THE AGE censors informed, credentialled, scientist comments about man-made climate change

The Age newspaper (Melbourne, Australia; Fairfax media empire) is arguably Australia's most "liberal" Mainstream newspaper.

The Age has an On-line version that has a National Times section that includes op-ed articles by in-house journalists, politicians, and other commentators. It invites reader comments on these articles. However as set out below, The Age variously censors informed, credentialled, scientist comments about man-made climate change.

Leading US climate scientist Dr James Hansen (head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies) has stated "Human-made climate change is, indeed, the greatest threat civilization faces" (p70, James Hansen, "Storms of my Grandchildren, Bloomsbury, London, 2009).

1. The Age published an article by non-scientist Senator Kim Carr (Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in the notoriously anti-Science Australian Labor Government) entitled “Science champions needed to battle merchants of doubt” in which he said more scientists should speak out publicly to inspire Australians  (The Age On-line National Times, 19 November 2010: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/science-champions-needed-to-battle-merchants-of-doubt-20101118-17z7p.html . The Age published 97 comments about the article (all but 2 anonymous) but evidently didn’t want the following comment from a much-published 5-decade career scientist (Dr Gideon Polya) to be read by its readers:

 "Fine words indeed from Senator Carr but he, his Australian Labor Party (aka Another Liberal Party) colleagues and the pro-coal, pro-gas Lib-Labs in general should practise what he is preaching and listen to and act on what top scientists are saying in the peer-reviewed scientiific literature. Some examples below of the anti-science mainstream Lib-Lab culture in Australia.

1. Gas is dirty energy and depending upon the rate of industrial gas leakage, gas burning can be dirtier than coal burning in terms of greenhouse gas pollution. Yet Labor politicians falsely declare that "gas is clean energy", support massive LNG exports and support a pointless "coal-to-gas" transition for power production.

2. Mathematicians tell us that 2 plus 2 equals 4 but the Lib-Labs evidently prefer Big Brother's notorious assertion otherwise. There are so many examples of this media-permitted Orwellian violation of the numbers by the anti-science Lib-Labs that one despairs. Thus UN Population Division demographic data instruct that post-invasion under-5 infant deaths in Occupied Afghanistan total 2.6 million, 90% avoidable and due to gross US Alliance violation of the Geneva Convention. Yet the Lib-Labs ignore the authoritative data and try to outdo each other in warmongering when the US and NATO clearly want out.

3. Plenty of top scientists say what they think about the acute seriousness of man-made climate change but are ignored by Mainstream media and Lib-Lab politicians. 255 top US scientists recently said "delay is not an option" but Australia's Domestic plus Exported greenhouse gas pollution remorselessly increases under both Labs and Libs.

Sensible voters must reject the anti-science Lib-Labs and vote Green."

However The Age did publish my further comment:Senator Carr's hypocrisy is revealed by remorseless Federal and State Labor inaction on man-made climate change despite, for example, 255 eminent US scientists belonging to the prestigious US National Academy of Science recently declaring in an Open Letter that "delay is not an option".

The Age (while arguably the best mainstream medium in Australia) also ignores informed scientific opinion. Thus carefully researched comments on Senator Carr's article by a 5-decade career scientist (circa 100 scientific research papers in refereed journals, 4 books, numerous chapters in books, still teaching a complete second year science subject, theory and practical classes, at a major university) and made under his own name have evidently been found "not fit to print" in this thread - but can be read on the US Newsvine (link provided [ see:  http://gpolya.newsvine.com/_news/2010/11/18/5490210-oz-science-minister-re-skeptics-science-champions-needed-to-battle-merchants-of-doubt- ]).

2. The Age state political editor Paul Austin's article “The figures point to electoral wilderness for Victorian Labor”, ( The Age On-line, National Times, 16 December 2010: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/the-figures-point-to-electoral-wilderness-for-victorian-labor-20101215-18y4a.html ) omitted to mention the Greens or pro-environment voters in his analysis of the 2010 Victorian State elections.

The Age published 23 comments on the article (all but 1 anonymous) but not my carefully researched comment under my own name (Dr Gideon Polya). I frequently make informed comments under my own name to The Age National Times but am increasingly subject to censorship. This is what The Age did not want its readers to know in this instance:

One must certainly respect Paul Austin's expert judgment that "history suggests it is a much better bet that Victoria's next Labor government is at least eight years away".

However the analysis ignores the Green vote of circa 11% in the recent elections. The Greens are the kingmakers and Labor can only return to power with Greens preferences.

About 80% of Greens voters currently give their second preference to Labor but in my view this is a profoundly mistaken strategy for getting required action on climate change.

As long as the pro-coal, pro-gas Labs are effectively just as bad as the pro-coal, pro-gas Libs (both want a derisory "5% off 2000 level by 2020"), the correct Green voter strategy is to put an "effective climate denialist" but potentially reformist Labor last until it agrees to serious, requisite action e.g. zero CO2 emissions by 2020 and 100% renewable energy by 2020 as demanded by Science.of major per capita polluters like Australia.

Top climate scientist Professor Schellnhuber (Potsdam and Oxford Universities) says that for a 67% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise (EU policy) the world must cease CO2 emissions by 2050 and leading annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) polluter the US (27 tonnes CO2-e per person per year) must cease by 2020.

Australia (Domestic plus Exported per capita GHG 54 tonnes CO2-e per person per year) must accordingly get to zero emissions within about 8 years i.e. after 2 more government terms in Victoria.

Pro-Planet voters should accordingly vote 1 Green and put Labor last until Labor commits to requisite major action on climate change."

3. The Age published an article by its esteemed political analyst Michelle Grattan about the 2010 Victorian state elections and entitled “”Chilly Victorian winds could cause shivers in Canberra”. This headline had a double entendre that the Victorian election result bodes ill for the Greens politically , while “chilly” and “shivers” inexplicitly but poetically suggests doubt about the reality of man-made climate change.  Grattan: “There are national messages for Greens and independents, too. Ted Baillieu's tough-minded preference decision has punctuated the Greens' rise, at least with a semicolon. This election has exposed their vulnerability, rather than reinforcing their strength. Nationally, they should beware of overreaching, in case people decide they've got too much power. For Adam Bandt, the Green MP for Melbourne there on Liberal preferences, the future becomes more problematic” (The Age On-line, National Times, 29 December 2010: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/chilly-victorian-winds-could-cause-shivers-in-canberra-20101128-18c9y.html ).

The Age published 25 readers’ comments (all but 1 anonymous) but completely censored the following informed, credentialed comments from a 5-decade career scientist writing under his own name (Dr Gideon Polya): "Victorian voters have collectively done in the State election what Australians voters did in the Federal - punish an incompetent, Lobby-driven and spin-driven incumbent.

We accept that an AFL coach will whip a non-performer off the field and will do likewise to the replacement. I have been told by a top corporate strategist that "Punish the incumbent" is the correct strategy for Australian voters who have evidently collectively come to the same conclusion. Mr Baillieu will have 4 years to do what has to be done or face removal.

The Liberal strategy in the Victorian state elections of putting the Greens last should be emulated by the Greens. The Libs and Labs have very similar pro-coal and pro-gas anti-environment policies although Labor put a better spin on its outrageous inaction. Labor can only win State or Federally with Greens preferences. Accordingly Greens must bite the bullet and adopt a "put Labor last" policy until Labor adopts serious climate change policies demanded by top climate scientists, specifically 100% renewable energy by 2020, cessation of CO2 pollution by 2020, cessation of Australia's coal and gas exports, cessation of old growth native forest destruction.

Unless the Greens (or the voters collectively) think this through and adopt such a ruthless preference policy, Victoria and Australia will continue to have a succession of irresponsible, pro-coal, pro-gas, anti-environment Lib or Lab governments at both the State and Federal level.

Key parameter for voters and Greens: Victoria's annual Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution was about 120 Mt CO2-e under Labor and set to rise to 170 Mt CO2-e by 2020."

Not wishing to be censored on such an important matter, I sent a further comment ot The Age. However The Age then savagely censored my subsequent comment as follows (censored portions in bold):"I sent a carefully researched comment on this article this morning but it evidently hasn't made it.

Even more briefly, the Greens remain the kingmakers. Labor can only be elected with Greens preferences. Unless Labor agrees to take strong climate action (minimum: 100% renewable energy by 2020, cessation of coal & LNG exports, cessation of native forest destruction, population control, cessation of species extinctions) Greens voters - and indeed all voters - should Put Labor Last. Delayer Labs and denier Libs are equally inactive on climate change in practice and Australia's Domestic plus Exported greenhouse gas pollution is still remorselessly rising under the Australian Labor Party (aka Another Liberal Party) as under the Libs.

Unless the Greens voters (and indeed all voters) think this through and adopt such a ruthless preference policy, Victoria and Australia will continue to have a succession of equally irresponsible, pro-coal, pro-gas, anti-environment Lib or Lab governments at both the State and Federal level.

Key parameter for voters and Greens: Victoria's annual Domestic plus Exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution was about 120 Mt CO2-e for a decade under under Labor and is now set to rise to 170 Mt CO2-e by 2020. Yet top climate scientists say we must reduce atmospheric CO2 to 300 ppm from the present dangerous and damaging 392 ppm.

The Lab inaction is morally worse than the Lib inaction because many of the Labs actually know they are betraying our children, grandchildren, Humanity and the Biosphere."


4. The Age published an article by leading Australian political commentator Michelle Grattan about the Gillard Labor Government in 2011, the floods and the Levy (The Age On-line, National Times section, 4 February 2011: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/gillard-sets-her-sights-high-20110203-1afdu.html ) . The Age published 104 comments on the article ( all anonymous and hence uncredentialled) but declined to published the following informed, credentialled comments from Dr Gideon  Polya, one supposes because it felt that its readers must be protected from such facts and such views:

 

Asserting that "Gillard sets her sights high" is an Orwellian turning of reality upside down, whether it is flood relief or man-made climate change action (the 2 matters being connected).

Scientists inform that because the weather is variable one cannot determine the contribution of man-made global warming to specific events such as the Queensland flood and cyclone disasters. However increased air and sea temperature means more intense precipitation and cyclone events. The incidence of severe floods has increased globally 4- to 10-fold since the 1950s and the incidence of severe cyclones has doubled in recent decades (for extensive compendia of expert scientific opinion Google "man-made climate change and floods" and "man-made climate change and cyclones"). Pro-coal, pro-gas Labor has adopted counterproductive and dangerous polices.

1. The income-related disaster levy is fair but fairer still would be abolition of the circa $10 billion pa in subsidies for climate-damaging fossil fuel burning that remain in place under pro-coal, pro-gas Labor.

2. Labor supports continued and expanding climate-damaging coal and gas exploitation that makes Australia a world leader in per capita Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution (60 times worse than warming-threatened Bangladesh).

3. While Labor subsidizes fossil fuel pollution, it is now punishing ordinary taxpayers, the renewable energy industry needed to avert disaster, and universities who research and inform about the dangers and solutions.

4. 12,000 Australians die pa from fossil fuel burning pollutants but Labor ignores the $120 billion pa cost (US EPA estimate) that is equivalent to circa $400 per tonne carbon. Instead Labor offers a derisory carbon price of circa $10 per tonne carbon.”


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