Member of Soon-To-Be-Axed Australian Commission Calls Climate Debate “Infantile”

Via the Guardian:

Floods, bushfires and this year’s scorching summer heatwave have raised awareness of the dangers of climate change, but an “infantile” debate over the validity of the science has cost Australia precious time, according to a key Climate Commission expert.

The commission, an independent body that advises the government on climate science, has updated its 2011 The Critical Decade study to analyse the latest findings on climate change and Australia’s response to it.

The report is likely to be the Climate Commission’s last major contribution if, as expected, the Coalition wins power at the 14 September election. …

“Extreme weather events tend to focus the mind and change the narrative around climate change,” Professor Will Steffen, of the commission, told Guardian Australia.

“The IPCC report that linked extreme weather events to climate change in 2012 was a breakthrough as previously scientists were loathed to link the two. I’ve certainly noted that when I go up to Queensland, people are fed up cleaning up a once in a 100-year flood and then doing it again next year. People are starting to ask what’s going on.”

“I think we’ve lost valuable time with an infantile debate over the science, which has delayed the inevitable work of getting to the solution. There have been attempts to undermine the science. The science has been attacked and scrutinised and it’s stood up.”

Borehole items


  1. It's Official: Weather IS NOW Climate-


    “The IPCC report that linked extreme weather events to climate change in 2012 was a breakthrough as previously scientists were loathed to link the two."

    After repeated failures to make a correct projections, the UN-IPCC catastropharians are moving goalposts.
    reduced to pointing at local weather as proof of GLOBAL warming.

  2. Fair enough. I should delete all of it since you hardly started on a constructive note. But I'm actually happy the comment system is working smoothly, though I wish we'd had a more constructive commenter to start with.

    With regard to your point, let me explain it to you in the sports terms that you seem to prefer.

    This is not moving the goal posts. This is raising the bar.

  3. Questioning "a breakthrough' in climate science, and you dismiss this is NOT constructive?

    Thick-headed even?

    It is a complete contradiction of what the UN-IPCC originally said.

    No sir, this is not an "example of raising the bar."

    It certainly is not science if it can't be questioned.

  4. This actually raises an interesting point making me somewhat reluctant to erase this embarassing exchange.

    hj says "It is a complete contradiction of what the UN-IPCC originally said."

    It is widely believed in naysayer circles that IPCC SREX explicitly said that there is no observed connection between climate and extreme events, at least as yet. In fact this is untrue. It is interesting to speculate how this incorrect idea became so widespread in those circles.

    hj's claim is easily refuted:

    It is very likely that there has been an overall decrease in the number of cold days and nights,3 and an overall increase
    in the number of warm days and nights,3 at the global scale, that is, for most land areas with sufficient data. It is likely
    that these changes have also occurred at the continental scale in North America, Europe, and Australia. There is medium
    confidence in a warming trend in daily temperature extremes in much of Asia. Confidence in observed trends in daily
    temperature extremes in Africa and South America generally varies from low to medium depending on the region. In
    many (but not all) regions over the globe with sufficient data, there is medium confidence that the length or number
    of warm spells or heat waves has increased. [3.3.1, Table 3-2]

    There have been statistically significant trends in the number of heavy precipitation events in some regions. It is likely
    that more of these regions have experienced increases than decreases, although there are strong regional and
    subregional variations in these trends. [3.3.2]

    There is evidence that some extremes have changed as a result of anthropogenic influences, including
    increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led
    to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale. There is medium confidence
    that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale. It is
    likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in
    mean sea level.

    That's from the Summary for Policymakers of the SREX

  5. Mr Tobis.

    Thank you for responses and not deleting me, but engaging, and maybe educating me.

    You say I am easily refuted, posting a quote from UN-IPCC Summary for Policy makers of the SREX.

    Is this the "breakthrough" 'text' that Steffen, refers to? It appears not.

    Lots of "if's & buts, with a few likelys thrown in," but nothing definitive.
    Some descriptions of possible future climate and weather that are NOT unprecedented, nor more "extreme," or confirmed.

    But your response does not answer MY statement, “It is a complete contradiction of what the UN-IPCC originally said.”

    The SREX was released in 2012. The claims of "weather is not climate" pre-date the SREX.

    If this "settled science" claim "weather IS NOT climate" does NOT exist, Mr Tobis might want to refute these
    mis-informed people as well:

    SkS, dana1981- Open Letter to London Mayor Boris Johnson - Weather is not Climate

    Leo Hickman & George Monbiot: "that weather is not the same as climate, and single events are not the same as trends"

    NASA: What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

    The National Climate Data Centre.US: Weather events should not be confused with climate.

    Your favourite search engine is your friend. (type in "weather is not climate")
    Remember, the internet NEVER forgets.

    Thank you for your time, patience and a forum to comment on.

    Look forward to your response.


    extreme events increasing? hmmm...

    u.s. experiencing lowest number of forest fires in ten years.

    u.s. experiencing lowest acreage affecte4d by forest fires in ten years.

  7. The conversation on this item disappoints me. Is "infantile" a good choice of word? Has "the science" stood up?

    Steffen's points seem a bit overdrawn and counterproductive. We should be discussing nuance, not SREX.

    The only claim here is that extreme events "focus the mind and change the narrative". Well, yes. But does it advance the conversation?

    On present evidence, no.

  8. It is rather sad. Providing talking points for fake skeptics to use to prevent real conversation is very big business.

    I blame a lack of curiosity, and overmuch entertainment. People buy their ideas in an overstocked marketplace rather than thinking for themselves.

    I would point to the original SREX which does not at all say what is implied by these two above, but their take is easily found in many places with little variation. A kind of digest for those who don't want to be sullied with the material itself. It's interesting they have now borrowed the idea that searching will find support for their opinions. This is true, but that does not make the material itself true.

    Somebody who enjoyed the process of learning would actually read the stuff they're so busy trying to discredit. It's fascinating.

  9. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, June 23, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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