4
Apr
2017

Turnbull’s Polling & Developments in Climate Policy

Polling Worsens Again

The Newspoll published yesterday showed a return of the Coalition to the rating of 47/53 after the upward blip to 48/52 in mid March. Turnbull’s net satisfaction rate continued to slide, now to the worst since becoming PM, while Shorten’s rose to be a fraction above Turnbull’s (the graph below tells a story in itself). The only poll now favouring Turnbull is the Better PM one but even there his rating fell while Shorten’s improved  to 32/41.  As The Australian’s Political Editor has pointed out, “The message is that voters are in no mood to reward Turnbull for making progress on his old agenda. Why should they, if they think he is heading in the wrong direction?  For any other prime minister, the solution would be a bold new direction on a social or economic issue, but this is fraught with danger for Turnbull … The alarms are sounding for the entire Coalition, not just the Prime Minister. Turnbull cannot win from making incremental progress alone. He will have to do something far more dramatic”.

Environment Policy

“Something far more dramatic” would be a major change in energy policy by abandoning the target on renewable usage. The Victorian Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy, has set the pace by pledging to keep coal-fired power stations going if the Coalition wins the next election in Victoria scheduled for Nov 2018.  If Turnbull was to remove the renewable requirement of 23%, that would reduce the cost faced by Guy of keeping coal-fired generators functioning, possibly even eliminating it altogether if Turnbull (or his successor) were to undertake a review on Climate Science, as the US House of Representatives has just done, but with our own climate sceptics given an opportunity to make presentations.

The US House Science Committee under a Republican chair heard from three sceptics and one (infamous) warmist, with the former pointing out that the modelling of temperature increases by warmists has greatly overestimated what actually happened. Prof John Christy, who with Roy Spencer, developed a system of measuring temperatures by satellite, claims that these measurements produced results close to what actually happened.  The attached summary points out (see House Science Ctee in SEPP) that, in his presentation, Christy stated (modestly) that “A report of which I was a co-author demonstrates that a statistical model that uses only natural influences on the climate also explains the variations and trends since 1979 without the need of extra greenhouse gases. While such a model (or any climate model) cannot “prove” the causes of variations, the fact that its result is not rejected by the scientific method indicates it should be considered when trying to understand why the climate does what it does. Deliberate consideration of the major influences by natural variability on the climate has been conspicuously absent in the current explanations of climate change by the well-funded climate science industry.” The latter sentence is particular pertinent to the reports made by the IPCC.

The attached summary is by Ken Haapala, who is on the group currently advising Trump on climate policy. Note his comment that “From 1993 to 2016, the US government spent over $40 Billion on what government entities classify Climate Science – and has produced no refinement to the 1979 Charney Report. Independent scientists and climate researchers have produced far better estimates of the influence of CO2, based on empirical (scientific) observations. But, that research is not included in official government publications”.

Much the same story applies here and a major difficulty in persuading Turnbull to establish a similar review here is that the present head of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Martin Parkinson, was previously the head of the Department of Climate Change (Dec 2007 – Mar 2010) where he led the development of climate change policy based on analysis using models that ignored natural influences on temperatures.

It is worth adding that the developments in the US under Trump are starting to include critiques of the climate policy adopted by Democrats under Obama. The attached (very cynical) article (WSJ on Trump’s Climate Policy) argues that they failed to base policies on achieving a net public good when considering government regulations. He is almost as critical of Trump as of Obama!

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