climate change has become the proverbial 'political football'.

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I wasted nearly 500k trying to prove we ddn't use any dates

trying to prove that NONE of my systems used a date to do anything but write a log entry. Ran greps using every date related term we could think of, and every standard c or java library call etc etc,, the auditors were coming back with requests. Even rolled clocks forward on test servers and user machines to prove we didn't have a problem, and still the auditors wanted even more evidence. Finally I just threw the source code at them and told them to run their own damned tests. I wonder how many really unnecessary were made by IT departments under the guise of y2k to get some long deferred maintenance done.

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WTF?

Re: I wasted nearly 500k trying to prove we ddn't use any dates

So none of your stuff used a non-compliant BIOS? Including Windows and *NIX 486/P5/P6 systems?

We found that about 60% of our user base were not Y2K compliant. Changing the hardware fixed a lot of problems. Getting them to switch from versions of MS products prior to Office 95, and then patching the 95/97 versions solved many of the other issues. Code that we had written was OK.

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Re: I wasted nearly 500k trying to prove we ddn't use any dates

"trying to prove that NONE of my systems used a date to do anything but write a log entry. "

Ditto. I explained this ad nauseum to the management plus clients but they still insisted that everything be tested. This is for a bunch of routers FFS. Routers have no need to refer to times or dates other than for writing to logs yet I was forced to sit down and reconfigure dozens of routers with different OS revisions combinations and "prove" that they would not suddenly forget how to shuffle IP packets around because the date had changed.

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Re: I wasted nearly 500k trying to prove we ddn't use any dates

Don't understand the down votes.

2 systems read exchange alarms and wrote details to a DB , another system then read that DB & updated users screens or issued a command to display/flash a coloured light in the exchange control room.

1 system issued commands to exchanges to update subscriber data to exchange (eg connect 02 5555 1234 to LI3-123 )

1 system updated other exchange data (call routing tables)

1 system acted as a dumb terminal to allow users to manually issue commands to exchanges

The hardware and OSs this ran on was certified y2k compliant - yet I managed to genuinely bill 500k to this project (loooong conference calls in which 1 had 2 minutes of reporting & 2 hours of listening to other people explain why their projects were behind, plus several flights to head office in Melbourne + fares & accomodation ).

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All politicians should be IQ-tested before allowed in.

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"All politicians should be IQ-tested before allowed in."

Maybe if we applied that to voting booths we would get better politicians?

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Joke

....and experts understand the climate change problem.

That's so funny.

You missed out the "think they" between "experts" and "understand".

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"Experts understood the Y2k problem, and experts understand the climate change problem".

Well the former is reasonable, the latter is scientistic hubris.

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Anonymous Coward

And jumping in early looks a shambles.

We are being charged for eco-communists/eco-corporatist nonsense which will have no significant impact even if the assertions are true, and probably have no measurable effect; anyhow AGW looks a stupid idea, because the scale looks all wrong compared to natural causes and counter adaptions.

We all know what happened with India, worse quality, both for service and less mature development, I've experienced this myself for both; net result, higher costs overall.

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Anonymous Coward

Y2K - I worked at a major Bank involved with desktop systems. I started raising the potential Y2K issue in the early 90's proposing that we require vendors to certify new hardware and software Y2K compliant - nobody was interested 'till it got into the press, late 90's. Then panic ensued.

I was co-opted onto the working party, we found and fixed loads of issues. Incidentally the requirement to identify all the "locally developed" (by non IT staff) systems turned up all kinds of other buggy code - for example, the widely used discounted cash flow spreadsheet had been giving the wrong answers for a few years.

It was a costly exercise but without it there is no question but that there would have been problems and it was a very useful housekeeping exercise too, delivering spin-off benefits. And it was one of those IT project rarities: On time, to specification and within budget. It is a bit galling to then find the success is branded as a spectacular non-event, a confidence trick and a massive waste of resources. Maybe we should have left one or two time-bombs in place with a quick fix up our sleeves so we could "solve" the problem early on 1 Jan to wide acclaim and to justify that rather well paid night-time bank holiday overtime.

Climate change - too many of the arguements are emotional. You can't run a clinical style double blind test when there's only one patient so we have to fall back on the precautionary principle with all its inadequacies. So lets put that aside.

Energy costs are increasing as geological hydrocarbon resources become exhausted. The cost of a barrel of oil now is about 3 times what it was 10 years ago, in the long term that trend is going to continue.

One day we'll run out. If we don't want to freeze we need other energy sources. That means renewables and nuclear. Both come with their own different set of problems but running out isn't one of them. Neither generate CO2 so if that is a cause of climate change, problem solved. We may have concerns about nuclear but even if UK were nuclear free, what if one of the French stations, just across the channel, were to go bang? After all we were affected by Chernobyl 2000 km away, Welsh sheep farms were only given the radioactive pollution all clear in 2012.

A switch to nuclear and renewables might also be regarded as grounds to block fracking, I'd be happy if it were deemed unnecessary, the resource would at least be "cash in the bank" for future generations should it be needed.

The problem is that the lead times for nuclear leave an energy gap which will otherwise need to be filled by imports. New nuclear capacity should have been ordered 10 years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Irritating grammatical point

What really irritates me is the insistance on referring to "deniers". Denier is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibres. What that has to do with climate change is beyond my comprehension.

Possibly the word the writer is seeking is denyers?

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Re: Irritating grammatical point

To take that a bit further, what is a "climate denyer" anyway? It seems to come up everywhere in this sort of discussion, as a nicely dismissive term for anyone who is even the least bit sceptical.

I think nobody who isn't certifiable will deny there is a thing we call climate, so "climate denyer" at face value makes no sense.

I think nobody who isn't certifiable will deny that it changes. Always has, always will, that's what climate DOES. So even if we take "climate" to be short for "climage change", "climate denyer" still doesn't make sense.

Using "climate denyer" to describe people who aren't quite convinced WHY climate changes, is just really sloppy language.

The only people I can think of who sort of fit the "climate denyer" description are the ones fighting tooth and nail to STOP our climate from changing any further. Now isn't that ironic, ms Morissette?

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Flame

Isn't it Interesting

That reporting in the media still has that air of desperation and hysteria, so they are able to sell more papers or online adds. Really makes you think that nothing in the media business has changed in 13 years

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Anonymous Coward

The denigration of CO2

The author of this article has fallen for the anti-CO2 propaganda, as he betrays in the sentence: "Alas, there are plenty of interests fighting to protect their business from any action whatever to reduce atmospheric pollution."

He is not talking about carbon monoxide or sulphur dioxide here, the real atmospheric pollution that killed people in industrial Britain, well within living memory. Bizarrely, pollution these days refers to the vital gas carbon dioxide, thanks to the government sponsored nonsense that refers to CO2 simply as "carbon", and shows it in the form of a tarry footprint. Well, if they insist on showing carbon dioxide as something made of carbon then I suggest diamonds would be more appropriate. This planet would thrive in an atmosphere with 1000 ppm of it, and that concentration would mitigate the effects of ice-ages and mini ice-ages too. The real climate change to be feared is, and always has been, global cooling.

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Thumb Up

Re: The denigration of CO2

well put AC. Lowering my cynicism a tad, the wikipedia article on the famine beginning in 1315 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1315-1317 is suggestive that cold is a problem, not a warmer world, unless one is of the Erlich school of pessimism.

I am still dumbfounded at the charge energy companies want business as usual. Companies, understandably, love the idea of guaranteed profits without having to deliver something reliably in return. Having rent seeking made out to be a public good is astonishing.

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Re: The denigration of CO2

"The author of this article has fallen for the anti-CO2 propaganda"

Yep, I started reading this and then thought to myself, "this reads like a Chirgwin penned article" <scroll><scroll><scroll> "yep, thought so"

RC is an AGW true believer. Your logical rebuttal is likely to fall on deaf ears.

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Male bovine fecal matter

What a load of crap. Y2K was a man made problem. Global climate change is a natural phenomena that has occurred since the planet was formed. The climate has always changed and always will change. The point being adapt or die.

If we compare man's ability to change the climate to man's ability to program computers pre-1999 we can estimate the calamity that will occur with man's manipulation of the climate. Going down that road could very well lead to a large ball of ice orbiting the sun. Oopsie.

The computer models used in the global warming scenario can be proven to be 30% accurate. Basing policy decisions on data that weak is like playing Russian roulette with four bullets in the gun - a 66% of disaster.

The best analysis I've seen on climate change ties it to a 100,000 year cycle in the variance of th earth's orbit around the sun. What is anyone going to do about that, pray tell?

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Australia introduced a "Carbon Tax" last year. The purpose was to make Australians pay just a little bit more for mostly electricity related products - nothing you'd notice, or course - and in return completely fix the weather for the better.

I'm pleased to report after only one year the weather is already smashing, and a healthy industry has bloomed in rigging up subsidized home solar farms.

Congratulations Julia Gillard, Penny Wong, et al. And good for their friends who've done well from the solar boom by being in the right place at the right time. Who could see that coming? Only a genius.

This is how it's done.

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Meh

@General Pance

The thickness of sarcasm makes it a little difficult to get through your post so let me counter with my own:

The avoidance of short-term pain for political expedience is always an excellent strategy for the long-term prosperity of a society.

It is a fact that, at some point, humankind must transition to cleaner energy sources. Like many such decisions, we will always have an excuse why we do mean to do it, just not quite now. It doesn't matter what the almighty economy is like - it will never be the perfect time. Now, the economy is not strong enough. Once it starts recovering, it will be too delicate to risk. Once it has recovered, then it'll be: "we'll cripple the economy".

Any do you know what? That would be fine if the pollution we are spewing into the atmosphere (or planning to pump into the Great Barrier Reef) only affected 'the economy'. But it doesn't. It effects everyone; even (amazingly) those people who don't own mining companies.

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