April 25, 2009
A break from faith in Australia! The continent down under, which until recently adhered to a strict form of global warming dogma, is experiencing an enlightenment.
“Beware the climate of conformity,” warns the headline for a column on global warming in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years,” starts the column by Paul Sheehan, one of Australia’s top authors. “Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I – and you – capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits?”
Sheehan closes by answering in the affirmative, with “a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence.”
“Wong is wrong on ETS,” runs an editorial in The Australian, criticizing Climate Change Minister Penny Wong for her proposal to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme in the midst of a recession. Instead, the newspaper asks the government to listen to the Australian Coal Association and the Australian Industry Group and postpone any decision for at least a year, if not forever. Jobs and the economy should not be threatened, the paper declares, particularly when climate change is an unproven theory.
“Garnaut turns on Government’s greenhouse scheme,” reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, advising its audience that “The future of the Government’s greenhouse gas trading regime is under question again, this time from the man who helped to design it.
“Ross Garnaut – who headed the Government’s review of climate change policy – has told a Senate Committee that it might be better if the scheme in its current form is not passed into law.
“That adds to the growing uncertainty about emissions trading, which is due to be up and running by next year.”
Still more: “Climate change science isn’t settled,” announces an opinion piece in The Australian by Canadian geologist Jan Veizer of the University of Ottawa. Veizer mocks the notion that “the tiny – biologically controlled – carbon cycle drives the climate.”
And more: “Planet doomsayers need a cold shower,” writes Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald, in an extensive article that damns “the global warming scare campaign.” She cites at length a hugely influential new book by University of Adelaide geologist, Ian Plimer, Heaven And Earth (subtitled “Global Warming: The Missing Science”).
It is “a comprehensive scientific refutation of the beliefs underpinning the idea of human-caused climate change,” she explains, pointedly noting that Plimer’s book was written “for those out there with an open mind wanting to know more about how the planet works. The mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open.”
Plimer’s book could not have landed at a more opportune time. With Australia’s resource-based economy rocked by recession, large swathes of the public are for the first time asking themselves if the job losses and economic dislocations that would come of reducing carbon dioxide emissions are really necessary. At the same time, the Australian Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy is hearing testimony on the wisdom of an Emissions Trading Scheme. Not only have the politicians running the proceedings decided to allow climate sceptics to express themselves, much of the press has decided to report their views fairly.
Into this global warming glasnost that Australia is experiencing steps Plimer, with perspectives that would once have been derided and dismissed.
To those who claim it is economically prudent to curb greenhouse gases based on the information known to date, Plimer responds that the business world would never “make trillion-dollar decisions without a comprehensive and expensive due diligence.” To those who claim that an overwhelming consensus of scientists associated with the United Nations climate change report have concluded that man is responsible for bringing us to global warming catastrophe, Plimer points to the report’s chapter dealing with man’s role, which is “based on the opinions of just five independent scientists.”
Thanks to Plimer, the press and politicians, Australia is likely to become the developed world’s third Denier Nation, after the Czech Republic, where only 11% of the public blame humans for global warming, and the United States, where only 34% blame humans.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute. email@example.com