Climate Change meetings may fade away

Image - Steve Hunter
Letter published in AFR, 29 Nov 2011 - link in title.

In Review’s “Reprise on climate” (November 25) Mark Lawson outlines various possible scientific explanations of the failure of temperatures to increase over the last 13 years, and Marcus Priest’s “The global climate is now cooling” (November 26-27) offers possible explanations for the almost certain failure to reach a binding agreement on reducing CO2 emissions at the Durban climate change conference.

Yet there are many other possible explanations for that imminent failure and its likely continuance.

First, an increasing realisation that analyses by the sceptical scientists group have exposed errors or gross exaggerations by the consensus group. Future temperature predictions modelled by the consensus group have omitted or down played likely negative influences on temperatures, resulting in significant overstatements in such predictions. Also, as temperatures have not risen for many more than 13 years over the past 100 even though concentrations of CO2 have increased over those years, this puts any causative relationship between the two in considerable doubt.

Second, the emergence of a  second round of ClimateGate, involving the exposure of about 5000 exchanges within the consensus group of scientists, has confirmed evidence of manipulations of data and of exaggerated outcomes for media.  [Also pertinent is the just published analysis by respected Canadian economist McKitrick revealing seriously deficient review processes by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change].

Third, more and more uncertainties have emerged about analyses by the consensus group. In addition to the wider realisation  “uncertainty” was used over 1,000 times in the science section of the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, many analytical uncertainties are acknowledged in the recent IPCC report regarding extreme weather predictions and the analysis in the just published Pacific Climate Change Science Program report involving the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology. The use by the latter report of no less than 18 different climate models is also hardly a vote of confidence in analyses. 

These and other developments suggest the consensus group of scientists can no longer justify the claim that there is a need for urgent action to reduce CO2 emissions. In these circumstances international conferences on climate change may well fade away.

Des Moore
Institute for Private Enterprise