Is this the last gasp from the Climate Change Authority?

The Climate Change Authority (CCA) was established by the Gillard Government a couple of years ago, and it has submitted what it calls the Final Report of its Targets and Progress Reviews. You can get to it here, and fossick around its other publications at the same site. It is required by law, the CCA says, to report on the progress Australia is making towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But there is no doubt that the beginning of the executive summary has a strangely old-fashioned air about it:

Climate change science indicates the world is warming and human activities are the dominant cause. Global action to limit warming to below 2 degrees will benefit Australia. Climate change science is clear — the world is warming and human activities are the dominant cause.

Climate change poses major risks for Australia’s people, economy and environment. A warmer climate is predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of weather extremes, such as heatwaves, droughts, floods and bushfires, and to cause rises in sea levels. Australia is likely to better adapt to projected impacts if global warming is limited to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. With larger increases, adaptation can be expected to become increasingly costly and challenging.

The international community has made a commitment to keeping global warming below 2 degrees. To meet this shared goal, Australia and other countries need to strengthen their emissions reduction efforts. Australia stands to benefit from stronger global action, but it must also be prepared to do its part to meet the global goal. In this Review, the Authority outlines its views on what a reasonable contribution from Australia would be. 

Now Minister Hunt has already said that Australia will decide about emissions once the Paris 2015 COP has concluded and we know what if anything the ‘world’ will do. No matter, the CCA knows what is right, and proposes an elevated level of emissions-reduction, based on a carbon tax of some kind. Unsurprisingly, the Government has taken little notice, and in fact you won’t find a reference to the report on the Department of Environment website — or, indeed, any reference to the CCA itself. But the Department’s website does show that the abolition of the carbon tax was the first item of legislation introduced by the Abbott Government.

No matter, the ABC gave the report a good airing, and called forth both the crowd-funded Climate Council and the Greens to say what a good thing the Report is. Oddly enough, the ABC, in its quest for balance, didn’t seem to have asked anyone remotely sceptical to comment. Perhaps they were all too busy, and unavailable for comment, though the ABC didn’t say so.

But the ordinary reader will surely wonder what the CCA has been reading, to produce such a stilted and inaccurate statement. Is the world warming? Well, it was, but the warming has levelled out over the last decade or so. There are signs that the world might be cooling. Are human activities ‘the dominant cause’ of the warming? Well, if they were, something else has suppressed them, and if it has, then whatever it was might have been associated with the earlier warming, too.

My last paragraph is based on what is presently known, and hardly disputed — but such material doesn’t get a mention in the Final Report. Surely it should have been at least mentioned, if only to argue against it. Climate change poses major risks for us, says the summary, but all these projections are based on climate-change models that have not been verified, and have poor capacity to define what will happen in regions. No mention of their weaknesses? Pity. Why must warming be bad for us? Oh, the models say so.

The international community has made a commitment to keeping global warming below 2 degrees.  Really? Which countries have done anything about it? Not many. Any? The 2 degree figure was drawn down by skyhooks as a figure that was achievable, perhaps, and has been elevated into a real barrier THAT WE MUST NOT CROSS. That sort of commandment is for the religious.

Australia will apparently benefit from what other countries do (which countries are they?), but it must also be prepared to do its part to meet the global goal. But we won’t know until 2015 whether or not there will be any agreed-upon global goal and the present likelihood is really small. And in any case the probability that Australia will go down the carbon-tax road is really very small. Why propose such a strategy? And what impact would it have, even if we followed the CCA’s advice? Zilch.

The answer to the Why? has to do with ‘belief’, and with keeping the flag flying. Here is part of what the Chief Scientist, a member of the CCA, said at the launch, according the The Guardian, which reported it all in the fashion of the ABC:

Climate science is one of the most heavily scrutinised areas of science I have ever experienced … The overwhelming bulk of it has stood the test of that scrutiny … I find a lot of the science compelling … As a scientist I would always put in the caveat we are dealing with probabilities … but we are seeing changes and if you don’t believe it you have to impugn the messenger, you’ve got to say it is groupthink or some stupid expression like that. Scientists are human beings and sometimes they will make mistakes, but … no reputable scientist disputes the main theses in this area, it has been so closely scrutinised … so it would be really silly to say [greenhouse emissions] have no effect or that it is a delusion.

What can I say about such vague and hand-wavy stuff? Well, I would say this: we don’t know nearly as much about global climate, let alone Australia’s climate, as all the CCA would have us believe — and the evidence that we don’t know is really compelling — ask the IPCC! I think it’s time for the Climate Change Authority to pack its bags, and go.

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Mike O'Ceirin says:

    They and it seems the whole of the Left are either manipulative liars or totally ignorant of reality. I really cannot work out which. In recent times I have listened to Burke and Albanese on this issue. They seem absolutely sincere in their belief in this lunacy. They seem to absolutely believe the “solutions” have an effect and that humans can change the climate permanently whichever way that is wanted. So if we slow down emissions it will mean a reduction in our bush fires and hot summers. History tells us that around 1860 most of the Great Dividing was alight and that around 1900 we had 25 years of drought with hot summers. I wonder if a homeopathic medicine could also be created to help. I also know a man of faith Stan, he has assured me that the Lord would provide and regulate the Earths temperature. Maybe has done so and that explains the hiatus. Certainly it is a good an explanation as we get from the AGW side.

    • David says:

      “They and it seems the whole of the Left are either manipulative liars or totally ignorant of reality.”

      Mike that is a thoughtful comment.

  • dlb says:

    Yes, I saw that announcement on the ABC news. I was half expecting after interviewing the Climate Council and the Greens they might give a climate sceptic a 10 second grab much like they do with civil libertarians on other stories. But no it never came, obviously climate sceptics are still personae non gratae in the ABC’s eyes.

  • David says:

    Don you sound like you are trying to convince yourself.

  • Julian McLaren says:

    Australia can control the worlds temperature! Oh the humanity. Here’s a suggestion. The CC”A” can spend 12 months in China if they want to soak up some atmosphere.

  • David says:

    Don,

    My apologies, I do agree with this! I too have often wondered how the 2 degree mark was arrived at. It does seem very arbitrary. Perhaps we should ask the residents of Morwell how they are going?

    “The international community has made a commitment to keeping global warming below 2 degrees. Really? Which countries have done anything about it? Not many. Any? The 2 per cent figure was drawn down by skyhooks as a figure that was achievable, perhaps, and has been elevated into a real barrier THAT WE MUST NOT CROSS. That sort of commandment is for the religious.”

  • Colin Davidson says:

    Don, minor typo “2 per cent” I think should be “2 degrees”.
    I agree with the general thrust of your argument. The facts of the temperature record are exactly as you describe them, and the wilful distortion of those facts by the Climate Change Authority is reprehensible, and immoral, particularly as this is/was a publicly funded institution.
    But for me the really shocking and distasteful part of this is the complete lack of any attempt at balance by the PUBLIC broadcaster.
    What possible justification could be made for 1) not seeking comment from say Plimer, Kinnmonth, JoNova? 2) not detecting the errors of fact in the report, glaringly obvious to anyone who has followed the “debate”.
    Is the ABC interested in the Climate debate? It is a fascinating subject, very broad, very uncertain, with many facets and by-ways. I reckon if the PUBLIC broadcaster had any nous it could find a zillion really good, solid stories. The field is wide open. Virtually no Main Stream Media organisation has conducted a four–corners-like investigation or probe.
    Well no. If the ABC did that it would stand out from the crowd. It would not be part of the shoddy consensus. It would balance the unthinking part of the media with quality journalism. So better not do that. Better to be mediocre. At least that way, the ABC will uphold its proud tradition of abysmal leftie conformist slant and pogwash.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Colin,

      Thank you for picking up the error, which I have now rectified.

    • dlb says:

      I think the leftie or more accurately progressive slant of the ABC has probably has been around the last 30 years or so. Before then they were part of the conservative consensus.

      • Mike O'Ceirin says:

        Progressive I thought meant communist. Certainly the CPA Tribune was quite proud of it’s many progressive writers before it became defunct.

  • Colin Davidson says:

    Sorry. My mistake. For “Pogwash” please read “Frogtosh”.

  • DaveW says:

    Somewhat farcical summary isn’t it? There doesn’t seem to be anything in it that is actually true, other than they seem to be required by law to submit the report. However, I suppose this is a political organization, not a scientific one, and expecting honesty or balance from such a body would be naive. As it would be to expect the ABC to do anything but barrack from the sidelines. I made the mistake of reading the ABC news article on the resurrection of a 30,000 year old virus from frozen tundra and even that had a CAGW theme – the tundra will melt and smallpox will kill us all. It’s worse than you think! It all rather reminds me of the screeching of the pod-people in ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (the 1978 version).

  • John Morland says:

    The Climate Change Authority and its non-statutory (now defunct) partner Climate Change Commission can be compared with the Catholic Church tactic to assist the European colonization of Western coast of North America (pre -Mayflower days and USA). The church set up self-supporting “missionaries” to convert, pacify and subjugate the then american inhabitants for preparation for the colonists’ arrival ie subservient to the colonists’ needs; a softening up process – oh, and save their souls from hell. These missionaries were established as far north as the northern part of San Francisco area (San Francisco de Solano), each missionary was separated by (roughly) a day’s horse ride. The most southern missionary (in now USA) is the San Diego de Alcala, There were some 20 missionaries between the northern/southern (present day California) missionaries (hence any town with “San” or “Santa” in its name was once a missionary).The missionaries were invariably run by the Jesuits; courageous, resilient, tough Catholic sect to propagate the Catholic faith by any means possible.

    Of course there were other missionaries other than on the West Coast, eg the mission at Alamo which was part of Mexico (now Texas), but none (as far as I know) up the North East USA.

    Comparing this scenario with CAGW (another religion), we saw a similar tactic. The CCC was there to soften up the Australian public (by fear, doomsday prophesies (hell?), misinformation etc) for the change it will have to undergo in preparation for lunatic Green climate agenda to save the planet Meanwhile, The CCA was the policy arm, advising Government what to do and how do it (cc the Curio?).

    The world has moved on from the missionary days. Now with the CCC is gone (morphed into a next to irrelevant Climate Change Council) it’s now the CCA’s turn to pack its bags.

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