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Climate Change: Royal Society view
letters published in The Australian, 9 October 2010

Following is a selection of letters published in today’s Australian on the climate change issue and reproduced on the web. It will be noted that my interpretation of the Royal Society report differs from that of the Vice-President of the Society.

In my article published by Quadrant Online (copy attached) I refer briefly to the fact that the report is a response to complaints by a small group within the Society (about 40) that the official “scientific consensus” position enunciated by the executive was untenable. Vice-President Pethica’s claim that “the science remains the same as do the uncertainties” does not seem consistent with that or with the three-way division in the report of the existing state of scientific knowledge – well established, wide consensus but subject to continuing debate, and substantial uncertainty.

Des Moore


Letters published in the Australian 9 October 2010


Because this committee is not about consensus or discussing climate change: it is about having already confirmed that one supports a carbon tax otherwise one is not welcome on the committee ("Gillard's forum takes a dark shade of green", 8/10).

The Prime Minister has qualified the invitation on several occasions and needs to tell readers the truth; that this consensus is about how believers deliver a new tax to consumers without them knowing.

More transparency from Gillard; I think not.

Maggie Ward, Kingsthorpe, Qld


IN your coverage of our newly published Climate change: a summary of the science ("Top science body cools on global warming", 2/10) your correspondents suggest that the society has changed its position on climate change. This is simply not true.

There is no greater uncertainty about future temperature increases now than the Royal Society had previously indicated.

The science remains the same, as do the uncertainties.

Indeed, the purpose of the new guide is to help people understand what is well established and what is still uncertain.

There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the main cause of the global warming that has taken place over the past half century.

The warming trend is expected to continue but the sizes of future temperature increases are still subject to uncertainty.

Professor John Pethica, Vice-President of the Royal Society, London, UK


AND there they all sit as true believers in climate change, paving the way for the mystical climate Nirvana and working out just how much they can slug us all in new taxes for the privilege of their esteemed decisions.

A mob pre-selected, not because of their possible impartial and robust contribution to society's understanding of the little that can be done to offset the real nature and effects of climate change, but because they are the preferred audience of head-bobbers.

Ralph Walton, Belmont, Qld


MEMO to Prime Minister: If one is to act with integrity on climate matters, one does not make decisions behind closed doors after listening to the confidential statements of supporters of a certain claim.

There is only one way to discuss and consider all claims and counter-claims and that's by having a royal commission to examine the credibility of the evidence presented to it.

Of course, this will come at a cost, but a commission might find that any ETS would be a waste of money.

John McLean, Croydon, Vic


JULIAN Hunt says that while there is a growing urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the science of climate and environment needs to be more widely explained ("Act locally while awaiting global climate treaty", 8/10). If he reads the September report by the Royal Society, he will see why the science is not easily explained.

This report says climate change remains subject to intensive scientific research and public debate.

It is not surprising, then, that the report offers no ranges for temperature increases, no tipping point beyond which temperature increases would be irreversible and offers no assessment of possible impacts.

More analysis is needed before implementing policies to cut emissions.

Des Moore, Director, Institute for Private Enterprise, South Yarra, Vic


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