Insiders is back, (not) grilling leaders on the invisible emergency

Anthony Albanese – Opposition Leader (30/1/2022) Front-running Labor PM candidate Albanese was on the grill today without a word being said about the only issue that really matters for our future – the invisible emergency of our impending extinction

Sometimes I wonder if ABC News is a willing stooge of the fossil fuel industry special interests or if they just don’t care about the biggest but effectively invisible emergency the human species has faced in our recorded history.

Science and the fossil fuel industry (at least Big Oil) have had no doubts about the contribution of greenhouse gas emissions to global warming for at least 40 years. Science has come to understand that uncontrolled global warming represents an existential crisis to the planetary biosphere (including humans). By contrast, the fossil fuel industry (again led by Big Oil) have considered only that public understanding of the crisis represents a real threat to their profits. This must be combated by doing everything they can to deny and discredit the science, and block any actions that might be taken to force a reduction in the burning of their products. Two of many reviews of this history of denial, lies, and sabotage are provided by Inside Climate News and Wikipedia. The WIkipedia article provides a comprehensive list of further references documenting these assertions.

Especially over the last five years, the accelerating growth in the scale of NB4 extreme weather and wildfire events are undeniable signs that the climate emergency is growing ever worse because nothing is being done to mitigate its causes. Much of this failure is a direct consequence of the effectiveness of the fossil fuel special interests’ activities to deny, distract, denigrate, misdirect attention from the stark reality of our still rapidly growing risk of near-term extinction. They have made the emergency effectively invisible.

Today’s Insiders shows how effectively people and even the major news media have been distracted away from giving any attention to the need for managing the real emergency. The first 20 minutes of the program were devoted almost entirely to Covid, Covid, Covid. Without any doubt Covid is a worrisome issue. It is a nasty disease (but by no means the worst). Even if absolutely nothing had been done to stop, mitigate or treat it, it might have killed 5% of humans – which in a few years may seem to be a minor blip compared to diseases like bubonic plague, that killed up to 50% of Europeans in the Middle Ages. However, because we know how to deal with viruses, Australia’s cumulative death rate beginning with the first Covid death is currently just 1.22 deaths per 10,000 people.

The interview with Albanese lasted 18½ minutes with virtually every question/answer tied to Covid in one way or another, with the last 2-3 more focused on how Albanese would work with National Cabinet. Following the interview, the Insider’s Panel waffled around several non-critical issues. The real emergency remained invisible.

Only around 50min 50 seconds into the program was anything remotely related to climate mentioned (and this is despite the fact that summer rains have created a flood emergency so extreme in South Australia that all rail links with NT and across the Nulabor have been cut – probably for a week or more – and trucks are having to drive 3,000 km out of their normal routes to supply the NT. The RAAF has had to be called in to supply central towns like Coober Pedy with basic foods to say nothing of other economic disruptions). In any event, the last two minutes of the panel discussion were devoted to Morrison’s promise (for what that is worth) to spend a billion dollars over the next 9 years on ‘protecting’ the Great Barrier Reef. A couple of panelists did mention that some comments had been made that these promises offered nothing to combat the primary source of danger to the Reef — climate change. However, even these brief notices focused only on Morrison’s promises, and not the danger from the invisible emergency.

My main point here is not to attack Insiders or the ABC specifically, but to point out how incredibly effective fossil fuel’s denial, disinformation and distraction campaign has been to remove consideration and discussion of the only issue that matters where humankind’s future survival on our only planet is considered. The LNP COALition has been supremely effective in transmitting and multiplying fossil fuel’s speaking points to stifle any effective discussion or action on the climate emergency. The reality that the LNP COALition Government puts the desires of their patrons in the fossil fuel industry above and before any genuine concerns for the Australian people is clearly evident in any action or speaking that contacts the favored industries. The end result is that Australia has taken no significant actions to even begin mobilization to combat global warming. They are giving their already super-wealthy FF friends a few more years of profit, at the expense of rapidly reducing the already few years we have to stop and reverse the warming before we pass the point of no return on the road to extinction.

Insiders shows us that it is high time for us Australians to wake up from our humbug induced stupor, smell the smoke, and start putting out the fires that are burning up our house. Because they are effectively smothering us in a thick fog of lies, bulldust and blather that effectively hides all kinds of malfeasances, our first order of business in the election will have to be replacing wooden headed puppets of the fossil fuel and other special interests with respectable people who have committed to prioritize action on the climate emergency. We can help you do this with our Traffic Light Voting System.

Posted by William P. Hall

Some call me a 'climate scientist'. I'm not. What I am is an 'Earth systems generalist'. Born in 1939, I grew up with passionate interests in both science and engineering. I learned to read from my father's university textbooks in geology and paleontology, and dreamed of building nuclear powered starships. Living on a yacht in Southern California I grew up surrounded by (and often immersed in) marine and estuarine ecosystems while my father worked in the aerospace engineering industry. After studying university physics for three years, dyslexia with numbers convinced me to change my focus to biology. I completed university as an evolutionary biologist (PhD Harvard, 1973). My principal research project involved understanding how species' genetic systems regulated the evolution and speciation of North America's largest and most widespread lizard genus. Then for several years as an academic biologist I taught a range of university subjects as diverse as systematics, biogeography, cytogenetics, comparative anatomy and marine biology. In Australia, from 1980, I was involved in various activities around the emerging and rapidly evolving microcomputing technologies culminating in 2 years involvement in the computerization of the emerging Bank of Melbourne. In 1990 I joined a startup engineering company that had just won the contract to build a new generation of 10 frigates for Australia and New Zealand. In 2007 I retired from the head office of Tenix Defence, then Australia's largest defence engineering contractor, after a 17½ year career as a documentation and knowledge management systems analyst and designer. At Tenix I reported to the R&D manager under the GM Engineering, and worked closely with support and systems engineers on the ANZAC Ship Project to solve documentation and engineering change management issues that risked the project 100s of millions of dollars in cost and years of schedule overruns. All 10 ships had been delivered on time, on budget to happy customers against the fixed-price and fixed schedule contract. Before, during, and after these two main gigs I also did a lot of other things that contribute to my general understanding of complex dynamical systems involving multiple components with non-linear and sometimes chaotically interacting components; e.g., 'Earth systems'. Earth's Climate System is the global heat engine driven by the transport and conversions of energy between the incoming solar radiation striking the planet, and the infrared radiation of heat away from the planet to the cold dark universe. As Climate Sentinel News Editor, my task is to identify and understand quirks and problems in the operation of this complex heat engine that threaten human existence, and explain to our readers how they can help to solve some of the critical issues that are threatening their own existence.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.