Environmental extremists and United Nations bureaucrats have been applying pressure on the governments of industrialized nations to commit economic suicide in order to “save the planet” from the horrors of global warming. But Tim Flannery (picture, left), a professor at Macquarie University and chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council who was recently appointed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to head Australia’s Climate Change Commission, has offered the latest evidence that undertaking such a reckless course of action could have no meaningful environmental benefit. A story for The Australian reports that Flannery’s remarks have left the Labor government in “damage control” mode:
TONY Abbott has leapt on a declaration by Tim Flannery — Julia Gillard's hand-picked salesman for action on climate change — that emissions abatement is a 1000-year proposition to renew his attacks on Labor's proposed carbon tax.
And Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has distanced himself from Professor Flannery's concession last week that even if all carbon emissions stopped today, it would take 1000 years for the atmosphere's average temperatures to drop. While Professor Flannery, a paleontologist who is also the Prime Minister's chief climate change commissioner, has expanded on his comments to insist the need for action in climate is urgent, his admission in a radio interview on Friday has compromised Labor's sales pitch on its carbon tax. In the radio interview, Professor Flannery said: "If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow, the average temperature of the planet's not going to drop for several hundred years, perhaps over 1000 years."
The importance of Flannery’s concession of the environmental insignificance of renouncing the past several centuries of development is found in the starkness of his analysis: None of the proposed reductions in so-called greenhouse gases would have the “world as a whole cut all emissions”—i n fact, such a reduction is literally impossible, since even rudimentary agricultural techniques and simple cooking fires produce methane and carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the claim that the purported benefit of sliding into the Stone Age would be unmeasurable for “over 1000 years” carries the implication that the human race would never know whether the destruction of our civilization made any difference for the planet. After all, the descendants of the survivors of the deindustrialization of the world would not have satellites, worldwide communication — or thermometers, for that matter — to know what the global temperature is a thousand years from now.
Prof. Flannery’s comments have left his friends in the Gillard government in a difficult position, and The Australian reports that Climate Change Minister Combet appears to be minimizing the significance of Flannery’s comments and distancing the government from the inevitable fallout; in Combet’s words: “Professor Flannery is an independent person who leads an independent commission.” Unfortunately for Mr. Combet, Prof. Flannery was also appointed to that commission by the prime minister whose government remains “determined to act” on the purported problem of climate change.
Proponents of the climate change theory have been in disarray since the Climategate revelations fundamentally compromised public belief in their theory. As previously reported for The New American, recent polling data reaffirms the fact that public disbelief in global warming continues to spread. Given the popular belief that the science behind the theory has been compromised, many people are simply unwilling to sacrifice their entire way of life for the sake of averting an apocalyptic scenario they no longer deem to be credible.
It appears that Prof. Flannery is endeavoring to minimize the impact of his comments, and he wrote an open letter to The Australian which is more in line with the usual claims of the climate change theory’s proponents:
In his letter to The Australian, Professor Flannery wrote that if all major emitters adopted a similar level of effort to reach a 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, and continued to "decarbonise" after that date, the global temperature rise would be capped at 2C later this century and that temperatures would begin to drop by the end of the century.
"What we do in this decade will be crucial in determining whether we have a world we can live in at the end of the century."
Unfortunately for Prof. Flannery — and the theory’s other advocates — his invocation of a “thousand years” without a measurable drop in temperatures simply serves to highlight that fact that the purported benefits of draconian cuts in energy and industry were always set in the distant future. Results that would supposedly be measurable at the end of the 21st century are as meaningless as they would be in the 31st century. Regardless of which statement we are supposed to believe, it means that no one who is alive today will witness the purported environmental benefits from the destruction of their livelihood. For the countless millions who will suffer poverty, disease, and a shortened lifespan, which will result from undoing generations of material prosperity, it is cold comfort that global temperatures might drop a fraction of one degree in a hundred — or a thousand — years from now.