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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IPCC Meeting in Queensland

Dr Rajendra Pachauri


This week on the Gold Coast experts from around the world are meeting to finalise a special report on global warming. Chairman of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Dr Rajendra Pachauri admitted yesterday that the IPCC had been damaged over leaked emails and its use of poor quality research but said his organisation welcomed debate and was not guilty of overstating its case. Then he dropped a bombshell - he believes that Cyclone Yasi and the Brisbane floods were not directly linked to man-made climate change. He said there is plenty of evidence to show there is an increase in extreme weather events around the world but linking them to climate change is very difficult. “I don’t think anyone can make a categorical statement on that” he said.


This puts him at odds with Bob Brown, leader of the Greens who said the coal industry was responsible for the Brisbane floods - their contribution to global warming was the reason for our extreme weather conditions.


Dr Pachauri is pessimistic about a global deal to tackle climate change and cited Australia’s battle to introduce a carbon tax as an example of what was happening around the world, particularly in the US. When asked about the IPCC’s reputation he said they were focused on producing the best possible reports. "We welcome debate, we welcome discussion on all our findings, but a number of people also express the opinion that IPCC has understated the case and we expect in the fifth assessment report we will be able to provide a lot more knowledge by which, hopefully, the debate can become a little more focused," he said. "If you shut yourself off from questioning and doubt and discourse on whatever science is doing, you are limiting the ability and the power of science to provide solutions."


He said 60 per cent of the scientists contributing to the fifth assessment had not had anything to do with the IPCC before. "Our ability to communicate what we are doing has clearly not been adequate and we are now taking the steps to bring about adequate capacity within the IPCC," he said.


Climate change is a dirty would at the moment and there is bitter division about the proposed carbon tax that will impact so severely on industry and already overstretched family budgets. And it looks likely to be passed in Parliament with the help of the Independents after a dummy run last week. But our Prime Minister does not have a mandate from the people - she promised she would not introduce a carbon tax but after she was elected by the skin of her teeth by the Independents, she changed her mind and a large proportion of the electorate is furious about it.


One disaster after another seems to follow the Labor Party - the insulation debacle, the solar panels, the school building revolution and now set-top boxes for pensioners. Labor's asylum-seeker policy is costing us $600 million a year, around $60,000 per boat person, but veterans who have served overseas can't get a few lousy dollars for their service and disability pensions. All these mistakes, combined with the carbon tax, looks certain to bring down our first lady Prime Minister and only a miracle can save her now.