Thursday, 7 February 2008

Water—too much

How come there's so much water in Sydney's Warragamba dam lately?

The global warmenists kept telling me it would be empty by now. Here's climate change guru Tim Flannery in 2005 warning that we would all be rooned, right about now or even a few weeks ago. I am as disappointed as a disappointed thing expecting to be disappointed, and then not.


byron smith said...

Leading environmentalist Professor Tim Flannery has warned that Australia is now entering long-term climate change, which could cause longer and more frequent droughts.He also predicts that the ongoing drought could leave Sydney's dams dry in just two years.
Don't see how this has been discredited. He is presenting it as changing patterns of precipitation with greater chances of longer and more frequent drought. A wet spell doesn't disprove this.

If a recognised expert in nuclear energy production claimed that the chance of a major disaster in a particular plant had increased to 10% per annum and that changes ought to be made in how the plant is run to reduce this risk, such claims would not be disproved by saying: "But he said that three years ago and there hasn't been a disaster in the meantime".

Pete said...

But he said it looking forward, and because he said it, the government not only placed Sydney on permanent water restrictions, but also comissioned an energy consuming desalination plant that will add to the ordinary water bills faced by the average Sydneysider by a substantial amount each year.

And then dam levels went up by 30% over a year.

He and others needs to take some responsibility for the way they presented these sorts of comments don't they?

Jonathan said...

Which way he presented his comments?
"The worst case scenario for Sydney is that the climate that's existed for the last seven years continues for another two years," he said.

I have said before I think there are often problems with the wy worst-case scenarios are presented and emphasised, but I don't think we can blame him here. He hardly said that the dams would be dry by now. Neither does he seem to have emphasised any particular prediction other than his main point that droughts are becoming longer and more frequent. It seems a bit early to write that off, and if it is indeed the case, it is probably worth doing something.

Gordon Cheng said...

It was an attention grabbing statement that was exploited by the media because they like attention grabbing statements, and exploited by the government because they wanted to be seen to have an expert to support their policies.

But every time someone makes an attention grabbing statement along the lines that 'the sky may be falling' and 'it is possible that we may be rooned', they need to accept that there will be consequences when it becomes very clear that the sky has not fallen, and we have not all been rooned. Not to recognize this is just naivete.

You cannot at one and the same time accept all the benefits to your cause of being in the media spotlight because of what you say, and then complain when what you say comes back to haunt you.

The usual defence trotted out is 'we need to make attention grabbing statements, because this is such a serious issue!' Well, OK, you go ahead and make those statements, but if you discover that a couple of years on that you have been bitten on the backside, and you don't like it, perhaps you shouldn't have made the statement in the first place. It's an inconvenient truth.

Jonathan said...

All fair enough, but I really don't see what has come back to haunt anyone in this case.

"If you think there's only a 10 per cent chance that this rainfall deficit's going to continue for another few years, you'd be pulling out all stops to preserve water," is presumably a statement he would still stand by, and doesn't at all depend on the worst-case scenario actually happening.

If I allowed an extra hour to get to the airport, allowing for bad traffic/dodgy trains, and then arrived an hour early, would you say my judgment of a worst case scenario came back to bite me? Do we complain about the weather bureau because there wasn't any hail in the storm the other day after all?

Of course, the main point here is about the ongoing situation, not just what happened in the last two years, so Byron's analogy with a nuclear plant is in some ways better. We might disagree with the actions resulting from such statements, or even with the statements themselves, any criticism that could be made now could be made two years ago.

byron smith said...

He and others needs to take some responsibility for the way they presented these sorts of comments don't they?
I'm not sure you can blame Flannery for the mistakes made by the NSW State government. I don't remember him recommending a desalination plant as the solution.