Major Australian science organization "hiding the decline" too
This time in methane levels
FEDERAL Treasury and the CSIRO are supposed to be among the most trusted institutions in Australia. They are both supposed to be founded in objective rationalism.
The Treasury building in Canberra houses the greatest collection of economic analytical and policymaking brainpower in Australia. The same, in the fields of science, goes for the CSIRO in Melbourne. Together they should form the rock-solid foundation of policymaking in Australia.
We need to be able to trust Treasury to advise the government based on the best possible economic analysis. Arguably its most important task is to deploy its economic heft against usually well-intentioned "good ideas at the time", or failing that to at least limit their damage.
From the CSIRO we need, very simply, good science. As its own strategic plan puts it: "We are committed to scientific excellence and working ethically and with integrity in everything we do."
Both have, in their separate ways, breached that trust. This is a very serious matter for the governance of Australia. If we can't trust Treasury to give us rational economics and we can't trust the CSIRO to give us good, or even just honest, science -- as in both cases they have generally done for a good three-quarters of a century or more -- we are adrift in a sea of irrationalism.
For that, indeed, is what links the two failures: in each case an apparent triumph of theology over reason. First the CSIRO.
In March, it joined with the Bureau of Meteorology to produce a "snapshot of the state of the climate to update Australians about how their climate has changed and what it means". Although the pamphlet had a neutral title, "State of the Climate", it was clearly designed to bring the great weight of the apparent credibility of these two organisations to bear against, and hopefully crush, those pesky climate change sceptics.
But as one of the peskier of them, Tom Quirk -- our version of Canada's even peskier Stephen McIntyre -- discovered, there was a very curious omission in one of the CSIRO graphs. It showed the rise and rise of concentrations in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and its fellow greenhouse gas methane. It was an almost perfect replica of the infamous (Michael) Mann Hockey Stick. After being virtually stable for 900 years, concentrations of both CO2 and methane went almost vertical through the 20th century. But as the eagle-eyed Quirk noticed and wrote about on Quadrant Online, methane was plotted only up to 1990, while the plots for CO2 continued to 2000.Why so, when the CSIRO measures methane concentrations and has data up to last year?
Did the answer lie in the inconvenient truth that methane concentrations have plateaued since the mid-1990s? Yet here is the CSIRO, the organisation dedicated to scientific truth, pretending -- even stating -- that they're still going up, Climategate style. This is bad enough, but just as with Treasury, real policies are built on this sort of "analysis". The first version of the so-called carbon pollution reduction scheme included farming to address the methane question. But as Quirk has shown in a peer-reviewed paper, atmospheric methane is driven by a combination of volcanos, El Ninos and pipeline (mostly dodgy old Soviet) leakage.
A second curious, and even dodgier, thing happened after Quirk's Quadrant report. CSIRO "updated" its main graph to include the more recent methane data. No admission was made and the graph's scale made it all but invisible and did not show the plateauing. Further, the CSIRO published a more detailed second graph showing what has happened in the past 30 years, as opposed to the first graph's 1000 years. But only for CO2, despite the fact that it had exactly the same data for methane.
In short, the CSIRO is a fully signed-up member of the climate change club. It wanted to project the horror story of continually rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. So it simply disappeared inconvenient evidence to the contrary, in the process announcing it cannot be trusted ever again to deliver objective scientific evidence.
Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here