Climate Change Policy
On 19 January The Australian published a half page advertisement on The Next Ice Age by Richard Morgan’s Climate Study Group (the ad was also published in the Herald Sun on 12 Jan and is on my web). This contains carefully considered views by people who are aware of the possible influences on climate. The day before I had sent a letter to The Australian complaining that it had published a letter by Energy Minister Frydenberg criticising an analysis published in the paper by Judith Sloan but had not published any letters critical of Frydenberg even though some had been sent, including by me (see Energy Policy Letter Sent to The Australian 18/1).
Then, on the same day as the advertisement was published, I sent The Australian a letter of about 200 words supporting the Group’s assessment that “the underlying theory and assumptions of the dangerous global warming threat are not supported by climate models or past experience”. I also pointed out that “this view is similar to many others taken by climate analysts both here and overseas. Yet the framers of Australia’s policy have not examined that view and have not published reasons for rejecting the Group’s analysis. That analysis shows that increases in carbon dioxide are frequently followed by little or no increase in temperatures”(see Energy Policy).
I refer in that letter to the paper published by the journal Nature which includes analyses by climate scientists questioning the view that dangerous temperatures will occur unless governments act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.Yet Nature has a reputation for endorsing that danger view.
Today a version of my letter was published in The Australian but without my reference to the Morgan Group’s assessment that the dangerous global warming thesis is not supported by climate models or past experience. The heading to my letter (“Modelling Failure”) is also misleading: the problem does not lie with the modelling itself but with the false assumptions on which the modelling is based. However, retained in my letter is the section arguing that Energy Minister Frydenberg is wrongly adopting expert advice that there is “a need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions because they are perceived as raising excessive temperatures”.
The letter as published is below together with two letters commenting on an article by Bjorn Lomborg published in The Australian in which he argued that, even if existing policy on emissions was achieved, the effect on preventing increases in temperatures would be very small. More generally, however, it is encouraging that News Ltd continues to publish analyses which question the dangerous warming thesis. The pity is that there is only limited publishing of the views of Australian experts/analysts. By contrast, readers/watchers of Fairfax, the ABC and SBS only would not be aware that there is any serious questioning of the DW thesis – and nor would parliamentary members of the two major parties.
The report by your environment editor is noteworthy: the latest edition of journal Nature includes a paper suggesting that even a doubling of carbon dioxide levels is unlikely to raise temperatures to IPCC prediction rates and that other scientists have said that a doubling could produce temperature increases “as low as 1C” (“CO2 threat ‘high but not alarming’ ”, 18/1). Such scientists are reported as referring to other factors that have played a greater role in warming than acknowledged by climate models.
This is the conclusion reached by many climate analysts and is a significant reason for the worldwide failure by government agencies in modelling predictions of potentially dangerous temperature levels.
It is false to base our new energy policies on the supposed need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions perceived as raising temperatures. Yet that is what the experts advising Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are doing, and he is adopting.
Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic
Lomborg is right to put hunger before climate change theory
Bjorn Lomborg has once again given us commonsense advice to spend our money on mitigating hunger rather than our futile attempts to alter climate change, which have an adverse effect on the production and affordability of food (“Billions wasted while poor starve”, 19/1).
King Canute would have appreciated how misguided we are, but the youth of affluent countries hear only about climate change, and rarely if ever about hunger relief. Concentrated efforts on the former have one overpowering effect — a dopamine-like inner glow inside the minds of advocates of windmills and gigantic batteries.
Dave Kirkham, Frenchs Forest, NSW
In highlighting the moral perversity of contributing to global hunger through climate policies, Bjorn Lomborg overlooks the natural agricultural solution to malnutrition. It is an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and a rise in temperature. This is demonstrated by the six-fold increase in US corn production since 1950 and the greening of the planet over the past 25 years.The world’s present population is fortunate in that the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 is coinciding with a gradual warming of the Earth. This started more than 300 years ago at the end of the little ice age, and more than 200 years before humans made a significant contribution to atmospheric CO2 starting in the early 1950s.
Dan Wood, Pullenvale, Qld
Assessing Trump’s First Year
It is rare for me to read an assessment of a political leader and find little to criticise. Yet that is the case with the article in Weekend Australian by Associate Editor Chris Kenny. I have written above that News Ltd aside there is no serious questioning in public of the dangerous warming thesis in Australia and the unqualified acceptance of it extends to supposed political leaders, including Turnbull and his Energy Minister Frydenberg. But with Trump it is not a matter of simply questioning apparently previously accepted policy stances: he is actually radically changing (or trying to) important policies not only on climate change and tax but on immigration and the threat from extremist Islam both in America and outside it. I referred in my last Commentary to what appears to be a major foreign policy change by Secretary of State, Tillerson. So far this has received minimal media commentary.
Today Defense Secretary, Mattis, has announced a new strategy “– the first new strategy in a decade — based on the National Security Strategy President Donald J. Trump announced in December”. Mattis says the new strategy Reclaims ‘An Era of Strategic Purpose’ and adds that“we’re alert to the realities of a changing world and attentive to the need to protect our values and the countries that stand with us,” the secretary said. “America’s military protects our way of life and I want to point out it also protects a realm of ideas. It’s not just about protecting geography. This is a defense strategy that will guide our efforts in all realms.” It will be interesting to see the media coverage here.
Taken together with Tillerson’s foreign policy statement, this gives the appearance of attempting to return to the pre-Obama era. If this occurs it will mean a new America and have important implications for Australia.