Leading article Australia

Healthy scepticism

29 July 2017

9:00 AM

29 July 2017

9:00 AM

As we pointed out last week, if the Liberals wish to win the next election they can do so easily. But first they must discover – or should that be rediscover? – their inner climate change scepticism. John Howard, rightly regarded by Malcolm Turnbull as the ‘gold standard’ of Liberal leaders, recently stated that he had never been enthusiastic about climate change and remains sceptical about the whole thesis. Needless to say the former Prime Minister’s comments, made with some degree of irony within the airy confines of the Trump-denying, Trump-loathing United States Studies Centre, went largely unreported. No doubt the USCC’s PR people were more concerned with that centre’s forthcoming ‘Impeachment’ special to be bothered with unfashionable opinions such as those of Australia’s second-longest serving PM.

To be sceptical of climate change alarmism is not the same as denying the possibility that there are variations within the earth’s climate and that, along with innumerable factors, pollution and other man-made activities may play some part in influencing those variations. However, as with all scientific theories, scepticism is a healthy, and indeed essential, part of the learning process.

Moreover, in an age when we are constantly being urged to agree to ‘consensus’ points of view, and where the ‘settling’ of scientific opinion is regarded as some kind of political holy grail, it is intriguing to watch how the sceptics are constantly being proved right and the ‘scientists’ work being found to be, well, lacking.

There were red faces all around recently when Nature Geoscience ran a paper on the ‘Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming rates’ and concluded, according to the Australian newspaper, that ‘Unforeseen factors that contributed to cooling included volcanic eruptions, a weaker sun in the last solar cycle and a rise in pollution from coal-fired power plants in China.’

Hang on, China’s coal-fired power plants are now cooling the planet?

Equally remarkable, but largely unreported, were the comments made by the government’s Minister for International development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, upon her return from a trip around the ‘sinking’ islands of the Pacific where, no doubt, she did her best to shore up the atolls with large sandbags stuffed full of Australian taxpayer dollars. Said the Minister about those dramatic sea-level rises, which are currently the visual high point of Al Gore’s latest ‘scare-the-kiddies-senseless’ flick: ‘It’s interesting to see that according to real data the changes to levels are actually very, very minuscule.’

Hang on again there Connie, but what you’re telling us is that modelling of the scientific hypothesis doesn’t match the empirical evidence. Rule number one in science: there must therefore be a problem with the thesis.

Here’s a suggestion for our cash-strapped ‘conservative’ government. How about we scale our climate change ‘aid’ to the observable data, and offer up a proportionate  ‘very very miniscule’ sum of money, too?

Yet instead of healthy scepticism, our government will trot (the pun is deliberate) off to Paris later this year to indulge in the loopy socialist fantasies of the Presidential Sun King Emmanuelle Macron that climate change causes Islamic terrorism and therefore the culpable and evil developed West must cough up ever-greater amounts of cash to hand over to Third World despots, crooks and greedy politicians to combat the ‘very very minuscule’ effects of their climate change ‘catastrophes’.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Salvos appeal for desperately needed cash as electricity disconnections soar and, yes, old people die of the cold.

Fighting ‘inequality’

Two years ago Malcolm Turnbull promised an ‘economic narrative’. Last week, Bill Shorten handed him one on a silver platter. ‘Inequality’ is where a conservative party can demolish the thieving policies of the increasingly socialist Labor party. With its mooted attacks on family trusts, higher taxes for ‘the wealthy’ and so on, Labor has relinquished any genuine commitment to productivity and wealth creation, opting instead for the Euro-left style of simply taking from those who create and redistributing to those who don’t. The end game of this approach can be seen in one crumbling, debt-ridden state after another. To fight for the policies with which Thatcher and Reagan reinvigorated the West takes guts, smarts and politicians of the calibre of, well, Thatcher or Reagan. Over to you, Mal.

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