Submission on Post 2020 Emissions Reduction Target

Attached is a copy of my submission to the Task Force established by the Abbott government  in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to consider the target for emissions reduction that might be adopted after 2020. Such targets are scheduled for discussion at the Paris conference of the IPCC in December. The Abbott government has indicated that it  will announce a target in mid‑2015.

The Government has published an Issues Paper outlining the context in which it purports to assess the background against which the Paris conference will occur and it has invited submissions on this target.

The submission by the Institute for Private Enterprise argues that, because of the extensive uncertainties and questions about the analyses in reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in earlier government reports, Australia should indicate that it will not submit any target to reduce emissions before a comprehensive inquiry has been conducted into those analyses. Such an inquiry should be undertaken by selected individual climate experts and economists who have not previously contributed to analyses in IPCC reports or expressed definitive views on the dangerous warming thesis. It also argues that at the Paris Conference Australia should indicate that any proposed target must be based on an agreement by all major emitters.

The submission contains an analysis of the various changes in climate which are commonly used to justify the setting of emissions reduction targets. This analysis argues that the extensive uncertainties and questions about such justifications do not warrant the adoption of government policies designed to reduce emissions. It also rejects many of the assertions and claims made in the Issues Paper itself and notes that some important deficiencies in those assertions and claims are not included.

I note that, at the London Royal Society,  Professor Kelly and 43 other members are challenging the official Society view that the science is settled. And a group of sceptical US scientists is travelling to the Vatican to advise the Pope that there are so many uncertainties about the science that his imminent dictum should not accept the science is settled view. The Abbott government should also issue a dictum along the same lines.

The conclusion in this submission is as follows:

“In summary, many uncertainties emerge from a careful assessment of claims that a danger exists of ever increasing temperatures because of usage of fossil fuels by humans. No substance can be established for that claim because no definitive causal correlation can be established between past changes in temperatures and in atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Some past temperature increases are clearly due to natural causes and research shows the version of published temperatures has a significant upward bias. Research also suggests that, as the extent of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is much smaller than previously thought, any danger from rising temperatures is much diminished. Once account is taken of naturally caused increases, of the much smaller CO2 concentrations, and of the upward bias, the need for action to reduce fossil fuel emissions disappears. Of course, some argue that precautionary government action should be taken, just as we insure our houses and buildings against damage we know may occur. But the various deficiencies in the dangerous warming thesis suggest any risk that might exist from higher temperatures could be well handled by preventive action by businesses and individuals”.

The submission is a rather lengthy one but, in view of the importance attached to the issue, it was considered desirable to cover the main issues. I am most grateful to physicist Dr Tom Quirk for his assistance and, in particular, for the research he has included and which offers a new perspective on aspects such as the extent of CO2 concentrations and temperature measurements.

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