Taxing Air - Facts & Fallacies about Climate Change

Full Length Reviews

Fairfax clouds, climate storms
The Australian, July 06, 2013

TWO books emerged this week which shared a common theme. Stupidity. The word might seem harsh.

But how else does one describe the extraordinary and seemingly never-ending saga of the fall and fall of the house of Fairfax, spread so astonishingly over a quarter of a century and still counting.

The same applies to the great global warming hysteria which has swept over modern society, like a mass psychogenic illness, afflicting not just the usual "right thinking people" suspects: those easy prey to any green scare or imbued with a self-loathing of humanity's fouling of an otherwise pure planet.

Colleen Ryan's exposition of the more recent parts of the story of Fairfax, and all who have journeyed in, plundered, and generally in the process trashed the company and its franchise, is a great rollicking read.

It is informed by the fact that she was not only there - as journalist, correspondent, columnist and editor (of the Fin Review) but, unlike those 1960s baby boomers, remembers it all in all its fascinating awfulness.

Ryan writes smoothly and elegantly. Like the proverbial car crash, you really can't take your eyes away.

As she moves from Young Warwick Fairfax in the death-throes of the 1980s, to the ultimate denouement of his cousin John Fairfax finally exiting in the post-GFC wreckage. And all the fascinating events and players and stuff-ups in between.

What is so astonishing is that we don't just see stupidity on an industrial scale, across such a wide range and number of players, boards and CEOs, but that the stupidity is sustained in a never-ceasing flow for over 25 years!

You can take your pick on where you think the saga of stupidity starts and finishes.

With Young Warwick's utterly ludicrous but so effectively destructive takeover in 1987. To, perhaps, the most recent decision to go tabloid, and effectively bet the company on the total uncertainty of an online future.

Or arguably, you could start somewhat earlier in the 1980s, as the "old" Fairfax slept through the gathering storm that was about to envelop it.

Especially after "saving" the similarly somnolent Herald & Weekly Times in 1982 from the interloper Rupert Murdoch.

A storm that was brewed from the intersection of the political machinations driven by then treasurer Paul Keating and his Latham-like old NSW Labor hatreds, and the ambitions, skills and easy money of the media proprietors Murdoch and Kerry Packer, along with the new "entrepreneurs" such as Robert Holmes a Court.

And you might take a more generous view of the efforts of current management under Greg Hywood; ending the most egregious stupidity, at a slightly earlier date than the present.

If there is one criticism of Ryan's book it is the title: Fairfax: The Rise and Fall. Slightly false advertising; there is precious little rise - about 30 or so pages; and fall after fall after fall, for the next 250 or so.

But it makes for better reading as a consequence. If anything, it's some tribute to the inherent strength of the Fairfax franchise that it could - albeit only just, and so far - survive what successive boards and managements threw at it.

Bob Carter and John Spooner are also setting out in great detail a great stupidity: the great global warming consensus.

The absurdity of the consequence of that consensus is captured in their book title: Taxing Air. That's the utter absurdity, in our local context, in many more ways than one, of former prime minister Julia Gillard's carbon tax, and the artificial pricing of carbon dioxide more generally in parts of the world.

Both would be described, and both would welcome the description, as climate change (more strictly, AGW or Anthropogenic Global Warming) sceptics.

Carter, a distinguished marine geologist and environmental scientist; Spooner, The Age's illustrator-cartoonist-commentator.

They've called on a group of like-minded people, expert across not just the climate, such as former head of the National Climate Centre Bill Kininmonth, but economist Martin Feil, to calmly, analytically and totally dismantle the global warming stupidity.

They explain the basics of climate; they pose and answer the most basic questions - which are usually skated over or ignored by the so-called consensus - about global temperatures, their change or not, over time, and the various claims about them.

They pick apart the dynamics of climate alarmism. How it began, what exactly is the IPCC, the truth about the Climategate emails, the big lie about "carbon pollution" instead of the truth about the carbon dioxide which is the basis for life on earth.

They talk about the Australian climate in the global context; and again the utter uselessness even if you are a total true believer, of reducing our CO2 emissions in the absence of global action.

The Carter-Spooner book is in its way an eerily similarly astonishing read to that of Ryan. The extent of the relentless, sheer, never-ending industrial scale stupidity that Carter-Spooner clinically but devastatingly expose.

Unfortunately, unlike at Fairfax, there is no ultimate unstoppable judgment, no calling to account, no simple requirement even for global warming believers to respond to what Carter-Spooner detail and critique.

There is a delicious irony that the two books have surfaced in the same week. For were any conventional rusted-on Fairfax reader to stumble on the Carter-Spooner book, it would describe a world that was totally alien and completely unknown. To say nothing of any Fairfax journalist.

Ah. A fusion of stupidities.

Original Article here (requires subscription)

Taxing Air by Bob Carter and John Spooner

by Bob Carter & John Spooner
with Bill Kininmonth, Martin Feil,
Stewart Franks, Bryan Leyland

ISBN: 9780646902180
Full colour paperback, 288 pp
Distributed by Dennis Jones
Pub date: 1 July 2013

$30.00 + p&p

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