The Australian Government has set up a Coasts and Climate Change Council to plan how to adapt to increases in sea levels and cyclone intensity that global warming will most likely bring. Since its about adaption to climate change and planning for the future, in a rational world even on opponent of mitigation like The Australian would be on board, but they are not. The Australian is certain that scientists are wrong about sea level rise and they have an impeccable authority:
Bondi veteran Lee Boman has swum at the beach for more than 30 years and was adamant he had seen “no change” to the coastline over that period. “Nothing too drastic that indicates it is going to be changed in the future,” said Mr Boman, 53.
Take that, scientists! And in case that by itself is not convincing, Boman’s picture is splashed across five columns on the front page. Now Boman looks like a decent sort and I wouldn’t mind hearing more from him, so if The Australian sacked the people who write its boringly predictable editorials and hired Boman to write them instead, I’d be all for it. But if you want to know whether sea level is rising or not, you need to break out the tide gauges and satellites and let the scientists analyze them. Here’s the result from CSIRO and a graph you will never see printed in The Australian:
Next The Australian trots out Bob Carter, also not an expert on sea level changes.
Bob Carter, a geologist and environmental scientist with James Cook University in Queensland, said Senator Wong’s comments appeared to be an attempt to panic the public.
Pointing to historical rates of sea level rise of an average 1.6mm per year globally over the past 100 years, Mr Carter said it was reasonable to expect a total rise of 16cm in a century.
IF we check with the CSIRO we find:
We have used a combination of historical tide-gauge data and satellite-altimeter data to estimate global averaged sea level change from 1870 to 2004. During this period, global-averaged sea level rose almost 20 cm, with an average rate of rise of about 1.7 mm/yr over the 20th Century. The sea level record indicates a statistically significant increase in the rate of rise between 1870 to 2004.
Looks like Carter got his numbers from the CSIRO and misinterpreted them. There is no reason to expect the rate of sea level rise to drop back to what it was in the 20th century, in fact its likely to accelerate.
Against this The Australian brings out its third expert:
Patrick Doab, 63, said he had been visiting Bondi nearly every Sunday since the 1960s and was not worried anything would change.
Of course. This article was written by Lanai Vasek and Matthew Franklin, who really should be ashamed of themselves for stealing this story by Drew Warne-Smith and James Madden, published in The Australian in November:
By comparison, the NSW government’s projections – based on global modelling by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as CSIRO regional analysis – equate to a future rise of about 6.6mm a year. Such a projection has caused widespread concern for landowners and developers, derision from “climate sceptics” within the scientific community and even some head-scratching from Wollongong locals such as Kevin Court, 80.
“I have swum at this beach every day for the past 50 years, and nothing much changes here,” Mr Court said yesterday as he emerged from the surf at Wollongong’s North Beach, just a short paddle from the Port Kembla gauging station.
This, too, was also front-paged with a picture of a bloke in swimmers to prove those silly scientists wrong
But that wasn’t the only shot that The Australian fired in its War on Science today. There was another article, this one by Pia Akerman (yes, she’s the daughter of this guy). Akerman wheels out Ian Plimer to rebut Penny Wong’s speech:
Geology academic and leading climate change sceptic Ian Plimer dismissed Senator Wong’s defence of the IPCC, saying she was “talking codswallop”.
“She has absolutely no idea how temperature is measured, she has no idea of the algorithms used to correct the urban heat island effect,” Professor Plimer said. “She has no idea we’ve gone from about 9000 to 3000 measuring stations, most of which are now in industrialised areas, in cities or around airports, where we have hot fumes coming out of aeroplanes.”
It’s possible that Wong does not know what the algorithms are, but it is certain that Plimer does not. The reduction in the number of stations does not bias the temperature record as Zeke Hausfather explains. And Menne analyzed Watt’s data and found that poorly sited stations produced a cooling bias.
Finally there was an editorial that claimed:
Which is precisely why — as one of the world’s lowest carbon emitters — we need to bide our time before rushing into an ETS.
Yes, Australia is almost in a tie with Mali — look at the graph below.