Climate Problem is severely overstated - UPDATED

David Murray spent 13 years as the chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank before taking up his role as the inaugural head of Australia's Future Fund, which was set up by the Howard Government to cover the superannuation liabilities of the federal public sector. The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, is understood to be in discussions with David Murray about the Government's financial services inquiry, which will be launched before the end of the year. It'll be the first time in 17 years that the $5 trillion banking, superannuation, insurance and investment sector will be examined.

David was interviewed by Emma Alberici on Lateline

Part of the interview concerned the carbon (dioxide) tax, climate science and the IPCC.

EMMA ALBERICI: Now you've previously labelled Labor's carbon tax as, "... the worst piece of economic reform I have ever seen in my life". What's your assessment then of the Coalition's direct plan for reducing carbon emissions?

DAVID MURRAY: Well, my view is that when faced with a potential risk, you manage it by looking at the size of the risk and the probability of it occurring. If you're not sure on either of those fronts, then you look to measures you can take that would help you in any event, whether it occurs or not, but also if it does occur, ameliorate some of the risk. Now the way to deal with that was not to implement a carbon tax. A carbon tax simply attacks one of the comparative advantages of this country globally, which is energy, and to attack that is to attack the very fabric of the economy. At the same time, if there are any actions that you can take to be more fuel efficient, you actually help the economy at the same time as you start reducing those emissions in case it's the problem that many people say it is. That was the sensible way of dealing with the problem, and we - because what's happened with the carbon tax is it's added another layer of cost to cost structures in Australia that are leaving us uncompetitive at a time when our economy is starting to slow down and the rest of the world is starting to pick up slightly.

EMMA ALBERICI: Economist Stephen Koukoulas today wrote that Direct Action was like paying drink driving offenders money to not drink and drive ever again, but if they get drunk and offend again, it's unlikely the Government gets its money back, so the policy has failed. Is that a fair analogy?

DAVID MURRAY: Ahh, well, it's rich, but I don't know whether it'll work or not. I know that any actions governments can take to increase the efficient use of energy sources will pay dividends, but ...

EMMA ALBERICI: But you don't think reducing emissions - encouraging companies to reduce their emissions is the way to go?

DAVID MURRAY: No, energy efficiency is the way to go, and I am an Australian in a democratic country with freedom of speech who believes that the climate problem is severely overstated.

EMMA ALBERICI: The latest IPCC report - the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - was written by 250 authors from 39 countries, subjected to a review involving more than 1,000 experts. What would it take to convince you of the science?

DAVID MURRAY: When I see some evidence of integrity amongst the scientists themselves. I often look at systems and behaviours as a way of judging something, and in this case, to watch the accusations that fly between these people suggests there's been a breakdown in integrity in the science. So, if I were in a leadership role, I would say the first thing to do with this problem within Australia by ourselves is to set up some scientific approach to get a community consensus here about what is the truth on this matter. I wouldn't do nothing, because a lot of people are concerned about it. But I think there needs to be some consensus about the science because there's too many people on both sides of this and you can only make - get justification for action once you take that step.

EMMA ALBERICI: Didn't the Climate Commission achieve that consensus? In fact we have political consensus on the need for action.

DAVID MURRAY: Ah, well, to some extent, but the - even though there was a broken promise on the carbon tax, the community reaction to the carbon tax is very clear.

EMMA ALBERICI: We're talking about a different thing though, I suppose, because that's about how we act, but I'm talking about whether we actually need to, whether there's really a problem that needs addressing.

DAVID MURRAY: Yes, but when we have the thing so highly politicised and when we have the head of a Climate Commission making wildly exaggerated statements about sea level, it just doesn't help. We've got to get a whole community behind a scientifically determined and - with confidence, a scientifically determined position from which we can take action and that hasn't been done.


Graphs from Skeptical Science Trend Calculator

Graphs (from (UN)Skeptical Science) show that temperatures are declining while Co2 keeps rising. There is a complete lack of causality between man-made CO2 emissions and temperature.

Yet (UN)Skeptical Science says:
Q: It hasn't warmed since 1998? 

For the years 1998-2005, temperature did not increase. This period coincides with society's continued pumping of more CO2 into the atmosphere. (Bob Carter) 

No, it hasn't been cooling since 1998.
No, according to (UN)Skeptical Science trend calculator, the RSS data show it has been cooling since 1997.

Mr Murray said he believed “the climate problem is severely overstated” which led interviewer Emma Alberici to point out the strong findings of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
A LEADING association for climate scientists has called on (David Murray) to apologise for accusing their profession of lacking integrity.
Perhaps (UN)Skeptical Science should apologise for their misleading website.