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The following letter responds to a front page report in The Australian on comments by IPCC Chairman, Pachauri, who is attending a meeting of a group of scientists in Queensland, apparently involved in drafting an IPCC report. It would not be surprising if the meeting was arranged here to try to help the Gillard government. Although The Age did not give Pachauri the front page treatment with photo that The Australian did, it quoted Pachauri as saying that the report will be on extreme weather and will be released this year. The Age also noted that the “panel has been stung in recent years by errors found in its landmark fourth assessment report on the science of climate change”.

I had less success with a letter to The Age commenting on a budget analysis published by its economic correspondent, Tim Colebatch. However I thought it worthwhile including it below as an illustration the confusion that exists amongst journalists, both left and right wing, about how to interpret the budget. Judging from reports in today’s press, the new Treasury Secretary, Martin Parkinson, may also be confused. He rejects the idea that the budget should have been tighter in the short run (ie next year) because that would have risked “slowing the economy excessively”. What will he say when the Reserve Bank raises interest rates?

Des Moore

Climate Puzzle
letter published in The Australian, 18 May 2011

You report Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Pachauri as opining that “scientific evidence is very, very strong” that extreme weather events are occurring with much higher frequency and intensity because of climate change. Yet specific recent extremes cannot be directly linked to climate change (“Summer of disaster ‘not climate change’ “, 17/5).

Pachauri’s puzzling comment is very, very typical of his use of alarmist opportunities to scare governments to adopt global emission reduction policies under United Nations control, but without producing substantive evidence. The much diminished credibility of the IPCC following serious mistakes in its 2007 report (including scares about melting glaciers), and the absence of any warming in the last decade, make it difficult to see how even believers amongst scientists will accept the views of a chairman who has no scientific qualifications. Climate-related hazards have regularly occurred in the past and will occur in the future. That is the “real” science.

Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

Letters Ed, The Age
6/112 Millswyn St
South Yarra 3141
9867 1235

17 May

Dear Sir

What a dog’s breakfast! First, Tim Colebatch agrees (17 May) that the budget should not give a net stimulus in 2011-12 - but he cannot find which savings to make. Second, however, as it did not include measures he judges as desirable, such as cutting tax loopholes, he also thinks we are right to be dissatisfied. Third, never mind about the 2011-12 stimulus, Treasury analysis shows that it is unreal to say the budget is not tough enough when the government takes so much out of the economy - and even though it is almost certain interest rates will be increased by the Reserve Bank watchdog. Fourth, says Tim, in any event the direction is right because it includes some measures he judges as appropriate to help the jobless.

Clear? Plain as a pikestaff.

Yours faithfully

Des Moore,
South Yarra

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