Thursday, September 18, 2008

Australia has failed in War and Climate Change

Australia has failed in war and climate change

This is the case for the affirmative put by Dr Gideon Polya in a public debate sponsored by a branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A) in Melbourne, September 2008 .

Much of what I will say involves quoting world-leading authoritative sources of data, ethics and international law in relation to War and Climate Change – my argument together with sources, additional statistics and Web links can be found on the Web by simply searching for the phrase “Australia has failed in war and climate change”

I must also state from where I am coming philosophically. I am an agnostic Humanist scientist and an artist and believe with John Keats on his Ode on a Grecian Urn that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” (see: (see: http://www.bartleby.com/101/625.html ) .

My moral philosophy is uncomplicated and used to be unexceptional – I believe with the American Declaration of Independence that “all man are created equal and have an unalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and with Jesus Christ that one should “love thy neighbour as thyself” and that one “should not walk by on the other side”.

I rigorously adhere to “zero tolerance for racism” and “never again to anyone” that are core messages from the World War 2 Jewish Holocaust (6 million dead, 1 in 6 million dying from deprivation ); from the Western Theatre World War 2 Holocaust in general (30 million Slav, Jewish and Roma dead); and from the World War 2 Eastern Theatre Holocaust (35 million Chinese dead in the Japanese occupation, 1937-1945; 6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death by the British, 1943-1945) (see “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya and http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ; “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History”: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/2008/09/jane-austen-and-black-hole-of-british.html ; also see recent BBC broadcast on the World War 2 man-made Bengal Famine involving me, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/bengalfamine_programme.html ).

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Yet “zero tolerance for racism” and “never again to anyone”– fundamental injunctions from the World War 2 Holocaust - are still being grossly violated by Australia and America in both War and Climate Change.

Failure is the opposite of success. Australia has grossly failed in War and Climate Change in both a qualitative, moral sense and in a quantitative sense.

Australia has failed in a qualitative, moral sense (by grossly violating fundamental moral and legal injunctions to preserve human life) and in a quantitative sense (by complicity in crimes involving millions of avoidable deaths in war and threatening literally billions more avoidable deaths through man-made Climate Change).

In summary, Australia has failed in War by being involved in all post-1950 US Asian Wars that have so far been associated with 25 million avoidable Indigenous Asian deaths. Australia is STILL variously involved in the ongoing US Global Holocaust - 9-11 million deaths in the Bush Wars, over 4 million infant deaths and 17 million refugees, a Global Genocide encompassing Indigenous Genocide, Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide (see “9-11 excuse for US global genocide. The real 9-11 atrocity: Millions Dead in Bush Wars”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/25184/42/ and “Media-ignored 9-11 crime: 9-11 million dead in Bush wars”: http://gpolya.newsvine.com/_news/2008/09/12/1860137-media-ignored-9-11-crime-9-11-million-dead-in-bush-wars ) with “Genocide” as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention as “acts committed with intent to destroy a national, racial or religious group in whole or in part” (see: http://www.edwebproject.org/sideshow/genocide/convention.html ).

In summary, Australia has failed in relation to Climate Change by being one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas polluters and gives no indication of changing its policies substantially in a world facing a Climate Emergency – the UK Chief Scientist Professor John Beddington FRS says that “billions” are threatened by biofuel- and global warming-driven global food prices rises; Dr James Lovelock FRS says that “billions” are threatened by global warming and that over 6 billion will perish due to unaddressed Climate Change i.e. Biofuel Genocide and Climate Genocide (see: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/climate-emergency-what-top-world-scientific-experts-say ).

Let us examine these Australian crimes quantitatively, noting that Lord Kelvin, (the founder of Thermodynamics that is fundamental to the Industrial Revolution and the attendant Scientific Revolution) declared that we should use NUMBERS when making factual assertions.

The most fundamental parameter we can use to assess the success or otherwise of national policies is avoidable death – something that I have variously been studying for 4 decades as a biochemist, biologist, biochemical pharmacologist and thanatologist (one who studies the causes of death). Indeed I have recently published a comprehensive treatise entitled “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (see: http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya and http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ).

Avoidable deaths (excess deaths, avoidable mortality, excess mortality, deaths that should not have happened) associated with war and occupation can be either (a) violent or (b) non-violent (due to deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease).

Avoidable mortality is defined as the difference between the actual deaths in a country and the deaths expected for a peaceful, decently-governed country with the same demographics (see: http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/ and http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2008/08/body-count-global-avoidable-mortality.html ).

As analysed in my book “Body Count”, excess death is essentially zero in North America, Australia, Western Europe and in East Asian countries (except for Mongolia and North Korea) and various other peaceful and decently-governed countries in the non-European world.

However huge excess mortality is found in Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and notably among Indigenous Australians (annual avoidable death rate 1.8%) and in US- or US surrogate –occupied countries (excess deaths associated with post-1950 US Asian wars so far total 25 million) (for Web-published data see: http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2008/08/body-count-global-avoidable-mortality.html).

1990-2005 excess mortality totals 1.3 billion (the World), 1.2 billion (the non-European world), 0.6 billion (the Muslim world), these estimates being consonant with independent estimates (from UN Population Division data) of 1950-2005 under-5 infant deaths totalling 0.88 million, (the world), 0.85 billion (the non-European world) and 0.4 billion (the Muslim world).

Excess mortality is zero in invading and occupying Western colonial countries but very high in countries that have been invaded and occupied.

[Thus the 1950-2005 excess deaths in countries violently occupied at some time in the post-war era have been estimated (in millions, m) for all the major Occupiers of these countries: Australia (2m in PNG and Solomons), Belgium (36m), Ethiopia (2m, Eritrea), France (142m), Indonesia (0.7m, Timor Leste), Iraq (0.09m in Kuwait), Israel (24m), Netherlands (72m), New Zealand (0.04m, Samoa), Pakistan (51m, Bangladesh), Portugal (23m), Russia (37m), South Africa (0.7m, Namibia), Spain (9m), Turkey (0.05m, Cyprus), UK (727m), and US (82m)] (for Web-published data see: http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2008/08/body-count-global-avoidable-mortality.html). .

This carnage in Occupied countries has been mostly caused by deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease and the ETHICAL dimension for the responsible Occupiers is provided by

World-leading bioethicist Professor Peter Singer (currently at Princeton University and the University of Melbourne) has stated that Peter Singer in Writings on an Ethical Life: “We are responsible not only for what we do but also for what we could have prevented… We should consider the consequences both of what we do and what we decide not to do.”

From a LEGAL perspective, the Geneva Convention (implemented in 1950) demands that war be confined to military combatants, that civilians not be targeted and that the conqueror is obliged to do everything within his means to preserve the lives of the conquered. Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War demand that the Occupier does everything “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” to preserve the health and lives of its Occupied subjects.

Article 55 states: “To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population …” and Article 56 states: “To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory …” (see: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/y4gcpcp.htm ).

However consulting the World Health Organization (see: http://www.who.int/en/ ) we find that “annual total per capita medical expenditure” in Occupied Afghanistan is $26 and $130 in Occupied Iraq) – as compared to about $3,000 in Australia and NATO Occupier countries and $6,400 for the US.

Failure is the converse of success. Is Australian complicity in active and passive mass murder of 25 million Asians “success” or “failure”?

Professor Peter Singer provides the further ETHICAL viewpoint in relation to the active and passive killing of newborn infants (noting that about TWO THIRDS of the avoidable deaths on Spaceship Earth and in the various Australian-occupied countries today are of under-5 year old infants): “Doctors who deliberately leave a baby to die when they have the awareness, the ability, and the opportunity to save the baby’s life, are just as morally responsible for the death as they would be if they had brought it about by a deliberate , positive action.”

There is very proper focus on those responsible for the 9-11 atrocity - 3,000 victims but we still do NOT know who did 9/11, notwithstanding Mainstream media and politician propaganda.

However Mainstream media and politicians IGNORE the REAL 9-11 atrocity – the 9-11 million post-invasion avoidable deaths associated with the Bush Wars from 1990-2008 – we DO know who has been involved in this carnage: the US, the UK, NATO and Australia (see “9-11 excuse for US global genocide. The real 9-11 atrocity: Millions Dead in Bush Wars”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/25184/42/ and “Media-ignored 9-11 crime: 9-11 million dead in Bush wars”: http://gpolya.newsvine.com/_news/2008/09/12/1860137-media-ignored-9-11-crime-9-11-million-dead-in-bush-wars ).

Here is a breakdown of avoidable Indigenous deaths in post-1950 US Asian wars in which Australia has been involved.

Korean War (1 million avoidable deaths).

Indo-China War (13 million avoidable deaths)

Iraq Sanctions and War (4 million avoidable deaths; 6 million Iraqi refugees).

Afghanistan War (roughly 4-6 million avoidable deaths; 4 million Afghan refugees).

We must also add the 0.6 million global post-invasion opiate drug-related deaths (about 50,000 in the US, 2,000 in Australia) due to US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry to 93% of world market share in 2007, as compared to only 5% in 2001 (UN Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report 2007: http://www.unodc.org/ ).

The carnage in Occupied Iraq (post-invasion excess deaths 2 million, post-invasion under-5 infant deaths 0.6 million, 6 million refugees) and in Occupied Afghanistan (post-invasion excess deaths 4-6 million, under-5 infant deaths 2.1 million and refugees totalling 4 million) are indicative of an Iraqi Genocide and an Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention (“acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”) (see: (see “9-11 excuse for US global genocide. The real 9-11 atrocity: Millions Dead in Bush Wars”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/25184/42/ and “Media-ignored 9-11 crime: 9-11 million dead in Bush wars”: http://gpolya.newsvine.com/_news/2008/09/12/1860137-media-ignored-9-11-crime-9-11-million-dead-in-bush-wars ) .

A final statistic: the “annual death rate” is 6.2% for under-5 year old infants in Australia-occupied Afghan as compared to 10.2% for Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese in World War 2 (for which crime Japanese generals were tried and hanged) (see: http://gpolya.newsvine.com/_news/2008/04/11/1425470-tibet-exposes-australia-as-worlds-worst-human-rights-abuser ). Is this an Australian “success” or a “failure”?

Journalists, editors, politicians, academics and commentators ignoring the 9-11 million avoidable deaths in the Bush Wars in which Australia is complicit would face 10 years in prison in Austria if they minimized or denied the Jewish Holocaust component of the World War 2 Holocaust (see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/12483/26/ ).

Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Brilliant Indian writer Arundhati Roy has commented on the “politically correct” racist (PC racist) Western “denial” reality: “the ultimate privilege of the √©lite is not just their deluxe lifestyles, but deluxe lifestyles with a clear conscience.”

Australia has grossly failed in War through commission, ignoring and denial of horrendous human carnage amounting to Genocide as defined by the UN Genocide Convention – ignoring and denial will not make this continuing Holocaust and Genocide go away.

Indeed outstanding writers Dr Weissbrot, Dr Paul Craig Roberts, Tariq Ali and John Pilger refer to the Iraqi Holocaust and/or Iraqi Genocide and top US law professor Ali Khan refers to the Afghan Genocide. 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter wants Bush and Blair arraigned for war crimes and a group of Australian lawyers and doctors have sent a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court over Australia’s participation in the Iraqi Genocide (as have I) (see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/24575/42/ ).

Let us now turn to Climate Change – and again I will rely upon authoritative scientific sources and the opinions of outstanding scholars in documenting and quantifying Australia’s “failure” i.e. its lack of “success” (e.g. see “Climate Emergency: what top world scientific experts say”: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/climate-emergency-what-top-world-scientific-experts-say ).

Whether it is climate change risks or major disease risks (e.g. from flu, smoking, alcohol, obesity etc), responsible risk management means that we take very seriously the advice from top scientific and medical experts at the cutting edge of research in these areas and ALSO from other outstanding scientists and top scientific bodies able to make authoritative statements about such risks.

You are familiar with the realities of man-made global warming. Each year the sun irradiates the earth with 10,000 times more energy than is used by man each year. Light reflected and re-irradiated from the earth is absorbed by gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and water (H2O). Since the Industrial Revolution the atmospheric CO2 concentration has gone from 280 parts per million (ppm) to a current 387 ppm; it is increasing at about 2.5 ppm per year; and while being at the lowest point of the 11-year solar irradiance cycle in 2008, the extent of Arctic sea ice in 2008 is the second lowest on record (see “Climate Code red. The case for emergency action” by David Spratt and Philip Sutton (Scribe, Melbourne, 2008; see: http://www.climatecodered.net/ ).

This is what the official US Government National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC: http://nsidc.org/ ) said in September 2008: “Following a record rate of ice loss through the month of August, Arctic sea ice extent already stands as the second-lowest on record, further reinforcing conclusions that the Arctic sea ice cover is in a long-term state of decline”.

The Arctic is now several degrees warmer than it was half a century ago and positive feedback mechanisms are accelerating warming. Thus replacing white, light-reflecting ice and snow with “black” sea water means the arctic absorbs more solar energy (the so-called “albedo flip”. The tundra is melting releasing methane and CO2 which in turn increase temperature through the greenhouse effect.

Responding to the accelerating and catastrophic loss of Arctic sea ice (it may be all gone within 5 years) top US climate scientist; Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr James Hansen: “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm” (see: http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1126 ) and “we face a climate emergency” (see: http://www.climatecodered.net/ ).

According to top coral experts the world’s coral reefs are ALREADY in serious trouble due to ocean acidification (from dissolved CO2) and ocean warming (leading to expulsiom of photosynthetic algal symbionts from the coral) (see: Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification, Science 14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1737 – 1742: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/318/5857/1737 ).

The coral scientists tell us that the world’s coral will die above 450 ppm. Top UK climate scientist Dr James Lovelock FRS tells us that above 500 ppm CO2 the algae of the oceans that keep us cool (through promoting cloud formation and sequestering CO2) decline dramatically and the Greenland ice sheet goes (leading to sea level rise of 7 metres) (see “The Revenge of Gaia” by James Lovelock)..

Yet Australia under the climate criminal Lib-Labs is aiming at increasing atmospheric CO2 to 450-550 ppm (Labor) and indefinitely (the Liberals).

This is what some other outstanding Australian and overseas climate scientists, Nobel Laureates and top medical experts say about what is effectively a Climate Emergency due to man-made greenhouse gas pollution (see: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/climate-emergency-what-outstanding-australian-scientists-say and http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/climate-emergency-what-top-world-scientific-experts-say ):

Dr John Beddington FRS, Chief UK Government Science Adviser: “Billions” are threatened buy biofuel- (and climate-change-) driven global food price increases.

Dr James Lovelock FRS says that “billions” are threatened by climate change and that over 6 billion will perish this century due to unaddressed global warming.

Nobel Prize-winner Professor Peter Doherty: “We are in real danger. The recent CSIRO report suggests that temperatures could rise as much as five degrees by 2070. The ice is melting much more quickly than anyone expected. The Himalayas are melting very fast. We are now talking about the Arctic being ice-free by 2030”

Professor David de Kretser, Governor of Victoria, and eminent Australian medical scientist in launching the book “Climate Code Red. The case for emergency action” by David Spratt and Philip Sutton (Scribe, Melbourne, 2008): “There is no doubt in my mind that this is the greatest problem confronting mankind at this time and that it has reached the level of a state of emergency.”

Australian Government Climate Change Adviser Professor Ross Garnaut was ordered by the Federal Government to model projections on 450-550 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere. He completely ignored major matters e.g. the true cost of coal-based power is 4-5 times the Market cost; 5,000 Australian side each year from coal burning pollutants; Australia’s fossil fuel-derived Exported CO2 pollution exceeds the Domestic pollution; Australia is one of the World’s worst Greenhouse gas polluters; indeed Garnaut ignored TWO THIRDS of Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution sources (see: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/critical-scientific-review-of-badly-flawed-australian-garnaut-climate-change-review ).

Garnaut has now made his final disastrous recommendation of a "10% cut on 2000 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020"

Summarized below are the quoted views of 3 of Australia's top climate scientists (all on the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC) about Australian Government Climate Change Adviser Professor Garnaut’s 2008 advice of “10% decrease on 2000 GHG level by 2020” (see: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/what-top-australian-climate-experts-say-about-garnauts-final-recommendation ):

Professor David Karoly: “I would anticipate the Government would take an even weaker approach than Garnaut, which is going to essentially be no change whatsoever.”

Dr Bill Hare said that the Garnaut recommendations would devastate ecosystems across the planet: “Ross Garnaut's report is effectively putting off the cost of climate change to another generation, who will have to deal with a three-degree rise in temperature as well as sucking carbon dioxide out of the air … It has failed to face up to this risk issue.”

Professor Amanda Lynch: "I think they will take it as another piece of evidence that Australia is not really interested in walking the walk …How much is it worth to us to have a Great Barrier Reef? How much is it worth to us to be self-sufficient in food?."

Data from the official US Energy Information Administration tells us what the Garnaut Recommendation and what it actually means - an over 50% INCREASE by 2020 in Australia’s total Domestic plus Exported fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollution.

All testament to Australian “failure” over Climate Change – the only “success” has been for Lib-Lab politicians, corporations, investors and workers benefiting from CO2 pollution.

[The US EIA comparative data for "total annual fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollution"(tonnes CO2 per person per year) in 2005 for some key Regions and Countries:

North America (16.1), Central and South America (2.5), Europe (7.9), Eurasia (9.0), Middle East (7.9), Africa (1.2), Asia and Oceania (1.6), the World (4.1) - as compared to Australia (20.2 or 42.3 if our Exported CO2 pollution is included), the US (20.1), Canada (19.2), Russia (11.9), Germany and South Korea (10.2), Japan (9.7), Spain and South Africa (9.6), New Zealand (9.4), Italy (8.0), the UK (7.9), Poland (7.4), Ukraine (7.3), Iran (7.0), France (6.6), Malaysia and Sweden (6.5), Venezuela (6.0), China (4.1), Mexico (3.8), Argentina (3.7), Turkey (3.3), Thailand (3.0), Egypt (2.1), Brazil (1.9), Fiji (1.5), India (1.1), Philippines (0.9), Nigeria and Pakistan (0.8), Kiribati and Bangladesh (0.3). [The special cases of oil-rich desert states are Bahrain (36.6), Kuwait (32.8), Qatar 61.9), Saudi Arabia (15.6) and United Arab Emirates (33.7)] (see: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/what-top-australian-climate-experts-say-about-garnauts-final-recommendation ).

Australia’s fossil fuel-derived Domestic and Exported CO2 pollution is now about 10 times that of China and the World average, 40 times that of India and 140 times that of Bangladesh and Kiribati (both already drowning due to Climate Change).

IN SUMMARY, is Australia pulling its weight in the Climate Emergency? No.

Does Australia have any evident intention of tackling the Climate Emergency? No.

Australia has comprehensively failed on Climate Change.

Australia has been involved in all post-1950 US Asian Wars that have been associated with 25 million Indigenous Asian avoidable deaths.

Australia is still involved in the Iraqi Genocide and the Afghan Genocide – indeed the avoidable death associated with the Bush I and Bush II wars now total 9-11 million..

In terms of human, national and global devastation Australia has comprehensively failed in War and Climate Change.

For detailed , documented and carefully researched Climate Emergency Fact Sheets put on the Web by the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group (including many U3A members) see: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/system/app/pages/sitemap/hierarchy and http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/Home ).