Walkley-award winning journalist Michael Bachelard led The Sunday Age team investigating the 10 most popular questions on OurSay which was featured in The Sunday Age newspaper and online each week.
You can find a listing of the articles here on the The Sunday Age website.
“The very point of Australia's carbon tax is to reduce global warming. How much will reducing 5% of Australia's around 1.5% contribution of global CO2 emissions reduce global temperature by? If the amount is negligible (which it is), then given the present economic turbulence, what is the probability of Australia's carbon tax inspiring major emitters like USA, China and India to make ACTUAL cuts to their C02 emissions (as opposed to mere carbon intensity) and economic growth? ”
“When are we going to hear more about the great elephant in the room - animal agriculture? The CSIRO and the University of Sydney have jointly reported that it is responsible for over 30 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. That's conservative, as it is based on a 100-year time horizon for methane's warming impact. According to the IPCC, methane is far more potent when measured over a 20-year time horizon. Livestock's impact is largely attributable to the inherently inefficient nature of animals as a food source for humans, with onerous demands on resources at every step of the supply chain. A key factor in livestock's emissions is the massive amount of deforestation attributable to grazing and feed crop production, which the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency now ignores in its National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Animal agriculture is by far the greatest cause of deforestation globally and in Australia. The world's pre-eminent climate scientist, James Hansen, says we will not overcome climate change without massive reforestation and significant cuts in emissions of non-CO2 climate forcers, such as methane, nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone and black carbon. Meaningful action in that regard cannot be achieved without a general move towards a plant-based diet. The livestock sector is becoming more active in alleging its products are benign. The industry's arguments remind me of contributions by Ian Plimer and Bob Carter to the general climate change debate. A key problem is that social and cultural conditioning encourages key decision makers and most climate change activists to overlook the problem. They will happily absorb any propaganda that tells them it is all okay. The Greens say virtually nothing, possibly with one eye on the ballot box and potential scare campaigns by the livestock sector. One argument of the livestock sector is that production animals eat plants and crop residues that we wouldn't. That practice is a key contributor to desertification in Africa, West Asia, the Americas and Australia. If we are to have any chance of avoiding climate change tipping points and keep our planet habitable for humans and wildlife, we must not ignore the livestock issue.”
“It is accepted that man's carbon dioxide emissions are causing an amount of warming the climate. However, the magnitude of any future warming is highly uncertain. The IPCC acknowledges that its understanding of a number of key natural climate drivers and feedbacks is "low" or "very low". Why is it, therefore, that the Fairfax press is reluctant to engage with and investigate this uncertainty with an open-minded impartiality, and instead continues to publish articles based on a rigid editorial agenda that "the science is settled"?”
“If the government is so serious about reducing co2 emissions why do they keep ignoring the single most effective method for doing so: nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is far cheaper than "renewables" and kills less people per unit of energy produced than even solar or wind. New generation reactors improve safety significantly and render the long term waste storage issue moot, and thorium fast breeder reactors cannot melt down accidentally at all. France has shown how easy and effective nuclear is at reducing greenhouse emissions. Why doesn't the government spend some of it's enormous "clean energy future" research and advertising budget to help educate Australians about the facts around new forms of clean atomic energy?”
“There are some very vocal and seemingly influential climate change sceptics who have been given well supported platforms by some media organisations in Australia. 2GB’s broadcasting of Alan Jones and News Limited’s publishing of Andrew Bolt is a couple of examples that spring to mind. It appears that these media organisations have the goal of destroying the credibility of anyone who supports the science of and actions to mitigate the effects of human civilization’s influences on earth’s climate. Do these media organisations obtain funding from any corporate, organisational or individual entities with a vested interest in maintain the industrial status quo where unlimited greenhouse gas emissions are largely the norm?”
“The claim "the science is settled" is plainly false due to the many problems with the AGW hypothesis (eg. global temperatures have not risen since 1998 despite rising CO2 levels; alarmism is based on flawed models that do not reflect empirical measurements - positive feedback mechanism with water vapour absent/signature hot-spot in troposphere at equator is absent). Why is there no investigative journalism done to examine these flaws?”
“Solar powered 24-hour baseload power is available now, see for example http://beyondzeroemissions.org/blog/spain-now-producing-24-hour-solar-power-110708 where you can download a most impressive free report. So why do you allow pollies and shock jocks to get away with saying coal or uranium are still needed for baseload? Has Sunday Age reported on the fact that the US Department of Energy has identified fuel ethanol from Australian eucalypts as essential for its strategic future? Do your readers know Virgin Blue will get its aviation fuel from gum trees? My point is that people are entitled to detail on renewables that are viable now.”
“The Age has reported that just “forty-two per cent of people [in Australia] believe in a wholly scientific explanation for the origins of life”, something which has been proven by science. By contrast, “thirty-four per cent believe in UFOs and 22 per cent think witches exist”, something which has never been proven by science. Given this track record of acceptance of science, is it realistic to have a fruitful public debate on the science of climate change?”
“Why is the Australian public asked to swallow the "carbon dioxide is dangerous climate changing pollution" crap when science shows no observed relationship between global climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide? There is no real criticism anywhere and there should be. There is no physical evidence showing a relationship between temperature and C02 only computer models which give different answers according to whatever assumption data you put in. But there IS a VERY close relationship between temperature and solar activity, as shown by the sunspot cycle which has been observed and charted since the time of Galileo. Why are we being forced to reallocate BILLIONS of public money to create unproductive new industries when there is no physical evidence to support the theory? Why, when thousands of respected scientists signed a petition saying they don't agree there is a problem, are we being forced to give up billions in tax dollars to waste on trying to stop carbon dioxide emissions? http://www.oism.org/pproject/ Are we really rich enough to throw money away on a political vanity when our hospital system is in crisis, our roads need constant upkeep and there are homeless mentally ill people living on the streets? Is this some type of mad keynesian experiment that spending loads of public money on anything, even totally unproductive solar panel farms, will stimulate the economy? It won't! we will just go deeper into debt. The world's economy is unravelling and our taxes are being given to mates of the political left to make wind farms????”