Not As Bad As Abbott, But Carbon Blindness Isn’t A Competition

Here is Guest Poster Thom Mitchell’s latest missive from COP21:

The Paris climate talks are staggering to a close, folks. An unwieldy and cumbersome beast by nature, the Ministers who jetted in this week will put her down over the course of the next day or two, or three. It’s not clear.

The French want a weekend – to have the text nailed down on Thursday, ready to be legalled Friday. We’ll see. As I wrote last night, there’s been little movement on the big overarching decisions that need to be taken, and when I went for a kip – on the couches off from the upstairs press pool, at 3.30am Central European Time – there were still closed negotiations dragging through the frosty Paris night.

I hope Julie Bishop was in one of them, eyeballs stinging. The ridiculous nature of Australia’s positions at the talks – called out, as I reported at the time, by a series of coordinated actions that stalled coal exports along the east coast of Australia – was stripped naked by her ridiculous comments a few days ago.

“Barring some technological breakthrough fossil fuels will remain critical to promoting prosperity, growing economies and alleviating hunger for years to come,” she told an event focused on transitioning to a low carbon economy.

The fact words like these are still coming out of senior frontbencher’s mouths is the saddest indictment, perhaps, of Malcolm Turnbull’s prettier-than-Abbott government. I mean, actually, Julie, what’s difficult to see is how, without some marvel of innovation, coal could be made tasty.

Curing hunger? Really? Have some coal, poor people! Delicious!

Feed them your greedy death stare, more like it.

But there’s been surprisingly little of that; everyone is playing nice, congratulating the French on the admittedly admirable job they’re doing of keeping the hissing, booing and jumping up and down private.

If the French are going to hit their deadline, though, countries will need to resolve the ultimate ‘guardrail’ of how much warming the world will allow; the ‘collective long term goal’ on emissions cuts that will allow us to get there; who will pay; and what role developing states will be expected to play on a range of fronts.

Most of the good stuff has survived the latest prune of the Paris agreement, though. It’s come down to a very manageable 29 pages long, but the nearly 200 countries involved must come to consensus, which is always a big ask. And a lot of the bad stuff is still there, too. Either or will have to face the chopping block.

I suspect that a lot of the nuts and bolts will be deferred to the next ‘Conference of the Parties’ in Morocco, next year, where there’ll be a bit more space to operationalise the deal before it comes into affect in 2020.

And as you might expect, as the negotiation draws towards the pointing and possibly stabbing end, the antics at the Le Bourget conference centre where this political showdown is being staged are getting more frayed.

Last night funny man Dan Ilic, an Australian, presented Bishop with the ‘Fossil of the Day Award’ for her attempt to cram coal down the throats of the poor. And on the Saturday after the Paris summit is slated to close a pretty serious line up of mass demonstrations and creative actions are planned.

But there’s been a surprising sense of calm-before-the-storm to the last few days, because the big questions have remained fairly stagnant. The fact it’s come so late, though, could simply invite a more ferocious storm. There might be some fireworks today.

Or one would hope so, particularly if we’re all going to get that weekend the French President of the conference, Laurent Fabius, is trying to bag. I for one bloody hope so. I feel like I’ve been hit by a non-renewables-fuelled truck. After many nights of three, four, or six AM sleeps, I’m hoping for some time alone with a few bottles of middle-of-the-road vin de rouge.

I did have one brief soiree two nights ago, though, on the generous hospitality of Climate Councillors Tim Flannery, Amanda McKenzie, and Prof Lesley Hughes: I heard an interesting story about a certain rat, from a certain mammalogist (not Flannery), in their somewhat salubrious apartment. You might be hearing more about it, at some point. Again, we’ll see.

And I hate to repackage the rat metaphor I used when I last wrote to you good folk, but we’ll see what rats if any crawl up and die in the text of the Paris agreement. It’s increasingly clear it’ll be no panacea, but that’s no surprise. I’m more and more of the view that actions like those of the brave folk who shut down the coal export ports in Newcastle, Brisbane and Port Kembla this week will be the real means of operationalising the fandangled circus here in Paris.

It rolls up every year, replete with the carbon footprint of shipping in thousands or tens of thousands of journalists, observers delegates and politicians, but it’s clearer than ever already that something’s got to make it give. And that that momentum, like the commitments to cut carbon themselves, must come from the national level and domestic level.

As the President of Kiribati told me in an interview a few days ago, overcoming the drug dealer’s defence we in Australia use to persist in profiting from the coal exports that are sinking his nation, “it is a job for you people in Australia”.

“If you don’t believe your government is doing the right thing,” he said, “then change your government”.


Thank you, as ever, for your generous support.

I’ll let you know how things pan out.


373 thoughts on “Not As Bad As Abbott, But Carbon Blindness Isn’t A Competition

  1. jaeger

    Those photos are funny and cute at the same time, thanks for that, needed a bit of relief from the horror financial stuff happening.

  2. ” Unfortunately for us Victorians they are sending the heat our way.”..You deserve it for what Bolte did to kybosh Dunstan’s Chowilla Dam project!

  3. …and you used to steal our best footy players just to make the Vic’ competition look good!

  4. 2gravel –

    Funny, cute and/or amusing – for sure!

    Hilarious… = “Funnier than LOLcats”? Hmmm.

  5. You can’t expect decent, rational behaviour in a country that has no leadership. We need more than a smirk and a lot of hot air to fix the blatant racism that flourishes in Australia.

    Ballarat man says he is ‘in shock’ after unprovoked racial assault

    An Indian man says he was beaten like an animal in an unprovoked racial attack in Ballarat earlier this week.

    Sumeet Anand, 43, who runs an Indian restaurant, said he had stopped to get some takeaway beers from a bottle shop in the Ballarat CBD about 10:30pm on Monday when he was attacked

    St Malcolm has said not one word about Reclaim Australia, not a word about the racist rallies that have taken place sine he became PM, not a word about female refugees being raped and impregnated while in his care. Nothing. He just smiles and gives another effete wave, he just can’t be bothered. It’s all too hard for him. He, like Abbott, has what he wanted since childhood. He is PM. The rest of us can get stuffed, he doesn’t give a damn. He just wants to bask in the spotlight while he can.

    As the rich, old, grey-haired man said to Australians –

  6. o% is obviously what Truffles’ band of crooks consider “the right amount of tax”.

  7. Kaffeeklatscher,

    Heirs and successors of Kerry Packer’s way of thinking.

    I have been told by someone who knows that in the City (of London, that is), the mere suggestion of a Swiss bank account is derided: they have facilities just as effective.

    Entitlement and then entitlement.

    I am not envious – I am disgusted.

  8. Ridgiesrule,

    I am sure the Hounds of Herberton are not cherishing improper designs on that dear little birdie . . .

    I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, and a really good 2016.

  9. Ridgiesrule.
    Thank you for the beautiful card. Those hounds are adorable. The little birdie obviously trusts them. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  10. Fiona and Puffy – trust me, the little bird is safe.

    The hounds are very sweet natured (also very well fed) and apart from that, it would require the expenditure of energy to do anything evil.

    These days the most energy the hounds of Herberton expend involves climbing onto the couch or climbing off the couch and walking to the bed before climbing on that.

    A recovery time of approximately 22 hours is required after doing this LOL

  11. Ridgiesrule,

    My immediate neighbourhood seems to be a hotbed of retired greyhounds. I quite often see them plodding after their pets, obviously wondering “When is this torture ending? When can I get back to couch?”

  12. Smaller festivals also encourage better behaviour. People look out for each other more. And without the pressure to run around to different stages and wait in long queues, there’s less aggression. Some also have an explicit “no dickhead” policy – where dickheads are politely told to stop by those around them, or can be anonymously reported. Now that’s a policy that I think could have some use outside of the festival circuit.

    Goodbye Soundwave, hello boutique music festivals:,-hello-boutique-music-festivals/7033172

  13. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Mark Kenny is op the opinion that Turnbull will resist the temptation of calling an early election.
    Michael Gordon on the impact of the big company taxation issue on Turnbull’s agenda.
    And it won’t leave the notice of the electorate by sitting back and hoping it will just fade away.
    And it’s articles like this “View from the Street” contribution that drive this assertion home.
    Sussan Ley and others in the government are coming under increasing fire over the stealthy cuts to health and what they will mean to patients.
    Laura Tingle says Abbott should just go away. She really has had enough of him and his antics. (Copy the following string into a Google search to get to the article)
    If this was initiated by Turnbull it may have been a little master stroke.
    More temperature records set to tumble on the weekend.
    Sam Dastyari – movie maker. Watch the trailer.
    The UN ranks Australian life as second best in the world.

  14. Section 2 . . .

    MYEFO – Abbott’s cuts repackaged.,8504
    Adelaidians are really, really grumpy with this hot weather.
    Fairfax is less than impressed with the appointment of the new ABC head.
    I never liked this guy and his thuggish behaviour. Now he’s named as one of those rorting the private vocational education scheme.
    Q and A is not biased to the left says the independent report. But Tony Jones is a pain in the neck. Fair enough.
    Ben Eltham on the political tide that swept Abbott away. A good, long read.
    The 13 Coalition MPs who broke the government in 2015. Another good read to savour.
    Michelle Grattan’s Friday column.
    These lovely upwardly mobile types have just had a big shock. And so they should have!
    Adele Ferguson takes aim at CBA on the release of a report commissioned by ASIC.

  15. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    Why are so many Americans in thrall of conspiracy theorists?
    I’m sure our collective heart bleeds for Kathy Jackson.
    Ron Tandberg and our non-existent revenue problem.

    And Ron joins the fray over ASIO’s “little talks” with certain Coalition MPs.

    Andrew Dyson on bulk billing.
    More from Ron Tandberg as Morrison takes his policies from one portfolio the next.

    And Alan Moir with an old cartoonists’ theme.
    Of course David Pope couldn’t resist taking a poke at the level of tax being extracted from big companies.

    Mark Knight on the success of Uber taxis.

  16. jaycee@jaycee ‏@trulyjaycee 36s37 seconds ago Adelaide, South Australia

    MSM. “Don’t pick on the tax avoider’s” rhyme:

    “Baa baa black sheep
    Have you any wool?
    Yes sir, yes sir , go take your fill….1/2

    jaycee@jaycee ‏@trulyjaycee 26s27 seconds ago Adelaide, South Australia

    Ten for the bosses,
    That we’re not going to blame.
    So long as you tax the hell
    Of the little people
    Who can’t “play the game.”…2/2

  17. An interesting piece on the rise of Trump,at least within the Republican Party side

    My son-in-law’s family are die-hard Republicans, a little incongruous to me since they are originally of Italian working-class Pennsylvanian stock. Perhaps, in days past when politics was more representative, they’d received settling-in help from a decent enterprising Republican politician. Gratitude and loyalty can often shape the political view and then be sustained over several generations. During our visit to their place in Colorado, I was under instructions from Sim not to get political to preserve harmony. I complied.

    Actually, I got along famously with him during our stay. He is a very loving parent and husband and an excellent host to Sim and me, He talked freely about conditions in Colorado, where he was well-informed as a shire civil engineer. I let him lead most conversations and he proved quite enlightened on attitudes to climate change and public resources and infrastructure. His love of nature and knowledge of it was better than mine. He enjoyed American and most other sports and patiently explained some of the intricacies of football and baseball to me.

    He subscribed to Fox only for the sports channels, where coverage was extensive. The only time he alluded to it at all (perhaps he’d had similar warnings from Sim’s daughter) was on the coming Presidential nominations. He said that he was thinking of supporting Trump. His reasoning was unusual. It was that since Trump had amassed his own wealth, he was not beholding to big business or banking. I didn’t take the bait, just observing. He offered no comment at all at Trumps racism, paranoia and outrageous assertions, but it’s hard to imagine he’d believe in any of that. Perhaps he saw him as a Dick Smith type of figure, but I’d put Trump closer to Berlusconi.

    Throughout my stay in the US I found a dissonance between the warmth and kindness of the people and the hatred shown in the politics and the media. Perhaps Fear and Loathing takes on a life of its own, just as here in Australia we seem incapable of breaking the deadlock on inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.

  18. GD,

    ” It was that since Trump had amassed his own wealth, he was not beholding to big business or banking.”

    I heard people who gave their support to Clive Palmer express that same view. And, I suspect there are many dumb bums who’d think the same of mighty malcayman as well! Is it any wonder why so many lose their life’s savings when a slimy conman shows his wares?

  19. I’m sick of writers, bloggers and alleged journalists writing piece after piece about why/how Abbott was seen off. It’s over, Abbott has gone, we all know why and how it happened.

    Instead of repeating the same old ‘look what happened to Abbott’ stuff over and over again let’s focus on Turnbull. There is enough dirt in his past to fill libraries of books, but we are not hearing about any of it.

    The MSM refuse to mention the start St Malcayman was given by his wealthy father, instead they lie and tell us he dragged himself up from nothing. They refuse to mention the many scandals in his past, especially not the HIH scandal, which centred on Turnbull and saw many innocent people lose money. They are never critical of his slience on every big issue. The latest? He has said not one word about MYEFO or the tax dodging revelations. Instead he flew off to Japan in what I believe was a carefully timed trip to avoid the local media.

    Turnbull is a fraud, a con-man, but we are told only that he is a self-made man whose business skills made him a multi millionaire. All lies. And of course, they don’t mention his wife’s huge inherited fortune either, which contributed more to the Turnbull millions that any of The Sainted One’s dodgy business deals and good luck with eastern suburbs real estate.

    If you need an interesting example of Turnbull’s slimy con-man operations then there is his dodgy claim to be part Jewish, an a sickening attempt to pander to the very large Jewish population in his electorate. His mother and father are dead, there is no way to prove or disprove his claim.

    In the last 11 years, Turnbull has built a strong relationship with many elements of the Jewish community, and its major organisations. He has been a staunch defender of the Israeli government.

    When there was discussion about amending the Racial Discrimination Act, Turnbull took a moderate position on how it could be reformed, whilst doing what he could to reassure the Jewish community.

    Otherwise, Turnbull has also raised the possibility of Jewish ancestry on his mother’s side, and has been known to casually throw Yiddish words into his conversation, and even critique the wisdom of the Jewish theologian and philosopher Maimonides. Thus, as will be seen, it is little surprise that the Jewish community has been kvelling over the rise of Malcolm

    *kvell – verb (used without object), Slang. To be extraordinarily pleased; especially, to be bursting with pride, as over one’s family.

  20. worth a read, much more detail in this story (its the local paper) than in the various ones on Australian sites worth a read, note the anecdote from Amanda as the end


    Click to access map.pdf contains an audio link, a very good listen

  22. One law for the rich …

    A manager at Macquarie Bank who defrauded the company of $1.2 million has avoided jail.

    Michael Roth was charged in 2013 with defrauding Macquarie Bank’s commercial leasing arm over almost a decade.

    He pleaded guilty to the charges in the New South Wales District Court and was today sentenced to two years in prison, but he will serve it under strict supervision in the community under an intensive correction order.

    The court heard Roth stole the money to finance a gambling and alcohol addiction and that he had sought treatment for having bipolar disorder and has good prospects of rehabilitation.

  23. Co-payments for pathology is getting more and more flak

    The pathology industry is seeking an urgent meeting with the federal health minister, Sussan Ley, over planned changes to bulk billing, warning that the reduced rebates could kill off small service providers.

    Service providers say they will have no choice except to charge patients a co-payment for services such as blood tests after the federal government announced in its budget update that it would scrap incentives for pathology services, and reduce bulk billing incentives from 15% of the Medicare benefits schedule fee to 10% for diagnostics.

    The body representing pathologists has raised alarm bells, saying the changes will have dire consequences.

    “There’s no capacity to absorb it [costs], is what we’re being told,” the chief executive of the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia, Debra Graves, told Guardian Australia.

    She disputed Ley’s assertions that pathology service providers were using the rebate to boost profits, saying the industry was now at a “critical point” following massive consolidation over the last few years.

    “There really isn’t much fat left in the system any more,” Graves said.

    “We’ve asked for an urgent meeting with the minister,” she said. “We’d be delighted to work with her to show her how the system works.”

    The chief executive officer of Sonic Healthcare, Colin Goldschmidt, said the changes would signal the end of smaller-scale service providers, who would be “going out of business” as a result of a reduced rebate.

    He told Guardian Australia the only option for recouping the losses was to ask patients to pay more.

  24. Leonetwo

    I think there is some good in ( a little) reminding people about Abbott. It will remind some voters of believing in what the meeja told them about ‘marvellous’ Abbott and it turning out to be all bullshit. The less slow on the uptake will be a bit more sceptical and less believing when they hear the same bullshit being rolled out by the msm about how marvellous Truffles is.

  25. kk
    Maybe, but all we seem to be getting is pages and pages and pages about Abbott, and a lot of it seems to be ‘but he was such a good bloke’ stuff. We need to focus on what is happening now, not what happened three months, or a year, or two years ago,

    The MSM were so facinated by Abbott’s latest daily outburst that theybarely mentioned Turnbull’s quick trip to Japan or wondered why he had organised it to happen so soon after MYEFO was released, when he should have been out selling his government’s financial arrangements. No-one mentioned his total lack of comment on MYEFO, his abandonment of Scrott and Boxhead, leaving them to deal with the media by themselves and none of them linked that silence to the way he distances himself from every big issue. I hope to see some comment on Turnbull’s tactic of smiling and saying absolutely nothing, but I’ll be waiting a very long time I think.

  26. leone

    He is the 12th MP so far to announce their retirement at or before the 2016 election, marking the exit of hundreds of years of political experience.

    You’d think they’re wizards. Have they ever done anything positive, I wonder.

  27. When a government-ordered review does not deliver the results that government wanted, what does a minister do? He chucks a wobbly.

    Erica is NOT HAPPY with the review of Q&A. Note his comment on what he expects of the incoming Managing Director.

    Abetz sees red. Or should that be Green? The Q&A review’s suggestion that the show focus on a more divergent range of opinions has infuriated Tasmanian Senator (and irrelevant backbencher) Eric Abetz, who released a statement saying:

    “This review defies common sense and fails to address the serious concerns that have been raised by the community. Bizarrely, the review recommends more extreme left wing politicians like the Greens appearing on this programme that is already well and truly skewed to the left.”

    “The ABC have again wasted taxpayers’ money in a poor review that misses the mark. Hard working Australians will be disappointed to see this lettuce-leaf review instead of something that genuinely ensures that the programme is fair, reasonable, balanced.”

    “Hopefully the next ABC Managing Director will be better focused on ensuring balanced programming than running a protection racket for poor decision making.”

    The cranky Senator signed off with a warning. “I look forward to pursuing this matter further at Senate Estimates in February,” he said. Those estimates are likely to be Mark Scott’s last. —  Myriam Robin

  28. leonetwo

    Yes that nice guy Tony is sick making. What those sad journos don’t realise it shows just how susceptible to flattery they are. But then narcissists are supposed to do flattery oh so well.

    I’m with you on Truffles though. There is a mountain of stuff that screams SHONK and SHYSTER before and after he was in parliament and yet it all remains “crickets” . Truffles is being allowed to waft about waffling empty nothings while events occur that not so long ago would have seen a chorus of ,media reptiles loudly demanding “answers”, setting “tests” , tut tutting about government “turmoil” , chaos” “tensions” or “division” . Not to mention endless rounds of “leadershit” speculation.

    His carrying on with Abbott’s crap policies , selling out his own supposed beliefs is apparently quite OK. Nothing to see here.

  29. I’ve never seen Waffles have grasp of any picture, large or small.

    Can anyone tell me what he has achieved except by luck and a fair breeze?

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