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Critics told to stop bashing Flannery over climate report
17/05/2012 - Climate commissioner Will Steffen has called on critics to stop their "vicious" attacks against the body's chief Tim Flannery and rejected suggestions the federal government-created commission is alarmist. Julian Drape
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Prof Flannery has copped a hammering from politicians and sections of the press this week over the Climate Commission's latest report on the impact of global warming on NSW.
The report found heatwaves were longer and more intense, while the number of hot days in western Sydney had risen 60 per cent since the 1970s.
It said the state was more susceptible to bushfires and coastal areas were at risk from rising sea levels. As a consequence people's physical and mental health would suffer increasingly.
Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner was quick to declare most people would view the findings as "alarmist".
The Daily Telegraph's Miranda Devine on Wednesday said Prof Flannery was doing the federal government's "dirty work of fear mongering", while Anthony Sharwood suggested on the Punch website the environmentalist was making things up to grab the public's attention.
Prof Steffen says that's all rubbish.
"Climate scientists take exceptional care to be absolutely straight," he told reporters in an interview on Wednesday.
"We don't use inflammatory language, we don't overplay and we don't underplay."
The ANU researcher compared climate scientists to the family GP.
While you wouldn't want them only to give dire warnings, "you certainly don't want them to underplay the risks you might face and can do something about".
Prof Flannery was shouted down by a protester dressed as a penguin at a public forum in Parramatta on Tuesday night.
His fellow commissioner says that was a "one-off" - an organised group of sceptics attended the forum - but he acknowledges the debate has, in some quarters, become toxic and "driven by anger and hate".
"When you see the attacks on Tim that you've seen, that is completely counter-productive," Prof Steffen said.
"It's uncalled for. You may disagree quite strongly with some of the things Tim says, but let's be a civilised country and sit down over a cup of tea and talk about this."
Prof Steffen said there was no place for the "viciousness" seen over the past few months.
Nevertheless, the commissioner insists the vast majority of Australians are more engaged than ever before and keen to get the facts.
The NSW report was the eleventh in a series and the commission has previously held forums across the country including in Adelaide, Perth, Bunbury and Ipswich.
People were overwhelmingly polite and respectful, Prof Steffen said.
Labor's climate commission was established in early 2011 to spruik the case for tackling dangerous climate change.
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Toscamaster | 17/05/2012 11:39 1
Will Steffen is being too precious on behalf of his close friend Tim Flannery and hypocritical at the same time. Let Steffen declare that when he addressed the Deliberative Forum on 28th May 2010 he did not employed "fulmination and the use of homily and rhetorical traps rather than genuine discourse." This is how Dr Simon Niemeyer described that disgraceful attempt to discover whether propaganda methods would change the opinions of everyday Australians. Corruption of climate science will inevitably go down as a failure of science to stay on its narrow path of ethics and credibility.
Graeme | 17/05/2012 12:14 2
Poor Tim! just because he told us that the dams would never be full again, even if it did rain. Plus many other such "alarmist" statements. All of which have proven to be false. We should not think he is a bit of a joke. Goodness me no! We "skeptics" are the fools. When we look out our window and see rain and full dams we are only fooling ourselves. Well someone is fooling us!
Colin Spencer | 17/05/2012 13:30 3
At least the Nazis were honest. They called Goebell's outfit by its proper name: The Ministry for Propaganda. So far, the Climate Change Commission has run a fear campaign. If the amount of effort put into telling porkies about the climate was spent marketing energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and projects, people would be enthused about investing in solar power systems, rainwater tanks and other climate friendly technologies, all of which would boom because of increased demand. Fear does not motivate a positive response.
goldie | 17/05/2012 19:09 4
let's be a civilised country and sit down over a cup of tea and talk about this." Bit late for that Steffen. It was 4 or so years ago that Rudd tried to sign up all Australians to an ETS and all before we knew what it was and what in heavens name is all this global warming caper. Fortunately for us his attempted snowjob was thwarted. Four years on and you also say "the vast majority of Australians are more engaged than ever before and keen to get the facts". You clearly believe and you would be right that we still don't have them yet you wonder why people like me and many, many others are justly sceptical. Also whilst you defending Flannery perhaps you can tell us all why his predictions were so very wrong, why? Perhaps another name change is required to cover things that were not foreseen before . What a con job.
Katherine | 18/05/2012 11:55 5
So the fact that the last fifty years were the hottest in 1000 years is also a product of the propaganda machine,right? The whole discussion can be summed up in one line: if you don't like the message, shoot the messanger! Brilliant solution indeed.
Colin Spencer | 18/05/2012 15:42 6
Yes Katherine, it has warmed up since the last ice age. No one seems to get excited about the fact that the world's population has increased by 300% in the last 65 years though. Perhaps there are just too many people on the earth to hope for conditions that existed pre 1950. During the next 50 years, the population should increase by up to 500% again. How much heat and energy will that problem create? It's all about cause and effect.
Toscamaster | 18/05/2012 17:27 7
Katherine: I have a file of evidence on corruption of climate science. I am prepared to present this file of evidence to you. We need to first agree that neither of us will lapse into demeaning the other. The debate requires people of good will presenting real world evidence for open discussion. Are you prepared to consider evidence of corruption of climate science? We would need about 3 hours to go through it.
Goldie | 18/05/2012 17:46 8
Catherine; Do you seriously expect people to believe that someone (?) was taking accurate temperature readings 1000 years ago? I am afraid there are people with an agenda and they will say what is necessary to support their beliefs and much of it is very questionable. Also believe it or not the experts have been wrong before. Just watch how many financial experts get it wrong each month trying to guess which way the Reserve Bank will go and we are only talking about looking into the future a matter of weeks. Why did the experts not predict the GFC? People and governments spent huge amounts of money trying to head off the Y2K Bug the experts told us would bring countries like ours to a standstill yet it proved not to be. These climate people are claiming to be able to see the future many decades out and the catastrophe that awaits us and I find this fanciful in the extreme. They are not messengers they are a group of people with an opinion and they don't like it when others don't share it so they tell them it will be doomsday if they don't.
Katherine | 22/05/2012 09:22 9
Goldie, you mentioned in one sentence the economists' prediction and the climate change science which confirms my views tha the climate change deniers don't even know the definition of science. And yes, there are well known methods for "reading" temperature in the past hundreds of years. Astronomers can also see the future many milions years ahead, will you also be attackig them for having an opinion? What about the gravity? You see its effects every day. How many experiments have you conducted to confirm this scientific "opinion"? By the way, the only reason why the Y2K bug didn't bring countries to a standstill was the early recognition of this risk and millions of dollars spent world - wide on prevention.
Toscamaster | 22/05/2012 11:47 10
Katherine: I am sincere about my offer to present you with the file of evidence on corruption of climate science. Are you prepared to consider it? Please reply via this blog.
Katherine | 22/05/2012 13:41 11
Toscamaster, Thank you for your kind offer but my answer is - no. American Congress received a detailed report prepared by the National Acedemy of Sciences, which not only confirmed the gravity of the problem but also urged a prompt action. I will not be wasting my time on "corruption" file put together by people backed up by the fat cats from the energy and resource industry. They paid $0.5bln to block the climate change legislation in the Congress. Scentists have brains but no money, that's why we have this this discussion. Our Gina and Clive also pour their money into every activity which undermines the science. Why not, if billions of dollars are at stake? What I see and read every day confirms the climate science predictions. Good news for us; if we live long enough we should be able to verify the two sides' opinions. Let's just wait, so people like me can peacefully die with a nice feeling of shadenfreude.
Dick | 22/05/2012 14:56 12
Katherine, do you seriously think any person would be stupid enough to believe you??? The world has been going for over 6000 years yet these so called scientists think they can base their judgments on a mere 50 years (1% time that the earth has been going). Did the Aborigines measure the temperature?? Or did Julius Caesar measure the temperature?? The Y2K bug is a perfect example of scientists blinding the world (or the dense percentage of it) to believe that the world would practically stop once we moved into year 2000 and the egg was seriously on their face when Jan 1 was just like any ordinary day (except they had sold out of candles and bbq's because they thought electricity was going to stop - laughable I know). Dont try and fool the world into thinking such insane and irrational happenings will come to pass. Get out of this country and mkove to an islan with Bob Brown and any other progress chokers and money wasters you can find. We like many others (as evidence in this blog) want our country to move ahead, we want a strong economy that can provide jobs rather than a country that is tied down by scientists who are benfefiting through idiots like yourself believing them. Climate change (they called it global warming at first until the weather patterns were not going to plan!!!) is an absolute sham and anybody that is stupid enough to believe them should lie on their solar panels in shame!!!!!!!!!! You have wasted this country enough money in false reports and money wasting measures this ountry no longer needs you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Toscamaster | 22/05/2012 15:45 13
Katherine, I will not lapse into intemperate comments on your reply to my last blog. Like many others, I have been labelled an environmental activist for forcing a local company here in Geelong to spend many $ millions in cleaning up its pollution of the airshed. I had a quiet giggle when you inferred that I am "backed up by the fat cats from the energy and resource industry". That's funny. If only you knew the truth!!. Despite your rejection of my offer, I make it again. Sanity and respectful consideration of others' viewpoints are essential for the well-being of our Nation and indeed of the earth. Please re-consider your rejection of my offer.
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