December 2nd 2000

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: U.S. Elections - And the winner is ... Alan Greenspan!

EDITORIAL: Kyoto Protocol may harm Australian industry

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Country voters won't buy rural road scheme

QUARANTINE: Has Canberra misconstrued WTO rules on quarantine?

COMMENT: Globalisation + monopolies = a less free market


Straws in the Wind


SOCIETY: Is There a Way Out of the West's Cultural Crisis?

TRADE AND THE ECONOMY: How important is trade for Australia?

AGRICULTURE: WTO rules permit assistance to agriculture

INDONESIA: Conflict intensifies in West Papua

EDUCATION: The Great Exam Diversion

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Kyoto Protocol may harm Australian industry

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, December 2, 2000
The UN Climate Change Conference held in The Hague, Netherlands, from November 13-24, has the potential to do incalculable damage to Australia and its industries - based on the unproven assertion that the world is heating up as a result of global warming.

There has been so much said about global warming over recent years that many - even most - people regard it as a proven fact.

The controversy over global warming has been compounded by grandstanding politicians and media figures attributing every climatic disaster to "global warming". The most recent case was British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, blaming floods in Britain on it, just as both droughts and floods in Australia are regularly attributed to it.

However, meteorologists have shown that long-term trends in climate variation are masked by short-term variations, which are often extreme and violent. What this means is that particular events - such as cyclones, tornados, droughts, floods, storms - can never be attributed to global warming (or cooling, for that matter).

The global warming controversy has been fuelled by two factors: a gradual rise in recorded temperatures in meteorological stations on earth, and atmospheric computer modelling.

However, both have been discredited by data collected by weather satellites, which give a far better picture of global temperatures than weather stations which are often located in or near cities (which are heat sinks), or computer models which cannot predict the weather next week - let alone next year, in ten years, or a hundred years, hence.

These same unreliable computer models underpinned the Global Climate Treaty, negotiated at the 1992 Rio "Earth Summit," and are the driving force behind UN efforts to force restrictions on the use of oil, gas, and coal. The Third Conference of Parties (COP-3) to the Global Climate Treaty, meeting in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 agreed to set mandatory limits and timetables.

Politicians were told that the science is "settled" and "compelling," when in reality, scientific experts strongly disagree on the evidence.

Professor Fred Singer, a respected American expert on climatic change, has pointed out, there are numerous fallacies in the global warming theory.

He said, "The available observations do not support the mathematical models that predict a substantial global warming and form the basis for a control policy on greenhouse gas emissions. We need a more targeted program of climate research to settle major scientific problems."

Despite this, Australia's Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, from South Australia, has gone along with the global warming theory at various UN meetings on climate change, supporting the Kyoto Protocols to cut CO2 emissions, but arguing that they should be accompanied by voluntary, rather than mandatory, compliance measures - no doubt to avert the full consequences of implementing Kyoto. Nonetheless, this could force the closure of coal-powered power stations, lift the cost of electricity and motor fuel, and ultimately cost thousands of jobs in Australia.

Senator Hill also seems to be arguing that Australia should not unilaterally adopt controls on CO2 emissions (although it unilaterally cut levels of protection for Australian industry), unless the US and Third World countries participate as well.

In saying this, Senator Hill is being "cute". He knows that despite the Clinton Administration's enthusiasm for greenhouse gas controls - to win brownie points with Greenies - the US Congress will never ratify the Kyoto Protocols (even in their mildest form), and Third World countries will never agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions, when economic development is so closely tied to energy production, and therefore CO2 emissions.

In fact, Nigeria's Mr Sani Daura, Chairman of the G77 (Group of 77 developing countries) and China Group last week declared that developing countries "categorically reject any move by developed countries to engage in a dialogue to expand participation of developing countries" in greenhouse gas emission controls. (Financial Review, November 16, 2000)

The countries of the European Union belong to a different category. Throughout Western Europe, environmental organisations are significant forces in national politics, and many governments, including those in Britain and France, depend on their votes. Both Britain and France have substantial nuclear power generators, which do not add to CO2 emissions. In fact, a French company is said to be considering purchase of Ranger, one of Australia's largest uranium mines.

In Germany, many of the filthy old coal-fired power stations in the former communist East Germany have been closed down, with the result that Germany has no difficulty meeting the Kyoto greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The real danger with the Australian Government approach is that it risks being hoist on its own petard.

If Australia is compelled to embrace the Kyoto agenda, it will inflict great damage on Australian industry, at a time when most of the rest of the world is ignoring it.

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