The environment is something I’m quite passionate about and like a lot of people I imagine: I get worried about the misquoting and lies that people are telling to justify continuing along without lifting our game.
The letter I was responding to went like this:
Cheap energy must be given priority
Saturday’s front-page photograph of a wheat farmer knee-deep in mud should serve to remind us it was not so long ago that climate experts were predicting south-eastern Australia had moved into a state of permanent drought (“This drought may never break”, January 4, 2008).
The inability of climate experts to predict even a few years into the future casts much doubt on the credibility of their 50-year forecasts, and the extent to which man-made carbon emissions can affect these forecasts.
Politicians should take great care about formulating carbon emission policies that will result in large energy price rises based on the advice of those demonstrated to be frequently wrong in their predictions.
The climate does change: sometimes it gets drier and sometimes it wetter; sometimes it gets warmer and sometimes cooler. We would be better served by policies that recognise these cyclical changes occur and that result in securing our most critical resources: cheap water and energy.
Ron Blombery McMahons Point
To which I applied a bit of sceptical thinking to what he was claiming and thought “hey, that doesn’t sound like a prediction climate scientists would make”. Sure enough the original article “This drought may never break” made no such claim that if climate change was correct: we’d see no more rain..
My response to Ron Bombery’s misinterpretation of what was said:
Scientists didn’t come down in the last shower
Ron Blombery (Letters, December 6) wrongly says a rainfall prediction was made by climate experts in the 2008 article he cites. The story was very clear. It said: ”There is absolutely no debate that Australia is warming.” On the subject of drought (rainfall and temperature) it said: “There is a debate in the climate community, after … close to 12 years of drought, whether this is something permanent. Certainly, in terms of temperature, that seems to be our reality, and that there is no turning back.”
Short of reading only the headline (which says the drought ”may” never break, not ”will”), I fail to see how one could conclude that the scientists had staked the validity of climate science to a prediction of zero rainfall in a specific part of Australia. There was no failure of science, only a failure by Mr Blombery to read the article properly.
Nathan Lee Surry Hills
I think we have given preference to cheap energy plenty: cheap and dirty unfortunately. Mr Blombery needs to go to China to see what focussing on cheap energy, cheap manufacturing, cheap goods results in. So what if we’re wrong on climate change anyhow?
Looks like others agreed on the topic:
The recent rain is an example of weather, which is difficult to predict even a few weeks ahead due to its inherently chaotic nature. Climate is weather averaged out over a longer period. The recent rain does not somehow cancel out all the observations of the past
60 years that show south-east Australia is getting hotter and drier, or that the past decade has been the hottest on record.
The CSIRO’s State of the Climate Report 2010 confirms this, and points out that the number of record hot days has been rising since 1960, and the number of record cold days over the same period has been decreasing.
Unfortunately, too many politicians exhibit a similar level of logic and misunderstanding when it comes to differentiating between weather and climate, and this is partly why we find ourselves in the do-nothing position that characterises so much public policy associated with climate change.
Jim Russell Balmain
Cheap energy is the problem, not the solution. Whether or not carbon emissions are changing the climate, oil production is peaking and the coal and gas won’t last forever. The cheaper they are, the faster they run out. Raise the price and they last longer and encourage people to invest in alternative and renewable sources.
Hey presto, we postpone or even avoid wars over expensive, dwindling energy resources.
Jeffrey Mellefont Coogee
I love the Australian approach to climate change. “The climate does change: sometimes it gets drier and sometimes wetter; sometimes it gets warmer and sometimes cooler”. Onya Ron, problem solved, no worries. What do these bloody scientists know anyway?
Steve Durham Northbridge
Good to see there was a decent amount of column space to people replying to his climate change denial. I don’t think it’ll change his mind one little bit that he has managed to misread an article as supporting his view somehow when the scientist clearly said there’s no debate.
I wonder at what point the guy reckons we stop focusing on cheap (dirty) energy? If not today: in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? When the coal runs out and global temperature is many degrees higher? When we ARE able to predict that certain parts of Australia will be in permanent drought? When?
A search for Ron Blombery’s letters
It looks like Ron, like myself, likes to write letters to the SMH. It is easy to see why he thinks climate change is crap when he has shares in mining companies (or at least superannuation that he’s concerned about):
he doesn’t want them taxed more that’s for sure:
To fund our retirement, superannuation funds invest in businesses such as mining that offer good asset growth and dividends. Now the government is going to make these businesses pay a lot more tax, which will reduce their asset value and dividends. At the same time, it encourages us, and forces employers, to put more money into the superannuation system whose future returns it has just diminished. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Ron Blombery McMahons Point
Perhaps they will move shares to green energy companies? Or do investors never sell shares?
He also seems concerned about the environmental benefits of the insulation scheme: though with a pro-mining, climate change denying stance it’s hard to see why he would care one little bit about environmental outcomes when he doesn’t think we’re changing the climate anyhow:
No one seems to be asking the most obvious question about home insulation: what did we get for $2.5 billion? The evidence shows we got rampant opportunism, skulduggery and employment of “the most vulnerable, youngest, unskilled workers” (”Spin and silver tongues can’t hide an empty morality”, February 18). But did the program achieve anything for energy conservation?
By now, a significant proportion of houses should be enjoying the benefits of new insulation. The energy companies can readily produce statistics on power consumed on comparable summer days this year and last year. If there were measurable benefits, surely the government would be telling us. Where are the results? Or did we just waste $2.5 billion?
Ron Blombery McMahons Point
Isn’t ripping out cheap coal and burning it despite clear evidence that it is polluting the atmosphere some sort of opportunism? Or is selling boatloads of it to China for cut price “opportunism”.
So perhaps instead of just thinking about purely financial matters: Ron should think about the future of the environment. If we dig up and burn away everything in the pursuit of Ron Blombery’s personal financial well being: we’ll not achieve much. We have to consider the children and grandchildren of Ron Blombery even if he won’t.