Bob Carter's Climate Review Part 2


Climate sense

Part 2 of Bob Carter’s Climate Review in Quadrant Online is now available:

January to June, 2011

Stimulated by research spending of billions of dollars, inexorably, and month by month. torrents of new scientific information appear that are relevant to the twin issues of global warming and climate change.

No one scientist, or group, can possibly absorb and précis accurately the full range of this literature, though valiant efforts are made both by the IPCC and by its essential counterpart, the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change(NIPCC).

To date, research findings are consistent with a largely natural, though still incompletely understood, origin for modern climate change. Discounting virtual reality computer model studies, no recent paper has provided empirical evidence that dangerous human-caused global warming is occurring; and neither the atmosphere nor the ocean are currently warming despite the continuing increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

With no pretence of being comprehensive, Parts II and III of this Review provide summaries of a representative selection of events, enquiries and new scientific publications that occurred in 2011 and were germane to the topic of global warming.

33 of these events are analysed, presented in the monthly order in which they occurred. A hot-linked index of selected topics, also arranged in date order to match the text, is here.

Provided in parallel, too, are monthly examples of some of the often painfully conflicting, and at times exquisitely ironic, political statements that accompanied the bulldozing of carbon dioxide policy through the Australian parliament, and finally into law on November 8th.

Read it here.

Part 1 is here.

Bob Carter comments on Sunday Age article


Climate sense

Prof Bob Carter has commented on the Sunday Age’s article on ACM’s question. It will be preserved here in case it gets inadvertently posted down the memory hole:

Editorial presumption of the danger of human-caused global warming (which is a speculative hypothesis) as opposed to natural climate change (which is a certainty, and dangerous) rests upon a number of myths. Prime amongst these is that the IPCC is a scientific advisory body. Wrong. As a branch of the UN, the IPCC renders political advice, albeit dressed up with plausible sounding but mostly alarmist-slanted science.

A second myth is that the majority of scientists assert that dangerous human warming will occur (it hasn’t yet). Wrong again. For since 1995 tens of thousands of qualified scientists have signed statements similar to the following, current on the website of the International Climate Science Coalition:

“We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming”.

Myth number three is that present day temperature is unusually warm compared with past climate. Wrong again, as demonstrated by both historic and deep time records.

And myth number four is that dangerous global warming will be caused by human emissions. In actuality, global temperature has cooled slightly over the last 10 years in the face of a 5 per cent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Need I go on?

Yes, but only to say that the needed and cost-effective policy to deal with climate change hazard, of whatever origin, is to prepare for and adapt to dangerous events as and when they happen.

 Bob Carter | Townsville – September 11, 2011, 11:17AM

Thanks for your contribution, Bob.

P.S. I note that comments were closed for this article sometime around 3pm AEST (barely 24 hours after the piece was published). Seems a tad premature… read the comments to see if you can spot a possible reason…

Fairfax publishes another article by Bob Carter


Climate sense

Two in a week is pretty good going (see here for the first). As before, they will no doubt have lined up a bunch of hysterical alarmists to smear and rubbish Bob Carter, but at least they are letting their readers see the other side of the debate for once.

In this piece, Carter addresses points made recently by Chief Scientist Ian Chubb:

Sound science is based upon observation, experiment and the testing of hypotheses in the context of the principle of simplicity (often termed Occam’s Razor).

The unvalidated computer models that now dominate the public face of climate ”science” are a jungle of complexities, and represent speculative thought experiments not empirically tested science.

In support of these methods, the former director of the British Meteorological Office, Professor John Mitchell, has said that ”people underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful … Our approach is not entirely empirical”.

The last part of this statement is only too true, and leads to the discomfit expressed by those such as the British engineering professor John Brignell: ”The ease with which a glib algorithm can be implemented with a few lines of computer code, and the difficulty of understanding its implications, can pave the path to cloud-cuckoo land.”

Read it all here.

Bob Carter's op-ed in The Age


Climate sense

Rubs eyes in disbelief. Yes, I did read that correctly. Carter gets published in the opinion pages of Pravda on the Yarra. That noise you can hear in the distance is all the urban-green trendy Age readers in Toorak choking on their organic muesli and skinny mocha soy lattes.

So here are Carter’s five “inconvenient” facts, which most Fairfax readers (or ABC listeners/watchers) would never have been exposed to:

Fact 1. A mild warming of about 0.5 degrees Celsius (well within previous natural temperature variations) occurred between 1979 and 1998, and has been followed by slight global cooling over the past 10 years. Ergo, dangerous global warming is not occurring.

Fact 2. Between 2001 and 2010 global average temperature decreased by 0.05 degrees, over the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased by 5 per cent. Ergo, carbon dioxide emissions are not driving dangerous warming.

Fact 3. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is beneficial. In increasing quantity it causes mild though diminishing warming (useful at a time of a quiet sun and likely near-future planetary cooling) and acts as a valuable plant fertiliser. Extra carbon dioxide helps to shrink the Sahara Desert, green the planet and feed the world. Ergo, carbon dioxide is neither a pollutant nor dangerous, but an environmental benefit.

Fact 4. Closing down the whole Australian industrial economy might result in the prevention of about 0.02 degrees of warming. Reducing emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 (the government’s target) will avert an even smaller warming of about 0.002 degrees. Ergo, cutting Australian emissions will make no measurable difference to global climate.

Fact 5. For an assumed tax rate of $25 a tonne of carbon dioxide, the costs passed down to an average family of four will exceed $2000 a year.

There’s also a poll, which asks “Do you think tackling climate change is a priority for Australia?” – so far 74% say NO. Hmm.

Read it here.

Climate Commission report just rehashed IPCC propaganda


Rehashed IPCC propaganda

Australian scientists Bob Carter, Stewart Franks, David Evans and William Kininmonth have produced a stinging rebuttal of the Climate Commission’s biased report, “The Critical Decade”, issued last week (see here).

The main accusation, which is difficult to ignore, is that the report simply rehashes the same old IPCC propaganda without any critical review. The IPCC isn’t a scientific body, but an organisation formed to find evidence for a preconceived conclusion, namely that AGW is real and dangerous. The Climate Commission, comprised of well-know alarmists, simply regurgitated the IPCC line, and, since there are no sceptics allowed on the Commission, failed to critically assess the validity of the IPCC’s pronouncements:

IPCC advice has been known to be politically motivated since publication of the 1995 2nd Assessment Report, in which the wording of the Summary for Policymakers was tampered with after the scientists had signed off on it. In 2001, the 3rd IPCC Assessment Report took as its leit motif a deeply flawed paper by Michael Mann and co-authors that falsely depicted Northern Hemisphere temperature over the last 800-1000 years as having the shape of a horizontal hockey-stick in which the upturned blade represented alleged dramatic warming in the 20th century; this graphic was later exposed as false, and the result of statistical incompetence. Most recently, the 4th Assessment Report, published in 2007, has been subjected to a blizzard of criticism subsequent to the revelations of the Climategate affair.

The overall weaknesses of the IPCC have been well documented by Melbourne researcher John McLean, and they reflect that the IPCC represents a political advocacy organisation more than it does an impartial scientific advisory body. Relying on IPCC recommendations (as interpreted by Professor Steffen and the Department of Climate Change) as the sole source of advice for setting Australian climate policy is therefore clearly unwise. In no other major financial or medical context would such dramatic policy prescriptions be adopted without exposing the expert advice to contestability by seeking a thorough second opinion and audit.

The Critical Decade contains no substantial new science. Rather, the report is a reworked amalgam of many of the IPCC’s dated and alarmist assertions, and at the same time it ignores recent independent reports (for example, that of the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change; NIPCC) and also ignores the numerous published papers that are consistent with the null hypothesis that contemporary climate change has largely natural causes. As for the IPCC reports on which it is based, The Critical Decade cites no empirical data that demonstrates that dangerous warming is occurring, let alone that human-related carbon dioxide emissions were responsible for the late 20th century phase of mild warming. Instead, the case for action to “prevent” dangerous warming put by the IPCC and the Climate Commission rests almost exclusively upon the validity of numerical computer models that are known to be incompatible with decades of detailed observations of the atmosphere.

In other words, the report, and the Commission, simply ignore dissenting views, and as a result, have produced a worthless report, on which no government should ever base its climate policy. Read it all here (PDF).

In other good news, Tony Windsor has said he won’t support a carbon price unless the rest of the world takes action too (see here). OK Tony, read the next item below…

Kyoto has been pronounced dead, as Russia, Canada, US and Japan all pull out of any further cuts under the treaty (see here).

Looks like you can’t support the carbon tax, Tony…

(h/t Jo Nova)

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.

Indeed.

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.



Notes:

*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.

 

Bob Carter lashes Labor


Climate sense

A joy to read. Professor Bob Carter (who, let’s face it, is a proper scientist) teaches the warmist scaremongers Garnaut, Flannery, Combet and Gillard a lesson in basic science:

Do you understand the meaning of the phrases “empirical science” and “hypothesis testing”? [I can answer that one: “no” – Ed]

Do you understand that the correct null hypothesis is that gentle warmings, such as that which occurred between 1979 and 1998, and equivalent coolings, are to be viewed as due to natural causes unless and until evidence indicates otherwise. [Ditto, “no” – Ed] Gentlemen, where is that evidence, and why is it not presented in the voluminous reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that you and the government so often refer to?

Despite this lack of evidence for dangerous, or potentially dangerous, warming, and despite the lack of efficacy of cutting carbon dioxide emissions as a means of preventing the trivial warming that is likely to occur (cutting all of Australia’s emissions would theoretically prevent, perhaps, around one-thousandth of a degree of warming), the political course in Canberra is now set on carbon tax autopilot, and the plane is flying squarely into the eye of a storm that is labelled “let’s spin a regressive new tax as a virtuous environmental measure”.

For instance, the Prime Minister says:

I also want to be very clear with Australians about what pricing carbon does. It has price impacts. It’s meant to. That’s the whole point.

No, Prime Minister, that is not the point at all. The point is supposed to be attaining a meaningful reduction in future warming, which a carbon dioxide taxation policy will not achieve – even were it to successfully close down the entire industrial economy of Australia

Climate Minister Mr Combet believes that reducing “carbon pollution” to “drive investment in clean energy …. is fundamentally what a carbon price is about”.

No, Greg, the matter has nothing to do with either carbon or pollution, for the alleged dangerous warming is supposed to be produced by the atmospheric trace gas carbon dioxide. To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is an abuse of logic, language and science, given its pivotal role in the photosynthetic processes that underpin most of our planetary ecosystems. In essence, carbon dioxide is the very staff of life, and increasing it in the atmosphere helps most plants to grow better and to use water more efficiently.

Never has an important national policy issue been so surrounded with public dishonesty and deliberate ambiguity of language as is the issue of dangerous, human-caused global warming.

Choreographed over the years by green lobby groups, politicians and commentators alike now participate like puppets-on-strings in an entirely faux public gigue involving words or phrases like “carbon” (when they mean carbon dioxide), “pollution” (when they are referring to an environmentally beneficial trace gas), “settled science” (when the science is hotly contested, and the onus of proof of danger still rests, unattained, with the climate alarmists of a discredited IPCC), “climate change” (when they mean dangerous global warming), “energy efficiency” (in the same breath that they rule out the environmentally friendly baseload energy source represented by nuclear power) and “international good citizen” (at a time when international action on climate policy has never been less certain).

It is therefore entirely unsurprising that there has been a swing in public opinion against alarmism on global warming, though nervous Labor politicians are doubtless already sucking in deep breaths of surprise at the apparent strength of the swing. One recent online poll, in The Age of all places, received an 89% NO answer to the question “Would you support a climate tax?”; and another, in the Herald-Sun and with more than 30,000 respondents, received an 85% NO to the question “Do you support a price on carbon (sic)?”.

Wonderful stuff. Read it all.

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