Media Opinion

News Corp continues to endorse climate change nonsense

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(Images via YouTube, The Australian website)

An article in The Australian has proven once again how out of touch the Murdoch press is with the real threat of climate change, writes Steve Bishop.

DESPITE THE FACT that scientists say it is unequivocal that mankind is responsible for climate change, The Weekend Australian is continuing its agenda of discrediting the science, calling it a ‘cult’ and ‘psychosis’.

Associate editor Chris Kenny makes unsubstantiated allegations in the current edition and claims there is much uncertainty about many aspects of climate science.

Rubbish!

There may be uncertainty about minutiae, but scientists are now using terms such as “unequivocal” about the man-made climate crisis.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in 2021 that:

‘... it is unequivocal that the increase of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere over the industrial era is the result of human activities and that human influence is the principal driver of many changes observed across the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere.’

That report was written by 234 scientists from 66 countries, along with 517 contributing authors, who collated the findings from more than 14,000 peer-reviewed studies. The report was approved by 195 governments.

Much uncertainty?

Separate analyses by Lynas et al, Myers et al and Cook et al found close to 100 per cent of scientists are certain that our rapid climate change is man-made. And nearly 200 national or major worldwide scientific academies and organisations promote the fact that climate change is being caused by human action.

The Royal Society, with 85 Nobel laureates as members, explains the simple physics involved in climate change:

If all heat energy emitted from the surface passed through the atmosphere directly into space, Earth’s average surface temperature would be tens of degrees colder than today.

 

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, including water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, act to make the surface much warmer than this because they absorb and emit heat energy in all directions (including downwards), keeping Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere warm.

 

Without this greenhouse effect, life as we know it could not have evolved on our planet. Adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere makes it even more effective at preventing heat from escaping into space. When the energy leaving is less than the energy entering, Earth warms until a new balance is established.

 

Greenhouse gases emitted by human activities alter Earth’s energy balance and thus its climate. Humans also affect climate by changing the nature of the land surfaces (for example by clearing forests for farming) and through the emission of pollutants that affect the amount and type of particles in the atmosphere.

 

Scientists have determined that, when all human and natural factors are considered, Earth’s climate balance has been altered towards warming, with the biggest contributor being increases in CO2.

Much uncertainty?

Physics professor Richard Muller was a climate science contrarian who attracted major funding from a foundation led by anti-climate science oil billionaire Charles Koch when he announced he was going to challenge IPCC findings.

Using 1.6 billion temperature reports, Muller's Berkeley Earth study reported that ‘findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ and, ‘Humans are almost entirely the cause’.

Kenny alleges that in taking action to limit climate change: 

‘We are out on our own again.’

And that:

‘... we are doing more harm to ourselves than any other country.’

Rubbish. Australia is acting in unison with 195 other governments who signed the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.

Its overarching goal is about:

... holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

 

Recognising that accelerated action is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the COP27 cover decision requests parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their NDCs to align with the "Paris Agreement" temperature goal by the end of 2023, taking into account different national circumstances.

Under the Paris Agreement, along with all other countries, Australia must submit emissions reduction commitments known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These include our national target.

Last year in Dubai, at the follow-up conference attended by more than 150 heads of state and government, countries responded with a decision on how to accelerate action across all areas by 2030.

Kenny alleges:

‘We have lost our car industry and other manufacturers in large part due to power costs...’

But a Swinburne University analysis of the reasons for the demise of the car industry makes no mention of power costs being responsible — only labour costs. And the Productivity Commission's report on the car industry makes no mention of power costs.

Kenny alleges we risk losing our nickel industry because our energy costs make us uncompetitive.

But Minerals Council and Financial Review reports on the threats to the industry make no mention of energy costs being a factor in the industry's predicament.

The Weekend Australian's article's headline, ‘Sacrificing ourselves on the altar of climate change’, reflects a common allegation by climate change deniers and other Murdoch media that climate science is akin to a religion.

Let's reverse that concept. What does Pope Francis have to say about climate science?

In his Laudato Si, the Pope says that climate change is real and mainly ‘a result of human activity’.

Having argued against climate change action, Kenny switches to urging Opposition Leader Peter Dutton to adopt ‘a gradual, sustainable... trajectory towards carbon neutrality...’

Why would that be good policy if climate change action is nothing but a religion?

Scientists have determined that, when all human and natural factors are considered, Earth’s climate balance has been altered towards warming, with the biggest contributor being increases in CO2.

Steve Bishop is a journalist and author. You can read more from Steve at stevebishop.net.

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