Doomed Planet

The Biggest Public Policy Disaster in a Lifetime

The 27th COP event is preceded by breathtakingly shrill predictions of forthcoming disasters from speculated catastrophic climate change. Here are a few cold hard facts:

No one has ever proven that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming. For more than two decades I have been asking scientists for this proof. If proven, it would also have to be shown that natural carbon dioxide emissions, 97% of the annual total, don’t drive global warming. This also has never been done. Furthermore, if had been proven that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming, there would be endless citation of the dozen or so seminal scientific papers demonstrating this proof. Instead, there is obfuscation and deafening silence.

Ice core drilling shows that after a natural temperature rise, atmospheric carbon dioxide increases 650-6,000 years ago. However, the popular paradigm is that increasing human emissions of carbon dioxide creates warming and that we will fry and die. This is the exact opposite of repeated validated measurements. The main atmospheric greenhouse gas is water vapour. When water evaporates, such as from the oceans or sweat, it requires heat to convert to vapour. When water vapour condenses into rain, snow or hail, exactly the same amount of heat is given out. The Earth’s atmosphere contains up to 4% water vapour and operates like a giant air conditioner. The uncertainty about the effects of clouds renders climate models useless.

For the last 2,000 years, there have been thousands of predictions about the end of the world. If just one prediction was correct, we would not be here. All 20th and 21st Century climate predictions failed and there is no evidence to suggest future predictions of a climate catastrophe will be different. Do those flooded out in eastern Australia many times in 2022 believe Tim Flannery’s 2007 prediction, “Even the rain that falls isn’t going to fill our dams”?

Past climates have been cyclical, with tectonic (400 million years), galactic (143 million years), orbital (100,000, 40,000 and 20,000 years), solar (11-year cycles of variable strength and Grand Solar Cycles), oceanic (60 years) and lunar tidal (18.6 years) with the odd non-cyclical asteroid impacting and massive explosive volcanoes. Cycles have not changed because humans are alive today and cannot be changed by feelings, ideology or legislation.

There has been ice on Earth for less than 20 per cent of time. Over the history of time, there have been six major ice ages when ice expanded during glaciation and retreated during interglacials. Each ice age started when there was far more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than now. We are currently in an ice age initiated 34 million years ago, the current interglacial started 14,400 years ago in the Northern Hemisphere and we were at the peak of the current interglacial 7,000-4,000 years ago in the Holocene Optimum.

Compared to today’s global temperature, the planet has been warming for the last 14,400 years, cooling since the Holocene Optimum, cooling since the time of Jesus, warming since the time of the Vikings, cooling since Medieval times and warming since the Little Ice Age, which peaked 300 years ago in the Maunder Minimum.

Since the intense use of coal in the Industrial Revolution some 170 years ago, the planet has had three slight warmings, two slight coolings and one period of stasis. If human emissions of carbon dioxide drive warming, then there should have been no coolings or stasis. If it is claimed that the planet is warming, then a simple question must be asked “Since when?”

Carbon dioxide emissions increased during World War 2, a period of cooling. During the Global Financial Crisis and the COVID epidemic, human carbon dioxide emissions fell yet total carbon dioxide emissions increased, showing that natural processes completely overwhelm the climate systems.

Carbon dioxide is plant food, if the atmospheric carbon dioxide halved there would be neither plant nor animal life on Earth. It is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-poisonous gas. We breathe in 0.04% carbon dioxide and, by metabolising carbon-bearing foods and drinks, we exhale 4% carbon dioxide.

During human times on Earth, the atmospheric temperature has varied by over 10°C, with increased disease and mortality during cold times. Humans thrived in far warmer times which saw longevity, population, empires and wealth increase. There has been no recent increase in droughts, hurricanes, bushfires, temperature extremes, rainfall, flooding or death by climate disasters. A 30-second smart phone search shows this.

Australia is already at net zero because the adsorption of carbon dioxide by grasslands, crops, rangelands, forests, soils and continental shelf waters is far greater than human emissions. There are a finite number of atmosphere-derived carbon atoms in grass eaten by cattle which are transformed into meat, gas, liquid, dung, bone, horn and skin. Most of this carbon is returned to the atmosphere. By using leather, we sequester carbon atoms; hence beef farming is already at net zero.

There has never been a public debate on climate change yet we are told that the science is settled and we’ve “moved on”. This is not the due diligence that should be taken for trillion dollar decisions.

Bearers of validated facts are denigrated, cancelled and deemed controversial by those who have no counter argument, no ability to critically analyse, and who rely on self-interest and feelings. Green activists have captured the language with terms such as ‘climate crisis’, ‘climate emergency’, ‘decarbonisation’, ‘carbon capture’, ‘transition’ and ‘net zero’ yet they don’t live in caves as hunter-gatherers. These hypocrites emit carbon dioxide to fly around the world and lecture those they regard as morally inferior, and they support wind and solar power and EVs as a mechanism of transferring money from the poor to the rich via high electricity costs, inflation and unemployment.

Support for renewables means activists are happy with widespread pollution around wind turbines by the toxin bisphenol A, slicing and dicing of birds and bats, sterilising pastures and dumping of toxic turbine blades to poison soils and waterways. Promoting solar panels means support for widespread sterilising of productive crop lands which become contaminated with poisonous selenium, tellurium and lead and support for the building of solar panels in China by slave labour. Climate change activism has nothing to do with the environment or climate.

If Australian becomes the renewable powerhouse of the world, we weaken our nation. When short-life turbine blades and solar panels made in China need replacing, China may refuse to provide them and, with neither coal nor nuclear power generation, Australian industry, farming and domestic life would be destroyed. As the European gas crisis shows, we must act quickly to become energy independent.

We are reaping the rewards of 50 years of dumbing down education, politicised poor science, a green public service, tampering with the primary temperature data record and the dismissal of common sense as extreme right-wing politics. There has been a deliberate attempt to frighten poorly-educated young people about a hypothetical climate emergency by the mainstream media uncritically acting as stenographers for green activists.

If carbon dioxide emissions really do drive global warming, then financially-crippling emissions reduction by Australia will have no effect whatsoever on total global emissions. Why even bother, especially as major emitters don’t? There is no climate crisis but a crisis in public policy which results in a massive increase in electricity prices, inflation, food and energy insecurity, loss of employment, exporting of productive industries and sovereign risk. This public policy failure has already cost taxpayers and consumers hundreds of billions of dollars. Will bureaucrats and their compliant politicians have the strength of character to change course, or will Australia have to endure severe economic hardship until a common sense political leader arises to cut the Gordian knot?

We once had cheap reliable energy. We don’t now because the system has been gamed for a small proportion of highly profitable renewables to enter the grid. 

Emeritus Professor Ian Plimer’s latest book is Green Murder (Connor Court Publishing).

20 thoughts on “The Biggest Public Policy Disaster in a Lifetime

  • MaxQMcGraw says:

    Once our politicians led. Now they just flick through Twitter, and follow, Public opinion trumps policy every time. I doubt that most of today’s politicians could read this article all the way through, let alone understand it, or admit they are wrong.

  • Tony Tea says:

    I recently attended a talk by Dr Alan Finkel, the former chief scientist. This is a bloke with qualifications coming out the wazoo. He quite obviously has more brains and information at his fingertips than me with which to debate our energy future, and he was clearly on board with the current direction. His only qualm seemed to be the pace of the transition. It’s my opinion that high-level “qualms” are actually code for getting worried, so maybe he’s a bit skeptical too, but not in a position to say so.
    He also made a joke out of the fact that he had recently sold his Tesla to buy a hydrogen car, but there is only one place in Melbourne where he can fill up, and that’s in Altona, but he lives in South Yarra.

    • Biggles says:

      Tony T. ‘Have no respect whatsoever for authority. Forget who said it and instead look at what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, “Is it reasonable?” – Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Laureate

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good piece Ian. Clear, factual english that can be easily understood by a layman i.e. without having to have a science degree ; very much in the mould of what I read that great physicist Sir John Rutherford said about a scientist and his subject, ‘a scientist should know his subject so well, he can explain it to his local barmaid’……meaning of course in plain simple english, and I have probably paraphrased a bit.
    Your closing sentence captures it all for me, in particular ‘We once had cheap reliable energy…..’. We have hundreds of years supply of cheap, easy to mine coal and lignite….and counting, yet these fools are blowing up and closing our big, cheap, coal fired, easily synchronised power generators. It’s madness, and what is even madder is that we have more efficient coal fired systems available now……. off the shelf .
    The Gods must be angry with them and are first sending’em mad. I hope they finish the job …….very, very, soon.

  • rod.stuart says:

    As is to be expected from Professor Plimer, an excellent condensation of the major flaws in the alarmist arguement.
    It takes a compolete moron to think that the methane produced by the bacteria in a mammal’s belly is any different that the methane methane produced by the bacteria that breaks down virtually all of the vegetaion as it grows.
    It is also moronic to think that Nitrogen , which is 80% of the atmosphere, is in any way dangerous. Even more idiotic to thnk that Hydrogen is a “fuel”.
    The media is at fault for continually talking about “emissions”. CO2 ande methane are irrelevant.

  • rosross says:

    Common sense decrees, given the importance of reliable energy for our modern world, that bets are hedged until there is categorical proof that Renewables can do the same job as Fossil Fuels and none of the latter sources should be destroyed until that proof is carved in stone,i.e. proven beyond a shadow of doubt. Even then common sense would decree fossil fuel energy sources be maintained for some years as backup.

    • rod.stuart says:

      The day of reckoning may well be just around the corner, Ros..

      The stage is set for a battle with the EPA over what it claims to be the “science” behind the global warming alarm. The case is called the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council (CHECC) v. EPA, now pending in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. CHECC challenges EPA’s 2009 Finding that CO2 and other greenhouse gases constitute a “danger” to human health and welfare. At the outset of the Trump administration, CHECC filed a Petition for reconsideration and rescission of the Endangerment Finding. EPA finally denied that Petition on April 20, 2022and the appeal followed. Evidence will be presented in a courtroom that CO2 and greenhouse gases do not cause any significant global warming harm. Leading scientists representing this case are Professors William Happer of Princeton and Richard Lindzen of MIT.

      The brief minces no words in distinguishing real science from the government-dictated orthodoxy and consensus on which EPA relies. This is from the summary of the argument:
      Scientific knowledge is determined by the scientific method, through which theoretical predictions are validated or rejected by observations. If the theoretical predictions do not work, the theory is rejected. That’s real science. Scientific knowledge is not determined by government-controlled opinions, consensus, peer review, or theoretical models that do not work. Those are false science. This brief applies the scientific method to the Endangerment Findings and its supporting Technical Support Document and demonstrates both are scientifically corrupted and thus must be rescinded.

      The brief minces no words in distinguishing real science from the government-dictated orthodoxy and consensus on which EPA relies. This is from the summary of the argument:
      “Scientific knowledge is determined by the scientific method, through which theoretical predictions are validated or rejected by observations. If the theoretical predictions do not work, the theory is rejected. That’s real science. Scientific knowledge is not determined by government-controlled opinions, consensus, peer review, or theoretical models that do not work. Those are false science. This brief applies the scientific method to the Endangerment Findings and its supporting Technical Support Document and demonstrates both are scientifically corrupted and thus must be rescinded.”

      If you would like to read the entire Manhattan Contrarian article giving a complete description of what we can expect to see soon in the DC courtroom. The Briefing Begins In CHECC v. EPA — Manhattan Contrarian. See itr here:
      https://manhattancontrarian.squarespace.com/blog/2022-10-22-the-briefing-begins-in-checc-v-epa

      If the irrelevance of CO2 is determined in court, it should kneecap the ridiculous pursuit of ruinables.

      • ianl says:

        We’ve been following this case.

        As I’ve noted previously, no Western court has permitted this debate to be heard per se. Rather, a crabwalk has always been found to slide away from the scientific discussion – for example, the Aus HC found against Peter Ridd because of Workplace Agreement context, specifically avoiding any contest of scientific fact.

        Whatever the DC Circuit Court decides (we hope a human timeframe is applied, unlike Mark Steyn’s case), we would expect this to be appealed through to the US Supreme Court. Such a lengthy sojourn then allows a lot of scope for crabwalks.

  • MichaelinBrisbane says:

    I’ve just had a look at the old Tehachapi wind farm (pictured at the top of this article) on Google Earth. It’s a little to the SE of the town at 35degrees/4minutes/22seconds N, 118/22/41 W. What a mess they have made of the landscape. Not only these old rusty windmills standing idle but also many concrete foundations already cleared of their towers. A bit further out of town they seem to have built a new wind farm with the same disgraceful reck of the terrain.

  • W L Ranken says:

    Dear Ian, Thank you for an excellent piece. Could you please look at Federal Budget paper 3, page 105, and give us your analysis?
    An extract is
    “Higher average temperatures and an increasing number of very hot days could reduce the number of working days in some industries and increase the cost of business-as-usual work in others. It could also lead to a decrease in the productivity of land and labour and increase the rate of capital depreciation. This would result in a decrease in economic activity, reducing government revenue. The IMF estimate that if global temperatures increase by 3.4℃ by 2100 (above 2014 temperatures), global GDP will be 7 per cent lower compared to a baseline scenario in which temperatures rise by 1.6℃ (based on extrapolating historical global temperature between 1960 and 2014).5
    Extreme weather events include heatwaves, floods, heavy rainfalls, storms and drought. “

  • john.singer says:

    Here is a challenge to Ministers Bowen and Plibersek.
    If man or woman made Carbon Dioxide is so dangerous could you please get the CSIRO to explain why the nature made Carbon Dioxide (which is 32 times more plentiful) does not cause harm?

  • RAS25 says:

    I wonder if the error stating “the current interglacial started 14,400 billion years ago” could be fixed…..out by a factor of a billion….

    Such factual typos/ errors look awful.

  • William Pierce says:

    The recent AEMO report showing projections that renewables are going to be ten or more times cheaper in the next few years is a worry. It is being cited in online comments in The Australian. I feel it must be a lie, simply because I cannot believe that the huge capital outlay for the windmills and solar, and the cost off the massive backup of batteries or standby gas, could possibly be cheaper than mainstream coal or gas. Prof. Plimer has effectively debunked most of the warming arguments in his books, but if he could do the same for this canard it would help us all so much. Sorry to wish a further time-consuming burden on you professor, but we need you!

    • akellow says:

      William,
      Most new technologies demonstrate rapid declines in costs initially and then level out, If you look at the costs estimates provided and updated annually by Lazard.com both wind and solar are already flatlining. Future substantial cost reductions are essentially a fantasy.

  • Geoffrey Smart says:

    The planet warmed, thankfully, in the mid 19th century, ending the Little Ice Age (whatever you do don’t mention the Little Ice Age). And in 1959 CO2 in the atmosphere was 315ppm (Mauna Loa). It is very unlikely that in the 19th century CO2 levels exceeded 150ppm, but the planet warmed. And now I think the planet is cooling. A glacial event is overdue, so we might be in trouble

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Thank you Ian Plimer for offering a point by point outline of why current climate ‘science’ is so lacking in its model based analysis rather than taking a long-term historical perspective on all climatic drivers; and also by showing how public policy has been fooled and captured by political impulses rather than scientific facts.
    The climate cult is increasingly lacking any empirical evidence, not surprising given its starting point in models. Let the failures of Covid modelling be a warning about the insufficiencies of climate modelling and of measurement and other fact fiddling to make temperatures match cultish wishes.

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