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Henry Thornton - SMERSH: A discussion of economic, social and political issues Climate Change and Global Warming, H2 2009 Date 22/12/2009
Member rating 4.3/5
'Near failure' at Copenhagen,
By Henry Thornton et al Email / Print

Two degree decree at Copenhagen, 21/12.


'Lukewarm agreement' was reached in Copenhagen that global greenhouse gas emissions should stop at the point nominated by 'the science' where global temperatures rise by only 2 degrees Celsius.


Much harder than King Canute's attempt to rollback the incoming tide, one assumes.


Nothing is binding and the smarties are saying only China got exactly what it wanted, though its position of leadership  among 'developing' nations suggests it has a big following.


As well as China, the mountain men of Montana (and the Adelaide hills) are presumably pleased.


Australia's coalition opposition will be buoyed by the near-failure at Copenhagen, and we await Tony Abbott's 'direct action' plan with interest.


Henry asserts, with complete confidence, that any plan that does not put a price on carbon emissions will be less efficient (and therefore more costly) than one that does.


Australia's wandering geologist, and (virtual) resident skeptic, Louis Hissink, says: 'The folly of AGW is a combination of post-modernist science coupled with socialists trying to be economically sophisticated – best summarised by “Stupid is what Stupid does”.'


More here, including links to the views of Henry's favourite global newspapers.


And (22/12) we add a report of China's response.


'Meaningful progress' at Copenhagen, 19/12.


ABC news reports: 'Reports from Copenhagen say wealthy and key developing nations have agreed to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.


'US President Barack Obama has hailed the deal reached among key leaders in Copenhagen as "unprecedented" but warns it is not enough to battle global warming.


'Mr Obama said he would leave the Danish capital before the 194-nation summit takes a final vote on the accord, which he called "meaningful".


'US officials say the United States, China, India and South Africa have now agreed on the text of what will be known as the Copenhagen Accord.


'It will not be a legally binding treaty, but if the rest of the countries represented at the Copenhagen talks sign, it will be a statement of intent'.


Sky News showed President Obama talking and answering questions with his lips out of sync with his voice.


It also reported that Australia's Kevin Rudd had been 'left out of the loop' and the US, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Ethopia agreed on a non-binding agreement that is 'a start' as Obama put it.The world grapples with climate change solutions, 16/12.


The ETS is just a great big new tax which in practice disguises an old-fashioned Labor-style attempt to redistribute wealth to the poor, is Australia's take.


Plus we have been accused of dudding the figures, and described as an Ayotollah.


Henry noticed with wry amusement that someone from a less developed part of the world asserted in Copenhagen that Mr Rudd is a secret climate change skeptic. Henry is not privy to said underdeveloped nation leader's thought processes, but it is a charge he has made also, given the great number of exemptions and special deals that have been built into Australia's ETS.  'Giant welfare churn' would be a better label, but 'tax' has fewer letters and is more likely to be a barbeque stopper over the festive season.



In a speech to be delivered in Sydney this morning, Mr Abbott will declare himself  "John Howard's heir, not his clone" as he gives voters their first detailed glimpse at his electoral posture.  He said last night: "Bring it on. We will be ready for you", which is a fair enough summary.


And The Economist reports that 'Filthy lucre fouls the air' at Copenhagen.


  Courtesy Economist


The great and the good are gathered together in Copenhagen, 8/12.


'Most of the necessary technologies are available.  The economics can be made to work. Everything depends in the end on on the voters and their political leaders.  Willing voters and braver politicians will mean better policies.  And better policies will enable mankind to make a big difference to the planet's future at a surprisingly small cost'.


This is The Economist's summing up of the climate change issue at the end of a 'Special Report on the carbon economy'.


Henry often agrees with the conclusions of the venerable mag. 


Here is a powerful point that echoes Ross Garnaut's more economical use of the work 'diabolical'.


'Climate change is the hardest political problem the world has ever had to deal with. It is a prisoner's dilemma, a free rider problem and the tragedy of the commons all rolled into one'.


Henry's blog today continues with this theme.


They gather in Copenhagen, Abbott peddling "bullshit" asserts Turnbull, 7/12. 


China and India pledge to reduce carbon 'intensity', USA will do better, Euroland leads the pack.


Australia scratches its b*m.


 'Former Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has delivered an extraordinary attack on Tony Abbott, describing the central plank of his successor's response to climate change as "bullshit" and saying the party could not be trusted.


'In a blog posted on his website this morning, Mr Turnbull has delivered what he describes as "a few home truths" about the "farce" that the Coalition's climate change policy has become'.


IMF supports carbon tax, already dismissed by Tony Abbott, 5/12.


Let the market decide the price of carbon is Michael Stutchbury's advice.


'TONY Abbott and Barnaby Joyce have stormed the policy wonk consensus over using the invisible hand of the market to reduce carbon emissions with least economic disruption.


'Instead of putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, an Abbott government would rely on the visible hand of government "direct action" to reduce emissions by 5 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020'.


Apparently, in this company, Henry is a 'policy wonk', as his support for a carbon tax is supported by the mighty International Monetary Fund (IMF).


The point about Henry's proposal, possibly missed by Tony Abbott, is that most, perhaps all, the carbon tax could be returned to the private sector by offsetting cuts to income tax and company tax.


Here is a nice summary of the debate, by self confessed 'armchair politician', Graeme Mills.


Death of Australia's ETS, 2/12.


The change in the Liberal Party leadership, and the return of 'conservative' Liberal leadership as embodied in the person of Tony Abbott, will very likely bring a major change to Australia's stance in Copenhagen.


Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong will no longer be able to say 'Australia leads the world', a fact high in the opposition's agenda in its dramatic backflip following its change of leader.


It is not too dramatic to suggest that this may mean the death of the EST.  It sets the stage for an ETS election that Rudd's Labor may not survive. 


Tony Abbott has said that he accepts man has contributed to global warming, but he is uncertain by how much.


This is a sensible position - see, for example, Garth Paltridge's fine book - but the climate science is not going to get more definate by the time the Abbott opposition has to make its next decision on the ETS or other climate change action.


The ETS is very complicated and, because of the number of exemptions and offsets, unlikely to make any quick and strong effect on greenhouse gas emissions.  What is certain, of course, is it will add greatly to the complexity of the tax and welfare system, and the overall burdan of government.


In the aftermath of Copenhagen, we hope there will be credible emission targets and commitments.  We also hope that new policies will be under consideration.


A direct carbon tax - offset by cuts to income and company tax, after some of the money raised is spent promoting rersearch on new carbon energy generation - would be more honest, direct and understandable.  Warwick McKibbin's cap and collar plan, with its attendant 'carbon bank', is more complicated but perhaps technically better than a simple carbon tax.


We urge any genuinely objective analyst to lay out the options with pros and cons, winners and losers, and above all likely effectiveness.  We shall be happy to provide space and publicity to any good example of such analysis.


US, China pledge emission reduction targets, 27/11.


Maybe, just maybe, the cynics will be proven wrong.


'The Chinese government announced Thursday that it had set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 relative to economic development. China is aiming to reduce what it calls carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent compared with 2005 levels, according to Xinhua, the state news agency.


'The announcement came the day after President Obama pledged a provisional target for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, the first time in more than a decade that an American administration has offered even a tentative promise to reduce production of climate-altering gases. President Obama discussed climate change with the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, when the two met in Beijing on Nov. 16'.


At last, 'token ETS' line, 26/11.


Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of The Australian, has nailed the essence of the ETS debate: 'I am more than half convinced by the argument that we should give the planet the benefit of the doubt. It would be good if we polluted less. I'd like to end the dependence of Western societies on Middle Eastern oil. And one day, even if climate change is not a killer, the world will run out of fossil fuel. So by all means let's diversify our energy sources and clean up our environments. But I don't want us to go broke in the process.


'In trying to evaluate this issue I have tried to gauge the seriousness of the key players. I'm not convinced that anybody in power anywhere really thinks this is an end-of-the-world issue. Certainly no one is behaving as if it is'.


Henry has been stumbling reluctantly to the truth on this matter.


Our clearest exposition of this cynical view was in reporting Garth Paltridge's discussion of The Climate Caper.


But to Henry the bottom line is clear. Kevin Rudd's ETS plan involves so many exemptions and subsidies for the big polluters that no-one should fear the consequences if the plan is adopted. Barnaby Joyce, why are you fighting it?


One need only fear the consequences if one believes there is a serious problem, because the currently planned action is actually (very frenzied) inaction.


At Henry's table, it was agreed that, if Australia was fair dinkum about contributing to resolving the alleged problem, taxes would raise the prices of gas, electricity and water by a factor of four, with compensation paid only to the poorest Australians.


Funny business at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU), 25/11.


New doubts have emerged about the way the Climate Change and Global Warming debtate is being conducted after a hacker released emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit - a leading authority on the subject.


The emails do not paint a good picture of the scientific establishment pushing the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) with manipulation of evidence, suppresion of results and even efforts to keep scientists with opposing views from presenting peer-reviewed work - even going as far as to try to discredit a journal, "Climate Research" that has published the views of skeptics in the past.


You can read more about 'ClimateGate' here: 'When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science.” These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:


'Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.'


The revelation of these emails certainly raises a lot of uncomfortable questions for many involved in climate science on the eve of the Copenhagen Summit.


ETS or carbon tax, 21/11.


Michael Stutchbury has pointed out that AUSTRALIA’S great greenhouse contradiction has turned a simple market-based system for reducing carbon emissions into a confusion of backroom political deals pockmarked by exemptions and surrounded by a maze of high-cost regulation.


'The mutation of the economy’s biggest structural policy upheaval in a generation is the result of both our peculiar national circumstances and political choice.


'Despite being among the rich economies most threatened by the global climate change push, we’re moving early to adopt an emissions trading scheme that will act as a $114 billion penalty over the coming decade on Australia’s resource-based prosperity'.


And does this conclusion strike the chord of memory?


'A straight carbon tax, initially at a low rate, would be simpler, more effective and would avoid the new financial apparatus and much of the political rent-seeking.'


'... if Australia was fair dinkum about contributing to resolving the alleged problem, taxes would raise the prices of gas, electricity and water by a factor of four, with compensation paid only to the poorest Australians'.


Stutchbury also points out the inherent logic of the nuclear option for Australia, more great good sense.


Presidents Obama and Hu grapple with big issues, including climate change policy, 20/11.


'CLIMATE CHANGE was at the top of President Obama's agenda in China Tuesday, just three weeks before representatives from 192 countries meet in Copenhagen for a much-anticipated international climate conference. And he came tantalizingly close to saying what the rest of the world has been waiting years to hear: that next month the United States, the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases, will finally come to the table with a specific carbon reduction target.


'In a news conference after his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Mr. Obama supported Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen's proposal for a far-reaching political agreement at Copenhagen -- one that "covers all of the issues in the negotiations, and one that has immediate operational effect." And the joint statement that Mr. Obama and Mr. Hu released indicated that a Copenhagen agreement, while not legally binding, should "include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries".'


Henry cannot help observing that if the leaders of the world's current and emerging superpowers both think there is an issue, so should we all.


The deep-dyed skeptics will just claim, of course, that this is more evidence of the alleged global socialist/commie conspiracy, but this is simply laughable.Rudd and Calderon try to broker global climate change agreement, 16/11.


'Kevin Rudd and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, have been at the centre of the late bid to prevent the collapse of next month's Copenhagen talks, amid acceptance that the conference will fail to produce binding targets for reducing global carbon emissions.


'The pair yesterday helped broker the compromise with US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao'.


Meanwhile, back home, the Nats (and Liberal skeptics) need more than an exemption for agriculture, while being allowed to get credits for things that help, like planting trees.  One assumes no concession will be enough for these weatherbeaten sons of the soil.


And wait, there's more. Ziggy Switkowski had upped his bid for nuclear power stations from 25 to 50.


Easy to make fun of this as 'absolutely not on', but it is a fact that everyone (except the Greens) who is serious about reducing carbon emissions say replacing coal powered electricity generation with nuclear generation is vital.


How to break the ETS deadlock, 14/11.


'MALCOLM Turnbull should propose one simple amendment to the government's Emissions Trading Scheme as the sole price of opposition support. It is an amendment that would test the prime minister's good faith, and indeed his sanity.


'Turnbull should propose that unless the Copenhagen climate summit next month delivers mandatory commitments from the US, China, India and Europe to cut carbon dioxide emissions, our ETS legislation self-destructs, it simply ceases to be. Indeed, in practical terms such a commitment only has to come from China'.


Read on here.


Rudd chucks a wobbly, Henry meets a skeptic, 12/11.


Miranda Devine opines: 'Kevin Rudd went over the top last week in a speech to the Lowy institute, declaring it was "time to remove any polite veneer" from the climate change debate, which he claims is the "moral challenge of our generation".


'Then he launched an extraordinary tirade against "the climate change sceptics, the climate change deniers" who he claims are "powerful", "too dangerous to be ignored", "driven by vested interests … quite literally holding the world to ransom … Our children's fate - and our grandchildren's fate - will lie entirely with them."


'If he had any shame, the Prime Minister would be mortified to be associated with such a hysterical, undergraduate piece of ad hominem hyperbole. History will record his embarrassment and the debasing of his office. But the speech shows Rudd's desperation in the week before his Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Emissions Trading Scheme) is debated in Parliament and less than a month before the Copenhagen climate summit at which he wants to parade a signed-off scheme. As the public cools towards this new energy tax, politicians, green groups and other alarmists with the real "vested interest" in this debate are stooping ever lower in their attempts to shun dissenters'.


Henry's blog today presents the views of another sensible skeptic, Garth Paltridge.


Sir Wellington Boote says, Slow down ..., 29/10.


'If we in Australia looked at the climate situation and for prudence sake decided to adopt far more stringent rules concerning our use of all the resources of life I would be a keen supporter. Our national record to date for the use of water, electricity, land, coastal environments, industrial processes and such like is not really very good. We could certainly sharpen up our national act in these matters and more besides. However, to cry out like the idiotic British Prime Minister that ' we have 50 days to save the planet' is insulting to anyone with an education. We are not on the 'Titanic' Henry ... the end is not nigh'.


Read on here.


Gordon Brown ups the rhetoric in climate debate, while climate change 'refugees' are advised to seek 'dislocation' aid at Copenhagen, 19/10.


It seems the green message is resonating loudly with British PM Gordon Brown. Brown, yet to face an election despite being in power for over 2 years will warn today that 'Britain faces a catastrophic future of deadly heatwaves, floods and droughts if efforts to secure a new global climate change deal fail.'


'In a bleak message to representatives of 17 leading nations, who have gathered in London in advance of the UN-sponsored climate summit in Copenhagen in December, Mr Brown will say that there is "no plan B" if negotiators fail to reach a deal. With fewer than 50 days to go until the summit, concerns remain that international wrangles over emission cuts' targets will end in deadlock.


'"If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice," he will tell the Major Economies Forum.


'The Prime Minister will say that by 2080 an extra 1.8 billion people - a quarter of the world's current population - could lack sufficient water. Making reference to the summer heatwave of 2003 in Europe, which led to more than 35,000 extra deaths, he will say: "Such an event could become quite routine in Britain in just a few decades' time."


According to Brown, '"If we falter, the Earth itself will be at risk ... For the planet there is no plan B."'


Meanwhile, Professor Patrick Nunn, a climate change researcher at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji has warned that inhabitants of many low-lying atoll nations in the Pacific will have to seek relocation and dislocation aid at the Copenhagen Summit in December.


'"By 2100, I don't see how many islands will be habitable," said Nunn, Prof Nunn is chairing the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable meeting in the Marshall Islands capital Majuro opening today, where 14 Pacific countries and territories are devising their strategy for the December conference.


'New scientific projections show the pace of sea level is faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected in its 2007 report, Prof Nunn said. "We're now looking at a more than one-metre sea level rise by the end of the century,'' he said.


'For low-lying coral atoll nations such as the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu, habitation will become impossible.'


We can no doubt look forward to more stories of this nature in the lead up to the climate change conference to be held in under two months time.


Australian debate hots up, 2/10.


'MALCOLM Turnbull is on a collision course with his own back bench after staking his leadership on a demand that they back his climate change strategy. Several MPs immediately refused to do so.


'If the partyroom refused to back his strategy of negotiating amendments to the government's emissions trading scheme, Mr Turnbull said yesterday, the Coalition would "literally be a party with nothing to say ... a party with no ideas", and that was "not the party I am prepared to lead".


Throwing down the gauntlet to his internal critics, Mr Turnbull said: "I am asserting my authority as the leader of the Liberal Party and the Leader of the Opposition."


"If the partyroom were to reject my recommendation to them, that would obviously be a leadership issue. That's perfectly plain, perfectly clear," he told ABC Radio in Adelaide.


"I could not possibly lead a party that was on a do-nothing-on-climate-change platform."


However, according to Lenore Taylor, Turnbull yesterday left open the possibility of a conscience vote. "We in the Liberal Party do have a tradition of allowing people to vote according to their conscience and to depart from the party line and cross the floor, if you like, in circumstances that are of particular importance to them. Now that is a right that like many rights has to be exercised with great discretion, and less frequently," he said.


More in Henry's Blog today.


Act now in case ..., 22/9.


If mainstream science, and the balance of opinion in major nations and global organisations, is right, failing to act now, or failing to act before the planet enters a tipping point leading to irrevsible harm, will mean our children and their children will wonder just how their recent ancestors could have been so profligate and uncaring.


Henry has nailed his colours to the mast.  We should act now in case the believers/worriers are right.  We should protect the battlers, and the poor nations generally, from the worst of the costs. 


But high science is needed to minimise the costs.  Solar power is still far too inefficient to compete with coal-fired electricity generation, and will remain so in the absence of serious and successful innovation that can only be stimulated by government grants, as well as a hefty carbon tax or its more complicated 'cap and trade' proxy.


Ditto for other innovative energy sources.


Henry's Blog explains.


Another solution to CO2 build-up, 8/9.


The Economist reports: 'IF HUMANITY is to continue burning fossil fuels in large quantities and yet curb the climate-changing effects of the resulting carbon dioxide, then somewhere other than the atmosphere will have to be found to put that CO2. The leading candidates at the moment are geological traps of the sort that hold natural gas in place; old coal mines; and carbonised plant matter (so-called biochar), which cannot rot and may help improve soil quality. There is even talk of dumping the stuff at the bottom of the sea.


'There is, however, another possibility. That is to short-circuit the natural geological process of weathering and use the CO2 to convert volcanic rocks into limestone. A pilot project called CarbFix, intended to test this idea, is under way in Iceland'.


Stumbling to Copenhagen, 5/9.


Adam Morton today provides a fine sumary of the state of negotiations over emissions control in the lead up to the Copenhagen conference:


'In the oft-echoed words of UN chief climate official Yvo de Boer, three things must be achieved at Copenhagen: rich nations must sign on to a combined emissions cut of between 25 and 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020; developing countries including China must explain how they will stifle their emissions growth; and the wealthy must make a plan to come up with the money needed to help the less wealthy move to clean energy and cope with the change locked into the climate system. Another can be added to the list - a strategy to reduce logging of tropical rainforests, responsible for about a fifth of global emissions.


'Negotiations on these points should accelerate at a series of meetings criss-crossing the globe over the next 90 days'.


Warm Aussie Winter warms Kiwi hearths, 2/9.


The unseasonably warm weather in Australia - including record Winter temperatures in Southern Queensland - has also extended across the ditch to our cousins in New Zealand.


As some Australians swelter - and the dry spell in Victoria continues (although tempered with showers in recent weeks), the Kiwis are enjoying their mildest Winter in more than 150 years of recorded history.


'Last month was the mildest August that New Zealand has experienced since temperatures were first recorded 155 years ago. New Zealanders could thank strong westerly winds coming off Australia for an average temperature almost two degrees celsius warmer than usual, said Auckland climate scientist Jim Salinger.


'The average temperature for New Zealand last month was 10.4 degrees celsius, which Australians would find chilly at best, but for Kiwis it was the kind of temperatures usually seen in spring. Regions that registered the highest temperatures above average were areas such as Central Otago and inland Canterbury, where the Australian air kept days and nights relatively warm.'


Although to some this will seem to be further evidence of global warming - I am yet to hear a Kiwi complain about this milder winter weather.


Source & Full Article: theage.com.au


Australians steadfast in their belief in Global Warming, 11/8.


Australians remain steadfast in their belief that Global Warming is a problem for Australia. According to the latest poll released by Roy Morgan Research today a majority of Australians believe carbon emissions are a contributor to global warming and 58% believe "If we don't act now it will be too late."


According to Roy Morgan 'a large majority (83%) of Australians believe carbon emissions are a contributor to Global Warming which includes 60% who believe carbon emissions are a ‘major contributor’ to Global Warming compared to 17% who believe carbon emissions are a ‘minor contributor.’


'Australian views about Global Warming have been remarkably consistent this year with 58% (unchanged since May 20/21, 2009) of Australians saying, “If we don’t act now it will be too late” while 27% (up 1%) say “Concerns are exaggerated,” 11% (down 1%) say “It is already too late" and 4% (unchanged) can’t say.


A clear majority (55%) of Australians are also in favour of passing the Rudd Government's proposed carbon emissions trading legislation - which goes before the Senate this week for a vote.


'Less than a quarter (24% — including 2.5% who say ‘it doesn’t go far enough’) of Australians disapprove of the proposed legislation whilst 14% don’t understand the legislation and 7% can’t say. The proposed legislation will be voted on in the Australian Senate this Thursday (August 13, 2009).


'Those who disapproved of the legislation were then asked “Why especially do you say that?” The most prominent reasons Australians disapproved of the legislation were: ‘Australia should wait for the World to act’ (3%), ‘Costs too much’ (3%), ‘Doesn’t stop pollution/ carbon emissions’ (3%), ‘Don’t believe in Global Warming' (2.5%), and ‘Carbon emissions are not responsible for Global Warming’ (2%). Of all Australians, 2.5% disapprove of the legislation because it ‘Doesn’t go far enough.’


US House of Representatives passes Climate change bill, 219-212, 29/6.


In a major step forward for US efforts to limit carbon emissions and return the level of emissions to a lower plateau, the US House of Reps has passed a bill that mandates reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions from industry.


'A landmark climate bill - which would transform the way the nation uses energy by forcing refiners, power plants and other businesses to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions - passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday. H.R. 2454, the "American Clean Energy and Security Act," was approved by a vote of 219-212.


'Passage of the controversial bill hands President Barack Obama and Democrats a major victory on a cornerstone administration policy and gives Washington strong bargaining leverage ahead of international climate negotiations later this year.


It marked the first time the U.S. Congress has voted for mandatory reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions.


'Although the legislation was not nearly as stringent as they hoped, many of the major environmental groups applauded the bill. "It is the most important energy and climate legislation in the history of the nation," said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.


'The seven-vote margin underscored the challenges the bill will face in becoming law. While the battle in the House has been tough, the Senate is seen as an even bigger hurdle to passage. Many senators are worried their states will suffer disproportionately from increases in power prices.'


A professor replies, 24/6.


' IT is surprising to see the slow response of Climate Change Minister Penny Wong in fielding a team to counter the arguments assembled by Family First senator Steve Fielding's team of experts and presented on this page last week. At this stage we don't know whether the questions are too hard or she has opted for the regal approach of lofty silence. As a mere scientist, I'll join my colleague Neville Nicholls, whose letter was published in The Australian on Saturday, and step in where others have declined to tread'.


Read on here.


Steve Fielding's simple question, 22/6.


Henry repeats the question and adds some.


In conclusion, 'this line of thinking suggests the really scary possibility that natural forces are raising the global temperature, which itself is increasing greenhouse gas emissions that in turn are further raising the global temperature, except perhaps in the past decade or so because of some statistical aberration or exogenous influance.


'On behalf of readers, Henry requests from Australia's Chief Scientist an account of the facts and the hypotheses she works with that are about as simple as this.


'Greater complication is of course acceptable provided it is in simple language that the average reader/voter can understand'.

READERS' COMMENTS
 
Subject:
Posted by: Anonymous
Date: 2/9/2009
It matters nought what journalists, academics, business people (where's the herd going?) and others think of global warming.
For the politicians and ordinary people this issue will be sorted out in the anonymity of the polling booth. By then no-one will admit to wearing the flared pants of climate change/warming/cooling.

It is the scientists that count.
Be under no illusion. Reputations will be won and LOST on this issue.
The clear thinkers will triumph and they will know where the dead bodies of the gullible scientists are buried.
Subject: Population pressure to blame
Posted by: Anonymous
Date: 6/1/2010

The Climate Change debate should start and will finish with the world addressing the fact that since 1970 the Global population has doubled. You don’t have to believe in climate change or the easter bunny to recognize the inevitability of the population problem. A small part of me still wants to believe in the Easter Bunny.
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