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We need to look more closely at the science behind climate

By Dennis Jensen - posted Thursday, 18 November 2010

At an assemblage of physicists at the British Association in 1900, one of the 19th Century's most influential physicists and mathematicians, Lord William Thomson Kelvin said, "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement."

This statement appears myopic today and would certainly be lambasted by the likes of Einstein, Schrödinger and Hawking.

Arguments by the Gillard government that the science of climate change is "settled" and "the debate is over" are not dissimilar and will leave future generations in no doubt Labor is using flawed science to drive this tax grab.


Science is all about asking the right questions. If we went back 1000 years we could answer every scientific question someone might have, based on knowledge of the day. However, follow-up questions would lead to a point where we would not yet have discovered definitive answers. Such is the nature of science. Asking the wrong question or one with the presumption of a result fails to respect scientific practice and leads to answers that history will judge as misguided and unscientific.

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change has been asked the wrong question. Its mission statement reads in part,

The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change.

The IPCC has presumed anthropogenic factors as the cause of climate change.


A carbon tax is held by the Gillard government as the definitive climate change cure. But this answer comes from questions based on science that is contentious and literature that is outdated.

Independent Scientists have identified flaws in the computer models that form the basis for the IPCC's 2007 global warming predictions. IPCC vice chairman, Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele has conceded there "probably would be mistakes" in a larger report scheduled for 2013-14. The Royal Society states, "There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales." The French Academy of Sciences as well says the jury is still out regarding the indirect effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by human activity.

Bryan Leyland, spokesman for the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust said when referring to a High Court case against the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and its national climate data,

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This article was first published on Quadrant Online on November 16, 2010

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About the Author

Dr Dennis Jensen is the Liberal federal member for Tangney in Western Australia. A former air traffic controller, CSIRO and later Defence research scientist, and defence analyst, he was widely recognised as one of the rising stars on John Howard’s backbench. He’s played an important part in Australia’s air capability debate.

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