Australian economist Ross Garnaut has been commissioned by Australia’s Commonwealth, state and territory governments to examine the impacts, challenges and opportunities of climate change for Australia. There will be a final report by 30 September 2008.
Peter Gallager attended a recent lecture by this well known economist who is likely to significantly shape Australian government policy, he commented:
“I hoped to find that Prof. Garnaut would use his Heinz Arndt Lecture to describe the balance he intended to strike in his recommendations between evidence for risky climate change and a growing body of evidence that the risks are low to moderate (at most). Given his well-known views, I expected to find the balance tilted in favor of the former but I hoped to find that it would be moderated by recognition of the latter. Unfortunately, Prof. Garnaut paid no attention to any scientific facts and made no attempt to strike a balanced risk assessment…
“Ross Garnaut seems to believe that ‘scepticism’ about climate change is analogous to… or is, ‘dissent’. That is, he prefers to describe critics of his views using a term drawn from religious history, identifying someone who rejects a dogma. My reaction on first reading was surprise at the use of a term that implies acceptance of man-made global warming is really a faith from which critics may ‘dissent’. Did Ross Garnaut understand that (obvious) implication, I wondered? …
“Answering the question whether it is possible for ‘dissenters’ can be scientists, Ross Garnaut invokes Gallileo, whom he wrongly describes as a ‘dissenter’—Gallileo was no such thing; Gallileo’s conflict with the Church was about the appropriate role of empricism and contained no basic doctrinal dissent—as an exception that proves his rule…
“When Prof. Garnaut concludes ‘the Dissenters are possibly right, and probably wrong’, what evidence does he adduce? None. Not a shred. This is depressingly consistent with the approach taken in his Interim Report. He does not consider that the science offered in contradiction of the IPPCC pronouncements (the hypotheses of ‘those who are best placed to know’—see p. 5 of his address) calls anything into question because it is ‘dissent’ and not science.
“So much for name-calling. What positive reason does Prof. Garnaut offer for accepting the ‘uncertainties’ of the IPCC as reasonably indicative of a probability? No scientific reason, as it turns out.”
These excerpts are from ‘Science, dogma and dissent: Ross Garnaut’s Heinz Arndt lecture’, by Peter Gallagher. You can read the complete article here:
The lecure by Professor Garnaut was entitled ‘Measuring the Immeasurable: The Costs and Benefits of Climate Change Mitigation’ and given on June 5, 2008, at the Australian National University. You can read the complete lecture here: