April 12th 2014

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Global warming to hit the latté set: IPCC

SCIENCE: Global cooling means the party's over

CLIMATE CHANGE: We are on the edge of the abyss

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Racial discrimination amendments rule out hate speech

OPINION: Claims of racism more damaging than the real thing

CINEMA: Christian critics pan the movie Noah

CANBERRA OBSERVED: MH370 disaster highlights maritime surveillance weaknesses

ENERGY: NSW farmers win breakthrough on gas exploration

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Why economists failed to predict 2007/08 meltdown

NATION-BUILDING: You say you want a revolution?

HUMAN RIGHTS: Andrew Forrest backs bid to stamp out slavery

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: China trade roils Taiwanese students

LIFE ISSUES: A poor prognosis is not an argument for euthanasia


CULTURE: The Case of Mr Sherlock Holmes

BOOK REVIEW: Taking God to School, by Marion Maddox

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Global warming to hit the latté set: IPCC

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, April 12, 2014

It is a sign of how far the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has retreated from its predictions of imminent environmental catastrophe that its latest report claims that “climate change” — no longer referred to as global warming, but that is what they mean — will hurt the latté set by cutting production of coffee around the world, and forcing up prices.

The Melbourne Age was so impressed by this alleged fact that they featured it on pages 2 and 3 of the newspaper, apparently oblivious of the reality that it is simply untrue.

A search of the website of the International Coffee Organisation (www.ico.org) shows that, over the past five years, coffee production from its 39 member-countries has increased in four years out of five. This is a remarkable fact in light of the susceptibility of coffee to unseasonal growing conditions such as frost which have nothing to do with global warming. Over the same period, production increased by 14 per cent.

So the latté set has nothing to fear from global warming (aka “climate change”).

On the broader issue of whether rising temperatures are causing crop yields to fall, the noted American meteorologist, Dr Roy Spencer, recently charted the yield (tonnes per hectare) of three major agricultural commodities over the 50 year period, 1960-2011, using figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He also plotted average global temperatures, as best we can estimate them, for the same period.

Dr Spencer’s chart shows that, over the period, yields for corn, wheat and soy beans have risen steadily, no doubt due to improved plant varieties, better production techniques and — dare we say it? — increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. And increased yield has been accompanied by increased area being cropped, leading again to higher output (and lower food prices).

Equally interesting is the fact that there is no discernible correlation between temperatures, which go up and down over the period, and food yields for any of the commodities — blowing a large hole in the IPCC report.

The latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers, released on March 31, is a 44-page document, which claims to be an objective assessment of climate science today, and how climate change will impact on national and international policy. The full report contains 40 chapters and extends to thousands of pages.

In the 44-page Summary, it is a mark of its content that the phrase “climate change” appears 107 times in the report, while “global warming” appears not once.

This is a clear response to the fact that there has been no measurable warming in the past 16 years. To get around this inconvenient truth, the latest report suggests that we have to look at the impact of climate change over the next 80 to 100 years, a clear difference from earlier reports.

Is it a surprise that this time-scale will ensure that none of today’s scientists will ever be held to account for their predictions?

The advantage in using the term “climate change” over global warming is that any extreme weather event can be blamed on climate change, and no one can prove otherwise, whereas the assertion that the world is warming must be backed up with facts.

The report recites a catalogue of extreme weather events — cyclones, droughts, floods, snow-storms, extremes of hot and cold temperatures — with the repeated claim that these are evidence of climate change.

In fact, they are no such thing. The increased awareness of extreme weather events and other natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, is due to improved communication, instant global TV and the internet.

Dr Spencer, a meteorologist employed by various U.S. government agencies, has acquired an international reputation and numerous awards for his work in measuring average global temperatures from satellite data.

He has shown that, over the past 110 years for which good data is available, there has been no increase in average temperatures in the U.S. corn belt, although 42 climate models predicted a 2ºC temperature rise in the same area over that period.

Commenting on the IPCC report, he highlighted the fact that the IPCC Report refers continually to the “risk” of human-induced climate change — with the implication of dangerous outcomes — rather than the more neutral word “probability”.

He explained: “When it comes to climate change, there is no demonstrated causal connection between an extra CO2 molecule per 10,000 molecules of air, and any resulting observed change in weather or climate.

“There are theories of how the former might impact the latter. But that’s all.

“You cannot use the term ‘risk’ to describe these theoretical possibilities.

“The fact that the IPCC has chosen to do so further demonstrates it is an organisation that was political in its intended purpose, with the ultimate mission of regulating CO2 emissions, and operates within an echo chamber of like-minded individuals who are chosen based upon their political support of the IPCC’s goals.”

Peter Westmore is national president of the National Civic Council.

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