November 14, 2014

Tim Flannery

Green Army: Persons of Interest

Lee Kump [Professor of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University]:
We have made the natural world our laboratory, but the experiment is inadvertent and thus not designed to yield easily decipherable results …
There are unsettling indications that [the] models are underestimating rather than overestimating the climatic consequences of greenhouse gas build-up.
(Reducing Uncertainty about Carbon Dioxide As a Climate Driver, Nature 419, pp 188-90, 2002)

Yadowsun Boodhoo [President, World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology]:
It is inconceivable that humankind, with all its noble achievements, its aspirations and goodwill, will stay indifferent to the cry of the climate community.
(World Meteorological Organization Bulletin, 2003)

Tim Flannery (1956):
Under existing projections, just two countries — Canada and Russia — will reap 90% of the benefit that global warming brings to food crops, while other regions such as Africa and India will lose out heavily with only a small degree of warming.
(The Weather Makers, 2005, p 288)

George Marshall:
[State of Fear is] by far the bestselling book yet written about climate change and includes dense technical appendices to prove that it is a concocted myth. …
[George W Bush] spent an hour chatting with [Michael] Crichton about the book in the Oval Office, after which, according to his chief of staff, they were in near-total agreement.
The novel was then presented as “scientific” evidence into a US Senate committee and Crichton gave briefings on climate change around the world at the invitation of the US State Department.
(Don't Even Think About It, Bloomsbury, 2014, p 108)

The Weather Makers (2005)

Eternal Summer

With the election of George W Bush, the fossil fuel lobby became even more powerful …
Philip A Cooney, a Bush aide and an oil industry lobbyist fighting against the regulation of greenhouse gases, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors … had already approved. …
At the most recent count a dozen major reports on climate change have been altered, suppressed or dismissed by the White House, including … studies by the National Academy of Sciences …
In September 2002 the White House released the Environmental Protection Authority’s annual report with the entire section dealing with climate change deleted.
(p 241)

Fred Palmer, [formerly] head of Western Fuels (now company vice-president at Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal producer) [believed] that the Earth’s atmosphere ‘is deficient in carbon dioxide’, and that producing more would herald an age of eternal summer.
… Western Fuels wanted to lead the charge in creating a world with atmospheric CO2 of around 1000 parts per million [(equivalent to a 4°C rise in global average temperature).]

Palmer’s views were the basis for the propaganda video The Greening of Planet Earth, which cost a quarter of a million dollars to make, and which promoted the idea of ‘fertilising’ the world with CO2 to boost crop yields by 30% to 60%, thus bringing an end to world hunger. …
The Greening of Planet Earth was widely circulated in Washington in the lead up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and among those who saw it were [George H W] Bush and his chief of staff, John Sununu …
[Bush’s] energy secretary, James Watkins, cited it as a credible source in interviews about climate change.
(p 240)

Carbon Nation

[At] their most extreme, Milankovich’s [orbital] cycles bring an annual variation in the total amount of sunlight reaching Earth of less than one tenth of 1%.
Yet that seemingly trivial difference can cause Earth’s temperature to rise or fall by a whopping 5°C. …
(p 42)

As early as 1992 it was realised that … temperatures in Australia may rise as much as 5°C in response to a global increase of just 2°C.
(p 179)

For the first target period of the [Kyoto] treaty (2008–2012) the European Union has a carbon budget of 8% less than it emitted in 1990 …
Australia, on the other hand, has a budget of 8% greater than [baseline (108%).]
Only Iceland did better … with a 10% increase (110%) …

Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse emissions of any industrialised country — 25% higher than the US when all sources are accounted for — and Australia’s growth in emissions over the last decade has been faster than that of other OECD countries. …
Ninety% of Australia’s electricity is generated by burning coal [despite having] the world’s best geothermal province and a superabundance of high-quality wind and solar resources.
(p 225)

[At Kyoto, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics argued for special treatment on basis of the] MEGABARE economic model [which] predicted that Australia’s real gross national expenditure would fall by between one-quarter and one-half of 1% per annum if a European-style cut in emissions was implemented. …
[Documents obtained under Freedom of Information later revealed that the MEGABARE study] had been funded … by the Australian Aluminium Council, Rio Tinto, Mobil and other [fossil fuel interests,] all of whom had received a seat on the study’s steering committee.
(p 226)

Of all industries, the most vulnerable to a rise in the cost of electricity is the aluminium smelters. …
Australian households pay 12–20 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, while aluminium smelters pay around 2 cents, which means that a significant part of everyone else’s power bill is a direct subsidy payment to the smelters.
(p 230)

Given Kyoto’s manifest problems, it may seem best to tax carbon emissions at the smokestack, yet this simple and effective solution finds no favour in Australia or the US.
(p 231)