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Alan Jones' climate change 'argument'

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Alan Jones (Screenshot via YouTube)

A mere two billionths of a gram of type H botulinum toxin is enough to kill broadcaster Alan Jones’ ridiculous argument that the small proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has no effect on climate change.

In April, in a 2GB interview with Tanya Plibersek, he harrumphed:

"0.04 per cent of the earth's air is carbon dioxide and we're going to stand our economy on its head to accommodate that problem."

It’s time to expose the nonsense he’s been touting for some eight years.

A transcript of a 2GB broadcast contained in 'Australian Communications and Media Authority  (ACMA) Adjudication 2961' contains this claim from Jones:

'I said this: "If nature produces 97% and human beings 3% of carbon dioxide, how is the human beings’ 3% going to destroy the planet? If there is warming, how can the human beings be doing it when 97% carbon dioxide is produced by nature and only 3% by human beings?"'

His theory that because something comprises only a minute amount of a total it cannot have a massive effect is plainly ludicrous when the potency of botulinum toxin type H is examined.

The Medical Daily reports:

'The toxin is so deadly that simply sniffing it at a dose of 13-billionths of a gram can be lethal. Worse, an injection of only 2-billionths of a gram can kill.'

Perhaps fortunately for Jones, he can’t test his theory by sniffing such a minuscule amount of this poison because the California Department of Public Health, which discovered it, is so worried about its misuse it is keeping the gene sequence secret.

Even those who failed maths at school can appreciate that Jones’ 3% (too small to have an effect, says Jones) is far more substantial than two billionths (which can kill, according to scientists).

Jones’ argument goes further. As an example, he claimed on Sky News in April this year that maths make a mockery of climate change theory:

"If carbon dioxide is 0.04% of the atmosphere and human beings are responsible for 3% of that 0.04%, and Australia is responsible for 1.3% of the 3% of the 0.04% it’s like saying there’s a granule of sugar on the Harbour Bridge. Clean the bridge up it’s dirty."

According to the website Blue Bulb Projects, a grain of sugar weighs approximately 0.000625 grams — a figure with six decimal places.

The killer dose of the botulinum toxin is 0.000000002 grams — a figure with nine decimal places. An amount of this toxin weighing the same as a grain of sugar would be enough to wipe out a large number of Sydneysiders. Evacuate the bridge.

This helps put the scientific warnings about the increase in greenhouse gases into perspective and exposes Jones’ argument as nonsense.

So where did Jones obtain his theory?

2GB told ACMA in 2011 that in a March program, Jones had bypassed the team of researchers supplied by the station and 'researched the figures himself'.

On this occasion Jones admitted:

'… I did make a mistake by multiplying the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere 0.04% by the 3% man-made, by the 1½ that Australians make.'

Why would Jones spend so much air time arguing about CO2, promoting the use of coal and opposing renewable energy when he has spent little, if any, time opposing the worldwide banning of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) because they damage the ozone layer?

The ban has cost industry billions of dollars but Jones does not appear to have taken up the cudgels against government intervention, despite major companies claiming for many years there was no alternative to CFCs.

Yet ozone comprises less than 0.000010% (less than 10 parts per million) of the atmosphere. 

While Jones disparages action against increased CO2 levels because it is “invisible” he makes no such claim about CFCs which are invisible and non-toxic.

Like Andrew Bolt, Jones adopts much of the propaganda disseminated by the likes of the pro-coal, pro-oil Heartland Institute, which is so non-politically correct it still defends the tobacco industry.

There is no suggestion that Jones, notorious for receiving cash for comments 20 years ago, is now receiving kickbacks from the coal and oil lobby, but he does appear to slavishly adopt their arguments.

Jones has the misplaced belief that he knows more than the world’s climate scientists.

He says

'… the science is hotly contested.' 

Jones should understand that Queen Anne is dead. The science is settled. The world’s major scientific institutions have issued statements holding that climate change has been caused by human action.

Yes, there is a minority who, like flat earthers, disagree with scientific findings.

Jones is one of these illogical people. The problem is that he has been given a microphone to peddle his rubbish to thousands of listeners and give succour to far-right politicians who spruik similar rubbish in the party room.

You can read more by Steve Bishop at stevebishop.net

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