10/12/2009 - 00:00

Hair’s breadth away from disaster

10/12/2009 - 00:00


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The delay of an ETS is good news for Australia.

LAST week, a long-standing reader of this column dispatched the following email to me.

“Here’s a practical way to understand Mr Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme,” he began.

“Imagine one kilometre of atmosphere and we want to get rid of the carbon pollution in it created by human activity.

“Let’s go for a walk along it.

“The first 770 metres are nitrogen.

“The next 210 metres are oxygen.

“That’s 980 metres of the one kilometre – 20 metres to go.

“The next 10 metres are water vapour – 10 metres left.

“Nine metres are argon – just one more metre.

“A few gases make up the first bit of that last metre.

“The last 38 centimetres of the kilometre – that’s carbon dioxide; a bit over one foot.

“Now, 97 per cent of that is produced by Mother Nature – it’s natural.

“Out of our journey of one kilometre, there are just 12 millimetres left – just over a centimetre – about half an inch. That’s the amount of carbon dioxide that global human activity puts into the atmosphere.

“And of those 12 millimetres Australia puts in 0.18 of a millimetre. Less than the thickness of a hair out of a kilometre.

“As a hair is to a kilometre, so is Australia’s contribution to what Mr Rudd calls ‘carbon pollution’.”

The reader then localised his comparison by highlighting a new structure in Brisbane, where Mr Rudd once reigned supreme as the top bureaucrat in the Wayne Goss Labor government, and now holds an inner city seat.

“Imagine Brisbane’s new Gateway Bridge, ready to be opened by Mr Rudd,” my contact continued.

“It’s been polished, painted and scrubbed by an army of workers till its one kilometre length is surgically clean.

“Except that Mr Rudd says we have a huge problem, the bridge is polluted; there’s a human hair on the roadway.

“We’d laugh ourselves silly.

“There are plenty of real pollution problems to worry about.

“It’s hard to imagine that Australia’s contribution to carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere is one of the more pressing ones.

“And I can’t believe that a new tax on everything is the only way to blow that pesky hair away.”

The letter certainly helps put the government’s intended carbon mega-tax-on-everything into context.

But there are more serious matters at play than the myopia of Australia’s ex-diplomat prime minister.

What only a few realised was that the standard-bearer organisation driving the worldwide push to combat carbon emissions, the United Nations-bankrolled Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has primarily been relying on its basic raw data of temperatures from three teams based at:

• the National Aeronautical Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, near New York’s Columbia University;

• the Exeter-based Hadley Climate Research Centre, which bills itself as: “the UK’s foremost climate change centre” and claims to: “Produce world-class guidance on the science of climate change and provide a focus in the UK for the scientific issues associated with climate change. Largely co-funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and Department of Energy and Climate Change, we provide in-depth information to, and advise, the government on climate change issues. As one of the world’s leading centres for climate change research, our scientists make significant contributions to peer-reviewed literature and to a variety of climate change reports, including the Assessment Report of the IPCC. Our climate projections were the basis for the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change”; and

• the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, near Norwich.

Now, it’s absolutely crucial for climate warming alarmists that inputs provided by those three taxpayer-funded agencies are like Caesar’s wife (above suspicion), since the IPCC’s resultant ongoing predictions and projections form the basis of the case advocated not only by Mr Rudd (and recently deposed opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull), but British PM Gordon Brown, President Barack Obama, and other ‘true believers’.

Unfortunately for them, and former US vice-president and eco-politician crusader, Al Gore, Britain’s Lord Nicholas Stern, and Australia’s Ross Garnaut, those inputs are now being scrutinised.

Either by accident or design, some 3,000 decade-old emails between strongly committed GISS, HCRC and CRU staffers have been leaked to the public.

Here’s a taste of the type of comments carried.

“The two ‘MMs’ have been after the CRU station data for years,” an email apparently written by director, Phil Jones, says.

“If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone …

“We also have a data protection Act, which I will hide behind.”

According to one report: “The ‘two MMs’ are almost certainly Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, two Canadians who have devoted years to seeking the raw data and codes used in climate graphs and models, then fact-checking the published conclusions – a painstaking task that strikes us as a public and scientific service.”

Incidentally, that’s far from the most embarrassing email.

But it gives an idea of the problems now facing those who have been feeding data to the IPCC upon which so many of the world’s top political leaders have based their beliefs that humanity faces being sizzled because of man-made carbon emissions.

Little wonder moves are afoot in the US for a full inquiry into how raw data was obtained, fashioned and presented by GISS.

Little wonder also that one-time Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, has launched a new think tank to challenge and scrutinise the global warming case, that’s rested upon data provided by GISS, HCRC and CRU.

At minimum, those within these three agencies must explain why secrecy surrounded the origin, magnitude and refinement of their measurements.

When announcing this move Lord Lawson said: “Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that:

“(a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend;

“(b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data;

“(c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and

“(d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals.

“There may be a perfectly innocent explanation. But what is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British government, but other countries, too, through the IPCC, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question.

“And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished.

“A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay.

“At the very least, open and reasoned debate on this issue cannot be anything but healthy.”

Perhaps Mr Rudd should call a double dissolution before any inquiry – British, American or UN – releases its findings now that the Liberal Party has pulled itself and Australia back from the brink of implementing an Emissions Trading Scheme, under which Canberra would gain power to disburse multi-billion dollar hand-outs to its favourites and supplicants.

More than scientific reputations are therefore now at stake.

The day is coming when WA Liberal MPs, Wilson Tuckey and Dennis Jensen, will be hailed as wise and prescient gentlemen.



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