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68 responses to “Galilee Basin coal: a vision splendid or a kind of madness?”

  1. Graham Bell

    Oh yes – but think of all the jobs it will create and all the revenue it will raise. ( Okay. How does that look in a job application for a political spin doctor? Would “…. all the high-paid Aussie jobs it will create ….” look better?) :-)

  2. wpd

    Jeff Seeney:

    These incentives, (reduced royalties for an initial period of time). along with the strategy’s streamlined solutions for planning, land acquisition, water, power and rail, will ensure projects have the best chance of going ahead in the Galilee Basin,” he said

    Yes we need many more of these ‘streamlined’ solutions, don’t we. Shakes head.

  3. John D

    The funny thing is that Australia may make more from coal mining if the Galilee basin does not go ahead. The tonnages we are talking about are large enough to have a suppressing effect on the already dropping coal price.
    As for the jobs, Rio Tinto is already getting serious about autonomous trucks and other technologies that will dramatically reduce the number of people at mine sites. The Galilee basin mines will be a logical place for this technology. The jobs that are there will be low quality FIFO jobs.
    Not sure whether it is true but someone pointed out that Bunnings employed more people than the mining industry.
    As for revenue, these mines will pay no GST on most of what they sell, look like getting royalty holidays to encourage them to take away our coal and probably won’t pay much company tax either.
    The idea of putting sustainable tourism and agriculture at risk for the questionable benefits of these new mines seems a bit strange.

  4. jungney

    Well, of course it is madness, but not of a kind seen on the planet before, and it therefore avoids notice as madness; it is the dominant madness of the anthropocene or rather, it is the madness of the dominant classes who rule over the anthropocene.

  5. Sam

    I can’t see the environmental problem here. If the coal price is too low and costs too high for the mining to go ahead, as appears to be the case, it won’t.

  6. philip travers

    There is an environmental problem,as a Climate Change Denier,this is a well written piece,that is absolutely worthy of appreciation.The nutter militarist Queensland Government is giving Climate Change Denial a bad name.Keep up the good work LP. One day,we will see eye to eye.

  7. John D

    Renew economy reports that Shell has been lobbying the IMF to stop funding new coal fired power stations The article suggests this is driven by Shell’s fight to retain their share of the fossil power cake. The article also comments that:

    “We found out most coal plants get their funding started by using the bilateral funding agencies, such as the World Bank, so we were talking to them about the impact their policies have on the energy mix of the world,” Shell’s head of gas, Maarten Wetselaar told The Australian last week.

    In July the World Bank announced a new policy restricting finance for coal-fired power stations to the poorest countries and only where there are “no feasible alternatives”. The policy leaves the bank with some, but not a lot, of wiggle room to fund new coal-related projects.

    It is impossible to know what impact Shell’s lobbying had. Perhaps it had none. Or perhaps Shell had simply realised which way the wind was blowing and was trying to ensure that the World Bank didn’t take climate protection so seriously that gas-fired plants were caught up in a policy aimed at restricting new fossil fuel power stations. Or perhaps it is simply Shell trying to buff its tarnished corporate social responsibility credentials.

    No joy for the Galilee gang.

  8. Mk50 of Brisbane

    A rather interesting post. What we are seeing is a shakeout in the early and overly exuberant stages of profitable exploitation of an abundant source of cheap energy. The reduction to more sensible levels of the Abbott Point project is a good illustration of the issue, as is the indefinite postponement of Balaclava Island (laying a heavy rail corridor over the swamp. Really guys?). Fortunately for our balance of trade, the more sensible projects are going ahead. I had a look over the Wiggins Island project recently and it’s going well despite the efforts of Greenpeace and their Australian collaborators to wreck the industry.

    The market will stay on a growth curve for coal for a very long time as the Chinese bring their enormous new supercriticals and ultra-supercritical coal fired plants on line – and nearly all are near the coast. They are already using these gigantic power stations to replace a lot of their older polluting coal plants built in the pre-modernisation era. That will slash genuine pollution (sulphides and particulates), there’s a good article on Yuhuan’s 1,000Mw boilers here. Reading the tealeaves indicates a Chinese policy of keeping about 65% of national power generation in coal with a huge move to suprcriticals and ultra-supercriticals. The industry thinks that’s because they simply can’t build enough nuclear plants with their rising demand, and while they have a lot of gas they are behind on fracking, need it for domestic purposes like heating/cooking use to replace very polluting indoor wood and coal fires and the gas is in the wrong place anyway. Coal’s up at the moment, too, due Chinese demand: see here. We are watching something truly marvellous here, the final eradication of the largest pool of human poverty on the planet as China gets reliable cheap power for everyone.

  9. GregM

    We are watching something truly marvellous here, the final eradication of the largest pool of human poverty on the planet as China gets reliable cheap power for everyone.

    And India Mark50? The seciond largest pool of poverty on the planet.

    What is your prediction for it? And of our part in it.

  10. Paul Norton

    The Chinese people themselves have a more nuanced view of the matter. At both popular and elite level, the best minds in China are wrestling with how to address the environmental downside of their development trajectory.

  11. Paul Norton
  12. Mk50 of Brisbane

    GregM

    No, the last remaining great pool of human poverty is Africa. Think and do so on the appropriate scale for this is a global issue. In 1800, ~90% of the human race dwelled in poverty (using the definition of poverty as the popular US$1 per day in 1985 dollars). Industrialistion began to bring Europe out of poverty from about 1780. The North Americas began to rise out of poverty next. By 1960 Only Asia, South Asia and Africa were left. Asia and South Asia are both well on their way to leaving poverty behind. I first visited Singapore in the 70s and it was a poor 3rd world place: now it is a better place in terms of governance, values, wealth, infrastructure etc than Australia. Singaporeans will argue that it is actually better in civilisational terms than Australia and having watched Singapore very closely for decades I agree with most of their arguments.

    Only Africa remains genuinely and broadly poor. For a good description of the trends in global poverty 1820-2000 see: BHALLA, S. S., Imagine There’s No Country: Poverty, Inequality and Growth in the Era of Globalization, Institute for International Economics, Washington 2002, Ch.9 and especially pp.143-146, with attention to Fig.9.1 and Table 9.3.

  13. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Paul, of course they are. Notice the focus is on the sort of pollutants we ourselves addressed in the era 1950-1970: particulates, SO2 and so forth, the ones which cause really serious human health issues. It’s only countries which rise above the ~US$2000 PA level of income which start to do this. This is exactly why they are building the giant new coal fired supercriticals and shutting down old 1950s communist built coal power stations close to (or even inside) the cities. Those things had no scrubbers at all and just spewed particulates and So2 etc.

    This is exactly what we did in the 1960s ourselves. Sydney used to have power stations in what is now almost the inner city.

  14. zoot

    I first visited Singapore in the 70s and it was a poor 3rd world place: …

    Must have been a different Singapore to the one I visited in the 70s.

  15. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Singapore in 1971 was a very different place to Singapore in 1979.

  16. John D

    mk50: I didn’t think places like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were part of Africa.

  17. Mk50 of Brisbane

    JohnD: No region as large as those described entirely emerges all at once from poverty, and nowhere have I said that. In fact I said : “Think and do so on the appropriate scale for this is a global issue.” It is obvious in the source quoted that this is a generational matter across continents and a culture has to have the mechanisms to industrialise. It took India two generations to work out how to industrialise and westernise their economy without having to westernise their culture: time well spent in their view. The good news is that in 1820 ~85% of humainty (~900 million people) were below the poverty level. In 2000 this was ~10% and ~600 million people, an great relative and absolute decline despite the great population increase from 1820 to 2000.

    This development is historically unprecedented and it depends on energy availability. Coal from Queensland helps this process by providing cheap electricity, and in new-tech thermal plants this is provided at high efficiency and with a very large reduction in the pollutants that make up photochemical smog, like particulates and SO2.

  18. Val

    Mk50 of Brisbane @ 17 and elsewhere
    The views you are presenting appear to fit with a “denier” position identified in the literature, that anyone who opposes fossil fuels is hurting poor people.

    Industrialisation has been associated with increasing wealth, but early industrialisation and urbanisation were actually associated with increased risks of death and disease. The introduction of public health and social welfare measures at this point led to improvement, not simply industrialisation as such.

    In order to present a fair argument you would have do to full cost benefit analyses of development with renewable energies (possibly slower but with much reduced costs in death and illness) cf development using fossil fuels, with the associated health and climate risks. Your analysis would have to include, eg, things like the predicted impact of rising sea levels on Bangladesh and other low lying countries. You’re not presenting anything like that here.

    Moreover you still haven’t answered my questions about why you see “western civilization” as “morally” superior when in this country in which we live, and most particularly in the state in which you live, “western civilization” was established by dispossessing and almost destroying an Indigenous population.

    When you are looking at the association of health and wealth in a country such as this, do you count those Indigenous people (possibly somewhere around half a million) who died in the first hundred or so years of white settlement?

  19. Debbieanne

    It will be wonderful when, in a few generations time, the few remaining humans on this planet, will be able to say ‘well, at least we weren’t below the poverty line as we wiped ourselves out’.
    And, just in case, I don’t think we have more of a right to a decent standard of living. Just that we have an obligation to help everyone rise-up without sinking the entire place.

  20. David Irving (no relation)

    Debbieanne, there’s a wonderful cartoon (don’t have a link, alas) – picture a cave with a few people in it, dressed in hides and crouched around a fire . One of them says (from memory) “Yes, but for a few glorious years we _really_ enhanced shareholder value.”

  21. Salient Green

    A link which shows just how gaspingly, smotheringly full of shit MK50 is about poverty levels and not just his figures below $1 a day but his entire non-grasp of the complex nature of poverty.
    http://www.globalissues.org/article/4/poverty-around-the-world

  22. Val

    SG @ 21
    Yes the Wilkinson and Pickett slides (see also http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk) in the info you linked to are particularly telling, including the income per head/emissions per head and life expectancy graphs.

    I always love telling right wingers that Cuba has a higher life expectancy than the US!

  23. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Salient – look at the reference provided. You may also with to look at the comments Bhalla makes re Bourguignon and Morrison’s analysis of this data (Bhalla discusses the issues with purchasing power parity methodologies as opposed to his own. (Bhalla 2002 p.139). ) If you wish to argue with Surjit Bhalla’s methodology, be my guest. I assume you are an economist too? If so, be aware that I am not.

    Indian economists have long since raised serious questions re the WB views of and methodologies related to measurement of poverty and inequality, which they castigate as ideologically (read western-white-man) influenced to promote certain World Bank projects (See Deepak Lal, In Praise of Empires: Globalization and Order, Palgrave, 2004, pp.122-126.)

    val:

    The views you are presenting appear to fit with a “denier” position identified in the literature, that anyone who opposes fossil fuels is hurting poor people.

    Firstly: I am presenting data with appropriate academic level references.

    Secondly: Your use of the term ‘denier’ is labelling and demonisation, as the term was invented to deliberately compare those who do not concur with a particular view as akin to Holocaust deniers. Kindly cease using it, it is offensive. I am discussing developments in Queensland coal per the thread and would request that you cease your effort to derail the thread.

  24. Val

    Mk50 @ 80

    Reading the tealeaves indicates a Chinese policy of keeping about 65% of national power generation in coal with a huge move to suprcriticals and ultra-supercriticals. The industry thinks that’s because they simply can’t build enough nuclear plants with their rising demand, and while they have a lot of gas they are behind on fracking, need it for domestic purposes like heating/cooking use to replace very polluting indoor wood and coal fires and the gas is in the wrong place anyway.

    Interesting how you left renewables right out of this discussion, even though the Chinese are adding renewables faster than nuclear http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/china-doubles-pace-of-new-renewable-energy-20131205-2yrop.html

  25. Val

    Sorry that should be Mk50 @ 8, not 80!

  26. Val

    Mk50 @ 23
    The term “climate change denier” is widely used, which is why I used it. I agree that the potential association with Holocaust denier is unfortunate but I have read very widely in the literature and that is not why people use it. The association is with the psychological or psychoanalytical concept of denial (we can’t deal with things that are both vague and threatening, so we pretend they’re not happening).

    I have seen people in the literature question the use of the term, including for the reasons you refer to, but I have never seen any evidence that people use it for those reasons and I certainly don’t. I think that the term is limited and hopefully people may come up with a better one, but as far as I’m aware, no-one has yet.

  27. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Val. The term is offensive, full stop. My Jewish mates actually regard it as anti-semitic, so it’s definitely a term to be avoided by the civilised. Where used as Brian did, where it’s grammatically senseless*, it’s no more than ‘street argot’: where used deliberately it is deliberately offensive and has no place in civil discourse. An accurate term would be ‘AGW hypothesis sceptic’. And enough of the derailment on that score.

    That the Chinese are adding wind and solar is neither here nor there insofar as Queensland coal is concerned, and these means have their place especially in remote locations off the national grid. They do not burn coal and they intend that 65% of their electrical generation capacity be thermal coal. The Indians too are dependent on thermal coal as their own coal deposits are low quality and high sulphur. The REAL trick in polution reduction (particulates, NO2, SO2) is removing coal from domestic heating and cooking use as the British did after the lethal Great London Smog of 1952 (see here) and putting people on the grid. It is interesting that the Indian government is supporting the development of thorium nuclear reactors on an electricity generation cost equivalency with imported steaming coal. So in India, Adani’s medium to long term competitor may well be nuclear (thorium). This is one reason Adani has vertically integrated as it has from mine to wholesale power distribution (they will own the dry cargo carriers moving their coal from QLD to India, for example).

    * Climate is a complex system and by their nature these are dynamic, so the argot term ‘climate denier’ is grammatically meaningless and in such a context not that offensive. Possibly the world’s leading research institute into complex systems is the Santa Fe Institute. Anyone who wishes to further study complex systems should have a look at their website, where many papers looking at complex systems are available for study.

  28. Tim Macknay

    The claim that the term “climate change denier” is anti-Semitic is just another lie used by climate change deniers to slander scientists and rational people.

  29. Val

    Mk50 @ 27
    Well I’m writing a literature review on this, and if you search scholarly journals using the terms “climate change” and “denial” you will get a lot of articles, none of which are trying to draw associations between climate change denial and Holocaust denial. As I said, I agree with you that that association is unfortunate, but otherwise, what Tim M said.

    As usual, you haven’t responded to the question about the supposed moral superiority of western civilization.

    The temptation to debate these issues on the internet rather than do the scholarly work is great, but I must stop – but not because it’s a derail to challenge you on the ethics of your positions. That’s important, but thankfully there are others here who can do that.

  30. David Irving (no relation)

    Val 2 26, the similarity between “holocaust denier” and “climate change denier” is not unfortunate – for me, at least, it is deliberate.

  31. David Irving (no relation)

    Oh, and Mk50 @ 27 if you find it offensive, good! (Although shame would be a more appropriate feeling than offense.)

  32. Val

    Mk50 @ 27

    I do have to respond to one thing before I stop

    That the Chinese are adding wind and solar is neither here nor there insofar as Queensland coal is concerned, and these means have their place especially in remote locations off the national grid.

    Love this! Great example of a tactic for my research. Just brush aside inconvenient information. You somehow forgot to acknowledge that according to the article, China added 36 gigawatts of “clean energy” (which in this article included nuclear, though I would debate that inclusion), of which nuclear was the smallest component at 2.2 gigawatts.

    Oh and it’s been a nice sunny day in Melbourne today, and my new 1.5 kW solar panel array (my pride and joy) has generated over 10 kWh of electricity, far more than my modest needs of about 1.5 kWh at this time of year. Wouldn’t it be great if we rich people of Australia put some serious support into assisting poorer nations to adopt renewable technologies?

  33. Paul Norton

    Won’t you go home, Mark Bailey
    Won’t you go home
    Dream how you blitzed the Huns
    You’ve got your car to work on
    You’ve got your boat
    You’ve got your Great War guns
    You’ve sprayed incontinently
    All round the web
    From your Brisbane wayside home
    Now we know your name
    Time’s up for your games
    Mark Bailey won’t you please
    You roynish bag of fleas
    Mark Bailey won’t you please go home?

  34. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Val, the point is not avoidance, it’s irrelevance to the topic. Sure they are installing nuclear, solar, wind and hydro to the tune of 36gigawatts. So what? In 2011 (source) their total capacity was apparently about 1050 gigawatts, so the 36 gw is 3.4% of this – and that 3.4% does not utilise coal, which is the topic here.

  35. Val

    Mk50 @ 34
    “Added” 36 gigawatts – in ten months. Think as you would say.

    Paul Norton love it!

  36. Bernard J.

    Val. The term is offensive, full stop. My Jewish mates actually regard it as anti-semitic, so it’s definitely a term to be avoided by the civilised.

    I struggle to believe that you indeed have Jewish “mates”. My (actual) Jewish friends have no issue at all with the terms ‘climate change denier’ and ‘climate change denial’. They themselves fully and vehemently apply those terms to those who deny the science of human-caused climate change.

    What they do find grievously offensive is when climate change deniers confabulate the use of a particular context of denial with all types of denial. It is mightily offensive when people (almost always gentiles) try to evoking misplaced guilt in an attempt to avoid/suppress any mention of the fact that climate change deniers are trashing the planet, simply because there are some abhorrent people who refuse to accept that the Holocaust happened.

    Holocaust denial is abhorrent – no-one who is sane disputes that.

    Climate change denial is also abhorrent – get over it.

    Vaccine denial is similarly abhorrent – it costs lives.

    Evolution denial is also abhorrent – it is a triumph of superstition over reason.

    Put your Newspeak back in the box and grow up. Denial is denial, no matter how it manifests, and you are simply denying the fact of it.

  37. Graham Bell

    Mk50 @ 27:
    Thanks for mentioning the Indian interest in Thorium powered generator – which begs the question of why the hell Australians didn’t have Thorium powered generators years ago?

    You are right about the particulates issue.

    But I think you are off the track in saying

    That the Chinese are adding wind and solar is neither here nor there insofar as Queensland coal is concerned,

    because the Chinese are doing everything they can as fast as they can to get away from coal-burning. Don’t forget that their national leadership has to breathe the same air as everyone else; they have powerful incentives to get away from coal-burning generators.

    Deniers? That is a cart-and-horse argument. The concept of Denial – and deniers – was around long before the term “Holocaust denier” became a fashionable way of describing those pathetic souls who try to deny the undeniable. I’m not having a go at you or your Jewish friends but (for off-topic reasons I won’t go into here) I suggest that your Jewish friends may be young and enthusiastic and so readily take offence even where no offence could be intended …. their vigilance is commendable but their targeting is off the mark.

  38. zoot

    My Jewish mates actually regard it as anti-semitic, …

    And I’ll bet all of your Jewish mates are glaciologists who can’t score a research grant.

  39. Fran Barlow

    Well said Bernard J …

    I’d add the descriptor “cant” to the objections to the use of “denier” to describe those denying the insights offered by science into the sources of the holocene climate anomaly. It’s concern trolling raised to the level of special pleading.

  40. Haulpackteamboss

    found this site on search cause I work FiFo in the Galilee. One bloke’s talking sensibly about a sensible post but what are the rest of you. Twelve? Wont be back.

  41. Fran Barlow

    HaulPackTeamBoss

    found this site on search cause I work FiFo in the Galilee. One bloke’s talking sensibly about a sensible post but what are the rest of you. Twelve? Wont be back.

    Oh don’t be such a meanie! You’ll make us all cry saying stuff like that. :-(

  42. Graham Bell

    Haulpackteamboss @ 40:

    So how many Australians do you reckon will be working in the Gaililee Basin in 4 years time? Apart from those providing off-shift “entertainment” and those doing casual menial jobs.

    Jobs – jobs – jobs in the new mines? Pig’s what?

    Besides, the Chinese want to get out of coal-fired power generation as fast as they can …. and our wonderful trading partners will be in there cutting our throats as they try to sell THEIR coal on a shrinking Chinese market.

    Better check out the Employment columns and sites while you still have a job; don’t leave it until you are suddenly made redundant.

  43. zoot

    Haulpackteamboss @40

    found this site on search cause I work FiFo in the Galilee.

    I wonder what she was searching for?

  44. Val

    Ok some different conceptualisation of denial that you might find interesting:

    Psychological protection/ avoidance eg in Norway where people acknowledge climate change science but don’t want to think about consequences

    Protecting interests – denial industry, denial machine – esp in USA, alliance of fossil fuel interests and politicians associated with them, lots of money and mechanisms, eg think tanks, front groups, contrarian scientists – similar to big tobacco – can theoretically be argued that they are in conspiracy to defraud the people and govt of USA

    Defending ideology, ontological protection
    Eg Jacques ‘A General Theory of Climate Denial’: “I will argue that climate denial is an appropriate label consistent with Lang’s “General Theory of Historical Denial.”

    ” For O’Neill and Boykoff, the connec- tions to Holocaust denial make “denier” inappropriate and insensitive, and I sympathize with this logic.8 However, if we look to the scholarship of Holocaust denial itself, we discover that denial is more than a “blind moral insult.” ”

    “Deborah Lipstadt explains the architecture of reasoning in Holocaust de- nial: (1) It is a movement. (2) It is a defense of a threatened ideology. (3) Its true objectives are camouflaged. (4) Its tactics include sowing confusion through the creation by creating knowledge claims that appear legitimate to the general public”

    Jacques argues the same applies to climate change denial. He further argues “Why climate denial at all? I submit that climate change science provides an imminent critique of industrial power, Western modernity, and the ideals of Western progress … ”

    (This explanation seems to fit Mk50 so closely it’s slightly weird.)

    At government level, apparent (token) acceptance, coupled with political inaction – applied to Howard in Aust and Harper in Canada

    Still have a lot of articles to get through …

  45. Paul Norton

    Jewish community organisations and anti-defamation leagues do not regard the term ‘denier’ in relation to climate change as anti-semitic.

  46. tigtog

    Just adding my 2c in the “using the terms denialism/denier is not an appropriation of the holocaust” points, from the Denialism Blog on Scienceblogs – quoting from an article in the European Journal of Public Health titled “Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?”.

    HIV does not cause AIDS. The world was created in 4004 BCE. Smoking does not cause cancer. And if climate change is happening, it is nothing to do with man-made CO2 emissions. Few, if any, of the readers of this journal will believe any of these statements. Yet each can be found easily in the mass media.

    The consequences of policies based on views such as these can be fatal. Thabo Mbeki’s denial that that HIV caused AIDS prevented thousands of HIV positive mothers in South Africa receiving anti-retrovirals so that they, unnecessarily, transmitted the disease to their children.1 His health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, famously rejected evidence of the efficacy of these drugs, instead advocating treatment with garlic, beetroot and African potato. It was ironic that their departure from office coincided with the award of the Nobel Prize to Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi for their discovery that HIV is indeed the case of AIDS. The rejection of scientific evidence is also apparent in the popularity of creationism, with an estimated 45% of Americans in 2004 believing that God created man in his present form within the past 10 000 years.2 While successive judgements of the US Supreme Court have rejected the teaching of creationism as science, many American schools are cautious about discussing evolution. In the United Kingdom, some faith-based schools teach evolution and creationism as equally valid ‘faith positions’. It remains unclear how they explain the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

    I note for the record that my own first exposure to the term “denialist” was as a teen during the 70s re Big Tobacco’s decades long fight against the association of their product with cancer, and then I encountered the even longer history of creationists and their evolution denialism during the early 80s, long before I encountered much coverage of Holocaust denialists (when did Holocaust deniers start getting mainstream press? – even David Irving was mostly known as a “revisionist” or “apologist” for his writings on various aspects of the Nazi regime during the 60s and 70s (which claimed that Hitler and other senior Nazi leaders weren’t responsible for the Holocaust, not that the Holocaust never happened), and didn’t write any works denying the Holocaust until the late 80s). Upon starting to read USENet newsgroups in the 90s, my most immediate exposure to the term “denialist” was in relation to the Serdar Argic zumabot and its relentless Armenian genocide denialist spam to any soc.* newsgroup that mentioned “turkey” or “armenia” in any context, whereas to encounter Holocaust deniers one needed to subscribe to the WW2 newsgroups, which weren’t my area of interest.

  47. Helen

    I note for the record that my own first exposure to the term “denialist” was as a teen during the 70s re Big Tobacco’s decades long fight against the association of their product with cancer

    And AFAIK there is considerable overlap between the people promoting the tobacco industry and climate change deniers. According to Naomi Oreskes in Merchants of Doubt, there were a bunch of creaky old cold warriors sitting around with nothing to do after the fall of the Berlin wall, so they turned their attention to the Pesky Environmentalists instead.

  48. Graham Bell

    Brian @ 46.

    They are taking a position which is highly irresponsible, irrational and offensive.

    …. as well as dangerous … and hindering effective remedial action.

    Everyone:
    So what alternative employment can be created if the Galilee Basin mines don’t go ahead?

    Pity so much publicly owned infrastructure has been flogged off because the obvious alternative major projects cannot go ahead under private ownership.

    There is not a private firm in the world willing to wait 10 or 15 years before they start getting a return on investment (and in the case of many short-sighted Australian firms, make that next financial year).

  49. Fran Barlow

    According to Naomi Oreskes in Merchants of Doubt, there were a bunch of creaky old cold warriors sitting around with nothing to do after the fall of the Berlin wall, so they turned their attention to the Pesky Environmentalists instead.

    I love Oreskes’s work, but this is rather amusing in mirroring the claims of some denialists that environmentalism is a trojan horse for disaffected c0mmun|sts seeking an alternative means of subverting western civilisation.

  50. jungney

    Ecocide denialism is related to directly related to the concept of genocide denialism; the presence of the latter is usually taken by genocide scholars as a sure sign that a genocide has occurred. There is a long standing proposal, since the 1970′s, to make ecocide an international crime, which would be the fifth international crime against peace alongside the crime of genocide and others, in order for such matters to be dealt with under the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

  51. Helen

    Fran, she names names, it’s not like the Faceless Men or something. They are identifiable. I got the book from the library otherwise I’d look some of them up for you.

  52. Fran Barlow

    Oh I know Helen. I’ve read the book. I just love it that as is so foten the case with the deniers, one sees here that the world as depicted by the deniers is a perverse projection of their own flaws.

    Reading Oreskes I recalled this from Marx in The German Ideology

    The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life. Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour. The same applies to mental production as expressed in the language of politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics, etc., of a people. Men are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc. – real, active men, as they are conditioned by a definite development of their productive forces and of the intercourse corresponding to these, up to its furthest forms. Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-process. If in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside-down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process.

    Okay … I’d substitute “people” for “men” but this aside it is rather piquant.

  53. Fran Barlow

    ugh … dyslexia strikes … often … ironic that it appears in a post about being back to front!

  54. Paul Norton

    The 2010-2011 Annual Report on Anti-Semitism in Australia includes the following passage in which we learn that it is the antisemites themselves that complain about the use of “denier” in the climate change debate:

    On Fredrick Toben’s “personal” website, he made comments such as “9-11 and the Holocaust Shoah Ponzi Scheme are the hard issues” (14/12/10); “I’m a denier – and proud of it! I’m a denier – it was all a HOAX – a Ponsi scheme – there was no debate – just a lie . . . “ (14/12/10); (Quoting Arthur Butz “Noting the obvious ways in which this legend is exploited in contemporary politics, notably in connection with the completely illogical support that the U.S. extends to Israel”, as a motivation for Holocaust denial (20/12/10) and, in his response to the July 2011 massacres in Norway said that Breivik had a world view which included “the Jewish-Talmudic factor, which means predatory capitalism also gets covered as a compromise to Internationalism/Globalising”
    and “using shut-up words to stifle an open debate, such as ‘hater’, ‘Holocaust (climate change) denier’, ‘antisemitic’, ‘racist’, ‘Nazi’, ‘xenophobe’, will not be accepted by the younger generation that devours information via the Internet.” (25/7/11). Speaking to an Iranian
    newspaper, “Toben highlighted the anti-Holocaust rhetoric of IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as an effective campaign for the restoration of a real place in the Middle East.” (1/3/11). In another
    interview with an Iranian journalist, Toben said “Iran can make the Middle East a safe haven by working towards the dismantling of this racist state – and if it does not succeed, then the Middle East will be dominated by Jewish interests – and such interests are based on TALMUD values, and that is a horrifying prospect for all peoples” (in Veteran’s Today, 10/3/11), interviewed by Kourosh Ziabari). Fredrick Toben published on his website “It is my moral, social and legal duty to
    proclaim that the Jewish Holocaust-Shoah is built on lies of such huge proportions that one finds it difficult to understand how this massive lie has survived over six decades” (13/3/11).

  55. Tim Macknay

    Thanks for mentioning the Indian interest in Thorium powered generator – which begs the question of why the hell Australians didn’t have Thorium powered generators years ago?

    Graham, the Indian thorium program is in what one could describe as its early stages (despite having been in progress for decades). The Indian 3-stage plan for nuclear energy doesn’t envisage significant power generation from thorium for another three or four decades. There are no commercial scale thorium power reactors – just a couple of small research reactors. India’s nuclear industry runs on uranium, just like every other.

    The next stage in the Indian plan is for fast breeder reactors to be built, which will transmute sufficient quantities of thorium into uranium 233 to kick-start the proposed future generation of thorium power reactors.

    India doesn’t yet have any fast breeder reactors, and given the technical difficulties other nations have faced with fast breeders, the success of this stage of the program is uncertain.

    At this point, Indian thorium nuclear energy is more of a hope than anything else.

  56. John D

    How has this post on the Galilee basin got taken over by a pedantic debate on denialism?
    The real message to me in this post is that commercial realities are making investment in new coal mines and fossil power stations look riskier and riskier. It would be useful to discuss how climate action supporters can highlight these risks as part of the campaign to reduce emissions.

  57. Bernard J.

    John D at #58, it’s actually interesting to see how a focused discussion is interrupted by a denialist strawman in order to move that focus.

    The next question is “why”…?

  58. jules

    Speaking of Wiggins Island – apparently things aren’t as rosy as old mate @ 8 reckons. I too blame Greenpeace and their Australian collaborators, not greedy idiots in an African river.

  59. tigtog

    John D and Bernard J., you are quite right to note that the pedantic debate on denialism belongs on Overflow rather than here. I should have put my comment on Overflow from the off, apologies for prolonging the derail.

  60. Val

    Bernard j @ 8
    Indeed. I have been at an Eco-health symposium today, where we were urged to be inclusive in our thinking, rather than adversarial. Nevertheless, looking at the way Mk50 came into this debate, and how cagey he was before finally admitting that he did not accept the science of climate change, you can’t help thinking that at some level his whole contribution was an attempt to derail the discussion.

    My first questions to him were innocent – taking at face value his apparent position that we needed to shift to nuclear in order to get away from fossil fuels. It was some time before his true agenda emerged, which is that he supports the export and burning of fossil fuels.

    John D may find it frustrating that our discussion was derailed into what appeared to him to pedantic debate about denial, but I think the whole exchange was a useful object lesson on the clever tactics that climate change deniers use to disguise their real agenda.

  61. Val

    Sorry tigtog, our posts crossed or I would have gone to overflow.

  62. Val

    My questions to Mk50 that I referred to @ 61, were actually on a previous thread. The point still applies.

    John D @ 57
    To return to the point, as you suggest, I’m not sure how we can raise those issues about coal being an increasingly bad investment. Have you any suggestions for good talking points for social media, etc?

  63. Tim Macknay

    India doesn’t yet have any fast breeder reactors

    I should correct that. India has built and operated a small experimental breeder reactor.

  64. Graham Bell

    Tim Macknay @ 56:
    Thanks for the info about Indian interest in Thorium.
    Power generation was never my field but mention of Th on LP reminded me of a thoroughly interesting yarn I had with an Indian physicist, many decades ago, on Australian mineral sands, alternatives to Uranium in ultra-cheap power generation, etc.
    Thought there might have been a breakthrough in the use of Thorium that I hadn’t heard about in the mainstream entertainment media.
    Oh well, back to the drawing board.

  65. John D

    Val @63: Have a look at the link Jules@59 provided. It has some quotable stuff on the problems that banks and coal companies are facing as a result of the Wiggan Island port project being based on what has turned out to be over optimistic utilization projections.
    You might also be interested in the cancelling of the Wandoan 30 million tonne per yr mine It is not so long ago that Brian was talking about the impact of this enormous project was going to have on his farmer friends.

  66. Tim Macknay

    Graham @65 – Australia certainly does have large thorium reserves. Ironically we’re currently exporting some of it to Malaysia as a waste product of rare earth production, to the great disgust of the Malaysians living in the vicinity. Anyway, in view of TT’s remarks above regarding Overflow, I won’t say anything more about thorium or Indian nuclear energy.

  67. Graham Bell

    Gentlefolk:
    We may be able to recycle the Abbott Point port facilities for general cargo. Despite all the fervour and noise, you can have responsible shipping services AND an extraordinarily well protected Great Barrier Reef.