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Australian ABC Lies About Key Climate Emergency Issues

By Dr Gideon Polya

05 September, 2011

Mainstream media lie by omission and commission in the Western Murdochracies and Lobbyocracies as well  as in explicitly undemocratic countries in which free speech is controlled by draconian measures. Western mainstream media get away with lying because they are not brought to account and this is precisely because of Mainstream media lying by omission about Mainstream media lying by omission. However a potential weakness in the Mainstream media Wall of Silence is provided by lying by omission by taxpayer-funded  media such as the UK BBC and is Australian equivalent the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the ABC. Thus Mainstream commercial media, politicians, companies and academics may conceivably object to their taxes being spent on partisan lying by taxpayer-funded media such as that revealed below involving Australia 's ABC.

In short, the Australian Labor Government has proposed a highly controversial Carbon Price-based plan to “tackle climate change” and create what it calls a “clean energy future” by an implied DECREASE in greenhouse gas  (GHG) pollution. Unfortunately Australian Government-endorsed Treasury modeling  report “Strong growth, low pollution” shows that under the Carbon Price plan Australia's domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution will INCREASE to 621 Mt CO2-e (million tones of CO2-equivalent) in 2020, 25% BIGGER than that in 2000. However searches of the taxpayer-funded Australian ABC's own search engine for “621 million” and “Strong growth, low pollution” yield 1 and 0 reports, respectively, whereas a search of the ABC for the Government's propaganda document and mantra “Clean energy future” yields 348 items.

1. The ABC all but ignores increased GHG pollution under Labor's Carbon Price plan.

The Australian ABC (the taxpayer-funded Australian equivalent of the taxpayer-funded UK BBC) reported the following key question made by Tony Abbott, leader of the Liberal Party-National Party Coalition opposition in the Federal Parliament House of Representatives Question Time. The report of this crucial question was buried in an ABC report about the current Australian union-funds-for prostitutes scandal entitled “PM stands by MP as Opposition ramps up pressure on Thomson”, ABC Radio National, PM, 17 August 2011: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3295729.htm :

Quote: “TONY ABBOTT: Under the carbon tax Australia 's emissions will rise from 578 million tonnes now, to 621 million tonnes in 2020.

(Rumbling objections amongst the MPs)

And I ask- and I ask- and I ask the Prime Minister, what is the point of a carbon tax if it doesn't get Australia 's own domestic emissions down?” End quote.

Yet a search of “the entire ABC site” for “621 million” reveals only ONE (1) item reporting this crucial question,  specifically that quoted above.

2. The ABC ignores damning  Treasury report “Strong growth, low pollution”.

The Coalition Opposition and the Labor Government  have the same fundamental policy position of “5% off 2020 GHG pollution by 2020” coupled with massive expansion of Australia 's coal and gas exports.  However there are huge functional differences between the approaches of the Coalition Opposition (the Libs) and the Labor Government (the Labs).  

As analyzed in an article my me in Countercurrents (see “ Anti-Environment Australian Government's Carbon Tax Deceit ”, Countercurrents, 9 August 2011:   http://www.countercurrents.org/polya090811.htm ): “The big functional difference between the Libs and the Labs is that while the Libs can potentially ramp up their Direct Action plan for “5% off 2000 by 2020” , Treasury analysis released by Treasurer Wayne Swan and Climate Minister Greg Combet several weeks ago (“Strong Growth, Low Pollution. Modelling a Carbon Price”: http://www.treasury.gov.au/carbonpricemodelling/content/report.asp ) reveals that Labor will certainly NOT achieve “5% off 2000 by 2020” - in 2020 Australia's annual Domestic GHG pollution will be 679 Mt CO2-e (Business As Usual) or 621 Mt CO2-e (with a Carbon Price) and can only attain the promised “5% off 2000 level by 2020” value of 466 Mt CO2-e by the artifice of purchasing 155 Mt CO2-e of Internationally-sourced abatement credits.”

Yet a search of “the entire ABC site” for “Strong growth, low pollution” reveals ZERO (0) items reporting this crucial, Labor Government-endorsed  Treasury analysis.

3. The ABC lavishly reports Labor Government “clean energy future” falsehood.

 On 11 August 2011 I sent the following  letter to MPs (including Mr Tony Abbott) and Mainstream media (including the ABC), quoting the above Countercurrents article and the Treasury analysis and slamming the extraordinary litany of falsehoods in the latest Labor Government propaganda entitled “Clean energy future”:

Quote: “ Dear etc,

Australian taxpayers, at their own expense, are receiving copies of the Labor Government's 20 page document entitled “Clean energy future. What a carbon price means to you”. Unfortunately this scientifically illiterate document contains a falsehood of commission or omission on nearly every page (for a detailed, documented, 17-point critique see “Anti-environment Australian Government's carbon tax deceit”: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya090811.htm ).

Critically, Treasury, ABARE and US EIA data reveal that under the Labor Carbon Price plan, by 2020 Australia 's annual Domestic plus Exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution will be roughly DOUBLE that in 2000 i.e. our future will certainly not be clean and will not even be clean-er. The Gillard Labor Government clearly has no intention of “tackling climate change” but is falsely pretending otherwise.

Australians should be outraged over this taxpayer-funded litany of falsehoods that makes Australia an international laughing stock and which, in relation to child readers, amounts to intellectual child abuse. As a 5-decade career scientist and science educator I urge media, MPs  and citizens to insist that this anti-science, spin-driven  Government retracts its egregious, taxpayer-funded falsehoods about a “clean energy future”.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Gideon Polya (contact details).” End quote.

Yet a search of “the entire ABC site” for “clean energy future”, the egregiously false claim of the pro-coal, pro-gas Labor Government, yields THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY EIGHT (348) items.

4. The ABC falsely reports that gas is “clean energy”.

Coal (mainly carbon, C) and natural gas (mainly methane, CH 4 ) are not clean energy sources. They are dirty energy sources  in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution and substances toxic to humans and other organisms.  Thus combustion of 1 tonne of carbon, or methane yields CO 2 totalling  3.7 tonnes and 2.8 tonnes, respectively. Gas burning for electrical power can indeed be twice as efficient as coal burning in terms of energy produced/tonne of CO2 and is much cleaner in terms of toxic pollutants. However methane is a gas, leaks (at 3.3% on average in the US and about 7.9% for US shale gas) and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a GHG on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts included. Based on this information it can be estimated that a coal to gas transition (a major goal of the Labor Government's Carbon Price plan would make gas burning dirtier than coal burning GHG-wise – 1.2 times  if there were 3.% systemic leakage (US) and 2.1 times if there were 7.9% systemic leakage (shale gas) (see “ Oz Labor's Carbon Tax-ETS & gas for coal plan means INCREASED GHG pollution”, Bellaciao, 27 August 2011: http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article21140 ).

Taking the above  facts into account one can readily see that the taxpayer-funded ABC does not only lie by omission it also lies by commission about GHG pollution. Thus a limited search of the ABC reveals the following incorrect statements: “gas and in particular with our coal seam gas its a very clean energy”,  “LNG as a renewable energy”,  “clean energy, namely LNG”,  “The good thing about natural gas in electricity generation is it's very clean”, “renewables such as solar, wind, hydro and thermal rock, as well as gas and biomass”, “Asian demand for green power. “Both natural gas resources and uranium are clear ingredient””, “supply Asia with its future clean energy needs, thanks to vast supplies of uranium and gas.”, “coal seam gas… front and centre of Australia's contribution to a cleaner energy future”, “every tonne of LNG China uses for power generation instead of importing coal, cuts up to 4.3 tonnes of emissions” (but every tonne of methane, CH 4 , yields 2.8 tonnes CO 2 ; every tonne of carbon, C, yields 3.7 tonnes of CO 2 , the difference being 0.9 tonnes CO 2 ), “gas is the immediate solution to carbon emissions”, “Its [gas is] a very clean fuel”, “clean gas”…


The  Australian ABC (the taxpayer-funded Australian equivalent of the taxpayer-funded UK BBC) has an appalling record of lying by omission and commission about greenhouse gas pollution as detailed above. However the ABC lies about other important matters, ignoring compelling scientific evidence for US involvement in the 9-11 atrocity that killed 3,000 people (see “Experts: US did 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/expertsusdid911/home ) and resolutely ignoring the roughly 8 million  subsequent war-related Muslim deaths associated so far with the US Alliance War on Terror (see “Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/ ).  Rational risk management successively involves (a) accurate data, (b) scientific analysis and (c) informed systemic change to minimize risk. However rational risk management and societal safety are dangerously impaired by lying. There needs to be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the lying by Omission and commission by the taxpayer-funded Australian ABC.

Lying  by omission and commission is not peculiar to the Australian ABC - it is the entrenched practice of Mainstream media  in all the other Western Murdochracies and Lobbyocracies in which Big Money buys truth, votes and policy. We must restore democracy by exposing Mainstream media lying. Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Please tell everyone you can.

Dr Gideon Polya currently teaches science students at a major Australian university. 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 recently 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 just 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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