In a new book, Christopher Booker reveals how a handful of scientists, who have pushed flawed theories on global warming for decades, now threaten to take us back to the Dark Ages
Next Thursday marks the first anniversary of one of the most remarkable events ever to take place in the House of Commons. For six hours MPs debated what was far and away the most expensive piece of legislation ever put before Parliament.
The Climate Change Bill laid down that, by 2050, the British people must cut their emissions of carbon dioxide by well over 80 per cent. Short of some unimaginable technological revolution, such a target could not possibly be achieved without shutting down almost the whole of our industrialised economy, changing our way of life out of recognition.
Even the Government had to concede that the expense of doing this – which it now admits will cost us £18 billion a year for the next 40 years – would be twice the value of its supposed benefits. Yet, astonishingly, although dozens of MPs queued up to speak in favour of the Bill, only two dared to question the need for it. It passed by 463 votes to just three.
One who voted against it was Peter Lilley who, just before the vote was taken, drew the Speaker’s attention to the fact that, outside the Palace of Westminster, snow was falling, the first October snow recorded in London for 74 years. As I observed at the time: “Who says that God hasn’t got a sense of humour?”
By any measure, the supposed menace of global warming – and the political response to it – has become one of the overwhelmingly urgent issues of our time. If one accepts the thesis that the planet faces a threat unprecedented in history, the implications are mind-boggling. But equally mind-boggling now are the implications of the price we are being asked to pay by our politicians to meet that threat. More than ever, it is a matter of the highest priority that we should know whether or not the assumptions on which the politicians base their proposals are founded on properly sound science.
This is why I have been regularly reporting on the issue in my column in The Sunday Telegraph, and this week I publish a book called The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the obsession with climate change turning out to be the most costly scientific delusion in history?.
There are already many books on this subject, but mine is rather different from the rest in that, for the first time, it tries to tell the whole tangled story of how the debate over the threat of climate change has evolved over the past 30 years, interweaving the science with the politicians’ response to it.
It is a story that has unfolded in three stages. The first began back in the Seventies when a number of scientists noticed that the world’s temperatures had been falling for 30 years, leading them to warn that we might be heading for a new ice age. Then, in the mid-Seventies, temperatures started to rise again, and by the mid-Eighties, a still fairly small number of scientists – including some of those who had been predicting a new ice age – began to warn that we were now facing the opposite problem: a world dangerously heating up, thanks to our pumping out CO₂ and all those greenhouse gases inseparable from modern civilisation.
In 1988, a handful of the scientists who passionately believed in this theory won authorisation from the UN to set up the body known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This was the year when the scare over global warming really exploded into the headlines, thanks above all to the carefully staged testimony given to a US Senate Committee by Dr James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), also already an advocate for the theory that CO₂ was causing potentially catastrophic warming.
The disaster-movie scenario that rising levels of CO₂ could lead to droughts, hurricanes, heatwaves and, above all, that melting of the polar ice caps, which would flood half the world’s major cities, struck a rich chord. The media loved it. The environmentalists loved it. More and more politicians, led by Al Gore in the United States, jumped on the bandwagon. But easily their most influential allies were the scientists running the new IPCC, led by a Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin and Dr John Houghton, head of the UK Met Office.
The IPCC, through its series of weighty reports, was now to become the central player in the whole story. But rarely has the true nature of any international body been more widely misrepresented. It is commonly believed that the IPCC consists of “1,500 of the world’s top climate scientists”, charged with weighing all the scientific evidence for and against “human-induced climate change” in order to arrive at a “consensus”.
In fact, the IPCC was never intended to be anything of the kind. The vast majority of its contributors have never been climate scientists. Many are not scientists at all. And from the start, the purpose of the IPCC was not to test the theory, but to provide the most plausible case for promoting it. This was why the computer models it relied on as its chief source of evidence were all programmed to show that, as CO₂ levels continued to rise, so temperatures must inevitably follow.
One of the more startling features of the IPCC is just how few scientists have been centrally involved in guiding its findings. They have mainly been British and American, led for a long time by Dr Houghton (knighted in 1991) as chairman of its scientific working group, who in 1990 founded the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for research into climate change. The centre has continued to play a central role in selecting the IPCC’s contributors to this day, and along with the Climate Research Unit run by Professor Philip Jones at the University of East Anglia, controls HadCrut, one of the four official sources of global temperature data (another of the four, GIStemp, is run by the equally committed Dr Hansen and his British-born right-hand man, Dr Gavin Schmidt).
With remarkable speed, from the time of its first report in 1990, the IPCC and its computer models won over many of the world’s politicians, led by those of the European Union. In 1992, the UN staged its extraordinary Earth Summit in Rio, attended by 108 prime ministers and heads of state, which agreed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and this led in 1997 to the famous Kyoto Protocol, committing the world’s governments to specific targets for reducing CO₂.
Up to this point, the now officially accepted global-warming theory seemed only too plausible. Both CO₂ levels and world temperatures had continued to rise, exactly as the IPCC’s computer models predicted. We thus entered the second stage of the story, lasting from 1998 to 2006, when the theory seemed to be carrying everything before it.
The politicians, most notably in the EU, were now beginning to adopt every kind of measure to combat the supposed global-warming menace, from building tens of thousands of wind turbines to creating elaborate schemes for buying and selling the right to emit CO₂, the gas every plant in the world needs for life.
But however persuasive the case seemed to be, there were just beginning to be rather serious doubts about the methods being used to promote it. More and more questions were being asked about the IPCC’s unbalanced approach to evidence – most notably in its promotion of the so-called “hockey stick” graph, produced in time for its 2001 report by a hitherto obscure US scientist Dr Michael Mann, purporting to show how global temperatures had suddenly been shooting up to levels quite unprecedented in history.
One of the hockey stick’s biggest fans was Al Gore, who in 2006 made it the centrepiece of his Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. But it then turned out that almost every single scientific claim in Gore’s film was either wildly exaggerated or wrong. The statistical methods used to create the hockey-stick graph were so devastatingly exposed by two Canadian statisticians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (as was confirmed in 2006 by two expert panels commissioned by the US Congress) that the graph has become one of the most comprehensively discredited artefacts in the history of science.
The supporters of the hockey stick, highly influential in the IPCC, hit back. Proudly calling themselves “the Hockey Team”, their membership again reflects how small has been the number of closely linked scientists centrally driving the warming scare. They include Philip Jones, in charge of the HadCrut official temperature graph, and Gavin Schmidt, Hansen’s right-hand man at GISS –which itself came under fire for “adjusting” its temperature data to exaggerate the warming trend.
Then, in 2007, the story suddenly entered its third stage. In a way that had been wholly unpredicted by those IPCC computer models, global temperatures started to drop. Although CO2 levels continued to rise, after 25 years when temperatures had risen, the world’s climate was visibly starting to cool again.
More and more eminent scientists have been coming out of the woodwork to suggest that the IPCC, with its computer models, had got it all wrong. It isn’t CO₂ that has been driving the climate, the changes are natural, driven by the activity of the sun and changes in the currents of the world’s oceans.
The ice caps haven’t been melting as the alarmists and the models predicted they should. The Antarctic, containing nearly 90 per cent of all the ice in the world, has actually been cooling over the past 30 years, not warming. The polar bears are not drowning – there are four times more of them now than there were 40 years ago. In recent decades, the number of hurricanes and droughts have gone markedly down, not up.
As the world has already been through two of its coldest winters for decades, with all the signs that we may now be entering a third, the scientific case for CO2 threatening the world with warming has been crumbling away on an astonishing scale.
Yet it is at just this point that the world’s politicians, led by Britain, the EU and now President Obama, are poised to impose on us far and away the most costly set of measures that any group of politicians has ever proposed in the history of the world – measures so destructive that even if only half of them were implemented, they would take us back to the dark ages.
We have “less than 50 days” to save the planet, declared Gordon Brown last week, in yet another desperate bid to save the successor to the Kyoto treaty, which is due to be agreed in Copenhagen in six weeks’ time. But no one has put the reality of the situation more succinctly than Prof Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy, one of the most distinguished climatologists in the world, who has done as much as anyone in the past 20 years to expose the emptiness of the IPCC’s claim that its reports represent a “consensus” of the views of “the world’s top climate scientists”.
In words quoted on the cover of my new book, Prof Lindzen wrote: “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly exaggerated computer predictions combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”
Such is the truly extraordinary position in which we find ourselves. Thanks to misreading the significance of a brief period of rising temperatures at the end of the 20th century, the Western world (but not India or China) is now contemplating measures that add up to the most expensive economic suicide note ever written.
How long will it be before sanity and sound science break in on what begins to look like one of the most bizarre collective delusions ever to grip the human race?
There are expensive ways of doing things...
And there are ludicrously expensive ways of doing this. This being attempting to mitigate climate change of course. Start from the point that the IPCC and the Stern Review are correct: it's happening, it's us and we should think about doing something about it. This allows every fanatic with a plan to leap aboard the bandwagon and insist that they, and only they, know how to save the world: amazingly, that salvation always comes from whatever it is they were already proposing without the now accepted problem.
Take, for example, solar photo voltaic power generation. For boring technical reasons I think it will in the future be part of the solution but similarly I don't think it is yet. Yet all and sundry are screaming that we must have feed in tariffs for solar PV for that is exactly what will save Flipper from boiling at the end of times. We should, indeed must, do as German has been doing. So how has Germany been doing?
Given the net cost of 41.82 Cents/kWh for PV modules installed in 2008, and assuming that PV displaces conventional electricity generated from a mixture of gas and hard coal, abatement costs are as high as 716 € (US $1,050) per tonne.
Ah: we've already specified that we agreeing with the Stern Review above and he said that the cost of a tonne of CO2 is $80. Paying more to abate emissions than those emissions will cost us is known as making us poorer: in this case, feed in tariffs make Germany poorer by $970 for every tonne abated. That is what is known technically, in policy circles, as "screaming nonsense".
So no, we must close our ears to those siren songs telling us that we must copy Germany on this matter. We do not want to have feed in tariffs for solar PV in the UK. But if we're not going to have them then what should we do? I've already mentioned that I think the technology will, when it has matured, be part of the solution. But there's one or two iterations, generations, of technology to go before it really is. And I've also mentioned in other posts here what we should be doing about all of this at the moment.
Nada, nothing, zip, bupkis. We just wait while those two iterations of the technology pass us by and we start using it when it makes financial sense to do so: when the subsidy needed is less than the benefit of the CO2 abatement. In the meantime we just sit back and let the German taxpayer make themselves poorer to our future benefit. We can always send them a thank you card later: or if you want to be more serious, we can trade those things we've been able to make by not pouring money into a subsidy hole for those solar cells that they have made by doing so.
Shocker from Newsweak below: 'Green Subsidies Aren't Working'
And: 'Climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades...created an epic scramble for subsidies and regulatory favors'
Climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades. Each year as much as $100 billion is spent by governments and consumers around the world on green subsidies designed to encourage wind, solar, and other -renewable-energy markets. The goals are worthy: reduce emissions, promote new sources of energy, and help create jobs in a growing industry. Yet this epic effort of lawmaking and spending has, naturally, also created an epic scramble for subsidies and regulatory favors. Witness the 1,150 lobbying groups that spent more than $20 million to lobby the U.S. Congress as it was writing the Clean Energy bill (which would create a $60 billion annual market for emission permits by 2012). Government has often had a hand in jump--starting a new -industry—both the computer chip and the Internet got their start in American defense research. But it's hard to think of any non-military industry that has been so completely and utterly driven by regulation and subsidies from the start.
It's a genetic defect that not only guarantees great waste, but opens the door to manipulation and often demonstrably contravenes the objectives that climate policy is supposed to achieve. Thanks to effective lobbying by American and European farmers, the more cost--efficient and environmentally effective Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol is locked out of U.S. and EU markets. Even within Europe, most countries have their own "technical standard" for biofuels to better keep out competing products—even if they are cheaper or produce a greater cut in emissions. Because the subsidies are tied to feedstocks, there is zero incentive to develop better technology.
Both the International Energy Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have asked Germany to end its ludicrous solar subsidies that will total $115.5 billion by 2013. In theory, these subsidies are designed to create viable markets for climate-friendly technology by bringing down production costs, after which subsidies could be phased out. But Germany's solar program has been a textbook case of how subsidies achieve the opposite of their stated intention. As the share of renewable power has jumped from 3 percent in 2001 to 15 percent now, subsidies per -kilowatt-hour of renewable power aren't going down but up, meaning that clean energy is getting more expensive. Energy economist Manuel Frondel of Germany's RWI Institute says the country's lavish subsidies have blocked innovation and delayed the advent of cost-competitive solar power worldwide. For several years solar-module costs stagnated because German subsidies sucked up global production at virtually any price. Only when Spain decided in 2008 to scrap a similar subsidy scheme it had copied from the Germans did the global solar bubble collapse and costs fall. The German solar case also defies the green-jobs model. The idea is that subsidies create a new industry and a lot of high-tech jobs. Yet Germany's solar producers are downsizing. With little pressure to become efficient and cost--competitive, they are now getting crowded out by Chinese producers.
In truth, green tech is no longer the tender niche industry the public debate makes it out to be. Global wind-turbine production alone is already a $50 billion annual market. And just as the bulk of farm subsidies don't go to farmers, but to agro-conglomerates and food giants, it's not small green-tech ventures but big corporations that are getting the best seats on the green gravy train. DuPont, Siemens, power companies, and investment banks are hungry for a slice of the subsidy pie or the new -carbon-trading market. Defenders rightly point out that fossil fuels get a staggering $500 billion in subsidies each year. Yet 80 percent of these are consumer subsidies in a handful of developing countries such as China, Russia, and Iran, and pale in significance when you account for fossil fuels' much higher share of the energy supply. No one denies the necessary role of governments in environmental policy. But of the 10 most cost-effective and measurable ways for the world to cut emissions, for example, subsidies for renewables don't even make it onto the list. Much more effective is putting a price on emissions, or finding other ways to mandate reductions and letting the market decide which technologies are the best. Here's hoping governments take the point soon.
How to be a Jerk
By Alan Caruba
Let us begin with a fact that whole legions of global warming alarmists cannot wish away or hide from public view. The Earth has been cooling since 1998 and it is getting demonstrably cooler almost everywhere in the world. The cooling will continue for decades.
So it follows that the best way to be a complete jerk is to have your book, “Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”, published at the same time that a recent Public Strategies Inc/Politico poll revealed that “Just four percent (4%) ranked climate change as the top issue." If the congressional election—-next year’s midterms—-were held today the economy would be the top issue (45%), followed by insane government spending (21%) Another survey, one by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted between September 30 and October 4, found that “fewer respondents see global warming as a very serious problem,; 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.”
James Hoggan, the cofounder of DeSmogBlog, along with Richard Littlemore are the proud authors of what has to be the silliest book of the year. It actually has a blurb on the back cover from Leonardo DeCaprio, famed actor and, until now, an unknown meteorological savant.
In the interest of full disclosure, both Hoggan and I have plied the magical arts and craft of public relations for a living. Thanks to Obama’s stimulus, clunkers program, ownership of General Motors and other former private enterprises, I have been forcibly retired. I am looking forward to not being retired as I have rent to pay and enjoy eating on a regular basis.
Hoggan’s preface begins by saying, “This is a story of betrayal, a story of selfishness, greed, and irresponsibility on an epic scale. In its darkest chapters, it’s a story of deceit, of poisoning public judgment—of an anti-democratic attack on our political structure and a strategic undermining of the journalistic watchdogs who keep our social institutions honest.”
Did he say “journalistic watchdogs”? Last year more than 40,000 of them lost their jobs due to an ailing economy, bad business models, and the growing perception that the “news” they were reporting was biased and unreliable. To this day, reporters are still writing about "global warming" as if it is real and blathering about greenhouse gas emissions as if they have anything to do with the climate.
From Hoggan’s description I thought he was talking about the huge global warming hoax that has been foisted on the world’s population by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore, countless feckless politicians, grant-seeking scientists, and so-called environmental organizations. But no, Hoggan is talking about “an organized campaign, largely financed by the coal and oil industries, to make us think that climate science was somehow still controversial, (that) climate change still unproven.”
Climate “science” based on appallingly manipulative and misleading computer models is controversial. As for “climate change”, it is the new term being used by “global warming” alarmists because there is NO global warming.
Ignoring the billions the U.S. government under several presidents have lavished on scientists lined up to prove the Earth was dramatically warming, the sea levels were rising at unprecedented rates, that polar bears—-excellent swimmers-—were drowning, and just about other natural phenomenon was affected by or demonstrated global warming, so far as Hoggan is concerned, “Denier scientists were being paid well, not for conducting climate research, but for practicing public relations.”
Like many alarmists, Hoggan does not care much for humanity or its achievements, noting that “We can kill one another more quickly than ever in human history, and we can change the world’s climate in a way that scientists say is threatening our ability to survive on Earth.” Only ignoramuses think that human beings “can change the world’s climate.”
Oh wait, it turns out that the President of the United States, speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was critical of the “naysayers” who “make cynical claims” that ignore the alleged scientific evidence about greenhouse gas, i.e., carbon dioxide, emissions. Move over Hoggan, it turns out that Obama is as big a jerk as you.
Obama has been touting “clean energy” technologies such as solar and wind that are so wanting in practicality and dependability that only government requirements keep these providers of barely one percent of all electricity in business.
As part of the stimulus and the horrid Cap-and-Trade bill lingering a slow death in Congress, billions of taxpayer dollars would go to “clean energy” companies while the Obama administration wages an economic war on coal and oil companies, denies permits to mine coal, the opportunity to drill for oil in Alaska or in 85% of the nation’s continental shelf.
If coal and oil companies that provide 99% of our power for transportation and all other uses are evil, then surely General Electric that manufactures wind turbines and stands to make a lot of money thanks to a government ban on the manufacture and use of all incandescent light bulbs is the epitome of all that is good and wonderful. “We are standing at the edge of a cliff,” writes Hoggan of global warming and “Behind us is a considerable crowd, 6.7 billion people and counting.”
Oh, those terrible human beings who want a standard of living that includes electric lights, television sets, computers, air conditioners, automobiles, and a dinner that does not require burning animal dung to cook. Maybe Hoggan is bucking for a prize for publishing one of the most idiotic books of the year, ten years into a worldwide cooling of the Earth.
The nonsense never stops: Ordinary people are the enemy
Drop meat for vegetarian diet to fight climate warming says British apparatchik
PEOPLE will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming. Lord Stern said: "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better." Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas.
Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.
He predicted that people's attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. "I think it's important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating," he said. "I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food."
Lord Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank and now I. G. Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about pounds 3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the inevitable impact of climate change.
He also issued a clear message to President Obama that he must attend the meeting in Copenhagen in person in order for an effective deal to be reached. US leadership, he said, was "desperately needed" to secure a deal.
He said that he was deeply concerned that popular opinion had so far failed to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address climate change, or of the importance of the UN meeting in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18. "I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary," he added.
Up to 20,000 delegates from 192 countries are due to attend the UN conference in the Danish capital. Its aim is to forge a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to prevent an increase in global temperatures of more than 2C. Any increase above this level is expected to trigger runaway climate change, threatening the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Lord Stern said that Copenhagen presented a unique opportunity for the world to break free from its catastrophic current trajectory. He said that the world needed to agree to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to 25 gigatonnes a year from the current level of 50 gigatonnes.
UN figures suggest that meat production is responsible for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions, including the destruction of forest land for cattle ranching and the production of animal feeds such as soy.
Lord Stern, who said that he was not a strict vegetarian himself, was speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change. His remarks provoked anger from the meat industry.
Jonathan Scurlock, of the National Farmers Union, said: "Going vegetarian is not a worldwide solution. It's not a view shared by the NFU. Farmers in this country are interested in evidence-based policymaking. We don't have a methane-free cow or pig available to us." On average, a British person eats 50g of protein derived from meat each day - the equivalent of a chicken breast or a lamb chop. This is a relatively low level for a wealthy country but between 25 per cent and 50 per cent higher than the amount recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Su Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society, welcomed Lord Stern's remarks. "What we choose to eat is one of the biggest factors in our personal impact on the environment," she said. "Meat uses up a lot of resources and a vegetarian diet consumes a lot less land and water. One of the best things you can do about climate change is reduce the amount of meat in your diet." The UN has warned that meat consumption is on course to double by the middle of the century.
Australia: The latest Greenie attack on ordinary people
They want to evict everyone from waterfront properties "for their own good" -- because of allegedly rising sea-levels
MORE than 80,000 buildings on Victoria's coast may be at risk of rising sea levels, but Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott isn't worried. Mr Abbott says he is unconcerned that beachfront areas of his northern Sydney electorate may be inundated by rising sea levels caused by climate change. Sea levels had risen along the NSW coast by more than 20 centimetres during the past century, the Liberal frontbencher said. "Has anyone noticed it? No, they haven't," he told reporters in Canberra today.
Mr Abbott, whose electorate of Warringah takes in Manly, Harbord, Dee Why Curl Curl and Balmoral, on Sydney's north shore, was responding to a parliamentary inquiry report which canvassed the option of forcing people living near the coast to move from their homes as climate-induced sea levels rose. Australia had the resources to cope with the issue in "the normal way", he said. "Ask the Dutch, they've been coping with this kind of thing for centuries and they seem to manage."
In Victoria, the Western Port region is especially vulnerable amid estimates that 18,000 properties valued at almost $2 billion are in the danger zone. And the effects of storm surges, heatwaves and insect-borne diseases associated with climate change are likely to increase the nation's mortality rate.
The alarming forecasts emerged last night in a new report tabled in Federal Parliament by the all-party House of Representatives Climate Change, Environment, Water and the Arts Committee. Titled Managing our Coastal Zone in a Changing Climate: the Time to Act is Now, the 368-page report urged the Federal Government to take greater charge of protecting the nation's coastline in co-operation with state and local governments.
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said today a rise in sea levels would cause a big re-alignment of coastal housing and other buildings. "(Climate Change Minister) Penny Wong herself has said that up to 700,000 properties are threatened this century by rising sea levels on the eastern Australian seaboard," he told reporters. The government and opposition should be looking at how they would prevent people settling in areas threatened by rising sea levels in coming decades.
Senator Brown had some advice for people already living in areas likely to be under threat. "Assess your future and become active with the Rudd Government and the Opposition who simply don't get the need for action on climate change."
Greens climate change spokeswoman Christine Milne said the inquiry's finding revealed a "complete disconnect" between science and the climate change policies of Labor and the coalition. "This is not just for people on the coast, people who live on estuaries are extremely vulnerable as well," she said, urging householders to check their insurance policies to ensure they were covered for storm damage and flooding.
It is estimated 80 per cent of Australia's population lives in coastal areas and 711,000 addresses lie within 3km of the coast and less than 6m above sea level.
Expert evidence to the committee estimated one metre of sea level rise this century - the upper limit of expectations - would drive the shoreline back 50-100m, depending on local wind, wave and topographical features....
Today. senior Liberal senator Eric Abetz admitted he had not read the report, but hoped it was based on sound information. Sea levels were unlikely to rise overnight, he said, "So, we've still got some time."
Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said sea levels had been rising for about 10,000 years. "And if you wait around they'll cover the flood plains of the major capital cities," he told reporters, adding that a "massive new tax" from an emissions trading scheme (ETS) would not stop the sea rising. He accused the government of "grossly exaggerating" the effects of climate change to get its package of ETS bills approved by parliament.
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