Bob Carter's "Ten Little Facts" about global warming

Climate sense

Climate Sense from Professor Carter, as always, from Quadrant:

Control the language, and you control the outcome of any debate

Ten dishonest slogans about global warming, and ten little facts.

Each of the following ten numbered statements reproduces verbatim, or almost verbatim, statements made recently by Australian government leaders, and repeated by their media and other supporters. The persons making these arguments might be termed (kindly) climate-concerned citizens or (less kindly, but accurately) as global warming alarmists.

Despairing of ever hearing sense from such people, some of whom have already attributed the cause of the devastating Japanese earthquake to global warming, a writer from the well regarded American Thinker has badged them as“idiot global warming fanatics”.

Be that as it may, most of the statements below, self-evidently, were crafted as slogans, and all conform with the obnoxious and dishonest practice of political spin – in which, of course, the citizens of Australia have been awash for many years. The statements also depend heavily upon corrupt wordsmithing with propaganda intent, a technique that international Green lobbyists are both brilliant at and relentless in practising.

The ten statements below comprise the main arguments that are made in public in justification for the government’s intended new tax on carbon dioxide. Individually and severally these arguments are without merit. That they are intellectually pathetic too is apparent from my brief commentary on each.

It is a blight on Australian society that an incumbent government, and the great majority of media reporters and commentators, continue to propagate these scientific and social inanities.

1. We must address carbon (sic) pollution (sic) by introducing a carbon (sic) tax.

The argument is not about carbon or a carbon tax, but rather about carbon dioxide emissions and a carbon dioxide tax, to be levied on the fuel and energy sources that power the Australian economy.

Carbon dioxide is a natural and vital trace gas in Earth’s atmosphere, an environmental benefit without which our planetary ecosystems could not survive. Increasing carbon dioxide makes many plants grow faster and better, and helps to green the planet.

To call atmospheric carbon dioxide a pollutant is an abuse of language, logic and science.

2. We need to link much more closely with the climate emergency.

There is no “climate emergency”; the term is a deliberate lie. Global average temperature at the end of the 20th century fell well within the bounds of natural climate variation, and was in no way unusually warm, or cold, in geological terms.

Earth’s temperature is currently cooling slightly.

3. Putting a price on carbon (sic) will punish the big polluters (sic).

A price on carbon dioxide will impose a deliberate financial penalty on all energy users, but especially energy-intensive industries. These imaginary “big polluters” are part of the bedrock of the Australian economy. Any cost impost on them will be passed straight down to consumers.

It is consumers of all products who will ultimately pay, not the industrialists or their shareholders.

4. Putting a price on carbon (sic) is the right thing to do; it’s in our nation’s interest.

The greatest competitive advantage of the Australian economy is cheap energy generated by coal-fired power stations.

To levy an unnecessary tax on this energy source is economic vandalism that will destroy jobs and reduce living standards for all Australians.

5. Putting a price on carbon (sic) will result in lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Economists know well that an increase in price of some essential things causes little reduction in usage. This is true for both energy (power) and petrol, two commodities that will be particularly hit by a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

Norway has had an effective tax on carbon dioxide since the early 1990s, and the result has been a 15% INCREASE in emissions.

At any reasonable level ($20-50/t), a carbon dioxide tax will result in no reduction in emissions.

6. We must catch up with the rest of the world, who are already taxing carbon dioxide emissions.

They are not. All hope of a global agreement on emissions reduction has collapsed with the failure of the Copenhagen and Cancun climate meetings. The world’s largest emitters (USA and China) have made it crystal clear that they will not introduce carbon dioxide tax or emissions trading.

The Chicago Climate Exchange has collapsed, chaos and deep corruption currently manifests the European exchange and some US states are withdrawing from anti-carbon dioxide schemes.

Playing “follow the leader” is not a good idea when the main leader (the EU) has a sclerotic economy characterised by lack of employment and the flight of manufacturers overseas.

7. Australia should show leadership, by setting an example that other countries will follow.

Self-delusion doesn’t come any stronger than this.

For Australia to introduce a carbon dioxide tax ahead of the large emitting nations is to render our whole economy to competitive and economic disadvantage for no gain whatsoever.

8. We must act, and the earlier we act on climate change the less painful it will be.

The issue at hand is global warming, not the catch-all, deliberately ambiguous term climate change.

Trying to prevent hypothetical “dangerous” warming by taxing carbon dioxide emissions will be ineffectual, and is all pain for no gain.

9. The cost of action on carbon (sic) pollution (sic) is less than the cost of inaction.

This statement is fraudulent. Implementing a carbon dioxide tax will carry large costs for workers and consumers, but bring no measurable cooling (or other change) for future climate.

For Australia, the total cost for a family of four of implanting a carbon dioxide tax will exceed $2,500/yr* – whereas even eliminating all of Australia’s emissions might prevent planetary warming of 0.01 deg. C by 2100.

10. There is no do-nothing option in tackling climate change.


However, it is also the case that there is no demonstrated problem of “dangerous” global warming. Instead, Australia continues to face many self-evident problems of natural climate change and hazardous natural climate events. A national climate policy is clearly needed to address these issues.

The appropriate, cost-effective policy to deal with Victorian bushfires, Queensland floods, droughts, northern Australian cyclones and long-term cooling or warming trends is the same.

It is to prepare carefully for, and efficaciously deal with and adapt to, all such events and trends whether natural or human-caused, as and when they happen. Spending billions of dollars on expensive and ineffectual carbon dioxide taxes serves only to reduce wealth and our capacity to address these only too real world problems.

Preparation for, and adaptation to, all climate hazard is the key to formulation of a sound national climate policy.

Professor Bob Carter is a geologist, environmental scientist and Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.


*Assuming a tax rate of $25/tonne of CO2, and Australia’s emissions being 550 million tonnes, indicates a total cost of $13.8 billion. Spread across a population of 22 million persons, that equates with $627/person/year.



  1. Les Dyxic says:

    I just wish that the population at large would read this

  2. Baldrick says:

    The debate on so called ‘Global Warming’ has been hijacked by the looney left and has become politically motivated and not science based. This article should form part of the upcoming debate and should stand out as a beacon to common sense.

  3. As usual – brilliant and stunning clarity from the Professor. Every time I read one of his summaries, I can’t help but think we are living on the set of a remake of “Animal Farm – The Musical”.

    Napoleon is Juliar Gillard, just returned from her triumphal visit to America where she gave her “Two legs bad – four legs better” speech.
    Squealer is Greg Combet – trying to turn “black into white” in his selling of the carbon tax.
    Penny Wong does a passable Boxer or Clover.
    Moses is Wayne Swan – telling us about “the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain” – where green jobs abound.
    Benjamin is Martin Ferguson – “rather unchanged since the revolution.”

    The Windmill was – up until recently – the NBN. It has now been replaced by the Carbon Tax.

    Gillard is doing her best to cast Tony Abbott as Snowball – the wrecker of the Windmill.

    And, of course, the rest of us are the lesser animals – which will come as no surprise to anyone.

  4. This article is sooo bad it’s laughable. Haven’t heard one sane person mention Japans disaster was due to climate change …we do know what Earthqaukes are. However if you want to address QLD floods and Category 5 Cyclone and it’s link to Pacific Ocean temp rising(fact) ..then we can talk.

    • Actually they did – here. And linked Qld floods and Yasi to climate change… yawn.

    • Mathew
      Pacific Ocean temp rising(fact)
      Pacific Ocean temp lowering (fact)
      Pacific Ocean temp rising(fact)
      Pacific Ocean temp lowering (fact)
      Its gone on forever, Paying more tax is not going to change a thing.

  5. Rob Heusdens says:

    After reading the first argument, I aready read enough.
    “Carbon dioxide is a natural and vital trace gas in Earth’s atmosphere, an environmental benefit without which our planetary ecosystems could not survive. Increasing carbon dioxide makes many plants grow faster and better, and helps to green the planet.

    To call atmospheric carbon dioxide a pollutant is an abuse of language, logic and science.”

    Yeah. CO2 is a vital substance. So is H2O. Does that mean drowning in water is healthy??

    In chemistry EVERY substance is a toxic. It just depends on the concentration.

    • Are you making the claim here that we are ‘drowning in CO2?’ If so, could you provide a little evidence to back up this (very strange) claim?

      • The Loaded Dog says:

        “(very strange)”

        And there you have it Peter, the two words that are completely consistent with the thought processes of a warmist.

      • Rob Heusdens says:

        No, I just made the claim that toxity is not dependend on the substance, but that all substances are toxic. It just depends on the level of concentration. Some substances are toxic at lower levels then others.
        So the argument that CO2 is (in low concentrations) “good” is not a real argument.
        But note that we are not dealing here with the toxity of CO2 (as CO2 levels are not that high that they become toxic) but with the “greenhouse effect” of CO2, which causes temperature rise.

    • Scarface says:

      At 390 ppm (0,039% of the air you breath), CO2 is harmless.

      Btw, did you know your respiration was regulated by CO2?

      No CO2, No Life! CO2 is plantfood and essential for humankind.

      • Rob Heusdens says:

        Nobody argues against that. But the fact that CO2 (in normal levels) is an important substance to life, does not mean that rising of CO2 levels does not cause warming of the climate, and can endanger the eco system. And that is what the science shows. It is not argumented that CO2 levels rise that much that the CO2 itself becomes a toxic substance.

  6. Simon,
    You missed Matthew’s key point: “Haven’t heard one sane person mention Japans disaster was due to climate change”, and on this point he is 100% correct.

    If you want to see what the insane are saying about things that are “caused” by “Global Warming”, check out this list:
    A complete list of things caused by global warming

  7. unclesmad says:

    There has been no climate disruption proponent stating that an earthquake and tsunami are linked to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. This story has been made up by propagandists working for the oil and coal industries to try to discredit science in a battle for public opinion. An attempt to paint scientists with a lunatic tar brush.

    • Except Grist. Hey, maybe they’re funded by Big Oil… The science has discredited itself without any help from propagandists.

      • ..and Treehugger:
        “Yes, Climate Change May Cause More Tsunamis. No, That’s Not Alarmism”

        There are probably others – providing you have a strong enough stomach to stand reading through their awful sites.

        • unclesmad says:

          Twisting the science to imply that isostatic rebound after glacial retreat causes earthquakes in other regions and oceans that were not depressed by the mass of ice, is not what the science is saying. Some misinformation put on these ecology websites is planted there by the operatives of the oil and coal industry, just so that they can sustain the public opinion to support the right to use the atmosphere as a free dump.
          Isostatic rebound only causes occasional minor mid continental earthquakes over thousands of years .

      • Dellingpole has a summary here of the eco-slime’s attempts to tie the two together. Don’t attempt to read any of the referenced articles without your bucket.

  8. Ivan Evans says:

    I thought Bob Brown was the only ratbag who believed fairy stories like the recent severe flooding being due to Queensland’s coal mining.
    Are people now trying to tell us that the tectonic plates are objecting to global warming & uplifting the sea causing Tsunamai’s so that these very heated Plates can cool down a bit ?……. Dear dear me.
    These agenda-driven scientists, their apostles & blind followers are the biggest danger to civilisation. Regretably they have conned some but not all governments. There are none so blind as those who ‘do not see’.
    Keep telling them Prof. Carter. Even though your explanations can not be put more cogently, convincing climate zealots not only requires immeasurable patience but an almost impossible abilty to pierce that part of the cranium housing inteligent brain cells.

  9. Rob Heusdens says:

    Argument 2 is rather laugable. If this is meant to be that any condition which happened formerly in geologic times is seen as “not a probem” we might then also as well live in an atmosphere without oxygen or on “snowball earth”, because that also was a “naturally occuring” condition of the planet, billions of years ago.
    On the time scale appropriate for humans, the current trend of global warming does pose a serious threat.

    • The Loaded Dog says:

      The “laughable” part is the arrogance of people who think the climate of planet earth can be controlled by humans reducing their carbon dioxide emissions with a tax.

      You need to step back from this and have a look at how foolish and futile that proposition is.

      • Rob Heusdens says:

        I think the “laughable” part is thinking that emitting amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere within a time frame of hundred and some decades of years, which have been captured from the earth atmosphere in periods amounting to millions or even billions of years, does not contribute to any change in global climate is the real arrogance here.
        The science says (on concences) it DOES make a difference. Deal wit it.

        • And nobody disputes the fact that man has an effect on climate, just as vegetation, animals and everything else on the planet. It is the degree of effect that is in question.

        • Rob Heusdens says:

          What the climate research has shown is that in the last 100.000 – 200.000 years the climate was in some or other equilibrium state and that human CO2 emissions is the likely cause of global warming.
          Some people interpret the contribution of human society to CO2 emissions as “not much” cause it would only amount to about 4% of natural emissions.

          But this interpretation does not take into consideration that natural emissions and absorptions, which were more or less in a stable equilibrium, could be swayed out of that equilibrium state, even if the amount of CO2 contributed by human society to the atmosphere is only 4%.
          Since, as is assumed, there exist positive feedback mechanism (as well as negative feedback mechanisms) this could lead to runaway effects, or cause the atmosphere to reach a new equilbrium state, with potential far reaching effects for the eco system and human society.
          If that is the case, then in no way you could say that 4% of human caused CO2 emissions is “small”, since it has potential large effects.

      • Rob Heusdens says:

        That human takes part in and has non-negliable effect on climate, is already part of the established scientific concencus on climate change. Wether taxing carbon emissions have effect on the way we use energy and is the best way of reducing carbon emissions is some other discussion. In principle, as the effect of the tax is that it makes fossil fuel more expensive, which then also means that for instance renewables become more competitative, and will be used sooner.
        If we belief the market economy is right on that one that we will use the cheapest available commodity on the market, I think in theory this could contribute to the solution.
        Not that we can trust outcomes of markets entirely, as the recent economic crash may urge us to re-think some aspects of the market economy.

        But I am not too convinced that carbin taxing is the only way or best way to go, since in my opinion our usage policies of non-renewables should not be based exclusively on attacking only the climate problem, as I think that the need to prevent potential devastating effects of peak resources (a rapid decline in production levels of some vital goods, like peak oil) also urges us to take measures to introduce techniques for preventing that problem.

        In my opinion we need to get away from a policy that focuses too much on only one problem, and maybe causes us to use economic or technological measures that introduce their own problems and which in some cases are more harmfull then the problem they were supposed to solve.

        Some techniques which are already being rapidly deployed woldwide which offers a solution to many different problems at once is the introduction of large scale solar thermal power.

        It is able to help solve:
        1- The rising prices of energy and depletion of non-renewables. It is calculated that from 2020 onwards the price of electricity produced by these thermal solar electric plants can compete with energy produced from fossil fuel electric plants, and will become increasingly cheaper in the long run as energy prices keep going up while prices of renewables, when deployed at larger scales, likely will drop.
        2- Offers energy in the form of electricity that can be transported thousands of kilometers from it’s source, enabling to choose the best locations for producing solar energy and transport it to populated areas far away with only minimal loss due to transportation (3% per 1000 km).
        3- Has the benefit that the excess heat can be used to desalinate water and since the proposed places are some of the driest places on earth, helps people survive in dry places and makes it possible to grow their food (but, since the price of water is likely considerable more expensive then natural resources, it urges also the use of agriculrural techniques that use water very efficiently, i.e. avoids water leaking into the ground or into the atmosphere – like for instance drip irrigation)
        4- Offers economic employment opportunities to regions that have a lack of economic opportunities (for example: northern africa & middle east)
        5- Could reduce the need for burning fossil fuels and thereby would also reduce greenhouse gasses in combination with possible extra absorption of CO2 by plants that are able to grow – due to the water production – in areas that lack vegetation.

        Now, solar thermal power is not THE only solution, but has a large potential to be used worldwide (N & S-america, N-africa&Middle easr, central asia, S-africa, Australia) and could be in reach of about 90% of earth’s population.

  10. Rob Heusdens says:

    What the writer of this column completely forgets is that apart from the climate issue there is also the issue of depletion of natural resources, and thus would make it necessary to switch to other (renewable) energy resources.
    The benefit of a carbon tax is that it makes other (renewable) resources relatively cheaper, so we would switch earlier to these renewable resources.
    Most of the renewable resources are likely to become cheaper once we start using them on a larger scale, and also become more energy efficient, while all non-renewables are likely to become more expensive.

    In economic terms and in the long run, this might proof beneficial, since it would keep the average price level of energy lower in the long run (say, couple of decades) as it would otherwise.

  11. David Halliday says:

    For anyone to believe that more CO2 causes more global warming means they also have to believe that the sun has some form of sentient intelligence which measures the levels of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and responds by emitting more radiation of the appropriate bandwidth to be further absorbed.
    Solar radiation is a constant (well near enough). All radiation capable of being absorbed by CO2 has been so absorbed for countless millenia – any surplus CO2 does nothing more than make vegetation grow better.
    As the late great Isaac Asimov used to say – ‘you can’t mess with the Laws of Physics’
    Oh and by the way – current levels of CO2, when looked at against the planet’s overall climate history, are a bit below average. We need to burn some more coal!

    • Rob Heusdens says:

      @David Halliday
      If I understand you correct you say that the heat absorbing effect accumulates until a certain amount of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, and that above that level any surplus CO2 does not contribute to any more heat absorption.

      Can you provide us a link with a scientific peer-reviewed report that backs up that claim, if there is any?

      • Actually, Rob, this really is settled science, even the AGW crowd accept this fact. CO2 absorption is logarithmic, with the first 20ppm contributing the majority of the warming effect. Doubling CO2 from present levels would only make about 1 degree of temperature difference. It is the computer models that multiply this by feedbacks to give the dangerous warming that some claim.

        • Rob Heusdens says:

          In other words, more CO2 DOES cause more global warming, but the relation between CO2 levels and rise of global temperature is not linear but logarithmic, although due to multiplication or positive feedback mechanisms, this still could lead to dangerous warming and other effects.
          So in what way would that necessitate anyone to believe that the sun is sentenient about the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, as in your explenation, none of that is implied.

        • Sorry, I have no idea what you mean about the sun’s role in all this. That is an entirely different matter. The sun is a forcing factor in the climate completely separate from the CO2 issue.

        • Rob Heusdens says:

          My comment was a reference to the first post in which David Halliday states:
          “For anyone to believe that more CO2 causes more global warming means they also have to believe that the sun has some form of sentient intelligence which measures the levels of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and responds by emitting more radiation of the appropriate bandwidth to be further absorbed.”

  12. Bob are you aware of any data on carbon dioxide consuption? I think this is a much better measure of a country’s real envirnomnetal performance, which will capture offshoring of emissions in the production of goods and services

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