Climate Change

One Nation believes Australia should withdraw from the Paris Agreement signed in 2016.

Australia has committed to the deepest and most savage carbon emission cuts in the world, on a per person basis. This commitment is predicted to slow the Australian economy with massive job losses starting in 2020. In our view, this economic suicide[1] cannot be justified on the evidence put forward by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

We know that the majority of people believe in man-made global warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This belief is reinforced by media coverage of events like forest fires and droughts, but government policy needs to rest on the evidence and there is a growing concern about the evidence on which the claims of man-made global warming rests.

It is just too easy to allow our memories, often unreliable, to accept the often repeated claims that it has never been hotter. Given the economic costs, we believe we need to listen to the evidence.

It is the evidence we should take regard of when making policy. The history of science is that it’s the evidence that counts.

We have confidence in evidence when the experiment can be repeated and the same results are achieved.

We have confidence in science when the evidence is consistent with the theory and that theory predicts events in the future.

Scientists predicted global warming would lead to extremes of weather, which would be more intense and more frequent, but despite media reports extreme weather events were more common prior to 1960 than at any time since.

Climate science suffers from problems not found in other areas. Firstly, there are no accurate records for past temperature and it is difficult to reconstruct those temperatures from proxies. Secondly, it is difficult to arrive at a single temperature for the earth in the past and a single temperature for the earth now, so that the two temperatures can be compared and in that way, we can say there is a pattern of warming not seen before the greenhouse gases increased in the atmosphere.

Central to both these problems is the fact that there is no one place to take the earth’s temperature, but rather an infinite number of places ranging from the equator to the poles. Any attempt to add temperature measurements together creates uncertainty because the average varies depending on how many temperatures are collected in cold places and how many in hot places.

If there is global warming, then we say it should be reflected in a large number of places in different climate zones but in Australia that appears not to be the case.

The longest-running weather collection station in Australia, known as the Nobby’s Weather Station at Newcastle, has shown no pattern of warming since temperature records were collected in 1862. The hottest mean average temperatures at Nobby’s were before 1900 and the highest maximums before 1890[2].

There are other historical records for temperature kept by telegraph operators on the Overland Telegraph Service from the mid-1800s. They show temperatures were higher and heat waves were longer in duration before 1900.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) was established in 1906 and its records start in 1910, but it does not use earlier temperature records.

The IPCC uses a homogenized data set known as HadCrut4, which is a compiled by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

The 2009 Climategate emails[3] from the CRU at the University of East Anglia reveal the problems with the methods used by climate scientists to determine global temperatures. These emails show how difficult it is to recreate past temperatures[4] [5] from tree rings, lake sediment cores, bubbles of air caught in ice cores and other proxies for past temperature.

It is critical these reconstructed past temperatures are right, because any claim of global warming rests on evidence that temperatures were lower in the period before 1850 when industrialisation started to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Climate scientists acknowledge that the earth’s climate has changed in the past including when large parts of the world were covered in ice. The medieval warm period (950-1200) was following by colder and warmer periods.
It is generally agreed that natural events caused these temperature changes. These natural events include volcanic eruptions, and progressive changes in the earth’s tiltthe earth’s path around the sun and the wobble effect of the earth spinning on its axis[6].

It was only in 2015 that evidence was found of a connection between the earth’s tilt (that shifts through a 41,000 year cycle between 21.5 degrees and 24.5 degrees) and the movement of the low-pressure band of clouds (that is the earth’s largest source of heat and moisture- the Intertropical Convergence Zone[7]). This research suggests severe droughts and severe flooding can be caused by changes in the earth’s tilt.

It is clear to us that climate research needs to continue, but after thirty years of work by the IPCC there is insufficient evidence of global warming of the kind claimed by the IPCC and there is insufficient evidence of the climate catastrophes predicted.

We are the only political party to question climate science. One Nation Senators have taken every opportunity to use the Senate Estimates cycle, to understand the position of government advisors on climate science like CSIRO.[8]

What is the United Nations Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement is an agreement between Australia and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Each signatory to the Paris Agreement has made a different commitment.[9] Most signatories to the Paris Agreement, have made no commitments at all to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The largest emitter in the world, the United States, has not signed the Paris Agreement.

The economic and social pain of meeting Australia’s commitments, under the Paris Agreement, has only begun because the reductions in carbon emissions concern all areas of the economy and not just electricity generation. This means we have yet to make significant reductions in agriculture, and all means of transport. In France, they tax cars on a kilometre basis for carbon dioxide emissions and its one reason for the recent riots in Paris. As of January 1, 2019 SUV’s, big sedans and other large cars will be subject to penalties of 50 euros to 10,500 euros depending on their polluting levels. The lowering of the penalty threshold to 117g of CO2 released per kilometre means the number of cars penalized is likely to rise from 16.5% to 27.6% in 2019.[10].

Australia’s Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Finkel, told the Senate in June 2017 [11] that if Australia reduced its carbon emissions to zero, that it would make virtually no difference to global warming, because Australia emits only 1.3% of the world’s carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says there is evidence of global warming, so what is it?
The IPCC relies on a set of data known as HadCRUT4[12] . This dataset is formed by combining sea surface and land surface temperatures relative to the 1961-1991 reference period. The dataset shows temperatures have increased since 1850, but that most of the temperature increase (in fact two thirds) took place prior to 1950. This is contrary to what would have been expected because man-made carbon dioxide levels are much higher since 1950 than before.

The IPCC cannot explain why the increased carbon dioxide since 1950 has not caused a greater increase in temperature. The IPCC says the range of temperature increase from 1850 to today, is said to be between 0.8C and 1.2 C based on data created from computer models.

Do actual temperature records in Australia evidence global warming?
In 1933 the CSIRO and the Australian Weather Bureau published unadjusted temperature records, for the period 1855 to 1931, from 226 weather stations across Australia. These temperature records and those published in the Official Year Books of the Commonwealth of Australia were reviewed and the findings submitted to an inquiry into the Bureau of Meteorology[13].

The temperature records suggested a mean temperature increase of 0.4 degrees C, in the period (1911-1940) to (2002 – 2014). It is quite possible the 0.4 degrees C increase is the result of cities acting as heat islands[14] and it is quite possible, that there is very little global warming.

What about the predicted water shortages?
In the period 1910-1995, there has been a six percent increase in the total rainfall in Australia, 14% increase in Victoria, 15-18% increase in the NT, NSW and SA and negligible increases in WA and QLD with a non-significant decrease in TAS. There has been a significant decline in south-west WA in winter but balanced out by summer rain[15].

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in its 2017 Climate Statement says 2017 was the 30th wettest year on record in a record spanning 1900 to the present, 8% above the 1961-1990 average of 465.2mm. It is easy to forget that we had one of the wettest years on record in 2017 when the following year, reports of drought in certain parts of the country dominated the news.

BOM says the natural climate drivers for Australia are the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).

An excellent set of visual records for precipitation in Australia is available from the Queensland Government[16].

Researcher Tim Flannery predicted water shortages for Australia in 2007[17] but these water shortages have not eventuated, despite Australia’s population growing dramatically. The seawater desalination plants around Australia have been mothballed or are at minimal use because our dams are providing us with water.

One Nation has not forgotten the tragedy which followed the release of water from the Wivenhoe Dam near Brisbane in 2011. The Dam was at over 200% of designed capacity when water was released increasing the level of water in the Brisbane River by 10 meters.

The Murray-Darling River system is one of the largest in the world and has a long history of droughts dating back to 1790 [18], long before 2 million people were living within the Murray- Darling Basin.

What about sea level rises?
In 2016 the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change met on the main island of Tuvalu where they called on the United Nations to create an insurance fund to protect those affected by the climate change even though there is evidence the area of Pacific atolls above sea level has increased.

A study, using aerial photographs and satellite images, of the shorelines of Tuvalu’s 101 islands and 9 atolls, published in 2018, shows that despite a small rise in sea level there was a net increase in land area during the period 1971-2014[19]. Seventy-three of the 101 islands had a net increase in area while the remaining 28 islands had small losses.

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta has the sea lapping against it, but not because of the rise in sea level. Instead, the land is sinking as a result of groundwater being pumped out for use.

What about the melting ice in the Arctic and Antarctic?
A study done by the Oceans and Ice branch of the United States National Aeronautics and Space and Administration Agency investigated artic ice extents and trends for 18 years in the period 1978 to 1996. They found the sea ice undergoes change with the seasons, which they called inter-annual variability and that in some areas the ice extent increased and in others, it decreased at times, but no trends that could be clearly identified as long term climate trends could be found. They noted that between 1953 and 1977 there was an increase in ice extents.[20]

The IPCC says “it is very likely” that annual mean Antarctic sea ice extent increased 1.2 to 1.8% per decade.[21]

We need to be certain that photographs showing a reduction in sea ice are taken at the same time of year.

What about food shortages?
Food per person has increased by 25% while the global population has increased by 140% since 1960, which does not support the IPCC prediction that global warming will decrease food production. Satellite images show the world is overall greener than it was twenty years ago.[22].

Are extreme weather events increasing?
No.[23]  A list of severe weather events that count as extreme when compared with the weather of the last 50 years shows that 1934 and 1954 were worse than anything in the past 100 years.[24]

What about the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Coral bleaching?
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef containing 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands spanning 2300 kilometres. The water temperature between the north and south of the reef vary with an average of 25 degrees C in the south to an average of 27.4 degrees C in the north.

In one study of 2258 surveys of 214 reefs, covering the period 1985 and 2012[25], it was found there was a major decline in hard coral cover in the GBR. The loss of coral was attributed to tropical cyclones (48%), coral predation by the crown-of-thorns starfish (42%) and coral bleaching (10%).

Coral bleaching is not new. Coral core samples of live corals at the GBR show that the number of bleaching events increased between 1620 and 1753 and then decreased between 1754-1820. Maximal bleaching is believed to have taken place twenty years ago in 1998.[26]

Coral bleaching is caused by a number of events including localized drops in sea level, extreme cold or hot and lack of wind, but there is evidence that coral reefs recover from bleaching events[27], if currents bring coral larvae from other reefs to replenish those lost.

Corals can adapt very quickly to higher temperatures making them one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change.

One Nation supports the protection of the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.

What about renewable energy sources?
One Nation supports the use of renewable energy sources for the National Electricity grid when it makes sense to do so, but we do not support taxpayer subsidies for renewable sources of energy because renewable sources cannot provide the base load power we need.

What about nuclear energy?
We believe it is time for a sensible debate on the establishment of nuclear power because Australia is a stable continent and has an abundance of uranium.

Final Comments
Are humans changing the earth’s climate? We say there is insufficient evidence and that more research needs to be done before we commit economic suicide in Australia. Carbon dioxide is taken in by plants and with water and sunshine, in the process known as photosynthesis, creates the carbohydrates and water needed by us.

We want a clean environment and do not want pollutants added to our water or the air, but carbon dioxide is necessary for life on earth.

Version 3, dated Wednesday 13, January 2019

[1] Creighton, A and Packham B. Paris Treaty ‘to shrink economy’. The Australian. Front Page. Wednesday 9 January, 2019
[4] Abbot and Marohasy
[5] Smerdon, J. E and Pollack, H.N (2016) Reconstructing Earth’s surface temperatures over the past 2000 years: the science behind the headlines.…/papers/2016_wirescc_smerdonandpollack.pdf
[6] Milankovitch cycles
[7] De-Long, K. (2015) Earth’s tilt influences climate change
[8] Senator Malcolm Roberts September 2016 and 2017.
[9] Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, ozone and some fluorocarbons.
[10] France has since 2010 had a legal system which provides a tax bonus for new low emission vehicles and penalties for vehicles emitting high levels of carbon dioxide. Initially the bonus was available to cars emitting below 125g of Co2 per kilometer and penalties applied at 156g CO2 per kilometer but the thresholds were lowered from 1 January 2018 increasing the price of new cars and meaning penalties applied at 120g of CO2per kilometer. The new European target is 95g of CO2 per kilometer. Also the government has banned the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040.In the meantime the tax paid on diesel has increased. More information is available
[15] Hennessy et al (1999) Australian rainfall changes, 1910-1995. Aust. Met.Mag 48(1999) 1-13
[16] rainfall/
[17] Tim Flannery said in a 2007 Landline program:
We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and plants using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems”.
[19] Kench, P. S. et al (2018) Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternative adaption pathways for atoll nations.
[20] Parkinson, C.L. et al (1999) .Artic Sea ice extents, areas and trends, 1978-1996. Journal of Geophysical Research v 104(c9) 20,837-20,856.
[21] IPCC AR5
[22] Randall, J et al  (2013) Impact of Co2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments, Geophysical Research Letters 40 #12 3031-5
[23] Kelly, M. J (2016) Trends in Extreme Weather Events Since 1900- An Enduring Conundrum for wise policy advice. J Geogr. Nat Disast 6:155
[25] De’ath, G et al. (2012) The 27 year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its
[26] Kamenos, N and Hennige, S (2018) Reconstructing four centuries of temperature-induced coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. [27] International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Resilience Assessment of Coral Reefs.

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