March 29th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The truth about Australia's birth rate

EDITORIAL: NSW electricity to be privatised?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Opposition needs new policies, not stunts

WATER: Time to build new reservoirs

QUARANTINE: EI inquiry flags major changes to horse quarantine

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Rudd Government to re-examine FTAs

ENVIRONMENT: Conference rejects climate change alarmism

HIGH SCHOOLS: School: ladder of opportunity or game of snakes and ladders?

HUMAN RIGHTS: Behind Beijing's crackdown in Tibet

UNITED STATES: California court attacks parental rights

DRUGS: Australia's complicity in global drugs menace

UNITED NATIONS: Feminist frolics at the UN

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Muslim attacks forcing Jews out of Paris suburbs / School vouchers flourishing in Sweden / Coal tipped to be world's top energy source

MEDIA: ABC's take on Islamic school controversy

CINEMA: BELLA: A gentle film with a big heart

BOOKS: DARWIN DAY IN AMERICA: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, by John G. West


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Conference rejects climate change alarmism

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, March 29, 2008
An international conference of non-government scientists and climatologists has put forward an alternative agenda to the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, writes Peter Westmore.

An international conference of 500 scientists, climatologists, academics and economists in New York City has decisively rejected claims that humanity has had any significant effect on climate change, or that we can do anything about it.
Professor Fred Singer.

The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change heard from 100 speakers, led by the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus; prominent American climatologists Dr Patrick Michaels and Professor Fred Singer; Dr William Gray, a tropical climate specialist; Professor Bob Carter from James Cook University in Queensland; and other leading scientists who received standing ovations from a capacity audience.

Media coverage was extensive, including television footage which appeared on CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox, PBS and the BBC, and print coverage by Associated Press, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and many others. Not surprisingly, the conference received little or no coverage in Australia.

Alarmist agenda

Its conclusions were that global climate models are unreliable predictors of climate change; that the latest scientific studies show that the sun and the oceans are far more important influences on the world's climate than human activity; that the Kyoto Protocol imposes arbitrary and pointless limits on some greenhouse gas emissions; and that the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been politicised to support a particular alarmist agenda.

The head of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), Professor Fred Singer, put forward an alternative agenda to the UN-sponsored IPCC. He said, "We donated our time and best efforts to produce this report out of concern that the IPCC was provoking an irrational fear of anthropogenic global-warming based on incomplete and faulty science.

"Global-warming hype has led to demands for unrealistic efficiency standards for cars, the construction of uneconomic wind and solar energy stations, the establishment of large production facilities for uneconomic biofuels such as ethanol from corn, requirements that electric companies purchase expensive power from so-called 'renewable' energy sources, and plans to sequester, at considerable expense, carbon dioxide emitted from power plants.

"While there is absolutely nothing wrong with initiatives to increase energy efficiency or diversify energy sources, they cannot be justified as a realistic means to control climate. In addition, policies have been developed that try to hide the huge cost of greenhouse gas controls, such as cap and trade, a clean development mechanism (CDM), carbon offsets, and similar scams that enrich a few at the expense of the rest of us.

"Seeing science clearly misused to shape public policies that have the potential to inflict severe economic harm, particularly on low-income groups, we choose to speak up for science at a time when too few people outside the scientific community know what is happening, and too few scientists who know the truth have the will or the platforms to speak out against the IPCC."

NIPCC is what its name suggests: an international panel of non-government scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change.

"Because we are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, we are able to look at evidence the IPCC ignores. Because we do not work for any governments, we are not biased toward the assumption that greater government activity is necessary."

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report argues that the IPCC continues to undervalue the overwhelming evidence that, on decadal and century-long time scales, the sun and associated atmospheric cloud effects are responsible for much of past climate change. It is therefore highly likely that the sun is also a major cause of 20th-century warming, with anthropogenic greenhouse gases making only a minor contribution.

In addition, the IPCC ignores, or addresses imperfectly, other scientific issues that call for discussion and explanation.

The report by the NIPCC focuses on two major issues - the very weak evidence that the causes of the current warming are anthropogenic and the far more robust evidence that the causes of the current warming are natural - and then addresses a series of less crucial topics:

• Computer models are unreliable guides to future climate conditions.

• Sea-level rise is not significantly affected by a rise in greenhouse gases.

• The data on ocean heat content have been misused to suggest anthropogenic warming. The role of greenhouse gases in the reported rise in ocean temperature is largely unknown.

• Understanding of the atmospheric CO2 budget is incomplete.

• Higher concentrations of greenhouse gases are more likely to be beneficial to plant and animal life and to human health than lower concentrations.

• Our imperfect understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change means the science is far from settled. This, in turn, means proposed efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions are premature and misguided. Any attempt to influence global temperatures by reducing such emissions would be both futile and expensive.

The New York conference comes at a time when oil prices are at record levels, due largely to the explosive growth in energy demand from China and India. The rising demand for oil and coal points to the fact that whatever happens in the US and Western Europe, where the IPCC is based, nothing will curb rising CO2 emissions.

- Peter Westmore

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