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Warmist economist John Quiggin had a field day in last Thursday’s AFR in attacking sceptics. He started with a denial that DDT had been banned in anti-malarial use as (rightly) claimed in a Quadrant article by Ted Lapkin in 2003, moved to Miranda Devine at the Daily Telegraph in 2006, then to Jennifer Marohasy at the IPA in Jan 2009, followed by a general assault on Andrew Bolt and on blogger Tim Lambert of The Australian. A group of (unnamed) sceptics, he claimed, had also “harassed climate scientists” at East Anglia University who had used “perfectly legitimate methods of data analysis” in their email exchanges.

Quiggin’s next step was to use London Daily Mail’s headline quote from Dr Phil Jones as an example how opponents of the warmists “lie without compunction” while “scientists are ethically constrained to be honest ... in fighting back”. I thought that this latter observation was worth a response and, hence, the following letter.

But according to Quiggin we can now rest assured that warmist problems will all be put right at a national forum at Parliament House this week arranged by Universities Australia and Science in Public. This will “restate the findings of science on this issue [and] respond to the attacks on science”.

I add only that Quiggin seems to have an entrenched position as a columnist at the AFR. My several attempts to access the Op-Ed section on GW have failed the Q test.

Des Moore

Quiggin’s strange claim
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 15 March 2010

Economist John Quiggin complains that, despite their crucial role,  science and scientific institutions have “come under increasingly vociferous attack, with accusations of fraud, incompetence and even communist conspiracies becoming common” (“Science limited by truth” 11 March).

One example he gives is London’s Daily Mail headline stating “Climategate U-Turn as scientist at centre of row admits: there has been no global warming since 1995”. This refers to an answer  by Dr Phil Jones, head of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, to a question about claims of no increase in global temperatures in recent years.

Quiggin says this headline illustrates that the opponents of scientists “lie without compunction”. 

This is a rather strange claim given that Jones, who has had considerable influence on reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, gave the answer in an interview with the  environmental reporter of the BBC.

Quiggin’s assertion that it was a “deliberately loaded question” is clearly wrong. He also failed to mention that Jones, whose behaviour is subject to an inquiry, acknowledged that he doesn’t believe that the vast majority of scientists think the debate on climate change is over. This is consistent with the reality that around the world well over 30,000 scientists have expressed sceptical or dissenting views on the dangerous global warming thesis.

Perhaps Quiggin should stick to his last.

Yours faithfully

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

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