Role of the oceans is fun­da­men­tal to cli­mate change

The Weekend Australian - - COMMENTARY -

Doug Hurst (Let­ters, 12/10) is quite cor­rect; un­der­stand­ing the role of the oceans in cli­mate is a fun­da­men­tal key to re­al­is­ing that car­bon diox­ide mit­i­ga­tion is point­less. Oceans hold a great deal of CO2 — much more than the at­mos­phere. Nu­mer­ous cli­mate stud­ies have demon­strated that CO2 moves into and out of the ocean sur­face driven by tem­per­a­ture, not the other way round.

That CO2 change fol­lows tem­per­a­ture change was first doc­u­mented in the jour­nal Na­ture in 1990 and has been val­i­dated by many other com­pre­hen­sive stud­ies.

Cause must pre­cede ef­fect, hence it is dif­fi­cult to see how CO2 emis­sions can cause any mea­sur­able tem­per­a­ture change. There­fore the Paris emis­sion re­duc­tion tar­gets are a lux­ury we could safely do with­out. Jim Brooks, Toorak Gar­dens, SA Tony Ab­bott is right (“Amish ways good for some — the rest of us need power”, 10/10). The global warm­ing scare started at about the time the UN In­ter-gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change pub­lished its fa­mous hockey-stick chart which ex­ag­ger- ated tem­per­a­ture rises in the fu­ture. Now we are stuck with all of the hype and crip­pling leg­is­la­tion lead­ing us into obliv­ion while the big pol­luters, op­er­at­ing un­der dif­fer­ent rules, power on. Coun­tries that tried to be green and cover their land with wind tow­ers are now suf­fer­ing, Spain be­ing one such loser.

Those ex­pen­sive tur­bines can and do fail. Be­cause Aus­tralia pro­duces only 1.3 per cent of the world’s car­bon diox­ide, we should not be lead­ing the world in hard­ship.

We should be fol­low­ing China’s move and build­ing mod­ern coal-fired power sta­tions to get us through to the 2030s, at least.

No more hand­outs de­signed to make some in­di­vid­u­als rich with­out re­duc­ing the world tem­per­a­ture. Peter Con­don, South­port, Qld

Af­ter a lull, the let­ters page is again full of cli­mate change com­men­tary, ig­nor­ing the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion warn­ing:

“Although global warm­ing may bring some lo­calised ben­e­fits, such as fewer win­ter deaths in tem­per­ate cli­mates … the over­all health ef­fects of a chang­ing cli­mate are likely to be over­whelm­ingly neg­a­tive.”

I must as­sume your let­ter writ­ers are sin­cere and have the pub­lic in­ter­est at heart. But by any bal­anced re­view of the ev­i­dence — far too ex­ten­sive to re­view here but widely avail­able to all — they are wrong. We’re not on the brink of an ice age, the sun is not the main fac­tor, fos­sil fu­els have in­creased car­bon diox­ide lev­els that are warm­ing the planet.

Let’s not leave it to Chris Roy­lance to be the to­ken re­spon­der. Charles Wor­ring­ham, Chapel Hill, Qld

Why all the out­rage over un­re­mark­able com­ments by Tony Ab­bott? We know our emis­sions make no dif­fer­ence to global warm­ing, but I sup­port the view that we should con­tinue to be a good world cit­i­zen even if our ef­forts ap­pear to be fu­tile.

As en­ergy pro­duc­tion ac­counts for only about 30 per cent of our emis­sions, why not quar­an­tine our en­ergy sec­tor from any im­ped­i­ment that would pre­vent ac­tion on re­duc­ing en­ergy costs and op­ti­mis­ing en­ergy se­cu­rity un­til we are back on our feet?

In light of the po­ten­tial catas- tro­phe of a failed en­ergy sec­tor, surely ap­ply­ing our best en­deav­ours to re­duc­ing the re­main­ing 70 per cent of our emis­sions would be seen as a fair con­tri­bu­tion to the in­ter­na­tional ef­fort on ad­dress­ing cli­mate change. Den­zil Bourne, Jerrabomberra, NSW

It would ap­pear that Tony Ab­bott’s con­clu­sion about deaths re­lat­ing to cold com­pared to heat failed to in­clude all those peo­ple who have died be­cause of drought, flood, fire and famine, due to ex­treme weather.

It is too easy to see things from a Western-cen­tric per­spec­tive. It would also ap­pear that he is in­ca­pable of un­der­stand­ing the dif­fer­ence between weather and cli­mate.

No one de­nies that cli­mate change is a com­plex is­sue, in­volv­ing a num­ber of in­ter-re­lated as­pects in­clud­ing ocean cur­rents, so­lar ra­di­a­tion, de­for­esta­tion and pol­lu­tion, but to say that CO2 isn’t a crit­i­cal com­po­nent is ab­surd in the ex­treme. The bot­tom line as far as fos­sil fu­els is con­cerned is that they will run out and we will need a vi­able al­ter­na­tive un­less you are draw­ing a line un­der hu­man ex­is­tence. Roger Bridg­land, West Ho­bart, Tas

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