Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

‘Carbon tax’ rests on scientific theory corrupted by public money

By Alex Stuart - posted Friday, 11 March 2011

We all know, because Gillard make it clear before the federal election, that in practice the ‘carbon tax’ is pure politics.  But what about the theory behind it? 

Our oceans are trashed with plastics often fatal to sea life, tropical forests are burned or cleared, critical species habitat is destroyed and life-forms potentially crucial to medical science are extinguished.  But ‘carbon tax’ advocates, who seem to believe that long-term speculations deserve a higher priority than immediate crises, maintain blind loyalty to an unproven hypothesis:  anthropogenic global warming, or the belief that man-made CO2 drives dangerous heating of the atmosphere.  Even if true, this belief, which depends on much-disputed assumptions such as ever-warming oceans and a surmised temperature-amplifying effect of water vapour, wouldn’t bother mankind for the rest of this century.

The disconnect between these positions – between urgent, practical environmental crises of today and a theoretical but far-from-proven possibility of crisis in the distant future - seems lost on true believers.  The fact is, most of them are unqualified lay people, including most ‘environmental editors’; some have credentials in soft sciences, like Garnaut; some in hard sciences unrelated to the physics of climate, like Flannery; but a mere handful are solar and atmospheric physicists, who, unlike the foregoing, are truly qualified to interpret the complexities of climate research data. 


Few seem to realise that the outcome from turning scraps of scientific research into political advocacy is to corrupt western science, and thereby diminish western influence and cultural power, just as the global financial crisis diminished western financial power. 

The GFC was a historic but self-inflicted disaster for the western world.  It arose from almost-fraudulent actions by whole industries that undermined not only the feeble regulatory structure of western nations, but also the health of the global economy.  It was a turning point in the shift of financial power and political influence from the West to the rising nations of the East. 

One day our successors will, quite possibly, judge the AGW crusade also to have been based on almost-fraudulent use of research data that undermined not only the discipline of scientific method but also our splendid intellectual inheritance from our forebears.  If so, AGW belief would be another form of unilateral disarmament, another abdication of western political authority and diplomatic influence, comparable to the historic surrender of western financial power already visible as a result of the GFC. 

How could the global warming scare story have become so widely accepted by the politically correct of Europe and their acolytes in Australia and North America?  A good part of the answer can be found in the flow of public money. 

WSJ online reported on November 30, 2009 that:

In the 1990s, (Climatic Research Unit) director Phil Jones helped bring in £1.9 million for climate research.  But in this decade, according to one of the leaked documents, the total shot up to £11.8 million …


Or consider the cash that Michael Mann…has helped pull in for Penn State University.  In 2000, before (Professor) Mann joined the faculty, the university banked $20.4 million in research funding for environmental sciences.  By 2007, two years after he came on board, Penn State counted more than $55 million a year for environmental research...

…Anything that called into question their most dire predictions of climate catastrophe would put all that funding at risk.  On the other hand, the bigger the climate calamity, the more willing governments became to fund global-warming research.

Next day The Wall Street Journal wrote:

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

A version of this article was published in Quadrant in January, 2011

 Join the AEF


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

57 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Alex Stuart is Chairman of the Australian Environment Foundation

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Alex Stuart

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Alex Stuart
Article Tools
Comment 57 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Latest from Australian Environment Foundation
 ‘Carbon tax’ rests on scientific theory corrupted by public money
 How to fix the broken scientific system
 Not Worth a Plug Nickel
 The limits of climate models
 We need a new paradigm for national parks

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy