Facts Vs Climate Doomsayers

 

To avoid wasting time when debating any topic it is important to confirm WHAT facts are  agreed upon and what are  NOT. This includes Climate Change and its relationship to Co2

INDISPUTABLE FACTS

1. The Earth is approximately 4,5 Billion years old .
2. There has been climate change/global warming/ global cooling -cc/gw/gc-  on earth for the full 4,5 Billion years .
3. At various times of cc/gw/gc  there has been NO ice at the  Arctic or Antarctic poles and vegetation has grown at both poles.
4. at various times of cc/gw/gc the predecessors of alligators lived as far north at Spitsbergen in Norway where Polar Bears now live  .
5. The industrial revolution is only approximately 200 years old.
6. Compare 200 years to a PINHEAD  and 4,5 Billion years to the total road surface of the whole of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
7. The Earth is presently in an Ice age.  
8. The temperatures during the times of the Roman Empire were approximately 2 degrees warmer than today and wine grapes during the Roman occupation of England and Scotland  were grown as far north as Scotland.
9. cc/gw/gc during the last 2,000 years (an eye blink in 4.6 billion years) has continuously varied . During the middle ages the temperature was higher than today when Greenland/Iceland were settled in approximately 995AD then abandoned when the climate cooled , and  all the settlers died (cooling)approximately 1350 AD .During this cooling period skating took place on the Thames during the winter when the temperature cooled and the river froze over.
10. When the Earth was in its warmer cycles  it was the period of Earth’s greatest plant growth and the great deposits of coal /gas / oil were established and deposited.
11. Life on Earth exists because of its proximity to the Sun if the Earth was closer like Mars the Earth would probably burn and therefore no life -further away like Venus then the earth would probably freeze and therefore no life.
12. The heat coming from the Sun is not consistent and  varies  by  activities -known as Sun spots or Sun flares.
13. The heat from the Sun reaching the various parts of the Earth is also varied by the Axis of the Earth.
14. The heat from the Sun reaching the Earth is also varied by the orbit of the Earth.
15. Formation of clouds in the sky also block the Suns heat.
16. Large eruption of volcanoes and meteor strikes block light and therefore  block heat and cause cooling .
17. Solar radiation from outer space effects the cc/gw/gc on Earth.
18. CO2 ONLY makes up .04% of the atmosphere.
19. of the .04% of the CO2 in the atmosphere 97% come from nature and   3% by humans .
20. Australia produces between   1.3 % and   1.5% of the 3% of CO2 by humans.
21. Therefore multiply .04% in the atmosphere by 3% produced by humans then multiply Australian contribution of  1.5%  =  .000018% (almost beyond measurement) .Therefore Australia’s contribution of  C02 in the Earth’s atmosphere .(.04%x3%x1.5%=.000018%) cannot be measured.
22. The Australian’s chief scientist recently stated that if Australians completely stopped production of Co2  it would have no effect on the worlds Co2 .
23. there can be NO plant growth without water /sun light /warmth/and co2.
24. the greater amount  Co2 on earth the greater the plant growth-i.e.   Co2 is often pumped into a green house when growing tomatoes to increase production .Without Co2 no plant life and therefore the death of ALL animal life
25. N0 ONE   has yet explained how Co2 produced by humans (ESPECIALLY BY AUSTRALIA .00008%) can effect the world temperature.
26. It must ALWAYS  be remembered that correlation is NOT causation.
Finally if we are to reduce our emissions by 50% then what is 50% of 0008%

Man Versus CO2

WRITTEN BY: PATRICK MOORE, PHD, GLOBAL WARMING POLICY FOUNDATION OCTOBER 30, 2015
TN Note: The following is a lecture delivered by Patrick Moore, formerly President of Greenpeace Int’l, to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London. He is a vocal critic of faulty science that supports climate-change caused by humans. Since he was a legend in the eco-movement, his current assessment is credible and authoritative.
Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide?
My Lords and Ladies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you for the opportunity to set out my views on climate change. As I have stated publicly on many occasions, there is no definitive scientific proof, through real-world observation, that carbon dioxide is responsible for any of the slight warming of the global climate that has occurred during the past 300 years, since the peak of the Little Ice Age. If there were such a proof through testing and replication it would have been written down for all to see.
The contention that human emissions are now the dominant influence on climate is simply a hypothesis, rather than a universally accepted scientific theory. It is therefore correct, indeed verging on compulsory in the scientific tradition, to be skeptical of those who express certainty that “the science is settled” and “the debate is over”.
But there is certainty beyond any doubt that CO2 is the building block for all life on Earth and that without its presence in the global atmosphere at a sufficient concentration this would be a dead planet. Yet today our children and our publics are taught that CO2 is a toxic pollutant that will destroy life and bring civilization to its knees. Tonight I hope to turn this dangerous human-caused propaganda on its head. Tonight I will demonstrate that human emissions of CO2 have already saved life on our planet from a very untimely end. That in the absence of our emitting some of the carbon back into the atmosphere from whence it came in the first place, most or perhaps all life on Earth would begin to die less than two million years from today.
But first a bit of background.
I was born and raised in the tiny floating village of Winter Harbour on the northwest tip of Vancouver Island, in the rainforest by the Pacific. There was no road to my village so for eight years myself and a few other children were taken by boat each day to a one-room schoolhouse in the nearby fishing village. I didn’t realize how lucky I was playing on the tide flats by the salmon-spawning streams in the rainforest, until I was sent off to boarding school in Vancouver where I excelled in science. I did my undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia, gravitating to the life sciences – biology, biochemistry, genetics, and forestry – the environment and the industry my family has been in for more than 100 years. Then, before the word was known to the general public, I discovered the science of ecology, the science of how all living things are inter-related, and how we are related to them. At the height of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the threat of all-out nuclear war and the newly emerging consciousness of the environment I was transformed into a radical environmental activist. While doing my PhD in ecology in 1971 I joined a group of activists who had begun to meet in the basement of the Unitarian Church, to plan a protest voyage against US hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska.
We proved that a somewhat rag-tag looking group of activists could sail an old fishing boat across the north Pacific ocean and help change the course of history. We created a focal point for the media to report on public opposition to the tests.
When that H-bomb exploded in November 1971, it was the last hydrogen bomb the United States ever detonated. Even though there were four more tests planned in the series, President Nixon canceled them due to the public opposition we had helped to create. That was the birth of Greenpeace.
Flushed with victory, on our way home from Alaska we were made brothers of the Namgis Nation in their Big House at Alert Bay near my northern Vancouver Island home. For Greenpeace this began the tradition of the Warriors of the Rainbow, after a Cree Indian legend that predicted the coming together of all races and creeds to save the Earth from destruction. We named our ship the Rainbow Warrior and I spent the next fifteen years in the top committee of Greenpeace, on the front lines of the environmental movement as we evolved from that church basement into the world’s largest environmental activist organization.
Next we took on French atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific. They proved a bit more difficult than the US nuclear tests. It took years to eventually drive these tests underground at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia. In 1985, under direct orders from President Mitterrand, French commandos bombed and sank the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour, killing our photographer. Those protests continued until long after I left Greenpeace. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that nuclear testing finally ended in the South Pacific, and it most other parts of the world as well.
Going back to 1975, Greenpeace set out to save the whales from extinction at the hands of huge factory whaling fleets. We confronted the Soviet factory whaling fleet in the North Pacific, putting ourselves in front of their harpoons in our little rubber boats to protect the fleeing whales. This was broadcast on television news around the world, bringing the Save the Whales movement into everyone’s living rooms for the first time. After four years of voyages, in 1979 factory whaling was finally banned in the North Pacific, and by 1981 in all the world’s oceans.
In 1978 I sat on a baby seal off the East Coast of Canada to protect it from the hunter’s club. I was arrested and hauled off to jail, the seal was clubbed and skinned, but a photo of me being arrested while sitting on the baby seal appeared in more than 3000 newspapers around the world the next morning. We won the hearts and minds of millions of people who saw the baby seal slaughter as outdated, cruel, and unnecessary.
Why then did I leave Greenpeace after 15 years in the leadership? When Greenpeace began we had a strong humanitarian orientation, to save civilization from destruction by all-out nuclear war. Over the years the “peace” in Greenpeace was gradually lost and my organization, along with much of the environmental movement, drifted into a belief that humans are the enemies of the earth. I believe in a humanitarian environmentalism because we are part of nature, not separate from it. The first principle of ecology is that we are all part of the same ecosystem, as Barbara Ward put it, “One human family on spaceship Earth”, and to preach otherwise teaches that the world would be better off without us. As we shall see later in the presentation there is very good reason to see humans as essential to the survival of life on this planet.
In the mid 1980s I found myself the only director of Greenpeace International with a formal education in science. My fellow directors proposed a campaign to “ban chlorine worldwide”, naming it “The Devil’s Element”. I pointed out that chlorine is one of the elements in the Periodic Table, one of the building blocks of the Universe and the 11th most common element in the Earth’s crust. I argued the fact that chlorine is the most important element for public health and medicine. Adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health and the majority of our synthetic medicines are based on chlorine chemistry. This fell on deaf ears, and for me this was the final straw. I had to leave.
When I left Greenpeace I vowed to develop an environmental policy that was based on science and logic rather than sensationalism, misinformation, anti-humanism and fear. In a classic example, a recent protest led by Greenpeace in the Philippines used the skull and crossbones to associate Golden Rice with death, when in fact Golden Rice has the potential to help save 2 million children from death due to vitamin A deficiency every year.
The Keeling curve of CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere since 1959 is the supposed smoking gun of catastrophic climate change. We presume CO2 was at 280 ppm at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, before human activity could have caused a significant impact. I accept that most of the rise from 280 to 400 ppm is caused by human CO2 emissions with the possibility that some of it is due to outgassing from warming of the oceans.
NASA tells us that “Carbon Dioxide Controls Earth’s Temperature” in child-like denial of the many other factors involved in climate change. This is reminiscent of NASA’s contention that there might be life on Mars. Decades after it was demonstrated that there was no life on Mars, NASA continues to use it as a hook to raise public funding for more expeditions to the Red Planet. The promulgation of fear of Climate Change now serves the same purpose. As Bob Dylan prophetically pointed out, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears”, even in one of the most admired science organizations in the world.
On the political front the leaders of the G7 plan to “end extreme poverty and hunger” by phasing out 85% of the world’s energy supply including 98% of the energy used to transport people and goods, including food. The Emperors of the world appear clothed in the photo taken at the close of the meeting but it was obviously Photo-shopped. They should be required to stand naked for making such a foolish statement.
The world’s top climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change, is hopelessly conflicted by its makeup and it mandate. The Panel is composed solely of the World Meteorological Organization, weather forecasters, and the United Nations Environment Program, environmentalists. Both these organizations are focused primarily on short-term timescales, days to maybe a century or two. But the most significant conflict is with the Panel’s mandate from the United Nations. They are required only to focus on “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the atmosphere, and which is in addition to natural climate variability.”
So if the IPCC found that climate change was not being affected by human alteration of the atmosphere or that it is not “dangerous” there would be no need for them to exist. They are virtually mandated to find on the side of apocalypse.
Scientific certainty, political pandering, a hopelessly conflicted IPCC, and now the Pope, spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, in a bold move to reinforce the concept of original sin, says the Earth looks like “an immense pile of filth” and we must go back to pre-industrial bliss, or is that squalor?
And then there is the actual immense pile of filth fed to us more than three times daily by the green-media nexus, a seething cauldron of imminent doom, like we are already condemned to Damnation in Hell and there is little chance of Redemption. I fear for the end of the Enlightenment. I fear an intellectual Gulag with Greenpeace as my prison guards.
Let’s begin with our knowledge of the long-term history of the Earth’s temperature and of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. Our best inference from various proxies back indicate that CO2 was higher for the first 4 billion years of Earth’s history than it has been since the Cambrian Period until today. I will focus on the past 540 million years since modern life forms evolved. It is glaringly obvious that temperature and CO2 are in an inverse correlation at least as often as they are in any semblance of correlation. Two clear examples of reverse correlation occurred 150 million years and 50 million years ago. At the end of the Jurassic temperature fell dramatically while CO2 spiked. During the Eocene Thermal Maximum, temperature was likely higher than any time in the past 550 million years while CO2 had been on a downward track for 100 million years. This evidence alone sufficient to warrant deep speculation of any claimed lock-step causal relationship between CO2 and temperature.
The Devonian Period beginning 400 million years ago marked the culmination of the invasion of life onto the land. Plants evolved to produce lignin, which in combination with cellulose, created wood which in turn for the first time allowed plants to grow tall, in competition with each other for sunlight. As vast forests spread across the land living biomass increased by orders of magnitude, pulling down carbon as CO2 from the atmosphere to make wood. Lignin is very difficult to break down and no decomposer species possessed the enzymes to digest it. Trees died atop one another until they were 100 metres or more in depth. This was the making of the great coal beds around the world as this huge store of sequestered carbon continued to build for 90 million years. Then, fortunately for the future of life, white rot fungi evolved to produce the enzymes that can digest lignin and coincident with that the coal-making era came to an end.
There was no guarantee that fungi or any other decomposer species would develop the complex of enzymes required to digest lignin. If they had not, CO2, which had already been drawn down for the first time in Earth’s history to levels similar to todays, would have continued to decline as trees continued to grow and die. That is until CO2 approached the threshold of 150 ppm below which plants begin first to starve, then stop growing altogether, and then die. Not just woody plants but all plants. This would bring about the extinction of most, if not all, terrestrial species, as animals, insects, and other invertebrates starved for lack of food. And that would be that. The human species would never have existed. This was only the first time that there was a distinct possibility that life would come close to extinguishing itself, due to a shortage of CO2, which is essential for life on Earth.
A well-documented record of global temperature over the past 65 million years shows that we have been in a major cooling period since the Eocene Thermal Maximum 50 million years ago. The Earth was an average 16C warmer then, with most of the increased warmth at the higher latitudes. The entire planet, including the Arctic and Antarctica were ice-free and the land there was covered in forest. The ancestors of every species on Earth today survived through what may have been the warmest time in the history of life. It makes one wonder about dire predictions that even a 2C rise in temperature from pre-industrial times would cause mass extinctions and the destruction of civilization. Glaciers began to form in Antarctica 30 million years ago and in the northern hemisphere 3 million years ago. Today, even in this interglacial period of the Pleistocene Ice Age, we are experiencing one of the coldest climates in the Earth’s history.
Coming closer to the present we have learned from Antarctic ice cores that for the past 800,000 years there have been regular periods of major glaciation followed by interglacial periods in 100,000 year-cycles. These cycles coincide with the Milankovitch cycles that are tied to the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit and its axial tilt. It is highly plausible that these cycles are related to solar intensity and the seasonal distribution of solar heat on the Earth’s surface. There is a strong correlation between temperature and the level of atmospheric CO2 during these successive glaciations, indicating a possible cause-effect relationship between the two. CO2 lags temperature by an average of 800 years during the most recent 400,000-year period, indicating that temperature is the cause, as the cause never comes after the effect.
Looking at the past 50,000 years of temperature and CO2 we can see that changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature. This is as one could expect, as the Milankovitch cycles are far more likely to cause a change in temperature than a change in CO2. And a change in the temperature is far more likely to cause a change in CO2 due to outgassing of CO2 from the oceans during warmer times and an ingassing (absorption) of CO2 during colder periods. Yet climate alarmists persist in insisting that CO2 is causing the change in temperature, despite the illogical nature of that assertion.
It is sobering to consider the magnitude of climate change during the past 20,000 years, since the peak of the last major glaciation. At that time there were 3.3 kilometres of ice on top of what is today the city of Montreal, a city of more than 3 million people. 95% of Canada was covered in a sheet of ice. Even as far south as Chicago there was nearly a kilometre of ice. If the Milankovitch cycle continues to prevail, and there is little reason aside from our CO2 emissions to think otherwise, this will happen gradually again during the next 80,000 years. Will our CO2 emissions stave off another glaciation as James Lovelock has suggested? There doesn’t seem to be much hope of that so far, as despite 1/3 of all our CO2 emissions being released during the past 18 years the UK Met Office contends there has been no statistically significant warming during this century.
At the height of the last glaciation the sea level was about 120 metres lower than it is today. By 7,000 years ago all the low-altitude, mid-latitude glaciers had melted. There is no consensus about the variation in sea level since then although many scientists have concluded that the sea level was higher than today during the Holocene Thermal optimum from 9,000 to 5,000 years ago when the Sahara was green. The sea level may also have been higher than today during the Medieval Warm Period.
Hundred of islands near the Equator in Papua, Indonesia, have been undercut by the sea in a manner that gives credence to the hypothesis that there has been little net change in sea level in the past thousands of years. It takes a long time for so much erosion to occur from gentle wave action in a tropical sea.
Coming back to the relationship between temperature and CO2 in the modern era we can see that temperature has risen at a steady slow rate in Central England since 1700 while human CO2 emissions were not relevant until 1850 and then began an exponential rise after 1950. This is not indicative of a direct causal relationship between the two. After freezing over regularly during the Little Ice Age the River Thames froze for the last time in 1814, as the Earth moved into what might be called the Modern Warm Period.
The IPCC states it is “extremely likely” that human emissions have been the dominant cause of global warming “since the mid-20th century”, that is since 1950. They claim that “extremely” means 95% certain, even though the number 95 was simply plucked from the air like an act of magic. And “likely” is not a scientific word but rather indicative of a judgment, another word for an opinion.
There was a 30-year period of warming from 1910-1940, then a cooling from 1940 to 1970, just as CO2 emissions began to rise exponentially, and then a 30-year warming from 1970-2000 that was very similar in duration and temperature rise to the rise from 1910-1940. One may then ask “what caused the increase in temperature from 1910-1940 if it was not human emissions? And if it was natural factors how do we know that the same natural factors were not responsible for the rise between 1970-2000.” You don’t need to go back millions of years to find the logical fallacy in the IPCC’s certainty that we are the villains in the piece.
Water is by far the most important greenhouse gas, and is the only molecule that is present in the atmosphere in all three states, gas, liquid, and solid. As a gas, water vapour is a greenhouse gas, but as a liquid and solid it is not. As a liquid water forms clouds, which send solar radiation back into space during the day and hold heat in at night. There is no possibility that computer models can predict the net effect of atmospheric water in a higher CO2 atmosphere. Yet warmists postulate that higher CO2 will result in positive feedback from water, thus magnifying the effect of CO2 alone by 2-3 times. Other scientists believe that water may have a neutral or negative feedback on CO2. The observational evidence from the early years of this century tends to reinforce the latter hypothesis.
How many politicians or members of the media or the public are aware of this statement about climate change from the IPCC in 2007?
“we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
There is a graph showing that the climate models have grossly exaggerated the rate of warming that confirms the IPCC statement. The only trends the computer models seem able to predict accurately are ones that have already occurred.
Coming to the core of my presentation, CO2 is the currency of life and the most important building block for all life on Earth. All life is carbon-based, including our own. Surely the carbon cycle and its central role in the creation of life should be taught to our children rather than the demonization of CO2, that “carbon” is a “pollutant” that threatens the continuation of life. We know for a fact that CO2 is essential for life and that it must be at a certain level in the atmosphere for the survival of plants, which are the primary food for all the other species alive today. Should we not encourage our citizens, students, teachers, politicians, scientists, and other leaders to celebrate CO2 as the giver of life that it is?
It is a proven fact that plants, including trees and all our food crops, are capable of growing much faster at higher levels of CO2 than present in the atmosphere today. Even at the today’s concentration of 400 ppm plants are relatively starved for nutrition. The optimum level of CO2 for plant growth is about 5 times higher, 2000 ppm, yet the alarmists warn it is already too high. They must be challenged every day by every person who knows the truth in this matter. CO2 is the giver of life and we should celebrate CO2 rather than denigrate it as is the fashion today.
We are witnessing the “Greening of the Earth” as higher levels of CO2, due to human emissions from the use of fossil fuels, promote increased growth of plants around the world. This has been confirmed by scientists with CSIRO in Australia, in Germany, and in North America. Only half of the CO2 we are emitting from the use of fossil fuels is showing up in the atmosphere. The balance is going somewhere else and the best science says most of it is going into an increase in global plant biomass. And what could be wrong with that, as forests and agricultural crops become more productive?
All the CO2 in the atmosphere has been created by outgassing from the Earth’s core during massive volcanic eruptions. This was much more prevalent in the early history of the Earth when the core was hotter than it is today. During the past 150 million years there has not been enough addition of CO2 to the atmosphere to offset the gradual losses due to burial in sediments.
Let’s look at where all the carbon is in the world, and how it is moving around.
Today, at just over 400 ppm, there are 850 billion tons of carbon as CO2 in the atmosphere. By comparison, when modern life-forms evolved over 500 million years ago there was nearly 15,000 billion tons of carbon in the atmosphere, 17 times today’s level. Plants and soils combined contain more than 2,000 billion tons of carbon, more than twice as much as the entire global atmosphere. The oceans contain 38,000 billion tons of carbon, as dissolved CO2, 45 times as much as in the atmosphere. Fossil fuels, which are made from plants that pulled CO2 from the atmosphere account for 5,000 – 10,000 billion tons of carbon, 6 – 12 times as much carbon as is in the atmosphere.
But the truly stunning number is the amount of carbon that has been sequestered from the atmosphere and turned into carbonaceous rocks. 100,000,000 billion tons, that’s one quadrillion tons of carbon, have been turned into stone by marine species that learned to make armour-plating for themselves by combining calcium and carbon into calcium carbonate. Limestone, chalk, and marble are all of life origin and amount to 99.9% of all the carbon ever present in the global atmosphere. The white cliffs of Dover are made of the calcium carbonate skeletons of coccolithophores, tiny marine phytoplankton.
The vast majority of the carbon dioxide that originated in the atmosphere has been sequestered and stored quite permanently in carbonaceous rocks where it cannot be used as food by plants.
Beginning 540 million years ago at the beginning of the Cambrian Period many marine species of invertebrates evolved the ability to control calcification and to build armour plating to protect their soft bodies. Shellfish such as clams and snails, corals, coccolithofores (phytoplankton) and foraminifera (zooplankton) began to combine carbon dioxide with calcium and thus to remove carbon from the life cycle as the shells sank into sediments; 100,000,000 billion tons of carbonaceous sediment. It is ironic that life itself, by devising a protective suit of armour, determined its own eventual demise by continuously removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This is carbon sequestration and storage writ large. These are the carbonaceous sediments that form the shale deposits from which we are fracking gas and oil today. And I add my support to those who say, “OK UK, get fracking”.
The past 150 million years has seen a steady drawing down of CO2 from the atmosphere. There are many components to this but what matters is the net effect, a removal on average of 37,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year for 150 million years. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was reduced by about 90% during this period. This means that volcanic emissions of CO2 have been outweighed by the loss of carbon to calcium carbonate sediments on a multi-million year basis.
If this trend continues CO2 will inevitably fall to levels that threaten the survival of plants, which require a minimum of 150 ppm to survive. If plants die all the animals, insects, and other invertebrates that depend on plants for their survival will also die.
How long will it be at the present level of CO2 depletion until most or all of life on Earth is threatened with extinction by lack of CO2 in the atmosphere?
During this Pleistocene Ice Age, CO2 tends to reach a minimum level when the successive glaciations reach their peak. During the last glaciation, which peaked 18,000 years ago, CO2 bottomed out at 180 ppm, extremely likely the lowest level CO2 has been in the history of the Earth. This is only 30 ppm above the level that plants begin to die. Paleontological research has demonstrated that even at 180 ppm there was a severe restriction of growth as plants began to starve. With the onset of the warmer interglacial period CO2 rebounded to 280 ppm. But even today, with human emissions causing CO2 to reach 400 ppm plants are still restricted in their growth rate, which would be much higher if CO2 were at 1000-2000 ppm.
Here is the shocking news. If humans had not begun to unlock some of the carbon stored as fossil fuels, all of which had been in the atmosphere as CO2 before sequestration by plants and animals, life on Earth would have soon been starved of this essential nutrient and would begin to die. Given the present trends of glaciations and interglacial periods this would likely have occurred less than 2 million years from today, a blink in nature’s eye, 0.05% of the 3.5 billion-year history of life.
No other species could have accomplished the task of putting some of the carbon back into the atmosphere that was taken out and locked in the Earth’s crust by plants and animals over the millennia. This is why I honour James Lovelock in my lecture this evening. Jim was for many years of the belief that humans are the one-and-only rogue species on Gaia, destined to cause catastrophic global warming. I enjoy the Gaia hypothesis but I am not religious about it and for me this was too much like original sin. It was as if humans were the only evil species on the Earth.
But James Lovelock has seen the light and realized that humans may be part of Gaia’s plan, and he has good reason to do so. And I honour him because it takes courage to change your mind after investing so much of your reputation on the opposite opinion. Rather than seeing humans as the enemies of Gaia, Lovelock now sees that we may be working with Gaia to “stave of another ice age”, or major glaciation. This is much more plausible than the climate doom-and gloom scenario because our release of CO2 back into the atmosphere has definitely reversed the steady downward slide of this essential food for life, and hopefully may reduce the chance that the climate will slide into another period of major glaciation. We can be certain that higher levels of CO2 will result in increased plant growth and biomass. We really don’t know whether or not higher levels of CO2 will prevent or reduce the eventual slide into another major glaciation. Personally I am not hopeful for this because the long-term history just doesn’t support a strong correlation between CO2 and temperature.
It does boggle the mind in the face of our knowledge that the level of CO2 has been steadily falling that human CO2 emissions are not universally acclaimed as a miracle of salvation. From direct observation we already know that the extreme predictions of CO2’s impact on global temperature are highly unlikely given that about one-third of all our CO2 emissions have been discharged during the past 18 years and there has been no statistically significant warming. And even if there were some additional warming that would surely be preferable to the extermination of all or most species on the planet.
You heard it here. “Human emissions of carbon dioxide have saved life on Earth from inevitable starvation and extinction due to lack of CO2”. To use the analogy of the Atomic Clock, if the Earth were 24 hours old we were at 38 seconds to midnight when we reversed the trend towards the End Times. If that isn’t good news I don’t know what is. You don’t get to stave off Armageddon every day.
I issue a challenge to anyone to provide a compelling argument that counters my analysis of the historical record and the prediction of CO2 starvation based on the 150 million year trend. Ad hominem arguments about “deniers” need not apply. I submit that much of society has been collectively misled into believing that global CO2 and temperature are too high when the opposite is true for both. Does anyone deny that below 150 ppm CO2 that plants will die? Does anyone deny that the Earth has been in a 50 million-year cooling period and that this Pleistocene Ice Age is one of the coldest periods in the history of the planet?
If we assume human emissions have to date added some 200 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, even if we ceased using fossil fuels today we have already bought another 5 million years for life on earth. But we will not stop using fossil fuels to power our civilization so it is likely that we can forestall plant starvation for lack of CO2 by at least 65 million years. Even when the fossil fuels have become scarce we have the quadrillion tons of carbon in carbonaceous rocks, which we can transform into lime and CO2 for the manufacture of cement. And we already know how to do that with solar energy or nuclear energy. This alone, regardless of fossil fuel consumption, will more than offset the loss of CO2 due to calcium carbonate burial in marine sediments. Without a doubt the human species has made it possible to prolong the survival of life on Earth for more than 100 million years. We are not the enemy of nature but its salvation.
As a postscript I would like to make a few comments about the other side of the alleged dangerous climate change coin, our energy policy, in particular the much maligned fossil fuels; coal, oil, and natural gas.
Depending how it’s tallied, fossil fuels account for between 85-88% of global energy consumption and more than 95% of energy for the transport of people and goods, including our food.
Earlier this year the leaders of the G7 countries agreed that fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100, a most bizarre development to say the least. Of course no intelligent person really believes this will happen but it is a testament to the power of the elites that have converged around the catastrophic human-caused climate change that so many alleged world leaders must participate in the charade. How might we convince them to celebrate CO2 rather than to denigrate it?
A lot of nasty things are said about fossil fuels even though they are largely responsible for our longevity, our prosperity, and our comfortable lifestyles.
Hydrocarbons, the energy components of fossil fuels, are 100% organic, as in organic chemistry. They were produced by solar energy in ancient seas and forests. When they are burned for energy the main products are water and CO2, the two most essential foods for life. And fossil fuels are by far the largest storage battery of direct solar energy on Earth. Nothing else comes close except nuclear fuel, which is also solar in the sense that it was produced in dying stars.
Today, Greenpeace protests Russian and American oil rigs with 3000 HP diesel-powered ships and uses 200 HP outboard motors to board the rigs and hang anti-oil plastic banners made with fossil fuels. Then they issue a media release telling us we must “end our addiction to oil”. I wouldn’t mind so much if Greenpeace rode bicycles to their sailing ships and rowed their little boats into the rigs to hang organic cotton banners. We didn’t have an H-bomb on board the boat that sailed on the first Greenpeace campaign against nuclear testing.
Some of the world’s oil comes from my native country in the Canadian oil sands of northern Alberta. I had never worked with fossil fuel interests until I became incensed with the lies being spread about my country’s oil production in the capitals of our allies around the world. I visited the oil sands operations to find out for myself what was happening there.
It is true it’s not a pretty sight when the land is stripped bare to get at the sand so the oil can be removed from it. Canada is actually cleaning up the biggest natural oil spill in history, and making a profit from it. The oil was brought to the surface when the Rocky Mountains were thrust up by the colliding Pacific Plate. When the sand is returned back to the land 99% of the so-called “toxic oil” has been removed from it.
Anti-oil activists say the oil-sands operations are destroying the boreal forest of Canada. Canada’s boreal forest accounts for 10% of all the world’s forests and the oil-sands area is like a pimple on an elephant by comparison. By law, every square inch of land disturbed by oil-sands extraction must be returned to native boreal forest. When will cities like London, Brussels, and New York that have laid waste to the natural environment be returned to their native ecosystems?
The art and science of ecological restoration, or reclamation as it is called in the mining industry, is a well-established practice. The land is re-contoured, the original soil is put back, and native species of plants and trees are established. It is possible, by creating depressions where the land was flat, to increase biodiversity by making ponds and lakes where wetland plants, insects, and waterfowl can become established in the reclaimed landscape.
The tailings ponds where the cleaned sand is returned look ugly for a few years but are eventually reclaimed into grasslands. The Fort McKay First Nation is under contract to manage a herd of bison on a reclaimed tailings pond. Every tailings pond will be reclaimed in a similar manner when operations have been completed.
As an ecologist and environmentalist for more than 45 years this is good enough for me. The land is disturbed for a blink of an eye in geological time and is then returned to a sustainable boreal forest ecosystem with cleaner sand. And as a bonus we get the fuel to power our weed-eaters, scooters, motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, trains, and aircraft.
To conclude, carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the stuff of life, the staff of life, the currency of life, indeed the backbone of life on Earth.

Kurri Kurri its History & its Future

The township of Kurri Kurri and the surrounding district was first established when coal was discovered at East Greta Junction now known as Gillieston Heights. In those early days at the end of the 19th Century the coal mine employees lived in very primitive conditions in villages surrounding the future township of Kurri Kurri.

In 1902 after considerable lobbying by the coal miners a permanent settlement was established. The first lands in Kurri Kurri were sold in 1903.

From its early establishment as a town the people of the community always struggled for an identity and to have control of their own destiny. In 1906 the town was handed over to the Tarro Shire and later became part of the Kearsley Shire, (The only Communist Council in the country) which later became Greater Cessnock City. During this period of destabilisation, the community suffered from discrimination and deprivation from all levels of government.

It was in this climate that Kurri Kurri business people established their Chamber in 1913, less than ten years after the establishment of the town out of a need to establish such basic needs as banking and phone services for the growing business district. The early business people were also concerned at the lack of support for the district at Local, State and Federal government level.

For many years the township suffered from a period of political agitation and posturing that saw the community used to promote the aspirations of the local politicians. Business Development lobbying has remained a key focus for the business people of the area since the town’s establishment.

Coal was the economic driver until the late 1960’s when mine closures such as those that were located in the area created high unemployment. When the ALCAN smelter arrived in 1969 it provided employment opportunities for some of the displaced workforce. During the late 70’s and early 90’s the textile industry also provided an income for the girls/women of the district, but this was short lived as the industry quickly moved offshore chasing cheaper labour.

In more recent times the business people had to lobby hard for the establishment of Weston Aluminium and Signode Strapping operations. Both of these businesses have brought moderate relief to our employment woes.

When the smelter shut down in 2012 it set back the community at least ten years. Now with the imminent announcement of the redevelopment of the smelter site and adjacent buffer zone into residential lands things will change for the better.

With this project we will see the commencement of serious economic development for the Kurri Kurri district as the town reinvents itself; and we will witness a future prosperity not seen since the establishment of the coalmines more than 100 years ago.

MY SAY

Firstly, I would like to say that I am no expert the topic of Kurri Kurri having come from a Coastal dwellers lifestyle, growing up at Stockton the holiday resort for hundreds of Coalfields people over many decades.

As kids we wondered why all the people came from those funny named places such as Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Neath (they said it had a beach) or Minmi (they said it had a breakwater). Us kids living on the Coast were always amazed at the role up of these people from the Coalfields every Christmas in what we saw as some sort of ritualistic event.

Some years ago that I spoke to a well-respected person from Kurri Kurri who said that he had purchased a van at Stockton Caravan Park. It dawned on me that even now the beach is a favourite place for the people of the Cessnock district.

In my early years of marriage I lived at another Coastal town, Dudley a mining village. It was in 1971, thirty (50) years ago that my life changed forever. I had just joined the NSW ambulance service and was posted to the town of Maitland. The daily trip from Dudley to Maitland was too much so I looked for a new home. And so it was that my family moved to Kurri Kurri in October 1971 instigating what was to become a major change in my life.

Since that move, the Cessnock and Kurri Kurri district has become my life and the progressive people I associate with on a daily basis inspire me to continue on my path of improving this community’s lifestyle. I have only been here forty (50) years.

A Mr David Dunlop was one of the first white settlers who established a property at Cessnock in around 1821. One of Dunlop’s better traits was his respect for the Aboriginal communities that lived around the Wollombi Valley.

It is interesting to note that Cessnock’s early history was steeped in agriculture. For example there were established wheat crops and vineyards as early as one hundred and fifty (160) years ago. It wasn’t until the discovery of coal in the late 1800’s at East Greta Junction only ten (10) kilometres from Kurri Kurri that this district became known as the ‘Coalfields’ of the Lower Hunter. The term ‘Coalfields’ is entrenched in people’s minds throughout the Cessnock and surrounding districts
and has become a natural term for those describing the area even today. After the discovery of coal in the late 1800’s at East Greta Junction, Coal Towns sprang up quickly as transient miners fought for better living standards. Heddon Greta, part of Cessnock was one of the earliest Coal Towns with a Pub, the oldest Pub in the district.

Kurri Kurri in fact never had a coalmine but was built after coal employees protested about their poor living standards. The town was surveyed in 1901 and proclaimed in October 1902. In 2002 the town of Kurri Kurri hosted its Centenary. An interesting argument about the origin of Kurri Kurri’s naming amongst local historians still rages today. The most accepted and probably accurate one is that Kurri Kurri is the name given by the local Aboriginal people meaning The Very First (or) “first time once upon a time”. It is understood that Kurri Kurri was so named because it was the first planned Crown Town in NSW.

Anyhow, back to our history. As the mines moved further west towns known as Weston, Abermain, Neath, Aberdare, Bellbird, Pelton, Paxton and Pelaw Main sprang up as the great Edgeworth David Coalseam unfolded. It is said that the Coalseam was the richest in the world. Coal became a major part of Kurri Kurri’s heritage from the early 1900’s until the end of last century. In fact there is now only one mine currently operating in the district.

While the miners tilled the soil underground an energetic group of agriculturalists worked the rich soils of the Pokolbin area to grow grapes for the purpose of wine production. Early pioneers of the once fledgling, but now prominent industry included Busby, Tyrell, Drayton, Tulloch and Lindeman. But it was fifty (50) years before the discovery of coal that the wine industry began. Many of the early pioneer’s names are entrenched throughout the industry and carried on by family wine businesses today. These businesses have outgrown “King Coal” and are now flourishing and providing new job opportunities for the Cessnock district particularly in the areas of hospitality and tourism.

Now, let’s look at the perceptions and legacies of those bygone days of coal. The perceptions of our community still sticks to this day of small unpainted timber cottages built by miners who when pushed, moved on leaving poor European heritage. The mine owners and managers were the lords of the district but when the mine was worked out they simply packed up and moved on leaving behind a scarred landscape for future generations to repair. This is known as our “European Heritage”. I call it an eyesore, which retards our image. Today, the Kurri Kurri district is reinventing itself and trying to set a new, more vibrant future for its’ citizens.

Our pioneers were exceptional in conquering the great north road and the development from Morpeth into Pokolbin for the wine, timber and grain industry. Today tourism, clean industry, viticulture and retailing are the prime employers. But we still have a long way to go to win over this country’s’ perception of the Hunter Coalfields as did Newcastle as a steel city.

As leaders of the Cessnock district we are charged with the responsibility of changing these perceptions.

History, by nature is evolutionary and progressive. We need to look forward to the future and respect our past, not to just continue to live in it.

RESIDENTS REQUIRE ASSURANCES ON FUTURE OF THEIR HOSPITAL

Kurri Kurri district residents need assurances on Health Services
A group of community leaders met in Kurri Kurri week commencing 22 February and again in March to discuss concerns they have about the retention of hospital health services in their area.
Of immediate concern is the loss of ED (Emergency Department) services. Rumour and facts from December 2020 show that there was no ED open over the Christmas New Year period and that signs had been placed on the KK ED door directing any clients with health concerns to Maitland Hospital ED.
Rumour has it that the Kurri Kurri Hospital ED will be closed this year in June 2021.
Kurri Kurri has a very good operating theatre for Ophthalmic services and has been used for many years. In fact, Sydney Eye hospital have benchmarked Kurri Kurri with their services that they deliver, as it was believed that Kurri Kurri Ophthalmic services were superior.
Rumour has it that the Operating Theatre will close Christmas 2021 and be taken to the new Maitland Hospital.
The 26 bed Rehab Unit was destined to close at the end of 2020 but serious agitation by State Member Clayton Barr MP saw the Rehab Unit transferred to the Rankin Park Rehab Centre for administration as Maitland Drs refused to administer medical services remotely. Currently the Rehab Unit is about 50% full.
Rumour has it that this is a stop gap measure until the end of 2021 when the Rehab Unit will be transferred back to the new Maitland Hospital.
The Cardiac Rehab unit closed in Maitland and was transferred to Kurri Kurri in late 2020, with around 7 people using the unit now. Information received from a patient is that much of the exercise equipment is not in a satisfactory condition to be used and that the Rehab person is coming from another area of HNEH. (it is stated that only one walker and one exercise bike is in operation)
Rumour has it that it is also a stop gap measure until the new Maitland Hospital is commissioned.
Other rumours not confirmed include the loss of the Day Care Centre and Allied Health Services. Both of these services are rumoured to be closed Christmas 2021 and transferred to the new Maitland Hospital in February 2022.
Currently there is only one maybe two Doctors servicing the 24 bed Transition Ward. By all accounts there is no Medical Ward now at Kurri Kurri Hospital. Recently it was rumoured that the Maitland Hospital was at capacity and that patients were being transferred to Cessnock Hospital.
Kurri Kurri residents require assurances that the above services will remain in Kurri Kurri and that the hospital will continue to provide the current services which include X-Ray and Pathology.

It is our understanding that there is or will be an audit of all area hospitals this year to ascertain what services need to be where and improved.
The CEO of HNEH stated that there will be a business plan out sometime this year for hospital health services across the region.

Kurri Kurri Hospital
In 2018 there were 4 local Drs who contracted to the hospital.
The hospital in 2018 had 52 -bed sub-acute facility which included 26 acute and sub-acute medical beds; 28 rehabilitation beds and 16 day stay surgical places for eye; ear, nose and throat; and general day surgery procedures.
Services provided back in 2018 included
• Emergency medicine
• General medical-sub acute
• High volume, short stay surgery including eye surgery (adult), general surgery, and ear nose and throat surgery
• Rehabilitation unit
• Allied Health outpatient services
• Day Care Centre
• Emergency Department

Kurri Kurri residents require assurances that the Kurri Kurri Hospital is included in this review and business plan.
Finally, it is rumoured (missing) in the 2018 Service Delivery plan for the new Maitland Hospital that there will not be a CCU unit. It this is true it is totally unacceptable to have no CCU beds in the Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Cessnock areas and beyond.

Council meetings

Council meeting rules
Over the eight and a half years that I have been on council we met twice a month with the exception of December and January
There was only one meeting in December and none during January, this represented 21 formal meetings
Council always moved that the business of council could still be carried out during the six-week break over the Christmas New Year period under delegated authority to the General Manager and Mayor
There were to be no major decisions regarding planning matters approved
Last year under health directions from the NSW Government during the Covid pandemic it was agreed to meet via Zoom and broadcast the council meetings on the council Face Book page
When council came back to a modified face to face meeting night in February it was agreed that we meet only one night a month. It was also agreed by all except one councillor that if a person was genuinely sick or unable to attend for some reason that they be allowed to participate via zoom.
Note: Under section 365 of the Act, councils are required to meet at least ten (10) times each year, each time in a different month unless the Minister for Local Government has approved a reduction in the number of times that a council is required to meet each year under section 365A.
These are the statutory meetings that councillors must attend unless they have given proper notice via an apology.
Other than this there are a number of working committees of council of which councillors attend. These include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee, Awards committee, Audit and Risk Committee, Roads Revue Committee, Traffic Committee, Strategic Property committee and Dollar for Dollar Committee. All councillors can attend these meetings.
Councillors have the opportunity to nominate which committees they want to be on, and all councillors are invited to be on and attend internal committees.
In addition to these formal committees the General Manager holds an Agenda briefing before each council meeting and invites councillors to this meeting and there are at least two additional briefing meetings during each month with the exception of December and January. While it is not compulsory for councillors to attend these briefings, it is in their best interests as information is relayed by council staff before it is moved to a full council meeting.
Outside of this there is Australia Day, Anzac Day, Reconciliation Week, Citizenship ceremonies and Academic Awards events that councillors can attend. Councillors also do workshops and councillor training during the year.
In summary councillors are required to do more than just attend One or Two formal council meetings per month.

Council meeting rules
Over the eight and a half years that I have been on council we met twice a month with the exception of December and January
There was only one meeting in December and none during January, this represented 21 formal meetings
Council always moved that the business of council could still be carried out during the six-week break over the Christmas New Year period under delegated authority to the General Manager and Mayor
There were to be no major decisions regarding planning matters approved
Last year under health directions from the NSW Government during the Covid pandemic it was agreed to meet via Zoom and broadcast the council meetings on the council Face Book page
When council came back to a modified face to face meeting night in February it was agreed that we meet only one night a month. It was also agreed by all except one councillor that if a person was genuinely sick or unable to attend for some reason that they be allowed to participate via zoom.
Note: Under section 365 of the Act, councils are required to meet at least ten (10) times each year, each time in a different month unless the Minister for Local Government has approved a reduction in the number of times that a council is required to meet each year under section 365A.
These are the statutory meetings that councillors must attend unless they have given proper notice via an apology.
Other than this there are a number of working committees of council of which councillors attend. These include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee, Awards committee, Audit and Risk Committee, Roads Revue Committee, Traffic Committee, Strategic Property committee and Dollar for Dollar Committee. All councillors can attend these meetings.
Councillors have the opportunity to nominate which committees they want to be on, and all councillors are invited to be on and attend internal committees.
In addition to these formal committees the General Manager holds an Agenda briefing before each council meeting and invites councillors to this meeting and there are at least two additional briefing meetings during each month with the exception of December and January. While it is not compulsory for councillors to attend these briefings, it is in their best interests as information is relayed by council staff before it is moved to a full council meeting.
Outside of this there is Australia Day, Anzac Day, Reconciliation Week, Citizenship ceremonies and Academic Awards events that councillors can attend. Councillors also do workshops and councillor training during the year.
In summary councillors are required to do more than just attend One or Two formal council meetings per month.

Council meeting rules
Over the eight and a half years that I have been on council we met twice a month with the exception of December and January
There was only one meeting in December and none during January, this represented 21 formal meetings
Council always moved that the business of council could still be carried out during the six-week break over the Christmas New Year period under delegated authority to the General Manager and Mayor
There were to be no major decisions regarding planning matters approved
Last year under health directions from the NSW Government during the Covid pandemic it was agreed to meet via Zoom and broadcast the council meetings on the council Face Book page
When council came back to a modified face to face meeting night in February it was agreed that we meet only one night a month. It was also agreed by all except one councillor that if a person was genuinely sick or unable to attend for some reason that they be allowed to participate via zoom.
Note: Under section 365 of the Act, councils are required to meet at least ten (10) times each year, each time in a different month unless the Minister for Local Government has approved a reduction in the number of times that a council is required to meet each year under section 365A.
These are the statutory meetings that councillors must attend unless they have given proper notice via an apology.
Other than this there are a number of working committees of council of which councillors attend. These include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee, Awards committee, Audit and Risk Committee, Roads Revue Committee, Traffic Committee, Strategic Property committee and Dollar for Dollar Committee. All councillors can attend these meetings.
Councillors have the opportunity to nominate which committees they want to be on, and all councillors are invited to be on and attend internal committees.
In addition to these formal committees the General Manager holds an Agenda briefing before each council meeting and invites councillors to this meeting and there are at least two additional briefing meetings during each month with the exception of December and January. While it is not compulsory for councillors to attend these briefings, it is in their best interests as information is relayed by council staff before it is moved to a full council meeting.
Outside of this there is Australia Day, Anzac Day, Reconciliation Week, Citizenship ceremonies and Academic Awards events that councillors can attend. Councillors also do workshops and councillor training during the year.
In summary councillors are required to do more than just attend One or Two formal council meetings per month.

JobKeeper rort

The Big Grift: How the Top End of Town Rorted Jobkeeper

By Luke Stacey with Michael West Media
The most rampant era of welfare rorting in Australia’s history draws to a close at the end of the month when the JobKeeper scheme ends. Luke Stacey and Michael West investigate some of the big grifters and how they pulled it off … while we await a response from Business Council of Australia.

Mirvac racked up more than $20 billion in sales over the past six years and paid not a skerrick in income tax.

It also racked up profits through the pandemic, but that has not stopped the property juggernaut from helping itself to the government’s JobKeeper scheme too; gorging itself on a public subsidy that was intended only for companies that suffered a large fall in turnover.

Like dozens of other companies on the ASX – as demonstrated in the interim profit reporting season which draws to a close today – this profitable $10 billion company has grabbed the subsidy while having the cheek to pay large dividends to its shareholders ($305 million is the latest) and lavish salaries to its executives.

Others have paid part of their JobKeeper back; very few have paid back all of it. Yet, failing to demonstrate even a shred of integrity, Mirvac and its auditors PwC have grifted the lot, some $22 million in JobKeeper but zero paid back.

It’s even worse than it looks. Mirvac was the first to be outed for rorting Jobkeeper here last May when the scheme first kicked off. A young manager at one of the group’s retail centres told us she was asked to fill out a JobKeeper application form after she was fired.

Mirvac claims JobKeeper
Marvellous Mirvac: $8 billion property developer rorts JobKeeper scheme
“Mirvac chose to fire contracted employees across the entire business on April 21st 2020,” she told Michael West Media. “Mirvac exploited this Covid-19 crisis as a way to fire all staff employed on contracts.”

Mirvac is one of the more egregious examples, shaded by only a handful of rorters such as billionaire Solomon Lew and Premier Investments.

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/solomon-lew/embed/#?secret=nXX3LMYi1D

Solomon Lew. Secret Rich List.
In the case of airlines and other industries left almost revenue-dead when the pandemic hit, JobKeeper has been a lifesaver, enabling companies to stay afloat and keep in contact with their workforces.

For others like Mirvac and Lendlease, whose income was barely affected, it’s a rort.

Should they pay it back? We put these questions to chair of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott. Usually ubiquitous in her media appearances as the champion of big business, Westacott is missing in action when it comes to the hard questions about the accountability of her members.

The Global Financial Crisis might have entailed the public propping up the banks with guarantees but the pandemic is a bacchanalian rampage of corporate welfare never seen before. The concept that business can do without government support is dead.

Grand old department store Myer was flirting with obsolescence before the pandemic, that is until the government came along with JobKeeper and kept it alive. Not just that, Myer Holdings’ profit almost doubled and its share price almost tripled since its nadir of 10c a share last March as Covid fears swept around the world.

So JobKeeper was not only a rort for many, a lifeline for some but also a death-cheater for others, keeping inefficient, dying businesses alive for longer, impeding the invisible hand of the free market.

The rash of half-yearly financial accounts for ASX-listed companies shows only a small number are announcing full repayments of the JobKeeper subsidy despite a significant return to profits for many.

The New Daily conducted an extensive coverage of ASX JobKeeper recipients and the shortfall of wage subsidy repayments despite paying shareholder dividends and executive bonuses.

JobKeeper
The New Daily reveals the companies that kept JobKeeper – despite huge profits
The government has kept its corporate welfare payments a secret but TND found (among the public disclosures from the companies themselves):

More than 60 ASX businesses disclosed receiving JobKeeper and other handouts
They recorded combined profits of $8.6bn over the past 18 months
They funnelled more than $3.6bn in dividends to investors since last April
They paid back just $72m
They paid out $20m in bonuses to executives.
Nine Entertainment is a classic case. Did people watch less TV and read less news during the pandemic? No, audiences were at home, more engaged than ever.

Last year’s lockdowns saw a spike in TV viewership and online activity with Nine Entertainment reporting a half-year profit of $181.9 million, up 79% on the year prior.

That didn’t stop them from putting out the begging bowl for $6.8 million in JobKeeper in the September round, of which $5.4m went to its majority-controlled Domain Group. It then received an extra $8.4 million in JobKeeper for the December quarter.

This corporate welfare is in addition to all the spectrum fees waived by the government in response to the pandemic, saving the group some $10 million, and then there’s the government-prompted deal with Google reportedly worth $30 million a year.

The Nine logo
Nine agrees to join Google News Showcase in Australia for reported $30m a year
If you were to tote up the millions in government advertising received by Nine, along with the government’s pandemic subsidies, total corporate welfare attributable to Nine must be well north of $60 million.

You won’t read that in Nine’s Liberal Party-cheering publications, the supposedly free-market publications, Australian Financial Review, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

In order to salvage a modicum of decency from their feast on the public teat, Nine announced it would repay $2 million in JobKeeper received since the start of the scheme for their wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Yet the group still managed to pay $34.1 million in shareholder dividends last financial year and is poised to issue $85.2 million in dividends relating to the FY21 half-year.

Once eligible, now accountable
Michael West Media is not shining the light on profits to argue that, some companies at some point didn’t fall below the 30% revenue threshold (50% for businesses with a turnover of more than $1 billion) and were, therefore, ineligible for the scheme.

However, for businesses like Nine whose primary operations were not hindered by lockdowns – and only reported a 2% drop in revenue for the period – their failure to pay back JobKeeper in full is nothing more than a grift.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the public has been footing the bill for their employees and should be paid back. There is nothing in the legislation however to compel these grifters from paying back their handouts.

How do they get away with it?
Overall profits in annual or half-yearly accounts don’t specify a company’s month-by-month performance, where their income may have dropped below 30% in the months spanning the peak of the pandemic.

Each month, or alternatively every quarter, businesses are required to send a Business Activity Statement (BAS) to the ATO for them to determine how much GST each must pay. This tax legislation is what the government has used to pay the JobKeeper wage subsidy to employers. The ATO refers to a company’s BAS numbers for months during hard lockdowns against those same months in 2019 to determine how much JobKeeper the employer should get.

This may explain why property giants like Lendlease and Mirvac, which have paid $103 million and $305 million in dividends respectively, were able to rort it. Mirvac has received some $22 million in JobKeeper despite revenue of around $2 billion a year.

For example, Mirvac issues the tax office with a BAS for each entity it controls in Australia, with some potentially reporting the requisite drop in revenue for certain months last year.

This presents an apparent loophole in the JobKeeper scheme as it appears that businesses are able to break down their profits for each segment, disregarding their overall surplus. And even if a company returns to income that is near or exceeding pre-Covid levels, employers can stay on the scheme because according to the legislation:

“The decline in turnover test needs to be satisfied before an entity becomes eligible for the JobKeeper payment. Once this occurs there is no requirement to retest in later months”.

Examples include owner of Super Cheap Auto, Rebel Sport, and BCF, Super Retail Group, which has announced it would repay $1.7 million in JobKeeper covering their Macpac Retail division. The group received $6.5 million in total from the scheme, meaning they have elected to keep $4.8 million, half of which can be attributed to bonuses paid to executives last year.

This decision not to repay the full amount is despite a profit of $172.8 million for the FY21 period, up from $109.7 million at the end of last financial year. Super Retail also paid shareholders $44 million in dividends for the six months ending June 2020, and thanks to an increase in profits aided by the government subsidy, are set to deliver $74.5 million to shareholders in April 2021.

Another adopting this strategy is Collins Foods, which has committed to repaying $1.8 million it received from the government scheme, attributed to its Sizzler Restaurants brand. The group also owns the KFC and Taco Bell fast food franchises in Australia.

Unlike KFC and Taco Bell, Sizzler continued to operate at a loss following peak Covid restrictions last year, reporting the requisite 30% decline in revenue. Sustained poor performances prompted the board to close its remaining venues across Australia in October 2020.

Yet, with this move came a seemingly counterintuitive decision to repay its entire JobKeeper earnings. In its place, the group “topped up payments to the equivalent JobKeeper payment [Sizzler employees] would have received”. Essentially, Collins Foods matched the stimulus by tapping into its own reserves.

Their 2020 annual report shows revenue had increased by $80 million for the financial year across all brands. So despite poor performances from Sizzler operations, KFC and Taco Bell were still generating an overall profit for the group during the pandemic.

It’s for this reason that despite a positive turnover made by ASX groups such as these, they have still benefited from the JobKeeper scheme. And so long as the government does not mandate a repayment where necessary, it leaves the door open for the stimulus to contribute to shareholder dividends and bonuses at the board level.

A notable example being retail billionaire Solomon Lew and his Premier Investments empire. Despite the pandemic, the group, which owns brands including Just Jeans and Smiggle, reported a 30% increase in profit, to $138 million, at the end of last financial year. A large part of this rise can be attributed to the $70 million they received in government wage subsidies, accounting for more than 50% of their profit for the year. The group did not disclose what percentage came from JobKeeper.

The high turnover resulted in approximately $57 million in dividends paid to shareholders, of which Lew himself received $24 million. The retail magnate also leveraged the pandemic to operate his 1200 retail stores rent-free.

Premier is yet to release its half-yearly accounts, nor have they issued any statement with the intention of repaying their various government wage subsidies.

JobKeeper rorting by business
BossKeeper: how JobKeeper lined the pockets of top ASX directors, executives and shareholders
A report last year from government advisory service Ownership Matters revealed some of the worst offenders of ASX companies paying bonuses to key management personnel while also receiving JobKeeper.

From these findings, Michael West Media reported that “Qube Holdings (QUB) gave its … key managerial personnel $2.78 million in the 2020 financial year.” Star Entertainment Group, owners of Sydney’s Star Casino, received $65 million in government subsidies and still managed to pay bonuses to executives of $1.39 million.

Other ASX entities shown to be rorting the subsidy include aforementioned Super Retail with executive bonuses exceeding $2 million, Lendlease, NIB Holdings and retail empire Accent Group.

Image edited by Alex Anstey
BossKeeper: ports giant Qube bullies its way into Jobkeeper and plush bonuses
Other frontrunners repaying the subsidy include Toyota, Domino’s Pizza, holiday property operator Ingenia Communities and retail furniture empires Adairs and Nick Scali. Even still, many of these returns have not been made in full.

Adairs announced $6.1 million in JobKeeper repayments from a possible $21.7 million after profits rose to $43.8 million for the December-half.

While the entire government package has not been repaid, Adairs argues the remaining wage subsidies have been retained as it covered employees who were not working or did not work sufficient hours to be remunerated.

This is still a heroic move in comparison to shipping group Qube Holdings which is in the throes of forcing almost 600 employees to pay back a portion of their JobKeeper payments. This despite Qube’s reported $940 million revenue in its FY21 half-yearly accounts.

Ingenia Communities will repay $1.7 million from a potential $5.1 million in JobKeeper. Their income for the FY21 interim period was $122 million.

It’s not clear how the group has determined the $1.7 million from its available total. Considering they will pay $16.3 million in dividends relating to this period, full repayment of the stimulus package is well within budget.

In a free enterprise economy, the government is not allowed to contribute to a company’s dividends. Considering dividends are dictated by an entity’s profits – enhanced by JobKeeper – this is exactly what has happened in many cases.

WORLD WIDE WEB COMES TO KURRI KURRI

It was back in the year 2000 some 20 years ago that young Kurri Kurri lad Brendan Brooks asked me if he could build a website to promote Kurri Kurri. Now consider that this was only 5 years after the introduction of the World Wide Web to Australian audiences and business.
Back in those days only very large towns such as Launceston and Dubbo had built website portals to promote their town and you weren’t allowed to add AU to the end of the web address back then, And so it was that Kurrikurri.com was first born.
In April 2001 the website was launched covering as much activity in the community as possible including Tidy Towns the Business Chamber, weekend markets, business prospectus and history of the area.
The website was never to be a business chamber only portal but more of site where people could go for information about Kurri Kurri and any links that were there.
To have survived for 20 years with only minor updates is a credit to the foresight of Brendan Brooks 20 years ago. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Link or Sink lobbying website to push for the construction of the Hunter Expressway.
Brendan also built the website www.huntervalleyway.com.au back in 2014 after the Expressway opened to promote a back roads drive through the Hunter Valley from Freemans Waterhole to Merriwa.
Today Kurri Kurri has refreshed the website as a Business Chamber website and there are others promoting the murals.
A big thank you is required of Brendan for his achievement in bringing Kurri Kurri into the 21st Century via the WWW.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING HOSPITAL

Bricks and mortar we have plenty, but fewer medical services are being delivered in Maitland in 2022.
One would have believed back in 2011 that the people of the Maitland State Electorate and Lower Hunter were going to get a State of the Art new Hospital that they expected when MP Robyn Parker and Jillian Skinner then Health Minister made their grand announcement of a new $766 million 412 bed teaching hospital to support the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle was the big promise.
At the time I along with a number of other people saw an opportunity to have the new hospital located on land adjacent to the Hunter Expressway that would be able to support not only Maitland people but Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Singleton and towns in the Upper Hunter. We saw the New Maitland Hospital location at Metford as a failed opportunity to get the planning right.
Since the announcement of the new hospital in 2011 it has miraculously shrunk from 412 beds at announcement to 339 beds in 2018 which in fact is around 282 beds when we take out day surgery type beds( Should have never been counted in the first place) and missed services such as CCU etc. Many of the services promised back in 2011 have mysteriously disappeared from the original service statement of 2013 to the current service statement of 2018. The original service statement ran to 103 pages. The new service statement is now a shadow of its former self at only 16 pages and leaves out such important services as Coronary Care. The new hospital reduced from 412 beds to 282 beds replaces the old Maitland Hospital which currently has 196 beds. The closure of the old Maitland hospital will see those 196 beds go over to into the new hospital. Hence the net increase is genuinely small for this rapidly growing regional NSW.
At a time when the country is experiencing a national pandemic in COVID 19 Emergency Departments, a level 5 Intensive Care and Coronary Care Unit beds are a must and now we have a new hospital being service compromised to save money or at the expense of ongoing reliance on John Hunter hospital for essential services. Currently in the Maitland area we have had no Coronary Care Unit since 2018 and the one that was planned for the new hospital is gone from the new building.

We need to ask the hard questions of Hunter New England Health bureaucrats and the State Government Department of Health on why they are dumbing down a new hospital in the 21st Century at the expense of future generations.
The recent announcement of a significant upgrade to John Hunter Hospital some 29 years since it was built is a damming indictment on NSW Health planning. So, one must also ask oneself the question. Where has the $316 million gone from the original new Maitland Hospital plan?
It is well documented that when the new Maitland Hospital is operational that the old Maitland Hospital will be closed. Strong rumours also exist that Kurri Kurri Hospital will close (50 beds) thus reducing the available hospital beds to the people of the Hunter.
Currently it is alleged that the 50 bed Kurri Kurri Hospital has no on-site Doctor from 5pm to 6am Monday to Friday and no Doctor on site over the weekend.
The Hunter Region Plan for 2036 and the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan of which Maitland and Cessnock are part, clearly recognize that the Maitland to Cessnock corridor is a growth area and that an estimated 24,000 home sites are either planned or being planned over the next 20 years west of Maitland in these areas of the Hunter.
To build a new hospital in the 21st Century and not give 100% service to the current and future population is criminal.

Global sea rise challenges

Firstly I am not a scientist of engineer but have a business background and an enquiring climate skeptic.
A lot is being said today about the potential of sea level rises due to the con of Climate Change.
Research shows that seas are not actually rising but in most cases inundation is caused by storm surges around the planet. This has been happening since time began.
The Sydney Island Fort Denison’s history refutes the scare mongering sea rise levels since they began measuring tidal movements. One interesting sea level rise appeared in 1960 when Fort Denison experienced a higher level than normal measurement. It was caused by a Tidal Wave created by the Chilean earthquake.
(On May 22, 1960 a great Mw 9.5 earthquake, the largest earthquake ever instrumentally recorded, occurred off the coast of southern Chile. This earthquake generated a tsunami that was destructive not only along the coast of Chile, but also across the Pacific in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines and east coast Australia).
I personally witnessed this from Stockton when a large swell entered the harbor and actually pushed one of the Stockton vehicular ferries up the Hunter River. The next day the news read that the Chilean Earthquake had caused the surge in the tide.
In the Hunter there are two quarries one at Mount Vincent and one half way up Mount Falk road in the Wattagan Mountains. Both quarries are visited by geology students to study the sedimentation and vast array of marine fossils in the quarry. This would suggest that the east coast of Australia at some time in history was completely under water.
The Maldives rely completely on tourism for their economy. They are currently constructing more tourist accommodation and a airfield for their expected tourism growth. This would suggest that they aren’t worried about sea level rise in the foreseeable future.
There is empirical evidence that many Pacific Islands are actually growing not being covered by the sea. (Jun 3, 2010 – Climate scientists have expressed surprise at findings that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking. … “We’ve now got evidence the physical foundations of these islands will still be there in 100 years.” Kench says the growth of the islands can keep pace with rising sea levels).
Suppose I am just a skeptic and read the opposite of the warmists
Rod Doherty
Business Diploma BSB60201
University of Ballarat