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Tony Abbott’s business advisor attacks “myth” of climate change

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Maurice Newman, the former chairman of the ABC and the ASX who will be the chair of Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council, has launched an attack against the CSIRO, the weather bureau and the “myth” of anthropological climate change.

In an opinion piece written for the Australian Financial Review, Newman said much of the public service infrastructure would be resistant to change because of their “vested interests” in the status quo.

“The CSIRO, for example, has 27 scientists dedicated to climate change,” Newman wrote. “It and the weather bureau continue to propagate the myth of anthropological climate change and are likely to be background critics of the Coalition’s Direct Action policies.”

Given Newman’s dismissal of climate science, one wonders why he sees the need for Direct Action of any type. The answer possibly lies in the government’s updated policy position: Abbott has conceded that the government will no longer seek to reach even the minimum 5 per cent emission reduction target if its reduced budget of $3 billion falls short of requirements.

Newman’s comments came a day after it was revealed that Abbott’s mentor John Howard would address one of the world’s most prominent climate skeptics think tanks, and the portfolios of science and climate change had been subsumed into other ministries.

Newman said money spent on pursuing the myths of climate change and global action was wasted, because they misallocate capital and add to unemployment.

He said all such agencies should be abolished or reviewed. He is likely to be granted his wish, because among the first priorities of the Abbott government will be to close the Climate Commission, which gave independent advice on the science, dismantle the Climate Change Authority, which gave independent advice on appropriate policy measures, and abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, an independent body which is looking to finance clean energy projects.

The shout-out from Abbott’s closest advisors to climate skeptics comes just over a week before the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases the first volume of its first report since 2007.

Conservative tabloids in the UK have been running with a “leak” that purported to say that the IPCC had admitted its modeling was wrong, and global warming had hardly moved in recent decades. This was a theme picked up and given prominence by The Australian, and the talk-back radio networks that were vocal supporters of Abbott in the recent election campaign.

Meanwhile, 12 members of a newly established group of prominent climate scientists have published a statement that says the body of evidence indicating that our civilisation has already caused significant global warming is overwhelming.

The scientists, members of the Earth League, repeated warnings from the World Bank, the IEA and elsewhere that the world is on track to enter into a 4-degrees warmer world this century. “Moreover, powerful feedback processes that very likely will push the warming even higher could be set into irreversible operation.”

The report warns a 4-degree rise would drastically change the planet, causing some  coastlines and islands to be submerged by rising sea-levels, and more extreme heat waves will strike regions and provoke yield failures and the loss of lives.“Although climate science only tells us what might happen and not what to do about it, we authors feel that inaction is an unacceptable prospect,” the scientists state.
“Nations go to war, implement mass vaccinations of their populations, and organise expensive insurance and security systems (such as anti-terror measures) to address much fainter threats. However, our societies seem to be willing to impose immense risks on future generations.”
The scientists said technological advancements showed that a transformation to a low carbon economy could be achieved, but the time frame to achieve this is rapidly shrinking.
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  • sflyons

    That should be “anthropogenic” not “anthropological”. Of course, if he said “anthropological” in the quote you should leave that.

    • Ketan Joshi

      I checked the paper – sadly, it’s “anthropological”.
      https://twitter.com/ArghJoshi/status/379830609666797568

      Impossible to parody.

      • Giles

        Yep, I vouch for that, although i am sad to confess i didn’t pick it up!!!!!

    • Albert Sjoberg

      I guess he feels it is illogical for the climate change to be anthropo-logical.
      It is truly mind-boggling that these people refuse to accept the science.

      I guess us heretics that accept anthropogenic climate change should be excommunicated or burned at the stake.

      • Mike W.

        Burning at the stake would just add to the carbon load ;)

  • DrM

    As an anthropologist, I am not sure whether to be proud or ashamed that he thinks I am not responsible for climate change. Yet another head shaker from the LNP.

  • MisterCliff

    @Albert Sjoberg – very well, I’ll prepare the pyres with stakes, let me know when you’d like me to arrive with the gasoline and matches.

  • jaseandrew
    • Cerulean

      I read this article too, but if you continue to research this issue you discover that the 2007 report originally said an increase of 0.13. The 0.2 figure was first reported by a British tabloid and other media sources ran with this instead of checking if the facts were accurate.

      • jaseandrew

        ok, nice one. So both sides of the debate are guilty of misinformation.

        • Giles

          Que? The IPCC said in 2007 that the consensus of modelling was for a 0.13C decadal rise. It turns out that the consensus of modelling is now for a 0.12 decadal rise. How the hell is that misinformation? Given the difference is one one hundredth of a degree, seems like their forecasts were pretty accurate

          • RobS

            The trick the deniers are using is to take the high end of the estimate range last time and compare it to the low end of the estimate range this time and point out the discrepancy as though it is proof of some major error. Entirely devoid of intellectual rigor but when your target audience are sensational headlines and uninformed/misinformed lay media consumers who needs accuracy?

          • jaseandrew

            Wow, no need to be hostile Giles. I’m talking about the British tabloids and other erroneous data pumped out. Like Al Gore in 2007 saying the Arctic could be ice free by 2013. There is a lot misinformation on all sides that is being used as fact and driving emotions.

    • derekcolman

      It is not really about the science being right or wrong. It is about the politically motivated promotion of alarmist science. The IPCC is a political body set up by the UN to promote alarmism over climate. At roughly 7 year intervals it produces its reports by collating all the climate alarmist papers into one report, while willfully ignoring all the papers from climate scientists who don’t agree with its agenda. In its last report it included papers that were not even from scientists, but from green activists like Greenpeace. With earlier reports a number of scientists resigned from the IPCC because its final report summarised their papers as saying the opposite of what they actually said, and one threatened them with legal action after they refused to withdraw his name from a list of scientists that agreed with their summary. All of that is irrelevant now because global warming stopped 16 years ago, completely negating all the predictions of the IPCC, and invalidating all its models. In ten years time everyone will be laughing at the idiots that believed humans were causing significant global warming. That will be because the world is now slowly cooling and this will accelerate over the next decade. The cause is of course the sun going quiet, just as the warming of the last century was due to the most active sun cycles for several centuries.

      • Ronald Brakels

        I saw this movie. They send a spaceship to the sun to reactivate it and get attacked by a sunburnt astronaut on the way.

        Meanwhile, in reality, here’s a chart from NASA on global temperatures:

        http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/418334main_hemi-temp-full.jpg

        • derekcolman

          That’s a beautiful chart. How about coming back at me after you have learned how to interpret it. This chart actually shows the lack of warming from about 1997 to 2010 (end of the chart) very clearly. Perhaps it worries you that the temperature is increasing at a 45 degree angle on the pretty picture. I saw that movie, but it turned out Dorothy dreamt it all.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Derek, that graph shows warming. You claim that global warming stopped 16 years ago. But in 1997 the NASA/GISS Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index showed a temperature anomaly of 0.45 degrees celsius for 1997 and the latest measurement for 2012 is 0.56 degrees celsius. You can see it presented clearly here:

            http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators

            So are you going to drop your claim that global warming stopped 16 years ago, or are you going to tell us that NASA is lying?

          • derekcolman

            I’ll drop it when Kevin Trenberth does. The poor soul is still scouring the oceans trying to find the lost heat. Is NASA lying? Maybe you should ask he 49 ex NASA astronauts and scientists who protested over the way NASA reports climate change.
            The chart you are displaying is drawn from ground stations, and varies considerably from the raw data it is based on due to unexplained adjustments that NASA make. The satellite record shows no warming for 16 years, and a possible small cooling since 2002, but too small to be relied on. The satellite record is the most reliable because it measures the heat content of the entire planet, and is not subject to the problems of ground stations. These include poor maintenance, poor placement, uneven dispersal, urban heat island effect, different thermometer types (max/min or average), and human error in reading.
            If you doubt the allegation of NASA adjustments, try to find one of their temperature charts from 10 years ago then compare it with their up to date ones. You will see that the first half of the 20th. century has been adjusted downward and the second half upward.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Derek, first you say that NASA data supports you and now you say the NASA is wrong. You can’t have it both ways, Derek. So is the NASA data wrong or were you wrong when you claimed it supported you?

          • derekcolman

            Who do you suppose produces the satellite data? Why, NASA of course. I think you will find the temperature rise shown on that graph from 1997 to 2010 is actually 0.05 degrees C. As it is impossible to be accurate to within one twentieth of a degree, that is in effect no warming at all. However, arguing over the amount of warming of the earth is rather pointless. Everyone agrees that the earth has been warming for 150 years or more. More to the point is that the amount and rate of warming is well within natural variability, and it was just as warm in the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Warm period. In the earth’s history temperature has never followed CO2 levels, so why should it now? Furthermore there is no evidence for the AGW theory. Anyone who looks at the science with an open mind will soon see that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and increasing the amount in the atmosphere does affect global temperature, but the amount of that warming is small and almost unnoticeable among the other temperature drivers. That is why the 8% rise in CO2 in the last 16 years produced virtually no warming.

          • Ronald Brakels

            So are you saying that you were wrong when you said the NASA data supported your claim?

          • Ronald Brakels

            I’d appreciate an answer to my question, Derek. Or are you too busy dealing with your excess rope problem to reply?

          • derekcolman

            Sorry, I only came to this forum by accident, as I am not Australian. I actually live in England and mostly comment on the Independent newspaper site, which is also serviced by Disqus, meaning that I could sign in on this one. I have been very busy on the Independent, and I do also have a life so did not want to get too involved in REneweconomy, otherwise I’d never get down the pub.
            As for your question, I believe that NASA data supports what I say, but its script doesn’t. At present the AGW proponents are in denial that their own data shows their own projections are wrong. Can I suggest you Google “Global warming hiatus not set to last, says UN report – Independent”. This reports the IPCC admitting global warming has stopped, although they euphemistically call it a slowdown, and coming up with a string of cock and bull excuses for which they have no data at all.
            By the way, you have a bonzer new PM. (Courtesy Kevin Bloody Wilson dictionary of Australian words).

          • Ronald Brakels

            Thanks for replying Derek, but you haven’t answered my question. My question is why is it that at first you said the NASA data supported your claim that there has been no global warming for 16 years but now you say the NASA data is wrong? How is it possible for you to have such diametrically opposed views of the data? Did you have some sort of revelation on Thursday?

          • derekcolman

            The raw data, which I think you can find on their website, or at least a link to it, amply supports me. However NASA, NOAA, and Had/Crut data is adjusted from the raw data, with slightly different results. The adjusted data used in their graphs shows a slight warming over the last decade of about 0.05 degree C. They interpret that as a slowdown in warming, but I interpret it as a halt in warming for the reasons I stated. So in effect their data does support me. You can get a different temperature rise from the graph by moving the start point back or forward a couple of years. My objection to the notion of dangerous global warming caused by man made emissions is not really about data and graphs. It’s about the faulty physics behind it. If a theory is based, as this is, on defiance of the laws of physics, it’s a non starter in my book. As a back up to that, I note that the data now also reinforces my belief that the theory is wrong. Looks like I won’t be going down the pub today as one of my buddies is away on holiday and the other is sick, so if you come back on this, I’ll probably be around to reply. Just nipping out for some tinnies.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Derek, you said the NASA gaph I provided earlier supported your claim that global warming had stopped. Are you standng by that claim despite the fact that the graph clearly shows that you are mistaken?

          • derekcolman

            Yes I am, but the graph you provided is not really the appropriate one. It is actually 2 graphs, one for each hemisphere, with smoothing for a 5 year average. Google “NASA finds 2011 ninth warmest year on record”. The graph on this page clearly shows the flatline in temperature since 1997. This is a NASA graph on a NASA website. I’m sorry I don’t know how to post it on here, but at least you can verify the source this way.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Why did you write, “This chart actually shows the lack of warming from about 1997 to 2010 (end of the chart) very clearly.” about the graph I provided when it clearly does not?

          • derekcolman

            Because it does, but it is very difficult to discern because of the way it is consructed. That NASA chart obviously does not contradict the one that I referred you to. I’m sure you would agree that NASA do not produce conflicting evidence. The way to look at it is to ignore the solid red and blue lines, and look at the thin lines with dots on them. Then visualise an average line through each of them for the last decade. Then you have to visualise an average line of the two combined. This is very difficult to do. I could see it the first time I looked at it, but not after that. However, looking at it again this morning after a good night’s sleep, I can see it again. That’s the reason I referred you to a different graph because you don’t have to visualise anything. It is clearly drawn out.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Derek, here is the link I provided earlier where the NASA/GISS Global Surface Temperatures can be found:

            http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators

            As you can easily calculate fron the data the mean temperature anomoly for the past 10 years was .581 degrees celsius. The mean temperature anomoly for the 10 years preceeding that was .418 degrees.

            The mean temperature anomoly for the past 16 years has been .549 degrees. The mean temperature anomoly for the 16 years prior to that was .248 degrees.

            So any suggestion that the NASA data supports the idea that global warming has stopped for 10 years or 16 years is ludicrous.

          • derekcolman

            I am looking at this graph right now and it does show virtually no temperature increase for 16 years. You can see the peak in 1998, then follow through to 2012 and you have a virtually flat line. The fact that the mean anomaly is 0.549 degrees says nothing about its make up. Neither can you subtract the anomaly of 0.248 for the previous 16 years from it to get a measure of temperature rise, because of the steep rise in that previous 16 years. It would just give an academic figure with no real meaning. The recorded temperature rise, which if I recall correctly, was actually from 2001 to 2010 inclusive, is 0.05 to 0.06 degrees C. [Sorry if I lost track, but I have been tied up in arguments on climate with several different people on Disqus for almost a whole day]. However, the model predictions for the 2000 to 2010 were between 0.3 and 0.5 degrees. That means the models were wrong. If the models based on a particular theory are wrong, it follows the theory is wrong. The IPCC now have to reduce their figure for climate sensitivity in order to produce new models that agree with the data, and that is exactly what they are about to announce. in the AR5 report. BTW I loved this interactive graph, but it does mean extra work to follow it.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Derek, do you understand that the NASA data does not support your claim that global warming as stopped for 16 years? If you understand that, then why did you say the NASA data supported your claim when you obviously had not bothered to check?

          • derekcolman

            It’s a moot point whether you think the graphs do or do not support me. It’s a fact that there has been no significant warming for 16 years. While climate scientists are reluctant to admit that, they do concede that there has been a pause, as they call it, and that their models failed to predict it. This is mainstream in climate science. I’m not making it up. This point will be addressed in the IPCC’s AR5 report which will be released in a few days.
            It has been interesting debating this with you, and given me a headache or two as I tried to decipher graphs and tables of temperature anomalies, but I don’t think this discussion can go any further.

          • Ronald Brakels

            It’s not a moot point, Derek. The point is whether or not you are a liar, and that’s quite important. When you say that something is true and you haven’t actually checked whether or not it is true you are lying. I pointed out to you that you were wrong to say the NASA data supported your claim that global warming stopped 16 years ago and showed you the data that demonstrated that you were wrong. But rather than apologize for your mistake you have persisted in your claim. You have thrown in the word ‘significant’ but that has a specific meaning in data analysis and you are still lying. To stop lying would require you to say that you were wrong to claim that there has been no global warming for 16 years and then make an effort to tell people you had made that claim to that you were wrong.

          • derekcolman

            Look, I sent you a link to a NASA graph showing the temperatures that clearly shows a virtual flatline since 1997. It’s not my fault you can not interpret graphs. The one you sent me is difficult to interpret because it had two sets of data, one for each hemisphere. The recorded rise in Global Mean Temperature over that time is 0.05 or one twentieth of a degree. This is acknowledged as insignificant by Phil Jones of the UEA CRU (and climategate fame). It is insignificant because measurements are not accurate enough to determine the difference between one twentieth of a degree and zero. I am not lying, I am being realistic, and you are away with the AGW fairies. There is no point in continuing this discussion because you are pedantically obsessing over one point. If you want to make a different point, then I will grit my teeth and do my best to reply.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Derek, you need to check the figures. You can’t eyeball a graph and say “Global warming stopped 16 years ago” because you found a graph that looked flat to you. That is not good enough. I provided a link to a NASA page that shows the year by year NASA/GISS temperature anomolies and I’ll provide it again here:

            http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators

            You can use the information on this page to directly compare the past 16 years with the 16 years before that. Do you agree that it shows that the average temperature anomoly for the past 16 years was was 0.549 degrees celsius and that the average temperature anomoly for the 16 years prior to that
            was 0.248 degrees?

          • derekcolman

            You seem to be ignoring the fact that all the climate scientists are talking about the pause in global warming and either admitting they can’t explain it or coming up with possible explanations, and that includes James Hansen admitting that the 5 year running mean has been at a standstill for a decade.
            “The current stand-still of the 5-year running mean global temperature may be largely a consequence of the facr that the first half of the past 10 years had predominantly El Nino conditions, and the second half had predominantly La Nina conditions”. Hansen et al.2012.
            I agree with what you say, but that information on its own does not describe what has happened. You have taken the first 16 years which had steeply rising temperature, thus starting at a low base and giving a low average, against the average for the second 16 years with virtually no temperature rise, where the average starts at the apex of the previous period and remains at that.

          • Ronald Brakels

            So Derek, do you agree with me that according to the NASA/GISS data the past 16 years have been hotter than the 16 years before that and that the last 16 years contains the 14 hottest years on record?

          • derekcolman

            Strewth mate, you’re a persistant bastard. I agree the first point, and agree the second with some reservations. It doesn’t change the fact there has been no significant warming for the last 16 years. Even James Hansen, the most rabid AGW proponent in the world, concedes 10 years.
            “The current stand-still of the 5-year running mean global temperature may be largely a consequence of the fact that the first half of the past 10 years had predominantly El Nino conditions, and the second half had predominantly La Nina conditions”. Hansen et al 2012. He is talking about a standstill which you are still trying to deny even exists.

          • Ronald Brakels

            I don’t see how you can have reservations. Either the 14 hottest years on record in the NASA/GISS data occured in the last 16 years or they didn’t.

            Anyway, please explain how you know from the global temperatures of the past 16 years that global warming has stopped. And do be sure to tell me how many times according to your reasoning global warming has stopped according to the NASA/GISS temperature record in the past 130 years.

          • derekcolman

            I thought the weather in Australia would have improved by now, so you could get out more.

          • Ronald Brakels

            If you are able to determine that global warming has stopped from the global temperature record of the last sixteen years, then using the same reaoning how many times has global warming stopped in the past 130 years?

          • Ronald Brakels

            I’m intested in finding out your answer, Derek. If you are able to tell that global warming has stopped from the temperature data of the last 16 years then using the same reasoning how many times has global warming stopped in the last 130 years? It must have been quite a few times and yet here we are, living in a work where the temperature is about 1 degree celsius warmer than it was at the start of the 20th century, despite global warming stopping all those times.

          • MrMauricio

            Get a life in England you fool and stop trying to take the piss here-you are a bloody nuisance in this thread-that is all!!

          • derekcolman

            It was only ever my intention to make one comment on here. The rest are the result of Ronald Brakels persistantly hounding me. In the end I had to stop replying to him so I could get a life.

      • Kate Nairn

        I agree it not about the science being right or wrong, the fact is we will never know for CERTAIN until it happens. The questions needs to become, so what is the government (and the rest of us) doing in case it is right? This is about risk management. If we weigh up the possible outcomes and probability, what is the over all risk?
        In this case, we’re betting the earth and us along with it. And in case you can’t fathom the stakes clearly enough- it’s a bet we can only lose once. There is no “do-over” if we’re wrong.
        And a question I like to ask is- would it be so bad to clean up our act anyway? Surely polluting less and spending less money producing/ using energy can only ever be a good thing?
        WHAT IF WE CREATE A BETTER WORLD FOR NOTHING?!

        • derekcolman

          The problem with the just in case scenario is that the cost of preventing man made climate change (if it is real) is 50 times the cost of coping with the changes it may bring if we did nothing. Would you buy insurance for your car that costs 50 times the car’s value? I refer you to the series of 50 to 1 project videos on YouTube.
          I agree absolutely about cutting pollution, but the renewable energy technologies we have at present fail to address that. By the way, CO2 is not a pollutant. It has no toxic effects. By pollution, I mean things like pools of toxic chemicals that kill the local wild life and local inhabitants, and the pumping of things like sulphur and mercury into the atmosphere.

          • Andrew Longmire

            sorry Derek but independent of rainfall and temperature, excess CO2 has direct negative effects on plant physiology. such as reduced protein levels in wheat, increased cyanide levels in cyanogenic plants. so if you eat plants, or eat anything that eats plants, you might like to consider this.
            also the 50:1 project makes the heroic assumption that adaptation is a once-ever cost.

          • derekcolman

            So that’s why farmers grow fruit in polytunnels maintained at 1000 ppm of CO2. It does not raise the oxalic acid levels in tomatoes to toxic levels. I think you need to put a number to “excess CO2″. The current atmospheric level at 400 ppm is CO2 starvation for plants which originally evolved in much higher levels. If the level ever drops below 125 ppm, almost all life on earth would cease.
            I think the expediture in the 50 to 1 project is costed up to 2100, but I haven’t had time to watch all the videos yet.

          • Kate Nairn

            I wouldn’t buy car insurance for 50 times the value, but that’s too benign an example. I would spend every last dollar I had on chemotherapy or other treatments if a concensus of doctors told me with 90% certainty I had a rapidly growing cancer that would kill me. Oh, and lead to some genetic dysfuntion that would disable or kill my children (and grandchildren) too. It’s expensive treatment, but we know it works. And if you get the treatment, it will make it less expensive for anyone else who gets it, ever…. Or you could just hope that doesn’t happen.
            I know where my money would be!

        • Mike W.

          fistpumps!

  • JohnRD

    Why should be be surprised. It has been obvious for a while that the LNP has been taken over by the Tea Party faction.
    Perhaps we should spend more time arguing that the best thing that could happen to the world economy is a “war footing” grade campaign to get to zero emissions.

  • M Graham

    The mandate of all government is as caretakers for wellbeing of its citizens and environment. Any government requires to leave the nation in a better state for future generations. Unfortunately I have the feeling that Tony Abbott will end up being the George W. Bush of Australia.

    Government is responsible for the environment and if we do reach a climatic tipping point in relation to Arctic/Greenland ice melt and the possibility of Calthrate Gun (uninhibited tundra methane release) and the unmonitored de-forestation (in Brazil, Indonesia and Russia). All our technologies will not be able to reverse this. I would still like to have clean water and be able to breath in 35yrs time. Seems like countries such as Scandinavia and China are taking this issue seriously.

    I do not want our governments to leave a dystopian future or massively overpopulated, under employed and polluted planet to future generations. One policy no government ever faces or discusses is population control. Control the population and you manage the environment degradation.

    Personally, I believe in “being prepared”. and implementing good policy for the future.

    Food security, renewable self sufficient energy, recyclability and effective and efficiently monitored government support for industry.

    Mr Abbott will never ever create 2 million new jobs when more any more products and foodstuffs are being imported.

  • Julien

    Mr Newman should talk to the big mining companies. They have accepted the reports and findings from the IPCC. They are now upgrading their infrastructure (port facilities and drilling platforms) to deal with increase sea level height and the increase in wave height from tropical depression/storms/cyclones which are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity. Hmmm……At least we know we will still be able to get our supply of fossil fuels regardless of how bad the anthropogenic climate change effects are.

  • Helen

    If “anthropological” global warming is a myth, then why the need for Direct Action at all? Newman should be criticising the policy well ahead of CSIRO and the weather bureau.

  • Mike W.

    if seeing is believing, check this out!

  • Lamont Cranston

    Vested interests? Like the multi-billion dollar fossil fuel industry?
    You can’t lie in science, look at Andrew Wakefield and that South Korean geneticist, and you certainly can’t organise a conspiracy.