Very few Murdoch ‘journalists’ are real journalists; many are just Liberal Party fundament osculators. One of the few who is a real journalist is Malcolm Farr, but he has not done himself any favours this week in publishing an article in which he stated that “the public debate on the existence of climate change is over and we are owed an apology”1. To be blunt, this is equine ordure. The debate was over long ago. It is just that the halfwit deniers in parliament2 and in the Murdoch media, either think they are superior climate scientists to all the climate scientists employed in this nation or that all those climate scientists are involved in a massive conspiracy. Given the lack of intelligence of many parliamentarians3,4,5, the former assertion is clearly beyond the realms of possibility. And, as a scientist myself, I know that only small conspiracies are possible in science, and to believe large ones are possible simply demonstrates people’s ignorance of science and how it works.
The ‘debate’ about climate change to which Farr refers, was over almost thirty years ago when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its first report in 1990. Anybody who thinks these were radical reports is deluding themselves. Scientific consensus documents such as these are by their very nature conservative and cautious. In that first report, the IPCC predicted that global mean surface air temperature would rise by about 0.3 degrees C per decade and that it will likely see a global increase of 1.0 degrees C by 20256. We passed that mark in 20187. They predicted that high northern latitudes will warm more than the global mean in Winter6. That has also come to pass8. They predicted a 20 cm global mean sea level rise by 20306. Since 1990, global mean sea level has risen about 9 cm and the pace of change is increasing9.
While Malcolm Farr states that ‘we are owed an apology’, this is grossly understating the case. These climate change deniers need to be held to account more severely than simply forcing them give a grudging apology. Solely from stupidity or in the interests of keeping their donations from fossil fuel corporations and denialist organisations, including those from overseas, they have denied reality. They have denied the fact of climate change and in so doing, they have delayed action to mitigate it, such that we are very unlikely to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, and are at risk of having runaway temperature increases of much more. At best they have put off action such that the current younger generation and those to come will be lumbered with an extraordinary cost to mitigate the most dangerous effects. At worst they have given those young people a planet, parts of which may be uninhabitable, and in which millions may die. That is a crime against humanity that would make the depredations of any murderous dictator pale by comparison, and they should pay dearly for it.