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The ABC, Australia's BBC, Turns Climate Inaction Truth Upside-Down Downunder

By Dr Gideon Polya

03 April, 2012

The ABC (Australia's equivalent of the UK BBC) has an appalling record of mal-reportage and lying by omission on all kinds of matters from horrendous war-related deaths to the worsening climate crisis (see “ABC Censorship”: https://sites.google.com/site/abccensorship/ ). Australia is a world leader in greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution but the ABC has been reporting that Australia is leading the world in tackling climate change and ignoring the acute seriousness of the climate emergency.

In March 2012 I sent a carefully composed letter to Australian MPs and media about Australia 's appalling climate change inaction . As far as I am aware only one significant medium published this letter, namely the Green Left Weekly which is outstanding for correct and humane reportage of important matters . Indeed outstanding expatriate Australian journalist John Pilger has the stated: " Australia has the most restrictive media in the western world. Censorship by omission denies Australians their democratic right to make sense of whole stratas of political and foreign policy. That's why Green Left Weekly is a beacon, doing a job of honourable journalism, as an agent of people, not power" (see: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/50457   ) .

My letter published by Green Left Weekly is reproduced  below (see Gideon Polya, “Climate inaction”, Letters to the Editor, Green Left Weekly, 24 March 2012: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/50457 ):

“ Australia  is a world leader in annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution. Pro-coal, pro-gas Australian PM Julia Gillard has an appalling record of climate change inaction falsely dressed up as the opposite.

The most outrageous untruth of Gillard Labor is that it is “tackling climate change” for a “clean energy future” — but in reality its policies in 16 major areas involve increasing Australia's already disproportionately high greenhouse gas pollution. For detailed analysis Google “Australian PM Julia Gillard's appalling record of climate change inaction”.

Thus, under the fraudulent carbon tax-emissions trading system Australia's domestic greenhouse gas pollution will increase from 578 Mt CO2-e in 2010 to 621 Mt CO2-e in 2020. Most of the claimed “160 million tonnes” of greenhouse gas savings in 2020 will be purchased overseas and Australia 's domestic plus exported greenhouse gas pollution will be 1.7 times greater in  2020 and 4.2 times greater in 2050 than that in 2000.

Tackling climate change means decreasing greenhouse gas pollution, but  Australia 's domestic plus exported greenhouse gas pollution will be 10% bigger in 2013 after six years of Labor than that under the Coalition in 2007.

Voters must punish Labor for its egregious lying and climate change inaction.

Dr Gideon Polya,
Macleod, Vic.”

The various major areas of the ABC were sent a copy of this letter but the taxpayer-funded ABC has subsequently published a diametrically opposite and utterly incorrect view that Australia is actually leading the world in tackling climate change! 

Thus  the respected financial journalist Alan Kohler on the ABC's The Drum (28 March 2012) stated: “Losing our lead: emissions targets increase ahead …The idea that Australia is leading the world on climate change is quickly becoming untrue” (Alan Kohler, “Losing our lead: emissions targets increase ahead”, The Drum, 28 March 2012: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-28/kohler-emissions-targets-increase-ahead/3916840 ). These statements incorrectly assert that Australia is a world leader in climate change action but that this situation is changing rapidly and that Australia may shortly  lose this asserted “lead”.

The ABC has been reporting incorrectly on this matter for some time.   Thus in 2007 the ABC reported the then Coalition Federal Government Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull denying climate change inaction in an interview : “ Well, that's completely untrue. Australia is leading the world on climate change. Let's go through it. We are hitting our benchmark. We're going to meet our Kyoto target. We are leading the world to reduced deforestation, the second largest source of emissions (see  “ Turnbull attacks Labor's energy plan”, ABC Radio National AM, 31 October 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2007/s2076584.htm ).

The present Gillard Labor Federal Government has utterly false mantras that they are “tackling climate change”  for a “clean energy future” and these are duly reported by the ABC.  Thus an ABC Search of the phrase  “tackling climate change” yields 487 results and a search for “clean energy future” yields 209 results. Further, climate scientists and biologists argue that we must decrease  atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from the present dangerous  392 parts per million (ppm) to about 300 ppm CO2, a level that has not been exceeded until the last century for 800,000 years (for a detailed presentation of such expert opinions see  the 300.org website and “300.og – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm ). However ABC Searches for “300.org” and “300 ppm CO2” yield zero (0) results and 1 result, respectively (Google Searches yield 75,700 results and 75,400 results, respectively).

The reality is that   Australia is one of the worst countries in the world for annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution. Far from “leading the world on climate change” Australia is one of  the world's worst countries for man-made climate change as set out in my letter (above) and as summarized below (also see Gideon Polya, “PM Julia Gillard's appalling record of climate change inaction”, Green Blog, 8 March 2012: http://www.green-blog.org/2012/03/08/australian-pm-julia-gillards-appalling-record-of-climate-change-inaction/ ):.

1. “Annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO 2 -equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 64 in 2010 if Australia's huge Exported CO 2 pollution is included). Thus Australia's current annual per capita domestic plus exported GHG pollution  is currently 71 times worse than Bangladesh's annual per capita GHG pollution (see "Climate Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/  ).

2. In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 Gt CO2 between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050. Unfortunately Australia (through disproportionately huge annual fossil fuel burning and exports) and Belize (through disproportionately huge annual deforestation) have already used up their “share” of this terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) budget. Some examples below of how many years left relative to 2010 before each country exceeds its “fair share” of atmospheric GHG pollution: Belize (0.8 years), Qatar (1.3), Guyana (1.4), Malaysia (1.9), United Arab Emirates (2.0), Kuwait (2.4), Papua New Guinea (2.5), Brunei (2.8), Australia (2.8; 1.1 if including its huge GHG Exports) … Maldives (37.9), Kyrgyzstan (37.9), Burkina Faso (37.9), India (40.1), Cook Islands (40.1), Bhutan (42.4), Yemen (45.1), Tajikistan (45.1), Mozambique (45.1), Rwanda (45.1), Burundi (45.1), Lesotho (48.1), Swaziland (48.1). Australia had already used up its “fair share” by mid-2011 and is now stealing the entitlement of other countries (see Gideon Polya, “Shocking analysis by country of years left to zero emissions”, Green Blog, 1 August 2011: http://www.green-blog.org/2011/08/01/shocking-analysis-by-country-of-years-left-to-zero-emissions/ ).

3. Just as EU Creditor nations seek to reign in Debtor nations in an ongoing financial crisis, so Climate Creditor countries should act in the worsening climate crisis to reign in Climate Debtor countries of which the worst is the US with a Net Climate Debt of $9.7 trillion based on a price of US$100 per tonne CO2. In sharp contrast to the US , India and China have Net Climate Credits of $6.5 trillion and $2.3 trillion, respectively. In terms of Net Per Capita Carbon Debt (US$ per person) of Climate Debtor countries, ranks 4th in the world:  United Kingdom (33,307), United States (31,035), Germany (27,856), Australia (23,900 or 24,265 if including the effect of its huge GHG Exports on its Climate Credits), Russia (17,529), Canada (15,560) (see Gideon Polya, “Shocking analysis by country of Climate Debt of greenhouse gas polluters”, Bellaciao, 14 December 2011: http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article21491   ; also see “Climate Debt, Climate Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/climatedebtclimatecredit/ ).

Rational risk management that is crucial for societal safety requires accurate reportage. The taxpayer-funded ABC (Australia's equivalent of the UK BBC) must be condemned for incorrect reportage and lying by omission over many serious matters of which climate change action is the most serious (see “ABC Censorship”: https://sites.google.com/site/abccensorship/ ).

Dr Gideon Polya has been teaching science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm ) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/ bengalfamine_programme.html ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .


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