Policy on Climate Change and Renewable Energy
My previous Commentary on 18 Jan drew attention to the quite wide differences in the increase in global land temperature since 1979 between official government agencies and the satellite operated by the University of Alabama. I indicated that there should be no significant difference between the official agencies and the satellite increases and suggested that the higher increase published by the official agencies reflected significant errors by them. The comparative figures indicated that these errors could amount to 0.4C of the total increase of about 0.8C accepted by the IPCC et al since 1900. I noted also that the “natural” increase during the Pacific Decadal Oscillation from the late 1970s to around 2000 was about 0.4C and that, taking account also of errors, this means there could well have been little or no increase in global land temperature since 1900 due to human activity.
Since 18 January I have received considerable support from recipients of my Commentaries and have been attempting to have an OpEd published explaining this analysis in more detail. I have however had two letters published criticising the renewable energy targets adopted by federal and some state governments as part of their policies of reducing the emissions of CO2. One was published on 18 Jan and was circulated with my Commentary of that date. The other was published yesterday and is set out below along with a letter by former Treasury Secretary head, John Stone.
It should be noted that I have square bracketed and italicised the last para in my letter. That para was deleted by the Ed who was possibly frightened because of its reference to the falsity of the higher increase published by official agencies and the suggestion that, if correct, it could mean that government action to reduce usage of fossil fuels is not justified.
My colleague, John Stone, also had a letter published and the Ed also deleting a para. He has asked the Ed for remission viz “Finally, while rightly exposing all the Labor policy myths, Frydenberg fails to acknowledge the far greater myth on which both Labor’s and the Coalition’s own inane policies in this area are based – namely, that carbon dioxide emissions are (significantly) heating the planet, and that even if they were, that should be a matter of great concern. To adapt George Orwell, only a bunch of gravy-train-riding ‘climate scientists’ would (purport to) believe such stuff; no ordinary person would be so stupid”. As G. Sayer says (Letters,21-22/01), “climate change has been with us since the Earth was formed, and both humans and [other] animals have adapted readily”. ” It will be interesting to see if he succeeds.
The debate about climate change policy has obvious implications for the Coalition and the dissatisfaction among some members with Turnbull’s leadership, including the report that Senator Cory Bernardi plans to split. Turnbull is reported to be making an important speech on Feb 1. Early reports on developments under Trump suggest action has already started to change the Energy Department’s web site.
The hollow promise of renewable energy policy
Letters, The Australian, January 21, 2017
Frydenberg rightly criticises the adoption by Labor at federal and some state levels of targets of 50 per cent for using renewable energy sources to replace coal and gas. Such action has already increased electricity prices, reduced employment in some industries and reduced the ability of businesses to compete internationally. If continued, it will greatly add to problems in the future.
However, the Turnbull Government has not indicated why its own renewable target of 23.5 per cent is appropriate. True, this can be said to have passed the electoral test in 2015. But time moves on, and there is now a recognition not only of the addition to costs but a question as to why Australia should be a leader in usage of renewable energy when it is such a small emitter of CO2.
[Also relevant is the question raised by the difference between the increase in global land temperature published by satellite measurements and that published by official meteorological agencies over the period since 1979 (when satellite measurements started).There should be no significant difference between the two measurement agencies and the much higher increase shown by the official figures (at least 0.5C) must be explained. Until this is done doubts will remain about the extent of the temperature increase and hence the need for reduced usage of fossil fuels.]
Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic
Josh Frydenberg’s article splendidly attacks Labor’s brainless energy policies. At the risk of appearing ungrateful, however, I note that in urging his opposite number “to convince his Labor colleagues in Victoria and the Northern Territory to lift their moratoriums” on gas exploration and production, he omits to remark on the similar stupidity prevailing under the NSW Coalition government. Also, rather than bothering to reject Labor’s claim that the government “will simply not be able to achieve the commitments that we made at the Paris conference”, he should state unequivocally that, first, the non-binding, non-legally enforceable Paris agreement entailed no “commitment” whatsoever, and second, that it is about to be rendered even more irrelevant by President Trump’s revocation of Obama’s executive order purporting to legitimise it.
John Stone, Lane Cove, NSW
The Pause Continues
Relevant to climate change policy is the report that the Acting Director of the UK Met Office Hadley Centre has stated that, “a particularly strong El Nino event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016” (see El Nino Effect in 2015-16). The data analysis by the UK Met office is important because it has been used in IPCC reports. The statement means that the increase in global temperatures in 2015 and 2016 are due to the “natural” cause of El Nino and do not reflect human activity and the use of fossil fuels.
It thus confirms that the so called hiatus in temperatures over the past 17 years or so is effectively continuing and temperatures have not been reflecting the increase in emissions of CO2 which has occurred. A similar hiatus occurred in the period from the late 1940s to the late 1970s.
Islamism under Obama and CIA Head Brennan
Today’s news reports that following his inauguration Trump visited the CIA and told it that he fully supported the role played by intelligence agencies (see Trump Praises Intelligence Agencies). This is a complete reversal of what he said before.
However, very little public consideration/analysis has been given to the role played by intelligence agencies under Obama and whether there is any basis to Trump’s public criticism of them (which appeared to focus mainly on the failure of them to find evidence supporting US government claims that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons or the capacity to make them). In the article I wrote in Quadrant in November 2010 on The Threat from Islamic Extremism I drew attention to an address made by the then adviser to Obama on counter-terrorism, John Brennan, which suggested a deliberate policy of avoiding public criticism of Islam and a refusal to describe the enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because (supposedly) jihad is a holy struggle and a legitimate tenet of Islam based on purifying one’s community. I noted that Brennan had stated that “terrorism is but a tactic” and is not the enemy.
Although Obama failed in his first attempt in 2009 to appoint Brennan as head of the CIA, he succeeded on the second occasion in 2013. Attached is a brief assessment of Brennan (see Pickering on Islamism under Obama and Brennan) which suggests he is probably a convert to Islam and that Obama had a policy of appointing Muslims to senior positions in the federal bureaucracy. The author of this assessment, cartoonist Larry Pickering, is a retired journalist who admits to be no expert on terrorism. But based on research I have done my assessment of his claims is that they are broadly consistent with what actually happened under the Obama administration, including his “soft” approach to using military action against Islamic extremists.
It seems that Trump almost certainly had good reason before his election to question the role being played by intelligence agencies. It will certainly be of considerable interest to see whether his appointment of Pompeo to replace Brennan leads to extensive changes to the top echelon in the CIA. It is certainly of considerable interest that in his address to the CIA he emphasised the importance of destroying ISIS.