Last week was a bad week for Climate Science. First President Trump pulls out of the Paris Agreement and then Clive James bags the whole climate circus in a major article in the Weekend Australian. The problem with Clive is that he is arguably Australia’s best loved and most revered intellectual and cannot be easily dismissed as a Right Wing nut job. According to Clive, Climate Change is dead but it won’t lie down.
And that’s not all. In the US, Dilbert creator, Scott Adams has stirred things up with a cartoon in which Dilbert’s boss hires a climate consultant. (http://dilbert.com/search_results?terms=climate+change)
The cartoon ends with the tag –
Dilbert: “What if I don’t trust the economic models?”
Consultant: “Who hired the science denier?”
An organization called Yale Climate Connections immediately put out a You Tube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY-pO_zTVvU&t=4s) in which some leading lights in the climate science community e.g. Andrew Dessler and Mike “Hockeystick” Mann refute Adams’ cartoon. That’s right, a team of university professors finds it necessary to publicly refute a cartoon!
The video is worth viewing because it is the epitome of Alarmist arguments such as they are. Except that this time “its not just the models”, either because models are now on the nose or because models were mentioned in the cartoon. As usual we are told of the massive amounts of evidence from tree rings, pack ice cover, bore holes, of independent teams all coming up with the same answer “over and over again”. The sad thing is that every single one of these arguments and, in fact, the whole thrust of the video, only go to confirm that the planet has warmed slightly over the last century or so.
That has never been in question. No-one disagrees with that proposition. What is truly remarkable is that no evidence is provided, or even referred to, that human activities play any role at all in this warming. No evidence is provided that recent warming is anything other than a natural occurrence. The best they can do is Dessler’s lame comment that “despite our best attempts” they can find no other explanation!
Are the energy economies of nation states being put at risk because these fools can find no explanation?
Perhaps they can find no explanation because they are lousy scientists.
The fact is they don’t come over as scientists at all; they don’t even talk like scientists. They come over as preachers, pure and simple. Their rhetoric has more of the flavour of a revival meeting than an intellectual discourse. Dessler, when mentioning sea level rise, says, lamely: “They kinda match”. Dr Sara Myhr tells us that climate is “deeply unstable”. In fact the science in the video is so bad, a dispassionate observer might find it difficult to determine which one is the spoof: the cartoon or the video.
And, in the middle of this panoply of Denial, comes the Finkel Report.
Its Terms of Reference commence with:
The Australian electricity market is undergoing a significant transition, including due to rapid technological change, the increasing penetration of renewable energy, a more decentralised generation system, withdrawal of traditional baseload generation and changing consumer demand.
The report has been hamstrung by its terms of reference. The wisdom of this country’s participation in the Paris Agreement and the consequent promotion of Renewable Energy Targets (RETs) were not subject to discussion, they were a fait accompli.
The rapid introduction of Variable Renewable Electricity sources into the Eastern Australian Grid is without doubt the major cause of instability and power insecurity that this report was supposed to address. It is not driven by “rapid technological change” or “consumer demand” as the Report assumes but is being actively promoted and subsidised by government. This, in turn, is a direct consequence of the widespread popular belief in the climate change mythology as presented in the video discussed above. Without human induced climate change there is no need to adopt RETs. Renewable energy will take its place in the energy market if and when it becomes commercially competitive; there is simply no need for it to be mandated by the state.
The lesson of the SA blackout has not been learned. Thanks to the closure of Hazelwood and without even a replacement on the drawing board, we can expect a similar event to occur in Victoria in the near future. It is likely to happen in late winter or early spring when there is little solar power available and the wind generators all cut out, as they are designed to do, in high winds. When it happens many more people will be affected than in SA. Depending on the time of day tens of thousands of Melburnians could find themselves trapped for hours in commuter trains while chaos reigns on the roads because of stalled trams and failed traffic lights.
It could be a wake-up call. More likely it will be blamed on Climate Change.