Politicians with Egg on their Face

There are views that used to be widely held, or even law, that today would be considered inappropriate. As John Stuart Mill remarked - “every age having held opinions that are now recognised as absurd”.

There are scientific views (for example: the world is flat; the sun travels around the earth; synthetic chemicals will cause a cancer epidemic; acid rain will destroy all the German forests; global famine is inevitable due to the population explosion).

There are social norms and cultural conventions (for example: no one, who does not profess a belief in a God, should be permitted to give evidence in a court of law; a wife should love, honour and obey her husband; jazz should be banned because it has a corrupting influence on the young). There are philosophical views (for example: the logical structure of the mind is dependent on a person’s race or social class or nation).

Views that were thought to be immutable may not be so.

It is ten years since Art Robinson published Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. His review sites 132 papers. Here is the abstract:

A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th and early 21st centuries have produced no deleterious effects upon Earth’s weather and climate. Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in hydrocarbon use and minor greenhouse gases like CO2 do not conform to current experimental knowledge. The environmental effects of rapid expansion of the nuclear and hydrocarbon energy industries are discussed.

He then then invited scientists to sign his Global Warming Petition.

31,487 American scientists signed, including 9,029 with PhD s.

Ten years later, Art Robinson’s conclusions have had the benefit of another decade of experimental data. There is still no empirical support for the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. Moreover, as admitted by Ben Santer et al., in Nature Geoscience, 19 June 2017, the computer models on which the theory is based have been proven wrong.

Policies based on this failed theory are now causing severe economic damage because they have led to high-cost, low-reliability electricity. Businesses are closing and employees are losing their jobs. Poorer citizens cannot heat their homes. Perhaps this could be justified if it were saving the planet from environmental destruction. But current scientific opinion indicates that increased CO2 in the atmosphere is not causing global warming and the seas continue to rise at their historical average of only 1.7cm per decade.

As Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson explain in Why Nations Fail, “Poor countries are poor because those who have the power make choices that create poverty. They get it wrong not by mistake or ignorance but on purpose.”

In the period from January to May 2017, wholesale electricity prices in Australia have averaged $121.46 per MW. This compares with a potential cost as low as $40 per MWh from new HELE coal fired power stations. Our State Premiers - Weatherill, Andrews, Berejiklian, and Palaszczuk - bear the most responsibility for this fiasco. They are the ones who are going to have to answer for their poor judgement as it becomes clear that all this pain was unnecessary. They will be the ones with egg on their face.

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Peter Francis Fenwick       Writer      Melbourne     Australia