February 21, 2005 | Graham

Bolt Blooper on Greenhouse

People in greenhouses shouldn’t throw stones – if you’re going to criticise it helps to get your facts right. Which is a problem for Andrew Bolt. In this piece on Global Warming Bolt analyses ten things The Age claims should make us worry about Global Warming. In the process of his critique he says

7: Great Barrier Reef
Claim: Warmer seas are turning the reef white.
Facts: An El Nino caused coral bleaching in 1998, but the reef recovered, as it did again in 2002 – and from worse events in 1782-1785 and 1817. After all, the reef is 60 million years old, and has survived much hotter times.

He’s right, and he’s wrong. There is no way the Barrier Reef is anywhere near 60 million years old – during the last glaciation, which ended around 10,000 years ago, the area that is now coral reef was entirely above sea level.
Still, if that’s all he’s got wrong, the rest is well worth reading.
Bolt’s certainly not as careless, or maybe that should be brazen, as some of the Greenhouse Lobby. Remember John Howard effortlessly power-walking away from a group of panting, twentysomething, Greenpeace protestors as they tried to join him for his morning power-walk on his 65th birthday to lobby for him to sign Kyoto? It was a neat illustration of his “fitness” for office.
Now Greenpeace is attempting to turn the tables on the Prime Ministerial display of aerobic capacity with this ad linked to a petition showing a picture from the birthday event, but using it to dramatise him “walking away from global warming”.
A quick inspection of the ad shows more serious bloopers than I’ve picked up in Andrew Bolt’s piece. For example, it claims that “The Kyoto Protocol is the only legally binding global agreement with a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions – the main cause of global warming.” Well, no, it won’t lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, just slightly less of more. And then further on it claims “climate change is already affecting Australians in the form of extreme weather, droughts, water restrictions, floods and bush fires”. Again, no. Droughts and floods are for most of us a result of the El Nino effect, while weather bureau records reveal there are no particular trends when it comes to extreme weather like cyclones.
All of which leads to the issue of truth in advertising. The Gunn’s case will probably be a public relations debacle for the Tasmanian timber company, but it illustrates a trend of seeking resolution for political problems in the courts. In the case of Greenhouse, I can see some trade practices angles. A Global Warming Scopes trial anyone?

Posted by Graham at 9:13 am | Comments Off on Bolt Blooper on Greenhouse |
Filed under: Environment

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