Legislative Council: Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Climate Change

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (15:46): I rise today to speak on an issue that causes headlines around the world. We read about it almost every day, and that of course is the topic of climate change. I read with some interest just a few weeks ago that the United Nations and also a European science agency stated that the July just passed this year was certain to be the hottest month on record globally and that climate change was driving the heat. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said, in relation to the claim, and I quote him directly:

The only surprise is the speed of change. Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning. The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.

Global boiling—we have apparently gone from experiencing global warming to global boiling. I was not surprised following these comments, very shortly after that, that some top climate scientists have since debunked these claims and that the past July was not the hottest month ever. In fact, they have gone so far as to condemn the UN Secretary's comments.

Cliff Mass, a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington—hardly a hotbed of conservative thinking—has said that the public has been misinformed on a massive scale stating:

It's terrible. I think it's a disaster. There's a stunning amount of exaggeration and hype of extreme weather and heatwaves, and it's very counterproductive.

John Christy, another Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, this time from the University of Alabama, weighed in on the issue and said that the heatwaves in the first half of the 20th century were, at the very least, as intense as those that occurred in more recent decades, based on long-term weather stations going back over 100 years. Professor Christy has stated:

I haven't seen anything yet this summer that's an all-time record for these long-term stations, 1936 still holds by far the…most number of stations with the hottest-ever temperatures.

It certainly is not the first time the United Nations has made some radical and ultimately false assertions about climate change and its effect on our planet.

In June 1989, a senior United Nations environmental official said that entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend was not reversed by the year 2000. Noel Brown, Director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program, said that governments had a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it would get beyond human control. It has been 23 years now since both those assertions, and of course we know they have not proved to be even the slightest bit true.

There are numerous other examples of incorrect predictions that have been made concerning our climate and environment. I am not an expert—I make no comment on the validity of the general scientific view—but what I am saying is that some of these extreme predictions need to be reined in. Back in 1970, so going back quite some time, a Harvard biologist by the name of George Wald estimated, and said publicly that:

Civilisation will end within 15 or 30 years—

which would have been by 1985 or the year 2000—

unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.

American biologist Paul Ehrlich told readers of the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive that some four billion people would perish in the Great Die-Off between 1980 and 1989. In fact, our population has actually increased by over four billion since then. He was wrong only by about eight billion people.

In January 1970, the publication Life reported—I am giving these older examples to emphasise how long these exaggerations have gone on—and I quote:

Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…[that] urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…By 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.

Of course, that has also proved not to be the case—far from it. Climate scientist Kenneth Watt further warned about a pending ice age in a speech, declaring:

The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees cooler for the global mean temperature in 1990—

he was saying this years before—

but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an Ice Age.

This is a far cry from global boiling; this gentleman was actually talking about an ice age, or worse than an ice age, yet the UN now predicts, or rather says, that we are currently experiencing global boiling.

My point here is that we need to rein in these predictions, be careful with what may or may not be true, and allow science to do its job.