I had to drive to work today and, against my better judgement, tuned in to
Radio Moscow The ABC.
Huge credence and coverage was given to the release of a report today from the “independent body”, The Climate Commission and a lengthy interview was conducted with the author, Will Steffen.
When I say “interview”, I don’t mean like Frost/Nixon or those of the Jeremy Paxman idiom. No, I mean a bunch of sycophantic questions which, in the vernacular, would be referred to as Dorothy Dixers.
There wasn’t a single question or even hint that anything in the report could be challenged. The general take-out was that every extreme weather event in Australia in the last two years has had an anthropological cause.
It rained a lot in Brisbane because of climate change. The fires in Tasmania? Climate change. Sydney’s record temperature two months ago? Climate change.
You can judge for yourself how scientific this conclusion is, of course, click here to read it.
Go on, have a read, it won’t take long as the entire report is only 12 pages. I would suggest that it’s less of a scientific report and more of a PowerPoint presentation. Nice use of graphics though, big pat on the back for the marketing dolly.
The key data behind much of the headline grabbing “many records have been broken” is the fact that there were 7 days where the average temperature in Australia was over 39 degrees in January 2013. The longest previously recorded run over 39 degrees was 4 days. Ergo; climate change.
Ok, where to start on this?
1. Average you say? How many weather stations are there now compared to say 100 years ago, 150 years ago, 200 years ago and what is the relative distribution? Do we have more weather stations in the red centre now than 100 years ago, for example?
2. Do 3 more consecutive days of heat equal climate change or was it simply due to a slow moving cold front not replacing the hot front as quickly for some other reason this year?
3. Are we confusing correlation with causation? Because of a hypothesis that we are experiencing climate change is it reasonable to point to all extreme weather events as being a consequence? How would you explain extreme weather before the industrial revolution then?
But perhaps the most interesting question is the one rarely asked in the mainstream media?
Who pays their salary?
We do, of course.
The Climate Commission is no more “independent” than the Labor party’s members list. The irony is lost on the ABC that Will Steffen’s employer’s website proclaims independence yet boasts a .Gov.Au web address.
Here’s the punchline; the Climate Commission was created by the Minister for (surely that should be “against”?) Climate Change, Greg Combet to
persuade inform us of the need for a tax on a naturally-occurring element carbon. Here’s the official announcement and a picture of a grinning Minister. On a purely ad hominen tack, Greg has the look of a man who is in a state of constant shock to have made it further in life than being an accounts department middle-manager in small town’s council office.
And what of Will Steffen? What has he achieved with his life, where have his pay cheques come from?
Us again, of course. An entire life in academia gathering evidence to keep him employed in the business of climate change.
In the words of Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
The polls suggest that the Labor (sic) government will be displaced on September 14th. In which case, I assume that the taxpayer will be about a million dollars a year better off and Will Steffen will have to find another source of income.