An important question is why there is such a focus by official agencies on the warmist year and whether that phenomonenon helps understand the causes of the increase in temperatures published by official agencies. As to the causes, the Australian BOM report acknowledges that “the Australian climate in 2016 was influenced by a combination of natural drivers and anthropogenic climate change”. But the UK Met mentions neither of these and the Aus BOM does not say anything about the relative contributions made by natural drivers and human activity. We can say however that, even if temperatures have increased by about 0.8C since around 1900 (which is the standard official message), this has done no harm. To the contrary, as illustrated in the attached report by the FAO, 2016 produced record agricultural output and since 1900 there has been a strong increase in food and other consumer production, with poverty rates falling. This suggests that, even if CO2 emissions did contribute to increased temperatures, there is no need to reduce the CO2 concentrations which remain in the atmosphere as a result human activity to date. Indeed, given that the increase in published temperature of 0.8C since about 1900 has done no harm, it also suggests there is no substantive basis for the government to justify taking action to reduce emissions from hereon unless it can be established that major increases in temperatures will now occur and damage production capacity.
Coming on top of the further drop in Turnbull’s status as a leader, his handling yesterday of the Coalition’s policy on climate change makes it difficult to see how he can continue as leader of the Coalition and PM. Shorten rightly described the chopping and changing as “climate change wars”.
Too much has already been said and written about interpreting the victory by Donald Trump and why it was not predicted. But some aspects have been overlooked or given too little attention. This is partly because almost all of the media either predicted or wanted a Hillary victory and many of them do not want now to accept that government regulation of and interference in the lives of individuals and businesses has gone too far. Associated with that has been the failure to accept the possibility that there could be a reversal of that intrusion, and that Trumps’ “swamp” in Washington might be heavily drained. What is involved here is not just a matter of actually stopping or reducing government intrusion: it requires reducing the expectation that governments will or should come to the rescue when there is a marked change in circumstances. The failure to deal with that expectation appears to have particularly affected voting in US manufacturing states where Trump succeeded.
The Commentary I sent yesterday included inter alia the erroneous responses by Chief Scientist Finkel to questions asked at a Senate Committee meeting by Senator Malcolm Roberts about the effects of human activity on carbon dioxide and any consequent effects on temperatures. It also drew attention to a 13 page analysis sent to Finkel by climate expert William Kininmonth and his assessment that Finkel had misrepresented the physics in a way which leads to erroneous conclusions.
During the first of the two weeks break from Parliament (Yes, it must have had the fewest meeting days for some years!), Turnbull spent some time in Queensland, possibly reflecting the number of marginal seats there and with One Nation seen as posing an increasing threat (although it’s polling percentage for Australia dropped slightly in the latest Newspoll). Of course, PMs are on the job all the time and when there is some spare time they can buy votes.
Today’s Australian reports an article published in Nature which accepts the hiatus in warming since 2000 even though this has occurred while strong increase in emissions of greenhouse gases has continued. It is surprising that a “green” journal should accept such an article. But it is just one of a number of analyses which have appeared since the Paris climate agreement questioning the threat of dangerous warming unless governments take countervailing action.
The CEO of CSIRO, Dr Larry Marshall, who was appointed in Jan 2015, has set the cat amongst the pigeons, including some international ones, by declaring that the organisation will cease to examine the causes of climate change and concentrate instead on how to mitigate the effects of it (see “CSIRO Head Abandons Research on Climate Change”). The clear implication is that he regards the science as settled. But although a physicist, Marshall appears to have had no experience in analysing climate change. His CV indicates that he is an “innovator” - and an exaggerator who claims (unbelievably) Australia has been responsible for “more than 100 great inventions”
It is sad to tell you that Professor Bob Carter has died after a heart attack. His CD in Wikepedia is provided here but it does not do justice to the contribution Bob made to the questioning of the thesis that human activity is causing dangerous global warming. One of his achievements was the leading role he played, amongst a group of distinguished scientists, in the production of the four volumes of a report by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change setting out the reasons why the human activity thesis does not stand up to close examination. That report was started in 2007 by the Science and Environmental Policy Project which is based in Virginia in the US. SEPP was founded in 1990 by atmospheric physicist Fred Singer and its former Chairman was Frederick Seitz, a former president of the US National Academy of Sciences, now deceased. So Bob was working with the tops in his profession.