August 18th 2012

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Articles from this issue:

DEFENCE OF MARRIAGE: Marriage, religious liberty and the 'grand bargain'

TASMANIA: Labor/Greens push for same-sex marriage

EDITORIAL: Olympic Games: end the hype and chauvinism

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Prime Minister Gillard seeks to make her mark on history

GLOBAL WARMING: Climate alarmism is alive and well

BANKING: Playing with someone else's money

EDUCATION: School learning dumped in favour of Google-and-tell

OPINION: Syria: Why are we encouraging chaos?

SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE: Media shrugs while Russian espionage flourishes

FOREIGN AID: When aid money means killing money

OBITUARY: A humble man with a large vision: Mark Posa (1927-2012)


CINEMA: 3D super-hero takes to the big screen

BOOK REVIEW An admirable spur to further thought

BOOK REVIEW The divorce that shook Europe

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Climate alarmism is alive and well

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, August 18, 2012

There has been no overall warming of the earth since the el Niño year of 1998, despite the predictions of computer models and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Nevertheless the global warming industry continues to pump out reports and statements warning of imminent environmental catastrophe.

In May, the federal government-funded climate commission, headed by Tim Flannery and Will Steffen, issued The Critical Decade, a report which attributed to global warming everything from droughts and bushfires to floods and coral bleaching.

The Acting Premier of New South Wales, Andrew Stoner, described the report’s observations about his state as “alarmist”. The report said that 2009 was the hottest year on record in NSW and the number of days reaching more than 35 degrees in Sydney was expected to triple by 2070.

Mr Stoner said, “I think most people… are sceptical about them. We have heard of all our dams drying up in the past. We’ve heard predictions of the central coast and other coastal parts of the state going under water, the polar ice-caps melting. I’m sorry, none of this has happened. As time goes on, I think these people’s credibility will be found wanting.”

Mr Stoner said predictions that NSW dams “would never be full again”, as forecast by Tim Flannery, had proved untrue.

“We’ve seen that much water gushing over the top of Warragamba [dam] over recent months it isn’t funny,” he said. (Sydney Morning Herald, May 15, 2012).

Not to be outdone, the so-called “godfather of climate change”, Dr James Hansen in the United States, has published a report in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences, which insists that heat waves currently in the United States, as well as earlier events in Russia in 2010 and in Western Europe in 2003, are evidence of human-induced global warming.

Not surprisingly, his report has been extensively covered in the US media. While global warming advocates have welcomed the report, others are sceptical. A study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that the Russian drought, which also led to devastating wildfires, was not related to global warming.

Science policy expert Roger Pielke Jr, of the University of Colorado, wrote in an email, “Hansen is pursuing a deeply flawed model of policy change, one that will prove ineffectual and with its most lasting consequence a further politicisation of climate science (if that is possible!).”

Dr Roy Spencer, who won a PhD in meteorology and is principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, wrote, “I know that many journalists who lived through the recent heat wave in the East think the event somehow validates global warming theory, but I’m sorry: it’s summer. Heat waves happen.

“Sure, many high temperature records were broken, but records are always being broken. And the strong thunderstorms that caused widespread power outages? Ditto.”

Commenting on the claim that “thousands” of temperature records had been broken, he said, “There are not that many high-quality weather observing stations that (1) operated since the record warm years in the 1930s, and (2) have not been influenced by urban heat-island effects, so it’s not at all obvious that the heat wave was unprecedented.

“Even if it was the worst in the last century for the Eastern US (before which we can’t really say anything), there is no way to know if it was mostly human-caused or natural, anyway.”

He added, “Certainly the US drought conditions cannot compare to the 1930s.”

Looking at temperatures across the United States, he said that average temperatures were about 1°C warmer than the average for the previous 40 years, but there had been a number of years when temperatures were even higher.

He added, “I really tire of the media frenzy which occurs when disaster strikes.… I’ve stopped answering media inquiries. Mother Nature is dangerous, folks. And with the internet and cell phones, now every time there is a severe weather event, everyone in the world knows about it within the hour. In the 1800s, it might be months before one part of the country found out about disaster in another part of the country.”

Dr Spencer regularly publishes the global satellite temperature data, which has been gathered since the late 1970s, and is regarded as more reliable than ground-station data, which suffers from the fact that there are no recording stations over most of the earth’s surface, which is covered by water.

His latest figures show that in June the earth’s temperature was less than half a degree above the average for the previous 30 years. The data shows strong swings above and below the average, so it is very difficult to draw definite conclusions as to the cause, although there is a small upward trend over that period.

Claims that it is caused by human activity, rather than naturally-occurring phenomena — such as the periodic el Niño-la Niña phenomena, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, ocean currents, the earth’s trajectory around the sun or solar activity — are unproven. 

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