An Insider’s Story of the Global Attack on Climate Science

by Jim Salinger


Stormy weather hits New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Flickr.com/wiifm69 (Sean Hamlin)

A recent headline – Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand.

It’s likely to be a familiar story to my scientist colleagues in Australia, the UK, USA and elsewhere around the world.

But if you’re not a scientist, and are genuinely trying to work out who to believe when it comes to climate change, then it’s a story you need to hear too. Because while the New Zealand fight over climate data appears finally to be over, it’s part of a much larger, ongoing war against evidence-based science.


From number crunching to controversy

In 1981 as part of my PhD work, I produced a seven-station New Zealand temperature series, known as 7SS, to monitor historic temperature trends and variations from Auckland to as far south as Dunedin in southern New Zealand.

A decade later, in 1991-92 while at the NZ Meteorological Service, I revised the 7SS using a new homogenisation approach to make New Zealand’s temperature records more accurate, such as adjusting for when temperature gauges were moved to new sites.


The Kelburn Cable Car trundles up into the hills of Wellington. Shutterstock/amorfati.art

For example, in 1928 Wellington’s temperature gauge was relocated from an inner suburb near sea level up into the hills at Kelburn, where — due to its higher, cooler location — it recorded much cooler temperatures for the city than before.

With statistical analysis, we could work out how much Wellington’s temperature has really gone up or down since the city’s temperature records began back in 1862, and how much of that change was simply due to the gauge being moved uphill. (You can read more about re-examining NZ temperatures here.)

So far, so uncontroversial.

But then in 2008, while working for a NZ government-owned research organisation, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), we updated the 7SS. And we found that at those seven stations across the country, from Auckland down to Dunedin, between 1909 and 2008 there was a warming trend of 0.91°C.

Soon after that, things started to get heated.

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, linked to a global climate change denial group, the International Climate Science Coalition, began to question the adjustments I had made to the 7SS.

And rather than ever contacting me to ask for an explanation of the science, as I’ve tried to briefly cover above, the Coalition appeared determined to find a conspiracy.

“Shonky” claims

The attack on the science was led by then MP for the free market ACT New Zealand party, Rodney Hide, who claimed in the NZ Parliament in February 2010 that:

NIWA’s raw data for their official temperature graph shows no warming. But NIWA shifted the bulk of the temperature record pre-1950 downwards and the bulk of the data post-1950 upwards to produce a sharply rising trend… NIWA’s entire argument for warming was a result of adjustments to data which can’t be justified or checked. It’s shonky.

Mr Hide’s attack continued for 18 months, with more than 80 parliamentary questions being put to NIWA between February 2010 and July 2011, all of which required NIWA input for the answers.

The science minister asked NIWA to re-examine the temperature records, which required several months of science time. In December 2010, the results were in. After the methodology was reviewed and endorsed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, it was found that at the seven stations from Auckland to Dunedin, between 1909 and 2008 there was a warming trend of 0.91°C.

That is, the same result as before.

But in the meantime, before NIWA even had had time to produce that report, a new line of attack had been launched.

Off to court

In July 2010, a statement of claim against NIWA was filed in the High Court of New Zealand, under the guise of a new charitable trust: the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (NZCSET). Its trustees were all members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition.

The NZCSET challenged the decision of NIWA to publish the adjusted 7SS, claiming that the “unscientific” methods used created an unrealistic indication of climate warming.

The Trust ignored the evidence in the Meteorological Service report I first authored, which stated a particular adjustment methodology had been used. The Trust incorrectly claimed this methodology should have been used but wasn’t.

In July 2011 the Trust produced a document that attempted to reproduce the Meteorological Service adjustments, but failed to, instead making lots of errors.

On September 7 2012, High Court Justice Geoffrey Venning delivered a 49-page ruling, finding that the NZCSET had not succeeded in any of its challenges against NIWA.


The NZ weather wars in the news

The judge was particularly critical about retired journalist and NZCSET Trustee Terry Dunleavy’s lack of scientific expertise.

Justice Venning described some of the Trust’s evidence as tediously lengthy and said “it is particularly unsuited to a satisfactory resolution of a difference of opinion on scientific matters”.

Taxpayers left to foot the bill

After an appeal that was withdrawn at the last minute, late last year the NZCSET was ordered to pay NIWA NZ$89,000 in costs from the original case, plus further costs from the appeal.

But just this month, we have learned that the people behind the NZCSET have sent it into liquidation as they cannot afford the fees, leaving the New Zealand taxpayer at a substantial, six-figure loss.

Commenting on the lost time and money involved with the case, NIWA’s chief executive John Morgan has said that:

On the surface it looks like the trust was purely for the purpose of taking action, which is not what one would consider the normal use of a charitable trust.

This has been an insidious saga. The Trust aggressively attacked the scientists, instead of engaging with them to understand the technical issues; they ignored evidence that didn’t suit their case; and they regularly misrepresented NIWA statements by taking them out of context.

Yet their attack has now been repeatedly rejected in Parliament, by scientists, and by the courts.

The end result of the antics by a few individuals and this Trust is probably going to be a six-figure bill for New Zealanders to pay.

My former colleagues have had valuable weeks tied up with wasted time in defending these manufactured allegations. That’s time that could have profitably been used investigating further what is happening with our climate.

But there is a bigger picture here too.

Merchants of doubt

Doubt-mongering is an old strategy. It is a strategy that has been pursued before to combat the ideas that cigarette smoking is harmful to your health, and it has been assiduously followed by climate deniers for the past 20 years.

One of the best known international proponents of such strategies is US think tank, the Heartland Institute.


The first in a planned series of anti-global warming billboards in the US, comparing “climate
alarmists” with terrorists and mass murderers. The campaign was canned after a backlash.

Just to be clear: there is no evidence that the Heartland Institute helped fund the NZ court challenge. In 2012, one of the Trustees who brought the action against NIWA said Heartland had not donated anything to the case.

However, Heartland is known to have been active in NZ in the past, providing funding to the NZ Climate Science Coalition and a related International Coalition, as well as financially backing prominent climate “sceptic” campaigns in Australia.


An extract from a 1999 letter from the Heartland Institute to tobacco company Philip Morris.
University of California, San Francisco, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library.

The Heartland Institute also has a long record of working with tobacco companies, as the letter above illustrates. (You can read that letter and other industry documents in full here. Meanwhile, Heartland’s reply to critics of its tobacco and fossil fuel campaigns is here.)

Earlier this month, the news broke that major tobacco companies will finally admit they “deliberately deceived the American public”, in “corrective statements” that would run on prime-time TV, in newspapers and even on cigarette packs.

It’s taken a 15-year court battle with the US government to reach this point, and it shows that evidence can trump doubt-mongering in the long run.

A similar day may come for those who actively work to cast doubt on climate science.

Related

Popular

45 thoughts on “An Insider’s Story of the Global Attack on Climate Science

  1. Dirty tricks are played by either side of any divide that keeps the division going and a divided people are easier to control and if one side can be set against the other the greater the amount of tax can be squeezed out.
    Those on the belief side feel it is their moral duty to pay higher taxes and it is also their moral duty to persuade or force those on the other side to ‘do the right thing’ and pay higher taxes to ‘fund’ the prescribed solution.

    What irks me is permaculture design has within its inherent flexibility, solutions to all forms of man made pollution, social unrest, financial inequality, starvation, political lies and chicanery and the underlying issues of compulsory taxation and the minority which pursue wealth for wealth’s sake and yet articles pushing the division and polarisation keep on coming.

    “if you are not a scientist’ is the worst sort of divisive statement pushed about in any discussion about climate. It’s the same with health “If you are not a doctor” and just about any other issue affecting humanity you cannot have any valid opinion on anything you are not an ‘expert’ in.
    This ridiculous because at some point in time there must have been people figuring stuff out who didn’t need a label to justify their opinion.

    Please let’s see more about how permaculture changes things for the better in large and small ways and instead of trying to fight to change the existing simply show people how much more effective the ‘permaculture way’ really is.

  2. I have a hard time believing that greenhouse gases and human activity are the root problem in climate change and fuels the global warming trend that for some reason stopped warming around 1998. Another reason I have for my skepticism is the left out data from the graphics presented. Why start the correlation graph in 1970s and leave out the data from the present. Also, I’m curious as to why scientists aren’t looking at other factors that contribute to climate changes such as solar activity? If we allow ourselves to accept the burden of climate change as our own fault, then we are at the mercy of those who said ” I told you so”.

  3. It is very disappointing to see this type of article on a Permaculture website. As Bill says, there have been dirty tricks on both sides, going back to the early days of the IPCC and the work of Mann, Bradley and Hughes dodgy statistical analysis to create the first hockey stick (thereby removing the little ice age from the historical record) in the (I think) Second Assessment Report. Personally I would be happy to never see another climate change article in this site. I think permaculturalists have bigger fish to fry. Climate change (whether anthropogenic of not), I’m inclined to agree with Nicole Foss (https://permaculturenews.org/2014/01/17/crash-on-demand-a-response-to-david-holmgren/) that the science is far more complex than can be accurately modeled, and economic collapse is the more likely immediate problem. Either way, more on designing resiliant, diverse and stable agriculturally productive ecosystems and less handwringing on this issue would be appreciated.

    1. You’re bang on there. Permaculture is a great means of re-empowering the individual. By taking control of some or all of ones food needs by conscious design, an individual, family, or community gradually and naturally moves away from “the system” and towards self reliance and co-operation, simply put, the edge pushes out into all facets of society. Once the big picture is revealed, the understanding that capitalism, governments, and the technocratic artificial reality becomes obviously trivial and a new paradigm is revealed. Cheers.

    2. I agree about being happy to never see another climate change article on this site. I’ve long considered myself an environmentalist, however I don’t feel I have much in common with the current environmental movement. I’ve thought for a long time that the whole climate change movement will eventually destroy any credibility the environmental movement has with the larger public. This could lead to a backlash as people realise how many hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted in trying to lower the level of plant food (CO2) in the atmosphere while ignoring all the opportunities to improve our environment.

      TL;DR Stop wasting time on climate change and turn this blog back to permaculture.

  4. Dirty tricks are played by either side of any divide

    And the dirty tricks of the climate change scientists are??????

    1. Altering data, applying “tricks” to outputs, omitting data, freezing out objectors in their ranks. Creating graphs screwing causal data, plenty.

      Doesn’t matter though, see my comments below.

  5. Robbie, the questions you raise have been answered by the scientists, but maybe they haven’t been reported by the mainstream journalists because they want to keep the doubt flowing. The 1998 myth: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14527-climate-myths-global-warming-stopped-in-1998.html#.UuhCTrRxWM8 and the sun has been investigated and is included in models: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11650-climate-myths-global-warming-is-down-to-the-sun-not-humans.html

    I’m surprised at the level of resistance from people who claim to support a discipline that is centered on understanding natural and human made systems and using that understanding to design better living arrangements. If you stick your head in the sand over these issues how can you hope to design systems that are resilient in the face of the impacts they will bring? The first step in permaculture design is analysis and understanding of what exists, is it not?

  6. Um, ha, um, quoting Permaculture’s founder,

    “Permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.”

    And friends that is a direct quote. Permaculture is not about “fighting climate change” it is about real doable now solutions. Those are the founder’s words not my words. Let go of the political BS and focus on actions and things that actually matter. If you are worried about carbon build some huguls and leave the politics to the politicians.

    Again in Permaculture, there is

    “no room for politicians or administrators or priests”

    There is room to grab a shovel, build an ethical business, help a neighbor, so let’s get on with that and leave activism (which accomplishes nothing but division) to activists who are nothing but tools of the corporatocracy and the politicians.

    The government has as much chance to stop global warming/cooling/changing/weirding/instability/dangeroftheday as did a holly man chanting in front of a glacier during the ice age, NONE!

    We can impact desertification, soil loss, salting of our arable lands, deforestation, etc. Get to work, stop telling others what to believe and show people what can be done. I work with people of every political stripe, I don’t care who you vote for, I do care that you are taking responsibility for yourself and for that of your children.

    Anyone that doesn’t like those words, you can argue with Bill!

    1. Permaculture might be anti-political, but it does not exist in a void. Part of it is analysing all inputs and effects that occur in the region being designed, is it not? And following that analysis implementing systems to cope with/manage/alleviate/direct those inputs and effects. Once again, if you stick your head in the sand you’re likely to be surprised by a kick up the rear.

    2. Another quote from Bill:

      Hunger is rising, absolute hunger is rising, food’s badly distributed, not distributed at all often. The waste of food, the whole deal of it….it’s eh, a shocking situation, it’s just inhuman. It’s what nobody would intend, and somehow what we’ve arrived at, and we arrived at it by the erection of financial structures, totally divorced from resources. So that the fiscal economy has been a runaway system. We’ve gotta tackle that head on. That is, what I’m trying to tell you, it’s no good any longer just being an organic gardener or farmer, we have to be effective financial and political units. And we’re gonna have to face that. Just as it was very hard for us to learn to garden, then hard for us to learn to collect seeds, once the multinationals took over the open-pollinated seed market; we had to become seed growers. Now it’s very difficult, we have to become bankers. There’s no good trying to pretend we don’t have to. We can run away to the bush, build a mud hut and grow ducks in the garden, it’s not gonna do it. The coals will still be burnt, the land will still be eroded, and the forests will still be cleared for newsprint if we run away to the bush. So, there’s no escape, we’ve just gotta stop running away, stay where we are and start to face up and fight. Good, as long as you’re fully persuaded of that we can get on with the course…." — Bill Mollison, 1983 PDC (emphasis added)

  7. A few years back some scientists claimed to have discovered “Cold Fusion.” which would give the world almost unlimited supplies of relatively clean nuclear energy. Immediately teams around the world attempted to duplicate their results but found nothing.
    The moral of the story is that scientists are not some monolithic, single minded, conspiratorial force. Scientist can get just as much kudos for disproving things as proving things. Now that we have reached the stage where 98% of climatologists agree that the world is warming due to human activity the layman should be humble enough to admit they are right.

  8. Interesting topic and more interesting comments that follow…

    @ ModernSurvival, I too have read (much of) Mollison’s excellent foundation book, the book that started the whole thing (I hesitate to say idea or movement), and it is a wonderful book that fired my enthusiasm and imagination and changed my life. I particularly liked that paragraph that you quoted. It doesn’t mean, however, that everything written in there is engraved in stone and cannot be questioned! Nothing is sacred. Even words by Bill Mollison written many years ago can be re-examined.

    Saying ‘leave the politics to the politicians’ is not a particularly clever comment. If certain things are brought into being through political will, then try as we might, we could all be doomed – no matter how many hugels or whatever are built! Some of us can and should take action in other ways than just building hugels (to use that flippant example), digging swales, mulching, raising chickens, etc.

    I recall years ago, certain UK politicians telling Oxfam to stay out of politics and stick to providing humanitarian aid to famine/war-stricken areas. It is clear that Oxfam would be fighting a losing battle if all they can do is try to mend what is broken by those who cause and fuel the damage in the first place.

    Problems need to be addressed at the root, not repaired afterwards. That is the only way to prevent them re-occuring again and again.
    I’m sure that tackling root issues will appeal to other permies too!

    Best wishes to all.

    1. @TariqD,

      What I always say is if you want to take permaculture into politics go ahead but leave politics out of permaculture. Last year using this approach my organization inspired MILES of huguls and miles of swales. We over the years have inspired 10s of thousands of gardens and in 2013 I personally enrolled over 500 students in Geoff Lawton’s PDC.

      I am not bragging I am just telling you what works. I would bet 90% of my audience has a belief that AGW is a massive lie. So would you rather tell someone how they should be voting or getting them to get things done in a positive manner?

      Quite simply running articles like this on this site doesn’t do a damn thing to unite the Permaculture community. Would you want them to run an article by me, explaining 12 solid reasons to question AGW logic, would you be as open to that as to what you currently believe.

      Simply put I discuss such things but I don’t ever bring them up inside the Permaculture movement because it is a divisive issue. The broader reality is convincing people already enacting a actions based solution to turn to the political won’t solve anything.

      Lastly, yea if you want to call it permaculture and use the brand recognition of permaculture to sell an idea, the foundational components of the man that did the work to make anyone even care about the word and the movement are “sacred”. You don’t get to rewrite ethics and change the intention of the entire thing and still get the creditability that took 20 years of back breaking work to make the word matter to anyone. In 1980 the movement was ongoing but the word had almost no brand value. Without the early work by Bill it would still be so.

      Again take all the permaculture you want into politics as I think that is a great idea. But leave it out of the way of people who are doing things right now to solve the problem. If you REALLY BELIEVE CO2 is a problem how many huguls have you built? One bed about 20 feet long will do more to “sequester carbon” then 100 CFLs will prevent from being burned, oh and it will feed people too, then it will reduce food transport and save even more “carbon”.

      Now if I am doing all that and my only concern for carbon is the same concern I have for say nitrogen (as it exists in a natural cycle beneficial to an eco system) why do you care what my motivation is? What is more important my ideology and which clown I vote for or my actions?

      Flatly I left political arena a long time ago and it continues to get smaller in my rear view mirror, but since objects in the review mirror are closer than they appear, I am stepping on the gas. I invite you and others in Permaculture to join me.

      Again though if you still believe that political solutions are viable, take all the Permaculture thinking you want with you when you call representatives and lobby and what have you, go for it.

  9. It would be really great if people could stop calling articles on climate change as being ‘political articles’. They are in fact articles on climate change, not politics! The reasoning that seems to come through from many people in these climate change comment threads is this:

    “Human induced climate change must not be happening because the government wants to raise taxes to combat it”.

    That is not a scientific argument. It’s a case of people deciding they don’t like assumed political reactions to a certain problem, so the best course of action is to ignore the problem or deny it exists.

    A parallel argument might be like this: “Our soils can’t be depleted of carbon because Monsanto is trying to create GMOs that can survive in dead soils.”

    i.e. we don’t like the reaction, so we deny the cause of the reaction.

    Please note that the topic of this particular article is one of dishonest attempts at discrediting the objective work of scientists. It is not political. As most of you will agree, most of these obfuscation attempts are born out of industry – i.e. corporations – not political circles. Again, please stop calling articles related to climate science as being ‘political’.

    For myself, I prefer to know as much as I can about the state of the world, the state of society, economics, etc. That way I can do my best to objectively put all those problems together and then try to find holistic solutions that can tackle them all. We constantly run articles on both the problems (all of them – not just cherry picking certain ones) and the solutions that will combat them. And it’s in our interests to be aware of the miry world of deceit, subterfuge, etc., in relation to these problems (a la the article above).

    Here are just a tiny few of the great many articles we post on solutions to the issue of climate change:

    https://permaculturenews.org/2012/11/10/tony-lovell-on-soil-carbon-putting-carbon-back-where-it-belongs-in-the-earth-tedx-video/
    https://permaculturenews.org/2010/09/21/farmer-managed-natural-regeneration-video/
    https://permaculturenews.org/2013/03/05/allan-savory-how-to-green-the-worlds-deserts-and-reverse-climate-change-ted-video/
    https://permaculturenews.org/2010/10/01/loess-plateau-revisited-and-other-examples-of-earth-healing/
    https://permaculturenews.org/2010/09/02/its-time-to-colonise-earth/
    https://permaculturenews.org/2012/06/28/hope-for-a-new-era-before-after-examples-of-permaculture-earth-restoration-solving-our-problems-from-the-ground-up/
    https://permaculturenews.org/2012/09/19/imprinting-soils-creating-instant-edge-for-large-scale-revegetation-of-barren-lands/
    etc.

    But, on the ‘political’ side of the question, since this keeps being brought up (once again, in the wrong place), I don’t agree that we should be ignoring politics at all. Yes, build your raised beds, your hugelbeds and your food forests, but there’s more to a well-rounded society than just your back yard.

    I will quote again what I replied to Modern Survival above:

    Hunger is rising, absolute hunger is rising, food’s badly distributed, not distributed at all often. The waste of food, the whole deal of it….it’s eh, a shocking situation, it’s just inhuman. It’s what nobody would intend, and somehow what we’ve arrived at, and we arrived at it by the erection of financial structures, totally divorced from resources. So that the fiscal economy has been a runaway system. We’ve gotta tackle that head on. That is, what I’m trying to tell you, it’s no good any longer just being an organic gardener or farmer, we have to be effective financial and political units. And we’re gonna have to face that. Just as it was very hard for us to learn to garden, then hard for us to learn to collect seeds, once the multinationals took over the open-pollinated seed market; we had to become seed growers. Now it’s very difficult, we have to become bankers. There’s no good trying to pretend we don’t have to. We can run away to the bush, build a mud hut and grow ducks in the garden, it’s not gonna do it. The coals will still be burnt, the land will still be eroded, and the forests will still be cleared for newsprint if we run away to the bush. So, there’s no escape, we’ve just gotta stop running away, stay where we are and start to face up and fight. Good, as long as you’re fully persuaded of that we can get on with the course…." — Bill Mollison, 1983 PDC (emphasis added)

    Before I continue, I want to first express that in today’s world people swing violently from viewing different opinions as either ‘left’, or ‘right’. Too few recognise that both socialist and capitalist ideologies have their advantages and their failings, and that there might just be a ‘third way’ that combines the benefits of both, whilst leaving out the negatives. In other words, I think it behooves us permaculturists to ‘think outside the box’, and not become polarised only around what’s been tried before….

    Now, I want to give a tangible example of how our ignoring what is happening in the world of commerce and politics has had a tremendously negative effect.

    Please consider/study how the corporate captains at General Motors and other fossil fuel heavyweight industries embarked on a multi-pronged effort to ensure that the USA would develop with the automobile as the primary mode of transport for people and goods – rather than electric trains, regular trains and other public transport modes, etc.

    You can read about this via the following link:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy (Don’t miss the ‘further reading’ and ‘external links’ section of the above Wikipedia page.)

    Or better yet, watch this documentary (Taken for a Ride):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JQWRAoL0vk

    What GM did was to use clever marketing, and outright trickery and manipulation, to ensure that massively energy intensive and expansive suburbs, and millions of square miles of tarmac, were deemed ‘desirable’. GM promoted an image of ‘freedom’ – advertising cars with happy carefree people cruising through the countryside (ignoring the fact that this massive rollout of motorways and bitumen would ensure there was little countryside left…).

    The massively unsustainable (but temporarily highly profitable, for some) infrastructure that US citizens have been bequeathed with is due to these corporations having their wicked way.

    Now, these companies got away with this because the public, and their government representatives, let them. If the public were observing what was going on, and were educated about the potential outcome, and if they took to the streets and demanded a system of transportation with a far better EROEI, then the US of A could today look vastly different than it now does. Today the people of North America could instead have had a huge and efficient network of trains, supplying cities and towns which would be largely walkable, or which could be traversed with efficient public transportation. The difference in energy consumption between these two scenarios is immense – totally, totally immense. And yet the opportunity to invest in something with a real future was bypassed by allowing subjective business interests to run roughshod over common sense.

    Dreams of individualism and ‘freedom’, and the marketing of the same, became the springboard into insanity. People had their head in the sand, and are now paying the price.

    I agree with what TariqD said above: “Problems need to be addressed at the root, not repaired afterwards. That is the only way to prevent them re-occuring again and again.”

    I have used the illustration before of what should you do if you enter the bathroom and find water running all over the floor, from an overflowing sink? It seems to me that many here would prefer to take a mop, and get to work soaking up all the water, rather than simply turning off the tap and pulling the plug. “Ignore the powers that be who control the tap – just get busy in your own corner of the bathroom, and we’ll get it fixed up in our own way”.

    Another example is found in the corporate greenwashing campaign that saw laws over washing and recycling glass bottles give way to an industry that wanted to instead ‘be free’ to use plastic (because it was cheaper and more convenient for them – and them alone…).

    Watch the 19 minute documentary “Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage”:

    https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1243952734878

    This short documentary covers the history of how the US government wanted to reject (regulate) the desire of corporations to sell products in plastic bottles. The US government feared a lot of discarded plastic waste (soda bottles, etc., etc.). So, the industries in question started a campaign aimed at educating citizens to put their bottles into the trash, and to recycle. They thus moved the responsibility from the creator of the trash, to the end user. The US government then gave way, and a world of plastic waste was born. In other words, they decided to leave the tap running, and hand the consumer a mop. Simple and effective laws were overruled through corporate greed and public ignorance – leaving us all (and all the creatures we share this biosphere with) to pay the price.

    Another (but contrary) example I want to mention is in regards to the holes in the ozone layer at the north and south poles. You don’t hear much about this issue any more, as it has, to a reasonable degree at least, been addressed, by the elimination of CFCs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol

    Now, the Montreal Protocol was a success because it made some sensible blanket rulings – rulings which eliminated CFCs from the supply chain. Many would (and did) scream that this is a restriction on liberties and basic human rights to choose. But, if the international community had decided that all individuals around the world should be free to volunteer not to use CFCs, what would have happened? Of course, they would have continued being manufactured, and they would have continued being used…. and the ozone layer would have further deteriorated, and at an increasingly rapid pace as the ‘developing world’ continued to ‘develop’.

    I personally see a huge hole in the permaculture firmament, in understanding how ideological frameworks play out in the real, tangible world. It is not a black and white issue. Some will say “just ignore politics”, or “we should just remove all government” (and all regulations), others will say “let’s leave it to collapse and then we can rebuild”. I say, be careful what you wish for – as you may get it.

    Along similar lines, much of our problems today are born out of subjective, individualistic financial ambitions. Please take the time to thoughtfully read this if you haven’t already – paying particular attention to the sub-section titled “Getting to the heart of the matter: Corporate greed is a CEO’s legal obligation”

    https://permaculturenews.org/2009/07/13/the-roots-of-change-in-ourselves-or-government-and-industry/

    This issue, of greed and antisocial/anti-environment and the externalising of all costs possible, is the backbone of the corporation. And now, this corporation has become, in the USA, a corporate citizen. The corporate person effectively runs government.

    https://permaculturenews.org/2010/02/02/democracy-for-sale-by-the-corporate-citizen/

    How has it become possible for corporations to now be able to effectively determine who gets to sit in the president’s chair (through being able to provide unlimited funding to the candidate who suits their purposes best)? Well, it’s happened because the public has let it happen – through their indifference and ignorance!! If millions of people took to the streets, those laws would have been repealed – but no, you say, “we should leave politics to the politicians”!

    Or better yet, a politically active populace would never have to take to the streets, because they would have long ago formed a more representative form of government that actually functions by the people, for the people.

    100 years ago you would not be sitting in front of the ‘idiot box’, being programmed into apathy. Rather, you would have been involved in community town hall meetings, and working to not just retain your rights, but to ensure those freedoms were put to productive use in tangible benefits to the community you live in.

    Please recognise that I believe our current political situation is a complete farce. It, along with the charter for corporations, needs to be totally revamped, and rebuilt. We need an economy that isn’t dependent on perpetual growth (and the boom and bust cycles that are part and parcel of that). We need an economy that doesn’t feed off interest and debt, and that doesn’t reward consumption (to ‘consume’ means to destroy – check your dictionary) and ambition (if you described someone as ‘ambitious’ a century ago, they’d have been offended, but today it’s regarded as an attribute – ‘greed is good’). We need to build social systems that are representative, tolerant, equitable and which invests in people and place.

    I have studied the effects of extreme capitalism and extreme communism very carefully. If you put me in either box you are fully mistaken, and again not thinking outside the box.

    The key role of my work (in particular), as I see it, is in helping to facilitate education, and education towards reskilling. The only way the world will change direction, and where we will all in concert start to head towards sanity in all areas of our lives is if we understand the problems, and understand the real solutions – solutions based on an in-depth understanding of biophysical realities, constraints and opportunities. But if the understanding that we as permaculturists have gained is to ever make a ‘world of difference’ (meaningful change in the direction of humanity), it will only be because we’ve gained a critical mass in the advance of holistic education in the public space.

    In other words, if enough people want something, they will find a way to get it. This can be a positive, or a negative, depending on exactly what it is that people want!!

    Again, be careful what you wish for:

    A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. –- Alexander Tytler

    If what we all want is not flash cars, massive homes, endless holidays, etc., but instead a simple life close to the land and in interdependent harmony with our neighbours, then that’s what we can make. But we can only make it if it’s also what our neighbours want, and their neighbours, and so on.

    Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Read more here:

    https://permaculturenews.org/2009/07/11/our-moral-dilemma-because-we-dont-live-on-an-inflatable-earth/

    Please don’t say “let’s not talk about this problem or that, or let’s just leave these issue to the politicians.” Saying this exactly what the powers that be want you to say! They want you to be ignorant, or failing that, then they want you to be apathetic. Better yet is for you to develop your ideology along lines that convinces you to completely exclude yourself from any public engagement, and to convince others to do likewise…

    In short, don’t play into their hands. They will only love you for it, whilst at the same time they only gain further control over you and the world’s resources.

    1. Thank you for such an excellent response!

      There will be those who disagree, undoubtedly, such is the nature of things. But few if any will be able to back up their arguments/points of view with such lucidity and intelligent references – because I do believe that these points are real, not a ‘matter of opinion’ and cannot be refuted.

      Strange… even in camps where supposedly concerned people are supposedly working together for the benefit of the ‘whole’ there are those who seek to dismantle the efforts of others simply because they don’t like those views or that approach or whatever.

      Supposedly all of us here are trying to do good, aren’t we?

    2. I fell out of the debate when they, Orwell like, changed the debate from ‘global warming’ (which should be measurable) to ‘climate change’ which means nothing. perhaps you missed those few years? I didn’t.
      Hence ANYTHING post ‘global warming’ is politically charged by those aware enough to notice the subtle change in nomenclature. It’s pretty simple.
      Remain zetetic (neutral position) instead of a be0LIE-ver on either side.

  10. @Craig you just proved three things.

    1. This is political

    2. No good comes from posting it on this site, it divides those whom agree on far more important matters.

    3. Your personal belief is why you choose to ignore the above to facts and run political stories on this site.

    Frankly consensus proves nothing anyway. There are two sides to this argument and it always ends up politically divisive.

    Again there is no good that comes from this, the tents are pitched in the respective camps for now. Move on, stick to actionable items. Not political human interest stories.

    1. I must say that being so opposed to anything deemed as ‘politics’ (however that is interpreted) strikes me as the sort of thing that might come from (to use old but not redundant terminology) somebody from a relatively comfortable, white, middle class background. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, I myself come from a (part white), middle class background. My observation is that somebody who doesn’t care about or care for anything deemed ‘political’ must find him/herself in a situation where their essential identity as a person in this world, their ability to exist and/or have reasonable security and comforts are not wholly threatened by the society or political environment that they live in.

      Otherwise they might be very interested in changing the situation that they are in, which might not be possible simply by digging swales or building hugels and the like!

      I don’t think permaculture would have helped Nelson Mandela very much, nor Gandhi for that matter.

      ‘Leave politics to the politicians’ would not have been said by the likes of Chico Mendes the Brazilian trade union leader and environmentalist, who fought and died trying to preserve the Amazon rainforest and protecting the rights of its peasants and indigenous peoples, nor by Oscar Olivera the Bolivian activist who successfully campaigned to drive the Bechtel Corporation, that privatised Bolivian water, out of his country, nor lesser known, unsung heroes who have struggled and are still struggling for the essential right to live as unshackled people in their own countries and this world…

      There are more ways than one to remedy some of the unfortunate ills that human society has created on this planet and in its midst. Permaculture ideas are but one of those ways, and it too is evolving and developing.

    2. Jack (Modern Survival), I wish to reiterate that the article above is not political. If I shifted towards ‘politics’ in my previous comment, it was because of your comments here that we should not delve into politics on this site, and also because of a comment you made on another article on this site. And in that previous comment of mine I was merely trying to show practical, tangible examples where unified decisions and action, taken by a lucid populace, on big picture issues, are not only necessary, but expedient. I never said that these decisions need to be top-down. Actually, this was the purpose of my emphasis on ‘education’ at the end of my comment – that only a holistically educated populace will succeed. A dumbed down populace, in contrast, only succumbs to totalitarian rule (this is happening today). But, if almost everybody agrees, for example, that we should not use CFCs, then we will, as a collective, place the right person in the right place to ensure that a law is put into place to outlaw their use (i.e. bottom up representation). Just leaving everyone ‘free’ to volunteer not to use CFCs would not get the job done. Please tell me where I’m mistaken on this.

      I am quite confident that we will agree on much more than you may currently perceive to be the case. Just because I show some examples where generally agreed and sensible rules can avoid enormous woes (the permaculture principle of ‘a stitch in time, saves nine’), doesn’t mean, at all, that I support current political institutions. I have, you will note, expressly stated that “our current political situation is a complete farce”. I do not – I repeat, I do not – believe that just a “vote” or a “magical tax” (in reference to your comment further below) will accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

      This is why I tried to emphasise that when people start to talk about politics, they tend to put people into ‘left’ or ‘right’ boxes, not recognising that we might be trying to find ‘another way’. Please don’t assume I think we can just “vote” or “tax” our way out of this.

      Anyway, rather than have an endless debate where we ignore each other and spout only catchphrases, could you please answer this simple question: “How is the above article political?”

      And, following on from that, please answer another question: “What other types of articles are ‘out of bounds’ in your opinion?” Can we post articles on economics, for example?

      Thank you.

  11. Oh and Craig on this claim,

    “In short, don’t play into their hands. They will only love you for it, whilst at the same time they only gain further control over you and the world’s resources.”

    I invite you to consider the following statement.

    Those in power only have power because those whom they exert power over believe them to be necessary.

    1. Jack (Modern Survival), I see that you responded within a couple of minutes of my large comment going up. It’s clear you only had time to speed-read my comment. You didn’t take the time to objectively consider it before responding.

      I am not being divisive at all. I am just ensuring we don’t skip over things that should be discussed, just because they’re ‘hard’.

      I will take time to consider your comments, as objectively as I can, and will respond tomorrow. Please be clear that discussion and debate should not be confused with division.

      Best

      Craig

      1. Craig I respect you please do not disrespect me by assuming that which you can’t know about me sir. I did read your comment in detail and I read at a very rapid rate and do so with full comprehension, it is one of my real gifts. One I am grateful for.

        That said, I didn’t say you were being divisive, I said the entire topic is political and divisive specifically in our community and that is an assertion I stand by. I mean I could go line by line and pick apart how every real concern you bring up can be addressed with zero talk of AGW, but is that really productive.

        I am simply saying you believe one thing here and you believe it to be important and hence your judgement on whether posting stuff about it is clouded.

        Have you ever noticed in all his teaching Geoff almost never mentions this as in “global warming” he will mention the climate but not carbon in this way. He let’s it go and I bet he is more inclined to agree with you then me on the issue itself, but he knows what works from a stand point of getting people active.

        Bluntly nothing we do as far as CO2 with regulations or fossil fuel will matter specifically in the next 10 years as far as how much they burn. They are going to pump it, they are going to burn it and I don’t like it anymore than you do, all be if for different reasons, my concern is the pollution that we actually all can agree on.

        Seriously can you tell me what good came from this posting, do you think it changed anyone’s mind or simply entrenched people deeper into their positions.

  12. It comes down to belief does it not?
    If you believe you believe.
    If you do not believe, you do not believe.
    If you couldn’t give ‘a monkey’s’ you do not give ‘a monkey’s’.

    There is, there really is enough room in the human world and upon the plant’s land for all viewpoints to exist alongside each other but were that too happen the minority of families which control the consumerist/corporatist/bankerist world would be ‘out of a job’. This is of course not acceptable to them and they go to any lengths to create and foster division in the populations of the planet to keep their game rolling and prevent people from ‘seeing’ what they are up to.

    There is a running ploy in play to keep the divisions rolling and that is create a problem where there wasn’t one, get a group of people clamouring for a solution, government steps up to the plate (often apparently reluctantly) and legislates. This legislation always removes a liberty and always imposes a penalty for non compliance, more often than not it is a financial penalty backed by a loss of liberty.
    Then the next problem pops up and off they go again.
    Smoking, terrorism, man made climate warming, sugar consumption, salt consumption, obesity epidemic are all the concurrent ploys in play and just to ensure the divisive lines become ever more blurred the media pushes blatant lies and science falls into line with its funders demands/beliefs.

    Permaculture is one thing, the only thing that heals division quickly, effectively and permanently.
    At least it is the only thing I have come across in my 53 years that can do this. Healing division is what I believe will get the peoples of the planet and every other living thing, including the planet itself, out of the current negative paradigm and into a better one.
    Whether you believe me or you disbelieve me or couldn’t give a monkey’s is a choice for you to make.

  13. Thanks for posting the article Craig. I would think that the majority of people and especially “permies” would want to remain informed in waysin which the world we are trying to operate in works. For those of you who obviously know all of this already or have such strong opinions about what should or should not be posted on this site, your opinions sound strangely militant. The premise of the article is that there is much manipulation behind the scenes and this is part of what we all have to contend with. There is valuable info here. If you want to reach the masses you have to speak the language, you might even have to engage in some marketing, use terms that you might not otherwise use or view as marketing jargon and part of the problem to engage the wider public or you may just end up preaching to the converted. You may just find as well that many scientists practice permaculture and permaculture type thinking but are interested in testing the theories. It’s quite ridiculous presuming that all belong in one camp or the other. Perhaps employing some of the same tactics (within reason) may help permaculture design sneak in the back door and start having a more profound impact. I also am curious about this distrust of science as this is what much of what is taught in permaculture is based on and there is nothing wrong with testing theories using scientific method as long as the limitations of experiments are kept in mind.

  14. So, we have reached a common ground. We all seem to agree that we desire to see good design in place/in situ rather then hear more about what may or may not be a problem in 100 years. Anyone have a few good choices for a semi-shade (Zone 8b PNW) rabbit/chicken browse to replace a lawn over a septic system? I’m still digging but I want more!

    1. I would go with a mix of about 25% perennial grasses with a balance of clovers, plantains, chicory, dandelion (consider both the weed and french improved) and medic (try black or san salva). I would also toss in some daikon as a self reseeding annual that will improve the soil and act as a dynamic accumulator.

      I have a power point you can get at this link, https://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/docs/cover-cropping.ppt

      It might be helpful. I will be shooting video of the full presentation at a coming workshop where we will teach students to harness the currently wasted energy of their cars and trucks so that it can be used for emergency or everyday purposes. Yea it is carbon but it is carbon that will be burned anyway. We have a way to capture otherwise wasted energy and turn it into electricity for home or even off grid use. All climate change deniers build such systems you know.

      I am throwing in some bonus classes the cover crop is one, perhaps if Craig isn’t too mad at me for disagreeing he will public my presentation next month.

      I will also be speaking at Permaculture Voices in March about how to create profitable permaculture businesses and at that time will unveil an open source program to establish full on 40-80 acre permaculture farms with a community supported and co owned model that will let anyone who really wants to spread permaculture do so and eventually receive a RETURN OF SURPLUS.

      Within two weeks we will release AgriTrue which will be a new program that will promote knowing your farmer and offer a certification for any producer who agrees to permaculture ethics and pays a very small fee. It will be an alternative to organic since the USDA has pretty much ruined it and due to the fact that Geoff Lawton showed me how Mexican workers are practically slaves producing “organic carrots” in Baha California while the “organic operation” is using diesel pumps 24 7 to pump water and ruin the land with salt much as has happened in Australia.

      In my spare time this spring I will likely refer a few hundred people to Geoff’s coming second online PDC, by years end that will mean I have inspired and helped about 1,000 people obtain their PDCs.

      None of this is bragging, it is just what happens when you focus on what can be done right now vs. what you think someone else should think or who they should vote for or what new magical tax will solve our issues. Hope the cover crop works out, email me if you have any specific questions.

      1. perhaps if Craig isn’t too mad at me for disagreeing he will public my presentation next month.

        No, not mad in the slightest. I try to take pride in my work, and a central aspect of being an editor is being objective. I do not get ‘precious’ or ‘militant’ about my own evolving opinions (although I do reserve the right to get a bit grumpy from time to time if I’m over-tired!). :)

        1. Grump? Man as someone that runs a site with many comments to moderate and a lot of work to do I understand. Brother you be as grumpy as you want?

          I do wonder though would you run a video I am planning to do, the premise will be….

          Even if you are a 100% believer in AGW you will get more accomplished if you focus on discussing and teaching ecological restoration and on the other pollutants produced by fossil fuels and other industrial processes.

          For instance people doubt that CO2 from coal is harmful. You know what no one claims? Sulfur oxide in the ground water isn’t a problem or that coal slush damns are not a problem or that mercury in our oceans are not a problem.

          So since I can show someone a dead stream with orange slimy water, a test showing mercury in a tuna and a coal slush dam where nothing has grown not even a weed since 1930, do I really need to use an issue that people are about 50-50 divided on to make the case against coal? I promise you that is just the start of the problems with coal.

          How about the waste product from a co-generation plant? I know one waste pile that is sitting in a valley, been there since I was in high school Doing massive ecological damage, town wants it moved, state ordered the people that put it there to move it, but they are long out of business. No one will take it, so it just sits there.

          Here is my premise, coal, oil and gas all produce a ton of pollution. The least offensive of which is gas but I can still make a very unified case against it. One that republicans, democrats, socialists, libertarians and anarchists like myself will all agree is a problem.

          So why do you think those in power focus on the one issue that does divide us?

          In other words I can give about 100 reasons to use less fossil fuels and rebuild our ecosystems, none of which are hotly disagree with. Most in permaculture sadly have grabbed onto the one that is, they then wonder why it is so hard to get anyone outside the choir to listen to them.

          I am not religious at all, but I quote the truth where I find it. I knew a pastor that was fond of saying,

          “I try to teach my brother pastors this one thing, you don’t bring people to Jesus by telling them they are going to go to hell, you get it done by telling them about heaven.”

          Note he didn’t even say teaching them about it or telling them how to get there, he just exposes them to the alternative to what they are doing. Given this is based on faith in the unseen, I think it works wonders on the concrete and observable.

          Contrary to what people say no, not ever scientist or even every climate scientist agrees on this. You can’t imagine how maddening that lie is by the way to those who know it is a lie. Makes me think of this quote, “tell a lie loud enough and long enough and people will believe it”.

          The truth is, that the truth itself only need be demonstrated and perhaps spoken softly to be believed in.

          1. Hi Jack (Modern Survival)

            Just in case you missed it, I asked you a couple of questions in a reply to one of your comments, further above. I hope you will respond when you have time.

            I am not religious at all, but I quote the truth where I find it. I knew a pastor that was fond of saying, “I try to teach my brother pastors this one thing, you don’t bring people to Jesus by telling them they are going to go to hell, you get it done by telling them about heaven.”

            Please note that in your examples you are not choosing between telling people about ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, but rather you’re choosing between favouring information about one aspect of hell over another (i.e. pollution over global warming – both negatives). On this site we cover all aspects of hell (the problems), and all aspects of heaven (the solutions). We have posts on pollution, etc., also – not just global warming. If you share info on pollution with your audience, then you’re also doing the same as myself – making people aware of the consequences of our modern industrial economic disaster.

            One thing you may not realise, is that this site has a global audience. We are not targeting people in, say, just Texas. It is important for us to show not just solutions, but also the problems. Many of our articles are translated and/or are read by people in countries where they have limited access to the information you and I take for granted. Significantly, the citizens in many of these countries are dreaming of an ‘American lifestyle’. Indeed, some of them are starting revolutions to try to secure it. Obviously it’s important that these people see the interconnected and growing problems that are a consequence of our western lifestyles, whilst we also share with them how we ourselves are turning from the ‘American Dream’ and trying to back-track in holistic ways, to return to a more sustainable state. For example, at the moment we see protests in Ukraine, as they seek closer economic ties with the EU. For those Ukrainians it’s important they understand that whether they’re tied to Russia, or the EU, either way, they’re missing the point – that they need to transition away from a globalised economy, and towards a simpler life of relocalised resilience. By our sharing the problems associated with our modern economy, we’re admitting we took a wrong turn in the road – with the possibility we may convince/inspire some people in these countries to learn from our mistakes, and explore other definitions of the word ‘progress’.

            No matter how much ‘good news’ articles you share with people, if people don’t see the need for the solutions, they won’t run to them and embrace them. I could offer you a carrot, but you can just tell me you’re not hungry. Without sharing the problems — the ‘reasons to act’ (shared at the beginning of all PDCs) — Permaculture can be received by most of the world’s (economic-growth-hungry) populations as “a nice idea that other people are welcome to explore”, rather than “a highly timely discovery I personally want to get more involved in, as a matter of personal survival and personal fulfillment”.

            And besides – I don’t believe we should put news into categories of “good news” and “bad news”. Rather, I would put all news, good and bad, into the single category of “information“. This ‘information’ category contains all the aspects we need to design for, if we’re to actually create a permanent culture. I don’t want to treat our readers as children. I’m sure most of them are grown-ups.

            Contrary to what people say no, not every scientist or even every climate scientist agrees on this. You can’t imagine how maddening that lie is by the way to those who know it is a lie.

            Ok, now your position is much clearer to me – as you’ve confirmed you don’t ‘believe’ in global warming (I put ‘believe’ in inverted commas as I don’t think of this topic as being a matter of ‘faith’). Since you don’t believe the scientists, you don’t like seeing such posts on our (or any) site. Well, that’s your personal preference. I can only encourage you to read the posts you like, and don’t read those you don’t. Please keep in mind that there are a great many people out there who want to know more about global warming, and how it is developing. (And you can’t please all the people, all the time.)

            Personally, I find it fascinating how people can think global warming is a government conspiracy. It defies logic, since if they invented global warming, then all it has done for them is to confirm to everyone how useless and ineffectual they are (i.e. they’ve done nothing to address it – they talk about addressing it, year after year, but continually seek to undermine any real action — indeed, all they ever do is exacerbate the problem). Why would they ‘invent’ global warming if it only highlights their impotence? And for those who say they invented global warming in order to tax people – that’s also hogwash. It’s political suicide to increase taxation. The reality is that governments (and the industry who have them in their pockets) would prefer there we no such thing as global warming, as then they would have one less limiting factor on their overriding goal to continue to pursue infinite economic growth. (And hence, the massive ongoing efforts to mire the science in doubt and distractions — a la the article above.)

            So, once again, on this site we cover all the problems and solutions – not just cherry picking. And, there’s one enormous difference between the problems of pollution and global warming — that being pollution issues can be reversed over time. With global warming we are reaching tipping points which could see us shift into a never-ending downward spiral — one that would make agriculture, including your own permaculture projects, totally impossible.

            I also want to add another aspect about your arriving to this site and complaining about what is presented here. Your comments made me wonder what topics you would like to see here instead. Given the circles you move in, I wondered if you’d like to see an article titled “Editor’s Top Ten Picks for Best Weapons to Have for the Coming Crisis”. But, I see you’ve essentially already done that:

            https://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/thoughts-on-basic-survival-firearms

            I mention this only to illustrate that topics you and your particular readership find valuable, some others around the world would find totally objectionable. I won’t criticise the material on your site. If I find something of interest, I’ll read/listen to that instead.

            1. So I read your long reply Craig and all your questions and points. I did it at a regular pace so you would know I read it all. Now let me summarize it and my response in very few words.

              “All scientists say AGW is real, the debate is over and we need to tell people about it to get them to act. I will continue to say that all scientists agree with it even when some don’t and I will continue to assert that this issue is one that will call people to action even though most people that believe in climate change are already on board with environmental issues.” ~ Craig

              “I don’t believe AGW is real, I think the climate changes on its own, I think man has done more harm with mining, actual pollution, deforestation, soil loss, sulfur and mercury in our water, dumping PCBs and other wastes from coal, gas and oil then CO2 could do at 1/3rd of 1% of our atmosphere. I don’t think we need to call a scientific theory a scientific fact to get people to act and I think I have proven you actually get more action with REAL WORLD NUMBERS AND RESULTS by either ignoring it or even saying it isn’t real.” ~ Jack

  15. ” It’s political suicide to increase taxation”
    Do you live on this planet Craig?~
    When did any government ever reduce the tax take from the people it seeks to control?
    Not once in my lifetime has any government of the United Kingdom ever sought to reduce taxation, not once.

    1. @Bill, I really like Craig but I agree with your point. I really want to know where people come up with this idea that politicians won’t raise taxes. Taxes have been raised many times in the last 8 years in the US and not just on income. There are a ton of not just higher but NEW taxes we are paying right now. Our top tax rate went up 4% for federal income taxes. We have medical device taxes now. Sin taxes are always an easy sell, taxes on cigarettes and cigars (not that I smoke) went up 400% in the past 6 years. The total tax bill just on Federal Taxes in the US is over 1 trillion dollars on PERSONAL INCOME before they even touch corporate income.

      Even with that we spend 1-1.5 trillion a year beyond what we collect. The conservative ideal that was Ronald Regan “saved social security” by creating the largest tax increase in the history of my country.

      Of course inflation is a “hidden tax” on all wealth and earnings and the chairman of the Federal Reserve admitted that on the congressional floor. Where does this belief come from?

    2. I’m sorry I have to spell out the obvious, but what I was trying to say is that if a particular government were to introduce a separate carbon tax, they’d find themselves voted out next time around.

        1. And so they started a multi-generational conspiracy involving thousands of scientists across decades in order to accomplish those ends? They also managed to increase ocean acidification to make them look like they’re absorbing more C02 ever in known history, and the banks also managed to shrink glaciers and raise sea levels worldwide. It’s really very impressive….

      1. Craig
        We have a ‘carbon tax’ here in the UK. Two of the damn things and what’s more there is another tax VAT payable on the Carbon Tax
        Here’s how they do it.
        Government introduces a Climate Change Levy on the generation of electricity.
        All generators sell their production to the National Grid at a profit and inclusive of the Levy plus VAT.
        The generating companies they ‘buy’ the electricity from the National Grid which sell it at a profit over cost plus VAT.
        The government introduces another levy called the Renewables Obligation which the energy retailers (gas and electricity) pass this second tax through to the end use after adding yet more VAT.

        The electricity generators are all electricity and gas retailers. There is not one KWH of mains fed electricity and gas available in the UK nett of the Climate Change Levy and the mutliple VAT additions ergo the energy market is a cartel operation with the government working in concert with the energy companies to transfer massive amounts of wealth from the pockets of earners to the wind farmers via subsidy.

        One other thing you need to be aware of the Grid here is knocked out of balance by the intermittent supply from the wind farmers so they government pays the grid to pay the farmers to feather their turbines at times of low demand and even worse than that the oh so benevolent governement that ‘would commit suicide by raising taxes’ has been secretly been building small pockets of container based diesel generating sets all around the country ready for the time when the removal of coal and nuclear stations (as mandated by the EU, the real elephant in the room over here) would lead to a shortfall in the grid which would lead to power outages.

        Appreciate you are based in Australia Craig but nevertheless.
        Want to see the damage the offshore farms are doing to the sea?
        Read this chaps blog and weep, literally weep.

        https://billothewisp.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/wrecking-sea-bed-with-offshore-wind_15.html

        “The foundations will involve ripping up around one and a half million tonnes of seabed. This damage coupled with disposal of the spoil will wreck around 1000 acres of sea bed – or around a total of 4 square kilometers.

        Several hundred miles of undersea cabling will involve trenching, ploughing and jetting into the sea-floor. The debris will spray out, burying everything within a 5 -20 meter wide corridor. Though a plume of finer debris will extend much further. So another 1000 acres (or another four square kilometers) of sea bed will be trashed.

        On top of this cabling sea bed disturbance, there will be dumped over a third of a million tonnes of rock debris to protect the cables from being accidentally trawled up.”

        And all of that info is from the wind farm developers themselves.

        1. I am interested to know exactly what you are opposed to Bill: taxes in general or specific taxes, wind power technology or inefficient/bad use of it, governments in general or bad governments in particular… I do not disagree with you for a minute that many governments, companies, systems and people are corrupt, totally corrupt, but what solutions are you advocating if any?

          I lived for a many years in Sweden where taxes are sky high, but society is, or was at one time, so developed and ‘caring’ – if one can use such a term of a government system to its people. Education, health care, care for the elderly and disabled, maternity and paternity leave, transportation and communications, etc…. Sweden had much of that at the highest levels for its people. Things, that to my mind, should almost be enshrined in ‘systems looking after people’. And please note I am not necessarily saying governmental systems of the left or the middle or the right, just systems or ways for people to live in caring and sharing communities. Those who have more can share some with those who have less. That to me is what community is about: caring and sharing. That is the sort of thing that I would like to work towards.

          So I wonder, what is it that you are opposed to in your message and what is it that you are for?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *