tip off

On climate change, it’s better to be half right on time

Tim Flannery:

John Hunwick writes: Re. “Flannery hits back at IPA polling on his credibility” (yesterday, item 1). Tim Flannery has been outspoken, and to some extent provocative in some of his public statements relating to climate change. Some of this I put down to the sheer necessity of getting the topic discussed by an increasingly educated (hopefully) general population.

However, anyone reading his carefully argued and presented books will know that the basis of which he formulated his views is sensible science and worth careful consideration. No, he is not always right but those who go out of their way to correct Tim do him and the rest of us a service by adding even more insights into the issues under discussion. Was it Aristotle who said: “It is better to be half right on time than to have the whole truth too late”?

In the case of climate science, give me Tim any day than those climate deniers who cannot even argue correctly from agreed facts.

John Bushell writes: In the unlikely event of columnists on the Daily Telegraph, the good folk at the Institute of Public Affairs and David Murray actually wanting to know the science related to global warming, I suggest that they take a good look at the site Skeptical Science.

The site has 173 specific, well explained (scientifically), rebuttals to the climate sceptics arguments.

We can’t afford to be in the same position on global warming as we are on asbestos and tobacco smoking with a vociferous rump still arguing that both products pose little or no threat to humans 100 years after the initial forecasts of their terminal carcinogenic effects was known.

John Sawyer writes: Does it really matter what I or the rest of public think about Flannery’s credibility. He is a scientist who specialises in climate science.  His credibility is measured by his peers who are qualified to offer an opinion.

Swan’s budget:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “Kohler: Swan’s budget heartbreak” (yesterday, item 3). Alan Kohler describes the political pickle of Wayne Swan’s attempt to pull off a surplus 2012-13 budget as “tragic and ironic”.

These words might be appropriate if the setting of the budget was an act in a Puccini opera — the consumptive Treasurer labours under flickering candlelight in a Canberra garret to create his magnum opus before collapsing into the arms of his lover, Julia. Unfortunately, the Treasurer is more Phantom of the Opera, willing to see the Australian economy set on a destructive course — with the singular selfish aim of meeting Labor’s irresponsible promise of a budget surplus, in a vain attempt to keep his and his mates’ jobs.

Kohler writes “the prospect of near-certain defeat next year should liberate the government to get some decent reforms done”. Instead Swan (world’s best treasurer) is adopting a scorched-earth policy, setting the booby traps so that when power is handed to the opposition it will be impossible to prime the pumps economically without looking like economic wastrels. The damaging Swan legacy will last well beyond the current term.

Tragic and ironic indeed.

Shark nets:

Liz Thornton writes: Re. “Forget Jaws, shark attacks highlight need for better education” (yesterday, item 13). As a campaigner for the removal of shark nets around Sydney, I am alarmed that we still do not get the point: sharks live in the ocean. If we choose to swim, then that is a consequence of that decision.

Global warming is going to have more impacts on the human race only one of which is becoming shark dinners. If I drink too much and drive, I may die. Others may die too. The moral is don’t drink and drive.

Being eaten by a shark  sounds nasty but every day there is some animal or insect or bird threatened with extinction by our actions, so just accept that life is risky and make your decision.

Ratings:

Frank Burton writes: Re. “Last night’s TV ratings” (yesterday, item 18). Glenn Dyer says that 1.178 million watched the 7.30pm NRL game, and 656,000 watched the 9.30pm game. He add these together to prove that 1.814 million people watched NRL on Friday (actually it is 1.834 million, but that is nit picking).

Actually, the figures proved 1.718 million watched the early game, which reduced to 656,000 for the second game, which is quite different. They are two different shows.

Or should Channel Seven add Seven News and Sunday Night to prove that their ratings for Sunday were 3.683 million against Channel Nine News, moving Nine News down to second. This is equally nonsensical.

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  • 1
    Warren Joffe
    Posted Tuesday, 3 April 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    John Sawyer writes: Does it really matter what I or the rest of public think about Flannery’s credibility. He is a scientist who specialises in climate science. His credibility is measured by his peers who are qualified to offer an opinion.”

    Really? When did Tim Flannery begin “specialising” in “climate science”?

    When Australia’s megafauna died out or was killed would be his thing.

    Of course he has written a lot about what science is supposed to tell us
    about current climate change but he doesn’t make as much sense of what
    others have studied as some of the old Treasury officials and others of
    and economics caste of thought who are equally dependent on what the
    variety of sub-specialists whose work, when put together, makes up so-called
    “climate science”, tell us. “Climate scientist”, whatever that is is certainly not
    Tim Flannery.

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