Letters to the Editor Bairnsdale Advertiser 23.1.15

May I respond to the letters of Neil Barraclough (BA 9/1) and J. McCracken (BA 12.1)

The science of Climate Change is basic physics. I suggest those interested consult Wikipedia on the ‘Greenhouse Effect’. For more detail try a) the French mathematician Fourier whose work discovered the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ about 1827 b) James Tyndall who identified carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane as the main greenhouse gases about 1859 and c) Svante Arrhenius who calculated in 1895 that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere would increase the average temperature of the earth six degrees. The latter calculation has since been refined.

A practical illustration of how the “Greenhouse Effect” works can be made by comparing the temperatures of a clear winter night with a cloudy one. The cloud acts as a blanket keeping the heat in and the land is much warmer. So too the greenhouse gases (including water vapour) keep the earth warmer – by Fourier’s calculations about 30 degrees.

Measurements of various phenomena (including atmospheric temperatures, ocean temperatures at various depths, sea level rise, ice melting) over the last hundred years all indicate that global warming is occurring as predicted. This is supported by a vast amount of data that has been compiled by weather bureaus and scientific organisations around the world and has been complemented by satellite data over the last 30 years. I recommend the Bureau of Meteorology report ‘State of the Climate 2014’ at http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of-the-climate/

Against this overwhelming evidence McCracken and Barraclough quote a couple of climate change deniers in an attempt to bolster their very weak case. Barton is a retired geologist and not a climate scientist.  Readers can find more about Marohasy and her fallacious attacks on Bureau of Meteorology statistics at http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sceptics-conspiracy-australia-record-heat.html

McCracken distortions on the German wind energy are laughable. In December 2014 Germany provided a record 8.9% of their energy from wind power. For further details see http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/u-k-germany-smash-wind-power-records-17562

The longer we delay decisive action on climate change (the carbon tax was in some ways a token effort) the more likely many of the freedoms we cherish will be lost to an emergency wartime style government. For that alone future generations may well condemn the climate change deniers and their followers.


Peter Gardner