Listen to the experts not phoney sceptics

Sometimes a person who rejects the science of climate change self-identifies as a sceptic. This is problematic because they are not using the ‘tools of scientific scepticism to arrive at their position.’ The word sceptic gives an ‘unwarranted veneer of scientific thinking’ to their claims, claims which undermine evidence found using the scientific method. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the highest standard when it comes to information about climate change. It embodies a process where peer-reviewed evidence is summarised for policy makers which includes “the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation”.

The IPCC is self-correcting because it is based on evidence, therefore, it embodies scientific scepticism. People who reject, with a wave of their hand, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change findings, and other credible scientific evidence are not sceptical, they are scientific Luddites that deserve no platform for their views that are indeed dangerous because they only serve to stop action on climate change. While it appears there is debate over whether or not climate change is happening, it is, the Liberal and National Party can keep stalling on taking real action to cut carbon and methane emissions, from coal and gas burning, and subsidising industries that are destroying the planet. The experts say that we need to have deep cuts in emissions now to get close to 2 degrees warming let alone the target of 1.5 degrees.

Tony Goodfellow, Ballarat

Time to shift our thinking

If it weren’t for uninformed climate deniers that have obstructed progress for decades, we would have solved the problems by now. Let’s get on with it.

I am concerned when so-called climate sceptics use their doubts to take risks on behalf of us all. A sceptic is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “A person seeking the truth; an enquirer who has not yet arrived at definite convictions”. I therefore don’t believe a person who claims to be a climate sceptic and then makes the statement, “It’s most certainly a case of the dog being wagged by the tail.” (see Letters 15 March 2017). By definition, that is not a sceptical statement. It’s a statement of conviction. That person is a climate denier. I’m concerned that his emotional, unscientific claims are stopping us from taking reasonable precautions. Like our “sceptic”, I object to inequitable funding: The funding of coal-industry-friendly projects like carbon capture and storage. By hugely favouring this project, the government admits that carbon emissions are a problem. However, instead of solving this problem with existing technology (renewable energy), they favour a barely-tried, risky, pie-in-the-sky option. Base load power from renewable energy is available with existing technology. It requires a re-design of our power distribution system, but it can be done. We are approaching the climate problems with the wrong question. Instead of asking, “How can we avoid having to change?” we should be asking, “What can we do to solve these problems?” If it weren’t for uninformed climate deniers that have obstructed progress for decades, we would have solved the problems by now. Let’s get on with it.

Joe Boin, Invermay

Take action on climate change at home

Psychologist Carol Ride (Courier, 2nd March) wrote about the emotional struggle that many people face once they come to accept the overwhelming evidence that climate change is real and dangerous, and that human emissions are the main cause.

We feel so anxious about the consequences for our lives and families, that we avoid talking about climate change and don’t know what to do to relieve our emotional tensions.

While further denial is the usual defence, the Melbourne group ‘Psychologists for a Safe Climate’ advocate that the only remedy for emotional relief is some form of concrete action to combat climate change.

The many types of ‘climate action’ available for citizens include reducing CO2 emissions at work or in travelling, using and advocating for renewable energy, eating more local food, divestment from fossil fuels, and making our homes more energy efficient.

As most homes in Ballarat are extremely inefficient in terms of energy use, this offers major prospects for reducing emissions, as well saving owners hundreds of dollars in annual energy bills.

Well designed modern houses can even be net generators of electricity.

So in efforts to enable Ballarat residents to improve their home energy efficiency, Smart Living Ballarat is running a series of free workshops, with support from the City of Ballarat.

The second of these workshops is on Wednesday 15th March at 12.30 – 1.30 pm in the Ballarat Central Library.  This talk and workshop will be led by an experienced home energy assessor Sue Harling, and is entitled “DIY Home Energy Assessment”.

Information provided should be valuable to everyone wanting to reduce their gas and electricity bills and CO2 emissions, that is owners and renters of older homes as well as families seeking to renovate, or to buy new homes. For information see

John Petheram, Smart Living Ballarat

Letter to the Editor –