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Labor bequeaths us climate careerism

By Ian Plimer - posted Friday, 25 May 2012

The blind acceptance of human-induced global warming was a fundamental mistake by Labor. The ALP did not use logic, played to the gallery of environmental activists and sympathetic scientifically-illiterate journalists, treated the electorate with disdain, did not listen to independent senior established scientists with contrary views and only listened to those scientists with their snouts in the trough. Labor only had ears for inexperienced trendy city socialists who have no contact with Nature, science or wealth creation. Labor is now falling apart in front of our eyes because of their flawed human-induced global warming policy. It will be a slow and painful death because too many have hitched their careers to climate catastrophism.

Once Labor had blown billions on various unsuccessful populist schemes, it needed a "Carbon Tax" to maintain the diet of excessive wasteful spending. Not only does Labor's climate policy lead to unemployment, higher electricity, food and fuel costs and the loss of long-term capital investment in Australia, it leads to the loss of the ALP voting heartland. The Labor brand is damaged, former ALP voters will never again vote Labor and the putrid stench of union rorts will linger for a long time. The current Labor government will be remembered as the worst government that Australia has ever endured.

Labor's bequest to Australia is generational debt, the destruction of the public's confidence in institutions such as the ABC, Australian Research Council, CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, the replacement of fundamental curiosity-driven science by political ideology and the dumbing down of the education system. Labor has been assisted by a compliant media who have not asked difficult questions. The Labor bequest is equivalent to Lysenkoism that put the Soviet Union's agricultural science 50 years behind the rest of the world and resulted in the death by famine of countless millions.


Labor was seduced by populist vote-catching environmental catastrophist policy that was not underpinned by rigorous scientific due diligence. In fact, Labor undertook no due diligence on any high expenditure policies. Furthermore, when scientific fraud by those claiming to be climate scientists was repeatedly exposed, Labor chose to ignore this fraud. Those with contrary ideas were repeatedly attacked at taxpayers' expense and a sensationalist press joined in these attacks. It was the internet and a handful of radio journalists that allowed the electorate to question the Labor climate propaganda. Once the electorate had access to contrary validated information and realised that they were being lied to, then there was no turning back.

Science is married to evidence obtained from repeatable observation, experiment and measurement. A computer prediction is not evidence, it is a conclusion based on incomplete evidence fed into a constrained computer model. Evidence must be in accord with other validated repeatable evidence.

On the basis of this evidence, a scientific conclusion is formulated. If new contrary evidence appears, then the scientific conclusion needs to be abandoned or modified. Science can also pose a hypothesis and then test it. "Can human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming?" is a testable hypothesis.

Measurements show that population centres can contribute to local warming. Construction of past climates over geological, archaeological and historical time from observation and measurement show that modern climate changes are well within variation, that a human signature can not be identified in major trends and cycles of climate, that all past major glaciations were initiated at times when the atmospheric carbon dioxide content was higher than at present and there is no correlation of temperature over time with atmospheric carbon dioxide content. Without correlation, there can be no causation.

For scientists to claim that they believe in human-induced global warming uses the language of religion and politics, not the language of science. It matters not whether one or a thousand scientists believe that human activity drives global warming. It is the sum total of the evidence that determines a scientific conclusion, not political populism, noisy scientific grantees or activists. An accomplished scientist believes nothing, is anarchistic, tentatively supports conclusions until more evidence is unearthed, actively and dispassionately participates in debate, criticism and analysis and has no treasured ideology.

However, numerous scientists and the science media shut down debate and operated as climate campaign journalists providing a constant barrage of catastrophist scenarios. This brought short-term fame and fortune to climate advocates such as Tim Flannery who quickly evolved into the laughing stock of the community. Flannery has been irreparably damaged. Science, the scientific method and education have been damaged. My objections to the unfounded idea of human-induced global warming are that the idea is not scientific and that promoters of this concept chose to ignore past climate changes. It is only geology that leads to the ultimate understanding of climate change.


A recent claim was made by Australia's climate commissioners that Observatory Hill (Sydney, NSW) and Parramatta (NSW) meteorological stations show that western Sydney experienced an increased frequency of hot weather. One can be cynical about how the timing of such an announcement by our 'independent' climate commissioners coincided with the government-funded advertising campaign about handouts to compensate voters for increased costs from a carbon tax. Why was the key political battleground for the next Federal election chosen as the area where people would fry and die? Why not somewhere outback?

These claims do not pass a simple smell test. Even journalists without a basic knowledge of science and logic should have asked the obvious questions. Why didn't journalists stridently question the claim that the data shows that only western Sydney is enjoying global warming? Why is it that Labor Federal electorates in Sydney will suffer a projected warming yet other seats will not? How can there be human-induced global warming that only affects western Sydney and not other areas of Sydney? What practical measure can be adopted to stop western Sydney frying? Would voters in western Sydney pay for such measures or would all Australian pay for such measures?

It would have taken only a few moments to show that this claim is based on measurements made at Parramatta over the last few decades yet temperature records in Sydney began more than a century ago. Why didn't journalists ask for the data set from Sydney's Kingsford Smith, Bankstown and Richmond airports? Why didn't journalists demonstrate that they had a slight understanding of science and ask basic questions on the scientific method? How was temperature measured? What was the order of accuracy of the measurements? Did the measuring technique change over time? Was the data 'adjusted' (as it has with numerous other stations to provide the required answer) or was primary data used? What is the long-term temperature trend for unadjusted measurements for rural measuring stations where the urban heat island effect would not bias data? What were the computer modeling techniques used to generate predictions? What has been the effect of increased urbanisation in western Sydney?

Labor could not convince the electorate that minute emissions of a trace gas would lead to catastrophic global warming. They were unable to show which part of the last 300 years of warming was natural and which part was of human origin. And Nature had the last laugh: the planet is cooling. Nature just does not obey legislation, computer models and Labor's ideology.

Labor treated voters as fools. They are not.

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About the Author

Ian Plimer is emeritus professor of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne and professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide.

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