tip off

At risk of banging on about this, we’re all going to die

Abstract of a paper delivered by Clive Hamilton to the Royal Society of the Arts last night in Sydney:

Recent analysis of carbon budgets shows that the timing and scale of emission reductions needed to avert dangerous climate change are well beyond any national policy proposals or anticipated international agreement.

There have been two alarming developments in recent years. First, climate scientists are reporting that the scale of damages associated with warming of 2°C is much worse than previously believed, suggesting that more stringent emission cuts are essential.

Secondly, global growth in greenhouse gas emissions is much higher than anticipated a few years ago and the world is now on a warming path that is worse than the worst-case scenario. Rather than decarbonising, the world is carbonising at an unprecedented rate.

Analysis reviewed in this paper shows that, under the most optimistic assumptions about the timing and extent of global greenhouse gas emission reductions, cumulative emissions over the next few decades will result in atmospheric concentrations reaching 650 ppm of CO2-e, associated with warming of 4°C or more before the end of the century, a temperature not seen on Earth for 15 million years.

It now seems almost certain that, if it has not occurred already, within the next several years enough warming will be locked into the system to set in train positive feedback processes that will overwhelm any attempts to cut back on carbon emissions. Humans will be powerless to stop the shift to a new climate on Earth, one much less sympathetic to life.

Read the full paper here.

  • 1
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Clive’s paper is based on the most up-to-date climate science, reported recently in Oxford meeting of leading climate scientists (28-30 October, 09).

    A summary is appended below:


    Life on Earth depends on a delicate balance between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. The atmosphere acts like the “lungs” of the biosphere, while the ocean currents act as its “vein system”, modulating temperatures around the globe. Changes to the chemistry of the atmosphere, including greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, nitric oxides, ozone) and aerosols (mainly sulphur dioxide) through Earth’s history resulted in climate shifts between greenhouse states and glacial/interglacial states. Such changes were triggered by orbital shifts, solar cycles, volcanic events, asteroid impacts, release of methane from sediments and, on longer time scales, the distribution of oceans, continents and mountain ranges.

    Sharp decline in CO2 34 million years ago and 15 million years ago to below 500 ppm has resulted in the development of the Antarctic ice sheet. About 2.8 million years ago a further decline in CO2 resulted in formation of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic Sea ice. The current runaway climate change is a direct result of human emissions and land clearing. The emission of more than 320 billion tons of carbon (over 50% the original atmospheric inventory) since 1750 raised CO2 levels from 280 to 388 ppm, or 460 ppm CO2-equivalent (a value including the effect of methane).

    Acceleration of climate change since the mid-1970s is leading toward a global temperature rise of +1.5oC above pre-industrial time, once the masking effects of sulphur aerosols are removed. The polar regions have already warmed by up to 4oC. This results in carbon cycle and ice/water melt feedback processes, with consequent (A) extreme rates of polar ice melting, including the Arctic Sea, Greenland, West and East Antarctica, which threatens accelerated sea level rise above the current rate of 0.35 cm/year; (B) a progressive shift of climate zones toward the poles, which extend the tropics, as indicated by intensified cyclones and floods, and enlarging desert regions as manifested by extreme droughts and fires. Given lag effects, looming threats include (1) ocean acidification, collapse of coral reefs and the marine food chain; (2) mountain snow and glacier melt and availability of freshwater; (3) destruction of native habitats, i.e. the Amazon; (4) ozone depletion; (5) atmospheric aerosol loading and (6) chemical pollution by metals, plastics, radioactive nuclei.

    The consequences for human habitats include loss of arable land, fresh water supplies and extreme weather events. The loss of Himalayan snow and thereby decreased river flow, coupled with a failure of the monsoon and sea level rise, threatens more than one billion people in south and south-eastern Asia. As the polar regions warm, a release of methane from the many hundreds of billions of tons of carbon stored in permafrost and shallow lakes and seas, is imminent.

    In the view of leading climate scientists there is no alternative to attempts at reducing atmospheric CO2 levels to below 350 ppm as soon as possible. What is urgently required is a combination of (A) urgent deep cuts in carbon emissions; (B) fast-track development of clean renewable energy systems; (C) an intensive global reforestation campaign; (D) application of a range of CO2 draw-down sequestration measures, including world-wide replantation and reforestation campaigns and chemical capture methods, solar-powered desalination plants, and long-range channel and pipe water transport systems.

    Recent references

    Schellnhuber, Oxford meeting, 28-30.10.09 http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php
    British Antarctic Survey http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=989 NASA/GISS). http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
    Copenhagen Synthesis Report http://www.anu.edu.au/climatechange/content/news/copenhagen-synthesis-report-released-today/
    Hansen et al. 2008. Target CO2: Where Should humanity aim? http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf
    Lenton et al., 2008. Tipping points in the Earth climate system. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204172224.htm
    Reports by NASA/GISS, Hadley_Met, Potsdam Ocean Institute, NSIDC, CSIRO, BOM.

    Andrew Glikson
    Earth and paleoclimate scientist
    22 October, 2009

  • 2
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Of course we are all going to die. Death is 100% certain. But people will die in such ways as cancer, heart attacks, accident or old age . Not of climate change.
    Please Clive, no more.

  • 3
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink


    The Oxford conference took place on the 28-30 September, 09.

  • 4
    D. John Hunwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    At last some one is getting really close to telling it how it is going to be!! Working with and understanding nature (ecology) brings with it the understanding that it is human arrogance to believe that we really understand nature at all - we can’t. What we have learned is that at some point (recognisable only in hindsight) we have gone too far and nature has reacted in a quite unpredictable way. It is recognised only after the event - on one can predict it in advance. What will be the first catastrophe of cataclysmic magnitude from climate change may well be in the pipeline. It wouldn’t matter that much - humans have got through extreme events (even world wars) BUT this time what is at stake is life on earth as we know it. Cost of action is not the issue. Cost of inaction is. Climate change is occurring now - it WILL affect our children let alone our grandchildren. The window of opportunity to take effective action is rapdly closing - have our political systems the ability to act decisively? The present debate about emissions trading in Australia says (see Crikey 21/10/09) we haven’t a chance in hell. If we can’t afford to stop mining coal then the earth can no longer afford to keep us on it in the way in which we have become accustomed. Thanks Clive for making it so starkly clear.

  • 5
    Jenny Ejlak
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Without needing to know the specifics of the science, I was convinced decades ago that the damage humans were doing to the earth would ultimately lead to our own untimely demise as a species. Long before it was trendy to be an environmentalist I was pleading with people to consume less, reduce waste, conserve energy etc etc and was laughed at. As soon as Al Gore and his doco made it fashionable to be green people were telling me off for leaving a lightbulb on for five seconds longer than needed - but I digress into gripehood.

    The point is, I saw Crikey’s “oh shit moment” blog, pondered it, and I realised I really didn’t have an “oh shit” moment, more a longer realisation that our global capitalist economy would never put people or planet ahead of profit. So increasing evidence that its all too little too late comes as no surprise to me. I never expected anything different. Pessimistic, I know – but realistic I am sure. So while I support doing what we can to mitigate the effects of climate change, I think our main priority should be reducing the global population – one of the main causes of the problem and those (this and the next generation/s) who will suffer the most.

  • 6
    Clive Hamilton
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Well Scott, if you are not ready to handle the truth just stop reading.

  • 7
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Truth is a very fluid concept, Clive. As a philosopher, I would expect you to know that.
    Was it truth when people believed the world was flat?

  • 8
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Wanker is also a fluid concept.

  • 9
    michael james
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The earth has been both warmer and colder in the past, and humans adapted then.

    Humans will adapt to these changes, we will not die out.

    There may be major changes to climatic patterns, to population numbers and the locations where people live, but people will adapt.

    The issue is the lifestyle adopted by the planets inhabitants in the future to deal with the changes.

    For example, hotter weather will make some areas neither particularly arable nor habitable, however it will make other areas currently less suitable for cultivation more fertile (Siberia, Northern Europe, Northern Canada, etc).

    After all, the Middle Ages went through a significant warming period (Grapes grown in England, etc) and again even earlier (Greenland was called that by the Vikings because it was covered with trees), and humans did not die off.

    Rather they adapted, those who did not were overtaken by those who did.

    The same is likely to happen here.

  • 10
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Bit harsh, Evan….Though reading my last comment, it was a little rude to Clive. Apologies

  • 11
    Michael Wilbur-Ham
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Having read the Clive’s full paper, and thought about it for a while, I’m still feeling stunned.

    Further research and analysis may change a detail or two. But all that matters is the big picture, and this is not nice

    So now I’m back to the discussion raised by Clive’s previous article on Crikey - how to handle this reality.

    For me the moral thing to do is to put effort into changing Australia’s (in)action on climate change to something significant enough to show future generations that at least we tried.

    If you found yourself in a situation where you knew you could get away with some rape and pillage, and others were doing so, what would you do?

    Many people would do the moral thing and not rape and pillage. Unfortunately we know that some would do otherwise.

    Accepting the consequences of taking real action on climate change is to me the moral thing to do.

    What I find very sad is that it seems that most of us are happy to rape and pillage the planet.

  • 12
    Pete WN
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Clive.

    While I wish it wasn’t necessary, I’m at least glad the increasing sense of desperation is being properly reflected somewhere. You get the feeling that one way or another, we’re headed for conflict. Either on the lack of genuine action, or - following lack of action - on the scraps of whats left.

  • 13
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Evan Beaver:

    completely off topic……very droll indeed…..I know I be using your quote

  • 14
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Michael James:

    The Medieval Warm Period saw mean global temeprature rises on the order of a fraction of one degree C, well within the tolerance range of the Holocene interglacial.

    By contrast current climate change is projected to several degrees C through the 21st century.

  • 15
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    More British AGW crap. Assuming AGW correct: Australia’s response is pathetic; America won’t have one; China, India and Russia are merely humoring the world push. The Poms and Clive are spinning out in desperation, and the “science” is getting increasingly shrill the closer we get to a failure at Copenhagen.

    Dear Jenny hit the nail on the head: how many people do you think we should kill? (MW-H hinted this morning the world would be a simpler hotter place without the skeptics, so once you decide how many, Jenny, he may save you from any agonising over who they should be.)

  • 16
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    LOL Evan Beaver! and now for somehing more serious …. OH SHIT

  • 17
    Michael Wilbur-Ham
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    ROBERT BARWICH - Please do not misrepresent my views. You know perfectly well that I have never said anything that suggests killing people.

    I did suggest that if scientist were not allowed to say anything that was not supported by the evidence, AND THE SAME APPLIED TO THE SKEPTICS, then the discussion would be much simpler.

    I’m also confused by your posting. As you say, assuming AGW is correct, the responses are pathetic. That is what Clive said.

    Assuming that AGW is correct also means accepting that the consequences are horrendous, and so does it not make sense that those who think this is true are rather upset?

    Of course the idea that AGW is still a British conspiracy is rather insulting to all the other scientists (including those in the USA under Bush) who have done independent research to prove or disprove climate change. Again, as Clive says, the evidence is coming in from all around the world that it is true.

  • 18
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Also at the risk of banging on, can I point out yet again that regional effects like the thinning of Arctic ice that AGW proponents such as Clive claim to be unprecendented have happened before? See: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/26/ice-at-the-north-pole-in-1958-not-so-thick/. There are other examples of this at Anthony Watts’ quality site. What is hard to find are uncontestable demonstrations of a causal link with increasing CO2.

  • 19
    Nanette Kerrison
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Clive, for such a clear paper.
    In the current broad climate debate/weirdness, I am frustrated at the lack of concrete examples given by those with the knowledge. The lack of concreteness has facilitated the ease of denial by, well, everyone with any power. I totally respect that this has been because there is so much uncertainty about what will happen, and good science is about accuracy. Unfortunately that caution has played into the hands of, well, everyone with any power.

    Would it be possible for these scientist groups to come up with some basic concrete examples such as: “In summer in Sydney most days will be between p degrees and q degrees” or “If sea levels rise by x metres, all real estate within x metres of the NSW coast will be underwater and thus worthless”. “When the summer average reaches N degrees in Griffith, growth of x y and z foodstuffs will be impossible”. Such simple baseline scenarios would be much harder to justify ignoring.

    I also wonder whether similar specificity about what is required in terms of personal sacrifice would also be helpful. I’d like to hear more in this debate about the elements of a no Carbon (or carbon capturing) life style. Specifics might include the reduced availability of beef and lamb and petrol costing $x per litre.

    The Government should really be taking a lead role in this, and their failure has placed an enormous onus on the scientists to communicate the level of seriousness of the situation.

  • 20
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    MW-H: “Assuming”, as in, hypothetically speaking. AGW is rubbish, but if it was true, the official response is pathetic. A lot of sincere greenies are being used by a financial-political nexus to kickstart a financial trading system that will do nothing to the climate, but make a lot of money for speculators. If Rudd/Wong actually believed the garbage they spout, they would turn heaven and earth to stop it, not launder coal. You are all being had.

  • 21
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink


    Remind us again what your qualifications are to speak on this topic.

    You are as bad as Gordon “50 days” Brown.

    …Humans will be powerless to stop the shift to a new climate on Earth, one much less sympathetic to life…”

    Oh tragedy, oh woe.

    This shrill doomsday rhetoric is just what is need to galvanise the population into further ignoring you and your fellow travellers.

    But I expect the wailing to increase in intensity as you approach your cub reporter jaunt to Carping-hagen.

    Cycling there I hope?

  • 22
    Michael Rynn
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    There is no need to kill people. As AGW progresses, we progress to the worst political scenarios. That is “fortress world”. As local resources fail overpopulated areas, there will initially be plenty of people and groups around to kill each other for resources to survive on. National unities and empires will fail. Water will fail with monsoon failures, drought, higher evaporation, disappearance of glaciers. Agricultural areas will turn to dust. Unfortunately the demise of human civilizations and the large number of deaths to happen in the next century will not reverse gradual onslaught of warming. The warming process will continue until long after we are all gone, so that Gaia can ensure our kind of behavior does not recur again, if ever she recovers.

  • 23
    Roger Clifton
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Mobilise !

    In 1941, Pres Roosevelt could see that the world was going to pot unless the United States mobilised. However public opinion, much as now, was aware of but not alarmed by the crisis.

    The attack on Pearl Harbor galvanised public opinion, allowing him to declare that they were at war. The subsequent mobilisation of the American industrial machine included the mass production of the Liberty Ships . These 10,000 ton ships were launched at a rate of two a day, for more than three years.

    It would be naive to believe other than the mass production of the Liberty Ships had been planned well before Pearl Harbor.

    Referenced to today’s situation, our world leaders have yet to have their Pearl Harbor. However, we do already have the basic international agreement for the mass production of nuclear reactors, in the GNEP.

    Despite the belief of some to the contrary, there is an indefinite amount of uranium and thorium to fuel them.

  • 24
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Poor Gaia.

  • 25
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    …The Medieval Warm Period saw mean global temeprature rises on the order of a fraction of one degree C, well within the tolerance range of the Holocene interglacial.

    Much like the last 100 years, right Andrew?

    Was there a point you were trying to make?

    Did anyone die back then as a result of this HUGE warming?

    …By contrast current climate change is projected to several degrees C through the 21st century…”

    Absolute rubbish.

    You have no proof beyond bogus climate modelling that struggle to match histroical observations and work largely on a garbage in-garbage out policy.

    Your own scientific tenure is predicated on your penchance to crank it up to 11 on the “Apocalyptometer” and so far you’re doing a great job.

    Nobody’s listening though.

    Bigger stories are about today.

  • 26
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I guess the reason nobodys listening is that this debate about whether APW is happening is over. All Clive has pointed out is whats going to happen now.

  • 27
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    The first emissions controls in the UK were the Clean Air Acts which brought to an end the coal generated killer smogs that gripped the cities every November. They have a long enough memory to know what can happen to an atmosphere out of kilter. California experienced similar smogs form polluting cards. They are both working on emissions control but it is all too late.

    Whatever we do now, agriculture will collapse as the climate worsens. Affluent nations will starve just like the ‘developing countries’. Societies will crumble and a handful of survivors will inherit a despoiled planet. I can understand the young worrying that will happen in their lifetime but the Baby Boomers like me have largely failed to get the message and it is just too late to take the necessary action. Drive everywhere, fly round the world on holiday and don’t worry about it. It will make very little difference.

  • 28
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Not a bad personal risk assessment, Bebop. But the young, which is anyone planning to be alive in 20 years, might start objecting to generational risk transferance and, in particular, those with young children might start objecting to the countermammalian proposition of failing to protect their offspring. Whether we can prevent climate change is probably a moot point, but abatement is going to be pretty expensive. So fly while you can, because I suspect the young are going to appropriate your super before they inherit a dispoiled planet.

  • 29
    Michael Wilbur-Ham
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Clive’s paper looked at currently realistic political solutions.

    But not considered is what would happen if we put ourselves on a ‘major war’ like footing.

    For example, Australia could reduce its emissions by 20% within two years if it wanted to. I’m not saying that this would be easy, but it could be done.

    So from a technical perspective it may not be too late. But from even the most optimistic but realistic political perspective, then Clive’s paper is spot on.

  • 30
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Assuming that the critical question of whether postitive feedback on top of CO2 emissions is serious is answered affirmatively then it is virtually certain that we are well beyond possibility of preventing warming that will melt Arctic ice, and eventually, quite a lot of Antarctic ice because emisions of CO2 are going to go on increasing for decades. The consequences will be more bad than good or even acceptable. The Barrier Reef may take a very long time to adapt, even with human intervention, and acidification of oceans may likewise be very destructive to human interests. Food production in the far north should increase. Australia’s tropics will receive more rain and maybe we will have invested in ways that allow us to do things that now seem outlandishly expensive, like piping water to the south or using nuclear power (as well as renewables including wave and tidal energy) to desalinate water - and power the airconditioning we will need a lot more of.

    All that assumes we don’t benefit from engineering interventions to create more aerosols, even albedo, and that nature doesn’t do it for us. The genetic engineering of carbon eating trees anticipated by Freeman Dyson looks like taking a bit too long for immediate comfort but is certainly worth pursuing.

    As a sufferer from the great south eastern drought, now longer than the Federation drought, I am interested to know if anyone can give a clear reason for believing it is connected to CO2 emssions rather than the sort of thing the IPCC reports say caused the greening and drying of the Sahara which were to do with long cycles affecting the oceans as I understand it. Since heat can just as readly produce rain clouds (from evaporation from the ocean surface) as it can dry out land it is not obvious why the water evaporated from the Indian Ocean and driven west by the prevailing winds should fail for evermore to bring rain to southern Australia. I know one can produce a hypothetical model to show what could be happeniing, but where is the supporting evidence?

  • 31
    Nanette Kerrison
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree with M W-H. My personal “oh shit (so this is it - we’re going to die)” moment was when the Govt launched it’s response to the Garnaut report.

    But my dreamer side still wonders whether Australians would go into mobilisation mode if they were denied denial as an option.

  • 32
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink


    Professional climate scientists have/continue to study these questions for many years.

    Unless you accept the claim of the so-called “sceptics” as if they climate scientists are ignorant or corrupt or both, I suggest you look at the IPCC-2007 Report, the CSIRO reports, Copenhagen Synthesis Report, Oxford conference reports, Hansen et al.’s papers and other peer-reviewed literature published in science journals for answers, as for example in the references:

    Schellnhuber, Oxford meeting, 28-30.10.09 http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php
    British Antarctic Survey http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=989 NASA/GISS). http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
    Copenhagen Synthesis Report http://www.anu.edu.au/climatechange/content/news/copenhagen-synthesis-report-released-today/
    Hansen et al. 2008. Target CO2: Where Should humanity aim? http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf
    Lenton et al., 2008. Tipping points in the Earth climate system. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204172224.htm
    Reports by NASA/GISS, Hadley_Met, Potsdam Ocean Institute, NSIDC, CSIRO, BOM.

  • 33
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I would be happy to be told otherwise by someone genuinely schooled in climate science, but to take stab at it my understanding is that there is a band of dry air extending around the globe at subtropical lattitudes. This formed by the convection process of hot-moist air rising in the topics, cooling and dumping its water (hence the monsoons) and then falling back down as dry air in a dessert band which includes central Oz, the Sahara and the dry bits of South America whose names I know not.

    The upshot is that the rain will indeed continue to fall, it just gets pushed further south as this central dry band expands - so you can plant wheat in the middle of the great southern ocean and it will get rained on. This ‘Great Australian High’ in the centre of the continent also tends to deflect southerly fronts to the south which, again, means lots of rain in the middle of the ocean where nobody lives.

  • 34
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Deniers - morons with blood on their hands.

    The hundreds of deaths from heat stress last January in Melbourne probably pleases them.

    After all, they see these deaths as ‘natural and normal’. No doubt they’re looking for more deaths and misery to come.

    I really really hope the deniers are given the full rich feedback from the rest of us they all richly deserve.

  • 35
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Well the homework from Andrew Glikson is a bit heavy for something that isn’t going to affect any decision I am about to take soon but thanks Andrew. [If the drought has broken or does so soon in a really big way, good, but not vital to my welfare. I will be at least equally attentive to the prospect that it might mean something really important for the welfare of SE Australians.]

    As to Altakoi’s lucid answer to my third par. query it gives detail to what I had vaguely understood, which was that something was pushing the rain cloud carrying prevailing winds to the south so they were missing us. However it seems to follow, as we look for reasons why increasing quantities of dry air are descending in the low temperate latitude bands and pushing the rain bearing winds further south. that it must be happening because there are larger quantities of moist air and rain bearing cloud in the north. Perhaps there is evidence of that. Perhaps of the most obvious kind which would conosist of pretty well offsetting additional rainfall in our tropics. (On top of which one would have to build all sorts of variations owing to precise geography. Maybe it is all there in Andrew’s homework list)

  • 36
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh Michael James, just have to respond to your bit about how in the middle ages they grew wine in England and raised sheep in Greenland.

    You’re running the usual argument that they used to do these things but dont any more so it was warmer then.

    BUT They are growing wine in England NOW and raising more sheep than ever before in Greenland NOW.

    Another bit of denialist garbage debunked.

    Wont stop you repeating it, though.

  • 37
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    During the cold war I moved to Manchester (Lancashire) because they were a nuclear free zone so whatever might happen with the Russians and that, at least I’d be safe. Purely by chance I’ve now moved to Australia (avoiding getting killed by AIDS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu and something else that I can’t remember but was going to kill us all horribly and IMMEDIATELY) so can again sleep soundly knowing that if I cut down on the fags and moderate my drinking a bit I just might not die of global warming, sorry climate change under the watchful eyes of Kevvie, Penny or (herein) Bebop (who seems to have been driven mad by having given up farting of behalf of humanity).

    I’m with Mr/Ms Pearl Harbour analogy, until something / anything actually happens which can without any argument be attributed to climate change as a consequence of carbon based emmissions, I’m simply going to carry on not unnecessarily polluting the environment. I’l be buggered if I’ll abandon the 7:27 from Windsor for a bloody Prius (filthiest car in the world to actually manufacture).

    Even if I were to join the apocolyptites, get a smug-mobile and stop farting, I’m guessing the Americans, Indians, Chinese, EU (en masse), Indonesia etc etc won’t be joining me (anyone running a book on the outcome of Copenhagen?).

    Was also wondering what the criteria are for being recognised as a ‘new’ religeon? Seems to me that if I did set up a sort of Heavens Gate / Haley’s Commet sort of thing, I’d be flooded (not by rising sea levels) with devotee’s. After all if that branch or organised insanity can attract more than a majority of the worlds population on the basis of a just a couple of old books, the mountain of evidence I could stump to prove a point would surely be enough to convince the most hardened sceptic that it’s an arc I’m building in my shed not just a shoddy big boat!!

  • 38
    marky marky
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Pity their wasn’t one earth for the people who do not care and another for the people who do.
    It takes courage to state it and Clive thanks for being realistic..
    The problem is that it takes time for things to happen and that is the problem most people will only wake up when it is to late..

  • 39
    Tony Kevin
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:46 pm | Permalink


    Impressive paper, thank you.

    It would be nice if you could find the time to review on your website or elesewhere my new book “Crunch Time”(Scribe) . It is a conscientious and, to the best of my knowledge, scientically well-checked (as of July 2009) attempt to take these sorts of insights about the climate crisis to a mainstream generalist book-buying audience (for whom Christmas gift-giving is coming up) . We need to reach such readers and voters, if our work is going to make any difference to Australian goverbment policy. Every bit helps, and my new book could use some more oxygen in the marketplace at this point.

    You might like the chapter on climate change denialism.

  • 40
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    It is a matter of ethics: People have a right to know how and why they are going to die. So we can make peace with the time left like an adult. It’s a final freedom. I don’t think feeling guilty or as a failure is really appropriate. Like all animals we boom and bust. As Hansen might say it’s an historical forcing. Really we’ve had a great run. Some of us are smart enough to see above the ruck but most can’t/won’t. It’s honourable to make our voices heard but no point to go hoarse either. Incredible what humanity has done this last few thousands years. Sure nothing exceeds like success, and we really could have skipped those last few desserts, but you know, it’s fate.

  • 41
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tom McLoughlin, from one nihlistic, existentialsitic dadaist to another, that’s easy to say but what about my 5 yo? Maybe self interest will kick in before chaos does, I’m hoping.

  • 42
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Ho ho the deniers are so funny!

    Hundreds dead from heatwaves in melbourne - ‘Climate always changes’

    Murray river dies and our food production with it - ‘Climate always changes’

    Victoria turns into a filthy desert - ‘Climate always changes’

    Southern Australia in permanent drought - ‘Climate always changes’

    Lets hope they get the full, rich caring feedback they so rightly deserve!!!!

  • 43
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m in Victoria, what permanent drought? (A bit ironic — climate change will bring permanent drought, i.e. no more change to climate?)

  • 44
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Yo Robert, the drought we’ve had since 1996, haven’t you noticed ?

    No real irony Robert (except for the extremely stupid) - the change is from regular rainfall to much reduced rainfall.

  • 45
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Plenty of rain lately.

  • 46
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    when Robert, we had average rainfall in sept, october is below average, whole year is below average.

    But come on, I reckon you need to branch out in your denial. Start handing out leaflets in country victoria telling them we haven’t been in drought since 1996. I would love to see that!!! Go on - do it!!!

  • 47
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Drought ain’t “climate change”. Ask county Victoria about climate change.

  • 48
    Michael Wilbur-Ham
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I am wondering why the climate change deniers are here.

    I’m here because I fear climate change, I have been shocked but also inspired to act by Clive’s paper, and I want to know what others think about this.

    But I feel no urge to spend my time denying that Elvis lives on a site devoted to this. And I don’t spend my time on a sports site saying that their sport is a waste of time.

    The sad fact is that given the politics of today, their is no credible threat that the policies that I would like to happen will happen. So it is not as if we are threatening their ‘rape and plunder the planet’ lifestyle.

    So why are they here?

  • 49
    Robert Barwick
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    We’re all Crikey subscribers.

  • 50
    Michael Wilbur-Ham
    Posted Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink


    1 - I’m not a subscriber

    2 - Of the free content, I don’t look at stuff I’m not interested in, and

    3 - You are not just looking at this once, you are posting comments, and keeping up-to-date with new posts. Why are you here?