Where does government derive its advice from about climate change?
The Australian government appears to take advice on global warming and climate change from a wide and healthy range of sources.
These sources include the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), the CSIRO, the Department of Climate Change (DOCC, which incorporates the former federal Australian Greenhouse Office), the Climate Commission (CC) and the United Nations’ Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Advice is also fed into the national climate debate from a range of similar state-based bodies. For example, in Queensland alone there is a state Department of Climate Change, a Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) at Griffith University.
Finally, climate policies are also urged on the government by spokespeople for many university climate-related research groups, business lobby groups and consultants, and by large environmental lobby organizations such as the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Climate Institute.
Given such a wide and diverse range of sources, one might conclude that the government must surely be getting sound advice, but in fact that would be a very wrong inference.
For the reality is that all of these groups and organisations in the first instance take their lead from, and support the views of, the IPCC (a United Nations political body that is unaccountable to Australian citizens); their starting assumption is therefore that human-caused global warming exists, that it is dangerous and that the way to avert the danger is to “decarbonise” the planet.
The large environmental NGOs are philosophically aligned with themes of regulation and big government. They also receive a lot of their funding from government agencies, which gives them widespread lobbying access and influence through advisory committee membership.
It is therefore the case that all the sources of climate advice listed above are effectively government-based, -involved or -dependent. All have a common vested interest in helping to increase government regulation and expenditure towards the claimed cause of preventing dangerous global warming. The apparently many different agencies are in fact merely multiple conduits for the same repetitive message, derived ultimately from the same IPCC source.
In Australia, the IPCC agenda is most aggressively pursued by the Green political party, supported, often behind the scenes, by the many rent-seekers who benefit from the advancement of de-carbonisation policies. In consequence, for more than ten years now the Australian public and politicians have been bombarded with unremittingly alarmist, speculative and oftentimes demonstrably incorrect advice about dangerous global warming.
Warming alarm has been repetitively reinforced in the public’s mind by the almost universal failure of media outlets to undertake objective independent assessment, let alone investigative journalism, regarding IPCC pronouncements.
Indeed, exhibiting astonishing arrogance our national broadcaster, the ABC, both misinforms and patronises complainants of the ill-balance of its climate change coverage with the following statement:
Given the overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists agree that AGW [anthropogenic, or human-related, global warming] is real and needs to be addressed and the overwhelming majority of the world’s government’s and the UN acknowledge the reality of AGW and the need to address it, the ABC pursues a balance that follows the weight of evidence on this issue. The ABC’s coverage of this issue has well and truly moved on from the debate as to whether or not AGW is real.
Since the government’s carbon tax legislative package passed the Senate last October, Australian press coverage of the global warming issue has been muted, doubtless partly signifying that there have been few government media releases that address the topic since the Senate decision.
That situation changed with a jolt on Monday, March 12th , when a wide variety of news media started carrying apparently harmless puff pieces about the excellence of CSIRO’s Cape Grim Background Air Pollution Monitoring Station in Tasmania, which included a front page story and photograph effort in The Australian, titled “Climate outpost a breath of fresh air in carbon debate”, that foreshadowed the release of a new CSIRO report on climate change. This reporting marked the start of what transpired to be an intensive, week-long public relations campaign aimed at reinforcing global warming alarm amongst the general public. Tuesday morning’s The Australian continued the CSIRO theme by carrying an article critical of the federal opposition’s direct action plan for sequestering carbon dioxide emissions, titled “Coalition plan falls short: CSIRO”.
The putative innocence of this news coverage was rapidly betrayed by the release of a CSIRO/BOM press statement on Tuesday evening, obviously timed to meet the next day’s press deadlines. Accordingly, Wednesday’s papers and morning radio broadcasts were full of news of the newly released State of the Climate, 2012 report. The Sydney Morning Herald headlined its front page Carbon (sic) emissions hit a new record (as if that was news, or in any way surprising or dangerous), the Brisbane Times headed their letters section with Overwhelming evidence, now let’s face the facts and ABC’s Lateline carried an interview with a CSIRO researcher against background footage of the Cape Grim Background Air Pollution Monitoring Station station.
The light of Thursday morning shone down on yet another new report, The science behind south eastern Australia’s wet, cool summer, this time from the Climate Commission and clearly released to achieve co-ordination with the CSIRO-BOM document. More press coverage ensued, including an astonishing (because of the scientific partiality on display, and lack of any balancing input) Thursday night ABC Lateline interview with U.S. scientist Michael Mann - who is known for his authorship of the much-disputed “hockey stick” temperature reconstruction and a strident advocate of the dangerous warming hypothesis. Saturday morning saw a piece in The Weekend Australian by journalist Mike Steketee, attacking the funding sources for those independent climate researchers whom he termed Scientists who trade in doubt. A last salvo, doubtless representing an overspill from the week before, was represented by a final opinion piece in The Australian on Monday, March 20th, written by Climate Commissioner Professor Will Steffen in support of the Commission’s report of the previous week.
These events fall into an unmistakeable pattern. Clearly, a co-ordinated and highly successful public relations campaign was planned and mounted by three of the organisations involved in giving advice on climate change in Australia, with the full support (and advance knowledge) of many media editors and reporters. The aim of the campaign was to reverse the declining public support for the carbon tax package by rekindling fears about dangerous global warming.
Not even a soupcon of scientific balance was provided by the media during this week-long barrage of tired, speculative and highly controversial assertions about supposedly dangerous warming, which is in turn supposedly caused by industrial carbon dioxide emissions.
The need for objective, independent assessment
We have provided previous audit and due diligence reviews of reports from the Department of Climate Change and Climate Commission, which are available here. To add to these, we have now provided [to be published tomorrow on Quadrant Online] a critical analysis of the main conclusions of the “new”, March 14-15th CSIRO/BOM and Climate Commission reports.
Many of the points made by the three climate agencies simply recycle earlier, controversial, IPCC-based arguments that have been fully dealt with in our previous critiques. Sometimes, therefore, we have simply repeated our earlier critical comments, to which readers are referred also for a fuller set of supporting references and graphs.
Having considered the most recent climate agency reports, our alternative analysis (Analysis of March, 2012, reports by CSIRO/BOM and the Climate Commission – To be published by Quadrant Online tomorrow) finds no evidence that dangerous global warming is occurring; nor that human carbon dioxide emissions will cause dangerous warming in future; nor that recent Australian climate-related events lay outside normal climate variability; nor that reducing carbon dioxide emissions will have any discernible impact on future climate.
Astonishingly, given the sun’s continued quietude, and the known links between that and climatic cooling, this source of natural climate variability is not analysed in the reports. Neither CSIRO/BOM nor the Climate Commission provide any analysis whatsoever of the hazards that would exist should the current 15-year long hiatus in global warming that is acknowledged by the UK Meteorological Office turn into a solar-driven cooling trend. Prime amongst the risks is the entirely practical matter of continuing to feed the world’s population in the face of a cooling-forced decline in global cereal crop yield.
It is not only the scientific analysis that is wanting, but also the cost-effectiveness of the current futile policies to try to “stop global warming”. We note with interest, therefore, a recent report in The Australian (April 2) about statements made by the former federal Attorney General (and Emergency Services minister), Robert McClelland, that:
Since European settlement, over 4000 people have died in natural disasters as against arguably nine in terrorism, yet the spending is completely out of kilter with the risks.
He said money was far better spent on simple disaster prevention or mitigation, such as flood levees, than after natural disasters had wrought destruction.
On any rational analysis . . . the amount we are spending at all levels of government on mitigation and preventative measures is shamefully inadequate.
It is clear that current Australian public policies regarding dangerous climate change, sea-level rise and other climate hazards are based upon inadequate scientific advice, are shackled to the vagaries of inadequate computer model projections and are not remotely cost-effective. There is therefore an urgent need for climate hazard to be assessed and reconsidered by experienced scientists who are independent of the present climate agency cabal.
As urged by many independent scientists, and in line with Robert McClelland’s analysis, climate hazard policies should have as their focus the preparation for, and adaptation to, all climate hazards - howsoever they might be caused.
Bob Carter, David Evans, Stewart Franks & William Kininmonth are respectively a geologist from Queensland, a computer modeller from Western Australia, a hydro-climatologist from New South Wales and a meteorologist/climatologist from Victoria.
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