Andrew Bolt column flooded with deceit

Andrew Bolt liked the trick of pointing to the one part of a document that doesn’t mention floods and pretending that there is no mention of floods in the whole document so much that he did it again in his column:

The mantra was that global warming meant drought for us, and the 2007 Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the Vatican of the warming faith – made no mention of more floods in Australia from rain.

I hope you spotted Bolt’s scam. The Synthesis Report summarises the WG1, WG2, and WG3 reports and only has four bullet points about Australia and NZ. It does say this:

Available research suggests a significant future increase in heavy rainfall events in many regions, including some in which the mean rainfall is projected to decrease.

Is Australia one of those regions? If we look at the WG1 report we find:

A range of GCM and regional modelling studies in recent years have identified a tendency for daily rainfall extremes to increase under enhanced greenhouse conditions in the Australian region (e.g., Hennessy et al., 1997; Whetton et al., 2002; McInnes et al., 2003; Watterson and Dix, 2003; Hennessy et al., 2004b; Suppiah et al., 2004; Kharin and Zwiers, 2005). Commonly, return periods of extreme rainfall events halve in late 21st-century simulations. This tendency can apply even when average rainfall is simulated to decrease, but not necessarily when this decrease is marked (see Timbal, 2004). Recently, Abbs (2004) dynamically downscaled to a resolution of 7 km current and enhanced greenhouse cases of extreme daily rainfall occurrence in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland as simulated by the CSIRO GCM. The downscaled extreme events for a range of return periods compared well with observations and the enhanced greenhouse simulations for 2040 showed increases of around 30% in magnitude, with the 1-in-40 year event becoming the 1-in-15 year event.

Or you could look in WG2 on impacts

Increases in extreme
daily rainfall are likely where average rainfall either increases or
decreases slightly. For example, the intensity of the 1-in-20 year
daily rainfall event is likely to increase by up to 10% in parts of
South Australia by the year 2030 (McInnes et al., 2002), by 5 to
70% by the year 2050 in Victoria (Whetton et al., 2002), by up
to 25% in northern Queensland by 2050 (Walsh et al., 2001) and
by up to 30% by 2040 in south-east Queensland (Abbs, 2004).
In NSW, the intensity of the 1-in-40 year event increases by 5 to
15% by 2070 (Hennessy et al., 2004).

And

For the Albert-Logan
Rivers system near the Gold Coast in Queensland, each 1%
increase in rainfall intensity is likely to produce a 1.4% increase
in peak runoff (Abbs et al., 2000). However, increases in runoff
and flooding are partially offset by a reduction in average rainfall,
which reduces soil wetness prior to storms. A high-resolution
atmospheric model of storm events coupled with a non-linear
flood event model has been applied to flooding around the Gold
Coast caused by tropical cyclone Wanda in 1974. If the same event
occurred in 2050 with a 10 to 40 cm rise in mean sea level, the
number of dwellings and people affected is likely to increase by
3 to 18% (Abbs et al., 2000).

Bolt continues:

The Rudd government was also sucked in, and told Murray-Darling farmers they’d have their water rights cut to “save” our rivers. Here’s then-Climate Change Minister Penny Wong in 2008:

“We know the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said by 2050 that Australia should expect around about a 25 per cent reduction in rainfall in the southern part of the Australia.”

And the very next paragraph in WG2 predicted that increases in extreme daily rainfall were likely.

Bolt is so pleased with his trick that he repeats it again and again:

As Garnaut himself told the National Press Club about his influential report:

“It almost had an exciting title. When our team in Melbourne finished the draft of the draft a few weeks ago we held a naming competition and the winner by acclamation was No Pain, No Rain. [Laughter]”

What the Garnaut report said about impacts in Queensland:

Queensland’s coastal settlements are
anticipated to suffer extreme
infrastructure impacts from increased
storm surge and localised flash flooding.

Comments

  1. #1 EoR
    January 28, 2011

    “In fact, I believe (…) in climate change.”
    Bolt, 2011

    “Steketee is right.”
    Bolt, 2011

    I rest my case.

  2. #2 ChrisC
    January 28, 2011

    From the Garnaut report, section 5.2.2

    There has been a major change in rainfall patterns since the 1950s, with large geographic variation. North-west Australia has seen a significant increase in annual rainfall, whereas most of the eastern seaboard and south-west Australia have seen a significant decrease (CSIRO & BoM 2007). Rainfall changes over the longer period from 1900 to 2007 are generally positive and are largest in the north-west. Drying tendencies over this period are evident in south-west Australia, some other parts of southern Australia, including much of Tasmania, and over much of north-east Australia.

    From the IPCC FAR, Chapter 10:

    An increase in precipitation is projected in the Asian monsoon (along with an increase in interannual season-averaged precipitation variability)… as well as an increase in the Australian monsoon in southern summer in a warmer climate

    It’s worth noting that there is a prediction of increased precipitation in tropical Australia during the wet season, mostly linked to changes in intensity of the Australian monsoon, along with a general drying of the country through winter months (primarily linked to changes in the trade winds in the tropics and the reduced penetration of cold fronts in the South). [Here’s](http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-11-17.html) a pretty picture.

    Also, from the Climate Change in Australia Report (Chapter 5):

    By 2050, under the B1 scenario, the range of annual precipitation change is -15% to +7.5% in central, eastern and northern areas, with a best estimate of little change in the far north grading southwards to a decrease of 5%. The range of change in southern areas is from a 15% decrease to little change, with best estimate of around a 5% decrease

    I could go on. There are many studies that show an increase in tropical rainfall with increasing GHG emissions, and many other with weaker results.

    Shorter: Precipitation change is not projected to be the same everywhere. Different dynamics cause rain fall in different areas, and the effect of global warming on each is not the same. Tropical areas are predicted to be

  3. #3 Margaret Morgan
    January 28, 2011

    I was just looking at the Press Council’s criteria for complaints.

    “Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced. They should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers either by omission or commission.”

    I am seriously considering making a complaint in relation to Bolt’s blogs on climate change. The two most recent posts in this blog about his deceit clearly indicate that he is breaching the above.

    Thoughts?

  4. #4 Terry
    January 28, 2011

    Quote mining FTW!!!!!

  5. #5 adelady
    January 28, 2011

    Margaret, if you feel strongly, do it.

    I have an abiding resentment towards Bolt. I used to like that Insiders program on ABC Sunday mornings – and then I noticed Bolt’s frequent appearances along with a couple of other token right wingnuts. I just couldn’t stand them and their sneering smart aleckry, so I gave up on it.

    This was all presumably in pursuit of the famous ABC balance. If they want balance they should ask someone balanced to provide it. Surely there are some sensible conservative commentators who’d fill this gig.

    I’m not a suitable letter-writer for this little project. (Because I couldn’t write just a letter. It’d finish up far too much like one of his own clan’s diatribes.)

  6. #6 Donald Oats
    January 28, 2011

    Fairly unbalanced, blot is.

    My use of newspapers, print and online versions, diminishes each day. Feebles like this individual have encouraged that decline in my interest in reading newspapers’ opinion pieces.

  7. #7 Mike
    January 28, 2011

    @3.

    Indeed, do it if you feel you should. Be warned that last year I made a Press Council complaint regarding flagrantly misleading (and demonstrably untrue) rubbish reprinted by The Australian (surprising, I know) in a particular article, from yes you guessed it, Jonathan Leake. All I requested was that a correction be printed.

    The result was entirely unsatisfactory. Much along the lines of “well someone else really wrote it so it’s not our problem”.

    The Australian Press Council is utterly useless.

  8. #8 FuzzyLogic
    January 28, 2011

    There’s also these comments in the Queensland government’s 2010 report “Climate Change In Queensland: What the science is telling us” (for the full report see here http://www.climatechange.qld.gov.au/pdf/climate-change-in-queensland-2010.pdf)

    p1
    Key findings for Queensland
    – longer dryer periods interrupted by more
    intense rainfall events (especially in the Gulf
    and Cape York).”

    p23
    “The State of the Climate report (CSIRO & BoM 2010) indicates that in
    the future much of Australia will
    be drier; however, it is likely that the occurrence of intense
    rainfall events will increase in many areas.”

    p30
    “Climate change is also likely to affect extreme
    rainfall in south-east Queensland (Abbs et al.
    2007). Projections indicate an increase in two-hour,
    24-hour and 72-hour extreme rainfall events for
    large areas of south-east Queensland, especially
    in the McPherson and Great Dividing ranges, west
    of Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”

  9. #9 P. Lewis
    January 28, 2011

    Margaret, Donald probably hints at the reason that Dolt can get away with what he says in the paper.

    It’s likely an opinion piece (I’m not going to waste my time linking to Dolt to check if that’s the case — it seems likely).

    So, if it’s anything like the PCC in the UK, then by and large your PCC will likely side with the opinion former in any complaint (as they largely did with the high-profile Jan Moir piece after Stephen Gateley’s untimely demise) in a protection of free speech sort of ruling.

  10. #10 Wow
    January 28, 2011

    > The Australian Press Council is utterly useless.

    Oh, no, they’re great if your rich and/or connected.

    What? Did you thin laws were set up for YOUR benefit? They discovered that private law was not working, so they just changed how they enforced the rules and got something FAR better for their interests…

  11. #11 Margaret Morgan
    January 28, 2011

    Thanks, all.

    P.Lewis, the Australian Press Council deals with opinion pieces, as well as straight reporting. From their website:

    “The Australian Press Council considers news reports, articles, editorials, letters and images (including cartoons) published in Australian newspapers and magazines, and on co-operating websites.”

    I feel confident that his blog pieces are covered. (I should mention that as well as being at the end of my Bachelor of Advanced Science, I’m also a former lawyer.)

    The first step is to complain in writing to the editor of the newspaper. I’ll do that, and if I don’t get a retraction, I’ll take it to the Council.

  12. #12 Cuppa
    January 28, 2011

    Just what sort of a person would INSIST that their offspring inherit an atmosphere choking in greenhouse gases?

  13. #13 P. Lewis
    January 28, 2011

    Then go for it Margaret. You might like to peruse this Guardian piece on the Moir article alluded to above, though. And I don’t think it’s a particularly isolated one; just more high profile than most.

  14. #14 Margaret Morgan
    January 28, 2011

    Thanks, P.Lewis. Shall do.

  15. #15 Alan
    January 28, 2011

    Avoid clicking through to Bolt’s bullshit, the more hits he gets the less likely he is to dissapear.

  16. #16 Michael
    January 28, 2011

    Alan @ 15

    Spot on.

    Bolt is a content provider for an advertising platform. The more clicks he generates, the more they will pay him to write this garbage.

  17. #17 Wow
    January 28, 2011

    > Just what sort of a person would INSIST that their offspring inherit an atmosphere choking in greenhouse gases?

    A complete and utter bastard?

    Just a guess.

  18. #18 Wow
    January 28, 2011

    Use adblock et al.

  19. #19 Shinsko
    January 28, 2011

    I agree [Alan](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3176840)

    This quote is a nice summary

    >“When journalism becomes nothing more than digital hits, the more provocative you are – often, the more obnoxious you are – the higher the hit count,” says Richard Gruneau, a Simon Fraser University professor who studies popular culture and media.

    >“In that sense, the system pressures you to become a dick. Who cares if what you say is good, let alone whether there is any truth in it or not? When everything becomes opinion, the most opinionated, most strident and least compromising ‘journalists’ are the ones who rattle enough cages, or inspire enough like-minded devotees, to build the hit count.

    >“And if you can somehow get the people you piss off arguing with your devotees, then your hit count will really soar.”

  20. #20 belazeebub
    January 28, 2011

    Great quote, Shinkso. A quick link to the full article: [When journalism is about hits the craft goes amiss](http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/when-journalism-is-about-hits-the-craft-goes-amiss/article1500373/)

  21. #21 bill
    January 28, 2011

    Wow @ 18

    I’m a big fan of adblock (if you’re not familar with it it’s a FF thing! works a treat…) But do you know if the hit counts presented for the scrutiny of advertisers are based on page loadings or the actual ad loadings themselves. If it’s the former adblock wouldn’t make any difference – if the latter that’s another excellent reason to install the plugin.

  22. #22 SteveC
    January 28, 2011

    Margaret Morgan @ 11 – the APC does indeed extend its remit to “…articles, editorials, letters,” and ctrollumnists like Blot and the Devine Miranda. The problem, sorry, one of the problems with what are euphemistically called “opinion pieces” is that the APC gives these much more leeway than a “conventional” piece of reportage.

    As a guide to what you can expect from the APC (not much, to put it briefly), a piece or two over at Crikey:

    A commenter (“Angra”) writes to Blot about the latter’s obnoxious drivellings on a UK crematorium proposing to use waste heat from cremations. “Angra” had already written to Blot:
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/01/28/a-repulsive-stupid-godwin/comment-page-1/#comment-44085

    … and Blot’s response got “Angra” to send a complaint to the APC:
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/01/28/a-repulsive-stupid-godwin/comment-page-2/#comment-44219

    It’ll be interesting to watch to see if the APC take that anywhere.

    About 18 months back, Crikey’s Pure Poison had a thread on the APC and its judgement following a complaint made to the APC about Devine’s foul little tirade that blamed the Victorian bushfires on “greenies” who should “hang from lamp posts”.

    Can hyperbole and hate-mongering be “balanced”?

    Well worth a read. I think it’s important to make the effort to put in a formal complaint and get these things on the record, even though the APC is pretty much a toothless, gutless and chinless organ.

  23. #23 Jackr
    January 28, 2011

    re the Press Council.

    It is best to look at its website and some of its own findings rather than rely completely on a possibly biased third-party commentary on it, even if that commentary is by Crikey. The Council does deal with complaints about columnists as well as news reports and has condemned columnists when their ‘opinions’ are based on misrepresented facts. It has also upheld complaints about inaccurate reporting of the climate change debate (http://www.presscouncil.org.au/pcsite/adj/1457.html). Perhaps the problem is that, despite the loud whinges, no-one lodges complaints about Andrew Bolt.

  24. #24 jakerman
    January 28, 2011

    Jackr writes:

    >*rather than rely completely on a possibly biased third-party commentary on it*

    Jack, this thread contains people’s [first hand](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3176607) experience, and dose not rely completely on a third-party commentary.

  25. #25 Bernard J.
    January 28, 2011

    The problem with the ideological rubbish that the likes of Bolt and Devine push onto their readers is that many lay people accept it as gospel truth when it is clearly based in conscious misrepresentation of science. This really makes these opinion pieces no better than [fraud](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraud) – “deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage”. As customers of Bolt’s, Devine’s, et al work the public should have recourse to compensation for having been defrauded, both in terms of immediate fincancial loss and in terms of the future harm, to themselves and to their descendants, resulting from these opinionators’ effect on shaping policy responses to the science.

    If these non-journalists want to use the argument of the right to “free speech”, then their work should be required to be clearly labelled ‘fiction’ or ‘not based in science’, after the fashion of labelling ‘advertorials’ clearly as being advertisements.

  26. #26 Luke
    January 28, 2011

    The faux sceptics bleating on this topic is utterly nauseating:

    The ruses

    (1) all govt AGW reports are supposed to have said it would never rain again and La Nina had been suspended – bolsh
    (2) sceptics like Stewart Franks had secret knowledge about La Nina and the IPO interaction – ignored by govt, even though a number of Australian academics have made such analyses in hydrology, agriculture and coastal processes.
    (3) bizarrely they fail to notice that the evil BoM and Hadley centres have done much of the work on the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – so why do they believe it?
    (4) greenies have stopped all dam building – well shucks Wyralong has just been built, recently built Paradise Dam (2005) just filled, and didn’t Barnaby speak out against Traveston. Not to mention numerous dam upgrades http://www.sunwater.com.au/future-developments/all-projects/dam-safety-upgrade-program and Hinze Dam
    (5) Brisbane was caught by surprise – pity the local Bureau and Lord Mayor have been on about flooding for months.

  27. #27 graham
    January 28, 2011

    Bolt is little more than an amusing joke amongst his fellow journalists.

  28. #29 agentq
    January 29, 2011

    Tim

    Bolt’s link to a Chart from a Federal government dept in an earlier post shows no change in rainfall patterns since 1900. Is that wrong?

    If not then what does the current flood have to do with AGW?

    Thanks.

  29. #30 John
    January 29, 2011

    >Bolt’s link to a Chart from a Federal government dept in an earlier post shows no change in rainfall patterns since 1900. Is that wrong?

    Yes.

    >If not then what does the current flood have to do with AGW?

    Troll. Are you denying that Bolt has been lying to you? How can you trust anything he says, unless you desperately want to believe it?

  30. #31 Agentq
    January 29, 2011

    Here we go, the abuse and name calling when there’s disagreement at this site.

    I asked what is a legit question. Bolt is arguing the recent flood has nothing to do with AGW and the rainfall chart since 1900 suggests that rain levels and pattern haven’t changed since 1900 nor show any discernible trend suggesting this was something different.

    So who is the bigger liar: Tim for recently suggesting otherwise (as well the echo chamber around here) or Bolt who this time is actually relying on the science which in this case is an official rainfall chart from 1900?

  31. #32 John
    January 29, 2011

    >Here we go, the abuse and name calling when there’s disagreement at this site.

    My heart is breaking.

    >I asked what is a legit question. Bolt is arguing the recent flood has nothing to do with AGW and the rainfall chart since 1900 suggests that rain levels and pattern haven’t changed since 1900 nor show any discernible trend suggesting this was something different.

    I just proved you were wrong. They have shifted significantly. Are you blind?

    What is wrong with you?

  32. #33 jakerman
    January 29, 2011

    Agentq aserts:

    >*I asked what is a legit question. Bolt is arguing the recent flood has nothing to do with AGW and the rainfall chart since 1900 suggests that rain levels and pattern haven’t changed since 1900 nor show any discernible trend suggesting this was something different.*

    So you ignorned the evidence that [rain patterns have changed](http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/andrew-bolts-hockey-schtick-australias-most-prominent-denier-inadvertently-posts-proof-of-climate-change/) (in the link provided by John)

    While also ignoring the dishonest claims made by Bolt that have been clearly documented in this thread.

    Try a different approach than ignoring this evidence if you really are searching for truth.

    You try this, ask your self what chart would test if these claim by the IPCC are close to the mark?

    >*Increases in extreme daily rainfall are likely where average rainfall either increases or decreases slightly. For example, the intensity of the 1-in-20 year daily rainfall event is likely to increase by up to 10% in parts of South Australia by the year 2030 (McInnes et al., 2002), by 5 to 70% by the year 2050 in Victoria (Whetton et al., 2002), by up to 25% in northern Queensland by 2050 (Walsh et al., 2001) and by up to 30% by 2040 in south-east Queensland (Abbs, 2004). In NSW, the intensity of the 1-in-40 year event increases by 5 to 15% by 2070 (Hennessy et al., 2004).*

    And if the Rain fall in Australia’s South decreased, and north increased, why judge this with a chart showing the pattern in the east? Perhaps you’d do so if you didn’t want to show the changes that have happened?

  33. #34 Jeremy C
    January 29, 2011

    agentq,

    This whole thread is about Tim presenting evidence of Bolt being dishonest in his presentation of data. Your post ignores that.

    I genuinely don’t understand how your vague reference to some government department’s chart shows that the evidence presented by Tim is wrong? The stuff Tim is presenting is about selective evidence presented by Bolt that is used in such a way to directly contradict material in the same report. Can you please show how Tim’s evidence is wrong by either dealing with his information directly or showing how this particular chart you mention accurately demonstrates that Tim has got it wrong about Bolt in this instance.

    No name calling, just me asking you a direct question. If people here are just being ratbags as you are saying then you should be able to answer this question very easily.

  34. #35 agentq
    January 29, 2011

    Here’s the reference chart on QLD rainfall since 1900 from that “obscure” government agency, The BOM.

    Where’s the trend suggesting higher level rainfall? If there’s is a pattern, it’s high variance.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/images/uploads
    /rain.qld_.0112_.14727__thumb.png

    The IPCC made long term projections. They were hardly projecting 3 years out. The suggestion is absurd and every serious climate scientist would back that up.

    Tim recently indirectly suggested in an earlier thread that the QLD floods were evidence of an AGW related weather event. That’s untrue.

  35. #36 John
    January 29, 2011

    Your argument is a strawman. The only person to mention any “trend” in this thread is you. Seeing as you are such an expert at reading what Tim “indirectly” says, perhaps you can read what he directly says instead of this asinine attempt to defend your hero’s lying?

  36. #37 John
    January 29, 2011

    BTW you still haven’t addressed the link I provided that shows Bolt has lead you astray here as well. Are you capable of any skeptical thought at all, or do you always believe what you’re told?

  37. #38 Stu N
    January 29, 2011

    Maybe I’ve missed something but I’m not sure what agentq is arguing against.

    Bolt said that the rainfall patterns haven’t changed. Now, you didn’t link to the chart you’re talking about (the one about rainfall changes since 1900), but is it this one?

    If so, it gives you no information about spatial changes in rainfall (see this link, posted previously in the this thread, for some of that). There, you do see a spatial change in rainfall patterns. Its an important distinction to make especially since Queensland is, to put it mildly, big.

    You say:
    >If there’s is a pattern, it’s high variance.

    IPCC say:
    >A range of GCM and regional modelling studies in recent years have identified a tendency for daily rainfall extremes to increase under enhanced greenhouse conditions in the Australian region… …Commonly, return periods of extreme rainfall events halve in late 21st-century simulations. This tendency can apply even when average rainfall is simulated to decrease, but not necessarily when this decrease is marked (see Timbal, 2004)

    i.e. increased variance.

    Where’s the beef?

  38. #39 agentq
    January 29, 2011

    “John”

    You don’t consider “trend” relevant to a discussion on whether the QLD flooding was AGW related (as Tim suggests) or not? That’s interesting.

    Stu:

    We’re talking specifically about the flooding in QLD and if it’s an AGW event, not continent wide rainfall pattern changes.

    According to the BOM chart Bolt is correct in so far as rainfall pattern from 1900 to the present for QLD. There is no discernible trend to suggest otherwise.

    Does this falsify AGW. Of course not, but it also does not support it like Tim said in an earlier post. Live with it.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion and I’ll leave you alone now.

  39. #40 Stu N
    January 29, 2011

    >Does this falsify AGW. Of course not, but it also does not support it like Tim said in an earlier post. Live with it.

    Huh. I can’t find any such claim by Tim. Anyone got a link?

  40. #41 MartinM
    January 29, 2011

    According to the BOM chart Bolt is correct in so far as rainfall pattern from 1900 to the present for QLD. There is no discernible trend to suggest otherwise.

    What does total annual rainfall have to do with flooding? It’s extreme rainfall events you want to look at.

  41. #42 jakerman
    January 29, 2011

    agentq:
    >*According to the BOM chart Bolt is correct in so far as rainfall pattern from 1900 to the present for QLD. There is no discernible trend to suggest otherwise.*

    Bolts is also correct when he dates his column 2011, that doesn’t make Tim, the IPCC or anyone wrong, nor does it address the changes in intense rail fall events, nor the spacial changes, nor the risk of increasing flood and drought.

    Agentq is acting determinedly to ignore these facts, with is eye solely on proving bolt was correct about something that is apparently completely insensitive to the factors that are have changed.

  42. #43 Cath the Canberra Cook
    January 29, 2011

    In other breaking news: water wet, sun rises in east, and humorously-captioned cat found on internet.

  43. #44 stopmurdoch
    January 29, 2011

    Andrew Bolt is fat.

  44. #45 Luke
    January 29, 2011

    To be fair both sides of the AGW debate have not done the story on the recent floods very well. It’s hard to find a full story out there. And it’s all or nothing.

    1841 and 1893 floods in Brisbane were bigger. Much bigger. [River was up for 3 weeks in 1893](http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml) Daily rainfall records were 1893. In fact BoM have released a summary of the event with comparisons. http://reg.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs24b.pdf

    Rainfall is broadly a result of the La Nina pattern with a change in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. And that’s happened before in our history.

    But this La Nina is a super La Nina – but with many record breaking or near record breaking meteorological features. Tropical sea surface temperatures around Australia trending up for decades. Crude measurments like 3pm vapour pressure (humidity) from eastern Australia highest since the the 1970s. And the Toowoomba and Lockyer floods caused by an extreme short duration super-cell event on saturated catchments. Unprecedented flash flooding. Not a tropical cyclone traverse. Just like the CSIRO models suggested 10 years ago.

    So there is perhaps a story here of AGW potentially contributing to the case. That’s contributing not causing. How strong is that evidence. Probably very mild. Single event stuff.

    All following a long drought in the Wivenhoe dam catchment worse than 1902 Federation drought sequence. However CSIRO have recently put this down to “most likely” natural variability (just bad luck). There are other views however involving AGW moderated southern hemisphere circulation changes.

    No wonder many people are worried. But maybe our memories are short and humans don’t live long enough to see the full climate variability range.

    So how often do we get a full discussion. Not often – it’s all or nothing. No prisoners !

    (and Bolt is that last person you’d ask)

  45. #47 jakerman
    January 29, 2011

    >*To be fair both sides of the AGW debate have not done the story on the recent floods very well.*

    To be fair Luke, I heard Matthew England make much the same points as you follow up with, so you are not being so fair on the pro science side of the the AGW “debate”.

  46. #48 Billy Bob Hall
    January 29, 2011

    I agree with Agentq (#30). The regulars here being generally bereft of valid argument always resort to name calling – or worse silencing dissent – stalin style.

  47. #49 Luke
    January 29, 2011

    jakerman – we have had cringe worthy comments from Bob Brown that this event is due to AGW and Xstrata should pay for the cleanup. Sheesh ! as an AGW supporter one just shudders at this sort of comment.

  48. #50 SteveC
    January 29, 2011

    @ Luke, what most commenters forget to include (or just forget) is global context, i.e. don’t just look at floods in Qld, but also vast flood areas in Victoria, floods in Brazil (>600 confirmed dead, more to come), Sri Lanka, the heatwaves and wildfires in Russia in 2010, an exceptionally warm winter in Canada and an abnormally cold winter in Europe. And that’s just 2010/ early 2011 – if you start going back a few more years, the increasing number of “extreme” weather events starts to look more like a trend…

    That said, I don’t necessarily think Bob Brown’s timing or how he said what he said wrt Qld was all that well judged IMO.

  49. #51 jakerman
    January 29, 2011

    Luke, as your evidence indicates, and as commented by Matthew England, this event is associated with record SST of the Queensland coast. And SST are directly linked to extreme rain fall. And SST have gone up by x degrees over the last x decades in this region. England calculates that SST would have been about 1/3 lower with the recent decades of warming.

    Hence it likely than not that this event would not have been as extreme without AGW. Xstrata should pay, they are externalising their costs of there activities. We are warming the planet they are profiting from this.

  50. #52 Luke
    January 29, 2011

    jakerman – you will have the moral high ground if you have disconnected from the grid and adopted carbon-neutral alternative energy with whole of life greenhouse costing. Most of us including myself have not. If you live in Queensland the state and those who live in it benefit immensely from coal exports – and everyone seems to want better education, police, health spending etc using those dollars. Qld Treasury love coal income despite Anna’s hubby being Qld office of climate change boss. So all of us enjoying the flow-on benefits have some guilt. Mind you if we turned Queensland off at the mains it wouldn’t make a scintilla of impact on AGW. So let he who is without sin etc ….

    SteveC – maybe on some – but 1841 and 1893 Brisbane floods much worse by another 4 metres over 2011 !! and South America – simply what you’d expect in a big La Nina? Probably has happened for 1000s of years from natural variability.

  51. #53 jakerman
    January 29, 2011

    >*Most of us including myself have not. If you live in Queensland the state and those who live in it benefit immensely from coal exports – and everyone seems to want better education, police, health spending etc using those dollars.*

    Who ever uses coal are externalizing costs to the rest of world. If users of coal instead paid the full price of there activity they’d use less, and more alternatives would be brought to market.

    And I note in your reply to Steve C you ignore the link between rising SST and extreme rainfall events.

  52. #54 SteveC
    January 29, 2011

    Luke @50
    Yet again you ignore SST trends as jakerman points out, and yet again you persist in narrowing your focus down to Brisbane, rather like strangled dingo and his pet obsession with Nerang River.

    Rising SSTs affect global climate patterns which affect global weather events. Simple.

  53. #55 Luke
    January 29, 2011

    Well jakerman good luck convincing people to pay a lot more for electricity in Australia for zero impact on global temperatures. Look at them whinging about the flood levy. And you could turn the whole of Australia off at the mains and make ZERO difference. Alas we live in a pluralistic democracy, poll driven and internet enabled – you have to get into power and stay there. Probably more than 50% don’t believe – and Bob Brown helps that view no end.

    So the marginal cost of abatement for an “x” AGW trend across significant natural interannual and decadal variability for a unilateral Australian carbon pricing decision is what?

    Steve – sorry about Brisvegas (I somehow thought it was topical) – pick Rockhampton (recently topical) or Victoria – same story. Or Brazil ! Do we have a good link between rising SSTs and extreme rainfall? A cite?

  54. #56 Acacia
    January 29, 2011

    Luke, I don’t know why you would compare the 2011 Brisbane floods to previous flood events without considering mitigation. The Australian did it yesterday as well. I have read anecdotal reports that the amount of water flowing into Wivenhoe catchment prior to the flood was much greater than 1974 and 1893 but it would be good to see the source.

    And why the concentration on Brisbane alone?. Queensland is a big state and flooding affected areas from St George to Springsure to Rockhampton and beyond. Multiple towns had record flood events, Condamine and Theodore recorded two in several weeks. Regardless of the flood heights, the record Queensland rainfall and the extent of the rainfall is more indicitive of the severity of the monsoon.

    Matthew England is quoted on SBS ‘I think people will end up concluding that at least some of the intensity of the monsoon in Queensland can be attributed to climate change,”. Not a comforting thought to those of us living in central Queensland and only half way through the wet season.

  55. #57 jakerman
    January 29, 2011

    >*Well jakerman good luck convincing people to pay a lot more for electricity in Australia for zero impact on global temperatures.*

    Not zero impact at all. As one of the highest percapita players, and one of the richest out strong action is essential for global action.

    >*Probably more than 50% don’t believe*

    Just your guess Luke? [here is closer to the mark.](http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/05/31/lowy-poll-climate-change-and-public-hypocrisy/)

    >*So the marginal cost of abatement for an “x” AGW trend across significant natural interannual and decadal variability for a unilateral Australian carbon pricing decision is what?*

    Let at least strive for a price that evidence indicate will keep us to our share of 550ppm CO2, then ramp it up bring us in line with 450ppm. If we can keep the public with us we go for 350ppm.

  56. #58 jakerman
    January 29, 2011

    Luke, your argument against pricing carbon is curious, out of interest what action do you propose be taken?

  57. #59 Chris O'Neill
    January 29, 2011

    Luke:

    Do we have a good link between rising SSTs and extreme rainfall?

    With 0.8 deg C of warming, the quantity of rain would have been increased by 0.8 x 7%, let’s say 5%, for a given event. There are reports of 7500 Gl falling in the Brisbane catchment so AGW increased the rain that fell by 375 Gl. Wivenhoe dam sent 280 Gl down the river above the flow rate deemed to be non-damaging (3,500 m3/s). So AGW is probably entirely responsible for flooding Brisbane given the way Wivenhoe was controlled (which wasn’t necessarily the most rational operating strategy). Put down a couple of billion dollars against the cost of AGW.

  58. #60 "John"
    January 29, 2011

    >So there is perhaps a story here of AGW potentially contributing to the case. That’s contributing not causing.

    No shit.

  59. #61 Luke
    January 29, 2011

    Acacia – all that has happened in the past too despite some records in some places. I’m simply saying there may be an AGW component but evidence is pretty soft. The 2011 event was nowhere near 1893 for Brisbane in volume or duration. See the Crohamhurst rainfall records in 1893.

    jakerman – I think the first figure in your survey graph is telling. Declining interest. And if people were aware of the full economic consequences ….- be interesting wouldn’t it.

    Many young people haven’t got a clue what action really means – they think changing their light bulbs and having a sing-song at Earth Hour is it

    You might feel strong about moral action on per capita or affluence – many don’t give a stuff. And there will be no climate change – ZERO – for our unilateral action.

    if there is no global deal – nuts for us to be legislating strongly. We’ll simply export heaps of jobs off shore as industry re-locates. So need a global deal. AGW is indeed a grand challenge science, economic and social problem …. at the moment we’re nowhere near a global deal.

    It’s a really difficult problem with few simple answers.

  60. #62 "John"
    January 29, 2011

    >The 2011 event was nowhere near 1893 for Brisbane in volume or duration. See the Crohamhurst rainfall records in 1893.

    No it just happened to be across most of Queensland, as well as two other states. No other flood in our settled history comes close.

    Luke, how do you think we should deal with AGW?

  61. #63 Fran Barlow
    January 30, 2011

    Luke said:

    Well jakerman good luck convincing people to pay a lot more for electricity in Australia for zero impact on global temperatures.

    This is wrong on just so many levels.

    1. The collective action problem. It is commonly the case that the acts of individuals make no significant difference to a general problem, but that is not a rationale for relieving individuals of their obligations.

    If one person refrains from littering, for example, the difference to total litter will be trivial. Yet a culture that grants that littering is OK is one in which litter will be pervasive. Once a person accepts constraints, he or she will insist that their peers do as well, and their peers will feel under an obligation to comply, both to avoid embarrassment and because if high compliance is achieved a worthy outcome should follow. We don’t adjudge the wrongness of murder by its relationship to total morbidity. We don’t allow murderers to get off lightly because the victim was at high risk of premature death and so the act would make trivial difference to global life years.

    2. Politically, the argument that “everyone else is copping out so why should we hobble ourselves” can and is used everywhere just as you have used it. It’s especially effective when Australia cops out because Australia is in per-capita terms the leading direct contributor to historic emissions and amongst the leading per-capita and jurisdictional emitters year on year. The context for climate mitigation will be much improved if Australia is in the front rank of developing effective policy.

    3. While it may well be the case that a carbon price would imply paying substantially more in real terms for electricity and other power, a carbon price system that returned the bulk of the money raised to those on middle to low incomes in cash or kind would give them full compensation, allowing them scope to arrange their affairs to reduce consumption and put a premium on the production of energy not merely cleaner in CO2 terms, but in terms of other pollutants as well. So overall, it might turn out that they were actually better off, despite paying more for their power. Don’t forget too that at least some of the funds raised will be paid not by Australian citizens but tourists, or people importing Australian-sourced hydrocarbons.

    Interestingly, those parts of the country where CO2 intensity is fairly low — SA, Tasmania for example — would be beneficiaries because they’d get rebates but not pay much more in electricity charges. It’s also the case that merely delaying this matter is already leading to increasing electricity costs as generators try to keep their options open, so the net effect of current policy — delay — doesn’t foreclose cost increases. That’s something one reads little about in the Murdochratic press.

    4. There are other reasons for trying to decarbonise than GHG abatement. These include foreclosure of price-shock inflation associated with spiking hydrocarbon prices following some sudden downward movement in supply. They also include cleaner air and water. Airborne pollutants are very costly on the health system and of course to human beings. These costs show up in lost productivity as well as human suffering. Quality of life counts.

    I hope this helps.

  62. #64 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    Luke:
    >*I’m simply saying there may be an AGW component but evidence is pretty soft.*

    You’re at odd with Matthew England on that point for one.

    Chris Thanks for [this analysis](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3183909). Interesting.

    BTW Luke, instead of your inactivist approach, how about you do a positive thing and answer [this question](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3183856)?

  63. #65 Chris O'Neill
    January 30, 2011

    Acacia mentioned:

    I don’t know why you would compare the 2011 Brisbane floods to previous flood events without considering mitigation. The Australian did it yesterday as well.

    You must have a look at that Australian article:

    As The Weekend Australian has argued for years, what will deliver is a price on carbon. We would have one if Senator Milne and her mates had not blocked Labor’s emissions trading scheme in 2009.

    I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t read it.

  64. #66 Luke
    January 30, 2011

    John – Come on – it’s not like it’s never flooded or there’s been big wets before. 50s and 70s and 19th century saw major wet La Ninas and major eastern seaboard floods. Don’t confuse increased or changed people location and increased asset exposure with increased actual climate risk.

    Despite cyclones bearing down at the moment – in general the frequency of tropical cyclones making land fall in eastern Australia is less not more.

    And in terms of us nobly hobbling ourselves – why should we? – so we hobble our economy for no ZERO climate gain. And see jobs go off-shore and the Americans and Chinese continue to emit with impunity? Does this make sense? Sucked in Aussie.

    However – want to do something about AGW inactivism – get the greens off their irrational nuclear phobia and lets go “new” nuclear. And let’s stop kidding ourselves what a substantial cut really looks like for quality of life. Like about 60% cut. The electorate would lynch ya !

  65. #67 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    Luke, if you believe nuclear will do the job, why oppose a price on carbon?

    Wouldn’t a price on carbon, combined with a desire for cheap energy drive new investigation of nuclear options. And as the price of carbon begins to take effect, if nuclear is as promising as you believe, wouldn’t economic imperative drive it. And if Australia’s renewable options are as promising as many believe couldn’t they break through were there supply matched with demand?

  66. #68 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    luke writes:

    >*And in terms of us nobly hobbling ourselves – why should we? – so we hobble our economy for no ZERO climate gain. And see jobs go off-shore and the Americans and Chinese continue to emit with impunity? Does this make sense? Sucked in Aussie.*

    Zero climate gain claim once again Luke. Aren’t you willing to accept evidence that conflicts with your beliefs?

    A global agreement on emissions reduction is the most likely way conceivable we have for keeping AGW below dangerous feedback levels. And you simply write it off? Do you not see Australia’s responsible participation in such an agreement as a climate gain?

  67. #69 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    >*And in terms of us nobly hobbling ourselves – why should we?*

    “*nobly hobbling ourselves*” would be the inactivities term for giving ourselves the opportunity of becoming leaders and hence exporters of low carbon technology.

    And why should we, one reason would be to avoid more of the cost like those incurred during recent flooding. The other would be to build sustainable employment rather than bubble jobs based on incorrectly priced coal. Read WG2 for a more extensive list of reasons why.

  68. #70 Fran Barlow
    January 30, 2011

    Luke tried:

    And see jobs go off-shore and the Americans and Chinese continue to emit with impunity?

    The Chinese are actually paying a higher effective price on Co2 than is Australia, so that is a furphy. In any event most of their emissions are exports from the west as their emissions are produced to meet western demand. So really our emissions count is deceptively low.

    FTR … I am a Green and I support nuclear power as part of the mix. We are going to need a serious Co2 price for that though.

  69. #71 Luke
    January 30, 2011

    So Jakerman

    (1) you tell us the net improvement in climate will result by turning Australia off the coal-fired mains
    (2) will turning Australia off the coal-fired mains power outlet (NOW!) improve the damage outcome from ENSO and anti-ENSO cycles that have been interacting with the IPO for 1000s of years

  70. #72 Bernard J.
    January 30, 2011

    So Luke, are you the same Luke who stands toe-to-toe against the numpties at Marohasy’r Bog? I find it hard to believe that you are, considering the concern troll mantle that you wear here.

    As to your problem with leading the world in addressing carbon emissions, your strategy sounds like nothing else but a game of ‘chicken’, where the stake is no less than a future livable world for our descendants and their biosphere, such as it might be.

  71. #73 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    >*1) you tell us the net improvement in climate will result by turning Australia off the coal-fired mains (2) will turning Australia off the coal-fired mains power outlet (NOW!)*

    1) Luke can you tell us the name of the logical fallacy where one argues against a made up argument rather than addressing the case made by your opponent?

    2) What does it say about the strength of one’s case if one is reduced to practicing this logical fallacy?

    improve the damage outcome from ENSO and anti-ENSO cycles that have been interacting with the IPO for 1000s of years

  72. #74 Donald Oats
    January 30, 2011

    I used to teach (euphemism for stand there stunned at some of the student answers to my questions…) CALCULUS! Calculus is a study in limiting behaviour where each individual contribution to a sum is infinitesmal, and yet, the total is finite…integral calculus, anyway.

    My point being made by analogy: each individual contribution is a JOKE! a big FAT ZILCH! NADA! Miniscule! Infinitesmal! Sometimes we need to make a miniscule contribution as part of something bigger, in order to affect change of a finite nature.

    In the case of AGW (Anthrophogenic Global Warming), the ironic thing is that we got here by a series of for all practical purposes infinitesmal contributions by a bunch of individuals – ta, Grampa – and yet people are so willing to use this very argument as a reason not to try to reverse the process of AGW. Now, we probably can’t actually reverse AGW, but if we don’t play an active role in trying to, it continues to get worse each and every day. That is because inaction actually still entails a series of infinitesmal daily contributions be each individual on the planet. Our choice, our responsibility!

  73. #75 zoot
    January 30, 2011

    I predict Luke is about to use the “Incontrovertible, there is no answer to this” argument:

    Al Gore.

  74. #76 Donald Oats
    January 30, 2011

    And Fran Barlow, Janet Ackerman, Chris O’Neill, etc make the necessary points for why collectively our behaviour is key. It is all well and good to yap on about how nuclear might do the trick, but the fact is that a market driven price on Carbon will select nuclear and many other mechanisms, depending upon both global and local factors.

    If we went gang busters to build as many nuclear power plants as possible, that is still going to give only an INFINITESMAL contribution each day to the overarching problem of AGW. That’s because the rate of construction is limited by economic factors, labour factors, technological issues, and so on. A mixture of partial solutions is probably the best that we can achieve, so let’s get on with it while there is still an opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions towards zero.

    Some people might benefit from AGW, at least for a time, but on a country by country basis Australia gets hit pretty hard. It will be more expensive to do business in Australia in the future, precisely because of the additional impact of AGW inspired extreme weather events. Other parts of the world might end up with more opportunity for business due to a lucky conspiracy of AGW and their current physical environment. Australia still has to compete economically against such lucky countries. Ever thought about that?

  75. #77 Luke
    January 30, 2011

    Bernard J – yes I am to your question.

    It’s simply a straight discussion though – the answer to what effect unilaterally turning off Australia at the switch is that, despite some popular opinion, will do nothing about our climate futures. Even if we stopped emitting today we would still be impacted by periodic droughts, floods, bushfires and cyclones. Our background won’t go away – albeit it could get worse under AGW.

    So I find myself in a depressing position. I think politically and morally on this issue most of us are full of shit – we’re not really going to do anything about emissions short of serious technological intervention. Nobody will vote for lower living standards. And the developing world wants more of what we have.

    So perhaps there is only adaptation. However don’t let me deter renewable energy types from keeping on trying.

    However – just because the problem is difficult doesn’t mean that the climate science is faulty. Which is my opponents position. i.e. if it’s a difficult problem therefore the problem doesn’t exist.

    AGW is a serious issue IMO. Our opponents tactics are to discredit the science at all costs and so that behoves us to communicate the science outcomes with precision and not overstate the case. But also to repel nonsense attacks.

    I apologise if this seems confronting.

  76. #78 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    >*It’s simply a straight discussion though – the answer to what effect unilaterally turning off Australia at the switch is that, despite some popular opinion, will do nothing about our climate futures.*

    Would you like some more straw for you logical fallacy? Luke?
    Its not confronting, its sad.

  77. #79 Luke
    January 30, 2011

    Jakerman – Yes please – I’m sorry the truth is unpalatable. You’ve simply ducked the issue.

  78. #80 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    >*Jakerman – Yes please – I’m sorry the truth is unpalatable. You’ve simply ducked the issue.*

    What you mean I ducked your strawman where you needed to pretend my argument was we turn the lights off?

    Pathetic Luke. Grow up this is a serious issue, your game is weak. Come back when you are prepared to tackle the real issue and my real argument.

  79. #81 Fran Barlow
    January 30, 2011

    Luke said:

    Even if we stopped emitting today we would still be impacted by periodic droughts, floods, bushfires and cyclones.

    You stop at the most important point. If we found a way to stop emitting today then we could guide others in doing likewise. Of course we can’t stop emitting today. That’s not technically feasible, but if we found a way of cutting by, for argument’s sake 40% by 202O and another 40% by 2040 we could invite others to do likewise with some authority.

    Yes, it’s likely that in the medium term we would continue to reap much of what our grandparents (and our parent and us following them) have sown, but the world’s grandchildren would stand appreciably better and theirs better still, relative to us doing nothing.

    What’s your theory on what most adults hope for their children and grandchildren and whether we ever set aside our personal interest to ensure they achieve what he hope for them?

  80. #82 Bernard J.
    January 30, 2011

    Donald Oats.

    I love your calculus analogy – it clearly illustrates the issue of indvidual contribution!

    Although, having said that, I suspect that it might be a bit like that episode of the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon uses Schrödinger’s cat as an analogy for Penny’s realtionship with Leonard. When Sheldon says “Schrödinger’s cat” to Penny, she looks blanky at him, but when Sheldon says “Schrödinger’s cat” to Leonard, Leonard immediately says “oh, yeah!” without any further explanation required.

    Luke.

    Whilst I actually agree with you about the likely outcome of human nature and its inertia with respect to changing how we live, I still believe that we must each try as much as we can.

    Personally, I have sacrificed about three quarters of my income, if not more, as a part of the process of changing how I impact the planet. It hasn’t been that hard for me… but then, I have a very different view of what is necessary in life compared with most people I know. In most people’s eye’s I would probably be regarded as an ascetic. My new laptop is my one luxury; other than that I have little in the way of “stuff”, I do not travel intersate or overseas, I have a small power consumption, I grow a lot of my own food, and I use only rainwater collected from my roof.

    It can be done.

    But whether or not people are prepared to do what I have done, or more, there is no excuse for not trying at least to do something. One of the big travesties in the whole emissions pricing debate is that Westerners are basically trying to dodge the cost of damaging the planet, which is bizarre given our predilection for charging others for any damages wrought upon ourselves or upon our properties.

    In this we are no different to the Southern slave-owners who resisted emancipation, even though there was no moral case at all for them to “own” other people.

    If Australia “unilaterally turns off the power” it might actually serve as the impetus for the rest of the world to stop playing chicken. And there are economic measures to counter any damage too – taxing polluters can apply as easily to overseas industry as to our own, such that tarrifs (gasp!) level the playing field and halt to flow of jobs overseas.

    If our government can’t explain to free-trade partners that such imposts are simply our refusals to subsidise their own industries at Australia’s expense, then the problem becomes another one of playing ‘chicken’. Personally, I don’t understand why such tarrifs are not proposed at climate talks as a levelling mechanism for dealing with emissions, unless there are strong lobby influences that tap politicians’ shoulders in back-rooms…

    Which brings us to one of your comments. Yes, in many ways we and our governments and our corporations are full of shit, but sitting on our hands and continuing that attitude isn’t going to help the planet. The fact is, at some point we won’t have a choice, and the longer we leave it the more it’s going to cost us, economically and ecologically.

    Saying that adaptation is “perhaps the only strategy” misses the point that such a strategy would result in us forever chasing our tails, because we would be forever readapting and forever paying more and more, as the climate continues to move inexorably to a point where no amount of further adaptation is feasible. It’s no different to bailing out water from a leaking boat at the rate of 10 buckets per minute, when the boat is taking on 20 buckets per minute. If you are sensible you plug the leak first and then bail, rather than bailing and hoping that you can stay afloat.

    Mitigation must come first, and then adaptation as a secondary strategy.

  81. #83 Luke
    January 30, 2011

    Bernard J – while I admire your personal commitment – do you really think in your heart of hearts that 90% of Australians will follow your example. How many plasma TVs were bought on the stimulus package. Have a look at the massive freeway infrastructure in Melbourne and Sydney. Tunnels in Brisbane. Saturday mornings at Harvey Norman. And Kmart and Big W full of the latest container loads of stuff we all must have all assisted to manufacture by our energy imports. We’re nowhere near doing anything and the energy intensity keeps growing.

    Additionally how many self-sufficient people could survive one of the recent decade-long drought sequences without a supportive external society able to transport commodities, irrigate etc. The climate variation is Australia is harsh. That is even if you have a clue about producing your own food.

  82. #84 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    Huh the Turkish spam bot agrees with Luke!

    And the spam bot like Luke won’t defend Luke strawman fallacy either.

  83. #85 adelady
    January 30, 2011

    #83 Luke. You’re a puritan at heart I’m afraid. You’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    You know, I know, everybody knows that what conscientious individuals are doing is not enough. But it -is- a start.

    And bleating on about consumerism is attacking the problem from the wrong end. It’s a lot easier to get people on board by saying you -can- have the same quality of life without emitting vast quantites of CO2. It’s one of the reasons why I favour a big rollout of solar PV. There are many, many people who would see this as a chance to go one better than others in using power wisely.

    Friends who visited us last week told us about neighbours who were now receiving cash rather than bills from their power supplier – all without modifying anything about their lives except having the big thing on their roof. Once people get into this mindset, you can bet your boots that the next time they replace an appliance the main game for them will be getting the -best- efficiency possible. Get a new appliance, use even less power, get more cash from the supplier. And then this more frugal approach carries over into other aspects of their lives.

    And our energy intensity is not growing.

  84. #86 Holly Stick
    January 30, 2011

    Bernard #81, UK historian Jean-François Mouhot has written about that link between ending slavery and tackling global warming (which Jim Hansen has talked about). He thinks we could learn from what worked in the campaigns against slavery.

    http://www.hnn.us/articles/134463.html

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w310wk5g49w83650/

  85. #87 Luke
    January 30, 2011

    adelady – but the reality – how many new homes have air-conditioning, how many new homes have entertainment electronics that didn’t exist years ago, multiple computers, dishwashers, microwaves, kitchen appliances, driers etc. And multiple vehicles.

    It’s a far cry from the 1930s ! So instead of an efficient appliance – think “no appliance” at all.

    Yes shouldn’t have said intensity but see Garnaut http://www.garnautreview.org.au/chp7.htm Figs 7.7 and 7.10

    And for electricity consumption http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=as&v=81

    Emissions still rising http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/our-greenhouse-emissions-back-on-the-rise-20100527-whtq.html

  86. #88 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    >*Luke. You’re a puritan at heart I’m afraid.*

    I’m concerned with Luke’s retreat to fallacious argument. Pretty hard to have a sensible conversation when one side (puritan or not) won’t address your argument and instead insist on slaying straw tigers.

    If someone sharing Luke’s concerns (even a puritan bent), but not his fallacious tactics, were to join us it would be interesting to discuss the difference between one doubling (560 ppm) of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and 2x doubling (1100 ppm).

    But alas when instead get stone wall on the real argument and straw tiger distractions.

  87. #89 James Haughton
    January 30, 2011

    The best economic (as opposed to scientific) argument I have heard for why Australia should cut carbon emissions in a hurry is that:

    a) Despite what Blot et al believe, China, the US and the EU are actually ahead of us in cutting carbon emissions now.
    b) These three major economies of the world are all suffering economic woes connected with low domestic demand and poor domestic employment.
    c) The traditional populist response to these circumstances is tariffs, but WTO/GATT rules prevent this.
    d) However, there are no rules against tariffs on the greenhouse emissions of imports.
    e) Therefore, it’s very likely that in the near future, many of our major trading partners will slap CO2 based tariffs on our exports/their imports – at which point our energy-intensive economy goes from hero to zero. Adapt now and we dodge this bullet. If we wait until it happens, we lose our place in the global economy for a very long time as we have to retool, change all our processes, then repenetrate markets we have been excluded from.

  88. #90 "John"
    January 30, 2011

    Luke’s concern for something he doesn’t actually believe in is greatly appreciated.

  89. #91 Mike Pope
    January 30, 2011

    Cuppa @12

    Chris Monckton, Cliff Ollier, Ian Plima and possibly Andrew Bolt ?

  90. #92 bob
    January 30, 2011

    Guys, I am just heading down to the quote mine, does anyone want anything?

  91. #93 Luke
    January 30, 2011

    Well Jakerman instead of being towed around in my wake sniping you could have made your point by now. So do tell your story ….

  92. #94 Bernard J.
    January 30, 2011

    Bernard J – while I admire your personal commitment – do you really think in your heart of hearts that 90% of Australians will follow your example.

    Luke, if you parse what I posted before you’d realise that I personally doubt that we have the collective gumption to give up our national selfishness until there is simply no longer any choice. Oh, there is a large minority of Australians who have a clue and are prepared to spit on their hands and go to work, but the recalcitrant self-indulgents and the vascillating middle are currently the majority.

    This is why people such as Bolt, Codling, Marohasy, Devine, Watts, and their ilk carry such huge culpability for their ravings. From so relatively few people sufficient reluctance has been generated in the self-absorbed and nose-ringed middle of our society that it’s already too late for the best action to be entrained.

    However, my points still stand. If nothing is done at all, there will be no future for our society. Anything done before the point of “too late” is something that reduces the final mess, and the sooner that we figure this out and bite the bullet the better it will be for everyone.

    Waiting for others to go first will just slow down everyone else around the planet, and as [James Haughton points out](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3186612), such a strategy will mean that we only end up eating the rest of the world’s economic dust.

    I’m not sure what you think that we should do Luke, but even though we as a country have already shown that we aren’t as up to the task as we should be, it’s no reason not to continue pushing for belated action.

    Better late than never; better a moderate mess than a huge one.

  93. #95 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    >*Well Jakerman instead of being towed around in my wake sniping you could have made your point by now. So do tell your story ….*

    Wake up Luke and read the thread. Here is a guide, go back to my posts [@66 through @68](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3184112). You know, the posts you avoided responding to by pretending I was arguing for:

    >*turning Australia off the coal-fired mains power outlet (NOW!)*

  94. #96 adelady
    January 30, 2011

    I was being a bit diplomatic before, Luke.

    What I think you’re really arguing is that going carbon-free is a passport to “living in caves”. Sounds like a boringly familiar denier argument to me.

    What I see is that the sooner we use the technologies we have to get to carbon-free, the more likely we are to have a good continuation of something like current lifestyles. (Otherwise I see eventual rationing – which would mean that those of us with domestic PV would be restricted from using things we like even though we’re net contributors to the power supply.)

    My own experience with 20+ years of solar hot water is a simple example. The whole world tells me that I should wash my clothes in cold water. Why? My hot water system is turned off at the power connection. If I want to risk a cold shower in the morning because I’m silly enough to do half a dozen hot water loads of clothes and dishes after sunset, that’s my lookout.

    Good, simple, available technology can be distributed to substantially reduce or eliminate power drawn from the grid. Good, simple, available technology can be employed to retrofit domestic and industrial buildings and change the timing or other details of activities to reduce power requirements regardless of source.

    Wailing about “turning off the power” is pointless. Turning our attention to better ways to produce power and to reduce the need for it in the first place is more productive.

  95. #97 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    >*Oh, there is a large minority of Australians who have a clue and are prepared to spit on their hands and go to work, but the recalcitrant self-indulgents and the vascillating middle are currently the majority.
    This is why people such as Bolt, Codling, Marohasy, Devine, Watts, and their ilk carry such huge culpability for their ravings.*

    BJ its interesting that the Nova numpties you refer to are only [approx 13% of Aus pop](http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/05/31/lowy-poll-climate-change-and-public-hypocrisy/). The way they make such a noise you’d think they were much more.

    And despite a lackluster performance from Rudd, Gillard managed to scape back in while promising to put a price on carbon. The largest swing going to the party with the most ambitious carbon policies.

    And

  96. #98 jakerman
    January 30, 2011

    I’m sure Luke would like to distance himself from the arguments used by [Monckton here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/the_australians_war_on_science_59.php).

  97. #99 Chris O'Neill
    January 31, 2011

    Luke:

    how many new homes have air-conditioning, how many new homes have entertainment electronics that didn’t exist years ago,….. So instead of an efficient appliance – think “no appliance” at all.

    Household electricity consumption is less than around 20% of total consumption and probably half of that is just for heat. “No appliances” could only hope to reduce GHG emissions from electricity generation by 10% and by 5% of total GHG emissions. Luke is just being misleading.

  98. #100 jakerman
    January 31, 2011

    Can immersion at Nova’s/Marohasey’s have a fatiguing, demotivating and anti-logic effect?

Current ye@r *