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Why we need to be intolerant of climate science fools

By James Moylan

I am guardedly optimistic that we will eventually come together and designate global warming as being the most pressing issue facing humankind as a species. Then we will likely implement some long lasting and substantial changes in the way we go about harvesting and using power. I think this optimism is justified. Just one quick glance at our shared history reveals how inventive and industrious we human beings can be when we have our back to a wall.

But even if we are eventually successful in implementing global measures that act to curb our emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutant gasses: it is already far too late to halt the inevitable rise in temperatures that will be occasioned by our emissions over the last 200 years. We have to get ready to change a lot of things. We have no other option.

Just ask any climate scientist. They will tell you that our climate is changing and that it will continue to change, ever more rapidly. The world is heating up. We are already experiencing more extreme weather events more often. Yet this is only the beginning. During the next few decades we will be obliged to adapt to ever more pronounced alterations in rainfall patterns, rainfall totals, and temperatures. Storms will occur more frequently and will reach greater intensities simply due to a greater amount of energy being trapped in our atmosphere, lakes, seas, and oceans. And this means a whole lot more than just ‘bad weather’.

As temperatures rise sea levels will also rise. The Coorong will become inundated along with the lower lakes of the Murray system. Parts of our parched inland will begin to receive the rainfall that now supports the WA grain belt. Invasive weed species will spread across much of our inland. Cane toads will finally reach southern WA and SA. Much of the east coast will fall into a continuous El Niño then La Niña cycle and so droughts and flooding rains will become the actual norm rather than being a literary exaggeration.

Across the globe hundreds of millions of people will be displaced or become grossly impoverished due to renewed climatic variability. Since the early 1800’s the global climate has been relatively stable and generally docile. In 1804 there were just shy of one billion people on the surface of the globe. Then after 123 years of reasonably reliable harvests we managed to double the worldwide population to two billion. By this point most of the prime agricultural land had been taken up. >From here on in humans began bringing more and more marginal land under cultivation using modern fertilisers and irrigation techniques.

It took only from 1927 to 1960 (33 years) to add yet another billion people and since we have been adding one billion more souls every 13 years. The tally now stands at 7.4 billion people (and counting). So not only have we been progressively pumping more and more pollutants into the atmosphere, we have also been spreading out from occupying approximately 6.5% of the available land mass to now occupying and landscaping virtually every area that is habitable.

So even as we have been changing the makeup of our atmosphere we have also been radically altering the microclimates across each of our continents, utterly transforming much of the lands surface by manufacturing massive heat sinks (cities), clearing vast areas of forest, and also by pumping massive amounts of groundwater onto the surface to irrigate swathes of farmland that are maintained as monocultural deserts. So our planet is now bursting at the seams with massive human populations that are utterly dependent on rainfall patterns and climactic conditions staying much the same as they are now.

What could possibly go wrong?

Many readers will simply dismiss what I have to say as being nothing more than alarmist claptrap and certainly for anyone who is more interested in maintaining a sunny rather than an informed disposition this is a perfectly understandable reaction. After all nobody wants to be labelled an alarmist. But we are now well beyond the point where denying that climate change is happening can be labelled as simply entertaining a reasonable viewpoint. To believe so is as reasonable as believing that the earth is flat or that the earth goes around the moon. However while believing that the earth is flat is simply quaint; believing that the atmosphere and planet is not warming indicates that you are either ignorant or immoral.

For the last half a century the globe has been largely free from widespread warfare or famine, so the majority of those alive today have no memory of what was commonplace across the world during the centuries beforehand. However I am a student of history. I understand that this recent period of relative peace and food security is exceptional rather than ordinary.

In the 1800’s millions of people died from starvation in Ireland, India, China, Russian, and Africa. Then during the early 1900’s millions more died in the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, China, Cambodia, Somalia, and the Sudan. Millions died of starvation in North Korea relatively recently. These deaths were occasioned by institutional dysfunction coupled with a local climate catastrophe.

However now we are facing widespread alterations in temperature and climate of a type which we have not experienced since our species colossal expansion across the face of our planet. From about 1050AD until 1300AD Europe experienced much the same sort of temperatures as we have seen during the last one hundred years, then suddenly a period of climactic variability set in which saw a general drop in temperatures across Europe of more than 1.5 degrees C. This is colloquially called the Little Ice Age. This minor fall was enough to cause major difficulties for farmers all across Europe. It caused mass starvation and turmoil amongst a population that was far smaller and was cultivating only prime agricultural land.

Now we are anticipating a rise in temperature of at least 2 degrees Celsius across the whole of a globe where the majority of a population that is more than tenfold as large depends primarily on marginal cropping lands. All that is needed to tip many areas of the world into long and sustained famine is for the rains to fail just three or more times in succession.

What will happen to our world when several countries begin to suffer decades of drought simultaneously? If Central India, Bangladesh, and China, suddenly experience much the same conditions that struck these same parts of the globe during parts of the 1800’s, then as many as two billion people will be at risk of starvation. If just 1% of these people become refugees then that means twenty million displaced persons. How would Australia cope with five million boat people arriving from Asia? If we see a sea level rise of more than half a metre then we will also experience a flood of refugees arriving from the southern ocean, even as the amount of viable cropping land in our country is reduced by as much as one-third. All of these things are possible within the next thirty years.

Yet we have a small but powerful segment of our population who are constantly talking down any need to act. They describe the science as being dodgy and the scientists who are engaged in climate science as being self-interested and wrong. They say that we need not do anything. They constantly assure us that there is no such a thing as global warming, or if there is, then it is nothing we need be alarmed about or there is nothing we can do about it anyway.

However most climate science deniers are, in the main, dupes rather than being duplicitous. Most climate science deniers are followers who simply regurgitate the views of their fellow right-wing ideological warriors. This class of climate science denier is also likely to believe that the world is only six thousand years old, that angels really do exist, and that the US government is suppressing information about Bigfoot and UFO’s. These ‘low information’ voters and consumers are very likely to admit to a belief in anything that they have been told by what they believe to be ‘authoritative sources’. This class of climate science denier deserves to be pitied more than chastised. There is nothing that a rational individual might say that is likely to change their minds. All we can do to combat this form of mental delirium is to improve our educational system and try our best to remove the shonks and charlatans from our political and educational systems.

But leading these ideological warriors around by their nose-ring are climate science deniers of another stripe entirely. Politicians, journalists, public relations personnel, economists, and denizens of ‘Think Tanks’ all across the world, are constantly spewing out material which is designed to knowingly mislead and obfuscate. These ‘professional climate science deniers’ interject themselves into every public and private forum so as to do their best to delay action and downplay any need for action. Wherever possible they buy influence and corrupt public discussions. They twist the truth, demonise and belittle science and scientists, do their best to short circuit the democratic process, and get paid to do so.

In this way the job of the professional climate science denier is to do everything they can to delay actions that are in the public interest. They are paid to ensure that we continue to pollute more places, more thoroughly, for longer. They are paid to ensure that the consequences of climate change are greater than they need be and that more people will die and suffer than otherwise might be the case. So while I can forgive the thick-skulled right-wing ideological warrior for failing to understand the science, I cannot forgive the professional climate science denier for deliberately misrepresenting the science.

Any person who stands up in public and declares that we do not need to do anything about global climate change instantly labels themselves as being unfit to hold public office. If they are ill-educated then they need to retire to their study and read a book or two. However if they are one of the professionals who are feeding like vultures on this topic then they deserve to be strapped to a pole, tarred and feathered, and then run out of town.

The stakes are too great. The longer we delay the greater the harm that will be suffered. And while I can forgive a fool I cannot and will not do the same for a shyster. They deserve to be verbally abused and then ejected. After all: any conversation with a committed climate science denier will achieve exactly nothing. It will simply mean that there are two fools talking instead of one.

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  1. johnlward010

    People in the renewable energy industry are afraid to take on the Government due to their apprehended consequences. [The bullies are winning so far].

    I need help, to back me up by enabling me to run a section 75.v of the Constitution, to get an injunction or a writ of Mandamus from the High court to put these ministers back in their box.

    I believe I have standing. Any negotiations with banks are such, that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is the preferred lender but the intention of the government to shut it, the CEFC, down has made me read the documents they produced; they appear to be political documents that seem not to match, the public utterances of former Treasurer Hockey and Christopher Pyne but, would appear designed, to cause fear and confusion in the Industry.

    I am amazed that these guys think they could undo an Act of Parliament by ignoring the limits the Act placed on their revoking the previous Government’s investment mandate .

    I seek your advice on the matter of Senator Cormann and former Treasurer Joe Hockey attempt to close down the Clean Energy finance Corporation, by using the Act itself; but ignoring the fact that section 65 of the Act, limits and precisely forbids with mandatory language, the very action they propose. The treasurer and now his replacement have run an outrageous bluff on the renewables industry, and the effect of their public utterances means they have almost got away with it;

    They simply cannot change the Act without going back through Parliament. The original Mandate to the Board of the Finance Corporation was made by section 64(1) of the Act was there for Treasurer Wayne Swan, to empower the corporation, in the first instance, to proceed. Section 64 is not a vehicle for ministers to point the organisation in a direction against the object of the Act or to make or not make a particular investment.

    The object of the Act is to ‘facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector.

    They have demanded a higher investment return from the corporation to minimise exposure risk of taxpayers’ funds. It appears the direction is actually inconsistent with the object of the CEFC Act.The direction does seem to be transferred across from the Future Fund Investment Mandate Directions 2006.

    The key sections of the CEFC Act are set out below.

    It is worthy of note that the Ministers advisors have studiously avoided section 65 of the Act, which limits the ministers attempts to write a contrary investment mandate. Treasurer Swan and Senator Wong have been prescient in putting an ‘Effects test’ in section 65(a) just as Malcolm Turnbull has recently done in his ‘Competition Policy.

    Section 64 Investment Mandate

    (1) The responsible Ministers may, by legislative instrument, give the Board directions about the performance of the Corporation’s investment function, and must give at least one such direction. The directions together constitute the Investment Mandate.

    Note: For variation and revocation, see subsection 33(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

    (2) In giving a direction, the responsible Ministers must have regard to the object of this Act and any other matters the responsible Ministers consider relevant.

    (3) Without limiting subsection (1), a direction may set out the policies to be pursued by the Corporation in relation to any or all of the following:

    (a) matters of risk and return;

    (b) technologies, projects and businesses that are eligible for investment;

    (c) the allocation of investments between the various classes of clean energy technologies;

    (d) making investments on concessional terms;

    (e) the types of financial instruments in which the Corporation may invest;

    (f) the types of derivatives which the Corporation may acquire;

    (g) the nature of the guarantees the Corporation may give and the circumstances in which they may be given;

    (h) broad operational matters;

    (i) other matters the responsible Ministers consider appropriate to deal with in a direction under subsection (1).

    Section 65 Limits on Investment Mandate

    The responsible Ministers must not give a direction under subsection 64(1):

    (a) that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment; or

    (b) that is inconsistent with this Act (including the object of this Act).

    As you will be aware the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012, is now a trigger for a Double Dissolution of the Parliament although there is a certain reluctance to use it to fight an election.
    The responsible Ministers, the now Treasurer Scott Morrison and Minister for Finance Senator Mathias Cormann are attempting to take the key investment mandate, which is of course, was the engine that starts and maintains the life of the corporation,they wish to open it up to be a vehicle, a mechanism for the Ministers to have more control of the terms of the board reporting back to them. This is an attempt to change the Act without taking that change back through the Parliament. The Arrogance is breathtaking.

    The correspondence to the Board of the corporation from the Treasurer stated, “the Government’s policy is to abolish the Corporation”. As the responsible Ministers Senator Cormann and the Treasurer were defacto Directors clearly acting against their duty to protect the interests of the corporation under their direction; not to cut it down.

    A reference to ASIC is appropriate?

    The public and verbal instruction to move away from Wind and Roof top Solar, towards emerging technologies was not only against the object of the Act, it had the effect to cause many in the industry to have greater difficulty in attracting investment or gain financing.

    There are many who could run a class action against this government.

    Lenore Taylor points out that Turnbull has simply taken $1billion from the CEFC and funded his new CEIF and intends to simply have the ARENA act as an administrator.

    From todays Guardian 23 of March 6016. Lenore Taylor writes.

    ”Malcolm Turnbull’s clean energy investment announcement is part good news, part bad news, part ideological shift and part shell game.

    The good news is the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is safe. The $10bn CEFC was derided by the former prime minister Tony Abbott as “Bob Brown’s bank” and was so despised by the Abbott government that trying to stop its lending was one of the Coalition’s first acts after it was elected in 2013.

    Coalition announces $1bn clean energy fund to invest in emerging technologies

    Now the CEFC can continue its highly successful work, which has so far provided $1.4bn in loans to projects worth $3.5bn while at the same time generating a 6.1% return on the lending. It will no longer labour under the uncertainty of a government determined to abolish it, or a government periodically bending to the pressure from climate sceptics or anti-windfarm advocates by seeking to limit its investment mandate.

    The bad news is the Turnbull government seems to be cementing in the $1.3bn in cuts that the Abbott government factored in to its 2014 budget from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency although it was never able to legislate them.

    Because those cuts were not legislated, despite being accounted for in the budget bottom line, Arena still has a legislated spending program with $1.3bn in uncommitted funding over the next six years. Presumably the Turnbull government believes it will be able to legislate to change that after the federal election. By retaining it as government policy it can continue to book the saving.

    The ideological change comes in Arena’s new role. It is effectively being subsumed into the CEFC, becoming the administrator of the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund, a subsidiary fund of the CEFC, lending money from the CEFC’s allocation. And the final decision on that lending will be made by the CEFC board.

    In the short term it will finish doling out the grants programs it has already announced. In the longer term, instead of giving out grants, Arena will be simply be administering the new fund, which will make loans at a lower rate of return to earlier stage clean energy projects.

    Clean energy groups are concerned at the abolition of grants funding, saying grants are essential at the earliest stages of technology development. Turnbull says this is a deliberate change in direction.

    Turnbull faces ‘fierce campaign’ if tax cuts put before restoring school and hospital funding “This reflects a very big change in the way the government … is now approaching this type of investment,” he said on Wednesday. “Historically … the federal government has been very much like an ATM, it’s been making grants … without, frankly, a lot of follow-up as to whether it’s effective.

    “We believe … the government should seek to be a partner and investor, seek to get a return. It doesn’t have to get the same high return that a private venture capital firm or a private bank would seek to get. It can get a very long-term return but, in doing that, by ensuring that you take a more economic approach, you will ensure that you have a much more rigorous analysis and that you will get a better quality of investment and a better quality of project.”

    And then the shell game. The “new” Clean Energy Innovation Fund is not “entirely new”, as billed by the government and enthusiastically accepted by some media reporting, but is in fact funded entirely from the CEFCs existing borrowings and is more like another of the subsidiary funds the CEFC has set up – this time with the leeway of achieving a slightly lower rate of return so it can take on slightly higher levels of risk.

    And despite the government’s insistence that Arena has been “retained” as a separate agency, and that it has not been merged with the CEFC, that appears to be the case only in name, if it now functions as a subset of the CEFC and very soon will no longer be making grants with its own money.

    Turnbull’s attitude to the CEFC is big shift from his predecessor – in real terms and symbolically – but Arena appears to have been “retained” in name only”. From the Guardian Australia by Lenore Taylor.

    My main concern is that Turnbull, Pyne, Hockey, Cormann and Hunt are trying to convince the public and the Industry, that they and cabinet can ‘re-purpose ‘ the corporation without going back through parliament; when the CEFC Act limits what changes can be made by the overseeing ministers in the terms of the ‘investment mandate’ and the limits the Act imposes on the ministers mandate. The responsible Ministers must not give a direction under subsection 64(1):

    (a) that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment;

    When you examine their behaviour; it is in fact, deceptive and misleading enough, to still destabilise the industry to have bankers and investors become gun shy.

    Turnbull claims he is retaining something he was not able to abolish in the first place; and he still pretends his ministers were able to change an Act of the Parliament by making a change to the investment mandate that was beyond their authority.

    Turnbull is not, the King he would love to be.
    He is just a voter, like all of us, who happens to have the privilege to be holding in trust, many of our individual ‘sovereign registered votes’ and therefore to have the authority to occupy the position of Prime Minister until he loses our trust. I say he cannot change an Act of our parliament simply because he is the PM. He has to go back to parliament and get it (both houses plus the Queen) to make the change.

    A lot of people have lost badly in the solar and wind industry and a lot were in Tasmania. There will be a class action that further delays the industry and the public just getting on with moving away from the hugely subsidised coal, gas and oil industries.

  2. Kaye Lee

    The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is the science and economics research bureau within the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. They produced a report, Climate Change: Impacts on Australian Agriculture, which shows, without actions to adapt to a changing climate and to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases, Australian production of wheat, beef, dairy and sugar could decline by up to 10 percent by 2030 and 19 percent by 2050.

    Parts of the tropics are expected to suffer from decreased yields even with warming of 1–2°C.

    An increase in night time temperatures, where most of the temperature increase caused by climate change is expected to occur, of just 1°C has seen a 10 per cent loss in rice yields.

    Barnaby Joyce is in charge of that department. His view?

    “Look….I just – I’m always sceptical of the idea that the way that anybody’s going to change the climate – and I’m driving in this morning and we’re driving through a frost – is with bureaucrats and taxes. All that does is….it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I make you feel guilty so I can get your money and put it in my pocket and send reports backwards and forth to one another.”

    How encouraging for the people who produced the report. Barnaby’s not going to bother reading stuff…we have record cattle prices – make hay while the sun shines.

  3. Geoff Andrews

    “I believe that any perceived change in temperature or sea level is a natural process and not caused by humans.
    I believe that the continued and increasing use of coal, oil, and related products will prove to be beneficial to the world.
    I make this declaration to my descendants in the belief that I have contributed towards the prosperity that they will be enjoying”

    This is a preposed preanble for a voluntary register of climate change deniers who are confident that when a descendant, say a great-grandchild in 2100, consults the register out of curiosity, will be able to proudly say, “Good ‘ole great-grandad, what great foresight!” and NOT, “Wasn’t HE a dickhead”.

    The weird thing about climate change deniers is that their ideology would have them concerned about leaving a “debt” to the next generation but are unconcerned about the next 20 generations.

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    Quickest way to slow down population growth is raised standard living.

  5. JohnB

    @johnlward010 March 25, 2016 at 11:03 am
    To whom is your request for help directed to?..and what form of help is required?

    As it is a very technical matter, can I suggest that Mark Dreyfus be approached for advice and assistance – or to move outside the political arena a submission to Getup may be worth a try.

    The arguments need simplification however for the broader public to understand – as the essence of the governments slippery shell and pea presentation is lost in legalistic detail.

  6. jim

    Hey great post I hope we rid Australia of this rotten Liberal government…. all they seem to do is give money to the Big Corporations while robbing and belittling the real workers even the AMA want this inept LNP government gone,https://ama.com.au/media/transcript-prof-owler-mbs-review-and-border-force-act….and…. Our spending’s about 9.8 per cent of GDP. It’s about the average of OECD countries, yet we have the fourth longest life expectancy. We get excellent outcomes for the amount that we do spend. yet they (LNP) want to destroy medicare how “adult like” NOT!.

  7. diannaart

    Would that we have an election based on significant national (and international) importance such as action on repair and maintenance of our environment – instead we have, thanks to Turnbull and his uberlords, political targeting on a single issue.

    Shameful.

  8. JohnB

    Our predicament is worsening – those who choose to mislead for gain are criminal.
    Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry
    “Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong”.
    By Bill McKibben
    “… Natural gas was also cheap—so, from a politician’s point of view, fracking was a win-win situation…..
     We closed coal plants and opened methane leaks, and the result is that things have gotten worse. …”

  9. Peter Breen

    Interesting article but you did not answer your own headline: why we need to be intolerant of climate change deniers. All you did is name call them fools and shysters. May I pose a question: why do we need to be intolerant of climate change deniers? I mean, we are tolerant of people who disagree with us on other things so why not climate change? After all, the planet has been heating and cooling for eons, so why is this not just another phase of the natural world? A few good volcanic explosions is likely to generate much more greenhouse gases than human industrial activity. Look at it this way. Yesterday I bought you breakfast even though you don’t believe in God. If you were a climate change denier, I would ask that you be open to the possibility you might be wrong, but I would not want you to go hungry in the meantime.

  10. Kaye Lee

    And if you are wrong Peter we are stuffed. It;s called risk management

    BTW Humans emit 100 times more CO2 than volcanoes.

    Volcanoes: 65 to 319 million tonnes of CO2 per year

    Burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use: 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm

  11. Möbius Ecko

    Oh Peter Breen you blew the whole post on this one sentence; “A few good volcanic explosions is likely to generate much more greenhouse gases than human industrial activity.”

    If you cared to do the most rudimentary of searches you would have found that furphy was blown many years ago, well over a decade ago from memory.

    Man puts out far more CO² than all of the volcanic eruptions on earth. With that fact and you stating a few good volcanic eruptions cause warming it follows that the considerably more man made green house gasses cause more warming.

  12. Peter Breen

    I do mean a few serious volcanic explosions, of course, like enough to block out the sun. But then, I suppose, we would freeze. Oh dear. I guess intolerance is the only choice.

  13. Phil

    Perhaps Australians might ponder their natural tendency to over-willing acceptance of authority. If, as many here, including me, accept the science and the gravity of the warnings scientists are making, then why continue to respect the laws that underpin the system that allows the denialism and thus retains the status and power of the denialists.Our democracy isn’t worth a pinch of salt if all that our voting does is continue along the same path to climate collapse, as on offer from the two parties.

    The nature and extent of the changes society must make are deeply disturbing to most who are willing to even contemplate them, including to a goodly proportion of those accepting the science. People are picking and choosing just one or a couple of changes they’d be willing to accept whereas in fact our entire industrial system and its underpinning economic system is the problem, not just a few bits of it such as energy production or meat eating.

    The deeply unpleasant truth is that millions of our species are going die in the not very distant future whether we transition to some magical alternative source of energy or not. And don’t expect this mass dying to be an orderly, third world, poor people first process. The rich complacent ‘west’ has lost a significant amount of its vigour and birth rates are down, populations are ageing – whereas, the poor ‘third’ world people’s are high breeding, youthful and very high vigor – exactly what is required to survive the coming global contraction.

    The ruling neoliberal economic system has emasculated those states where it prevails including Australia and its high priests will use any means available to prevent meaningful action on climate research and mitigation.

    The LNP is hopelessly wedded to the neoliberal ideology and hopelessly riven by intellectually decrepit Christian dogma e.g. Bernardi, Christensen, Abbott et al. Neither the LNP nor ALP have the means to take Australia through the emerging global crises from unmitigated climate chaos. All these aged political behemoths can do is pander to wealth while increasing the police powers of the state in anticipation of the civil unrest that must inevitably occur.

    The way forward cannot be neatly mapped out – there are no simple answers, but I see no hope from the voting booth – all that does is prolong the denialism. I do think it’s time to challenge the authority that denies the crisis and if that means civil disobedience which it must inevitably do, then that is at least a strategy that carries hope in lieu of this political passivity that has befallen Australia.

  14. RosemaryJ36

    I still maintain we need mass – and I mean MASS – protests to show the government that they have their heads in the sand and NOW is the time to take really drastic action.

  15. JohnB

    2ºC TARGET IS NOT SAFE – By David Spratt (and here.)
    We have already crossed dangerous climate tipping points at just 0.8°C warming. In the words of former senior Obama advisor John Holdren in 2008: “the world is already experiencing ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system”.

    Evidence includes:
    • At less than 1°C of warming, West Antarctic glaciers are in “unstoppable” meltdown for 1-4 metres of sea-level rise.
    • Arctic tipping points have been crossed for sea-ice-free summer conditions, with severe consequences for the future stability of permafrost and frozen methane stores, sea-levels rises, as well as accelerated global warming as ice sheets retreat and the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity) decreases.
    • Extreme weather events are being made worse, with record heat and drought such as in California at present, and more intense cyclones including Superstorm Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan, both of whose impacts had a climate-warming component.
    • The paleoclimate record also tells us that even the current level of CO2 (without accounting for 75 ppm of non-CO2 greenhouse gases we have added to the atmosphere) is enough for 3°C or more of warming at equilibrium:
    • During middle Miocene, 16-14 million years ago, when temperatures were ~3 to 6°C warmer and sea levels 25 to 40 metres higher than at present, the CO2 level was similar to modern levels (between 350 and 400 ppm).
    • In the early-to-mid Pliocene, 5–3 million years ago, temperatures were 3°C above pre-industrial and CO2 levels were 360-400 ppm, very similar to today. The northern hemisphere was free of glaciers and ice sheets, beech trees grew in the Transantarctic Mountains and sea levels were 25 metres higher.

    There is also a variety of evidence that 2°C is not safe target for significant planetary systems:
    • An estimated tipping point for Greenland Ice Sheet is 1.6°C (with an uncertainty range of 0.8 to 3.2°C).26
    • Preserving more than 10% of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting warming to below 1.5°C
    (range: 1.3–1.8°C).
    • “1.5°C appears to be something of a tipping point” for extensive permafrost thaw.

    Prof. Kevin Anderson says in his recent ‘post Paris’ lecture “Going Beyond “Dangerous” Climate Change”:
    “..We have a snowflakes chance in hell of staying below 1.5 DegC, and only a very slim chance of staying below 2 DegC”….but that is conditional on ceasing the burning of all fossil fuels NOW.
    With ‘business as usual’ we are looking at >5 DegC by 2100 – or possibly earlier
    He maintains developed countries are not serious about addressing AGW; according to IMF figures, as they subsidise fossil fuel production with $5.3 trillion per annum. At Paris they agreed to provide ‘poor’ countries with $100 billion for AGW adaptation – a ratio of 53:1 favouring fossil fuel expansion.

  16. Jason H

    Peter Breen better analogies would be examples like:
    1. A major tsunami has occurred and people tell everyone the receding ocean isn’t a concern as God wanted it to happen and millions die.
    2. An extinction event asteroid has been spotted by scientists with enough notice for humans to send up some nuclear bombs and knock it off course and save humanity. Yet some people say it’s nonsense and convince enough people to ignore the earnings and it hits us and kills all humans.
    3. Someone convinces enough people that concert first exist, doctors only want to poison you with chemo drugs and thousands die needlessly.
    4. Your on Easter island and you’re the guy who said cutting down all the trees is fine. That society collapses killing hundreds or thousands. Good book called collapse you light wants read by Jared Diamond that might help you. Or the video documentary version is on YouTube.

    Your example isn’t even close to being comparative in its impact. Can you that?

  17. Adrianne Haddow

    @ RosemaryJ36.
    Many of the activist groups favoured by the younger generation are calling for world wide civil disobedience events during May 2016.
    Info can be found at 350.org.
    This probably explains why Mike Baird has upped the legislation against protest in the vicinity of his precious mines and CSG sites.

  18. townsvilleblog

    Our tolerance is also wearing thin on a religion that is to Australia what oil is to water.

  19. diannaart

    @townsvilleblog

    The religion with all those pedophile priests?

  20. kerri

    Part of the problem is the people in power who will be dead when the worst happens!

  21. Jason H

    @lookup you’re spotting nonsense about chemtrails now!? We have real issues to deal with like climate change not imaginary issues that waste people’s time like that nonsense. Come on please focus on the real issues. Do you understand why crop planes have to fly about 10m above crops? It’s because any higher and it won’t have any affect as it will be widely dispersed. Now times that affect by 1000x and you’ll get an idea. Not to mention the sheer volumes of chemicals planes would need to carry.

    It’s pretty easy to find some science about this stuff so start with this: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Chemtrails

    Please stop spreading irrational garbage that just wastes time and means we aren’t dealing with the real issues that are real and will mean the end of humanity.

  22. Jason H

    @lookup at least watch this short video if the articles too long for a succinct explanation of why it’s such an irrational conspiracy theory: https://youtu.be/_pCGMzGen-s

  23. The AIM Network

    climate change is a deliberate result of geo engineering. if they wanted to prevent it, they could, but they dont want to.

    The recent Labor governments wanted to.

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