I've been thinking about this for a while, particularly since I read an interview with Garth George in Craccum a few weeks ago. He was far from being some malevolent stereotype; rather, he seemed like a normal man (albeit a grumpy, hyper-conservative one) who had had a tremendous stroke of luck: he was paid to write every week about whatever he liked (or, more usually, disliked). Today's column, however, has really tipped me over the edge.
"Copenhagen blabfest is a load of hot air" is the headline of the column, referring to the climate summit that has been held this week in Denmark. But that's not really what he wants to talk about:
Buried on a far back page of world news in this newspaper on Monday was an item recording that an international carbon credits scam worth more than $2.2 billion is being investigated by detectives in at least five European countries.No, Garth. For those of us who have known for years that anything involving human beings and large amounts of money leads to corruption, this comes as no surprise. What exactly is the link here between the alleged scam and the alleged non-existence of anthropogenic climate change? There isn't any. It's like claiming that the existence of oil industry cartels proves that oil doesn't exist. Nonetheless, on he goes:
The fraud, covering Britain, Italy, Spain, Denmark (scene of the upcoming Copenhagen international climate negotiations conference in December) and Sweden involves the buying and selling of emission allowances across borders to avoid value added tax.
For those of us who have known for years that man-made carbon dioxide emissions have nothing to do with global warming, and who recognise that an unnecessary international carbon trading scheme would be wide open to abuse, this comes as no surprise.
That's all fine. It may or may not be true, of course, but if it is it certainly proves the point that 'people are generally bastards who will try to make a buck wherever they can'. I suspect, however, this isn't Garth's point.
We go along with Bjorn Lomborg, director of Copenhagen Consensus, a think tank, who, writing in the Wall Street Journal, pointed out that some business leaders are cozying up with politicians and scientists to demand swift, drastic action on global warming.
"This," he wrote, "is a new twist on a very old practice: companies using public policy to line their own pockets. This is certainly true of climate change.
"We are told that very expensive carbon regulations are the only way to respond to global warming, despite ample evidence that this approach does not pass a basic cost-benefit test.
"We must ask whether a 'climate-industrial complex' is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money to please those who stand to gain.
"The partnership among self-interested businesses, grandstanding politicians and alarmist campaigners truly is an unholy alliance ..."
The main issue I have is with the first part of the third paragraph: "For those of us who have known for years that man-made carbon dioxide emissions have nothing to do with global warming..."
This is a scientific claim, obviously. I've written about it a number of times before, so I won't dwell on it here. I'm just going to point out, again, that to the best of my knowledge Garth George is not a climate scientist. Nor am I, of course - but you don't see me holding forth on the issue at all, let alone in a major national newspaper.
Oh, the Carbon Sense Coalition! Has Garth actually done some research on the issue? Well, I did a bit of 'research' myself and managed to find a fascinating document released by the CSC about their members and goals. Roll out the Nobel Prize-winning climatologists! Here's a selection of their advisory committee - and if you think I'm being unfairly selective, look at the document yourself:
The irony is, of course, that man-made carbon dioxide emissions make no difference to the climate, which has been going from cold to hot and back again ever since time began, and certainly long before man ever produced any CO2.
So, with the Government setting its mind to trying to solve the problem of agricultural emissions, and linking up with the United States to do so, it's time once again to make these salient points, courtesy of Australia's Carbon Sense Coalition. [What follows is a list of arguments against the existence of anthropogenic climate change taken from the CSC.]
Mr Viv Forbes (Chairman)I see. So, quite a few miners and cattlemen there - in fact, quite a lot of men fullstop. Sure, there are scientists - one guy "actually" taught science at high school, and another is a self-proclaimed (no PhD) "geoscientist". Maybe the list of "Regional Correspondents and Supporters" will bear more fruit:
Grandfather, Sheep and Cattle Grazier, Soil Scientist and Mining Consultant, Rosevale, Qld, Australia.
Mr Keith Barker
Mining Engineer, CEO Northern Energy Corporation, Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Mr John Carter
Cattleman, Chairman Australian Beef Association for six years, Columnist “The Land” Crookwell, NSW, Australia.
Mr Ken Day
President Director, Terrindo, Sand Mining Contractor, Indonesia,
Mr Rod Dawnie
Geoscientist (paleoclimate studies geochemistry, geomorphology and Quaternary geology). Brisbane Qld, Australia
Mr James Hawes
Ex Science teacher, actually taught biology, chemistry, geology and physics at High Schools and chemistry at University. Past President of the Science Teachers Assn,
NSW and the Aust Science Teachers Assoc. Wombarra, NSW, Australia.
Mr Ron Kitching
Drilling and Conveying Consultant, Columnist, Author “Understanding Personal & Economic Liberty”, Rockhampton, Qld, Australia
Mr Stuart McArthur
Grazing and Land Management Consultant, Yeppoon, Qld, Australia.
Mr Gerry Jackson, Noble Park, Victoria, Australia."Freelance" = "unemployed".
Freelance Political Analyst
Mr Ray Evans, Melbourne, Vic, AustraliaPresident! The H R Nicholls Society, described by Bob Hawke as "political troglodytes and economic lunatics", are dedicated to rolling back employment law (not their words, obviously). The Lavoisier Group just published a book called Thank God for Carbon.
President of the H R Nicholls Society and Secretary of the Lavoisier Group
Mr Erich Kern, California, USAI think I'll stick with Firefox.
Internet browser and political analyst.
Mr Benjamin Marks, NSW, AustraliaPretentious, moi?
Student of Austrian Economics, Freelance Writer.
Meanwhile, Professor Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the section of the IPCC looking at whether man-made climate change is occurring, merely has 130 peer-reviewed papers published in climate science journals. Yes, yes, it's all a bit easy. But the point is that this group just got cited as a reliable scientific organisation in a supposedly serious newspaper. None of the checks and balances that should exist in this case - no self-respecting actual journalist would ever have cited such a source - simply don't, because it's an opinion column.