Oz letter editor: disingenuous gatekeeper

Take today’s two on climate change. Such undistinguished and pathetic contributions to a pseudo-debate!

THE worldwide average temperature for 2009 was the warmest on record and 0.68C above the 20th century average ("Warming unmistakable — and worse here", 30/7).

But a more detailed reading of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate Report shows that the northern hemisphere made a significantly greater contribution to this figure.

The report also includes a section on greenhouse gases that acknowledges CO2 makes a contribution to the greenhouse effect, without qualifying the extent.

We should conclude that even though the world is warmer than the 20th century average, the rise is unlikely to be outside the normal range of variation over the long term.

It would be premature to attempt to reduce CO2 until a much clearer understanding of the other climate contributors are determined.

Peter Clark, Mount Gambier, SA

AS London diarist John Evelyn wrote during the winter of 1683-84 at the depth of the Little Ice Age: "Conditions were terrible with men and cattle perishing and the seas locked with ice such that no vessels could stir out or come in. The fowls fish and birds and exotic plants and greens were universally perishing. Food and fuel were exceptionally dear and coal smoke hung so thickly that one could scarcely see across the street and one could scarcely breathe".

Who in their right mind is decrying the progressive warming since the 17th century?

William Kininmonth, Kew, Vic

Take Bill first. Of course no-one is decrying the progressive warming since the 17th century. That is the strawest of straw men! I find it hard to believe such guff is worth printing. But I guess any crap he cares to write passes muster in The Oz, given his distinct lack of objectivity on the subject.

William Kininmonth is an Australian climate change skeptic. His only listed qualification is "Director of the Australasian Climate Research Institute" , but the Institute is listed as simply a trading name for "Kininmonth, William Robert", and is based at his private residence in Kew, Australia. It has no website, phone number or existence separate from Kininmonth.

He is listed as an "expert" on Kyoto issues at Envirotruth, was a member of Australia’s delegation to U.N. climate treaty negotiations, and until 1998 was head of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre for 12 years.

His recent book launch was organised by the Lavoisier Group and was chaired by Hugh Morgan, the President of the Business Council of Australia. John W Zillman, President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, launched the book, "Climate Change: A Natural Hazard?"critiquing some aspects of the book.

In a letter to to The Age newspaper, Kininmonth wrote that "Greenhouse gases emit more radiation than they absorb and their direct impact is to cool the atmosphere."

Now for Peter who, it seems, has managed to read all 224 pages of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate Report 2009 and come to the amazing conclusion that “the northern hemisphere made a significantly greater contribution.”  Wow! Nor does he mention that this is entirely consistent with global warming projections, as you may see from this video of a +4C  world.

What is clear from the rest of the letter is that he hasn’t paid serious attention to what climate scientists actually say, or to the relevant physics. At the risk of seeming repetitious:

If you want as objective an account of the science as seems reasonably possible view the lecture series by Professor Richard Muller of the University California, Berkeley.

That video "deals with the physics of climate change, the data on global temperature and carbon dioxide changes, and some potential solutions. Also covered are the many mistakes that can be made, including the trap of exaggeration. He warns against the danger of cherry picking and overstating the case. When people discover that the exaggerated case is not valid, they may dismiss the problem altogether. Professor Muller has researched this topic for many years and has co-authored a book with Gordon MacDonald called Ice Ages and Astronomical Causes.

If you care to read Climate Assessment for the Year 2009 PDF you can draw your own conclusions.

I am sick of suffering fools gladly on this topic. It is no longer debatable that there is a problem called anthropogenic global warming, even if there is a proper degree of uncertainty — around 10% — on the size of the problem. The real debate is about what best to do, and "nothing" is the worst answer.

I am reminded of Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS policy in South Africa, a tragic mix of postcolonial politics and pseudoscience. The only serious publication in Australia to carry a flag for that pseudoscience was Quadrant! Kind of figures, doesn’t it? See Three magazines and an amazing AIDS story…

8 thoughts on “Oz letter editor: disingenuous gatekeeper

  1. So, being that we’re not going to do anything about the climate, when are you thinking we’re all going to die? Al Gore suggested 2012. Is your armageddoninst theory different from his?

  2. No serious climate change scientist or sensible commentator suggests the world will end in 2012 as a result of anthropogenic global warming, so why on earth raise this absurd distraction?

    Because your case is weak, that’s why.

    One delusion people have about this issue is that Al Gore somehow invented AGW; he didn’t — he merely publicised and sometimes distorted the views of real scientists.

    The do nothing brigade are the ones to fear.

  3. It’s not a distraction, Neil. We, as a world body, are really not going to do anything about CO2 – this is fairly clear. My case is not weak. My case is over and we won. NOTHING is going to be done about the imaginary carbon problem.

    I’m just wondering that given this truth, when do you think the world is going to be destroyed by your deep belief that I consider to be imaginary?

    Certainly don’t answer if you don’t want to. It’s just that now that the battle’s over, I’m curious about the beliefs that led you here. When is mankind going to be terminated by AGW in your view? I’m very curious. Are you in panic mode, or is it just a vague unease? I don’t understand non-scientists who believe deeply in AGW, and your answer would help me.

    Selfish, I know. Still, I’d be grateful for an answer.

  4. You are totally deluded, Kevin. The case is not over and you haven’t won. All that has happened is that weak-kneed governments and squabbling economists have screwed us over in their confusion about how best to address the objective phenomenon of our contribution having accelerated climate change pretty much as Arrhenius foreshadowed in 1896, even if A was rather cheerful about it at the time.

    Who are these mysterious paymasters turning the world’s top scientists into glove puppets, Kevin? What is the motive of the paymasters? Is it the UN? Why would they want to do this? Or is there a secret cabal of “hippies” somewhere pulling the strings?

    Guess what, Kevin. Research scientists do get paid. By someone. Those not in thrall to corporations are probably more far likely to be disinterested (that means without axes to grind) than those who are — the tobacco industry has been an instructive case, and it is rather interesting that there are PR connections between those who pumped for that industry and those now spruiking so-called scepticism.

  5. Sadly, if there were no belief in AGW, there would be very little work for climatologists, so they are quite the opposite of ‘disinterested’. The only truly disinterested parties are the scientists paid by neither side of the issue, such as Watts, Morano, McIntyre, etc, and they all seem to be skeptical. There are plenty of non-scientists not being paid to have an opinion who are True Believers, but very few unpaid scientists are alarmists.

    Who are these mysterious paymasters turning the world’s top scientists into glove puppets, Kevin? What is the motive of the paymasters? Is it the UN? Why would they want to do this? Or is there a secret cabal of “hippies” somewhere pulling the strings?

    The whole point of the progressive movement (a group of which I fear you are a part) is fairness. Everyone should have the same amount of stuff or it’s not ‘fair’. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard they work – it’s just not fair for some people to have better or more stuff than others. And the way to make it fair is to tax the crap out of people who work hard, and spread that money around to people who don’t.

    That is the reason most governments support belief in AGW. They want to tax the crap out of us and spread it around. Let’s face it, wealth redistribution is a vote getter. That’s why every ‘solution’ to AGW the governments of the world come up with involve an increase in income for the government.

    The UN is the same. Don’t you remember they tried to get the nations of the world to commit ~7% of GDP to the UN to fight AGW and give money to poorer nations? It was only 4 or 5 years ago that they came up with that ‘solution’.

    That was the long answer to your questions. The short answer is ‘progressives’, or as I like to call them, ‘hippies’.

  6. Thanks for confirming that your objections to climate change science have nothing to do with science.

  7. Your very welcome. But truth be told, I have no objections to climate change science at all, scientifically or otherwise. I only object to the fact that climatologists don’t seem to practice it.

    Instead, all they seem to want to do is steal from the middle class and give (a pittance) to the poor and (a LOT) to the political class. Being that I’m an American and therefore firmly against classes, I find the whole non-scientific ordeal appalling.

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