April 21st 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The deeper causes of Australia's social malaise

GENDER POLITICS Queensland proposes transgender birth certificates

CANBERRA OBSERVED Malcolm at 30 (polls): the cloud on Turnbull's horizon

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell firmly denies sex abuse allegations

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Sydney Archdiocese aims to eliminate slavery in supply chain

RURAL DEVELOPMENT Irrigation along Fitzroy River proposed and opposed

LIFE ISSUES Abortion Rethink Summit: the case for care

VERBATIM WA food, drink producers face shortage of carbon dioxide

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY Land costs: economist Henry George's solution

ELECTRICITY Will Turnbull lose three out of three?

ECONOMICS Trade wars: tariffs unlikely to be fired in anger

SEX AND TEENS How about support for the abstaining majority?

VISUAL ARTS Layers of meaning in Botticelli's La Primavera and The Birth of Venus

MUSIC Is it good?: Or, do we just like the sound it makes?

CINEMA The Death of Stalin: Black comedy of a dark time

BOOK REVIEW Cool head on topic that generates heat

BOOK REVIEW Life's not so bad: from the outside



OPINION What a republic would really mean for Australia

Books promotion page


News Weekly, April 21, 2018

Big freeze as an effect of global warming

The article, “Europe’s freezing further proof of global warming”, on page 6 of the March 24, 2018, issue of News Weekly, is not well informed.

The freezing weather in Europe is, to some extent, driven by global warming. Global warming means the Barents and Kara seas (north of Finland) are more likely to be ice free, and this has always been associated with cold air getting further south in the European winter.

This association was written up in November 2010 (see agupubs.online-library.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2009-JD013568) in nice time to explain the unusual snow in Normandy that December.

The comments on rising sea levels are equally under-informed. Almost all the rise seen so far is due to thermal expansion of slightly warmer seawater.

There are legitimate anxieties about a much more dramatic sea level rise. (see theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/22/sea-level-rise-james-hansen-climate-change-scientist) These are based on the proposition that Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets (which are on land, not floating) could slide off into the sea.

The Laurentian ice sheet slid off Canada in exactly this way at the end of the last Ice Age. The Greenland ice sheet will generate some six metres of sea-level rise when it slides off and the West Antarctic ice sheet another four metres. The East Antarctic ice sheet is much bigger, but it seems unlikely to slide off anytime soon.

And it is worth noting that Dr Roy Spencer and Dr John Christy are two of the 10 prominent climate scientists out of the 300 top climate scientists who don’t actually accept the reality of anthropogenic global warming.

Their reason for rejecting the evidence for anthropogenic global warming does seem to be tied up with their born-again Christian religious affiliation, which doesn’t seem to stop them taking money from denialist propaganda groups for publicising their scepticism.

Bill Sloman,
Darlinghurst, NSW

Author’s note in reply to previous letter

The research quoted in Bill Sloman’s letter is deeply flawed.

The first link refers to an article in Atmospheres, a journal of geophysical research. The extract makes clear that the article is based entirely on climate models, rather than actual observations. Further, the conclusions are entirely tentative, using terms like “could” and “may” to buttress their conclusions. Logically, one could argue that the words could equally be “could not” and “may not”.

And so we read that anomalous reductions in sea ice in the Barents and Kara seas “could bring about extreme cold events like winter 2005–2006”; and “Our simulations with the ECHAM5 general circulation model … may result in strong anti-cyclonic anomaly” associated with extremely cold winters in northern Europe.

The second paper on rising sea levels quotes as its source a paper given by James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and global warming alarmist.

If one reads The Guardian article, in which his comments appear, Hansen is contradicted by Michael Mann, another global warming alarmist (and author of the famous hockey-stick chart).

Bill’s attacks on the credibility of two world-renowned climatologists, Dr Roy Spencer and Professor John Christy, claiming that their views are informed by their born-again Christian beliefs, is utterly false, as is his claim that they are “taking money from denialist propaganda groups for publicising their skepticism”.

Dr Spencer is employed by NASA, as he makes clear on his website, and Dr Christy is Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Both have won awards at the highest levels of their fields for their work.

Peter Westmore,
Kew, Vic.

Post-modern multiculturalism

I think it is sociologically naïve to assume that because successful societies can be culturally diverse and cultures evolve over time, it is enlightened to import practices from one to another without trepidation or allowance for slow assimilation.

A culture working harmoniously is an elaborately integrated system, and a rapid change in one practice will probably, unforeseen, throw the functioning of one or more of its features into disarray.

One does not replace a part in a Ford car engine with the equivalent Volvo part with impunity.

Lucy Sullivan,
Richmond, NSW


Cricket is not religion

In recent times, Australians have been repeatedly reminded of our sporting heroes being unsporting – not “playing the game” anymore, ethics-wise.

In cricket it seems extra disappointing – sledging, brawling and ball-tampering throw away cricket’s traditional “gentlemanly” image. This decline coincides with polls telling us that the biggest religious category amongst Australians is now “No Religion”.

I suppose if there was no God, there would be no reason to do the right thing. There would be no “right” for a thing to be.

If we devote our Sundays to sport and to generally ignoring God, the next generation may be no better than this one.

Arnold Jago,
Nichols Point, Vic.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm