Maurice Newman is the head of Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council, a group established to meet three times a year with senior members of the government and “help guide programmes and policies that are sympathetic to the needs of both small and large businesses in Australia”.
The 75-year-old former stockbroker, banker and chair of the ABC and the ASX, has apparently also become a self-appointed expert on climate change regardless of the fact that he has absolutely no scientific qualifications whatsoever.
In 2010, Christopher Monckton and James Hansen both toured Australia. Monckton is a fruitcake with no scientific qualifications at all. He is paid by people like Gina Rinehart to promote climate change denial. Hansen is an American adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change.
Maurice Newman was the chairman of the ABC at the time. He believed that climate sceptics and denialists didn’t get a run in the media. Monckton was given extensive national coverage on television, radio and online. Hansen did one interview with Philip Adams. Monckton was discussed 161 times on the ABC while Hansen was only mentioned nine times.
In an interview with the Australian in December last year Mr Newman argued Australia had fallen “hostage to climate change madness”. He said climate change policies have been a major factor in the collapse of Australia’s manufacturing sector. He accused the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of “dishonesty and deceit” as it focuses on “exploiting the masses and extracting more money” in a climate crusade.
“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling. Global temperatures have gone nowhere for 17 years. Now, credible German scientists claim that ‘the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the little ice age of 1870’.”
Firstly, to correct Mr Newman, the period known as the little ice age ran from about 1645 to 1710 – 1870 was a later, lesser period of lower temperatures. Secondly, cherry-picking data from short time periods, or using a very hot year as your base comparison, are sceptics’ tactics that have been exposed and refuted.
He appears to be referencing the work of Horst-Joachim Lüdecke and Carl-Otto Weiss, who say natural processes including solar activity are driving climate change. They are members of an advisory board of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) – a German group of climate change skeptics that argues freedom, not the climate, is at risk. The group lists Lord Christopher Monckton as one of their Advisory Board members and they teamed up with the Heartland Institute to host a combination conference in 2012.
The only way to blame the sun for the current rise in temperatures is by cherry picking the data. This is done by showing only past periods when sun and climate move together and ignoring the last 35 years when the two are moving in opposite directions.
A comparison of sun and climate over the past 1150 years found temperatures closely match solar activity (Usoskin 2005). However, after 1975, temperatures rose while solar activity showed little to no long-term trend. This led the study to conclude, “…during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source.”
On Tuesday night, Mr Newman chose to share some more of his ‘wisdom’ with us when he said on Lateline that “there is no empirical evidence to show that man-made CO2, man-made emissions are adding to the temperature on earth”.
When Emma Alberici asked why he was so convinced that the IPCC, which collates the science from 195 countries, 97% of climate scientists, and nineteen academies of science across the world were wrong he said
“I just look at the evidence. There is no evidence. If people can show there is a correlation between increasing CO2 and global temperature, well then of course that’s something which we would pay attention to. But when you look at the last 17.5 years where we’ve had a multitude of climate models, and this was the basis on which this whole so-called science rests, it’s on models, computer models. And those models have been shown to be 98 per cent inaccurate.”
Contrary to Mr Newman’s assertion, there is a raft of evidence showing continued warming. Satellite and surface measurements find less energy is escaping to space at CO2 absorption wavelengths. Ocean and surface temperature measurements find the planet continues to accumulate heat.
When pressed to answer the question “who is it that’s influencing you so that is so convincing you otherwise?” he said
“Roy Spencer, who’s carried out a thorough review of all of the models and the empirical data which against both land-based and satellite-based measuring. And they were found to be wrong. There’s a study that came out from NASA in the last few weeks which says that the impact of CO2 on the upper atmosphere brings about a cloud and the result of that is a bit like our own body temperature moderating as a consequence of perspiring. So you get an albino effect which reflects sunlight.”
This transcript came from the Lateline website. As a few commenters pointed out, Mr Newman used the correct phrase ‘albedo’ not ‘albino’. Thanks to those who drew my attention to this.
Roy Spencer is a research scientist at the University of Alabama who believes that the “theory of creation actually had a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution” because the DNA molecule could not have happened “by chance”. He also told a US Senate Committee that if he was placed in a debate, he would be able to offer more scientific evidence “supporting that life was created” than an opponent could offer that life had evolved.
There are two major questions in climate modeling – can they accurately reproduce the past (hindcasting) and can they successfully predict the future? Models have successfully reproduced temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean but are unable to predict recent warming without taking rising CO2 levels into account. Noone has created a general circulation model that can explain climate’s behaviour over the past century without CO2 warming.
In July 2011, a paper co-authored by Roy Spencer was published in the journal Remote Sensing. His paper looked at a potential connection between clouds and global warming. The paper received significant media attention, and climate change skeptics claimed that it “blow[s] a gaping hole in global warming alarmism.”
Within three days of the publication of Spencer & Braswell’s paper, two climate scientists (Kevin Trenberth & John Fasullo) repeated the analysis and showed that the IPCC models are in agreement with the observations, so refuting Spencer’s claims.
Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University whose research subject areas are atmospheric chemistry, climate change and climate change policy, said of Spencer’s work
“[This] paper is not really intended for other scientists, since they do not take Roy Spencer seriously anymore (he’s been wrong too many times). Rather, he’s writing his papers for Fox News, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, Congressional staffers, and the blogs. These are his audience and the people for whom this research is actually useful — in stopping policies to reduce GHG emissions — which is what Roy wants.”
In response to the flawed peer review that allowed the publication of the paper, the Editor-in-Chief of Remote Sensing stepped down. He had this to say:
“After having become aware of the situation, and studying the various pro and contra arguments, I agree with the critics of the paper. Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing.
With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements…”
Our Prime Minister is getting his climate change advice from an aging stockbroker who gets his ‘scientific facts’ from some guy in Alabama who doesn’t believe in evolution. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Tony has appointed executive chairman of Manufacturing Australia Dick Warburton, another sceptic who does not believe that man-made emissions are causing global warming, to head up the review of the Renewable Energy Target.
We then hear that the Commission of Audit were unable to assess the Coalition’s $3.2 billion Direct Action Plan because there is no plan yet. Tony Shepherd said
“The Commission of Audit couldn’t really look at it because we didn’t have a policy to look at. If they had a policy and it was out there we would have had a look at it, but in the absence of any detail we couldn’t.”
Clive Palmer declared this week that his Palmer United Party would not back the “hopeless” policy and he threatened to reconsider his position on the carbon and mining taxes if the government does not bring direct action legislation to the Senate for debate.
All I can say is, more strength to your arm Clive. We’ll make you an environmentalist yet!