Step by step the world is now gaining a better understanding of what is happening to our climate and what we have to do about it.
And the good news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that while global warming is real, the alarmists appear to have got it wrong. We have time to tackle the problem.
For Australia the sad thing is that we wasted a lot of our mining boom wealth because, in good faith, we believed that we faced an urgent problem.
For the last couple of decades the world has been bombarded by extreme predictions and a vast climate change industry has been developed around these predictions.
One of the world best strategic thinkers on climate change is Bjorn Lomborg, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School and director of the Copenhagen Consensus.
For a long time he has been saying we have time and we should be spending our money on research to lower the cost of low carbon energy so it is competitive with carbon.
Last year Lomborg came to Australia to explain his views (Why the carbon tax doesn't work, August 21, 2012). He gave us good advice.
This morning Lomborg explains that the latest IPCC June draft report shows similar temperature rise predictions to earlier reports – at about one to 3.7 degrees centigrade by the end of the century.
For sea-level rise, the IPCC now includes modeling of how glacier responses leads to a sea-level rise of between 40 cm and 62 cm (1.5 feet to 2 feet) by century’s end.
The IPCC’s predictions do not support many alarmist predictions of global temperature rises of around five degrees centigrade and a sea level rise of between one to two metres three to six feet). (Al Gore predicted six metres).
These are dramatic errors and the climate change industry needs to change direction.
Lomborg concludes: “These sensible and moderate findings contradict the alarmist rhetoric. The past 15-20 years of little or no temperature rise reinforce this moderate climate change message.”
This does not mean there is no global warming. “The IPCC substantiates that global warming is a problem, but the report contains none of the media’s typically apocalyptic scenarios, no alarmism, and no demands from natural scientists to cut emissions by X per cent or to hand out lavish subsidies on solar panels.” Lomborg says.
Here in Australia we generated enormous wealth from our iron ore, coal and gas exports. But we spent huge sums on desalination, wind, solar and introduced high carbon taxes, which hit our employment creating industries. We genuinely believed in the earlier research. But now we have better data and it’s time to use our brains.
And the ordinary people know this – they have seen the rain. That’s why they rejected the carbon tax and voted for a plan that links carbon reduction to productivity – the Direct Action plan.
But the real efforts must be directed towards research so that non-carbon energy is close to the cost of carbon energy, so that we can make the switch without causing enormous unemployment. And we need to alert our teachers to the IPCC findings.