Senators' Decision On Climate Change

This letter is directed to the incoming Senators of the Australian Parliament, in addition to an independent senator, because they will soon need to make one of the most important decisions for Australia … whether to repeal the Clean Energy Act.

To Senators : Jacquie Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, Dio Wang, David Leyonhjelm, Ricky Muir, Bob Day, Nick Xenophon 

                                                                                                                                 4 July 2014

Dear Senator                                                                                                         

Everyone seems to have an opinion on CLIMATE CHANGE. 

Ask anyone you know, preferably your senate colleagues …

  • what is causing Earth's energy imbalance
  • their understanding of what the various greenhouse gases are
  • about the albedo feedback
  • about other feedback factors relating to climate
  • about ocean warming and acidification
  • what the Holocene and Eemian periods are and what they mean
  • about global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations during these periods. 

Then ask them …

  • what the cumulative atmospheric emissions are
  • what the global temperature rise has been in the past century, and 
  • what the remaining quantity of CO2 that might be emitted to hold global warming to 2 degC.

What would their answers be?

Ask them what they know about the risks to humanity and human health, biodiversity, the oceans, food production and agriculture, water availability, economic development, social harmony, population dislocation, international relations, national security, disappearing ocean islands and their communities, species extinctions; and the list goes on.

What would their answers be?

Then conclude by asking them …

  • why there is a frenetic rush by governments and industry to extract fossil fuels (at almost any cost)
  • what they understand about the enormous fossil fuel subsidies that exist
  • what they understand about climate system inertia
  • what they think nations need to do to limit the risks described above
  • what the most universally accepted mechanism is to limit CO2 emissions
  • how many nations already have or are planning to have such a mechanism, and
  • what they understand about intergenerational justice and 
  • of the failure of governments in the past (and present) to collectively address climate change.

What would their answers be?

I would say that very few people would have any answers at all.

And yet, through their lack of knowledge, or lack of interest, or from just being ill-informed, or maybe from preconceptions, or from unquestioning belief of political leaders, they have a steadfast view about "climate change". 

And if they are asked about the carbon pricing mechanism, what would they say?Most likely they have no idea what it means. But they still have an opinion about the "carbon tax", that erroneous catch-all term. Remember, the carbon pricing mechanism exists in law, but the "carbon tax" never has. The people have been duped into believing that Australia's response to climate change action is just a tax.

This "carbon tax" opinion is framed without knowledge - it is the most dangerous opinion of all.

What Would Your Answers Be To All Those Questions?

Here is one way to find answers to all the questions above.

Assessing  "Dangerous Climate Change": Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature

This is an evaluation report by James Hansen (Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York) and 17 other climate scientists, that encapsulates the enormous risks to humanity and every economy in the world if there is not a drastic retreat from the exploitation of fossil minerals.

The report is ...

not based on climate models but rather on observational evidence of global climate change as a function of global temperature and on the fact that climate stabilisation requires long-term planetary energy balance.

… measured global temperature and earth's measured energy imbalance (are used) to determine the atmospheric CO2 level required to stabilise climate at today's global temperature, which is near the upper end of the global temperature range in the current interglacial period (the Holocene).
(Evaluation report, pg. 2)

Observations … not models.

Observations that challenge and overwhelm every thought and utterance and denial that might be made about whether climate change is "real", or whether climate science is "settled", whether there needs to be a price on carbon, or whether Australia is doing its fair share in the context of global climate change action.

What Does The Australian Government Not Want To Do?

It does not want to believe what that evaluation report describes.

It does not want to believe the truth about climate change, and by doing so, it is putting at risk the whole Australian population, the national economy, and the environment. It is a very risky strategy.

By removing the price on carbon emissions, and relying on taxpayer subsidies for a "direct action" approach - one that is discredited internationally - to encourage voluntary action by polluting industries, merely defaults necessary action to the lowest common denominator. What the Australian government wants is;

  • to deny Australia being part of an emerging global network
  • to deny opportunities in new industries and business development
  • to deny future generations their rights to a safe and more harmonious world

What the federal government has done is debunk the Clean Energy Act and the carbon pricing mechanism - all based on science, studies, observations, and decades of international effort - in favour of its Emissions Reduction Fund and Direct Action Plan, both of which have no scientific foundation, and just political ideology. 

What Do You Believe? 

Do you think what The World Bank says about climate change is rubbish?

Do you think that what the United Nations says about climate change is a hoax?

And what about the work of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change? Is that also a hoax?

What about the actions by 39 nations and 23 sub-national bodies that now have a carbon pricing mechanism? And nine new carbon markets - including Mexico, Kazakhastan, Quebec, and six provinces in China - that have begun since early 2013? Surely, they don't know what they're doing?

And don't even think about a clean energy economy, or the tens of thousands of jobs that will be destroyed by abandoning the RET, or the tens of thousands of jobs that would be created by clean energy mechanisms, nor the risk of "stranded assets" (coal mines, railways, and ports), nor border taxes if Australia fails to retain a carbon price.

Don't even think of any of this - because our government surely has all the answers!


The Australian government will be the first government in the world to …


Armed with all the information that you can muster, what is your view on Australia's carbon pricing mechanism? Will you vote to retain the Clean Energy Act in its entirety?

Do you think it is possible to bring forward the already legislated Emissions Trading Scheme, so that it can be seamlessly integrated into the national economy?

My one hope is that you will see through all the nonsense that has been peddled in recent times about Australia's carbon pricing mechanism, and retain what already exists. The international community will applaud you for it, and so will the majority of Australians.

Yours sincerely

Des Menz

Armagh, South Australia

Replies & Comments


Via email 7 July 2014

Dear Mr Menz

Thank you for your email to Nick Xenophon regarding the carbon tax. Nick is currently out of the office and has asked me to respond on his behalf. I have noted your concern and passed your comments on to Nick and his senior advisors for their reference and consideration.

Nick believes man-made climate change is real and that Australia must play its part in reducing carbon dioxide in the environment. He didn’t support the carbon tax introduced by the previous Labor Government.

Nick supports the model developed by leading economic think-tank Frontier Economics that he commissioned jointly in 2009 with then-Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull. This scheme rewards low-emission industries while imposing costs on high-emission industries. It involves ‘carrots and sticks’, and not the massive taxing and wealth distribution associated with the previous government's carbon tax.

While Nick supports the setting of a Renewable Energy Target (RET) as part of wider climate policies including Direct Action and funding renewable technologies with the most potential and lowest costs, he believes the current rules in relation to the RET are stacked against base-load renewables such as geothermal and solar-thermal and too heavily favours wind energy.

The problem with an over reliance on wind energy (leaving aside community and noise concerns) is that its power generation is intermittent, turbines are manufactured overseas and large wind generation capacity may make power more expensive.

Nick supports the repeal legislation of the carbon tax subject to constructive policies being put in place in relation to Direct Action and the RET, among others.

You may also be interested in Nick’s media release following the Palmer-Gore announcement recently:

Thank you again for writing to Nick.

Rachel Pace, Electorate Officer, Office of Nick Xenophon

What is the Frontier Economics report that Senator Xenophon is referring to?

Firstly, look at this site for an overview. It was back when Kevin Rudd's preferred Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was in full discussion mode. As history tells us, the CPRS was consigned to the dustbin … well, heavily modified.

I couldn't find the report at Frontier Economics, so we'll have to be content with what Senator Xenophon understands about his preferred model. 


There's not much of value in this reply, and indeed it illustrates an absence of understanding of what climate change policy is all about.

No replies have been received from the other senators.

Indeed Senator Bob Day is in the dubious group of “climate change skeptics”.

© Des Menz 2014-18
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