Incredible interview of Tim Flannery by Andre Bolt on MTR today. Flannery freely admits that even best-case scenario world-wide CO2 reductions would have absolutely no effect on global temperatures for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is just extraordinary how little good we would get for countless billions we have to spend and countless job we are going to lose.
Bolt: How much will it cost to cut our emissions by the Government’s target of 5 per cent by 2020 and how much will world temperatures fall by as a consequence?
Flannery: Sure. We do have economists on the commission who will be giving a very in depth look at that this evening and I don’t want to pre-empt their assessment of the various cost options, but in terms of how much it will cut temperatures that really very much depends upon how Australia’s position is seen overseas …
Bolt: No, no, we’ll get onto that, Tim. I’m not going to dodge that. The argument is indeed that we have to set a lead and the world has to follow and on our own we can’t do blah blah, but just looking at the basic facts so people can figure it out for themselves (that) the world needs to come on board. On our own, cutting our emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, what will that lower the world’s temperatures by?
Flannery: See, that’s a bogus question because nothing is in isolation…
Bolt: Everyone understands that that is the argument But we’re just trying to get basic facts, without worrying about the consequences – about what those facts may lead people to think. On our own, by cutting our emissions, because it’s a heavy price to pay, by 5 per cent by 2020, what will the world’s temperatures fall by as a consequence?
Flannery: Look, it will be a very, very small increment.
Bolt: Have you got a number? I mean, there must be some numbers.
Flannery: I just need to clarfy in terms of the climate context for you. If we cut emissions today, global temperatures are not likely to drop for about a thousand years.
Bolt: Right, but I just want to get to this very basic fact, because I’m finding it really curious that no one has got (this) fact. If I buy a car … I want to know how much it costs and whether it is going to do the job.
Bolt: In this case I want to know the cost of cutting our emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 and will it do the job: how much will the world’s temperatures fall by if Australia cuts its emissions by this much.
Flannery: Look, as I said it will be a very, very small increment.
Bolt: Can you give us a rough figure? A rough figure.
Flannery: Sorry, I can’t because it’s a very complex system and we’re dealing with probabilities here.
Bolt: …I’m just trying to get the facts in front of the public so we know what we’re doing. Just unbiased. Is it about, I don’t know, are you talking about a thousandth of a degree? A hundredth of a degree? What sort of rough figure?
Flannery: Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed and that only happens slowly.
Bolt: That doesn’t seem a good deal… Someone surely must have done the sums that for all these billions of dollars we’re spending in programs that it’s got to have a consequence in terms of cutting the world’s temperature. So you don’t know about Australia, you wouldn’t dispute that it’s within about a thousandth of a degree, around that magnitude, right?
Flannery: It’s going to be slight.