Here’s their problem: they’ve been scaring us for so long that it’s now possible to check if things are turning out as hot as they warned.
And good news! I bring you Christmas cheer – the top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year.
Read, so you can end 2008 with optimism, knowing this Christmas won’t be the last for you, the planet or even the polar bears.
1. OUR CITIES WILL DIE OF THIRST
TIM Flannery, an expert in bones, has made a fortune from books and lectures warning that we face global warming doom. He scared us so well that we last year made him Australian of the Year.
In March, Flannery said: “The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009.”
In fact, Adelaide’s reservoirs are now 75 per cent full, just weeks from 2009.
In June last year, Flannery warned Brisbane’s “water supplies are so low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months”.
In fact, 18 months later, its dams are 46 per cent full after Brisbane’s wettest spring in 27 years.
In 2005, Flannery predicted Sydney’s dams could be dry in just two years.
In fact, three years later its dams are 63 per cent full, not least because June last year was its wettest since 1951.
In 2004, Flannery said global warming would cause such droughts that “there is a fair chance Perth will be the 21st century’s first ghost metropolis”.
In fact, Perth now has the lowest water restrictions of any state capital, thanks to its desalination plant and dams that are 40 per cent full after the city’s wettest November in 17 years.
Lesson: This truly is a land “of drought and flooding rains”. Distrust a professional panic merchant who predicts the first but ignores the second.
2. OUR REEF WILL DIE
PROFESSOR Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, of Queensland University, is Australia’s most quoted reef expert.
He’s advised business, green and government groups, and won our rich Eureka Prize for scares about our reef. He’s chaired a $20 million global warming study of the World Bank.
In 1999, Hoegh-Guldberg warned that the Great Barrier Reef was under pressure from global warming, and much of it had turned white.
In fact, he later admitted the reef had made a “surprising” recovery.
In 2006, he warned high temperatures meant “between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland’s great Barrier Reef could die within a month”.
In fact, he later admitted this bleaching had “a minimal impact”.
In 2007, he warned that temperature changes of the kind caused by global warming were again bleaching the reef.
In fact, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network last week said there had been no big damage to the reef caused by climate change in the four years since its last report, and veteran diver Ben Cropp said this week that in 50 years he’d seen none at all.
Lesson: Reefs adapt, like so much of nature. Learn again that scares make big headlines and bigger careers.
3. GOODBYE, NORTH POLE
IN April this year, the papers were full of warnings the Arctic ice could all melt.
“We’re actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time,” claimed Dr David Barber, of Manitoba University, ignoring the many earlier times the Pole has been ice free.
“It’s hard to see how the system may bounce back (this year),” fretted Dr Ignatius Rigor, of Washington University’s polar science centre.
Tim Flannery also warned “this may be the Arctic’s first ice-free year”, and the ABC and Age got reporter Marian Wilkinson to go stare at the ice and wail: “Here you can see climate change happening before your eyes.”
In fact, the Arctic’s ice cover this year was almost 10 per cent above last year’s great low, and has refrozen rapidly since. Meanwhile, sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing. Been told either cool fact?
Yet Barber is again in the news this month, predicting an ice-free Arctic now in six years. Did anyone ask him how he got his last prediction wrong?
Lesson: The media prefers hot scares to cool truths. And it rarely holds its pet scaremongers to account.
4. BEWARE HUGE WINDS
AL Gore sold his scary global warming film, An Inconvenient Truth, shown in almost every school in the country, with a poster of a terrible hurricane.
Former US president Bill Clinton later gloated: “It is now generally recognised that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming. . . It’s going to lead to more hurricanes.”
In fact, there is still no proof of a link between any warming and hurricanes.
Australia is actually getting fewer cyclones, and last month researchers at Florida State University concluded that the 2007 and 2008 hurricane seasons had the least tropical activity in the Northern Hemisphere in 30 years.
Lesson: Beware of politicians riding the warming bandwagon.
5. GIANT HAILSTONES WILL SMASH THROUGH YOUR ROOF
ROSS Garnaut, a professor of economics, is the guru behind the Rudd Government’s global warming policies.
He this year defended the ugly curved steel roof he’d planned at the rear of his city property, telling angry locals he was protecting himself from climate change: “Severe and more frequent hailstones will be a feature of this change,” he said.
In fact, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits “decreases in hail frequency are simulated for Melbourne. . .”
Lesson: Beware also of government advisers on that warming wagon.
6. NO MORE SKIING
A BAD ski season three years ago – right after a great one – had The Age and other alarmists blaming global warming. The CSIRO, once our top science body, fanned the fear by claiming resorts such as Mt Hotham and Mt Buller could lose a quarter of their snow by 2020.
In fact, this year was another boom one for skiing, with Mt Hotham and Mt Buller covered in snow five weeks before the season started.
What’s more, a study this year in the Hydrological Sciences Journal checked six climate models, including one used by the CSIRO.
It found they couldn’t even predict the regional climate we’d had already: “Local model projections cannot be credible . . .”
It also confirmed the finding of a study last year in the International Journal of Climatology that the 22 most cited global warming models could not “accurately explain the (global) climate from the recent past”.
As for predicting the future. . .
Lesson: The CSIRO’s scary predictions are near worthless.
7. PERTH WILL BAKE DRY
THE CSIRO last year claimed Perth was “particularly vulnerable” and had a 90 per cent chance of getting less rain and higher temperatures.
“There are not many other parts of the world where the IPCC has made a prediction that a drop in rainfall is highly likely,” it said.
In fact, Perth has just had its coldest and wettest November since 1991.
Lesson: As I said, don’t trust the CSIRO’s model or its warnings.
8. ISLANDS WILL DROWN
THE seas will rise up to 100m by 2100, claims ABC Science Show host Robyn Williams. Six metres, suggests Al Gore. So let’s take in “climate refugees” from low-lying Tuvalu, says federal Labor. And ban coastal development, says the Brumby Government.
In fact, while the seas have slowly risen since the last ice age, before man got gassy, they’ve stopped rising for the last two, according to data from the Jason-1 satellite.
“There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rises,” the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute declared last month.
Lesson: Trust the data, not the politicians.
9. BRITAIN WILL SWELTER
The British Met Office is home to the Hadley Centre, one of the top centres of the man-made global warming faith.
In April it predicted: “The coming summer is expected to be a ‘typical British summer’. . .”
In fact, in August it admitted: “(This) summer . . . has been one of the wettest on record across the UK.” In September it predicted: “The coming winter (is) likely to be milder than average.”
In fact, winter has been so cold that London had its first October snow in 74 years — and on the day Parliament voted to fight “global warming”.
Lesson: If the Met can’t predict the weather three months out, what can it know of the climate 100 years hence?
10. WE’LL BE HOTTER
SPEAKING of the Met, it has so far predicted 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007 would be the world’s hottest or second-hottest year on record, but nine of the past 10 years it predicted temperatures too high.
In fact, the Met this month conceded 2008 would be the coldest year this century.
That makes 1998 still the hottest year on record since the Medieval Warm Period some 1000 years ago. Indeed, temperatures have slowly fallen since around 2002.
As Roger Pielke Sr, Professor Emeritus of Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, declared this month: “Global warming has stopped for the last few years.”
Lesson: Something is wrong with warming models that predict warming in a cooling world, especially when we’re each year pumping out even more greenhouse gases. Be skeptical.
Those, then, are the top 10 dud predictions of that hooting, screaming and screeching tribe of warming alarmists. Look and laugh.
And dare to believe the world is bright and reason may yet triumph.