On Poverty

By June 12, 2019Other

  This essay was foreshadowed in a recent essay on Inequality, and it has something of the same problems. For ‘poverty’ is an over-used word, meaning whatever the speaker or writer wants it to mean, which may not be at all what the audience or reader understands by it. As a word, poverty comes to us through French from the Latin paupertas, and we still have ‘pauper’ in English, where it means someone very poor. Poor in what? In everything, income, health, life expectancy, food, shelter, you name it. Like inequality, poverty is best seen in relative terms. I am poorer than you are, you are poorer than she is, and so on. Or, as a country, Somalia is poorer than Egypt. 

In our country, and others like them, at election times, and indeed pretty well all the time, poverty is seen as being somehow wrong in principle, and my political party or yours will end it, or at least reduce it. Why is poverty reduction seen as so important? Because, I think, after a certain point it is felt to be embarrassing for some members of the society to be so poor that they are begging in the streets. We get back to a common subject in these essays: that sense of belonging, of ‘us’, that is so powerful and so useful in building a maintaining a good society is seriously weakened when some members of the society are so much poorer than others.

So how do we get to be in such a state of affairs? To some degree it has always been like that. Take homelessness, a current form of poverty that is distressing to some people. Sixty years ago and earlier some people couldn’t marry because they had no accommodation to go to, or they lived with in-laws in some discomfort. Women in evil marriages stayed in them because they at least had a roof over their heads. Without overdoing it, those situations all seem to me examples of a kind of homelessness. There were no urban beggars then, at least to my memory, while they are not uncommon today. There were, however, swaggies who roamed the countryside, and I remember them. They were poor andhomeless. Is all this worse or better than it was in, say, 1949? I don’t know, but urban poverty, homelessness and distress are probably more obvious than they were then.

Why, given the great increase in Australian wealth, is there poverty at all? One answer is that the great increase in wealth has not been shared equally. Another is that ‘secondary poverty’ is widespread and insidious. What is that? Secondary poverty comes when you have enough money but you spend it unwisely, on booze, fags, and other items that don’t improve your life in any useful way. We may disagree on what such items are, and there’ll be some people who’ll argue that it’s their money, and what they do with it is their business. As I argued in the earlier essay, nothing much is shared equally, like skills, looks, health and the rest. We by and large get a set of life cards, and the trick is to play them as well as we can, whatever society it is we live in. And again, as I wrote in the earlier essay, attempts to equalize everything so that everyone has the same start in life seem to me doomed to failure from the beginning. We do what we can. We tax people with more money at a higher rate than people with less. There are arguments about those levels, and whether or not they should be changed up or down. Some would like a super tax, and the return of death duties. Some argue that if the rich were to give up half their wealth there would be no poverty at all. How that transfer would be effected simply puzzles me. Who would organise it? How would the poor receive it? How would we avoid secondary poverty, given this new source of income? And what would happen when that half were spent?

Ms Barty won some three million dollars by winning the French Open recently, and good luck to her. Winnings like that should keep her out of poverty for a while at least. Some other tennis players probably lost money competing in that event. Is there anything we should do about it? To what extent should a society try to ensure that there is no poverty at all? I’ve thought about this a lot over the past decade or so, and my feeling is that a decent try is probably the best you can hope for. Perfection is not for human beings or human societies. There are people in every society who will not do the obvious things that are in their own best interests, like keeping healthy, not eating the wrong stuff, exercising, keeping learning, keeping working, and so on. It seems vain to me to keep finding excuses for them, explanations that are said to lie in social structures, patriarchy, gender inequality and the like. Maybe charitable organisations will have a better grasp on the problem than the State. Maybe an insightful and brilliant friend is the answer, if there is one available.

And of course, to repeat, poverty is relative, though at least conceptually there is something called ‘absolute poverty’ which implies the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. Unless such people are taken in by others and cared for, they will die, and they do, in some sub-Saharan countries. If we look at our own society, poor Australians today are not as poor as poor Australians were sixty years ago, and poor Australians today are a lot wealthier than poor Somalis. 

To what extent should Australia try to reduce world poverty? There are good reasons for doing something. On the face of it, countries that are expanding their wealth and using that wealth sensibly are likely to be less violent internally and less aggressive externally than those which are not. It is important, I think, that our aid in this domain should be simple and village-based. We should try to help those in the villages move up the wealth scale by replacing dung fires with bottled gas, clay pots with stainless-steel bowls, and candles with an expanded electricity grid. That’s where progress will come fastest. And of course ensure that the girls are all educated to at least primary school level — high school graduation would be vastly better — because educated girls are much less likely to become baby-making machines.

Poverty is, at least to me, a part of social life, just as is inequality. I don’t like some of its characteristics, but I do not think there is any kind of silver bullet solution to it, either. Do your best to avoid it, I cry, and do the same with your family and friends. The most likely facet of it that readers of this site will see is secondary poverty, discussed above. Yet banning cigarettes, booze and McDonald’s does not strike me as a sensible way forward, at least as a cure for poverty, though there may be other good reasons for going down these punitive paths. I am reminded of a famous quote, attributed to many different people, among them Sophie Tucker and Billie Holliday: ‘I’ve been rich. I’ve been poor. Believe me, rich is better!’ 

Join the discussion 111 Comments

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    I prefer a quote from my former PhD supervisor, in relation to some sort of ‘crisis’ in university education at the time: “bright kids will always survive”.

    What do you do about genetics? That’s Darwinian evolution, you can’t train a rabbit to be a tiger.

  • JMO says:

    As John Paul Getty wrote in “As I see it”, if you can can give everyone a million dollars within weeks (even days) there will be poverty.

    As I have said in prior comments, this is part and parcel of the human condition. Even Jesus Christ himself, who walked amongst the destitute, les miserables and the wretched did not, would not, could not exorcise poverty from the populace. All he could say was the meek, the poor, the wretched will have a place in heaven, provided they accept or believe he is the way, through him, lies eternal life in God’s house (John 3:16).

    Each one of us, to varying extent, is our own worse enemy. There is no cure for poverty.

    • Chris Warren says:


      There is a cure for poverty, its called full employment and a living wage.

      Even those who are disabled need not live in poverty.

      There may be a few exceptions, but it would be cherry-picking to pick on these.

      We just need the political will.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Stop giving people stuff and teach them how, instead.

    Save the children, save the environment and raise the SOL with cheap energy:


  • bb says:

    Recently I was surprised to read in Jamison on a charity shop a plea to not give beggars any money. It seemed the main thrust was they are an unknown quantity in that many are a scam. May be but I am not totally convinced. They also stated that not many of genuinely homeless people do beg. There is a fair sized group who are unable for mental reasons cope with living with others. I have a relative who resides in his deceased parents home. He has a war pension but if something were to happen to his current situation his difficulties with dealing with other people are so bad I would expect him to become homeless.

    I do wonder about the current claims for energy poverty. Is a genuine or a political gambit as yet I have not seen any research on the issue only anecdotal stuff.

    • BoyfromTottenham says:

      I often see articles about energy poverty, they often based on the number / rate of electricity retailer’s ‘disconnections for arrears’. That seems like fairly good evidence to me. It is also easy to follow the trend of the wholesale price of electricity (e.g. AEMO), and it is certainly rising, expecially in ‘green’ states like SA and Vic, because they are closing their lowest cost coal generators, and replacing them with gas, the electricity from which costs about 2-3 times that of coal. If wholesale electricity costs rise, retail costs must follow, which they are.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      I have been on several tours to ‘poorer’ countries. Local guides almost invariably warn not to give money to street beggars, as it only encourages them, and say that the children are frequently drugged, to keep them docile. After losing quite a bit of money to scammers, I don’t believe anything, and don’t give money to anyone.

  • Hasbeen says:

    We are always being told that our pensioners live in poverty. Well I’m a pensioner with only $12 a month with current interest rates income from my modest savings, so must be living in poverty. If so poverty in Oz is pretty damn good.

    I’m not complaining at all. I am well educated & earned well when young. I chose to spend my earnings on motor racing when it was an expensive hobby, not a career. I then bought a yacht & went exploring the pacific islands for 6 years.

    When I came back I worked on resort islands, because it was fun, not because of the pay scale.

    Even when I settled down I bought 20 acres in an unfashionable area so the kids could have Horses. I have very little money, but my memories are fantastic.

    I have more than I need, I eat well, & can afford a few small luxuries. Not drinking, smoking or gambling probably helps with the budget. I believe poverty is a state of mind, & is often caused by spending badly, having too many things still in the to do bucket, causing envy of others, & dissatisfaction with life.

    I could live happily in a tent, provided I could heat it, these old bones don’t like the cold, & had power for my computer. What more can an old bloke really need?

    • Chris Warren says:


      How does one live on $12 a month. Was this a typo?

      People are perfectly happy living in tents provided everyone else is also living in tents.

      • Boambee John says:


        He has a pension plus $12 a month in interest from savings is my reading.

        In other words, essentially reliant on the pension.

    • Chris Warren says:

      If you are on an aged pension in Australia and own real estate – you are not living in poverty.

      If you live in public housing, also you are not living in poverty.

      A frugal lifestyle is different to living in poverty.

      You live in poverty when because of bills and rents you have to get food vouchers from the Salvation Army and sleep in your car or doorways on city streets.

      • Boambee John says:


        Sit down and hold your breath.

        I agree with you.

        The definition of poverty in Australia is far too loose. It really should reflect what is needed to live, not the “relative poverty” of not having an iPad or a large screen TV.

        The amount of genuine poverty in Australia is manageable, the current definition seems more intended to ensure long careers for anti-poverty campaigners, “doing well while doing good”.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Don mentions smoking a couple of times, above.

    These days the first world demonises smoking, making out it impoverishes the economy, is unhealthy and kills people.

    All the while ignoring the fact that ordinary people, often under extreme pressure of avoiding poverty, supporting their families and coping with the myriad of life’s problems, need a little help from their “friends”.

    And some “friends” are a lot friendlier than others.

    One of the friendliest is nicotine.

    I’ve never seen a person smoke a packet of cigarettes and while under its influence, commit a criminal offence.

    As happens while under the influence of many of the drugs that have, of necessity, replaced it.

    It is often said that “rum won the west” but rum didn’t win this country, nicotine did.

    It has a very calming effect on highly productive people, the type who work ceaselessly all their lives but then often drop dead just before they are due to collect the pension.

    Since cigarettes were so demonised we have inclined towards a country of obese, hand-out seeking, loafers.

    Govts tax it to extinction on the excuse that it costs us so much but in effect it is the cheapest, best and most productive drug ever invented.

  • Neville says:

    Here is the HDI for the world and you can add or delete countries as required on the graphs. Everything for humans is much better and easier today with the exception of a tendency towards obesity.


    And here is yesterday’s address by Chris Richardson of Deloitte Int on the future of work. This future prosperity will be different than most of us think it will be in the decades ahead, as long as we plan for it in time. Very interesting, but a pity that many schoolkids are unaware of this positive message.


  • spangled drongo says:

    Poverty inflicted:

    “The Labour Party is discussing plans to bring in a 10-hour working week and slash pay by 75 per cent to tackle climate change.”


  • Neville says:

    BTW Australia seems to be the number one country in the world on the HIHD and Canada is number two. But I could be mistaken and missed out on an even wealthier contender?


  • Ian MacCulloch says:

    An interesting article – in the 1950’s rural northern NSW was not exactly endowed with great wealth except for the very short lived wool boom. When I look back to what we have today materially we were living in abject poverty. The district, apart from a few, was similarly affected. However, morale was high, everyone pitched into to help the neighbours and as children we could not have asked for more support from our parents and indeed the district at large. For that we were all well off. And no we did not have the same struggle as Christopher Pyne.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    The worst, and most severe poverty of all, and it hasn’t been mentioned yet, is intellectual poverty. This eventually leads to ideology. I just cannot understand how anybody who has taken the trouble to find out what they can about carbon dioxide and meat, allow their frustrated lives be driven by notions that planet Earth is doomed and that eating meat is akin to murder. But, as they say, it takes all types ..,.

  • JimboR says:

    “How that transfer would be effected simply puzzles me. Who would organise it? How would the poor receive it?”

    Presumably via the same mechanisms that we use today: the tax-and-transfer system. I hand over 45c of ever extra dollar I earn so that folk like Hasbeen, having spent his accumulated wealth on motor racing and yachting, can now eat well and enjoy a few small luxuries.

    Paying income tax during the working part of your life is not a retirement plan, it’s paying for the services you, your children, your elders and your neighbours are consuming at the time. All that income tax Hasbeen paid while he was earning paid for the pensioners of the day, now it’s my turn to pay for him. The notion that the income tax you pay while working is somehow being put away to fund your pension is a fantasy.. that’s what Super is for, not tax. Given the deficits run by governments of both persuasions I don’t think for an instant that the taxes I’m paying today are in anyway going to fund my retirement.

    “And what would happen when that half were spent?”

    That’s the magic of taxing wealth, it doesn’t run out. There are plenty of us who are out there creating more of it everyday, even when we have to hand over 45%.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      My remark, Jimbo, was directed at the puzzle about if the half of the wealth owned by the richest is handed out to the poor, and then the second half is too, where does the next tranche come from? In short, unless the poor are given a way of converting their own poverty into a regular income that provides for their needs, all that transfer is simply short term. Though, conceptually anyway, you no longer have any wealthy people.

      • Chris Warren says:

        When wealth is provided for those who cannot work, it is spent and based on the circular flow money, reappears undiminshed, via consumer spending.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Poverty? poverty? What poverty?


    Just keep clutching your 45 cents – you obviously need it more than anyone else.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Lomborg in today’s Australian has more idea than most:

    “The link is strong and clear: if you have access to lots of cheap energy, this typically means you’ve escaped poverty, you will live a long life, you have access to a good education and healthcare, you won’t starve to death or die from easily curable diseases. These are manifestly good things, which is why the world has spent the past two centuries ensuring more and more people can access lots of energy.

    In 1800, almost all energy was renewable. Humanity used energy from draught animals ploughing fields and pulling carts and from firewood heating hearths and homes. And almost everyone put in long hours of harsh, backbreaking labour. Studies from Sweden suggest that 80 per cent of energy came from wood, with animals and humans each providing about half of the rest.”

    Much more at; https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/energy-solution-hinges-on-better-technology/news-story/4347e60ab87ab2da5610701b5c964d59

  • Stu says:

    Apropos all the threads on Don’s site this article in the New Yorker might shed some light on the reason for the degree of commitment to a fixed position of many of the players. And save your breath guys I know you will argue this works on both sides, however the implication is that the sceptical side of an evidence divide is more prone to adopting confirmation bias.


    • spangled drongo says:

      “…. the sceptical side of an evidence divide is more prone to adopting confirmation bias”

      And yet the climate crisis consensuals can reverse 4 billion years of negative feedbacks without any evidence?

      Please explain how you think that’s not a case of “facts don’t change your mind”.

      • Stu says:

        Well, for a start this video should give you some ideas about fact checking science reporting. Watch it right to the end it makes a very good case.


        It is actually titled “how accurate are scientific predictions about climate”. As you would expect it refers to predictions about climate change not the “it’s all ok, nothing to worry about” genre much in vogue here. I really would appreciate a thorough response to the actual content. It also applies to claims about scientific subjects in many disciplines such as medical science and vaccines etc so should not be too hard to digest.

        Oh and by the way regarding “And yet the climate crisis consensuals can reverse 4 billion years of negative feedbacks without any evidence?”, I have no idea what you are talking about there, do you have a reference?

        • spangled drongo says:

          What do you think has progressively improved the earth’s climate over time?

          BTW, you alarmists are the ones making claims about climate crisis.

          So please just come up with the evidence.

          Not more philosophy.

    • Boambee John says:

      The New Yorker, LOL. They define the concept of a “fixed position”!

      “the sceptical side of an evidence divide is more prone to adopting confirmation bias”, well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? (H/t either Christine Keeler or Mandy Rice-Davies.)

      • Stu says:

        Wow, that shows your age, harking back to CK and M R-D. I thought their contribution was much more low brow than anything intellectual. Please enlighten me if you were more involved and know better.

        PS Don, are we doing ok keeping it civil?

        • Boambee John says:


          The comment that “they would say that, wouldn’t they?” has outlasted the output of many a (pseudo) intellectual of that era.

          And how old are you to know who they were?

          • spangled drongo says:

            “I thought their contribution was much more low brow than anything intellectual.”

            Oh, dear!

            BJ, doesn’t it show to perfection that you don’t need to be a professor to see foolishness in the “wise”.

            The bleedin’ obvious is not always so obvious to even clever people.

            But out of the mouths of “babes” often comes great wisdom.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            I’m in my late 70s. The comment was attributed to MR-D, and will outlast her, and most of us.

  • dlb says:

    Welfare cards that can only be used for essentials seem like a good idea for starters.
    Don’t know why some people kick up a fuss about them?

  • Stu says:

    You did not answer my question.

    • spangled drongo says:

      I certainly did but it’s plain for all to see that you don’t understand net feedbacks.

      The simple evidence that is before you every day.

      Now, as we have been asking for ages, we are still waiting for your [empirical, scientific] evidence to the contrary.

  • Neville says:

    Once again I ask Stu, Chris etc to tell us how to mitigate their so called CAGW? Then tell us how long this would take to implement and at what cost?
    Would you expect to see a difference to temp and co2 levels by 2100, 2300, 2500 or a much longer time interval? I presume you have a well equipped army of millions to help persuade China, India, Indonesia and the developing world to agree to your point of view?
    So how many thousands of trillions $ would this cost? Lomborg has used Nobel prize winners to estimate the difference in temp by 2100 after full compliance with Paris COP 21 and the difference is ZIP.
    Dr Hansen the father of their CAGW has also told us that Paris COP 21 is just BS and fra-d and S&W are just fairy tales, so I presume you can show us where he is wrong?
    But what do you hope to achieve when the data tells us that humans are healthier, wealthier and have much longer life expectancy all around the world? That world average life expectancy is now about 72 years of age and the developing world are catching up fast.
    So how does any of this data make sense if we are soon to face the end of life as we know it? Gore has exhausted so many of his predictions and the world just seems to be getting better and a lot greener as well.

  • Neville says:

    More fra-dulent nonsense about pacific atoll islands from the President of the UN and other activists. Gore has also dined out on this scary BS story for decades.


  • Neville says:

    Willis has once again looked at the CERES data and found an increase of about 0.4 C for a doubling of co2 from about 280ppm to 560ppm. Doesn’t this imply a negative WV feedback? Just asking?
    I wish Don could have a look at this and get one of his maths friends to check it out. See comments from Pat Frank etc at the link. Willis always provides goods graphics to help us understand.


    • spangled drongo says:

      Neville, interesting reply in that link from Pat Frank [Professor Patrick Frank of Department of Chemistry, Stanford U] on Geoff Sherrington’s comment on the absence of proper error analysis creating the inaccuracies in climate science:

      “All of consensus climatology fails in exactly that way.

      Major inaccuracies are ignored in all branches – climate modeling, the air temperature record, and in paleo-temperature reconstructions.

      The entire field is no more than an exercise in false precision.”

      Just more of the bleedin’ obvious that sceptics have understood for years.

  • Stu says:

    This thread seems to have reverted to climate rather than poverty. Maybe we should return to the climate page.

    Anyhow, you asked “Once again I ask Stu, Chris etc to tell us how to mitigate their so called CAGW? Then tell us how long this would take to implement and at what cost?l

    A good start to answering that is this report from the Committee on Climate Change in the UK. It is the basis for the UK government committing to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. The PM announced that last week.


    I note also that climate contrarian bodies, and even Republican politicians in the US are shifting position and instead of opposing the science are acknowledging the case as proven and are now moving to engage in policy debate about what to do. It is almost a “tipping point” in the discussion and a better one than the climate tipping points we may face soon enough.

    • Neville says:

      Stu your reply is threadbare at best. The UK only emits about 1% of global co2 so that doesn’t make any difference at all.
      And Dr Hansen’s response and the Lomborg PR study proves that their so called mitigation will not make any measurable difference to temp by 2100 at all.
      That’s even if there was full compliance to the Paris COP 21 agreement by every country. And the RS & NAS joint study also supports these findings and extends that mitigation for a much longer period of time.

      • Stu says:

        Twenty countries, each contributing 1% would be 20% correct. And at the end of the day you seem to keep missing the point that the aim of carbon reduction is to reduce the continued impact. That is the point of the different model scenarios eg same old/same old, make some reductions, reduce all emissions. It is generally accepted that we have already baked in further temperature rise, even with zero emissions, so the aim is to restrict the acceleration in warming resulting from business as usual.

    • Boambee John says:


      ” It is the basis for the UK government committing to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.”

      So nuclear power and biomass are in the mix?

  • spangled drongo says:

    “This thread seems to have reverted to climate rather than poverty.”

    Guess who started the reverting?

    But there is no surer way of introducing poverty than going down this pathway of bankrupting the west while failing to solve this non-problem.

    UK pollies are worse than the US Dems:

    “There are a billion sensible reasons the Democrats don’t want a climate debate

    And it’s not because they’d lose debating science. There’s no chance they would debate science — every candidate already agrees there is a climate emergency de facto, or they’d be thrown out of the party. So, any debate would start with “what should we do” and instantly turn into a high risk competition to outbid each other. Who can promise more, squander more, or cry bigger tears on stage on cue?”

    Neither of them [or any of the global warming persuasion] are interested in a cost/benefits analysis like Bjorn Lomborg applies to his reasoning on the subject.

    They welcome their useless, virtue signalling poverty with open arms.

    We just dodged that bullet for a while but alarmists here are still trying to find the suicide gun :


  • Chris Warren says:

    More heat records broken in Northern Hemisphere (US):

    “From May 25-29, 66 sites in the Southeast broke or tied their May monthly high temperature record.

    On May 25, the high temperature hit 104°F at the University of South Carolina, breaking the May record of 102°F set in 2000. That record lasted three days.

    On May 28, the temperature hit 105°F. Gainesville, Florida also saw its all-time May temperature record broken twice in two days on May 25 and 26.

    The hot temperatures reached the coast, too, as temperatures hit 102°F in Savannah, Georgia, on May 26, making it the warmest May day since records began more than 70 years ago.”

    And future years will warm further.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Chris, I guess that Neville or someone else could match your highest readings with an equivalent set of lowest readings from other parts of the world. I fancy I’ve seen a few recently. But what does it prove? There is cold weather and hot weather. Indeed, they can occur the same time in different parts of the world.

    Your last sentence cannot be based on data, because we don’t have future data (!). so to me it seems like pious aspiration.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Yes, if the number of record highs was equal to the number of record lows – then you would be right.

      This has to be judged without changing other factors such as regions.

      In the USA the number of all time record highs is 178 (ie 75+103) and the number of record lows is 104 ie (45+59). This is counting occasions over the last 365 days.

      Data is here: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/datatools/records

      Record cold weather is possible but with less frequency than record hot weather.

      This is corroborated by increasing number of US heat waves and lengthening heat waves.

      Evidence is here:


      Surely future years will warm further “IF” carbon emissions increase. There is no alternative.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “Evidence is here”

        “Evidence” starting in 1960 is not evidence.

        Have a look at what’s been cooked by those in control at the NASA/NOAA bakery:

        “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”


      • Boambee John says:


        “In the USA the number of all time record highs is 178 (ie 75+103) and the number of record lows is 104 ie (45+59). This is counting occasions over the last 365 days.”

        Should you not look at the scale of the records as well as the number? If each of the 178 record maxima were only a fraction of a degree, while each of the 104 record minima were multiple degrees the conclusion should be different.

        BTW, when will climate alarmists abandon the silly idea of an average world temperature? When the temperature range on any day can be close to 100 degrees, the concept seems irrelevant.

        • Chris Warren says:

          By all means, dive into the data and find out.

          It would be odd, as this would suggest the gap between max and min is increasing and the average is falling due to the greater impact of change in minimums compared to some fractional increase in maximums. Also it could be that mins are changing fractionally and maximums are increasing by degrees.

          Presumably both are changing equivalently.

          • Boambee John says:


            “Presumably both are changing equivalently.”

            So you don’t know, but tout the difference in numbers of records as evidence of Goebbels Warming.

          • Chris Warren says:

            What nonsense is this – why have you got Goebbels on your mind?

            Doesn’t take long for a denialist to dip into this crap, does it?

          • Boambee John says:


            A reference to a purported statement by Goebbels, “Tell a big lie often enough, it becomes the truth”.

            Also a poor pun on “global”.

            I see the period of civility is over!

  • spangled drongo says:

    “pious aspiration”


    But look at this!!!

    You forgot California.

    Los Angeles and Santa Barbara both 133f [56c]:


    Oh, hang on, that was in June, 1859.

  • spangled drongo says:

    For rational people this alone would be a poverty preventer:


  • Neville says:

    Dr Curry has another look at extreme weather events and finds little evidence of a AGW signal. This was supported by Roger Pielke jnr’s earlier work and testimony before Congress.
    She also mentions that as a child she was convinced that the USA could fall to communist extremists. Then a responsible adult convinced her that she shouldn’t be worried and as a child she couldn’t make a difference anyway.
    Just a pity that poor Greta and tens of thousands of kids around the world weren’t afforded the same advice by credible climate scientists.
    Instead the Pope, celebrities, pollies and etc have lead the pack by claiming all sorts of calamities to come and even praising poor Greta for her leadership of this fanciful campaign. The Pope even appeared with her in Rome to show his support.
    If this isn’t child abuse, then what is it?


    • Stu says:

      It is interesting that it was the “reds under the beds” scenarios that scared her as a child. They were heavily promoted by many in the same groups she now aligns herself with. To follow that argument check out Naomi Oreskes book “Merchants of Doubt”, which linked among things individuals and groups opposed to the tobacco/cancer connection and later, climate change, such as Fred Singer. The wheel turns slowly.

      Interesting that her article acknowledges sea level rise which must put her out of your orbit. However Singer, Happer and Seitz argue for the poverty reduction benefits of belching coal smoke so it fits within the overall context of this thread.

      I note that Craig Kelly MP just yesterday was bemoaning the threat of socialism on our young and linking it to the climate debate. The same shift in approach to the issue is evident in USA, eg “Freedom Gas” as the Dept of Energy now calls their fossil molecules.

    • Stu says:

      It is interesting that it was the “reds under the beds” scenarios that scared her as a child. They were heavily promoted by many in the same groups she now aligns herself with. To follow that argument check out Naomi Oreskes book “Merchants of Doubt”, which linked among things individuals and groups opposed to the tobacco/cancer connection and later, climate change, such as Fred Singer. The wheel turns slowly.
      Interesting that her article acknowledges sea level rise which must put her out of your orbit. However Singer, Happer and Seitz argue for the poverty reduction benefits of belching coal smoke so it fits within the overall context of this thread.
      I note that Craig Kelly MP just yesterday was bemoaning the threat of socialism on our young and linking it to the climate debate. The same shift in approach to the issue is evident in USA, eg “Freedom Gas” as the Dept of Energy now calls their fossil molecules.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Just to refresh your memory, stu, we only retained our free enterprise, democratic system because we educated our kids on the dangers of communist regimes that were then murdering millions of their citizens.

        Bad idea? You’d have taught them tolerance of this “progressive” practice?

        On one hand you have millions being murdered by a totalitarian regime and on the other, millions living democratically in luxury in a wonderfully productive climate.

        A shame that no-one points this out to little Greta.

        And countries that are experiencing SLR for reasons other than climate change, as the US is doing, are much more accepting of that possibility. And “science” works it to the max.

        Too bad you lap it up without looking for yourself.

        Reality takes a while, hey?

    • Chris Warren says:


      You need to improve your understanding of child abuse.

      Exploiting it like this is obnoxious.

      • Boambee John says:


        Please ask Stu to stop with his “What will your children/grand children say to you when the world warms uncontrollably.” It is the same kind of hiding behind children exploitation technique.

        • Chris Warren says:

          Future climate change WILL BE child abuse, teenager abuse, adult abuse and aged abuse.

          Only those in their graves will be unaffected.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Especially when you traumatise and brainwash them with evidence-free predictions based on doomtime assumptions.

            Who needs evidence for kiddies when they are much more impressed with volume.

            I’m surprised you are still here when you could be having much more success in a classroom somewhere.

        • Stu says:

          You are trolling back through old stuff. When I mention offspring it should not be taken as meaning ten year olds. I refer of course to offspring who in my case can be in their forties, so hardly “child abuse”. But since you raise it, the issue is not about frightening them, it is about listening to their concerns on the issue and their concern for their children in the future. So the question is, what are they saying to you? Or have you got them brain washed into contrarianism (I did not use the D word – LOL)

          • Boambee John says:


            So you regard “brainwashed” as a reasonable comment to someone you have never met?

            The period of civility is truly over.

  • spangled drongo says:

    More mandatory poverty from people who will never have to endure:

    Pope Francis has demanded governments of the world punish the poor with regressive carbon pricing, to prevent an allegedly imminent anthropogenic climate catastrophe.


  • JimboR says:

    Buggered if I know how this thread morphed into one on climate science – I guess they all do eventually – but anyhow, since you four are here duking it out you may have missed there’s going to be a real climate scientist on Q&A tonight… one of Don’s old sparring partners from memory. If you want to ask him a question, you can do so here:


  • Boambee John says:

    The Colorado snowfields still have snowpack 500% of normal.

    Is this another record broken?

    • Stu says:

      Mmm, another example of expected extreme weather events due to climate change perhaps. Last year bugger all snow, this year buried in it. Interesting.

      • Boambee John says:


        The ultimate non-falsifiable hypothesis, climate change. Always a reliable fall back for the alarmed when the temperature doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.

        Whatever happens, hotter, colder, wetter, drier, climate change covers it. Guess what, the idea that the climate changes is accepted by all sentient beings.

        The issues at dispute are the extent to which it is human caused, and the actual impacts. The first is disputed, with computer models being the key “evidence”. The second has been beneficial so far, with increased crop yields and greening of the biosphere, but again the computer models “predict”disaster.

        But you already know this, and ignore it.

        • Chris Warren says:

          Boambee John

          You are deliberately misunderstanding what others are saying. Climate change would be falsified if there was no climate change. But we know as a scientific fact that climate does change. This is not a hypothesis.

          Temperatures are doing what they are meant to do.

          Computer models are NOT the key evidence. They are key tools for projections.

          Recent changes have not been beneficial given:


          But you already knew this, but ignored it.

          • Boambee John says:


            You ignored my statement that “the idea that the climate changes is accepted by all sentient beings”. The non-falsifiable hypothesis is Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change. No matter what happens, it keeps coming up. It is the ultimate zombie hypothesis.

            What does “Temperatures are doing what they are meant to do.” mean? You are waffling to avoid my point.

            Do you deny the realities of increased crop yields and greening of the earth?

  • Don Aitkin says:

    On poverty: I received this interesting comment by email, and thought it ought to be here. I hope the sender doesn’t mind.

    ‘I’m a bit disappointed that you didn’t identify that the poverty line is a very human construct, Don. Constructed by academics who think they know the level of income that constitutes the difference between (effectively) rich and poor. A ‘number’ that is revisited whenever they think it’s appropriate. Poverty seems to be a very flexible concept, like ‘guilt’ in the hands of litigation barristers who are happy to enhance their income and status by dreaming up improbable excuses for their clients.

    Your ‘secondary poverty’ concept is very relevant, although in talking about Ash Barty’s winnings, you didn’t mention the possibility that major prize winners in lotteries could frit away most or all of their new found riches within a reasonably short period by inappropriate expenditures. I’ve always thought that the glittering big prize marketing concept is bad psychological news and should be replaced by many more and much smaller winning prizes to increase the number of ‘winners’ and equalise the distribution of winning funds.

    On ‘homelessness,’ I’m reminded of the Aussie POWs in Japan who wrote in their Red Cross letters that their accommodation was equal to the Dudley Flats in Melbourne, a sarcasm that went over the heads of the Japanese censors. And recent anecdotes about Australian military personnel serving overseas whose wives and partners are claiming single parent benefits from Centrelink. And men with multiple wives claiming Centrelink benefits for their non-resident spouses and families. Where does ‘poverty’ end?’

  • Chris Warren says:

    Please do not let any skeptic, denialist or whatever, pretend that temperatures are not doing what they are expected, by science, to do.

    This is their fake news.


    • spangled drongo says:

      Well, at least you got the fake news bit right.

      The observations [the only facts there] are 35% overstated.

      Which makes the rest of it rubbish.

      And when they can actually state how much is due to Nat Var people might listen.

  • Boambee John says:

    Please do not let any alarmist or whatever pretend that science can reliably project, using computer models, what temperatures are going to do.

    When the projections of multiple climate models were graphed against what actually happened from the early 1990s, almost all of the models projected higher temperatures than were actually recorded.

    Also, should solar scientists be proven correct about the likely cooling effect of the quiet sun, global warming will be the least of our worries.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Boambee John

      Science can reliably project what temperatures are going to do.

      Evidence: https://media.nature.com/w800/magazine-assets/d41586-018-07586-5/d41586-018-07586-5_16306998.png

      Only denialists predict “cooling” – they are now laughing stocks.

      You have no evidence for anything you have tried to foist on the world.

      • Boambee John says:


        You wrote “Only denialists predict “cooling” – they are now laughing stocks.”

        Perhaps you have a problem with reading comprehension. What I actually wrote was “should solar scientists be proven correct about the likely cooling effect of the quiet sun, global warming will be the least of our worries”.

        I did not forecast anything, your fevered imagination once again led you to jump to a conclusion.

        You do this often. Perhaps you might consider thinking before typing?

    • Stu says:

      BJ, “When the projections of multiple climate models were graphed against what actually happened from the early 1990s, almost all of the models projected higher temperatures than were actually recorded.”

      That is an often quoted position which my information says is incorrect. Can you provide a proof of that statement, bearing in mind that from the first iterations the models have used at least three levels of assumption and the actual experience is within that range. For example Hansens calculations have proven fairly accurate.

  • Chris Warren says:

    We really have to move away from the dogma being regurgitated by our keepers of the faith.

    Anyone can see the accuracy of projections here:


    Was the 1975 projection of Broecker wrong?

    1981 Hansen, wrong?

    Hansen (1988), wrong?

    IPCC FAR (1990) wrong?

    IPCC (1995), wrong?

    IPCC TAR (2001),wrong?

    IPCC FAR (2007), wrong?

    Lindzen, wrong?

    Easterbrook (2008), wrong?

    Akasofu (2009), wrong?

    • Boambee John says:

      And follow the dogma regurgitated by our keepers of the other faith.

      Anyone who believes that “the science” can predict temperatures decades into the future has not watched the regular failures to predict the temperature in 3 days time.

      But, keep the faith brothers.

      • Stu says:

        Cripes BJ, “Anyone who believes that “the science” can predict temperatures decades into the future has not watched the regular failures to predict the temperature in 3 days time.”

        That is one of the absolute classic proofs that a person totally misunderstands climate versus weather and has a fundamentally flawed notion of the whole subject. To put it in simple terms for the uninitiated, it is one thing to predict whether a day will be hot or cold in three days time and is completely different to saying that in three decades the summers are likely to be hotter than now.

        Surely that proves that BJ is just trolling and should be banned.

        • spangled drongo says:

          “it is one thing to predict whether a day will be hot or cold in three days time and is completely different to saying that in three decades the summers are likely to be hotter than now.”

          One aspect of your ignorance, stu, is the longer the period of prediction the more chance of your critics forgetting about your degree of wrongness.

          And the other is when you don’t have a clue about the chaos of weather but know for certain the long term temperature change ends up only one of two ways, by reducing yourself to only 50% wrong improves your credibility.

          And you have the hubris to claim that BJ is trolling?

          He is spot on.

        • Boambee John says:


          Do you have any comprehension of statistical analysis? No, I thought not, as demonstrated in your comment.

          Using your examples, the difference between weather and climate is that we can see the errors in weather predictions almost immediately, but have to wait decades to see the failures in climate predictions.

          Actually, no we don’t. If the predictions made by climatologists since 1990 were accurate, we would already have a totally ice-free Arctic and it would be a lot hotter than it is now.

          But you keep believing brother. Scrap your car (don’t sell it, someone else would just use it to produce the dreaded CO2), don’t use any electricity that doesn’t come from windmills or solar cells that were built exclusively using renewables, use food only produced within walking distance of your home. Don’t use any services not produced in the same way.

          Live the life you demand others live.

          Which brings us back to the topic of this thread. Reduce your life and that of your family to abject poverty.

        • Boambee John says:


          “To put it in simple terms for the uninitiated, it is one thing to predict whether a day will be hot or cold in three days time and is completely different to saying that in three decades the summers are likely to be hotter than now.”

          But is the 30 year projection any more reliable? What are the error bars on the three day prediction compared to those on the three decade projection?

          You seem to live in a fantasy world.

      • Chris Warren says:

        So if they couldn’t do it – how come they did it????

        • Boambee John says:


          Couldn’t do what? Make a 30 year projection? Anyone can do that, the real challenge is getting it correct. So far, taking projections by climateers that have passed their “target” date, their record does not inspire confidence. There is still ice in the Arctic, the seas stubbornly refuse to rise at the predicted rate, the rains both fall and fill the dams.

          But keep believing, one day it will all happen. Just ask Al Gore, it certainly all happened to his now much increased bank account.

  • spangled drongo says:

    BJ, these brothers are trying hard but Christopherus Monachorum Brencleiensis servus Servi servorum Dei Servi servorum Dei salutem pluriman dat.


    • Stu says:

      Thanks, that is a great piece, I am still laughing. Classic Monckton. It is great that no one takes him, or you, seriously. Have you noticed the world is moving on, the UK plans to be carbon neutral by 2050, a big chunk of USA likewise in spite of Trump, much of Europe etc. Even our coal loving PM is being moved in the right direction. Game over. The big change is the cost competitiveness of renewables. Also did you see the report from the IMF? “The International Monetary Fund recently updated its comprehensive report on global fossil-fuel subsidies. It arrives at a staggering conclusion: In 2017, the world subsidized fossil fuels by $5.2 trillion, equal to roughly 6.5 percent of global GDP.”
      The link is here https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Publications/WP/2019/WPIEA2019089.ashx

      Oh wait on, I forgot, in Monckton speak, the IMF is part of that totalitarian profiteers of doom clique, LOL, LOL, LOL.

      • spangled drongo says:

        You are truly desperate, hey stu?

        When you believe that free enterprise competition prices should be adjusted by someone’s opinion of “environmental costs” because that represents a greenie opinion of a subsidy.

        But you conveniently overlook similar or greater costs [in many cases much greater because of the much greater areas of the earth needed as well as greater enviro-destruction] of renewables.

        Plus all the hard cash subsidies on top of that, born by F/F income.

        But bad luck for you, stu, as shown by the recent elections, in spite of a stupid IMF, the world is just not that silly.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Stu, there is a lot of controversy about the real cost of forms of energy/electricity production. I don’t and can’t read them all, and my present position is that everyone needs to take real subsidies out. (And a real subsidy does not include, say, depreciation on plant or tax write-offs that apply to any other business, and that is sometimes done. No, no, not on.)

        I haven’t read the IMF report, but here’s a contrasting one from one of the IEA’s associates: https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IER_LCOE2019Final-.pdf

        How is one to choose?

        • Stu says:

          I agree, there are many sources of information and it can be difficult to determine the efficacy of some. On the whole I tend to stick with main stream sources and accept that publications from internationally recognised outfits like the UN, ILO, World Bank and IMF can be accepted at face value as unbiased.

          Others, particularly privately held outfits with charitable or tax free status often have hidden agendas. With those it is useful to examine their funding sources, office holders and trends in their work to discern if any biases may be present. There are also numerous outfits that study these bodies and research their claims and funding.

          In the case you raise, the IEA is an interesting outfit that claims to be neutral and independent. A survey of their published work suggests a leaning that does not favour renewable energy or the environmental movement.

          Further, there are interesting code words in their statement of principles which indicate a leaning at the least.

          “History shows that private property rights, market exchange, and the rule of law have resulted in affordable energy, improved living standards and a cleaner environment.

          Public policy, particularly in the environmental area, should be based on objective science, not emotion or improbable scenarios that invite wealth-reducing government activism, which often impairs society’s resilience to change.

          Policies that attempt to correct “market failure” in energy markets must be tempered with the reality of “government failure.” It is inappropriate to compare idealized government actions with real-world market outcomes. Government policies are implemented by politicians and bureaucracies, not by unbiased and informed academics.”

          So for example “wealth-reducing government activism” is a bell ringer.

          Net result, I suggest the IMF is more reliable.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Yes, Don, the REAL cost will not be apparent for a while,

          If ACO2 is credited for preventing the next ice age it is effectively subsidising mankind by the trillion.

          It is already fertilising our crops to record production levels.

          A huge subsidy factually provided.

          Whereas renewables are more expensive and enviro-disasters.

          The IMF not too reliable there.

      • Boambee John says:


        “The big change is the cost competitiveness of renewables.”

        So we no longer need the LRET? The penalty paid by fossil fuel generators for each MWH produced can be scrapped? There is no longer a need for subsidies for domestic solar installation? No more need for feed in tariffs?

        This is great news Stu. Almost as good as the news that the “science is in”. But wasn’t there some outrage when it was proposed to reduce funding for climate research on the grounds that it was completed? I suspect that similar screams would be heard if the LRET, FiTs or installation subsidies were scrapped.

        • Boambee John says:

          As a thought related to the actual subject of this thread, what proportion of the poverty rate in Australia is caused by the high cost of electricity? And is there any evidence that renewables are easing the problem?

  • spangled drongo says:

    Mmmmm… more salt and pepper calamari…the hysterical IMF missed another F/F bonus:


  • Stu says:

    Just for a laugh here is a reference to Monckton’s flowery writing style, given that we had a link to his letter to the Pope earlier, complete with latin quote.

    “”It seems certain that Monckton is not a fan of George Orwell, who would have steered the Viscount away from the Latin numbering. In “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell says: “Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones.”

    Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming” by James Hoggan, Richard Littlemore

    This book is well worth reading, it is very informative if a little dated by now.

  • Boambee John says:

    “Myrtle and sassafras trees were among those felled along a 10.5km corridor widened for transmission lines associated with the $280 million, 112 megawatt wind farm at Granville Harbour, in Tasmania’s remote northwest.

    Special species timber advocate Andrew Denman, who discovered the felled trees, said it raised concerns about environmental impacts, wastage of high-value timber and wind power’s “green” credentials.

    He estimated that some of the felled trees, highly valued in specialty timber production, were 200 years old, given they typically grow at 0.3cm a year and were 60cm in diameter.”

    Renewables are just soooo ‘vironmentally friendly!

  • Neville says:

    Interesting to consider the percentage of co2 increase Australia is responsible for over the last 200 years. The co2 level has increased by 0.011% ( 0.03 to 0.041%) since 1800 and our 1.2% of that increase is about 0.00013% attributable to Australia.
    That’s if the full 0.01% increase is attributable to human use of fossil fuels. And the Concordia Uni study found Australia was responsible for 0.006 c of the temp increase since 1800. Of course Australia is a net sink for co2, so the argument is even more ridiculous.

    • Stu says:

      You are using loose maths there. Moving from 0.03 to 0.41 is over a thirty percent increase. Analysis of the CO2 based on the particular carbon isotopes, and the absence of any known natural factors shows that all the increase is down to human factors. The natural flux of naturally occurring CO2 has been in balance for millennia, then humans put back into the air in a hundred years that which nature took a hundred million years to bury.

      On a per capita basis, Australia is one of the biggest contributors to increasing CO2. If one takes account of the effect of production of goods produced overseas but consumed here we are even worse.

      And by the way that book I referred to earlier should be interesting to you. It shows the origin of ALL the arguments you use. They were developed by vested interests using classic bait and switch arguments etc deliberately to so doubt where there was none. Read it and get back to me, it should sharpen your debate technique. It was published in 2009 but remains very current.

      • Boambee John says:


        “On a per capita basis, Australia is one of the biggest contributors to increasing CO2”

        As far as I know, the climate reacts to absolute quantities of CO2, not per capita amounts.

        The per capita red herring is routinely used by alarmists to attempt to claim the Australia contributes significantly to global CO2 levels. This is absolute nonsense.

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