From The Australian:
ROBYN Williams: NOW what if I told you pedophilia is good for children or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma? Or that smoking crack is a normal part, and a healthy one, of teenage life and to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths again and again in recent times, distorting the science (of climate change).
Stephan Lewandowsky: There seems to be something about an extreme free-market ideology that prevents some people from accepting scientific evidence. I think there are some spokespeople out there for anti-scientific positions who claim to have a left-wing Marxist background, but when you look at the population at large in a large sample of people, then you don’t find them. And that probably means one of two things. Either the numbers of these people are so small that you just have to be extremely lucky to find one, maybe one in a hundred thousand, or that their claimed political affiliation is not as left-wing as they make out.
Robyn Williams: There have been some extraordinary statements. I’m thinking of a couple of bankers who I have met, who have sat through a learned lecture by one of the most famous scientists in the world, and come out at the other end and said, ‘Well, of course it’s not proven.’ And I don’t know how much more evidence you want. And the former chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman, who had been head of the stock exchange, came out with some drivel in The Australian newspaper a couple of weeks ago about how climate science is a religion.
Compare that with what Maurice Newman actually said:
Australia’s comparative advantage in the world has been its access to cheap energy. It has long been an offset to other relatively more expensive inputs such as labour, transport and capital. This strength has been sacrificed on the altar of global warming.
By most accounts Australia’s greenhouse abatement policies are among the world’s most expensive. For example, the Productivity Commission calculates the value of subsidies to the wind industry is between $40 and $60 a megawatt hour compared with $24 in the US. And that doesn’t even include the carbon tax. Yet we show continued willingness to sign more international treaties that risk further entrenching even higher costs of production.
If only the laws of climate change were as certain as the laws of economics. But they are not. Contradictions and ambiguities envelop the science of man-made global warming. The climate models we were asked to accept as the gold standard have been found wanting. We now know that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is more about political science than real science.
So, with so much doubt, why has the government chosen policies destined to make Australia less competitive? Why damage our economy when any emissions abatement achieved will be globally inconsequential? Why provide huge incentives to divert scarce resources to inefficient, costly projects which, in the ordinary course, the market would not fund?
We are told that by acting now we can avoid the pain of catch-up. But where is the evidence for this? Is it seriously suggested that the international penalty for inaction would be more severe than the economic costs we have imposed on ourselves? After all, no action has been taken against the Kyoto Protocol signatories who failed to comply with their commitments.
So why should we believe that a genuinely enforceable international agreement would be more onerous? The answers seem to be found in hearts rather than minds.
Update: SteveC points out that Williams may be referring to another column (more than a couple of weeks ago):
When Mother Nature decided in 1980 to change gears from cooler to warmer, a new global warming religion was born, replete with its own church (the UN), a papacy, (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and a global warming priesthood masquerading as climate scientists.