Despite a number of conflicting research findings, the general consensus among weather and climate researchers is that global warming, whether natural or man-made, is unlikely to increase the frequency of hurricanes in the years to come.
In consensus statements found on the Web site of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists involved note that, "Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point. No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change."
Indeed, according to Stanley Goldenberg, meteorologist with the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA, based in Miami, "Numerous hurricane meteorologists agree that the historical data has not produced any evidence of changes [due to climate change] in the number or intensity of hurricanes, particularly in the Atlantic Basin, and even globally.
"There are some who have done studies that do claim a link, [but] virtually all those studies have been heavily rebutted by others in the hurricane community," he noted. "In my opinion, the flaw in those studies is an improper utilization of historical databases. I have been a specialist in hurricane climate data for close to three decades, and others who know the databases well agree with what I am saying."
Mr. Goldenberg pointed to a number of confounding problems in such studies, including the time frame chosen, the techniques available now and in the past to measure hurricane activity, the ways in which such activity was recorded, and the availability of satellite data-or lack thereof.
"The biggest fallacy is that people think that a hurricane feeds off a warm ocean, and if the ocean gets warmer, we will have more intense hurricanes," he explained. "But there are other factors involved, such as vertical wind shear, which is the difference between the upper and lower layers of the atmosphere. You could also have drier air. These are far more critical factors than the ocean being warmer.
"Everything else being equal, if you warm the ocean under a storm, you might get a stronger storm-but everything else is not equal," said Mr. Goldenberg. "Warming may increase vertical shear and therefore inhibit storms. The ocean itself warming is such a little effect."
He added that while many of today's forecasts for future climate and hurricane activity are based on computer climate models, "We can't even reliably forecast El Nino. When you look 50 years into the future, you're getting a picture, but could you be totally wrong? Yes!"
Some climate models, he noted, say that if there is continued warming, higher vertical shear would reduce the frequency of hurricanes, but might result in stronger storms. "I am skeptical of those who would state those results as something like an undeniable fact for the future," he stated. "It is a possible guide for the future. But certainly the models are not pointing to increased activity.
Natural or man-made?
"I did not say if there is global warming, it would be man-made," Mr. Goldenberg emphasized. "Not all scientists agree that the warming we've seen is necessarily anthropogenic. It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming."
According to Peter Dailey, director of Atmospheric Science at AIR Worldwide, based in Boston, "There is now a near consensus that global air temperatures are increasing, however, there is no consensus on how this has affected the temperature of the world's oceans, and in particular in the Atlantic Ocean, or how much of the recent warming trend is attributable to man's activities. This is critical for scientists to understand the impact of climate change on land-falling hurricanes that affect North America.
"Recent scientific research indicates that in a future warming world, the Atlantic may experience two primary effects related to hurricane development," he explained. "First, a warmer environment may continue to elevate sea surface temperatures (SSTs), thereby providing more fuel for tropical cyclones to develop and intensify. Second, there may be a trend for more frequent or more intense El Nino events which in turn increase wind shear in the Atlantic-an unfavorable environment for tropical cyclones to develop.
"So, while it is true that warmer SSTs may lead to more frequent hurricane activity, elevated wind shear may counteract, or possibly even overturn this effect," he continued. "Which of these factors critical to the development of tropical cyclones will ultimately win out is the subject of lively debate within the scientific community and beyond."
Mr. Dailey also reported that recently published studies indicate that hurricane activity could decrease as a result of other competing factors. "For example, simulations of tropical cyclone activity carried out at the GFDL using climate conditions projected for the 21st century indicate the potential for decreased hurricane activity under more pronounced global warming conditions, and cautions against a reliance on statistical extrapolations of recently elevated activity levels through the end of the century," he said.
Although she asserted that global warming "is driven primarily by human activities," Christine Ziehmann, director of model management for Risk Management Solutions, based in Newark, Calif., cautioned that, "It is not clear what effect global warming is having, and will have, on the frequency, intensity and geographical distribution of hurricanes in the Atlantic basin." According to Ms. Ziehmann, computer models of the global climate tend to suggest that global warming should, in the long term, lead to less frequent but more intense tropical cyclones globally. "However, models are less clear about hurricane activity in individual ocean basins," she noted. "For instance, in the Atlantic, some models suggest a long-term increase in frequency with others suggesting a decrease." She added that, "The evidence shows that there has been an increase in the average intensity of hurricanes in the Atlantic since the 1970s and an increase in frequency since 1995, but it is not clear what contribution, if any, global warming has made to these changes."
In an interview in 2001, renowned hurricane researcher Prof. William Gray told National Underwriter that a complex combination of factors including ocean temperature, ocean currents and the salt content of the ocean at a given time is most likely to affect the frequency of hurricanes. He emphasized that changes in these factors are "natural" and not man-made.
"Professor Gray is absolutely correct that hurricane formation and development depend on factors such as sea surface temperature," said Ms. Ziehmann. "However, it would be wrong to suggest that these factors could only be affected by natural changes in climate and not by man-made global warming. "Both natural climate variability and man-made global warming influence hurricane formation and development," she stated. "The real question is to what extent they contribute over the time-scale of interest. This is still an open scientific question."
The researchers also addressed the political debate that has attached itself to aspects of climate change. "For the layman, there is sometimes a tendency to regard every new `discovery' or scientific finding from the latest published paper as an inviolate fact," said Mr. Dailey. "In reality, rarely is there ever a last and final word in studies of complex systems such as earth's environment. Rather, science is a dynamic process based on the scientific method in which researchers test hypotheses leading to new discoveries, but also reexamine earlier theories and try to improve, build upon, or extend them."
Mr. Goldenberg of NOAA added, "There are those who want to attribute any perceived increase in natural disasters to anthropomorphic global warming. I predict that if we have an active hurricane season, someone will attribute it to AGW. They're not really looking at the science; they're looking at the disaster."
Coercion or attempted coercion seems to come naturally to Greenies. Report below from The Netherlands
Political activism involving criminal acts can lead, years later, to deep regrets for a politician. That's been made amply clear by the resignation of the Dutch GreenLeft MP Wijnand Duyvendak. But while the rebellious acts of one politician can lead to his downfall, others suffer no consequences, and in some cases even benefit from a turbulent past.
Wijnand Duyvendak resigned his parliamentary standing on Thursday in the wake of the controversy stirred up by his activist past. Two weeks earlier, he had confessed that during the 1980s, he took part in a break-in to a ministry to steal plans for nuclear power centres.
Femke Halsema, GreenLeft's chairwoman, reacted angrily to the first revelations about her colleague. It makes clear that the political climate, and attitudes to illegal actions in 2008, is totally different to those of the 1970s and 1980s. In the past, such actions were usually dismissed as 'youthful transgressions'. But following the September 11 attacks in the United States, and the murder of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, that's all changed.
Investigative journalist Peter Siebelt has been writing for years about what he calls 'the excrescences of leftist activism' and he believes that Duyvendak has a lot more to answer for. "I keep in regular touch with colleagues abroad, who are experts in combating terrorism. If I tell them who we have sitting in our Lower House, they look at me as if I've come from another planet."
By way of example, he mentions the Socialist Party's Krista van Velzen. In the 1990s, Krista van Velzen let fly with a hammer at a nuclear submarine in the Faslane naval base in Scotland. She was arrested and earned herself a criminal record. Her Socialist Party (SP) colleague, Arda Gerkens, explains why this has never been a problem for the SP.
"The big difference with Wijnand Duyvendak is that Krista has always been honest. Both the party and the voters have always known about her actions. We have never tried to keep them secret. With Wijnand Duyvendak, the situation is different. First, I find break-ins and the intimidation of people far more serious than the actions of my colleague. But more than that, the voters never knew about Duyvendak's past. GreenLeft knew about it, but chose not to make any of the details public. That's the big difference between them and the SP."
Femke Halsema's initial sharp reaction has not been well received by everyone in her party. GreenLeft's European MP, Joost Lagendijk, thinks his party's upper ranks reacted in far too panicky a manner to the news of Duyvendak's illegal past. In a newspaper, he says: "In the 1980s I was involved, as many GreenLefters were, in the squatter's movement. Squatting is also breaking in. But does that mean that everything outside the law is also unacceptable? I don't think so."
Across the border, the German politician Joschka Fischer is the classic example of a politician who has profited from his activist past. At the beginning of the 1970s, Fischer was the leader of the left wing, radical Revolution„rer Kampf. The movement participated in several protest marches which often ended in violence that left several police officers severely injured. There's a photograph of Fischer taken at the time, wearing a crash helmet and fighting. Despite all the coverage of his activist past, the Green politician has now made it all the way to Foreign Minister and to the Vice Chancellorship of Germany.
More details on the above
Leftwing Green (GroenLinks) MP Wijnand Duyvendak orchestrated threats, violence and intimidation of six top civil servants at the economic affairs ministry in 1985. The ministry's director-general of the day, George Verberg, stated yesterday that an attempt was made to set fire to his house. Under Duyvendak's leadership, the anarchists publication Bluf published a list on 11 July 1985 giving the names, addresses and telephone numbers of six top civil servants. This was accompanied by the text: "Disturb the peace of these trouble-makers," newspaper De Telegraaf reported yesterday.
The call in Bluf resulted in telephone threats and intimidation of the civil servants of the nuclear energy directorate. One of them had his windows broken by stones thrown at them, according to De Telegraaf.
Verberg, the then director-general of the ministry, added yesterday afternoon in evening newspaper NRC Handelsblad that an attempt was made to set fire to his home following the publication of his personal details in Bluf. Also, his wife received phone calls saying 'we now where to find your husband'. Verberg published a letter in NRC Handesblad yesterday that he has sent to Duyvendak as well. In it, the former top civil servant states: "Your call to terrorise me was successful. An arson attempt to my home was made by shoving rags drenched in petrol and set on fire through my front door. Luckily, we had a tile floor".
Prior to the publication of Verberg's revelations in NCR Handelsblad, Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven said she was "unpleasantly surprised" by the report in De Telegraaf that Duyvendak incited violence against civil servants of her ministry. She termed the call to violence "unacceptable."
Two weeks ago, Duyvendak confessed that he was one of the burglars who broke into the economic affairs ministry in 1985. The personal data of the six civil servants were seized in that crime, as well as documents on plans for the construction of nuclear plants - these were never built.
Duyvendak had denied being involved in the break-in for years. He made his U-turn two weeks ago in an announcement of an upcoming autobiography he is presenting on 20 August. The break-in is now so long ago that he cannot be prosecuted any more. The GroenLinks MP complained on Wednesday he has already been pursued for 10 days by a storm of negative publicity on his activist past. It annoys him that his address has also been published, he said - apparently unaware of the irony of this remark....
Duyvendak is a very senior GroenLinks member. His wife is former party chairman Mirjam de Rijk and his brother is a key party strategist. Some insiders have suggested Duyvendak wanted to come clean in his book because he had ambitions to become GroenLinks leader.
UK Scientist: As Earth faces cooling, media exhibits 'cognitive dissonance'
"Un experto de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico pronostico que en alrededor de diez anos la Tierra entrara a una `pequena era de hielo' que durara de 60 a 80 anos y sera causada por la disminucion de la actividad solar." [Milenio, August 16]
I must ask a very serious and urgent question of our media. Why do you continue to talk glibly about current climate `warming' when it is now widely acknowledged that there has been no `global warming' for the last ten years, a cooling trend that many think may continue for at least another ten years? How can you talk of the climate `warming' when, on the key measures, it isn't? And now a leading Mexican scientist is even predicting that we may enter another `Little Ice Age' - a `pequena era de hielo'.
Such media behaviour exhibits a classic condition known as `cognitive dissonance'. This is experienced when belief in a grand narrative persists blindly even when the facts in the real world begin to contradict what the narrative is saying. Sadly, our media have come to have a vested interest in `global warming', as have so many politicians and activists. They are terrified that the public may begin to question everything if climate is acknowledged, on air and in the press, not to be playing ball with their pet trope.
But that is precisely what is happening. Since 1998, according to all the main world temperature records, including the UK Met Office's `HadCRUT3' data set [a globally-gridded product of near-surface temperatures consisting of annual differences from 1961-90 normals], the world average surface temperature has exhibited no warming whatsoever. Indeed, the trend has been a combination of flat-lining and cooling, with a particularly marked plunge over the last few months. Many parts of the world, including Canada, China, and the US, have just experienced their worst winter in years (as is currently Australia), while skiing in Scotland has benefited from the trend, and the summit of Snowdon carried snow even up to the end of April.
To put it simply, since 1998, there has been no `global warming', despite the fact that, during this same period, atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise, from c. 368 ppm by volume in 1998 to c. 384 ppmv in November, 2007. Moreover, another `greenhouse gas', methane, has also been rising, following a period of relative stability, by about 0.5% between 2006 and 2007.
Of course, little can be gleaned from a short data run of only 10-years, a fact, I might add, which `global warming' fanatics have too often failed to stress. Nevertheless, recent work demonstrates that the Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for at least a further decade through the workings of a phenomenon known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The cause of this oscillation, which is related to the currents that bring warmth from the tropics to Europe, is not well understood, but the cycle appears to have an effect every 60 to 70 years. It may well prove to be part of the explanation as to why global mean temperatures rose in the early years of the 20th Century, before then starting to cool again in the late-1940s. Thus, according to the new model, cooling remains on the cards for another ten years at least, making a potential 20 years of cooling in all.
But the sun isn't playing ball either. The big question is: "What has happened to Solar Cycle 24?" Solar-cycle intensity is measured by the maximum number of sunspots. These are dark blotches on the Sun that mark areas of heightened magnetic activity. The more sunspots there are, the more likely it is that major solar storms will occur, and these are related to warming on Earth; the fewer the sunspots, the more likely there is to be cooling. The next 11-year cycle of solar storms [Solar Cycle 24] was predicted to have begun in autumn, 2006, but it appears to have been delayed. It was then expected to take off in March last year, and to peak in late-2011, or mid-2012. But the Sun remains largely spotless, except for an odd fading spot. This delayed onset has somewhat confused the official Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel, leaving them evenly split as to whether a weak or a strong period of solar storms now lies ahead.
However, some other scientists are deeply concerned, including Phil Chapman, the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut, who comments: "Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously."
Chapman then explains why the absence of sunspots might exacerbate this cooling trend: "The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790. Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots." Thus, all the immediate signs and portents are pointing in the direction of a cooling period, not a warming one.
So, why are newspapers, magazines, radio, and television not telling us all this? Because they have invested so much effort over the last ten years in hyping up the exact opposite. Moreover, it is especially pathetic sophistry to claim, as dedicated `global warmers' are wont to do, that `natural forces' are having the temerity to "suppress" `global warming'. The fundamental point has always been this: climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically-selected factor is as misguided as it gets.
And now a Mexican expert, Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera (National Autonomous University of Mexico), is warning that the Earth will enter a new `Little Ice Age' for up to 80 years due to decreases in solar activity [see: `Auguran breve era del hielo en 2010', Milenio, August 16]. He describes the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "erroneous".
If this cooling phase really does persist, it will be illuminating to observe how long our media can maintain its befuddled state of `cognitive dissonance'. Mind you, I jolly well hope that we aren't entering a cooling period - it's the very last thing we need! Give me warming any time. Brrrr!
Global Warming Skeptics Prominently Featured At International Scientific Meeting
Indian Scientist Mocks Nobel Prize Award to Gore
A major international scientific conference prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. The International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Oslo, Norway, from August 4-14.
[The conference was criticized by the activists at RealClimate.org (who apparently are threatened by any challenges to their version of `consensus' on global warming science) for being too balanced and allowing skeptical scientists to have a forum. RealClimate's Rasmus E. Benestad lamented on August 19 that the actual scientific debate during the conference "seemed to be a step backwards towards confusion rather than a progress towards resolution." ]
During the Geologic conference, Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia of the Center of Advanced Study in Geology at Punjab University and a visiting scholar of the Geology Department at University of Cincinnati, openly ridiculed former Vice President Al Gore and the UN IPCC's coveted Nobel Peace Prize. [An online video of an August 8, 2008, conference climate change panel has been posted and is a must-see video for anyone desiring healthy scientific debate. See: HERE ]
"I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists," Ahluwalia, a fellow of the Geological Society of India, said during a question and answer panel discussion.
Ahluwalia, who has authored numerous scientific studies in the fields of geology and paleontology, referred to the UN climate panel as the "elite IPCC." "The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds."
Ahluwalia, a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet (http://www.yearofplanetearth.org) also criticized the promoters of man-made global warming fears for "drawing out exaggerated conclusions" and took the UN to task for failing to allow dissenting voices.
"When I put forward my points in the morning, some IPCC official got up to say that what I was [saying was] `nonsense.' See, when we have that sort of attitude, that sort of dogma against a scientific observation that would not actually end up in very, very positive debate. We should maintain our sense of proportion, maintain our sense of objectivity, allow a discussion -- not have fixed mindset about global warming," he said to applause from the members.
Panel participants at the August 8 debate included skeptical Physicist Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Centre and Paleoclimate scientist Dr. Bob Carter of Australia's James Cook University, former chairman of the earth science panel of the Australian Research Council, who has published numerous peer-reviewed papers and is an outspoken dissenter of Gore and the UN IPCC's climate claims.
Prominent scientist Professor Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, a leading world authority on sea levels and coastal erosion who headed the Department of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at Stockholm University, was also on hand during the panel's question and answer session.
A Canadian paleoclimatolgist/sedimentary geologist openly dissented from UN IPCC views during the panel's Q & A session. "I think the scientific community is putting way too much faith on these models, especially given the fact that they have not been able to predict 5-day weather forecasts yet and weather systems are simpler than the climate, and every 5 days they have a chance to test the model and improve it," the Canadian scientist said. [ At 43:30 and 44:35 of online video]
"A lot of the predictions made by modelers and models do not match very well to the longer term geologic record and even more scary, most atmospheric scientists are not aware of that," he explained.
Another scientist stood up to a key question about the recent global cooling trend. "We know temperature goes up and down, we know there is tremendous amount of natural variations, but for how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand -- we politicians and scientists-- that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" the scientist asked to applause from the audience.
Vocal Australian Doomster Tim Flannery repeatedly shown to be a false prophet
With his long and remarkable track record of predictive failure, you could well be inclined to expect the opposite of whatever he predicts
By Andrew Bolt
Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery really should stay out of the predictions business, unless he's just rehearsing a comedy act. Four years ago, there was his prediction for Perth:
Speaking last night at the State Government's Sydney Futures forum, Dr Flannery warned of a city grappling with up to 60 per cent less water. As temperatures around the world warmed by 2 to 7 per cent, Sydney could glimpse its future by looking at the devastating impact that global warming had already had on Perth. "I think there is a fair chance Perth will be the 21st century's first ghost metropolis," Dr Flannery said.
Perth's dams have reached their highest July level in eight years, despite WA's gas crisis causing the closure of the Kwinana desalination plant at the start of the month. Above-average rainfall in the major catchment areas since April has meant that the dams are about 34 per cent full. Weather Bureau spokesman Glenn Cook said that the high dam levels were due in part to good winter rain last year...
Three years ago there was his prediction for Sydney:
He also predicts that the ongoing drought could leave Sydney's dams dry in just two years.
The available storage as at 3 p.m. Thursday, 7 August 2008 was 66.0 %.
Flannery's latest city-scare? It's for Adelaide, and given five months ago:
The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009.
Instead? Let Tim Blair give you the soggy news and the healthy dam readings. We've seen Flannery's sort before, of course:
And so around the chorus ran
"It's keepin' dry, no doubt."
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out."
Climate balance from a major Australian TV show!
A turning point in the debate: 60 Minutes is suddenly not so sure man is heating the world to hell, after all. And it won't have been reassured by Kevin Rudd's shaky grasp of the evidence in spruiking his carbon tax:
PM KEVIN RUDD: But economic cost (sic) of not acting is massive, it's through the roof. Think about food production, the Murray, think about the impact on tourism in QLD, no more Barrier Reef, Kakadu, no more Kakadu. Think about the impact on jobs, it's huge.
Actually, even if Rudd really thinks warming will wipe out the Barrier Reef and Kakadu (neither of which show any sign of going anywhere), he is deceiving viewers by suggesting his carbon tax would make the slightest difference to the climate. Indeed, the only impact will be on jobs - as in costing them, and not, as he claims, saving them.
TARA BROWN: How certain are you that mankind is the cause behind global warming?
PM KEVIN RUDD: Well, I just look at what the scientists say. There's a group of scientists called the International Panel on Climate Change - 4000 of them.
No, it's actually called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And no, there are not 4000 IPCC scientists. Try 2500, instead. Rudd is lucky that this exaggeration wasn't picked up by Brown. What's more, a number of those 2500 don't stand by the IPCC conclusion on man's effect on the climate. Many others were not even consulted over the report's bottom-line finding.
PM KEVIN RUDD: ... And what they (IPCC scientists) say to us is it's happening and it's caused by human activity.
Actually, even the IPCC report admits doubts, saying it's only 90 per cent sure humans are responsible for most of the warming in just the 25 years until 1998. But a token alarmist is then rolled on to preach doom:
DR TIM FLANNERY: Stop burning coal and other fossil fuels and stop putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere because that is what is warming the atmosphere and that is what's driving the changes.
I wouldn't rely on anyone with Flannery's record of alarmist inaccuracies. And in this case thousands of scientists disagree, actually. 60 Minutes, to its credit, finally talks to some of the "thousands" it agrees are there:
PROF. RICHARD LINDZEN: We need CO-2. It's not a poison, it's not a pollutant. It's essential for life on earth. I mean how much are we going to depend on people's ignorance in order to produce panic?.
DAVID EVANS: (There's no evidence that carbon emissions cause any significant warming at all...
And reporter Tara Brown even dares mention the Medieval Warm Period:
TARA BROWN: Perhaps nowhere in the world is there more compelling evidence against the man-made carbon dioxide argument than Greenland. Long before the Industrial Age, the Vikings lived here and happily grew wheat and vegetables. It was known as the `Medieval Warm Period' and temperatures were even hotter than they are today.
But, wait, there's more:
TARA BROWN: So statistically, in the last seven years, the flattening and perhaps even slight cooling of temperatures - is that significant?
DAVID EVANS: Yes, yes it is significant. Once it gets up to five years or so it's really quite significant. Whatever was driving the temperatures up has taken a break for a while and meanwhile carbon emissions have continued and the level of carbon in the atmosphere has gone up about 5% since 2001, yet we see no more warming.
But back to Rudd, who can't have counted on being corrected mid-scare by Brown:
PM KEVIN RUDD: Here's a measurement which people should just sit back and pay a bit of attention to - the 12 hottest years in human history have occurred in the last 13 years. That's a fact.
TARA BROWN: It's not my position to correct you Prime Minister but Ive been told that in fact during the middle ages the global temperatures were two to three degrees warmer than now. Certainly we've had the hottest 12 years in recent history but the planet's been a lot hotter.
PM KEVIN RUDD: Well, I stand by what the International Panel of Climate Change Scientists have had to say. There will always be argy-bargy about elements of the detail.
Where the world has been hotter in human history is now just "elements of the detail" to Rudd? And is he not even familiar with this debate over dodgy IPCC claims, and what it says about the IPCC on which he relies so heavily? And still Brown hasn't finished sowing doubts:
TARA BROWN: But one thing climate scientists agree on - if global warming is caused by CO-2 emissions then the CO-2 will leave a distinct signature their computer models predict a big red hotspot above the equator. The problem is thousands of weather balloons equipped with some very sophisticated thermometers have measured the temperatures in the atmosphere to test the theory, and guess what, no hotspots.
DAVID EVANS: There's no hotspot, there's no hotspot at all. It's not even a little hotspot and it's missing. We couldn't find it.
Sadly, Brown then goes on to quote for no clear reason previous 60 Minutes stories which preached alarmism over drought and Chernobyl, and waffles on without quite finding the courage to admit they swallowed green scares whole. But there is this rally near the end:
PM KEVIN RUDD: The key thing is, how do you bring carbon pollution down in an economically responsible fashion? And having looked at all the detail this is the best way forward.
TARA BROWN: But if you believe the sceptics, and carbon dioxide isn't to blame for global warming then we face massive change for no good reason.
DAVID EVANS: Isn't it a bit dopey to wreck the economy for a purely theoretical reason when the alleged symptom, warming, stopped six years ago.
To conclude: 60 Minutes has dared to contradict the global warming "consensus", and its own record, to present fairly the growing evidence that supports the scepticism of thousands of scientists. That puts it ahead of the media curve - certainly ahead of the ABC. And having this done on the country's most-watched current affairs show marks a significant turning point in the debate. 60 Minutes, for one, will now have a vested interest in saying "we told you". Rudd, already at sea with the evidence, should be very, very nervous.
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