At the essence of conservatism is the philosophy that, while accepting change as inevitable, it should be for the good or, at the very least, do no harm. Coupled with this should be a healthy scepticism and an insistence that any case for significant disruption of society and the economy be first subjected to rigorous examination. This raises the matter of what we now routinely refer to as “climate change” — catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), to use one of the climateers’ favoured and emotionally laden descriptors.
Tony Abbott, speaking frankly, once conceded that “climate change is crap”. It’s difficult to know just how many conservative voters share that conviction if one goes only by the polls. Take as one example a recent Lowy survey that posed two questions. The first asked what Australia’s approach to the upcoming Paris climate conference should be, with 63% of respondents agreeing we need to “commit to significant reduction” in greenhouse gas emissions pour encourager les autres. Only 35% believe we should not make commitments ahead of other countries. But this result seems to fly in the face of responses to the second question, relating to belief in global warming. While 50% of respondents rate climate change a serious problem, 40% believe its effects will be gradual and can be dealt with by taking less costly and disruptive steps over time. The remaining 10% believe that “unless we are sure that global warming is a problem” we should take no steps at all.
So, effectively, 50% of the population does not believe catastrophic global warming is imminent or that it needs drastic, costly and immediate action.
It is my surmise that the majority of conservative voters could be classed as ‘climate sceptics’. They have looked at the evidence and discovered that there is an expanding body of research and analysis that argues against imminent and catastrophic warming, whether or not attributable to human emissions. If I am correct and a majority of conservative voters believe that catastrophic ‘climate change’ is scientifically unproven at best, and a scam at worst, then it is inconceivable that a majority of conservative politicians (by which I mean Liberals and Nationals) do not think the same way. Surely, those elected rep[resentatives must be aware of all the flaws in the alleged science. If they remain blissfully ignorant, then it can only be because they have betrayed their responsibility to invest the issue with due diligence. And yet, apart from Cory Bernardi, we hear not a bleat from any of them.
Certainly, there is huge and rolling inertia behind the CAGW push and, yes, while we might wish professional politicians to stand on fact and principle, the reality is that all must play the game to one extent or another. Even John Howard felt compelled, eventually, to pay lip-service to Gaia’s continuing good health. That was in 1998, long before the world had discovered, courtesy of Climategate, just how corrupt what passes for “climate science” had become, with its “hiding the decline”, blackballing of sceptical colleagues and the cronyist debasement of the peer-review process.
The warming stasis, then unnoticed, was already two years old when Howard made those concessions to the Kyoto clamour; that plateau in global temperatures is now approaching nineteen years. Contrary to predictions, extreme weather events have increased in neither strength nor frequency, the ice caps remain in place (the southern one has grown considerably), nor have we have seen the much-predicted waves of climate refugees. Even the IPCC admits that 111 of its 114 climate models grossly overestimated late 20th century warming. In a nice touch of irony, that figure translates to 97% — the talismanic figure so beloved by alarmists.
Back in 1990, at the time of the First IPCC Assessment Report, the alleged experts thought that the fabled “climate sensitivity” — the temperature increase resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 — was somewhere between 1.5C and 4.5C. Twenty-five years later, despite a record of almost unrelieved failure, the climateers still spruik the same estimate.
If CAGW were an established physical law, as opposed to an unproven theory, it could be defined in an equation (or set of equations) that would have at its core a specific and assigned value for “climate sensitivity”. If the sensitivity is, at most, only 1.5C, as seems more likely given the aforementioned warming stasis, any actual warming is likely to be benign, even beneficial.
A politician imbued with true conservative principles, one who appreciates that change should do no harm, would take the view that there is nowhere near sufficient evidence to kill off our coal industry, hand billions of dollars to Third World kleptocrats, and drive up the price of our own energy with renewable technologies in need of large and constant subsidies. That same politician would say, ‘Let’s wait and see what transpires. Let’s give the scientists a chance to come up with something more robust than guesstimates that consistently fail to be fulfilled in fact.’
He or she might also ask why the Bureau of Meteorology has been given a free pass to keep secret the formulae for the arcane temperature-adjustments for which it resolutely refuses to account and explain.
He or she might say that only a cretin would believe that the Third World will drastically reduce CO2 emissions while simultaneously dragging itself out of poverty, an objective for which cheap and reliable power is vital.
He or she would know and understand that any treaty signed in Paris will be a Trojan Horse, designed not to lower the global mercury but to gouge money out of the West.
He or she might say, ‘If we have to do something, let us spend our citizens’ money on mitigating the effects of the extreme weather we have always had and will continue to have, regardless of CO2’s influence.’
He or she might say that if political imperatives drive the need for posturing, and as a consequence CO2 mitigation schemes, let’s spend the money on initiatives such as soil-carbon sequestration and the like which provide real benefits in terms of increased productivity and water retention in agricultural soils.
Yet from those same conservative politicians we get nothing but silence. The best and bravest utterance they can manage is the limp assertion that Australia should wait for the rest of the world to take action and then follow suit. And now, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull dominating the party room, even that threadbare rationale for doing nothing harmful in the short term is likely to unravel.
Dr David Evans, an Australian modelling expert, accepts the basic IPCC physics of climate change but believes this disparity between model output and real world observations is caused by the models’s faulty architecture. He believes those models overstate the touted effect of CO2 by a factor between five and ten times greater than reality. He has submitted his research for peer review, but is also summarizing it on wife Jo Nova’s website. Significantly, while his arguments have been the subject of the warmists’ pro forma dismissals, they have yet to be diminished by any serious criticism.
During Tony Abbott’s prime ministerial tenure, there was a chance that climate hysteria’s rush to economic catastrophe could be hobbled, reduced to a slow shuffle. Under Turnbull, given his oft-avowed warmism, what we are likely to see is a breakneck sprint to embrace all the worst policies alleged to be combatting the global temperature increases which, as the satellite data continues to demonstrate, are not happening at all.
So far, all the heavy and sceptical lifting has been done by the likes of Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, Garth Paltridge, Jo Nova and William Kininmonth, to name but a few. These genuine scientists have been pilloried relentlessly by the agents of Warmist Inc. Yet conservative politicians have said barely a word in their defence. Not even Tony ‘climate science is crap’ Abbott would go to bat for those making the case for the point of view to which he personally and privately subscribes.
They say silence gives consent. If purported representatives of conservatism in Canberra and the various state legislatures find scientific demolitions of the warmist cause by the sceptical luminaries listed above to be beyond their ken, then maybe, just maybe, the simple and straightforward message made famous by Lara Bingle might have some resonance.
As the Turnbull ascendancy sets the stage for the imposition of costly, ineffective and economically disastrous anti-warming measures, conservatives who remain silent on the climate scam need to hear this question loud and often: Where the bloody hell are you?