Mar 27, 2015

Don’t let climate change hysteria damage the economy | The Australian

“In all the talk about climate change, one compelling fact is often overlooked,” Australian Conservation Foundation president Geoff Cousins writes. “Just a handful of companies are responsible for nearly one-third of our nation’s greenhouse pollution through their production and consumption of energy.”
Man-made “carbon pollution” has become the shorthand rallying cry that unites global warming believers. The notion is a figment. It is made up. It is rooted in anti-capitalist, anti-growth green ideology that, for too long, has been bullied into our consciousness as science. It is shielded by censorship and falsely cloaked in the authority and respectability of science. But the hypothesis that supports it is collapsing.
Six months into his role at the ACF, Cousins wants to make his mark as an advocate for the cause. His constituents expect it. After all, the December climate conference in Paris is approaching and global warming hysteria has to be ramped up to preserve the endless flow of dollars that sustains it. Nothing must be allowed to rain on that parade.
But no matter how many times Cousins recites his political mantra, carbon dioxide will remain colourless, odourless and a non-pollutant. To quote Massachusetts Institute of Technology emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences Richard Lindzen: “We are demonising a chemical, a molecule essential to life.” Indeed; a molecule that, throughout Earth’s history, has fluctuated in its concentration. Higher temperatures have coexisted with lower CO2 levels than today, and the world has been colder at higher concentrations. There is no reliable correlation between temperatures on Earth’s surface and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Cousins also repeats that other old chestnut: “Already pollution is leading to more frequent and more intense droughts, bushfires, heatwaves and other extreme weather. Hot days have doubled in Australia in the past 50 years.” But what does he mean by hot days? How do the past 50 years compare to the 50 years before 1910, the convenient start date the Bureau of Meteorology adopts to avoid the extreme heat of the Federation Drought years?
Is he taking his drought trends from the same BoM source that maintains drought increased in the seven areas researched, even though an independent expert review of the data showed a declining trend in five of the seven? Is it the same BoM source that asserted Queensland was suffering the worst drought in 80 years when its own website declared it was the worst in nine? And what about James Cook University’s Jon Nott, who found Queensland is experiencing fewer cyclones than at any time in the past 500 years?
Should Cousins wish to look further afield, no point looking to the US for support because, for the first time since 1969, there have been no tornadoes reported in March, usually a big month for severe weather. What’s more the US has experienced fewer tornadoes in the past three years than any similar span since accurate records began in the 1950s.
The absence of any solid scientific evidence to connect extreme weather events to human activity has required the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to reluctantly concede no correlation exists. This hasn’t stopped Cousins perpetuating that myth or naming, shaming and blaming respectable companies.
“We must consider,” writes Cousins, “how to start retiring the most polluting and outdated coal plants and replacing them with clean energy.” He must be aware of the job losses this would cause. The economics on that is settled. The renewable energy obsession has come at a cost to growth and employment, especially in South Australia, California, Ontario, Britain and Europe.
In partial capitulation, from 2017 the EU will become technology agnostic and feed-in-tariffs will be phased out. While Cousins is urging us to dump coal, Europe is providing payments to make sure coal-fired power stations stay online. In fact, the EU’s package being worked up for Paris will not specifically target coal. No wonder the Financial Times referred to renewables as a fad. But it is a fad with consequences.
Lindzen says: “World leaders are embarking on costly policies that have no capacity to replace fossil fuels but enrich crony capitalists at public expense, increasing costs for all and restricting access to energy to the world’s poorest populations that still lack access to electricity’s benefits.”
Cambridge University’s Prince Philip professor of technology Michael Kelly reckons: “The project to solve ‘the climate change problem’ is a modern version of the biblical Tower of Babel. We do not know how much it will cost, when it will be completed nor what success will look like.” Only someone who controls other people’s money could sign up for something so ethereal. Only those who have lost touch with reality, or have some ulterior motive, could embark on a project so reckless.
Whatever the ACF’s motives, advocating policies that will destroy jobs and growth cannot be condoned. That includes campaigning against reductions in the renewable energy target when it is causing energy-intensive industries to close.
For more than 17 years satellites have recorded an unexplained hiatus in global tem­peratures. We don’t know whether the future direction will be down or up. Yet Paris delegates will proceed as if they do. Sanctions may even be recommended against countries deemed non-compliant. Better for Australia to await that outcome than impose unnecessary burdens on an economy struggling for growth.

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