Remarks at the launching of Nine Facts about Climate Change

Dr Dennis Jensen MP

Parliament House Canberra, 28 February 2007

First, a quick overview of the Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS) in place:

Since the beginning of 2005, about 12,000 energy-intensive plants in the EU have been able to buy and sell permits that allow them to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Companies that exceed their individual limit are able to buy unused permits from firms that have taken steps to cut their emissions. Those who exceed their limit and are unable to buy spare permits are fined 40 euros for every excess tonne of CO2. Overall, the ETS covers about 40 per cent of the EU's total CO2 emissions. The EU is required to cut its emissions by 8 per cent from 1990 levels by 2012.

Now let's look at carbon trading in detail:

The first point to remember is that carbon emissions have no intrinsic value. This has been identified by those representing various sides of the climate debate. According to Green Left: 'giving carbon a price' will not prove to be any more effective, democratic, or conducive to human welfare, than giving genes, forests, biodiversity or clean rivers a price.

The second point is: how do we "value" this supposed "commodity"? This so-called market-based scheme collapsed in May 2006 when prematurely released data revealed that there was a glut of credits. The per ton prices for these credits dropped from 31 Euros to 12 Euros in just three weeks, finally settling near 9 Euros. Since then, the price has spiralled down even more. In the last 30 days the price has plummeted to 70 Euro cents before making a slight recovery to about one Euro. That makes the 1929 stock market crash look like a minor adjustment!

It is also interesting that the estimate is that it would require over $40 per tonne for CO2 geosequestration to be viable. But the market value is less than $2 currently.

So what we see is that if you value carbon credits too low, countries and companies will just swap credits and emissions will continue almost unabated. But if you put the price too high, it will devastate Western economies and lead to a massive offshore exodus of companies to countries not covered by Kyoto.

Therefore, the next logical step is regulated levels, as in maximum levels of CO2 per MW/Hr. We have seen examples of this type of regulation with reduction in lead levels in petrol, and the Clean Air Act in the UK.

But then you have the problem of who decides these levels, and how are the levels arrived at? What happens if countries do not agree with them? This has already happened in the carbon trading area. According to Green Left, "on June 28 (2006) Germany announced that it would exempt its coal industry from any Kyoto requirements."

So we have the situation that carbon trading had hit hurdles---pricing, co-operation, effectiveness---and we've only just begun. All it has done is create a burgeoning industry in basically brownie points, or given who has been really driving this agenda---Greenie points. In short, we are being asked to make a huge investment---via penalising industry---in a program which has already shown it isn't really working.

Even if Kyoto were fully implemented, which represents wildest dreams rather than a real possibility---what then? We would have succeeded in producing a minuscule reduction in carbon dioxide, which just happens to be one of the molecules essential for life on earth.

It is my contention that even if we get a near-perfect carbon trading or other emission control mechanism, it won't make a blind bit of difference. It is like perfecting a soothing, nutritious food which even those with the worst peptic ulcers can eat. Because we all know, don't we, that there is total medical consensus, that peptic ulcers are caused by stress? Until, that is, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won a Nobel Prize for demonstrating that all the conventional "certainty" was wrong---it was all the fault of the helicobacter pylori.

Carbon trading or emissions control to limit a gigantic, impossibly complex natural phenomena such as climate will work as well as hanging a horseshoe over your door for good luck!

A thousand years ago, legend has it that, to silence fawning courtiers, King Canute showed he could not in fact command the tides. What we need are more modest and intelligent world leaders now, with the courage to stand up to the Luddite brigade, and show that Emperor Al has indeed no clothes!

We have seen much discussion on Global Warming, what we need to do about it, and the amount of money that it will cost. First, let's have a look at the issue of the debate having been settled, namely, that there is no doubt about the anthropogenic aspect to climate change.

The IPCC Summary for Policymakers has stated that there is 90 per cent certainty that there is an anthropogenic component. Sounds good, but that is nowhere near certain in scientific terms. I would hate to go over a bridge where there was 90 per cent certainty that it would take prescribed loads.

Now, consider the issue even within the IPCC.

Yuri Izrael, Vice Chairman of the IPCC has said that "There is no proven link between human activity and global warming".

The IPCC process itself is flawed. Science does not work by consensus, it works on facts. Democracy is not a process relevant to science, and scientific laws cannot be repealed by a vote.

Look, for example, at Michael Mann's infamous "Hockey Stick". This is the well known graph of stable temperature over the last 1000 years, apart from a rapid rise in the 20th century. When the evidence was given to the IPCC, the Hockey Stick was dropped, with nary a whisper about the error. Where was the peer review and the rigorous checking by the IPCC on this?

After all, it completely contradicted what had been accepted before, namely, the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (when the Vikings settled Greenland, and it was hotter than now) and the Little Ice Age (when fairs were held on a frozen Thames River). Both have been found to be global phenomena. The reason the Hockey Stick was accepted was that it agreed with the dogma.

On climate stability, we have Tim Flannery stating that the global thermometer has been set on 14 degrees for 10,000 years. This is absolute rubbish, so completely wrong that it is embarrassing.

Chris Landsea, a tropical storm specialist, quit the IPCC in disgust after his work was politicised by the IPCC. Dr Kevin Trenberth, a lead author, stated that his work showed that Katrina was more powerful due to anthropogenic global warming. Landsea protested to the IPCC senior leadership, but nothing was done.

Now, let's look at the 4th report. All that we have seen, so far, is the Summary for Policymakers. We have not seen the technical and scientific details---they only become available in May.

The reason for this is that the IPCC wants to carefully go through the scientific reports and the SFP, and make sure that there are no contradictions. But what if a contradiction is found? The SFP has already been released, so the scientific report would have to be altered (perhaps we should say doctored) to reflect what is in the SFP.

We have also seen the graphs from the ice cores, showing a correlation between temperature and CO2 in past ages.

Two points---first, correlation does not equal causation. Second, temperature change leads CO2 concentration changes, not the other way around.

It has recently been found that cosmic rays are likely to have a large effect on climate, as they interact in the atmosphere in a way as to form "seeds" for cloud formation. Yet this is not considered by the IPCC at present. Looking at variations of cosmic ray activity and tracking temperature changes over the same period, the correlation is staggering.

The second fact is that the increase in solar activity has had a major effect on temperature elsewhere. It has been found that warming is occurring on Pluto, on Mars, on Jupiter and on Triton. Last time I looked, there were no evil greenhouse gas-belching industries on those planets/sub-planets and moons! This clearly illustrates that the sun is a significant factor.

Let's have a look at some other factors. The Arctic now is no warmer than it was in the 1930s. Antarctica has been cooling over about 98 per cent of its area. However, it appears that there is a net ice mass increase in Antarctica, not the reverse, and this also appears to be the case in Greenland and Iceland. As for the Arctic, if all of the ice melted in the Arctic Ocean, it would make no difference to sea levels, as the ice is floating.

An interesting fact to note is that the majority of twentieth-century warming occurred between 1900 and 1945, not in the last 30 years, as many would have you believe.

Have a look at the 20th century. We have had numerous panics, global warming in the early period, then concern about an oncoming ice age, global warming again, ice age again, and now global warming again.

Something that really annoys me is the ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with the "consensus" position. The issues that the sceptics bring up, and the science that they quote to support their critical arguments, are shouted down by suggesting that they are all in the employ of the evil fossil fuel industry.

I must say that I cannot recall such a push in science for the adoption of one, and only one, accepted position. This is more about religion and belief systems, and less about facts and analysis. Indeed, when you have Al Gore's disciples going through the land, preaching about global warming, it is clear that what we are talking about is religion, not science.

It is crucial that we have an open and free debate and exchange of ideas, and not go back to the Dark Ages, where only certain dogma was viewed as acceptable. If those that question the IPCC dogma are wrong, then their opponents should prove that their arguments and scientific arguments are wrong rather than resort to ad hominem attacks.

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