The distortion of science for ideological purposes has a long history, and the results are generally ugly.

Friday, October 27, 2006

THE AGE letters page online I extracted when I did a Google on my name. Good Grief. I reproduce them here unabridged.

Climate science is reliable

Louis Hissink (Letters, 9/1) asserts there are flaws in the Nature paper on species extinctions due to global warming. He claims climate is poorly understood and almost impossible to model.

This outdated statement could not be further from the truth. After decades of research, most climate processes now are well understood and modelled. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment of climate change science and scenarios for the 21st century remain valid, and in many cases have been strengthened by recent research.

Note: In this particular case this comment is quite in error as the recent discovery that cloud formation is dominated by cosmic rays (aka electrical currents).

It is beyond doubt that, since the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago, greenhouse gas concentrations have been steadily rising due to human activities.

Hissink claims we have had far warmer periods in the recent past, specifically around 1000AD. This is based on scientific papers that have since been discounted as flawed.

Note: This is a barefaced lie - it is a total denial of the Medieval Warming Period for which there is overwhelming historical evidence. Perhaps it's because history is not longer taught in Australian Universities that such erroneus views are held by climate scientists.

In the face of uncertainties acknowledged and discussed by scientists, responding to climate change requires a precautionary and risk-management approach. Being over-cautious might be unnecessarily costly, while ignoring the potential for serious risks could expose many regions to major problems.

Note: After stating "it is beyond doubt" we now about turn and become overly cautious. Good grief.

To minimise risks and optimise benefits we should explore options for both adapting to climate change and for reducing emissions.
Kevin Hennessy,
CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Aspendale

Getter warmer, that's for sure

As a climate scientist, one becomes used to the constant stream of anti-greenhouse rhetoric emanating from the geologists' fossil-fuelled corner, but Louis Hissink's letter must surely take the cake.

Note: His opening sentence merely displays his ignorance. There are no fossil fuels, and are comments are not dominated by fossil fuels. Perhaps the good Dr could cite one scientific experiment in which hydrocarbons (other than methane) have been produced at the pressures and temperatures assumed for the base of sedimentary basins.

The peer-reviewed literature has repeatedly verified the enhanced greenhouse effect (as predicted by models), and all available global temperature records together with associated paleo-climatic data show rapid global warming in the past century.

Note: Really ? Peer reviewed literature is nothing more than group think. Contrary data are ignored.

The great majority of climate research and observations leaves little doubt that global warming is real and is with us now. On current trends we will see temperatures by 2100 about two degrees warmer than at present.

Note: Global Warming as distinct from Anthrpogenic global warming - the two are not synonymous.

These temperatures are likely to be the warmest in the past 4 million years. Any increase in our use of fossil fuels in coming decades will very likely send temperatures even higher, indeed by some scientific estimates by up to six degrees by 2100.

Note: Fossil fuels? Petroleum is not a fossil fuel nor is coal. My correspondent obviously is happy violating the second law of Thermodynamics.

Contrary to ill-informed opinions, climate models are in fact objective mathematical simulations of the atmosphere. These models have reached a level of sophistication that can accurately simulate the large-scale climate variability and change both in the present and in the past.

Note: This is where the BS starts - climate is a non -linear chaotic system and cannot be mathematically modelled despite the specious reasoning in this letter.

While Hissink may be blissfully comfortable with the great unnecessary greenhouse climate change experiment we are currently undertaking, one would hope the great majority of humanity is not.
Dr David Jones,
Ferny Creek

Climate change now too rapid

Louis Hissink's letter debunking global warming and the threatened extinction of one million species reeks of propaganda from the fossil fuel industry. So it is no coincidence that he is a consulting geologist.

He says the earth's climate naturally swings from cool to warm, then asks why we would expect millions of species to die out in the next warming cycle.

The answer is simple. The warming cycle acts over geological time - measured in thousands of years. The current warming cycle fuelled in the main by oil, coal and gas burning, is happening over decades. The environment will change far too fast for many species to adapt.

Increasing concentration of CO2, melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels, record maximum and average temperatures, excessive droughts, floods and cyclones forecast a grim future for the world.

If we keep listening to the vitriol of the oil industry and its supporters, there will be no hope for the future.

Note: Of course the facts are that I am not part of the oil industry nor am I supported by it.

Andrew Arthur,
Malak, NT

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