November 14, 2009 | Graham

“Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coast” appears to breach PM’s guidelines on global warming.

Recently Kevin Rudd made a speech to the Lowy Institute where he labelled anyone who disputed the “scientific consensus” on global warming as driven by vested interests or anti-scientific. Where is the “consensus” to be found? Well if it is something that you can appeal to as a coherent body of thought, it can only befound in the IPCC reports.
So how does Rudd explain the release of a government report today – “Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coast” – which appears to contradict the IPCC view of the world?
I can’t give you a link to the report – it’s not up on the minister’s website yet, which doesn’t demonstrate the best attitude on her part to open and transparent government. But it has been used to generate some lurid headlines and a claim by Penny Wong that “the report shows that climate change is real.”
I’ll chance my arm without seeing the document because a few things seem obvious from the news reports. I doubt whether this report has any new science in it at all. It appears to be an exercise in picking a sea level rise and seeing what areas would be affected by it.
Why do I think this? Well the sea level rise of 1.1 metres is anywhere up to hundreds of percent outside the IPCC projections which have a range of roughly 18 to 59 centimetres of increase until the end of the century.
The report then appears to turbocharge this by referring to an anticipated increase in extreme weather events, even though this again is not borne out in the IPCC report which at worst expects some mild increase in cyclones and hurricanes.
So there is no justification in the “consensus” that I am aware of for the extreme conclusions of the report.
Which leads to the conclusion that the report is not about science at all, but about politics. It is an attempt to scare a significant proportion of the population on the basis of highly unlikely projections.
So given the PM’s concern about people who do not respect the “consensus” what is he going to do about his errant environment minister who has ben responsible for a report which uses it’s own idiosyncratic projections to cause emotional trauma to hundreds of thousands of Australians who by its calculations live close enough to the sea to be in peril?

Posted by Graham at 1:16 pm | Comments (7) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. It is on the site. See

    Comment by Branko — November 14, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  2. Thanks Branko. I just did a Google search using the exact name of the report as the search term and Google picked it up 4 hours ago, which was 4 hours after it picked-up my post using exactly the same terms. Might say something about Google’s methodology, or maybe it went up after I posted. But at least it is up.
    Don’t have time to analyse properly at the moment, but I note it uses the weasel word “plausible” when discussing the 1.1 metre scenario and accepts that it is not a consensus figure, but justifies it on the basis that some papers presented at Copenhagen earlier this year had this figure as a mid-point.
    I also noticed this claim in Chapter 2 “Oceans warm much more slowly than the atmosphere, especially the deep oceans, so thermal expansion lags decades behind rising air temperature.” This is just nonsense physics as it is the ocean and land that warms the atmosphere. Can’t happen the other way around.

    Comment by Graham Young — November 14, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

  3. Good point that you make here Graham.

    Comment by Joe — November 15, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

  4. Since all the science predicts some sea level rise, and since much of our coastline is extremely vulnerable, would it not be prudent to start some planning now?
    Had the world paid attention 4 decades ago, during the first oil shocks and the first talk about the greenhouse effect, the costs of mitigation would be much less.

    Comment by karin — November 16, 2009 @ 5:30 am

  5. I’m not against planning Karin, but you do that on realistic scenarios. The Gold Coast has been working on a figure of around 80 cm over the next 100 years and a modest storm surge. Can’t find a link, but I heard Clarke talking about it on radio yesterday.
    Picking a figure because it is large and then using that is not planning, it is scare-mongering.

    Comment by Graham Young — November 16, 2009 @ 8:50 am

  6. Not evil just Wong. (:
    If the oceans are rising it has been shown that thermal expansion is not relevant. (Prof Plimer) Further, given the instability of the Earth’s crust and the siting of many indicators is suspect, we really do not know what is happening. Would like to know how they calculate the total volume of the oceans. That is the only way to know if the liquid form of H2O is increasing. But then the Climate Change Treaty is not to do with climate change at all; it is pure politics aimed at the creation of a world government. See the draft treaty for details and the levy to be put on industrialised nations.

    Comment by Graham Hk — November 17, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

  7. At last! Someone who undetsrnads! Thanks for posting!

    Comment by Elora — June 5, 2011 @ 5:32 am

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