Quadrant follows the fashion of much of the rest of the right in Australia in making war on science. It has promoted Creationism, HIV/AIDS denial, the DDT ban myth and, of course, global warming denial. But ever since new editor Keith Windschuttle took over earlier this year, Quadrant has cranked the attacks on climate science up to 11. Harry Clarke reports:
Recent issues of Quadrant contain a number of ‘denialist’ views on climate change issues that will leave those concerned with the implications of climate change troubled. Quadrant could analogously act as an outlet for the flat earth society and the outcome of supporting such a similar sustained attack on scientific logic would make no more sense than supporting climate change denialists without offering anything in the way of the majority accepted-science contrary view.
The most recent article by Bob Carter follows efforts by Ray Evans (here and here) and papers by Ian McFadyen (here) and William Kininmonth (here). All are attempts to debunk the global warming hypothesis as phoney science. None of the Quadrant contributions provide a mainstream contribution to recent climate change debates and indeed the minority views of these denialists are not set in the context of the broader debate.
Clarke explains what is wrong with the articles, as does Robert Merkel. I already did the Kininmonth piece, while Gary Sauer-Thompson addressed the very silly article from Ian McFadyen. (McFadyen reckons that climate science is a religion. No, really.)
That’s not the half of it. Clarke listed five articles, but there were two more (not on line) in March and June by Ray Evans (yet again) and Sev Sternhell respectively. And it seems that the latest fad at Quadrant is to include ritual denunciations of mainstream climate science in articles about other things. For instance, Michael Warby’s pompous book review of Liberal Fascism:
That the overlap between the modern progressivist Left and fascism has increased is true: anti-globalisation, identity politics and deep green environmentalism are all forms of anti-Enlightenment romanticism, as is much anti-commercialism. Adding to the overlap is hostility to a Jewish entity (Israel). Their self-righteous parading of morally heroic purposes has affinities with the Will glorification of Fascism. There is much of Gleichschaltung in the progressivist Left’s constant treatment of dissent against its premises as malignancy, including rednecks-have-no-speech-rights jurisprudence. Particularly in the global warming panic, with the patent desire to forge a Volksgemeinschaft from decarbonisation.
Kevin Donnelley on education policy (Quadrant June 2008):
It should also be noted that many non-government schools have long since adopted some of the more fashionable excesses of the PC movement, including “sorry days”, affirmative action for women and programs related to environmental awareness and the supposed dangers of global warming.
A play review by Michael Connor:
Yet Williamson’s leftism has changed since the 1960s, for he has joined the climate change cult. He lashes Andrew Bolt not just for criticising a play by Hannie Rayson, in which a Peter Costello-based character kills a refugee, but also because he is “the last writer in the world to deny that global warming is a reality”. Wrong again. The climatology zealotry (though he does not seem to realise that the words of the hymn have changed, it’s no longer “global warming” but “climate change”) is linked to old-fashioned anti-capitalism.
A grumpy old man shtick by Michael Galak:
I still do not like Lenin. I still don’t like komsomoltsy, red or green, who peddle ideological crap and expect me to burn with enthusiasm when I hear it.
Keith Windschuttle himself does at least address the science, even though he gets it wrong:
The sea level rises predicted by Gore and Manne depend upon the great ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland suddenly disappearing, a scenario deriving more from Hollywood than science. Even the doomsters on the UN IPCC scientific panel observe comparatively tiny sea level rises.
Global mean sea level has been rising. From 1961 to 2003 the average rate of sea level rise was 1.8 mm plus or minus 0.5 mm per year. For the twentieth century the average rate was 1.7 mm plus or minus 0.5 mm per year … For the period 1993 to 2003, for which the observing system was much better, the contributions from thermal expansion (1.6 mm plus or minus 0.5 mm per year) and loss of mass from glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets together give 2.8 mm plus or minus 0.7 mm per year.
— UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fourth Report, 2007, Chapter Five, ‘Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level’, p 387
Hence, if the IPCC’s worst-case observations remain the same, by 2095 world sea level will have risen by between 18.3 cm and 30.4 cm. At this rate, it will take between 1741 years and 2902 years for the sea to rise 20 feet.
But the IPCC thinks that sea-level rise may well accelerate. It is misleading to describe the current rate as a “worst-case”.