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Perth event tonight: public forum on climate change

Posted on 28 June 2010 by John Cook

Tonight, a public forum on climate change is being hosted by the University of Western Australia. Four scientists from the UWA will present short talks on climate change (fingers crossed they obey the mandate to keep it short). Afterwards, it'll be thrown open to questions from the audience to a panel of local academics...and me (the initial idea was to broadcast the Skeptical Science iPhone app through the projector but the technology unfortunately failed us). The topics will be:

  • Consensus in science: what does it mean?
    Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (School of Psychology, UWA)
  • Time for accountability: junk science vs real science
    Professor Kevin Judd (School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA)
  • The scientific consensus: lessons from a warming planet
    Professor Malcolm McCulloch (School of Earth Sciences, UWA)
  • The way forward: towards economic growth in a clean-energy future
    Dr Volker Oschmann (senior government official within the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety)

The forum will be at the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre from 6pm to 7.30pm so if you're in the Perth area, please come along. For everyone else, the event will be recorded and compete audio/video will be made available at

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Comments 1 to 7:

  1. wonderful. wish I could be there. thanks to whomever organized this.
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  2. Sounds great! And also great that it's being recorded.
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  3. Best wishes for a successful discussion!
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  4. Sounds like a good event. I hope the distinction between the science and the policy is made clear many times throughout the night. I fear that much of the angst about the science is really angst about policy options and people assume they are identical (i.e. if you accept the science, then there is only one policy option).
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  5. A question I'd love to put to Dr Oschmann relates to the carbon footprint involved in making the transition to a clean-energy future? Eg, we still have to power the machinery to mine the ore to build our wind turbines, generate CO2 while we make cement to build the infrastructure, etc. The answer might well turn out to be 'very small' which would be very welcome news. Notwithstanding my propensity to curmudgeonly contrarianism, I genuinely believe we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel would prefer to see us pumping much less CO2 into the environment. Best wishes for the evening.
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    Response: Volker just emailed me a response to this question:
    “A recent comprehensive study (Almut Kirchner et al, “Blueprint Germany, A strategy for a climate-safe 2050”, Basel/Berlin 2009) argues that it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Germany by 95 percent by 2050 (compared to 1990). This includes emissions to build the infrastructure necessary for the transition. An English version of the study can be found here."
  6. Chris, unfortunately we're stuck with the fossil fuel energy source we have until we can build it's replacement, which means for the time being we have to burn fossil fuels to build that replacement. The more rapidly we build that replacement the sooner we can ratchet down using those fossil fuels. This is actually a very powerful argument in countering those who seek to delay taking action to construct a new energy infrastructure: if we wait until after peak oil it will 1) cost more, 2) we risk not having enough fossil fuel to build it in time, and 3) we will shift to coal, which insures that we will have less time.
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  7. I'll definetely download it afterwards.
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