July 14th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY By-elections a trial run for next federal election

SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook bans reflect a lack of impartiality

CANBERRA OBSERVED The gloves are on for by-election proxy bouts

FEDERAL POLITICS Federal ALP platform reads like a radical on a soapbox

ENVIRONMENT 'Climate change' news is fake news

BRITISH HISTORY Abolition of the Corn Laws paved the way for cheap food

LIFE ISSUES A world of competing sorrows: Ireland's abortion referendum

CULTURE The wee folk and their cousins, up and down the scale

WESTERN CIVILISATION Three great anniversaries of the West

FICTION Autumn Alexei's Story

MUSIC ABBA; Unstoppable, ubiquitous

CINEMA Jurassic World: Fallen kingdom

BOOK REVIEW Vision for the future, if we want to claim it

BOOK REVIEW Taking to task failed privilege

BOOK REVIEW Where Tolkien and St Thomas agree

LETTERS

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Beijing goes 'boo', Qantas gets in a flap

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Opposition mounts to legalisation of cannabis

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ENVIRONMENT
'Climate change' news is fake news


by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, July 14, 2018

Since the 1980s, many governments, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), academics and some climate scientists have been issuing increasingly dire warnings that rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is creating run-away heating of the environment – the “greenhouse effect” – with catastrophic consequences for life on earth.

This has become the pretext for a global effort to cut carbon-dioxide emissions, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, close down coal-fired power stations, and replace conventional motor vehicles with electric cars.

Across the world, the total cost of this crusade has been hundreds of billions of dollars in higher prices for electricity and gas, paid by manufacturers and consumers, and taxpayer-funded subsidies for renewable energy, as nations shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

While Australia has not gone as far as the European Union, the UK, Canada or the Nordic countries, the impact of this campaign is seen in the closure of low-cost coal-fired power stations, a doubling of energy prices over recent years, and increased unreliability as intermittent power generation produces a larger share of the country’s energy.

Virtue signalling

Major energy suppliers such as AGL have committed to closing all their coal-fired power stations and replacing them with renewable energy, while virtue signalling that they are doing so to counter “climate change”.

In fact, they generate most of their profits from coal-fired power, and benefit from the higher electricity prices caused by the closure of coal-fired power stations.

They also receive public subsidies for their high-priced wind and solar power, due to state and federal government commitments to renewable energy targets.

Although computer models, on which climate-change predictions are based, have consistently shown a high correlation between increasing carbon-dioxide levels and rising temperatures, measured temperature data does not bear this out.

In fact, the global temperature record derived by satellite data, published monthly by American climatologist Dr Roy Spencer, shows little change in global temperatures over the past 20 years, despite carbon-dioxide levels rising significantly in that period. As a result, we rarely hear talk now about “global warming”: it’s all about “climate change”.

Most people would conclude that the computer models are wrong. But not the advocates of climate alarmism. They now zero in on every natural disaster, and blame it on climate change.

Because of rapid improvements in communications over recent decades, coupled with the media’s preoccupation with bad news, we are all more conscious of floods, droughts, heatwaves, cyclones, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes than ever before.

Often these are associated with terrible human suffering, and invariably, are blamed on climate change.

Websites run by environmentalist organisations, “climate scientists” and government agencies repeat the mantra that the number of natural disasters is rapidly increasing. It is difficult to find independent sources of information on this issue.

However, independent studies of the incidence of such events contradict the claims.

For example, Oxford University’s “Our World in Data” has information that is relevant here. It shows that the reported number of natural disasters increased rapidly from about 10 in 1900 to 300 today. It shows little change from 1900 to 1940, and a dramatic rise since then.

However, it also shows that the number of natural disasters peaked at about 500 in the year 2000, but has since declined to 300.

We can assume that the rapid increase recorded since the 1940s, when instantaneous global communication first became possible, is simply due to better communications. Similarly, the fall in natural disasters since 2000 is probably due to the fact that improved communications, transport, disaster management and relief, mean that events that were previously considered natural disasters are no longer treated as such.

Interestingly, the number of deaths from natural disasters has fallen dramatically, from 550,000 per year in the 1920s to about 50,000 in the 1990s. The increase since the year 2000 is entirely due to the impact of earthquakes, which are random events caused by plate tectonics, not climate change.

The figures for per capita deaths from natural disasters are even more striking. The early 1900s show relatively few deaths, probably because of a lack of information. But it peaked at about 170 deaths per hundred thousand in the 1920s and early 1930s, and has fallen to fewer than five per hundred thousand in recent years.

This shows that repeated claims of imminent environmental catastrophe are completely unproven, and public policy should not be based upon them.

It was American President Franklin D. Roosevelt who once observed that “Repetition does not turn a lie into the truth”. This applies particularly to the mistaken policies built on the flimsy foundations of climate alarmism.




























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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm