Hansard – Parliamentary Speech by Dr Dennis Jensen MP 20 September 2011

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

SPEECH

Date Tuesday, 20 September 2011 Source House
Page 54 Proof No
Questioner Responder
Speaker Dr JENSEN Question No.

(Tangney) (NaN.NaN pm)

Dr JENSEN (Tangney) (12:33): I have been dreading
this moment since I first became interested in the
science of climate change and anthropogenic global
warming, and particularly since the Prime Minister
misled the Australian people by saying that there would
be no carbon tax under the government she led. As the
only PhD qualified scientist in this parliament, I have
watched with dismay as the local and international
scientific communities and our elected leaders have
taken a seemingly benign scientific theory and turned
it into a regulatory monolith designed to solve an
environmental misnomer. With a proper understanding
of the science, I believe we would not even be entering
into this carbon tax debate. To put it simply, the carbon
tax, with all its regulatory machinations, is built on
quicksand. Take away the dodgy science and the need
for a carbon tax becomes void. I do not accept the
premise of anthropogenic climate change, I do not
accept that we are causing significant global warming
and I reject the findings of the IPCC and its local
scientific affiliates.

On the subject of the science, I note that pre-eminent
19th century physicist Lord Kelvin said to physicists at
the British Association in 1900:

There is nothing new to be discovered in physics
now. All that remains is more and more precise
measurement.

Settled science indeed! Quoting ‘the science’ is the
same as appeals to ‘God says’ hundreds of years ago. It
is an attempt to stop debate. When I hear the likes of the
member for Sydney invoking ‘the science’, as she did
in her utterly unsupported claim that the Central Coast
will be the area of New South Wales hardest hit by sea
level rise resulting from AGW, I look for the snake oil.

Science does not work the way that those opposite
believe or would have us believe. It is strange how
Al Gore, a failed student in science, is automatically
accorded reverential scientific status by those opposite
while they castigate the likes of Professors Bob Carter
and Ian Plimer, people well qualified to talk about
the science. I would happily debate the science with
any member opposite but I know they are too gutless
to take me on. I will take the likes of Al Gore and
Tim Flannery seriously when they live the emissions-

austere lifestyles they advocate for everyone else,
rather than the emissions-profligate lifestyles they
themselves hypocritically live.

Still on the subject of the science, have a look at the
data for Darwin. If you look at the raw data from the
last 110 years, it shows that temperatures have gone
down by 0.7 degrees per century. Funnily enough,
after ‘homogenisation’ by the CSIRO and Bureau of
Meteorology, the data magically shows an increase of

1.2 degrees per century. You wonder why I call for a
royal commission!
A whole lot of the argument for a carbon tax is
premised on models, but models only have any
relevance if they have predictive capacity. The reality
is that this graph I am holding up shows the prediction
of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report. All of their
ensemble models indicated that there should have been
an increase in temperatures this decade. This other
graph I am now holding up is the reality according
to the Hadley Climate Research Unit, the repository
of the IPCC’s data. Initially, the so-called ‘consensus
scientists’ rejected the theory that there has been no
temperature increase in the last decade. They are now
coming to the realisation that they have to deal with it,
so we get peer reviewed papers, papers that Al Gore
said did not exist, like: ‘Reconciling anthropogenic
climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008′
and ‘Trend analysis of satellite global temperature
data’. They both accept that there has been no
temperature increase this decade. The reconciling
paper suggests that maybe it is global dimming that has
caused the problem. The problem is they did not do
their literature survey. If they had had a look at global
aerosol climatology, they would have realised there has
been no change to the optical depth in the last 10 years.

Let us look at the models. ‘Tracking earth’s energy’,
by Kevin Trenberth—lead author with the IPCC,
second, third and fourth assessment reports, and
still a current lead author—says that we cannot
explain it. I have a chart here from Kevin Trenberth
showing a massive deficiency in the global net energy
budget. Also by Kevin Trenberth is ‘An imperative
for climate change planning: tracking earth’s global
energy’. Another: ‘On the observational determination
of climate sensitivity and its implications’ by preeminent
scientist, Richard Lindzen, found that the
feedbacks have been overstated. The paper on the

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

misdiagnosis of climate feedbacks and variations
found a large discrepancy between observed and
stimulated precipitation. I have numerous papers here
that I will seek to table.

On ocean temperature, the projections were all for
increased ocean temperatures. Since the launch of
the Argo network, what do we have? ‘Tracing the
upper ocean’s missing heat’ acknowledges there has
been no increase but in fact a decrease in ocean
temperature since 2003—they cannot explain it. The
‘Importance of the deep ocean for estimating decadal
changes’ accepts there has been a reduction in the
globe’s ocean temperatures. ‘On the decadal rates of
sea level change during the 20th century’, by Holgate,
found no acceleration of sea levels. Similarly, the paper
on the dynamic response of reef islands showed that
many of the islands in the Pacific have actually been
increasing in area. ‘Sea-level acceleration based on US
tide gauges and extensions of previous global-gauge
analyses’ shows there has been no acceleration—in
fact, a deceleration in sea-level rise. The conclusion
from the paper ‘Is there evidence yet of acceleration in
mean sea level rise around mainland Australia?’ is that,
no, there has not been acceleration.

What we see is that the peer reviewed science is not
anywhere near as solid as those opposite suggest. If
the science is settled, ask the scientists if they believe
we should stop funding the IPCC and anthropogenic
global warming science. Let us investigate some of the
science and assume that the IPCC models are correct.
Even if we reach the five per cent reduction—and
government figures show an increase from 580 million
tonnes to 620 million tonnes by 2020, an increase not a
decrease—then global average temperatures will only
be a few thousandths of a degree cooler than business
as usual. If we reach 50 per cent less CO2 emissions
than today in 2050 and hold that to 2100, the reduction
in global average temperatures will be less than one-
hundredth of a degree. No wonder the government
is trying to spin this policy as a clean energy bill,
as it patently does nothing to address the so-called
anthropogenic global warming problem. I thought that
was the point of the pain associated with this tax—
so a whole lot of pain for essentially no temperature
reduction.

The reality is that bankers and the like are rubbing their
hands in glee at the prospects of the billions, at least, to
be made in trading a commodity with no intrinsic value.
Even with this tax, most Australians will maintain their
current fossil fuel consumption and, more crucially,
Labor’s tax will have no effect on the big polluters
overseas. It should go without saying that any solutions
Australia considers for global warming must have real,
measurable impacts on reducing global temperatures.

But it seems this point has been lost in the rhetoric and
catchcry.

We must ask the fundamental questions: will the
carbon tax fulfil its purpose and energise other nations
to join us and cool the globe? If not, why are we
barrelling ahead? At this time of global economic
uncertainty, governments and public policymakers
around the world are focused on saving old jobs
and creating new jobs. Why then is the government
introducing job-killing legislation? The government’s
own modelling acknowledges that this scheme is not
of itself enough to reach the 2020 targets. To make up
the shortfall, Australian taxpayers will be spending an
estimated $3.5 billion a year by 2020 to buy foreign
carbon credits. By 2050, funding going overseas for
foreign carbon credits is expected to rise to $57 billion
per year—the government’s own figures.

Why are we paying any money overseas for carbon
credits? Even if you accept ‘the science’, there are
numerous other ways to tackle the issue, including
putting money into research and development—the
cheap end of the innovation pipeline. Funding for
advanced energy R&D will lead to a more energy
efficient future by making low-emission technologies
more accessible. If we can get sustainable energy to be
cheaper than fossil fuels then an economic imperative
will drive industry and big business. Copenhagen
showed us we cannot get a global approach to climate
change at this time. The big polluters of the world
—China, India and the US—just are not interested.
The Australian government are being completely
disingenuous, saying that only 500 or so companies
will pay—but then again they have a complete lack
of economic understanding; after all, they believe that
they can tax the mining industry into greater prosperity
and that instituting a carbon tax will drive green jobs.
Ask Spain and California how successful that has been.
If there are these wonderful opportunities waiting out
there, the reality is that industry would be doing it with
alacrity.

Further, in order to change behaviour, you need
alternatives to go to. In the case of electricity,
apart from nuclear we have nowhere to go. We are
already paying massive costs associated with a small
penetration from renewables. Germany, touted by the
government in terms of solar power, led the world
in putting up solar panels—€47 billion in subsidies.
Using IPCC models, the legacy of that bill will mean
a seven-hour delay in global climate change by 2100.
Regarding wind power, Denmark led the world in
embracing wind power, yet their wind industry is
almost completely dependent on taxpayer subsidies
and the Danes pay the highest electricity prices in
the world. When Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland, we
desperately needed power due to some of those

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Queensland power stations shutting down. Wind in
South Australia provided two megawatts out of an
installed capacity of 400—some success.

In terms of transportation there are similarly no
alternatives to fossil fuels at present. Indeed the
government’s scheme has a negative impact as it makes
public transport less competitive than private vehicles.
Trying to force carbon cuts instead of investing first in
research puts the cart ahead of the horse. Then there
is the whole issue of carbon leakage—that is, cement
and aluminium industries going overseas, killing our
industries, but still emitting carbon dioxide.

The PM backstabbed former Prime Minister Rudd.
Now she plans to backstab the Australian people,
not only with legislation she promised the Australian
people she would not introduce but also by adding
landmines to that legislation—with clauses such as
carbon credits being personal property—to make the
carbon tax harder to rescind. The Russians used
scorched earth against Napoleon and against the
Germans respectively when they invaded. This Prime
Minister plans to use scorched earth as well, not against
an invading enemy, but against the very people she
purports to represent. There should always be a get-outof-
jail clause in legislation. I ask those opposite this: if
the scientific view were to change to one of unanimity
that we were not causing a problem on the day after
this bill becomes law, what would you think of those
mines placed in the legislation then? We do not have
cars because we taxed flatulence from horses.

The fact is there are things in the environment we all
want—clean air, clean water, good food and reducing
birth rates. Look at the countries in the world with the
cleanest air, cleanest water, lowest birth rates and best
food. They share affluence. Why are we attempting to
make ourselves and the world less affluent?

We are promised most Australians will be
compensated for the impost of the carbon tax.
Calculating the impact of the carbon tax is hard enough,
but what happens when it becomes an ETS? You will
have an extremely volatile price. The government is
betting it will be around $30 a tonne but you can trade it
down to $15 a tonne. What happens if it comes in at $15
and you are compensating at $30? Hello, taxpayer, we
need some more money please for that compensation.
Alternatively, if you compensate for $15 and it comes
in at $30 or $45, the compensation will be totally
inadequate. More taxes will be needed to cover the
shortfalls.

The whole point of this carbon tax is to change
behaviour to reduce emissions, which means there
must be pain if we are to move from an efficient
industry to one that is less efficient. The simple fact

is that the Gillard government is being deliberately
disingenuous on this issue as they know full well
that they will never be able to compensate the people
adequately or economically when it becomes an ETS.
In the national interest it is time to move past the
politics of fear, such as, ‘You need to be heavily
taxed or the Great Barrier Reef or Kakadu gets
it!’ In conclusion, for all these and multiple other
reasons, the Gillard government should not pass this
legislation without the consent of Australians. Madam
Deputy Speaker Burke, I seek leave to table these peer
reviewed science reports.

Leave not granted.

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