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Dr Michael Crawford June 23, 2017 Australia

Open letter to Dr Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist

“Your report appears to breach section 137.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 in multiple, highly material, ways whose effect is to mislead while advocating a policy which lengthy historical evidence shows has created harm to the people of Australia and creates more harm the longer it is pursued.”

Dr Alan Finkel
Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist

By Dr Michael Crawford

cc: Members of Australian Parliament and other interested parties

Open letter re your Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market

I have read your recent report with interest. Over about half a century I have observed that government reports are sometimes dishonest, ideological, obfuscatory, authoritarian, bureaucratised, wanting in courage, illogical and sometimes downright stupid.

I have to salute you sir. Your recent report appears to have set new heights in this respect.

Let me take some time to explain why your report so qualifies.


Under section 137.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995, a person commits an offence if they give information to (i) a Commonwealth entity, or (ii) a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth, AND the person (the source of the information) does so knowing that the information (i) is false or misleading; or (ii) omits any matter or thing without which the information is misleading.

As will be seen below, your report appears to meet all of these conditions. Now I know that holding government officials to the same legal standards as apply to other citizens is considered, in official circles, to be unsporting. I also appreciate that the Prime Minister and sundry Ministers and other officials would find it enormously embarrassing were the author of your report to be taken before the courts. So I suspect the chance of you actually having to face charges is pretty slim.

That does not alter the fact that your report appears in breach of section 137.1(1) of the Act in a way that would lead to penalties for less privileged mortals.

So as to the details. The document is false and misleading in numerous ways, but for brevity we will stick with the following:

  • the big lie of the “Clean Energy Target”;
  • omission of an accurate explanation of how and why coal-fired, on-demand plants are being driven from our electricity system;
  • grossly misleading statements about relative costs of various forms of electricity generation;
  • omission of any mention of the minute effect, if any, that your proposed policy will have on temperatures for Australia and the earth as a whole;
  • omission of details of the broad social and economic impacts and different balance of payment consequences of the alternative forms of generation considered.

The Big Lie of the “Clean Energy Target”

The word “clean” occurs about 50 times in your report, particularly in conjunction with what you label a “Clean Energy Target”. This nomenclature is a stroke of which Josef Goebbels would be proud.

It clearly implies that the alternative, in particular our fossil-fuel based legacy system, which is still the source of the vast majority of Australia’s electricity production, is dirty and thus ought to be replaced.

It is reputed that you are a scientist. As such, you must be aware that the main emissions from fossil-fuel generators are water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2) and not the element carbon in molecular or particulate form. After all, the whole Anthropomorphic Global Warming thesis is about the purported impact of elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on global climate, not elevated levels of carbon.

As a scientist, you must be aware that this nefarious substance, implicitly labelled “unclean” in your report, does not actually blacken or discolour clothes on the washing line; does not degrade our physical infrastructure; does not interfere with the operation of machinery; does not cause unfortunate odours; does not obscure the sky; does not irritate the skin or eyes; and does not cause harm to our lungs or other parts of the human body. In short, it does nothing that fits with what people normally understand as “unclean” or “pollution”.

Indeed, you are no doubt aware that every breath you, and the rest of us, exhale has a concentration of CO2 about 100 times higher than in the atmosphere. Perhaps you intend to claim that all mankind has unclean breath on this basis.

You are also undoubtedly aware that without carbon dioxide there would be no life, as we know it, on earth; that it is as essential for our life as are water, oxygen and light. You must know that, together with light and water, it is the critical input for plant life, to be converted into carbon compounds upon which our own sustenance then depends.

Do you claim that water, light and oxygen are also “unclean”?

The simple fact is that carbon dioxide in no way meets any criteria for being “unclean” and you know that you have intentionally used a false label to emotionally mislead the broad majority of the community, including many politicians, about the true nature of the emissions from fossil-fuel plants.

Omission of accurate reason for the displacement of coal-fired generators

Please read on
Open letter by Dr Michael Crawford – June 23, 2017