In an odd article titled “Producing CO2 is what we’re good at“, the Herald Sun‘s resident… uh, whatever it is that Terry McCrann is, gives the old “l” word a bit of a ridiculous beating:

In sharp contrast to the clarity and accuracy of Emerson’s speech, Combet’s was littered with verbosity and the deliberate lies incumbent on campaigners like him.

From the 48 times he used the term “carbon pollution” to quite deliberately foster the false impression of bits of dirty grit, to the pretence that China is not embarked on dramatically increasing its absolute levels of emissions of carbon dioxide.

“Deliberate lies”? “Deliberately foster the false impression”? (Or, as it becomes in Andrew Bolt’s paraphrase, “48 times Combet lied about ‘carbon pollution'”.)

Look, I’m not a climate scientist, and it’s a long time since I studied chemistry, but even I understand that the reason the term “carbon” is used is that the substances in question are mainly carbon compounds. Carbon dioxide is not the only carbon-based gas that carbon pollution reduction schemes are designed to tackle.

The attack McCrann and others have made on using the word “pollution” in this context, as if it’s somehow dishonest to apply it to a substance that is natural or non-toxic, is also absurd. If the surfeit of something in the natural environment is harmful – and clearly an excess of carbon compounds in the atmosphere that ultimately alter the climate could reasonably be called “harmful” – then it’s a form of pollution. Yes, we all breathe it out – but that’s no reason why we should encourage our industries to spew out ever-increasing, unprecedented quantities of them.

I don’t know where Terry gets the idea that “carbon pollution” puts most people in mind of “bits of dirty grit” from, but perhaps before he starts talking next time about “deliberate” falsehoods and “lies” he might consider that neither word in the phrase that upsets him so much is inapplicable to the situation. The phrase makes perfect sense and does not mislead. It is not a lie.

It’s really the most embarrassingly flimsy attack the climate deniers have manage to devise. That some of them still think it’s got legs is highly amusing.

Meanwhile, I’d also like to hear from one of these people McCrann apparently knows who think that the greenhouse effect is about soot. Because whoever that is has clearly not understood a word the climate scientists have been saying. If there are a lot of them, then Terry’s made a pretty good case for an informative government advertising campaign right there.