Professor Stewart Franks writes at The Conversation

Flannery and Combet in the good old days…

Congratulations to Stewart on getting this piece, highly critical of Tim Flannery and other alarmist doomsayers, published at The Conversation (which, let’s face it, until now has been more like The [Warmist] Lecture). In particular, the article focusses on the recent severe drought in Australia:

Farmers struggled through very desperate times. The conditions were so bad that Tim Flannery, now Australia’s Chief Climate Commissioner, declared that cities such as Brisbane would never again have dam-filling rains. Rather bizarrely, in 2007 he stated that hotter soils meant that “even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems”.

Fast forward to 2012 and we see widespread drenching rains, flooded towns and cities, and dams full to the brim and overtopping. Indeed, the rainfall that we had last year not only filled Brisbane City’s Wivenhoe Dam water supply storage, but also all of its flood mitigation capacity. The resultant releases of water required to prevent a truly catastrophic dam failure contributed to the inundation of large parts of metropolitan Brisbane.

How is it that Tim Flannery could have got it so spectacularly wrong? The most obvious factor could well be Flannery’s lack of background in a climate science. He is an academic, however his background is mammalogy – he studied the evolution of mammals.

Flannery obviously has a great interest in climate change and no doubt has read some of the scientific literature and no doubts consults with other climate commissioners. I have no doubt either that he by and large understands what he reads.

The one thing he cannot do without a solid education in climate science is critique what he reads; without the background surely he cannot perceive the underlying and often unstated assumptions associated with what he reads or is told. He is perhaps best described as an amateur enthusiast, in which case I could actually have a little sympathy for him for getting it so wrong.

As I speak, the comments are pretty fair, much to my amazement.

A step in the right direction – towards sensible dialogue.

Read it here.


  1. I think Franks was way too lenient on Flannery.

  2. Flannery makes me puke!

  3. i think the funniest thing he has done is support geothermal which imploded soon after, then said that houses on the seaside were going to be ruined by rising seas then bought a house right on the water.

  4. Flannery should be sued!!

  5. Baldrick says:

    I like Stewart Franks last paragraph …
    “The mistake that Tim Flannery, as well as the numerous expert commentators made, was that they confused climate variability for climate change. The future impact of climate change is very uncertain, but when one “wants to believe”, then it is all too easy to get sucked in and to get it spectacularly wrong.”

    It’s just a shame we’re paying Tim $180,000 a year, for 3 days ‘work’ a week, to get things soooooo wrong. Even Flanneryland is held up by the rain!

  6. What did Flim Flammery say about Warragamba and Sydney’s water shortage? Now were drowning in the stuff. The sky is falling! The sky is falling………

  7. bushwanker says:

    What did Flim Flammery say about Warragamba and Sydney’s water shortage? Now we’re drowning in the stuff.
    The sky is falling, the sky is falling…………we’re all doomed!

  8. Charles gerard nelson says:

    When I arrived in this amazing country four years ago…I foolishly assumed that the ABC was an impartial media organization and was deeply dismayed by it’s daily (nay hourly) offerings of eco-doom and despair.
    But it was the pronouncments of Dr Flim Flammery that stuck most in my mind. “Perth will be a Ghost Metropolis”…”Brisbane will run out of water”
    my favourite being “The Murray Darling River System is finished.” etc etc ad nauseam.
    What was even more nauseating was the gushing gratitude with which the ABC journalists (I use the term loosely) accepted the words of their guru.
    I think most Warmists today are in that rather odd position that the followers of US Doomsday Cults find themselves in quite regularly…yes it must be quite strange packing up to go back home…the day after the world has ended!

  9. allen mcmahon says:

    “As I speak, the comments are pretty fair, much to my amazement.”

    Not any more. The faithful contend that Flannery was misquoted and suprise, suprise Franks is a denier.

    • John smith says:

      It’s pretty clear that the word got out and the faithful decided to defend the “cause”. What amazed me was the complete ….. Denial!?! Flannery clearly said that there would not be enough rain to fill the dams. I would encourage everybody to read the comments… The best being by Franks himself when he responded toa troll using the 97% stat…. 9 out of 10 cats prefer wiskas… Lol

  10. Dr A Burns says:

    Flannery and the Dept of Hot Air should be tied to the Warragamba spillway. Their salaries would pay for our mothballed desalination plant.

    • bushwanker says:

      I dont think the de-sal plant can be mothballed, that’s the big problem it must be operated at a nominal throughput at great cost to the NSW taxpayer.

  11. SOYLENT GREEN says:

    I don’t know, Simon. I think the censorship panel is going to have to shut down all this reasonableness.

  12. But Tim Flannery has himself created the public wisdom he is a bit of a joke,not only for his dud predictions ,but also for his actions and contradictions of some of his ill-thought out prognostications..

    At some blogs, folk are measuring the rain in “Flanneries”

  13. far too leniant. He is a professor. Surely he knows that you don’t know you don’t know. At best he s a political opportunist

  14. BrownOut says:

    Tim Flanney’s comments prove “There really is a Gaia”.
    But it would appear Tim Flannery is not his chosen messiah !

  15. Remember how 60 Minutes whipped up the “permanent drought” scare in 2005?

    CHARLES WOOLEY: While many farmers believe that drought is just part of a natural cycle, scientist Dr Tim Flannery sees much broader and more sinister forces at work. We live in a new world where global warming and climate change now have Australia on the edge of permanent drought.

    PROFESSOR TIM FLANNERY: We are in by far the worst position of any country that I’ve had a look at in terms of climate change.

    CHARLES WOOLEY: The worst of any country?

    PROFESSOR TIM FLANNERY: Yes. When you look right across the continent, what has happened is that the winter rainfall zone that has been the heart and soul of the bread basket of Australia is declining. The amount of rainfall through winter is declining. On the east coast of Australia we have a parallel effect where we are getting these El Ninos back to back. We’re getting one drought after the other and eastern Australia is suffering from that. So put together, you have the continent from Perth through to Brisbane suffering severe water deficits.

    CHARLES WOOLEY: If Tim Flannery is right, the new weather regime has southern Australia drying out permanently.

  16. Ray Hutchinson BE (Mech. Ehg.) says:

    Thank you Stewart, you have made my day as a firm supporter of natural climate variability. Let me know your address for a contribution to your work

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