More on IPCC Report
My Commentary on Sunday drew attention to the address in London by highly regarded meteorology professor and US Academy member, Richard Lindzen, and his remarks that Australia’s political class has “gone completely bonkers in their response to climate change alarmism and hadn’t taken the time to actually read and understand the science”. He added ‘I can’t imagine what suicidal instincts reside in Australia’s political class.’ ‘In asking me to comment on the Australian response, you are asking the wrong person. You need to speak to someone specializing in abnormal psychology.’
I have been able to get the gist of this put in the lead letter in today’s Australian, viz
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report concluded that under existing policies coal use will likely be phased out by 2050 and there is a risk the Great Barrier Reef might disappear. Yet the main response to such possible important changes for Australia by Prime Minister Scott Morrison is that the report is not binding while Environment Minister Melissa Price says it is not policy prescriptive.
By contrast, US meteorology professor Richard Lindzen, reportedly said Australia’s political class had “gone completely bonkers in their response to climate change alarmism and hadn’t taken the time to actually read and understand the science”. He added: “I can’t imagine what suicidal instincts reside in Australia’s political class. In asking me to comment on the Australian response, you are asking the wrong person. You need to speak to someone specialising in abnormal psychology.”
The opportunity exists for the Morrison government to take advantage of the serious deficiencies in the IPCC report and modify existing climate change policies including by withdrawing from the non-binding Paris accord. Labor’s emphasis on renewables can be dismissed by Lindzen’s conclusion of an “obvious need for something more plausible to ‘sustain’ the renewables bubble”. (Other letters about the report are here in Letters on IPCC).
While the Morrison government has so far made no change in government policy since the abandonment of the NEG, the need to have a policy environment which will allow power prices to fall does require changes in energy policy. It appears that, with Turnbull’s departure, sceptics from within Coalition ranks are starting to become more vocal.
Today’s Australian points out that former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s call for the federal government to “favour new coal-fired power stations over the proposed $4.5 billion Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project yesterday reignited the coal-versus-renewable debate, with a second Coalition backbencher expressing doubts about the scheme’s viability” notwithstanding an environmental economist saying “to dump it would be irresponsible”. Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt, an electrical engineer, said that it is likely that the money for Snowy 2.0 “would be better spent on building coal-fired power stations that got around the problem of intermittent energy of renewable”. .. “Building things based on ideology usually means taxpayers get it in the neck,” Mr Pitt said. (see Barnaby Critical of Snowy Plan). The addition to the Snowy scheme was of course proposed by former PM Turnbull.
On last night’s ABC Q&A, in response to US Professor Sachs’s assertion that inaction on climate policies by both the Australian and US governments are “unbelievably irresponsible to you and to all of the world”, prominent Victorian Senator James Paterson pointed out that Australia’s emissions make up only “about 1% of global emissions”. “If you shut Australian industry and jobs down tomorrow it would make no difference to the global climate.”(see Patterson on ABC). This realization is becoming more widespread and is reducing support for Australia being a leader in reducing emissions, which was the role adopted by Turnbull when PM.