Climate change is much ado over nothing

30 Oct, 2009 01:00 AM
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Discussing matters with speaker Professor Bob Carter (right), before the start of proceedings was Red Meat Action Group chairman Gary Buller. The Red Meat Action Group sponsored the visit.
Discussing matters with speaker Professor Bob Carter (right), before the start of proceedings was Red Meat Action Group chairman Gary Buller. The Red Meat Action Group sponsored the visit.

IF the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) goes ahead as planned, a carbon price of $30/t will produce a direct cost of $3000 every year for a family of four.

That was the warning from Professor Bob Carter when he addressed a public forum at Bunbury on Monday.

Prof Carter, who is an experienced geologist and environmental scientist from James Cook University in Queensland, said the reduction in global temperature would only amount to one thousandth of one degree Celsius by the year 2100, a "pretty poor return on the $270,000 these families will have paid by then".

"In other words, the effect will not be measurable, a fitting verdict for a scheme that appears to be deliberately misnamed, just to confuse the public," Prof Carter said.

"In the first place, the legislation should refer to carbon dioxide (CO2), not carbon, plus it is blatantly inaccurate to claim that carbon is a pollutant.

"Doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere would increase wheat yields by 60 per cent, increase legume yields by 62pc and increase the yields of other cereals by 70pc ? some pollutant!

"In fact, during the current period of increasing atmospheric CO2, the Green Revolution saw a massive increase in global food production, with somewhere between 5pc and 15pc of the increase being caused by higher CO2 levels.

"CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased from 228 parts per million (ppm) at the start of the industrial revolution to around 328ppm now, but if it increased to 1000ppm, it would not only assist plants to grow, the plants would be more efficient users of water."

Prof Carter admitted that he was "guilty of the crime of political incorrectness" by questioning current beliefs on global warming.

"Climate is what you expect, but weather is what you get," he said.

"Meteorologists have only 150 years data to study, so it is up to geologists to go further.

"Six million years ago it was considerably warmer than today and temperatures three million years ago were very much the same as now, but we have had some major changes since then with most of the intervening time being colder, although a major heat spike occurred just 125,000 years ago.

"Around 20,000 years ago it was 8? colder than now, sea levels were 70m lower and the WA coastline was 80km west of its current position, a period when it was possible to walk from New Guinea to Australia and through to Tasmania.

"Although major El Nino events cause heat spikes, with one in 1998 causing global temperatures to rise by 0.2?, there has been no net change in global temperatures in the last 50 years, during a period when atmospheric CO2 increased by 20pc.

"The earth has been cooling since 1998, with CO2 concentrations increasing by 5pc during the same time".

But Prof Carter was not denying the existence of climate change, emphasising instead that the climate of earth is always changing ? and will always do so.

"The major climatic events on earth are earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and no government would claim that it could prevent them, yet they are happy to introduce punitive taxes on the fallacious claim that they can prevent climate change," he said.

"All three are unpredictable and unpreventable.

"In Australia, the major climatic threats come from bushfires and floods, with the major fires in Victoria killing 173 people at about the same time that floods in parts of Queensland were caused by 1.2 metres of rain in seven days.

"These are the events that the Australian Government should be concerned about, not the Arctic where ice levels are normal, the Antarctic where the ice has grown by 1000 square kilometres, or even the Great Barrier Reef which looks exactly the same as it did when Captain Cook first sailed along it".

In the light of his comments, those attending were keen to find out how the world had decided that global warming was such a threat to the globe.

"Greenpeace and WWF between them collect around a billion dollars per year in the US alone from people and organisations who have been frightened by their gospel of climatic disaster," Prof Carter said.

"The major studies that have affected Australian thinking are the Garnaut report here and the Stern report in the UK, yet neither author was a climate experts, rather both were economists who based their predictions on the 'official' climate scenario.

"Broader trend lines are showing that the earth will soon be entering into a cycle of global cooling, if in fact it hasn't already commenced, but it isn't possible to even calculate a statistical opinion on when this might happen.

"Change can occur very rapidly, with Greenland once suffering a total glacial reversal in only three years and after a prolonged period, it went back to 'normal' over a period of 60 years.

"Climate change is a natural hazard.

"Notwithstanding the dire predictions of what changes will occur in the next 100 or more years, no one can say for certain whether the globe will be colder or warmer in 10 years time."

Professor Carter will also speak at Narrogin on Friday, October 30.

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