This time it is bushfires, the next it will be floods, or drought, or gender-fluid frogs or somesuch. No matter what Gaia comes up with, some or other spigot of snappy sound bytes will point at climate change with one hand while reaching for fresh grants with the other. Well, they need fret no more
According to an article in The Australian, the Greens have blamed bushfires and cyclones on the government’s inaction on climate change. Well the good news for the Greens is that they are wrong and therefore they can worry about something else instead. Australia’s climate hasn’t changed one whit, so a deranged climate can’t be the cause for bushfires and cyclones. Exhibit A is Australia’s lower tropospheric temperature anomaly as measured by satellites with the data available from Dr Roy Spencers’ group at the University of Alabama in Huntsville:
The satellites that measure atmospheric temperature went up in 1978. The great thing about the satellite record is that it can’t be fiddled with. Figure 1 shows the monthly departure from the 1981-2010 mean. As at February, 2018, Australia’s atmospheric temperature was 0.18°C higher than that 30-year mean. The range over that period was 3.83°C, so the February anomaly was only 4.7% of that range. Now the Greens are sensitive souls but not one of them – man, woman or equivocal – would be able to tell a difference of 0.18°C.
Some parts of Australia have missed out on global warming altogether. A large part of Australia’s coal production comes from the Hunter Valley which has only just got back to the temperature it experienced at Federation:
Figure 2 shows that Newcastle was much warmer in the second half of the 19th century than it was during the second half of the 20th century.
If Australia hasn’t warmed, has anything warmed? Well, not really. If you follow the link through to Dr Spencer’s site you will find a graph of the global temperature anomaly. As at February 2018, the anomaly for the globe was only 0.20°C. Luckily we have instruments with such precision otherwise we would not be aware of the warming that is supposed to have happened.
Well the Greens are going to worry about something and perhaps global warming is the most innocuous thing with which they can occupy themselves, even though our power prices have gone through the roof and industries have started closing. But Clive Hamilton shows that even the most credulous climate clown can be re-purposed to something useful. His case is in fact inspirational – he used to go on about droughts and floods, repeating himself endlessly, he recently came out with a book that details how Labor is selling out this country to China. Sam Dastyari wasn’t an isolated case.
It is more likely though that Clive Hamilton’s damascene conversion won’t be repeated. The Greens are completely impervious to evidence. Even if there is no substance to global warming they will still believe and insist that it is coming, eventually. As Paul Collits notes today at Quadrant Online, ideology trumps facts amongst true believers. More concerning are the grinning loons who should know better. If you take yourself to pages four and five of BHP’s 2017 annual report, you will find photos of Ken MacKenzie and Andrew MacKenzie , chairman and CEO respectively. Then take yourself to page 52 in which BHP states its “position on climate change”. BHP, via the IPCC, has found that “warming of the climate is unequivocal”. So, Messrs MacKenzie, 0.2°C is unequivocal when the temperature range is almost 20 times that?
The CEO MacKenzie was once trustee of a Marxist-oriented UK think tank, Demos, (founded in 1993 by former Marxism Today editor Martin Jacques) and thus it is likely that his belief in global warming is as much or more ideological as based on careful consideration of the evidence. This is a matter for BHP’s shareholders who should consider the parallels with Rex Tillerson’s Exxon. Rex Tillerson, as the US Secretary of State, was a believer in global warming and wanted the US to sign onto the Paris climate treaty. He was undone by wanting to preserve the Iranian path to nuclear weapons. In his prior role of CEO of ExxonMobil, he dropped US$30 billion on the purchase of a shale gas company, XTO Energy in 2009. BHP followed ExxonMobil’s example in 2011 by plunging into US shale gas production. According to this ABC article, BHP put $50 billion into shale gas production. That investment is now worth about $20 billion. Witness this graphic from a BHP presentation from 20th February 2018:
From Figure 3, it seems that BHP’s shale gas investment in the US is providing a return of about minus three percent. Of course BHP is now selling this asset. According to the ABC, BHP did a trial run by selling some shale acreage in 2014 and from that article:
As the oil price tanked in 2014, BHP dumped a chunk of its holdings in the Texan Permian basin for just $US75 million to an outfit called Silverback Exploration. As the hedge fund Elliott Management pointed out in its scathing critique of BHP, Silverback sold the same reserves last year for $US855 million as prices started to recover.
Messrs MacKenzie did not buy into the US shale assets, but the people who did also selected the MacKenzies to follow them. And their track record is no better. Everything is pointing to belief in global warming as being a reliable indicator that a person is a mindless fool, a witless idiot. If they can’t get global warming right and persist in believing in something for which there is not a scintilla of evidence, then how can they trusted to make the right decision in any instance? BHP shareholders, Australian voters – please bear this in mind.
David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.