It pays to check out Tim Flannery's predictions about climate
Tim Flannery has had years of practice trying to terrify us
into thinking human-made climate change will destroy Earth, says Andrew
TIM Flannery has just been hired by the Gillard Government to
scare us stupid, and I can't think of a better man for the job.
This Alarmist of the Year is worth every bit of the $180,000
salary he'll get as part-time chairman of the Government's new Climate
His job is simple: to advise us that we really, truly have to
accept, say, the new tax on carbon dioxide emissions that this
Government threatens to impose.
This kind of work is just up the dark alley of Flannery,
author of The Weather Makers, that bible of booga booga.
He's had years of practice trying to terrify us into thinking
our exhausts are turning the world into a fireball that will wipe out
civilisation, melt polar ice caps and drown entire cities under hot seas.
Small problem, though: after so many years of hearing
Flannery's predictions, we're now able to see if some of the scariest
have actually panned out.
And we're also able to see if people who bet real money on
his advice have cleaned up or been cleaned out.
So before we buy a great green tax from Flannery, whose real
expertise is actually in mammology, it may pay to check his record.
In 2005, Flannery predicted Sydney 's dams could be dry in as
little as two years because global warming was drying up the rains,
leaving the city "facing extreme difficulties with water".
Check Sydney 's dam levels today: 73 per cent. Hmm. Not a
In 2008, Flannery said: "The water problem is so severe for
Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009."
Check Adelaide 's water storage levels today: 77 per cent.
In 2007, Flannery predicted cities such as Brisbane would
never again have dam-filling rains, as global warming had caused "a 20
per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas" and made the soil too hot,
"so even the rain that falls isn't actually going to fill our dams and
river systems ... ".
Check the Murray-Darling system today: in flood. Check
Brisbane 's dam levels: 100 per cent full.
All this may seem funny, but some politicians, voters and
investors have taken this kind of warming alarmism very seriously and
made expensive decisions in the belief it was sound. So let's check on
In 2007, Flannery predicted global warming would so dry our
continent that desalination plants were needed to save three of our
biggest cities from disaster. As he put it: "Over the past 50 years,
southern Australia has lost about 20 per cent of its rainfall, and one
cause is almost certainly global warming .
"In Adelaide , Sydney and Brisbane , water supplies are so
low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18
One premier, Queensland 's Peter Beattie, took such
predictions - made by other warming alarmists, too - so seriously that
he spent more than $1 billion of taxpayers' money on a desalination
plant, saying "it is only prudent to assume at this stage that
lower-than-usual rainfalls could eventuate".
But check that desalination plant today: mothballed
indefinitely, now that the rains have returned. (Incidentally, notice
how many of Flannery's big predictions date from 2007? That was the year
warming alarmism reached its most hysterical pitch and Flannery was
named Australian of the Year.)
Back to another tip Flannery gave in that year of warming
terror. In 2007, he warned that "the social licence of coal to operate
is rapidly being withdrawn globally" by governments worried by the
warming allegedly caused by burning the stuff.
We should switch to "green" power instead, said Flannery, who
recommended geothermal - pumping water on to hot rocks deep underground
to create steam. "There are hot rocks in South Australia that
potentially have enough embedded energy in them to run Australia's
economy for the best part of a century," he said.
"The technology to extract that energy and turn it into
electricity is relatively straightforward."
Flannery repeatedly promoted this "straightforward"
technology, and in 2009, the Rudd government awarded $90 million to
Geodynamics to build a geothermal power plant in the Cooper Basin , the
very area Flannery recommended. Coincidentally, Flannery has for years
been a Geodynamics shareholder, a vested interest he sometimes declares.
Time to check on how that business tip went. Answer: erk.
The technology Flannery said was "relatively straightforward"
One of Geodynamics' five wells at Innamincka collapsed in an
explosion that damaged two others. All had to be plugged with cement.
The project has now been hit by the kind of floods Flannery
didn't predict in a warming world, with Geodynamics announcing work had
been further "delayed following extensive local rainfall in the Cooper
The technological and financing difficulties mean there is no
certainty now that a commercial-scale plant will ever get built, let
alone prove viable, so it's no surprise the company's share price has
almost halved in four months.
Never mind, here comes Flannery with his latest scares and
His job as Climate Commission chief, says Climate Change
Minister Greg Combet, is to "provide an authoritative, independent
source of information on climate change to the Australian community" and
"build the consensus about reducing Australia 's carbon pollution".
That, translated, means selling us whatever scheme the
Government cooks up to tax carbon dioxide, doing to the economy what the
floods have done to Flannery's hot-rocks investment.
See why I say Flannery is the right man for this job? Who
better to teach us how little we really know about global warming and
how much it may cost to panic?