Lots of talk about carbon this week. Not much about global warming, though. Or climate science. The whole motivation behind this mooted piece of policy that’s getting everyone so hot under the collar.

While Tony Abbott has cited “the public” as the experts he considers worth consulting on this issue (never mind climate scientists and economists) and Julia Gillard has talked about mobile phones big as bricks and being shy at the National Press Club, a different kind of conference took place in a neat piece of symmetry this week.

Here’s the opener to the “Four degrees or more: Australia in a hot world” conference that concluded yesterday, as reported by David Spratt :

Keynote speaker Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute, and former climate adviser to the German Chancellor and the EU, asked rhetorically: “What is the difference between two degrees (of temperature increase) and four degrees?”

“The difference,” he said, “is human civilisation”.

Right then. That should puts things in perspective.

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