The article by Bjorn Lomborg I discussed recently was followed by an editorial in the same Newspaper which significantly distorts Lomborg’s position, twists it into total denial, and do-nothingness, and shows the dangers of that position once it becomes political and is used to argue much harder and far more incoherently than Lomborg himself.
The editorial asserted that the problem with the bushfires was simply their visibility through social media. There was no mention of the clouds of smoke dust and ash which hung around the city making the fires visible to everyone outside social media, of course. Presumably we are expected to have short memories.
The other problem was apparently the unscrupulous “climate evangelists” who were prepared to exploit this visibility through social media: “People have promoted misinformation to push a policy barrow.”
We might even be able to agree with this, but it may not only be the climate activists who have promoted misinformation, or even illogic, for political reasons.
Use of the word unprecedented has been instrumental; by politicians, activists and journalists. It has been deployed since November last year in an attempt to invoke climate change as the root cause of the fire disasters.
This has been contrived and dishonest.
The editorial argues that the reality is that the fires were a once in a generation experience, but we have them all the time (yes the argument was that coherent). They continue by suggesting that maybe the fires were unprecedented, but not all of the fires were unprecedented, so none of them were unprecedented. There have been lots of fire disasters in Australian history, so to say that this one was unprecedented, is dishonest.
Fires are not a new threat, and, even if they were, they cannot be neutered by climate policy, they will still exist.
This is proven by Bjorn Lomborg:
annual areas burned by bushfire across our continent are on a clear downward trend; and this year’s total, so far, is well below average.
Presumably what we are to conclude from all this, is that all fires are similar, and no Australian fire could ever be unprecedented in its intensity or spread, because there have been fires previously. Area of blaze is more significant than intensity of blaze. So nothing to worry about here…
Let me repeat Prof. Lomborg gives no evidence for his assertions about decline in fire areas, and does not explore alternative explanations for these figures. He merely asserts there is evidence. He may be right. He may have irrefutable evidence. But from that article we do not know.
The editorial does admit that the drought probably had something to do with the fires, but the drought is “not directly linked to climate change” – we have droughts don’t cha know? The fires could have been influenced by high temperatures and strong winds which also apparently have nothing to do with climate change. Fires were also caused by “Natural and human-induced ignition, and heavy fuel loads because of insufficient hazard reduction”. So the ‘natural’ apparently makes it ok or inevitable, and the human implies that it was all the fault of arsonists. No mention of the fact that the fire service could not find many wet or cool months to do the hazard reduction, with the addition that that had nothing to do with climate change either. Perhaps three denials of climate change in a row would look to be pushing it.
People also built houses in the bush and were not prepared. So there you are: its all the fault of the NSW State government for not finding the right times for burning, and if people had not built houses in the bush there wouldn’t have been any blaze. No they are not arguing that latter point, but they are probably trying to diminish the number of properties destroyed – by implying it was all the home owner’s fault for being stupid or unprepared. That is what I would call politicising the fires at the cost of the victims…. which is a recurrent theme of theirs used to berate people for talking about climate change.
The editorial remarks that in the good old days we would have all come together with “the all-too-familiar smell of bushfire smoke” but this time the evil greenies split us apart and those days of unity and uniform agreement with Mr Murdoch are gone forever.
Then we learn the crisis was magnified by the mainstream green left-oriented media (!!!) who are hell bent on getting revenge on the Coalition for winning an election. This ‘Love media’ includes channel 9 and “online Twitter feeders such as Guardian Australia.” (‘Love’ obviously has some unique The Australian meaning here.) And there were other jejune people on social media reporting what they experienced as “social media memes”.
“Displaying the corporate and professional memories of goldfish, they gave us a sickeningly revisionist perspective” in which climate change was relevant to the fire, when all sensible people know it was not, even if they didn’t at the time.
This green left media deliberately discourages tourism and politicises everything by disagreeing with us. They engage in abuse! People will eventually see this overreach of climate activists and come back to supporting the government – and we can live in natural harmony once more….
“Facts do matter.” Yes they do whatever the editorial writer asserts,
Whatever climate policies are adopted in Australia, they cannot change our climate because global emissions are still rising sharply.
Yes and they will continue to rise rapidly as long as we have editorials like this, prepared to sacrifice everyone and everything for the continuance of a failed and flailing order.
“Alarmism is the order of the day”. No, unfortunately this kind of editorial silliness is the order of the day: extremism posing as rationality; the victim blamers pretending to be the victim; politicisation pretending to be apolitical and dispassionate.
If “alarmism” was the order of the day, we would have policies to deal with climate change and its consequences. We would be phasing out coal mining, we would not be talking about new coal power stations, we would be limiting land-clearing and deforestation, we would be discussing how to protect our low lying areas from sea level rises, we would be building new energy grids, we would be clarifying energy regulations in consultation with industry and communities, we would enable rather than hinder community energy, we would discontinue subsidies for fossil fuel mining, we would be seriously investigating regenerative agriculture and so on. The fact that we are not doing any of these things suggests that denial, and fossil fuel companies reign supreme.
Apparently this editorial describes what many politicians might believe, or believe it is safe to believe…
To finish with a remark from Lomborg on the glaring inadequacies of the Paris agreement:
President Trump…. failed to acknowledge that global warming is real and wrongly claimed that China and India are the “world’s leading polluters.” (China and the U.S. are the largest emitters of carbon dioxide, and the U.S. is the biggest per capita.)… the White House now has no response to climate change….
The real misfortune for the planet isn’t that Mr. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris treaty. Rather, it is that his administration has shown no interest in helping to launch the green-energy revolution that the world so urgently needs.Wall Street Journal 17 June 2017
Just like the Murdoch Empire.