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A stark warning on the need for ambitious climate action

Science & Technology Australia Media Release

The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] Assessment Report released today is “a stark warning that ambitious action on climate change is urgent,” Australia’s peak science body has declared.

“The science is crystal clear – ambitious action on climate change cannot be delayed,” said Science & Technology Australia President Associate Professor Jeremy Brownlie.

“The science has been telling us for years that we need to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, or we risk catastrophic climate tipping points.”

“This latest report shows the time for serious action to limit greenhouse gas emissions is now. We will reach a 1.5 degree increase a decade earlier than previously thought. It shows global leaders need to be more ambitious than the Paris climate targets.”

“In Australia, we’ve already seen dramatic changes in our weather and climate. We face longer and harsher droughts, our rivers and water systems are under severe stress, and we’re seeing terrifying new bushfire behaviours. Our farming communities are on the frontline of risk if the climate continues to change unchecked.”

“This IPCC report brings together the most comprehensive expert evidence from across the world, with 234 top scientists from 60 countries drawing on over 14,000 climate papers. The case for more ambitious action could not be more urgent – or more clear.”

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  1. Anthony Judge

    Stark warning it may well be — but we have had many of those before. Most interesting to me, given the thousands of papers from “science” backing up the new report, is the question of how many of those dealt with the reality of why people pay so little attention to stark warnings. Expressed otherwise, is there any hard evidence that the report took account of insights from the psychosocial sciences regarding denial and wilful ignorance? If not, why not?

    Is it just a case of “science” saying: listen to me, we are the authority? There is an incredible erosion of the credibility of “science” in the light of its complicity in the non-transparency relating to the hard evidence on the pandemic and its involvement with the vested interests of the pharmaceutical industry. Where is the “science” to be found relating to masking, social distancing, lockdowns, sanitising, and vaccination — given the shifting recommendations of authorities in the light of the insights of health scientists?

    With respect to the new “Code Red” of “science” — are there questions to be asked which the IPCC report does not address, as discussed separately (64 Questions for the Environmental Conservationists of the World: raising the question as to why they are not effectively addressed.

    Fear not however, the urgency will translate into which industry will rapidly benefit financially from the Code Red. In the side-lines, rubbing their hands, there are those who want to seed the oceans and those who want to shield the sun’s rays with solar umbrellas, namely the geoengineers (Geo-engineering Oversight Agency for Thermal Stabilization, They are the new Big Pharma into which one could be advised to invest.

  2. Keith

    The PM says we are doing well in relation to reducing emissions. The comment relies on the use of technology some time in the future. Also, Australia has an extremely low goal at present for 2030; we are told we are meeting the goal, critics suggest otherwise.
    Developing gas fields does not fit with reducing emissions.
    Creating new coal fields or gas fields adds to the global carbon budget. Australia will suffer through the loss of the Great Barrier Reef; also, Australia has been hit hard by bushfires, we can expect more if countries do not make a concerted effort to tackle climate change.
    Those seeking to delay action on climate change are now the new deniers.

  3. Phil Pryor

    The wordy wanking of a nobody named A Judge is unpleasantly contrived and relatively useless. Science, without ” and ” , is itself, observable and honest or not as can be shown. A Judge is not even humorously ignorant or liable to create doubt in those who observe properly. Climate science is honest, reliable, not open to backward boys’ remarks to bend, twist, obscure, obfuscate or deflect. Inadequate squirting commentators like A Judge might find that science, ignored by career politicians who bend the botty to moneyed donors with agendas, is able to light our way, but only if we seek and find ways.

  4. Ken

    If this IPCC report is not a big wake up call I dont know what is !

  5. Keith

    Anthony Judge

    Science works on continually proving hypotheses made are true.
    As we have seen with covid-19, as more is known about the virus ways of dealing with it have changed as knowledge increases. Climate change science began in the middle 1820s, already experimentation was happening by the 1850s through Foote and Tyndall, they displayed how greenhouse gases take up warmth. Those earlier experiments have been proven a myriad of times since. Exceptionally sophisticated equipment is now used to provide data which shows how the climate is changing … Physics and Chemistry are important components of understanding climate.

    There is now experimentation studying geo-engineering, though that experimentation actually being used is very remote at present. Using it is a last resort.

    The last month has brought up one major disaster amplified by climate change in a number of countries, nothing theoretical or ambiguous about that.

    The real question is how to stop the worst of climate change.

    In the scheme of things what you have brought up via your blog references provides nothing useful in relation to science. When blogs purport to be serious, they at least provide details about the people running them and their qualifications.

    The IPCC panel reviewed 14,000 science studies, they work on a consensus basis, in other words IPCC Reports are quite conservative.

  6. Keith

    Sorry, didn’t get to edit comment, “The last month has brought up one major disaster amplified”, should read The last month has brought up a number of major disasters.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Keith, that’s another little problem we’ve had since changing web host and servers: the edit function works for some people, but not for others.

    I’ll be chasing that problem up when I speak to the web host guy in the morning.

  8. New England Cocky

    @Keith: Anything that the Probably Mediocre Scummo espouses should be take with a large grain of salt and immediately dissolved in sea water.

    @PP: doe it again …..”Bend the botty to moneyed donors with agendas” ….. makes me think of Tudge the Drudge in the Parliamentary Chapel shenanigans …..

  9. Anthony Judge

    Fantastic basis for discourse in the comment by a somebody named Phil Pryor — a nobody in my universe, clearly most unfortunately. Is ad hominem all that can be mustered in the absence of substantive argument? A play on names -as a substitute – what indeed is Phil prior to? A comment indeed “unpleasantly contrived and relatively useless” — a “squirt” from an ignoramus maybe, if that is the height of discourse, with claims about science which are widely disputed — for those informed on such matters. If climate science is honest, then there is a strong case for knowing whether it has honestly looked at why its warnings have been neglected over decades. Or is it just in denial in that regard? And the real people who are to blame are the usual suspects? Insightful.

  10. leefe

    Anthony Judge:

    There’s a fairly old saying that goes something like “there are none so blind as those who will not see.” Is that a good enough reason for why people aren’t listening? Most people don’t like to admit they are at fault. They don’t like to admit that their way of life causes damage. They don’t like to admit that they need to change what they do and what they want.

    And too many people in power have vested interests in maintaining our unsustainable way of life. That makes it worse.

    And yes, there are studies out there about this. If I may borrow the conspiracy theorists eternal chant :do your own research” (ie: google it; but try to look for peer-reviewed reports in reputable publications).

  11. Anthony Judge

    Not sure about the implications of the suggestion to do my own research. I have searched desperately for such materials and encountered only a handful which relate to non-action on climate change. Of course there are many which focus more generally on why people do not listen to warnings .Anybody heard of Michael S. Wogalter’s Handbook of Warnings (2006).

    My point was however whether any of the 14,000 papers reviewed for the IPCC report contained any references to why past warnings have not been taken seriously — or any looking at the probability that the current “stark warning” will not be taken seriously. If there are no such references from the relevant disciplines, it says a great deal about the realism of the report.

    A useful distinction can be made between “performance indicators”, namely the essence of the IPCC report, and “remedial capacity indicators”, namely the capacity to do something about problematic performance — other than to complain that somebody out to do something which nobody ends up doing,,, as the old “poem” goes.

  12. Keith

    Thanks Michael.

  13. Anthony Judge

    I have no difficulty accepting that “science” would like to believe that “Science works on continually proving hypotheses made are true”.

    Unfortunately this does not take account of the totally fragmented nature of “science” and its limited capacity for more than token “interdisciplinarity”. The comment also fails to take account of the many criticisms of the scientific method — as with the many criticisms of religion before it. “Science” has proved unable to dissociate itself from “scientism”, thereby undermining its credibility in relation to its principles in which we would all like to believe.

    As with religion’s early challenge of the separation of Church and State, science is now faced with a challenge of the separation of “Science” and “State” — only too obvious in the case of COVID.

    With respect to geo-engineering, this will prove to be the one easy quick solution with which industry will be enthusiastic. It bypasses other hindrances, as with the recent launching of several thousand communication satellites. As with that launch, it can also be done unilaterally and with democratic consultation

  14. wam

    at last some common sense greenhouse gases cause the greenhouse effect.
    Who has been in a greenhouse??
    Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system. Its thick atmosphere is full of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide?
    Climate change, like it or not, is natural and global warming is a killer that produces visible melting and science can show is directly applicable to human activities.
    ps still no time to change words, michael.

  15. Keith

    Anthony Judge

    Every day there are 30 + articles about climate change which refer to extreme events or research which has taken place.
    Newspapers and other sources of news are BBC News, The Conversation, The Guardian, Time, Washington Post, Inside Climate News, ABC News, Phys.Org, Politico, NASA and a number of others. The Facebook page Climate Action Australia provides a lot of references, if you try to make negative comments they will probably be deleted, sophistry does not match objective data. Sophistry is a waste of time, scientific method provides the most rational way of producing reliable information.

    Sadly in Australia we have the Murdoch press which is useless in relation to climate change.

    There is a history since the 1990s of climate change science being undermined by agencies such as Heartlands, Cato, IPA et al. They have been very successful in doing so, except information from fossil fuel corporations themselves undermine the agencies paid by the corporations to cause doubt. Corporations wished to preserve profits; the corporations knew about the damage their products create, there is quite a source of information about the science corporations knew about.

    Paleo-climatology was taken into account by the latest IPCC Report.
    James Hansen warned about the effects of climate change many decades ago.
    There is a 1966 Mining Journal which warned about the negative impact on climate by coal.


    A Tale of Two Hockey Sticks

    Mining Congress Journal, August 1966 – Air Pollution and the Coal Industry

  16. Anthony judge

    There seems to be a misunderstanding. Are you implying tht i do not read those sources. There are many articles of that type. My pont was that they do NOT deal with why society responds so iinadequately. My suggestion would be that you search for the artcles wbich clarify why no action is taken of adequate significance..

    It would be helpful to exclude those it is so easy to blame to so liile effect

  17. Canguro

    @Anthony Judge, re. your question as to why society responds inadequately to the issues at hand, I’d suggest for the very same reasons that – given society is nothing more than a collection of individuals – we, you and I and most everyone else respond so inadequately to the existential challenges of finding ourselves in human form and the questions that arise consequentially; why am I here, what is the purpose & meaning of finding myself in this form, what does life mean, what are the challenges that sit squarely in front of me as a sentient thinking creature, if everything in life is eaten by something, what is it that eats me, and more. A wise man once told me that 99.9999% of the planet’s population have zero interest in these questions, and there was no reason to dispute his assertion, to the contrary, he was exactly the sort of person that we ought to pay attention to, rather than banal fixation on the murmurings of the herd consciousness.

    It is said that two things in life are infinite; the stupidity of man and the mercy of God. Take that as you will, but the dilemmas facing humankind are surely not the outcome of wisdom but its obverse, and if the saying that you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig, or similarly, that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear have any resonance, then I think you’re coming closer to the answer to your question.

  18. Anthony Judge

    I appreciate aspects of that answer but it does not respond to my very specific question — or to the needs of many others

    OK the IPCC report is built on 14,000 papers and data about climate change. How many of those papers refer to why those warnings will not be taken seriously? This implies the potential existence of studies from other disciplines, social sciences, psychology, marketing, etc about why people will fail to jump to the whistle of “science” on climate change — as they have failed to do, except in token form, for a number of decades.

    More specifically, what exactly can be viably done about it given that most of the predictable actions will be blocked by vested interests — except geo-engineering? Part of the difficulty is that the psychosocial sciences are meaningless to climate change sciences — who have not yet got around to modelling the climate of opinion

    The last meeting to consider such reports was a tokenistic exercise. Why will Glasgow not be like that with everyone looking for face-saving wriggle room? That is predictable. Any modelling of that situation in the fancy climate models? Not worth bothering? Did anyone model the pattern o discourse in the last such event? If not, why not?

  19. Fred

    Anthony Judge

    You appear to make the challenge for “science” to be political rather scientific. Pure science research can deliver excruciating detail about something vanishingly minute. Most scientists are not politically motivated whereas most politicians are happy cloak themselves with “science” where it suits their agenda, but equally happy to throw anybody, including scientists, under a bus to further their ends.

    Every field of human endeavor has its “criminals” – those that (try to) profit from the field by going against the norms. “Science” has its “criminals” – ref “Cold Fusion” etc. Science uses peer review to uncover the “criminal” element. “Politics” … appears to have more than its fair share of the “criminal element”, supported by secrecy.

    Research in science is usually carried out by intelligent, highly trained and knowledgeable individuals that have reached their position via qualification whereas election into politics doesn’t require any real knowledge of science or pretty much anything (ref: P Hanson).

    All the IPCC report is telling us is that the planet’s climate is f….. and it’s going to get worse if we keep doing what we are doing. (Ref: Albert Einstein on definition of “Insanity”.)

    Why are we not heeding the warning you ask?

    Simple. It’s politics not science. Our and many other countries political systems are broken. Any system that enables nut jobs like ScoMo, Gladbags, unca Donald, hitman Vlad, Xi… (the list is endless) rise to the top clearly isn’t working. That we vote them in and have them further own ends while not addressing the common good is insulting.

  20. Anthony Judge

    From what I understand in the response, “science” is the new “good”, absolutely beyond question as a self-correcting process — except for a few criminals, Mengele, “scientific whaling”, human experimentation, and the like — presumably an uncharted number of exceptions.

    This resembles religion’s pleading for itself as the ultimate “good” — with the exception of a few bad apples, etc. The methodologies of both are fault free and allow for no omission of error as methodologies. Both are in the good fight against “evil” variously defined. Neither is self-reflective to the extent required by self-correction. Is it appropriate to trust a scientist when science has no concept of trust — it being a qualitative insight.

    Politicians are the bad guys — although the people who elected them, and believe in their promises, are not to be qualified as such. So politicians must bear all the blame for not doing what the good guys think should be done. Thy should of course be eliminated and replaced by scientists for the good of the world.

    Easy, peasy — I think not. Some new thinking might be called for — maybe. From AIM? Funny that those one would like to think of as the good guys cannot get their act together — other than in order to agree to blame others — the bad guys. Science, religion and politicians suffer from a trust deficit. Then what?

  21. Fred

    Are you just being contrary for the sake of it?

    How you can construe that I have said that “science” is the new “good” and then lump it in with religion is beyond me. I tried to point out that science doesn’t always get it right or is always ethical, however it is largely self correcting. To err is a human trait that is expressed in every type of endeavor.

    Not sure what system you use to determine what is fact versus fiction. Maybe you are influenced by the passion of delivery in which case Sky News Australia after 6PM should be right up your alley – full of opinion, and conviction but low on fact.

    Nor did I suggest that science was “absolutely beyond question”. Rather I was making the point that science was absolutely open to question – it is part of the process. It might take several iterations to settle on a hypothesis that is resilient. Break-throughs can upend “common knowledge”. In general science delivers substantiated facts.

    I reject your assertion “Neither is self-reflective to the extent required by self-correction.” You really should familiarise yourself with the “scientific process” – try using Google as a starting point and maybe progress to reviewing the requirements for submitting a paper to a publication like “Science” or “The Lancet”.

    At no point does science involve “faith”.

    I am not suggesting that scientists should become politicians. Could you image question time? (On the bright side it is likely to be conducted civilly.)

    As for your question “Is it appropriate to trust a scientist when science has no concept of trust — it being a qualitative insight”. I’d argue that the concept of does apply on the basis of “trust but check”.

    I simply want politicians that are intelligent, knowledgeable and honest at the top, not those that are there by “divine intervention” or skullduggery or influenced by their religious or other (ie. hydroxychloroquine, flat-earth, …) beliefs. There are lots of politicians that are trustworthy, as are most scientists and religion is beyond trust, either you believe or you don’t.

  22. Cynthia Mitchell

    I am not an Atheist because I pretend to know “there is no god”. I’m an Atheist because I do not pretend to know there is one.

  23. Wam

    Beauty, Cynthia, the pretence, in my friends, come from their need to have a beginning called god. The Catholics and the singing clappers have an instilled faith that brooks no questions. The Catholics used to be open labor but many remember the fear of Santamaria and only the intelligent godophiles remain labor.

  24. Terence Mills

    “I won’t be signing a blank cheque on, on behalf of Australians to targets with no plans” Morrison says.

    That was Morrison yesterday which was echoed by Joyce this morning : he wants a fully costed plan for a 2050 target.

    Do these guys realize that they are actually in government and the plan and leadership is supposed to come from them ?

  25. Anthony Judge

    Fred we are clearly in a fairly unfruitful exchange. I am enchanted by the manner in which several comments on mine have suggested that I am variously incompetent, deluded or misinformed — kindly encouraging me to use a search engine to verify my facts. Is the quality of such an exchange reminiscent of that between opposing parties in Parliament, enriched by ad hominem arguments, name-calling, and the rest?

    I happen to spend a lot of time using search engines and I happen to have written extensively on these topics. I happen to have given two links in my first comment. I could give many more, in precise response to your questions. To what end? We all have our bubbles and any threat to their integrity must be heavily defended.

    I would argue that you are not aware of the arguments of others in support of the points I have been making — and presumably have no need to seek out such arguments, which are presumably wrong because you disagree with them.

    You prefer simply to frame me as a consumer of Sky News. I am happy that your faith in science and its self-correction capacity is so great. It amuses me that, despite Galileo, science continues to refer to “sunrise” and “sunset” after several centuries of the heliocentric model. A language of convenience reinforcing the geocentric model — or maybe the Flat Earth model?

    I am currently concerned by the recent discovery of science that COVID can be transmitted via the eyes (I have summarized the research in a web document). I am bemused that the world is now urged to wear masks to cover mouth and nose — shutting the doors but leaving the windows open.

    No point in continuing in this mode.

  26. DrakeN

    @ Anthony Judge: “No point in continuing in this mode.”

    What was the ‘point’ in your posting here?

  27. Anthony Judge

    Good question. I incorrectly assumed that exchanges within the AIM forum would be other than a reflection of the Parliamentary processes so frequently a focus of its attention — and would allow for critical thinking with regard to the IPCC Report. As with Parliament, disagreement is however handled at the lowest level of argument, witness name-calling, unfounded criticism and questionable implications.

    Lesson well learned. Presumably others have also learnt that lesson and ceased their involvement. I wonder where they went

  28. Fred

    Semantics. WRT “sunrise” and “sunset”, what would you offer instead?

    Relativity. Science does allow for the “observer” to be positioned wherever. In the case of an observer on earth, the sun “appears” to rise and fall/set. To an observer elsewhere earth appears to spin on its elliptic orbit around the sun, which is orbiting the center of the Milky Way, which is expanding.

    So in your mind there is no value in a mask that reduces the amount of virus emitted by someone infectious with Covid? Bring on compulsory HAZMAT suits.

  29. Pete Petrass

    So first we have the release of the IPCC report, then we have that moron Canavan saying he wants to shitcan our ban on nuclear power and go and build a nuclear power station near Gladstone in QLD. Yet again I have to ask just who votes for these Nationals anyway??? They purport to represent the rural communities and farmers when everything they push, every single utterance from any of them is the direct opposite of what would actually benefit their constituents???
    This government, in particular the Nationals, will never change their minds on climate change and the one and only action for all Australians who value their lives and their environment is to vote them the f$%k out!!!

  30. wam

    Well, I love hansen too, Keith, he knows greenhouse gases lead to a greenhouse effect which, like venus, will kill us.
    Who has been in a greenhouse??
    Why is Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system?
    I have taught hundreds of kids general science and the majority could barely understand the concepts of weather and climate but all could see how people coped with the climates from the arctic to tierra del fuego.
    If you want to get action from the deniers talk at their level ie about the evidence of global warming and the dangers of weather and forget about climate.

  31. guest

    Anthony Judge,

    you wonder why so many people have read scientific reports on climate change, yet have done nothing about it.

    The fault is in the question. There are thousands of scientists who have been reporting; there are thousands of people who have been regularly reading these reports; there are thousands of people and companies which have been doing things to reduce carbon emissions, even in defiance of our present government.

    So the question is: After all your alleged reading, why do you reject the IPCC science?

    You come close to answering yourself when you mention “vested interests”. That is, people who gain by rejecting the IPCC, such as people who profit from the fossil fuel industry. The other excuse is just plain ignorance.

    Nowhere here in this thread do you offer any actual science disproving the IPCC.

    Whereas, just a look around the world will confirm the truth of what the IPCC is saying.

    And if you look at what deniers are saying, what a weird collection of disconbobulation that is.

  32. BB

    Anthony Judge.
    Mmmm, I wonder if that is your real name. “To judge or not to judge, that is the question”. (To be or not to be).
    Anyway Anthony it is a mistake to assume, you should find out 1st, do not assume or presume, such is only guessing, right.
    I incorrectly assumed, then you go on to criticise folks here at AIM with lowest level of argument, witness name-calling, unfounded criticism and questionable implications, then you appear to wake up somewhat with Lesson well learned, but revert back to assumptions with, Presumably others have also learnt that lesson and ceased their involvement, you’re presuming again, ie making assumptions. Then you come out with a classic comment which contradicts your entire spiel. I wonder where they went. I ask you, why are you wondering Anthony, you’ve just been telling everyone how wise you are! So you’ll just have to figure out where they went and follow them there ok.. (obviously they are not here at AIM. lol).
    Have a nice evening mate, bye..

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