If this is what their environment writer says, you can imagine what the business pages say..

17 03 2007

The Australian continues what Tim Lambert calls its “War on Science”.  Devoting copious column inches to the naysayers, here’s an extract.

Rebels of the Sun


March 17, 2007

IT says a lot about the complexity of climate science that we can put a man on the moon but we still can’t predict the weather beyond the next few days. The warming of the planet, and man’s contribution to this phenomenon, has become the top scientific issue of this generation.

Science by its very nature is an argument. But apparently not this one any more. Yet a minority of scientists are still lining up to challenge the accepted wisdom with their claim that global warming is being principally driven by the sun, not by human activity.The mainstream view is that an accumulation of greenhouse gases, mostly due to human activity, is trapping too much of the sun’s heat within our atmosphere. But the rebels against this dominant view suggest massive variations in the sun’s heat radiation are far more influential in warming than accumulating greenhouse gases.

….continued here.

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9 responses

17 03 2007
Eugenie

Thanks for posting this article. Interesting reading, for sure. I think there is nothing wrong with debating issues such as climate change; but it seems to me it is better to err on the side of caution. It’s the same with the GE issue – debate the pros and cons by all means, but let’s hold off on releasing GMOs until we know exactly what we’re dealing with here. In the same way, let’s assume all those poisonous gases we’re putting in to the air are causing some damage! Exactly how much damage, and what we should do about it, should be the issues we debate.

I googled one of the scientists Matthew Warren quotes, Chris de Freitas. The Bush Administration seems to like him – well, that’s a great recommendation. He has written for the likes of National Business Review, NZ Business Roundtable, NZ Herald, etc. And apparently extols the virtues of COAL as an energy source. Right on.

Love your blog, by the way.

Peace,
Eugenie

17 03 2007
Verdurous

Thanks Eugenie. Free speech is extremely important. We should never outlaw dissenting voices. In fact it is critical to the scientific method. But it’s the gap between scientific representations of the issue and mass media representations that needs rebalancing. As you point out, the precautionary principle should come in to play with a problem such as climate change which is a grave danger to our species and many others.

18 03 2007
John Feeney

I fully agree about the precautionary principle. Not surprisingly, though, when I mentioned it in a comment on Trinifar, in a thread in which libertarians had come to defend their ideas, a commenter referred to it as “rubbish.” When we’re talking about very serious consequences, some permanent, it’s just hard to understand that kind of thinking.

18 03 2007
Verdurous

Hi John, I see the Aussie libertarians are venturing outside their preferred habitat. They are seasoned debaters. Don’t be put off by them though. They like to shift debates onto ground they feel comfortable with ie. market theory. They also like to answer questions with questions. Even worse, they’re very intelligent and well read. FWIW, I’ve added my two bob’s worth to Trinifar’s post.

18 03 2007
Verdurous

Oh sorry John,

“Two bob’s worth” is an old Australian expression from pre-decimal currency days. In this context it means “I’ve had my say” or “I’ve contributed my share to the debate”

20 03 2007
Trinifar

Your two bob’s worth were greatly appeciated! Especially so since I first saw the ALS blog because of a comment you made on John’s Growth is Madness!. 🙂

I see the Aussie libertarians are venturing outside their preferred habitat. They are seasoned debaters.

I think it is healthy for everyone to carry on the conversation in multiple forums. ALS looks mostly like an echo chamber in which everyone agrees on a few basic — and, to my mind, generally unsound — principles. Debate can be a sport or a serious engagement in ideas. Too often it’s merely the former.

21 03 2007
John Feeney

Verdurous,

Here in Babylon, we use the expression, “my two cents worth.” So I knew whatchya meant. 🙂

21 03 2007
Eugenie

Oh, you Australians and your funny sayings. An Aussie ex-lover of mine used to say “What a pisser!” when some thing annoyed him. A typically elegant Aussie saying. That one always made me laugh.

…not that I would dream of Aussie-bashing on an Australian blog 🙂

V, your profile says you live in the Torres Strait. Is that up in the Northern Territories?

Peace,
Eugenie

24 03 2007
Verdurous

Eugenie, I think it’s a good thing that we have these different expressions. Australians say “He was really pissed” when describing someone as very drunk whereas as Americans would mean that the person was very angry.

Hey, you can Aussie-bash all you like by the way. I’ve got a thick skin – usually.

The Torres Strait is the gap between the pointy bit at the top of Queensland (an Australian state east of Northern Territory) and Papua New Guinea (a neighbouring country. So it is in the tropics and is comprised of about 30-40 islands, about 14 of which are inhabited. The people are mainly Melanesian (meaning they look similar to people from Fiji or Papua New Guinea or Vanuatu etc.). I’ve escaped life in Sydney for the time being. On a bit of an adventure up here for a year or so. Trying not to get eaten by crocodiles and sharks !

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