Today’s Australian has published two letters, one by me questioning whether there is any substantive analysis justifying the adoption of policies to reduce emissions and the other pointing out that the setting of targets per se is often a meaningless exercise (see below). It is encouraging that The Australian has been prepared to publish such questioning of the analytical basis of the dangerous warming thesis. One hopes that it might be prepared to take the analysis further.
There is however a need to note editorial changes in the original letter I sent to The Australian.
First, my original letter asked whether there is any “substantive” (not substantial) analysis justifying an emission reductions program. The editor presumably judged that my argument needed to be softened.
Second, the editor changed the reference to a period when there was little if any increase in temperatures since the late 19th century to a period since the late 20th century. The editor may have concluded that my original letter had made an error and was kindly correcting it on my behalf.
However, I deliberately used the late 19th century as a starting point because for Australia at least there is evidence that some monthly temperatures reached highest levels ever in the 19th century. Expert analyst Dr Jenifer Marohasy, for example, claims that January 1896 was the hottest ever for January and another expert (Dr Jo Nova) has pointed out that there are “long hot records” for the late 1880s and 1890s. It is not inconceivable that a proper inquiry would reveal that Australian temperatures have fallen since that period.
Related to this I have, with the help of Tom Quirk, published analyses suggesting that the customarily accepted 0.8C increase since 1910 century mainly reflects faulty measurements for Australia, although some of the faults would also have occurred in overseas countries too. The faults include the overstatement of temperatures in the 20th century due to faulty calculations of averages , the failure to allow for heat islands in cities, and “adjustments” by the BOM to “raw” temperatures which appear to have an upward bias.
Various meteorologists have produced increasing evidence of the latter and Dr Marohasy has recently written to the Bureau of Meteorology asking for a (downwards) correction to temperatures published for Rutherglen, Wagga, Deniliquin and Kerang. This is not the place to outline details of this questioning analysis (see web sites of Marohasy and Jo Nova) but the gist of it is that the “raw” data (that is, the data as originally recorded) shows a downward trend in temperatures since 1910 whereas the “homogenized” data (that is, with adjustments made to the raw data by BOM) show an upward trend. For one of the weather stations what was a cooling of 0.35C per century using raw data became a 1.7C warming trend after adjustments by the BOM.
More broadly, two thirds of Australia’s warming trend comes from the adjustments to historic records from 84 sites. Beyond this, the Bureau’s adjustments cannot be replicated because according to Jo Nova the methods it uses are kept secret. This is not something new: the BOM’s methods have been seriously questioned for a number of years and the conclusion of the recent “inquiry” established by Minister Baldwin (assistant to Environment Minister Hunt) got no further than deciding that several aspects needed to be further examined by next year.
The handling of this situation by the Environment Minister is most unsatisfactory. The responsibility for reviewing the BOM’s adjustments to temperatures should be moved to Prime Minister’s Department and Treasury and a preliminary report should be made before the Paris meeting.
Royal Commission on Trade Unions
It is unfortunate that Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon allowed himself to accept an invitation to address a Liberal Party function while still a commissioner (and it is almost unbelievable that the NSW branch judged it appropriate to invite him). However it is difficult to see that Labor will gain from its attacks on Heydon and Abbott. The implication of the attacks is that the RC has accumulated a lot of evidence supporting major changes in existing workplace relations arrangements and that Shorten will be subject to considerable criticism (if not more) himself. The attacks may partly reflect the fact that it was revealed a few days ago that Shorten would be appearing again. But judging by his record, Heydon will certainly not hold back from his assessments because of the scare tactics adopted by Labor.