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Tag Archives: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Tony’s tame expert

In 2009, Tony Abbott attacked as ”climate change alarmists” those scientists who worked on the peak UN scientific advisory body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and who were warning about the threat from climate change. Abbott described them on Four Corners as ”the people who will tell you as if it’s as obvious…

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Voting for action

In our previous piece, Climate change ‘a lay person’s dilemma’ John Lord provided a logical argument in consideration as to whether to believe or not believe in climate change. His logic cannot be argued with:

Now that’s not to say that they should not have a view and that that view should not be considered as should any laypersons if they are of that ilk. But surely, we must respect the science otherwise you put into question all science.

… for me as a layperson it seems logical to support the evidence the scientists have produced. I think all the people of this earth and our planet deserve the benefit of any doubt.

Alternatively, when science discovers a cure for cancer do I just say crap?

Climate change is sure to be a major and hotly debated election issue in 2013 but I doubt we’ll see the arguments following the same logic. Well, not from Tony Abbott that is. Although I doubt he’ll resort to his famous and ill-conceived climate change is crap mantra, I can hazard a guess that just about everything he says will also be ill-conceived. Take this piece of prophecy:

Mr Abbott pledged at the 2010 election to cut the Commonwealth payroll by 12,000 jobs but his economic policy outlined today could see that number increased.

Major targets will be the Health Department, Education and Defence Materiel Organisation while the Department of Climate Change would be abolished completely (my bold).

Is he aware of the programs and initiatives the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency administer? Does he know what they do Is he interested in promoting energy efficiency even if he doesn’t believe in climate change? I’d say the answer to those is no, no and no. The department has the words ‘climate’ and ‘change’ in its title. It therefore needs to go.

We learn yesterday that Mr Abbott is to embark on a mini election campaign as he gears up for this years battle. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say about climate change in the mini campaign or the campaign proper. He could come up with anything. And it will follow no logic. So far he hasn’t come up with anything to indicate he has an idea of what he is talking about. He doesn’t believe in climate change yet prattles on as if he’s a leading expert in the field.

Take these pearls of wisdom, which add nothing to his credibility but serve to demonstrate that he simply babbles along:

So this is a government which is proposing to put at risk our manufacturing industry, to penalise struggling families, to make a tough situation worse for millions of households right around Australia. And for what? To make not a scrap of difference to the environment any time in the next 1000 years.

Well, that’s not right. According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who just happen to know a bit more on the subject than him, confirm that:

Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.

But nice try. Should have kept his mouth shut, as with this one:

There is no doubt that we should do our best to rest lightly on the planet and there is no doubt that we should do our best to emit as few waste products as possible, but, having said that, whether carbon dioxide is quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be is not yet proven.

Well, that’s not right either.

Over the past 10,000 years, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has remained at relatively stable levels. However, human CO2 emissions over the past few centuries have upset this balance. The increase in CO2 has some direct effects on the environment. For example, as the oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, it leads to acidification that affects many marine ecosystems. However, the chief impact from rising CO2 is warmer temperatures.

Dear readers, I suggest you take a deep breath before reading his next gem.

Climate change is a relatively new political issue, but it’s been happening since the earth’s beginning. The extinction of the dinosaurs is thought to have been associated with climate change.

What school did that man go to? It is universally agreed that the climate changed because a great big asteroid bumped into the planet 65 million years ago. Perhaps he knows something we don’t. It would be nice if he could share his knowledge with us. The scientific community would welcome the findings of his clandestine research.

And if you were ever in any doubt that his interests side with big business, then this should remove it:

These so-called nasty big polluters are the people that keep the lights on. I mean, let’s not forget how essential these people are to the business of daily life.

Does he not know of green, renewable energy-based power, for example:

… geothermal energy is available at all times, concentrated solar thermal energy has storage capability, and wind energy can be stored in compressed air.

He continues:

I am not setting myself up as the great expert here, but the Hadley Institute in Britain, which is apparently one of the most reputable of these measuring centres, according to press reports, has found that after heating up very significantly in the previous 25 years, there seems to have been a slight cooling, but at a high plateau I’ll accept that.

He’s true in one aspect: he is no expert. Here is what the experts say:

The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

But still, he defies the experts:

The fact that we have had if anything cooling global temperatures over the last decade, not withstanding continued dramatic increases of carbon dioxide emissions, suggests the role of CO2 is not nearly as clear as the climate catastrophists suggest.

No, climate scientists are not catastrophists. Mr Abbott is, however. Global warming won’t ruin the country but measures to address it will, apparently.

Now for some contradictions:

I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change. […] I mean, I just think that the science is highly contentious, to say the least.

OK then, let’s not do anything about it. Why then, suggest we do and at a time that suits Tony Abbott?

Even if global warming is as bad as the doomsayers claim, it’s better to respond correctly than to respond tomorrow. Man-made CO2 emission have been happening for centuries and I daresay the planet could cope if we respond intelligently in 2012 rather than foolishly in 2010.

One more:

The climate has changed over the eons and we know from history, at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth the climate was considerably warmer than it is now. […] Climate change happens all the time and it is not man that drives those climate changes back in history. It is an open question how much the climate changes today and what role man plays.

It’s the old sceptic’s answer that climate is always changing. For a man who contains such a mass of scientific knowledge he should know that:

A common skeptic argument is that climate has changed naturally in the past, long before SUVs and coal-fired power plants, so therefore humans cannot be causing global warming now. Interestingly, the peer-reviewed research into past climate change comes to the opposite conclusion. To understand this, first you have to ask why climate has changed in the past. It doesn’t happen by magic. Climate changes when it’s forced to change. When our planet suffers an energy imbalance and gains or loses heat, global temperature changes.

There are a number of different forces which can influence the Earth’s climate. When the sun gets brighter, the planet receives more energy and warms. When volcanoes erupt, they emit particles into the atmosphere which reflect sunlight, and the planet cools. When there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the planet warms. These effects are referred to as external forcings because by changing the planet’s energy balance, they force climate to change.

It is obviously true that past climate change was caused by natural forcings. However, to argue that this means we can’t cause climate change is like arguing that humans can’t start bushfires because in the past they’ve happened naturally. Greenhouse gas increases have caused climate change many times in Earth’s history, and we are now adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at a increasingly rapid rate.

He hardly inspires a vote for action.

And what would he possibly replace the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency with? The Department of Extinct Dinosaurs comes to mind.


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