Humans and climate change, climate change and humans. Who caused what and what should be done about it? While the answers to those questions depend upon who answers them, there is one thing we know with certainty — voters care about climate change, a fact the Howard Government has gradually embraced since late last year.

That alone makes the Dissenting Report in yesterday’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place, a study into carbon geosequestration, an interesting document. It’s noteworthy that a government perceived to be slow off the mark on global warming would reinforce those perceptions, not to mention handing their political opponents a cheap free kick.

Here are some of the views of the Dissenters: Liberal MPs Dennis Jensen, Jackie Kelly, Danna Vale, and David Tollner. (Read the full report here)

  • We do not believe the evidence unequivocally supports the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
  • The science related to anthropogenic global warming is not, despite the assurances of some, settled in the scientific community.
  • There is a great deal of debate and uncertainty related to this science, yet the Committee’s report, in dealing with those issues, uses one-sided language that does not in any way correspond with the level of uncertainty or the low level of scientific understanding of many of the disciplines involved in global warming research.
  • Climate scientist Dr. John Christy, specialising in satellite temperature measurements and formerly lead author of the IPCC has stated: I’ve often heard it said that there’s a consensus of thousands of scientists on the global warming issue and that humans are causing a catastrophic change to the climate system. Well I am one scientist, and there are many that simply think that is not true.
  • Another problem with the view that it is anthropogenic greenhouse gases that have caused warming is that warming has also been observed on Mars, Jupiter, Triton, Pluto, Neptune and others. It is the natural property of planets with fluid envelopes to have variability in climate. Thus, at any given time, we may expect about half the planets to be warming. This has nothing to do with human activities.
  • Many examples exist of erroneous scientific consensus in the history of science:
    • The earth was found, via falsification, not to be the centre of the universe;
    • Sir Isaac Newton’s equations of motion were found, after having been accepted as a complete description of mechanics for two centuries, to represent only the special case where velocity was low relative to that of light. The special theory of relativity generalised the field of mechanics; and
    • Indeed, even in the field of climatology, the consensus position in the mid 1970’s was that the earth was cooling as a result of mankind’s activities, and we were headed to another ice age.
  • Sea levels all over the globe have been rising for centuries; this is not due to anthropogenic global warming, but merely a recovery from the last ice age.
  • Indeed, if one paragraph clearly illustrates the one sided nature of this report, it is paragraph 5.59. Here, we have a captain of industry (Rupert Murdoch), who, by his own admission is not a scientist, quoted regarding his view on anthropogenic global warming and the need to take action:
    • I am no scientist but … I do know how to assess a risk. Climate change poses clear catastrophic threats. We may not agree on the extent, but we certainly can’t afford the risk of inaction.