Category Archives: Climate Unfrocked

Bullsh-t Detector at Work

Maths is Hard for the Green-Minded

Politicians and climate alarmists are running what amounts to a promises auction about getting the world to zero net emissions in ten to thirty years’ time. It’s easy to bid as you will never be held accountable, you look virtuous and bids cost nothing, at least for the time being.

The best bid drama yet is from Extinction Rebellion, whose ferals were blocking traffic in Melbourne last week, as in other cities, and waving signs demanding “Zero emissions by 2025”. Among the more respectable bidders are the Australian Academy of Science’s 500 Fellows, who want net zero emissions by 2050.[1] They’ve cheered on state governments pledging likewise.

But here’s the problem: the 2050 game can only be played by those willing to ignore maths and engineering. Do the sums and it’s just pixie dust or, more accurately, fraud. What follows are some calculations and projections. I’ll provide the formulae lower down.

# Street blockaders: Your zero-by-2025 goal would require Australia to create the equivalent of an emissions-free Turkey Point, Florida nuclear power plant – nearly the output of Hazelwood in Victoria – each 11 days from now to January 1, 2026. That’s 33 nuclear plants per year.[2]

# The Greens and Australian Conservation Foundation[3]: Your zero-by-2040 goal would require the equivalent of one Turkey Point plant each 43 days from now to January 1, 2041. That’s eight and a half plants a year.[4]

# Labor Party, Academy of Science and all state governments (except the sensible NT): Your zero-by-2050 goal would require the equivalent of one Turkey Point plant each 65 days from now to January 1, 2051. That’s five and a half per year.

# The Morrison government: You claim to be locked-in to net-zero at 2050 because your predecessor Turnbull, via Greg Hunt, signed on to the 2015 Paris Accord. Well, the Accord specifies a review of targets every five years by each signatory, so you are free to dump the zero-2050 nonsense in 2020-21. Go for it!

Such nuclear plants, essential for reaching zero-emissions, would cost about $US9 billion each in America. That’s $A13 billion in Australia — or heaven-knows-what by the time the CFMMEU has ransomed the jobs. The costs, therefore, for our required 170 nuclear plants is about $2.2 trillion. For comparison, the entire Australian GDP last year was only $1.4 trillion. This is broad-brush stuff. Every technical tweak augments the cost and impracticability.

Forget the tree and tinsel, this is what Christmas looks like for the renewables’ rent-seekers.

I’ve provided the Australian numbers courtesy of a template from Dr Roger J. Pielke Jr, writing in Forbes and published on September 30. He’s a long-term IPCC author on weather disasters and his degrees include one in maths. Incidentally, he’s also a research expert on cheating in world elite sports.

Last June, Theresa May’s UK government made itself the world’s climate champion, signing into law a program for zero net emissions by 2050 (previous UK law was an 80 per cent emissions cut by 2050). UK Labour joined the auction by bidding zero net emissions by 2030. Pielke says that globally, a 2030 zero-emissions target would need deployment of more than four Turkey Point plants a day, and for the US, several Turkey Points a week. A commenter adds, “And who’s gonna build them? Millennials with degrees in woman studies?”

Maybe you don’t like nuclear plants and would prefer zero emissions via those statuesque wind turbines. Substitute 1500 wind turbines of 2.5MW to equal each Turkey Point plant. For the “moderate” zero-2050 goal, that involves Australia adding 23 turbines a day (161 a week) from tomorrow until January 1, 2051. That’s about 250,000 turbines in total. Each bloc of 1500 turbines needs close to 800 square kilometres of ground, so pity help the bats and birds.  Turbines installed in penny packets would squander even more land. Conservatively, a quarter of a million turbines will need about 130,000 square kilometres — twice the area of Tasmania.

Another wind-tubine casualty.

For the US, the wind turbine numbers required are 1500 a day until 2050, eventually covering the whole contiguous country in windmills and an additional “wet belt” of windmills two miles thick off the entire coastline.[5]

This zero-emissions crusade is madness on stilts. The developing world (China and India for starters) has no intention of strangling their economies with expensive and unreliable renewables. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has assessed energy and emissions trends for the period from 2018 to 2050 and says that by the latter date developing nations will account for nearly 70 per cent of global energy use (60 per cent today) and 75 per cent of human-caused CO2 emissions (66 per cent now).

The EIA forecasts that the West’s energy growth will dwindle and emissions reduce. Worldwide fossil-fuel energy use through 2018-50 will climb 25 per cent and CO2 emissions by 22 per cent as poorer nations chase energy for prosperity. In other words, the West’s multi-trillion-dollar “tackling” of global warming is irrelevant.

Moreover, fossil fuels are raw material for a host of plastics and synthetics essential to modern life. Work out the implications.

It’s not as though any meaningful global switch from fossil fuels is already under way. Each day humanity is moving in the other direction: more fossil fuels. In 2018 the world added more than 280 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE) of fossil fuel consumption compared with 106MTOE of carbon-free consumption, says Pielke, citing BP. To move towards net-zero, all of those 400 MTOE additions ought to be carbon-free, while replacing and retiring 400 MTOE of existing fossil fuel consumption. “In a round number,” he remarks., “the deployment rate of carbon-free energy would need to increase by about 800 per cent.”

All the non-considered factors in Pielke’s analysis seem to make his estimates conservative. For example, he doesn’t allow for the global resources demanded to build myriads of nuclear plants or millions of turbines, which wear out in 15-20 years.

Obviously, each new wind turbine will go on a less optimal site for power, and cross-interference further weakens their output. Engineers point out that real-world power systems have to cater for daily and annual peaks, hence deployment estimates based on average power needed are way too low. And no self-respecting business or institution (think Amazon and hospitals) will rely on renewable electricity without having a diesel-type generator in the basement for emergencies or orderly shut-downs. How would that work in net-zero-emission 2050?

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) calculates that just to replace current US electricity consumption with wind power would need 580,000 turbines. How many more turbine equivalents would be needed to replace non-electricity energy use, which beats electricity numbers by a factor of three or four?

Consider rail networks (140,000 miles in the US, 36,000km in Australia). If they were all electrified to cut diesel emissions, how would the electricity be generated and what battery back-up could move a freight train? 

Pielke’s simple formulae go like this: Global fossil-fuel consumption, 2018 – 11,743 MTOE (million tonnes of oil equivalent)[6]. Output of Florida’s Turkey Point 1400MW nuclear plant, 1 MTOE. Days left till end-2050 – 11,037. Global deployment of nuclear power required by 2050 in Turkey Point units, more than one per day. To include forecast energy growth of 5800 MTOE (1.25% a year to 2040), add half a Turkey Point per day. One Turkey Point nuclear output equals 1500 wind turbines of 2.5MW each.

The recent BP Statistical Review of World Energy has fossil fuel energy use for USA and Australia. BP puts Australia last year at 133 MTOE. With assumed 20 years growth of usage at 1.25 per cent p.a., the task by 2050 is to get rid of 170 MTOE. Divide 11,037 days by 170 = one nuclear plant per 65 days. Concurrently, we’d also need to be decommissioning the equivalent in fossil-fuel power sources.

Pielke concludes, “When you see an ‘auction of promises’ in climate policy for emissions reductions, ask instead for rates of deployment of carbon-free energy technologies and rates of decommissioning of existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Then do the math, and see if it adds up.”

Actually, there’s a final twist to this folly. The idea that CO2 is the control knob for the globe’s intricately complex and chaotic climate is based on simplistic computer models which one top modeller has shown to be junk. Numerous recent studies of temperature impacts from CO2 doubling put the sensitivity at or below the bottom end of the IPCC range  of 1.5 to 4.5degC. or half the IPCC’s “best estimate” on which the great CO2 scare is based. If those studies are right, CO2 increases pose no threat to humanity and may well be beneficial.

Tony Thomas’s latest book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

 

[1] Press release:“The Academy has previously called on Australian governments to implement policy measures to reduce carbon emissions over the coming decades with the ultimate goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

[2] Turkey Point, 1400MW. Hazelwood (coal) 1600MW. Liddell NSW (coal), 2000MW

[3] ACF wants zero net by “2040-50”

[4] One route favored by the Greens is “by reducing the demand for material goods”.

[5] The turbines would need 3.3 million square miles while the US contiguous area is only 3.1 million square miles. The shoreline is 95,000 miles.

[6] BP Statistical Review of World Energy

A Climate Modeller Spills the Beans

There’s a top-level oceanographer and meteorologist who is  prepared to cry “Nonsense!”on the “global warming crisis” evident to climate modellers but not in the real world. He’s as well or better qualified than the modellers he criticises — the ones whose Year 2100 forebodings of 4degC warming have set the world to spending $US1.5 trillion a year to combat CO2 emissions.

The iconoclast is Dr. Mototaka Nakamura. In June he put out a small book in Japanese on “the sorry state of climate science”. It’s titled Confessions of a climate scientist: the global warming hypothesis is an unproven hypothesis, and he is very much qualified to take a stand. From 1990 to 2014 he worked on cloud dynamics and forces mixing atmospheric and ocean flows on medium to planetary scales. His bases were MIT (for a Doctor of Science in meteorology), Georgia Institute of Technology, Goddard Space Flight Centre, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Duke and Hawaii Universities and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. He’s published about 20 climate papers on fluid dynamics.[i]

Today’s vast panoply of “global warming science” is like an upside down pyramid built on the work of a few score of serious climate modellers. They claim to have demonstrated human-derived CO2 emissions as the cause of recent global warming and project that warming forward. Every orthodox climate researcher takes such output from the modellers’ black boxes as a given.

A fine example is from the Australian Academy of Science’s explanatory booklet of 2015. It claims, absurdly, that the models’ outputs are “compelling evidence” for human-caused warming.[ii]Specifically, it refers to model runs with and without human emissions and finds the “with” variety better matches the 150-year temperature record (which itself is a highly dubious construct). Thus satisfied, the Academy then propagates to the public and politicians the models’ forecasts for disastrous warming this century.

Now for Dr Nakamura’s expert demolition of the modelling. There was no English edition of his book in June and only a few bits were translated and circulated. But Dr Nakamura last week offered via a free Kindle version his own version in English. It’s not a translation but a fresh essay leading back to his original conclusions.

The temperature forecasting models trying to deal with the intractable complexities of the climate are no  better than “toys” or “Mickey Mouse mockeries” of the real world, he says. This is not actually a radical idea. The IPCC in its third report (2001) conceded (emphasis added),

In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. (Chapter 14, Section 14.2.2.2. )]

Somehow that official warning was deep-sixed by the alarmists. Now Nakamura has found it again, further accusing the orthodox scientists of “data falsification” by adjusting previous temperature data to increase apparent warming “The global surface mean temperature-change data no longer have any scientific value and are nothing except a propaganda tool to the public,” he writes.

The climate models are useful tools for academic studies, he says. However, “the models just become useless pieces of junk or worse (worse in a sense that they can produce gravely misleading output) when they are used for climate forecasting.” The reason:

These models completely lack some critically important  climate processes and feedbacks, and represent some other critically important climate processes and feedbacks in grossly distorted manners to the extent that makes these models totally useless for any meaningful climate prediction.

I myself used to use climate simulation models for scientific studies, not for predictions, and learned about their problems and limitations in the process.

Nakamura and colleagues even tried to patch up some of the models’ crudeness

…so I know the workings of these models very well … For better or worse I have more or less lost interest in the climate science and am not thrilled to spend so much of my time and energy in this kind of writing beyond the point that satisfies my own sense of obligation to the US and Japanese taxpayers who financially supported my higher education and spontaneous and free research activity. So please expect this to be the only writing of this sort coming from me.

I am confident that some honest and courageous, true climate scientists will continue to publicly point out the fraudulent claims made by the mainstream climate science community in English. I regret to say this but I am also confident that docile and/or incompetent Japanese climate researchers will remain silent until the ’mainstream climate science community’ changes its tone, if ever.

He projects warming from CO2 doubling, “according to the true experts”, to be only 0.5degC. He says he doesn’t dispute the possibility of either catastrophic warming or severe glaciation since the climate system’s myriad non-linear processes swamp “the toys” used for climate predictions. Climate forecasting is simply impossible, if only because future changes in solar energy output are unknowable.  As to the impacts of human-caused CO2, they can’t be judged “with the knowledge and technology we currently possess.”

Other gross model simplifications include

# Ignorance about large and small-scale ocean dynamics

# A complete lack of meaningful representations of aerosol changes that generate clouds.

# Lack of understanding of drivers of ice-albedo (reflectivity) feedbacks: “Without a reasonably accurate representation, it is impossible to make any meaningful predictions of climate variations and changes in the middle and high latitudes and thus the entire planet.”

# Inability to deal with water vapor elements

# Arbitrary “tunings” (fudges) of key parameters that are not understood

Concerning CO2 changes he says,

I want to point out a simple fact that it is impossible to correctly predict even the sense or direction of a change of a system when the prediction tool lacks and/or grossly distorts important non-linear processes, feedbacks in particular, that are present in the actual system …

… The real or realistically-simulated climate system is far more complex than an absurdly simple system simulated by the toys that have been used for climate predictions to date, and will be insurmountably difficult for those naïve climate researchers who have zero or very limited understanding of geophysical fluid dynamics. I understand geophysical fluid dynamics just a little, but enough to realize that the dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans are absolutely critical facets of the climate system if one hopes to ever make any meaningful prediction of climate variation.

Solar input, absurdly, is modelled as a “never changing quantity”. He says, “It has only been several decades since we acquired  an ability to accurately monitor the incoming solar energy. In these several decades only, it has varied by one to two watts per square metre. Is it reasonable to assume that it will not vary any more than that in the next hundred years or longer for forecasting purposes? I would say, No.”

Good modelling of oceans is crucial, as the slow ocean currents are transporting vast amounts of heat around the globe, making the minor atmospheric heat storage changes almost irrelevant. For example, the Gulf Stream has kept western Eurasia warm for centuries. On time scales of more than a few years, it plays a far more important role on climate than atmospheric changes. “It is absolutely vital for any meaningful climate prediction to be made with a reasonably accurate representation of the state and actions of the oceans.” In real oceans rather than modelled ones, just like in the atmosphere, the smaller-scale flows often tend to counteract the effects of the larger-scale flows. Nakamura spent hundreds of hours vainly trying to remedy the flaws he observed, concluding that the models “result in a grotesque distortion of the mixing and transport of momentum, heat and salt, thereby making the behaviour of the climate simulation models utterly unrealistic…”

Proper ocean modelling would require a tenfold improvement in spatial resolution and a vast increase in computing power, probably requiring quantum computers. If or when quantum computers can reproduce the small-scale interactions, the researchers will remain out of their depth because of their traditional simplifying of conditions.

Key model elements are replete with “tunings” i.e. fudges. Nakamura explains how that trick works

The models are ‘tuned’ by tinkering around with values of various parameters until the best compromise is obtained. I used to do it myself. It is a necessary and unavoidable procedure and not a problem so long as the user is aware of its ramifications and is honest about it. But it is a serious and fatal flaw if it is used for climate forecasting/prediction purposes.

One set of fudges involves clouds.

Ad hoc representation of clouds may be the greatest source of uncertainty in climate prediction. A profound fact is that only a very small change, so small that it cannot be measured accurately…in the global cloud characteristics can completely offset the warming effect of the doubled atmospheric CO2.

Two such characteristics are an increase in cloud area and  a decrease in the average size of cloud particles.

Accurate simulation of cloud is simply impossible in climate models since it requires calculations of processes at scales smaller than 1mm.” Instead, the modellers put in their own cloud parameters. Anyone studying real cloud formation and then the treatment in climate models would be “flabbergasted by the perfunctory treatment of clouds in the models.

Nakamura describes as “moronic” the claims that “tuned” ocean models are good enough for climate predictions. That’s because, in tuning some parameters, other aspects of the model have to become extremely distorted. He says a large part of the forecast global warming is attributed to water vapor changes, not CO2 changes. “But the fact is this: all climate simulation models perform poorly in reproducing the atmospheric water vapor and its radiative forcing observed in the current climate… They have only a few parameters that can be used to ‘tune’ the performance of the models and (are) utterly unrealistic.” Positive water vapor feedbacks from CO2 increases are artificially enforced by the modelers. They neglect other reverse feedbacks in the real world, and hence they exaggerate forecast warming.

The  supposed measuring of global average temperatures from 1890 has been based on thermometer readouts barely covering 5 per cent of the globe until the satellite era began 40-50 years ago. “We do not know how global climate has changed in the past century, all we know is some limited regional climate changes, such as in Europe, North America and parts of Asia.”  This makes meaningless the Paris targets of 1.5degC or 2degC above pre-industrial levels.

He is contemptuous of claims about models being “validated”, saying the modellers are merely “trying to construct narratives that justify the use of these models for climate predictions.” And he concludes,

The take-home message is (that) all climate simulation models, even those with the best parametric representation scheme for convective motions and clouds, suffer from a very large degree of arbitrariness in the representation of processes that determine the atmospheric water vapor and cloud fields. Since the climate models are tuned arbitrarily …there is no reason to trust their predictions/forecasts.

With values of parameters that are supposed to represent many complex processes being held constant, many nonlinear processes in the real climate system are absent or grossly distorted in the models. It is a delusion to believe that simulation models that lack important nonlinear processes in the real climate system can predict (even) the sense or direction of the climate change correctly.

I was distracted from his message because the mix of Japanese and English scripts in the book kept crashing my Kindle software. Still, I persevered. I recommend you do too. There’s at least $US30 trillion ($US30,000, 000,000,000) hanging on this bunfight.

Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

 

[i] They include (to give you the flavor)

# “Destabilisation of thermohaline circulation by atmospheric eddy transports”

#“Effects of the ice-albedo [reflectivity] and runoff feedbacks on the thermohaline circulation”

# “Diagnoses of an eddy-resolving Atlantic Ocean model simulation in the vicinity of the Gulf Stream”

# “A simulation study of the 2003 heat wave in Europe”

# “Impacts of SST [sea surface temperature] anomalies in the Agulhas Current System on the climate variations in the southern Africa and its vicinity.”
# “Greenland sea surface temperature changes and accompanying changes in the north hemispheric climate.”

[ii] “Climate models allow us 
to understand the causes of past climate changes, and to project climate change into the future. Together with physical principles and knowledge of past variations, models provide compelling evidence that recent changes are due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere … Using climate models, it is possible to separate the effects of the natural and human-induced influences on climate. Models can successfully reproduce the observed warming over the last 150 years when both natural and human influences are included, but not when natural influences act alone.” A footnote directs to a study by 15 modellers cited in the 2015 IPCC report.

Angry Clowns of the Climate Circus

Angry Clowns of the Climate Circus

Adult climate catastrophists have flipped to censorship, abuse and hysteria to back tomorrow’s climate-truant kids and the latest UN gabfest in New York on Monday. The ‘progressive’ media has dropped its mask of objectivity, with more than 170 global outlets (possibly 250-plus) pledged to print a week of one-sided climate-doom stories ahead of the UN summit.

The fruits are now on display in Australia at the academic’s playground The Conversation, funded by scores of universities and, indirectly, taxpayers. Editor and executive director Misha Ketchell posted on Tuesday a note banning all sceptic views: “Climate change deniers are dangerous – they don’t deserve a place on our site.”

Instead, The Conversation the very same day put up a piece by Tim Flannery calling sceptics child “predators”. This on a website that continues to boast  We believe in the free flow of information.”

Ketchell has the perfect pedigree to be peddling the catastropharian party line. He has been an Agereporter, Crikey editor and for several years was an ABC producer on Media Watch and 7.30, and an editor of The Drum.  His Conversation editorial note says,

Once upon a time, we might have viewed climate sceptics as merely frustrating. We relied on other commenters and authors to rebut sceptics and deniers, which often lead to endless back and forth.

But it’s 2019, and now we know better. Climate change deniers, and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation, are perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet. As a publisher, giving them a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.

That’s why the editorial team in Australia is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.

We believe conversations are integral to sharing knowledge, but…it is counter productive to present the evidence and then immediately undermine it by giving space to trolls. The hopeless debates between those with evidence and those who fabricate simply stalls action.

We know you want to have constructive positive discussions, so please don’t engage with the climate change deniers. Dob them in and help us create a space where they don’t derail the conversation.

World-respected sceptic educator Joanne Nova, of Perth, comments,  “Every hypocrite, pocket-dictator and cult-ruler uses some version of ‘it’s better for you if I protect you from hearing things I deem unworthy’. Conversation obviously isn’t going to happen at The Conversation.” Inviting anyone disagreeing with her to comment on her site, she asks of Ketchell’s ban: “So who’s a troll then? Roy Spencer? Ph.D. in meteorology, NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, supported by NASA, NOAA, and DOE [US Dept of Energy]?”

She also cites as sceptics  “Nobel prize winners of physics and men who walked on the moon. Freeman Dyson. Shame none of them are as smart as Ketchell.”

Half the population of Australia, the UK, USA, NZ and Canada are to Ketchell “trolls”, she writes.

A ten-second online search shows 56 per cent of Canadians are skeptics. Likewise,  54 per cent of Australians are skeptics (a CSIRO estimate). The latest YouGov survey shows 63 per cent of the USA, 56 per cent of Australians, and 49 per cent of the Brits don’t think the IPCC is right. If a majority ‘agreed with the consensus’ why is it that most Australians don’t want to pay even a tiny $10 a month for renewables to save the world? On flights, not even two bucks a trip. Nearly half of US adults don’t want to pay $1 a month.  And the British don’t want to pay a cent.

Survey after survey shows that when people rank issues, climate concerns are flat at the bottom of the barrel. Only three per cent of US people think climate is most important issue.[i]

Tim Flannery, freed from rebuttal or mockery by the site’s commenters, published on The Conversation the same day an unhinged rant branding sceptics and major CO2 emitters as not just “idiots” but predators equivalent to child-harmers. The piece was headed,  “The gloves are off: ‘predatory’ climate deniers are a threat to our children.” It’s not quite a bare-knuckle boxing match when no opponent is allowed into the ring.

Flannery is chief councilor of  the Climate Council, which purports to “provide authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on climate change and solutions based on the most up-to-date science available.” Also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, he writes

How should Australia’s parents deal with those who labour so joyously to create a world in which a large portion of humanity will perish? As I have become ever more furious at the polluters and denialists, I have come to understand they are threatening my children’s well-being as much as anyone who might seek to harm a child.

He suggests a purported 4degC global warming by 2100 could kill many billions of people, leaving a mere 1 billion survivors

Mass deaths are predicted to result from, among other causes, disease outbreaks, air pollution, malnutrition and starvation, heatwaves, and suicide.

My children, and those of many prominent polluters and climate denialists, will probably live to be part of that grim winnowing – a world that the Alan Joneses and Andrew Bolts of the world have laboured so hard to create.

The absurdity of this line of extremism was pointed out a fortnight ago by secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation Petteri Taalas. The WMO combined with the UN to set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. Taalas said agitators whom he called “doomsters” have been behaving like “religious extremists”, demanding unrealistic emission cuts and sacrifices and making threats against the real climate scientists. “It’s not going to be the end of the world,” he told a Finnish financial journal. “The atmosphere created by media has been provoking anxiety.”

Flannery in his piece writes of his disgust at the results of May’s “climate election”, which he asserts “shattered meaningful democracy” and compounded his “colossal failure” from 20 years of activism to get CO2 emissions down. He suggests that his supporters need to abandon discussion and debate and rise up in Extinction Rebellion-type “actions”, noting that “words have not cut through” and asking if “rebellion is the only option?”

ABC Science,  in its email to subscribers of September 18, gave Flannery an endorsement for his “hard-hitting” message, saying:

Are ‘predatory’ climate deniers a threat to our kids? The answer is ‘yes’, according to Tim Flannery in this hard-hitting opinion piece that also reflects on what our future might look like. We know the science, and the predictions.  So  – as thousands of people prepare to strike for the climate this Friday – what will it take to see changes made?

Flannery’s article notes that he is also a professorial fellow at Melbourne University’s Sustainable Society Institute.[ii] Melbourne University among others both funds The Conversation and paradoxically is putting out pro forma statements endorsing the need for campus free speech, as urged by former High Court chief justice Robert French.[iii]

Flannery writes,

Young people themselves are now mobilising against the danger. Increasingly they’re giving up on words, and resorting to actions. Extinction Rebellion is the Anthropocene’s answer to the UK working class Chartists, the US Declaration of Independence, and the defenders of the Eureka Stockade.

Its declaration states:

“This is our darkest hour. Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history, one which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear […] The wilful complicity displayed by our government has shattered meaningful democracy and cast aside the common interest in favour of short-term gain and private profit […] We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void.”

Not yet a year old, Extinction Rebellion has had an enormous impact. In April it shut down six critical locations in London, overwhelmed the police and justice system with 1,000 arrests, and forced the British government to become the first nation ever to declare a climate emergency.

He tells school heads to permit kids to play the wag, “in an effort to save themselves [kids] from the climate predators in our midst, or force them to stay and study for a future that will not, on current trends, eventuate. I will be marching with the strikers in Melbourne, and I believe teachers should join their pupils on that day.”

Petteri Taalas of the World Meteorological Organisation copped such a thrashing for calling out extremist nonsense on climate that he had to put out another statement a week later pointing out that he was a true believer in IPCC predictions. But he did not resile from any of his previous comments, merely blustering that they had been “selectively interpreted”. He said, “We must not be driven to despair, given that reasonable, consensus-based solutions are available.”

Here’s from the original Taalas interview:

While climate scepticism has become less of an issue, now we are being challenged from the other side. They are doomsters and extremists; they make threats. Much more radical action is demanded by Extinction Rebellion movement. They demand zero emissions by 2025 and ‘honest’ climate information from governments…

The IPCC reports have been read in a similar way to the Bible: you try to find certain pieces or sections from which you try to justify your extreme views. This resembles religious extremism. We should consider critically, and with reservations, the thoughts of experts…

The latest idea is that children are a negative thing. I am worried for young mothers, who are already under much pressure. This will only add to their burden.

Benny Peiser is director of sceptic-leaning London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, which picked up and disseminated the Taalas interview. Peiser said, “It’s very disappointing that another official has been forced to back down after making a perfectly reasonable statement. It undermines trust in the whole field.”

The  New Yorker didn’t cover the Taalas story, understandably, but it did run with novelist Jonathan Franzen asking, What If We Stopped Pretending? The climate apocalypse is coming.  A snippet:

Finally, overwhelming numbers of human beings … have to be permanently terrified by hotter summers and more frequent natural disasters, rather than just getting used to them.

Every day, instead of thinking about breakfast, they have to think about death.

Peiser attributed Taalas’ initial warning to fears about green warriors “hell-bent on undermining the economies and social stability of Europe.” Germany’s largest industry, automobile manufacturing, is a case in point. Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess last week bewailed that greens have pushed the industry and its 830,000 jobs to the “brink of collapse”. The latest campaign is to force Germans into electric cars which, at root, are coal-powered anyway. “That drives the idea of electric mobility ad absurdum!” Diess said.

Panics about warming have a long reach. The BBC once panicked Scots with a report that warming threatens haggis, because sheep lungs – the tasty base – will get more parasites. Warming will give Kansas people painful kidney stones, because they’ll sweat more and pee less. Easter Island statues are to toppleas climate seas erode their platforms. Grizzlies and polar bears will start dating and produce “Grolars”, or maybe pizzly bears. (Sign for school truants: Save the Grolar Bears!)

More seriously, there’s the widely believed story that “half the Barrier Reef is dead”. Award-winning climate scientist Dr Joelle Gergis (ANU) says so in her Sunburnt Country book, “Half of the coral of the Great Barrier Reef is now dead. It’s a global-scale ecological catastrophe.” I dropped a line to the GBR Marine Park Authority last month to ask if the “half-dead” story is true. The chief scientist, Dr David Wachenfeld, replied, avoiding the question, that 30 per cent of the shallow water (2-10m) corals were lost in 2016 and in 2017 there were further declines across the northern two-thirds: “Despite the loss of coral and damage to reefs in many parts of the Marine Park, the entire Reef remains a resilient ecosystem, with early signs of recovery processes in many damaged areas … Many areas continue to support beautiful corals and abundant marine life and the Reef remains an extraordinary experience for visitors.” I hope Dr Wachenfeld can get that message across to Gergis and Flannery and their sciency Climate Council.

Taalas is not the only climate dignitary who has challenged the extremists. Dr Andy Pitman, director of the UNSW’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, cautioned at a Sydney climate forum last June, “As far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought. That may not be what you read in the newspapers.”  I assume Pitman will henceforth be banned from The Conversation.

In more detail about Monday’s UN summit, Secretary-General António Guterres called the meeting because he says global efforts to tackle climate change are running off-track, according to  Dr Frank Jotzo, Director of ANU’s Centre for Climate and Energy Policy.[iv] The new pledges should be in line with a 45 per cent cut to global greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, and net-zero emissions by 2050. Australia’s  pledge  is 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Paris pledges are supposed to be reviewed and strengthened every five years. China and India, the world’s two largest emitters, have made no commitment to cuts before 2030.

Australia is not expected to propose any significant new actions or goals, Jotzo writes on The Conversation, in a piece illustrated with   a low-lying Tuvalu island and the non-factual caption that it is “threatened by inundation from rising seas”.  Jotzo says, “Prime Minister Scott Morrison – in the US at the time to visit President Donald Trump – will not attend the summit. Foreign Minister Marise Payne will attend, and is likely to have to fend off heavy criticism over Australia’s slow progress on climate action.”

In passing, Jotzo calls for the  “phasing out some old energy-hungry and often uneconomic plants like aluminium smelters.” This would not suit 3650 hard-working Australians at the following smelters: Bell Bay and Boyne Island (Pacific Aluminium), Alcoa’s Portland refinery and the Tomago consortium in NSW. Aluminium and its elements also happen to be a $5b export industry. Jotzo’s insouciance about smelter jobs is just what you’d expect at a climate centre of excellence.

Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

[i] For links go to her site

[ii] One MSSI staffer with a PhD would like emissions-conscious suburbanites to dispense with cars and return  to horseback.

[iii] University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell said the institution had started working on its policy before the French review. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental principle of our University – it always has been and always will be,” he said.

[iv] “This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.”