Flannery and the Climate Commission.

by NCTCS Secretary Anthony Cox 

Also Published by On Line Opinion (link)

The Climate Commission is an expensive body funded by taxpayers which informs people that man-made global warming [AGW] is real and that many other nations in the world have joined with Australia in solving AGW through implementation of a carbon tax.

 The Climate Commission [CC] has released its latest report. The focus of the report is whether other nations are following Australia's lead in tackling AGW, in particular what China is doing.

Tim Flannery is the CC's leading spokesperson. He says this about China:
It's doing hugely well, it's got half the world's installed wind capacity.
This is misleading. Bjorn Lomborg sums up China's position on wind energy and renewable energy generally:
China indeed invests more than any other nation in environmentally friendly energy production: $34 billion in 2009, or twice as much as the United States. Almost all of its investment, however, is spent producing green energy for Western nations that pay heavy subsidies for consumers to use solar panels and wind turbines.
China was responsible for half of the world's production of solar panels in 2010, but only 1 percent was installed there...
In wind power, China both produces and consumes. In 2009, it put up about a third of the world's new wind turbines. But much of this has been for show. A 2008 Citigroup analysis found that about one-third of China's wind power assets were not in use. Many turbines are not connected to the transmission grid. Chinese power companies built wind turbines that they didn't use as the cheapest way of satisfying - on paper - government requirements to boost renewable energy capacity. Consider the bigger picture: 87 percent of the energy produced in China comes from fossil fuels, the vast majority of it from coal, the International Energy Agency found in 2010…
Wind today generates just 0.05 percent of China's energy, and solar is responsible for one-half of one-thousandth of 1 percent.
Flannery also asserts that many other nations are following Australia's lead and introducing a carbon tax; Flannery is pleased that many other nations are following Australia's lead:
There's about 33 countries around the world with some sort of carbon pricing scheme in place now covering about 850 million people - that's almost one in seven people on the planet 
Again this is misleading because none of the largest and expanding emitters are following Australia's lead and in fact many of the world's nations do not accept AGW at all. In a survey of how the world's nations are responding to AGW none other than the latest poster boy for AGW, Professor Richard Muller found that the majority of the world's nations are not doing anything about AGW.

The difference between Australia and the majority of other nations, including China, the great green hope of AGW advocates, is stark as this graph shows:


 As can be seen, not only are the vast majority of the world's emitters not following Australia but the majority of the world's population is not following either.

Flannery's fellow commissioner, Robert Beale compounds Flannery's erroneous statements by saying that Australia is the "developed" world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide "by quite a way". This is true but neglects to mention that compared to all nations, Australia ranks 11th per capita.

What Beale, an economist, neglects to explain is that Australia's tyranny of distance and unique infrastructure problems, due to the size of the nation and its relative small population, are the major reasons why Australia is ahead of the other developed nations in terms of per capita emissions. For this reason the total emissions are a better reflection of Australia's comparative emissions level; on this basis Australia ranks 17th in the world.

The CC says it is not a political body; this should ensure that it gets its facts right and includes all relevant facts in its reports. However it does not include all relevant information. For instance there is no mention in this report that Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal; or that the exported coal is not subject to a carbon tax with only the approximately 20% of coal mined in Australia which is used for domestic consumption being subject to the world's largest carbon tax.

The report also continues to misrepresent how other nations are faring with renewable energy. Flannery says this about Germany compared with Australia:
 Australia is the sunniest country in the world and one of the windiest, we are lucky to have some of the best renewable resources in the world. Action on climate change will help unlock those resources. Yet we are a late starter. Our worst solar resources are equivalent to some of Germany's best. But Germany is a world leader in installed solar while Australia is lagging behind. 
 This is incorrect about both Australian capacity for harnessing renewable energy and what Germany is doing. In Australia numerous renewable energy projects have failed including Flannery's geothermal project, Geodynamics, many solar projects and the CC has previously misrepresented the success of wind power in South Australia.

 In Germany solar companies are going bankrupt and after Fukushima coal and gas power are being reinstated. In promoting the new CC report Flannery has defended his record of predictions. Flannery says this about his critics:
 I think there's certain people that are always trying to distract, you know, there's certain lobbyists who are always trying to distract people, and one way they do it is play the man and not the ball ... don't deal with the facts but deal with other issues. 
This is egregious; if Flannery did not misrepresent the facts, or ignore them, and report accurately on AGW, its existence and the real merits of the science for and against it, and in particular the manifest failings of renewable energy then there would not be critics of his predictions. This latest report by the CC does not assist his case.