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April 28th 2015 print

Tony Thomas

Die Grünshirts Parachute Into Parkville

In a further demonstration that no alarmist undertaking is too improbable for public funds to underwrite, the climate-change careerists at Melbourne University have teamed up with their equally error-prone counterparts in Potsdam. Bear this in mind when the next vice-chancellor cries poor

green bucksTwo groups that like to out-vie each other on climate catastrophism have linked arms to give the Australian public and taxpayers a double dose of the scares. Melbourne University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have formed a Melbourne-based joint graduate body called the Australian-German College of Climate & Energy Transitions. It has 16 multi-disciplinary PhD students, none pondering the 18-year halt to atmospheric warming. Expect lots of Melbourne/Berlin tripping and jetliner contrails.

This is yet another climate institute or centre in academia, one of hundreds interlocked throughout the Western world  (at least a dozen are in Australia, the ANU alone boasting five varieties). It’s a lucrative industry for normally funding-starved academics.[1]

The  Potsdam guru who’s now director of the Australian-German College is Dr Malte Mainshausen. He’s kindly researching things like “Australia’s fair contribution towards a global [CO2] mitigation effort” and has been snapped up by Melbourne University’s loopy and peer-review-challenged Sustainable Society  Institute (MSSI) for its executive committee. He can get tips there on planet-saving from the MSSI’s Associate, would-be comedian and professed “climate researcher” Rod Quantock B.Arch, Melbourne (failed). And MSSI Professorial Fellow Tim Flannery can input his forecasts, unquestioned by the ABC, of endless local droughts (e.g. in NSW).

This article will firstly take a look at the Potsdam outfit (which is allied with a couple of Berlin universities) and its personalities. Part Two discusses the people and activities at  Melbourne University, ranked 32nd in the world.

Key figures  are:

Potsdam – Meinshausen; PIK director Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber; deputy director  Ottmar Edenhofer (also College supervisor); and member Stefan Rahmstorf (also   College supervisor). The TERI think-tank of over-sexed ex-IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri makes a cameo appearance.

Melbourne University –   Sustainable Society executive committee member and College board member Professor Robyn Eckersley,    and MSSI’s Professor Peter Christoff,   on the College’s original steering committee and a supervisor. Another steering-committee member, Professor Brendan Gleeson, was affectionately profiled in January.

The Potsdam think-tank has been an influential adviser to the German government — so persuasive that the German energy sector is now in desperate straits. A  march of blue-collar workers ending at Angela Merkel’s office in Berlin was scheduled on April 25  to protest  Germany’s hara-kiri attack on its own coal-fired power industry. The workers’ slogan was, “Enough, we oppose!”  Understandable, since the latest German policy folly would render 85-95% of the coal-fired-power industry unprofitable by  2020, risking 100,000 jobs and leaving Germany, well, powerless. Spokesman for Germany’s IG BCE union Thomas Rohde says,

“For too long we have believed politicians that an affordable energy supply and good jobs were worth it. The gods of climate protection have blindly run and sacrificed the guarantors of prosperity and value creation at the altar of CO2 reductions, much to the joy of other EU and industrial countries.”

As an individual, Malte Meinshausen had a track record with Greenpeace. One eco-activist tract in 2009 said Meinshausen and his co-worker, Bill Hare, had “long been key members of the Greenpeace International climate team.” Meinshausen’s name was often on Greenpeace press releases in 2001-03. Meinshausen’s and Hare’s research papers and a graph for Greenpeace wound up being cited in the 2007 IPCC report.[2]  (No, Virginia, not all IPCC authors are “essentially humourless scientists in white coats who go around and measure things” as ex-PM Kevin Rudd claimed).

Meinshausen today is content with nothing less than a global “zero carbon” target for 2055-70 [3], when he himself will be retired or deceased. He mopes:

“Finance ministers in the developed countries   see themselves unable for constitutional/parliamentary reasons, to commit to finance of the [order of] $100 billion, for the next 10-20 years. That’s not going to happen. Still the expectation for a lot of finance support is there, so how can we channel or create market conditions as well for private finance, to fill that gap?”

What of the Potsdam crowd’s other key people? Well, PIK was founded in 1991 by climate doomsday professor, Herr Professor-Doktor Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, who continues to lead it and seek for it world-changing powers. In an interview with Der Spiegel in 2011, Schellnhuber was asked: “Do you feel that the government’s abrupt change of course in relation to its energy policy is adequate?” He replied (emphasis added):

“No. It can only be the beginning of a deep-seated shift. The German Advisory Council on Global Change, which I chair, will soon unveil a  plan for a transformation of society. Precisely because of Fukushima, we believe that a new basis of our coexistence is needed.”

In other words, climate scientists (like himself) should have the authority to save the planet from the global warming which stopped 15-18 years ago. (He predicts 8-degree warming by 2200, an extraordinarily far-sighted forecast, even by the standards of climate-change alarmists). He also has expressed the view  that the carrying capacity of the planet is only one billion people, and that “at nine billion the planet would explode.” [4]

The warming halt is now so obvious that even the PIK is wondering about it. In another interview, Schellnhuber conceded, “We may have another decade of warming slowdown.” Wow! That would make it a quarter-century halt to atmospheric temperatures, equal to the original scare of the quarter-century warming, ca 1975-96. In what other field of science can dire forecasts be so spectacularly wrong, yet remain the basis for trillion-dollar planetary transformations? But Schellnhuber’s dog won’t lie down:

“At the end of this natural cold spell temperatures will rise even more fiercely. Globally, but also in Antarctica which therefore is in danger of tipping.”

PIK luminaries have stamped their brand on all recent IPCC reports, but the objectivity is a bit light-on. Take PIK’s  deputy director,  Dr Ottmar  Edenhofer, who leads the IPCC’s Working Group 3, he is one of half-a-dozen chiefs in the IPCC. In a burst of candour, Edenhofer said in 2009 that climate policy “has almost nothing to do any more with environmental protection” and “we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.” Edenhofer, not a scientist but an economist, has an excellent grasp of how to spend other people’s money. One of his master plans for renewable energy involved, he said, a cost of “a mere twelve thousand billion dollars by 2030” to put the world onto 75% renewable energy by 2050.

Someone’s calculated that USD12 trillion is about eight times the cost of World War 11. And Edenhofer doesn’t even mention the costs from 2030-50, or the untold billions spent already to deliver 0.3% renewable energy to the globe so far. Could Edenhofer have   triple-digit trillions in mind? And by just how much (if even measurable) would this titanic spending cause planetary temperatures to fall?

Yet Edenhofer is not the most zealous greenshirt in Germany. That title would go to the bureaucrats in the German Environment Department who didn’t like what Edenhofer wrote in the English-version of the 5th IPCC report –  that emissions trading would make subsidies to renewable power unnecessary. Instead, the bureaucrats translated it in a briefing for journalists to say the opposite,  that emissions trading should not be allowed to weaken the subsidies. With a fine lack of indignation, Edenhofer agreed the translation was false, but shrugged,  “Only the original English version is important…What the ministries or other agencies do with it is not in my hands.”

Another guru at the Potsdam PIK is Stefan Rahmstorf,  an elite member of the Michael Mann ‘hockey stick’ travesty team. In 2011 he was found by a German court to have made “untruthful assertions” against a journalist, Irene Meischner, who had dared to criticize blunders in the IPCC (she was not even a sceptic).  He wrote on his blog that she had been  dishonest, sloppy, had never read the IPCC report, and  had even plagiarized writings. Meischner stood up,  sued and won.

Providing one more example of career alarmists’ talent for presenting black as white, the Potsdam think-tank pretended it had been vindicated, saying,  “The PIK asks his [Rahmstorf’s] colleagues to understand that it is the duty of a scientist “to inform the public about errors”. Der Spiegel called this “An amazing interpretation”, given that the court had ordered Rahmstorf to stop maligning the journalist.

The PIK propaganda for the Paris climate talks continues unabated.

At the weekend, PIK hosted a Nobel Laureates conference on population and climate change, and the ANU’s Penny Sackett, ex-Australian chief scientist, led the write-up team. Sackett is famous for her prediction in 2004 that the world had only five years left to avoid disastrous global warming. Believe it or not, she now writes of the PIK conferencees: “They have a plain message: the future of humanity is at stake. We are at a watershed moment.”

On April 22, Director Schellnhuber was a signatory to an eight-point Potsdam-based manifesto by the Earth League, advocating zero CO2 emissions by about 2050. (Absurd, technologically and economically). Point 8 (not highlighted in the press release) involves giving “developing countries” USD 135 billion a year – that’s right, per year – to purportedly pay for “clean energy” and “climate-friendly investments”. Those running Africa’s 50 kleptocracies, for example, must be squirming with pleasure. (55% of the UN’s 193 members do not have free elections).

The Earth League’s press release brazenly claims that signatory Jennifer Morgan is not just a scientist, but a “world-leading scientist”. Fact-check: she has a Master of Arts in international affairs, with a track record that includes working as an activist for WWF and the US Climate Action Network. Four other of the  17 “world-leading scientist” signatories turn out to be economists, and another is an ecologist. One of the economists, Dr Leena Srivastava, is Acting Director-General of the TERI think-tank, until February run by IPCC chair (now ex-chair) Rajendra Pachauri. The New Delhi police, who are taking a keen interest in the disgraced warmist, allege that the 74-year-old spent much of his final 15 months at TERI stalking a 29-year-old female staffer.

Pachauri, who ran the IPCC for 13 years, claimed initially that all his communication devices were hacked for 15 months, then he swore that someone had misappropriated his passwords in order to write voluminous erotic letters to the indignant staffer. Police on March 21 alleged that Pachauri was violating bail conditions, hampering investigations, influencing witnesses and effecting TERI’s non-cooperation with police.

I might buy a used  car from such people, although I’d first get the RACV to check it over . As for climate advice….

[1] They’re currently annoyed at non-sceptic Bjorn Lomberg getting a federally-funded think-tank at WA University. Lomberg doesn’t hew 100% to their “consensus” which is considered a disgrace intellectually.


[2] Authors of  Chapter 2 of Working Group 2 of the 2007 IPCC Report included one WWF alumnus, one Greenpeace alumnus (Meinshausen) and one alumnus of the activist Environmental Defence Fund.

[3] “At some point emissions have to go to zero, no matter what. There is no way around zero CO2 emissions. As long as we continue to emit CO2, the climate will continue to warm.”

[4] Strangely, the College’s web banner takes the   9 billion for granted. “In 50 years 9b people will have to cope with climate change beyond 2degC…unless we change today the way in which we meet our energy demands. ..Your Ph.D. could make a difference.” Note the certainty about a distant temperature conjecture and the activist tone.