Oz Blog News Commentary

The criminal behaviour of Barnaby Joyce

July 15, 2019 - 09:30 -- Admin

I don’t tend to read
anything written by ignoramuses, except when dealing with people like
creationists and climate change deniers. I read occasional creationist drivel because
I like to use their ignorance as a springboard to explain reality to them and
to those who need to have that ignorance demonstrated (e.g. on radioisotopic
dating1,2). I only occasionally read the drivel put out by climate
change deniers because I am sure that do so regularly would only raise my blood
pressure. There are many climate change deniers in the Coalition parties, and
they range from simpletons like Craig Kelly3  and Barnaby Joyce (climate change is a
conspiracy) to more sophisticated spivs like Angus Taylor4 (climate change
is real but  we cannot do anything about
it). None of these people care about the planet, this nation, or the people in
it. All they care about is that donations to their political campaigns
continue, whether they be from billionaires like Gina Rinehart, large fossil fuel
companies, or from overseas donors through intermediaries.

Now, however, Barnaby
Joyce has come out with a Facebook post ‘explaining’ his extensive knowledge of
climate science5.

Joyce starts off with:
“The very idea that we can stop climate change is barking mad.” Yet we have
started it, by dumping billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere. If we have started it, surely we can at least attempt to stop it.

He continues with “Climate
change is inevitable as geology has always shown”. Surprisingly for Joyce, this
statement is true. However, he interprets it incorrectly. The climate has
always changed in the past, and palaeoclimatologists (i.e. scientists that deal
with ancient climates) have been able to track how it changes. The only times
in the past that the climate has changed at anything like the current rate have
been accompanied by significant extinction events. Indeed, the worst extinction
event in the history of the planet, at the end of the Permian Period, about 252
million years ago, has some similarities with what is happening now. Even that
event took place over thousands of years6. This time around, the
climate is changing over a much shorter time frame and we are to blame. Human
civilisation, in the form of agriculture, has been around for only about 10,000
years, and started not long after the end of the last glaciation, which ended
some 11,700 years ago. Since the end of that glaciation, up until the late
1800s, the Carbon Dioxide level in the atmosphere has been between 250 parts
per million (ppm) and 285 ppm. Since then, it has rapidly increased and is now
over 415 ppm, and the planet has warmed by 1 degree C in that time. Barnaby
Joyce cites New Zealand lecturer in geology David Shelley as an authority for
his ignorant rant. Like me, Shelley has no expertise in climate science. He
seems to be a vulcanologist (i.e. works on volcanoes and volcanic rocks), so
for him to say that climate scientists are not up to par, or are involved in a
large conspiracy, speaks of either hubris or delusion. Furthermore, it
indicates that Joyce does not have the wherewithal to discern reality from

Joyce states that, according
to Shelley, we are about to come into another glaciation during which the
temperature will drop 10 degrees C, and that we will all long for a warmer
climate. There is absolutely no evidence that this is even remotely likely.
Often you will hear climate change deniers who take their science from the
Australian, New Idea or the Daily Bellylaugh, stating that scientists used to
predict another ice age in the 1970s. But this is not quite true. A few
scientists did expect a return to another glaciation (there have been a few over
the last 2.5 million years). That was based on what seemed to be a cooling
trend, but it turned out that this was a cooling trend only in northern
hemisphere land areas and that total temperature trends were fairly stable
prior to 1970. Since 1980 there have been no predictions of another glaciation
by people who actually know what they are talking about8. Where
Joyce obtained the 10 degree C figure is anyone’s guess, as during the last
glacial maximum, when much of North America, northern Europe and northern Asia
were covered in ice, and the sea level was about 125 metres lower than
currently, the global temperature was only about 5-6 degrees C below the average
from the 2013 to 20179.

Joyce then wheels out
the old furphy that Australia is so small that we can do nothing to have “any
affect [sic] on the climate”. As I have said before, every jurisdiction is in
the same boat. The United States has emissions constituting 15% of the global
total. If they cut out Carbon Dioxide emissions overnight, it would have little
effect on global warming10. Every nation has to pull together or we
are deep trouble. So, anyone saying we cannot and should not do anything is simply
adding to the crime against humanity that is climate change.

The irony of Joyce
quoting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and then ignoring the
results of all of their reports is probably lost on him, he is so incapable.
Their first report from 1990 has turned out to be surprisingly accurate in its predictions.
I say surprising because climate modelling was in its relative infancy and data
were much more limited than they are now. It predicted that we would reach 1
degree C increase by 2025; we reached that in 2018. It predicted a 20 cm global
mean sea level increase by 2030; it has increased 9 cm and the pace of change
is increasing11.

Much of what follows from
Joyce is simply egregious drivel, poorly written, confused and illogical. It is
disturbing to realise that this person was Deputy Prime Minister. While it is
clear from his horizontal peccadillo he had little concern for his former
family, he has a new one and his concern for their future seems equally limited.
He predicts that his diatribe will be labelled heresy and the mainstream media and
activists will pursue and ridicule him, respectively. His diatribe is not
heresy; that is something that his religious colleagues would be more familiar
with. He is ignoring the best available evidence from thousands of scientists,
simply so he can keep the money flowing from his donors, and bugger the
consequences. What Joyce is indulging in is criminal, pure and simple. And he
needs to be brought to justice for it.



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