The member for the Federal seat of Wahroongah, Zali Steggall, has introduced a bill into parliament entitled Climate Change Bill 2020. This bill is based on false premises and the consequences from it being passed are absolutely dire.
It is being introduced at a time when Australia is in a state of undeclared war with China which has already attacked India in June this year and continues to threaten Taiwan and other countries.
The undeclared war with China will become open warfare at a time of China’s choosing. To contribute effectively in the war with China, Australia needs its economy to be as strong as possible and to that end it needs to have energy costs as low as possible. Australia has already lost aluminium smelters due to power costs being higher than they need be.
Anyone in favour of this act being passed should be aware that the deaths of tens of thousands of Australian service personnel and civilians in the war with China will be on their heads. War with China is an existential threat and anyone doing anything that reduces our ability to fight that war is a traitor. The Climate Change Bill put forward by Ms Steggall is an act of treason.
Though nothing else needs to be considered in evaluating this act, the act is also wrong in science. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are wholly beneficial and with a minuscule warming effect, which in turn is overwhelmed by natural variation in climate. Consideration of a number of climatic and solar parameters suggests that the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere will more likely cool than rise or remain stable.
Where the Act is Wrong in Science
Section 3 on page 3 of the bill states “This Act recognises: (a) that climate change is a serious challenge to Australia’s prosperity…”
The use of the term ‘climate change’ in this instance is shorthand for the concept that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide from the current level of 412 parts per million will result an appreciable rise in the temperature of the atmosphere. That cannot happen because carbon dioxide, while contributing about 10% of the total greenhouse effect along with water vapour, methane and other gases, is effectively saturated with respect to its greenhouse effect at the current atmospheric concentration. The greenhouse heating effect is logarithmic, not arithmetic, with concentration as shown by the following figure:
Half of the heating is from the first 20 ppm. By the time we get to the atmospheric concentration in 2020 of 412 ppm, each additional 100 ppm only adds 0.1°C. Burning all the fossil fuels that are economically recoverable is expected to raise the atmospheric CO2 concentration to about 600 ppm. Thus the total heating effect from the current level is of the order of 0.2°C. There was a mild warming of the atmosphere in the second half of the 20th century so what was the cause of that? The Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th century than it had been for the previous 10,000 years, as shown by Figure 2
As energy from the Sun is what stops the Earth from looking like Pluto, this increase in energy is enough probable cause for the pleasant warming many of us experienced during our lifetimes. That warming and the rise of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was mere coincidence.
In fact prior to humanity burning fossil fuels at scale, the carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere was dangerously low. As recently as 15,000 years ago at the bottom of the last glaciation, trees showed signs of carbon dioxide starvation. From the paper Carbon starvation in glacial trees recovered from the L Brea tar pits, southern California, “As a result, glacial trees were operating at c i values much closer to the CO2-compensation point for C3 photosynthesis than modern trees, indicating that glacial trees were undergoing carbon starvation.” This is shown in the following figure from that paper:
Plant growth shuts down completely at 150 ppm of carbon dioxide. From the glacial low of 180 ppm, it would have only been a fall of another 30 ppm to wipe out all life above sealevel. We didn’t get to that point in the last glacial period but as more and more carbon gets locked up in sedimentary rocks, we might in one of the glaciations to come as the Earth is only three million years into what could be a 30 million year long ice age.
It has been estimated that the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration caused by humanity has increased crop yields by the order of 15%. In effect Australia and some other countries are providing free fertiliser to third world countries, as well as increasing the richness and diversity of nature.
The Earth’s climate is driven by changes in solar activity, mainly by the strength of the Sun’s magnetic field. That effect is captured by the aa Index with data from 1868:
As Figure 4 shows, solar magnetic activity was much higher during the Modern Warm Period than it had been in the prior Little Ice Age. The Modern Warm Period ended in 2006 and the Earth will most likely go back to the climatic conditions of the 19th century with the consequence that grain production in the mid-latitudes will become subject to frost risk.
Plotting the cumulative change in the aa Index, as plotted in Figure 5, shows that solar activity is subject to multi-decadal trends. The changes in trend delineate climatic periods. The Earth entered a new cold period in 2006.
Even though there was a warming period in the second half of the 20th century, its effect on Australian records is barely perceptible. For example the Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia temperature record from 1897 shows that the temperature there in 2019 only got back to the temperature of 1915 of 17.4°C after decades of cooling through to the 1970s:
Temperatures in many parts of Australia are barely above levels they were over a hundred years ago. The evidence that increased carbon dioxide has impacted on climate does not exist.
It is a similar story in sea level rise as shown by the record for Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour:
The record for Fort Denison shows some interesting things. The level now is lower than it was in 1914 when the record started. The recent peak was in 2006 at the end of the Modern Warm Period. Sea level at Fort Denison has been falling since. From the record kept by the Bureau of Meteorology, the maximum recorded level was 2.4o metres at 1 pm on 25th May, 1974, which is now 46 years ago. And Australians are supposed to believe that a dangerous sea level rise is in prospect from global warming? And that they should thrash the economy, and set themselves up for invasion, in the anticipation of it?
The climate and sea level changes that Australians have experienced through their lives depart enormously from what climate models have predicted. Therefore that the climate models are wrong. It follows from that that Australia’s economy should not be hobbled, and Australia put at risk of invasion, according to the dictates of failed climate models.
The Emissions of Others
The Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley was built with a rated capacity of 2,000 MW. AGL, the owner of the station, intends to close it in order to tighten the power market so it can make money from its diesel-powered generating sets. By comparison, China has planned to install 31,830 MW of coal-fired power stations in 2020, which is close to 21 times Liddell’s original capacity. The fact that we are cruelling our industry with expensive and unreliable power while the country that will attack us is doing the exact opposite is the height of idiocy.
Wind and solar power are neither renewable or sustainable. Solar panels are made in China using coal-sourced power at US$0.04 per kWh. Under ideal conditions in the Australian desert, those panels produce power that costs $0.21 per kWh, for eight hours per day. It follows that if power from those solar panels was used to make other solar panels, the cost of power from the second generation of solar panels would be of the order of $0.80 per kWh or more. Solar panels and wind turbines are artefacts of cheap thermal coal-based power generation. The only viable solution to the inevitable exhaustion of fossil fuels is the development of the appropriate nuclear technology.