Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Climate change and the war on error

There was a screening last night in the Parliament House cinema of Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth.” The film officially opens in cinemas around Australia from 14th September.

The screening was put on by Greg Hunt, who is the government’s Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment. Crikey has a piece on the flim screening and the climate change issue at this link. Obviously the federal government is open to a lot of criticism (quite rightly in my view) for their record on climate change, so Greg Hunt should be congratulated for promoting the film. In a brief contribution before the film started, he said he had arranged the screening to encourage debate on an important issue where the scientific advice from all Australian institutions consistently states that climate change is real. He also said he hoped it would prompt us to think more about what we need to do about it.

One thing I think is that, as with many of the big issues, the more we can take the partisan point scoring out of it, the better the chance of real change for the better. However, that can only work where there is some commitment to intellectual honesty, which is easier said than done.

The film is mostly a very straight documentary, but it is certainly very well put together and very watchable. One can’t help but wonder how different the world might be if the 2000 election in the USA had panned out differently (and ironically if Ralph Nader had decided not to run). However, pondering that doesn’t help in deciding what needs to be done now.

A quote from Al Gore in the film which struck me the strongest was (along the lines of) ‘once we know the facts, it is clear climate change is not a political issue, it is a moral issue’. We are talking about a potentially dramatically different future that our children – and indeed many adults alive today – will face. There is no doubt that the impact on human lives from climate change will be much wider, greater and potentially far more deadly than any threat that terrorism poses (assuming we don’t so mismanage those threats that we walk/talk ourselves into a nuclear war), yet it continues to be so difficult to get major and necessary changes happening.

That makes it all the more reprehensible that our national newspaper, The Australian, continues to run to such an intellectually (and morally) bankrupt line on the issue of climate change. There is plenty of room for different views on how best to address the situation we face, but the issue is far too serious to tolerate the prosecution of such a blatantly distorted agenda. This post on John Quiggin’s site, (along with the comments), contains further on some of the latest twists in The Australian’s editorial line, which has changed over time while always maintaining a position which argues against needing to take serious action to reduce emissions (unless it involves exporting uranium). Given the number of climate change sceptics is shrinking even faster than the planet’s glaciers, perhaps one could dare to hope that this latest bout of misreporting might be the last hurrah before reality finally sets.

It’s now over 18 months since the Kyoto Protocol came into force, despite the Australian government’s refusal to ratify it. Just imagine the progress Australia could have made in that time if our national newspaper had enabled an honest debate to be displayed in its pages, instead of a calculated agenda of running interference.

Despite similar antagonism from the Bush government in the USA, Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has had the courage and vision to sign California up to significant targets to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2020. California on its own is the world’s eighth largest economy, so it is a significant step, even though it certainly won’t be enough on it’s own.

PS Al Gore is appearing on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope next week (Monday 11th Sept). Could be worth a look.


156 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Andrew, was Ian Campbell there? I would bloody well hope so!

    BTW, stop worrying about nuclear war (how very 1980s) and start worrying about Peak Oil. Read this and tell me I have nothing to worry about:
    Peak Oil Primer

    If it worries Bill Clinton why doesn’t it worry other leaders?
    Clinton raises alarm about oil depletion

  2. I’m still somewhat puzzled by the political debates over whether climate change is ‘real’ or not. For some people whose livelihood depends on predicting the weather, the hifalutin debates between scientists – including whether their own predictions work – are peripheral to their work. The uncertainties of global financial markets are much greater.

    ps. I’m glad you’re following the dishonesty of the Oz science eds. I gave up on the prospect of anything but ideological invective long ago.

  3. Graham Bell

    Time is running out fast ….. Either we -that’s ALL of us – change our resources squandering and waste dumping fast …. or we ALL perish.

  4. Geoff

    I don’t think anyone has ever doubted climate change. We do have; Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter… and we’ve had them for as long as I can remember.

  5. Yes it’s clear that the Oz isn’t interested in science in reporting on things such as climate change. Unfortunately, this may have a political impact in the short term. Fortunately, it’s seen as absurd by people who know something about the science.

  6. Geoff

    Not sure what you meant by that Sacha… but last year the “climate change” people were arguing over global warming and global cooling.

    IMO there is no question we have climate change. yes it does seem were are going through a period of warming. But the world has been going through warming and cooling for as long as it has existed. I wasn’t here for the last Ice Age but I’m sure it happened. It will happen again. What we need to do as a species is learn to adapt and prepare for these changes. I don’t think we can stop them, any more than we can stop hurricanes and drought.

  7. Geoff, I don’t mean to be rude, but thousands of climate scientists have devoted their lives, and many millions of dollars of research grants, to studying this issue and have come to the near-consensus opinion that a) the climate is warming at an abnormal rate, b) humanity is in large part responsible through the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and c) it will continue to warm as we add more CO2 to the atmosphere, with very serious consequences for humanity.

    Yes, there is not complete consensus on every detail, and the estimates of what will happen are just that – estimates, subject to considerable uncertainty. There is never complete certainty in science; every new answer raises a new question. But that doesn’t alter the fact that the general mechanism of anthropogenic global warming is very widely accepted as accurate. If you want more extensive discussion of this might I recommend, say, RealClimate.

    So what should our politicians, such as our gracious blog host, do? Act on the overwhelming opinion of the experts that there is a serious problem, we are responsible, and we can act to do something about it, or do nothing because of your personal conjecture on the matter?

  8. Geoff

    Where do you think you are disagreeing with me robert?

  9. halina

    Gore’s doco is stunning even for those who knew that glaciers are melting. No tips there though as to what each and every one can do to reduce their eco footprint. I propose…Put your environmentalism where your mouth is, fight climate chaos with your fork, stop eating meat and dairy.
    But seriously, check out the facts on the Worldwatch Institute site 2004 Report ‘Meat’
    or 2004 Report ‘The Global Benefits of eating less meat’.
    You can’t be a meat eating environmentalist – sorry folks.

  10. Geoff

    Or there’s this take…

    Don’t be Gored into going along

    CLIMATE change is again making headlines as the world becomes mesmerised in the public relations glare of Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth. For critics and reviewers alike, the movie is further proof in their minds that we are heading for a climate catastrophe. But what’s missing from the debate is sober, rational analysis of some scientific facts.
    The periods of the Roman Empire, medieval Europe and the past 200 years were all of remarkable warmth. The Dark Ages of the first millennium and the Little Ice Age of the second were characterised by cold, by advanced mountain glaciers and by social turmoil.
    For the past 10,000 years, the Earth has been near peak warmth in the climatic roller-coaster that has characterised the past million years. Yet only 20,000 years ago, great ice sheets covered much of North America and Europe; permanent glaciers were also present over southeastern Australia and Tasmania. The sea level was 130m lower than today and land bridges connected New Guinea and Tasmania with the Australian mainland. The Great Barrier Reef was but limestone cliffs bordering the Coral Sea.
    The former US vice-president and his fellow travellers would have us believe that the actions of our civilisation are leading to dangerous climate change, as if climate is not inherently dangerous. There are many inconvenient truths about climate that are being ignored in the scare campaign that is being waged with relentless determination by sections of the community.
    William Kininmonth, a former head of the National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological Organisation, is author of Climate Change: A Natural Hazard (Multi-Science Publishing Co, 2004).

  11. muzzmonster

    I take it Geoff, that you argue that there is no significant aspect of climate change that is caused, nor can be altered by human actvity?

    A lot of people and organisations are taking such things seriously; for instance insurance companies who are very concerned about the potential damages claims they think they’re going to face for increased storm / cyclone damage. Surely if they thought it was all hogwash, they wouldn’t be raising premiums – or are they all just greedy bastards?

  12. Geoff

    You can take it that I posted an article that takes a different stand to the previous one about Gore’s movie.

    I’m pretty sure I posted where I stand on things. My concern is our ability to adapt to climate change, and survive it… whether it becomes colder or hotter as it has in the past and shall in the future. Nature on the scale I look at is not something we have control over.

  13. The Feral Abacus

    Comments on the film from several prominent Australian scientists.

  14. Geoff

    In the United States, scientists as eminent as Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have denounced Gore’s film as “shrill alarmism” or simply wrong in critical parts.

  15. Geoff

    From the Herald Sun...

    Well, here are just 10 of my own “minor quibbles” with Gore’s film. These are my own “inconvenient truths”, and judge from them the credibility of Gore’s warnings of the end of all civilisation.


  16. The Feral Abacus

    Also at MIT’s Dept Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences, Prof Kerry Emanuel has linked anthropogenic activity with changes in the frequency & intensity of Nth Atlantic hurricanes. Must make for some interesting faculty meetings.

  17. The Feral Abacus

    Sorry everyone – here’s that second link in working order.

  18. muzzmonster

    If you don’t think we can affect climate (positively or negatively), fair enough. At least you live your logic through.

    But rather than say “what if you’re wrong”, I’m more inclined to support the virtues of frugal living – and not being wasteful.

    I haven’t owned a car for over 10 years and I find life a lot cheaper without one. I also get exercise from walking and riding that I otherwise wouldn’t. If I’m wrong on climate change, at least I’ll be healthier and …well I’d be wealthier if I didn’t spend my savings on other things.

  19. I will definitely see the film. I don’t doubt that we’ve had an effect on the climate with our activity. But I can’t help but be skeptical because of the intensity of the message, and the certainty of Gore and his fans.

    Take this crucial “tipping point” that we’re supposed to be reaching. How can they be so sure it will occur? And even if it does, the doom that’s associated with it seems to be excessive. One would think that the climate has been all hunky-dory for eons so far. That’s clearly not the case.

    Getting all het-up about something that may happen way down the track (and may be part of natural variation in any case) seems a tad unwise.

    Sure, we may well be over-heating the planet. But then there may be other global risks hardly on the radar now that we’ll know more about in a decade or so — a comet heading our way perhaps?

    We should do what we’ve always done: take it one step at a time; be flexible; not get too far ahead of ourselves.

  20. Al Gore lied about the 2000 presidential election. Why should I believe anything he says?

  21. muzzmonster

    What exactly did Gore lie about re the 2000 Presidential election? I don’t think it’s fair to make statements like that without backing it up.

    Besides, are you going to disbelieve anything anyone ever says because they once lied?

  22. Gore lied by claiming he won the election, when he didn’t.

    And if the enlightened Left can attack politicians by claiming they once lied, and therefore have no crdibility, why can’t I do the same?

  23. muzzmonster

    As I recall he claimed victory, which was what a number of pundits agreed with at the time.

    I personally wouldn’t class that as a major lie. It wasn’t like breaking a prominent election promise or lying about a clear conflict of interest or blatant corruption.

    That said, I’m sure Gore has lied as have many other politicians. As to the local scene, I for one have attacked Labor as I have the Coalition. I don’t keep a personal tally of the numbers though.

  24. Deborah

    EP, what proof do you have of a Gore lie?

    Recount Spin
    First, They Stole the Election
    Now, They Are Stealing the Truth

    Gore Won Florida!

    So Bush Did Steal the White House:

    If a complete re-count was performed (it did not happen), the results shown are in bold.

    Candidate Outcomes Based on Potential Recounts in Florida Presidential Election 2000
    (outcome of one particular study; not representative of all studies)

    Review Method Winner

    Review of All Ballots Statewide (never undertaken)
    • Standard as set by each county Canvassing Board during their survey Gore by 171
    • Fully punched chads and limited marks on optical ballots Gore by 115
    • Any dimples or optical mark Gore by 107
    • One corner of chad detached or optical mark Gore by 60

    Review of Limited Sets of Ballots (initiated but not completed)
    • Gore request for recounts of all ballots in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia counties Bush by 225
    • Florida Supreme Court of all undervotes statewide Bush by 430
    • Florida Supreme Court as being implemented by the counties, some of whom refused and some counted overvotes as well as undervotes Bush by 493

    Unofficial recount result when the Supreme Court stayed the recount
    • CNN count Bush by 154

    Certified Result (official final count)
    • Recounts included from Volusia and Broward only Bush by 537


  25. Deborah

    A few more infobits:

    Gore Angers Australian Politicians: I Don’t Get Climate Advice From “Unsuccessful Candidates For The US Presidency”…

    Campbell stands firm over climate:

  26. The Gore lies have been done to death, Deborah. I’m not going to rehash the whole issue again, five years after it was settled.

    It’s sufficient to note that he lied then, he lied afterwards, and I don’t trust what he says now.

  27. muzzmonster

    Bush and Blair lied about there being WMD in Iraq.

    Hawke lied about no child living in poverty by 1990.

    Howard lied about children being thrown overboard and never ever a GST.

    Clinton lied about not having having a sexual relationship with that woman. (or had a very different definition to the rest of us).

    By your logica, do you not trust anything any of these people ever say again? Seems to me a very unrealistic and pointless way to approach life.

  28. Deborah

    Well EP, do you trust the compulsive and pathological liars John Howard and George Bush?

    Many millions of US citizens don’t think Gore lied, and it has been shown numerous times that Bush won the election illegally.

    I don’t know how you can make such an unequivocal statement as “Gore lied by claiming he won the election, when he didn’t.”

    That statement is a lie.

  29. Geoff

    Deb, Muzz you’re both a bit loose with the “L” word… deliberate deception…?

    Care to prove any of your claims?
    I know since I heard and saw it live that one is definitly wrong. Are you lying or just incorrect? Howard never lied about the GST.

    Hawke was just being Hawke re the children, did he believe it or was it deliberate deception?

  30. muzzmonster

    Geoff, you prove my point; Gore thought he’d won the election, and was not deliberately making a falsehood as EP suggests.

    And Howard did say never ever about introducing a GST.

    But this whole concept of whether or not to believe anything a politican or individual says simply because they’ve lied at least once in the past is beside the point. EP said he/she wouldn’t believe Gore on climate change (post 20).

    There are many other people to disbelieve on the importance of climate change and the human role in it. (Most of whom probably lied at least once in their lives.)

  31. Geoff

    yes Howard did say never ever in an interview after prompting from the reporter as he was walking away… did you see it? do you know the context?

    Was he lying? NO… his belief at the time was they wouldn’t go with it again after losing the unlosable election. Try a little harder to be even handed with your judgement.

    BTW lots of people/experts think Gore’s film exaggerates much that it discusses and is in fact wrong in places. BTW as time marches on it becomes more outdated and inaccurate.

  32. Tom2

    Ah yes, let us all heed the words of wisdom from Geoff the Even-Handed, always even-handedly defending Howard and Hanson against every attack, and with a full range of even-handed quotes from Andrew Bolt to back up every balanced argument.

  33. Geoff

    Tom – here I was thinking you’d passed on.

    You are right of course I’m very even handed.

    On a site like this it often requires someone to put the other side of an argument forward or we’d all get bored patting each other on the back. Who knows someone might actually learn something that they never thought of.

    Unfortunately you are wrong about me and Howard and Hanson… I often criticise them too, when the issue warrants criticism. Not a Howard fan, never been a Hanson fan.

  34. Deborah

    Geoff, Australian expert scientists (see feral’s post #13) think that the film subject is well researched, the science is solid and there was no sensationalism.

  35. muzzmonster

    Can I just make my point clear; if you’re going to attack An Inconvenient Truth, it should be on better grounds than “Gore lied once, so I’ll never believe him again.”

    I’ll listen to any sane arguments about the science, the data, the rhetoric, or whatever else you can come up with.

    I should state that I haven’t seen the film yet, so I’m not defending it at this stage. I’m open to what people have to say, but at least do it intelligently. (not speaking about anyone in particular here)

  36. Geoff

    Deb other Australian scientists made more comments, some not so effusive.

    I suggest you read more comments.

  37. Deborah

    It is interesting to note that in today’s Crikey, they claim that the Bush administration may be days away from a major climate change backflip – not sure if I can quote (cut & paste) it due to privacy concerns, can Andrew advise?

    Crikey speculates that the possible policy change be linked to the inconvenient Gore juggernaut, which has hit a chord with the public and the Governator’s siding with Dems on emissions. Crikey also ponder our PM’s position when things change.

    Another (sorry, off topic subject of another previous thread) article in Crikey also on the vicious attacks on Helen Clark and her husband’s sexuality in NZ – apparently the “shady” Exclusive Brethren again pop up as bankrolling the NZ Nationals and dirtmongering.

  38. Deb: I’ve posted some of the stuff from Crikey below. People can subscribe to get more.

    by Crikey writer Ian McHugh:

    Rumours are swirling that an announcement from the Bush administration signalling a profound departure from past climate policy may be days away.

    Will it be enough to send fossil fuel lobbyists in DC scrambling to update their résumés? Speculation ranges from the sort of middling policy that will succeed only in annoying just about everybody, to a radical program of emissions reduction that would draw a cautious smile from the sulkiest environmentalists and simultaneous howls of betrayal from conservatives.

    It’s difficult to imagine a genuine conversion – if there’s an epiphany to be had, it will be a political rather than an environmental one. The governator’s siding with the Democrats on a bill to slash California’s emissions hasn’t helped matters.

    So is the policy shift a knee-jerk response to the inconvenient Gore juggernaut? No doubt the film has hit a chord of concern amongst a surprising proportion of the public, but there is bound to be renewed speculation about those scrupulously structured answers from Mr Gore to questions concerning his plans. Two years ago climate change would have seemed an unwise platform for a run at the presidency. Will this still be the case two years hence?

    Not generally known for his outspoken criticism of Bush administration policy, it will be interesting to see the position John Howard takes. This will of course depend on the substance of the proposal, but it’s hard to imagine Australia will be entirely taken by surprise. Bush may simply follow a similar “virtue of necessity” tack to Howard’s in using his climate change ground shift as leverage on the nuclear issue.

    Still, unlikely as it may seem, there is talk of a Bush proposal to hold atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 450ppm, an extremely ambitious, some would say impossible, task.

  39. Deborah

    Well Geoff, back up your own posts, I suggest you give us the links to the Aussie scientists who you claim have criticised the science of the film.

    You need to do more work than just making unsubstantiated allegations.

  40. Geoff

    The science presented is mostly good, and at times compelling, but there are a few errors and one major distortion of the truth

    In ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Al Gore repeatedly suggests that all the ‘so-called global warming skeptics’ are in the pay of a big oil company probably Exxon Mobil. Never once during this so-called documentary does Gore acknowledge that there is potential for an alternative thesis on global warming and the role of carbon dioxide. All dissent is met with ridicule and/or name calling.

    There were several reviews with comments by so-called dissenters also Deb… feel free to find ‘em yourself.

  41. Geoff

    Oh here’s one for the road Deb…

    Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.”

    But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of “climate change skeptics” who disagree with the “vast majority of scientists” Gore cites?

    No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. “Climate experts” is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore’s “majority of scientists” think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.

  42. Tom2

    Hooray for Geoff the Even-Handed – “On a site like this it often requires someone to put the other side of an argument forward” ….

    meaning, whatever you say I’ll disagree with it, just to pick an argument.

    How’s this for that even-handed approach:
    “the science presented is mostly good and at times compelling”, but here’s a whole bunch of links to people saying it’s all garbage and you’re refusing to acknowledge the facts when you won’t agree with them.

  43. Geoff

    I know you just try to pick arguments Tom. That’s why I try to ignore you.

    Tom, why don’t you stop being obsessed and wrong about me for a second and post something to do with the topic. I already stated what I believe. Did you miss that?

  44. Deborah

    I like it when Tom2 talks.

    Geoff, thanks for the links:

    Jennifer Marahosy is the Environment Unit Director of the right wing think tank The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), she is paid by corporations to oppose and attack on conservation issues.

    The Intellectual Sorcery of Think Tanks by Sharon Beder

    “Almost one third of IPA’s $1.5 million annual budget comes from mining and manufacturing companies. It has 700 corporate members and 3000 individual members, some of whom are subscribers to its various publications. Its council has included Murdoch as well as other conservative business leaders”

    “The governments of the US and Australia, which produce the world’s highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases, have for many years obstructed international greenhouse-gas reduction. However, this obstruction reflects the power of industry in these countries rather than any lack of concern on the part of their citizens.”

    “…Corporations and their front groups have utilised a handful of dissident scientists to cast doubt on the likelihood of adverse impacts arising from global warming. These scientists, who oppose the general scientific consensus on global warming, have had their voices greatly amplified by fossil-fuel interests.

    Such scientists do not disclose their funding sources when talking to the media or before government hearings”

  45. Deborah

    …and Bob Carter:

    Funnily enough, he is published by that same Jennifer Marahosy led IPA Environment Unit, as too is Alan Moran.


    …interestingly, Bob Carter is a member of, and has published papers for the Tech Central Science Foundation, with an annual budget of $150,00US, of which $95,000US consists of grants from ExxonMobil for, guess what, ‘climate change support’.

  46. Geoff

    Gee i’d have thought Marahosy would be popular here considering her stance on various Australian environmental issues. In fact i’m sure she’s been quoted here before.

     BTW Bob isn’t a member of the TCS Foundation at all.

    As for exxonMobil… did you see all the people and groups they support? I mean to all those hundreds of groups etc that don’t have anything to do with climate change. Which isn’t in question.

  47. muzzmonster

    I think there’s a bit of a difference between sponsoring an art exhibtion or sporting team than supporting a think tank – especially those that don’t want to acknowledge that they receive funding from the world’s biggest oil producer.

    Here’s an article on the denial industry and who funds them:,,1875762,00.html

    And in late news, the Royal Society have gotten angry about climate change denial as well:,,1876538,00.html

  48. ken

    Its quite amazing that the debate gets dwon to whos supporting who, or whos more biased than the next. All those think tanks are biased be it the Industry sponsiored ones, the labour sponsored ones or the poltical sponsored ones – whats the great mystery. Al Gore’s a politicain, he comes with a political bias, CIS, HR Nicholls, Whitlam Institute, the Australia Institute, Menzies Institute are all equally biased from their own perspective – that’s why they are sponsierd to support the belieffs of their sponsors. Just don’t be delueded into belieivng any of them without keeping that knowledge in mind.

    Just take in the information from them all, process it and come to a conclusion.

    Far simpler is get out of the office, house or wherever you are and take a five minute walk in Sydney today in the middle of spring – so whatever you want to call it or whether it is part of the circle of life or the beginning of doomsady – it’s freaking hot.

  49. The Feral Abacus

    ken has raised an important point; think tanks tend to act as advocates for the organisations that fund them.

    The situation is not dissimilar to the way a lawyer represents a client – they put their clients case in the best possible light and attempt to discredit any evidence to the contrary. The difference is that lawyers operate within a long-established tradition that the broader public knows something about. On the other hand, the public sees scientists as being independent arbiters of evidence.

    So when a think-tank spokesperson uses their academic credentials – even when they are making comment on areas in which they have no expertise whatsoever – it is likely that their role as advocate will not be understood by the public, and that the public will attach greater scientific creedence to their comments than is justified.

  50. Deborah

    Ken, I think that sometimes your very ‘balanced’ approach to each issue is just another way of saying ‘do nothing, it’s bigger than any of us, they are all just the same’.

    The conclusions that we have come to are what is being offered in these opinions. How do you arrive at any conlusion if you are so cynical about each opponents bias? There is a definite right and wrong sometimes, not just different views and bias.

    There is a difference with this denial industry, because they would try and influence people into believing something that is simply not true. They try to muddy the waters so that people are confused and therefore restrained from lobbying governments and leaders to take responsible and correct action (whilst they continue to rake in record profits).

    Most people want to at least form conclusions based on accuracy, correct and honest scientific research and reporting – they are not getting that with the deliberate deceit and denial of the truth.

    We have to take action now, so that other generations can enjoy a five minute walk in the park in spring.

  51. The Feral Abacus

    muzzmonster: thanks for the link to the Royal Society article.

    For those not familiar with the Royal Society, it is one of the world’s oldest and most highly-respected scientific organizations. It is very staid, very conservative and ultra-correct. That the Society has chosen to publicly weigh into the debate in such a forthright manner speaks volumes.

  52. Deborah

    I would also like to bring to your attention, the insidiously dishonest and destructive practice of Astroturfing. Yet another of the harmful and deceitful ways that dissent is being quashed by vested interest organisations (and possibly governments).

    Grassroots versus astroturf
    – Discrediting Democracy by Katherine Wilson:

    Bob carter and his funding organisations Tech Central Station and the DCI Group are exponents of the scurrilous practice of Astroturfing.


    In answer to # 42 & 47 by Geoff,

    Exposing “Friends of Science” as Big Oil mouthpiece, Part 2:

    “Now, given this information about Tech Central Station, let’s show the connections the “Friends of Science” that wrote the letter to the Canadian Prime Minister asking for an open debate on Kyoto have to Big Oil, via these think tanks, which are little more than mouthpieces for Big Oil and their ilk”


    Meet the Press – How James Glassman reinvented journalism–as lobbying:

    “Like its publishing arm, DCI’s business is to influence elite opinion in Washington. But instead of publishing articles, DCI specializes in what’s known as “corporate-financed grass-roots organizing,” such as setting up front groups to agitate for a client’s position, placing letters to the editor with key newspapers, and using phone banks to generate calls to politicians.”

    “…But time and time again, TCS’s coverage of particular issues has had the appearance of a well-aimed P.R. blitz. After ExxonMobil became a sponsor, for instance, the site published a flurry of content attacking both the Kyoto accord to limit greenhouse gasses and the science of global warming–which happen to be among Exxon-Mobil’s chief policy concerns in Washington.”

  53. Geoff

    I think some of you are ignoring the fact that some people produce material that is used by various organisations that it supports. Chicken or the egg people.

    muzzy… no one I mentioned is denying climate change muzz.

    BTW Deb… I note no refitation…

    Oh and BTW my point has always been that we need to accept that climate change does occur and we need to be able to adapt to the inevitable changes that nature will bring about regardless of us.

  54. The Feral Abacus

    Geoff said “I think some of you are ignoring the fact that some people produce material that is used by various organisations that it supports.”

    It’s true that some organisations produce their own research output, but mainly WRT economists. I don’t know of any Australian think tanks that produce their own scientific data. Rand Corp (USA) has a long history of conducting applied statistical research, but no-one else springs to mind.

  55. ken

    Deborah said: “Most people want to at least form conclusions based on accuracy, correct and honest scientific research and reporting – they are not getting that with the deliberate deceit and denial of the truth.”

    Absolutley – but they are not getting it with any, repeat any inlcuding yours, of the refercnes here. Reason: becasue it probaly isnt yet ablt to be accuratly and scinetifcally determined.

  56. muzzmonster

    Geoff, the specific think tanks referred to in George Monbiot’s article are denying that climate change is related to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human causes.

    Would it be helpful if I say that specifically every time I write?

  57. George Monbiot is a leftist ratbag. I wouldn’t trust anything he says.

  58. Geoff

    EPs right….
    muzz…didn’t I say none of the people I referred to deny climate change?

    I don’t.
    No one with a modicum of intelligence could.
    The Earth naturally has climate change on a daily basis, just for starters.

  59. Tom2

    Yeah, get it together Muzzy wuzzy

    There’s no way Geoff denies climate change Muzz Wuzz. He just attacks and baits anyone who says that it’s real.

    Of course muzz, any suggestion that we need to do something to reduce its impacts is clearly absurd, muzzy. But no one’s denying it, no siree. Certainly not us non-deniers, muzzy mate.

    Nope, no deniers here muzz. We deny the deniers, and just for good measure, we will deny that the deniers are denying.

    No one here but us climate change affirmers. No one with a modicum of intelligence could think otherwise. Hell, the climate tonight is very differnt from the climate this morning. It’s much darker for starters, and don’t you deny it muzz.

    Oh, here’s a hundred links to people who do think otherwise though. But that’s all in the name of balance of course, I don’t believe any of it myself and will deny it if you suggest otherwise.

    I will of course be required to attack you if you criticise them, but only in the name of balance.

    and you can’t deny that.

  60. Deborah

    Thanks Tom, I enjoyed the laugh :)

    I’ve been having a problem with the ‘balanced’ viewpoints myself, seems that insisting on balance can itself be a bias.

    Journalistic Balance as Global Warming Bias
    Creating controversy where science finds consensus:

  61. Geoff

    Tom2… why is it you only obsess over stuff I post?

    Why is it nearly all your posts just address me?
    Got a problem perhaps?

    I’ve put my belief up… yet you haven’t attacked that.

    I put up articles etc from people that dissent from the majority of those who believe that climate change is just man made and not natural or various shades of that belief. Articles from experts in their field yet you disdain at me for doing so… it’s commonly called shooting the messenger Tom. And it’s boring BTW.

  62. muzzmonster

    Whether or not it’s true (that humans are causing the climate to change), there’s an increasing number of individuals and organisations out there who obviously believe they are creating an impact abd taking measures to reduce or offset their carbon use.

    I’d hardly call Collingwood Football Club and the AFL a mob of reactionary leftist ratbags, but they’re one of the latest groups to willingly pay to offset their carbon use.

  63. Deborah

    Appearing in Crikey today, one of the scientists quoted by Andrew Bolt has accused Bolt of citing his research in a “gross distortion of scientific findings”.

    Jeff Severinghaus, Professor of Geosciences at the University of California, San Diego has written a letter to the editor of the Sunday Mail, but it was never published. He posted a comment on Dolt’s blog (not much response) and the Dolt did not respond to Crikey’s contact.

    Andrew Bolt abused my research: climate scientist
    Sophie Black writes:

    …He didn’t. “Many, many other studies have found that carbon dioxide causes the earth to warm. This is not controversial, and to continue to deny it is akin to denying that cigarette smoking causes cancer,” Severinghaus told Crikey. “The evidence for a human-caused warming of the globe is overwhelming. The scientific debate is over, and what we are seeing now is an attempt to mislead the public.”

    Severinghaus explained how Bolt had been slippery with the facts, “…Bolt omitted the key piece of information that the warmings took 5,000 years, thus misleading the reader into thinking that carbon dioxide was not warming at the same time as temperature and thus cannot have caused the warming…”

  64. Geoff

    What do you suppose “the warmings took 5000 years” means Deb, in relation to man’s contribution?

  65. Deborah

    As explained in this SMH article by Bill Ruddiman, emeritus professor at the University of Virginia.

    ‘Prehistoric man began global warming’

    “Leading the change was the revolutionary adoption, across both Europe and Asia, of agriculture and animal husbandry, Professor Ruddiman said.

    Analysis of air trapped in ice cores drilled from the Antarctic ice sheet show anomalous increases in carbon dioxide levels beginning 8000 years ago – just as crop lands began to replace previously forested regions across Asia and Europe.

    About 5000 years ago, the ice cores reflect a similarly anomalous rise in methane levels, this time tied to increased emissions from flooded rice fields, as well as burgeoning numbers of livestock, Professor Ruddiman said.

    The prehistoric practices apparently overrode a build-up of ice that models predict should have occurred from 5000 years ago.”

    and here:

  66. Geoff

    uh-huh… do you think perhaps natural causes were more a factor than prehistoric man? What do you suppose the world population was in prehistoric times?

    Methane? LOL. I suppose everyone could keep it in, cork up the livestock etc. Good grief.

    Here I was thinking we were just worried anout CO2.
    Hell does the word Krakatoa mean anything to you? Vesuvious? Mt Helens? Pinatubo?

  67. Deborah

    Geoff, It is beyond belief that, despite the consensus by experts on the evidence of global warming, you keep offering an opposing opinion!

    Once and for all, just a yes or no answer – do you deny there is human caused global warming?

  68. Rob

    I know some climate change scientists (at some very snooty institutions too) and wouldn’t put it past them to report half truths to ensure the next slug of funding. All sectors have expensive children and mortgages.

    In nebulous sciences that involve loads of unknowns, it is easy to omit and portray different views by leaning slightly to one side or another in analyses. A well-known scientific cynic said this about modelling (which so much climate change ‘science’ is based on) “Modelling like mas^turbation is a harmless and somewhat pleasureable experience, but should never be mistaken for the real thing”.

    Continual urbanisation and deforestation around meteorological stations increases temperature – even a primary school pupil could surmise that – yet that is continually ignored. I’m not saying climate change isn’t real by the way, it is just that all messangers have agendas.

  69. Geoff

    I never have denied there is human caused warming, Deb.

    I just think you don’t understand how complicated it is.

    Or that it happens in cycles regardless of humans. As does cooling.

    According to your last post you seem to be saying that the only way to have avoided it is if humans never existed. Even them you seem toi ignore the fact the animals producing methane, would still have existed.

    I’m quite happy to become extinct for you, but, it still won’t stop the inevitable cooling and warming of nature.

  70. Deborah

    “I’m quite happy to become extinct for you, but, it still won’t stop the inevitable cooling and warming of nature.”

    Every little bit helps Geoff! :)

    Common Sense On Climate Change, John Quiggin:

    “But where does this leave the denialists, who dominate the opinion pages of the Oz, and most of the rightwing blogosphere? Their view, that the whole thing is a hoax cooked up by greenies and scientists looking for grant money, wasn’t presented, but looking at the results it’s hard to believe it would attract more than 1 or 2 per cent of the population, on a par with theories that NASA faked the moon landings, or that the US government was behind 9/11.”

  71. Rob

    Deborah: That is the extreme view on par with argueing that someone who disagrees with Ruddicks reaction wants backyards given back to Aboriginal claimants.

    All I was pointing out is that self-interest bias is a fact of human nature and I have worked in these institutions. Integrity does exist but so does peer-group pressure, funding realities, ‘tweeking’, leaving out of inconvenient outliers. Deborah, I personally am inclined to agree that we must be having an impact. A full international court-case with prosecutors and defendants and ALL HARD evidence open to scrutiny and debate would be convincing. Current peer review is like asking Howard appointed commissions to comment on the AWB affair.

  72. Quiggin sounds a bit nutty in that quote. Is he serious?

  73. Deborah

    Rob, to deny, is the extreme view.

    EP, sounds quite rational to me. Quiggin’s opinion was of a Lowy Institute survey and the results presented were:

    “Easily the most popular option, supported by more than two thirds (68%) of respondents, was that ‘global warming is a serious and pressing problem [and] we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs’. A quarter (24%) of respondents agreed that ‘the problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost’. The least popular option, supported by only 7% of respondents, was that ‘until we are sure that global warming is really a problem we should not take any steps that would have economic costs’.”

    So, Quiggin says that if there is only 7% of the public who share John Howard’s opinion, then the naysayers, the deniers, would on probability, only amount to 1 or 2%. Perfectly rational and reasoned, I would think.

    Quiggin, BTW, shared the 68% majority view, but would also have accepted the 24%, next popular opinion.

    It is the deniers who are in the ‘nutty’ category.

  74. Geoff

    From what I’ve heard from the PM on it he doesn’t hold the 7% opinion at all. More like the 24%.

  75. CORAL

    Why don’t we all just face up to the simple facts of the matter, instead of arguing.

    In Brisbane, I estimate we have enough water left for 2 years, based on consumption over the last couple of months (even with a little rain).

    With global warming comes drought – lack of water – lack of food.

    Trees contribute to greenhouse gases, not just industrialised human beings.

    It’s clear that we are at the warm end of an Ice Age – the time when nearly everything dies.

    Water tanks and dams aren’t going to save us if we don’t get any useful rain.

    With the melting down of the icecaps, the amount of water in the oceans is increasing.

    We need to work on desalination. It could be our only means of survival into the future.

  76. CORAL

    I agree with Geoff.

    I don’t give a stuff about all of that other political rubbish. Do we eat and drink, or do we die?

    What’s it gonna be, folks?

    Are we going to continue to argue until it is too late?

  77. Rob

    Geological time speaking, it’s just another extinction. Either technologically we will cope; some will cope genetically or we’ll all die out leaving the planet to other species. They will evolve according to adaptions to environmental conditions until they cannot cope or (which statistically will eventually happen) earth gets hit by a big enough meteorite.

    Earthly life is given too much emphasis. On an individual basis extinction is as inevitable as the clock ticking – concentrate on your souls ….

  78. Deborah

    For those who don’t believe in souls – it is better to be, and do, whatever you can in this earthly life, because there ain’t nothing afterward!

  79. Rob

    No soul? Then why be concerned about anything. Everything and everyone is just a combination of the elements of the periodic table. What makes a rhinocerous superior to toxic sludge?

  80. muzzmonster

    Even if I believe I have no soul, surely I’m concerned for my own welfare, and for that of my children. That’s plain self-interest, even if “mother nature” doesn’t give a rats for any particular individual or species.

    I’m trying to figure out Geoff’s logic. Sure, climate change is cyclical and he also concedes that human activity also has an affect. Yet he seems to disavow any attempt to alter human activity in order to minimise climate change, saying we will adapt.

    I just wonder what form our adaptation might take? Massive people movements? Large numbers of deaths due to famine or an increase in disease? Or perhaps another case of “we’ll technologise our way out of this (only we haven’t yet invented these technologies).”

  81. CORAL

    None of us knows for certain if there is an afterlife or not. I don’t like narrow thinking (either pro- or anti-religion).

    From a more practical viewpoint, we need to try to “technologise” our way out of these problems if we can.

    Even Christians believe that “God helps those who help themselves”.

    BTW, as a former exit counsellor with a cult awareness network, I haven’t liked the exclusive cultism dished up in other parts of this site – whether by Muslims, Christians or Atheists.

    Everyone has a right to his/her own beliefs, as long as they don’t use them to hurt anyone.

  82. muzzmonster

    If anyone’s interested, this article discusses the current and potential economic cost of rising sea levels in the UK.,,1890876,00.html

    In almost every field, it’s cheaper to prevent something than fix it up later.

  83. Rob

    We will technologise our way out / adjust our habits but not without some pain first.

    Hands up all the people who avoid travel/heating/cooling etc. I’ll admit – although I know a collective response will help – I won’t until everyone does or it gets too expensive to not. Everyone will (in a self-serving democracy like Australia) when they have to. We waste water, all drive to work in our cars and fly to Bali to go the beach – Greenies and right-wingers alike.

    Howard and Bush take a battering in the polls when??? When the oil price goes up, jobs decline (25% based on frantic consumerism) etc. Crises are what is responded to. Speculation and studies have a marginal influence as it is not possible to know spin from agendas.

  84. Rob

    This gradual approach is the only practical way forward. the reality is power has to cost more to boost alternatives and cut down consumption through efficiencies gains and less wastage. The bite cannot be drastic for the sake of economic stability and to respect current investments under the current legal framework. Well done Victoria!,20867,20553990-30417,00.html

  85. CORAL

    With only 2 years’ supply of water left in the dams, how gradual can we afford to be?

    By the projected completion date of the Traveston Dam, we may all have been dead for 3 years.

    In this instance, “gradual” and “practical” are mutually exclusive.

    There won’t be an economy to stabilise when we’ve all died of hunger and thirst.

    What do we do? We lower the rising sea levels by “harvesting”, desalinating and drinking the water.

  86. CORAL

    We use desalinated water for every possible purpose, including watering crops.

  87. muzzmonster

    Personally Rob,. I try to do my best. I don’t own a car, I cycle or catch the train to work every day. I recycle and we have a solar hot water system. We also have a air-con system but I never turn it on – I prefer natural breezes.

    I’m having terrible pangs of guilt as to whether I should visit my brother in Perth. (I’ll probably offer him some of my frequent flyer points so he can visit the rest of the family in the east.)

    But I agree – most people respond to pricing mechanisms. See how use of buses and the sales of 4WDs went down when petrol prices shot up.

  88. Rob

    Muzzmonster, I know there are people who do their best. That leadership is needed to show the option of cutting down is viable when economics forces the critical mass to change habits and really make a difference.

    A practical step that should be lauded is the Brisbane city council’s plan to intensify housing nearer the city and create a village concept with strong public transport links. The public of course is still braying out for roads…..

    An analogy to the roads debate is that of a factory transporting peas on a series of conveyors to a central processing unit. Each pea gets its own transporter pod roughly 10 x its size. The manager declares a crisis because for 1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the evening there is stagnation on the conveyors. The strategic heads get together and with an ear to the braying of the rabble and the committee members of the country club (who happen to own conveyor-making companies) declare that more conveyors will be built. Maybe like the satirical story of the Emperor and his clothes we need Bindi Irwin to suggest staggering work hours and increasing public transport….

  89. muzzmonster

    I was told by a guy from Translink that the busway along the south-east freeway is at capacity (10 years before this was anticicpated) and takes as many people in rush hour as would 9 extra lanes of cars.

  90. CORAL

    Governments have always been at least 20 years behind before something that was needed was done. Roads and bridges are typical examples.

    The arrival to Queensland of 100,000 permanent residents from interstate each year doesn’t help – especially not the water supply.

  91. Geoff

    So true Coral and it’s even worse when all governments think short term and totally neglect their responsibilities to the society and it’s future.

    “Climate Change – Scientific Controversies in Climate Variability”was held at KTH, Sweden’s leading science and technology university, and hosted by its president, physicist Professor Anders Flodström

    An audience of about 120 persons from at least 14 countries heard a much more balanced account of climate change science than is presented to viewers of Mr Gore’s film.

    “For conference organiser, Professor Peter Stilbs, had taken care to invite speakers with a diverse range of views, including people who argue that adaptation to the dangers of natural climate change (which include especially the threat of cooling) is the key issue”

    Adaptation… hmm where have i heard that before?

  92. muzzmonster

    We’ve certainly heard it from you Geoff.

    I understand a former chief economist at the World Bank and the UK Treasury will soon be releasing a report that concludes it will be cheaper to act on global warming now than to wait.

    As the old saying goes, it’s cheaper to build a fence at the top of the cliff than put an ambulance at the bottom.

  93. Geoff

    Heard what muzz…? Adaptation…? Yep, because that’s what will save us in the end, no matter how the climate changes.

    Sometimes I think you just don’t get it muzz…

  94. ken

    Too right muzz – anyone still moving to QLD is nuts.

    tassies’ the future, with a big fence built around it

  95. muzzmonster

    I don’t have a problem with adaptation at all. What I have a problem with is not changing our behaviour at all on the grounds that it will be simple to adapt.

    Not changing our behaviour now may mean it will cost us more to adapt in the future (e.g. building higher sea walls, rebuilding and relocating infrastructure).

    Also, it tends to be the poor that bear the worst effects of adaptation, not being able to afford to move to higher ground / better areas / vaccinations against disease.

    Not taking any action now seems selfish and irresponsible to me because I personally may not have to face the consequences.

  96. Geoff

    Did I say you have a problem with adaptation muzz? Have I said anything about not changing behaviour? No. In fact adaptation usually requires changes in behaviour.

    You keep the planet warm you stave off the Ice Age, (for a while) you cool it you bring it on.

    All I’ve ever said is that Nature is much bigger than us and we need to learn to adapt and prepare for whatever may come climate-wise.

    Politicians making stupid statements like Beazley about signing Kyoto and problems of drought won’t be fixed until we fix climate change are ridiculous. Kyoto won’t fix it.

    Climate change is with us and will always be with us. Droughts and floods are part of climate-change, part of Nature. Maybe Beazley and others should live in a completely enclosed air conditioned cubicle… that’s the only way they will control the weather.

  97. muzzmonster

    I’m not totally clear what we’re arguing about here. Isn’t Kyoto about changing behaviour?

  98. Geoff

    Yes (for some) unfortunately it’s not about solving the “problem” as some are want to call climate-change.

  99. muzzmonster

    Why not? Tell me where I’m wrong here?

    Isn’t Kyoto about limiting carbon dioxide (and other gases) in the atmosphere?

    Doesn’t carbon dioxide contribute to climate change?

    Doesn’t carbon change effect the way we live, causing us to spend large amounts of money adapting?

    Wouldn’t it be better to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions so that we don’t have to spend quite as much in the future adapting to a world we’re not even sure will look like?

  100. Geoff

    If kyoto was serious there would be no exemptions allowed.

    We had massive warmings and coolings in the past before Industrialisation muzz.

    We’ve had massive natural events like Krakatoa that have effected global climate before too, and it pales into insignificance compared to the last supervolcano eruption.

    The effect of CO2 emissions etc re climate change is still being debated in scientific circles.

    Now some like to link greenhouse and climate change and warming etc… Some like to confuse the acceptance of warming and climate change with the acceptance that man is the major cause. But it isn’t correct to do so… the debate is ongoing and the subject is so complex it will continue on for a very long time.

    There is of course that other major player that everyone seems to ignore; The Sun.

    You should see the diversity of opinion in the scientific community on that.

    Someone told me the other day that the poles are melting on Mars… damn if that’s so, do you think man is to blame? Nature… it’s huuuuge.

  101. CORAL

    The poles are melting on Mars???

    Today I saw Dr David Suzuki do the National Press Club address. I wish someone had asked him about that.

    He had some terrible things to say about John Howard in relation to his unwillingness to sign Kyoto, even using the “A” word.

    He also said nuclear energy is not only the most dangerous form of energy we could use (both immediate and projective) – but also the most expensive.

  102. Geoff

    Yes even on the ad Suzuki assigned some quotes to Howard that he never said. Obviously he’s been fed some political doo doo.

  103. muzzmonster

    Geoff, you conceded earlier that human activity affected climate, so why not do what we can rather than say that nature is just too big and we can’t do anything?

    I know we’ve had times when the earth has been warmer and colder, but human civilisation was not the same as it is now. It’s a lot harder and more expensive to accommodate mass movements of people given the levels of infrastructure required.

    And should we ignore Kyoto simply because it is flawed? A rudimentary starting point is better than doing nothing.

    I googled the Mars polar ice caps melting. A NASA site says this is a seasonal (annual) thing, and that when the south one melts, the north one grows. I think that’s a little different to an ice age.

  104. Geoff

    Yes it is seasonal, but the people who told me said this is more than the usual. Hell they even mentioned Pluto. I don’t know, I’m not into Astronomy much.

    Gee, muzz, I’m being as sussinct as I can be without writing tomes on climate change. But it is big you know.

    All i can say is if you think the human element is so major a part of climate change and that kyoto is the complete answer or even a major part of the answer, your kidding yourself.

    BTW humans are part of nature.

  105. Deborah

    Geoff, don’t know why you keep giving us these links from the climate change sceptics, the few people (who are usually paid to dissent) are being given more credibility and weight to what they say because of a ‘reporting balance’ bias.

    As you well know, scientists are overwhelmingly in consensus on climate change.

    from Tim Lambert’s blog, Deltoid:

    “The Lavoisier group is an Australian astroturf operation. John Quiggin observed that:

    This body is devoted to the proposition that basic principles of physics, discovered by among others, the famous French scientist Antoine Lavoisier, cease to apply when they come into conflict with the interests of the Australian coal industry.
    Melissa Fyfe has an interesting profile in The Age on the Lavoisier group. Some extracts:

    At 401 Collins Street on Monday night, 50 men gathered in a room of plush green carpet, pottery and antique lights to launch a book about the science of climate change. Some of them were scientists. But many were engineers and retired captains of industry. Presiding was Hugh Morgan, president of the Business Council of Australia and former Western Mining boss. The master of ceremonies was retired Labor politician Peter Walsh.

    Climate change is about science, but not just about science. It’s about business and politics and wielding influence. The men—there was just one woman present—were all climate change sceptics, members of an organisation called the Lavoisier Group that argues global warming is nothing to worry about…”

  106. Deborah

    The entire purpose of the global warming deniers ‘create a debate when there isn’t one’ from the sceptics lobbyists is to confuse the public and continue to make record profits.

    from the same blog:

    “The only problem for the sceptics is that the vast majority of scientists think they are the ones that are deluded. “There’s a better scientific consensus on this than on any issue I know—except maybe Newton’s second law of dynamics”, Dr James Baker, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, has said. …”

  107. muzzmonster

    Geoff, I just think that the addition of human factor may be enough to make a significant difference or create a tipping point – so I’ve adapted my own lifestyle as I can.

    But I can see that we’re just arguing in circles, no one is likely to change their mind, and I have end-of-semester assessment to complete, so I’ll leave this debate alone for the moment.

  108. CORAL

    Most people used to think Albert Einstein and Alexander Graham Bell were idiots too.

  109. ken

    Lots of people think I’m an ididot to.

    The lead letter in todasy Sydney Morning Herald is very worthy of reading on this and the realted matetr of drought.

  110. Geoff

    Deb… who are the “deniers”?
    Not me…
    Most people I quote acknowledge climate change which obviously includes warming and cooling.

    Seems to me you just want to believe one side of the argument and ignore the other, by disparaging those who dissent from your pov.

    muzz… thank heavens. :-)
    ken.. a link mate, a link?

  111. Geoff

    Just so people can judge Lavoisier on it’s own merits and not on the obvious political bias of others.

    IMO politics doesn’t have a place in science.

  112. The Feral Abacus

    So Geoff, if politics has no place in science, why has the Lavoisier Group appointed a former Federal Minister as their president?

  113. Geoff

    Feral, do you think I’ve visited the group site before Deb mentioned it?

    What makes you think people are only capable of “wearing one hat”? Or that everyone is incapable of differentiating science from politics?

    Where does any of what you say refute the fact that I don’t believe politics has a place in science?

    Now the big question is… did you actually read any of the articles on the site? Or does your particular bias run so deep you didn’t.

  114. Geoff

    Hey Deb, here are some more people you can dis based on their politics or associations as opposed to any science.

  115. muzzmonster

    Gee mate, you don’t have to gloat about me choosing not to argue anymore. Some of us have other things to do than carry on endless circular debates.

  116. The Feral Abacus

    Geoff, even a cursory look at the Lavoisier Group’s site shows that these people are primarily concerned with protecting the economic interests of carbon-based industry.

    It is also clear that the Group values power and influence above all. Look at the list of office bearers – 1 ‘The Hon’, 3 AOs and an AM. No BSc (Hons), no MSc’s, no PhD’s. And presided over by a man who likes to portray himself as The Macho Economist.

  117. CORAL

    Over time, I have learned that all subjects, disciplines and interests work together on an interactive basis, often when we are unaware of it.

    I recently told a very clever man that Statistics was not a purely mathematical science and therefore often gave the wrong result. He laughed at me.

  118. Geoff

    I wasn’t gloating muzz…. I guess it’s all about interpretation eh. That’ll teach me to be friendly.

    Much like ferals interpretation of people who obviously dissent from his pov. I gather he/she still hasn’t read anything from that site re the actual topic.

    As some of you have posted in high dudgeon in the past… your shooting the messenger. (And ignoring the message)

  119. Deborah

    There is no message. Just profits to be made.

  120. The Feral Abacus

    Geoff, I’d come across LG a couple of years ago. Can’t say I’ve read all of their pronouncements, but I’ve seen enough to know where they are coming from. Besides, they are upfront about their objectives.

    This is not about whether I agree or disagree with them, but about whether or not they constitute a reliable and unbiased source of information. If I want to find out about something scientific, I go to scientific sources. If I want to find out what Australian carbon-based industry wants the public to know (and not know) about climate change, I go to LG or Jennifer Marohasy’s blog.

  121. muzzmonster

    Sincere apologies Geoff for misinterpreting your comment. I do try my best to be polite and target the content rather than the person (unlike some bloggers).

    Still not sure what you meant by thank heavens though.

  122. In case you were wondering, down here in Down Under Australia land, there is scientific proof that Australia in fact is not even heating up:

  123. Geoff,20867,20690289-7583,00.html

    NICHOLAS Stern is a distinguished economist. Climate change is a complex, uncertain and contentious scientific issue. Have you spotted the problem with the Stern review yet?
    An accomplished cost-benefit analysis of climate change would require two things: a clear, quantitative understanding of the natural climate system and a dispassionate, accurate consideration of all the costs and benefits of warming as well as cooling.

    Unfortunately, the Stern review is not a cost-benefit but a risk analysis, and of warming only.

  124. Geoff

    Warming from carbon dioxide increase is relatively small in the context of natural climate variability. It follows that a cut in human-caused carbon dioxide emissions will have little impact on the future climate.

  125. Deborah

    Geoff, you linked to William Kininmonth, who is also a renowned climate change sceptic, associated with, you guessed it, The Lavoisier Group.

    “The Lavoisier Group distributes the work of geologist Bob Carter, Ian Castles, William Kininmonth, Ian Plimer and a few other Australian sceptics. The Institute of Public Affairs, which receives funding from companies such as ExxonMobil, the most sceptical of the world’s fossil fuel giants, also engages in the debate, scouring the web and email groups for evidence that climate change is natural.”

    “…Many, like the Lavoisier Group, are concerned about the cost of Kyoto to Australia’s resource-intensive economy. Others, such as William Kininmonth, have found fame in sceptic circles in the twilight of their careers.”

  126. Geoff

    Doesn’t mean he’s wrong Deb.
    I don’t keep trying to knock those groups you quote as if that’s relevant.
    The science is relevant.
    The fact that there are many scientists that don’t think what you do is also0 relevant.

  127. Geoff,20876,20696551-28737,00.html

    Leading Australian economist and Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin emerged after a few hours alone with the report with a worried look on his face. “There are big errors in the Stern report and I’m worried that it’s going to be deemed to be far too extreme,” he said.

    McKibbin’s worries are many. He says Stern uses only worst-case scenarios for climate change; the methodology is faulty, with the effects measured on a single, simple model that is simply inadequate to incorporate complex interrelationships spanning decades. He fears that by seriously overstating the potential consequences of climate change, the Stern report risks undermining rather than progressing debate on climate change, all but inviting critics of climate change science to use this much vaunted and publicised report as yet another example of agenda driven analysis.

    Respected European economist Richard Tol was less polite. “The Stern review can (therefore) be dismissed as alarmist and incompetent,” he wrote in a stinging paper this week. Tol also accuses Stern of selectively emphasising the most pessimistic studies on the effects of climate change, of misinterpreting results, of claiming a cost-benefit analysis was carried out, when it was not.

    Tol is not a climate change sceptic but, like McKibbin, he has expressed concern the Stern report’s desire to force progress on climate change risks being counterproductive. “This is not to say that climate change is not a problem, nor that greenhouse gas emissions should not be reduced. There are sound arguments for emission reduction. However, unsound analyses like the Stern review only provide fodder for those sceptical of climate change and climate policy,” he writes.

  128. Geoff

    A couple of hot days in a peiod of drought and the warmingmongers cry it’s the end of the world… give me a break.

    Here’s what your “correct” side of the debate have been doing Deb.

    “Global Warming has become more than just a scientific issue and has been portrayed as nothing less than the End of the World by some. However, despite all the hoopla from Hollywood, Politicians and Science Bureaucrats, there is another side, but it’s being suppressed according to Richard Lindzen, an Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. From the article: ‘Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.'”

  129. Geoff

    Yes I’m bored…
    Andrew hasn’t commented on the NSW Muslim “crisis” over the last fortnight or on the latest re Multiculturalism policy coming from Canberra.

    The critical information from Greenland was not only that conditions had been WARMER but that the world had also COOLED.

    The Vostok data shows that carbon dioxide levels usually rose AFTER a increase in temperature, not before. There was no way that any increase carbon dioxide was the cause of a rise in temperature.

    About 1,000 years ago average temperatures were about 1 degree higher than today (which makes our concern about an 0.4 degree rise since 1980 rather minor).

    About 2,100 years ago average temperatures were about 2 degrees higher than today.

    About 3,300 years ago average temperatures were about 3 degrees higher than today. (The data from Greenland ice-cores goes back far beyond this time so despite what some people say, it looks like it takes a lot more than 3 degrees to melt the ice cap!)

    For almost all of the last 4,000 years temperatures have been higher than today. More precisely, apart from a brief period 1200 years ago, it is only the last 750 years that have been at or below current temperatures. On this evidence it is more reasonable to assume that warmer weather is the natural condition – in so far as we can claim any stability or consistency in something that is constantly changing.

    It is clear that carbon dioxide has not caused the change in temperature because the changes in carbon dioxide have lagged behind the temperature changes. To put it another way, something caused the changes in temperature but it wasn’t carbon dioxide.

  130. Geoff, you’ve already demonstrated that you are a climate change denier – so determinedly so that you even deny being a denier. That’s fine, you’re entitled to your view. But people in Parliament have a responsibility to consider the facts and evidence and to act in the community’s interests, rather than take whatever position best shores up their own ideological dogma.

    As I mentioned in another post, the federal government has been presented with ample evidence and many cost-effective options since at least 1991. The Democrats first mentioned the need to act on climate change about 20 years ago. Ever since, some people have sought to prevent effective action being taken by muddying the waters with a range of assertions, most of which insist there are still uncertainties. There will always be uncertainties about specifics, but the general facts about the ecological consequences and the economic and social harm have been quite clear for some time, and failing to act on this using the excuse of uncertainty about the details is simply irresponsible.

    This failure to act because of short-term political interests and dogmatic ideology is now nothing short of culpable negligence on the part of the current government. Of course, the previous Labor government failed to do much about it either and haven’t always done much to put the pressure on from Opposition. We all now have a responsibility to remedy that failure urgently. There are still debates to be had about the best ways to do that, but there is no time to waste on those who refuse to be socially responsible on this issue.

    BTW Geoff, I have commented a number of times on the so-called crisis confronting the Muslim community – I’ve done it here, here and here for starters. In short, I’ve condemned the Sheik’s comments but also criticised those who are deliberately fanning another wave of Muslim bashing for being unfair, counter-productive and hypocritical. But this thread is not about that issue.

  131. Geoff

    I have never denied climate change Andrew.I just don’t like the one-sidedness of the debate here.

    You of course can deny the other side of the debate which many of your ilk try to pass of as people denying warming and climate change when in fact they don’t… all they dissent from and note the word isn’t deny… it’s DISSENT… is the cause/s of it.

  132. CORAL

    I think Geoff is on the right track.

    Jonathan Lowe:

    Here is scientific proof that it is getting warmer. I own a thermometer and know how to read it.

    During the last few winters, I have washed very few jumpers, cardigans, trackpants and coats. The shops are having difficulty selling them.

  133. CORAL

    Here’s a question I’d like answered.

    Who or what is to blame for the global warming on Mars?

  134. Geoff

    The Sun…. best I can do not having been there.

  135. muzzmonster

    No model of climate change argues that the world will universally get warmer (which is why they use the term climate change rather than global warming). Some areas will get colder, some will get warmer, some will get wetter, and others dryer.

    One such example is if the Gulf Stream stops (as it did for 10 days last year), the warm currents that currently ensure Britain’s relatively balmy climate will stop, and Britain is likely to get colder as a result.

    And Geoff, it seems you’re increasingly isolated. Even Rupert Murdoch now considers global warming a problem that needs to be addressed.,20867,20714144-601,00.html

  136. Geoff

    Ah yes… Rupert the climatologist…

    are you misrepresenting my position muzz?

  137. CORAL


    I guess I must be isolated as well. I never believe very much of what I read. I mostly try to work things out for myself.

    Mars is the fourth rock from the sun. Are we earthlings affecting its climate as well?

  138. muzzmonster

    Geoff, from my readings, you always talk about adaptation to, rather than addressing climate change.

    And CORAL, if you don’t believe much of what you read, why do you believe that Mars is getting warmer?

  139. Geoff

    Isn’t adaptation a way of addressing climate change?

  140. muzzmonster

    I think there’s a great difference between doing what we can to cut carbon emissions now because of what might happen, than building a wall to keep out the sea in 10 years time. Or confronting the thousands of people who are trying to find arable land because the place they’ve lived for generations no longer supports them. Or providing anti-malarial medicine for people because malaria-bearing mosquitos can now live in different areas. I won’t go on with other possibilities for the sake of space.

    The whole point about the Stern Report is that it’s so much cheaper to act now than later. You seem to disagree that there is nothing we can do now to stop what might happen later so why bother to do anything now.

  141. Geoff

    Well prepare for disappointment muzz because you may just find that even with cutting our carbon emissions the climate will still continue to change.

    The next Ice Age will not be man made… the last one wasn’t. Nor was the last period of warming.

  142. muzzmonster

    It seems we’re going around in circles here Geoff.

    As I may have said before, I’m of the opinion that human behaviour may be enough to alter the climate more than would normally be the case, and thus change my patterns of behaviour.

    Yes, another Ice Age will come and I’ll be long dead by then. In the meantime, I’ll continue to buy efficient appliances, ride my bike and take public transport. If I’m wrong, I haven’t lost anything (except occasionally getting wet in the rain which is of no great consequence).

  143. CORAL


    You could be dead in 2 years when the water supply runs out.

    In our home, we’ve been on voluntary Level 5 water restrictions for the last 3 years. We bought water saving devices, including a washing machine which reuses its own water, 10 years ago.

    We are at the warm end of an Ice Age. Can you prove that Mars isn’t warming up also?

    I agree with strategies to manage the planet better. I believe in a multi-pronged approach.

    It can’t do any harm, can it?

  144. Geoff

    Totally right Coral, in fact in NSW there’s more chance of us running out of water due to poor water management and infrastructure development than through any other cause.

  145. Geoff, I think my opinion is indeed close to yours as you suggest – a horrifying thought!.

    This thread is going around in circles because it is located on a false dichotomy between denialists and true believers and I believe you have been unjustly charachterised as a denier, which you have clearly and repreatedly denied.

    As I mentioned on the other thread there is an illusion that if we reduce carbon emmissions we can stop climate change. We cannot, for both the natural cycles of the earth as well as the human made factors of the last 300 years of fossil fuels and thousands of years of land clearing are just kicking in now and will continue under their own momentum for hundreds of years more.

    I believe very strongly we have to reduce fossil carbon emmission, but the benefit of this will not be significant for a few hundred years. There is no quick political fix!

    However it is this long term vision and concern for our descendants that is missing in both the true believers and the denialists perspectives.

    The new “sky is falling” ethos, now embraced by everyone from little four eyes to Bob Brown is just the fear mechanism to justify nuclear power. The nuke industry has used ju-jitsu on greenies – using the power and momentum of greenies to deliver profits to the most toxic industries on earth.

    The real money is in the stock exchange. The recent hysteria has sent uranium shares rise significantly in value – this is the short term game, to whip up this hysteria so that nuclear power becomes acceptible to a public that has been terrified of it until now, for good reasons.

    What could be a bigger threat than 250,000 years of cancers and genetic mutations? Climate change! – problem solved, back to business with the toxic paradigm that will kill us all long before we run out of drinking water through climate change.

    another prediction – nuclear power will be subsidised through carbon credits from coal power, ensuring maximum share prices all around.

  146. CORAL


    Your comment:

    “However it is this long term vision and concern for our descendants that is missing in both the true believer and the denialists perspectives.”

    I would appreciate it if you would speak for yourself, instead of classifying and pigeon-holing other people’s opinions.

    You don’t hold a monopoly on vision and concern.

  147. Coral,

    I don’t believe I have ever spoken for anyone or thing except my own bizzarre and ideosyncratic way of looking at the world.

    it seems what you would really appreciate is if I did not express my personal opinion.

    Your appeal to higher intelligence and higher morality in other threads to similarly dismiss my opinion is just whinging because you don’t explain why.

    Do you have 2 ideas to rub together to explain how I am wrong?

    But since you have chosen to get personal, lets try and get back on topic.

    Your own voluntary restrictions on water use may well please you personally and you can even claim that “I’m not responsible” for the problem. But the truth is that without major changes to industry, agriculture and town planning on the largest scale then your personalised responses will no more make life better for future generations than those who ignore water restrictions.

    I am sure there is an apple pie, good-guys morality behind the “stop climate change” myth. but if this morality does not seek radical (literal meaning) changes then it is just self serving hot air.

  148. CORAL


    You can say anything you want, but it doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree or disagree with you.

    I haven’t claimed to be either responsible or not responsible for the climate change problem. You are still putting words into other people’s mouths.

    It isn’t my fault that you don’t seem to be able to understand the simple scientific fact on conception expressed on another thread.

    Please read what is contributed and take it in (no matter who is saying it), without extrapolating from here to Mars on what other people have said, or telling them what their views are.

  149. Geoff

    Thanks for recognising the incorrect labelling used by some who should know better.

    As for… “I don’t believe I have ever spoken for anyone or thing except my own bizzarre and ideosyncratic way of looking at the world.”

    John, here I was certain that you were speaking for the Aboriginal people of Australia, at any opportunity. Not too worry… I always knew it was your “own bizzarre and ideosyncratic way of looking at the world.” :-)

    Funnily enough here we do agree quite a bit on this, (don’t worry – it’s a good thing – honest)… but as is inevitable with “bizzare” ways of thinking I tend to stray…

    I believe the Nuclear industry will continue to evolve and improve. Eventually probably through fusion reactor technology the waste problem will be eliminated. Still it will be expensive early on and no form of energy production is 100% safe.

    I quite like the use of Geothermal “Hot Rock” technology like the type used in a prototype station in SA. This to me is more promising than Solar and Wind.

  150. Geoff,
    I take particular care to talk “about” Aborigines, not “for” Aborigines and often clarify that I am talking on behalf of my white self. However I have learnt much from Aboriginal culture and live in an Aboriginal family which has undoubtedly contributed to my bizzarre ideosyncracies.

    I am fascinated in hot rock technology too, can’t see anything wrong with it and heaps in favour of it, but I am prety ignorant about it. The principle seems pretty simple though.

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