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Climate Change Policy - Alternatives
Des Moore responds to letters published in The Australian Financial Review, 4 and 13 May 2011

Following is a letter by Professor Bob Carter (with the “professor” omitted by the Letters Ed) published by the AFR in response to a letter criticising an earlier letter of mine. My letter had suggested that the reported plea by Tony Windsor MP for an alternative climate change policy could be met by examining the critique sent to the MCCC by four scientists and myself of a presentation to the committee by scientific adviser, Will Steffen. That critique pointed to the many errors/misinterpretations in the presentation and concluded that the best policy is one that involves adaptation to climate events and hazards as they occur.

The letter by a Mike Martin (below) criticising mine illustrates the failure of many commentators to understand the basics and the need for an independent inquiry. This need is further illustrated in a recent survey in Perth which showed that 37% of carbon-based-life-form respondents want to reduce carbon in the human body and 44% wish to eliminate carbon and carbon dioxide from food and drink altogether (however, 28% of respondents don’t think there is any carbon or carbon dioxide in food and drink in the first place).

Des Moore

Committee given partial climate advice
Letter by Bob Carter published in The Australian Financial Review, 13 May 2011

Mike Martin (Letters, 4 May) manages to miss the main point at issue - which is that the government’s Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change (MCCC) has been briefed with quite inadequate, not to mention partial, scientific advice.

That carbon dioxide has increased by 18 ppm between the years 2000 and 2009 is not under challenge. Rather the two key questions are: what proportion of that carbon dioxide increase resulted from human emissions, and what increase in temperature has occurred as a result of those emissions?

On the second question, it is notable that global average temperature has decreased by about 0.05 deg. C since 2001 despite the carbon dioxide increase. These facts are surely of some significance for the deliberations of the MCCC, which apparently remains innocent of knowledge of them.

Bob Carter
Institute for Public Affairs
Annandale Qld


Moore's climate paper limitations
Letter published by Mike Martin in The Australian Financial Review, 4 May 2011

Des Moore claims that a paper by himself, Bob Carter, Bill Kininmonth, David Evans and Stewart Franks finds that scientific adviser Will Steffen's presentation to the federal government Climate Change Committee was "rife with errors or misrepresentations ..."("Windsor's alternative plan", Letters, May 2).

There is much to criticise in Moore et al's paper, but let me home in on just one example of the kind of argument that it uses.

The paper tries to dismiss the significance of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration by stating (page 20) that:

"The increase in carbon dioxide concentration [in the atmosphere] from 2000 to 2009 was only 18 ppm [parts per million]. Therefore no rapid increase in the rate of accumulation is occurring".

Over the past 800,000 years, up until 1900, concentration varied from 172 to 300 ppm, say on average, 275 ppm as it was during the 18th century.

An increase of 18 ppm, or 7 per cent, in a decade is rapid in anyone's language. At that rate, over 140 years the concentration will double.

In fact this process is under way. Concentration as measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, on April 24 was 393 ppm, up 19 ppm from 10 years ago and far above any level ever attained in 800,000 years.

No rapid increase? Moore apparently has his own definition of "rapid".

Mike Martin
Newtown NSW

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