Another dose of rebellion

By October 16, 2019Other

Not long after the first of the Australian Extinction Rebellion sit-down protests, Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon spoke on radio to the effect that these traffic-disrupting acts of civil disobedience were not doing the climate-change protesters any good, at least in winning people over. The visuals on television later that day were of the disrupters at work (ie. first still, chained or glued to things, and later being carted off by the police) followed by angry commuters venting their annoyance to camera. No one that I saw was at all sympathetic to the cause. And it is hard to imagine why they ought to be, unless they were already supporters of the rebellion. I’m sure Mr Fitzgibbon is spot on about all that.

And the whole episode has made me think about what is going on here, and apparently is to continue. I was reminded of 1968 and the student and other protests of that year.  The young people of 1968, part of the large post-war birth-rate, rebelled against the older generations. The young had grown up with television, which gave them a sense of what was happening elsewhere, and they were better educated, for the most part, than their parents. The revolts in Hungary, Yugoslavia and Poland in that year, the fear of a nuclear war, the conflict in Vietnam, the civil rights movements in the USA and the growth of feminism all provided grounds for protest, and attracted a large cohort of protestors across the world. My own academic body, the Australasian Political Studies Association (APSA), was meeting in 1968 as the Soviet army rolled into Czechoslovakia, and at the AGM a motion came up from the floor that APSA formally protest to the Soviet Ambassador. I was probably in sympathy with the movers of the motion, and was surprised when my elders and betters argued against it. Our body’s constitution rather prevented it anyway (I hadn’t noticed that) and one or two of our expatriate German/Jewish/refugee professors were strongly opposed: this was how Fascist and Communist parties operated, by taking over institutions through making them partisan in a particular way. APSA needed to stay out of the partisan political world. What would come next? The motion was defeated. *

The point is that the 1968 protestors in country after country had the numbers, the causes and the enemy to make a protest valid in their eyes. And they used television well. TV loves crowds, fights, teargas, and numbers to build news and stories that inform and entertain us at home. Today’s protestors have the smartphone and the Internet as well. It is pathetically easy for them to summon each other, to change plans as the situation develops and quickly to find reporters and talk to them. But why climate change? I think the answer is much as it was in 1968: it’s largely an issue where the young can blame the old for whatever evils the young can detect. And the climate-concerned (there — I didn’t say ‘alarmist’, which seems to annoy some) have been hammering away at the issue for the last thirty years, so the young have grown up with it. More, it allows references to the evil rich and the deserving poor, and most young people are relatively poor, compared with the previous generations still alive. ‘Compost the rich!’ was a banner being carried in one of the demonstrations. Really?

The mainstream media gave the protestors plenty of attention, for the reasons already set out, but I saw virtually no proper investigative journalism, the kind where the reporters ask the protestors what they actually know about the issue. There was a decent one in the UK (Andrew Neil on the BBC grilling Zion Lights — yes the BBC!), and you can read about it and see the interview here.

I haven’t found anything equivalent in Australia, and not much more overseas. In my view the media have let down the reading and viewing public badly on this issue. But that has been continually true now for a couple of decades, so it’s not surprising. I doubt that even a handful of those who protested have any real knowledge of the science, and why it is unsettled. If they did, most of them would not be protesting.

The civil disobedience aspect of all this is a major worry, in my view. The Canberra Times printed a long op ed on this question, which originally came from The Conversation. The author is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Sustainable Society Institute. He takes for granted that there is a ‘climate crisis’, and concludes: As Extinction Rebellion causes chaos in our cities, we must avoid superficial, kneejerk reactions. Whatever your views on civil disobedience, the climate emergency would be far less serious if governments had taken action decades ago. Further inaction will only lead to more numerous and active social movements, driven by the same mixture of love and rage that provoked Extinction Rebellion.

What profound non-knee-jerk reactions should we have? What evidence is there for a ‘climate emergency’, anyway? What would governments have done decades ago that would have avoided in 2019 whatever emergency we are talking about? He doesn’t say. My interest lies partly in what is to follow when the protestors face court. There is no doubt whatever that the blocking of traffic by chaining yourself to an object or super-gluing your hand to the road, and forcing police and traffic people to stop what they are properly doing to end the blockage constitutes a public nuisance and no doubt other offences as well. What view will the courts take? That the protestors were just high-spirited young people having a bit of fun > slap on the wrist and don’t do it again? Will the protestors argue the laws are bad, governments have failed to act, and their actions as protestors deserve support, not censure?

I’m sure that some will want to go that way. The true protestor would plead ‘Not Guilty’ and cop the penalty. Fine. Acts of civil disobedience come with the obligation to accept that disobedience to the established law carries its own penalties, and that one recognises that time in jail, a fine, community service for a non-trivial period — whatever the penalty — has to be accepted as part of the civil disobedience, not wriggled away from on the grounds that the fate of the world is more important than the law of the land. We will see. Whatever the outcomes, there will be more fuss.

Fond memory: I think it was at the 1968 APSA meeting that Dr Frank Knopfelmacher (Melbourne) had a quick spat with Professor Henry Mayer (Sydney). Knopfelmacher was famous for his quarrelsome style. Mayer had made a statement, I no longer remember its content, and Knopfelmacher, in his languid and accented English, responded ‘Strangely, I find myself in agreement with Professor Mayer…’ to which Mayer said, very quickly, and loudly, ‘I must be wrong!’

Join the discussion 41 Comments

  • Neville says:

    Don most of the Ext Reb loons are just run of the mill hypocrites as are so many of the CAGW extremists.
    Here’s the Bolter’s list of some of these luvvies in an interesting, short video. Zalli Steggall is a stand out. They have one rule for them but another rule for everyone else.

  • Karabar says:

    Is the world entering a new Dark Ages?

    That period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages was characterised by superstitious nonsense ruling over rational thought.

    With the enlightenment, logic and reason began to dominate, and the search for Truth which employed the Scientific Method once more allowed the human race to find prosperity through an understanding of the natural world. Once more successful Engineering projects such as the Romans had mastered began to enable good fortune for mankind.

    With the advent of the Climate Cult, superstitious nonsense again seems to have captured the realm of human intelligence. Through propaganda, people have come to believe that it is a “warming world” when in fact the opposite is the case.

    The process called science can easily disprove the idiotic hypothesis that atmospheric CO2 causes higher temperatures, when in fact the past few decades have become noticeably cooler, and as we head into solar cycle 25 things are becoming cooler in a hurry. (Just as Varenholt and Luning suggested they would thirty years ago).

    The antics of XR, and the weak kneed response of those in authority, appears to me to be a reversion to a world of witches, demons, werewolves and vampires, and the dominance of the illogical and ridiculous.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      Completely agree. Look at the reverential attitude towards St Greta of Thunberg, displayed by people who should know better. She’s certainly no Weeping Madonna, and we are entitled to doubt that any miracles will eventuate from her antics.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Thanks, Don, for an honest and comprehensive [if rather polite] summary of the Extinction Rebellion childishness.

    Like you say, they certainly should be held to account but the injection of the modern “kiddie wisdom” into the argument seems to have those in authority perplexed at the correct approach.

    Today’s ignorant youth who consider their experience of virtual reality qualifies them to pass judgement on the real world do need to be introduced to reality and made to understand that making demands on the rest of the world while still committing the same sins themselves, is, apart from being dishonest and hypocritical, completely unscientific awa rather pathetic.

    And while there are plenty of rational adults quite happy to point this out to them, only a very limited media seem to be prepared to make any announcements to emphasise their stupidity in public.

    While a far greater number are quite happy to support and publicise their evidence-free rants.

  • Neville says:

    Here Prof Richard Tol tells us that the IPCC reports are exaggerated and he will no longer endorse any further reports.
    He is of the left politically but fully understands the lies that are trotted out by govts, scientists, con merchants etc and is well aware that nothing will change in the future.

  • Neville says:

    Here another Greenie from the left tells us how ruinables actually destroy the environment.
    Michael Shellenberger was a keen believer in S&W energy but when he looked at the facts he understood that in practice they were a disaster.
    He has now joined other lefties like Dr Hansen to try and convince countries to use Nuclear energy. Good luck to them.

  • Boambee John says:


    The true villains of this age are less the poorly “educated” youngsters than the knowledgeable adults, both in climate “science” and the media, who have told them that they have no future.

    Not being well enough educated to be able to disentangle truth from the self-interested propaganda they have been fed, they understandably become angry and “rebel”.

    Those who for their own venal or political purposes have perpetrated this child abuse stand condemned for their actions. Even were they to be correct in their ever more outlandish “forecasts”, as responsible adults, it was their duty not to terrify innocent and unknowing children out of their wits.

  • Ben says:

    Avi Yemeni has a couple of funny interviews with climate protesters.

    • Neville says:

      Good one Ben , but Avi has certainly picked on the dumbest of the dumb to try and get a sensible reply.
      Gosh some people need a lot of help, but they’ll be the last to understand.

  • Neville says:

    Here is one of my previous comments and is probably the best way to answer the claims from the Ext Reb loons.

    Brazil has another record year for grain crops etc. Amazing with all the usual lies /hysteria we forget that the world pop has increased by about 2.3 bn people since 1990.
    Then about 5.3 bn and today 7.6+ bn people in less than 30 years. Yet everybody today is better off , live longer, are better educated, have better nutrition etc than anytime for thousands of years.
    How can these facts and data escape the understanding of certain scientists, the MSM, Pollies and the kiddies + handlers etc?
    Of course all this will suddenly end in 10, 20 or 50 years? What a CON , what a FRAUD. But the con merchants are happy to encourage and promote this nonsense to kids and weak- minded fools.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s more on the Bolter’s ongoing war with the pathetic Paul Barry of their ABC’s Media Watch.
    Just think of the kids+ handlers that these fools regularly mislead. But But Andrew should use a moving average on the OZ annual rainfall anomaly graph 1900 to 2018, because it makes the higher trend since 1973 even more obvious.
    And 1895 to 1973 trend is much lower again, when you include the FED drought.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Jennifer Oriel describes the mindless rebellion:

    “Like drug-addled hippies, XR-ers believe in fantasies of collective consciousness, pacifism and a pre-political state where mother nature is pregnant with an eternal harvest. It’s like a David Attenborough documentary without the kill scene. Set against this utopia is an equally illusory but sinister version of reality where evil white men are killing the Earth with CO2. XR believes it is engaged in a battle between life and death.”

    “Australia’s XR fanboys are yet to explain why they are protesting here when our nation contributes only 1.3 per cent of global emissions. Why don’t they protest against China for producing 27.2 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions?”

  • Chris Warren says:


    Why do denialists stoop to such slander ….

    Climate Cult,
    superstitious nonsense
    weak kneed

    in fact all this applies to folks like you.

    • Boambee John says:


      Looks as if you accidentally walked in front of the mirror again. You have reverted to the standard alarmist tactic of accusing sceptics of what alarmists are actually doing.

      Stil, we should be grateful that you have eased up on the pedophrasty, and reverted to simple ad hom abuse.

      Hapy to sling lies and slander at sceptics, but burst into tears when you are repaid in your own coin.

      Dry your tears crybaby, hug your security blankie, and maybe Gaia will strike down those naughty sceptics.

    • dlb says:

      Jeez Chris,

      why did you have break up this circle J### ?

      They were having such a good time.

      • Boambee John says:


        Feel free to make your own contribution to the debate.

        But try to avoid being upset should you be challenged. This is a big problem with Chris, who seems (wrongly) to be convinced of his own infallibility.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Why is it that the climate panic-stricken don’t wish to be reassured by truth, facts and science?

    What is their motive in sacking knowledgeable people as soon as they reassure them with real-world facts?

    Who are the real deniers:

    • Boambee John says:


      Because they are not really concerned about the climate.

      They are pursuing a political agenda, using the so-called “threat” of climate change as camouflage.

      PS, did you see that the Grauniad has issued new instructions about “appropriate” terminology. One of the required terms is “climate denier”. Do the nobs at the Grauniad really believe that there is a body of sceptics who deny that there is a climate, or they too stupid to realise that the issue is, at least nominally, climate CHANGE, not whether or not there actually is a climate?

      A collection of richard crania.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s more from the CSIRO for the E Reb kiddies + their handlers. The NH is a net source of co2 and the SH is a net sink. Here’s the quote from their Cape Grim Tassie site.
    “Seasonal variation”

    “Carbon dioxide concentrations show seasonal variations (annual cycles) that vary according to global location and altitude. Several processes contribute to carbon dioxide annual cycles: for example, uptake and release of carbon dioxide by terrestrial plants and the oceans, and the transport of carbon dioxide around the globe from source regions (the Northern Hemisphere is a net source of carbon dioxide, the Southern Hemisphere a net sink)”. Here’s the CSIRO link.

    Willis Eshenbach also stated that Australia was a net sink of co2 using the Obuki satellite data a few years ago.

    Here’s another post by Willis trying to awaken people to the futility of reducing co2 emissions. He takes the example of the USA reducing all emissions today and the difference it would make in 2050.

    He claims 0.1 c by 2050, but the RS and NAS report claims that it would make little difference in 1,000 years EVEN if ALL co2 emissions stopped today. But please have a look at the 1959 to 2017 graph from BP for co2 emissions and THINK ABOUT the US and rest of the world trends. If that doesn’t wake up people, I don’t know what would.

    No doubt China, India and the developing world must be laughing at our stupidity. Just look at that graph from 1959 to 2017. Their so called mitigation of their so called CAGW is the greatest CON and Fra-d in history.

  • Neville says:

    Here again is the Concordia Uni, Mathews et al 2014 study and co2/temp contribution since the start of the Ind Rev.
    Australia’s contribution is a whopping ( SARC) 0.006 c over that time or six thousandths of 1 degree c. Will we ever wake up?

    • spangled drongo says:

      Great reality check, Neville.

      BTW, I emailed our BoM asking why they quote sea levels rising alarmingly around the Sydney area yet show their actual mean sea level measurement there LOWER than it was over a century ago.

      No answer was the stern reply.

      What does it remind you of?

      Hallowed Halls?

  • spangled drongo says:

    What a closed-minded bunch of propagandist manipulators we have at our hallowed halls these days.


  • Aert Driessen says:

    Don, I’m slow this week but a few random remarks. The left has well and truly marched through some judicial institutions. According to various Sky News commentators, some offenders of which you speak have appeared before a magistrate 7 times and still not received a custodial sentence. Something else that makes me despondent is that more and more ‘climate experts’ picked up in links provided by others posting comments have already left the science behind and are now only arguing about the best way to minimise the effect of CO2, thus assuming that this is the problem. I’m still in the camp arguing that CO2 has little, if anything, to do with climate change (warming). Lastly, when I click a web link provided by someone posting it as part of their comment, when I close the link it returns me to the email in my inbox, which means that I have to re-open your post and then scroll down to the comments again. Can anyone out there tell me if this is happening only to me and, if so, what I am doing wrong. Or is it in your page design? If the latter, can that be fixed by you or one of your readers? It happens to me in some other instances as well, but mostly I am returned to the previous screen, namely, where I clicked on the link. Much more convenient to resume the read from there. Any comments for a novice like me?

  • spangled drongo says:

    Will we survive?

    “While Extinction Rebellion activists glue themselves to the buildings and roads of London, and the great and the good hang on Greta Thunberg’s every syllable, there is a climate event coming that will affect us much, much sooner than the ‘climate emergency’ that is the focus of so much attention.”

    • Neville says:

      Good one SD and that emergency happens every year. I suppose our dopes would only be happy if it started to last a little bit longer every year until we really were in trouble?
      Something like the recent LIA when the average age was less than 40 years and nearly everyone lived a very harsh, short life with no mod cons and starvation + disease wasn’t uncommon in Europe.
      Thanks for our luck to be living in this day and age with average life expectancy of 70, better calorie intake, better education, better health facilities, deaths from extreme weather events down 96% since 1920, more wealth per person, etc.
      But we have stupid donkeys who now think the world will end soon? Some scientists think this, so do some pollies, some media, some journos, some teachers, some kids, some priests, etc.
      Yet the data and evidence has never been clearer and we are very fortunate to be living in this modern world.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    McCarthyism has returned.

    Be afraid. Very afraid.

    • spangled drongo says:

      The MeToo world is mad, Bryan.

      It’s easy to see who the real women are, these days.

      Let’s hope it backfires with some force, soon.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        Everyone (men and women, without exception) have shadows in their past they would prefer not to see resurrected. Would all of these “wronged’ women survive scrutiny?

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    The trend is, as yet, inapparent, but is a real societal ill. Accusation without evidence. Conviction without trial. Remind you of anything?

  • Neville says:

    Greta urges E Reb to break the law, because the damage to the planet and human survival is more important. And her evidence is….?
    Yet this is the type of fantasist nonsense that has her feted at the UN , Canada and the USA. Could anything more clearly prove what a fraud and con trick this UN driven junk science has become?

  • Neville says:

    A new Conservative group has been formed to take on Get Up and other left wing extremist groups across Australia. But the unhinged E Reb Loons are their first target. About time.

    Date: 16/10/19
    The Australian

    “The new voice of Australia’s conservative movement has vowed to go after radical left-wing groups in a national campaign against “clim­ate alarmists”, after accusing members of activist group Extinction Rebel­lion of being criminals who pose a menace to society.
    ‘They are a menace to society’: new Advance Australia boss Liz Storer in Sydney on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Pavlich

    Liz Storer, a 36-year-old former Liberal councillor and ministerial adviser, will be announced on Wednesday as the new national director of ­centre-right campaign machine Advance Australia, which has positione­d itself as the political counter to GetUp.

    Her appointment comes as GetUp’s national director, Paul Oosting, fronts the National Press Club on Wednesday amid internal inquiries into its failed campaign to unseat a list of targeted conservative MPs at the May election.

    But Ms Storer said while GetUp was on her radar, her first campaign­ would be aimed at Extinctio­n Rebellion, which has risen from obscurity to promin­ence in the past week by closing down traffic in the CBDs of Brisbane and Melbourne.

    These people are seriously unhinged­,” Ms Storer said. “They are going to be one of our first campaigns­ … These guys are very strategic but the truth is they are not a climate change action group.

    They may market themselves that way. They are hell bent on deconstructing society as we know it … they operate on a manifesto of delusions based on a rejection of European colonisation and trad­itional values that most mainstream Australians hold dear.

    They are a menace to society … We saw last week the Victorian police saying they had to stop ­normal policing to deal with them. ER are proving to be the real crim­inals …. Gluing themselves to streets (and) hanging from ­bridges.”

    Ms Storer, who has a masters degree in human rights and was elected to the suburban Perth council of Gosnells before becoming an adviser to conservative federal Coalition senator and assist­ant minister Zed Seselja, said the militant advance of climate activism had not been effectively ­challenged and that Advance Australia’s mission was to be the voice of “mainstream Australia”.

    It would also run counter campaigns against MPs with “radical agendas” and run lobbying and public campaigns against state governments over activism in the education system”.

    A mate of mine called me this morning to tell me his daughter had texted him from school to tell him that her teacher said a third of their class would be dead by 2050 because of climate change,” Ms Storer said. “Climate anxiety is becoming­ a real thing.”

    “While Advance Australia is heavily outgunned by established groups such as GetUp, it quickly raised $2.5m in donations with a 45,000-strong supporter base in its first 12 months of operation since being formed in November last year with the backing of prominent businessmen including Maurice Newman and James Power of the Queensland brewing dynasty”.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the Connolly’s latest study about temperature change and greenhouse gases using balloon data .×9-format.pdf

    Here’s their conclusions.

    1) “The neglect of through air mechanical energy has led to the hypothesis that the atmosphere is only in local thermodynamic equilibrium i.e. conduction convection and radiation cannot transmit energy fast enough to maintain thermodynamic equilibrium with altitude . This was a mistake. 2) If the atmosphere can transmit energy quickly enough to restore thermodynamic equilibrium, our results say that it can, then as Einstein showed in his 1919 paper the rate of absorption of radiation by IR active gases is equal to their rate of emission i.e. IR active gases ( so called greenhouse gases) do not trap or store energy for systems in thermodynamic equilibrium . 3) However greenhouse gases do absorb and emit radiation and can also absorb and loose energy due to collision with other gases . But as can also be shown from Einstein’s 1919 work, that where a thermal gradient exists, due to the photo induced emission component of Einstein’s equation the net effect of greenhouse gases is to increase the flow of IR radiation from hot to cold and not the other way round. 4) Einstein’s 1919 work and our balloon work shows that increasing the concentrations of the so called greenhouse gases does not cause global warming”.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Why China doesn’t want the climate to cool:

    “Scientists say they have found evidence beneath a lake in northeastern China that ties climate change and 500-year sun cycles to ups and downs in the 8,000 years of Chinese civilisation.

    “According to the study by a team at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics in Beijing published in the science journal Nature Communications this month, whenever the climate warmed, Chinese civilisation prospered and when it cooled, it declined.

    “While historians have used various social and economic factors to explain changes over the millennia, Dr Xu Deke, lead author of the paper, and his colleagues said that while people played their part, their study indicated that cycles in solar activity influenced human activity.”

    More evidence that there is nothing happening today that hasn’t happened in the last 80 centuries.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the Connolly’s power point presentation in Tucson Arizona USA in July. Well worth an hour of your time.
    A lot to take in but this is all about the actual balloon data over a long period of time.
    No modelling or theories or guesses, just the results of millions of balloon flights over decades.
    There’s a very short Q&A at the end. I hope Don has the time to look at the video and perhaps has a friend who understands the chemistry + data etc involved?
    Way beyond my capabilities.

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