Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently delivered one of the most outlandish speeches ever uttered by a senior politician in Australia. In that speech, he made all sorts of bizarre allegations that anthropogenic climate change sceptics were being driven by vested interests, were out to destroy the future of our children and grandchildren (the typical refrain of those who do not have facts on their side, and therefore resort to emotive terminology), had a lack of logic, and were cowardly. On the cowardly aspect, I will debate Kevin Rudd on the science of climate change anywhere, anytime. I am very confident that he will be too cowardly to accept the challenge, far easier to resort to invective.
The reason for Rudd’s hysterical speech is that he is afraid. He can see that the viewpoint of the Australian population is changing rapidly as the costs of his emissions trading scheme (ETS) become apparent, and as more people are becoming acquainted with the fact that the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are diverging more and more from the observed reality. He fears that the coalition may well oppose the ETS, and thus will not share responsibility for the massive costs that the ETS will burden the Australian economy with. He is afraid of the electoral ramifications of having the economic and social costs of his extreme tax system being put before the Australian people on a daily basis during an election campaign.
I have asked on a few occasions how much his new tax system would lower global average temperatures. Funnily enough, no response, as that number would be close to an embarrassing zero, even if the “consensus” position is fully accepted. The ETS will NOT save Kakadu or the Great Barrier Reef, even if you accept the IPCC position. We will, however, lose industry and damage our industry’s competitive position against our trading partners.
What has now become apparent, however much Rudd attempts to deny it, is that the dream of Copenhagen is for individual nations to surrender some of their sovereignty. This is something that the Prime Minister intends to do without a whimper – surrender sovereignty that Australians have died defending. This is an appalling abrogation by an Australian prime minister, but larger and more centralised government has always been the Left’s dream.
Rudd also deliberately misrepresents the science on this. He speaks of 4000 IPCC scientists all agreeing on the anthropogenic causes of climate change. The fact is, within the IPCC there is dissent with the “consensus” position. There are only around 2500 scientists involved, and many of them are reviewers whose comments and criticisms are frequently ignored (so much for the vaunted peer review process). The reality is that there are only around 60 authors of the critical Chapter 9 of the 4th Assessment Report, which is the chapter examining attribution to the causes of climate change.
Peer review is not an assurance of infallibility: reviewers simply determine whether the research was conducted using proper scientific techniques. It does not mean that the results are correct, indeed, the reviewers, by and large, do not repeat the experiments.
Consensus and appeal to authority are even weaker propositions. With consensus you need only look at the fraud perpetrated with Piltdown Man, a fabrication accepted by the bulk of palaeontologists for decades, and Lysenkoism, a paradigm that was the consensus position of Soviet scientists that resulted in the deaths by starvation of millions.
Much is made of the 90% figure (meaning very likely) the IPCC document attributes to certainty of anthropogenic causes. Problematically, this figure is completely unscientific, and has no basis in statistical analysis. It is simply a number agreed to by some of the scientists and bureaucrats in the process!
Rudd also talks about it being 30 years ago that the first World Climate Conference called on governments to guard against potential climate hazards. Ironically, given what was occurring at that time, and the consensus position of climate scientists at the time, the assessed hazards would have been a coming ice age!
The Prime Minister asserts that if his ETS is not voted into law, there can be no certainty for business. That is patently ridiculous; there is certainty in having no ETS at all!
Rudd maintains that a sceptical viewpoint (and scientists should be sceptical, not simply sing from the same songsheet) is radical, risky and reckless. The reality is that his ETS is radical – it is a new tax, and is essentially a tax on air. It is risky because it will damage our industry, put people out of work, and cost our nation dearly. And he is reckless in his appalling desire to sign the Copenhagen treaty, which will surrender some of our sovereignty to a foreign entity.
Dr Dennis Jensen is the Federal Member for Tangney