ENVIRONMENT: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Climate change: fallacies in the Garnaut report
, March 15, 2008
A government inquiry into the effects of human-induced climate change in Australia has resolved to accept "global warming" as an accepted fact, writes Peter Westmore.Last April, state Labor governments engaged Ross Garnaut, a respected professor of economics at the Australian National University, to conduct an inquiry into the likely effects of human-induced climate change on Australia.
The terms of reference of his inquiry made it clear that Professor Garnaut was to accept as true the assumption that human activity has caused global warming: it said the report was to take into account "the weight of scientific opinion that developed countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 against 2000 emission levels, if global greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are to be stabilised to between 450 and 550 ppm by mid-century."
In other words, Professor Garnaut was to accept "global-warming" as an accepted fact.Majority opinion
In his report, Professor Garnaut accepted the "growing body of evidence that the world is warming", and added, "Be that as it may, the review is in no position to adjudicate on the relative merits of various expert scientific opinions. The review has neither the time nor the resources to do so."
He went on: "The large majority of the relevant scientific opinion, and of the leadership of the learned academies of science in the countries of great scientific accomplishment, hold the view that human-induced climate change is with us, and that it is already affecting natural and human systems and will increasingly create risks to current patterns of human settlement and activity.
"The review takes as a starting point, on the balance of probabilities and not as a matter of belief, the majority opinion of the Australian and international scientific communities."
It also takes as its starting point the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports, which are accepted as reliable.
In fact, there is an extensive body of opinion that the IPCC process is highly politicised, and that its findings represent a consensus among green parties which have a powerful influence on West European political parties, along with socialists, social engineers, and those parts of the scientific community which have a vested interest in increased funding for the investigation of climate change.
If increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere were causing global-warming, there would have been a steady increase in global temperatures over the past two centuries, as a result of industrialisation and the invention of the motorcar.
In fact, there have been rises and falls over that period, with only a slight upward trend.Global cooling
But there is an increasing body of evidence that the 30-year warming period which gave rise to the current climate alarmism has come to an end, and there are even signs that the earth's atmosphere may be entering one of its regular cooling phases.
Anecdotal evidence for this comes in the recent unprecedented cold weather in the northern hemisphere, together with cooler than usual weather in parts of the southern hemisphere, and reduced solar radiation on earth.
Media reports have described the effects of the coldest winter in China for a century, with snow reaching to southern provinces; freezing weather in much of North America; and a build-up of ice in both the Antarctic and Greenland, both of which the IPCC described as undergoing unprecedented warming.
Over the past year, four independent research bodies have reported a fall in global temperatures over the past year: Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, California; University of Alabama (Huntsville); NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies; and the UK's Hadley Climate Research Unit.
The recorded falls in temperature are interesting, although not unprecedented. They show that global temperatures fell by around 0.5ºC over the course of the year 2007. At the same time, sunspot activity (which is linked with increased radiation from the sun) has been at its lowest level for years.
While sunspot activity influences atmospheric temperatures, it is just one of many factors at work.
Volcanic eruptions, which can spew millions of tonnes of dust into the upper atmosphere, are a well-known cause of global cooling, as are the changes in ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream which moderates the temperature of north-western Europe, and the Humboldt Current, which flows from the Southern Ocean up the coast of Latin America and gives rise to the El Niño/La Niña phenomena.
Another factor, less well understood, is the impact of cosmic radiation, which is believed to be linked with cloud formation. Most cosmic radiation is trapped by the radiation belts which surround the earth, but these are subject to sudden and unpredictable changes.
Climate models, which are the basis for predicted global-warming, have a very poor record of accurately predicting these events.
In light of the fact that there is nothing that anyone can do to stop the massive expansion of coal and oil consumption in the developing world - particularly China and India, the fastest growing economies in the world - it is surely time to accept the fact that there is nothing Australia can do about the world's climate, and it is a serious mistake to even try.- Peter Westmore