Thursday, 3 December 2009

How to drag money out of dumb people

Herald Sun
Thursday 26/11/2009 Page: 75

Well what do the pebble headed Fred Flintstones's and Barney Rubble's and all their dinosaur supporters have to say for themselves now that they have forced climate change law to slip through a crack in the rocks? You know that saying, don't wish too hard because you might get what you asked for? That is exactly what has happened, courtesy of the deniers and sceptics of Australia.

They argued for so long and so hard to strip credibility from the science that shows that human activity has caused global warming that our politicians became confused and agreed on an emissions trading scheme that will not reduce carbon pollution, but perversely will make marketeers and polluters richer by giving big emitters a licence to continue emitting. It is a scheme with no incentives for investors to bankroll new technologies that can satisfy energy demands without producing waste or carbon emissions.

In Spain, Germany, the US and even China and India, billions of dollars are being invested in renewable energy. For more on these progressive energy sectors visit: media/radio, where you can hear interviews with international experts working in advanced energy sectors in some of the biggest developed and developing economies.

Get it straight from the horse's mouth and not from the soapboxes of Australian deniers unfamiliar with the exciting energy innovations that are already commercialised overseas. Although very much in the minority, these deniers are so generously funded by the fossil fuel and mining sector they can draw on limitless resources to cast unfounded doubt on the accepted science that the planet is warming because we burn too much coal, oil and gas.

And now they are claiming that a handful of old, disjointed and out of context email exchanges between British scientists proves that human induced climate change science is a "fraud", to quote Adelaide academic Ian Plimer, one of the chief engineers of global warming scepticism. What rot.

Sadly, the deniers have achieved sufficient ambivalence in the minds of enough politicians about the impact of atmospheric carbon dioxide, that this week both parties did a dirty deal to further dilute the inappropriately named carbon pollution reduction scheme.

This anachronistic piece of legislation is more than ever a carbon pollution reward scheme. The deal on the table now gives an elite group of powerful companies with influential lobbyists an extra $7 billion in handouts, on top of the billions previously promised, when emissions trading begins.

When this new carbon market is up and running in 2011, what will happen is that "new ways will be created to drag money out of dumb people", to quote an unnamed source who makes a living out of taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities in financial markets. And yet, this is exactly what the deniers have so forcefully argued should be avoided. But they wished so hard, their efforts have backfired and now the rest of the economy will suffer.

If the sceptical Plimer had stuck to his knitting, which is mining and geology and not economics or renewable energy, instead of labelling climate science a "fraud", our House of Reps may have been more responsible this week. Hopefully, enough senators will have the sense to block the CPRS when it's their turn to vote. If on the other hand, Plimer has some insight that escapes the rest of us, if he truly can see the past and the future of the planet, is he applying his talent to assess the fortunes of the mining companies he is associated with? If so, perhaps his supporters should put their money where their faith is and invest in them.

According to Australian Securities and Investments Commission records, Plimer is a director of Broken Hill Operations, Ivanhoe Australia and CBH Resources. He is also deputy chairman of British-based gold and copper explorer Kefi Minerals.

Previously, he sat on the boards of Kimberley Metals, Orion Metals, AXG Mining, Bemax Resources and EIM Resources - all mining companies.