A couple of weeks ago Aynsley Kellow, Professor and Head of the Department of Government at the University of Tasmania, gave a lecture in Perth. He said:
“I am pleased to present this lecture today in Perth.I am particularly pleased to find that Perth is still here. I last visited here in 2005 – the year that Professor Tim Flannery suggested that Perth could become the first ‘ghost metropolis’ due to reductions in rainfall because of climate change. I must confess that I was somewhat bemused by this statement, because my visit to Perth was to present a paper on water policy under climate uncertainty. I knew from my research for that paper that Perth was in fact better adapted to uncertainty in its water supply than any other capital city.
Perth and the south-west of the state have suffered a decline in rainfall, which appears to have shifted to the north-east. The cause appears to be not the gradual accumulation of greenhouse gases, but a sudden shift in ocean currents. This decline in rainfall has translated into a marked decline in catchment yields thanks to changed catchment management, and an increased yield can be obtained by thinning catchments.
Regardless, Perth has adapted to its natural environment with a number of responses: demand management; use of aquifers; the construction of the Kwinana industrial recycling plant; and now a desalination plant. Professor Flannery was, of course, talking nonsense – but, as sales of his book The Weathermakers and his subsequent selection as ‘Australian of the Year’ showed, this is popular nonsense.”
Read more here: The 2008 Harold Clough Lecture: ‘The Politics and Science of Climate Change: The Wrong Stuff’