Following is an analysis by the Fair Farmers group of the effects of

an ETS on the farming sector. It draws attention to many deficiencies

in the IPCC based science used to justify an ETS applying to the

sector and calls for an independent inquiry before any action is taken

to proceed with the scheme.


It seems reasonable to expect sound evidence-based science should

support climate projections which justify the introduction of an

Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). An ETS will have a profound adverse

impact on the economy, including the farming sector, consumer energy

costs and major energy intensive industries, without achieving any

significant reduction in global emissions. This paper highlights some

of the scientific issues relevant to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change (IPCC) projections.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections

have in fact already been widely challenged by highly regarded

scientists in Europe, the US, and Australia. They include 64 prominent

German scientists who have called on the Chancellor to reconsider her

views. Several of those signing the letter are UN IPCC scientists and

the letter states “the UN IPCC has lost its scientific credibility”.

Moreover, new research information has become available since the last

UN IPCC report, introducing further questions and demonstrating that

the science is evolving rapidly.

Examples of factors which the IPCC and its supporters have not taken

into account, thus leading to serious errors in projections, include;

· Recent analysis of satellite data by noted American expert Dr Frank

Wentz of Remote Sensing Systems shows that the rainfall and humidity

in the atmosphere have been underestimated by a factor of three in the

IPCC models. Future temperature projections would be substantially

reduced if this was corrected because moisture in the atmosphere is a

result of evaporation. This reduces the rise in surface temperature as

energy is needed to turn water into water vapour.

· There have been reductions or absence of increase in surface global

temperatures in three periods covering 56 years out of the past 128

years. In a former ice age, carbon dioxide was 12 times the present

level. Antarctic ice cores have shown that in the past, rising

temperatures have preceded an increase in carbon dioxide. Clearly

temperatures have not risen with carbon dioxide levels.

· The “greenhouse effect” relies on absorption of heat radiation from

the earth’s surface by gases including carbon dioxide in the

atmosphere and its radiation back to earth to cause temperature

increase. Science has long recognised however that as the

concentration of carbon dioxide increases its ability to absorb

radiation decreases. Indeed, its capacity to absorb radiated heat is

greatly diminished at today’s level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

On the basis of this science the university of Chicago MODTRANS model

projects that if all the earth’s known coal and oil reserves were

burnt, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would

only double and in so doing increase global temperature by only 0.3 to

0.6 degrees centigrade.

· A recent report refers to an increase in ocean temperature which in

the view of the IPCC supports their case for global warming. However,

models are not able to explain or predict present or future ocean

temperatures because the timing and impact of increasing or decreasing

upwelling ocean currents is not understood.

Oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface and are a powerful determinant

of global temperatures. Up welling ocean currents are important

because 90% of sea volume is near one degree centigrade. Warm surface

currents form near the equator. Starting in 2000, Argo, a new system

for ocean temperature measurement was deployed with over 3,000 ocean

buoys. It is reported as showing a slight fall in temperature since 2004.

· While methane is reported as having increased dramatically in recent

decades as a result of human activities, in particular agriculture,

levels for the past 15 years have in fact varied in a pattern

following El Ninos. This may be a reflection of plant decay during El

Nino induced droughts.

Recent research (Dr T. Quirk “Energy and Environment” in press) shows

the increase in methane emissions during the 20th century can be

explained by the dramatic increase in natural gas use and leakage from

inefficient transmission and distribution systems. Proper maintenance

of the Russian pipeline system and replacing cast iron distribution

piping by continuous pipe has reduced this source so that it is no

longer significant. Agricultural emissions have not caused any steady

increase in atmospheric methane. This is clearly seen from 1990 onwards.

Grazing animals may account for 20% of annual global methane

production but this is clearly balanced by breakdown. Indeed

preliminary analysis by Professor Mark Adams, Dean of Sydney

University’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

suggests that bacteria in the soil oxidize and remove the methane. In

addition, methane oxidises in the atmosphere to carbon dioxide.

Grazing animals do not produce carbon they only release what has been

fixed from the atmosphere by the pasture they consume. The system

recycles carbon on a short cycle and is therefore carbon neutral.

· Much is made of the Arctic ice melt, but historically there has been

great variability in Arctic temperature following changes in

temperature of ocean currents. In the Middle Ages there was cropping

and grazing in Greenland at a time when manmade emissions were

insignificant compared to the present. The current melt could well be

a return to conditions experienced in the Middle Ages as a result of

changing ocean currents, and not man-made emissions. In contrast,

Antarctic Sea Ice is showing an increasing trend.

· Stepping back through geological time shows that life has flourished

in atmospheres where the concentration of carbon dioxide was many

times greater than the present. In fact plant and animal life is

dependent on carbon dioxide and sunlight so that photosynthesis could

build, in the past, the coal and oil feedstock on which we depend.

A fundamental factor in this regard has been overlooked. Before the

earth’s coal and oil deposits were formed all the carbon dioxide

subsequently captured in the coal and oil was in the atmosphere – a

situation which would concern global warming alarmists. However, this

was a period referred to by the eminent scientist Professor Richard

Dawkins as supporting abundant plant and animal life. If conditions

had not been favourable the coal and oil deposits would not have been


Turning to Australia and the Garnaut Review that unquestionably

accepts the UN IPPC Report. Contrary to the conclusion in the Review,

the evidence shows violent fluctuations of climate are not new.

Further, much of the claimed evidence for climate change caused by

human activity can be understood as the natural variability of the

atmosphere interacting with the oceans.

This was clearly shown and explained in a study of 75 years of

Australian rainfall compared with overseas conducted by Professor Sir

Samuel Wadham, R Kent Wilson and Joyce Wood. They concluded in 1963

that “nowhere in the world is there such a huge area of pastoral land

of such erratic rainfall as this pastoral country of Australia”,

adding that “the immediate effects of violent fluctuations of climate

on the development of agriculture are considerable, but their ultimate

effects are much greater than are normally appreciated.”

Statistical analysis of Bureau of Meteorology records confirms these

observations. For instance, 108 years rainfall measurements in the

Murray-Darling Basin show no trend but random variability.

Despite this evidence the Garnaut Review provides an alarming forecast

that “The best estimate for the Murray Darling Basin is that by mid

century it would lose half of its annual irrigated agricultural

output. By the end of the century it would no longer be a home to

agriculture”. It is a poorly based forecast that will have a human

cost by spreading unwarranted anxiety and fear in the region.

The policy implications of taking action on the claimed importance of

agricultural emissions of methane in the face of a compelling

alternative explanation has serious and potentially devastating

consequences for the farming community – and for the country as a

whole through the threat of reduced export revenue. As an example, a

recently forecast $50 charge per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions

would impose an annual cost of $72,000 for the average cattle producer

and $47,000 for the average dairy farmer. Recognising the burden of

these costs and that kangaroos do not emit methane, the Garnaut Review

suggests meat production could be maintained from 175 million kangaroos.

USA and EU farmers who are excluded from ETS by their governments will

not suffer the foregoing costs imposed on Australian farmers. In the

circumstances it makes good sense for the Australian Government to

also act to remove the uncertainty facing Australian farmers by

excluding them from ETS. We can expect other primary producing

countries and competitors with Australia to follow the lead of the USA

and the EU.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, very recently stated “It is

morally inexcusable not to act on emissions control.” The question may

however be asked about the morality of proceeding with a scheme, which

will bring hardship to so many, based on science which is incomplete

and thus open to legitimate challenge.

This statement does not show appreciation of the cost benefit analysis

determined by an IPCC adviser. The cost of keeping the global

temperature rise determined by IPCC science below the limit set by the

IPCC, has been estimated by Richard Tol, a well regarded Danish

climate economist and advisor to the IPCC at US$ 40 trillion. In

contrast the cost estimate of climate change is only US$ 1.1 trillion.

So within the limits of long range forecasting it is proposed that US$

40 trillion be spent to save US$ 1.1 trillion. The work was

commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre.

To summarise, the reliance of the Garnaut Report on questionable IPCC

science simply does not meet reasonable standards of accountability

for determining a policy with such far reaching economic and social


It is time for Government and Industry leaders to call for a

fundamental reassessment of the science prior to deciding to proceed

with ETS legislation. Indeed the US Chamber of Commerce has already

called for a Judicial Inquiry into climate alarmist claims. Recent

polling in the United States shows a growing number and a majority of

voters are sceptical of global warming claims.

Fair Farming Group.

The Fair Farming Group was formed in mid-2009 to advocate for fair and

reasonable treatment of Australian farmers based on sound science. It

comprises members with extensive agricultural experience and business

and academic backgrounds. The group takes issue with the basis of the

UN IPCC forecasts and warns the impact of ETS costs would have unfair

and serious consequences for Australian agriculture.

Directors of the Fair Farming Group comprise. Bob Officer, Andrew

Miller, Richard Morgan, Mark Rayner & John Chambers. Consultant to the

Group, Australian physicist Dr. Tom Quirk.

A shorter version of this paper has been published in the October 2009

edition of the Australian Farm Journal.

* *

*For further information and scientific reference details, please

contact: *

Dr Tom Quirk

Ph: +61 (0)415 549 676