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Australia needs own independent inquiry into climate
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 9 February 2010

In your editorial urging Kevin Rudd to explain the emissions trading scheme proposal (February 8) you claim that “the scientific case for human-induced global warming remains strong enough to warrant action on risk-management grounds alone”.  But despite Ross Garnaut’s report acknowledging “large uncertainties in the science”, the Government has never examined the scientific case and nor has the AFR.

Your acknowledgement of “attacks on the rigour” of the Intergovernmental  Panel on Climate Change must be the classic understatement of all time. True, the now acknowledged mistake of the IPCC about the possible melting time of Himalayan glaciers has been followed by claims from that organisation and its supporters that one error does not mean that the basic science is wrong. However, this is far from being the first major mistake or misinterpretation.

Three important ones (there are many others) include the  failures of the IPCC to take full account of urban heating effects, to recognise the falsity of the analysis it published purporting to show no increase in global temperatures before industrialisation, and to disclose changes made to ”raw” temperature data that have produced published temperatures showing a warming trend which did not occur. Analysis by two Australian scientists, made available to your paper, provides unequivocal evidence that the portrayal of temperature changes by the IPCC and by our Bureau of Meteorology is so distorted that it cannot be regarded as reliable evidence.

Indeed, an independent review of the IPCC analyses would now likely show there is no basis to the thesis that increased human activity is threatening to increase temperatures to dangerous levels.

The Indian Government’s decision to establish its own IPCC (because it cannot rely on the analyses by the UN’s IPCC) to assess its own climate situation suggests Australia needs its own independent inquiry before any action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.        

Des Moore
Director, Institute for Private Enterprise South Yarra

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