Last Saturday I presented a paper entitled “Exposing the myths of climate change” (see below) to a forum on Climate Change held at Noosa’s Long Weekend Festival. Three others also made presentations to an audience of about 250, many of whom wished to continue question time at the end. Those three were Professor Bob Carter, Dr Ken Flynn(a physicist from Noosaville) and Mr Geoffrey Cousins, now President of the Australian Conservation Foundation and formerly an adman. A summary of the views expressed by Carter is available here (the others had no written summary). A longer version of my presentation was left at the forum and these quickly disappeared.
Mr Case Smit, who lives at Noosa and has taken a close interest in global warming issues, had accepted the task of finding people prepared to participate in this forum. As now frequently occurs, he experienced difficulty in finding two people prepared to speak on the warmist side. Former Liberal head, Dr John Hewson, agreed to be one speaker but pulled out close to the starting time for no apparent reason (I have previously debated Hewson on this subject at a function).
But other “difficulties” were experienced right from the start – and continued almost up to the take-off. The chairman was an ABC journalist who also pulled out. It is not clear why this happened but it may have been because some on the committee involved in the Long Weekend Festival initially judged that a “balanced” forum on C Change would consist of three, two of whom would be warmists. It appears that this is in fact the view of the ABC and playwright David Williamson (whose most recent play Felicity and I had the misfortune to attend) was sympathetic to that approach. As the founders of Noosa festivals, and financial contributors, the views of David and Kristin Williamson carry weight.
Fortunately, the committee agreed to appoint former Labor minister Gary Johns as the replacement chairman and he stipulated that as much time as possible be given to the audience to ask questions. This meant that each speaker was allowed only 8 minutes to put their view. When told of this both the warmists objected to the proposal by both Bob and self to use our time by showing graphs. Although initially they received a sympathetic response from the chair of the Festival (a former senior officer in Macquarie, which has also been a major supporter of Noosa festivals), Johns indicated it was up to each presenter to decide how he presented their case.
This did not stop Cousins from trying to intervene in regard to almost every question to support the position he took in his 8 minutes. That position is that “the science” is settled (over 90% of scientists accept the need to increase the carbon price). He quoted the view of US economist Nordhaus that to have a substantive effect in reducing usage of fossil fuels the carbon price needs to go to $40/tonne from its existing $1/tonne. Accordingly, no notice should be taken of the graphs shown by both Bob Carter and myself and that we should recognise that major businesses (and other countries) are now moving to support or use energy from renewable sources. Cousins told the audience in no uncertain terms of his knowledge of the business world and the particular weight he put on what he claimed was a decision by AGL to cease using fossil fuels by 2050.
Fortunately, Cousins persisted with his (“its all settled”) view to such an extent that members of the audience started to shout him down. This led him to express the “killer” viz that Noosa was not the Noosa he once knew but had gone completely off track in understanding what is happening in society. This ensured that, after the forum, Bob and myself were justifiably able to claim that self-destruction by an opponent constituted a win in the debate!
It is presumably coincidental that, while the Noosa forum was being held, Shortenhad just had accepted by the ALP Conference a policy not dissimilar to the one advocated by Cousins. Labor’s policy of having renewables supply 50% of energy by 2030 as well as a carbon trading scheme appearsas desperation measures by Shorten without any back up as to the effects – or for that matter consequences. Some of you may have seen the cartoon by The Age’s Spooner last Saturday. Spooner portrays “Shorten’s World 2030” as a boat of asylum seekers approaching an island full of wind turbines and with the residents there calling for help. One of the boat people however is saying “I’d say it’s time to turn back”.