Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Bolt vs Bandt – pants on fire

with 10 comments

Adam Bandt published an op-ed in The Guardian on October 16 linking Tony Abbot’s repudiation of the carbon price to increased climate risks for Australian’s then tweeted it with a link to the current fires in NSW. Andrew Bolt had to tell us how morally bankrupt Bandt is in the HeraldSun today. He cited me:

“Nothing in the records shows ­global warming has made bushfires bigger or deadlier in NSW – or ­globally. The US is recording its quietest fire season a decade.

The most telling point against Bandt’s alarmism, of course, is that global temperatures have barely changed for 15 years. Indeed, Canberra last week recorded its coldest October night in history. Like Sydney’s hot spell, it’s called weather, Adam, not climate change.

So Bandt is wrong about the cause of the fire and wrong to pretend these fires are worse. He’s wrong to imply global temperatures have been steadily rising, and wrong to claim Abbott could make the slightest difference.

Just ask Professor Roger Jones, an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which estimates that even if Abbott kept Labor’s carbon tax policies, Australia would at best cut temperatures by an imperceptible 0.0038 degrees by 2100.

So Bandt is wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. And a hypocrite as well as a vulture. Oh, and a disgrace.”

I fired off the following to the Hun, but it’s too long for their letters page, so I reproduce it here:

Andrew Bolt castigates Greens MP Adam Bandt for linking the current NSW fires to climate change (21/10), then says “So Bandt is wrong about the cause of the fire and wrong to pretend these fires are worse. He’s wrong to imply global temperatures have been steadily rising, and wrong to claim Abbott could make the slightest difference.” And suggests asking me, because I estimated reducing Australian emissions by 5% to 2020 would reduce global warming by an “imperceptible” 0.0038 degrees Celsius. Taking the politics out of Bandt’s article and looking at the science and risk I can say that Bandt is largely correct – but he said nothing of the cause and nothing about steady temperature rise – these are Bolt’s inventions.

There is a global warming component adding to the severity of these current fires. In Victoria, the fire danger index is more than one-third greater after 1997 than it was before then. This is equivalent to CSIRO and BoM’s projected worse case for 2050. Bolt ignores the fact that I also calculated if Australia’s emissions were reduced by 80% in 2050, warming would be reduced by 0.02 degrees Celsius. Spread across the globe, the value of this benefit would be substantial. Even 0.0038 degrees is worth it. Bolt also claims the 2013 fire season in the US was the quietest in a decade – instead the US fire service has spent the entire $600 million earmarked for fire suppression and emergency, having to dip into other funds, and the Pacific Rim fire was the 6th worst in California’s history.

I think the fire services better keep an eye on Andrew’s pants. They are dangerous and it’s all due to global warming.


Written by Roger Jones

October 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Yes extreme views on both sides are unhelpful


    October 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm

  2. Australia’s action also needs to be considered in the broader global context – the pressure that it applies on other countries to act and conversely, should the carbon tax be repealed, the excuse not to act.
    This effect is non-zero but would be extremely difficult to calculate.


    October 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm

  3. […] Roger takes a look at these doings at his blog Understanding Climate Risk. […]

  4. Andrew Bolt, the self-delighted Liberal member for the safe seat Herald-Sun, commits more crimes against the language. Who knew that ’cause’ and ‘exacerbate’ are interchangeable?

    As a ‘hypocrite’, ‘vulture’ and ‘disgrace’, Bolt is in a league of his own.


    October 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

  5. Thanks for qualifying the Climate Change component to these and other similar high intensity fires, and I suspect also the time of year at which they are occuring.


    October 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

  6. Sorry but you have not shown there is a global warming component to these fires. You have shown no link. And no . 00038 of a degree is not worth it unless you are spending spending someone else’s money. The IPCC recent SPM 5 does not support your assertions


    October 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

  7. Dolt caught with his smouldering trousers around his ankles again.
    You’d think those 3rd degree burns would give him pause for thought & verballing scientists.


    October 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm

  8. Bolt needs reminding that action on warming is not limited to us alone. Our contribution adds to the actions of others.

    As every extra nation joins in on cutting carbon, others gain leverage to act. Then the show really gets on the road.

    Another point needs repeating til Bolt’s ears bleed: climate action aims to minimize the warming, actually cooling the planet is beyond the goal posts at this time.

    lucyjunior (@lucyjunior1)

    October 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

  9. […] Roger takes a look at these doings at his blog Understanding Climate Risk. […]

  10. I hope they can find some sort of medium ground eventually, otherwise it’s just ridiculous!

    Patent Attorney

    February 12, 2014 at 10:57 pm

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