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Apr 28, 2011

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Nicholas Aberle writes: The way in which climate change is communicated has been a constant theme in the public debate about pricing carbon emissions, but this distracts from the two key topics: the urgency of our situation, and the importance of leadership in taking comprehensive action now.

The science is clear. The next 5-10 years have been identified as a critical period for action and, without significant reductions in global emissions in the very near future, we will be facing a world that it is (on average) four degrees warmer. Droughts, heatwaves, bushfires and floods will become much worse, and our ability to live well in such a world is highly uncertain. Ideally, this would not be the case, but it seems that everyone who studies this material says it is.

That we still see such outrage at something like a carbon price suggests we, as Australians, are nowhere near making the necessary changes commensurate with our per capita contribution (not to mention our imported emissions), especially within the timeframes required by the science. We have the great fortune of living in a stable democracy blessed with both strong institutions and plentiful natural wealth. The nature of a two-party democracy, however, is that if one side proposes unpopular (though valuable) measures, it is there for their opponents to take a more populist and easy route. Overwhelming public support for real action on climate change would largely remove the political slanging match from centre stage, and the bipartisan focus could shift to genuine efforts to address emission levels.

How does one gain public support for such measures, so that those who introduce them are not deposed at the next electoral opportunity? The difficulty of this is demonstrated by polls from the ANU and the CSIRO showing that public opinion on climate change is essentially going backwards.

Public debate is governed, according to cognitive scientist George Lakoff, not by the evidence but rather by how both politicians and the media present the issues, which is understandable but clearly sometimes unfortunate. Further, psychological studies suggest that no amount of evidence will change the minds of many people. Experiments reported by Feinberg & Willer in the journal Psychological Science in February support the view that “fear won’t do it”, and the authors observe a correlation between climate change denialism and the strength of one’s adherence to the “just world theory”. This refers to a belief that the world is just, orderly and stable, and anything that threatens this view (eg. climate change) is instinctively rejected in a form of emotional self-preservation, albeit at the cost of intellectual and moral integrity.

In an essay in which he draws disturbing parallels between climate denialism and both the rejection of Einstein’s theory of relativity in Weimar Germany and the ignoring of Churchill’s warnings about Hitler in the lead up to World War Two, Clive Hamilton discusses how those who reject climate change tend to be those whose cultural identity is most threatened by it. And if this weren’t enough, a major thesis of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s best-seller The Black Swan is that, for the most part, humans simply cannot conceive of the risk of catastrophic events.

Based on their studies, Feinberg & Willer conclude that less dire messaging could be more effective in helping people accept climate change, but can “less dire messaging” really achieve the urgency of action that is required? And if it can’t, what are we left with? Julia Gillard has spoken of the need for “a deep and lasting consensus” across the country. Given the apparent downward trend of community support, and psychological research suggesting we will never achieve it, we cannot afford to wait for this consensus.

The alternative path is brave leadership, with associated courage from an opposition party not to play political games with our future. In a film called Climate Refugees, which we screened at the 2010 Environmental Film Festival Melbourne, Lester Brown, author of “Plan B”, tells a story about US President Roosevelt one month after Pearl Harbour. After announcing that 45,000 tanks, 60,000 planes and 20,000 artillery guns would be needed for the war effort, Roosevelt called the captains of the car industry (who represented a large portion of the US industrial capacity at the time) to discuss how this would be achieved. The manufacturers said it would be difficult to achieve those numbers while still making their 2 or so million cars a year. Roosevelt explained: “You don’t understand. We’re going to ban the sale of private automobiles in the United States.” And so he did, and the arms goals were achieved. Speculate as you wish about the course of history had Roosevelt taken the path of least immediate resistance. While this demonstrates the power of leadership, one wonders what kind of media campaign would be brought out today by those industrialists, and how a political opponent would respond.

In the panel discussion that followed the film, it was said that the war-like mentality serves only to create an “Us-versus-Them” situation, but I submit now that what we need is not war-like in the sense of confrontation or opposition, but rather war-like in the sense of unity in a time of crisis and rallying together around a common problem.

What we urgently need is leaders who make tough choices and people who support those decisions, not because they like it but because it is in their best long-term interests. A price on carbon emissions is a critical starting point for action on climate change, but it does not end there. For example, we have the capacity now to radically change our energy sources for the better (consider the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan from the Melbourne Energy Institute), but what are we doing with it? What if every car manufacturing plant was asked to spend a year making wind turbines instead, and every television manufacturer to make photo-voltaics?

While I suspect not intended to be read specifically in this context, Waleed Aly’s dedication of his book People Like Us to his two children beautifully sums up what we face: “May your world fulfil its potential, not complete its trajectory”. In the conclusion to his Requiem for a Species, Clive Hamilton observes that “clinging to hopefulness becomes a means of forestalling the truth”, and that we will need to embrace a new vision of how we conceive of ourselves in a changed climate. The reality is that we no longer have a choice about whether our lives are transformed or not. We do, however, have a choice of futures, but only if our leaders have the courage to lead us there, and only if people have the courage to follow.

Nicholas Aberle is the Director of the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne.

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296 thoughts on “Enough faffing about, the climate isn’t getting any cooler

  1. Flower

    Wayne – I’m waiting on delivery of Ehrman’s book. I was naïve in thinking that the bookshops in Perth’s CBD would have it on the shelves, but alas, no such luck.

    And it’s not entirely Pete50’s confirmation bias to which I’ve referred but his tricky side-step shuffling when cornered and his outrageous propaganda. This type is well known to criminal barristers who have a hell of a job proving their client’s innocence after their client’s gaseous emissions are spilled forth in the witness box. Bobbing and weaving, they’re sufficiently deluded in believing they can dodge the pertinent questions of the prosecutor or answer with evasive mumbling. These are the persons of interest who lock themselves in the lavatory when their mom asks who put the dent in the family car.

    Of course you are a patient man but you know that Pete50 cannot provide a link to the IPCC’s “fifty odd authors, editors and peers…..” by excluding all the others. Nevertheless, which “50” would be in Pete50’s selective thinking and self deception? The names are included in public documents so names please? Not bleedin’ likely.

    And who are the “quickly growing number of proper scientists, worldwide” who state that the IPCC are of little worth? “Proper scientists?” Names please, how many and in which disciplines? Not bleedin’ likely.

    All names of authors and review editors are published by the IPCC. The current total number of IPCC AR5 Authors and Review Editors (as of April 11, 2011) is 836 (plus 3 unfilled positions)


    Pete50 (Danr?) has had ample time in which to provide reputable links to substantiate the swill he perpetuates and/or answer pertinent questions raised by others. Pete50’s information is as murky as the brown stews dumped in our oceans by the fossil fuel industry. His murk renders him guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation. That’s the reason why he’s locked himself in the lavatory and rest assured, it would take several tonnes of gelignite to get him to come out. Let’s not feed the troll.

  2. Flower

    Ullo ullo – wotsuphere? Resident troll, Pete50 and his alter egos still braying away? Still trying to putty up the ever-increasing cracks in the spin peddled by the fossil fuel cult? And deliberately avoiding the too hard questions and persisting with the rubbish that climate scientists are in it for the moolah?

    “Lord” Monckton’s fly in fly out climate change lecture cost Australian sceptics $100,000 plus a $2k per day stipend, despite all the help from “volunteers” but Monckton is now the laughing stock of Britain’s prominent sceptics and has been left fighting a rearguard action against fellow deniers. And $120 grand over 10 days is more than the salaries of senior climate scientists in a whole year.

    Now, Monckton’s being attacked by prominent sceptic Richard North on his EU Referendum blog for being too over-the-top in his claims. Dear me, his “Lordship” let slip on the BBC programme that CO2 contributes to global warming. Cringe!

    “The BBC has an unerring ability to spot the ‘swivel-eyed loon’ and build them up. The ‘mark’, usually with an over-inflated ego, is invariably flattered and falls for it every time. Monckton fitted the bill admirably, and the hatchet job proceeded apace,” said North. Goodness – them’s strong words for a comrade.

    In leaked emails circulated among climate sceptics including Lord Lawson, Christopher Booker (who verballed eminent astrophysicist, Nigel Weiss) and Andrew Montford of the Bishop Hill blog, Monckton is roundly attacked for conceding that carbon dioxide emissions cause some global warming. Oops.

    Hans Schreuder, of ‘I Love My Carbon Dioxide’, claims carbon dioxide will cause climate cooling so he laid into Monckton, saying: “Even more luke-warmers will be borne from this man’s incorrect views of reality.

    “Has he (Monckton) read the latest papers on the extra cooling that is the only logical effect that can be ascribed to atmospheric carbon dioxide?” asks Schreuder.

    Err……Mr Schreuder have you read ‘the latest papers’ on the Global surface temperatures in 2010 which tied with 2005 as the warmest on record or that the most current analysis reveals the next warmest years on record are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009? Tut tut.

    Schreuder then apparently argues that it’s Monckton’s acceptance of the basic link between CO2 and warming which makes him easy to debunk. Aw… Mr Schreuder is such a meanie to Herr Monckton.

    “Little wonder than that this man is heralded by the BBC as the ‘voice of climate scepticism’ – it suits them well as his arguments are easy pickings.” Told ya Mr Schreuder!

    Only last year, “Lord” Monckton told an adoring Australian audience, that the earth is not warming and that the activity of humans is not to blame and everyone should categorically oppose any plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Huh? Will this audience, bewitched by his “Lordship’s hubris,” demand a refund?

    Tracey Bowden of the ABC asks Mr Monckton: “What motivates you?”

    “Well, I could give you the answer that our blessed Lord gave to Pontius Pilate. He said this, (Speaks Latin), then: ”Unto this was I born, for this came I into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth.”

    Hmm….a creationist? “Lord” Monckton lies for Jesus too?:

    “Forged” Author: Professor Bart D. Ehrman Ph.D:


  3. PeeBee

    Well lads, the world of real science is still there

    Where exactly?

    I have not come across one peer reviewed paper that castes any doubt on AGW being a reality.

    Please provide some real science Pete – peer reviewed real science. I think you are right about voodoo science – it appears to be the science you and the rest of the crack pots follow.

    Put up or shut up.

    BTW Pete, what role would you have played on the Titanic?


    My guess is that you would be the one telling the passengers that despite the overwhelming knowledge that icebergs are ahead, you would be saying they aren’t there. I’m modeler and models they are using are wrong I tell you. They are wrong, because I am right (and they are frauds and only do it for the money).

    Keep going full steam ahead there is nothing to fear.

  4. wayne robinson

    I was hoping not to have to comment again, so that this thread could eventually die … but Pete’s non-answers force me to.

    To summarize Pete’s position, he doesn’t think that AGW is true because he thinks that:

    1. Climate scientists are corrupt.

    2. Climate scientists think that CO2 is the only influence affecting climate.

    Neither are true.

    Pete thinks that climate scientists are lying about AGW to keep the funding coming for research.

    There’s a number of facts that disprove that. Climate research would be funded without the threat of AGW. A lot of science gets funded even without it producing practical results, such as the Hubble telescope and the large hadron collider. Knowing what drives climate would be of considerable value anyway. All the national science academies, which represent all scientists, not just climate scientists, agree that with the present state of knowledge, AGW is probably happening. Science research funds are limited, and if AGW wasn’t generally accepted non-climate scientists would be protesting. After all, when Obama relaxed the rules on funding of embryonic stem cell research, the first people who took his government to court were two scientists working with adult stem cells who protested that the change would make it more difficult for them to get funding. The money from research grants doesn’t go into the scientists’ pockets. People don’t go into science to become rich; they do so to achieve some sort of fame by being right, and being recognized as being right. Heroic failure isn’t something they want. If scientists were after the money, then the Templeton Prize would be much sought after, instead of being generally being looked down upon, despite the one million pound prize.

    And no, climate scientists know that CO2 isn’t the only driver of climate. That’s a straw man argument set up by denialists. Jim Hensen, for example, in ‘Storms of Our Grandchildren’ discusses why in previous periods of abrupt global warming, CO2 follows rather than precedes warming. It’s because CO2 ‘fizzes’ out of a warming ocean. Thinking that all episodes of warming have to have the same cause is just silly.

    What is currently unprecedented is the rate at which CO2 levels are increasing. If you think that AGW isn’t true, then you have to explain why increasing CO2 levels won’t cause more warming.

    I don’t have any problems with the medieval warm period. If Bill Ruddiman’s theory discussed in ‘Plows, Plagues and Petroleum’ is correct, and I think it is, then the medieval warm period (which was 1-2C lower than today) was warmer because it followed the decline in agriculture in Europe following the plague of Julian and preceded the one induced by the Black Death. Reforestation due to reduced agriculture allowed a decline in CO2 levels causing cooling. The Maunder minimum would also have played a role.

    You still haven’t explained why you think increased sunspots will cause cooling.

  5. kd

    [ 1) The climate people who controlled the three temperature data repositories wouldn’t allow anyone outside the team to see the data – and it’s still being kept secret. ]

    Incorrect. You’ve fallen for denialist propaganda.

    [ 2) The processed data together with the models gave linear patterns of temperature. It’s now realised that on the scale of a century, climate parameters are non-linear. ]

    Eh? This doesn’t make sense. Residual analysis certainly shows some non-linearities in the global and hemispheric climate data. However that doesn’t prevent using the general linear model to help understand climate phenomena.

    [ 3) The processed climate data, in the form of averaged world temperatures, seemingly indicated that land surface temperatures exhibited similar trends on all the continents and the polar regions, on the scale of centuries. ]

    Another bizzare statement with no self-evident conclusion. It also appears to be incorrect.

    [ 4) Weather and climate are non-linear phenomena that behave chaotically. Human produced and global atmospheric CO2 level are not chaotic. ]

    Another non sequitur. Frankly there seems to be a substantial part of your scientific education that seems deficient.

    Well with your 4 point manifesto, along with the piss poor quality of your other arguments, and uncritical acceptance of the denialist interpretation of the literature you chose to read shows that you’re just another apologist for the anti-science crowd.

    Anyway you seem to be saying that you’ve changed your mind once, and you’re implying that nothing will cause you to change your mind again.

  6. Flower

    I note that the floods in Namibia last month were responsible for the thousands of environmental refugees having to relocate to camps in the region. Three hundred and twenty four schools have been affected by the floods and 216 have been closed. This affects 114,075 pupils in the region. In another region of Namibia, the grazing area along the Kuiseb river has been washed away and the government is buying fodder to help livestock survive.

    Meanwhile Australia’s live export industry continues to dump animals overboard (> 2.5 million in recent decades). Terrestrial animals do not take kindly to ocean voyages to the Middle East though the meat industry boasts of only a “1%” mortality rate per ship. One percent of 100,000 critters on one journey could feed a significant number of malnourished people in poor countries.

    Slaughtering livestock in Australia and exporting chilled and frozen meats would eliminate the need to dump millions of tonnes of animal manure (including the accompanying pathogenic organisms) into fragile oceans and coastal zones which contribute to eutrophication and related problems such as algal blooms, anoxic and hypoxc events, fish kills and subsequently ocean dead zones.

    This summer saw farmers in eastern Australia take delivery of an “unprecedented” livestock buy-up from drought-ravaged Western Australia where livestock farmers trucked around one million animals east just in the final five months of 2010, due to lack of water and feed. During the same period of 2009, a modest 46,498 animals made the crossing east. You can witness the sheep cadavers in the recent crossing at the WA-South Australia border where drivers abandoned injured animals that were subsequently eaten by dogs and dingoes or hit by vehicles.

    None of this is of concern to Monsanto and its push into Australia’s agricultural lands, flogging its GM seeds to eager farmers. And recently NASAA de-certified Western Australian organic grower Steve Marsh’s accreditation after GM canola seed was discovered on his property near Kojonup. Local GM grower and Nuffield scholar Rob Warburton said the level of genetically modified canola contamination on Marsh’s organic farm is staggering. Monsanto says it will give legal support to the grower (one of 300) of Genetically Modified canola in the event of class action.

    A study published in Environmental Biosafety Research (25 March) also found GM seedlings had contaminated three traditional maize fields in Uruguay.

    Dr Preston of South Australia University said that new populations of weed resistance to the herbicide, paraquet have almost doubled WA’s documented cases which are widespread. “This discovery has major implications for farmers,” he said.

    “Paraquat is the only viable herbicide alternative to the most commonly used herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup). With more than 100 annual ryegrass populations in Australia already having developed resistance to glyphosate, the discovery of paraquat resistance means that none of the currently available knockdown herbicides can be guaranteed to control ryegrass,” Dr Preston said.

    Scientists in Caen, France evaluated the toxicity of four glyphosate (G)-based herbicides in Roundup formulations, from 10(5) times dilutions, on three different human cell types where all Roundup formulations caused total cell death within 24 hours. This study implicates Monsanto et al in aspects of human health.

    There is a consensus among paleontologists that a sixth extinction is under way. Will the weeds inherit the Earth?

    “History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.” (Abba Eban – Scholar and former Israeli Statesman)

  7. kd


    [ Wasn’t there a recent paper claiming that the climate change we’ve already got has caused a 6% drop in food production? ]

    Yes, published this week: Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980 (check the podcast interview link on that page if you don’t have access to the pdf).

    The Americans have got away without this decline so far, as their climate seems more stable than the rest of the world’s right now. Maybe this explains some of the more widespread denialism there (although Australia is pretty bad on that score).

  8. wayne robinson


    On reflection, you’re right. I’d known that photosynthesis was an inefficient process. I’d actually read that the efficiency of conversion of light energy to sugars was less than 1%, sugar cane being better. The Wikipedia says that plants in full Sun at midday can only use a maximum of 10% of the solar energy, so that would allow for a lot of solar energy being absorbed or reflected by clouds.

    The denialists claim that the atmosphere is CO2 deficient, that CO2 is plant food and that deliberately increasing its level in the atmosphere will be beneficial ignores the other limits to plant growth, which include water and nutrients. Doubling CO2 levels in a greenhouse increase growth of C3 plants by 13%, with little or no effect on C4 plants. The C3 plants have a lower protein content with this setup. Whether it can be extrapolated to less controlled settings in open commercial farm land is another matter, particularly since doubling the atmospheric CO2 level would cause large global warming with heat stress on plants, increased evaporation and reduced hydration.

    Wasn’t there a recent paper claiming that the climate change we’ve already got has caused a 6% drop in food production? I’d be more worried that we’re overusing the agricultural land we’ve got. In Western Australia, salinity is a major problem, causing the loss of agricultural land. In China and the American Midwest, overuse of aquifers for agriculture has caused them to be severely depleted, and the wells have had to be deepened progressively. In parts of Northern China, the aquifers have been restricted to use by the cities rather than agriculture. And now China is interested in hydraulic fracturing of its gas containing slate to fill its energy requirements, running the risk of contaminating its ground water supplies due to the possible contamination by the toxic fluids used in hydraulic fracturing.

    All of this illustrates the folly of using food crops to make biofuels.

  9. kd

    Confronting. More denialist psychological projection I think. Courtillot appears to be a a contrarian petroleum geologist, kind of like Plimer lite.

    Also the latest paper you claim supports your argument is a preprint that has nothing to say about anthropogenic climate change, apart from that it supports that much of the warming observed in the first half of the 20th century was cased by solar factors. I already knew this, having done some back of the virtual envelope data analysis myself.

    More useless denialist propaganda. What a surprise. Yawn.

  10. Flower

    @ Pete50: “It’s the precautionary principle – trust us, we’ll look after you.”

    Spoken like a typical dancing boy of the biggest corporate vandals on the planet who are the biggest obstacles to progress where the future health of the planet is at
    stake. These dancing boys are the ignorant peasants who would hog all the cake at a child’s birthday party and are totally clueless of humanity’s need for the Precautionary Principle.

    These are the clones of the thugs who tried to trash the Precautionary Principle in the Basel Convention on Hazardous Waste; the Stockholm Convention on POPS; the London Convention on Ocean Dumping and who limited humanity’s ability to achieve sustainable development to protect the environment and human health.

    These are Australia’s ugly sisters who want to keep criminals in government, the offsprings of the Howard government who sought exemptions at the Stockholm Convention to continue spraying hazardous pollutants on humans’ fresh produce (and won) and internationally disgraced and former Environment Minister, Ros Kelly who gave Pasminico Metals the go-ahead to continue dumping hazardous waste products into the sea (and the Derwent River) after Australia ratified the London Convention.

    Consensus on the Precautionary Principle means nothing to these smirking chimps.

    Now it’s the pogroms and inquisitions against the science community and the waging of war on a sustainable future. These are the knuckle draggers who live in mortal fear of the Precautionary Principle and its ability to exterminate the old ‘vorld’ order of parasites who bludge off a fragile environment with impunity.

    @ Pete50: “This is (sic) presentation could be a (sic) confronting for Warmistanis.”

    Pete50 – your ignorance is hilarious.

    Vincent Courtillot favors the hypothesis that major mass extinctions are caused by massive episodes of vulcanism: that the P/T extinction that ended the Paleozoic Era was caused by the Siberian Traps eruption, and the K/T extinction that ended the Mesozoic Era was caused by the Deccan Traps vulcanism in India.

    This is also the hypothesis of paleontologist, Dewey McLean, whose paper was published in 1979 – long before public debate on CO2. Both Courtillot and McLean believe that vulcanism was responsible for the carbon perturbation that wiped out the dinosaurs and the mass of species in the Great Dying event. CO2. Get it? Duh!

  11. kd

    Oh, Courtillort’s hypotheis that climate relates to the earth’s magnetic field. Largely based on bogus correlations, and a poorly formed theory.

    Sufficiently bogus that it hasn’t got much traction in the deniersphere, as there are easier ways to sow confusion it would seem.

  12. Captain Planet

    @ Frank Campbell,

    Good evening Frank, it is good to be corresponding with you again.

    You are starting to disappoint me, though.

    You are an intelligent man with a sense of humour which I find really quite amusing when you manage to rein in the ridicule to a suitable level of gentleness.

    I’d love to debate wind turbines with you, as you regularly denigrate them and you are clearly operating under a number of misconceptions. But first I need to see that you are actually willing to approach the subject with an open mind. So far when your positions are held up to the light and shown to be false, instead of acknowledging it, you run on to the next criticism.

    So far we’ve demonstrated that Wind Turbines run at exactly the Capacity factor they were designed and intended to run at, and they do produce electricity which does alleviate CO2 emissions, which (If we allow the possibility that CO2 emissions cause climate change, which any sensible person MUST allow) helps slow or prevent climate change.

    Now you are claiming that

    embodied carbon is just one aspect of the idiocy of wind turbines.

    Hang on. It has been demonstrated that embodied carbon is NOT an aspect of any form of idiocy, as the embodied energy payback period (as shown above) is less than 6 years, froma 25 year wind turbine life span.

    If you start by acknowledging this, then the discussion can progress.

    I note that you are merely skirting around this subject as the insubstantial nature of your argument becomes more transparent. Now it is about,

    appalling social and economic effects are now apparent even to low postcode politicians (except Greens, still in denial and insulting sufferers as “nimbys”

    So, in the interests of practising what I preach and keeping an open mind, what are these “appalling social and economic effects”?

    Again, in the interests of keeping an open mind, will you please summarise the salient points of John Etherington’s “The Windfarm Scam” for me? I am not going to buy it unless I see some indication that it has some worthwhile content.

  13. Flower

    Frank – Please desist from telling us that Germany has retreated to nuclear energy – it has not. Germany has placed a moratorium on nuclear power and a reversal of its decision to extend the lives of nuclear power plants currently in operation.

    Huge demonstrations the day before the election in March saw 90,000 in Berlin and over 400,000 in four major German cities, demanding an end to atomic reactors, and that is how the voters marked their ballots, awarding the Greens an unprecedented victory and the opportunity (in coalition) to promote solar power.

    Further, WA’s media reports that West Australians are signing up to sell excess power from home solar panels at such a rapid rate that there are fears they could overload the grid and cause power surges that destroy household appliances.

    State-owned electricity transmitter Western Power said it might have to limit the amount of solar power it accepted as the take-up rate soared. Almost 40,000 applications to connect solar power to residential meters have been approved in the west, against 264 three years ago. WP’s managing director, Doug Aberle said: “It’s certainly coming in very rapidly. At the moment we’re getting about 2500 applications per month for PV (photovoltaic) cell connections,”

    Any bird death at the hands of humans is tragic, including those killed by wind turbines. Unfortunately you refuse to acknowledge the comparison of bird mortalities caused by various man-made structures to wind turbines. You are also aware that the mining industry in Australia kills millions of native animals every year. The number of birds poisoned by tailings dams in this country is unknown (out of sight out of mind).

    Your reference to the eagle in Tasmania reminds me that the state of Tasmania poisons feral animals with the heinous 1080 bait but there is little information on the non-target species that are also slaughtered from scavenging poisoned carcasses.

    I have yet to hear your objections to these obscene industry practices that are wiping out our biodiversity with impunity. Therefore one can only conclude that your whinge about wind farms is illogical, unreasonable and bloody-minded.

    Hopefully the mangled link following ( National Academies Press) on bird mortalities in the US will evade moderation. Pop it in your browser Frank – once again!

    h t t p :// w w w.


    Climate4all – Aren’t you lucky to have us to play with? A quick perusal of your blog reveals that you have received around 3 comments in 15 months. Tsk tsk. Even the primitive racketeers in the deniers’ camp steer clear of your nonsense.

  14. Captain Planet


    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    You know very well that wind turbines struggle to reach 25% of their rated capacity.

    So what?

    Actually, Wind Turbines very often run at 100 % of rated capacity. It all depends on the wind speed…. derrrrr.

    In good locations, their AVERAGE capacity factor is over 30 %. This is a fact that the owners and operators know full well, and allow for in all aspects of their economic and CO2 reduction predictions. Only somebody with an anti – wind agenda would hold up a known fact which has been allowed for in the project design, as a defect.

    I notice you are not so quick to criticise the thermal efficiency of natural gas and coal fired power stations, which struggle to achieve more than 30% to 50% thermal efficiency.

    Interesting that you have changed your statement,

    it’s about political gestures. Wind turbine are useless for anything else.

    to this,

    Billions spent to make no diffference to climate whatever.

    Is this because you have faced up to the bleeding obvious, that every time a wind turbine produces a kiloWatthour of electricity, that is a kiloWatthour of electricity which we didn’t burn fossil fuel to produce….. and there is no denying that wind turbines produce electricity, therefore your initial exaggeration is exposed?

    As for “no difference to climate whatever”, someday soon I hope you will have the grace to acknowledge that by your own logic, we must accept the possibility that CO2 is warming the planet, and that every kWhr of wind energy produced, in reducing CO2 emissions, therefore must have an impact on climate…. however small the impact may be for one little wind turbine.

    We can build more, you know.

    It’s myopic not to put these technologies in their wider economic, technological context. Sure the power goes in (irregular, unpredictable, usually when least required) but any GG savings are wiped out by that wider context you so blithely ignore. 40,000 tons of concrete went into the turbine pads at Waubra alone…

    Why do you assume (or assert) that I (or anyone else) ignores the “wider context”?

    Detailed studies have been done on the embodied energy of new windfarms, making comprehensive allowance for the concrete, steel, transport, minimal land clearing, road construction, operations and maintenance vehicle movements, parts manufacture, transport, replacement and disposal, and these studies have demonstrated that the embodied energy in any one wind turbine is completely paid back within at most 6 years of the construction.

    Given that the life of a wind turbine is at least 25 years, your unsupported claims that

    any GG savings are wiped out by that wider context

    are looking a little thin.

    Will you be reasonable and acknowledge this?

  15. Captain Planet


    posted again without link, to avoid moderation.

    @ Frank Campbell,

    Hello again Frank, how are you?

    I have a few comments on some of the issues you have raised.

    The only tenable position is scepticism. No one has any idea how AGW (or GW) will work out.

    Agreed with reservations. The only tenable position from the perspective of knowledge of the absolute truth of this matter IS scepticism. But that is the same for all science. On the other hand, our course of action for the future must be chosen now. Given that many of the possible scenarios which could unfold are disastrous for human civilisation, we do not have the luxury of adopting a wait – and – see approach. This precautionary principle is at the heart of the calls for action to ameliorate the potential effects of climate change, from most thinking people. If you are as balanced and as sceptical as you claim, I fail to see how you can rationally adopt any other position.

    Gillard now knows that current renewable energy technologies are middle class subsidies and rorts which don’t reduce emissions

    Can’t agree with you there Frank…. I used to have this belief. As you are somebody who is often noticed to be characterising the Greens as a “low postcode” privileged elite, it is clear that you believe our society is stratified by socio economic geographical distribution. I suggest you check out the figures for the uptake of Grid feed, rooftop mounted Solar Panels by geographic area.

    (link deleted to avoid moderation…. look to my comment # 233, when it eventually appears, for the link)

    You will see that actually the “working class” suburbs have amongst the highest proportion of solar PV installations. As somebody who grew up in Sunshine and Altona I can tell you these are not middle class locations.

    Don’t bother calling the figures into doubt just because they are provided by the Clean Energy Council, facts are facts.

    As for your claims that renewable energy does not reduce emissions…. as the manager of a power station incorporating more than 20 % renewable technology, I can tell you that every MegaWatt Hour produced by renewable energy DOES reduce emissions. You are partially right and partially wrong in your oft – repeated assertion that wind power (for example) needs to be 100 % backed up by fossil fuel. However whenever the wind turbines are generating (which is far more often than you imply) fuel is being saved, and emissions are being reduced. Considering that 75 % of the Levelised Cost of Energy from any fossil fuel power station is fuel cost, that is how non – baseload renewables become cost effective as well as achieving emissions reductions.

  16. wayne robinson

    Hi Frank,

    I think you’re slightly exaggerating (I was tempted to use the word ‘hyperbole’ here, but I do know how to spell it, even if I have to think how to pronounce it) when you write that the extreme position is for climate change Armageddon tomorrow.

    The most dire predictions are for catastrophe by the year 2100.

    Which illustrates the problem with trying to see any sort of action on climate change to the population, when the costs are now and the benefits are decades in the future, perhaps at a time when many of the people alive today will be dead for perfectly natural reasons.

    Convincing people of the necessity of taking action faces 3 problems of human nature; 1. Discounting the future (mentioned above) 2. Regarding smaller losses as more significant than larger gains. 3. The tragedy of the commons, wanting others to pay the cost for one’s own personal gain.

    Trying to get people to recognize that it’s their children or grandchildren who will suffer the consequences of inaction is difficult to get across, particularly since many people have a feeling of entitlement, thinking they deserve the largest house, car, plasma screen TV …

    Calling George Monbiot a nuclear warrior is a little unfair. It’s a meaning of warrior I haven’t previously come across before … I’ll need to look at the Oxford Shorter Dictionary to see its usage … Monbiot wrote an article in last week’s Guardian, the final paragraph was quoted by ‘climate4all’, but the important part was at the beginning when he noted that according to oil experts, peak oil has already happened and peak gas is soon to occur. He asked his fellow environmentalists at the end what unpalatable course of action they’d recommend. His, of course, was for more nuclear power.

    I don’t know if Bob Brown has veto over wind power in Tasmania. Tasmania does have a lot of hydroelectricity which it is able to send across the Bass Strait to Victoria. It does also have 3 small wind farms and a small number of gas generated power stations. I think wind, except in limited areas, would have extreme difficulty in competing with a renewable energy source as hydroelectricity.

    The Liberals currently, on paper, perhaps just for show, aren’t against action on climate change. They just want a 10 billion dollar abatement program (I’m not certain whether that’s per year or over a period of years). The government’s position is also unclear. A $20 per tonne carbon tax would yield around $10 billion per year, if broadly based, so the amounts for both would be very roughly equivalent.

    The Conservative government in Britain is still committed to a 60% decrease in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.

    Regarding the Newspoll from last week giving a 60/30 split between no carbon tax/carbon tax. A reader of Crikey wrote in yesterday (you might not have seen it, it was one of the later items) noting that he was one of the people polled, and the question asked was ‘Are you in favor of a carbon tax if it results in SUBSTANTIAL increases in the price of food and power’. He said, push polling if there ever was … And was surprised that 30% would agree to such a question.

  17. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    If we look at this 2009 graph from RealClimate, the deviation is already. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as shocking because the rest of the data is included.

    What it does show, and what Watts shows, is a warming ocean which proves global warming.

  18. Frank Campbell

    The last 70 or so posts here are a bizarre sight, repeated all over the blogosphere. Half a dozen wranglers demanding scientific “proof”. Each side ridiculing the other. Both sides castrated by short data sets. Both sides fiddling graphs to “prove” steep inclines or declines. The see-saw syndrome.

    For all the gouging and trumpeting, all you can do is wait to see what observational science provides in the future.

    By making this dispute a two-horse race, science is demeaned.

    The only tenable position is scepticism. No one has any idea how AGW (or GW) will work out. Hence the wide range of scenarios, from “not much, slowly” to Armageddon tomorrow.

    The whole fracas depends on policy/politics. If the Right wins, as seems likely, AGW will slide down the agenda like a rate down a drainpipe. Then the whole “debate” becomes redundant.

    There’s the rub: not only is AGW policy difficult to formulate and even harder to implement, but policy specifics depend on the urgency and severity of possible impacts. There is no agreement on that whatever. Therefore the Right exploits the intrinsic policy uncertainty. Politically, Green Left is on a hiding to nothing. They’re damned if they’re cautious and damned if they’re not.

    The chaos on the Left is not primarily due to incompetence or its latter-day integration with corporatism and consequent loss of ideological coherence (important as that is). The real problem is what policy to implement, given that predicted impacts vary so widely. The Left are headless chooks: Fukushima converts Monbiot into a nuclear warrior; Brown demands wind turbines everywhere except Tasmania (eagles wiped out); Gillard now knows that current renewable energy technologies are middle class subsidies and rorts which don’t reduce emissions; and whatever Australia does, it will continue expanding coal exports.

    The list of contradictions is endless, and leads straight to the political wilderness.

  19. Rich Uncle Skeleton


    Senior, this is where you have a chance to admit you are not a science denier as you can clearly see from the evidence you are wrong, and that the film is wrong.

  20. Flower

    Senior – If your agenda is to dupe society into believing that humans can’t affect the climate, you should never refer readers to the discredited ragtag group of paid promoters of the fossil fuel industry – yawn. This kind of nonsense that you swallow may be politically useful but it is not scientifically defensible.

    The majority of the actors (mostly old fogeys whom you promote as “climate experts”) in the Youtube rubbish, are the covert recipients (directly or indirectly) of the highest levels of corporate funding and are at the centre of the global warming misinformation campaign.

    The current debate here reminds me of my interest in clouds – anthropogenic brown clouds. Neither you nor the band of merry climate thugs can refute the empirical evidence of these man-made clouds (unless deniers are sight impaired as well as dumb and greedy).

    ‘The major source categories of atmospheric BC (ABCs) are fossil fuel combustion (including using diesel as vehicular fuel and coal combustion for energy), biofuel combustion (for example, wood and animal waste as fuel for household heating and cooking), and open biomass burning (for example, forest and savanna fires and agricultural crop residue burning)’.

    The latest collaborative research endeavours of scientists from Japan, Switzerland, USA, Italy, India, Germany, Sth Korea, Sweden, China and a representative of the UNEP (Asia and Pacific) advise that:

    ‘The effect of ABCs on climate, hydrological cycle, glacier melting, agriculture and human health is an outstanding problem which prevents a complete understanding of climate change and its impacts, and needs to be more fully explored.

    ‘Through the studies initiated under the ABC project, scientists now have an overall view of the major sources and the global scale nature of the brown cloud problem. The recent studies show that the aerosols in ABC reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface by as much as 10 to 15%, and enhance atmospheric solar heating by as much as 50%.

    ‘Thus, ABCs, on the one hand, mask the greenhouse warming by the surface dimming, while on the other hand enhance the greenhouse warming of the atmosphere. While confirming that ABCs may have masked global warming by as much as 50% (see also IPCC, 2007), studies conducted by ABC scientists have led to new findings on regional climate changes:

    • Slowing down of the monsoon circulation and reduction in monsoon rainfall.
    • Increase strength and frequency of winter and spring time temperature inversion.
    • Enhancing the greenhouse warming of the atmosphere thus contributing to glacier melting.

    ‘Preliminary assessment of the impacts identified potential direct and indirect consequences of the haze. These impacts include:

    • Impacts on regional temperature, climate and marine and terrestrial ecosystems
    • Impacts on precipitation patterns and water budgets
    • Impacts on agriculture
    • Impacts on human health’

    In fact scientists have hypothesised that the Asian brown cloud, hovering above the north of Australia, may have contributed to the decades long drought in the south-west of WA. And researchers have made clear that there are also disturbing brown clouds elsewhere including over parts of North America, Europe, southern Africa and the Amazon Basin.

    Not so strange is the fact that climate deniers avoid any reference to these anthropogenic brown clouds. Of course the indisputable evidence of anthropogenic brown clouds completely trash the deniers’ propaganda that all carbon perturbations are the result of entirely natural events.

  21. wayne robinson

    Captain Planet,

    On the face of it, I can’t find anything wrong in what you write. I suspect that without a thermohaline circulation, ocean volumes would follow global atmosphere temperatures much more closely, as the oceans would be converted to a surface layer of very warm salty water and a deep layer of non-circulating cold less salty water. The Gulf Stream did fail in the Younger Dryas about 12,000 years ago, but that was due to Lake Agassiz collapsing releasing a large amount of freshwater into the North Atlantic. I can’t see it happening again, as there isn’t enough freshwater in the Arctic. The scenarios suggesting that it could happen again sound a little implausible to put it mildly, involving a warm Summer increasing surface less salty sea water followed by a colder Winter and Summer, leaving sea ice longer insulating the warm Gulf Stream water from the Arctic wind, so it doesn’t become denser as it should as it becomes colder and saltier due to evaporation so it doesn’t sink instead petering out all over the North Atlantic. Ocean currents (like winds) don’t flow, they suck.

    I’m still not certain how closely ocean volumes should follow global atmosphere temperatures. I suspect that the models describing it will be extremely complex, particularly since we don’t have as much knowledge of the oceans as we should (cue 3 2 1 … ‘Computer climate models are bunkum’ whichever AGW denialist who reads this).

    I’m still waiting for Pete50 to reveal why the coming upsurge in sunspots (if it happens, and it has been delayed – are we headed for another Maunder minimum?) will result in increased global cloudiness and global cooling.

    The Australian had an article this morning on the way sales of cars in China is taking off, and General Motors is rubbing its hands at the thought of the profits to be made there. It doesn’t bode well for the price of oil, with demand increasing. China has a lot of slate gas, which could replace some of the oil requirements, but releasing it entails fracturing the slate with toxic fluids running the risk of contaminating the aquifers which are already under extreme strain due to overuse for agriculture.

    The more I think about it, the more pessimistic I get. If climate change doesn’t get us, then resource depletion will, mainly energy and freshwater. New Statesman had a good article by David Attenborough in the April 25 issue concerning the real problem, global overpopulation, for which there is no solution, since even with luck the population will increase a minimum of 1 billion by 2050, for whom we have to increase food supplies by at least 14%, with a lot of arable land being degraded by overuse and the world’s fisheries being overused to the point of collapse.

  22. Captain Planet

    Gee, this thread has legs.

    Wayne Robinson, thanks for the detailed reply at #160.

    the coefficient of thermal expansion of seawater varies with temperature; for a given temperature rise, cool water expands less than warm water

    This is what I was asking about…. you just put it a whole heap more succintly. Too much time has elapsed since I sat in a lecture hall.

    The commentary about the pressure applied to water at depth neatly cancelling out the difference is fascinating, and had not occurred to me.

    One slight quibble, with global warming heat isn’t being added to the oceans, it’s just failing to be lost.

    I guess my point was the cumulative increase in heat energy contained in the ocean – assuming heat is added and lost at all times, whether the net increase is due to extra addition of heat, or less removal of heat, is pretty much a moot point. But your point is taken, I am something of a pedant for details myself at times.

    I suppose, the safest thing to say is that the heat capacity of the ocean is enormous. It takes a long time to warm and cool. So with a warming atmosphere, the oceans take longer to warm, so on that ground alone, there should be a lag period.

    Understood that it takes a long long time to warm the ocean to any appreciable degree. But what is the lag period between atmospheric warming and oceanic warming? This depends really on the efficacy of heat transfer between air and sea, and though I accept that there will be a lag in the transfer of an average increase in temperature, i would expect that the lag would be measured in years, not decades (complete wild guesstimate based on nothing better than a reasonable grasp of elementary physics and natural laws).

    Personally, I can accept that if the rate of sea level increase is decelerating at this point in time, this may well mean that the rate of increase in atmospheric warming is decelerating – at this point in time. This does not mean that the planet is not warming, nor does it not mean that the long term warming trend is not accelerating, for both atmosphere and ocean, and for sea level rise as an expression of both.

    Temperature records for the past 10 – 12 years do not show the same rapid increase as prior periods. This in no way contradicts my opinion that AGW is happening and is a very real problem – 2010 tied with 2005 for the hottest year on record, etc. I believe that when sunspot activity kicks off again (we are well overdue for a renewal of sunspots) the temperature will soar and the denialists will have to move on to another bandwagon – never lacking for the fearful and credulous to believe their soothing message that everything is fine, keep driving your V8 car.

    It is my gut feeling that ocean levels follow atmospheric temperatures fairly closely, with a fairly minimal lag. It is entirely possible that I’m wrong.

  23. Flower

    Senior – It did not take you long to provide us with a link to “Gotcha” Watts, the weatherman. Psst…..Watts does not get his stuff published in the peer-reviewed literature. Watts is parasite who sucks off the teat of the works of reputable climate scientists so he can dirty things up to get free beer and pizza from the big polluters and their rent boys.

    Alas for your hero, Senior, climate sceptic and scientist, Professor Richard Muller, in his address to Congress in March (and on behalf of 10 other highly acclaimed scientists, including physicists, climatologists and statisticians), on the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, has inadvertently reinforced the view that Watts is a nuisance to the human race and prawn of the decade:


    ‘Professor Muller unexpectedly told a congressional hearing last week that the work of the three principal groups that have analysed the temperature trends underlying climate science is “excellent…. We see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups.”’

    Oh dear and the Berkeley project was partly funded by the heinous Koch brothers (the largest contributors to planet-warming greenhouse gases) who had anticipated a big bang for their buck in support of Watts’ cow dirt nonsense on temperature stations.

    Now Watts, bobbing and weaving (just like Pete50/Tones9), is faced with such comments as: “Hell hath no fury like a bunch of big girls’ blouses scorned.”


    Hopefully the day will arrive when Watts is thrown in the slammer for crimes against humanity?

    @ Pete50: “Put simply, the CAGW industry needs to frighten gullible politicians and public servants in order to keep the trough fully topped up with “research” money.”

    Oh right Pete50/Tones9 – do your histrionics extend to scientists who are climate sceptics/deniers who are keeping their troughs fully topped up with laundered money from the fossil fuel industry (and government grants)? If not, why not? And why the laundering? Is it a plot to dupe Joe Citizen and shareholders with their glowing “sustainability” reports while chewing the ar*e out of Planet Earth?

    PS: Don’t worry – I won’t be holding my breath waiting for your answer.

  24. PeeBee

    Pete, I spoke about the last three decades and you produce a graph in 181 of solar activity for the last decade. You have cherry picked the time scale to make your argument. Please provide a graph with the last THREE DECADES of solar sunspot activity.

    And besides your time slice actually shows the opposite of what you want to prove – solar activity in the last decade was declining; yet the decade was the hottest on record.

    And this statement Thus they have to fall back on ppm of the most crucial atmospheric trace gas to all life on the planet has me wondering about your scientific credentials.

    For one, CO2 is not crucial to ALL life on earth. Putting that aside, you are implying that CO2 cannot be have any effect because it is present in small quantities. Quiet simply, it would have a very significant effect if the rest gases combined to make up 999,640 ppm have no green house effect! You should know this and a 40% increase in CO2 would enhance the greenhouse effect significantly.

    And furthermore you had better explain what you mean by It’s voodoo science . I find these cheap shots pathetic, especially coming from someone claiming a scientific background. It tells me you have run out of decent arguments so throw up your hands and say ‘It’s wrong, but I don’t know why it is wrong – it just is so must be voodoo science’.

    Have you ever applied for research money? Put simply, the CAGW industry needs to frighten gullible politicians and public servants in order to keep the trough fully topped up with “research” money. Are you claiming fraud? Where is your evidence for this? If you cannot provide any, I think you should apologise to your (I’m assuming you are a scientist) colleagues right now.

    Pete your arguements are getting more shrill by the minute. Stick to science instead of repeating imagined consipracy theories as it is destroying your credibility.

  25. pete50

    Wayne – there are several solar metrics. Total solar irradiance is one of them, and if you look, you will see that it does not track sunspot activity. And neither does it reduce the power of my argument.

    Sun spot activity stimulates cloud formation, which of course has a major effect on reflectance and surface temperature.

    Oh, and your unsubstantiated declaration that it’s a lie that the IPCC climate models do not include clouds or solar activity weakens your argument – because it’s true. I was referring specifically to the models that the IPCC relies on for all the voodoo stuff it tries to ram down the throats of the gullible.

  26. wayne robinson


    Actually you’ve just destroyed your argument. Solar warming is proportional to sunspot numbers, so we should be definitely be in a cooling phase now. But global temperatures are still increasing, it’s just that the increase over the over the past 12 years isn’t statistically significant. Denialists see the ‘not statistically significant’ and think that means there has been no warming, or worse, that there has actually been cooling. It just means that you have to consider longer periods.

    It’s like having a rigged coin which always gives heads, tossing it 4 times, getting 4 heads, calculating the chance of getting 4 heads in a row to be one in sixteen, noting that that isn’t significantly (it’s above 0.05) and then concluding that it’s a fair coin.

    And no, we all don’t know that the climate models don’t include clouds or solar activity. That’s just a lie.

    And CO2 is NOT the most crucial trace gas in the atmosphere to all life on Earth. That honour goes to ozone, which has a level of around 3 ppmv, whereas CO2 has a level currently of around 400 ppmv. Without ozone to screen out ultraviolet radiation, life would be confined to subsurface oceans. More life can live without CO2 than ozone.

    If NASA is correct, and we do see an upswing in sunspot number, then we should see an upswing in warming. When NASA first noted the quiet Sun several years ago, they noted that that should lead to a cooler Earth in the short term but no permanent end to global warming.

  27. pete50

    PEEbee # 169 said: “However in the last 3 decades the solar output has been very steady and the earth has continued to heat up.”

    Now that I cannot agree with. Of the multiple solar metrics, the one most have heard off, i.e., sun spots, just in the last decade have been anything but “very Steady”. Take a look: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/sunspot.gif

    We all know now that the climate models that the IPCC have relied upon to conjure up dire predictions, do not include solar activity or cloud dynamics. Thus they have to fall back on ppm of the most crucial atmospheric trace gas to all life on the planet – CO2. It’s voodoo science, and the zombies that are conjured out of their graves by the IPCC to frighten the natives are molecules of CO2.

    Put simply, the CAGW industry needs to frighten gullible politicians and public servants in order to keep the trough fully topped up with “research” money.

  28. kd


    btw, wuwtf is not a credible source on climate change issues. Like other climate delusionals, Watts is keen to make pronouncements, and much less keen to retract them when he’s unambiguously found to be wrong.

  29. kd

    One of the things the delusional brigade won’t accept (as indicated by senior’s latest pile of nonsense) is that the consequences of climate change are delayed by decades due to strong lags in the system.

    The problem isn’t really what’s happening now (although it seems that significant problems are starting to occur), it’s what’s going to transpire between 2050 to 2100. The sooner we act, the less these problems are going to be.

    The other thing that amuses me about the your delusional right wingers is that they don’t believe in resource limitation.

  30. wayne robinson


    I suppose it is possible that Ian Dunlop holds a lot of coal shares and is just trying to boost the value of coal by concealing the fact that the world is awash with oil, so customers will stop looking for supplies, and instead buy coal.

    I suppose that it is possible that his expressing worry about AGW is just a clever ploy to make people use more coal and oil.

    I suppose that it’s equally possible that Ian Dunlop is actually Elvis Prestley in disguise hiding out in Australia.

    Your argument is certainly a novel one, one that I haven’t come across before. Most denialists would be suggesting that Ian Dunlop has financial interests in a solar panel installation firm or a wind farm.

    And yes, I have seen website references to the number of non-peer reviewed publications in the IPCC report. First of all, their number are vastly exceeded by the number of publications that were peer reviewed. Secondly, peer review isn’t necessarily the gold standard of publications. All it means is that the publication has been read by the author’s peers, and no obvious errors were found, not that the publication was actually correct. The non-peer reviewed publications in fact did undergo a sort of peer review, because everything that went into the report was examined by committees and discussed and argued about in a lengthy process.

    If you think that people expressing concern about peak oil or AGW are corrupt and have personal financial interests in expressing bogus claims, don’t you think that you should also apply the same scepticism to the websites you so blithely cite?

  31. Flower

    @ Pete50: “The reference containing the IPCC prediction that the world will be inundated by the end of the century is here:Changes in sea level, in Climate Change 2001…..”

    ‘World’ inundation Pete50? Are you suggesting that the IPCC has “predicted” that all terrestrial life on the planet will be donning flippers, snorkels and oxygen units?

    “Prediction” Pete50? The IPCC makes projections not “predictions” and verballing the authors of the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report is considered infantile. Further the IPCC states (naturally) that sea level rises do not occur uniformly around the world :

    IPCC Third Assessment – 2001:

    “Global mean sea level is projected to rise by 0.09 to 0.88
    metres between 1990 and 2100, for the full range of
    SRES scenarios. This is due primarily to thermal
    expansion and loss of mass from glaciers and ice caps
    (Figure 5e). The range of sea level rise presented in the
    SAR was 0.13 to 0.94 metres based on the IS92
    scenarios. Despite the higher temperature change
    projections in this assessment, the sea level projections
    are slightly lower, primarily due to the use of improved
    models, which give a smaller contribution from glaciers
    and ice sheets.”

    Can we look forward to your retraction Pete50?

    Now move along with the rest of us and access the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment.

    The tedious rounds of stupefying swill spewed by deniers, that humans and the emergence of the Oil Age are so minuscule as to be incapable of altering some of Earth’s physical and chemical cycles is supported by zero evidence.

    If humans (some 6.5 billion) are emitting 130 times more CO2 than volcanoes, science (and the Precautionary Principle) dictates we mitigate this human-induced contribution. Bacteria causes measurable changes in Earth’s atmosphere just by gasses released during their metabolic activity, therefore science dictates we analyze the anthropogenic fossil fuel gases that are being emitted with reckless abandon.

    Humans have been altering the earth’s cycles for some 8-10,000 years before the Oil Age and when land was first cleared for planting by burning and chopping. Fast forward to where each of Nelson’s Royal Navy war ships at Trafalgar (1805) required 6,000 mature oaks for its construction.

    There is 5,000 years of pollution in the Rio Tinto estuary. Mining of massive sulfide deposits in southwestern Spain extending back to the Copper and Bronze Ages has resulted in the pollution of the Rio Tinto fluvial-estuarine complex, the site of Columbus’ departure for the New World in 1492. The radiometric date (3640 YBP) shows that much of the current pollution was caused by mining in pre-Roman times.

    Such ignorance could have once been sustained but certainly not over the last 100 years where corporate rights have trumped human rights every time. In the last two decades or so, the life in many major rivers has been wiped out with joyful malice and tens of thousands of river people displaced and sickened by the mining cowboys from the West.

    Shall I name the hit and run corporate thugs operating in Australia, who have polluted and desecrated rivers in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe? These are the fragile rivers now on life support, with little hope of self-remediation under the dire threat of global warming.

    Since 1970, over 600,000 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed. Between 1990 and 2010, Australia lost an average of 260,000 hectares per year. Deforestation has caused plant and animal extinction, changes to climatic conditions, desertification, salinity, dieback etc. Who do you hold responsible for the destruction of the world’s forests and the forests’ massive carbon sinks? The gumnut babies?

  32. kd

    hmm to the best of my knowledge, scientists have determined that the factors which caused the Little Ice Age cooling are not currently causing global warming. The data analysis I did myself also strongly suggests that the long term warming observed through the 20th century is independent of natural cycles as well.

    Is there some quality scientific evidence that I’m unaware of that contradicts both the consensus position, and the evidence of my own eyes? Thought not.

    Or is this another denialist troll pushing out long discredited delusional arguments. Again. I know which one my money is on.

  33. wayne robinson

    Charlto.honk (and Captain Planet) mainly comment #148 and 149,

    What you write sounds reasonable, and I’ve had to give it more thought. One slight quibble, with global warming heat isn’t being added to the oceans, it’s just failing to be lost. Part of the heat radiated from the ocean as IR radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and part of that is then reemitted downwards to keep the ocean warmer.

    But yes, what you write sounds quite reasonable; without the thermohaline circulation greater thermal expansion of the unmixed warmer surface water should be the same as that of very slighter warmer but enormously larger volume of all the ocean water once the very slow process of mixing due to the thermohaline circulation occurs.

    I’d assumed that it was due to the fact that the coefficient of thermal expansion of seawater varies with temperature; for a given temperature rise, cool water expands less than warm water (which is a fact). As an aside, seawater has slightly different properties to freshwater, which reaches its maximum density at 4 degrees, and then becomes less dense towards its freezing point, whereas seawater becomes more dense all the way to its freezing point.

    My assumption had been that a larger warming of unmixed surface water would result in a larger thermal expansion than a minuscule warming of a very much larger volume of all the ocean water, due to increasing coefficient of thermal expansion with increasing temperature, but on further examination that’s not quite true.

    I’d made the mistake of assuming that water is water, regardless of where it is in the ocean. But of course, in the ocean depths, it’s under enormous pressures, and water is actually compressed to a slightly smaller volume. Increasing pressure (like increasing temperature) also increases the coefficient of thermal expansion too, so very cold ocean water at 4000 metres expands as much as warm surface water at 25 degrees for the same increase in temperature.

    Calculating what would happen in the entire oceans, from the surface to the abyss, from the tropics to the poles, is beyond me. I suspect you’d need extremely complex computer models to calculate it.

    I suppose, the safest thing to say is that the heat capacity of the ocean is enormous. It takes a long time to warm and cool. So with a warming atmosphere, the oceans take longer to warm, so on that ground alone, there should be a lag period.

  34. PeeBee

    Pete50, @ 40 says Well, once again the facts don’t fit the warmist doctrine. Yes, CO2 is still rising and no the Polar ice cap is going precisely nowhere. Take a look – i’ts still there and it’s not getting smaller:

    Pete I don’t read the graph as you do. Since 2007 the sea ice extent has been consistently under the 1979 to 2006 average except for a couple of months. (ie most of the coloured lines are under the black line).

    We don’t expect world temperature to move up in lock step with the CO2 build up. There are other factors that effect the temperature and these play a part in creating noise. The CO2 is responsible for these fluctuations to be trending up.

    Same thing goes for the icecap; I don’t expect it to reduce every year. I expect some years it will be bigger than the year before, but overall the trend is that it is getting smaller.

    To use this graph as a argument that the icesheet is stable is pretty flimsy evidence and reminds of the tricks Andrew Bolt repeatedly used – show a graph that doesn’t support your argument, but just call it evidence and use it anyway. (PS I notice that even the great Andrew Bolt has stopped using this graph as evidence, perhaps you should too).

    Honestly Pete, if you want a ‘bombshell’ find me a graph where all the coloured lines are ABOVE the black line. Then I (as would the rest of the world) would sit up and listen.

    By the way, I don’t think Pete50 = Tones9. You are much more civil and I thank you for not descending to that level.

  35. Captain Planet

    @ Wayne Robinson,

    I understand the point about thermohaline circulation, and the time lag between oceanic surface temperature and average oceanic total volume temperature.

    I am curious about the mechanism of ocean expansion, however. Perhaps you or somebody else can shed some light on this. Charlto.honk sparked a thought in my mind – surely if the surface of the ocean is the only part of the ocean warming (pretty obvious until mixing occurs) then the total amount of heat energy imparted to the surface layer (resulting in a given amount of warming for a given volume) would result in the same total amount of thermal expansion, as would occur if that same total amount of heat energy were distributed amongst the remainder of the ocean’s volume.


    As I understand it, there is a linear relationship between the amount of heat energy added to a given volume of ocean water, and its temperature.

    I am assuming (and asking for confirmation) that the relationship between the rate of increase in oceanic volume per unit of heat added, and the temperature of the water, is constant.

    The only mechanism whereby I can comprehend thermohaline circulation causing a time lag between oceanic temperature increase at the surface, and oceanic expansion due to that temperature increase, is if the amount of heat energy required to cause a given amount of expansion were to increase as the temperature of the water increased.

    Otherwise, it shouldn’t matter whether a given amount of joules of energy are added to one kilolitre of water, (causing a large temperature increase in a small amount of water) or to a hundred kilolitres of water (causing a smaller temperature increase in a larger amount of water), the total expansion due to the additional heat energy should be the same.

    Feedback please?

  36. charlto.honk

    wayne @ #146:

    I read the article (and I have great respect for Wikipedia, but nowhere in it could I find anything to justify your claim that:

    “…the entire cycle takes 1600 years, so the average temperature of the oceans always lags the surface temperature of the ocean (which as you note reflects insolation). And ocean volume depends on average temperature not the surface temperature.

    “And as a result, sea levels lag climate change. The current sea level reflects the climate in the past, not the current climate.”

    Sorry, you’ve lost me. The total oceanic volume will be increased by (1) the addition of fresh water from melting ice, and it will also (2) reflect the average temperature of the whole ocean. If the whole ocean is heating right now, its level will rise. If the surface water is heating, its level will rise. If a land glacier melts, its level will rise. If a comet drops into it, its level will rise. But of course, if a floating iceberg melts, its level will remain unchanged.

    That is why sea level right now is our best indicator of what is happening thermally to the planet right now. It cuts through the denialist fog of urban heat island effects, land rising under tidal guages etc etc and has resulted in denialists shifting their ground from ‘the planet is cooling’ to ‘the planet may be warming, but human industrial activities have nothing to do with it.’

    Please quote me the bit out of Wikipedia that contradicts this.


  37. Captain Planet

    These temperature records are science, and so far no one, including Nicholas Aberle, has pointed us to the real science that contradicts the facts that fluctuating climate is NATURAL.

    You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried, tones9.

    These temperature records are science

    No. They are data. Science involves observations, hypotheses, experimentation and conclusions. “These temperature records” are merely observations. The other parts are required before you have “science”.

    so far no one… has pointed us to the real science that contradicts the facts that fluctuating climate is NATURAL.

    That is because no real science makes such a ludicrous claim. Of course fluctuating climate is natural. Go and read the IPCC report and you will observe that all of the science which supports the AGW hypothesis acknowledges this AND MAKES ALLOWANCE FOR IT. You are attempting to insinuate that the AGW hypothesis claims that climate does not naturally fluctuate. This shows you to be either incredibly ignorant of climate science (for somebody who postures as knowing the TRUTH of the matter) or wilfully ignorant, or intentionally misleading.

    The point (as I am sure you well know) is that climate scientists, almost unanimously, have examined the evidence and concluded that, ALLOWING FOR NATURAL FLUCTUATIONS, the current rate of warming is well and truly above what can be explained by the many natural factors which affect climate – and the overwhelming probability is that the additional warming is caused by human factors including, primarily, CO2 emissions.

    There. Is that so hard to understand?

  38. wayne robinson


    You’re still missing the point. No one says that CO2 levels is the sole driver of climate. You’re setting up a false dichotomy; either CO2 is the only influence or it has no influence. You’ve assumed that if you ‘disprove’ the idea that it’s the only influence, for example by incorrectly thinking that if it’s true then sea level rises must be accelerating and noting that that isn’t currently happening, then you’ve proved that it has no influence.

    I don’t have any trouble in discounting the ‘noise’ in the data due to other factors influencing. Pete50 provided a link to Roy Spencer’s website show recent global temperatures, and the 13-month running average still is inclining upwards.

    But anyway, you still haven’t commented on George Monbiot’s complete article. In one section, he notes that peak oil has already passed, and hence oil will inevitably become much more expensive, before it’s no longer available.

    This means, if we want to continue to depend on fossil fuels, we will need to exploit natural gas and coal much more aggressively, with all its environmental damage. These include the damage from mining tar sands in Canada, fracturing of gas containing shale with toxic fluids and the risk to ground water supplies (which is already happening in America) and use of inferior quality coal. In Victoria, a coal mining company is extremely keen to get approval to invest 2 billion dollars to convert prime agricultural land into an open pit brown coal mine (transport of the brown coal to overseas markets being made more economical by using further energy to dry it first).

    That leads me to wonder what’s going to happen to our international shipping once the oil runs out; all the ships run on diesel. Are we going to have to go back to coal fueled ships? Or are we going to have to invest heavily in coal liquefaction?

    Even if you don’t accept the truth of AGW, the looming end of cheap energy is a considerable worry. It’s going to happen regardless, and we are going to have to think about it before it hits us. I think we are going to have to use multiple strategies, some of which might not work, including conserving energy, investing in alternate energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, even nuclear, hopefully perhaps genetically engineered algae to produce fuel might be commercialized eventually.

    And then if you add in global warming (which I think is happening) then you really have problems. Siberia and northern Canada might become warm enough to become agricultural land (assuming the soil there is fertile enough after being scoured by the 50 or so glaciations of the current ice age) to compensate for the loss of farm land elsewhere, but then you have the problem of shipping the food.

  39. Climate4all


    The whole premise of CAGW is global temperatures and sea level is a direct result of Co2.
    If Co2 rises, then global temperature rises and if global temperature rises, then sea level rises.
    Hence, the alarmism found in media is based in laws of falsifiability: agreeing that Co2 is rising, thus effecting global temperature rise, which in effect rises sea levels, because it can’t be proven false.
    To an alarmist, to agree with any statement that proves CAGW false, is claiming that CAGW isn’t true.
    Even if one fact contradicts CAGW, an alarmist must say, but, ‘you are not looking at the big picture’,’you are cherry-picking’, ‘you are…(input any other denial to refuse to look at facts)’
    To agree with any fact contradicting CAGW, is impossible for an alarmist.
    The alarmist MUST toe the CAGW line, even if they truly believe in CAGW, or just pay lip service to CAGW for propaganda reasons.
    Either way, an alarmist will never admit he or she is wrong.
    It defeats their purpose.
    And that purpose is to end dependence on fossil fuels, at any cost, to supplant it with other technologies, even if that means economic collapse or loss of public liberties.

    So, when a skeptic ventures into the realm of the alarmist, its best to just mention the facts and move on, because debating is a waste of time.

    Those that might still be undecided and review the facts, still have a choice, because once that choice is made to be an alarmist, there is no going back.

  40. PeeBee

    Why is it that people think, when some predictions do not come true, AGW must not be happening? We haven’t stuffed up a planet before so we can expect a few specific predictions to be incorrect. However, we more or less know what an hotter planet will do in general.

    I am not sure if sea level is rising at an accelerating rate or not, but it is rising.

    So what if the Artic ice cap didn’t completely disappear already, it is still getting smaller and it will at current trends be gone in some time.

    What we should be looking at is the totality of the situation. We can experience it personally, – record rainfalls, record heat waves, record dry spells, hurricanes where you would never expect them etc. We can also see nature in response to these climatic changes. Crops growing where they have never been planted before. Crop harvesting is started months earlier than they did just thirty years ago.

    Most people know the climate is changing (even Andrew Bolt and Tony Abbott agree with that). So it leaves us with the question, what is causing this to happen. Of all the mechanisms that we know that would do this, the increase of CO2 is the only one that has changed in the recent past.

    It will be painful and costly to reduce the CO2 going into the atmosphere, but as Stern said, we either pay now or we pay later. We are already paying now through the Flood levy, increased insurance premiums, loosing your flood cover if you have insurance and live in flood prone areas, increase in food prices, taxes diverted to infrastructure repair etc.

    The world can do better. The increase in the ozone hole was identified by science, as was the solution to the problem (reducing CFCs going into the atmosphere). The political will was there and countries more or less adhered to the Montreal protocol and we are now seeing the reduction in the ozone hole.

    We need a similar outcome with AGW.

  41. wayne robinson


    Whom was your comment #129 directed at?

    I assume it might be me since you write ‘Not irrelevant, inconclusive’.

    You’ve already conceded that current sea levels are irrelevant.

    As I’ve said, sea level rises depend on thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of land based ice and snow.

    Thermal expansion of the oceans depends on a healthy thermohaline circulation (the Gulf Stream is part of this) to mix warm surface water with deep cold water, and this takes 1600 years to happen.

    Melting of glaciers and the Greenland icecap also will take centuries to happen too.

    So what’s happening now is reflecting the climate of centuries ago. Melting of the Arctic sea ice won’t have any effect on sea levels, because it’s already floating.

    All you had to do was to have written a single paragraph noting that anyone who claims that AGW causes accelerating sea level rises now is wrong, and I would have agreed with you completely. It’s just obvious physics. There was no need to have written 3 long posts.

    And again, what is your science expertise? I think that it’s a fair question. Also, what is your summary of what George Monbiot wrote? Quote mining isn’t a very good method of making an argument. It’s better to summarize what the author actually wrote, provide a reference and then leave it to your reader to see if you’ve got it right and understood it. That’s what’s done in science papers in journals when the authors quote references.

  42. Climate4all

    Thanks for your rational response wayne robinson.

    In reference to the article published in 21st Century Sci & Tech, it is but one paper on the deceleration of sea level in the Maldives. It is Dr. Morners educated opinion that the Maldives is seeing a deceleration of sea level. I mean he does have 40 years expertise in the matter. If others wish to call his work dubious, so be it. It still is a expert opinion.

    As far as any IPCC statement regarding sea level claims, I’ve only used one and it comes from the Technical Report III of the IPCC, which states:

    “This report considers two simple indices of climate change, global mean temperature and sea level rise. The change in global mean temperature is the main factor determining the rise in sea level; it is also a useful proxy for overall climate change.”

    If there are others reports made by the IPCC, n regards to sea level rise, I haven’t used them. I’m not saying there aren’t any, I’m just saying I haven’t used any.

    But the statement I use in my articles is enough for the purposes of clarification. Global temperature and sea level are the two best indices for climate change.

    I also agree that sea level is rising, but at a decelerated rate.

    The thing that gets me is, most of the alarming commentary in regards to sea level rise, is that it is accelerating, and doing so without any evidence.

    Personally, I don’t know if sea levels are going to accelerate above current rising levels, or continue to decelerate. All I know is that it isn’t accelerating as predicted, and I take great offense to it.

    Like I wrote in several articles already, more research is needed in this field of study, not more alarmism.

    If you are trying to imply that sea levels will accelerate after a period of rising global temperature, I would have to agree. It would be the logical conclusion.

    But without knowing if global temperatures are going to rise, or fall, makes any statement a prediction.

  43. charlto.honk


    “Red herring, mate – its not the annual rate of sea level rise, it’s the rate of acceleration of the rise which is crucial to the IPCC mantra.”

    This I dispute. Global cooling (the anti-AGW position) necessitates a continuous downward trend in sea level, and at whatever rate, and with then inevitable upward spikes and ticks allowed. A small downward change in an upward trending but comprehensively chaotic system means very little: except that the planet’s atmosphere-hydrosphere system is getting hotter.

    “The rise in sea level has slowed and is slightly trending down, which is counter to CAGW. Take a look at the graph. http://wp.me/p7y4l-9Va

    Well, I followed your link. Much crowing and denialist hoo-ha about the latest downtick in an upward-trending graph (which has more of them than a dog has fleas).

    This is a bit like a gambler saying “things are improving. I only lost $500 at the races this week; last week I lost $550.”

    But then this morning came this report:


    “Sea levels rising higher and faster
    Ben Cubby
    May 5, 2011

    “SEA levels will rise higher and faster than the United Nations predicted just four years ago, a major international study has found.

    “The new data suggests that, on average, the seas will rise by up to 1.6 metres by the year 2100 – a finding that has serious implications for Australian governments grappling with coastal planning.

    “The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, based in Norway, found that the Greenland ice sheet is melting four times as fast as it was a decade ago.

    ”’The past six years have been the warmest period ever recorded in the Arctic,’ the authors of the report said in a statement. ‘In the future, global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9 metres to 1.6 metres by 2100 and the loss of ice from Arctic glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet will make a substantial contribution.’


    “Data trumps dogma every time” you say. It sure does, mate. And when reality is the data it slam dunks the denialist religion.

    But then again, it is just possible that there is a chance of a hope that perhaps it could all be just be part of that great big worldwide IPCC-academic-climatological conspiracy.

  44. Climate4all

    @wayne robinson #116

    I have no affiliation with either with environmentalists or the fossil fuel industries. I have no financial considerations with any energy industry. I am just one voice among many in the current climate debate and only wish to express my opinion, just as so many others of you that are doing so here and elsewhere.
    In regards to any IPCC claim of sea level rise as a sign of AGW ‘NOW’, as you ask, seems somewhat vague.

    I don’t know if your asking me if the IPCC have any reports out now regarding sea levels as a sign of AGW or are there any reports from the IPCC that show a sign of sea level rise in the AGW now. You might want to clarify yourself better.

    But this is really beside the point we all want to know.

    The real story is…
    Is sea levels rising at an accelerated rate due to Co2 emissions, or are sea levels decelerating regardless of rise in either global temperature or in Co2 emissions?

    Some believe that AGW is real and will take at face value anything the media suggest and will back it up with IPCC claims, and if thats not enough, claims made by others, since the last report by IPCC.

    In the Technical Report III of the IPCC, it states that global temperature and sea level are the two best indices of AGW.

    Since that time, any predictions made by the IPCC and elsewhere now suggest that those predictions were lower than the predictions now being thrown around in the
    media. In some instances, 4 times greater than any IPCC prediction.

    But you would know all this and more if you bothered to read the three articles I wrote, regarding sea levels and the off topic commentary I had with Tamino.

    If your purpose here is to just pontificate, please don’t let me stop you.

    But if you’re generally concerned as to the state of ‘alarmism’ in the media, you can read my views on these matters at:


    We can, after you read those articles, continue this exchange of views.

    The choice is yours.

    Good Day !

  45. kd

    pete50 #115

    Dr roy spencer’s credibility? Don’ make me laugh. The graph in the link you present demonstrates that the current running mean temperature anomaly is +0.3ºC.

    What was your point again. Something about misusing raw data to demonstrate confirmation bias I think.

  46. Climate4all

    Some of you might or might not like the information being provided by pete50, or even by me, but the information I present at my blog is factual.
    If any of you have issues with decelerations in sea level rise, you might want to view my newest article here at:


    Some of you may or may not agree with what I write, but with the facts I present,
    one can only agree that the CAGW tide has turned.
    What side you are going to be, when this whole matter is settled, just depends on how much denial you’re in.

  47. wayne robinson


    You’re still making the same claims.

    Two points again; you can’t rely on AGW denialist or sceptical (whatever term you prefer) websites for non-biased information, particularly since there’s no way of ascertaining the credentials and motivations of the authors. It’s a bit rich claiming that thousands of scientists (the great majority in fact) are corrupt because they agree with the consensus position that AGW is true and serious, instead using more or less anonymous websites just because they happen to agree with your opinion (it’s only by looking at opposing opinions that you actually learn and come to decide whether what you accept is reasonable or not).

    Secondly, I still suspect that the author of the website you cite is actually setting up a straw man argument. I don’t know what’s in the IPCC report, I don’t care because I regard it to be a political document written by committees who argued for hours over which synonym should be used in various parts of the report. But I suspect that they didn’t write that one of the signs of AGW is accelerating sea level rises NOW, not in the future. Sea level rises are due to thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of land based ice and snow, both of which are very slow processes taking hundreds of years to happen in both cases.

    Please provide a reference to the part of the IPCC report that states what you claim, since you’re so excited about what it says.

    And again, I don’t lie awake at night worrying about sea level rises (I’ve always wanted a beach front property, 25 metres should just about do it).

  48. pete50

    PeeBee @ 98

    The latest study of sea level in Australia tells the same story. Take a look: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00141.1

    Here’s an excerpt of the abstract:
    “These long records have been converted to relative 20-year moving average water level time series and fitted to second-order polynomial functions to consider trends of acceleration in
    mean sea level over time. The analysis reveals a consistent trend of weak deceleration at each of these gauge sites throughout Australasia over the period from 1940 to 2000.”

    This should help ease those sleepless nights that plague the adherents to the doctrine of AGW.

  49. charlto.honk

    pete50 @ #93: Never mind tidal guages. Try the satellite altimetry data from the University of Colorado at http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    According to them, sea level is rising at 3.1 +/- 0.4 mm/yr

    That’s roughly 3 cm every 10 years; 30 cm every 100 years; 300 cm per 1000 years, provided no changes in rate, which can result from positive feedbacks.

    And that is beside the effects on oceanic pH of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which in turn has marine biologists understandably worried.

  50. wayne robinson

    Pete50 (comment #95),

    21st Century Science and Technology being only online is a sign that it’s useless and that no one wants to pay money for a printed copy.

    I don’t lie awake at night worrying about rising sea levels. Two points. Does it really say in the IPCC report that accelerating sea level rises are predicted NOW. Please provide a link to the section in the report that claims. I’d be surprised if that was true, since rising sea levels will be due to thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of land based ice and snow, both of which are incredibly slow processes, so I suspect your website is fudging the report and putting up a straw man argument to dismiss AGW. Secondly, if if your website is correct, it still doesn’t disprove AGW, since it’s only part of the theory.

    Frank (comment #97),

    You bring up the dire predictions made by Professor Anderson again; the human population of the Earth could drop to a billion by 2100.

    Do the mathematics.

    The present human population is almost 7 billion.
    Food reserves at any one time are about 50 days, and despite this 500 million are either starving or on the verge of starving.
    In medieval times, for each calorie of energy a farmer put into his crops, 2 calories of food energy was produced (barely more than subsistence). Nowadays, agriculture is much more productive, using almost all the arable land available. But it takes 10 calories of energy (including the production of fertilizers from oil and natural gas) to produce one calorie of food energy. And that doesn’t include transport and processing of the food.
    If we’re lucky, in 2050 the population may only be 8 billion. If we’re unlucky it might be 10 billion.
    So by 2050 we will need to be producing at least 14% more food, difficult enough considering than 1 billion depend on fish for animal protein, and overfishing is a serious problem already.

    So then you add the complications of:

    Peak oil, which will certainly kick in well before 2050. How are we going to grow the crops and get it to markets if oil is extremely expensive or not available? This is certainly a reason for action before the last of the oil is consumed.

    AGW. Siberia and the Canadian north might become warm enough to grow crops, but I suspect that the soil would be relatively infertile, owing to it having been scoured away by the repeated glaciations, so the ground will need a lot of fertilizer to grow decent sized crops, and again without oil, where is the fertilizer coming from?

  51. PeeBee


    So you try to give the Houston and Dean article a run again. Of course you couldn’t see that extrapolating the results of 57 tidal gauges in the US to the rest of the globe may be a little bit of a stretch so kd provided you with this link:


    Did you read the article?

    When the deniers have something worthwhile to publish in a reputable journal, then I will take notice (and of course, there will be a noble price in it for the authors).

    Don’t get me wrong Pete50, I wish you were right and I would be very relieved if you were. But all the evidence is showing that AGW is occurring no (quality) evidence to the contrary is ever forthcoming.

  52. Frank Campbell

    Nikkkkk goes:

    “we will not get the climate policies we need. Thus, we must remove climate change as an electoral issue. What if Parliament were to create an independent body that sets our national climate policies, informed by climate scientists, and operates regardless of the outcomes of elections?”

    Your projector’s stuck Nick.

    No “benign dictatorship” you say; instead you offer a statutory authority.
    Main problem: the “solutions” are policy, not science. Therefore political. Therefore they have to be ratified by parliament. Every “climate” policy thus far has been a fiasco. That’s without even considering the clash of vested interests. “Climate policy” has delivered billions already- to middle class solar subsidy recipients ($1 billion for 0.1% of total power production) and to the most reactionary anti-Green class in Australia- owners of large areas of degraded hill country- for wind turbines. Which ruin the lives and savings of their neighbours while producing bugger all power (backed up 100% by FF powergen)

    The policy record to date has been sickening. So Nik’s august and independent Climate Change Commission (run by the corporate spiv Flannery perhaps- the same Flannery who promised Panasonic he’d ‘wave the flag” for them everywhere, including the ABC?) cannot be a magic wand.

    The second barrier is “the science”: or rather, not the science but the very wide range of predicted scenarios, from ‘not much change’ to ‘the end of the world by 2050’ (Prof kevin anderson). With that degree of doubt and uncertainty, any policy will have a hard time.

    I feel a dictator coming on, Nick….is that a gun in your pocket?

  53. Frank Campbell

    Phil goes:

    “‘ You forget that until Dopenhagen the respectable media'”

    Define “respectable media”

    ” Blaming the media is a sign of desperation…flailing around for scapegoats. ”

    “Wow, it’s a fox news news acolyte.”

    (Gillard) “What about her ear lobes, the fact that she is a woman and away from the sink? Sounds like you tune into Alan Jones too much.”

    Dearie me Phil. Where to start. You’ve cast me as a rightwing media cur and misogynist. There are plenty of those about, but you haven’t been paying attention…I’m one of the few Greens prepared to kick the shit out of climate millenarianism. The last poll (2010) suggested 13% of Green voters agreed with me. Fox News is a loathsome excretion of Citizen Kane…which reminds me of my attack today on the whining bore Gerard Henderson: my parody of Shakespeare applies just as well to Rampant Mordoch:

    “Shakespeare knew of our predicament:
    “O Teasing Death, why do you tarry so? Come hither. Clasp that babbling Papist to your bosom. ‘Twould be a mercy for Fairfax and the King”

    (“Much ado about Nothing” Act IV, Scene 556)

    As for Gillard, she is inherently and unconsciously rightwing. And excruciatingly banal.
    Really the perfect expression of an ALP which is now like a magnificent Roman villa, circa 600 AD, crumbling and inhabited by swine…Gillard rocks to and fro muttering “Edjukation, hard work, edjukation, hard ejukation, edjuwork…”

    You have to get you head around this: the Millenarian Green Left is headed for the wilderness, dragging the ALP with it. Climate millenarianism has generated absurd policies, incompetently administered. Most have now been junked. The “carbon” tax will have no effect on climate, as you know. It will cause modest economic damage. But it will be continually increased. Millenarians are the worst enemy of the real environment and of intelligent climate policy. The former is ignored and the latter made impossible because we’ll probably end up with a decade of the Naked Jesuit. Then what? Have an end-of-the-world party? Prince Charles tells us that the deadline is July (!) 2017. Jesus, Phil, we’re gunna miss the fuckin’ bus….

    oh yes, “respectable media”. Tabloid vs serious…Bolt/ the repulsive Jones vs Chris Uhlman…Until Dopenhagen, the respectable media offered only ridicule to AGW critics. The climate policy shambles since has led journos back to their native scepticism. Even Bernard Keane. There’s no questioning of AGW itself yet, but that is inevitable.
    I’ll be running the same sort of deculting courses as were de rigeur for Western Maoists when the Chairman’s infantile “book” was finally seen for what it was.

    (Reduced rate for Crikey sufferers. Book now and beat the rush)

  54. Frank Campbell

    Uncle Rich:

    Partisanship defines the media’s role in the climate “debate” (it’s not a genuine debate- just two sides revving up their own constituents while abusing the others) …rightwing tabloids vs progressive middle class media. With a few variations, like Murdoch’s Indulgence (the Oz) which is instinctively opposed on partisan grounds to AGW but is also trying to hold/gain middle class progressive readership. A tad schizoid as a result.

    Until 2009, climate millenarianism had absolute, total sway over respectable media. They’d ignored the steady slide in AGW belief since 2006. What changed? Certainly not “the science”- that was as strong or as weak as it had been before. Nope. Confidence was shaken by Rudd’s humiliation at Copenhagen (like an egg hitting a wall), the hubristic absurdity of his huge entourage (114 paid followers). Then when Abbott mugged Turnbull, the Right didn’t crumble as the progressive tossariat expected. Nor did the Greens sweep into Higgins etc, as the funditry expected.Quite the opposite. Rudd was Macbethed by Gillard. The chaotic mess of the ALPs “climate’ policies was revealed (Green Loans, insulation etc, all now junked by Gillard).

    The looked like tumbling from power. The ALP is the natural party of the bureaucracy and the inner city. They’d had an overdose of the spiteful ideologue Howard for 11 miserable years. They looked forward to a decade of progress. But this just reward was snatched from their plump fingers- almost.

    The destabilised Green/Left movement is badly rattled, and that affects the media. The Bolts and Joneses smell blood. The respectable media struggle to understand the mess. They can’t question “the science”, so they criticise policy. For the first time, the idiotic, subsidised, class-discriminatory, self-defeating and/or climatically impotent raft of AGW policies came under scrutiny. Absolutely nothing survived even cursory scrutiny, from wind turbines to desal to domestic solar to cash for clunkers…

    The response from Gillard was to junk most of these policies and gamble all on a ‘carbon” tax. Inevitably, Extractive rage descended. And the miners have the money. The tax was a gift to the stumbling Jesuit Abbott. In the face of collapsing polls, the ALP makes concession after concession on the tax. It becomes a magic pudding. These bribes merely remove the last shreds of govt. credibility.

    Your anger, Rich, with the media is misplaced. Respectable media can’t ignore the policy drama. By finally examining “climate” policy (not the “science”-that will come later), the absurdity of each policy is exposed. Not a pretty sight.

    So don’t blame the ABC or Fairfax.

  55. nsaberle

    The vast majority of this comment thread has wonderfully, though frustratingly, made my point perfectly. Frank and others here have provided a microcosm of our inability to move beyond the scientifically accepted dangers. Quite why those who are not trained climate scientists feel capable of disputing the science is intriguing. You wouldn’t dispute an oncologist telling you that you have cancer, even if you have an undergraduate degree in biology. So why the violent response to climate science?

    Many people just don’t want to know about it (for reasons I discuss in the article). When presented with arguments about why people aren’t inclined to do anything about climate change, rather than addressing this issue, most have chosen to simply resort to baselessly dismissing the scientific evidence.

    Frank, you’ve also missed the fact that you and I agree on a major problem: that proposing serious action of climate change is probably political suicide in the current, er, climate. That’s the whole point. The difference is that you seem fine with this. I, however, would prefer to change this situation, so that we CAN have proper and effective emissions mitigation policies.

    You might accuse me of latent fascism, but I am merely pointing out a clear weakness in our parliamentary democracy. Not because I am advocating a benign dictatorship, but because it is not achieving the results we need. So, a possible solution:

    If elections will be won and lost on the basis of climate policies (which they potentially will be), based on current trends in popular opinion, we will not get the climate policies we need. Thus, we must remove climate change as an electoral issue. What if Parliament were to create an independent body that sets our national climate policies, informed by climate scientists, and operates regardless of the outcomes of elections? That way, we can get the emissions cuts we need, and people can vote whichever way they want based on industrial relations, health care, education, whatever else. Democracy survives, and we have a shot at avoiding runaway climate change. Win win.

    Thoughts? (Please address the issue at hand. I’m not interested in going back to the “is climate change happening” discussion; please accept that we have moved on).


    Nicholas Aberle.

    PS. Frank, I hope to see you at our film festival! http://www.effm.org.au

  56. kd

    [ It has been getting cooler for over 10 years. ]

    Hmm. So I’m delusional and retarded? I’m calling out your psychological projection again. Let’s see what the actual evidence has to say.

    Cue tones9 claiming that a statistically insignificant downward slope for two out of 11 data sets somehow proves his point. (and then we still have to ignore the broader context to assume the validity of his argument). Yawn.

  57. Frank Campbell

    tones: only left/greens can liberate left/greens from millenarianism. Attacks by the Right just confirm their belief.

    The only alternative is to wait for political reality to crash in, which it will probably do within a year or two anyway. A decade in the wilderness beckons.

    You wouldn’t know it from Crikey, but cracks in the facade of absolutism began immediately after Copenhagen. The respectable media gave zero space to criticism before that…then the Monckton circus came along, plus Plimer…at first they were simply pilloried and all climate criticism was equated to the Circus. That’s changed. Bits have been falling off the Great Climate Juggernaut: Bernard Keane for example is now scathing about renewables ineffeicacy and subsidies. Lomborg is given ample space. The shonky Dane had to embrace The True Religion first, but now destroys it from within the cathedral: he had the lead op-ed in The Age on 28th April, in which he stated the obvious (China is anything but Green)- but provided handy statistics…

    So what we’re seeing is a case-study in the decay of a paradigm.

    Politically, within the Left, the washup will be fascinating: the coming political collapse, the growth of doubt, heretics taking to the lifeboats, a handful of zealots threatening excommunication from the burning bridge…

    and what the fuck will Crikey do then? My guess is that Beecher is tired of it anyway by now and will sell…then, a bit like a new govt, there’ll be a serious ummm, repositioning.

    But don’t expect the slightest apology, reward, or acknowledgement of utter failure by Crikey or the Green Left generally. They’ll just try to pretend the fiasco never happened…that they always harboured doubts…that they ( privately) found the Flannerys and Hamiltons quite distasteful…

    But they’ll never forget who shafted them from the start. Traitors like Campbell…..but that’s just a measure of their mediocrity, which was never in doubt.

  58. Flower

    @ Frank: “I researched BHP years ago in Whyalla and got to understand the mentality. (BHP nonetheless is a model corporate citizen compared to Garnault’s Ok Tedi and Lihir Gold…)”

    Not true Frank since Garnaut has resigned his position with Lihir Gold so he’s down a few hundred grand. BHP had already wiped out the Ok and Fly rivers by the 90s from dumping massive amounts of tailings into the watersheds. BHP was subsequently the subject of four legal actions over the Ok Tedi mine before divesting its major shareholding and doing a runner:



    Why don’t you attend BHP’s next AGM like a few of us do Frank? Take some stinky eggs with you. Come on – get out of that sagging armchair.

    “Climate is the worst example because it’s a nascent science dealing with poorly understood and chaotic systems, with very short observational datasets.”

    No Frank climate is not a “nascent” science. One Joseph Fourier in the 1820s, was on to something while studying gases in the atmosphere that might trap heat.

    In 1896 Arrhenius and Hogbom completed laborious numerical computations which suggested that cutting the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by half could lower the temperature in Europe some 4-5°C.

    As another scientist would put it a decade later, we were “evaporating” our coal mines into the air. Callendar in the 1940s became aware that industrial emissions were already far greater than in Arrhenius’s day, an event which his predecessors had not anticipated.

    So let’s not bang on about climate uncertainties Frank. There are uncertainties in all disciplines. I mean there are uncertainties about tobacco and lung cancer since not all smokers develop the disease. However, the bulk of citizens in every enlightened nation on the planet have adopted the Precautionary Principle in the interest of self-preservation. Of course the ethics-free Liberal Party megalomaniacs salivate over the donations they receive from the tobacco industry, don’t they?

    And let’s refrain from the petty allegations about academic behaviour when the grim reapers have infiltrated all of Australia’s places of learning by dangling the resource carrot at the rock apes in parliament. Scientists in all disciplines have been reduced to accepting research grants from the biggest polluters on the planet. That also includes the heinous but influential Meat and Livestock Australia , the industry responsible for 70% of agriculture’s GHG emissions.

    Funny that Frank since our actively publishing climate scientists (and Garnaut) paint a very grim environmental picture of their corporate sponsors’ activities. What’s that nonsense you’re peddling about self-interested climate scientists on the take?

    The buzzards are circling. Screw the polluters. We are not a broken people like you FranK. And who are you to predict a carbon outcome? Nostradamus? If an established carbon price/tax fails the people, the people change government. It’s called a democracy which the pigswill polluters and rent boy Abbott have corrupted.

    “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  59. Frank Campbell

    KD: “Jones is no statistician.”

    That’s a relief.

    “the IPCC’s projections tend towards conservative.”

    They do. So why is Tyndall head honcho Kevin Anderson not interrogated in the media?

    “I’d give the conspiracy theory/anti-science stuff a rest.”:
    it’s natural for the far Right (esp. in Gringoland) to vomit up aliens, have their vital essences stolen and to froth about World Govt run by Bob Brown clones…it’s a form of mental illness.( And that’s not Hyper Bole, is it Julia? )

    Living and working in America (i.e. not NY, DC etc, which are Unamerican and relatively normal) is a parallel universe…the depth and sincerity of the insane beliefs is stunning. To be lectured in a Texas council office ( by other building contractors waiting for planning bureaucrats) about (for eg) Clinton’s huge drug import business (747s full of cocaine landing in Little Rock), the murders Bill committed to cover up various crimes…you had to be careful, because denying this crap can lead to vicious abuse or worse. Then of course there’s Creationism, alien abduction and now the Birther fantasy about Obama…these are core beliefs for much of the population.

    My warnings about the sociology and economics of science are not “conspiracy theories”. Climategate is normal academic behaviour. They all do it. I’ll say it again: science always gets there in the end, but it’s a tortured, tortuous path. Climate is the worst example because it’s a nascent science dealing with poorly understood and chaotic systems, with very short observational datasets.

  60. Frank Campbell


    Your comments reflect the impossible position you’re in- not a wrong position, just impossible. Literally. Hence the rage, flailing about, hunt for heretics etc.

    Take your first point: Australian emissions are above the world average of the 214 countries. Therefore we should all ‘do our bit’. Fair’s fair.

    Trouble is (a) a handful of countries make up the bulk of emissions (b) certain countries (like Australia) supply the FF to those. That’s why Australia is the world’s most egregious “climate” hypocrite. We pump out climate moralism while exporting “pollution”.
    And the “big emitters” are doing buggerall (disregard the spin from China- a new FF power station every week or two).
    And we know Chindia etc will vastly increase emissions (and environmental destruction in other forms) for decades to come. So a 20% reduction here is meaningless. A 5% reduction here is even more meaningless.

    (b) Your “rogue industries” are the Extractives. By their very nature they have always been rogues. Rapacious. Brutal. Ruthless. I researched BHP years ago in Whyalla and got to understand the mentality. (BHP nonetheless is a model corporate citizen compared to Garnault’s Ok Tedi and Lihir Gold…)

    I’m not “protecting” them. You mention aluminium: read what I said- Alcoa should be shut immediately, for many reasons including coal mining at Anglesea.

    But overall it’s impossibility No. 2: the Australian state depends heavily on the extraction boom. Without that Oz would be in recession now. I’ve just read Robert Manne’s 2010 piece on climate Armageddon- he ends by deploring a big coal contract with China. Again, impotent rage. Likewise the idiotic contortions of Paul Howes: he demands “climate action” but subverts Gillard’s “carbon tax” in an instant (“not a single job to be lost”).

    So you are in good company.

    (c) “Compensation”- it’s “scaremongering” to say people will suffer etc. This impossibility is a cruel deception: handing the money to the losers (and/or the “emitters”) contradicts the purpose of the tax, which is to change behaviour. The tax is then either a political sham (to get relected) or a fraud (the tax will increase sharply later to have the desired effect on CO2).

    Note that the government only retreated (in stages) to “compensation” and exemption in the face of mounting criticism after announcing the tax. They’re trapped just like everyone else.

    As usual on Crikey, stating the obvious leads to castigation. The “Frank Campbells” are “duplicitous”, traitors, in league with corporate thugs etc etc. Actually the tribal division (left/right) means only the Right opposes the current ‘climate” policies. This confirms you, Crikey, the sententious Robert Manne et al in your beliefs. After all, this is what we expect from the Right. How many Green Leftists like me criticise ‘climate” policies? Hardly any- they’re either loyal, or cowed. We all know the ostracism, ridicule and discrimination which follows when someone breaks ranks. Scientists especially have to keep their mouths shut to protect their careers. Read Climategate.

    So we have the new corporatism, a form of institutionalised, Marcusian fascism- and crypto-fascism in progressive institutions, driven by the imminent collapse of “climate” policy which in turn is crumbling under the weight of technological and economic reality (NOT “the science”- that’s another story).

    The biggest Impossibility is technological: renewables R and D has been neglected for decades. We still don’t have a baseload renewable that is both proven and remotely economic. Please don’t bleat about a solar plant in Spain etc: the premature rush into wind, domestic solar etc has merely exacerbated the political mess and wasted scarce capital. A classic example of how climate millenarianism is its own worst enemy.

    That’s why the entire debate has to be recast. Start again. First principle: every policy must have multiple environmental benefits, not simply “carbon abatement”. The jury is still out on the AGW hypothesis. Second principle: expunge tribal loyalty from the debate. This would reduce latent fascism on the Left and weaken the influence of the hard Right which now controls the Opposition.

    The final political absurdity of Green/Left “climate” policy is what i’ve been warning about since Dec 2 2009: the apotheosis of the naked jesuit. How you all chortled when he knocked off Turnbull! Greens would sweep urban Liberal seats! The Libs would shatter! And how you rubbished me for denying this hubristic stupidity.

    You’re chastened now of course. But making the next election a referendum on the “carbon” tax shows nothing has been learned. Then what? A decade of Abbott?

    Just remember who put him there: you.

  61. Flower

    Dear Frank – keep protecting the grim reapers, that’s the style. After all, why should you worry about Australia’s 2009 emissions being 103 percent above the 1990 levels? And Australia emits a ‘mere’ 1.5% of the world’s CO2 so you do the sums for us would you? 214 countries emitting the balance of 98.5% of the world’s CO2 = an average of how much per country? Right. Did you get it?

    Oh so you worry about the poor people do you Frank but I am poor and it costs me a grand a year to keep Fido but I still have some over for the odd bottle of grog. Mind you none of that canned crap for my Fido. Why would I support the heinous alumina industry that’s dirtying up the air we breathe, eh? Besides, Julia intends compensating we poor people Frank so stop scaring people with the duplicitous bullsh-t old chap.

    And a couple of the rogue industries you are protecting, that would be forced to pull their heads in with a carbon tax are the major emitters of mercury – the alumina (yet again) and metals ore industries. The UN Global Mercury Assessment panel estimated that atmospheric emissions of mercury from Australian stationary combustion sources were more than 90% of all the estimated emissions from stationary combustion for the whole of North America.

    Australia’s coal industry are the third/fourth highest emitter of CH4 out of all the coal producing nations too but why should that worry the culprits when they have the Frank Campbells sabotaging actions (warts and all) to lessen climate change impacts?

    “Latent fascists?” Yeah right Frank so what do you call Australia’s multi-national hit and run mining polluters on rampage? Did Joe Citizen give these ecocidal/genocidal bastards permission to desecrate our past, present and future, set to wipe us out completely with a mining industry running amok in the boom time? Fekking fascists!

  62. Frank Campbell

    tear yourselves away from the Royal genetic infusion for a minute..:

    “Funny how you don’t like alarmist’s statements when they don’t suit”

    There are many such examples: you’ll never read anything on Crikey about Prof. Kevin Anderson. He’s no fringe troll- Director of the Tyndall Climate Centre, created by the Climategate clique.

    No discussion of George Monbiot’s conversion to nuclear- it came in a flash: Fukushima.

    No discussion of the Fairfax revelation of Flannery’s promise to spruik Panasonic on the ABC and everywhere else in his role as Chief Climate Clown. No mention either of Flannery’s failed predictions of Australian armageddon (“ghost cities”, adelaide etc running out of water by 2009…)

    No discussion of Danish/British/Spanish/German emissions increasing after splurging on wind turbines.
    No mention of the reversion to nuclear this year by UK and Germany…

    No discussion of the crypto-fascist implications of sermons from the likes of Savonarola Hamilton…

    No questioning of my party whatsoever: the Greens. In fact the MSM never do- they slag off the greens, but there’s no forensic analysis of their “climate” policies (eg Brown’s demand for a moratorium on wind turbines in tasmania because they kill eagles, but promoting them in eagle habitats on the mainland)

    As I’ve said before on Crikey, none of you have a clue what real criticism is. Loyalty to your (whatever) faction cripples you. You’re trapped in your tribe. Constant bum-sniffing to check if the other dog belongs to the pack. GreenLeft Crikey is not “feisty” or “independent”- it has stricter ideological control than rancid Murdoch- it’s so much easier to use the whip with a tiny staff and a mini-mogul who’s only a coffee-cup away…

    Being attacked by the Right on “climate” (and it is only the Right who do this here-still) merely confirms the immutable correctness of the Official Line.

    It’s one thing to let loose the usual Millenarian mouths like Hamilton, Rose, Keane et al…but Crikey drags in “Film Festival Directors”, media commentators like Margaret Simons (who wouldn’t know a dendrochronologist from an orthodontist), Hunter S Thompson impersonators like Rundle (whose environmental credentials are two dead potplants), anti-smoking propagandist Simon Chapman (one live cannabis), and many others distinguished by their pig-ignorance of the subject.

    How did the Left end up in this mess?

  63. Frank Campbell

    don’t over-egg the cake. The last decade has not seen “cooling”. It’s a plateau. 1975-2000: warming. Both are absurdly short periods for any definitive statements. No one has a clue if the temp will now rise, fall or stay the same. My favourite theory is 2 decades of cooling followed by a resumption of warming.

    It’s a Melbourne Cup field. Gorgeous women parading their hyoptheses…

    And the jockeys are are mostly sedentary propagandists: there’s the professional victim, Bolt, aboard the promiscuous mare Tabloid; The serial predictor of short-term events (always wrong), the schmoozer Flannery, riding Apocalypse, who secretly bets the field; the anguished armageddonist Glikson- his horse has , ummm, Bolted, dragging him by the foot; The staring-eyed Karoly, who thrashed his horse Fawlty to death before the start, but won’t dismount; Combet, the Minister for Hunter Valley Coal (and former coal engineer)riding Anxiety; Gillard squats on top of the sway-backed Fat Chance, which missed both the start and the finish; Rundle, who was arrested following an incident in the stables with his Shetland “Swedish Delight”; Anna Rose on Carbon Yeti- Anna missed the race because of an airline mixup in Casablanca; Tony Abbott, thrown off the course for public nudity, replaced on Say Anything by J. Hockey, who broke the scales and was replaced by Amanda Vanstone.
    First Emergency is P. Wong, on Evasion, and finally K.Rudd on Its Good to Be With You (scratched pending steward’s inquiry). Paul Howes was on Something, but entered the Stawell Gift in error. He won by 100,000 members.

  64. Frank Campbell


    Well gollygee Hiram, aah’m all a-flutter…after two years here hammering the techno-political argument (and being abused daily by the crikey knitting circle from under their burqas), someone asks “WTF would you do then?”

    Desperation. They’ve crashed the car into a tree so they’ve turned to the backseat driver for advice.

    It’s probably politically too late, and I’ve said it all before but…

    Firstly, you mention nuclear and CCS. True, the public here won’t wear nuclear- the brief climate-cult fuelled nuclear renaissance is over. Fukushimaed. And sequestration looks like a dud. But they’re both irrelevant anyway because of the time demand put on CO2 reduction by climate hysterics.

    Second, what’s the Fillum Festival Director insisting on? 5-10 years. His black jeans must be way too tight. World emissions are soaring and the momentum will last at least a couple of decades before there’s the slightest possibility of a drop. Unless that point is grasped there’s no point in discussion- the Left will get a deserved thrashing at the polls. (The big loser will be the real environment-it’s happening now- cattle in the alpine national park, huge areas of pointless “controlled burning” of the deep bush).

    So there are two options: either you believe the hysterics or you allow that Armageddon is not imminent. The game is already over if the Savonarolas are right. So just get pissed, have more royal weddings at Fuckingham Palace and enjoy being Lords of the Flies.

    We all know what will actually happen: the PeeBees of this world will just have to accept that observational science will take decades to confirm/disconfirm AGQ. Endless computer models prove nothing. You all seem to miss the key point: that the vast range of scenarios (from buggerall to Prof. Kevin Anderson’s “95% of us dead in 39 years”) vitiates political action. The latest counter-theory is the ozone hole- AGW models fit all too well- “it has caused a great deal of the climate change” says L. Polvani of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

    Third, don’t imagine that public caution/scepticism is due to rat-faced capitalists. Of course BHP and all the unsavoury extractives will plot and threaten to keep the status quo. You’ve made it so much easier for them. But they kept fairly quiet until recently, when they could see the tide turning. ALP incompetence has much to answer for (eg introducing a mining supertax just before a risky election- if they’d slammed it on in Year 1 of Rudd, it would have shut the rats up, but now they smell blood).

    You wanna cut emissions by 30% in a hurry? Even knowing that Australia produces only 1.4% of global emissions? Knowing full well that climate will be unaffected and that no other country would give a toss? ( Minister for Anxiety Combet has already given up on Durban in Dec 2011). But OK, how would it be done? Close all coal-fired plants and switch to gas. You know it makes cents. Plenty cheap gas here. And there’s more that could be done…agriculture is ignored. Paddock-thrashers reign supreme out here. Driving across the Western District in the last few days the air has been unbreathable- not DSE pyromaniacs this time, but “farmers” burning stubble. Thousands of fires. That’s not Hyper Bole. All the windows are shut here right now. What’s going up? CO2 and a lot else. And they’re still destroying trees. Sure, the carbon cycle limits effectiveness longterm, but there are many gains possible.

    We’ve planted thousands of trees and minimised stocking rates. The result is much higher productivity. And lotsa soil carbon.

    Why are we producing aluminium at Geelong? An ageing plant (1960s) fuelled by a huge hole in National Heritage heathland at Anglesea. Yup, there’s a coal mine and power plant there. Just had the contract extended for another 50 years. By the ALP. Then climate millenarianism led to a direct attack on the groundwater of the northern Otways (the drier end). Massive extraction for Geelong. Totally superfluous. Too late now. Just like the insane, fossil-fuel guzzling desal plant…$20 billion or so wasted there. If Clown Flannery had his way, Brisbane would have had one too.

    You wonder why the public are sceptical?

  65. Fergie

    Frank. Let’s be just that. Buried in your erudite prose I see the very same knee jerk reaction behind the public/media/politicians’ failure to engage the conversation on this point (which, by the way, I think you missed) that is required.

    There is a difference between considering and reflecting on some of the limitations of the democratic system, particularly when it comes to highly complex and heated topics such as climate change, and advocating fascism. These limitations are becoming more apparent in Australia, the UK and (most spectacularly) in the US, when one can lift one’s head from down in the trenches for long enough to take stock. It is a sensitive topic, but one that must be addressed if we are to navigate our way through some of the more dire policy and social problems that face our society today. Unless people can openly talk about such sensitive topics, without inciting immediate and unreflective cries of ‘fascism’, we may as well just give up now and admit that solving these problems is beyond us. Which, may you forgive me, is one possible interpretation of your response. But that would signify a very low opinion of the human race, and I wouldn’t want to accuse you of being patronising.

    And on behalf of the world-renowned psychologists who produced the studies upon which this article is based, I take offence at your accusations of “pop psychologism”. If understanding the drivers of human behaviour and world view is not the true realm of psychology, I am not sure what is.

  66. Frank Campbell

    Mind-numbingly patronising. Politically self-defeating. A classic of its kind.

    What’s happened to the critical faculties of the Left?

    There’s a weird disconnect- as climate millenarianism sinks under the weight of its own contradictions (policy, not science), this messianic Hyper Bole (as Gillard pronounces it) is treated as Holy Writ. There’s an air of desperation and (shades of Savonarola Hamilton) latent Fascism:

    “Given the apparent (sic) downward trend of community support, and psychological research suggesting we will never achieve it, we cannot afford to wait for this consensus.”

    Whaddya gunna do Nick? State of Emergency? Draconian this and that? Can’t you see that shambolic “climate” policies almost cost the ALP government? And the “carbon tax” is political hemlock?

    Instead of analysing the policy morass, recalcitrant technological reality or the tangle of sociological forces, we’re fed pop psychologism. Translating this verbiage, the refusal of the masses to comply with instructions for their own survival is down to (a) gutless politicians (b) rancid media and (c) dogwhistled nonsense about the natural Toryism of the electorate (belief that “the world is just, orderly and stable”).

    Nikki Film plays nice though- he doesn’t rant about the “selfishness” or “greed’ of materialistic slobdom which blocks “reform” by stuffing the ballot box.

    But it’s the same vulgar message- decorously put.

    When a discourse has degenerated to this extent, real politics has been abandoned. It’s crash or crash through. Gillard has made the next election a referendum on a “carbon tax”. Political suicide. An unpopular Rightwing social throwback will win- no matter how magical the carbon tax pudding is made. Indeed, as each day brings new Govt. contortions as it tries to repackage the “tax”, credibility evaporates. Abbott just has to keep his clothes on and his foot out of his gob (a big ask, you might well say).

    NikFilm’s detachment from reality is best expressed by his policy of choice:

    “What if every car manufacturing plant was asked to spend a year making wind turbines instead, and every television manufacturer to make photo-voltaics?”

    Why not conscript every film festival director to work in these factories too? This is war, Nick!

    Wind turbines will never be made in Australia. Neither will PV. For the same reason manufacturing died years ago in Australia: China, India…

    And what would a brazillion turbines or PV panels achieve? $1 billion has been handed over in middle-class welfare for domestic solar already, which produces 0.1% of total power. Gillard is now dumping the massively-subsidised schemes. We’re all paying right now for those solar panels…As for wind, it’s a very expensive farce. Why do you think Germany and UK have retreated to nuclear? Wind can’t light a single bulb 24/7. Recalcitrant technology. Renewables have been neglected for decades. Scandalous- but where were you, Nick?

    The “carbon tax” will have no effect on global climate whatever. We all know that. Hence the vague moralism (“do our bit”) and fear-mongering (“we’ll be left behind”- left behind what? the sofa?). We all know the ‘carbon tax” is open-ended. It will go up. $25 a tonne will have little economic effect, but jack it up and the poor will suffer. Low postcode Greens are unmoved by this. Their callousness (the Greens are my party) is another guarantee of political death.

    High time you stopped faffing about, Nicholas.

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