July 19th 2008

  Buy Issue 2784

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY / MERCHANTS OF SLEAZE: Sexualised marketing targets young girls

EDITORIAL: Throwing cold water on global warming

FOREIGN INVESTMENT: Australia's sovereignty at stake

CANBERRA OBSERVED: The economic costs of the Garnaut Report

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: WA Liberals sliding towards defeat

REGIONAL COMMUNITIES: Could an Asian regional grouping work?

EUTHANASIA: I'm not sick - can I commit suicide too?

UNITED STATES: Health care - America's shame

EDUCATION: What is the advantage of rote-learning?

SCHOOLS: Political correctness rules in the classroom

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Faith restored / Buyers' remorse / French resistance / New world disorder / Back to my favourite bête noire / America

Natasha Stott Despoja a trail-blazer? (letter)

Partial-birth abortion (letter)

BOOKS: THE CHINA FANTASY: Why capitalism will not bring democracy to China, by James Mann

DVD: APOCALYPSE? NO! Why global warming is not a crisis, by Christopher Monckton

Books promotion page

APOCALYPSE? NO! Why global warming is not a crisis, by Christopher Monckton

by Peter Finlayson (reviewer)

News Weekly, July 19, 2008
Antidote to Al Gore's alarmism

APOCALYPSE? NO! Why global warming is not a crisis
by Christopher (Viscount) Monckton of Brenchley
(Washington, DC: Science and Public Policy Institute)
Running time: 2 hrs, 38 mins (all regions)
Rec. price: AUD$29.95

The issue of global warming has become a battle for people's hearts and minds. On one side is the dogma that human activity, notably carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, is responsible for global warming/climate change. However, for those who have not yet adopted a comfortable position on the issue, an enlightening DVD presenting the sceptics' case has been released.

The DVD's presenter is former British politician, businessman and non-scientist, Lord Christopher Monckton. The video format of his illustrated PowerPoint presentation to the Cambridge Union Society in 2007 is an effective antidote to Al Gore's alarmist documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth.

Systematic study

The title of his talk, Apocalypse? No!, was prompted by the speaker's systematic study of the science on both sides of the global warming debate - in his words, "a de-smog enquiry that questions both sides from a fair, reasonable and balanced perspective". It effectively provides the mainly student audience with a cerebrally overwhelming dose of the scientific reasons why human-induced global warming is not a global crisis.

The DVD faithfully captures Monckton's complete, perhaps lightly cut, illustrated address followed by questions, and also includes a shorter condensed version lasting 25 minutes.

Monckton focuses on the numerous errors of scientific fact both in the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and in Al Gore's film, and then concludes with an analysis of the serious moral and economic consequences for the world of the proposed - and, in his opinion, unnecessary - drastic global action to curb carbon emissions.

He manages to be entertaining, even while discussing solid complex science. He challenges and effectively demolishes the main popular arguments used by the environmental lobby to support its case for imposing drastic measures on a gullible public. Were these measures to be carried out, he says, they would effectively increase the global cost of energy.

The British peer originally embarked on his investigation when he realised that, in the 1995 IPCC report, the final conclusions were the reverse of those in the draft version and thereby had become politicised. The draft contained three separate statements referring to a lack of (scientific) evidence to link man-made greenhouse gases with global warming. These precautionary statements were deleted in the final version.

Announcing disaster

The IPCC's inaugural chairman, Sir John Houghton, justified this amendment by declaring, "Unless we announce disaster, no one will listen!" Choreographed by the Green bureaucrats embedded in the United Nations, the IPCC reports have remained politicised ever since.

Monckton checked data and information in the 2007 IPCC report against the peer-reviewed literature and found numerous errors, including:

• The Greenland and Arctic ice-melt data had been overestimated by a factor of 10 by changing the position of the decimal point in the key table.

• Historical global temperature data were distorted. In the 1990 report, the Mediaeval Warm Period (MWP), during which temperatures were up to 30C higher than today, appeared in the temperature graph covering the last 1,000 years; but this was replaced in the 2001 report with the so-called "hockey-stick" graph, ignoring the MWP.

• Historically, there has never been a correlation between CO2 and global temperatures.

• Moreover, in recent years, temperatures have not moved in accord with IPCC predictions, and the tropical "hot spot" predicted by the IPCC model does not exist.

In contrast, Monckton demonstrates there is a strong correlation between solar activity and global temperatures. Moreover, he points out that CO2 has a life of only about seven years (IPCC alleges it is 50-200 years), that it is not a pollutant, and that its effect diminishes logarithmically.

Turning to Al Gore's (another non-scientist's) film, Lord Monckton swiftly rebuts 20 of 36 gross errors in An Inconvenient Truth, a film which purports to provide contemporary physical evidence of global warming due to human activity.

Gore's supposed evidence includes events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Japan typhoon, Arctic ice-warming, melting snow on Mount Kilimanjaro (where the temperature never rises above zero), Greenland ice-cap reduction, Lake Chad drying up, rising sea levels, the advancing mosquito line, polar bear mortality, the alleged relationship between CO2 emissions and infant mortality, and so on. Either they have occurred routinely throughout history or can be explained by natural phenomena.

Monckton reserves his most scathing comments for the so-called precautionary principle as a supposed moral justification to take action against the human CO2 "scourge". This principle holds that, if there is uncertainty about cause and effect, it's better to be cautious than sorry! He examines two such well-intentioned applications of the principle in the last half century that have been unmitigated disasters:

1). By not separating HIV-infected people from the general community during the early phases of this disease, in accord with sound epidemiological practice, the death toll from the disease is now 25 million, and currently there are 40 million HIV carriers.

2). The misguided banning of DDT resulted in the deaths from malaria of between 30-50 million until the ban was finally lifted in 2006.

Monckton's Cambridge address concludes by drawing attention to the great moral issue confronting the global-warming crusaders. The IPCC, apart from deliberately distorting scientific evidence in its reports, is now sheltering behind the precautionary principle as it justifies imposing substantially dearer "clean" and taxed energy (through carbon-trading schemes) on everybody.

The burden of this will fall particularly heavily on billions of poor people in developing countries for whom access to cheap energy is essential in order to reduce the incidence of poverty.

"Get the science right or we get policy wrong", Monckton concludes, "and, in the case of global warming, we should do nothing."

- Peter Finlayson is an agricultural economist.

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