The climate debate of 2011: round-up
Professor Bob Carter, a geologist, discusses “the the most important events which influenced the climate debate in 2011.”
2011, and the Unlucky Country finally gets a carbon dioxide tax
Australian voters entered 2011 with the pre-election commitment of Prime Minister Julia Gillard still sounding in their ears –
There will be no carbon [dioxide] tax under a government that I lead.
Nonetheless, cognitive dissonance had already arrived on the Canberra political scene, in the shape of the Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change (MPCCC) that was established in late 2010 in order to plan for the introduction of just such a tax.
Thereafter, the political year yielded a spectacular display of chicanery, scientific malfeasance, media bias and economic and social irresponsibility, all underpinned by a confusion of both purpose and morality and accompanied by an uncertainty of outcomes: and that’s just the global warming picture.
It is fitting, therefore, that the year should have ended shortly after the closure of the IPCC’s COP-17 climate conference in Durban, the outcome of which was a politically wonderful Clayton’s agreement regarding global warming – which is to say, it was the type of agreement that you have when there is in fact no agreement. As one commentator put it, the Durban partner nations’ statement appears to have agreed to an agreement to agree in future to an undefined agreement. Science magazine Naturecommented that “Despite the celebratory atmosphere, the platform represents an exercise in legalese that does little or nothing to reduce emissions, and defers action for almost a decade”.
Oh, and why does a geologist’s opinion matter?
Carter’s view of climate science is profoundly influenced by the fact that he’s a geologist. He thinks in terms of geological time – eras and epochs. When compared to those timescales, 150 years of thermometer readings is a mere blink of an eye. As he writes in his accessible, well-argued book:
By overemphasizing the trivially short instrumental record, and greatly underemphasizing the varied changes that exist in geological records…the IPCC signals its failure to comprehend that climate change is as much a geological phenomenon as it is a meteorological one.
Meanwhile, as it becomes increasingly evident that drastic government measures to curb a problem that likely doesn’t exist will lead to so much pain with negligible gain, and as it becomes increasingly evident that alternative energy is outlandishly expensive and grossly inefficient, the Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown, continues to demonstrate his complete and utter lack of economic literacy.
This time he wants to make changes to our Super (i.e. increase taxes on it) that will hurt those worse off and punish those who want to contribute.
This once almost quaint quirk in Australian politics is weilding far, far too much influence for just one senator from a remote, sparsely populated region of the nation.