February 5th 2011

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: After the deluge, build new dams!

NATIONAL SECURITY: Heightened terror threat likely in 2011

EDITORIAL: Dealing with the China challenge

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Can Julia Gillard re-invent herself?

TASMANIA: New premier is an Emily's List radical feminist

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Rann Labor Government beset by factional brawls

CLIMATE CHANGE: Floods caused by global warming: Bob Brown

ENVIRONMENTALISM: Greenpeace co-founder has second thoughts

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: The Chinese president goes to Washington

UNITED STATES: Same-sex marriage: who says nothing will change?

FEMINISM: Australia Post honours four radical feminists

OPINION: Mother-child bond diagnosed as a mental disturbance

CULTURE AND CIVILISATION: C.S. Lewis and False Apology Syndrome

CINEMA: A dark and twisted psychological thriller - Black Swan (rated R)


BOOK REVIEW: THE LAST ENGLISHMAN: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome, by Roland Chambers

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Floods caused by global warming: Bob Brown

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, February 5, 2011
Climate alarmists, who for years were blaming global warming for Australia's prolonged drought, are now saying that the recent floods in Queensland and Victoria were the result of climate change, despite evidence to the contrary.

At a time when many thousands of Australians have suffered serious losses as a result of the floods and some farmers and small businesses face financial ruin, Greens leader Senator Bob Brown has blamed the Australian coal industry for the floods, and urged the Federal Government to impose higher taxes on the coal industry to "pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in current decades".

The coal industry itself has suffered massive damage as a result of the floods, with many pits flooded and the rail lines which carry coal to the coast damaged. This has not only disrupted current production, but, to take one example, according to Queensland Rail, it will take months before the lines between Emerald and Rockhampton are repaired.

A spokesman for the coal export port of Gladstone announced that the line from Blackwater was out of operation, and the port, the fourth largest coal export port in the world, is not exporting coal at the moment. (Sydney Morning Herald, January 6, 2011).

Andrew Garrett, from the largest coal export terminal at Dalrymple Bay, said that the port had been operating at 60 to 70 per cent capacity since the start of January. "It's certainly an impact to global supply and an impact on miners," he said. (Business Spectator, January 6, 2011).

BHP's coal production has reportedly been cut by over $500 million.

The Greens' leader has been joined by academics in linking the floods with global warming.

Professor Will Steffen of the ANU's Climate Change Institute, said, "We are getting more intense rainfall events as the earth warms, but it's difficult to pin down any individual event. Rainfall events like the type we've seen in Queensland are becoming more likely as the earth warms."

Before taking up his present appointment at ANU, Professor Steffen worked for the Swedish-based International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), a climate change advocacy organisation which seeks to influence international policy towards government action to cut global warming.

The IGBP is a strong supporter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and backed mandatory targets on CO2 emissions at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009.

Professor Steffen is now a key adviser to the Gillard Government on climate change.

The clearest evidence that the floods are part of the normal cycle comes from the data collected by the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, which has been available for years on the bureau's web site. It has a page devoted specifically to the history of "Known floods in the Brisbane and Bremer river basin, including the cities of Brisbane and Ipswich".

The record shows that since 1840, there have been five floods higher than that which recently inundated parts of Brisbane, three of them in the 19th century, long before there was any suggestion of global warming.

More interestingly, the written documentation which accompanies the chart displayed here shows that the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers are subject to regular flooding every few years, the severity of which depends on the intensity of tropical storms.

Both Brisbane and Ipswich are built on flood plains, and are therefore subject to periodic inundation.

Interestingly, the last major flood in Brisbane occurred in 1974, long before the climate change bandwagon began rolling.

Another academic who blamed the Queensland floods on global warming is Professor David Karoly from Melbourne University. Not surprisingly, Professor Karoly is one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

As Andrew Bolt has noted, in 2003 Professor Karoly blamed global warming for the Australian drought. Now he blames it for the 2011 floods.

Professor Karoly has been taken to task by Professor Stewart Franks, a meteorologist from Newcastle University, in New South Wales.

Professor Franks has protested against the ABC's use of Professor Karoly as its resident expert. He wrote, "I would like to protest the repeated interviews with Prof. David Karoly with regard to the Queensland floods.

"Since 2003, I have published a number of papers in the top-ranked international peer-reviewed literature regarding the role of La NiƱa in dictating Eastern Australian floods.

"There has been no evidence of CO2 ... affecting these entirely natural processes, irrespective of their devastating nature.

"Why is it then, that someone without any publication nor insight in this key area of concern for Australia is repeatedly called upon to offer his personal speculation on this topic?"

Professor Franks added, "Undoubtebly, Prof. Karoly has expertise but not in the area of hydrology or indeed in many other areas on which the ABC repeatedly calls on him for 'expert' comment."

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