Aussie reiterates discredited climate claims in Cop|’s ‘fact check’ Graham Readfearn

International climate summits always unleash a barrage of reports, analyzes and stocktaking on the climate crisis. They are also a cue for some conservatives to signal their own virtues.

In segments of Sky News Australia, the COP27 talks in Egypt – now in their final days – have been variously described as “performance art”, a “global virtue signaling centre” and a “religion” of “climate madness”. Australia’s commitment to reduce emissions has been a ‘highway to hell’.

In The Aussie, former editor Chris Mitchell sought to downplay the climate crisis, preaching “It’s time for reporters to report what’s really going on,” under a headline that reporters were “blind to the facts.”

So how did some of Mitchell’s “facts” play out?

In an apparent effort to undermine the nature of the global temperature rise, Mitchell wrote, “Evidence suggests temperatures were higher during the Medieval Warming and Roman Warming.”

In fact, the evidence doesn’t suggest that. The latest United Nations Climate Studies Assessment says the world is warmer now than at any point in at least the past 100,000 years.

The Medieval Warming Period (MWP) occurred roughly between AD 950 and AD 1250, although there is slight disagreement about the start and end dates. The Roman Warming Period covered the first few centuries AD. Both were regional, not global.

A 2019 study in Nature of temperatures during these periods, the authors wrote, “provides further evidence of the unprecedented nature of anthropogenic global warming in the context of the past 2,000 years.”

Mitchell wrote: “Global temperature is about 1.2°C above the pre-industrial era, which also coincided with a Little Ice Age.”

Professor Nerilie Abram, an expert on ancient climates at the Australian National University, said the Little Ice Age lasted a few centuries, but was considered to have ended by 1850, the start of the 50-year period scientists use to refer to “pre-industrial”. ”.

A graph from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2021 report showing temperatures over the past 2,000 years. Photography: IPCC

He said: “The MWP was nowhere near as hot as today. In addition to the rate and magnitude of current warming, the global extent of current warming is also unique, with no other period in the past 2,000 years showing synchronous warming worldwide.

Professor Steve Sherwood, from UNSW’s Center for Climate Change Research, said: ‘The Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age are old tropes.

“For a while, decades ago, we thought the world was pretty hot during the MWP, but then we finally realized that only parts of Europe and Greenland were really hot. This is about 2% of the global land area. The rest of the planet didn’t get the memo.

Mitchell also said “the latest research” suggested the world’s climate is less sensitive to CO2 “than previously thought”, but Sherwood said this was “misplaced”.

“The most recent IPCC report moved the sensitivity significantly higher than previous reports and no research since has changed it. Some papers have pushed it up or down, but there is no consensus” .

Lost and damaged

SkyNews Australia presenter Peta Credlin severely mutilated commentary on a major issue at the Cop this week in a segment viewed more than 115,000 times on YouTube.

Credlin told viewers that the UN climate summits weren’t about “weather, they were about the transfer of wealth” from rich to poor countries.

Pointing to an issue in Mitchell’s column, Credlin said developing countries have requested a $100 billion fund “each year for the so-called losses and damages allegedly suffered by poor countries from climate change caused by the use history of energy of rich countries ”.

Credlin went on to say that some world leaders had doubts about the $100 billion fund, quoting US climate envoy John Kerry, who said the plan was not “fully finalized”, there were “all kinds of opinions about what might be” and that no one could sign up yet.

But Credlin has confused two different and longstanding issues at climate summits.

Kerry was referring to negotiations on creating a financing scheme to help developing countries cope with “loss and damage” from the impacts of man-made climate change.

But that’s a far cry from a $100 billion pledge developed countries made at the 2010 Cancun climate talks to help developing countries cut emissions and pay to adapt to the impacts they’re already experiencing. undergoing.

Dr Melanie Pill, an ANU researcher working on the issue of international climate finance, said: “The $100 billion in climate finance a year is finance for adaptation and mitigation. It is not related to loss and damage.

“We still don’t have a claims fund. At COP27, they are pushing for a financial mechanism or structure where money is dispersed for losses and damages due to climate change and in addition to funding for mitigation and adaptation. Countries are no longer able to cope with it”.

Mitchell said that “not much came of that US$100 billion pledge.”

There is some disagreement about exactly how much developed countries have provided, but Mitchell’s claim is only true when you consider that between $21 billion and $68 billion a year is “no big deal.”

What about the “transfer of wealth” claim? An Oxfam review of the nature of the commitments last month said that 70% of climate finance so far has been in the form of loans.

“The money has been spent,” Pill said. “It’s nowhere near close enough to what’s needed.”

Misinformation matters

What effect does the disinformation on climate and energy, the weekly focus of this column, have on the public?

A campaign group, Climate Action Against Disinformation, this week released the results of the opinions of 1,200 Australians taken in October.

Some “highlights”:

  • 44% agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans

  • 37% think there is significant disagreement among scientists about the causes of climate change

  • 34% believe that gas is a climate-friendly energy source

  • 20% think that climate and net zero policies are the cause of Europe’s energy crisis

  • 17% think net zero policies are a ‘globalist conspiracy to destabilize Australia’

It’s not that surprising, is it? This is what you get after more than a decade of “climate wars” and large sections of the media – especially on the right side of politics – happy to give disinformation and climate science denial an uncritical air.

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