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Your MP doesn’t ‘believe’ in climate change? Ask the tough questions

As we head into an election, you’d be justified in asking what your local member is basing their climate change decisions on. If your MP says “I don’t support policies to prevent dangerous climate change…

Believing climate change isn’t happening won’t make it go away. Image from www.shutterstock.com

As we head into an election, you’d be justified in asking what your local member is basing their climate change decisions on.

If your MP says “I don’t support policies to prevent dangerous climate change” because “I don’t believe climate change is occurring” or “I’m not sure climate change is human caused” is this position justifiable simply because it’s his or her personal opinion?

While everyone may be entitled to their own opinion, are our elected leaders being ethically responsible when they justify inaction on climate change based on personal opinions? Sustainability ethicist Donald A. Brown, from Widener University School of Law, emphatically argues, “no” – they are not.

In a recent widely republished blog post on ethicsandclimate.org, Brown argues government officials have an ethical responsibility to understand the state of climate change science. Politicians hold crucial leadership positions where they can enact policies that can prevent or minimise great harm. These policies, to put it bluntly, affect millions, if not billions, of people around the world.

Governments and elected officials cannot ethically choose to rely on their own uninformed opinion or ideology instead of the scientific consensus.

The long-standing consensus of climate scientists and the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence warn us that constituents and governments are causing great harm through greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, Brown says, politicians may not appeal to their personal opinions on climate science. They are not justification for not taking action.

Brown refers to a number of US politicians who hold the position that they don’t support climate policies because they are not convinced by the science. Brown argues that the media has largely failed to hold them accountable.

The same issue afflicts many Australian politicians - and the Australian media. Very rarely have politicians who reject climate science in Australia been asked to explain their justifications on scientific grounds.

According to the Political Leaders and Climate Change Index (PLCCI) published in 2010 by the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, the number of politicians in the parliament who either don’t or won’t accept the science of climate change in Australia is significant.

Of course, this can change over time. Recently the new Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Gary Gray renounced his previous position that climate science was “pop science” and a “middle-class conspiracy to frighten schoolchildren”.

However, there are many other politicians who have not changed their opinions as Gray has done. In 2010 around 40% of Liberal/National politicians held the view the world could warm by 3-4 degrees Celsius before the situation became dangerous. The actual scientific consensus is a mere 2 degrees. Another 40% professed not to know what a safe global average temperature increase might be.

The likelihood of a Coalition government winning in 2013 makes the public statement of personal opinions on human induced climate change an issue of national and global importance.

The risks posed to the Australian and international communities by the uninformed opinions of our national leaders are significant. They cannot ethically choose to rely on their own uniformed opinion or ideology instead of science. Because of those risks, the role of responsible and well-informed media is crucial. The media has the civic and moral obligation to be a watchdog on society and its institutions.

Journalists have a duty to question politicians who oppose action based on uninformed opinions. The public has a right to be informed, and to question, a politician’s justification for putting current and future generations at risk.

Following Brown, we propose a series of questions that journalists (and the public) should be asking politicians on global warming, and how governments should respond to it.

  1. Are you aware that over 97% of climate scientists globally, the CSIRO, the Australian Academy of Science and every major national science academy in the industrialised world (whose membership includes climate scientists) agree that the planet is warming, that the observed climate change is mostly human caused, and that if we continue with business as usual, harsh impacts and irreversible changes to the climate system will occur?

  2. Do you accept that climate change is occurring? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify rejecting the scientific consensus?

  3. Do you accept that the human population is making a substantial contribution to climate change via our greenhouse gas emissions? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify going against the scientific consensus?

  4. Is it your position that Australia and the rest of the world need to urgently adopt policies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in line with scientific recommendations? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify rejecting the scientific consensus?

  5. Are you aware that the impacts of climate change in terms of increased risks to human health and climate change related deaths is already being measured by medical and public health professionals worldwide?

  6. Do you accept that anyone who argues that we continue with business as usual and emit greenhouse gases beyond levels that the consensus of climate scientists says is dangerous for humanity (and the ecological system on which humans depend) should bear the burden of proof to show that this is safe?

  7. Do you accept that, in light of the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and the long-standing consensus of climate scientists, politicians have a responsibility to immediately implement strategies to prevent dangerous climate change?

  8. Given that climate scientists have been advising the urgent reduction of greenhouse gases for decades, do you accept that politicians who fail to implement policies to prevent dangerous climate change should be held responsible for harm that results from this inaction?

We might ask politicians a few of these ourselves. Have a go yourself – and let us know how you get on. We’d be pleased to write about it.

Join the conversation

147 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Albert Rogers

    logged in via Facebook

    People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
    ============================
    Fact 1:
    the Carboniferous Era lasted 64 million years, and converted a very great deal of carbon dioxide into coal, and probably all the fossil hydrocarbons, and released most of the oxygen of the atmosphere.
    Fact 2:
    Carbon dioxide, methane, and a number of other gases, are far more transparent to high energy infrared photons than to those emitted from merely warm sources. It's like having coloured…

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  2. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " In a recent widely republished blog post on ethicsandclimate.org, Brown argues government officials have an ethical responsibility to understand the state of climate change science. Politicians hold crucial leadership positions where they can enact policies that can prevent or minimise great harm. These policies, to put it bluntly, affect millions, if not billions, of people around the world. "

    Climate change science is not the only topic that politicians need to keep abreast of in representing…

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    1. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to Greg North

      Well done Team Greg.
      I (and many others I'm sure) am interested in your answers to the eight questions in the article. Please!

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to john davies

      Just for John and your entertainment but should we not also have a Julia no show of hands deal at these COAG meeting press conferences version as well as what Tony might have to offer/
      I'll let you work on them both and meanwhile, from the team

      1. There are many scientists that do research on all manner of things and I reckon the 3% are not necessarily doing it so tough for they likely have support of many scientists that have not been included in the 97% survey, scientist being the kind gentle…

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Greg North

      "the NW passage was just about navigable around 1900"

      Just about Navigable. Whoopee Doo!!!!

      So are you saying that the NW passage didn't used to be navigable nearly every September?

      Shocked. Shocked, I am.

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      RUOK Chris?
      " Sought by explorers for centuries as a possible trade route, it was first navigated by Roald Amundsen in 1903–1906. Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year "
      And make whoopee all you like on it as it may be closing each year other than for a short northern summer period.

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Greg North

      "RUOK"

      I could ask you the same question.

      "Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year "

      So you really don't get that the Arctic is completely different now from what it was around 1900?

      I'm afraid there's not much I can do for you.

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    6. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, Roald Amundsen in his 70ft, 48 ton Sloop 'Gjoa', in 1903-06, was the first to navigate the NW passage. Note the dates: it took him 1903, 1904, 1905 and 1906 - three or four years, depending on the end points. Does that equate to 'navigable'?

      The second to complete the journey was Henry A Larsen on the RCMP ice-fortified Schooner St. Roch, It was the second ship to sail the Passage and was the first vessel to sail from West to East (Amundsen went from East to West), in 1940-42 - something…

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

    sole parent

    Thanks to the authors, I will be emailing all opposition parliamentarians these questions and particularly my local member soon.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      What about Gary Gray and government MPs Alice though perhaps with the standing united in Caucus just one enquiry will do the trick.
      At least Gary could let you in on why he changed his mind.

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  4. Susan Murphy

    Writer

    I welcome the entry of the word ethics into the so-called 'debate' on climate science, in which the Age of Opinion has permitted an aggressive insistence on the right of personal opinion or 'not being personally persuaded' to effortlessly trump statements of painstakingly established and measured fact.

    So I applaud any equally insistent push to routinely demand personal accountability towards the consequences of a personal opinion, when it is expressed by someone with the power to create or support…

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    1. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Susan Murphy

      "So I applaud any equally insistent push to routinely demand personal accountability towards the consequences of a personal opinion, when it is expressed by someone with the power to create or support policies that defer or deny action to mitigate catastrophic climate change."

      So if a pollie is active in support of many sustainable environmental programs for the benefit of his/her constituents that is all irrelevant if they don't share your views on AGW?

      A rather one dimensional reason to "routinely demand personal accountability towards the consequences of a personal opinion" as you put it.

      Lucky that you only seek to enforce this consequence on those in positions of power and hence escape from muting yourself on said topic.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Susan Murphy

      You do raise some interesting aspects Susan.
      " I suggest that they be asked to swear to the responsibility they fully accept towards the consequences of their stance, while placing their hand on the head of their youngest child or grandchild. Bibles won't do anymore. "

      And not everybody is even a father or mother!

      And more technically
      " And finally, a useful addition to the list of questions might be: Do you hold the same degree of easy indifference to the overwhelming weight of scientifically…

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  5. Chris O'Neill

    Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

    "the number of politicians in the parliament who either don’t or won’t accept the science of climate change in Australia is significant."

    To put it mildly. In a few months time, "significant" will mean "in control of the parliament".

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    1. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      For once I agree with you Chris and will be delighted with the outcome. Sanity will finally prevail!

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  6. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

    This article is part of the PROBLEM and the authors should be ashamed of themselves.

    Though not explicitly said, the hidden message is Coalition bad because many of them ignore the science and Labor good because they accept the science.

    What does the science say? For global warming to be limited to 2 degrees Australia's share of action is to lower our emissions to about 40% of our 1990 levels by 2020.

    Labor may have called climate change "the great moral challenge of our time" yet their…

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      A friend said that I had a figure wrong in this article - that Labor is committed to a 5% cut by 2020.

      She is right, Labor always talk about a 5% cut.

      But when the rest of the world talk about changes to emissions, the base year is 1990.

      When Labor talk about a 5% cut their base year is 2000. A 5% cut from our 2000 level equates to a 0.5% cut from our 1990 level.

      Though when they get into power I don't expect the Coalition to meet their emissions reduction targets (once in power the budget situation will be much worse than expected, and cuts will need to be made, and as Affirmative Action is a spending program cutting this will help return us to surplus) I think it might be the case that their promised cut of 5% is from 1990, making them the better of the two main parties :)

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    2. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael,

      I completely agree that it is not enough for politicians to say they accept the science – they also have an ethical responsibility to enact policies that are sufficient to prevent dangerous climate change. This is quite explicit in our article – our focus is on preventing dangerous climate change. This is also embodied in questions 4, 6, 7 and 8. However, it is difficult if not impossible to have a productive conversation about how to best tackle and prevent dangerous climate change with those who deny the science. This is why we chose to target the present article the way we did. In our next article we plan to address the issue of those who say they accept the science but aren’t proposing policies that are sufficient to prevent dangerous climate change.

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    3. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      You are certainly correct Michael, Labor has done little or nothing other than to play some politics to try and gain some support of concerned individuals.

      It makes no sense at all to give lip service to Climate change and then dig up your coal reserves for export as fast as you can and at an ever increasing rate. As I'm sure many know, the world has too much reserves of coal and oil. For our own futures they do need to be left in the ground.

      Unfortunately I think that any chance of keeping temperature rises to below 2 degrees C has long gone.

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    4. Jane Rawson

      Editor, Energy & Environment at The Conversation

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Hi Michael, I see Brad has already answered, but just to reiterate: a follow-up article is planned, to cover questions you should ask your MP if they 'believe' in climate change. This will focus on whether their policy response aligns with the science on what's necessary.
      Have you seen the in-depth In Conversation interviews we've done with Christine Milne, Adam Bandt and Bob Brown? You might like them:
      https://theconversation.com/in-conversation-douglas-hilton-and-adam-bandt-mp-12571
      https://theconversation.com/christine-milne-the-economy-must-serve-people-and-nature-not-vice-versa-8854
      https://theconversation.com/bob-brown-and-the-media-ill-take-them-on-theyve-crossed-the-line-1607

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      You still may have your fives somewhat muddled Mike for if you think a 5% cut from year 2000 is equivalent to just .5% of 1990 levels, what in fact you are saying is that CO2 emissions have decreased by a factor of ten between 1990 and 2000 which does seem somewhat unbelievable seeing as there has been little change in our life style.

      If anything, seeing as our per capita CO2 output has risen slightly between 1990 and 2000 according to world bank figures and our population has also increased…

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    6. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      I look forward to the next article.

      But I still see this article as part of the problem. Anyone who follows politics fairly well would be able to answer your questions. For example, the Labor reply is likely to be:
      1 - Yes, 2 - Yes, 3 - Yes,
      4 - Yes. The Carbon Tax introduced by Labor is leading the world in taking action, and this tax has been praised by Al Gore, etc
      5 - Yes,
      6 - Yes - under Labor our emissions will be reduced by 5% by 2020.
      7 - Yes - (list other actions Labor has taken…

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    7. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Jane Rawson

      Jane - Yes, The Conversation has published some great in depth articles.

      What upsets me is that it is now usual for the media, including articles in The Conversation, to keep the political debate between Coalition and Labor (eg tonight's Q&A is a debate on health between Tanya Plibersek - Minister for Health and Peter Dutton - Shadow Health Minister) and keep any support for policies to the progressive side of Labor outside of politics.

      I had a dinner conversation a few weeks ago where a woman kept quoting Age articles at me to prove that The Greens had no policies. The Age is full of articles supporting a view to the progressive side of Labor. It's just that these articles almost never mention the politics (eg that both major parties are against euthanasia but The Greens support it).

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    8. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to John Campbell

      I also think it almost certain that the temperature rise will be over 2 degrees.

      Note that the idea of 2 degrees being a good target is many years old. Even back then it was probably a mix between what might be achievable balanced against the estimate of that time of what would happen at different levels of warming.

      Since then I think most research has shown that the effects of a 2 degree warming will be much worse than expected earlier, so we should really stop pretending that 2 degrees is an acceptable level of warming.

      I wish those who know would make it clearer where, with current actions, we are likely to end up.

      Of course we need to keep fighting to reduce emissions. Even if we get over 2 degrees, it is better to only get to 2.5 degrees than to 4, 5, and now even 6 is possible.

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    9. David Menere

      part-time contractor

      In reply to Jane Rawson

      Ask questions of politicians by all means, but recognise that within 90 minutes of this article being posted, a staffer in Tony Abbott/Greg Hunt's office had probably already been given the task of preparing a series of talking points for Coalition backbenchers that provide neutralising responses.

      These responses will provide forms of words that enable them to avoid giving personal views, instead referring to the virtues of the Coalition's 'direct action' policy.

      If you are concerned enough to be asking MPs these questions, you probably won't be voting for the Coalition anyway. Their responses on climate change (or any other issue) only have to appear 'non-negative', so that they won't become a cause for concern among the small proportion of voters who change votes.

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    10. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "Labor (and the Coalitions) response is to increase coal exports as rapidly as possible"

      To those naughty Chinese who each think they have the right to burn one quarter of the coal that each one of us burns. How dare they. Cut them off I say.

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    11. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to David Menere

      You are dead right David (Menere) in saying that if you are interested enough in climate change to ask the questions, you won't be voting for the coalition anyway, but by implication for the Greens or Labor. That fits easily with the recent polls - about 39% are concerned about climate change and about 39% intend to vote for Labor and the Greens. Simple!

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  7. Wade Macdonald

    Technician

    These are good questions granted, but there is far more to good policy and good political leadership than one's view of climate variability and its causes.

    Some MP's may not have agressive views on tackling AGW but are active supporters and contibutors to sound local/global environmental policy across other aspects and hence are still worth voting for.

    While AGW should be a contibuting factor in making any informed decision. Voting based solely on AGW preferences would be pretty ignorant.

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    1. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Wade Macdonald

      Wade,

      I agree that there is far more to good policy than just those to prevent dangerous climate change. However, the premise of the article is that politicians have an ethical responsibility to base their policies on the best available science of the day. At present the best available science tells us that if we don’t adopt policies that are sufficient to prevent dangerous climate change then any other local/global environmental policies are highly unlikely to be effective.

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    2. Wade Macdonald

      Technician

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Effectiveness of such programs are likely to be and have been destroyed for a plethora of reasons with or without AGW. We have historical science which tells us that.

      Personally, I see widespread ecosystem collapses happening well before any AGW effects have the opportunity to provide substancial contibutions. This AGW issue is a detrimental distraction to required action on many shorter term pressing problems to some extent.

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  8. John Campbell

    farmer

    The situation is much worse than depicted in this article I think.

    In these days of 'post modernism' many politicians (and others) only want to hear neutral or supportive views and go out of their way to silence critics which they often equate to part of the 'opposition'.

    Look what John Howard did to the CSIRO for example, not to mention that disgraceful den of left wing ideology the ABC.

    Too often now politicians, with much of the media ,and the support of big business friends demand subservience…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to John Campbell

      I reckon you might just find John that many in the CSIRO are right now in a doom and gloom scenario given expenditure cuts that are expected from the next Swan song called budget blues beating you all black and blue.

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  9. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Surely any MP is entitled to his/her own opinion so long is they promise to implement their party manifesto commitments?

    So we know the position of the various parties from their manifestos. I am not sure the McCarthyite approach advocated here is a wise one. Do we really want MPs too afraid to speak their mind or hold unpopular positions for fear of attack from a twitter mob?

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    1. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean,

      Of course MPs are entitled to their own opinion. The premise of the article is that politicians have an ethical responsibility to base their policies on the best available science of the day. Surely you are not suggesting that politicians should be free to ignore the findings of science if it conflicts with their own ideology?

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      What a bizarre comment. Apparently voters knowing the policy positions of their elected representatives is McCarthyite? I thought that we called that democracy.

      And "MPs too afraid to ... hold unpopular positions" ? According to your persistent trolling here, it is climate science and the theory of AGW that is unpopular. What happened to change your mind?

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    3. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      No, I am suggesting you can base your judgement on their manifesto commitments - that is the guide to their actions in the next parliament. Not their personal opinion. What you are advocating is straight-out McCarthyism.

      Are you saying that if a Greens candidate thinks that global warming is overblown you should instead vote for a Coalition candidate who doesn't - regardless of the difference in their party platforms?

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    4. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean,

      This article is not about who citizens should vote for so I am not sure what your argument is here. The premise of the article is that politicians have an ethical responsibility to base their policies on the best available science of the day. In the present context that means that politicians have an ethical responsibility to implement policies that are sufficient to prevent dangerous climate change.

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    5. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      And you know what their policies are from their manifesto.

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    6. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Hit the nail on the head Brad!
      Everything Sean says, on any subject, is about who you should vote for. Simple answer -vote LNP!

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    7. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to john davies

      Me? I don't vote. If I did I would probably vote for my local independent. If he wasn't standing I would probably vote Green.

      I am sure the Greens will recover from their climate change madness eventually. I can't vote for the ALP while they have an embezzler leading them.

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    8. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to john davies

      To me John, Climate Change is all about scientific hubris, not politics.

      As far as it goes I think limiting CO2 emissions is a good thing - letting CO2 levels rise consistently looks to me to be much like geo-engineering. However the science as it stands at the moment is bollocks and leaving scientific bollocks unchallenged is dangerous.
      A bit like the Club of Rome, I think unrestrained population growth is dangerous, but the alarmism of the Club of Rome was counter productive to rational population policy

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    9. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      I call Godwin. You use the term McCarthyism as a substitute for a credible argument.

      " if a Greens candidate thinks that global warming is overblown.." of course the voters are entitled to know.

      What bizarre 1984 style world are you proposing? Because the party issues a manifesto, we must assume that, clone like, all the party's pollies immediately have those views?

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    10. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      "Because the party issues a manifesto, we must assume that, clone like, all the party's pollies immediately have those views?"
      By and large the manifesto doesn't detail opinion, it details policy proposals. You can expect that all party MPs will try to implement their manifesto.

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    11. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Of course we should listen to scientists but I think that when the science does not agree with the facts then the science should change. Climate"scientists" believe that everything should be bent to confirm their failing theory.I think that as the world cools (and it is now cooling) these charlatans will be shown for what they are - an embarrassment to science.The majority of people and thankfully the government-in-waiting have very good BS meters unlike those whose livelihood depends on propagating a failed theory. No amount of hindcasting can hide the fact that the climate models are woeful predictors of the future and with Europe and the USA currently up to their ears in spring snow the wheels are well and truly off the global warming wagon. Politicians have an ethical responsibility to use common sense even when that disagrees with what the so-called "scientists" are saying .

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    12. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean, I believe it is the ALP 'manifesto' position that the Marriage Act should be changed to allow gay marriage. According to your thesis, one should expect that an ALP parliamentarian (or aspirant) would hold that position because that is their party's manifesto position. Yet we all know that a number of sitting politicians, including the Prime Minister, do not support that position and will not vote in favour of it. Instead they will vote according to their 'conscience' which allows them to…

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    13. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Science vs Neil "the world cools (and it is now cooling)" Gibson

      It is a knockout to science.

      "The average global temperature for March 2013 tied with 2006 as the 10th warmest March since recordkeeping began in 1880. It also marked the 37th consecutive March and 337th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average."
      http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/image/2013/march-2013-global-temperature-update

      NOAA even provide a map and a video for the geospatially challenged who are unable to grasp the notion that when they see snow and ice in one part of the globe, it does not mean that snow and ice is everywhere.

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    14. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil,

      You say "when the science does not agree with the facts then the science should change." Can you please advise where you get your facts from if you aren't getting them from science?

      If you are saying that theories and hypotheses should be open to falsification on the basis of new evidence then I couldn't agree more but there currently is no evidence that the consensus view of climate scientists is wrong.

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    15. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      "Sean, I believe it is the ALP 'manifesto' position that the Marriage Act should be changed to allow gay marriage"
      Ahh well am I responsible for the fact that you are ill-informed on issues?
      The ALP might - for all I know - have a party position that supports gay marriage at some conference or other. But they also have a party position which allows a conscience vote for sitting MPs. As such the ALP does not, as yet, have an election manifesto that says it supports gay marriage - it is not promising to introduce gay marriage if it wins the election. It can not while it allows a conscience vote for its MPs.
      If there are any other issues you are confused about, do please ask me.

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    16. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      How do you unreccomend someone's post?

      If the science does not agree with the facts it is not science any longer nor do the physical sciences depend on 'belief'.

      I really wonder about posts like Neil's. What is it actually displaying? Merely his own ignorance and prejudices I would suggest Nothing I can see of any substance that would cause anyone to question anything. Preaching to the converted perhaps? Even that seems to be stretching it a bit.

      I'm sure any number of people would have…

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    17. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      So Sean, what then are the manifesto positions of the two major parties on the science of climate change? When I ask my local candidates their position I will be able to quote you. Actually, what is your position? Do you think there is a such a thing and that we should try to understand it? Or do you think it's outside the area of human interest and we should all go back to our day jobs and forget it?

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    18. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      "Can you please advise where you get your facts from if you aren't getting them from science?"

      Neil thinks he's entitled to his own facts.

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    19. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      You can always have variations about the average Mike just as you can get variations about the planet and supposedly we get an accurate overall figure.
      Chuck in a bit of variation in thoughts amongst scientists and it is no wonder that a lot more people will have doubts or be looking to more substantial information.
      A plateauing is the term that has been used ( very quietly released like a sneaky fart ) and so Shssssh!
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released--chart-prove-it.html

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    20. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean, how about some explanation about your comment "the science as it stands at the moment is bollocks and leaving scientific bollocks unchallenged is dangerous".

      To have some credibility you must provide some reasoning, with some links to your sources.

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    21. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad
      The real problem is that the real measurement data does not support the so-called climate science.
      The world has gone through an "unprecedented" warming period .So what ! It got warmer in the MWP without coal-fired power and SUVs although that has now been erased by the "scientists"
      The Arctic is melting in an unprecedented fashion,unprecedented only to climate"scientists" and those who can't read old newspapers. History erased or ignored again.

      Trenberth's "missing heat " is hidden deep…

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    22. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Greg North

      The Daily Fail? That leading scientific journal?

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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    23. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      Neil Gibson - You have something in common with Chris O'Neil.

      I can't recall Chris ever converting a denier.

      Similarly I've never read a response to one of your posts where someone who accepts the science has been convinced by your post and become a 'skeptic'.

      Chris is promoting a rational scientific view in a forum which aims to promote rationality.

      But why are you wasting your time in a forum which is so clearly hostile to your non-science?

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    24. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      "It got warmer in the MWP without coal-fired power and SUVs"

      Neil makes up the word "warmer" when it should just be "warm" and he's in denial that astronomical forcing was greater during the MWP than it is now.

      "those who can't read old newspapers"

      That should read "those who read their own delusions into old newspapers".

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    25. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to John Campbell

      So why were we told for decades that global warming was going to cause less snow? These climate "scientists" make it up as they go along when icy reality strikes their settled science". Watch for the future story that global warming is causing global cooling and listen to the morons who will still believe it.

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    26. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      For the idiots who think that Arctic history started with satellites in 1970 when arctic ice was at a maximum here is a 1947 deluded article (and there are plenty more) on the state of the Arctic. Obviously the author was being paid by Big Oil to write the article! Apparently "unprecedented" Arctic warming happens quite often.
      http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2716276?

      TEMPERATURES
      RISING IN
      ARCTIC REGION
      LOS ANGELES, Friday.
      Dr. Hans Ahlman, a noted Swedish
      geophysicist, claimed…

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    27. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Another comment showing deep intellect. Shoot the messenger when you cannot argue with the message.

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    28. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike Hansen,
      As I have pointed out before on “The Conversation”, from the many very approximate proxy records of the global temperature T over millions of years, T has continuously cycled through periods of high and low values, driven in large part by external effects whose influences are described in time by the well established Milankovich cycles. The most significant confluence of these cycles triggers the Ice Ages and the subsequent emergence from these long periods of cold into the Holocene…

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    29. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad,

      Isn't it fairly obvious that the facts are taken from the results of basic measurements of the effective global temperature, Teff, which are collated, analysed and presented by the Major Climate Centres of RSS, GSS, UAH and CRU(Hadley).

      The pause in the warming trend experienced (and measured earlier from 1979 to 1997/8 or 1995 (Phil Jones, UEA), does not relate to ANY of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Climate Models (AOGCM) predictions. Somewhere, there is an error. Is it in the measurements…

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  10. Geoffrey Henley

    Research Associate

    The oft repeated statement "97% of climate scientists believe such and such" is a total myth. There is no credible research that comes close to accurately estimating the percentage of climate scientists who adopt a particular position on climate change.

    The study referenced here (Anderegg et.al.) DOES NOT provide any estimate of the percentage of climate scientists who adopt a particular position on climate change. It somewhat arbitrarily selects a group of scientists who support the notion of AGW and compares their average number of publications (and citations) to a group of scientists who have signed statements sceptical of AGW.

    It should be quite obvious to anyone with even a relatively basic understanding of statistics that the methodology of this paper has nothing to do with estimating the percentage of scientists who believe such and such. It appears that the authors of this article have a poor understanding of statistics. As such, their article lacks credibility.

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    1. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Geoffrey,

      The Anderegg et al. article we referenced used “an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data” and found that “97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers…

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Such a question would be better answered by actually surveying the scientists rather than by a political reading of their papers to determine their attitude in binary support/reject outcome.

      A direct and indepth survey might find a lot more nuance and caveats not to mention dissent than the 97% figure suggests - which is I suppose is why no one does it and just relies on someone's opinion of what scientists are thinking.

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    3. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean,

      The Anderegg et al. article is peer reviewed science in one of our top journals so I think it is a bit of a ad hominem attack to say it is "a political reading".

      Like I said above, if you are aware of a study that has used a more comprehensive methodology would you please provide the details?

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      "just relies on someone's opinion of what scientists are thinking."

      No Sean - that is what you are proposing.

      Anderegg et. al. looked at what was being published in the scientific literature - which is what counts.

      There are a number of scientists (particularly those 'gone emeritus') who will happily proclaim in opinion pieces in the Murdoch Press particularly that climate science is in their opinion wrong but somehow are never able to formulate their ideas sufficiently rigorously to have…

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    5. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      "The Anderegg et al. article is peer reviewed science in one of our top journals"
      Dr Farrant, I am touched by your naivety. Yet you can't be entirely unaware of scientific politics - the top journals are full of lousy methodologies and tendentious or over-interpreted conclusions. We don't need to engage in arguments from authority to realize that someone reading a paper and then determining whether the authors - all the authors - are believers or disbelievers in the IPCC consensus is an exercise in pointlessness.

      If you want to find out the diversity of opinion in the climate science community you need to design a survey dedicated to such a purpose. And you might find some scientists opinion might have a greater level of nuance than they did 6 years ago.

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    6. Phil Dolan

      Viticulturist

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      When the facts are laid out to prove a point and the facts prove that point, Sean says the facts must be wrong.

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    7. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Phil Dolan

      Phil - Its a gift I have.

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    8. Rubens Camejo

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Geoffrey

      You say:

      “The study referenced here (Anderegg et.al.) DOES NOT provide any estimate of the percentage of climate scientists who adopt a particular position on climate change. It somewhat arbitrarily selects a group of scientists who support the notion of AGW and compares their average number of publications (and citations) to a group of scientists who have signed statements sceptical of AGW.”

      This is what Prof. William R. L. Anderegg of Stamford University actually says:

      A broad…

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    9. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean,

      It is absolutley correct that "The Anderegg et al. article is peer reviewed science in one of our top journals", nothing you have said contradicts that in any way. Of course no single study is perfect but as far as I am aware this represents best attempt so far to quantify the extent of the consensus among climate scientists. Like I said above, if you are aware of a study that has used a more comprehensive methodology would you please provide the details?

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    10. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad,

      "our knowledge this study represents the best attempt so far to quantify the extent of the consensus among climate scientists. "

      The Anderegg study does not quantify the extent of the consensus among climate scientists. All it does is say that a somewhat arbitrarily chosen group of scientists who support the the so-called consensus published x no. of papers and a somewhat arbitrarily chosen group of scientists who are sceptical of the so-called consensus published y no. of papers. It…

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    11. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Geoffrey,

      Ok, so you don't accept the evidence regarding the size of the consensus among climate scientists or that statements made by every national science academy should be taken seriously. I strongly disagree with you because I can't see how you can rationally say you believe in the benefits of science and turn around and reject what the relevant scientists are saying.

      Which aspects of the consensus view do you disagree with?

      Do you accept that climate change is occurring? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify rejecting the scientific consensus?

      Do you accept that the human population is making a substantial contribution to climate change via our greenhouse gas emissions? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify going against the scientific consensus?

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    12. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      "so you don't accept the evidence regarding the size of the consensus among climate scientists"

      There is no credible evidence that estimates the size of the consensus, because as far as I can see, nobody has bothered to do a conduct a correctly designed study to measure this. I'm betting you can't find a single credible study that comes even close to measuring the size of the consensus. That would involve a totally randomised study which Anderegg and other studies referenced by warmists are not…

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    13. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      I've written before that I'm convinced that many of the climate change deniers are paid to post by the vested interests.

      Considering the huge sums of money that the vested interests spend on government lobbying, funding institutes such as the IPA, and in advertising campaigns, it would be negligent of them not to employ the very few people needed to keep forums such as this full of right-wing rubbish.

      What is sad is that the more academically minded people who post here fail to recognise that they are trying to convince a paid lobbyist. I've yet to see ONE example where a denier has taken on board the scientific evidence and changed their mind.

      It is worth noting the continued succes of the right though. Even this discussion is predominantly deniers and responses to them. The little useful discussion is lost amongst this repetitive and endless denier vs science debate.

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    14. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "I've written before that I'm convinced that many of the climate change deniers are paid to post by the vested interests. "

      Firstly I'm not a 'climate change denier' since I have never denied that the climate changes.

      Secondly, you will most likely find that the vast majority of sceptics who post at this and other sites do not receive a red cent from so-called 'vested' interests. Pure speculation on your part as usual.

      When it comes to funding, any money recieved by sceptics is a mere pittance compared to billions of dollars in funding foisted upon so-called consensus scientists. In fact organisations like IPCC and others deliberately make exaggerated claims in order to justify their own existence.

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    15. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      You say that the "IPCC and others deliberately make exaggerated claims in order to justify their own existence" yet deny that you are a denier. Very strange.

      And of couse those paid to comment here will deny it - they are paid to do so :)

      I have not searched and analysed your posts so you may be genuine. But when you use the trolling rhetoric of "I have never denied that the climate changes" this suggest a degree of professional expertise beyond that of the ordinary person who doubts climate change.

      Yes, it is speculation on my part that some are paid. But when the posts on this site and others are analysed carefully it becomes speculation of the 'this is probably happening' kind.

      Your speculation is that 'the vast majority of climate change scientists in EVERY country over the last few decades are part of some huge conspiracy'. To any reasonable person this is speculation of the 'fairies really exist' kind.

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    16. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      " The Anderegg et al. article we referenced used “an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data” and found that “97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.”

      Would you expect any less Brad?
      Like it is not as if the climate researches hoping to prove something are going to publish findings that will show the reverse of what they hoped to see or support.

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    17. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Greg North

      So Greg North believe that the world's climate change scientists are in a huge conspiracy to publish false data.

      I would love to know how this was organised, why it was done, and how (apart from the wrong data) this conspiracy has remained in place until now.

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    18. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      " Considering the huge sums of money that the vested interests spend on government lobbying, funding institutes such as the IPA, and in advertising campaigns, it would be negligent of them not to employ the very few people needed to keep forums such as this full of right-wing rubbish."

      Quite a bit far fetched I expect Mike and I'd reckon it is just as easy to say that this discussion is all about supporting a particular view and a few people prepared to speak up in questioning the view even if they usually do get rubbished or attempts are made to so so.

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    19. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Please provide a few links to your sources for your statement that "There exists several hundred published studies that provide strong evidence that the global temperature were either as warm or warmer during the MWP than today".

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    20. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I have observed this phenomenon too Michael and though there are some dyed in the wool contrarians out there I think the Tobacco lobby has been the model for the denialist industry.

      They will never admit it of course !

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    21. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Greg North

      Not at all far fetched Greg North.

      The cost of employing a few people to post in social media and internet discussion forums such as this is very minimal compared to the other know high spends of the vested interests.

      And as shown by the discussions on The Conversation, including this one, the input of the deniers and their rebuttals (including this post) dominates the discussion ensuring that the most important points - include 'how do we take more effective action on climate change?' either…

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    22. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Greg North

      "not as if the climate researches hoping to prove something are going to publish findings that will show the reverse of what they hoped to see"

      They would bring down the biggest conspiracy of all time if they did that.

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    23. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael
      Can you advise me where I go to get paid as I am foolishly being a "denier" for free. I am obviously missing out on lots of money.

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    24. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      "There exists several hundred published studies that provide strong evidence that the global temperature were either as warm or warmer during the MWP than today."

      What he really means is that there are studies that show temporally isolated warming in various places during or near the MWP. He's saying absolutely nothing about whether these warm years in different places occurred at the same time or not, because then his game would be up.

      "The consensus scientists rely heavily on Mann's discredited hockey stick graph."

      Mann's graph is only one out of 12 in IPCC AR4: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-6-10.html

      Either Geoffrey thinks one graph out of 12 means "rely heavily" or he is being shamelessly deceptive.

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    25. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      The regular deniers are posting the same things again and again, and using the set of standard techniques to disrupt the conversation (eg, as we had posted here - something like I'm not a climate change because I accept that the climate has changed in the past'.

      So given the lack of creativity and research ability I don't think the deniers would be paid that much. So you are not missing out on LOTS of money (please feel to correct me if I'm wrong :)

      I'm sure that there are some genuine deniers…

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    26. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      I wish there were an edit feature. My earlier post should have said:

      (eg, as we had posted here - something like 'I'm not a climate change DENIER because I accept that the climate has changed in the past').

      And to John Davies - We do get similar style posts on many other subjects other than climate change.

      But one of the reason I feel certain that the many of the climate change deniers are paid is the large number of such posts and the fact that they are relatively constant. When one denier…

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    27. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael, you wrote "I've yet to see ONE example where a denier has taken on board the scientific evidence and changed their mind". It is important to remember that the entrenched science deniers cannot be moved, but many more people will read these comments and it is up to us to ensure that the science is placed front and centre in our discussions, so that those other readers can look up our references and make up their own minds about the veracity of our stance. It is not about changing closed minds.

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  11. Tyson Adams

    Scientist and author

    I agree that more pressure has to be brought to bear upon politicians for their stance on climate change. Whether it be the Labor party's continued support of fossil fuel industries or the Liberal party's denial of the problem, they all need to be bashed with the science until they act accordingly.

    The only problem with emailing or writing to your MP is that they have staff who read and answer their mail. So, it is likely that you will not directly reach your MP or senators, thus it takes EVERYONE being active in demanding action before the message sinks in.

    Lobby groups, think tanks, monied interests, have direct access to our politicians. They hold too much sway. Thus, for people to influence things, they have to be less apathetic and more vocal.

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Tyson Adams

      Tyson - you are working on the Dictatorship model. If you live in a dictatorship and want change you lobby the dictator for change.

      In a democracy the model is that you vote for the politician that best represents your views and values.

      So if you vote Liberal, Labor, or National you are voting for very minimal action on reducing Australia's emissions and huge increase in coal exports. Is it really fair to blame the politician for doing what you knew they would do when you voted for them…

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    2. Tyson Adams

      Scientist and author

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Ideally, yes. But the problem is that party politics is designed around the status quo and towing the party line. This essentially results in a form of dictatorship. It also means that minority parties and independents have little to no real power nor say in politics. The exception is with minority governments, but we have already seen that even under this model in the current federal parliament, we still couldn't get a decent carbon reduction scheme.

      Also, I can't vote for the Greens. They may…

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  12. Mark Pollock

    Analyst

    I want my MP to be a grown up who can think for themselves. I certainly wouldn't want to be represented anyone who would succumb to this juvenile emotional blackmail.

    My preferred MP should answer along the following lines.

    1 No, Consensus isn't proof and anyway, what would you expect from asking climate scientists if they believed in climate change? It's like asking priests or imans whether they believe in god.
    2. Yes, the climate is always changing. Always has, always will. What a silly…

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    1. Tyson Adams

      Scientist and author

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Your preferred MP is therefore a science denier, as are you.

      Have you read none of the science? Or do you just filter the science through denial blogs? Because it is unacceptable to say that politicians should not accept the scientific facts in favour of denial rhetoric. That is roughly equivalent to asking the MPs to stop funding medicine because germ theory is only a theory.

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    2. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      So Mark, you think that all the extra heat, that satellite and other measurements show is being absorbed by the Earth is going to vanish into thin air? Well, actually, that is the problem.

      The climate used to be relatively stable unlike some denialists and shows an unfortunate trend of reversing in the last 50 years or so from cooler to hotter with no limit in sight.

      By the way I believe there is some cheap land going in Japan at the moment. As any deaths will only be statistical and no one…

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    3. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Tyson Adams

      What on earth is a science denier? Is that someone who disputes the existence of science? Is it like the fabled "climate denier" who supposedly disputes the existence of a climate?

      That is a very weak analogy. It is nothing like medicine and germ theory.

      Science is meant to provide us with quantified answers not emotional rhetoric. Is asking how much of last century's observed temp rise was a result of human caused carbon emmissions an unscientific question?

      If someone claims that we are already experiencing "climate related deaths", what ever those are, is it unscientific to expect those deaths to have been categorised and quantified?

      Or should I just take it all on trust because someone who really believes tells me too?

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    4. Neil Gibson

      Retired Electronics Design Engineer

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Unfortunately Mark your politician will not give such great answers while many will agree with you . To get elected lip service to the climate gods is required (at the moment) and that is what all politicians are doing.

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    5. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to John Campbell

      John, I can see no evidence that the climate used to be stable, quite the reverse. I see ice ages followed by warming followed by more cooling. Not stable. Are ice-ages a denialist fantasy?

      If no one is able to quantify how many of these supposed Japanese deaths are related to radiation then how can you say that any of them are related to radiation? What has this got to do with the claimed climate related deaths? If you want to give credibility to these claims you have to be able to count and categorise them.

      Yes, no doubt, add fuel to a fire and get more heat. What we need to know is how much more heat. And here, real scientists have a good place to start - the 20 century. How much of the 0.8 degrees increase was anthropogenic in origin. We need real answers not scare stories.

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    6. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      " I can see no evidence that the climate used to be stable"

      Well that is a rather fatuous response. You know Mark - wearing your invincible ignorance like a badge of honour does not make you appear smart - quite the contrary.

      For the period of earth's climate that matters to us i.e. the holocene, the earth's climate has in fact been quite stable.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene#Climate

      "How much of the 0.8 degrees increase was anthropogenic in origin. We need real answers not scare stories."
      There are no shortage of answers but first you need to be able to read and understand the science - as Tyson Edwards pointed out, if you a looking for science, you will not find it at the climate crank blogs - it is like studying evolution by visiting creationist sites.

      If you are interested in the science, you are going to have to do some work. Ideology is easy, science is hard.
      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

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    7. Tyson Adams

      Scientist and author

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Science denier: one who rejects the vast majority of evidence from the vast majority of experts in favour of fringe group's cherry picked, unsubstantiated or non existent suppositions. A climate denier is clearly one who wants to argue with the vast majority of climate scientists that anthropogenic climate change is occurring.

      The analogy is sound, quite simply because climate change theory is accepted by science, just like germ theory. Yet you would argue that this is not the case and that you…

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    8. Tyson Adams

      Scientist and author

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      This is a deliberate misinterpretation of evidence to conform to your biases.

      Climate runs in cycles, yes, but that is not the same as what anthropogenic warming is discussing, which is an effect running in concert with those cycles. The last time the Earth warmed as much as it has in the last 50 years, it took 50,000 years. Little bit of a difference between climate cycles and anthropogenic climate change.....

      Your last statement is classic denial. This point has been widely discussed in the literature and in lay articles. The >90% confidence of humans contributions to this, there is even a nice simple Wikipedia page devoted to this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attribution_of_recent_climate_change

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    9. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Were we reading the same article? That one suggests that the climate is varying all the time. It might depend on what one means by stable?

      "there was a slightly warmer period from the 10th–14th centuries known as the Medieval Warm Period. This was followed by the Little Ice Age, from the 13th or 14th century to the mid 19th century, which was a period of significant cooling.."

      And then it started to get slightly warmer. Nothing to worry about.

      Got any more cute links for me?

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    10. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Tyson Adams

      More links! This time the Climate Commission claims that Hurricane Sandy was proof CAGW. What next? Barbers recommending haircuts?

      Just in case you're interested, these blokes have some good proofs that there's life after death and that Christ walked on water.

      http://www.catholic.org.au/

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    11. Tyson Adams

      Scientist and author

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Like I originally said: you are a science denier. We link to science, we provide evidence for our statements and you dismiss it.

      Hence, your opinion is the minority view that MPs shouldn't be listening to, instead favouring the view of actual science.

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    12. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "This time the Climate Commission claims that Hurricane Sandy was proof"

      No, they didn't. The proof came before. Any other lies for us?

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "Yes, the climate is always changing. Always has, always will."

      Mark, Mark, Mark. How can you forget your lines so easily? The climate hasn't changed in the past 16 years.

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    14. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Hi Chris,
      I was responding to Tyson Adams comment. He kindly sent me another link to our very own climate commission.

      Among others, it states,

      "All the evidence suggests that climate change exacerbated the severity of Hurricane Sandy."

      In what sense is this a lie? That's a bit rude don't you think? Where are your manners?

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    15. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I have never said that. You are making it up. The global temperature trend has been flat for some time, according to the major temperature products. This is a different matter from saying the climate hasn't changed. Some people choose to ignore the significance of the pause but I suspect this is because they don't understand it.

      It doesn't mean that the climate has stopped changing. That's another straw man.

      The pause illustrates flaws in the models on which the IPPC relies. Across nearly…

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    16. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      What is Mark Pollock doing on an academic site? Why is he bothering to debate rational science with non-science that can easily be disproven by doing a quick google search?

      If Mark was a real person he would not be bothered reading this article, let alone the significant effort in posting.

      But ever since Obama first won power the right have realised that social media and internet discussions are important. Thus it is worth paying a few people to repeat non-science to give less informed readers the impression that the science is not settled.

      If Mark is a real person then could he please explain how the vast majority of scientists
      from every country
      for many decades
      have all conspired to be part of a massive scientific fraud.

      Posts like Mark's are not just non-science but complete nonsense for anyone who understands how the real world works.

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    17. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,

      Haven't you yet realised that people like Mark are effectively just trolling?

      Can you give me just one example on The Conversation where giving a reference to real science has changed the mind of a denier?

      Of course we should all do our best to educate those who genuinely want to learn. But on climate change how often do we get a genuine question where the person is going to take into account the answer given?

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    18. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "Where were aerosols when the science was settled?"

      Was 1971 before the science was "settled"?: Rasool, S. Ichtiaque, and Stephen H. Schneider (1971). "Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate." Science 173: 138-141.

      You clearly have a lot to learn.

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    19. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "All the evidence suggests that climate change exacerbated the severity of Hurricane Sandy."

      No, that doesn't mean Hurricane Sandy proves global warming is anthropogenic. It just means global warming made Hurricane Sandy stronger.

      Obviously logic is not your strong point. No wonder you're a science denier.

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    20. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to John Campbell

      " The climate used to be relatively stable unlike some denialists and shows an unfortunate trend of reversing in the last 50 years or so from cooler to hotter with no limit in sight."
      Really John!
      You do not reckon there have been cyclones, floods, heatwaves and even Ice Ages before the last fffty years?
      I think you might have been brainwashed just a bit too much.

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    21. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Ideally all posters on this site should first have to submit a photo (like you do Michael, and I would be happy to comply with).

      It would help to sort out the trolls or the shills who assume different monikers as it suits them.

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    22. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Now that's a cherry pick. For a moment I thought you might be serious.

      But I am being serious. There is always a problem with picking a starting point for a time series. One way around this is to start at NOW and work back. What do the major temperature products look like then?

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    23. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Mike, please please tell me who is paying people to do what I do for free. Please, please. I have heard about this easy cash but I can't seem to get hold of any of it.

      You wouldn't be telling fibs would you? There really is this big pot of cash for deniers like me?

      On another topic, what's this got to do with BO?

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    24. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      And another thing. Is your idea of science "doing a quick google search" and reading what comes up on the first page?

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    25. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      We don't even properly know who is funding the IPA, so how would we know who is funding people to post on the internet?

      The internet does make it very easy to find out how science responds to the claim of a denier. Of course you need to check the source of what you read.

      On the other hand I can't recall a denier responding to a link posted here that proves them wrong. Instead they are making the same silly high level claims that were made here over a year ago.

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    26. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      "Now that's a cherry pick."

      So a denialist says the last 16 years is a cherry-pick.

      What a masterpiece of hypocrisy.

      "What do the major temperature products look like then?"

      Why, pray tell, don't you show us? All you have to do is use this: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot

      What are you worried about? Looking like you're making things up?

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  13. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "In 2010 around 40% of Liberal/National politicians held the view the world could warm by 3-4 degrees Celsius before the situation became dangerous. The actual scientific consensus is a mere 2 degrees". Hmmm... the scientific consensus is that we are already experiencing changed conditions, such as the unprecedented melting of Arctic summer ice, due to the 1° approx warming already seen. The 2° limit was set by politicians and economists, not scientists.

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug - Future generations will look back and wonder why, and who is to blame.

      Who do you think they will assign the most blame - the 40% of Coalition politicians who were scientifically incompetent, or Rudd, Wong, Gillard, Garrett etc who all claim to accept the science and call this the 'greatest moral challenge of our generation' yet not only do F.A. to lower Australia's emissions, but worked to expand coal exports and managed to convince most of the public (with the help of all the media) that they had taken the necessary actions and dealt with the problem?

      (Do I win an award for one of the longest sentences on The Conversation?)

      I believe that the mismatch between the science and what needs to be done compared to the view of most of the population raises serious questions about whether or not we live in a democracy.

      Blaming the ignorant 40% of Coalition politicians ignores the greater blame due to those who claim to accept the science and the media.

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      "and that 1.5 degrees C would be a safer target"

      The only problem with this target is that not everything is going to be shut down immediately (or even anytime soon). 1.5 degrees C is what we'll probably reach if the current level of GHGs is frozen. 2 degrees C allows GHG emissions to continue for more than zero time.

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    3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      The problem with saying 2 degrees is a good target is that this gives people the impression that 2 degrees is ok and that it doesn't matter too much if we go over this as long as it isn't too much. Hence much of our current complacency.

      I think it needs to be made clear that anything over 1.5 degrees is going to be pretty awful, and we are already pretty locked in to that rise. Thus urgent action is needed NOW.

      Whilst in the days of Stern it was pretty feasible to start take effective action without major disruption, years of, for all practical purposes, ignoring the problem means that real action now requires more severe responses.

      But those who vote for the major parties need not be concerned - neither has any intention of taking real action :(

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    4. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Michael, you said "anything over 1.5 degrees is going to be pretty awful". I would go further, in pointing out that we have had approx. 1° warming so far (depending on who you talk to) and this has caused unprecedented shrinkage of the cryosphere, with unknown long-term effects. Arctic summer sea ice is melting far faster than the models predicted and changes to the Arctic Jet Stream are blocking weather patterns over Europe and America, causing incidents such as super-storm Sandy. The changes we have already locked ourselves into at 1° will likely be decidedly unpleasant, let alone 1.5°. Homo Stupidus stupidus.

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    5. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      "Future generations will look back and wonder why, and who is to blame." Sadly, we are all collectively to blame, even those trying to effect changes. Any time we use a fossil-fuelled vehicle, or switch on a coal-fired-electricity powered appliance, we are contributing to the problem. Even those who pride themselves on being 'off-grid' consume fossil carbon embodied in their clothing, implements, cutlery, the computers they are reading this on ... and so on, ad nauseum.

      "Do I win an award for…

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  14. Frank Moore

    Consultant

    This is a naked piece of electioneering!
    Rallying the comrades in a rear guard action against the inevitable loss!

    Neil Young had a song a few years ago about a farmer telling the try hard lefties that: "Y'all just pissing in the wind. Y' don't know it - but you are!"

    And your carefully stacked poll - in the end - is just that.

    Because, no matter what you do, say or propose, the climate of planet Earth is in the hands of the communist dictatorship of the PRC.

    A distant second comes…

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    1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Nice to get a reason for denying the science - because accepting the science will lead to a shutdown of WTO, etc etc.

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