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April 17th 2011 print

Bob Carter, David Evans, Stewart Franks & Bill Kininmonth

Combet: unbalanced advice

Climate Minister Combet revealed again that he is receiving unbalanced scientific advice, and that his understanding of the problem of hypothetical dangerous global warming is inadequate.


Climate Minister Combet still innocent of knowledge


In a speech at the National Press Club on April 13th, Climate Minister Combet revealed again that he is receiving unbalanced scientific advice, and that his understanding of the problem of hypothetical dangerous global warming is inadequate. His predecessor, Senator Penny Wong, exemplified the same weaknesses and so does the government.

It is a matter of great public concern that our government continues to take exclusive advice on global warming from an unelected, unaccountable international political body (the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; IPCC), as translated for Australian consumption by the CSIRO and by the Department of Climate Change’s advisor, Professor Will Steffen.

Multiple clouds of impropriety hang over the IPCC’s advice: ClimateGate, thermometers next to hot concrete and artificial heating sources passed off as measuring “global” warming, vital graphs of past temperatures that depend on a single tree in far north Russia, global data sets that are missing, official forecasts of temperature and atmospheric warming that are nothing like the reality that later eventuated, and much more.

The first part of Minster Combet’s address covered a number of scientific points, which we review in a parallel article. As for earlier audits that we have made of government statements on global warming, we find that the government is ill advised and has embarked on a political course of action that lacks sound scientific foundation.

Like Penny Wong before him, Minister Combet has been captured by the self-seeking, alarmist global warming rhetoric of the United Nations IPCC and its supporters. Surely the Government should conduct an inquiry before acting on such impaired advice, yet the advice stands unaudited? There are no checks and balances, and no formal oversight. To commit our nation to deliberate economic hardship, and that of a regressive nature, without even seeking a second opinion would in any other circumstances be considered both foolish and unacceptable (remember Tirath Khemlani, and the bypassing of the Loans Council?).

After summarising his preferred version of “the science”, the remainder of Minister Combet’s address was concerned with economic and political analysis. Obviously, as scientists, we have no expert comment to offer on those matters. Equally obviously, however, until there is a demonstrated scientific problem of dangerous global warming to be dealt with, which there currently is not, economic measures and analysis are simply irrelevant.

The bottom line

No amount of economic or political analysis can contradict the following basic, scientific premises:

  1. Carbon dioxide is an environmentally beneficial atmospheric trace gas;
     
  2. Carbon dioxide is also a mild greenhouse gas that produces incrementally diminishing warming as its atmospheric concentration rises;
     
  3. The amount of warming produced by human industrial carbon dioxide emissions to date is so small as to be indiscernible against natural fluctuations in global temperature, and is therefore not dangerous;
     
  4. The unvalidated IPCC (including CSIRO) computer climate models that project significant human-caused warming in the future are faulty, with many known inadequacies; not surprisingly, therefore, these models have proved to be incorrect when compared with real-world temperature data;
     
  5. Natural climate events and change are Australia’s greatest natural hazards, and our society needs to be better prepared for them in advance, and better at adapting to them when they occur;
     
  6. The required national climate policy of preparation and adaptation for natural climate events and change is at the same time precautionary against any human-caused change that may manifest itself in future (but which is absent to date). 

It is time that the Australian government shook itself free from the baleful influence of the IPCC by, first, commissioning a review by fully independent scientists as to the relative risks of natural and hypothetical human-caused climate change; and, second, by adopting a cost-effective national climate policy of preparation and adaptation.

Authors:

Bob Carter is a geologist, David Evans a mathematician and computer modeller, Stewart Franks a hydrologist and engineer, and Bill Kininmonth a meterologist and former Director of the National Climate Centre.

They are the four independent scientists who together advised Senator Steve Fielding during his discussions with Climate Minister Penny Wong over her proposed emissions trading bill in 2009.


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