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Seeing through hoax of the century November 4, 2009

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Seeing through hoax of the century

By Janet Albrechtsen
The Australian, November 4, 2009

INCREASINGLY, the road to Copenhagen resembles a suburban street on Halloween with the number of climate change freak shows and stunts reaching a nadir in recent weeks. Nicholas Stern says we should turn vegetarian in order to combat climate change. If you must eat meat, eat kangaroos, says Ross Garnaut, because marsupials emit negligible amounts of methane. And that champagne you drank on Melbourne Cup day? Scientists scolded us with a report that a 750ml bottle of bubbly could produce 100 million bubbles, releasing five litres of carbon dioxide.

Yet far from rallying people to the cause of immediate action on climate change, every new cri de coeur may be turning people away. Could it be that those derided as the great unwashed are beginning to ask more questions than their smart political leaders or the bastions of intellectual curiosity in the media?

Late last month, activists gathered at Sydney Opera House to listen to Sydney mayor Clover Moore announce that “the time for talk is past”.

“Already we know that this building, our Opera House, for decades a symbol of optimism and the human spirit, is under threat from global warming,” she says.

The Opera House under threat? That would be from rising sea levels, right? Just like the small island nation of Maldives where, last month, the president conducted a cabinet meeting underwater to remind the world that his country would be rendered uninhabitable by rising sea levels. Kitted out in full scuba-diving outfits, Mohamed Nasheed and his ministers sat at a table underwater off the coast of the capital of Male.

As planned, the president’s stunt made headlines across the globe. Send us money – and lots of it – is his message. The media love stunts. They are so easy to report.

Sadly, the media is not inquisitive enough to report those who question the circus acts of climate change. A week after the Maldives underwater show, Nils-Axel Morner – a leading world authority on sea levels – wrote an open letter to the president telling him that his stunt was “not founded in observational facts and true scientific judgments”.

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