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Editorial Echoes 18/11/2007 – Climate Change, The IPCC and The Election

November 18th, 2007 at 06:44am

Climate change hasn’t been a huge issue so far in the election campaign, but a new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will bring the issue to the fore. Samuel examines the issues to see if the consensus of scientists predicting climate-change-induced-disaster really exists, and what effect climate change will have on the election.

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The script follows.


It looks like somehow I managed to get the date wrong in the script of this episode and didn’t notice.

Welcome to Editorial Echoes for November 15, 2007, I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart.

Nine days between episodes…well that’s something that’s going to change. We’re now in the final week of the election campaign, and from now until the day after the election, there will be an episode of Editorial Echoes every morning.

Later this week we’ll catch up with a journalist who has been following the leaders around throughout the election campaign, and during the week I will be out and about conducting polling, with results on election day.

Incidentally, I’m also running an election poll on my blog at and I’d be very interested to see you cast your vote in the poll. The more votes cast, the better!

Anyway, on with the show, and today I’d like to have a word with you about climate change. Climate change is something we have heard an awful lot about in recent times, but it hasn’t really been a huge issue so far in the campaign. In fact, the “who copied who” of climate change policies appeared to take up more time than the actual policies.

Climate change really hasn’t had anywhere near as much focus during this campaign as many would have expected, but that will probably change this week as the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, have released a report which, once again, paints an alarming picture of the climate change issue.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has been quoted as saying “Today the world’s scientists have spoken, clearly and in one voice”, but Mr. Moon, have they? sent out a survey to 345 members of the IPCC and found something quite astounding. Less than 50% of the respondents said that an increase in global temperature of 1-degree Celsius is undesirable. Half of the respondents said that such a temperature increase is desirable, desirable for some but undesirable for others or too difficult to assess.

Only 14% said that the ideal climate was cooler than the present climate. Whilst Sixty-one percent said that there is no such thing as an ideal climate, and even more incredibly, only 20% said that human activity is the principal driver of climate change.

The survey found that the standard questions about humans and climate change tended to get responses which you would expect from an IPCC report, but once they started asking questions which didn’t quite seem to fit the usual script, the views varied wildly, and the cosensus disappeared.

And even scientists are questioning the consensus, the Petition Project for example has recorded signatures from 19,000 scientists questioning the scientific basis of climate alarmism, and other IPCC scientists have resigned due to their disagreements with other members of the panel, and yet still get their name on reports.

So, with this in mind, what does the latest report say?

Well an unpronounceable scientist and economist who heads up the IPCC summarised it by saying the world would have to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 to avert major problems.

“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late” he said.

But hang on a minute, during the week the New South Wales government released a report showing that air pollution in Sydney has dropped by 30 per cent in the last fifteen years. The report went in to further detail by naming particular pollutants, including carbon monoxide emissions, which dropped by 34 per cent.

Now if Sydney has managed these reductions despite an increase in population, then it is probably fair to say that other cities have done the same, which means pollution is dropping, but climate change continues, which brings us back to the lesson of history, the lesson that climate change is natural, or at the very least, mostly natural.

When you consider that only forty years ago or so we had scientists warning us of an impending ice age, you have to wonder how much of the alarmism is real science, and how much of it is merely keeping these scientists in a job.

And when I consider that I’ve heard a handful of scientists this year claiming that they are starting to see a shift towards another phase of global cooling, I can only think that we will see a very large number of scientists with a fair amount of egg on their collective faces in the coming years.

Of course the most amusing thing about the IPCC report is that it is the precursor to a round of international climate change talks in Bali next month.

You would think that a group concerned about carbon emissions would want to hold their meetings in a location which would require the least amount of travel, which would surely mean somewhere in Europe, not an island nation almost as far away from the vast majority of nations as you can get…not to mention the amount of air conditioning they will have to use in Indonesia in December!

I suppose the question therefore is, how will the issue of climate change affect the election? Well there was a national protest about global warming last weekend, the so-called “walk against warming”, and it’s probably fair to say that the majority of people who see climate change and the supposed need to take action as the main issue which will decide their vote, would have attended the walk.

Cate Faehrmann from the Nature Conservation Council said estimates suggested as many as 150,000 people attended the rally nationally. 150,000, in a nation of 21 million, 141 thousand people. That’s 0.7 per cent. Naturally, this prompted one of Bob Brown’s amusing pronouncements. He told the Sydney march that the turnout proved the environment is a top priority ahead of the November 24 election.

Well Bob, if 0.7 per cent of the population have climate change as their clinching argument for their vote. That’s only enough to tip the balance in six electorates, half of which are Labor electorates anyway.
The electorates are Hindmarsh, held by Labor by 0.06 per cent
Kingston, held by Liberal by 0.07 per cent
Swan, held by Labor by 0.08 per cent
Macquarie, held by Labor by 0.47 per cent
Bonner, held by Liberal by 0.51 per cent and
Wakefield, held by Liberal by 0.67 per cent.

This 0.7 wasn’t just the climate change fanatics either, the numbers were inflated by other groups tagging along for the ride. For example, the Canberra march was joined by Resistance, the peculiar rent-a-mob socialist movement that seem to turn up to any protest they can find, and a bunch of anti-nuclear movements, which seems strange considering that nuclear power would help to curb carbon emissions.

So, 0.7 per cent, many of whom are so anti-liberal that they would vote against the coalition even if they could cure cancer, produce world peace and end hunger and poverty.

Will climate change have much effect on the outcome of the election? The answer is a very clear “no”.

This has been Editorial Echoes for November 15, 2007, if you have any thoughts or comments about any of this, email them to

In the previous episode of Editorial Echoes I provided my Melbourne Cup tips…well as per usual I had a shocker, with my tips running 14th, 16th and 19th.

As I mentioned earlier, the weekly poll on my blog this week is an election poll to see who you will be voting for in the house of representatives. If you’d like to cast your vote, is the place to go.

Last week’s question about compulsory voting saw 71% in favour of it. A result which is hardly surprising.

I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart, I look forward to talking to you again tomorrow, and until then, tada.

Entry Filed under: Editorial Echoes,Global Warming

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  • 1. John999555  |  November 19th, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Listening to talkback radio, I get the impression that people are starting to suffer from “Climate Change Fatigue”, and really don’t want to hear any more about it !

  • 2. Samuel  |  November 19th, 2007 at 7:43 am

    That wouldn’t surprise me. I’d rather not hear about it…but as long as the fanatics keep pushing it as an issue, others will have to debunk them.


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