Answers on climate change June 29, 2009Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: climate change, global warming
Answers on climate change
June 29, 2009
Assessment of Minister Wong’s “Written Reply
to Senator Fielding’s Three Questions on Climate Change”
Bob Carter, David Evans, Stewart Franks and William Kininmonth
Emissions trading legislation, such as the “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme” (CPRS) bills that are currently before Parliament, rest upon the assumption that human greenhouse emissions, especially carbon dioxide, (i) are pollutants, and (ii) are causing dangerous global warming. Neither of these assumptions are supported by empirical evidence, and both have been under scientific challenge for many years by a large body of qualified and independent scientists.
Cognisant of these facts, Senator Steve Fielding has posed three direct questions to the Minister for Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, in order to clarify whether or not evidence exists that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming, as alleged by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Minister Wong agreed to address these questions, first, through discussion at a meeting held between the Senators, ourselves and ministerial science advisors Professor Penny Sackett (Chief Scientist) and Professor Will Steffen (Director, ANU Climate Change Institute); at this meeting, an 11-page background presentation was made by Drs. Sackett and Steffen. And, second, by form of written reply, which was provided to Senator Fielding on June 18th.
We provide in this paper an assessment of Minister Wong’s written reply to each of Senator Fielding’s three questions. A more exhaustive paper covering these questions, and other issues arising from the meetings between Senator Fielding and Minister Wong, is covered in the paper titled “Minister Wong’s Reply to Senator Fielding’s Three Questions on Climate Change – A Commentary”.
Is it the case that CO2 increased by 5% since 1998 whilst global temperature cooled over the same period (see Fig. 1)?
If so, why did the temperature not increase; and how can human emissions be to blame for dangerous levels of warming?
The government’s response to this question queried whether global average temperature is an appropriate indicator of global climate, and listed circumstantial evidence for regional planetary warming.
1. What is the most appropriate measure of planetary climate?
1.1. The government’s reply says “When climate change scientists talk about global warming they mean warming of the climate system as a whole, which includes the atmosphere, the oceans, and the cryosphere”, and then adds “in terms of a single indicator of global warming, change in ocean heat content is most appropriate”.
1.2. We agree that in an ideal academic discussion, and were accurate historical data available, ocean heat content might be a better criterion by which to judge global warming than would be atmospheric temperature. Use of this indicator was first pressed strongly by Pielke (2007, 2009) as a test of the dangerous warming hypothesis, but it has not been widely publicized by the IPCC.
1.3. In any case, however, Senator Fielding’s question was predicated upon the history of IPCC’s public advice, which has consistently used the UK Hadley Centre near-surface air temperature record since 1850 as a measure of global warming. This near-surface air temperature record is the one that dominates in IPCC and government policy papers and discussion, and is the criterion of judgement that both politicians and the public are familiar with.
1. 4. As illustrated in Fielding (June 15, Fig. 1), the Hadley temperature record does not exhibit warming after 1998.
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