23rd June 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - Climate activists urge people to pay attention to the science, not the climate-change deniers

Community members speak out in response to the news that “Watts Up with the Climate? Australian Tour” speakers Anthony Watts and David Archibald are coming to Hobart to spread misinformation about the climate at the Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre, UTAS, Hobart, 6.30 pm on Wednesday 23rd June.

“While we believe in freedom of speech, we call on the public, the media and other organisations not to get hoodwinked into believing the climate deniers. Real science is conducted through peer-reviewed publications in respected journals”, said Phil Harrington from Climate Action Hobart. “If these people had any credible science to present, they would be presenting it through such a journal as well as going on a national speaking tour.”

Margaret Steadman, from Sustainable Living Tasmania, said “There is an overwhelming body of science that supports the need for emergency climate action and we would like to draw people’s attention to that. Quite aside from the work of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, strong statements affirming the reality of human contribution to climate change have been released by the National Academies of Science of many countries, including: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the US and UK.”

Ms Steadman said: “A large number of professional scientific bodies and associations have also affirmed the reality of human influence on the climate, including, in the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Physics, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the Royal Society of the UK, the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, and Australia’s CSIRO.”

“At the same time, climate science has been studied for almost two hundred years now, the basic physics and chemistry of the greeenhouse effect being widely accepted and well understood, and the climatic changes now being observed do indeed fit increasingly well with the predictions previously made over the last seventy years about the effect of human induced carbon pollution of the earth's atmosphere (see "climateology timeline.pdf" available at http://www.climateactionhobart.org/climate-change-info).”

“We hope people don’t pay their $20 so they can go in and be told that human-induced global warming or climate change is a myth and that society can keep on polluting the air with greenhouse gasses”, said MrHarrington. “This message, while relieving people of their anxieties about the future, actually risks derailing the urgent transition we need to take to ensure a safe climate for us, our children and our children’s children”.

Various books have been written about the endeavours of corporations, scientists and pseudo-scientists to prevent necessary policy or legislative changes in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence of likely harm. For example, Clive Hamilton’s “Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change”, Oreskes and Conway’s "Merchants of Doubt" or James Hoggan’s "Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming." Both groups urged people to read them or check out websites such as www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462 (Climate change: A guide for the perplexed - 29 myths listed) and www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/dealing-in-doubt.pdf .

Mr Harrington said: “When weighing the risk of doing nothing compared to that of taking action, it is clear we are better off playing it safe and taking action - especially when the actions we are calling for, such as a switch to 100% renewable energy, better public transport, energy efficiency, protecting our native forests and sustainable agriculture, will make our lives better in any case.”