THE HOT AIR OF CLIMATE DENIERS

CARBON DIOXIDE WAS IDENTIFIED BEFORE CAPTAIN JAMES COOK MADE THE FIRST MAP OF THE EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA. HOW MUCH THE GAS CONTRIBUTES TO THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT WAS DISCOVERED WHEN NED KELLY WAS A BOY.

John Carey

And the first rough calculation of how much the temperature of the earth would change if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased, or fell, was done before Federation.

So the basics of the science of climate change are truly venerable. Now, more than a century after Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius published the last finding mentioned above, we know even more about the biggest and baddest greenhouse gas of them all.

Science is like that. It plods along, year after year, relentlessly adding to our accumulation of reliable knowledge and subtracting anything found to be faulty. The scientific method is, dare I say, humanity’s best idea ever.

Why raise this subject now? And here?

Because it’s exactly 25 years since mentioned in this between cars, carbon It was a paragraph involving Bathurst, Fords, and a couple It seemed obvious humanity, being planet, would take was saying and take But I’ve waited century and, when ce I first his magazine the connection arbon dioxide, and global warming. ph or two in a cover feature story rst, Brock and Bond, a pair of fast ple of quick Commodores. ious to me back then that the smartest species on the ke one look at what science ake action. patiently for a quarter of a n it comes to cars… nothing. In that time no effective, visionary, policy been made by our leaders. Even as the evidence that we are changing Earth’s climate has grown higher, and other have reacted to the with varying degrees vigour, the prospect Australia ever joining the effort seems remote.

What a victory for the enemies of reason, those shouty zealots who have influenced tone and shape of the Climate Change debate in Australia for so long. ctive, let alone moves have elected he pile of humans h’s steadily nations e danger es of t of ng in mote. r on, d the e ate ng.

They’ve never been too concerned about logical consistency. Their starting position was simple: global warming isn’t happening. When that started to look silly, it moved to ‘global warming is happening, but humans aren’t doing it, and in any case it will be very costly to do things a different way than we’re doing now. And by the way, don’t those wind turbines look awful or make you ill or cut rare parrots in half?’

Throughout, they’ve sought to discredit science.

“Climate change is a conspiracy dreamed up by thousands of insanely greedy and utterly unethical scientists to gain funding”, is one example I’ve heard first-hand. And you’ll all have heard the one about it being a conspiracy dreamed up by Chinese scientists, presumably p umably on orders from Beijing, to bring about the ruin of the US economy.

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” wrote Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists of all time. It’s the same for today’s climate scientists. Their work rests on solid foundations laid centuries ago, by forgotten greats like Joseph Black, John Tyndall, and Svante Arrhenius.

But Australia seems instead to prefer the view of climate change you get when perched on the shoulders of anti-science pygmies. So sad.

The work of today’s climate scientists rests on solid foundations laid centuries ago

Forward thinker

Scientists used to be more respected in Australia.

It was in London in 1859 that the Irishman John Tyndall made the fi rst measurement of carbon dioxide’s contribution to the Greenhouse Effect.

Among the many honours he received was having a mountain in the west of Tasmania named after him.