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Donít listen to shock jocks on carbon

By Bob Carter - posted Wednesday, 1 June 2011


"Last Monday, I received a report from the Climate Commission confirming again that climate change is real. It provided very real evidence that we need to act now. Not in a couple of generations time, or even a couple of years time, but now." - Julia Gillard

Climate change is like motherhood: of course it’s real, and whoever would doubt it?

If, instead, the PM actually means to say “dangerous global warming caused by human-related carbon dioxide emissions is real”, then she is wrong.

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That such warming is occurring is a hypothesis which can be tested against the last ten years of data, which are: carbon dioxide increase – +5%; temperature decrease – -0.05O C.

The hypothesis is invalidated by the test. There is therefore no urgency to act now - or, indeed, at all – by penal taxation against carbon dioxide such as the PM is suggesting.

What the report shows is that in the past 50 years the number of record hot days in Australia has more than doubled. Australian natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef are already being damaged and the risk of coastal flooding could double by the end of the century. Most significantly, the report says the greatest contributor to recent climate change is carbon pollution caused by humans.

As detailed in a scientific audit published at Quadrant Online, the facts related in this paragraph are a manifestation of natural environmental variability, and the speculation about human causation is based on discredited advice from the United Nations IPCC.

These reports are not the first of their kind. They build on past work from scientists around the world who have been tracking the effects of climate change for years.

Thousands of independent scientists have expressed different views from the extreme alarmism of the IPCC and its advisors. Most have moderate, middle ground views. They accept that natural climate change is a hazard that we should prepare for, and note that hypothetical human-caused global warming, should it ever emerge, is best dealt with in the same way. Which is by contingency preparation in advance, and adaptive response when a climate hazard, of whatever causation, is actually visited upon us.

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And like ones past, these research papers have been peer reviewed by other scientists to make sure findings are accurate.

Peer review does not ensure accurate findings. It is simply an editorial device used in an (often vain) attempt at quality control.

With the science so clear we shouldn't waste time on shock jocks or politicians who rely on false claims to run their scare campaigns. They quote one crank or another in the same way people have argued the world is flat.

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The original article by Prime Minister Gillard (italicized paragraphs, above) first appeared in The Daily Telegraph on 30 May 2011.



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About the Author

Professor Bob Carter is a researcher at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University. Copies of scientific papers and other media articles by Bob Carter can be accessed through his website.

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