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Updating the state of Australia’s climate

Two years ago the Climate Commission released its first major report, The Critical Decade: Climate Science Risks and Responses. The report synthesised the most recent climate change science. The phrase…

We’re already seeing the extreme weather scientists warned of; time to start doing something about it. LJ Mears/Flickr

Two years ago the Climate Commission released its first major report, The Critical Decade: Climate Science Risks and Responses. The report synthesised the most recent climate change science. The phrase, “The Critical Decade”, has become the defining mantra for the Climate Commission: the climate needs significant Australian and global action this decade.

Two years on, and one quarter of the way through the decade, we have systematically updated the report. One quarter of the way through the Critical Decade how far have we come?

Our understanding of the climate system has continued to strengthen

Over the past half-century rapid changes have been observed across the world in many features of the climate system. We have seen changes in heating of the ocean and the air; changing rainfall patterns; decrease in the area of Arctic sea ice; mass loss of polar ice sheets; increasing sea level; and changes in life cycles and distributions of many plants and animals.

Importantly the basic principles of the physical science have not changed. For decades there has been a clear and strong global consensus from the scientific community that the climate is changing, human activities are the primary cause and that the consequences for humanity are extremely serious.

Scientists are now moving to new challenges, such as improving our understanding of potential abrupt or irreversible changes in major features of the climate system and changing rainfall patterns. The developments over the last two years add a greater richness to our understanding and further reinforce the underlying climate science.

Many of the things scientists warned us about are now happening

There is now a growing appreciation that climate change is already having significant impacts on human health, agriculture, fresh water supplies, property, infrastructure, and the natural ecosystems upon which our economy and society depends. The consequences of climate change were once a matter for the future, but as the climate shifts we are already witnessing the consequences.

The duration and frequency of heatwaves and extremely hot days has increased. The number of record hot days has more than doubled in Australia in the last 50 years. The number of heatwaves is projected to increase significantly into the future. In Australia, heat kills more people than any other type of extreme weather event. Increasing intensity and frequency of extreme heat poses health risks for Australians and can put additional pressure on health services. Changes in temperature and rainfall may also allow mosquito-borne illness like dengue fever to spread south.

In many parts of Australia, including southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and parts of South Australia, extreme fire weather has increased over the last 30 years. Rainfall patterns are shifting. The southwest corner of Western Australia and much of eastern Australia has become drier since 1970. Dry areas of Australia are likely to become drier into the future, threatening food and water security. For instance, sharply declining rainfall in south-west Western Australia has put pressure on farmers and urban water supplies.

It is now clear that the climate system has already shifted, changing conditions for all weather. While extreme weather events have always occurred naturally, the global climate system is hotter and wetter than it was 50 years ago. This has loaded the dice toward more frequent and forceful extreme weather events. Last summer gave Australians a window on the future of the type of weather we can expect to see more frequently.

Progress is being made to reduce emissions; far more needs to be done

There has been meaningful global progress in the last two years. All major economies, including China and the US, are putting in place policies to drive down emissions and grow renewable energy. It will take some time to see the full impact of these policies.

Greenhouse gas concentrations are still increasing at the fastest rate on the recent geological record. The nations of the world, including both sides of Australian politics, have agreed that the consequences of a 2°C rise in global temperature are unacceptably severe.

The best chance for staying below the 2°C limit requires global emissions to begin declining as soon as possible and by 2020 at the latest. Emissions need to be reduced to nearly zero by 2050. Stabilising the climate within the 2°C limit remains possible, provided that we intensify our efforts this decade and beyond.

Burning fossil fuels is the most significant contributor to climate change. From today until 2050 we can emit no more than 600 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to have a good chance of staying within the 2°C limit. Based on estimates by the International Energy Agency, emissions from using all the world’s fossil fuel reserves would be around five times this budget. Burning all fossil fuel reserves would lead to unprecedented changes in climate so severe that they will challenge the existence of our society as we know it today. It is clear that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground and cannot be burned.

It is the Critical Decade to get on with the job of tackling climate change.

Join the conversation

62 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. John Newlands

    tree changer

    This may be the last hurrah of the Climate Commission if the predicted election result materialises. Australia's carbon tax and renewable energy target face the axe to be replaced by something vague, uncosted and unproven. The commission may be exceeding its remit by advocating renewable energy as a replacement for fossil fuels. By implication it finds fault with carbon capture, nuclear and drastic conservation though perhaps these messages are less palatable.

    I agree that if anybody should…

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  2. Blair Donaldson
    Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Researcher

    It won't really matter what numbers the Climate Commission produces, what predictions it makes or how clearly it illustrates the changes that have already occurred.

    If the ideology of the Conservative politicians in this country doesn't change from the current antiscience/pseudoscience position to acknowledging science and evidence, there will be no meaningful action and all the science will count for nought.

    The message needs to change from predictions of a dire future to highlighting the potential for serious financial benefits for those individuals, groups and industries that adopt change, energy efficiency and new technologies.

    The Libs and Nats only worship money and power. We have to respond to their innate selfishness and self-interest, for the benefit of everybody.

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair,

      Compared with what needs to be done, Labor is just as bad as the Libs and Nats.

      Voting Labor is voting for expansion of coal mining and reducing our 1990 emissions by only 0.5% (when about 40% is needed).

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    2. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Hi Michael, yes I realised my omission after posting (oh for and edit button/option)

      There isn't really that much difference between either party. Unfortunately both major parties are influenced by powerbrokers who deny science-based information in favour of the short-term dollar and blatant self-interest.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      I still think Labor are sufficiently less awful to warrant preferencing them ahead of the Coal-ition, but the margin is depressingly narrow.

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  3. John Doyle
    John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

    architect

    Here is an interesting graph I found in a sheet of charts which did not identify the source. However it's the first I have so far seen showing the intersection of eight major lines of events we have to contend with into the future.
    Services per capita will crash starting in a decade or two. Death rates will start rising again from about now. Food per capita is already starting down. The birth rate will climb again etc.
    Pollution is forecast to peak in about 15 years.
    It all make for sober reading, but we need to connect the dots now.

    file:///Users/johndoyle%201/CHARTS/LimitsToGrowth.png

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    1. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to John Doyle

      You will need to host the file remotely for others to view it. The link is currently referencing a location on your personal hard drive.

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    2. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Mike Stasse

      Yes, thats it Mike.
      Thanks for recognising it
      and giving it a connection.
      Which explains why no actual figures, just bell curves etc.

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  4. Tyson Adams

    Scientist and author

    I reckon if politicians ignore climate facts a little longer, they might be able to make some billionaire mining magnates some more money.

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  5. Mark Lawson

    senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

    Just to take two items where Commissioner Hughes takes an arguable case and bends it out of all recognition, is that of heat related deaths and dengue fever. Now Australia already a hot place with some very hot places so its not surprising that we get a lot of deaths due to heat. What are the trends? What are the other factors? As with similar discussions about heat deaths in Europe any investigation would quickly establish that other factors, such as the spread of air conditioning, and even simply…

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    1. Michael Brown

      Professional, academic, company director

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Indeed the Dengue fever issue was dealt with by the experts several years ago and Lesley Hughes is quite wrong: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2009/190/5/dengue-and-climate-change-australia-predictions-future-should-incorporate
      Paul Reiter the malaria expert has dealt with that issue too - http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/5592863/the-inconvenient-truth-about-malaria/
      Lesley is completely wrong on both of these health issues and so one wonders about the veracity of the rest of the dogmatic statements in this article.

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  6. Grant Burfield

    Dr

    "In Australia, heat kills more people than any other type of extreme weather event...." AR4 WGII Ch8 are a little bit coy about this saying - "Increase in temperature-attributable death rates from 82/100,000 across all cities under the current climate to 246/100,000 in 2100" Nothing, there at least, about any increase or decrease in cold-weather related deaths.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch8s8-4-1-3.html
    However, from the same IPCC link - "Annual [UK]heat-related deaths…

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    1. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Dr Burfield
      good points. after writing the above post I checked the ABS and and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare sites. I could not find any mention of deaths due to heat or cold, or any separate listing for them. I'm sure that they occur but, now that I think of it, would should a cause ever be put on the death certificate? Wouldn't the other health problems, of which the elderly have many, be put on it? If so, how are the stats on deaths from heat and cold collected? Or are they just estimated?

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    2. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Given that deaths are calculated to an exact integer 67 years from now, one would suspect mathematical models are involved. Not that I've anything against mathematical models, they've kept me in food and wine for the last 30 years. However I can't recall developing one that needs four generations to affirm or refute. But then again there's Peter Higgs and Tom Kibble.

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      How about modelling Gold Coast property values through to 2200 based on expectations of sea level and storm frequency?

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    4. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to David Arthur

      Go for it. Fill your boots. Download R Studio and fire it up. Your integrated climate/economic model extrapolated 187 years from now would not be considered controversial these days.

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    5. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      So, you're confident that Gold Coast property values are threatened by present climate trends?

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    6. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      What are you doing here Grant?

      Clearly don't respect academic research nor rational debate. So you are not here to learn or to talk amongst like-minded people.

      So the only reason you can be here is to ensure that this discussion includes the views of the vested interests. If your not paid for this then you should be - they can afford it.

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    7. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Mr Wilbur-Ham,

      I suppose I have to come clean. What many have said is correct. I receive a handsome retainer from big oil and an end of year bonus on number of posts. So thank you for asking for my response and thereby filling my pockets with oil filthy lucre.

      BTW I can't recall saying that climate change was "crap". Can you point out where I said it?

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    8. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Instead of following the 'science is wrong script' and posting lots of references, you are following the 'disrupt the conversation script'.

      Rather than discussing the substance of my post about the bias of the ABC, lets all waste time searching back through posts to see who said what.

      The science are wrong posts can be by a genuine looney. But the disrupter posts are even harder to think of a good reason as to why you are here. Either you are paid or you just like stirring.

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    9. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Mr Wilbur-Ham,

      You seem to be in glossing over, let's talk about something else mode. Where did I say, or have ever said, climate change is "crap".

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    10. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Once again I ask - why are you here?

      You are not even making clear your position, hence you are adding nothing useful to the debate. Isn't there somewhere else where you could waste people's time with these silly word games?

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    11. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Mr Wilbur-Ham,

      Why am I here? For a start I'm here to ask <phew> yet again <phew> where I said climate change was "crap". As you asserted. Another prevaricating response or no response from you will presumably mean that I didn't and your assertion was incorrect.

      Fancy that.

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    12. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      If someone misinterpreted one of my comments I would would clarify my comment and make clear my view.

      But I'm here to debate and hopefully move the discussion forward.

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    13. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      I don't have a model per se. However, I read that for every metre of sea level rise, a couple of hundred metres of coastal East Anglia (low-lying alluvial marshland) will be destabilised and rendered uninhabitable, and that's without coastal high-rises.

      With sea level rises of ~1m by 2100, that's a lot of Gold Coast to be lost ~100 years in advance of your model.

      If I was to develop a property portfolio for my children, that's one area in which I wouldn't be investing.

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  7. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

    Tonight's ABC TV news (in Melbourne) shows why we are doomed ...

    The News started off with a "MPs are at odds over the Labor leadership" and the bad poll for Labor. Then a story on bombings in Iraq. Third is a report on Syria and talks about this at the G8. Fourth some Melbourne men are appealing their conviction and sentence for planning to attack a Sydney army base, and fifth a Sydney woman pleads guilty to killing her daughter. Sixth is a report on police fearing tensions are arising between…

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    1. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Mr Wilbur-Ham,

      Yes, but it's well known that the ABC is a hot-bed of climate deniers who are intent on poisoning the minds of susceptible Australians. The Climate Commission's report should have been front and centre with and wars 'n things relegated to after the weather.

      Hopefully an incoming Milne government will put an end to this.

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    2. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Grant - If you think that climate change is crap then the story should also have been headline news. After all, we had a government commission, two professors, and an admiral all speaking what you think is rubbish.

      If a teenage girl saying something to a footballer can be major news, surely you must think that so many key people getting wrong is important.

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  8. David Stonier-Gibson
    David Stonier-Gibson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Electronic Engineer/Small business owner at SPLat Controls - electronic control systems

    The Australian's headline on their coverage of the latest report is a classic example of the Murdoch press distorting facts to suit their conservative, anti-government, COALition-supporting denialist policies. It just shows how "factual" reporting can distort truth.

    "Federal Government’s Climate Commission in last-ditch defence of carbon charges."

    Is it a coincidence that this article is not behind their paywall?

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      Actually the Australian report is incredibly biased in Labor's favor!

      The climate commission is saying that we need to take drastic action to reduce emissions, including keeping most of our coal in the ground. Labor is wanting to expand coal exports and only aims to reduce our 1990 emissions by 0.5% - that is the real news.

      But the Australian's report give those in favour of taking action on climate change the impression that Labor, thanks to the carbon tax, is taking real action.

      As far as the climate is concerned it doesn't make much difference whether you vote Labor or Liberal. We shouldn't pretend otherwise.

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    2. David Stonier-Gibson
      David Stonier-Gibson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Electronic Engineer/Small business owner at SPLat Controls - electronic control systems

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      The body of the article (presumably) summarises the contents of the report. The headline spins it quite differently, as does the first para:

      "THE scientists hired by the Federal Government to explain climate change will today argue that it is in Australia’s best interest to charge people for their carbon emissions."

      That is total spin. Placing "blame" on the government, and/or implying that the scientists are biased because the report was commissioned by the government.

      How many readers of The Australian will read no further, nod knowingly and mutter "bloody redhead, at it again".?

      It is recognised in psychology that people will tend to cherry pick those arguments that support their pre-existing opinions. The treatment in the Australian gives denialists permission to classify the article as confirmation of their beliefs. Very clever. Göbels would have approved.

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    3. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      COALition. Sharp, very sharp. And no doubt a COALition government will encourage coal exports. Unlike the Labor government over the last seven years. I believe the Labor government has also expanded the exports of <gasp> uranium.

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    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      David - the big problem Australia has on climate change isn't that there are some who deny it or don't care (those who nod reading the Australian). It is those who want action and do care voting for parties that don't do anything.

      That a climate change denier votes for Abbott doesn't bother me.

      That someone who takes the science seriously and does care votes for Abbott or Gillard (or will it be Rudd) which shocks me.

      The Australian's bias is so obvious that most of those who read the paper recognise it. The real bias is that no report mentions the Greens - the one party who's policies match the science.

      Göbels would have been very impressed by this much more subtle and yet so effective bias that even you seem to have not recognised it even after I pointed it out.

      As far as the climate is concerned it doesn't make much difference whether you vote Labor or Liberal. We shouldn't pretend otherwise.

      Vote Green or at least be honest and admit that you don't care.

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    5. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      David - no worries. But I do take credit for naming the new Sydney rail upgrade. Branch Under Ground Great Eastern Railway - Metropolitan Extension.

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    6. David Stonier-Gibson
      David Stonier-Gibson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Electronic Engineer/Small business owner at SPLat Controls - electronic control systems

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael, we are in agreement that neither major party has the guts to take decisive action on climate change. IMHO the turning point was when Rudd lost his cajones in May 2010 and failed to go for a double dissolution. I believe public sentiment up to that that time was in favour of (though perhaps not overwhelmingly so) mitigating climate change, and he should have gone for broke. But in the end he was more concerned about his backside than about the planet.

      The best we can hope for now is another minority government with The Greens holding the balance of power, but we both know that won't happen ... and one reason it won't happen is because of the Murdoch misinformation campaign that uses cunningly spun headlines to sway voter sentiments.

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    7. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      David - Do you know why the Greens blocked the CPRS?

      The short answer is 'because it locked in failure'. Unfortunately the long answer is too long to post tonight.

      Rudd NEVER cared about climate change, which is clear when you examine every Labor budget when he was PM.

      A nice example of current Labor's failure was on tonight's ABC TV News with a graph showing that SUV sales continue to grow. Labor have kept Howards non-indexing of fuel taxes, and ruled out ever putting a carbon tax on cars…

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    8. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      In fact, David, it was a complete lie. that's spelt l-i-e. It means a conscious untruth.

      At every public event they run (I attended last night in Canberra) the Commission are very careful to point out that they don't comment on policy and don't even directrly address recommended solutions. there's certainly nothing in their published literature that does this.

      Therefore, once again, White Right Daily (marketed as Tthe Australian') is lying. not just biased in their reporting but plain and simply lying.

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    9. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "As far as the climate is concerned it doesn't make much difference whether you vote Labor or Liberal."

      Can you explain why The Greens negotiated with the Labor Party to impose a Carbon tax if they think it doesn't make much difference?

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  9. David Stonier-Gibson
    David Stonier-Gibson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Electronic Engineer/Small business owner at SPLat Controls - electronic control systems

    The Australian's headline on this story is a classic example of the Murdoch press distorting facts to suit their conservative, anti-government, COALition-supporting denialist policies. It just shows how "factual" reporting can distort truth.

    "Federal Government’s Climate Commission in last-ditch defence of carbon charges"

    Is it a coincidence that this article is not behind their paywall?

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

    sole parent

    Lesley, this latest report is sobering reading. If a new government does dis-band the climate commission, where does this leave the public. Who will do the work the climate commission currently does, and what are your thoughts on this?

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

    sole parent

    The point of this article is that climate change is real. If we emit no more than 600 billion tonnes of CO2 we may stay within a 2 degree increase in temperature. For Australia this means much much hotter because 2 degrees is an average including the temperature of air above the ocean. Land masses will have a higher average. There is 5 times this amount of fossil fuels still locked away. It has to stay that way.
    These temperature rises represent catastrophic weather events, water and food insecurity, the collapse of eco-systems, ocean acidification, wars , famine, death, and more.
    All the bullshit arguments about gold coast property markets, our parlous politicisation of climate change, and questions about dengue fever and heat related deaths are meaningless. We would do well to look beyond politicising this debate and actually start to have it, completely ignoring all nutters who deny the existence of climate change, or try to subvert conversations by picking at the edges.

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  12. Geoffrey Henley

    Research Associate

    So what do we know about the Climate Commission?

    It describes itself as being independent, but how can an organisation whose members are chosen by Government officials be independent?

    Its Chairman, who is not a climate scientist, is a well-known activist. Its members are all firmly committed to the warmist cause and are heavily influenced by a groupthink mentality. The commission displays a distinct lack of objectivity. Its conclusions are heavily reliant on climate models, all of which have been shown to significantly overestimate the observed amount of warming.

    Let’s face it. The Commission is a political organisation selected to produce a pre-determined result to suit the Government’s agenda (i.e. to justify the introduction of the carbon tax). Disbanding of this Commission would help to direct taxpayers money to more useful causes.

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    1. David Stonier-Gibson
      David Stonier-Gibson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Electronic Engineer/Small business owner at SPLat Controls - electronic control systems

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Call your self a research associate? What do you research - homeopathic remedies, pink elephants, intelligent design?

      It's you denialists who are politicising the "debate". There should be no debate. The science is as close to irrefutable as any science can ever be. You would have the world play Russian roulette with 5 bullets in the gun.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      I suppose the question to ask Geoffrey Headly is where the public should best get this information from. What his thoughts are about the last paragraph in the article. Or how he can prove the Climate Commission is politicised. Or anything that comes through his key-pad. No point, he's wrong , and any answer would be a distraction to the issue. Complete waste of time.

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    3. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      The Government appoints a well known environmental activist, who is not a climate scientist, to head its climate commission and you are telling me the commission is not politicised! Don't make me laugh!

      "..where the public should best get this information from"

      Certainly not from organisations headed by activists. The IPCC is also heavily influenced by activists and green groups and is not a credible source of information.

      If one objectively assesses a wealth of information from 100's of different research organisations around the world, one can only come to the conclusion that there is still a lot that is not understand regarding the numerous complex factors which control Earth's global climate. To say that the science is settled is just bad science.

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    4. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Geoffrey -

      Where is a credible source of information on climate change?

      Why are the sources you think are not credible promoting climate change?

      If the science is wrong how is it that the conspiracy is so effective that there isn't a single academy of scientist or a single proper university pointing out why climate change is wrong?

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    5. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      "Call your self a research associate?"

      Well, that's what my job title says. I research injury statistics.

      "It's you denialists who are politicising the "debate". "

      Your side appoints an activist to head a climate commission. You refer to CO2, a substance without which life cannot exist, as a pollutant. You demonise companies which provide the world with a cheap reliable source of energy without which we would still be living in the dark ages as polluters are you accuse us of politicising the debate!!

      "There should be no debate." And hence incorrect theories will not be challenged. Truly bad science.

      I'm not a denier, just someone who yet to be convinced that human activities are dangerously heating the planet.

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    6. David Stonier-Gibson
      David Stonier-Gibson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Electronic Engineer/Small business owner at SPLat Controls - electronic control systems

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Geoffrey, science is never settled. That's the nature of science. It is constantly measuring, constantly questioning, constantly refining its theories. That's why they are called theories, because there is always a chance a better explanation will come along.

      That's why theories are called theories. Newton was right. Einstein revealed a deeper truth.

      Theories are based on the best available measurable facts, with the theory (often an equation) adjusted to fit new facts as they emerge. The…

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    7. Adam Gilbert

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      "You refer to CO2, a substance without which life cannot exist, as a pollutant."

      Surely anybody who offers this denialist factoid can be safely ignored for the remainder of the discussion? Geoffrey, do you seriously suggest the overwhelming majority of the world's climate scientists have overlooked your little "argument" about CO2 and life on the planet? Are they all sitting around doing their research desperately trying to keep it out of their mind believing that to acknowledge it would see their research come crashing down and their careers come to and end? It's sheer nonsense, and such an obviously flawed talking point that I really struggle to believe that you really believe it yourself.

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    8. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to David Stonier-Gibson

      David, first you say 'there should be no debate' and then you say 'the science is never settled'. So you have contradicted yourself.

      The models you talk about can only be validated by comparing predicted outcomes to observed outcomes. In every single instance, the models significantly overestimate the degree of warming. Therefore, there is something wrong with the models, most likely that they grossly overstimate positive feedback mechanisms and ignore negative feedback mechanisms which several studies have provided evidence of.

      If the models are wrong, then the science isn't settled and my right to sceptical is reinforced.

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