May 24th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Rudd Budget targets 'middle-class' welfare

EDITORIAL: 'Whom the gods wish to destroy...'

LABOUR MARKET: Post-school education and training: a national crisis

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Oil imports threaten to blow out foreign debt

ENERGY: Germany's rapid development of renewable energy

SCHOOLS: Dubious deal offered to pupils' parents / Faith schools' autonomy defended

CIVIL LIBERTIES: Political correctness suppresses free speech

ABORTION: Why abortion should remain a crime

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: The indispensable role of government

DEFENCE: Lest we forget our duty of care to servicemen

OLYMPIC GAMES: Clean-up or purges? Beijing prepares for the Games

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: Is the United Nations beyond repair?

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Westerners acquiescing to creeping sharia / Oil fuelling world's conflicts

OPINION: Why we should encourage creation of new Australian states

Plight of young home-buyers (letter)

In defence of global warming (letter)

Wrong way to tackle inflation (letter)

US presidential elections (letter)

Life, not euthanasia (letter)

BOOKS: THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD: Essays Catholic and Contemporary, by John Haldane

Books promotion page

'Whom the gods wish to destroy...'

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, May 24, 2008
The Rudd Government steadfastly ignores mounting scientific doubts on the theory of human-induced climate change.

Despite mounting scientific doubts on the theory of human-induced climate change — and the certainty that, regardless of what Australia does, it will make no practical difference — the Federal Treasurer in last week's Budget reaffirmed the Rudd Government's commitment to the recommendations of the Garnaut Climate Change Review.

The origins of the current climate alarmism go back a long way.

The first World Climate Conference was conducted under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations in 1979, then the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988, and a second World Climate Change Conference in 1990.

This recommended the establishment of an international climate change treaty, which emerged as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

The Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, did not come into effect until 2005, due to widespread criticism of the science on which its conclusions were based, as well as the fact that its requirement to cut greenhouse gases applied only to the developed nations in Europe, North America and Asia, while the United States (including the Clinton Administration in the 1990s) refused to accept its terms.


Over the past 30 years, the institutional structures established to investigate climate change have become unapologetic proponents of global-warming theory, and have built an international government-funded industry to "prove" that the theory is true.

As a result, there has been a mounting sense of climate alarm, as climate scientists, journalists, politicians and environmentalists jostle to put forward ever more extreme climate scenarios facing the earth and the human race.

Those who doubt the theory — including world-respected meteorologists, oceanographers and geologists — are dismissed as "climate sceptics", and we are repeatedly told that the science is now settled: man-made global warming is a reality.

The earth's climate is now having the last laugh.

Despite repeated assertions that increased CO2 levels are causing global-warming, it is now recognised that the hottest year in the recent past occurred 10 years ago (in 1998), and that, between 2002 and 2007, temperatures remained approximately steady, below the 1998 maximum.

For reasons which are still not quite clear, the world's average temperature actually fell by about 0.5°C in 2007, and has not increased in the first few months of 2008.

In the meantime, attempts to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol are facing mounting difficulties.

Despite their self-congratulation over the Kyoto Protocol which has now been endorsed by over 170 nations, most countries (including our own) now accept that a new treaty must have binding targets on developing countries, including Russia, China and India, where CO2 emissions are growing at a rapid rate. But these countries have rejected this condition.

Further, the developed nations themselves are split, as they contemplate the cost of imposed limits on CO2 emissions which threaten to damage manufacturing and agricultural industries, and export more jobs to countries such as China and India.

Late last year, an international climate change conference in Bali, attended by 3,000 delegates from over 190 countries, was intended to put in train negotiations for a post-Kyoto climate change treaty.

Due to differences among delegates, the final "agreement" papered over the fact that there was no agreement over the inclusion of developing countries, and the Bali conference set no mandatory limits (or even targets) for greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries. To cover up these failures, the agreement was described as a "road map".

Over recent months, follow-up meetings in Honolulu and Paris have failed to bridge the gap. Even within the European Union, the strongest advocate of mandatory targets, the British Labour Government, is opening new black-coal mines and giving tax breaks to expand oil exploration on the continental shelf off the UK coast.

The German Government has criticised EU proposals for "green cars", saying it would discriminate against German manufacturers, and cost the country billions of dollars.

Meanwhile, G7 (the Group of Seven) leading finance ministers and central bankers have urged world oil-producers to increase oil production to bring down soaring crude oil prices.

And the journal Science reported last February that, if China's carbon usage keeps pace with its economic growth, the country's carbon dioxide emissions will reach eight gigatonnes a year by 2030, which is equal to the entire world's CO2 production today.

In light of the fact that there is nothing 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 it, and it is a serious mistake even to try.

— Peter Westmore is national president of the National Civic Council.

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