Debate has shades of Copernicus
NICK Minchin's contribution to the debate ("They tried to change my mind but I'm still a climate sceptic", Comment, 27/4) has somewhat the flavour of a backsliding priest assuring the 17th-century Roman Curia that, no, he had no truck with that mad Italian and still firmly believed, hand on heart, that the sun revolved around Earth. The warming of the planet, the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap, the rising level of the oceans, the role of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, the inability of solar activity to explain these events, and many other phenomena connected with climate change are amply supported by evidence, just as the Copernican heliocentric theory was disputing them is rather like questioning whether the sky is blue. One wonders why the obviously intelligent Minchin is pursuing the sceptic's line with so much vigour?
Andrew Watkins, Croydon
ABC does disservice
THE ABC TV program I Can Change Your Mind was a dreadful waste of time and money. Q&A wasn't much better. The major breakthrough seemed to be agreement that we should invest more in renewable energy. At least the shows might rekindle interest in more historical dramas from imaginative producers. Aristotle could belt away at the flat-earthers from a beach on Crete. Galileo (in stocks) might discuss the movement of the sun and Earth with Pope Paul V before a carefully picked audience at a venue like the Coliseum, with Antonius Jones as moderator.
Whatever you think of the science or the appropriate reaction, quite a lot of people think climate change a serious issue. I'd be surprised if spending Thursday night with our national broadcaster left you much wiser. If the ABC wishes to fill the educative gap left by our political leaders, then infotainment is not the right medium.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
Inspire the doubters
STEPHAN Lewandowsky has it wrong ("Sceptics must start warming to the reality of climate science", Comment, 26/4). Debate is needed not for the benefit of the 97 per cent of scientists who agree but for the substantial number in the community who remain confused and are not persuaded of the need to make substantial and uncomfortable changes to their lifestyle and material expectations if the effects of anthropogenic global warming are to be ameliorated.
The scientists do their case no good by their errant behaviour (Climategate) or by making alarmist predictions about the weather as opposed to climate or invoking the supernatural Gaia. Politicians don't help by breaking promises and failing to provide leadership. Now is the time for more debate, persuasion and inspired inclusive politics, not more intellectual grandstanding.
Patrick Hughes, Toorak
Polluters must pay
BY LABELLING as alarmists those who recognise enough correlation between climate change and the increase in greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity to want to do something about it now, Nick Minchin deflects attention from polluters. But regardless of climate change, think of that ghastly haze that overhangs us these days and then say (a) it's not due to human activity and (b) nothing needs to be done about it.
On (a), is there any other explanation of why the Grampians stood out razor sharp on the horizon from above Point Cook 70 years ago but now cannot be seen for smog from a plane taking off from Tullamarine? As for (b), is there any other explanation of why respiratory diseases have increased so markedly over the same period?
Those who cause pollution should pay for the damage it causes.
John McCredie, Hawthorn East