TCS Daily

Stormy Weather for "The Weather Makers"

By Alan Oxley - March 2, 2006 12:00 AM

Climate alarmists show little respect for truth and evidence. Their attitude is similar to pop journalists and populist politicians where the rule of thumb is never to let a fact get in the way of a good story. Indeed, the hype from the global warming lobby is on the rise. In Australia, however, it received a temporary check in an unexpected quarter -- the market.

Australia's commercial TV broadcasters recently ruled that green claims about the threat of global warming are not credible. "Free TV" is an association of Australia's privately-owned free-to-air TV networks. It self-regulates TV commercials to ensure they satisfy Australian consumer law, as well as its own code of conduct about truth in advertising.

It recently refused to air a TV advertisement for "The Solar Shop" which sells solar heaters in Adelaide, capital of South Australia. The TV commercial featured Australia's leading popular science writer, Dr. Tim Flannery, declaring that climate change was the "greatest threat facing humanity."

The association networks considered that assertion a bit much, and could not warrant claims Australians should purchase the solar heaters. Trying to be helpful, it suggested alternative wording for Dr. Flannery such as that global warming was "one of the leading" threats.

Dr. Flannery and the owner of the "The Solar Shop" in Adelaide protested on Australia's national publicly-owned TV network which duly reported them on prime time evening news with dark claims of "political influence."

This charge reflects extreme myopia if not hints of hysteria. In Australia, as in other countries, the usual complaint about powerful national media companies is that they exert influence on governments, not the other way around.

Nevertheless, it worked. Green politicians argued Flannery was an authority and that in effect he was allowed to say anything he liked about climate change. "Free TV" then allowed the ad to be aired.

Dr. Flannery is no stranger to overstatement or how to turn a dollar from it. He is a prolific writer and has evidently come to understand what Australian publishers always tell authors -- only those on the left in Australia buy serious books.

His most successful book in Australia was "The Future Eaters." In that he argues that Australia's 20 million population creates such a large "environmental footprint" that people are destroying Australia's environment. He reasons this by comparing humans to ruminant carnivores (such as buffalo). They require a minimum amount of land per animal (their ecological footprint) to live sustainably. So do people. QED.

Dr. Flannery has described himself as a paleontologist, so he is used to imagining a world without people. Equating humans with species of slight intelligence -- and thereby totally overlooking the development and use of technology by humans which provides a prodigious capacity to manage all manner of resources -- is bizarre for someone educated formally educated in science to a high level; unless it reflects the political view of extreme greens that the only way to protect the environment is to remove people altogether.

Whatever the driver, he is at it again and this time in a potentially very lucrative market -- climate change alarmism. With financial support from the President of the Australian arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) he has published "The Weather Makers, the history and impact of climate change."

This is a veritable reference encyclopedia for alarmists. Flannery has gathered almost every piece of research professing to demonstrate the adverse impacts of global warming, although despite the title of the book, there is not much emphasis on weather. Perhaps this derives from canny marketing advice: For two years now greens have mounted a PR campaign blaming global warming for bad weather, despite lacking scientific backing.

The website for the book describes Dr. Flannery as one of the world's "acclaimed scientists" who has discovered "more species than Charles Darwin." There is not much evidence of scientific rigor in Flannery's account of the science of climate change. He simply restates the political case that human activity is causing global warming made by the UN. This is Green Gospel.

The book even reprints the notorious "Hockey Stick" chart which the UN used to support claims the twentieth century is the hottest in the millennium and which has now been discredited. (See also here and here.) Oddly enough the chart is not discussed in the book.

It is hard to dismiss anything in the book as accidental or inadvertent. Flannery has made a heroic effort to address all the public policy issues in climate change. His plain language account of the economics of emission trading is better than those from most economists. This is a good mind. The dismissal of the legitimate questions about the science of global warming is not accidental.

Dr. Flannery is evidently not going to allow facts to get in his way.

Alan Oxley is host of the Asia Pacific page of TCS Daily and Director of "ITS Global, consultants on global issues."



Another Oxley Moron
Funny Flannery used the same words as the British PM. Your deliberate misrepresentation of the facts only fools yourself no one else.

Oxley should adjust his medication
Amazing that even an outfit like TCS will publish this guy.

We are supposed to consider that Free TV, a consortium of media owners in Australia, can censor an ad and this reflects the workings of a "free market"? Explain that one.

Oxley's one concession to the truth was to mention in passing that the group asked Flannery to substantiate his claim that GW was the world's most pressing problem, and that he subsequently did, and that they subsequently allowed the ad to air. See this report for verification:

But of course the man lives in a world where science is just a factory for the fabrication of ugly rumors. His alarums should be popular with the set who thinks no one ever landed on the moon.


Did you really mean 'Funny Flannery' or rather 'Funny, Flannery'? And what does what the PM have to say have to do with anything?

My guess is that you have absolutely no idea what differentiates a free market from an unfree one.

Secondly, Oxley did not substantiate his claim, he just proclaimed that since was an expert, we had to take his word for it.

As to your last paragraph, you have described Oxley perfectly.

Illusion makers
Illusion makers are the constructors behind the social-political business like the modern weather forecasting as well as the modern science.
Why doesn't media stop this humbug by welcomming authors with arguments that uncover those bluff makers.

See my arguments at:

Flannery's academic qualifications
Interestingly Flannery first started out as an English major graduate from university.

found temperory employment in the verterbrate palaentology department wich led to his second degree in earth sciences.

This does not make him a physical scientist such as a physicist, chemist or exploration geologist, and it shows.

Buffalo eat meat?
" He reasons this by comparing humans to ruminant carnivores (such as buffalo)"

The Significance of Long-Term-Persistence in Surface Air Temperature Data

The money quote:

However, as they ask, "could this warming be due to natural dynamics?" Answering their own question, they say that "given what we know about the complexity, long-term persistence, and non-linearity of the climate system, it seems the answer might be yes."

Greenland's and Antartica's Impacts on Sea Level

Details several studies of temperature trends in Greenland and Antartica, and compares them to the predictions of the various climate models.

The result. The models fail to replicate reality.

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