Tallbloke notes that the headline judgement of the Third Assessment Report (2003) was
“Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”.
And the Fourth Assessment Report (2007) was
“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Yet the Fifth Assessment Report’s 2012 draft is the agnostic
“Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.”
Almost certainly the Policy Makers’ Summary will toughen this up but the scientific community is clearly preparing an exit strategy from the great greenhouse hoax it initiated in its 1990 first assessment report.
One upshot is that politicians will rebadge the greenhouse inspired measures they introduced just as they did the previous energy-saving policies that were inspired by Club of Rome notions that resources were approaching depletion. They are already doing so in the regulations like those covering the phase out of incandescent light bulbs, where consumer ignorance (and politicians’ informed expertise) is cited as the rationale.
In their retreat from some of the cost impositions they introduced, politicians will doubtless seek to lay the blame on scientists, most of whom will have retired following their elevation in fame and fortune, which the greenhouse scam provided . Politicians will argue that they were only following the best expert advice available.
But, of course, this is not the case. It was the politicians who appointed the scientists and selected those, like our very own Flannery and successive leaders in the CSIRO and the Met Office, who would provide them the advice they wanted to hear. The scientists themselves fully understood the symbiotic nature of the relationship by publishing material that fanned the flames and emphasising greenhouse effects in the grants they applied for.
As we progressively recognise the negative value-added this public funding created it would be wonderful to see a sharp reduction in the funding. Sadly, this is unlikely. Public funding creates its own constituents who will spend a considerable share of their loot in seeking to keep the tap open. As with spending on arts, sport, regions, industry, foreign policy and other areas of waste, Ministers will, as always, be the champions of their departmental expenditures and resources. Scientific funding will be switched to the Next Big Thing.
It would take a political leader of Thatcherite courage coupled with an economy in tatters to bring any real change. And, notwithstanding the slowdown in Chinese demand, union militancy, taxation and regulatory impositions, and bloated expenditures, the Australian economy has developed a considerable resilience. Unfortunately, our system of government allows for surges of increased regulation and spending but we have yet to devise a means of dramatically reversing these.