Climate Change – A New Perspective

Climate Change – A New Perspective

Today’s Australian has published a first on the dangerous warming thesis. While it does not  reject that thesis, the examination of various analyses by its Environment Editor, Graham Lloyd, and in the Editorial itself, indicates that the scientific case for government intervention to reduce usage of fossil fuels cannot be sustained by the present state of  “the science” and that further debate favourable to the consensus would be needed to justify intervention.

Hitherto The Australian has argued that it would be pointless Australia intervening unless other major emitters also took comparable action. Now it’s editorial adds (see below Global warming facts must give us all pause to think) that such action would be an exercise in environmental futility viz “ This newspaper has consistently supported market mechanisms …provided policies are sensibly framed and act in concert with our trading partners. Lack of global action renders a carbon price on our shores an act of economic self-harm and an exercise in environmental futility for now. But debate must continue” (my emphasis).

The publication of my letter more or less as originally drafted (see below) is also a welcome sign. I raised three important questions neglected or dodged by the consensus scientists. And, although not in my letter, other important questions about temperature changes not answered include, first, why there was no increase between the 1940s and late 1970s despite the increase in fossil fuel emissions over that period and, second, wasn’t the increase from the late 1970s to the late 1990s largely due to natural not human influences. Below is a graph and explanatory table compiled by physicist Dr Tom Quirk showing temperatures and fossil fuel emissions since 1900.

Responses to Lloyd’s Survey

This graph/table is relevant when considering some of the reactions to questions posed to them by Lloyd, who argues “it is a crucial time for science” (see below A pause for this message: climate change numbers aren’t adding up).  

Importantly, for the first time two Australian scientists, Michael Asten and Garth Paltridge (who are of a sceptical view) are given a good run, as is prominent US questioner/sceptic Judith Curry who has developed some standing in the US science community. Note that while Curry does not reject the idea that warming will occur, she claims that it would be considerably less and, according to Lloyd, she “raises serious questions as to whether the climate-model projections of 21st-century temperatures are fit for making public policy decisions”. She and Asten suggest the Earth may be less carbon sensitive to heating than assumed by the IPCC and others. Paltridge asks whether, if some internal oceanic fluctuation has recently reduced the upward trend in temperatures (as some claim), the earlier increase may have been due to some such fluctuation too.

Note also the reactions of various warmists.  “The Earth continues to warm strongly” (Climate Council); the period from 1996 to 2013 had a warming period not significantly different to the long term trend from 1950 to 2012 (Karoly, Melbourne Uni); a reduction in the rate of warming  (not a pause) mainly reflects a range of short term influences (CSIRO); global surface temperatures have continued to climb (Greens Leader Milne); temperatures rose rapidly from the 1970s but have been relatively flat over the most recent 15 years, although this may be a temporary pause and does not invalidate the fundamental physics of global warming (British Met Office); some decades have warmed more rapidly than others (Australian BOM).

Assessed by reference to the graph/table it is difficult to avoid the thought that these reactions by warmists include a fair bit of juggling of data to suit the beliefs of those questioned.

Policy Implications

These are discussed in the this article by Paul Kelly in The Australian. It is unlikely that this material/these analyses by The Australian will reverse the views of prominent warmists: they have locked themselves into the dangerous warming thesis. Nor is it likely that the Opposition will change its view. And Environment Minister Hunt is sticking to his view.

It should, however, add to the uncertainty about the thesis and make it much more difficult for warmists to claim that urgent action is needed to reduce usage of fossil fuels. Abbott has already spoken publicly about the importance of coal and has criticised the ANU decision to sell certain superannuation investments. The material published in The Australian  should make it easier for Abbott to persuade Cabinet to at least not increase action to reduce emissions and, hopefully, to reduce assistance to renewable energy  sources. It also provides a useful basis for Abbott to pose (or answer) questions at the G20 meeting.

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