The UN Climate Summit has been forgotten but we still seem to be trying to discover how long is a piece of string. While an article since in prominent science journal Nature acknowledges the “barely risen” (as it puts it) temperature over 16 years makes tenuous the aim to try to limit temperature increases to the IPCC’s 2C, the authors suggest the increased energy generated by humans lies buried in the oceans and is stoking sea level rises. Yet the rate of such rises poses no serious threat to humans.
Another recent report says the Presidents of the US and India have agreed to scale back the chemical refrigerants (HFCs) used in air conditioners and home appliances because they may be trapping the sun’s heat in the atmosphere. Yet with no apparent effect on temperatures. Of course, the US Administration recently claimed that global warming is a bigger threat to mankind than Islamic State.
More sensibly, former head of the National Climate Centre, William Kininmonth, argued in his letter in The Australian that queries about the temperature data published by the Bureau of Meteorology should be examined not on their own but as part of a full and open scrutiny of the scientific methodology used.
Indeed, the stage has surely been reached in the climate change string where a thorough explanation needs to be provided to a confused public of the justification for governments continuing to spend taxpayers money on policies designed to reduce temperatures which are already stagnant. Desirably, such an explanation should be made before any decision on continuing the enormous subsidies for renewable energy.
Former co-founder of Greenpeace, Canadian Patrick Moore, is due shortly in Australia to explain why he is a convert and now accepts the growing sceptical view of the dangerous warming thesis. He is even trying to obtain access to Abbott to explain why he should become a full sceptic. Moore (no relation) is a much sought after speaker overseas and, thanks to the sponsorship by Case Smit (who brought Monckton to Australia) will be making presentations from 20 October. I have arranged for him to address a lunch at The Australian Club at the invitation of Hugh Morgan on Monday 27 October.
The Bomb Threats
The lead story in today’s Australian (see Fear of jihadi bomb makers below) should remind us that the jihadist activity by Islamic State is only one of the threats from extremist Islamic groups. As pointed out by Maley, jihadism is not confined to acquisition of territory and the killings which accompany that. The possible development of bombs that have the capacity to effect major destruction within western countries is of serious concern and it appears that the previously hardly-mentioned Khorosan group, now described by Brandis “as a very, very dangerous entity”, has developed expertise in bomb-making.
Whether this group yet has the capacity to develop major bombs within western countries is not clear but expressions of concern by US officials as well as Brandis indicate the seriousness of the problem. It certainly adds to the need for strong counter-terrorist manpower and laws. It is important that our intelligence agencies appear to be aware of the potential threat but, as with other such threats from radical groups, there is a need for the government to better inform the public of the extent of such groups and their activities. If it –and others- are very, very dangerous, we should be told about it
Beyond this is the on-going concern about the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and the potential for countries which already have them, such as Pakistan, to supply fellow sympathisers with such weaponry or the skills to make them (already done with N Korea). Two attachments discuss the Iranian problem, with Colin Rubenstein (from AIJAC) arguing that the development there of a nuclear capacity, with the capacity to use it via intercontinental missiles already available, would constitute a much greater threat than that posed by IS. The second attachment from the US’s National Review, which is probably the leading organ for conservative/Republican opinion in America now that the ONLINE version is daily, argues that “because of the one-sided concessions made by the United States in the current nuclear talks, it is clear this administration is incapable of negotiating a nuclear agreement with Iran that” … “halts or significantly sets back Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and lasts 20 years or longer”. If correct, this is a real worry and we should tell the US of our concern.
However, outside those who support Israel in Australia, precious little attention seems to be given here to the development of nuclear weaponry whether by Iran or other countries. Yet the potential spread of such weaponry to an Islamic country is of major importance and we should be expressing our view, particularly if the US is letting the side down.
Iraq, 03 October 2014, Prime Minister (Press Release)
“The Government will commit up to eight Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft to participate in airstrikes in Iraq as part of the international coalition formed to disrupt and degrade ISIL. Once the appropriate legal arrangements are in place with the Iraqi government, Australian Special Forces will also deploy to Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi security forces.
These forces will join the RAAF E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and KC-30A multi-role tanker transport already supporting coalition air operations over Iraq. This is not a decision the Government has taken lightly. Ultimately it is Iraq that must defeat ISIL, but it cannot do it alone.
This decision reflects the Government’s assessment – shared by a growing coalition of Middle Eastern and Western partners – that ISIL represents a significant threat not only to the people of Iraq but to the wider region and to our domestic security.
At the United Nations in New York last week, Iraq’s new Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi welcomed Australia’s commitment to support Iraq in defeating ISIL.
Australia will be acting as part of a large coalition of countries supporting Iraq in the fight against ISIL and contributing to the humanitarian relief effort.
Importantly, a number of Iraq’s Arab neighbours are participating in operations against ISIL alongside the United States and other countries including the United Kingdom and France. More have declared their intention to join air combat operations against the terrorist group.
Australia is reluctant to reach out to conflicts thousands of miles away, but this conflict has reached out to us. At least 60 Australians are now fighting with terrorist groups in the Middle East and at least 100 Australians are supporting them at home. I have enormous respect for Australian servicemen and women and their safety is the Government’s utmost concern.
They will complete their mission with professionalism and courage. Our thoughts are with their families, who will have the support of the entire Australian community. The Australian Government will do whatever is possible at home and abroad to keep the Australian people safe.”
My only comment on this welcome announcement is that a similar announcement is needed about the domestic situation.