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Oct 5, 2010

Hamilton: more Aussie climate beat-ups

According to The Australian's letter writers, the prestigious Royal Society now has "serious doubts" about the science of climate change leading it to a "startling retreat" from previous statements.

According to The Australian’s letter writers, the prestigious Royal Society now has “serious doubts” about the science of climate change leading it to a “startling retreat” from previous statements.

Yet if you go to the Royal Society’s new short guide to climate science, you will find a straight restatement of the science as laid out by the IPCC. It reaffirms that:

  • Warming of 0.8° has occurred since 1850, mostly since 1975
  • The planet is still warming, the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s and warming will continue
  • Warming is mostly due to human influence
  • A doubling of CO2 concentrations is most likely associated with warming of 3°
  • The effects include a long-term decline in the extent of Arctic summer sea ice
  • “Further and more rapid rises in sea-level are likely, which will have profound implications for coastal communities and ecosystems”.

Which raises the question: if the letter writers did not get their information from the Royal Society’s guide, where did they get it from? From The Australian itself, of course. On Saturday, the newspaper carried a prominent story verballing the Royal Society in the most shameless way.

Leading off with the declaration that the Royal Society claims “climate change and sea level rises cannot be predicted” and trumpeting a “retreat from politics” by the society, the story by Graham Lloyd and Matthew Franklin claims that the new guide “under-cuts many of the claims of looming ecological disaster” and goes on to quote leading climate denier Ian Plimer describing the report as “a wonderful breath of honesty”.

Lloyd, the paper’s environment editor who is a worthy successor to Matthew Warren, makes sure readers do not miss the point with an embedded comment piece in which the word “honest” appears four times, in order to distinguish the new guide from all of those other, dishonest reports.

There was the inevitable crowing editorial too claiming without a shred of evidence that the authors of the new guide “now believe the society’s previous position was too strident” and, having seen the light of day, endorse the “cautionary, responsible approach long advocated by The Weekend Australian”.

Risibly, it claims that those “with a sophisticated view of science” always understood that that the IPCC’s recommended targets were valueless because they were based on assumptions fed into “computer models”, unwittingly recycling one of the deniers’ favourite bogeys without realising that no projection about the future of the climate (or the weather, or the economy, or financial markets, or the budget, or just about anything else) can be made without “computer models”.

Perhaps “those with a sophisticated view of science” believe that the models can be solved without computers (pencil and paper?) or maybe they just don’t believe in models, i.e. systematic attempts to represent complex systems.

But this is nit-picking. After all, The Australian achieved what it set out to do — win one more battle in its war on science by pulling the wool over the eyes of its more gullible readers.

Having published many stories aimed at trashing the reputations of climate scientists and endless opinion pieces from the most inflammatory and vicious deniers (Christopher Monckton, Andrei Illarionov and so on) the paper now expresses, with its customary hypocrisy, the hope that the new guide will help restore “civility” to the discussion.

Readers may have missed reports of the tragic spectacle of John McCain, once the most prominent Republican defender of climate science and advocate of a strong policy response, reduced by the Tea Party to grovelling disavowal of everything he once believed.

Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt is Australia’s McCain. Once one of the strongest Liberal Party advocates for taking the science seriously, Hunt now defends climate deniers, claiming they are being “vilified” and should have the right to make up their own minds about the veracity of atmospheric physics.

Is there no limit to the venality of humans?

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7 thoughts on “Hamilton: more Aussie climate beat-ups

  1. nicolino

    The big problem with the deniers is that they are looking only in their back gardens and not at the big picture.
    Wasn’t Murdoch at one stage acknlowledging climate change by having his minions adapt more enviro-friendly policies within his imperial domain?

  2. Michael

    Space Cadet Hamilton said:

    “Is there no limit to the venality of humans?”

    It appears not.
    Faced with ever mounting recalcitrance to the man made CO2 theory and our inability to forecast tomorrows weather let alone sea levels, it is left to insecure attention seekers like Mad Dog Hamilton to maintain a rage.
    Poor thing.

  3. MichaelT

    The Australian is being polemical, as usual. The short guide doesn’t really evaluate the existing dominant view, but takes it as read.

    It merely reproduces the IPCC’s estimates of the likely future rise in temperatures, and says almost nothing about what the consequences might be.

    It assumes that the settings of climate computer models (in which natural factors for climate variability are set at a much lower rate than human factors) are correct. It is invitable that simulations based on these assumptions will show greater rises in temperature result from increases in the human factors than from increases in the natural factors.

    The only exception to the guide’s silence on possible consequences (which was referred to by the Oz), is para 45, which declares that: “it is very likely that for many centuries the rate of global sea-level rise will be at least as large as the rate of 20 cm per century that has been observed over the past century.”

    Given that 20 cm is an insignficant amount the Guide is at least notable in that it does not endorse the extreme projections of climate change consequences bandied about in other publications.

  4. baal

    Mr Hamilton – suggesting that the Australian has fibbed to its ‘more gullible readers’ misleadingly suggests that perhaps some of them aren’t. These lying insects assume everyone is either cynical as they are or just plain stupid. But be encouraged, the paper’s losing money hand over fist and it is merely a matter of time before Rupert’s heir pulls the plug. Let us hope that its rats aren’t provided new homes at the ABC by the increasingly gullible Mark Scott

  5. gregb

    I’ve just read through the Royal Society’s report. If the denialists are claiming that this document vindicates them then I am glad to say that there are no such things as denialists anymore. Are they hoping that no one is actually going to read it??


    Non Citizen Rupert really is the source of the planet’s most malignant form of pollution.

  7. Flower

    The recent rate of change in CO2 is dramatic and unprecedented. Increases in CO2 have not exceeded 30 ppm in a 1,000 years yet CO2 has risen by 30 ppm in just the last 17 years.

    Yet the copy and paste parasites preach their favourite scriptures from their favourite global warming denialism blogs: “1998,” “global cooling,” “sundidit,” “volcanoes,” “cosmic rays,” “new vorld order,” the list of lunacy goes on and on.

    These being the right-wing think tanks and their rent boys – the tax dodging, decrepit, free market theologians, shallow materialists and the scientifically illiterate who dance with the corpse of fossil fuel while chewing the arse out of Mother Nature. The rock apes who monkey with big bucks laundered through ‘reputable’ charity foundations while bludging off the environment. Put the lid down on these dunny dwellers – where’s the phenol? Thart’ll larn ‘em!