Not content with being made to look like an idiot by assorted interviewees fluent in English (such as former deputy Secretary of State Rich Armitage for example) abc Lateline host Tony Jones has shown his commitment to multiculturalism by being made to look like a complete twat by someone with English as a second language.
Senior economics adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin Andrei Illarionov was constantly baited by Tones throughout, with the silverheaded simpleton trying to get mileage out of the interviewee's chosen term of a totalitarian sect:-
TONY JONES: Alright. Let's try to get to the bottom of that. Do you regard any scientists who believe that global warming is a reality to be part of what you appear to be saying is a dangerous totalitarian sect?
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: Certainly not. Certainly not, because global warming, at least over the last 20th century, looks like fact. Global temperature increase by 0.6 degrees Celsius and looks like it is established fact of science. But we know that in the history of Earth and even in the history of civilisation, fluctuations of global temperatures were exceeding much this 0.6 degrees. Temperature was lower by 10 degrees Celsius and was higher by 15 degrees Celsius in the history of Earth. So that is why these fluctuations by 0.6 degrees Celsius is very minor, negligible.
TONY JONES: I'll come to more of the detail in a moment. I'd like first of all to get to the bottom of who exactly it is you're accusing of being totalitarian.
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: I think those people who are denying the right to speak on international conferences, on international gatherings, to provide the scientific evidence, those who actually present myths and falsifications as proof of the so-called global warming caused by anthropagenic activity. People who are claiming that there will be droughts, floods, there will be more storms in intensity and frequency, that's absolutely unfounded claims that do not have any confirmation in the science.
TONY JONES: But you appreciate that most of the people making those claims are in fact scientists, so are you accusing those scientists of being part of a totalitarian sect?
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: Those people who are scientists never make such claims. Those people who are making such claims are not scientists, and that's a very clear distinction. For example, a couple of weeks ago in the UK, there was a conference, climate conference in Exeter that have been called upon by the British Prime Minister, and there were many people there, and the scientists were presenting evidence of no anything, any substantial climatic changes. There is no disintegration of Antarctic ice sheet. There is no catastrophic melting of ice in Arctic. There is no sea level rise that will be incomparable by any historical standards. They were scientists and they never claimed all this nonsense that has been published widely around the world. But there were also some other people who belonged to this sect, and those people are trying to make this case without any scientific proof, without any scientific foundation.
TONY JONES: Do you include the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in that category of people, because he says that climate change is one of the greatest challenges now facing the world.
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: I do think that British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, faces very serious challenge, because he is risking to be captured by this sect of Kyotoists, by this totalitarian sect of Kyotoists. Those people are trying to use the power of the British Government, of the British authority and the image and authority of the British Prime Minister in making their case. I think it would be much better for the British Prime Minister to distance himself from those people who are trying to exploit his name, his position, his power and his authority for making their absolutely unfounded case.
TONY JONES: I'm trying to be specific or get you to be specific about who these people are. You say the totalitarian sect has virtually captured Britian's Tony Blair, that a totalitarian sect has engaged in a conspiracy to silence certain scientists.
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: I have said there's a very serious risk that British Prime Minister can be captured by this sect, and in the sake of the, first of all, British Prime Minister and the British society and the rest of the world, I think it would be very well - it would be very good if the British Prime Minister would make very clear statements that he is not part of this sect and he is not captured by this sect, and that is why his views and his behaviour is not motivated by the absolutely unscientific claims that have been made by some representatives of this sect.
Gotta love the term Kyotoists- wish I'd thought of it. It's patently obvious to whom Illarionov is referring to, unless you're thick enough to be an ABC journalist- the coterie of eco-nazis, dingbats and assorted doom-peddlars who are utterley reliant on pushing the barrow of incipient disaster to keep their substantial incomes (and public funding) coming; also, what they accuse conservatives of (keeping people in line through fear) is their entire stock in trade, and what's more they use a dodgy theoretical threat rather than a real one that flies aircraft into crowded buildings. Ignoring the fact that Tony Blair is a bit of a git, he's also head of a centrist/left party that is heavily threatened by a resurgent left in the form of the Greens and has an election coming up; perhaps political expediency has more to do with the UK's signing of Kyoto than any real considerations.
After all, pragmatism plays a large role in political decisions:-
TONY JONES: Alright. When you were advising, as a scientific adviser, President Putin, did you put it to him that these arguments that he was now accepting were actually the arguments of a totalitarian sect and that if he signed up to Kyoto, he would be in danger of being captured by a totalitarian sect?
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: Neither President Putin nor anyone who was present at the Russian Government meeting that has approved ratification of the Kyoto protocol for Russia never said that we did it because of scientific ground of the Kyoto protocol. On the contrary, everybody who was speaking there was saying that we do understand that Kyoto protocol does not have any scientific background, and we are making this decision not because Kyoto protocol is scientifically proven but because we would like to have good relations with Europe, with European countries. So that is why, in Russia, there is very clear distinction between whether there is any scientific background to the Kyoto protocol and why, when we were making such a decision.
So the Ruskies signed up for the short-term benefit of keeping EU aid flowing, and to hopefully score some trade deals? A bit tawdry, but necessary with the basket-case state of the former soviet economy- not a problem faced by either the USA or Australia. Tones then started to get a little desperate:-
TONY JONES: But even George W. Bush, who's hardly an enemy of the fossil fuel industry, said on September 4, "Greenhouse gases are causing global warming."
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: I have not heard that Mr Bush is a part of scientific community and he has participating in some scientific experiments. I did talk, over the last several years, with hundreds of scientists in climate and in other related scientists like geophysics, chemistry, biology, agriculture and so on, and it is very, very clear: a thousand years ago there was a medial climatic optimum when the temperature was 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than today, when Viking actually found Greenland and call it Greenland, when temperature was much higher. 2,000 years ago, grapes were grown on British islands. Nobody would do it today, because temperature at that time was maybe a couple of degrees higher than today. We know that the climate is changing, changing permanently, constantly, and these changes have nothing in common with anthropagenic activity. It is due to nature variability. We have to understand better nature variability of climate, and that is why it is very important to understand better climatic system, and only after that, to make any claims and to undertake any actions in policy.
TONY JONES: And if you're wrong and we reach a tipping point, as many scientists actually believe we're headed for, where there is no return from rapid climate change and extreme weather change because of global warming, it will be too late to continue this debate, will it not?
ANDREI ILLARIONOV: All these claims about global warming are based only on modelling, on climate modelling. But if we are in economy or in any other area of human activity, we base our decisions - decisions that involved billions and tens of billions or maybe hundreds of billions US dollars - if we would base such decisions on modelling, we would be in a very, very bad situation, and we never did it before and we're not doing in any other area, except for this particular area, and actually there is no - once again, no confirmation of these claims. Just one example, about sea level rise that actually is - some people say would cause floods and actually floods that would cover London, New York and other cities. Scientists are saying that the worst forecast for sea level rise for the whole century could be between 30 and 50 centimetres. Neither 30 nor 50 centimetres can cover London, New York or whatever. But it is interesting that sea level rise that is observed today is 10 times smaller than the flood - the sea level rise increase several thousand years ago. So without anthropagenic activity, we have much faster sea level rise. Now, with anthropagenic activity, we have 10 times smaller sea level rise. So what is the base of those claim?
When an ABC journalist starts enlisting the aid of known idiot George W. Bush to bolster an argument you know he's in real trouble.
Poor old Tony- he looked so smug at the start of the interview, ready to take to pieces this poor dumb former commie, and wound up looking like he'd been in the showers at Long Bay with some particularly slippery soap; he had to bail out by claiming the sattelite link was failing before the Ruskie could finish putting the boot in.
They're to have the other side of the debate put later this week, no doubt by some ratbag with as much credibility as an NBC big cheese. Stay tuned.
(Cross-posted at the Daily Diatribe).