Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Steep emissions cuts needed or we’ll blow Australia’s carbon budget: climate authority

The Climate Change Authority’s new report on emission reduction targets makes a compelling argument for Australia to go much further in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of the current target of…

A new report argues Australia needs to rebalance its climate budget, or pay more later. pogonici/Shutterstock

The Climate Change Authority’s new report on emission reduction targets makes a compelling argument for Australia to go much further in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead of the current target of a 5% cut, it recommends emission reductions of 19% by 2020 and 40%-to-60% by 2030 as a responsible path to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

The independent Authority arrived at its recommendations using a “budget approach” to emission reductions. It’s an approach that, whatever its immediate impact on the political debate, will reframe thinking about climate policy in Australia.

The budget approach makes it crystal clear that whatever we do over the next few years cannot be divorced from what must be done later.

How does a budget approach work?

Like all nations, Australia has declared its commitment to limiting global warming to no more than 2°C.

Such a commitment imposes a limit on the volume of greenhouse gases that can be emitted over time, because warming is associated with increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

It is not so much the emissions that occur in a single year but cumulative emissions that cause the damage.

Globally, total emissions of 1,700 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent CO2-e over the period 2000-2050 would give the world a 67% chance of keeping warming below 2°C. (This and other figures are referenced in the Authority’s report here.) Given we’re already 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels, the need to move much faster is apparent.

Between 2000 and 2012, the world used up 36% of that budget, leaving 64% for the period 2013 to 2050.

Given the escalating damages from exceeding 2°C, some would opt for a better than two-thirds chance and set a lower budget. For temperatures above 2°C, the Authority refers to an expected doubling to quadrupling of extreme fire danger days in Australia, the destruction of coral reefs and, at the higher range, about 17,000 temperature-related deaths in this country each year.

Doing our fair share

What is Australia’s fair share of a global budget of 1,700 billion tonnes of CO2-e? The Authority opted for an equity principle based on a modified contraction and convergence approach, that is, global convergence to equal per capita emissions by 2050 but allowing for poorer nations to increase their emissions in earlier years so as not to impede economic development.

This fairness principle led the Authority to recommend that Australia adopt a national emissions budget of 10.1 billion tonnes CO2-e for the period 2013 to 2050.

It’s important to stress that this is Australia’s fair contribution to global efforts to limit warming to 2°C. If Australia exceeds this budget then we are either asking the rest of the world, including poor countries with lower per capita emissions, to carry some of our burden or we are effectively abandoning the 2°C commitment and accepting all of the consequences that follow.

Once we adopt a fair, scientifically credible emissions budget, the vital question becomes: When are we going to spend it? That’s the power of the budget approach: what we spend now we do not have available for later.

The bigger picture: bringing down emissions under different global emissions budgets. Climate Change Authority

Put another way, if we behave prudently now, and make strong efforts to reduce our emissions in the next few years, then we will increase our chances of keeping within our budget and give ourselves more options for later. And the current generation will not be offloading the burden onto the next two or three. To use a cricketing analogy, batsmen are always told to complete the first run quickly, because then the option of a second or third run becomes available.

Our 5% target for 2020 is not credible

So when it comes to setting emission reduction targets for 2020 the consequences for what we must do in the following decade, and the decade after that, are inescapable.

For this reason the Authority argues that a 2020 emissions reduction target of 5% below 2000 levels, the current bi-partisan policy of the Coalition and Labor, is not merely inadequate; it is not credible.

As the Authority’s new report puts it, it’s not credible because

a 5% target is inconsistent with Australia’s fair contribution to the long-term global goal to limit warming to below 2 degrees.

The numbers contain a blunt truth. If Australia stays with its 2020 target of 5%, the subsequent decade would require the most stringent program of emission cuts. We would have to halve our emissions in 10 years, and even then we would be left with only 14% of our total budget to cover the remaining 20 years.

New recommended targets: 19% by 2020 and 40-60% by 2030. Climate Change Authority

The Authority recommends Australia should reduce its emissions by 15% below 2000 levels by 2020 (or 19% taking into account other factors, as I’ll explain shortly), and commit to reducing emissions by 40 to 60% a decade later in 2030. Following that trajectory would, if pursued through to 2050, see the nation keep within its emissions budget.

In the absence of effective policy, by 2020 Australia’s emissions are expected to be 17% higher than they were in 2000, so cutting them to 15% below by 2020 is a considerable task, but one the Authority, after examining the emissions reduction opportunities available, believes is achievable at modest cost.

New targets: 19% by 2020, 40-60% by 2030

The Authority also considered how to treat the 4% “carryover”, that is, the credit to Australia’s account arising from the fact that over 2008-2012 (the years marking the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol) our emissions averaged only 104% of 1990 levels instead of our committed amount of 108%.

Coming in under the target had less to do with effective emission reduction policies than the extraordinarily generous deal Australia extracted at the Kyoto conference in 1997 (concessions other leaders called a “disgrace”).

Australia’s “success” in limiting emissions growth has been mostly due to the reduction of land clearing, much of which occurred between 1990 and 1997 as you can see below.

Emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry - which includes land clearing - are shown here under its acronym LULUCF. Climate Change Authority

The Authority recommends the 4% carryover be added to the 15% target to give an effective emission reduction target of 19% by 2020.

The recommended 2030 target is as important as the more immediate one. By making a serious commitment to it Australia would finally be setting itself on a credible path to realizing its pledge to play its part in global efforts to limit warming to 2°C.

What would it cost?

Under its legislation, the Authority is required to take account of the economic impacts of its recommendations. It commissioned modelling from the Treasury, which showed that the cost of moving from a 5% to a 19% emission reduction target in 2020 is modest, to say the least.

It’s estimated that adopting the stronger target would reduce the growth rate of Gross National Income (GNI) per Australian from 0.80% to 0.78% each year.

With a 5% target, GNI per person is expected to grow from $62,350 in 2012 to $66,450 in 2020.

With a 19% target, it is expected to grow to $66,350, a shortfall that would be made up within three months.

Australians' wealth would still grow with a steeper 19% emissions target, but at a marginally slower rate. Climate Change Authority

A $100 drop in GNI per person by 2020 seems like a trifling sacrifice if that’s all it would take for Australia to make a credible contribution to tackling global warming.

The Authority also considered a more far-reaching target of 25% by 2020, which would send an unambiguous signal of commitment and provide more flexibility in the use of our national budget later on.

Some believe such a target is technologically and economically feasible, although if it were adopted, and strong policies implemented, there would be less than six years in which to achieve it, which stretches the boundaries of the politically possible.

Either a 15% or a 25% target (plus the 4% carryover) would see Australia begin to face up to the hard logic imposed on policy by our share of the global emissions budget.

In the past week, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has warned that budget and tax reform are urgently needed, saying:

It’s a call to arms to the nation that these things will not be fixed overnight, but we must fix things otherwise we’re going to be guilty of intergenerational theft, effectively.

As the Authority’s new report highlights, budget reform is urgently needed on climate change too. Anything less than the recommended targets imposes an intolerable burden on young Australians, who will be left to make deeper emission cuts in future because we weren’t willing to start now.

Join the conversation

177 Comments sorted by

    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Lots of people do understand Michael and just look at the haste the Government is to help with the extraction of coal and gas for said group.

      The ship has sailed I fear and my child will be left to face the consequences of this the greatest trick ever performed.

      Never mind the theological assertion that satan convinced us he did not exist thus performing a great deception.

      This one has real implications.

      report
    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      I agree hundreds of thousands, possibly millions have a good gripe on the size and reality of the problem.....but in a world of billions this is not a lot of people

      the greens received something like 8% of the vote, possibly a large portion of these people truely understand whats coming but again, many more voted for the coalition - you can't both understand the reality of the problem and vote for the coalition or even labour

      so when you say lots....you certainly do not mean a majority, you don't even mean a sizable minority

      report
    3. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I was being facetious when referring to "lots" Michael and I was pointing to the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto, business council etc.

      The majority of the Billions in the poorest countries may or may not be aware but they will be the first to go under.

      report
    5. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Ahh, I get it, when I read it more slowely I see the context I missed previously

      report
    6. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I do apologize but this whole commenting thing is a little more interesting to me when some cryptic comment is included.

      report
    7. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

    8. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

  1. Mike Hansen

    Mr.

    The other reason for ramping up emission reduction targets is that there is no guarantee that 2 degrees C of warming is "safe".

    In this paper, climatologist James Hansen and a team of international authors argue that 2C is dangerous.
    "Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3–4°C with disastrous consequences. "
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0081648

    So Clive's statement " if we behave prudently now, and make strong efforts to reduce our emissions in the next few years, then we will increase our chances of keeping within our budget and give ourselves more options for later." should also apply to the 2C target and the possibility of reducing the budget as the consequences of warming become clearer.

    report
    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      He seems to be one of few mentioning unreleased 'naturally occurring' sources of CO2 which will vastly aggravate temperature rises. I wonder when these sources will be included as a matter of rational inclusion in modelling and by policy-makers. Big omission this. I think I can understand why 2 degrees is too much as an aspirational target, but was is made (mike) as a political decision, or pre-adequate number crunching of methane etc.

      report
    2. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      The devil is in the detail Mike and I would suggest that given the usually very conservative opinions of scientists when drawing conclusions from research we are in clear and present danger.

      What I would like to see is a best case scenario if we stopped most if not all CO2 emission right now.

      Given the lag phase of consequence to what is already in the system and the reluctance of anyone to act in any meaningful manner I doubt anything but adaptation is possible.

      report
    3. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Indeed - I don't think any of the models include any of the possible tipping point feedbacks (methane clathrates melting etc).

      Much damage has already been done and will have to be adapted to but it could get a lot worse if we don't mitigate.

      report
    4. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      if this year's heat waves are anything to go bye at a 0.8 degree warming, I cannot see a way how I could surviive a 2 degree warming out here.

      report
  2. John Newlands

    tree changer

    An argument that might appeal to climate change deniers is that we need to decarbonise regardless. Production of crude oil has already peaked and the volume of liquids is being maintained via condensates, ethanol, tar sands and the like. When it becomes clear the net energy is not enough to sustain high GDP growth I think a likely scenario is we'll flog gas until it runs short by 2030 or so. Since making petrol from coal seems a bit extreme then coal demand will also decline due to reduced activity…

    Read more
    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to John Newlands

      We have been arguing for 30 years.

      We lost.

      Time to adapt or at least consider best location for your childrens future and teach yourself total self reliance.

      report
  3. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. In reply to Gary Murphy

      Comment removed by moderator.

    6. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

    7. In reply to Gary Murphy

      Comment removed by moderator.

    8. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    9. In reply to Gary Murphy

      Comment removed by moderator.

    10. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to Trevor S

      'I am going to speculate here'

      That's what deniers do.

      Before criticising, contact Clive and ask him what he has done to reduce his personal emissions.

      And how do you know what I have done? Or anybody else?

      And I don't blame Abbott for the addiction of the world, (not just me) to fossil fuels. I criticise him for not believing in the very easy to understand science that shows we must change.

      report
    11. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    12. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Trevor S

      Ah the Gerard Dean JatA1 fuel hypocrisy line!

      As Phil has asked, how do you know what ANY of us has done to reduce our carbon footprint?

      report
  4. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      1) catastropharians, a new term, =warmist, name calling designed to belittle
      2) it'll make no difference, a common mistaken belief
      3) current hiatus/pause, proven to be incorrect, how could we miss this one!!
      4) they haven't got a clue. That's it.
      Thanks Geoff you've expanded the list.

      report
    2. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      I think Geoff is right Alice. We don't have a clue. We have proof.

      report
    3. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      1) denier, denialist, contrarian - name calling designed to belittle

      2) Then why can't anybody say how much difference it will make - perhaps a 1,000th of a degree or less isn't worth advertising about

      3) If there is no hiatus, then why are the warmies trying to come up with a thousands reasons to try and explain it!

      4) And they still haven't got a clue.

      report
    6. In reply to Jay Wulf

      Comment removed by moderator.

    7. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Well Geoff; answer this - What if the modelling is correct?

      Please delineate your plan B for that scenario.

      That said; Australia should not be exporting coal as promoted so well by the COALition and their futile "Direct - Inaction Policy" et al relentless unaffordable enqiries.

      report
    8. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      There may have been extensive (if very one-sided) discussions but that doesn't mean that any meaningful conclusions have been reached.

      We are observing that the correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentration and global temperature rise seems to have completely broken down.

      Obviously much more discussion - hopefully two-sided this time, is needed.

      report
    9. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      The difference is Geoff I don't claim

      "Given that none of the models predicted the current hiatus in global temperatures, I dare say the answer to that is they haven’t got a clue."

      These are your words are they not?

      So just in case your scroll button is broken.

      "By all means convince me why you are the one with the clue and then refute this

      climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus"

      These are my words are they not?

      I prefer the opinion of those who have published peer reviewed data and conclusions.

      Lets put the fancy titles to one side Geoff and let the real researchers get on with the job.

      Oh and BTW I actually do have published papers Geoff and if you did a little bit of that which you Associate yourself with you may be able to find it.

      report
    10. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    11. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      He already has that link Mike but they haven't got a clue in the "World According to Geoff".

      report
    12. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Geoffrey, the issue is one of credibility, not publishing in climate science.

      John Cook cites, references, draws on PEER-REVIEWED science, you know: the sort of stuff you do NOT reference for the claims you make.

      report
    13. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      I doubt if you have even read the article; certainly you show no sign you have before embarking on your usual fact-free, unsupported statements.

      Get a credibility transplant and give us some genuine science to back up your views.

      report
    14. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      @Mark Pollock

      "We are observing that the correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentration and global temperature rise seems to have completely broken down."

      No we are not. Making assertions based on your ideological conviction does not make them true.

      Everyone else here is noticing the same thing as I. You and Henley troll climate science articles here but you never actually mention any scientific specifics or link to any science or data that would support your argument.

      LOL. You really do not have a clue about climate science. All your comments are based on a conviction that the science is wrong because it does not accord with your ideology. You are to climate science what creationists are to evolution.

      report
    15. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "We are observing that the correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentration and global temperature rise seems to have completely broken down."

      Citation please.

      report
    16. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      No, wrong again. I look at the data. As raw as possible. You might like to try that. Global temperatures are flat lining. CO2 is still going up. This is contrary to what your theory implies.

      I am not saying, of course, that this will persist. Just that none of the models on which the thesis relies predicted this situation. Therefore the models are wrong. The science is not settled and we should not invest a cent more in it until we have a better idea of what is driving climate change.

      The moderators seem quite comfortable with your frequent resort to personal abuse an ad hominem attacks and I don't mind it either it it illustrates the shallowness of your arguments.

      report
    17. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      More to the point Geoff, if there was a hiatus, why has sea level rise over this period accelerated. I believe we've had this conversation before.
      Observe the graphic of combined Land-Ocean Temperature Change by Latitude please...
      A hiatus can only be declared (marginally incorrect), by excluding Earths Oceans. A statistical falsehood.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-currier/happy-new-warming-year_b_4528824.html

      report
    18. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "John Cook none" Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature...received 18th January 2013, accepted for publication 22 April 2013.... cited by every major scientific institution since...
      Lewandowsky "Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation" The very people who objected to publication of this study screamed till blue in the face, were invited to submit a commentary, didn't, so the study…

      Read more
    19. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Mark, if this stuff was so easily provable, why hasn't any 'sceptical site' ever included submitted research, which has been published by a scientific publication; and then compiled a comprehensive peer reviewed ' body of evidence' to prove the case using their blog(s) to do so?
      I don't care how raw the data is, you refer to something which is not being done.
      You cannot infer accuracy and methodology as a criteria, and then come up without a comprehensive replicate-able 'body of evidence'
      Have you seen such a thing?

      report
    20. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice,
      The studies you cite have nothing to do with the science of climate change.

      Cook's paper is grossly misrepresented and largely discredited in the real world.

      Lewandowsky's moonlanding hoax and recursive fury papers are total garbage.

      report
    21. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "none of the models predicted the current hiatus in global temperatures"

      Models don't predict El Nino/La Nina events.

      Please spare us the strawman arguments.

      report
    22. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Oh dear Alice, sorry, I bungled copying the link (twice). Anyway it's on Huffington Post Live:
      "U.S. And UK Science Academies Explain Climate Change Reality In New Joint Report " Pretty dire and urgent.

      report
    23. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      HI Geoff, this is an interesting read: just Google:
      "U.S. And UK Science Academies Explain Climate Change Reality In New Joint Report " It's a new report.

      report
    24. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Gottit Jane thanks. This topic is central to the discussion today. And central to this joint publication, is the premise that climate change is happening, it's dangerous to continue, and that we have to commit to cease emitting CO2 into the future, a long term plan."long term climate change over many decades will depend mainly on the total amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted as a result of human activities."
      http://royalsociety.org/news/2014/climate-change-evidence-causes/
      It is baffling to me that Mark and Geoffrey can continue their spurious arguing. And just for once I'd like them to 'put up-or shut up'. jane I'm going to look at the answers to some of the questions in the side bar, I suggest... no, no point

      report
    25. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      "Oh and BTW I actually do have published papers Geoff and if you did a little bit of that which you Associate yourself with you may be able to find it."

      There are many Bruce Shaws in Australia (and overseas). The only one with any qualifications even remotely associated to climate scince is a Bruce E. Shaw at Columbia University.

      report
    26. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Mark and Geoffrey, this is a comprehensive discussion using the compilation of evidenced research as a basis, into the science of climate change, with a discussion about collective responsibilities (all countries) to decrease emissions in the conclusion. I am still waiting for your reply and similar body of evidence, as a rebuttal!
      http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/projects/climate-evidence-causes/climate-change-evidence-causes.pdf

      report
    27. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Thanks Alice and sorry about my stuff up with the website address. I'm feeling "washed out" at the moment (I have a fatigue-causing 'auto-immune disease' making for slow mentation at times) and also very gloomy about the future of my child and stepchildren. But, for a smile, I was thinking this morning of - I think it was James Carville's comment years ago - about "the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity" and how well it fits with some of our fellow commenters here … All the best - imo you are an asset to TC and I always read your thoughtful posts both for pleasure and, frequently, for enlightenment as well. Keep going.

      report
    28. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Jane, what can I say, never apologise to me, I don't mind errors at all, do em all the time, some intellectual snobs do. You sound like a good mother to me. You care. I'm trying to keep my aspy son on track so that he can do engineering, he is completely exhausting to steer at times. But this is why you and I are here. For me it was reading "The Road", which turned me into an instantaneous activist. These discussions are the only way for me to voice my anger at disbelief and inaction as evidenced by this article by Clive etc.

      report
    29. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "If there is no hiatus"

      No-one is denying there is a statistically insignificant slowdown.

      But if we took the advice of denialists about something that is statistically insignificant then we would act as if the null hypothesis is true.

      Fortunately most scientists are not intellectually dishonest the way denialists are, so they don't automatically assume the null hypothesis must be true.

      report
    30. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "Fortunately most scientists are not intellectually dishonest the way denialists are, so they don't automatically assume the null hypothesis must be true."

      I don't know any denialists, just sceptics.

      So where is your evidence that 'sceptics' are 'intellectually dishonest'? This is just an opinion on your part.

      The evidence is that it is the CAGW advocates that are more prone to exaggeration, scaremongering and fact twisting.

      Remember: DOUBT IS NOT DENIAL.

      report
    31. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Mark, you said "I look at the data. As raw as possible." So, you do not allow for known biases in the data? That explains why you come up with the wrong answer. Well, partly explains. The rest of the explanation is in looking only at a subset of the data (land surface) with a determination to make the data fit a predefined result and reject any data falling outside that result. There is a name for people who do that - it's on the tip of my tongue ...

      report
    32. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Geoff, most scientists - the good ones - are sceptics: that is their job. A sceptic is one who seeks and is only convinced by evidence. A denier (a term going back to the 1500s) is one who refuses to be convinced by and denies the veracity of evidence. In your time here at TC, you have shown little sign of being the former, but I am willing to be convinced. What body of scientific evidence about global warming do you accept?

      report
    33. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      The moderating policy round here is a joke. Who's replying to whom?

      report
    34. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Jay Wulf

      The news story you link to discusses the general and mild rise in global temperatures that that been observed over the last 150 years or so.

      Nobody denies the world is gently warming. This in no way provides any evidence that CO2 in the air is causing this rise. Go back to stats 101. A correlation is not proof of causation.

      report
    35. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice,
      I don't think science works like that. People have made claims that more CO2 in the air will lead to warmer surface temperatures. Simple.

      Now we observe CO2 continuing to rise and temperatures not rising. Depending on the temperature data source it could be 15 to 20 years of flatlining.

      I don't have to explain why Clive and his activist chums have got it wrong. I just have to point out that they've got it wrong and that the science which they so loudly claimed was settled is anything but.

      report
    36. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      I like the satellite stuff best. Have a look. UAH has an Australian product too. And Doug, these things fly over the sea as well. Temps are flat for ages. CO2 is still going up. The models are wrong.

      report
    37. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      'more CO2 in the air will lead to warmer surface temperatures.'

      Surface?

      A nice way of trying to say that temperatures haven't increased.

      If you warm your hands by the fire, it also warms your back. Not just the surface of your hands.

      But, why am I bothering?

      You can lead a denier to truth, but you can't make them think.

      report
    38. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Mark, "I don't have to explain why Clive and his activist chums have got it wrong". Have you forgotten the principle 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof'? What 'proof' do you offer that surface temperature has not risen for a statistically significant period? Surely you can at least do that much research. Hint: twenty years is not long enough to obtain statistically significant results. Interested readers (and I don't include Mark here) may understand the problem better by looking at the temperature 'escalator' http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

      report
    39. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "I like the satellite stuff best."

      Is that because you live 5,000 metres above sea level which is the average measurement altitude of TLT satellite soundings?

      "Temps are flat for ages."

      Actually, temps are following the long term trend. Your limited statistical test fails to distinguish flat from long term upward trend. The models must be right.

      report
    40. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      I, and the Royal Society and the US Academy of Sciences, disagree with you. Let's defer to them for a moment, because presumably they know how science works.
      10 "Does the recent slowdown of warming mean that climate change is no longer happening?
      No. Since the very warm year in 1998 that followed the strong 1997-98 El Nino, the increase in average surface temperature has slowed relative to the previous decade of rapid temperature increases. Despite the slower rate of warming the 2000's were warmer…

      Read more
    41. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "I don't know any denialists"

      So you don't know anyone who says there is no warming for 15 or so years? And you don't know anyone who says "there has been no statistically significant warming in X years" as if that means anything significant?

      Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. There's even one right in this very thread who makes the denialist claim "Temps are flat for ages".

      "So where is your evidence that 'sceptics' are 'intellectually dishonest'?"

      Anyone who says"there has been no statistically significant warming in X years" as if that means something significant is intellectually dishonest. I'm sure you won't have the slightest difficulty finding such people.

      Remember: MAKING A BIG DEAL ABOUT SOMETHING INSIGNIFICANT IS DENIAL.

      report
    42. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Phil Dolan

      They haven't. What's your point? Are you saying that the warming we can't see is hiding in the deepest oceans where we can't see it?

      Who is the denier here?

      report
    43. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      I would never look at the SS website for anything objective. I download the data and have a look for myself. Pick a product! I like UAH but the others tell the same story. Temperatures are flat.

      Statistical significance can be complicated and from your comment I guess you don't understand it. As for the ridiculous escalator, it's just drawing lines on a curve. Mere PR.

      I encourage you to have a look at the data and draw your own conclusions.

      report
    44. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      No, I live in a waterfront des res on the Hawksebury - no wait, that's Tim Flannery. I really live on the beach in Newcastle - no wait, that former climate change minister Combet. Actually, I live on the bay in San Fran. Aargh! Wrong again! That's Al Gore!

      Why are you so curious about where I live?

      Trends are easily manipulated. The warming started when we moved out of the little ice age - without the benefit of increased CO2 concentrations. No one denies that the planet is warming. The temp line is flat. Who is the denier here?

      report
    45. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice,
      Please, let us have a little bit of understanding. I have never, ever, said that the climate is not changing.

      We have been told by numerous experts, including the author, over the last 20 years or so, that the world is going to get continuously warmer. Now we are told that this extra heat is being reflected back into space by aerosols, or distributed around by super strong trade winds or buried in the deep oceans where we can't see it.

      Surely you can see that the science is not quite settled?

      And if it's not then there is no need for the carbon reduction polices that the author is demanding.

      report
    46. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "They haven't."

      You're not telling the truth. You don't know that global average surface temperature isn't increasing. There is too much noise in global surface temperature to be able to tell.

      report
    47. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "Why are you so curious about where I live?"

      Because clowns like you ignore the fact that UAH measures at an average altitude of 5,000 metres.

      "The warming started when we moved out of the little ice age - without the benefit of increased CO2 concentrations"

      There was very little warming until after 1910. CO2 was rising in 1910.

      "The temp line is flat."

      You're not telling the truth again. You simply do not know that the temperature line is flat.

      What we do know is that there is no statistically significant slowdown in the rate of global warming of ANY period you choose, 15 years, 16 years, 17 years, ANY PERIOD YOU LIKE TO BEYOND 40 YEARS.

      You are in denial of that fact.

      report
    48. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "let us have a little bit of understanding."

      Coming from you that's pretty rich.

      "I have never, ever, said that the climate is not changing"

      Except when you say the temperature is not changing.

      "We have been told by numerous experts, including the author, over the last 20 years or so, that the world is going to get continuously warmer."

      No, we were told the world is going to get continually warmer.

      "Now we are told that this extra heat is being reflected back into space by aerosols, or distributed around by super strong trade winds or buried in the deep oceans where we can't see it."

      That's nice. It's just a pity that all these processes together are not enough to statistically significantly slow down the rate of global warming.

      "Surely you can see that the science is not quite settled?"

      It's statistically settled.

      report
    49. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      @Mark

      Mark, you disturb me with your inability to recognise basic facts and maintain the carbon emmiter political affrontery. There is no 'another point of view' to science.

      > Nobody denies the world is gently warming.

      Um... you are?

      > This in no way provides any evidence that CO2 in the air is causing this rise.

      "The observed global surface temperature rise since 1900 is consistent with detailed calculations of the impacts of the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 (and other human-induced changes) on Earth’s energy balance"

      Its in the report Mark, ITS IN THE BLOODY REPORT! IT IN THE GODDAMNED REPORT MARK!
      (Rolls up the reportin in a roll and smack Mark on the nose, repeatedly)

      THESE ARE THE WORDS OF SCIENTISTS, ITS THE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS! ITS THE DAMNED SCIENTIFIC FORNICATING CONSENSUS!

      report
    50. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Mark, you said "Surely you can see that the science is not quite settled?" It is the nature of science that nothing is ever 'proven', which you are conflating with 'settled'. Proof is for mathematicians only. We can agree, I think, that the theory of gravity is settled, in that no scientist seriously doubts gravity's effects (such as its being the reason we are not flung off our rapidly rotating planet and into outer space), even though we are still learning about gravity (Higgs boson, dark matter…

      Read more
    51. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Re @Geoff Henley.

      I notice that Henley was previously commenting here as "Geoffrey Henley", an account that now appears to be banned.

      Apparently he was banned for this now removed comment.
      https://theconversation.com/politicised-media-false-balance-and-the-pseudo-climate-debate-18851#comment_230983

      2 comments later and he has recreated himself under a slightly different name, "Geoff Henley"

      Apart from the embarrassment, what staggering lacking of integrity!

      He is notorious here for his obsession with the Cook et al consensus study and his willingness to misrepresent and lie about it.
      https://theconversation.com/its-been-hot-before-faulty-logic-skews-the-climate-debate-23349#comment_318512

      It appears there is no floor on Henley's willingness to make a fool of himself in prosecuting his ideology

      report
    52. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, "willingness to make a fool of himself in prosecuting his ideology" is a guiding tenet of committed ideologues. It is one way to tell a scientist from a charlatan: only one is guided by the evidence.

      report
    53. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Wow. I checked those links.

      'Bolt's credibility is superior to that of David Suzuki'

      Oh dear.

      report
    54. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Phil Dolan

      If Bolt has credibility, Mickey Mouse has more!

      report
  5. Robert McDougall

    Small Business Owner

    ok, then, the easiest and early things to do is to price carbon, remove obstacles to renewable energy, amp up the MRRT, remove fossil fuel subsidies and divert these funds to establishing no-carbon industries in Australia.

    oh sorry, i forgot our political system is toilet paper for the multinational resource companies.

    report
    1. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. Neville Mattick
      Neville Mattick is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      Can agree with you there Robert, actually I preferred the RSPT on our miners and banks too!

      As someone infrequently paid for what I do (lacking "aspiration"), it is high time the flow of wealth in Australia was for Australian's future, that is a cleaner one which grows our food sustainably, currently the LNP is a mechanism looking where to destroy our future as rapidly as possible ("indirect action").

      In the short fifty years I have observed the landscape, it will soon be unproductive due to the Climate Change impacts without the suggestions you made.

      report
  6. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Comment removed by moderator.

  7. Mark Pollock

    Analyst

    The real burden imposed on young Australians is the hideous cost of repaying the debts caused the the previous governments profligacy. Rain or shine this money will have to be paid back.

    Wasting further cash on a non problem will not ease this burden.

    report
    1. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Im starting to suspect youre a PR software bot. Your comments make as much sense.

      report
    2. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      umm.. how do then factor in Howards structural time bomb and jo Hockeys give me half a trillion just because?

      If you want to talk profligacy, your boy is Howard as a number of independent "Analysis" has shown.

      The real burden is the MAD MONKS desire to do to the current early 20 somethings what Howard did to us early 20 somethings in the 90's, which is to systematically destroy opportunities.

      Oh and don't forget that act of political bastardry and deliberately contempleted treason that is Abbotts eagerness to sign the TPP with the ISDS clauses. you want to see cash bled out of this country at a faster rate, then go ahead and sign that bit of evil.

      report
  8. Michael Lardelli

    logged in via Facebook

    Let's remember that Australia's measley and unattainable 5% emissions reduction target is the result of population growth. This was made clear as long ago as December 2008 by Kevin Rudd:

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/rudds-defence-of-target-contains-some-telling-omissions-20081216-6zwa.html

    "The EU's 20 per cent target announced over the weekend is equal to a 24 per cent reduction in emissions for each European from 1990 to 2020. Our 5 per cent unconditional target is equal to a 27 per cent reduction in carbon pollution for each Australian from 2000 to 2020 - and a 34 per cent reduction for each Australian from 1990.

    "This is because Europe's population is not projected to grow between 1990 and 2020. By contrast, Australia's population is projected to grow by 45 per cent. If the Europeans were to adopt the same per capita effort as Australia is proposing, their cuts would be around 30 per cent by 2020."

    report
  9. Fatima Karroun

    Mother of 8

    Shouldn't Clive Hamilton declare how much he is paid by the Climate Change Authority, what benfits he receives, and how much he gets paid for public speaking ??? He has a vested financial interest, like Al Gore, in publishing.

    report
    1. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Fatima Karroun

      Hi Fatima,

      Was alerted to this by an abuse notification, but I'd rather reply than delete it. Whether intended or not, your comment does strongly imply that Clive's main motivation in writing this was financial. Just to be clear: he wasn't paid for this article, none of our authors are. There are other media outlets that do pay for their op ed authors. Hopefully that answers that question.

      But am very happy to explain more about our disclosure process, because it's something we're constantly…

      Read more
    2. In reply to Liz Minchin

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Hi Mark,

      I'm going to take a *wild* guess here - you're not a big fan of Clive's are you? ;)

      But to be serious, I know Cory the moderator has been on here today and tried to prevent name-calling. These - if anyone needs a reminder - are our Community Standards https://theconversation.com/au/community_standards inc:

      "Be considerate
      We're here to talk about ideas, not the people behind them.

      "Be respectful
      Treat people with the respect you'd like to receive."

      By all means criticise our authors' work. But to Mark or anyone else, if anyone has a go at you ("vain and egotistical" or anything similar) do report it - we'd remove that as abuse too.

      Have a good weekend everyone.

      report
    4. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      Hi Liz,
      Thanks for the very civil response. It's appreciated.

      Your wild guess is pretty much on the money. I am not a fan of people who think we should shut down the democratic process. However, in this instance I was responding to a comment about motivation and there is no doubt that fame and acclaim and status are powerful motivators. I am quite sure he receives a benefit, if not an immediate financial one, from publishing on TC.

      I did notice that your colleague Cory had be around, cutting and confusing the commentary.

      The conversation has in many areas been rendered quite meaningless.

      As for the rest, I avoid personal abuse and make an effort to keep on topic. Doesn't seem to make much difference though.

      report
    5. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      @Mark

      Its interesting, isnt it Mark that people who hold a different opinion than you do are 'shutting down our democratic process', where as your position is enitrely reasonable, logical and rational.

      report
  10. Comment removed by moderator.

  11. Warwick Rowell

    Permaculturist at Rowell Consulting Services

    Another very clear cautious paper that should be widely circulated: Send a copy to your local politician and Greg Hunt and Tony Abbott today, Oh and Dick Warburton.

    The cautious bits are the statements concerning what seem to be increasingly probable risks of much more temperature increase than 2C; see James Hansen's Royal Society paper of September 2013: he sets out a case for 20C, which would wipe most of us off the face of the earth. So we have to rack up the pressure on our political…

    Read more
  12. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    The longer we wait, the steeper our emissions reduction cliff becomes. Of course, there may still be a few who think any reduction is unnecessary, because global warming is a world-wide pinko greenie leftie conspiracy, covering thousands of scientists over more than a century, for the purpose of - um - they haven't worked that out yet, but it must be true.

    report
  13. Clem Clarke

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I used to communicate with Professor Barry Commoner in the 1970's about Solar Energy and so forth. My main interest was clean air then. To me, having clean air meant we would have low pollution, that could only be a good thing. And perhaps by emphasising that instead of climate change might be another way to get action from governments.

    Another way altogether could be to totally redesign the car to use less fuel. An idea I had decades ago was a very simple two wheel vehicle. Here's a link to a short video about it.

    http://www.scivee.tv/node/17801

    report
  14. Brad Farrant

    Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

    The media is still MIA on helping to prevent dangerous climate change - where was the media coverage of the CCA report that is crucial for us all to understand if we are to prevent dangerous climate change? None of the Perth commercial TV channels covered it in their nightly news last night (nor did the ABC!). No wonder the general public doesn't grasp how dire the situation is.

    report
    1. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, the Emperor has appeared naked once too often, the boys I the CCA have cried wolf too many times. There is nothing new about the alarmist threat any more. Even the ABC is getting the picture.

      report
    2. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Mark,

      You and the media continue to bury your heads in the sand about what climate science is telling us. The threat to us and the kids of today and tomorrow doesn't go away just because you continue to deny the science.

      report
    3. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, climate science can tell us whatever it wants, actual science is the testing of a scientific hypothesis, true or false its that simple, theory tested by observations.

      Can carbon emissions impact on climate, sure greenhouse gases impact, do those same emissions lead to significant warming, at this point I have to say false, the evidence is in plain sight.

      Do we need more time to make this determination, probably, how much time, maybe 200 years, that would be a robust period, either way, I still would not hang my hat on it though.

      Nobody is burying their heads, observations are indicative of no threat. Its going to get cooler Brad, that is the trend, you are not seeing a "pause" you are seeing cooling.

      What threat to us and our kids? The threat suggested by models that continue to fail? Its all in plain sight Brad, nothing is hidden, see science is not consensus, science is testing a hypothesis with observations and deriving a true and false answer.

      report
    4. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to James Dayton

      James,

      If 97 out of 100 medical doctors were telling you that you needed to change your behaviour in order to prevent harm to yourself and your progeny would you choose to ignore them and carry on with business as usual?

      What training and expertise do you have that makes you so sure that you know better than the overwhelming majority of climate scientists?

      The overwhelming majority of climate scientists are telling us that the planet is warming and that human activity is causing most of the warming.

      To choose to ignore this in favour of the baseless and evidence free memes of the science deniers is to bury your head in the sand!

      report
    5. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      See Brad, actual science is the testing of a scientific hypothesis, true or false its that simple, theory tested by observations.

      Sorry, straight away you moved to consensus.

      You wear science like a badge, but then ignore the very methodology that determines true of false.

      The planet is cooling...no statistically significant warming for 16 years, its cooling, and will cool further. The models have failed, that is actual observations do not match predictions.

      Thats what science is, true or false.

      If the observations do not match predictions, why do you support a hypothesis that has failed? Sorry, thats not how science works.

      Oh by the way, if observations have proven the hypothesis to be false, and then science continues to support a false hypothesis, you accuse me of sticking my head in the sand?

      report
    6. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to James Dayton

      James you misunderstand how science operates. It works in terms of probabilities rather than black and white true or false.

      The planet has not been cooling, that is a science denier meme.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling-intermediate.htm

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

      So you are wrong the ACC hypothesis is supported by more evidence than ever before. If you continue to deny that then you do have your head stuck in the sand.

      Are you seriously suggesting that public policy should be based on the opinion of an extremely small proportion of scientists rather than that of the overwhelming majority? Sounds completely irrational to me.

      report
    7. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      NO Brad, science is observations measurement against hypothesis, its true or false. There is no balance of probabilities, that is statistics.

      Brad, the planet is cooling 16 years now, no stat significant warming, you may suggest that I am cherry picking, however, it is still a fact and one must start somewhere.

      Skeptical science is merely presenting a point of view, we both know what that happens to be, agreed?

      I am only interested in the observations and then testing same against theory…

      Read more
    8. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Dayton

      Mr Dayton wants 200 years of observations? No worries, Mr Dayton, we've got millions of years of observations, it's just that you personally haven't been told about them yet.

      The Good News is, I'm telling you about them now.

      You can start your learning journey with the wikipedia article on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoclimatology, and you'd then better work through the publications of William F Ruddiman, James E Hansen and Andrew Glikson. They're all paleoclimatologists…

      Read more
    9. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to David Arthur

      Hi David, 200 years seems a reasonable period to form somewhat robust data, measured of course by modern technology. You know, actual data, not digging a hole in some ice or looking at the ring marks on a SINGLE tree.

      I am afraid the people you have suggested dont really help your cause, see, observations dont really coincide with their point of view.

      Did you want me to read Skeptical Science as well?

      Why do you people ignore actual observations?

      Why do you people support models that have been proven false?

      Why do you people support the ICCP when there predictions have been proven to be false?

      Why do you people ignore actual observations? Ignore actual science?

      report
    10. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Dayton

      The planet's been cooling for 16 years?

      Err, rate of atmosphere warming has slowed since 2 decades ago, that's true, but has it not crossed your mind that once the atmosphere gets sufficiently warmer than either ocean or cryosphere (ice-caps), then rate of atmosphere warming will decrease while oceans and ice-caps catch up warming?

      If you're only interested in the observations, then it helps to at least be aware of all relevant observations.

      Regarding the proposition that public policy…

      Read more
    11. Michael Coleman
      Michael Coleman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      IT Manager at SME Manufacturing

      In reply to James Dayton

      If you can prove your cooling hypothesis, please publish. There's likely a Nobel Prize in it for you.

      Otherwise, it seems incomprehensible that CSIRO, BoM, The Academy of Science, NASA and every other reputable body studying the climate with meticulous observance of the scientific method are wrong and you, somehow, absent any explanation, know better.

      report
    12. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to James Dayton

      James,

      I suggest that you follow David's advice above.

      How do we test hypotheses if not with statistics which involve probabilities? (you actually implicitly acknowledge this in your post when you talk about "no stat significant")

      Public policy should be grounded in the best available evidence (peer reviewed science) - instead of the science that is accepted by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists you are wanting public policy to be based on your own opinion of an area of science in which you are not an expert - that is completely irrational.

      You keep claiming that the "planet is cooling" when this is clearly false (your focus on surface temperatures to make claims about the whole planet yet ignoring the evidence about the fact that the whole planet continues to heat up highlights your biased approach). You are being ideological in your cherry picking and selective ignoring of the available evidence. Yet you try to claim that you are using critical thinking!

      report
    13. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Dayton

      Mr Dayton, paleoclimatologists don't need 200 years of instrumental observations, they've got millions of years of proxy measurements.

      "Why do you people ignore actual observations?" Err, I've just provided you with actual observations (ie sunlight is between 0.1 and 4 microns, earth's thermal radiation is between 4 and 40 microns, greenhouse gases are observed to disrupt transmission of the latter, not the former, etc) and you don't even know enough to realise that I'm telling you what we (collectively…

      Read more
    14. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to David Arthur

      "Regarding the proposition that public policy be determined by the public, we have what's called a representative democracy. That means we delegate public policy to elected politicians, who are ideally guided and informed by expert advice. "

      Stop right there, we do have a representive democracy, its elected on a policy platform which determines how we as individuals vote. The choice of what platform is selected is determined by the people. The decisions made by our government should duly reflect…

      Read more
    15. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris, there has been no significant warming now for 16 years, you call it a pause perhaps I call it cooling.

      Thats not real hard to understand :)

      I am delusional? Really? Well, not if you look at temps over the last 16 years I'm not, AND, YOU know that.

      report
    16. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, in the end the hypothesis is true or false.

      Yes, I said there has been no stat signif warming for 16 years, but these are in fact the observations required to determine true or false.

      I am not being ideological in my picking of data, as I said, we have to start somewhere. You in fact would cherry pick as well I suspect, yes?

      By the way, are you not ignoring some of the evidence Brad?

      Brad, what if the in the future. say 4 years from now, the trend in not significant cooling? Over the last 20 years. Going to ignore that as well? What about in 14 years i f the trend over the last 30 years is stat significant cooling.

      Going to ignore that as well.

      True or False Brad, thats science.

      report
    17. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to James Dayton

      Surface temperatures measure surface temperatures - not heat content. The earth has continued to heat in the last 10 years but the extra heat is remaining in the oceans for now.

      http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ (0-2000m)

      Do you think that because the models don't perfectly predict surface temperatures there is no problem? It is ridiculous to expect the models to be perfect - the earth's climate is an extremely complex system.

      And keep in mind that the models do not include tipping points (such as the melting of permafrosts and ice sheets that is starting to release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere) so are just as likely to be understating the problem as overstating it.

      report
    18. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to Michael Coleman

      Michael, there are plenty of reputable scientists whose views are in line with mine, are you suggesting they are incompetent or crooked?

      report
    19. James Dayton

      Admin

      In reply to David Arthur

      Proxy measurements no, not data, not reliable, BUT, if you want to rely on those, you now accept a medieval warming period.

      David, please, you provide data, yet that same data does not prove your hypothesis true. Its not the weight if information that supports your case, or indeed not. In the end its observations, real world.

      Wheres the hot spot? Where is it? Where do you think it is? Prove it. Its in the deep oceans, prove it, you cant, you can offer it as a suggestion, its the polar caps…

      Read more
    20. Michael Coleman
      Michael Coleman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      IT Manager at SME Manufacturing

      In reply to James Dayton

      Mr Dayton,

      Nice way to avoid my question.

      Why do you think that CSIRO, BoM, Academy of Science and NASA are wrong? Why should anyone trust your opinion ahead of theirs?

      Please refer me to a published paper that agrees with your cooling hypothesis. Could you please list some of the plenty who are in line with you on that or are you just hand-waving?

      report
    21. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Dayton

      Not only is original hypothesis true, it is not possible that it is false.

      Last time the earth had atmospheric CO as high as this was early Pliocene, ~4 million years ago. At that time, global average temperature was ~2-3 deg C above Holocene average, and sea levels were ~10-20 m higher.

      The reason the earth is not yet at those Pliocene conditions is that we've only just bumped CO2 up to that level in the last few decades, and the earth's climate system (atmosphere + oceans + cryosphere) haven't…

      Read more
    22. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to James Dayton

      1850 early enough for you? Probably not, shifting the benchmark is a good way to hijack the debate. Back in the real world your assertions are completely false. You cannot seriously ignore natural cycles and the oceans (completely) and state there has been no warming for 16 years Ocean heat observations for the last 16 years disprove this statement. As does melting sheet ice, and ocean rise which have both increased. The oceans are ultimately the primary up-taker of heat on the planet, aprox. 90…

      Read more
    23. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Dayton

      Err, mediaeval warm period was a largely North Atlantic phenomenon, globally not as warm as any time since 1950.

      To get anything near as warm as the modern world, you need to go back to the Holocene 'Climate Optimum' ~6-8 kya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png); ever since then, the world was slowly cooling back towards what would have been the next glacial period ("Ice Age" to the hoi polloi) up until the onset of the Anthropocene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropocene) since when the discovery and exploitation of fossil fuels has halted and reversed the cooling process.

      Trouble is, we've taken it way too far: we should have stopped using fossil fuels in 1988, when atmospheric CO2 first exceeded 350 ppm.

      report
    24. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to James Dayton

      "Going to ignore that as well? What about in 14 years if the trend over the last 30 years is stat(istical)? cooling. Going to ignore that as well?"
      Poppycock.
      "The combined average temperature over land and ocean surfaces for January was the warmest since 2007 and the fourth warmest on record..."
      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/
      There is no significant cooling and there isn't going to be in the next 14. We have just experienced the hottest year on record in Australia and we've been in a neutral year, are you telling me when we next have an El Nino, it'll be cooler? Based on what precisely?

      report
    25. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to James Dayton

      "there has been no significant warming now for 16 years"

      It usually takes at least 16 years for the warming trend to be statistically significant. Sometimes it has taken 19 years. But it hasn't for the past 40 years or more had ANY statistically significant slowdown, let alone cooling.

      "I call it cooling."

      That's because you're delusional.

      "Thats not real hard to understand"

      It is very easy to understand that you are delusional. You make delusional claims such as "I call it cooling."

      report
    26. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to James Dayton

      "Yes, I said there has been no stat signif warming for 16 years, but these are in fact the observations required to determine true or false."

      No they are not. Failing to achieve statistical significance simply means you have failed to disprove the null hypothesis. So you have failed to determine anything from your limited amount of data.

      report
    27. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Unbelievable the way bald faced misrepresentation of numbers , observations, facts, science, continues unabated. I still get incredulous reading statements which contain meandering illogical conclusions based on suspicion, are meant to be bourn out by all manner of other science which disputes these facts, rarely materialises, and if does, is opinion from a blog.

      report
    28. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to James Dayton

      James, "there are plenty of reputable scientists whose views are in line with mine". Plenty? Then you should have no trouble naming fifty or sixty. Please provide such a list, so we may all learn something new. <cue sound of crickets>
      In fact, the number of practising scientists, publishing in reputable, peer-reviewed journals, who say the theory of anthropogenic global warming is wrong, is so minuscule, I cannot think of one right now. If that were not the case, someone of that opinion would have won a Nobel prize before now.

      report
    29. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to James Dayton

      James, "Proxy measurements no, not data, not reliable". You do realise the graduations and sensors on a thermometer may not be 'reliable' and the position of the fluid column in the thermometer, or the digits on the display, are PROXIES for the temperature at any given moment? The number you read off a thermometer is not the temperature, it is a human-engineered proxy which helps us to assess what the temperature is. All our observations are proxies and unreliable to some degree. Importantly, when you read a thermometer and write down the numbers, the date and the time of observation, your written note becomes a proxy for the measurement at the time, which is itself a proxy for the actual temperature at the time.
      You can't get away from proxies and unreliability, no matter how much you try.

      report
  15. Byron Smith
    Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Ministry assistant, ecologcal ethicist and PhD candidate at University of Edinburgh

    It's worth noting that this target is based on an equity principle that doesn't come near to giving everyone an equal chance to engage in polluting activities. Per capita carbon footprint equity is not reached until 2050. Until then, the biggest emitters are given the chance to continue to contribute the lion's share of the problem.

    If we actually distributed pollution quotas equitably from when there was first widespread scientific and political acknowledgement of the problem (roughly 1990 when…

    Read more