“I am worried that a federal minister would believe this crap.” — scientist Graeme Pearman

15 Mar

So am I, though the minister concerned is Senator Nick Minchin, a political head-kicker and true right-wing believer who is among my least favourite politicians of all time. He has been John Howard’s principal bovver boy in the Senate.

A SENIOR Federal Government minister has expressed serious doubts global warming has been caused by humans, relying on non-scientific material and discredited sources to back his claim.

One month after a United Nations scientific panel delivered its strongest warning yet that humans were causing global warming, the Finance Minister, Nick Minchin, has questioned the link between fossil fuels and greenhouse gas pollution.

In a letter he wrote on March 5 to Clean Up Australia’s founder, Ian Kiernan, Senator Minchin took issue with Mr Kiernan’s criticism of the minister’s scepticism.

“Putting whatever my views might be to one side, I am nevertheless interested in your apparent opinion that anyone who remains to be convinced that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are the cause of climate change is a scientific loony,” Senator Minchin said. “I therefore enclose for your information material which indicates that a number of eminent scientists remain in the ‘sceptical’ camp.”

Senator Minchin appears to have taken his advice in part from a collection of columns written by the Canadian newspaper columnist Lawrence Solomon. Among those was one promoting the work of Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark. But that research has proved to contain numerous calculation and methodological errors, say some other scientists.

Senator Minchin also referred Mr Kiernan to a critique of the economic review of global warming by Sir Nicholas Stern. One author of the critique was the retired James Cook University professor Bob Carter. Professor Carter, whose background is in marine geology, appears to have little, if any, standing in the Australian climate science community. He is on the research committee at the Institute of Public Affairs, a think tank that has received funding from oil and tobacco companies, and whose directors sit on the boards of companies in the fossil fuel sector.

A spokesman for Senator Minchin yesterday defended the credibility of the material sent to Mr Kiernan. “The senator stands by his comments in that letter,” the spokesman said…

A former CSIRO climate scientist, and now head of a new sustainability institute at Monash University, Graeme Pearman, said Professor Carter was not a credible source on climate change. “If he has any evidence that [global warming over the past 100 years] is a natural variability he should publish through the peer review process,” Dr Pearman said. “That is what the rest of us have to do.” He said he was letting the fossil fuel industry off the hook.

Of Senator Minchin’s letter, he said: “I am worried that a federal minister would believe this crap.”

I have noted, by the way, recent criticism of An Inconvenient Truth, some of it reputable, on the appropriate post: search climate change on this blog. I would draw your attention also to another post that search brings up: I’m watching “Difference of Opinion”… and the CBC documentary The Denial Machine mentioned there.

Minchin should resume his medication.

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Posted by on March 15, 2007 in Aussie interest, climate change, Current affairs, News and Current Affairs, Politics



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