Welcome to Quadrant Online | Login/ Register Cart (0) $0 View Cart
September 30th 2010 print

Dennis Jensen

Climate Royal Commission

There needs to be a review of the issue. The review needs to be rigorous, not some kludged up Committee of Predetermined Outcomes. A Royal Commission into the science is required.

Admission to the Gillard government’s climate change committee is very similar to admission to the former Soviet Union’s parliament, only people of one view need apply! In the case of the Soviet Parliament, in order to stand for election, you needed to be a member of the Communist Party (perhaps this is why the premise for the committee has so much appeal to Gillard, given her previous membership of the Socialist Alliance – a group who were essentially communist in outlook). In order to get onto the climate change committee, not only do you need to be a signed on anthropogenic global warming believer, but you also need to believe that the only way that you can address the problem is not only through abatement of carbon dioxide emissions, but you need to apply a price on carbon dioxide.

Let’s consider that human activity is causing global warming, and that carbon dioxide is the direct cause. Even under those circumstances, why is a price on carbon dioxide the only solution? Consider the introduction of nuclear power, for example. The Switkowski Report into nuclear power indicated that there would be a need for a price on carbon dioxide for nuclear to be competitive, but that factored in the then-current price of coal fired power. The more realistic cost of power and the fact that these power stations had effectively been subsidised when in government hands is now coming home to bite, with prices of electricity from coal fired power increasing such that nuclear would clearly be cost competitive. This confirms data from the USA and South Africa, both of which have abundant cheap coal and also nuclear power. This is clearly off the agenda for the Committee for Predetermined Outcomes.

Additionally, multiple other means have been discussed regarding mechanisms to, for example, reduce the amount of incoming solar radiation to “cool the planet”. These are clearly also off the table. Only putting a tax on the ubiquitous carbon dioxide will have any effect on the globes average temperature, it appears.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in the first Question Time of the new Parliament made the Orwellian statement that the committee was to have a completely open mind. On what, pray tell, Prime Minister?

Clearly not on the questionable science of anthropogenic global warming! Julia Gillard, like her predecessor Kevin Rudd, has clearly demonstrated that she has no clue as to how scientific process actually works. Indeed, one needs only examine the Hansard of the Standing Committee on Science in the last Parliament, where we conducted hearings into the science of long range and seasonal weather forecasting to see those same scientists that make such unambiguous statements publicly are far more cautious when the evidence they produce, if found to be false or misleading can be found in contempt of Parliament. This is clear evidence for the need for a Royal Commission into the science of climate change, and particularly the parts played by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO.

The committee, as discussed before, will also not examine any mechanisms for “addressing” anthropogenic global warming (AGW) other than putting a price on carbon dioxide (note, not carbon, whose naturally occurring allotrope is graphite). This at a time when even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is moving away from a price on carbon dioxide.

The simple fact is that the markets are actually, in a global sense, now not factoring in a price on carbon dioxide. Take the Chicago Carbon Exchange. After peaking at about $US7.50 per ton of carbon, it is now down to US5c, hardly a ringing endorsement of the argument that the market has factored in a price for carbon. Rather, the global market is factoring it out.

Then you get ignorant commentators like Bernard Keene on Crikey also stating thatThe Coalition are also putting on some confected outrage that the committee is only open to members who believe in man-made climate change and support a carbon price. Reduced to basics, that means you have to be rational and economically-literate to participate”. In other words, according to Keene, you are only rational if you go along with the AGW dogma (so the likes of MIT’s Prof Richard Lindzen, winner of a NASA prize Dr John Christy, amongst a host of others, are not “rational”), and you are only economically literate if you believe the “carbon price” and “action later is more costly” dogma, ruling out the likes of Prof Richard Tol and Prof Bjorn Lomborg. Sometimes you really need to wonder about intellectual pygmies criticising anyone who disagrees with their worldview.

In conclusion, I believe that there needs to be a review of the issue. The review needs to be rigorous, not some kludged up Committee of Predetermined Outcomes. A Royal Commission into the science is required.

Dr. Dennis Jensen is the Federal Member for Tangney