Shellenberger began by highlighting his background, telling the Committee: “I am an energy analyst and environmentalist dedicated to the goals of universal prosperity, peace, and environmental protection. Between 2003 and 2009 I advocated for a large federal investment in renewables, many of which were made as part of the 2009 stimulus. And since 2013 I have advocated for the continued operation of nuclear plants around the world and thus helped prevent emissions from increasing the equivalent of adding 24 million cars to the road.”
“I also care about getting the facts and science right. I believe that scientists, journalists, and advocates have an obligation to represent climate science accurately, even if doing so reduces the saliency of our concerns,” Shellenberger continued. “No credible scientific body has claimed climate change threatens the collapse of civilization much less the extinction of the human species. And yet some activists, scientists, and journalists make such apocalyptic assertions, which I believe contribute to rising levels of anxiety, including among adolescents, and worsening political polarization.”
Dr. Roy Spencer: "So, to automatically blame the Australian bushfires on human-caused climate change is mostly alarmist nonsense, with virtually no basis in fact."
Summary Points: 1) Global wildfire activity has decreased in recent decades, making any localized increase (or decrease) in wildfire activity difficult to attribute to ‘global climate change’.
2) Like California, Australia is prone to bushfires every year during the dry season. Ample fuel and dry weather exists for devastating fires each year, even without excessive heat or drought, as illustrated by the record number of hectares burned (over 100 million) during 1974-75 when above-average precipitation and below-average temperatures existed.
Aussie Scientist Dr. Jennifer Marohasy: "The historical evidence indicates fires have burnt very large areas before, and it has been hotter. Some of the catastrophe has been compounded by our refusal to prepare appropriately, as is the case with the current bushfire emergency here in Australia...
Last summer, and this summer, has been hot in Australia. But the summer of 1938-1939 was probably hotter. In rural Victoria, the summer of 1938-1939 was on average at least two degrees hotter than anything measured with equivalent equipment since, as shown in Figure 1.
The summer of 1938-1939 was probably the hottest ever in recorded history for the states of New South Wales and Victoria. It is difficult to know for sure because the Bureau has since changed how temperatures are measured at many locations and has not provided any indication of how current electronic probes are recording relative to the earlier mercury thermometers."
Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) Professor Jon Barnett: "People have told me, ‘You are a skeptic’. I am by no means a sceptic. We need to reduce GHG emissions. It is real and urgent problem. (But) we need to get past this kind of singular politics that if you believe in climate change you must believe the world is coming to an end. If you don’t say that [the world is ending] and say maybe there is a way that [island] people can have a decent future through climate change, then you are not with us and you are a sceptic."
Barnett: They hear that they have no power and no future, and they all will be forcibly displaced and may have only 10 years left on their island. It’s as if I walked into your life and didn’t know you and hadn’t seen you before nor seen your medical records, and said, ‘We have a problem of cancer in society and you will be dead in ten years, I don’t want to hear what you have to say, and don’t care what your options are, I’m just telling you, ‘Dead in ten years! See you later.’
They [climate alarmists] make huge assumptions about people and the state of the science. No doubt rising emissions are going to cause warming and rising seas, but now drill down to the Pacific islands and how climate change will manifest there. What will the corals do, the beach sediment, freshwater lenses, the vegetation?