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Are environmentalists on the road to Damascus?

By Max Rheese - posted Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Inconvenient facts articulated by Jennifer Marohasy in Climate facts to warm to, The Australian, March 22, which was written by Christopher Pearson, will no doubt have spoilt Easter for many environmental moralists.

As Marohasy points out, it is now accepted by the head of the IPCC that whether global temperatures are benchmarked from 1998 or 2002, they have plateaued or fallen. She says “The political implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite.”

Let’s hope the epiphany delivered by the NASA Aqua satellite in form of new data will lead to the resurrection of balanced debate on climate science based on science and empirical evidence, rather than debate driven by political and funding agendas.


Will the environmental moralists, in keeping with the season and the data available, experience a road to Damascus conversion? Don’t hold your breath - there is too much at stake.

Some will never admit the falsehood of anthropogenic global warming - they will simply move onto the next environmental scare campaign.

For others though, with the continuing passage of time the truth will become self evident.

Ten years of temperatures not rising is hardly long enough to be definitive in itself, but coupled with undisputed rising levels of carbon dioxide over the same period it makes a powerful case to, at the very least say; the science on man-made climate change is not settled.

What will be interesting to observe is how high profile players in the man-made climate change debate deal with the new and emerging evidence.

Kevin Rudd, Ross Garnaut, Penny Wong and many others are ready to commit huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to schemes that will limit the effects of unproven man-made climate change, while the science opposing this view becomes more compelling by the day. Implementing schemes to adapt to natural climate change - this is common sense: investing in a radical change to the structure of our society based on computer modelling is something only a politician could contemplate.


Al Gore tells us this is a moral issue. Does this mean we have to accept the immoral arguments put forward by the anti-development, anti-capitalist, anti-American environmental moralists? Does Gore still occupy the high moral ground after the recent inconvenient British High Court ruling on the “facts” in his film? How “moral” are the presentations still being conducted jointly by Al Gore’s and the Australian Conservation Foundation ambassadors based on the “facts” of his film? I found the presentation I attended morally repugnant in its distortion of the facts. What was alarming was the unquestioning acceptance of the small town audience that it was presented to.

One of the follies of green activism - is that dissent can become more important than the outcome. Gore knows all about that, having lost his election due to the green candidacy of Ralph Nader - there must be a moral in that!

Back to Christopher Pearson’s article, “Catastrophic predictions of global warming usually conjure with the notion of a tipping point, a point of no return”.

Let’s hope that the data from NASA’s Aqua satellite is a tipping point - a point of return - from the abyss of catastrophic poor outcomes that would result for the world’s poor, the environment and society from the suppression of balanced debate on climate science that is not yet settled.

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About the Author

Max Rheese is the Executive Director of the Australian Environment Foundation.

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