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White Flag

December 15th, 2008

The long-awaited White Paper version of the government’s emissions trading scheme is out. I’ve been too disheartened to read anything more than the summary so far. The target of a 5 per cent reduction on 2000 emissions by 2020 seems designed to secure the support of the Opposition, which will probably not be forthcoming anyway. That’s about the only defence that could be made for it.

The government’s main argument in favour of such a weak target is based on Australia’s relatively high rate of population growth. I have no objection to per capita, rather than national, emissions targets in the context of a contract-and-converge agreement leading ultimately to a uniform global allowance per person. But if you wanted to argue that way, the fact that Australia has one of the highest emission levels per person in the world means that our (interim and final) reduction targets must be more stringent than those of other countries.

At this point, the only real hope is that the Obama Administration will take a strong line on the issue. If it does, then the US-EU combination will dragoon recalcitrants like Australia into a sustainable agreement whatever Rudd and Turnbull might say or do about it.

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  1. mitchell porter
    December 15th, 2008 at 14:58 | #1

    I think what they have done is to commit themselves unconditionally to a 550 ppm CO2 target, while agreeing to go lower if the rest of the world does.

  2. December 15th, 2008 at 15:08 | #2

    I told you so.

  3. Nick K
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:09 | #3

    One of the features of the government’s plan is that they are promising to compensate various groups (such as pensioners, other low-income earners and families) for price rises with various assistance.

    The problem with this approach is that the more you compensate people the more you reduce the incentives for people to change their behaviour in response to price signals, defeating much of the purpose of increasing prices to begin with. So the net result is simply more inflation and government churning, with less impact on emissions.

  4. carbonsink
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:17 | #4

    What Jack Strocchi said.

  5. Nick K
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:24 | #5

    It is also significant that the government is now pledging to only reduce emissions further if other countries do the same.

    This is pretty much the opposite of what was argued in 2007. For most of the year the Coalition argued that Australia should only commit to cuts in conjunction with other major emitters agreeing to the same cuts, while Labor argued that Australia must take the lead.

    Kevin Rudd has continuously made a virtue of stealing John Howard’s policies while simultaneously presenting himself as a new leader with fresh ideas. How much longer will this wash?

    Rudd has abandoned his previous stance of fiscal conservatism, and instead adopted Howard’s tactic of wasteful vote-buying handouts with his recent fiscal stimulus. Now he has moved further towards Howard’s climate change policy as well. Is there anything left in Howard’s wardrobe that he won’t take?

  6. Hermit
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:27 | #6

    @ Nick in theory an advantage of an ETS over a carbon tax is you can’t spend the compo on any more carbon since it’s capped. Other disturbing aspects are very generous freebies to industries that should be trying harder to cut carbon or lose customers with higher prices. It’s like getting a certificate from Jenny Craig for putting on weight. It seems that clean development offsets a bogey of the EU system may be allowed as well. We’ll see the Easter Bunny long before commercial carbon capture and I believe the PM looks foolish for talking it up.

    However here’s a radical alternative view; we’ll cut at least 20% by 2020 anyway due to a permanent global slowdown. The reasons for the slowdown are oil’s steady volume decline (low prices not withstanding), regional water and food crises, tightened credit and low consumer confidence. All those immigrants may not want to move here. We will also realise very late (circa 2015) that renewables won’t replace coal for baseload power …deniers please give gigawatt scale examples. Therefore I think the way things will pan out will have little resemblance to Treasury assumptions.

  7. carbonsink
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:31 | #7

    At this point, the only real hope is that the Obama Administration will take a strong line on the issue.

    And what if Obama is America’s Rudd? All talk and no action.

    If Obama was serious he would have appointed Gore as Secretary of Climate Change or somesuch, but he’s chosen Carol Browner who appears to be an ex-EPA bureaucrat.

  8. JoelP
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:32 | #8

    Nick @3

    Compensating people has no impact on the level of emissions, because emissions are capped. They could however decrease the efficiency of the scheme, depending on how they are structured.

    If the compensation is a direct rebate on the bill (let’s say electricity for example), then the price signal is wiped out and, because of the cap, emission savings will have to happen in other, more expensive ways.

    This has not been suggested by the government.

    If compensation is not directed at the expense, let’s say compensating for higher energy bills through welfare payments or provision of services (housing, transport, education) or through energy efficiency programs, then the affect on the price signal is minimal.

    The extra compensation will be split between other living costs (food, entertainment, travel, housing, internet, credit card debts, etc).

    Low-income households cannot afford new water-heaters and other appliances to mitigate carbon costs. The point is to reduce the amount of carbon, not to reduce the standard of living for people already on the breadline.

    Nick, perhaps you would like us to reduce your income to assist you in reducing your carbon imprint?

    Could you please explain how the compensation will result in more inflation?

  9. JoelP
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:39 | #9

    “Rudd has abandoned his previous stance of fiscal conservatism… with his recent fiscal stimulus.”

    A fiscal conservative primes the economy during a downturn. Only a radical (a crazy, mean hearted fool of a radical) would prefer an increase in unemployment over priming the economy when faced with recession. Our radical friend would also prefer to prime the economy in the face of a boom, but that’s another story.

  10. Spiros
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:43 | #10

    Turnbull will fall into line to support the government. The business lobbies will make him. They’ve got everything they wanted and more, and aren’t about to let it get stopped by the Senate.

    Rudd’s problem is the huge gap between the soaring rhetoric about how big the problem is and the weak target. With the Howard government, at least you had some consistency. Their view ranged from deep scepticism (Howard) to outright denial (Minchin) so doing practically nothing followed logically.

    In the White Paper we get

    “In Australia, temperatures are expected to rise by around five degrees by the end of the
    century. Coastal properties will be threatened by rising sea levels and tidal surges. Food
    production from our farms will be reduced as a result of longer, more frequent and more
    intense droughts. National treasures, including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu wetlands and
    the big tourism industries they support will be under threat.

    That’s why we need to act decisively to protect our way of life and the Australian economy.”


    And the decisive act that threatens our way of life is … 5%.

  11. kellen
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:50 | #11

    What does this target mean given the MRET 2020 target?
    Any emission reduction as a result of MRET initiatives counts towards the CPRS reductions measured.
    If our stationary energy emissions are around 50% still in 2020 BAU, a 20% reduction to meet MRET could mean up to 10% reduction in Aus emissions (unknown: emissions to produce the renewable infrastructure in first place).
    Also do you know of any reliable BAU projections given the global financial crash? Surely this would be making emission reductions more likely to occur.
    This CPRS target seems like a slap in the face to me.

  12. carbonsink
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:55 | #12

    Lets face it people, the only way the world’s CO2 emissions will be 5% below 2000 levels is if the current global downturn lasts well into the next decade.

    When Obama caves on climate change, I reckon its just about time to head to the hills to get me a doomstead.

  13. Nick K
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:56 | #13

    Joel, it’s true that most people (including fiscal conservatives) support having some fiscal stimulus in an economic downturn. But a true fiscal conservative would go for tax cuts first, not increased government handouts.

    “Compensating people has no impact on the level of emissions, because emissions are capped.”

    That is true, and admittedly I didn’t fully factor this in. But this would simply add to more price pressures down the track. For example, if the compensation led people to continue to produce the same carbon output then prices would have to rise even further in order to achieve the required reduction in carbon emissions. What happens then? Does the government then give more compensation? What happens if this fuels even further price rises? It could easily set off an inflationary cycle.

    “Could you please explain how the compensation will result in more inflation?”

    As explained above.

    “Nick, perhaps you would like us to reduce your income to assist you in reducing your carbon imprint?”

    Okay. So long as you don’t try and tell me that reducing emissions will be easy and painless. At least give it to me straight.

  14. nanks
    December 15th, 2008 at 15:59 | #14

    At least I don’t have to change my views on the Labor party

  15. Steve
    December 15th, 2008 at 16:10 | #15

    kellen: stationary emissions includes stuff other than electricity (coking coal for smelters, etc).

    emissions from electricity production alone is about 33%, from memory.

    Also, Australia is already about 9% renewables (from memory), due mainly to large hydro.

    So its 11% on 33% = 3.63% decrease in our national emissions if the 20% target is met and if our emissions weren’t actually rising due to increases in other emissions.

  16. Hermit
    December 15th, 2008 at 16:22 | #16

    Kellen some back of the envelope scribbling seems to bear out a numerical inconsistency between say a 10% emissions cut by 2020 and a 20% MRET.

    Suppose stationary is now 40 GW = 39 fossil + 1 renewable. A 10% cut to fossil takes us back to 35 GW rounded and we can get back up to 40 total with 5 GW renewable which is perhaps doable. But to meet 20% renewable depends on the assumptions. If the total remains at 40 we want 32 fossil + 8 GW renewable. But that implies a much greater emissions cut eg dynamiting some newish coal stations. But if fossil stays at 39 we could add 10 of renewables to remain near 20%. Since the problem is ‘overdetermined’ the possibilities are wide.

    If one also recalls the astounding prediction of 45% population growth 1990-2020 I’m inclined to think Treasury were in a bit of a rush.

  17. Ubiquity
    December 15th, 2008 at 16:23 | #17

    I generally take a pessimistic view of any government entity. They will always, always act in the best interest of what will keep them in power. Its not about Liberal its not about Labour, they are going to make the decision that buys them the greatest amount of support or minimises damage. This is not suprising, this half a**** approach will fail as usual because the only research they did was on what makes them the most popular and keeps them in power.

    You can thank Democracy for policies that never pass the test of reason but may pass the test of popularity.

    The less responsibility the government has in matters of public and earthly interest the better.

    I predict Obama will go the same way as Rudd.

  18. Steve
    December 15th, 2008 at 16:43 | #18

    IS it so bad? Just indulging in some straight-line extrapolation after getting a nettled response from a friend in Climate Change Dept who i teased:

    Look at graph on page 4-23 of the white paper.

    In 2010 we will be at about 108-110% of 1990 emissions.

    If we draw a straight line through that and 95% in 2020 (ie the 5% target), then that gives a 50% reduction on 1990 emissions by 2050.

    If we draw a straight line through 110% in 2010 and 85% in 2020 (ie the 15% target), then that means that in 2050, our emissions will be at 10% in 2050 – a 90% reduction.

    Seems ok if that trajectory is maintained?

  19. December 15th, 2008 at 16:43 | #19

    I agree with your comments John. I have tried to summarise the White paper on my blog.

    Unfortunately Rudd’s upper bound of 15% effectively rules out Australia making a fair or effective contribution to mitigation for just about any stabilisation target below 550 ppm.

  20. JoelP
    December 15th, 2008 at 16:43 | #20


    “So long as you don’t try and tell me that reducing emissions will be easy and painless. At least give it to me straight.”

    It will be relatively painless for a lot of people, those being the ones who can afford either to cough up the extra carbon costs or to mitigate by buying appliances that are more efficient in the long run, etc by dipping into their discretionary spending.

    But for those who can’t? Households already on low incomes and high energy and housing costs? Those already suffering from from under-consumption of energy? How will they mitigate? What benefit of making the poor even more poor when they can’t reduce consumption further?

    Carbon mitigation will cost money. That’s why the government is developing the energy efficiency package for low income households, was supposed to be released last week but was delayed.

    I’ll give it to you straight, reducing emissions will be hard, and it will be disproportionately hard for low-income households. That’s why the compensation.




  21. JoelP
    December 15th, 2008 at 16:50 | #21

    Nick @13

    Thanks, I hadn’t followed your inflation point.

    Not sure I agree though, surely the point is that carbon reductions will be found by the cheapest possible method. If one option is taken out of the mix, for example energy use in low-income households (though I do not agree that these were in the mix in the first place) then the next cheapest option will be taken up.

    Yes, this will be more expensive. But no, there will not be an inflation cycle.

  22. BilB
    December 15th, 2008 at 16:51 | #22

    I only read a few paragraphs, JQ, and I came to your conclusion. I’m bitterly disappointed. Labour cabinet obvioulsy have no real understanding of the problem or vision for a solution. Global warming simply does not fit into their cute text book labour manual, so trivialise it. rud made it clear in some earlier statements that he only believes in CCS, and this policy statement is intended to put GW into a holding pattern until CCS is proven (vain hope). If that is the best that they have got, then it is time to move on. Hello Greens (or any other colour but glowing blue).

  23. gerard
    December 15th, 2008 at 17:04 | #23

    well, this calls for an al loomis remark I think.

  24. gerard
    December 15th, 2008 at 17:07 | #24

    good on the protesters who occupied Rudd’s Brisbane office today. it’s going to take a lot more popular pressure to even think about matching the pressure that industry is putting on the government.

  25. Nick K
    December 15th, 2008 at 17:12 | #25

    Joel @ 20, just a couple of points.

    With compensation, the bottom line is that the more the government compensates some groups the more pain will have to be borne elsewhere. This could be in the form of later price hikes on the same groups, or higher prices on other groups not compensated.

    On inflation, it is possible that if various groups are constantly demanding more compensation it could set off an inflation cycle. If governments limit compensation and hold firm, this probably won’t happen though.

  26. smiths
    December 15th, 2008 at 17:15 | #26

    its a boatload of votes in my mileau he just lost,

    me for one,

  27. Tom N.
    December 15th, 2008 at 17:42 | #27


    John seems to be comfortable with per capita emmissions allowances. I might be as a starting point, but the environment does not care whether increases in emissions come from higher per capita emissions or from higher population levels. The truth is that the biggest cause of pollution is reproduction. To get the incentives right, those who engage in it most should pay more, and those who do so least (ie childfree people) should pay less.

  28. Steve
    December 15th, 2008 at 18:05 | #28

    Per capita reductions just make it easier for govts to spin a paltry target into something that sounds impressive – like the NSW Govt GGAS scheme for example.

    Conversely, the more I think about it, the more I think everyone is getting carried away being upset about these targets – they are more challenging than a lowly sounding number like 5% seems.

    Going from 108% in 2010 to 95% in 2020 is going to take some doing.

    Going to 85% in 2020 will be *very* tough indeed.

    Why is this regarded as modest? Because we have been told to regard it as modest? Because everyone else seems upset and we are just joining the mob?

    The last thing the Rudd Govt probably wants in the current financial crisis is the endorsement of green groups for their policies. But somehow they’ve managed to commit to a fast tracked ETS, to reverse the growth trend in a few years, while also lowering expectations to avoid scaring people from an economic point of view at the same time.


    Cmon, look at the rate at which our emissions are currently *increasing*. Do you really think it is modest to suggest that reversing that and going from 108% to 95% in only a decade is modest? Let alone to 85%?

    I actually think I might be surprised if we can even achieve this apparently modest target.

  29. BilB
    December 15th, 2008 at 20:46 | #29

    Howard wasted eleven years. rud has now wasted one year, and counting. This is a calculated plan on his part. I spoke with Albanese before the election, and a number of times to Wayne Smith, and I could feel the change in the rhetoric even then. So rud has intentionally wasted a whole year of lead time to come up with this cop out “plan”.

    All that I can see here is a tidy desk, with the papers properly aligned and the pencils straight and evenly spaced. Relevence? None. Relevence of the white paper to the real world GW situation? None.


  30. Socrates
    December 15th, 2008 at 21:28 | #30

    I too am extremely dissappointed. The 5% target is so small a reduction it could almost be met by voluntary behaviour change and mandating solar hot water in homes and more fuel efficent cars. Coal power might be virtually untouched. Yet they are getting compensated anyway! Its an obvious cave in to some of Labor’s most powerful union funders, and a few industries that presuably the NSW and Qld state governments still want to support their budgets.

    The only hope is that the ETS gets introduced at this level then increased between now and 2020.

  31. Hermit
    December 15th, 2008 at 21:31 | #31

    On reflection I see there may be three cats to throw among the pigeons
    1) a global slowdown could still throw up a 20% cut obviating administrative action
    2) oil, coal and gas could be hugely expensive circa 2020, perhaps limiting the effects
    3) our large coal exports make domestic carbon cuts look somewhat farcical.

    Re the latter if Australia’s coal exports approach 250 Mt this year that’s a conservative 600 mt of CO2, yet our net domestic emissions were only 565 Mt in 2006. It’s like weekend detention for a villain who only robs banks on a Wednesday.

    I think we must force an early transition away from fossil fuels because the captains of industry clearly can’t think that far ahead. I suggest the big emitters have as much long range vision as the banking and car industries. They’ve had years to wrap their thinking around carbon cuts now they’ve held the whole process to ransom at the last minute.

  32. December 15th, 2008 at 21:55 | #32

    Well at least Rudds cop-out has settled one long-running blog dispute that has been festering ever since Rudd took over the ALP leadership. Whether Rudd is a mini-me-too to Howard and his LN/P successors.

    This policy shows the correct answer to be: yes. Rudd is, on matters of substantive policy as opposed to symbolic politics, a slightly kinder, gentler version of Howard. As I predicted.

    Even on the labour market, the area of greatest product differentiation b/w the two parties, it turns out that Rudd has followed Howards footsteps. Sure Rudd repealed Work Choices laws. But that is just “parchment politics”.

    The laws that really count so far as the workers share of the cake is concerned are the laws of supply and demand. And in this area Rudd is a turbo-charged version of Howard, ramping up the immigration program so that the glut of labour drives down the workers wages and driving up landlords rents. Crushing the living standards of the people he was elected to represent.

    Not to mention smashing any faint hope of AUS meeting effective carbon constraining targets.(Mass immigration comes from mostly low-GHG jurisdictions which will make a mockery of carbon constraints, whether targets are per capita or aggregate.)

    I predicted that too, although all I got for my troubles was a faux-weary dismissal. I guess no confirmed prediction goes unpunished when it threatens peoples fondest hopes.

    One good thing that will come out of this is that the Ecological Left will have their long awaited show down with the population boosting Cultural Left-liberals. Hopefully the realistic Greenies will thoroughly trounce their rights-and-process obsessed fellow travellers. Leaving the Right- and Left-liberals to play harmless post-modern games with their “Republican Models” and “Bill of Rights” and “Trading Schemes”.

  33. Daniel Rodriguez
    December 15th, 2008 at 22:11 | #33

    Oops,.. there it goes Africa up in smoke,.. and a few Pacific islands down the drain… though, as Hermit says, at least we are in,… i.e. with the potential for an upward change later on of that ridiculous target of 5%,…

    In a different field, still I fail to reconcile the strong emphasis from DAFF (in their Future Farming – Climate Change Research Program) on funding R&D on mitigation practices (funding level expected to be 2/3 of the total of c.a. $40M) (…for a useless ETS…), vs the 1/3 or less we expect for R&D in adapatation strategies to climate (and global) change (when thanks to the GLOBAL inaction – State, Federal and world leaders – we are quickly heading towards dangerous climate change). Look at the recent report on emissions from tne WMO also in latest issue of Nature.

  34. Jill Rush
    December 15th, 2008 at 22:16 | #34

    Rudd made a point about not firing the mandarins in Canberra. He is therefore receiving the kind of advice that Howard got but as an ex-public servant is listening to it more than Howard did.

    This is where the trouble started. Rudd is not thinking of the politics yet as he believes that doing anything is better than the offerings of the Liberals. He also believes that the union movement will not quibble.

    The public servants who held a climate denial position in the meantime are offering the policy to support the change. They don’t want to change and so at every point the material has been diluted.

    The Labor government is a disappointment on every environmental issue as none are being addressed with any degree of competence. The messing around on the Murray Darling is a scandal too. If this can’t be done right the more esoteric idea of reduction in CO2 levels is doomed.

  35. charles
    December 15th, 2008 at 22:18 | #35

    Looks like there needs to be a bigger green vote. The next poll will be interesting.

  36. December 15th, 2008 at 22:39 | #36

    Pr Q says:

    At this point, the only real hope is that the Obama Administration will take a strong line on the issue. If it does, then the US-EU combination will dragoon recalcitrants like Australia into a sustainable agreement whatever Rudd and Turnbull might say or do about it.

    Prepare for another disappointment on that score. Remember that Obama is first and foremost a Chicago politician. Think Mayor Richard Daley thru to Gov Blagojevich. These guys have always made their priority distributing the spoils of office to their key supporters.

    I’m on record as predicting that Obama will be a Centrist “Clinton without the sleaze”. That will put him miles to the Left of the Republican Brownies. But still miles to the Right of the Democrat Greenies.

    Democrat officials and politicians are not fervent about saving the ecology. Otherwise Gore would have been their nominee or at least got a Cabinet post. Alot of centrist Democrats depend on the votes of unionised workers in the auto and coal industries. They wont be throwing those votes away to Republican Brownies if they can avoid it.

    I dont see Obama making the ecology into a big priority when most Americans are worried about losing their jobs or savings. Sure Obama has paid lip service to Kyoto and the Stern report. But his infrastructure program shows where his true spending priorities are . He seems to be focused on road repairs. What does that say about his carbon constraining proclivities?

    I predict that Obama will throw lots of federal money at renewable energy projects. And mount lots of inquiries and make lots of declarations. But I dont see the US making any serious commitments to cutting its emissions drastically on his watch, at least for the first term.

  37. Tony G
    December 15th, 2008 at 22:45 | #37

    If you AGW zealots consider for a minute that ‘the science ain’t settled’, then what Rudd has done pretty much well endorses that view. It is just with a bit of tax and spend thrown in for good measure..

    Hopefully by 2020 these delusions will be seen for what they are;

    taken from the white paper C/O spiros @ comment 10

    *In Australia, temperatures are expected to rise by around five degrees by the end of the century.

    *Coastal properties will be threatened by rising sea levels and tidal surges.

    *Food production from our farms will be reduced as a result of longer, more frequent and more intense droughts.

    *National treasures, including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu wetlands and the big tourism industries they support will be under threat.”

    Anyway one thing is for certain, by 2020 when the AGW sceptics are vindicated and the AGW fraud is seen for what it is, it will be impossible to wean a big tax and spend government off this fraudulent ETS scheme.

  38. December 15th, 2008 at 23:16 | #38

    Jill Rush Says: December 15th, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Rudd made a point about not firing the mandarins in Canberra. He is therefore receiving the kind of advice that Howard got but as an ex-public servant is listening to it more than Howard did.

    True enough so far as you go. But Rudd’s conservatism goes deeper than that. He is himself a professional diplomat – a servant of power and by nature a re-actor. (Check the portrayal of his office in the Hollow Men.) A leader is a wielder of power, a pro-actor.

    Rudd has spent too much time fussing over briefings in offices. As I predicted last month:

    The big test for Rudd will be the politics of climate change. I will be very surprised if he moves very far and fast on the ETS. (Unlike Howard on the GST.) He strikes me as too cautious – a natural diplomat – to make any bold moves ahead of public opinion. Most likely he will draw it out and water it down through death by a thousand inquiries.

    If Greenies wanted leadership on climate change they picked the wrong man. Also if they want effective action on climate change, they should lose their liberalism already.

    As I have constantly said over the past year, you are not going to stop the Greenhouse Juggernaut is by placing faith in liberal individual autonomies. You will have to cede power to “corporal” institutional authority ie regimentation through regulation and rationing.

    That means shedding liberal illusions before getting mugged by reality again.

    PS I make no apologies for indulging in this orgy of self-regarding vindication. Certain people (Spiros, Ian Gould and even Pr Q) chose to make unkind remarks about my theoretical model as it was being rolled out over the past year.

    Now its pay-back time.

  39. iconoclast
    December 16th, 2008 at 02:57 | #39

    All parties interested in the anthropogenic climate change/global warming debate may be very much interested in the following US senate minority report


    just released, December 11 2008, and titled:

    U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over
    Man-Made Global Warming Claims
    Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008:

    The introduction begins with:

    Over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe challenged man-made global
    warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 231-page U.S. Senate Minority Report report — updated from 2007’s groundbreaking report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming “consensus” — features the skeptical voices of over 650 prominent international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated report includes an additional 250 (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the initial release in December 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

    The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grow louder in 2008 as a steady stream of peerreviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments challenged the UN and former Vice President Al Gore’s claims that the “science is settled” and there is a “consensus.” On a range of issues, 2008 proved to be challenging for the promoters of man-made climate fears. Promoters of anthropogenic warming fears endured the following: Global temperatures failing to warm; Peer-reviwed studies predicting a continued lack of warming; a failed attempt to revive the discredited “Hockey Stick”; inconvenient developments and studies regarding CO2; the Sun; Clouds; Antarctica; the Arctic; Greenland; Mount Kilimanjaro; Hurricanes; Extreme Storms; Floods; Ocean Acidification; Polar Bears; lack of atmosphieric dust; the failure of oceans to warm and rise as predicted.

    And it goes on…

    Well, let’s see what Kev, Penny and Ross will make of this.

    650 vs 52, well now now, who actually has the consensus.

    As Aldous Huxley put it “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

    Being part of the scientific community, I can safely say that I feel vindicated in taking a skeptical position on the findings of the UN IPCC.

  40. jquiggin
    December 16th, 2008 at 05:35 | #40

    iconoclast, I’m going to have to ask you to choose a new pseudonym, as we have another commenter with a different spelling of the same nym.

    As regards the latest list of “scientists”, regulars here will be impressed to know that it contains our own Louis Hissink


    Finally, please note that statements like “being part of the scientific community” don’t add much credibility to a pseudonymous comment. If you want to argue on the basis that you’re a scientist, you should sign your name.

  41. Ikonoclast
    December 16th, 2008 at 11:47 | #41

    Yes, re comment #39. My views are diametrically opposed to those of iconoclast on climate change or more properly Anthropogenic Global Warming. The facts are in, it is happening. I wonder if the deniers will be convinced by an ice free Arctic summer? That appears likely quite soon, probably within 5 years or less.

  42. Hermit
    December 16th, 2008 at 11:55 | #42

    The current cool period which has enthused GW deniers may possibly be explained by the Pacific decadal oscillation. Let’s hope they live til the next cycle. It is Generation Z now in ABC childcare centres who will get to see how the Great Barrier Reef holds up to a few PDOs. Maybe in hindsight they will say we should have let the aluminium industry go when we had the chance.

  43. smiths
    December 16th, 2008 at 12:01 | #43

    i think the deniers should put thier names on a big list to be handed to future generations,

    these are the people that screwed the planet

  44. December 16th, 2008 at 12:20 | #44

    Notwithstanding the lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry, it would be interesting to know which of our politicians are in the grip of the Antinomian Heresy.

  45. ???????????
    December 16th, 2008 at 12:46 | #45

    Please read the comments policy before posting again – JQ

  46. GreekAmongRomans
    December 16th, 2008 at 15:16 | #46

    On the request of jquiggin I have selected an alternative psuedonym, GreekAmongRomans, to remove any confusion.

    There is evidence of climate change, I do not deny this. However, what I am skeptical of is the suggestion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are it’s cause.

    Geological history tells us that the climate has been forever changing, there is nothing new in that.

    The geological evidence does not support what has been put forward as the cause of climate change.

    Human activity, rampant population growth, incessant compounded economic growth all together have destroyed our planets environment more than anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Correlation is not causation.

    We may want to seriously think about why the planets environment is really being destroyed at an ever accelerating rate.

  47. Michael of Summer Hill
    December 16th, 2008 at 16:11 | #47

    John, it seems like Labor has committed political suicide by pissing on the Greens and thinking it can get away with it. Maybe the best thing for Labor is to shelve the White Paper.

  48. MH
    December 16th, 2008 at 17:08 | #48

    The striking thing after all the debate and millions of words is that the Labour Government has chosen to side step the very substantial and rigorous economic analysis from Sterne and Garnaut and others, clearly demonstrating the negligible costs to community and growth (GDP) the government has actually demonstrated to me that they were all along climate change agnostics. This is a consumate piece of politics but a deplorable piece of policy. The politics is not duplicitous but merely reveals the modus operandi of the labour machine, politics and power at all costs. They have done the cause of rescuing our planet and my childrens future immeasurable damage through this moral cowardice alone. They have given credence to the sceptics and AGW denialists by default. They do not understand we are already committed to a world 2 degrees hotter from past emissions and the continuation of business as usual means we are in for several degrees more.

    I now go and join Prof Ken Deffeyes as we ‘watch events unfold’ as we slide down the oil peak and reluctantly agree with James Lovelock, that is now too late. My pathetic contributions to the blogosphere are now over. Thank you Prof Quiggin for the pleasure and the opportunity.

  49. nanks
    December 16th, 2008 at 18:08 | #49

    @GreekAmongRomans – Which part of the following report do you disagree with re “The geological evidence does not support what has been put forward as the cause of climate change”
    I would be very interested in links to quality references.
    I don’t think many would claim that climate change is the only problem.

  50. GreekAmongRomans
    December 16th, 2008 at 20:41 | #50


    thanks for the above reference to the geological society of London, I shall review it.

    To ensure that I receive equal balance in this debate, I also review an assortment of sites, some being:


    I intend reading the book by Ian Plimer titled Heaven and Earth Global Warming: The Missing Science. Ian Plimer is emeritus professor of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne and professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide.

    “I don’t think many would claim that climate change is the only problem.”

    nanks, climate change is the problem.

    I am questioning whether the massive *exponential* growth of the human population over the recent past century and the economic model that the mankind has selected, which relies on a never ending *exponential* growth rate and all the negative consequences to the plant that ensure from the above two have been, all but, completely ignored with a myopic focus on CO2 emissions.

    I compare this domineering focus on one select piece of information, and consequently, to the detriment of other information, to that of the financial crisis, where the majority of the main stream economist worked off an economic model that completely ignored one critical piece of information, the exponential growth in debt that had been slowly, but surely, emerging in front of us.

    I am apprehensive of the trajectory the world has taken and do not deny that there is climate change. Rather, I believe we may be just repeating the same flawed method of thinking that ensured the inevitable financial crisis.

    Dealing with the other points that I have mentioned are so politically unpalatable that I foresee a bleak future for humanity.

  51. Darrell
    December 17th, 2008 at 05:42 | #51

    I don’t deny that the climate has changed. Only an idiot would deny that. The climate has been changing since the planet assumed the shape of a sphere.

    And I don’t deny that human activity can’t cause changes to the environment, even on a global scale.

    But I reject the notion of AGW as a religion, where simply having an open mind, becoming aware of and considering alternative explanations, and not blindly accepting dogma, gets one labeled a “denier” (the AGW equivalent of “heretic”).

    So, to mindless ideologues like smiths, MH, and Ikonoclast, go ahead and point toward me with a quivering finger and shout, “Denier!” with all your might.

    Since you’ve abandoned your willingness to think critically — assuming it was ever a facility you possessed — your opinion isn’t worth a plastic nickel, and I really couldn’t care less.

  52. MidWestSatyr
    December 17th, 2008 at 08:02 | #52

    Don’t count on a Saint Obama being able to kowtow to the UN on anything, let alone making an attempt to destroy an already fragile economy in the name of the latest myth proffered by the anti-Capitalist/Marxist/Socialist lobby. He’s going to have his hands full just trying to maintain a small measure of control over a government that is in the hands of innumerable special interests all clamoring for their own piece of the pie.
    The World will soon see how effective an inexperienced political neophyte is when the corrupt ‘Chicago Machine’ that catapulted him into power is proved impotent on a national level.

  53. Tim
    December 17th, 2008 at 08:54 | #53

    Go Big Oil!!! Send us down this slide to nowhere. I’ll have to fill my big truck up first.

  54. MarkJ
    December 17th, 2008 at 09:11 | #54

    Put me on the Denial List–I’ll be proud to be on it. Say, if I put my name on the list, will I be automatically entered into the Monster Raving Loony Carbon Credit Lottery?

  55. carbonsink
    December 17th, 2008 at 09:15 | #55

    Ewwww. Denialist infestation.

  56. nanks
    December 17th, 2008 at 09:44 | #56

    The denial position is tedious because it does not provide any useful information to further the investigation of climate change but rather uses pseudo-science as a diversionary tactic in the service of corporate interests.
    It reminds me of the tobacco industry attacks on science, which became quite sophisticated. A similar and systematic attack has been mounted by the creationists as part of their ‘intelligent design’ campaign.
    Well developed propaganda techniques can be used to trap people who may lack the background to assess the science, or may be psychologically motivated toward contrarian viewpoints, but who often have a genuine interest in ‘the public good’. These people can then provide what is effectively a viral marketing campaign for the corporates, who subsequently benefit from the political response to the apparent confusion and public concern.

  57. Ian Gould
    December 17th, 2008 at 10:17 | #57

    WMO names 2008 in top 10 warmest years

    “Dr Trewin says this year shows what it is like to have a cool year in a warmer climate.

    “It’s worth noting that globally we’re talking about the coolest year for seven years, but if this year had happened 15 years ago, I’d be talking about the warmest year on record,” he said.

    “So take it as an indication of what sort of trend we’ve seen in the last couple of decades.”"


    NASA says it has satellite data that shows more than 2 trillion tonnes of land ice in Greenland, the Arctic, Antarctica and Alaska has melted in the past five years.

    Scientists say the melting land ice has raised global sea levels by about 5 millmetres.

    They say sea levels are also rising as water expands from warming.

    Scientists say parts of the Arctic were nine to 10 degrees Celsius warmer this spring.

    They also say warming in the far north is accelerating faster than anywhere else on the globe.

    Experts say the pace of change is starting to outstrip the human ability to keep up.

    Scientists also point to large amounts of frozen methane that is being released.


  58. Nettle
    December 17th, 2008 at 10:27 | #58

    I’m very disappointed at the 5% target, but I don’t think that you can lay the blame on Kevin’s apparent shift on policy. Since the release of the Green Paper, he’s been slugged with threats of layoffs, closures and transfers overseas by legions of Business Bully Boys. He may have had a remit to doing something about AGW, but he didn’t have a remit to pursue policies that result in increased unemployment.

    We should be pointing the finger at the failure of the Business community to step up to the challenge and work out ways to make it work. Historically, Business has consistently balked at exogenous change, overstated the costs associated, and tried to bully the government in to doing what works for them rather than what works for the community.

    5% isn’t much of a target, but it is part of a reduction scheme. Think of it as a pilot scheme to iron out implementation issues, providing the basis for a robust workable major implementation a few years later. So, let’s keep our vitriol for the Business threats that go right to the heart of the governments purpose.

  59. Alanna
    December 17th, 2008 at 10:30 | #59

    Looks like some intelligent design went into this white paper. Dont give up blogging MH. The job aint over yet. Did the Minerals Lobby pay a motza for some fancy anti science submissions?

  60. Habib
    December 17th, 2008 at 11:31 | #60

    I don’t know why you’re all fretting, even 5% cuts and the accompanying userous tax regime has the potential to bankrupt many individuals and businesses, thus reducing consumption and emissions, while providing further research funding for tireless and unblinkered advocates.

    Sounds like Fat City for the activist demographic.

  61. Kevin Dunn
    December 17th, 2008 at 12:10 | #61

    Smith says: “i think the deniers should put thier names on a big list to be handed to future generations,

    these are the people that screwed the planet”

    Smith, you fool! There aren’t going to BE any future generations!

    By implying there is a future, you reveal yourself as a closest denialist!

  62. csmaxwell
    December 17th, 2008 at 13:28 | #62

    I deny ANY human caused global warming. Please add me to the list. Please.

    Signed, most, most sincerely,
    Christopher Scott Maxwell,
    Alexandria, Louisiana. USA

  63. SockMonkey
    December 17th, 2008 at 13:32 | #63

    Put my name on your Big List. Glowball Worming means more bananas for me.

  64. Marcus_255
    December 17th, 2008 at 15:00 | #64

    # Ikonoclast Says:

    “Anthropogenic Global Warming. The facts are in, it is happening.”

    So you say, but give me proof!
    (no useless links to realc. etc. please, been there, just, that increasing CO2 elevates global temp? after all that’s what we are talking about)

    “I wonder if the deniers will be convinced by an ice free Arctic summer? That appears likely quite soon, probably within 5 years or less.”

    OK, but will you be convinced, that AGW is a hoax, if it will not happen?

    I have an open mind, do you?

  65. brian
    December 17th, 2008 at 15:44 | #65

    Iconoklast: “I wonder if the deniers will be convinced by an ice free Arctic summer? That appears likely quite soon, probably within 5 years or less.”

    You mean like the “open northern passage” that the Russian ship got stuck on?

    When are you fellas gonna get it through your head? “Global Warming” is just as much of a hoax as “New Ice Age” was in 1977. Hell, the script was written by the same people!

    Of course, this is what happens when you take people like Paul Ehrlich seriously.

  66. Steve D
    December 17th, 2008 at 16:29 | #66

    Please add my name to the skeptics list for posperity. I am yet to be convinced that the climate is changing to any significant extent by what we do.

    Stephen D of Glen Waverley, Victoria, Australia

  67. jquiggin
    December 17th, 2008 at 16:54 | #67

    I don’t think future generations (or, more accurately, young people alive now) will be that interested in finding out that “Brian” or “Steve D” helped to wreck the planet. If you’re going to respond to this challenge, please emulate CS Maxwell and provide some identifying details. I assume Sockmonkey is having a joke, anticipating responses like this.

  68. Tony G
    December 17th, 2008 at 17:00 | #68


    Add this 650 to the list as well as me;

    Tony G, Bondi Beach, NSW, Australia

    (ps in case I am wrong, does anybody know where I can get some cheap sandbags?)

  69. Tony G
    December 17th, 2008 at 17:54 | #69

    Is the science settled or are the lists of dissenters growing?

    Highlights of the Updated 2008 Senate Minority Report featuring over 650 international scientists dissenting from man-made climate fears:

    “I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” – Nobel Prize Winner for
    Physics, Ivar Giaever.

    “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can
    speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical…The main basis of the claim that
    man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system.” – Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

    Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to
    know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical

    “The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t
    have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on
    scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” – Indian geologist
    Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported
    International Year of the Planet.

    “So far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future
    warming.” – Scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi
    University in Finland, author of 200 scientific publications and former Greenpeace

    “Anyone who claims that the debate is over and the conclusions are firm has a
    fundamentally unscientific approach to one of the most momentous issues of our time.”
    - Solar physicist Dr. Pal Brekke, senior advisor to the Norwegian Space Centre in Oslo.
    Brekke has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the sun and solar interaction with the Earth.

    “The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC “are incorrect because they only are based
    on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for
    example, solar activity.” – Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

    “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of
    scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” – U.S Government
    Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of

    “Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact,
    as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide
    scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.

    “After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri’s asinine comment [comparing skeptics
    to] Flat Earthers, it’s hard to remain quiet.” – Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs,
    who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American
    Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor ofMonthly Weather Review.

    “The Kyoto theorists have put the cart before the horse. It is global warming that triggers higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way round…A large number of critical documents submitted at the 1995 U.N. conference in Madrid vanished without a trace. As a result, the discussion was one-sided and heavily biased, and the U.N. declared global warming to be a scientific fact,” Andrei Kapitsa, a Russian
    geographer and Antarctic ice core researcher.

    “Nature’s regulatory instrument is water vapor: more carbon dioxide leads to less
    moisture in the air, keeping the overall GHG content in accord with the necessary
    balance conditions.” – Prominent Hungarian Physicist and environmental researcher Dr. Miklós Zágoni reversed his view of man-made warming and is now a skeptic. Zágoni was once Hungary’s most outspoken supporter of the Kyoto Protocol.

    “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?” – Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

    “Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself
    solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate
    changes after the fact.” – Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in
    man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC

    “The quantity of CO2 we produce is insignificant in terms of the natural circulation
    between air, water and soil… I am doing a detailed assessment of the UN IPCC reports
    and the Summaries for Policy Makers, identifying the way in which the Summaries have distorted the science.” – South Afican Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author who has authored over 150 refereed publications.

    “Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.” – Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.

    “All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give
    some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.” – Geophysicist Dr. Phil Chapman, an astronautical engineer and former NASA astronaut, served as staff physicist at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

    “Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense…The present
    alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning.” – Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

    “CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist
    knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps
    Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” – Dr. Takeda
    Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

    “The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is
    something that generates funds.” – Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of
    the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology
    Department at the University of La Plata.

    “Whatever the weather, it’s not being caused by global warming. If anything, the climate may be starting into a cooling period.” Atmospheric scientist Dr. Art V. Douglas, former
    Chair of the Atmospheric Sciences Department at Creighton University in Omaha,
    Nebraska, and is the author of numerous papers for peer-reviewed publications.

    “But there is no falsifiable scientific basis whatever to assert this warming is caused by
    human-produced greenhouse gasses because current physical theory is too grossly
    inadequate to establish any cause at all.” – Chemist Dr. Patrick Frank, who has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles.

    “The ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government
    control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the
    Society’s activities.” – Award-Winning NASA Astronaut/Geologist and Moonwalker Jack
    Schmitt who flew on the Apollo 17 mission and formerly of the Norwegian Geological
    Survey and for the U.S. Geological Survey.

    “Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC….The
    global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the
    millennium…which is why ‘global warming’ is now called ‘climate change.’” -
    Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado.

    “I have yet to see credible proof of carbon dioxide driving climate change, yet alone
    man-made CO2 driving it. The atmospheric hot-spot is missing and the ice core data
    refute this. When will we collectively awake from this deceptive delusion?” – Dr. G
    LeBlanc Smith, a retired Principal Research Scientist with Australia’s CSIRO. (The full
    quotes of the scientists are later in this report)

    This Senate report is not a “list” of scientists, but a report that includes full biographies of each scientist and their quotes, papers and links for further reading. The scientists featured in the report express their views in their own words, complete with their intended subtleties and caveats. This Senate report features the names, biographies, academic/institutional affiliation, and quotes of literally hundreds of additional international scientists who publicly dissented from man-made climate fears. This report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It also features their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer reviewed studies, scientific analyses and original source materials as gathered from directly from the scientists or from public statements, news outlets, and websites in 2007 and 2008.

  70. GreekAmongRomans
    December 17th, 2008 at 18:15 | #70


    in addition to my previous post, GreekAmongRomans @52, I would like to reemphasize on the points that I had originally raised regarding over population and the structure of the economic system that humanity has selected.

    Exponential growth in the mathematical and literal sense, is a massive, massive red flag being raised, which is being ignored by most as if, yes, yes, we know about that, but let’s just ignore it’s ramifications on the planets environment.

    Furthermore, it appears to me that the negative environmental impacts of world-wide population and economic growth rates that are at unsustainable compounded/exponential rates are surreptitiously being included as evidence put forth by the anthropogenic climate change advocates as proof of the impact on the environment and society by anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

  71. nanks
    December 17th, 2008 at 18:47 | #71

    #GreekAmongRomans – I think you make good points re growth. I read The Limits to Growth way back when it came out and the basic concepts struck me as sound then (admittedly I was just a kid).

    I would much prefer a ‘whole of problem’ approach. Unfortunately the Murray-Darling ‘none of the problem’ seems to be the preferred method.

    As far as the economic system goes – I joke to my children that if it(our economic/social organisation) wasn’t true you wouldn’t believe it :) Fancy making shelter an item for speculative investment!

    Generally, re resource demand I think a techno-fix via biotech (broadly construed) with distributed and local power generation is the only way to positive future. Can we get that in time? I hope so.

  72. mitchell porter
    December 17th, 2008 at 19:08 | #72

    In a way, that Senate Minority Report is doing a favor for people who are concerned about human-induced climate change. The online opposition to the idea of AGW can seem hydra-headed, with nothing uniting it except opposition to the idea. But Marc Morano (apparently the main force behind the minority report) has assembled in one place a long list of names and positions, so one finally has a chance to gauge who is saying what, what their qualifications and their arguments are, and what are the main themes of their opposition. He has not done the work of organizing his document in that way, but other people can. It can both serve as a preliminary basis for a sociology of expert opposition to the AGW hypothesis, and as a comprehensive list of their talking points and arguments. And then once we have that list, we can have the sort of systematic discussion which so many skeptics are saying has not occurred.

    I intend to spend a little time on this, and to look for other people who may already have performed some of the analysis of Morano’s list. I can be reached at mporter (at) gmail.com if anyone wants to contribute, or to get a progress report.

  73. Ian Gould
    December 17th, 2008 at 22:21 | #73

    “Highlights of the Updated 2008 Senate Minority Report featuring over 650 international scientists dissenting from man-made climate fears:”

    Tony, before quoting a paper claiming support from “over 650 scientists” you might want to check whether the authors can actually count to 650.


    Still after you take out the double and triple-counted names you end up with 604 peopel – soem of whom are actually scientists as opposed to, for example, TV weatherman and other TV presenters such as Patrick Moore – who has no scientific qualifications.

    That’s pretty impressive – until you realise than scientists who’ve “disputed the consensus on climate change” includes scientists who’ve criticised the consensus as being too moderate and others who say their work has just flat-out been misrepresented.

  74. BenFranklin
    December 18th, 2008 at 08:16 | #74

    The “man made climate change” push is a collectivist political campaign to roll out a “carbon tax” and is NOT a scientific movement.

    The Carbon Tax is an existence tax. It would mean that no matter where you go, what you do, where you live, what you earn, what national boundaries exist or change, you would be chained to an inescapable tax by dint of your existing at all.

    It is a tax scheme that hearkens back to the Dark Ages (the good old days when serfs knew their place). The carbon tax is high tech feudalism. It is being rolled under the hysteria of a false crisis (which works, go ask the Neocons).

  75. Tony G
    December 18th, 2008 at 10:00 | #75


    The list above contains a Nobel prize winner, Atmospheric Scientist with a PhD in meteorology, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author,a retired Principal Research Scientist with Australia’s CSIRO. etc etc.

    These are reputable ‘scientists’ telling us “the science ain’t settled”. There is prima facie evidence to suggest they are correct.

    I challenge you to to prove AGW isn’t a fraud. There is growing dissenting consensus in the scientific community that AGW harm will not ensue, so according to the ‘Precautionary principle’ the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action.

  76. jquiggin
    December 18th, 2008 at 10:49 | #76

    Hmm. Despite the widely publicised invitation listed above, the number of people willing to state, with name and location that they accept delusional claims on climate science stands (by my count) at 1.

    Of course, as IG notes that’s not surprising when, after scouring the world, including a wide range of unqualified crackpots, TV weathercasters and so on, as well as a significant number of genuine scientists who have protested against their inclusion on the list, Morano and Inhofe can’t even deliver on their claim of 650 names.

  77. Ian Gould
    December 18th, 2008 at 10:58 | #77

    “I challenge you to to prove AGW isn’t a fraud.”

    I challenge you to prove evolution isn’t a fraud.

    The Discovery Institute got a whole 800 people on their meaningless petition.

    “It is a tax scheme that hearkens back to the Dark Ages (the good old days when serfs knew their place). ‘

    Much like the GST, your political hero Howard introduced.

    Not liking the consequences of a scientific theory or the policy proposals based on it, is not a valid basis for dismissing the science.

  78. Ubiquity
    December 18th, 2008 at 10:59 | #78

    Agent Smiths,

    Neo is back.

    The Matrix is all but dead.

  79. Ian Gould
    December 18th, 2008 at 11:17 | #79

    Oh dear, I appeared to have muddled Tony G.’s silliness with BenFranklin’s silliness.

    I think the habit of adopting the names of long-dead geniuses for one’s internet postings is an excellent one since it alerts the reader with about 99% accuracy that the post that follows will be prime nonsense.

  80. BenFranklin
    December 18th, 2008 at 11:24 | #80

    “Not liking the consequences of a scientific theory or the policy proposals based on it, is not a valid basis for dismissing the science.”

    Your patronizing tone aside, if it were a scientific theory I’d be thrilled, but it is not. I would never dismiss science or the truth, but man made global warming theory is not science nor is it based on the truth. It is a “convenient lie” by elitists who want a global tax scheme.

    Even that picture of the polar bear with the vast ocean horizon, looking like it was drowning, was a lie. On the other side of the boat where the photographer snapped the shot, was LAND.

  81. nanks
    December 18th, 2008 at 11:25 | #81

    Tony G – why not follow the advice of Dr Joanne Simpson given in the missing bits of the quote you used above

    “What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable. ” full quote available at http://climatesci.org/2008/02/27/trmm-tropical-rainfall-measuring-mission-data-set-potential-in-climate-controversy-by-joanne-simpson-private-citizen/

    Science is seldom settled. Your challenge to prove AGW isn’t a fraud is unfair. (Do you have any evidence fraud has been committed? If so, have you presented it to the relevant authorities? ) All sorts of interesting science can’t be proven yet remains valuable as the best and most productive explanation available. (Can you prove Darwinian theory? If not does that mean you don’t believe in evolution)
    Dr Simpson is fairly clear about the need for action based on our current scientific knowledge of climate change. As for the science itself – she obviously thinks it needs development. Who doesn’t?

  82. BenFranklin
    December 18th, 2008 at 11:33 | #82

    I think the Gore AGW people took a good look at how effective the Neocons were at stampeding the masses with hysteria and then posing as saviors that they just followed in suit. Instead of forcing people to change, why not make them clamor for the change by scaring them half to death. And that is how a massive global tax scheme gets rolled out.

  83. Capitalist
    December 18th, 2008 at 12:03 | #83

    Number 81 says:

    “I challenge you to to prove AGW isn’t a fraud.”

    Number 83 adds:
    I challenge you to prove evolution isn’t a fraud.

    Both of these statements represent an appeal to ignorance, based on the self-contradicting precautionary “principle”.

    If someone (e.g. an AGW Alarmist) is offering something as fact, the onus of proof is on he who asserts the positive. That is, one must state their case and prove it, not make an assertion, and demand someone prove them wrong.

  84. Ian Gould
    December 18th, 2008 at 12:05 | #84

    “I think the Gore AGW people took a good look at how effective the Neocons were at stampeding the masses with hysteria and then posing as saviors that they just followed in suit.”

    Yes but then the REALLY clever bit was using their time machine to go back in time and recruit fellow Marxists Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, Margaret Thatcher, john Major and Helmut Kohl and convince them to sign the 1988 Rio Earth Summit agreement and start the process that led to the 1992 Framework Agreement on climate Change.

  85. nanks
    December 18th, 2008 at 12:29 | #85

    I agree with you Capitalist – the deniers are making the strong claim that human activity is not influencing climate. As you say – they should prove it.

  86. Ian Gould
    December 18th, 2008 at 12:31 | #86

    @capitalist, yes similarly so long as there’s a single dissenter from the germ theory of disease the pro-germ-theory fascists shouldn’t be allowed to infringe my freedom by stopping me shitting in the streets.

  87. Tony G
    December 18th, 2008 at 12:54 | #87

    Ian Said;

    “I challenge you to prove evolution isn’t a fraud”

    That shouldn’t be hard, considering there are still a lot of Homo neanderthalensis’ about.


    “Despite the widely publicised invitation listed above, the number of people willing to state, with name and location that they accept delusional claims on climate science stands (by my count) at 1.”

    For someone with a degree in mathematics, you do not seem to be able to count up to 25 very well, the number mentioned above in post 72.

    Nanks @ 87,

    In the very next sentence she qualifies that statement with “But as a scientist I remain skeptical.

    She also categorical states there is no ‘evidence’ between anthropological activities and global warming. So why are we being taxed for it?

    “However, the main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system. We only need to watch the weather forecasts.”

    She then goes on;

    “virtually all of the claims are derived from either flawed data sets or imperfect models or both. The term “global warming” itself is very vague. Where and what scales of response are measurable?”

    If it is not a hoax then AGW is starting to look like a fraud.

  88. Paul
    December 18th, 2008 at 14:07 | #88

    And how about a list of the climate fantasists and carpetbaggers, to give to the relatives of all those they’ve already murdered by taking resources from hospital and health services to waste on their doomsday fantasies, as well as those billions more who will die if the terminally depressed get their way.

  89. Ian Gould
    December 18th, 2008 at 14:13 | #89

    Paul, first let’s make a iist of the people who by your reasoning killed millions by supporting the hugely expensive war in Iraq.

  90. jquiggin
    December 18th, 2008 at 14:37 | #90

    TG, you should read more carefully. I’m referring to people who’ve signed their name to a delusionist position following the invitation on this thread, not whatever bogus number was cited in your repost of Morano’s lies.

  91. Tony G
    December 18th, 2008 at 15:03 | #91

    Sorry for the PA, flame and ignorance.

    “Morano’s lies.”

    It is a list of 25 independent scientists, some esteemed with expertise in the field. They doubt the science and are sceptical. That doesn’t ring any alarm bells at all with you?

  92. jquiggin
    December 18th, 2008 at 15:48 | #92

    As has already been pointed out to you, Tony, you only have to go a couple of items down the list to find a totally dishonest misquotation of Joanne Simpson. You can find many more examples by Googling Inhofe+ 650 or similar – even the number 650 is a lie. Obviously, if you want to be fooled by people like Morano and Inhofe, you will be, but you might want to consider how strong your beliefs are when they depend on stuff like this.

  93. Ubiquity
    December 18th, 2008 at 15:50 | #93

    Finally a good reason to stop being a denier of AGW, just in case,

    “BEER will be short supply, more expensive and may taste different as climate change affects barley production, a scientist says.”

    “It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up,” he said.”

    “Most areas in Australia where malting barley is cropped are likely to experience producing declines,” he said.”


    This calls for drastic change, a 50% carbon emmsions reduction globally by 2020.

    Secondly I retract all comments that debunked AGW. This is an emergency of mammoth proportions.

  94. Capitalist
    December 18th, 2008 at 20:57 | #94

    To 91: the actual proposition is that man is responsible for climate change. Skeptics disagree with the alarmists, and are asking the alarmists for proof. The AGW theory raised by alarmists, is what must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Asking people to disprove AGW is just an appeal to ignorance.

  95. nanks
    December 18th, 2008 at 21:49 | #95

    to 100: I am not aware of any work on climate change by alarmists.

  96. Peter P
    December 18th, 2008 at 22:06 | #96

    “# nanks Says:
    December 17th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    The denial position is tedious because it does not provide any useful information to further the investigation of climate change but rather uses pseudo-science as a diversionary tactic in the service of corporate interests.
    It reminds me of the tobacco industry attacks on science, which became quite sophisticated. A similar and systematic attack has been mounted by the creationists as part of their ‘intelligent design’ campaign.
    Well developed propaganda techniques can be used to trap people who may lack the background to assess the science, or may be psychologically motivated toward contrarian viewpoints, but who often have a genuine interest in ‘the public good’. These people can then provide what is effectively a viral marketing campaign for the corporates, who subsequently benefit from the political response to the apparent confusion and public concern.”

    Oh, so global warming skeptism is caused by global capitalists, who prey on the weak-minded. (“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.” “Move along!” “Move along!”) Then these same weak-minded individuals want to push dangerous books into school science classes, and try to get kids hooked on tobacco at the same time. Dangerous weak-minded individuals!

    Do me a favour! If your cause was so air-tight, you wouldn’t need to convince the general public (who you don’t trust to get it right on their own) that you were right. How long has scientific truth depended on consensus – between scientists OR between the rest of the population? Answer: It NEVER has. If AGW is true, we will all see it, without having to be brow-beaten by the intellectual elites who keep telling us we’re ignorant because we don’t believe them.

  97. Tony G
    December 18th, 2008 at 22:26 | #97


    “a totally dishonest misquotation of Joanne Simpson”

    Calling the above excerpt quotation by Joanne Simpson “totally dishonest” is also an unbalanced representation of what she said.

    People can read for themselves what she said here.

    She has a PHD in a climate science.

    In relation to AGW she states she is a sceptic;

    “if…the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable. But as a scientist I remain skeptical.”

    She states the quality of the evidence behind “the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming” is frail.

    She states that “a large group of EARTH scientists have reached what THEY claim is a consensus of nearly all ATMOSPHERIC scientists that man-released greenhouse gases are causing increasing harm to our planet.”

    She says based on “incomplete information” a decision has to be made. To be inline with the precautionary principle based on the above consensus, she has to say “we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC ” .

    The main reason she has come out of the closet with her scepticism, is the 10 year anniversary of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission; TRMM.

    The TRMM has indicated that “Global warming impacts appear much more severe in polar latitudes than in tropical regions” and that unfortunately “The major lack for TRMM data use in testing climate theories is latitude limitation.”

    “The best news is that the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) is on schedule for a 2013 launch. In conclusion I can just pray that GPM scientists and engineers are as smart and as lucky as we TRMM participants have been.”

    Hopefully after 2013 this “latitude limitation” can be over come and more of the climate theories can be tested.

  98. nanks
    December 18th, 2008 at 23:09 | #98

    Peter P @102
    Do you really think intelligent design has a legitimate place in the science curriculum for schools and universities?

  99. stevebea
    December 19th, 2008 at 01:51 | #99

    You folks are hi-larious. You’ve been had. The day Al Goracle’s carbon footprint is as small as mine, I’ll start to take him seriously.
    He jumped on the GW caboose and pretended he was driving the engine. He does what all rich politicians do. He doesn’t stop his bad behavior he just buys off the critics. He’s a prophet all right the kind who profits from carbon emissions by starting his own Enron like cap and trade company. Many will get rich from carbon reduction mandates, look for him to be the first. Man of the people and all that.
    By the way 650 world wide scientists just came out against the Absolutist hypothesis of globaloney warming (or global climate change, since warming stopped a decade ago.) What are you worried about anyway? Now that Barack Obama is coming to save the world, He shall speak peace to the winds and they shall not nino. The oceans, as Michael Moore has prophesied, shall recede; the Lion will lie down with the lamb and they shall not learn to make war anymore. (Biblical allusion for the western literature illiterate.)

    p.s. What ever happened to all those people from the Club of Rome? Don’t know what that is? Google it.

    With every breath I take I’m a polluting machine and global warming skeptic till they pry the CO2 from my cold dead lungs.

    /meet the new boss, same as the old boss- The Who

  100. BenFranklin
    December 19th, 2008 at 02:55 | #100

    AGW Theory + Fraud + Hysteria + Duped Well Meaning Environmentalists + Fake Consensus + CFR and UN funded Pseudo Studies = Elitist Dream of Global Tax Scheme (Carbon Tax)

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