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Time to cool off on climate
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 30 September 2009

John Breusch suggests that “Copenhagen is expected to produce little more than a ‘framework’ – a broad agreement on what the architecture of a treaty [on climate change] might look like” (“Great leaders won’t stoop to conquer at Copenhagen”, 26 September).

But while arguing that scientists keep reminding us that climate change poses enormous risks to the planet, he does not identify the basic reason for  the lack of agreement or the obvious implications for the Government’s existing absurd policy of Australia starting emissions reductions even if there is no binding international agreement.

One puzzle is why, having won the battle to make the G20 the principal international economic discussion body, our hero Kevin cannot persuade the recalcitrants to fall into line. Perhaps he and other planet savers are unaware not only of the growing number of scientists who reject the dangerous temperature increase thesis but also of the growth of scepticism within the wider community. In the United States polling shows sceptics are now a slight majority and here the Government’s promotion of “Think Change” has actually led to a reduction to 61 per cent of those who consider climate change “very important”. This despite the lack of any independent assessment of the alleged problem and the paucity of critiques provided in the media.

The latest scientist to advocate caution is German academic Mojib Latif, a climate modeller and a lead author to the last two reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He told a recent UN World Climate Conference that some of the warming in the last three decades was probably due to factors other than CO2 emissions and that, in the absence of any warming for a decade, it is now likely there will be “one or even two decades during which temperatures cool”.

The time has surely come for a cooling off period for proposals to start emission reductions in Australia.

Des Moore
Director Institute for Private Enterprise
South Yarra Vic

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