Bolt, Abbott distort climate science

Andrew Bolt

Love Andrew Bolt or loathe him, you’ve got to admit the right-wing Herald Sun columnist and radio shock jock is a master of the ambush interview.

Add in Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott’s slipperiness with any kind of truth — scientific, political or otherwise — and you have a media product so toxic it deserves to be trucked off for incineration by people in respirator suits.

Unfortunately, that’s the product that was all over the talkback airwaves and parliamentary reports for several days at the end of March.

Significant numbers of Australians will now be convinced that according to the federal government’s chief climate commissioner, Professor Tim Flannery, nothing that we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will make any difference to the climate for a thousand years.

That assertion is rubbish and Flannery never made it. But such details don’t bother the right-wing climate deniers.

Interviewing Flannery on Melbourne Talk Radio on March 25, Bolt asked: “How much will it cost to cut our emissions by the government’s target of 5% by 2020 and how much will world temperatures fall by as a consequence? What will that lower the world’s temperatures by?”

Here, Flannery should have slammed Bolt for putting a false question designed to confuse the dialogue and mislead listeners.

Cutting emissions won’t, as it happens, reduce temperatures on any time-scale to affect people alive today. But not cutting emissions will bring temperature rises that ravage the environment and threaten the very basis of civilisation — all within our children’s lifetimes.

As Bolt clearly knew, scientists have concluded that global warming works like a ratchet mechanism: once average global temperatures go up, they stay up. This effect was reported in a 2009 paper by a team under the leadership of eminent US atmospheric chemist Susan Solomon.

Global warming, the paper states, is largely irreversible for 1000 years after emissions stop. The effect of ending emissions “is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1000 years”.

These findings shocked serious followers of humanity’s climate dilemma. Global warming, it is now clear, cannot be dealt with using a strategy that tolerates medium-term temperature rises while gradually reducing emissions in order to bring temperatures down again towards the end of the century — hopefully, before the environment suffered irreversible harm.

The only course, scientists have realised, is to limit temperature rises in the first place, by drastically reducing emissions over the next few decades.

This challenging message, though, was lost on Bolt, who only saw a chance for a media mugging.

Flannery blundered into the trap. “If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow,” he responded to Bolt’s question, “the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as 1000 years, because the system is overburdened with CO2.”

Bolt then had little trouble cutting off further explanation.

In a letter published in The Australian on March 28, Flannery tried to repair the damage. Unless major emitters decarbonised, he explained, humanity would “likely see temperatures rising by 4 C° towards the end of the century and it will still be going up at 2100.”

But it was too late. Another climate myth had taken wing.

Enter Abbott. As reported on the Crikey blog on March 29, the opposition leader quoted Flannery to parliament while ridiculing “the ultimate millennium bug”.

”It will not make a difference for a thousand years,” Abbott said. “So this is a government which is proposing to put at risk our manufacturing industry, to penalise struggling families, to make a tough situation worse for millions of households right around Australia. And for what? To make not a scrap of difference to the environment any time in the next 1000 years.”

We should not doubt both Bolt and Abbott know the key facts of climate science. To have set Flannery up, Bolt would need to have read at least a summary of Solomon’s paper.

One wonders if he read the lines that warn of the consequences of atmospheric greenhouse gas levels predicted for mid-century if concerted action is not taken: “…irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the ‘dust bowl’ era and inexorable sea level rise.”

Abbott’s offence is worse: not just media manipulation, but shameless dishonesty and blatant self-contradiction. Why does he plug his “direct action” emissions-cutting hoax, if he thinks cuts will “make not a scrap of difference” until the remote future?

Anyone like to vote for a bare-faced liar who preaches inaction in the face of dangers that threaten to kill off most of humanity? That’s what the Liberal Party has on offer.


Why does he plug his “direct action” emissions-cutting hoax, if he thinks cuts will “make not a scrap of difference” until the remote future? Good question. He's obviously pandering to followers with a touch of Green lunacy, as well as enticing some warmists who are fed up with Gillard, yet too scared of the consequences of voting Green. I'd hold him in higher regard if he ditched his direct action pitch. Anyone like to vote for a bare-faced liar who preaches inaction in the face of dangers that threaten to kill off most of humanity? That’s what the Liberal Party has on offer. Last week's Newspoll (55-45 to Coalition) begs to differ with your belief that Abbott & Co are unelectable. "Kill off most of humanity" says the socialist? What the? ROFL with steroids. Or there's the alternative (as chosen by Green leader Brown) of siding with the vacillating airhead; "yes we should fight carbon dioxide", "no Kevin, we must ditch the carbon dioxide tax", "no, there'll be no carbon dioxide tax on my watch", "yes we have to do it for prosperity's sake" (for goodness sake!). It's just a carbon dioxide illusion we can't afford says one professor. Or on a less scholarly note, see Kevin11 Live at the Hyperbowl - gzg
It is very neat that the AGW fanatics, like this author, can categorically state that unless we follow their instructions for the next 100 years we will be responsible for destroying the planet for the next thousand. Balderdash! This is all conjecture and they want us to destroy civilization in order to save it. Reminds me of Bush here in the US, who had to destroy capitalism in order to save it. Sometimes, and this is one of those cases, the cure is worse than the disease. Finally, Mother Nature is much better at destroying the planet than we will ever be. A new book is coming out, Cold Sun, that very convincingly states that the Sun and Earths's orbit have much more influence on CLIMATE CHANGE than humanity ever will (Duh). Watch for it.
Who are, "climate deniers?" Who denies climate? It's high time alarmists stopped calling people who're sceptical of a future catastrophe being caused by human emissions, deniers, we don't deny anything.
I always enjoy Tony Abbott's professed positions on the world. He believes in something for which there is absolutely no evidence and uses that "belief" to advantage and to provide cover for his brutal politics. I refer here, of course, to Abbott's belief in "god". However, give Tony thousands of the most respected scientists (peer-reviewed, naturally) saying that human activity is contributing to a process of catastrophic climate change, for which there is literally tens of thousands of individual, independent, corroborative studies, conducted over a period of decades and good 'ol "I'm a Rhode Scholar" Tony holds up a greasy palm and says "Nup, no way, there's no evidence whatsoever - I don't believe it." Well, Tony and whoever penned the above comment, fortunately for the world at large scientific evidence doesn't give a hoot what you do or do not "believe". Scientific evidence simply exists. Empirical data that is collected and measured over time provides us with information. That information can either be used or ignored, but it is a fact, a reality. No one makes it up. And, to emphasise the point in case some people don't "believe" what I've written here and thus miss the point entirely - climate change is a fact. It has been measured by thousands of different, independent individuals and organisations for well over a century. It means absolutely nothing whether you "believe" it or not. It exists. It's amazing the way peoples' lives are daily surrounded by implements and machines that work because of what science has brought into the field of human knowledge without ever thinking to question them. But climate change - "I don't believe it!" haha
Wow, that sounds like a really excellent super terrific book. I presume it will debut in the children's fiction section at Duh library (get it! that was a joke hohoho). So, let me get this straight; untold thousands of scientists, organisations and institutes have gathered data from around the world for many decades and based on that data they posit that burning of fossil fuels is contributing to climate change. And then this one person, who we don't even get a name for, puts out a book (that's one whole book) saying that Jupiter's hyper-force power-stream integallactically inverts the gravity of Mars that actually heats the earth... - I thought school was compulsory in this country - ? And by that argument people are meant to be somehow convinced or swayed? Wow. That's, well, it's out of this world (Duh, get it, another joke hohoho).
"we don't deny anything." Except, as the article clearly states, the scientific fact that humanity's use of fuels that produce carbon dioxide is leading the planet to a climate that would mean catastrophe for the majority of the world's species. This is what you deny and why we call you deniers. Care to cite some credible sources that say this isn't a fact an you'll not be a denier. Otherwise, you're just telling all those scientists "LA LA LA, I'M NOT LISTENING!"
You're denying the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the notion that humans have a very real impact on changing our climate to its detriment, and to the consequence of moving toward an uninhabitable planet. And, if it truly is "high time" those who deny the human impact on our changing climate stop being called 'deniers', perhaps it too is "high time" that you quit using the term 'alarmists'.
I'm sure even you are capable of understanding that your statement, "destroy civilization in order to save it", makes absolutely no sense. While we're giving out book recommendations, I'd suggest you take a look at one titled A Blueprint for a Safer Planet by Nicholas Stern, a British economist. When the economists agree with the environmentalists, and you disagree with both, perhaps you need to reassess whether your position really has any validity.
. While Strangelovian global warming deniers scream about science "proof", evidence continues to mount for global warming and its effects. Many of these fools seem to think that "proof" like a logical, mathematical equation can be found for complex ecological and biological sciences. We have a mountain of evidence and its stupid to ignore evidence, but they do because they are only interested in "proof". I find very few global warming deniers ever make much scientific sense on the greenhouse effect itself, they just talk about other peripherally related phenomena like Milankovitch cycles and sunspot activity. But which part of the greenhouse effect and it's impacts do they actually disagree with? Try and get a sensible or consistent answer on that! Do they disagree that there is a greenhouse effect? That gases such as CO2 contribute to it? Do they simply disagree with the scientists over the amount of climate forcing that a given increase in atmospheric CO2 will cause? Do they even know how much warming is caused (without any additional forcings) by the current or projected increases in atmospheric CO2 (over pre-industrial levels)? Do they even understand the chemistry of burning a tonne of coal or oil and how that transfers sequestered carbon from its inert subterranean rest into a greenhouse gas? The greenhouse effect deniers are, as the popular book puts it, "merchants of doubt". This is the method: throw any amount of doubt into the discussion, hope you will dissuade a few people from trying to understand or face global warming, it doesn't matter if you chuck in any old lie or barely relevant weather phenomenon or meaningless anecdotes, as long as you sow seeds of doubt among those not convinced. It's a political ruse that supports the fossil fuel industries' needs, it has nothing to do with science in the final analysis. Ben Courtice
Hey I thought scaring the pants off of people by threatening them with things that cannot possibly be proven within a lifetime was the modus operandi of religion - now it appears that it is being used by those with a Green bent. If the carbon tax is so popular - lets take it to an election. Clearly a vote for Labor and the Greens is now a vote for a carbon tax and therefore every voter will be fully in the picture now from their actions rather than their words.
Sorry dude, I know you don't like the term, but it fits. You certainly are not skeptics, who base their skepticism on the established scientific facts. So you must be deniers.