I’m no clairvoyant, but I can already tell you that the PM’s [Scott Morrison’s] number one strategy in his speech to the international community at COP26 in Glasgow will be to take the world on a Gish Gallop about Australia’s stellar climate change performance. A Gish Gallop is a bad faith rhetorical technique where the speaker strings together a number of false, misleading and out-of-context claims in quick succession. It’s a tactic that’s based on the old adage that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on. But in this case, someone opened the top gate and let all of the misdirections, half-truths and sleights-of-hand out at once. The best response to a Gish Gallop is to pre-bunk the claims. That is; to debunk them ahead of time. … One statistic that the federal government has recently been crowing about is that since 2005 is that Australia’s emissions have fallen by 20%. Apparently this far exceeds the OECD average – the average of developed countries – of a 7% reduction over that same period. The problem is that this isn’t just not comparing apples and oranges. The federal government with this statistic is comparing apples and cephalopods. Emissions from historical changes to land management practices – which uniquely privileges Australia and far predates the current federal government - account for about three-quarters of this reduction. And the rest comes from the fact that they’re comparing everyone else’s emissions pre-COVID to Australia’s emissions after a full year of COVID’s economic – and emissions – impact. If you put Australia on like terms with our international peers Australia’s emissions, didn’t just not decrease by 20% in that time, they actually increased by 3% over that period. This is another instance of spreadsheet magic from the federal government while trying to pass that off as climate action. (

Tim Baxter