Monthly Archives: October 2009

Let’s look at the data


This is a very fine summary of the case that nothing very unusual is happening to the global climate and of the evidence—direct data, not proxies—that the IPCC projections are simply wrong about the key factor they say will result in alarming climate change (by the way that’s not CO2)

Lindzen has a record that calls for attention. He has researched and taught atmospheric and climate science for more than 30 years, most recently as Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology and chair of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was lead author of a chapter in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Why Australia should not adopt an ETS

The mainstream media offer us nothing but politics on the question of whether the proposed Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) legislation should be adopted. Political calculation is less demanding for the journalists and offers readers an engaging melodrama. But the politics are no guide to a responsible decision on the ETS. In this post I review both the governments’ stated reasons for the ETS and my own assessment; that the ETS should be abandoned, because the balance of evidence is against it.

The carbon controls, even if fully only partly implemented (10% cut in 2000 emissions by 2020), imply a “substantial sacrifice” (Ross Garnaut’s words) of our national welfare because Australia is one of the biggest users (on a per capita basis) and exporters of carbon (in the form of coal and LNG).

But the physical evidence strongly suggests that any program designed to affect global temperatures by cutting human-emitted CO2 will be both futile and unnecessary. The IPCC’s 1992-2004 case has fallen apart: a key test of its theory fails to validate and its predictions for warming of land and ocean in this century have turned out to be useless (the models both under-predicted and over-predicted temperatures). The modest size and uneven progression of temperature change over the past century—including a decline over the past decade—shows the increasingly shrill alarm about warming to be a moral panic akin to the ‘population bomb’ panic that gripped President Obama’s science advisor in the 1970s.

The ETS tax, disguised as a tradable property, is unreasonable (because not needed), regressive (because power-companies will be compensated ahead of consumers), and an invitation to rent-seekers who are scrambling for special treatment under the proposed distribution of emission permits.

In view of our 1% share of the global economy and carbon dependences it seems like vanity for the Prime Minister to take up the role of cheer-leader for global carbon restrictions, but it is insanity to impose these restrictions on ourselves before it is clear that the other 99% of the world is equally determined to do so.