Doomed Planet

The Very Model of a Modern Climateer

Australia’s veteran climate alarmists clank with more medals and awards than a North Korean general. The rising star Dr Joelle Gergis of the ANU is doing well too, with one gong just for feeding the media chooks.

Canadian sceptics spotted a howler in her big 2012 research paper ($314,000 ARC taxpayer funding) and she had to spend a further four years correcting her material (another $352,000 ARC funding).[1] I assume that’s what she refers to as “a few very difficult years spent battling attacks on my work from climate change deniers.” [2] Stephen McIntyre, of Climate Audit, recounts the entire reaction affair here

Ms Gergis now writes book-length polemics about the allegedly monstrous CO2 emissions. The first was Sunburnt Country (2018) which claims global warming was fuelling Australian bushfires. For those readers interested in the real reason Australia burns, I’d recommend Inferno by Quadrant Online’s editor, plus essays published here by forester and polymath Roger Underwood and others.

Ms Gergis new book, out last month, is Humanity’s Moment: a climate scientist’s case for hope. In it she catches up with the Australian floods, which she also attributes to global warming.[3] By the way, she’s not only an IPCC lead author (2018-21) but on Tim Flannery’s Climate Council, which dubs every fire, storm, drought and flood to be proof of deadly global warming. End-of-the-world Christian fundamentalism has nothing on her new book’s forecasts of an inescapable climate Armageddon unless we junk fossil fuels “immediately”. That’s right, immediately, she says (p253). Back to the caves, families!

The real villain in the Gergis climate crusade is, of course, capitalism. The IPCC lead author laments that aggressive, self-serving forces of capitalism have “dominated Western social and economic values for far too long” (119). She quotes approvingly the deranged UK Guardian writer George Monbiot and his insight, ‘Capitalism is killing the planet’ (231) and further claims there is a perfect nexus between “colonialism, capitalism and environmental degradation” (278). It must be that no-one has told her about the state-sponsored environmental barbarities in the Soviet Union and its colonies so she rants like a Marxist undergraduate:

The world’s dominant economic model is capitalism, which rests on the exploitation of the planet’s natural resources and the poor for corporate profit, often with scant regard for the collective good or the wisdom of First Nations peoples. Since the end of World War II, capitalism has turned humans into consumers and the Earth into a giant quarry to generate wealth for people to live comfortable lifestyles, predominantly in rich nations. (178)

Actually capitalism has brought unparalleled human health and longevity.

You might detect a whiff of autocracy in Ms Gergis view of the world. “How can young people establish trust in the very institutions that allow perpetrators of intergenerational damage to roam free?” she asks (183). Sceptics, prepare to pack your toothbrush for a spell in porridge, you’ve roamed free for quite long enough.

“We need to have important conversations about what we will and won’t tolerate as a society,” Ms Gergis writes (245), deploring “a dangerous distrust of science” (230) i.e. distrust of her tribe’s jihad against coal and oil. Any promotion of right-of-centre views is apparently anti-democratic: “As we start to see democracy being undermined around the world, we don’t have the luxury of being apolitical” (244). Our “social and political systems” must be transformed, to (Writing-and-Editing Diploma Metaphor Alert) “correct our course and steer humanity out of the treacherous seas of greed and apathy, back to the safe shores of sanity and wisdom” (233).

A scale for a book’s nuttiness is its Murdoch Derangement Syndrome. Gergis whines Murdoch’s Australian newspaper and Sky News “continue to give platforms to outrageous climate change sceptics who have profoundly shaped the public debate, resulting in ruinous political inaction” (235).

She quotes ex-Liberal PM Malcom Turnbull (my emphasis below) about Murdoch’s media

surpassing the influence of the country’s two main political parties – which [Murdoch media] he says now poses a real threat to Australian democracy…The Murdoch-owned media have been similarly destructive in the United States, where serious damage has been done to democracy through relentless climate change denialism and other far-right political extremism aired by outlets like Fox News” (236).

Recalcitrant Rupert has refused to treat climate change as “scientific reality” (she actually means treating apocalyptic sooth-saying as “scientific reality”). Instead he allegedly weaponises coverage to please fossil-fuel shills and “morally challenged fake experts” (236). She deplores Murdoch giving any coverage to sceptic views, hence sowing public confusion and deeply dividing opinions on climate change (236). Murdoch sadly ignores that “we [the UN and other alarmists] own the science” by organising with Google to enforce the hegemony.

Well down her own garden path, Gergis says, “If left unchecked, weeds of misinformation will choke the growth of the grassroots movement needed to mobilise people to act.” She claims,

The same way the vast majority of us would call out racism or misogyny, we need to become someone who can’t walk past the lies and misinformation that continue to delay our collective response to the climate crisis. We can choose to be part of a tireless force for change that fights for truth, sanity and basic human decency to prevail (239)

Brava, Joelle!

For hyper-ventilating, you can’t beat her Great Barrier Reef doomism. A small problem: coral reef cover on the Reef is now at record extent. Her Sunburnt Country book asserted the Great Barrier Reef was 50 per cent dead in 2017-18. As she told The Monthly (August 2019),

We are witnessing catastrophic ecosystem collapse of the largest living organism on the planet…As I share this horrifying information with audiences around the country, I often pause to allow people to try and really take that information in.

In her new Humanity book, she’s at it again. Since 2016 the Reef has been “utterly devastated by climate change”, she claims (133).Is it possible to witness the death of the Great Barrier Reef – the largest living organism on the planet – and not feel wild with desperation at the thought of it all?” (20).

In late March 2020, … Professor Terry Hughes, one of the world’s leading [and multi-awarded] experts on coral reefs and our foremost authority on the Great Barrier Reef, rushed to conduct an aerial survey of the third mass bleaching event to strike the reef since 2016. It was the first time that severe bleaching impacted virtually the entire reef, including large parts of the southern reef that had been spared during bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. It was hard to hide from the reality that the entire system is in an advanced state of ecological collapse. In desperation, Terry took to Twitter, sharing his experience of surveying the carnage: ‘It’s been a shitty, exhausting day on the #GreatBarrierReef. I feel like an art lover wandering through the Louvre . . . as it burns to the ground.’ By the end of his fieldwork he was a broken man: ‘I’m not sure I have the fortitude to do this again.’ His results now reveal that just 1.7 per cent of the world’s largest coral reef has escaped mass bleaching since 1998 … It is clear that the largest living organism on the planet is in terminal decline. It’s truly the stuff of nightmares” (133-4).

Did I mention that coral extent has risen to a record level?

Proclaiming herself an arts buff[4],  Gergis argues instead like the Soviet Ministry of Culture enforcing socialist realism. She frets that punters don’t absorb the IPCC climate line but might be persuaded by books, poems, plays and “goddamn operas” (240), enthusing that “our creative industries have the power to influence how we feel, what we wear, what we eat, what we put in our homes and, ultimately, how we vote” (247).

She extols a UK crowd called “Julie’s Bicycle” which co-opts artists into its “Creative Climate Movement”. It’s already captured the likes of Tate Galleries, Universal Music, Warner Music and the British Film Institute (242). “They understand that a cultural revolution is needed to drive political change,” Jergis writes (243), with a tin-ear reference to Mao’s disastrous program. But no suprise, really, as she’s queen of hyperbole, for example.

If our planet were a child, there would be a moral outcry of disgust and rage – how can we bear to stand back and watch the life be beaten out of the very thing that sustains us? It’s brutal, horrific, to think about how badly we have abused our Earth. I feel my heart breaking today (189).[5]

Near-term warming of 2degC will saddle global citizens of the year 4022 [that’s right, 4022] with sea rises of 2 to 6 metres (94).

She pats herself on the back for worrying about future people living “a thousand generations from now” (177) which I guess takes us to the year 32022 AD.

♦ Those who come after will look back on the age of fossil fuel as an age of corruption and poison. The grandchildren of those who are young now will hear horror stories about how people once burned great mountains of poisonous stuff dug up from deep underground that made children sick and birds die and the air filthy and the planet heat up (218).

♦ Just like a doctor diagnosing a critically ill patient, as a climate scientist I face the terrible task of being the bearer of bad news. It is akin to asking each person to sit with the horror and grief of the prospect of losing the very life force that miraculously sustains us all. I need to take you by the hand and gently ask you to stay with the gravity of what’s at stake and what it means for your future” (26).

And with each bout of weather

♦ My stomach burns in pre-dawn darkness, my teeth ache from the nocturnal grinding that my dentist now just acknowledges with a sigh (165).

Her take on Australian politics is, predictably,  jejune leftist. She describes the Teal candidates’ money-Svengali Simon Holmes a Courtas as a  “renewable energy expert” (224) which should read “renewable energy investor”. The Teals are a “grassroots political movement” who battle “the domain of wealthy and well-connected political forces” (222). Gergis has overlooked that successful Teal candidate and poor little rich kid Allegra Spender enjoyed a $280 million dividend to one of her private entities in 2019.

Joelle’s entire book is a weep-a-thon: “I’ve found myself overcome by tears many times as I’ve come to terms with the reality of what I’m writing,” she snuffles. “No matter how grim things get, the ocean is able to absorb all the sorrow I pour into it” (159) – which is just as well given Australia’s recent floods. As her mentor Dr David Karoly blurbs the book, “The pages are stained with the author’s tears, hopes, heart and soul. Thankfully I have the Kindle version and don’t need to dry it out with a renewables-powered radiator.

Weep-1: Greta Thunberg’s hilarious “How dare you!” speech to the UN in 2019 “still sends chills down my spine and tears to my eyes” (184).

Weep-2: Attending the Glasgow Cop 26 by Zoom,“I wept listening to the procession of stirring speeches delivered at the opening ceremony of the World Leaders’ Summit” (198).

Weep-3: “Like millions of people around the world, I wept watching [semi-senile] President Joe Biden and [idiotic] Vice President Kamala Harris sworn in” (214). [More millions wept with laughter the other day when Kamala at Panmunjom praised the “strong alliance of the US with the Republic ofNorth Korea”].

Weep-4: “Sometimes I just want to drop to my knees and howl like a child who just can’t understand the [climate] injustice of it all… I feel my heart breaking today” (158-9).

 Weeps 5-10: Enough already.

It’s not all bad, however. When Ms Gergis discovered that climate-obsessed artists could manipulate people into believing her apocalyptic fantasies,“For the first time in a long time, I wept tears of joy” (227). Soon, though, it was back to the slough of despond

I received an email from an IPCC colleague in a far-flung corner of the world: I’ve been deeply depressed since the meeting in Singapore . . . I almost lost my position here at the university because I could not care less about work knowing that we seem to be doomed. I just wanted to sleep and do nothing” (19) …  Even the most conservative scientists I know of are starting to share their own sense of panic on Twitter (189).

Actually, the UAH satellites record no warming in Australia in the past ten years and no global warming for eight years. Awkward, that.

But what really grates is Gergis scaring kids. She writes, “Any young person can tell you that stabilising the Earth’s climate is literally a matter of life or death. It will impact the stability of their daily lives, their decision to start families, and their chance to witness the natural wonders of the world as their parents did” (177). And naturally, “Emerging research shows that as young people become increasingly aware of the current and future global threats of climate change, their mental health starts to suffer (182).

Herself a vegan cyclist (when I last checked), she wants a mass movement to remove our social licence for “eating animals” (247).She also writes,“We can remove the social licence for high-impact, industrial agriculture, one meal at a time” (271). There goes my rare rib-eye.

I did sometimes find myself in total agreement with this IPCC lead author:

I’m sure by now, many of you want to put this book down and stop reading. Trust me, I understand how you feel (174).

But my duty to Quadrant Online compelled me to persist [6] :

Wherever you are on this path, I want to offer you my company, to let you know that you are not alone. I am sharing my personal response to facing this unimaginable dilemma, and how I’ve tried to navigate my own despair (29).

Thanks, Joelle, but too much information.[i] Anyway it’s a lovely day and my priority right now is to wash the dog.

[i] Also in the too-much-information category is, “I made love to my golden-tanned man in the rain” (227). Personally, I’m a fan of just singing in the rain.

Tony Thomas’ essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt. A new title, “Anthem of the Unwoke —Yep! the other lot’s gone bonkers”, is in production


[1] “The mammoth process involved three extra rounds of peer-review and four new peer-reviewers. From the original submission on 3 November, 2011, to the paper’s re-acceptance on 26 April, 2016, the manuscript was reviewed by seven reviewers and two editors, underwent nine rounds of revisions, and was assessed a total of 21 times – not to mention the countless rounds of internal revisions made by our research team and data contributors. One reviewer even commented that we had done “a commendable, perhaps bordering on an insane, amount of work”.

[2] Her latest book, p158. The supposedly conservative Morrison government bankrolled her with $56,000 grants from 2019-21 and she got another $4500 from the feds this year.

[3]Gergis: ‘Some say we’ve seen bushfires worse than this before. But they’re ignoring a few key facts’ , The Conversation, 13 January 2020. Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse. The Conversation, 24 March 2021.

[4] Virtually all of my friends are creatives of some kind: my inner circle is blessed with musicians, writers, poets, visual artists and dramatic performers (plus one divine yoga teacher) (239).

[5] She also feels “my heart breaking today” on page 159. Perhaps she should consult a specialist.

[6] I wasn’t looking for errors but two jumped out. First, she mistakes that there’s an official Anthropocene era. We are in the Holocene era (12,000 years) of the Cenozoic (66 million years). The IUGS has declined to declare any “Anthropocene”.  Second, she mistakes that the local Greens were the world’s first Greens Party (161) in the early 1980s – the German Greens got the jump several years earlier.

[7] Also in the too-much-information category is, “I made love to my golden-tanned man in the rain” (227). Personally, I’m a fan of keeping it to just singing in the rain.

22 thoughts on “The Very Model of a Modern Climateer

  • March says:

    Thanks Tony. That blog post by Steve McIntyre is pure gold.

  • DougD says:

    Gergis says Thunberg’s “How dare you. You’ve stolen my childhood!”speech “still sends chills down my spine and tears to my eyes”. Gergis could read about other children as young as seven whose childhoods really have been stolen, not by capitalist greed but by fanatical environmentalists, in The Guardian article of 3 Jan 2021,”Child labour, toxic leaks: the price we could pay for a greener future”.
    But the paroxysm of weeping that just might cause her could well produce an environmental disaster in itself. What a goose this woman is. And what fools run the ARC.

  • Edwina says:

    This woman is mentally deranged.
    Does she really believe this.
    Being connected to Turnbull and Flannery maybe she is just their “useful idiot”.
    If this is the case how does she live with herself.

  • Tony Tea says:

    The truly tragic characteristic of these tear-sodden freaks is that they have an utterly absent self-awareness of how head-shakingly preposterous they are.

  • ianl says:

    On a more rational note, I have a rare uptick for Kenny on Sky today Monday pm.

    He actually took note of the references here (and elsewhere I imagine) to the Michaux 2021 paper (Geological Survey of Finland) on the mineral requirements for Net Zero if we are to maintain anything near our current standard of living, and interviewed author Simon Michaux. The disparities in their staggering numbers were outlined for some of the critical mineral requirements.

    Now will we see this taken up by other MSM outlets ? Of course not. Even the unseen behind-the-camera Sky editors, who do their best crabwalks on topics like this, were reduced to arm waving irrelevancy with that contra commentary ribbon they are so addicted to across the bottom of the screen.

  • bobmbell39 says:

    Thanks Tony for another good article.
    These people are dangerous they are influencing the young and uninformed. I don’t know how we stop it. In my 80s I can’t do much. I feel for my grandchildren. It will be a different world.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    ‘ Since the end of World War II, capitalism has turned humans into consumers and the Earth into a giant quarry to generate wealth for people to live comfortable lifestyles, predominantly in rich nations. (178)’ Gergis no doubt writes this from her precious metal and plastic constructed computer and communicates it to the world via the resource intensive modern communications network. She is nothing if not yet another in the long conga line of rank hypocrites who populate the elitist left of politics. But her hubris doesn’t end there. Because she opts to eat like a rabbit and ride a bicycle when not flying around the world, then the rest of society must follow suit. And, just like all her catastrophic ilk, the fact that she hasn’t come to terms with her own mortality means the rest of us must put up with her projecting this psychological flaw onto the planet as a whole. Frankly, unless or until Gergis is espousing her world view from a humpy up the back of the Huon valley, scratched on paper bark she will always lack any credibility whatsoever.

  • STD says:

    “In her new Humanity book, she’s at it again. Since 2016 the reef has been “utterly devastated by climate change “, she claims (133)”.
    A couple of prejudicial thought’s; is the carbon content of the paper in the book derived from carbon change pollution?
    And emphasis on ‘utterly’ ,should that be read as ‘utterly devastated by climate change rhetoric’ ?
    We are now living in cloud cuckoo land- one thing is for certain ,the WW1 generation would not have tolerated all this emotional navel gazing.
    Now known as left leaning corneal umbilicus syndrome.

  • petroalbion says:

    Don’t let’s forget that in July last year Australia avoided having the Great Barrier Reef listed as an endangered world heritage site by UNESCO, despite extensive climate change-spurred damage to the ecosystem’s corals. Why did UNESCO take this view? Because certain Australian universities had been claiming for 15 and more years that the reef was dying due to human induced climate change. And if I recall correctly the chair in 2021 was Russia? Happy to be corrected on that

    • DougD says:

      Ah, the Reef. I remember the 1960s when marine scientists told us the Reef faced imminent extinction from the newly-identified crown of thorns starfish. 60 years later, the Reef and the crown of thorns starfish are still with us. And fossilised starfish have now been found in it. Those scientists were wrong on everything they said.

  • Stephen says:

    In her “How dare you” speech young Greta did say one indisputably true thing. I refer to the line about how she “should be in school on the other side of the ocean:”
    As for Gergis ,although referring to the IPCC as an authority she is immune to those sections of the IPPC reports that contradict her deranged position. I refer to the sections relating to extreme weather where the reports state that there is no trend in frequency or severity of Hurricanes (cyclones), Tornados, drought, flood et al and “low confidence” as to the likely hood of the increase due to increases in CO2 concentration.

  • call it out says:

    Thank you Tony. Gergis lives in a different universe to those of us who grapple with real world issues. Her world is entirely a fantasy, and it is appropriate that she surrounds herself with “musicians, writers, poets, visual artists and dramatic performers”, who, with some exceptions, help create the fantasy world she lives in.

  • rod.stuart says:

    A big thank-you Tony for ploughing through this absolute drivel so the rest of us don’t have to.
    It would appear that this total moron was led astray by the idiots Karoly and Steffan.

  • Mike O'Ceirin says:

    As I understand it according to the IPCC the world temperature has risen 1.1° C over the last 170 years. It seems that is very much forgotten these days but it is temperature rise that is supposed to cause CLIMATE CHANGE. There are those amongst us who blame the temperature rise on the use of fossil fuels in the main. It seems though it is only the use by Western civilisation that matters. So the fact that Australia generates 1.1% of the overall anthropogenic emissions is an existential threat and something must be done. The author wrote a book that could be ignored but for various reasons the cudgels are taken up and we are told we must do something. It appears the something for Australia means destroying our electrical system, sorry build lots of wind turbines and solar arrays. The main part of that though is to destroy that which generates most of our electricity on the east coast anyway. 65% in the last 12 months. It is economics that is doing it we will lose at least 21% of our stable baseload power before 2030. Even though natural gas produces 50% less emissions and nuclear near 0% they are not accepted. The Western world has reduced its CO2 emissions significantly if you measure it from the emission end. If you go and look at the measure of CO2 in the atmosphere it cannot be seen there has been any effect. Also the majority of emissions comes from China and India I think about 47% but that is not considered. How can it be ignored if this is a global problem? Our elites are pushing us along the path of destroying civilisation to not change anything about the climate at all. To believe humanity can change the climate is akin to insanity.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    Thank you, TT. Another illuminating post.
    I too “feel my heart breaking today”, after reading it. A “queen of hyperbole”, yet so afflicted with dental “nocturnal grinding”.
    As Sir Toby Belch said in one of the Bard’s plays: “I wish I’d studied the Arts”, or in this case, climate pseudoscience, a discipline in which they are still trying to agree on the meaning of the word, cause.
    “Among other lacking items, perhaps the most important one regards the absence of definition for the word cause. Several recurrent controversial arguments in the realm of event attribution may possibly be related to this lacking definition of causality: for instance, an argument often made (Trenberth, 2012) is that any single event has multiple causes, so one can never assert that CO2 emissions, nor any other factors, have actually caused the event. (A Hannart, et al., American Meteorological Society, January 2016, page 100)
    As for “profit”, when will its detractors understand we need a quantitative measure to determine whether we should invest in course of action A, or B, or C etc.? Without such a measure, we end up in bad place: such as “43% of RE by 2030”, the looming RE transition crisis and so on, due to silly decisions. Submarines by 2050, anyone? The CC alarmists want to deprive investors of the dividend streams that flow to them from profitable investments via their super funds,

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Unfortunately it is far worse than 43% RE Alice that has been legislated for. It’s 43% reduction in CO2 emissions on 2005 levels utilising 80% RE. ‘Tell ‘‘em his dreamin’ !

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    In May 2013, nearly a decade ago, I commented on Climate Audit about the irregularity of getting unfinished papers into the IPCC process. Joelle Gergis and her group were the example. Like most of my questioning comments, even back then, no valid answer appeared. The destructive global warming steamroller rolled on.
    Those who have the time might benefit from Steve McIntyre’s perceptions in the half dozen Climate Audit posts that you can find by searching C.A. for “PAGES 2K”. You might be left with the impression that there are hard scientists (who use evidence) and soft scientists who cry a lot about gossip. This is not familiar ground to me because I did not employ cry-babies to study, for obvious reasons of more interesting tasks abounding.
    At the risk of raising some ire here, my impression is that some of the silly policy problems we face today can be traced back to female authors, some of whom have adopted historically different approaches to hard science. Another illustration of group femininity affecting policy might be with the many females in the Teal movement last Federal election.
    In no way am I being critical here of proper hard scientists, female or male. Geoff S

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    This hysterical warmist crowd delight in referencing each other in far from academic pieces of reportage and speculation. Latching on to the IPCC validates this even more. It makes them sound ‘scientific’, which they are not. Interesting that her latest book uses the word ‘hope’, i.e. she’s pedalling back on the urgency and immediate extinction.
    This is how they try to keep up with public opinion but are failing. Fewer people than ever believe their raging now..

  • john.singer says:

    According to Jame Lovelock in his Gaia theory, and you should bow to his superior knowledge, the Eath behaves like a single organism. Therefore the Earth is the largest living organism on Earth.

  • akellow says:

    Thank you for this insight into the mind of a climate catastrophist (without the rest of us having to read it). You have done humanity a favour!
    One correction, however. While using a different name, the first green political party was the Values Party in New Zealand in 1972: full neo-Malthusian zero economic growth, zero population growth. In the naivety of youth, I stood for it in the 1972 election, so have been well-versed in the sad follies of the catastrophists.
    There is still no better riposte than that to Malthus by the 1st Baron Macaulay in 1830:“On what principle is it that, when we look we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

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