Monday, May 2, 2011

Lies of the Climate Commission: Part 1

Update 5/5/2011 see below.
Apparently many people have asked the Climate Commission where they can find accurate information about climate change. It seems NOT from the Commission itself...
Climate commissioner Will Steffen said the following at a meeting of the commission chaired by the ABC's Tony Eastley at Port Macquarie April 28. (Video available HERE)
At 16:09 WILL STEFFEN: "Great Barrier Reef: about 15 years ago there were no bleaching events. The sea surface temperatures is risen, we've had 7 or 8 severe bleaching events in the last 15 years in the Great Barrier Reef"
The Facts
15 years from 2011 that would be 1996. Let's see what the record says:
According to the IPCC AR4 WGII (p.512) "Eight mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef since 1979"
According to wikipedia "The Great Barrier Reef along the coast of Australia experienced bleaching events in 1980, 1982, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006.[24

A question from the audience about 0:27:05:
At the time of the dinosaurs what would you imagine the temperature would have been?
WILL STEFFEN: Good question. That would have been about 65 million years ago. Much Much warmer than today, probably on the order of 5 or 6 degrees warmer. CO2 was much much higher than today as well, probably 900 to 1000ppm.

The Facts
1. Dinosaurs actually extinct 65 million years ago. They dominated life on earth for 160 million years between the Triassic and Cretaceous, living through a wide range of climates. FAIL
2. For the Cretaceous temperatures about 4 degrees warmer, CO2 about 1700ppm.  For the Jurassic temperatures about 3 degrees warmer, CO2 about 1950ppm. For the Triassic temperatures about 3 degrees warmer, CO2 about 1750ppm. FAIL

Clearly Will Steffen is getting his facts mixed up and is misinforming and misleading the audience. Will ABC's embedded reporter cover the lies, or let it slip? (or are they just mistakes-what from an expert, surely not).
We expect experts paid good money out of our taxes to get things right. It is news when they get things wrong.

(Note that the the main reason for an absence in bleaching being noted prior to 1980 has more to do with a lack of observers than events-but more on that later)

Update 5/5/2011: the following questions have been sent to the Climate Commission:

Will the commission issue a correction?
Will the commissioners limit their comments to their area of expertise rather than speculate and make mistakes?
Will the commission include a geologist on its panel to supplement its range of expertise to avoid future occurrences, I suggest Prof Bob Carter of JCU has the suitable knowledge, and expertise.


  1. Rob Oakeshott started with a lie.
    He started speaking at 2:05, at 2:16 promised to speak for less than one minute and finished at 3:38. 1:33 by my reckoning.

  2. It seems the dinosaurs did rather well on the vegetation in a carbon dioxide enriched environment, despite Professor Lesley Hughes insisting such vegetation would be less than nutritious because of depleted nitrogen assimilation by plants. Too bad the questioner got cut off!(What happened to nitrogen fixation?)
    Professor Will Steffen leaped with his usual alacrity at the first opportunity to trot out his usual graph of exponential man-made carbon warming. When is your graph going to show the recent harsh northern winter Will. Or the coldest start to a southern winter in years?!
    What is the underlying temperature doing Will?

  3. From the Commission's own report:

    a dislaimer to the effect of "all care but no reponsibility"

    significant uncertainties surround our understanding of the behaviour of important parts of the climate system

    generating intense discussion and further research in the scientific community

    this trend is still being debated in the research community

    a hotly debated topic, both within and outside of the research community

    intense debate in the scientific community and heated discussion in the public and political arenas

    It’s a bit rich for the warmers to claim that the science is settled and that further discussion is neither needed or warranted. What are these hotly disputed issues and on what evidence, pro and con? No answer, and yet we are being dragooned into a monstrous reodering of our whole society and economy.


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