The Enlightenment substituted reason and the scientific method for primitive superstition. Science brought huge advances in agriculture, industry and medicine but has had the downsides of over-population, massive biodiversity loss, deadly high-technology wars and the existential threats to Humanity and the Biosphere from nuclear weapons and climate change. However in seriously addressing these horrendously damaging deadly downside consequences we must listen to scientists.
Indeed in response to extraordinary anti-science positions adopted by greed-driven neoliberals dominating the world I just created and signed on Change.org a petition “Media and MPs: Listen to scientists for science-informed societal health and safety”, and I would urge everybody to sign it: http://chng.it/Hzrsj2QFjc .
Science has opened the Pandora’s Box of Knowledge that cannot be closed except by the destruction of all sentient life and indeed of all life on Earth itself because of the evolutionary potentiality for sentience in living systems. However if one accepts from ever-expanding chemical studies on the origins of life that it is a certainty on a planet like the Earth, then it must have arisen in many of the trillion solar systems in each of the trillion galaxies of our universe. Indeed “2 plus 2 equals 4” would remain true even if our universe disappeared.
Of course scientists range in their intrinsic abilities and achievements from the pedestrian to the outstandingly brilliant. Further, the methodology of science involves the critical testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses, and thus by definition all scientists “get it wrong” in the process of the evolution of ever better models of reality in spheres ranging from the sub-atomic to the cosmological. Scientists need a lot of money to do their research, and generally eschew public comment at the science-society interface for fear of losing such critical support or indeed their jobs. While lying is anathema to scientists, the very innate scepticism of scientists often enables their giving in to powerful pressures and qualifying or softening social action imperatives (e.g. re climate change, nuclear weapons, deadly poverty or the Covid-19 pandemic) to the detriment of science-informed societal health and safety. Notorious examples are corporate pressure for “softening” or “effective denying” of evidence for the connection between smoking and lung cancer , and for minimizing, obfuscating, and denying evidence for an existential threat to Humanity from man-made climate change.
At present the proposition of “God” is not a falsifiable proposition because presently there is no concrete evidence for God, and thus presently no known way of testing the proposition. Absence of evidence is often operationally taken as evidence for absence, and hence most scientists are operationally “atheists” , although strictly speaking as sceptical scientists they should be described as “agnostics” (they don’t know for sure). That said, religion while not being a scientific proposition is a great help and existential framework for billions of people, as indeed is art, literature, poetry, music, and dance for both theists and atheists. Indeed it could be achieved one day, but detailed, precise and neuron-by-neuron scientific analysis of the neurological impact of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony would be quite separate from its inspiring impact on listeners, just as the marvellous reductionist molecular biological dissection of life is separate from our deep appreciation of the beauty of living things, and just as astrophysics by the world’s greatest minds is separate from our ineffable wonder at a trillion suns in each of a trillion galaxies.
Coming back to earth with a blunt reductio ad absurdum, if political leaders wanted the very best way of dealing with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic or the existential threat from man-made climate change they would be best advised to “Listen to scientists” rather than inspecting the entrails of a suitably sacrificed goa or pigeon. However, as exampled below, they should appreciate that such scientific advice may well be “qualified” or “softened” for the “social pressure” reasons outlined above.
(A). Incorrect, science-contradicted advice for “soft” climate action by climate criminal Australia.
In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic the anti-science, anti-environment, pro-fossil fuels, pro-coal, pro-gas, pro-oil and climate criminal Coalition Australian Government has commissioned a Discussion Paper about how Australia should deal technologically with man-made climate change. Unfortunately, of the 7 members of the Government’s Ministerial Reference Panel (established to advise the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction on the preparation of annual Low Emissions Technology Statements) only the Chairman (Australia’s Chief Scientist) is a scientist, and the rest are non-scientist, non-PhD business executives or non-scientist, non-PhD public servants. Further, the Executive Summary alone had major errors from a scientific perspective while no doubt being music to the ears of the climate criminal and fervently neoliberal Australian Coalition Government. The following is a [typo corrected] Submission to the Australian Government re the 74-page Discussion Paper – there was a 2,000 word limit for the submission, and my succinct and documented critique ran out of words after dealing the first 13 pages of the Discussion Paper.
START: “Review of the Roadmap Discussion Paper by Dr Gideon Polya [contact details].
(1). The Australian Government’s “Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper. A framework to accelerate low emissions technologies” (page i ). The Discussion Paper is terminally flawed at the outset because the aim should be to accelerate “zero emissions” technologies and not “low emissions” technologies.
This casuistry permits an anti-science, anti-environment, pro-fossil fuels, pro-coal, pro-gas, pro-oil and climate criminal Coalition Government to falsely imply that “gas”, “nuclear”, “biofuel” and “carbon fuel burning with carbon capture and storage” are somehow magically through mere words made “clean-er“ or “low emissions”.
In short, “gas” (at 2.6% leakage it is as dirty greenhouse gas (GHG)-wise as burning coal) , “nuclear” (uneconomic, dangerous, non-renewable, and with a massively GHG-polluting overall nuclear cycle), “biofuel” (which when crop-based carries an enormous Carbon Debt), and “carbon fuel burning with carbon capture and storage” (economically unproven and massively non-adopted) are falsely represented as “clean-er” or “low emissions”.
Eminent and famed theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking has succinctly summarized the parlous position of Humanity thus (my emphasis in bold)(2018): “We see great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change” . Operationally “Take action now … to prevent further climate change” means “zero emissions ASAP” but the Government’s “accelerate low emissions” means investing hundreds of billions of dollars on locking Australia into “dirty” technologies for decades.
(2). Angus Taylor (Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction) (page 2 ): “Australia consistently meets and beats our climate change targets.” This statement might be formally correct in the sense that the Coalition Government has a policy of unlimited exports of coal, gas and methanogenically-derived meat (like the Labor Opposition) and has emissions reduction policies Domestically that have trashed Australia’s reputation as a global citizen and have made Australia one of the worst countries in the world for climate criminality. Thus Australia’s annual per capita GHG pollution (t CO2-e per person per year) taking fugitive emissions and land use into account is 1,423 Mt CO2-e/25 million persons = 56.9 (considering Domestic pollution only) and 137.5 (considering Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution). By way of comparison, 137.5 t per person per year puts Australia third in the world after Belize (366.9) and, Guyana (203.1). In t CO2-e per person per year China is 7.4 and India 2.1 (2015 analysis). Australia with 0.34% of the world’s population contributes 5.4% of global GHG emissions. Australia’s Domestic and Exported GHG pollution through gas exploitation is set to increase significantly in coming years, notwithstanding pleas from scientists that the world must rapidly stop fossil fuel exploitation .
Australia is among world leaders for the following 17 climate criminal activities or parameters: (1) annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, (2) live methanogenic livestock exports, (3) natural gas exports, (4) recoverable shale gas reserves that can be accessed by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), (5) coal exports, (6) land clearing, deforestation and ecocide, (7) speciescide or species extinction, (8) coral reef destruction, (9) whale killing and extinction threat through global warming impacting on krill stocks, (10) terminal carbon pollution budget exceedance, (11) per capita Carbon Debt, (12) ultimately GHG generating iron ore exports, (13) climate change inaction, (14) climate genocide and approach towards omnicide and terracide, (15) increasing Domestic GHG pollution despite Paris commitments to lower GHG pollution, (16) complicity in 9 million annual air pollution deaths from burning carbon fuels, Australia’s share being 75,000 overseas and 10,000 Domestically , and (17) Australia with 0.33% of the world’s population contributes over 5% of global GHG pollution (including that due to the burning of Australia’s world leading gas and coal exports) [3, 5].
In 2018 Australia ranked 57th worst out of 60 countries for climate change action .
The Australian Government’s own official data reveal that Australia’s Domestic GHG pollution decreased markedly decreased under Labor, but thence consistently increased under successive Coalition Governments. Tackling climate change means decreasing GHG pollution and not increasing GHG pollution [7-10]. Massive decrease in economic activity from lockdown in response to the with the Covid-19 pandemic will interrupt this disgraceful trend under the Coalition but will no doubt be “spun” by the Coalition Government as evidence of “tackling climate change”.
(3). Angus Taylor (Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction: “The Roadmap and first Low Emissions Technology Statement will be the cornerstone of Australia’s long term emissions reduction strategy, to be delivered ahead of COP26 (page 2 )… April 2020: The Ministerial Reference Panel is established to advise the Minister on the preparation of annual Low Emissions Technology Statements. The panel is chaired by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, with the following [non-scientist, non-PhD] members: Drew Clarke [public service], Grant King [business], Shemara Wikramanayake [business], Alison Watkins [business], Ben Wilson [business], and Jo Evans (ex officio) [public service](page 4 ). Unfortunately Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel (my emphasis in bold) has got it quite wrong in relation to a gas-based roadmap (2020): “But, there is a limit to how much solar and wind we can use and still retain a reliable system. Ultimately, we will need to complement solar and wind with a range of technologies such as high levels of storage, long-distance transmission, and much better efficiency in the way we use energy. But, while these technologies are being scaled up, we need an energy companion today that can react rapidly to changes in solar and wind output. An energy companion that is itself relatively low in emissions, and that only operates when needed. In the short-term, as the Prime Minister and Minister [for Energy and Emissions Reduction] Angus Taylor have previously stated, natural gas will play that critical role. In fact, natural gas is already making it possible for nations to transition to a reliable, and relatively low emissions, electricity supply” . However, gas is not “relatively low in emissions” as asserted by Dr Finkel because (a) combustion of 1 tonne of CH4 (85% of natural gas) yields 2.75 tonne CO2 as compared to combustion of 1 tonne of carbon (about 90% of coal) yielding 3.7 tonne CO2, and (b) depending upon the degree of systemic gas leakage (e.g. that in the US), gas burning can actually be much dirtier GHG-wise than coal burning [3, 12-16].
(4). Roadmap (page 7 ): “The Australian Government has already invested $10.4 billion into more than 670 clean energy projects with a total project value in excess of $35 billion. These projects include the largest pumped hydro scheme in the southern hemisphere (Snowy 2.0), hydrogen demonstration projects, electric vehicle charging networks, and biofuels production”. The notion of burning photosynthetically-derived biomass and then trapping the CO2 released as biomass turns out to be naïve. Just as “gas” does not stand up to professional chemist scrutiny (or indeed science-informed high school student scrutiny) as a “cleaner energy source” (see (3) above), so “biofuel” also fails such informed and competent scrutiny: (1) biofuel use amounts to obscene “food-for-fuel” in a world in which 2 billion are malnourished and 15 million people die from deprivation each year as global warming and population drive depletion and salinization of arable land [17-22]; (2) crop-based biofuel is associated with a huge Carbon Debt due to loss of sequestration of cellulosic photosynthate in wood or soil in native ecosystems [23-26]; and (c) the biofuel efficiency can be very low e.g. the Biomass-to-Wheel (BTW) efficiency for sugar is only 27% .
(5). What the Roadmap Executive Summary didn’t mention. Including cognate terms, the Roadmap Executive Summary mentioned (commercially unproven and non-adopted) “Carbon Capture and Storage” 4 times, “low or lower emissions” 11 times and “renewable energy” 2 times . However the Roadmap made ZERO (0) mention of the following numerous key terms: 300 ppm CO2, 350 ppm CO2, Air Pollution Deaths, Biodiversity, Carbon Debt, Carbon dioxide (CO2) , Carbon Price, Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate criminality, Climate Deaths, Climate Emergency, Externalities, Coral, Deforestation, Ecocide, Economic Degrowth, Environment, Geothermal Energy, Global Warming Potential, Greenhouse Gas, Heat Stress Deaths, Hydrological Storage, Intergenerational equity, Intergenerational justice, Methane (CH4), Negative Emissions, Omnicide, Population, Rail Transport, Reafforestation, Resource Limitation, Soil, Solar Energy, Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Social humanism, Speciescide, Sustainability, Terracide, Tidal Energy, Water, Wind Energy, and Zero Emissions.
Nor did the Report mention 2 key books authored by engineering experts on how Australia could rapidly achieve 100% renewable energy for about $350 billion and $250 billion, respectively [28, 29].
References [see end of this article for references -]”. END
(B). Re “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” Australia (4) is 40 times worse than Kerala (0.1) but 10 times better than the World (43) and 130 times better than the UK (521), implying huge differences in accepted scientific advice.
In the Covid-19 pandemic Australia has performed vastly better than Canada, the US, the UK and Western Europe as illustrated by the following “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” values: 0.1 (Kerala, India), 0.3 (Taiwan), 0.5 (Hong Kong), 3 (China), 3 (Vietnam), 4 (New Zealand), 4 (AUSTRALIA), 4 (Singapore), 5 (South Korea) and 6 (Japan) VERSUS 29 (Iceland), 43 (World), 43 (Norway), 70 (Austria), 95 (Denmark), 98 (Germany), 122 (Portugal), 157 (Canada), 174 (Luxembourg), 219 (Switzerland), 283 (US), 317 (Ireland), 334 (Netherlands), 371 (Sweden), 429 (France), 521 (UK), 532 (Italy), 594 (Spain), and 786 (Belgium) (as of 22 May 2020) .
Thus by 22 May 2020 there were only 100 Covid-19 deaths in Australia (population 25 million) as compared to a shocking and distressing 35,000 such deaths in the UK (population 67 million) (as of 22 May 2020) .
A major reason that Australia did so well in the Covid-19 emergency is that the Coalition Government adopted the no-brainer of following the scientific advice of particular medical experts (the Chief and Deputy Chief Medical Officers of Australia and the 8 States and Territories). In stark contrast, as exampled in (A) above, in relation to a worsening Climate Emergency that existentially threatens Humanity and the Biosphere, the Australian Coalition Government and major parts of the Mainstream media variously still reject (or otherwise effectively ignore through inaction) the expert advice of a huge body of scientists world-wide who overwhelmingly demand urgent action.
Australia’s response involved science-indicated closing the borders, lockdown, case detection and case tracing. However inspection of the Covid-19 Pandemic Timeline reveals that lockdown was imposed on 21 March 2020 in Australia, 2 months after that in China (23 January 2020) – Australia acted so late presumably because of the economic cost and, unlike the UK, got away with it.
The UK imposed lockdown on 23 March 2020, about the same time as Australia (21 March 2020) and was presumably tardy for the same sort of economic reasons i.e. balancing ”profits” of neoliberal One Percenters and “livelihoods” of ordinary citizens and voters versus “lives” of citizens both rich and poor. However the UK evidently did not have the same degree of border control, and exponential growth in cases meant that the coronavirus escaped and got out of control in the UK with disastrous consequences of 35,000 UK deaths versus 100 deaths in Australia (as of 22 May 2020) [30, 31].
Australia and the UK are both island nations. Theoretically as an extreme “boundary condition”, science says that with totally effective exclusion there should have been zero (0) cases in the UK and Australia. It is indisputable that there should have been stringent border control in both countries involving thermal testing, and PCR-based detection of infection cases after public and global notification by the Chinese authorities of the human-to-human transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2) (20 January 2020, Day Zero). China imposed draconian lockdown and travel bans on 23 January 2020 (+3 days after Day Zero) .
1 February (+12 days after Day Zero), Australia banned entry of foreign nationals from China, with Australian travellers from China having to self-quarantine for 14 days. 1 March (+41), Australia imposed an entry ban on non-Australian citizens travelling from Iran. 5 March (+45), Australia imposed an entry ban on non-Australian citizens travelling from South Korea. 11 March (+51), Australia imposed an entry ban on non-Australian citizens travelling from Italy. 17 March (+57 days), Australia determined that all international arrivals to Australia (via planes and ships) were required to self-isolate for 14 days. 18 March (+58), Australia declared a human biosecurity emergency and banned international cruise ships from entering Australian ports before 15 April 2020. 20 March (+60), Australia closed its borders to all non-residents and non-Australian citizens, with Australian citizens and residents having to undergo a 14 day quarantine. 25 March (+65, Australia banned Australian citizens and permanent residents from leaving Australian territory by air or sea as a passenger. 29 March (+69), all returning Australian international travellers had to complete their mandatory 14-day quarantine in a police-guarded hotel [31, 32].
In stark contrast, the UK had loose travel restrictions. The UK initially quarantined travellers from Wuhan and started symptom testing of travellers in late January 2020 but then abandoned that policy in mid-March. As of mid-April 2020 the UK was not applying testing or quarantining to 15,000 travellers arriving each day from overseas . With typical British understatement, Professor Gabriel Scally (president of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine) stated (mid-April 2020) : “The UK is an outlier. It is very hard to understand why it persists in having this open borders policy. It is most peculiar” . One notes that on 11 March (+51) came the first evidence that the UK Government was considering, among other options, a “herd-immunity” scenario i.e. to let the epidemic run its course (at a huge cost in lives but minimal cost to business) so that most people were infected and might mostly be protected as a consequence . The “herd immunity” anti-Covid-19 path would also minimize economic disruption and loss of precious profits for the neoliberal One Percenters who effectively rule Plutocracy, Kleptocracy, Murdochracy, Lobbyocracy, Corporatocracy and Dollarocracy Britain.
On 16 March (+56) eminent epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson and 30 colleagues at Imperial College, London, released an important research paper entitled “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and health care demand” recommending vigorous suppression of the COVID-19 epidemic via a “Suppression” scenario involving hygiene and social distancing, case detection and isolation, household quarantine, and the closing of schools and universities. This “Suppression” strategy was modelled to result in much fewer Covid-19-related UK deaths over 2 years (circa 40,000) as compared to a less stringent “Mitigation” strategy not involving school and university closure (210,000 deaths) or Inaction (510,000 deaths) [34, 35]. On 23 March (+63) UK announced strict stay-at-home lockdown measures at a time when there were 6,650 cases and 335 deaths. UK lockdown was to be enforced by police and involve stay-at-home restrictions prohibiting leaving home except for buying necessities, exercise, medical reasons or work (if it could not be performed at home) [36-38]. The new UK Covid-19 regulations banned all “non-essential travel” without defining what that actually meant , but it was not until 22 May 2020 (!!!) that the UK government announced that all arrivals into the UK, apart from a short list of exemptions, would have to self-isolate for 14 days from 8 June 2020 (+79 days after Day Zero , reiterating that China applied travel bans +3 days after Day Zero).
While totalling stopping infected people entering Island Britain or Island Australia would have totally prevented Covid-19 in these countries, closure of schools as an anti-Covid-19 measure has been controversial. Thus in Australia (4 Covid-19 deaths per million of population) the Federal Government strongly opposed school closure but a large part of the population nevertheless kept their children at home (a possible example of the “Wisdom of the Commons”). Paradoxically, in the UK (521 Covid-19 deaths per million of population) the Brit-killing Tory Government closed schools and universities as part of a general lockdown on 23 March 2020.
While the Australian Government, acting on advice from its medical advisers, opposed school closure for various reasons , top epidemiologist Professor Neil M. Ferguson and 30 colleagues thought otherwise: “We predict that school and university closure will have an impact on the epidemic, under the assumption that children do transmit as much as adults, even if they rarely experience severe disease. We find that school and university closure is a more effective strategy to support epidemic suppression than mitigation; when combined with population-wide social distancing, the effect of school closure is to further amplify the breaking of social contacts between households, and thus supress transmission. However, school closure is predicted to be insufficient to mitigate (never mind supress) an epidemic in isolation; this contrasts with the situation in seasonal influenza epidemics, where children are the key drivers of transmission due to adults having higher immunity levels… Perhaps our most significant conclusion is that mitigation is unlikely to be feasible without emergency surge capacity limits of the UK and US health care systems being exceeded many times over… even if all patients were able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in GB, and 1.1-1.2 million in the US” (34, 35].
Similarly, a large study conducted by German virology experts has concluded that children were just as likely to spread the virus as adults and that schools should remain closed, the abstract of their paper stating : “Data on viral load, as estimated by real-time RT-PCR threshold cycle values from 3,712 COVID-19 patients were analysed to examine the relationship between patient age and SARS-CoV-2 viral load. Analysis of variance of viral loads in patients of different age categories found no significant difference between any pair of age categories including children. In particular, these data indicate that viral loads in the very young do not differ significantly from those of adults. Based on these results, we have to caution against an unlimited re-opening of schools and kindergartens in the present situation. Children may be as infectious as adults” [41, 42]. Time will tell as governments gamble over a “Second Peak” in a “livelihoods” versus “lives” scenario.
The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the horrible reality of lack of Western altruism towards the people of the global South [31, 43-48]. Thus it has been estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the economic downturn from lockdown will cost $9,000 billion spent over 2 years addressing a Covid-19 pandemic that might take 1,000,000 lives. In contrast, the world spends only $4 billion each year in addressing malaria that kills about 500,000 people each year in the global South [46, 47]. Indeed in 2020 while perhaps only 200 Australians will die from Covid-19, preventable deaths from “life-style choice” reasons (e.g. smoking, sugar, drinking) and “political choice” reasons (e.g. not banning smoking, sugar, drinking) will total 85,000 in Australia (as compared to 1.7 million, 150,000 and 100,000 such deaths in the US, UK and Canada, respectively) . However as of 28 May 2020 Covid-19 deaths total 103 (Australia) as compared to 102,103 (US), 37,460 (UK) and 6,765 (Canada) . Indeed given that “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” is 0.1 for Kerala as compared to 4 for Australia, one can argue that Australia’s remarkable only circa 100 deaths to date were nearly all avoidable but for Australian Government tardiness and ignoring scientific advice.
The Anglosphere Establishments have a callous disregard for ordinary citizens – their subjects – but are well aware that Covid-19 does not distinguish between billionaires and paupers. The callous disregard of ordinary Brits by the Tory UK Government by (a) disregarding scientific advice and still not imposing effective travel bans, and (b) failing to take science-indicated lockdown measures until 2 months after China had done so, has so far cost over 37,000 British lives. One is reminded of British WW1 General Haig, known as the “Butcher of the Somme”, who sacrificed 19,000 British lives on just the first day alone of the Somme Offensive in which 1 million soldiers were killed or wounded [49, 50] .
Anti-racist Jewish British writer, Harold Pinter, in his 2005 Nobel prize Acceptance Speech stated of the perpetrators of the Iraqi Genocide (estimated in 2005 to have violently killed 100,000 Iraqis, and estimated in 2011 to have killed 2.7 million Iraqis through violence or war-imposed deprivation): “How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice” . And 6,800 avoidable Covid-19 deaths in Canada? 37,000 in the UK? 102,000 in the US? Justin Trudeau, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, other complicit leaders and their key associates should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court for depraved indifference and complicity in avoidable mass mortality.
It gets worse. The world is facing an existential threat from a worsening Climate Emergency and a worsening Climate Genocide. Scientists worldwide have been urging requisite action for decades but are now warning that we have now reached or are approaching critical tipping points beyond which massive damage is unavoidable [52-63]. Humanity and the Biosphere are existentially threatened by nuclear weapons and climate change . Eminent physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has stated the problem and solution very succinctly: “We see great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change” . Unfortunately neoliberal Establishments are ignoring the science. Fundamental to the Climate Crisis is that neoliberal Establishments ignore scientific analysis, refuse to pay the cost of pollution, and are leaving that ultimately inescapable cost (inescapable Carbon Debt) to future generations . It is estimated that the world’s total carbon Debt is $200-250 trillion and is increasing at $13 trillion each year [66, 67].
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on climate change mitigation advocates a Carbon Tax of $75 per ton of CO2 by 2030 that, if progressively implemented in the G20 countries alone, would prevent an estimated 4 million air pollution deaths by 2030. The IMF has estimated that the average global Carbon Price is a mere $2 per ton CO2 [68, 69]. However the damage-related Carbon Price has been independently estimated at $200 per tonne CO2 [70, 71]. The effective climate change denialist Coalition Government of Australia, a G20 country that is among world leaders in 17 areas of climate criminality, has flatly rejected a global Carbon Tax . If all G20 countries followed Australia’s rejection of a global Carbon Tax then they would be complicit in an unconscionable Climate Genocide and Climate Holocaust killing 4 million people over the next decade .
Presently about 1 million people die from climate change each year , and about 9 million people die from air pollution . However there is a worsening Climate Genocide that in the absence of requisite action will kill about 10 billion people this century en route to a sustainable human population in 2100 of only 0.5-1.0 billion . The Covid-19 pandemic will eventually be contained through vaccines over the next year or so, but perhaps 1 million will have died avoidably because neoliberal politicians variously put profit for the rich before the lives of ordinary people by ignoring the science. However in the worsening Climate Genocide 10 billion people are set to die avoidably this century through those in power ignoring the science.
A plus 1.5C temperature rise is expected in the coming decade, and a catastrophic plus 2C is now effectively unavoidable. However decent people are obliged to do everything they can to make the future “less bad” for future generations. What can humane people do? Humane folk can (a) inform everyone they can, (b) urge boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against climate criminals, and (c) demand judicial punishment of those greedy, neoliberal One Percenters complicit in massive avoidable death through the ignoring of science. Listen to scientists! And please sign the “Listen to scientists” petition: http://chng.it/Hzrsj2QFjc .
. Australian Government, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, “Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper. A framework to accelerate low emissions technologies”, May 2020: https://consult.industry.gov.au/climate-change/technology-investment-roadmap/supporting_documents/technologyinvestmentroadmapdiscussionpaper.pdf .
. Stephen Hawking, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”, John Murray, 2018, Chapter 7.
. Gideon Polya, “Methane leakage makes Australia a world leading per capita greenhouse gas emitter”, Global Research, 19 February 2020: https://www.globalresearch.ca/methane-leakage-makes-australia-world-leading-per-capita-greenhouse-gas-polluter/5704047 .
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. “Biofuel Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/biofuelgenocide/ .
. Gideon Polya, “Biofuel famine, biofuel genocide and the global food price crisis”, Lecture to Agricultural Science and Agricultural Science-Economics students, La Trobe University Tuesday 29 April, 2008: http://climateemergency.blogspot.com/2008/04/biofuel-famine-biofuel-genocide-and.html .
. Lester R. Brown, “”Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to save civilization”, Chapter 1. Selling our future: food –the weak link“” (2009): http://www.earthpolicy.org/index.php?/books/pb4/PB4ch1_ss2 .
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. Professor John Beddington , quoted in Lewis Smith and Francis Elliott, “Rush for biofuels threatens starvation on a global scale”, Times Online, 7 March 2008: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3500954.ece .
. Joseph Fargione et al, “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1235 – 1238: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1152747 .
. Dr Timothy Searchinger and colleagues (“Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1238 – 1240: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1151861 ).
. H. Keith, B.G. Mackey and D. B. Lindenmayer., “Re-evaluation of forest biomass carbon stocks and lessons from the world’s most carbon-dense forests”, PNAS, 14 July 2009, 106 (28) 11635-11640: https://www.pnas.org/content/106/28/11635 .
. Gideon Polya, “Trumpist climate change denial, Australian bushfires, fuel reduction, biochar & Carbon Debt”, Countercurrents, 10 January 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/01/trumpist-climate-change-denial-australian-bushfires-fuel-reduction-biochar-carbon-debt/ .
. Wei-Dong Huang and Y.H. Percival Zhang, “Energy efficiency analysis: Biomass-to Wheel efficiency related to biofuels production, fuel distribution and powertrain systems”, PLOS One, 13 July 2011: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0022113 .
. Beyond Zero Emissions Zero (BZE), “Zero Carbon Australia by 2020 Report (BZE ZCA2020 Report)”, 2010.
. Peter Seligman, “Australian sustainable energy – by the numbers”, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne , 2010.” END .
. Worldometers, “Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic” : https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ .
. Gideon Polya, “Covid-19 Timeline Exposes Falsehood Of US & US Lackey Australian Anti-China Blame Game”, Countercurrents, 20 May 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/05/covid-19-timeline-exposes-falsehood-of-us-us-lackey-australian-anti-china-blame-game/ .
. “COVID-19 pandemic in Australia”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Australia .
. Pilita Clark, Robin Harding, Guy Chazan, Daniel Dombey, Christian Shepherd, Laura Hughes, Aime Williams, David Blood and Bob Haslett, “Britain’s open borders make it a global outlier in coronavirus fight”, Financial Times, 17 April 2020: https://www.ft.com/content/91dea18f-ad0e-4dcb-98c3-de836b1ba79b .
. Neil M. Ferguson and 30 colleagues. “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and health care demand”, Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, 16 March 2020: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf.
. Chelsea Bruce-Lockhart, John Burn-Murdoch and Alex Barker, “The shocking coronavirus study that rocked the UK and US”, Financial Times, 19 March 2020: https://www.ft.com/content/16764a22-69ca-11ea-a3c9-1fe6fedcca75 .
. Juliana Kaplan, Lauren Frias, and Morgan McFall-Johnsen, “A third of the global population is on a coronavirus lockdown – here’s our constantly updating list of countries locking down and opening up” Business Insider Australia, 14 March 2020: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/countries-on-lockdown-coronavirus-italy-2020-3?r=US&IR=T .
. Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason and Vikram Dodd, “Boris Johnson orders UK lockdown to be enforced by police”, Guardian, 24 March 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/boris-johnson-orders-uk-lockdown-to-be-enforced-by-police .
. “Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_the_United_Kingdom .
. Jamie Grierson, “UK quarantine plan: what will it mean for travellers?”, Guardian, 23 May 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/22/uk-quarantine-plan-what-will-it-mean-for-travellers .
. Gideon Polya, “COVID-19 Pandemic & Coronavirus Suppression – Should Australian Schools Close? ”, Countercurrents, 22 March 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/03/covid-19-pandemic-coronavirus-suppression-should-australian-schools-close .
. Kate Connolly and Kim Willsher, “European schools get ready to reopen despite concern about pupils spreading Covid-19”, Guardian, 2 May 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/01/children-as-likely-to-spread-coronavirus-as-adults-says-scientist?CMP=share_btn_tw&fbclid=IwAR0DovJ_yuO7TwzKBao4eOttkrISbnMC6GSk4p3QtdCT9ycoDb7dlA8zhjQ .
. Christian Drosten et al., “An analysis of SARS-CoV-2 viral load by patient age”, 2020: https://zoonosen.charite.de/fileadmin/user_upload/microsites/m_cc05/virologie-ccm/dateien_upload/Weitere_Dateien/analysis-of-SARS-CoV-2-viral-load-by-patient-age.pdf .
. Gideon Polya, “Per Capita Covid-19 Deaths In Anglosphere 5-Eyes Intelligence-Sharing Nations Correlate With Neoliberal Greed”, Countercurrents, 17 May 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/05/per-capita-covid-19-deaths-in-anglosphere-5-eyes-intelligence-sharing-nations-correlate-with-neoliberal-greed/ .
. Gideon Polya, “COVID-19: Occupiers US, Australia & Apartheid Israel grossly violate Geneva Convention re conquered Subjects”, Countercurrents, 7 May 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/05/covid-19-occupiers-us-australia-apartheid-israel-grossly-violate-geneva-convention-re-conquered-subjects .
. Gideon Polya, “Action Cost/Deaths Ratios For Covid-19, Malaria, Infant Health, Starvation, Poverty & Pollution”, Countercurrents, 17 April 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/04/action-cost-deaths-ratios-for-covid-19-malaria-infant-health-starvation-poverty-pollution .
. Gideon Polya, “UK-Australia COVID-19 deaths, deprivation deaths in Developing countries, Indigenous avoidable deaths”, Global Research, 8 April 2020: https://www.globalresearch.ca/uk-australian-covid-19-deaths-versus-developing-country-indigenous-avoidable-deaths-deprivation/5708948 .
. Gideon Polya and Richard Hil , “Covid-19-inspired Western altruism ignores the World’s unpeople”, Arena, 5 May 2020: https://arena.org.au/covid-19-inspired-western-altruism-ignores-the-worlds-unpeople/ .
. Gideon Polya, “Post-Covid-19 Needs-based Economy, Zero Emissions, UBI, Green New Deal & Free University Education”, Countercurrents, 3 May 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/05/post-covid-19-needs-based-economy-zero-emissions-ubi-green-new-deal-free-university-education .
. Cassie Pope, “Was Douglas Haig really “the Butcher of the Somme’?”, History Hit, 26 June 2018: https://www.historyhit.com/douglas-haig-butcher/ .
. “Battle of the Somme”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Somme .
. Harold Pinter, “Art, truth and politics”, 2005 Literature Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (2005): http://www.countercurrents.org/arts-pinter081205.htm .
. William J. Ripple et al., 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, “World scientists’ warning to Humanity: a second notice”, Bioscience, 13 November 2017: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/bix125/4605229 .
. Gideon Polya, “Over 15,000 scientists issue dire warning to humanity on catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss”, Countercurrents, 20 November 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/11/20/over-15000-scientists-issue-dire-warning-to-humanity-on-catastrophic-climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss/ .
. William Ripple et al.., “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency”, BioScience, 5 November 2019: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806 .
. Gideon Polya, “Extrapolating 11,000 scientists’ climate emergency warning to 2030 catastrophe”, Countercurrents, 14 November 2019: https://countercurrents.org/2019/11/extrapolating-11000-scientists-climate-emergency-warning-to-2030-catastrophe .
. Gideon Polya, “Worsening Climate Emergency And Record CO2 Emissions Demand Vegetarian Diet For All To Help Save Planet”, Countercurrents, 20 June, 2016: https://countercurrents.org/polya200616.htm .
. Gideon Polya, “Wrong way go back – global sectoral greenhouse gas emissions are all in the wrong direction”, Countercurrents, 20 March 2020: https://countercurrents.org/2020/03/wrong-way-go-back-global-sectoral-greenhouse-gas-emissions-are-all-in-the-wrong-direction/ .
. Gideon Polya, “Climate scientists: planet in peril, planet in peril, act now” ”, Countercurrents, 3 December 2019: https://countercurrents.org/2019/12/climate-scientists-planetary-emergency-planet-in-peril-act-now/ .
. Timothy Lenton, Johan Rockstrom, Owen Gaffney, Stefan Rahmsdorf, Katherine Richardson, Will Steffen and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, “Climate tipping points – too risky to bet against” , Nature 575, 592-595, 27 November 2019: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0 .
. IPCC, “Global warming of 1.5 °C”, 8 October 2018: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ .
. IPCC, “Global warming of 1.5 °C. Summary for Policymakers”, 8 October 2018: http://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf .
. Gideon Polya, “IPCC +1.5C avoidance report – effectively too late but stop coal burning for “less bad” catastrophes”, Countercurrents, 12 October 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/10/12/ipcc-1-5c-avoidance-report-effectively-too-late-but-stop-coal-burning-for-less-bad-catastrophes/ .
. IPCC, “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report, Approved Summary for Policy Makers”, 1 November 2014: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_SPM.pdf ).
. “Nuclear weapons ban, end poverty & reverse climate change”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/nuclear-weapons-ban .
. “Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .
. Gideon Polya, “Inescapable $200-250 trillion Carbon Debt increasing by $16 trillion annually”, Countercurrents, 27 April 2019: https://countercurrents.org/2019/04/inescapable-200-250-trillion-global-carbon-debt-increasing-by-16-trillion-annually-gideon-polya/ .
. “Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/ .
. International Monetary Fund (IMF), “Fiscal Monitor: how to mitigate climate change”. Executive Summary”, September 2019: file:///C:/Users/Gideon/AppData/Local/Temp/execsum-6.pdf .
. Gideon Polya, “Australia rejects IMF Carbon Tax & preventing 4 million pollution deaths by 2030”, Countercurrents, 15 October 2019: https://countercurrents.org/2019/10/australia-rejects-imf-carbon-tax-preventing-4-million-pollution-deaths-by-2030/ .
. Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 2011: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/research/workingpapers/wp1109.pdf .
. James Hansen, “Climate change in a nutshell: the gathering storm”, Columbia University, 18 December 2018: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2018/20181206_Nutshell.pdf .
. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/home .
Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/australian-complicity-in-iraq-mass-mortality/3369002#transcript ) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: https://countercurrents.org/polya170612.htm ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-history/listen-the-bengal-famine ; Gideon Polya: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/home ; Gideon Polya Writing: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/ ; Gideon Polya, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Polya ) . When words fail one can say it in pictures – for images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .