March 30th 2013

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: The decline of Australian manufacturing

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Labor's failure to tackle root causes of soaring cost of living

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Stricken Labor picks fight with media in election year

NEW SOUTH WALES: Widening ripples from Obeid corruption scandal

WA ELECTIONS: Conservative tsunami hits Labor and the Greens in WA

ENVIRONMENT: More alarmism from the Climate Commission

MARRIAGE LAWS: State same-sex marriage laws would be invalid: leading QC

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Push to change ALP and Coalition on marriage

LIFE ISSUES: Tasmanian abortion laws to criminalise dissent

SOCIETY: Radical feminism's war on men, marriage and children

DEFENCE OF FREEDOM: The power of truth: Reagan's 'Evil Empire' speech turns 30

LATIN AMERICA: Death of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez

SOUTH-EAST ASIA: Brunei: a small country alone in a turbulent region


CINEMA: In defence of 3D dreadfuls

BOOK REVIEW The life and death of Roger Casement

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More alarmism from the Climate Commission

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, March 30, 2013

Following a hot summer in parts of Australia, the federal government-funded Climate Commission has produced a report, The Angry Summer, to repeat and expand its claims that the world is facing an environmental catastrophe through global warming.

Following the report’s release, the commission’s chairman, Professor Tim Flannery, was asked by the ABC’s 7.30 Report, “What link are you asserting between extreme weather events over the past summer — fires, floods and so on — and climate change?”

Professor Flannery responded: “Well, look, there are really two aspects to that.

“One is that everything we’re seeing is consistent with what the climate scientists have been telling us now for decades and it’s very consistent with the physics and chemistry that we know the way the earth works.

“But secondly, we’ve seen 123 records broken and each of those records really takes us into a new climatic territory. And when you get records being broken at that scale, you can start to see a shifting from one climate system to another. So the climate has in one sense actually changed and we are now entering a new series of climatic conditions that we just haven’t seen before.”


In light of the recent past in Australia, where much of the continent experienced a drought of 10 years’ duration, following by very heavy floods in successive years in the eastern states, these statements are a wild exaggeration.

Additionally, the “dead centre” of the Australian continent is very dry. Every summer, a vast mass of solar-heated air is carried by hot winds over much of the continent, causing extremes of temperature for days or even weeks on end.

In relation to geological time, the period for which accurate weather records have been maintained in Australia is vanishingly small, so claims that the weather is changing — based on one summer — are notoriously unreliable.

In fact, at the same time that Australia was experiencing a long, hot summer, Western Europe and North America experienced prolonged periods of freezing weather.

At the time of writing, Britain, France and Germany have endured heavy winter storms, with closures of airports, motorways and railways.

Reuters news agency reported, “Social media were full of messages about the unusual mid-March snowfall of up to 20 cm (8 inches) and the cold. It was set to be the first mid-March day since 1925 that the daytime temperature in Belgium had not risen above freezing.” (March 12, 2013).

An American geographer, James Gibson, wrote, “The winter of 2012-2013 caused many North Americans to seriously think about snow. Even as late as early March, for instance, Chicago received over 20 cm (8 inches) of the white stuff causing the cancellation of hundreds of flights at O’Hare Airport.”

The fact is that different parts of the world are subject to a range of influences on the weather which makes it impossible to generalise from any local seasonal events.

There are, however, readily available sources of reliable information which contradict the Climate Commission’s alarmism.

One of these is the website maintained by Dr Roy Spencer, a respected American meteorologist (unlike Tim Flannery, a palaeontologist, whose area of professional expertise is the evolution of kangaroos).

Dr Spencer served as senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre, where he and Dr John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites.

Every month, he publishes the latest average global temperature and average sea-surface temperature, based on satellite data.

The latest global temperature data, updated to February 2013, shows that the temperate for the lower atmosphere is 0.18°C above the 30-year average (1981-2010), and there has been no net increase in temperatures since the late 1990s.

The average sea-water temperature, based on satellite observations, is -0.01°C, compared to the years 2003-2006, showing almost no change. Dr Spencer said the base years were chosen “because those years were relatively free of el niño and la niña activity”, which, if included, would skew the temperature record.

Contrary to its claim that it provides “independent and reliable” information on climate change, the Climate Commission is a body set up by the Gillard government to disseminate propaganda supporting the government’s climate agenda.

It is utterly unnecessary, as it cuts across the work done by existing and more reputable organisations such as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and various state-based agencies which provide detailed analysis of weather and climate issues.

It is to be hoped that the Coalition, if elected to government later this year, will shut down not only this organisation, but also other agencies such as the $10 billion Clean Energy Fund and the Climate Change Authority which the Gillard government established in order to provide “independent” (sic) advice on the operation of Australia’s carbon price, emissions reduction targets, and other government climate-change initiatives. 

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