The Australian has a daily column called Cut and Paste which should more properly be titled Quote Mining. Consider this recent effort:

Heed the bureau. John Quiggin in The Australian Financial Review yesterday:

Tragically, while only a few people have been silly enough to ignore the Bureau [of Meteorology]’s warnings about this cyclone, a great many have ignored equally dire warnings about the long-term impact of climate change, including more extreme weather events. Climate models that have predicted the warming of the past two or three decades are dismissed as spurious. Worse still, the bureau and other bodies have been accused of faking or fudging data to promote their case for motives that range from the venal (more funding for climate research) to the sinister (obscure plots for global domination).

BOM website:

Since [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001 report] there has been a growing number of studies that indicate a consistent signal of fewer tropical cyclones globally in a warmer climate.

Look! How clever! The BOM contradicts Quiggin! Except, of course, that if you read their site, they don’t. Look:

There have been three recent studies producing projections for tropical cyclone changes in the Australian region. Two suggest that there will be no significant change in tropical cyclone numbers off the east coast of Australia to the middle of the 21st century. The third study, based on the CSIRO simulations, shows a significant decrease in tropical cyclone numbers for the Australian region especially off the coastline of Western Australia. The simulations also show more long-lived eastern Australian tropical cyclones although one study showed a decrease in long-lived cyclones off the Western Australian coast.

Each of the above studies finds a marked increase in the severe Category 3 – 5 storms. Some also reported a poleward extension of tropical cyclone tracks.

So there might be a decrease in overall numbers, but there is likely to be an increase in the severe storms. The ones like Yasi. Funny how Cut and Paste didn’t paste in any of that.

Cut and Paste continues with this:

Changing climate? Ross Garnaut at the National Press Club Address, July 4, 2008:

The draft report has a rather prosaic title, Draft 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. But we are a conscientious lot; someone said, No Pain, Greatly Reduced Rain and someone else: No Pain, Probably Greatly Reduced Rain.

Or changing forecast? Garnaut yesterday:

The odds seem to favour the proposition that cyclonic events will be more intense in a hotter world.

Ha ha! Gotcha! Garnaut changed his forecast! Except that if you read Chapter 4 of the 2008 report you find this:

Tropical cyclones are likely to increase in intensity and to generate greater
precipitation in their vicinity.

Little wonder that the person responsible for this dishonest quoting hides behind a cloak of anonymity.


  1. #1 Chris O'Neill
    February 13, 2011

    So, yes, the Liberal Party of Australia is very much like the Conservative Party in the UK, even down to the fact that it used to have a leader intelligent and honest enough to accept the reatity of human-caused climate change (although it no longer does, of course).

    Ah yes but there’s the difference. The Australian Liberal Party now has a conservative leader but before it didn’t. The conservatives are now in control of the party.

  2. #2 Vince whirlwind
    February 13, 2011

    Gaz’s description of the Liberal Party seems to relate entirely to the 1994-2007, 2009-2011 periods.

    Liberal-bashers love to forget that it was Labor that introduced mandatory detention for illegal immigrants; Labor that deregulated the Banks; and that it was Labor that did away with free tertiary education.

    Similarly, they would hate to have to remember that Fraser’s government increased public spending compared with its incompetent Labor predecessor; actively campaigned against Apartheid; established SBS TV; initiated our refugee resettlement program; and of course resisted its Thatcherite Finance minister John Howard’s policy directions.

    A Liberal Party without Howard, Downer, Abbott, Costello, that idiot Julie Bishop and sundry other right-wing wannabe-American-style conservatives might be a Liberal Party worth voting for.

    And to think that that ex-Australian Rupert Murdoch once used his ‘The Daily Telegraph’ to help Gough Whitlam’s appallingly inept and amateurish government get elected. Hang on, I see a pattern now…

  3. #3 zoot
    February 14, 2011

    Vince @95:

    …it was Labor that introduced mandatory detention for illegal immigrants asylum seekers

    and that it was Labor that did away with free tertiary education. (which was introduced by Gough Whitlam’s appallingly inept and amateurish government)

    There. Fixed it for you.

  4. #4 Chris O'Neill
    February 14, 2011

    and that it was Labor that did away with free tertiary education. (which was introduced by Gough Whitlam’s appallingly inept and amateurish government)

    This is one conventional wisdom we’re stuck with regardless of the facts. Nearly every student had a Federal government scholarship before Whitlam took over. Whitlam made very little difference to the cost of tertiary education for the vast majority. In fact, he actually made it a bit more expensive for the vast majority by failing to pay the student union fees that the scholarships previously paid. Tertiary education socialism was introduced by Menzies, not Whitlam.

  5. #5 zoot
    February 14, 2011

    However you parse it, the Whitlam govt (appallingly inept and amateurish as it was) abolished University fees on January 1 1974. The Hawke govt re-introduced them in 1989. Since Vince was referring to the Dawkins Revolution in his comment, I merely pointed out that the Liberal Party has demonstrated no commitment to free tertiary education.

    In my experience (in the early sixties) scholarships were a bit thin on the ground; amongst my acquaintances at Uni only I received a Commonwealth Scholarship. Of course, we were attending UWA, which didn’t charge tuition fees at the time.

  6. #6 Gaz
    February 14, 2011

    The Hawke government introduced a policy of people who got a university education paying for at least a part of that education. That meant people who did not get a university education did not have to be taxed so much to subsidise people who did.

    Damn commies.

  7. #7 Chris O'Neill
    February 15, 2011

    (in the early sixties) scholarships were a bit thin on the ground

    Not quite so thin in 1973.