A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Submission to the Henry Tax Review

Submission for Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry for Australia’s future tax system

Regarding: the Emissions Trading Scheme, and any tax relating to carbon dioxide.

Before Australia commits to any tax the Australian people deserve to know that the taxation rules are based on the latest and best scientific evidence available. The evidence about climate change has changed dramatically since 2003. I was a committed believer that action was needed, but like many other scientists I have changed my mind. Please bear in mind that the theory of greenhouse gas emissions causing atmospheric warming is just that—a theory, and it has no empirical observable evidence to back it up.

The need for any carbon tax regime hinges on the question below:

What is the evidence that adding more carbon above today’s atmospheric levels will make any significant difference to the climate?

Given the costs involved of implementing an ETS it would be foolish not to employ a small independent team of Australian non-aligned scientists and lawyers to consider the evidence right at the start—before any other action was taken. Otherwise we are relying on media analysis and pronouncements of a UN committee. Both are political processes, and neither is scientific.

Dr David Evans pointed out the lack of evidence in The Australian on July 18, 2008.,25197,24036736-7583,00.html

Despite the widespread coverage of this article, to date, no one has refuted it by providing empirical evidence. Replies fall into four categories.

  1. “The IPCC says so, and there is mainstream consensus”— there is no consensus, it wouldn’t prove anything if there was, and the IPCC is a UN committee that was set up to find evidence of anthropogenic greenhouse warming.
  2. Computer models— models are made of assumptions built on estimations, amplified by conjecture. They are theory, not evidence.
  3. Laboratory theory—test tube experiments don’t match real world measurements. The “greenhouse effect” has almost no effect in a real greenhouse (the warming is almost entirely due to convection), which undermines the idea that greenhouse gases have much effect in the real atmosphere.
  4. Irrelevant evidence—proof of global warming is not proof that CO2 is the cause. Icebergs would melt even if a team of UFO’s were heating the planet with ray guns.

A tax review cannot seriously recommend setting up an Emissions Trading Scheme based solely on a laboratory theory, inadequate inaccurate computer models, or the decree of a UN committee.

There is grave danger that the reviewers who recommended an Emission Trading Scheme, and the government who instigated it, would both be seen as negligent, when newer scientific evidence has been available since 2006 that on balance, carbon appears to have a very minor role.

The evidence has changed. The IPCC was set up when the scientific research was suggestive but incomplete. The well funded committee inevitably continues to defend their raison d’etre. Can you imagine any circumstance where the IPCC (or Al Gore) would admit that carbon dioxide was not important? They have painted themselves into a corner they can’t maneuver out of.

The Skeptics Handbook describes the current state of evidence (or lack of) in more detail, along with the critical question that needs to be answered. It also briefly describes the responses made by those in the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) industry, and lays out the results that would constitute evidence.

I have also attached documents by Dr David Evans summarizing the search for the signature of CO2-induced-warming, and how it is not just faint, but missing entirely. This is virtually unknown in the popular press, but shows that the computer models themselves predict a warming pattern due to greenhouse gases that real-world thermometers just don’t find.

I implore the reviewers to get the best scientific advice available (from both sides), and not to accept inadequate non-scientific answers on behalf of Australian taxpayers.

Temperatures are no longer rising.


Joanne Nova

*Copies of the latest version of The Skeptics Handbook are available at

10 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

No comments yet to Submission to the Henry Tax Review

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    Retired U.S. Navy Fighter Jock

    You give AGW hysteria too much credit. The scientific method consists of three steps. Stage 1 is the hypothesis stage, wherein an observation or evidence leads a scientist to formulate a hypothesis. His/her peers now critique the hypothesis and attempt to falsify it. If unable to falsify the hypothesis over a period of time, the hypothesis becomes a theory and enters into Stage 2. In the theory stage, additional investigation, experimentation, and attempts to discredit are conducted. When a consensus of scientists were praising Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, he informed them that consensus meant nothing and it would only take one to disprove his theory. Having endured the first two stages of the scientific method over a perior of time, the original hypothesis becomes a physical law; i.e., E=mc2.

    There are now over 80,000 qualified and noted scientists who are shooting a million holes in the Gore/Hansen hypothesis that CO2 drives global warming that it is a disgrace to even call the Gore/Hansen opinion a hyhpothesis. It never reached the theory level and will never will become a physical law.

    Lastly, why do governments want to spend billions on a highly disputed hypothesis and faulty global circulation models (GCM’s)?

    Retired U.S. Navy Fighter Jock
    Vancouver, WA, USA

    Well said. Thanks. JoNova


  • #
    Pink Pig


    Lastly, why do governments want to spend billions on a highly disputed hypothesis and faulty global circulation models (GCM’s)?


    Because governments are run by politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers, who are always looking for a pretext to raise taxes and centralize control, since that is the source of their power and wealth. Science has nothing to do with it. Neither Gore nor Hansen has the standing to propose a hypothesis, and neither of them is interested in science per se. Gore is a lifelong politician, and Hansen is a lifelong bureaucrat.

    I’m on the side of you and JoNova. Time is on our side, to coin a phrase. I suspect that within 10 years, the populace at large will look back and say to themselves, “Can you believe the number of idiots who fell for that tripe?” We probably can’t stop all the bleeding, but maybe we can make sure it is nonfatal.

    I am a computer programmer by profession, and on one occasion in the late 90s, a friend of mine, who was in the money markets, prevailed on me to offer advice to a very wealthy friend of his who was being pressured by a company that wanted him to invest in stopping the Y2K “crisis”. I told him (in a conference call) that the Y2K threat was a load of crap, and that essentially everything that needed to be done for it had already been done 30 years earlier. The lawyers speaking for the company threatened to sue me. I didn’t care. I suppose if I had been cleverer, I could have made money betting against the Y2K crisis, but that sort of thing is not my bag. I don’t see much difference between Y2K and AGW, except that Y2K had a definite drop-dead date.


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    common sense

    History will judge the AGW movement as an example of fear-mongering used to promote a hidden agenda, to grab power and to enrich a political and scientific elite. It will fail spectacularly after much damage will have been done. Not unlike the current failure of the financial system. It is a perfect storm when global complexity is exploited by a class politicians and financial/scientific experts with questionable ethics. Our only defense is for ethical scientists to speak out. And thankfully they do speak out in increasing numbers.
    However, even after AGW will be history there will be an energy crisis.
    Non renewable energy resources are finite. We are therefore well advised to use good science (i.e. 2nd law of thermodynamics etc. ) and sound economics to optimize efficiency in energy production (i.e. combined cycle ) and energy use wherever we can. And we need to create practical and commercially feasible technologies, build infrastructure and business models to harness smart renewable energy sources such as thermal solar power generation before it is to late. Carbon dioxide reduction will take care of itself and be little more than a footnote.


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    The IRS e-flie system is now open, most W-2s and 1099s will be in mail in the next couple of weeks. Is everybody ready for tax time?


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