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« Indy disappears legendary climate quote | Main | Some weapons-grade sophistry »

An outbreak of sanity

The Australian is reporting that the New South Wales government has suddenly come over all sensible on the subject of sea-level rise.

The NSW government will today unveil sweeping changes to how the state’s coastline is managed, building on its insistence that local councils look at the science and evidence of individual beaches rather than blindly adopting UN predictions of climate change...The initiatives mark the second phase of the Coalition government’s demolition of the previous Labor government’s policy, which among other things directed local councils on the coast to enforce the climate change and sea level rise predictions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This is of course precisely the approach recommended by Carter and de Lange in their GWPF report on the subject. Bob sends these thoughts:

This new NSW coastal policy (text pasted below) is a big, very big, announcement. Provided the State Government can make it stick (and Green activist planning to attack and undermine the policy will already have begun), this is a significant development for NSW/Australian politics and an international precedent to boot. So far as I am aware, this is the first time that a serving Western cabinet minister has ever publically rejected the advice of the IPCC in such an abrupt fashion as this.

The new and sensible policy of treating the coastal zone as a geomorphically active one and in insisting on the application of empirical data at specific locations (rather than generalized computer model projections) for planning and management purposes, the NSW government is following almost to the letter the advice contained in the two following reports:

It seems that the government is now receiving advice (as it seems to be) from one or more of their own scientists who have their feet firmly on the empirical ground and prefer to use an abacus/slide rule (remember them?) rather than a computer for calculations.

In the Australian context, this is also a major defeat for the CSIRO, whose consistently alarmist advice on sea-level change has entirely depended upon semi-empirical, homogenized-data-input computer projections that have now been flatly rejected.

Strong thanks are due to Batemans Bay residents Neville Hughes, Pat Aiken and other coastal NSW resident groups for their unwearying opposition to, and protests against, the former policy. I actually didn't think that I would live to see the day that a government would make such an announcement. And at such a critical time given the impending Paris talks. 

As this sea-level example shows, ultimately empiricism (and adaptation rather than "stop global warming") is going to win through.


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Reader Comments (36)

Excellent news - evidence based policy rather than theory based (and theory is is now overwhelmingly contrary to the evidence)

Nov 13, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Is it one of those complicated physics things that makes Australian water go down plug holes the wrong way round, that gives Australia immunity from sea level rise, or is it one of those basic physics things that makes insignificant sea level rise around Australia exactly the same as insignificant sea level rise around the rest of the world?

How can the UK obtain immunity from IPCC complicated physics?

Nov 13, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie

"How can the UK obtain immunity from IPCC complicated physics?"

Problem there GC, the IPCC complicated physics is fundamentally UK complicated physics. Met Office, Reading, Leeds, Cambridge, UEA etc. Not to mention DECC, CCC, DEFRA....

Our organisations feed complicated physics to the IPCC, IPCC feeds policy summaries to our government, our government then asks our organisations if the IPCC policy summaries are sound.

Round and round we go, where she stops nobody knows!

Nov 13, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I thought that the coup that removed Tony Abbott was meant to stop this sort of thing.

Nov 13, 2015 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

The truth hurts - keep it quiet.

Nov 13, 2015 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

Green Sand, maybe we need to establish whether UK complicated climate science physics, spins n the same direction, as it is flushed down the drain, as Australian complicated climate science physics.

Alternatively, it may just be the climate science 'spin' that needs flushing away.

Nov 13, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Bloke down the pub at 11:14 am - Tony Abbott was head of the federal government. This announcement is by the NSW state government. Planning is a state (not a federal) matter, so the change of federal PM doesn't make any difference.

Nov 13, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterrubberduck

The trouble with 'ultimately' is that it takes too long.

Nov 13, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

rubberduck, thank you for that clarification. Does this represent something of a challenge to the new premier?

Nov 13, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Oh dear - Flannelly Tim (Flannery) won't be happy...

Never mind.

Nov 13, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


This - ahead of the Paris Conference..?

Have they not read the script..??

Nov 13, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

"building on its insistence that local councils look at the science and evidence of individual beaches"

And the science and evidence comes from...? Watch the pea!

Nov 13, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

This Aussie isn't counting any chickens yet.

Local councils are the most green-infested level of government here. As Martyn says, they will just find justifications for doing what they always intended to do. The State government can over-rule them individually, but there is plenty of scope for obstruction and delays.

Still, it's a welcome shot across their bows.

Nov 13, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Just how is a council - or anyone for that matter - expected to "enforce the climate change and sea level rise predictions"?

Nov 13, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

In a sane world the Greens would be in favour of this.
With the best will in the world (which arguably is something the IPCC doesn't have!) all the IPCC can do is give a broad-brush figure about sea-level and all the other component parts of global warming. So it makes sense for individual states>regions>counties>towns to take what action is needed in the light of their own observations. It's called localism which Greens are (allegedly) in favour of.
Who knows? It may be that in NSW several beaches are suffering morethan the IPCC figure.
But then it's not about sea-level or ocean acidification or even temperature, is it? These are just the excuses to get us all to stop using fossil fuels.

Nov 13, 2015 at 3:57 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@davidchappell 2:26

I thought that phrase was odd, also. Thinking it poor writing, I tried several re-wordings but did not find a fix. Moving on.

Nov 13, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn F. Hultquist

@davidchappell 2:26:

Just how is a council - or anyone for that matter - expected to "enforce the climate change and sea level rise predictions"?

Maybe require that the citizens get out there and generate CO2 with wild abandon? Or torch Glaciers? or ??

Nov 13, 2015 at 4:28 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson


"Just how is a council - or anyone for that matter - expected to "enforce the climate change and sea level rise predictions"?"

Easy - anyone who owns what was once very valuable coastal land needs a building permit to live or develop there. This permit is granted by the Council.

If your land is deemed to be at risk - generally less than a couple of metres above a certain reference tide level - you will not get a permit under any circumstances and thus your land is henceforth valueless except for rating (taxing) purposes.

Ultimately the Council will obtain ownership of the land - without the right to do anything with the land it is unsaleable.

This is called the precautionary principal - others call it theft.

So many people have already been adversely affected by this BS.

Nov 13, 2015 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRosco

Green shoots of sanity - bring it on.

Nov 13, 2015 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

This Aussie isn't counting any chickens yet.
Local councils are the most green-infested level of government here

For sure.

The smaller percentage of voters involved, the more easily targeted by opportunists.

Rural councils are dominated by smug Greens.

Nov 13, 2015 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

What Rosco said. Another pernicious practice is that if you already have a house in what they deem to be the danger zone for sea level rise, you are not permitted to do any further structural work on it, even if it is falling down. Which is what they want. You end up with your property being worthless.

Nor are you allowed to do anything to prevent erosion at the boundaries.

It's all part of the Greens' war on private property.

Nov 13, 2015 at 8:55 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

@Rosco 7:57pm. I understand what you are saying but a land grab is not enforcement of the IPCC predictions. The IPCC is directly predicting the temperature and seas shall rise, not thou shalt give your property to the council.

Nov 13, 2015 at 9:20 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell


Local councils were founded by the citizens of an area to provide their required services. Citizens elected actual doers - now known as officers.

Nowadays we still have local elections, but only for the politicos, who know nothing other than what colour badge to wear.

Now citizens are instructed as to what they must do to reside in a council officer's area!

It is not the council's area it is ours!

Nov 13, 2015 at 10:22 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

"If your land is deemed to be at risk - generally less than a couple of metres above a certain reference tide level - you will not get a permit …".
Any permit refusal can be appealed to a state judicial body, in the case of NSW it’s the Land and Environment Court.
It’s not unreasonable for local authorities to consider the IPCC sea level projections and advise potential buyers of the risks just to legally protect themselves (i.e. the ratepayers) and hyperbolic statements like “it's all part of the Greens' war on private property” are frankly ridiculous.


Nov 13, 2015 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

IIRC - didn't NSW authorities harass + sack a hydrographic surveyor for having the temerity to challenge greenie sea rise BS?

Will he get an apology etc?

Nov 14, 2015 at 1:39 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Christopher Hanley, they go way beyond "advising people of the risks." They outright prohibit people from building or sustaining structures on land that they already own. It is a direct attack on property rights.

To suggest that everyone has a lazy tens of thousands of dollars lying around to fight them in court is simply ludicrous.

Nov 14, 2015 at 3:31 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

This is great news for Australia as a representative Government has taken this initial step to check the rampant global warming hysteria and antiscientific dogma created by the unrepresentative IPCC political elite posing as saviours of the world regarding climate change.
Real world historical measurements of sea levels along Australia's coastline unlike selected temperature stations cannot be adjusted or corrupted to suit unproven hypotheses such as anthropogenic global warming, therefore the proven record of local sea level changes can be relied on to guide policy in mitigation of any dangerous trends related to people or property. Global trends even if they are correct may not apply locally due to geological and regional factors, as is the case in Eastern Australia where sea level change is known to be small and steady since measurements began in the colonial era.
So congratulations NSW government for implementing sensible policy that will reassure both householders and planning committees that evidence-based decisions can and hopefully will be made about this vexed issue of climate change.

Nov 14, 2015 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob Close

“… it's all part of the Greens' war on private property …” (johanna 8:55 PM)
The Green Party voters I’m acquainted with are very much into private property investment.
Indeed along with overseas travel it is for them a major preoccupation namely protecting their own investments NIMBI-style by using ‘environmental’ concerns to keep the hoi polloi out.

Nov 14, 2015 at 7:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

"Real world historical measurements of sea levels along Australia's coastline unlike selected temperature stations cannot be adjusted or corrupted to suit unproven hypotheses such as anthropogenic global warming",

Watch this space!

Nov 14, 2015 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Millions of pounds have been spent in Wales, destroying beaches with vast quantities of large boulders, carted at great expense from quarries in the south. All based on the UK Climate Impacts Study from 2005, another Blair legacy. The Welsh Assembly has as its "Climate Adviser", no less a personage than Kevin Anderson.

Nov 14, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

The old map shown is actually of part of the coast of Queensland near present day Cooktown, (originally NSW but subsequently separated). The area is near where Cook repaired the Endeavour, ashore.

Nov 15, 2015 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

The States claim that they are fixing this is false.

This summary is from a member of a new coastal body who has examined the documents.
Here is his summery: I spent last night going over the Stage Two Coastal Reforms document for NSW. Unfortunately the content of that document does not line up with the Stokes statement on IPCC predictions. Nor does the paper do anything to demolish the previous Labor Government's policy.

The coast is to be split into five regions and the coastal zone split into four management areas, but the policy is nothing more than a consolidation of the plethora of rules and guidelines that the OEH already have in place. The policy mentions the necessary balance between environmental, economic and social considerations, but does nothing to foster that balance. It is all about the environmental considerations.

Have a look at the the goals of the Coastal Management SEPP on page 29. They are all environmental and heritage goals except for "ensuring compact urban development". This is an Agenda 21 goal and we are seeing the beginnings of this high density land development policy in Broulee. The cost of locking up large tracts of land under the bio-diversity certification model is so high that high density development is the only way to make it economical for land developers. This suits the Greens aim of herding humans into high density city living to protect the natural world.

It is also interesting to track the technical advice that is supposedly available to councils on sea level rise. The draft coastal management manual refers you to the "toolbox " which has a section on sea level rise advice. That advice is the 2012 statement of Mary O'Kane, the NSW chief scientist, who does nothing to refute IPCC predictions. Councils have interpreted her "evidence based" approach as using the latest IPCC climate change computer modeling, and she supports the 3mm SLR figure for the last 25 years based purely on satellite readings. Stokes has announced the creation of the Independent Coastal Council to provide advice on the current reforms. It is my understanding that this Council is to be a formation of environmentalists with very rigid views. Stokes has rejected calls form the NSW Coastal Alliance for representation from affected communities, or experts on the economic effects and social dislocation associated with public policies of this nature. I also note that the policy paper offers a few options for a coastal zone that is either 500 metres or one kilometre from the ocean or a tidal waterway. Will this mean that the ESC will have special planning powers over just about every property in the Eurobodalla? A sobering thought.

As they say, "the devil is in the detail".

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDamien Rogers

[snip O/T]

Nov 16, 2015 at 4:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterOliver Manuel

Damien Rogers, you are a star. Thanks for doing the work. I will be saving it for future reference.

As I said above, this gesture will not prevent greenie councils from doing what they always intended to do.

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:53 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

precautionary principle

Nov 18, 2015 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrian H

"@Rosco 7:57pm. I understand what you are saying but a land grab is not enforcement of the IPCC predictions. The IPCC is directly predicting the temperature and seas shall rise, not thou shalt give your property to the council."

The IPCC may not order this, but the other leg of the United Nations has its eye on your property in a big way. The protocol is UN Agenda 21 and believe me it has already infiltrated your local government, state and federal governments and yiur schools and places of higher learning. Here is a quote

"D. Land (Agenda item 10 (d))
1. Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an
ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land
ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to
social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development
schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions
for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.
2. ...Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection as an asset and the achievement of the
long-term objectives of human settlement policies and strategies.
3. To exercise such control effectively, public authorities require detailed knowledge of the current patterns of use
and tenure of land; appropriate legislation defining the boundaries of individual rights and public interest; and
suitable instruments for assessing the value of land and transferring to the community, inter alia through taxation,
the unearned increment resulting from changes in use, or public investment or decision, or due to the general
growth of the community.




Nov 25, 2015 at 2:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger

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