Friday, 17 October 2008

“Greenhouse robots” might be real, but they’re not who we think they are

In the face of a rainfall for the last two months of one-sixth of the 1885 to 1996 mean and for the last three years has been only 22 percent of that 1885 to 1996 average, I have generally had the extremely minor satisfaction that Australia’s major newspapers have avoided going towards positions that suggest, contrary to all paleoclimatic data, that global warming is not man-made but cyclical.

With no rain having fallen in Melbourne since the seventh of October and none forecast for the next week, one hopes that the major newspapers will move from a position of acceptance tainted by refusal to accept the need for head-on struggle with those forces responsible for global warming such as the coal and car industries to a position of demanding radical change via protests that have been conspicuously absent despite warming from such scientists as George Monbiot.

In this context, The Australian’s most recent article, titled ‘Greenhouse robots clamp down on true climate debate’ is an embarrassment. The manner in which it asserts that the decline in Melbourne’s rainfall, which up to 1996 had a reliability as good as that of Europe, could be part of a natural cycle and that temperature increases which recent data show to be unprecedented in the past four hundred and twenty thousand years could be related to the power of the sun, clearly does not fit in with what experienced scientists know.

What The Australian might have a point about is that those who recognise man-made global warming as real do not seem to provide as wide a variety of evidence as they should. Never does one see in papers like Green Left Weekly the story of Western District lakes drying out for the first time since the Last Glacial Maximum. Nor are rainfall changes ever mentioned in even the most “alarmist” books on global warming.

Similarly, few moderates advocating desalination or more efficient water use ever realise that such moves will encourage many of the ecological problems inherent in agriculture in Australia.

Nor do people ever discuss the paradox of Australia having the least productive soils and at the same time the lowest farm subsidies in the world.

It is the failure to discuss these critical issues that amounts to “robotics” and should be challenged, not the existence of anthropogenic climate change!

2 comments:

glparramatta said...

I'm not sure why you felt the need to take a swipe at GLW:

``Never does one see in papers like Green Left Weekly the story of Western District lakes drying out for the first time since the Last Glacial maximum. Nor are rainfall changes ever mentioned in even the most "alarmist" books on global warming.''

GLW is campaigning for serious action of global warming, and was doing so long before many realised the need to do so.

Perhaps it hasn't mentioned that particular aspect, but GLW relies on people like you to submit such articles. So please do so.

jpbenney said...

I'm really sorry you feel offended!

Personal experience talking to greenhouse sceptics tells me very clearly that mentioning only issues most typically discussed in discussions of global warming does much less to influence them than discussing aspects like alarming rainfall declines in Victoria or increases in the Kalgoorlie-Eucla-Wiluna triangle. It does more than merely unsettle the viewpoints and worldviews of sceptics than repeating basic facts about recent global warming to which sceptics reply intuititively and make progress impossible.

I can think of many other aspects that should be mentioned in books or articles concerned about global warming but never are - for instance, the scarcity of paleorainfall data in Australia and the poor efforts made to find and preserve what does exist.