Even the ABC is questioning global warming

It’s not true, of course. Yet this is not my notion but is from a post at Watt’s Up with That? titled, Now even Australia’s ABC is asking questions about the new IPCC report and why Dr. Richard Tol asked his name to be removed from it. Still, this must represent progress of sorts:

Nicholas Stern is challenged by ABC’s Tony Jones on China/coal/renewables propaganda, and comes out looking very foolish indeed.

I’m not sure I’d go that far but you can see that for a change there is actually some effort made to challenge the facile nonsense that is the preserve of the GWL:

***NICHOLAS STERN: What China is doing is growing rapidly and trying to reduce the fraction of coal in its energy portfolio and it’s succeeding in doing that.

TONY JONES: Sorry, can I interrupt you there. Do you know what it is at the moment? I found it hard to actually find details of this. What is the percentage of power produced by coal?

NICHOLAS STERN: I think it’s around – you’ll have to check this Tony but I think it’s just below 60 per cent coming down from considerably above 60 per cent.
Don’t hold me on those numbers. All I can tell you is that it’s coming down pretty rapidly in China as a result of direct policy and notwithstanding a likely doubling of the economy in 10 years, that they aim, during that period, to find a peak in coal and then bring it on down thereafter…

***TONY JONES: Finally, as scientists meet in Japan to thrash out the final wording on the IPCC’s next assessment report on the impact of climate change, British economist Professor Richard Toll who was one of the lead authors, has asked for his name to be taken off the document, claiming it’s alarmist and has been changed from talking, as he says, about manageable risk to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. How much damage will his departure do to the credibility of the final report?

NICHOLAS STERN: Not much. He’s always been somebody who as argued that the damages from climate change are there but very small. He’s an outlier really and I think his departure won’t make much difference.

Meanwhile it’s Earth Hour tonight so get the Kleig lights out of storage. And re the War on the West and our way of life, I see from Instapundit that this week would have been Norman Borlaug’s 100th birthday. This quote applies to much more than just food, given these same environmentalists aim to cut back on every aspect that makes modern life pleasant:

[Most Western environmentalists] have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists in wealthy nations were trying to deny them these things.

And just who was Norman Borlaug? The article was written in 1997 when he was 82.

He received the Nobel in 1970, primarily for his work in reversing the food shortages that haunted India and Pakistan in the 1960s. Perhaps more than anyone else, Borlaug is responsible for the fact that throughout the postwar era, except in sub-Saharan Africa, global food production has expanded faster than the human population, averting the mass starvations that were widely predicted — for example, in the 1967 best seller Famine — 1975! The form of agriculture that Borlaug preaches may have prevented a billion deaths.

Yet although he has led one of the century’s most accomplished lives, and done so in a meritorious cause, Borlaug has never received much public recognition in the United States, where it is often said that the young lack heroes to look up to. One reason is that Borlaug’s deeds are done in nations remote from the media spotlight: the Western press covers tragedy and strife in poor countries, but has little to say about progress there. Another reason is that Borlaug’s mission — to cause the environment to produce significantly more food—has come to be seen, at least by some securely affluent commentators, as perhaps better left undone. More food sustains human population growth, which they see as antithetical to the natural world.

The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and the World Bank, once sponsors of his work, have recently given Borlaug the cold shoulder.

We live in such dark times, Earth Hour or not.

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17 Responses to Even the ABC is questioning global warming

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Its part of the green-progressive religion. Since the left is extremely tribal everyone of the left has to believe the same doctrines. If they fail to uphold all of them they are cast out like Bjorn Lomborg and Patrick Moore. Anathemised. Actual reality and data do not penetrate these doctrines. The only thing which ever happens is they stop talking about it and that doctrine slowly disappears from the canon.

    That is what is happening with Earth Hour. It used to be essential ritual, but is being talked about less and less, and is becoming optional. Only the hard core observant Greens will bother, the rest will forget because of an unmissable repeat episode of Home and Away is on at the same time. Its very encouraging.

    Re the ABC Stern interview its also worth reading economist Andrew Lilico’s article this week which was picked up by Bishop Hill and Delingpole. Basically even the most awful CAGW assumptions just do not make sense to mitigate. Adaptation is the only sensible option…and since there hasn’t been any global warming for nearly two decades even that is moot.

  2. duncanm

    He’s always been somebody who as argued that the damages from climate change are there but very small. He’s an outlier really and I think his departure won’t make much difference.

    Replace ‘he’ with ‘data point’ and you see why no faith can be put in the numbers.

  3. sabrina

    China is trying to reduce its dependence on coal, but it will take long time. It generates close to 80% of its power from coal now, not ~60% as Stern claims. However, China is also using state-of-the art units, which are larger and more efficient. At the same time, they are shutting down their old and smaller units. As a result, coal consumption per unit of electricty generated is dropping since 2004, but not rapidly as Stern claims. They are doing this to minimise the coal import, which they have to do as majority of the indigenous coal is of poor quality.

    Some background information are here and here.

    Coal has problems, not so much for CO2 emission but for emissions of potent trace elements for some coals (not ours). But this fuel has been unfairly targetted by greenines who are impractical and cherry-picker of information. Opportunist accountants and lawyers join in for greed, but they are more like weather cock, changing directions when required.

    Richard Toll’s departure will not do much to the credibility of the final report. People should know how to persuade others, not stick to own ego.

  4. duncanm

    Oh, and for this guy not to know the numbers, or for Tony to pretend he couldn’t find them, is laughable:
    EIA Source

    Coal supplied the vast majority (69%) of China’s total energy consumption in 2011. Oil was the second-largest source, accounting for 18% of the country’s total energy consumption. While China has made an effort to diversify its energy supplies, hydroelectric sources (6%), natural gas (4%), nuclear power (nearly 1%), and other renewables (1%) accounted for relatively small shares of China’s energy consumption. The Chinese government plans to cap coal use to below 65% of total primary energy consumption by 2017 in an effort to reduce heavy air pollution that has afflicted certain areas of the country in recent years. The Chinese government set a target in its 12th Five-Year Plan to raise non-fossil fuel energy consumption to 15% of the energy mix by 2020 in efforts to ease the country’s dependence on coal. EIA projects coal’s share of the total energy mix to fall to 63% by 2020 and 55% by 2040 as a result of projected higher energy efficiencies and China’s goal to increase its environmental sustainability. However, absolute coal consumption is expected to increase by over 50% during this forecast period, reflecting the large growth in total energy consumption.

  5. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    Steven, I am eternally grateful for your introducing me to Borlaug.

    What a Giant.

  6. johanna

    Richard Toll’s departure will not do much to the credibility of the final report. People should know how to persuade others, not stick to own ego.

    Richard Tol (note spelling) has about as much chance of “persuading” climate alarmists as Tony Abbott has of “persuading” the Greens to be sensible.

    It wasn’t about his ego – it was that he didn’t want his name to be associated with junk science and even junkier economics.

  7. stackja

    Experienced environmental campaigner Anna Rose took the reins of Earth Hour Australia four months ago and admitted its message had been due for a refreshing.
    Earth Hour would become a year round social movement called Earth Action, Ms Rose said, with a training camp for 50 budding environmental activists planned for later in the year.
    Volunteers will use candles to spell out ”Lights out for the Reef” on the lawns of Parliament House at 6.30pm on Saturday.
    If it is rained out, the event will be moved to Haydon Allen Lecture Theatre at the ANU.
    Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/earth-hour-focuses-on-preventing-reef-madness-20140328-35ou7.html#ixzz2xJFykK46

  8. Senile Old Guy


    Basically even the most awful CAGW assumptions just do not make sense to mitigate. Adaptation is the only sensible option…

    I think you mean that mitigation and adaptation are the sensible options: prevention of climate change is what we don’t want to waste money on. Mitigation is taking action to reduce problems as they occur while adaptation is finding ways to live with them. Prevention is spending vast amounts of money trying to make trivial reductions in the rate of CO2 emissions, which do not appear to be nearly as potent as models assume.

  9. Bruce of Newcastle

    SoG – I mean ‘mitigation’ in the sense that Lilico used the word, which is to carpet the landscape with ecocrucifixes and impoverish ordinary people. And starve Africans through stupid biofuels policies, etc.

    The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due out next week. If the leaked draft is reflected in the published report, it will constitute the formal moving on of the debate from the past, futile focus upon “mitigation” to a new debate about resilience and adaptation.

    I suspect the climateers like to use ‘mitigation’ with this meaning because it is a word which sounds warm and fuzzy.

  10. Squirrel

    I saw that interview and, for a moment, I thought so, too (ABC questioning global warming), but I reckon the interview ended up where it was meant to – it’s the “balance” that counts after all, isn’t it?

  11. James In Footscray

    @Sabrina – interesting post.

    It’s a surprise Stern is so wildly out with the figures, since he often holds up China as a model.

    But his central point – the use of coal-fired electricity in China is falling – just doesn’t seem right. According to the International Energy Association, it was 78% in 2004 and 78% in 2012.

    Has it started to fall in the last two years?

  12. cohenite

    China is going coal gangbusters and along with India will be building most of the world’s new coal power plants over the next decade.

    Stern either doesn’t know what he is talking about or is doing the other thing which alarmists do.

    As for the abc; there is no indication it has changed its tune about AGW and as for mitigation of AGW being dearer than adaptation, the whole comparison is meaningless since AGW is one of the best disproved theories of all time.

  13. sabrina

    James – I am not surprised at Stern’s misgivings. I have to say one tends to misrepresent facts when trying to provide expert comments in areas beyond their core expertise.

    On the use of coal power, even Japan and other economies are considering to expand their coal portfolio as this is the most rational way to sustain their growth.

    Coal’s share in electric power in china is not falling as rapidly as stern claims; the CO2 intensity is falling though. Stern should keep his facts on hand or learn to say “I can not remember, get back to you later”.

  14. entropy

    All signs point to an El Niño event his year, and because there has been a strong monsoon this year, a lot of warm water has been pushed into the central and eastern pacific so it could be a strong one like 1998. That we are overdue for an El Niño event will be lost on the ninneys who will carry on about the warm water in the central pacific (ignoring the ‘cool’ coral sea that caused the Qld drought) and highlighting elevated El Niño enhanced drought and temps in Australia. Oh, and the floods and rains in America. Wait and see.

  15. thefrollickingmole

    Borlaug is a personal hero of mine, and an extreme example of how the people hating greens are deranged.
    If you read a decent biography of him you will see towards the end of his career green groups stripped away most of his backers and set back food production in Asia/Africa by decades.

    I came across him a funny way.
    From my childhood memories I remembered my dads wheat crop towering over my head (5-6 years old).. Then we left the farm for the city for a decade, then back to a country town.

    I could never work out why the wheat always looked shorter by far than what I remembered.
    Then came the net and I was able to finally find out it was all because of Borlaug, and it was brilliant.

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    All signs point to an El Niño event his year, and because there has been a strong monsoon this year, a lot of warm water has been pushed into the central and eastern pacific so it could be a strong one like 1998.

    Entropy – we may get an El Nino (yes the Pacific SST’s are starting to show the signs), but its unlikely to be as strong as 1998 or 2010. When the PDO is in negative phase there tend to be fewer and weaker El Nino’s until we turn back to the rising PDO (see this graphic especially). In 2025 or so.

    That’s not to say we won’t get a big El Nino, since we don’t really know what makes them tick, but history says we should not expect a really strong one.

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