Column – Flannery admits no gain from this carbon tax pain

Andrew Bolt, Herald

CLIMATE Commissioner Tim Flannery yesterday choked when I confronted him with the global warming industry’s dirty secret.

But he wouldn’t – couldn’t – deny it.

The secret? Nothing we in Australia do about global warming will make a difference to the world’s temperature.

Indeed, even if the whole world stops all its emissions today, Flannery admits, “the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as 1000 years’’.

On our own we’d achieve even less, since we emit less than 1.5 per cent of the gases allegedly cooking the world.

So Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon dioxide tax will have you pay more for petrol, electricity and everything made with electricity, but will make zero difference to the climate. Wouldn’t budge it a flicker.

You see, I have asked warming activists like Flannery – now paid by the Government to talk us into accepting its carbon dioxide tax or emissions trading scheme – two critical questions you’d ask any time someone tries to sell you anything from a ShamWow to a new car.

How much will this cost?

What will it do?

But now watch Flannery try to avoid confessing to that secret: that Gillard’s plans would effectively make no difference to the world’s temperature.

Bolt: How much will it cost to cut our emissions by the Government’s target of 5 per cent by 2020 and how much will world temperatures fall by as a consequence?

Flannery : In terms of how much it will cut temperatures, that really very much depends upon how Australia’s position is seen overseas.

Bolt: No, no, we’ll get onto that, Tim …. On our own, cutting our emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, what will that lower the world’s temperatures by?

Flannery: See, that’s a bogus question because nothing is in isolation.

Bolt: Everyone understands that that is the argument. But we’re just trying to get basic facts, without worrying about the consequences – about what those facts may lead people to think. On our own, by cutting our emissions … what will the world’s temperatures fall by as a consequence?

Flannery: Look, it will be a very, very small increment.

Bolt: Can you give us a rough figure?

Flannery: Sorry, I can’t because it’s a very complex system and we’re dealing with probabilities here.

Bolt: Are you talking about a thousandth of a degree? A hundredth of a degree? What sort of rough figure?

Flannery: Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as 1000 years because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed …

Bolt: That doesn’t seem a good deal … So you don’t know about Australia, (but) you wouldn’t dispute that it’s within about a thousandth of a degree, around that magnitude, right?

Flannery: It’s going to be slight.

Notice? Flannery either does not know what we’ll gain from the pain, or does not dare say. But he does not question the truth – that even if Gillard’s plans work as she hopes, the difference they’ll make to the world’s temperature is measured in mere thousandths of a degree. If that.

Don’t think Flannery is alone in being evasive on this critical point.

I put the very same questions to Professor John Daley of Melbourne’s Grattan Institute, a taxpayer-funded warmist think-tank which this week reported we’d already wasted $6 billion on global warming schemes that had done next to nothing to cut emissions.

Bolt: To get to Julia Gillard’s target of cutting emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, how many more of these billions would we need to have spent?

Daley: If you’re going to do the whole lot through rebate schemes, you’d have to spend in the order of about $300 billion. (Emissions trading) is a much more efficient way to go.

Bolt: By how much will the world’s temperatures fall if we go to this emissions trading scheme that Julia Gillard recommends?

Daley: Well, it of course depends on what other countries in the world …

Bolt: No, no, just ours, John. I’m just looking at us. Us alone.

Daley: This is a classic collective action problem. If every country in the world looks at how much will their reductions make a difference, the answer for any individual country, even for the United States, even for China, is not that much.

Bolt: What I’m trying to do is just get to the bottom-line facts: if we spend these umpteen billions on cutting emissions further, to the 5 per cent by 2020, how much will Australia’s action alone cut the world’s temperature by? That must be measured somewhere …

Daley: Well, I think it’s not been measured anywhere because it’s not seen as being the right way to think about this.

Bolt: Well it would be. People want to know the gain for the pain … I know it’s got all those caveats, but just tell us how much the world’s temperature will fall if we do what you recommend and what Julia Gillard plans.

Daley: As I said, we haven’t run the numbers on how much it will make a difference if Australia acts completely alone.

Bolt: You should have.

Daley: The reason we haven’t done that is because Australia is not acting alone. Therefore it’s not a very helpful thing to analyse.

Not “helpful’’? Pardon?

If the bloke selling a ShamWow cloth refused to say what it actually did, saying the answer was “not helpful’’, would you still hand over your cash or walk away?

Now, if you wouldn’t even buy a $29 kitchen wipe with answers like these, why buy a global warming scheme that would cost us billions of dollars – and possibly cost you your job?


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