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  1. 1


    “Chris Rapley, British Antarctic Survey #healthandsecurity, sea levels rising at 3.5 cm per year due to ocean warming and ices melting”

    This sort of statement annoys me as it is out by a factor of 10. University of Colorado (who have been tracking sea levels for decades) have their increase in sea level to be 3.2 mm +-0.4 a year. Most satellite observations put it at around 3-4mm a year.

    Climate change is a reality, but the hysteria is a bit much sometimes and this sort of exaggeration doesn’t help the cause.

  2. 2


    That such a relatively simple thing as the amount by which sea levels are supposed to be rising is heavily and hotly contested infers that science has practically no idea what is going on with changing climate patterns, or how – and what to speak of why. And yet….

    A green army? (wth??)

    And a band of physicians(!?) that declares “As in medicine, prevention is the best solution.”

    This whole ‘global warming’ / Carbon Tax thing is actually pure comedy gold.

    Good luck, sirs, with your efforts to alarm and inform.

  3. 3


    Calculating sea level rise is “relatively simple”? Why would anyone think that?

    Also, “infer” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

  4. 4


    Once again I’d like to register my disappointment that Croakey is saluting the Climate Change Juggernaut.

    There are plenty of genuinely interesting and far more immediate health issues that are worth discussing.

    If anyone needs me I’ll be over at The Conversation…

  5. 5

    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    I took the seal level rise tweet as a prediction of what may happen.

    Isn’t it interesting how the deniers feel justified in ignoring the huge body of evidence about climate change because of such trivial matters as this sea level tweet!

    On one hand we have a consistent world view where rational scientists have looked at the evidence and made rational conclusions, and this has been rationally followed up by economists and politicians (including some on the right).

    The deniers think that throwing a few stones at this world view is enough to shatter it, without ever thinking of what world view would replace it.

    If climate change is wrong, how do we explain the huge amount of evidence of change and warming? How has the conspiracy been formed that has the vast majority of scientists of every country under every type of political regime all supporting climate change? What about the greater conspiracy of the economists and politicians who believe in action?

    I’ve yet to read anything that casts real doubt on climate change, and I’ve yet to find anything the proposes a rational world view that takes into account the measured facts and the need for lots of conspiracies.

    The carbon tax in Australia would be an ok first step if there was any intention to very soon make many more steps. Instead we have Gillard promising that there will never be a carbon tax on petrol for consumers. And those who report on the political circus are so out of touch with reality that Michelle Gratton wrote something along the lines of Bob Brown being insane for saying that one day there would be a carbon tax on petrol.

    Both the deniers and those who think that the carbon tax will fix things have their heads buried very deep in the sand.

    And even those who should be supporting the environment (ACF, WWF, etc) are making so much noise supporting the carbon tax and saying well done that the they dare not mention that if is far too little too late.

  6. 6

    ron batagol

    Having worked in the scientific area in research teaching and clinical practice for over 50 years, I cannot recall any previous issue of public health importance where the basic premises of scientific enquiry have been so manipulated and ignored. For instance, anyone who doesn’t meekly accept ALL of the arguments and supporting studies without question suddenly becomes “the enemy”, to be labelled with the derogatory term ” skeptic”!

    Indeed, unlike other areas of science and medicine, such outcasts are never included in any round-table discussions or Committees planning or making policy decisions.

    Science (at least since the end of the dark ages) has always been inclusive and embraced those who dare to question the prevailing wisdom, so that they can be judged by the counter-arguments that they prosecute, not shunned and treated as scientific lepers!

    Yes, a large proportion of the population accept that there has been a change in global temperature, and that a cogent and well-supported argument can be made that man-made carbon emissions contribute to this. The extent of this is far from settled Sadly, it is when the zealots talk and act with closed minds (“the enemy”, “skeptics”) and come up with half-baked solutions that threaten our fragile economy , and pollies seize on it and push it down everyone’s throats, that a large proportion of the population becomes alienated. Perversely, the end result is, of course, that there is little likelihood that any Government in 2015 (probably Coalition)is likely to implementing the proposal that is currently going through Parliament. The tragedy is that with adherance to basic scientific principles and and a lille bit of creative and inclusive politics, one of many other much smarter and less costly solutions could have been implemented!

  7. 7

    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)


    I’ve yet to read anything which casts real doubt on the conclusions of the IPCC and Garnaut reports. Every time I’ve researched a claim made by a denier I’ve very quickly found out why they are wrong.

    Perhaps in medicine we should be inclusive and all major decisions should not only have our usual medical experts but should include a faith healer, homeopath, and representative of the other side of the medical debate (i.e. the doctor who thinks that smoking is good for you or the doctor who denies that HIV causes AIDS).

    Ron sort of sounds reasonable. But if the science says that our share of cuts to prevent warming of over 2 degrees is a 40% cut on 1990 levels by 2020, I’m not sure how “a little bit of creative and inclusive politics, one of many other much smarter and less costly solutions could have been implemented!”

  8. 8


    As MWH says, Ron sounds “sort of reasonable”, but I can’t see the point of entertaining opinions from people who have yet to produce any convincing science that AGW is wrong. Whenever we ask for some published, peer-reviewed science ( you know, Ron, the real thing) we get the whine about “conspiracy” and “grant-seeking cabal of established experts”.
    Come on, Ron, show us some convincing science from these “outcasts” and then tell us why they shouldn’t be outcasts….

  9. 9
  10. 10

    Chris Tallis

    From climate progress

    In a notable 2010 study, the late William Freudenberg, a University of California, Santa Barbara, researcher who studied science and the media, found that new scientific findings are more than 20 times likely to show that global climate disruption is “worse than previously expected” rather than “not as bad as previously expected.”
    He drew two conclusions from the assessment, one for scientists and one for journalists:
    Scientists should be more skeptical toward supposed “good news” on global warming. And reporters, he warned, “need to learn that, if they wish to discuss ‘both sides’ of the climate issue, the scientifically legitimate ‘other side’ is that, if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested in scientific consensus estimates to date.”

    And yet we get our scott and scottyea calling these people alarmists. No they are conservatives who are consistently underestimating the repercussions of climate change.

  11. 11

    Mike Flanagan

    The London conference is fair warning to what we may experience in the very near future in storm surges and tropical rainfall and cyclones and there manisfestations. The Carbon abatement Bills are only the first step and will require considerable expansion and modification before we attempt to meet the requirements that the climate change spectre demands.
    Whilst major mining companies expend billions of dollars protecting new and old infrastructure from the affects of climate change they continue to fund anti action campaigns to protect the public and their infrastructure.
    Insurance companies have spent the last twenty years having conferences up down the eastern coast with local council staff in an effort to mitigate their risk of climate change. At the same time many of them deliver affective campaign support to procastinate the delivery of the beginnings of a policy for the public’s protection. Meanwhile the media attends to their own interest to expand a lucrative advertising platform by addressing the controversy rather than the science and the risks.
    Yes many of the Harvard school MBA’s that control the destiny of our Mining, Finance, Media, Insurance and major corporations are proving to be leadership failures. No wonder a recent Canberra conference called for a review of Management and Leadership.
    Published scientific observations and projections of the Artic, Antartic and Glaciers from Europe to New Zealand point to an imminent change in climet change that will be catastrophric to many people on the planet.
    Scientist tell us that climate change will not arrive along a steadily inclined lineal graph line but by radical swings from one extreme to the other. We have already experienced both seasonal and out of seasons flooding rains and an increase in the intensity and number of cyclones and these are only a portent of what we may experience in the not too distant future.
    So it is time for our Academic, Corporate, Religous, Community and Political leadership to set about developing policies and implementing programs to mitigate the risks to the community and their store of infrastructe in a constructive manner.

  12. 12


    anyone who doesn’t meekly accept ALL of the arguments and supporting studies without question suddenly becomes “the enemy”, to be labelled with the derogatory term ” skeptic”!

    First, “skeptic” is the term denialists apply to themselves because they don’t like being known as denialists. Personally I prefer the term “inactivists”, but that suggests a lack of activism, rather than the very active denial of science they engage in.

    Second, skepticism and eliminating poor data is inherent to the scientific method. Most people simply aren’t very familiar with how science works, they just know it does, so it’s very easy for reactionary conservatives to claim that rigorously-obtained data is being accepted on faith.

    No one just “accepts” the arguments or data on climate change, meekly or otherwise. They remain because they haven’t been disproven, despite the efforts of the inactivists.

    Third, far from skeptically assessing the science, the inactivists have embraced every single false theory against climate change that has emerged so far. Every single one.

    Remember when the IPCC was wrong because climate change was caused by solar rays? How about that brief time when the “skeptics” were dead-set convinced that orbital wobbles were responsible? Volcanoes? Urban heat islands?

    While scientists are carefully eliminating faulty theories, the inactivists dive into baseless conjecture with complete faith and conviction. Did you know the sun is a ball of iron? Ian Plimer does.

    Finally, everyone whose memory stretches back further than a few years will recall that the people who now claim to be skeptics and find a new reason each month to explain climate change away (except CO2, of course) didn’t even acknowledge that the climate was changing at all until about 2007.

    That, Ron, is why inactivists are perceived as enemies of science, not earnest participants in an important scientific debate.

  13. 13


    Science (at least since the end of the dark ages) has always been inclusive and embraced those who dare to question the prevailing wisdom, so that they can be judged by the counter-arguments that they prosecute, not shunned and treated as scientific lepers!

    This is one of the more audacious inactivist claims.

    There is a clear pattern throughout history of people with progressive ideas putting forward the evidence for their ideas, and being ruthlessly persecuted by authoritarian conservatives who are resistant to change and completely supportive of the powerful institutions that stand to lose from acceptance of the data.

    It happened when Galileo challenged the geocentric solar system, it happened when researchers proposed germ theory, it happened with the cancer-tobacco link and it’s still happening with evolution.

    Apparently we’re to believe that the people who have been on the losing side of every scientific debate in history, and have always made the same arguments on the same bases, have got it right this time and are set to expose the global green communist agenda, etc, etc.

  14. 14

    Frank Campbell

    Ron: “Science (at least since the end of the dark ages) has always been inclusive and embraced those who dare to question the prevailing wisdom, so that they can be judged by the counter-arguments that they prosecute, not shunned and treated as scientific lepers!”

    Wrong, Ron. The history of science is littered with lepers…some of whom triumph, in or after their lifetimes. A recent example is Freeman and Warren’s 1982 discovery that a bacterium caused most stomach ulcers…they won the Nobel Prize in 2005. They were ridiculed for years by their own profession.

  15. 15

    Frank Campbell

    “The solution: a global economy based on green energy sources, is both well-established and technologically feasible.”

    This is the key deception. The rising tide of verbal sludge (“transitioning to clean green energy”) obscures the fraud: Australia is on a fossil fuel binge, a bonanza. Gillard correctly said (twice) that “coal has a fantastic future”. Renewable energy technology is either useless (wind), hopelessly expensive and/or embarrassingly undeveloped. Just examine the inglorious recent history of geothermal in Australia for instance- a billion dollars wasted so far. Read Flannery’s 2008 “Now or Never” and compare the current reality of geothermal with his fatuous predictions. Note also his conflicts of interest. Flannery is the Monckton of the climate cult.

    Even if the more extreme predictions were correct, the carbon tax would still be ridiculous policy. It’s too small now to affect behaviour. Most of the revenue of it is to be handed to wind scammers or spent on “compensation”. Without basic research into renewables the entire strategy becomes a farce. As the tax increases, its inherent class discrimination will become more obvious- and there won’t be enough revenue for “compensation”.

    Rational action on anthropogenic climate change is being destroyed by the climate cult itself, both the hysterical proponents and the sleazy legion of Right-wing opportunists who relish the chance to attack the Greens and the Left: Jones, Bolt et al.

  16. 16


    Says Frank Campbell:
    “A recent example is Freeman and Warren’s 1982 discovery that a bacterium caused most stomach ulcers…they won the Nobel Prize in 2005. They were ridiculed for years by their own profession.”

    In fact, just enough years that their research results were found to be accurate. There was no repression of dissenters, as the inactivist argument goes. Just the standard scientific process, by which the CO2 = climate change theory was proven quite some time ago.

  17. 17


    Tony Abbott says: Climate change is “crap”. Since he is never right global warming and the anthropological effects must be REAL. It’s as simple as that.

  18. 18

    Frank Campbell

    I read your Attwood link Sancho: The author states:

    “I am a firm believer in the H. pylori hypothesis, and if I had a duodenal ulcer, I would take metronidazole in a heartbeat. This was far from obvious throughout the 1980s, however, not because of dogmatic rejection, but for legitimate scientific and medical reasons. To summarize: Even by the end of the decade, it was not clear either that H. pylori caused PUD or, if it did, that specific antibacterial treatment would be preferable to existing treatments.”

    he adds later:

    “To be fair, I will add that the CDC report also mentioned that although most physicians were aware of the H. pylori association, many of them (50 percent of primary care docs and 30 percent of gastroenterologists) were still not testing for H. pylori in patients with first-time ulcer symptoms.”

    Dr Gerritsen’s view matches my own experience:

    “Believe me, they (Freeman and Warren) were ridiculed by the medical establishment. I recall my colleagues, and even my own physician-husband, scoffing at the idea of peptic ulcers being an infectious disease. For the next thirteen years, most of the “medical mainstream” refused to let go of their calcified notion that the only treatment for ulcers was to combat gastric acid secretion.”

    To a degree the disputants are at cross-purposes- general medical opinion vs scientific research: the first negative, the second demanding proof and (eventually) conceding the argument.

    The other dimension is specificity: a single bacterium alleged to cause a specific disease. Empirical science has a good chance of resolving such an issue- not so with climate change. Again, both sides are disingenuous: the basic science is clear (CO2 is a greenhouse gas), but every single extrapolation from that is fraught with uncertainty. Not just the complexity of innumerable systems, but the fact that some are intrinsically chaotic. The ferocity of both sides of the cult reflects the high stakes. The pursuit of heretics is unrelenting and vicious. Proponents are abusing science.

    Just ask yourself why not a single article has even been published on Crikey that is remotely critical of the plethora of extreme claims made by climate propagandists (and some scientists- like Prof. Kevin Anderson). The very first one did appear- a week or two ago- essentially criticising the absurd reliance on existing renewables technology as a vital part of “the solution”. Cracks appearing even in Crikey’s fanaticism?

  19. 19


    @Chris Tallis

    Of course there are always scientific results that are worse than expected. This is how modelling works. There are always outliers, but over enough sample points there will be a regression to the mean (i.e you get a few years of worse than the model, followed by a few years of better than expected results, but eventually, if it is a good model, the forecast will roughly reflect the reality)
    My argument with the sea level tweet is that the claim of 3.5 cm sea level increase a year doesn’t reflect the past history of sea level rises, or even the current scientific modelling for sea level increases in the near future and so isn’t an accurate reflection of the true reality.

  20. 20

    Rich Uncle Skeleton

    Just ask yourself why not a single article has even been published on Crikey that is remotely critical of the plethora of extreme claims made by climate propagandists (and some scientists- like Prof. Kevin Anderson)

    Just ask yourself why you have never managed to put forward a coherent argument AGW, except to pretend that so-called “extreme claims” (always out of context quotes championed by your right-wing heroes) are part of the scientific literature?

    Frank, do you have a problem with the science in the AR4 report? Or do you just not like it because, like most right-wingers, you are scared of change?

  21. 21

    ron batagol

    What a diverse range of fascinating responses to my comments! Let’s be clear on one thing- I’m not advocating or endorsing the views of those who are labelled as “deniers” or “skeptics” etc. I’m simply saying that in every other area of science and medicine we welcome, indeed embrace the “what if” and “devil’s advocate arguments (eg.- if you’re right you can afford to question and if you’re wrong, you can’t afford not to! etc.).
    And,yes, by the way, for all the grief that it brings to us, we do, in fact, include the fringe dwellers in our medical tent rather than leave them on the outside looking in so to speak! Hence we have rules and standards for the naturopaths, homeopaths and everything else short of faith healers, albeit as we know that these rules don’t work awfully well, and aren’t effectively policed, and we also know only too well that most of these areas of fringe medicine are based on dollops of hope, faith and lots plus lots of placebo effect!
    Frankly, I would love to see a disciplined debate featuring all aspects of the climate change debate
    . Again, if we were talking along the lines of medical research you would explore many questions, including some such as – is the modelling and its assumptions reliable and to what extent does the inbuilt margin of error influence projected outcomes for temperature increases? Are the arguments that coral will in fact thrive at a higher temperature rather than die, correct? Can we estimate the ratio of temperature increase from made-made pollutants vis-a-vis that from natural climatic variation? Since the U.S, China (despite application of new technology), and India will increase their net pollution from coal-fired generators, aren’t we taking a huge economic gamble for no worthwhile outcome by setting up our Carbon Pricing Emissions Trading Schemes? My point is that in this, compared to other scientific debates, anyone who dares to even raise these and other questions simply to seek legitimate answers, gets shouted down as a skeptic or denier! And that’s no way to explore complex scientific issues that underpin a large investment of our financial resources, especially when you have incompetent political leaders who nobody trusts or believes and who cannot do what Richard Smith identifies , namely, “tell a compelling story in a professional way ! “

  22. 22


    20 Comments. Most make no mention whatsoever of the public health consequences of climate change. Some pay lip service. Only a handful even consider the health costs.

    Instead, the majority go back and forth in the same tired and oh-so-played out debate about climate change’s scientific rigour and attaching labels to one another.

    There are fascinating discussions taking place right now about about stem cell patents, organ donation, the ethics of pharma companies, emphysema, hypertension, fertility and diet. But here at Croakey we’re firmly on the Climate Change bandwagon.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  23. 23

    Frank Campbell

    Skeleton: as usual all you can do is smear me as a “Rightwinger” – you know full well I’ve voted Green since 1992.

    It’s no wonder that hysteria and abuse rule- the worst offenders as always protected by their anonymity. Crikey should review its comments policy.

  24. 24

    ron batagol

    I guess “Shooba” epitomises the problem- i.e. only listen to what I say because I know it all, and exclude all other legitimate “what ifs” and questions that may arise. Now, that’s guaranteed only to alienate a large part of the community! Sure, by all means prosecute the case and warn of health consequences etc. We all do things like that when we are advocating a course of action in the health field. But I think it’s also critical to take into account that, while these environmental health flow-on effects are important to us professionally ( and personally, if they were to occur!), we don’t operate in a vaccuum and these are not issues that will in fact, resonate deeply with the community or its movers and shakers. So, the bottom line is- if we have leaders who no one trusts and who can’t cut through to the average Joe, then,if it is necessary to work within a democratic political system , which is more likely than not to fail to implement your “gold standard” remedies for climate change, you need to start thinking about your plan B, and how you are going to sell that to the community?

  25. 25

    Ben Mullings

    @ron I think what Shooba is trying to say is that if we are going to talk about climate change on a health blog, then it would be important to include some discussion about how the impact of climate change on specific public health issues. And I have to say that I agree with that sentiment.

    We have a lot going on in health policy in Australia right now, particularly in mental health policy reforms. The carbon tax is interesting and topical, however, unless we are talking about the impact of climate change on public health issues, then it is hard to see how this topic is relevant.


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