Concerning our recent flood crisis, there are of course some things out of human control, such as the forces of nature. But some things – like city planning, the building of dams, and so on – are in our control. How all the factors weigh up when a tragedy occurs is not always easy to determine.
But several things can be noted about the Queensland floods, and they both have to do with the Greens. The first is their illogical and irresponsible policy on dams, and the second is their gall in blaming the mining sector for the floods. If anything, they are the ones who should be apologising for helping to contribute to these problems.
But since I am likely to be dismissed as partisan on this, let me instead simply quote from Barry York, who describes himself as a “long-time leftist”. He is quite happy to point to the Greens as being the real factor behind this. This is how his article begins:
“No new dams of significant size have been built in Australia for more than two decades. During the recent long drought, the dam question arose again but the response from experts and governments was along the lines of: ‘Why build a dam if the climate has permanently changed in a way that means there will be less rain in future?’
“Opposition to dams has been a key success in the development of the green movement and the Greens party since the early 1980s. But the term opposition understates the situation: it is really demonisation of dams. In the Green quasi-religion, dams are evil, akin to a Satanic force. Thus, there must never be any big new dams built. Not ever.
“The Green policy is expressed at their website as a principle: ‘There should be no new large-scale dams on Australian rivers.’ Had the Greens been as influential in the second half of the 1970s as they have been since the mid-80s, it is unlikely that the Wivenhoe Dam, on the Brisbane River, 80km from Brisbane, would have been constructed. (After years of planning and building, it was opened in 1984.)
“The Wivenhoe was designed, following massive floods in 1974, with a flood mitigation function alongside the usual water supply role. Like all dams, it is an example of human beings changing the natural world, by unnatural means, into something very useful and necessary to us in terms of our needs, standard of living and future progress. To the Green mentality and ethos, changing nature is destroying nature, dams are an assault on the ‘delicate balance’ in nature, an example of human arrogance going too far.”
Remember this is a lefty talking, not me. Another perspective comes from an English commentator, Christopher Booker: “Ever more alarming facts are emerging to show how Brisbane’s floods were made infinitely worse by cockeyed decisions inspired by the obsession of the Australian authorities with global warming. Inevitably, the country’s warmist lobby has been voluble in claiming that such a ‘freak weather event’ (as the BBC called it) is a consequence of man-made climate change. But far from being an unprecedented ‘freak event’, the latest flood was nearly a foot below the level of one in 1974 and 10 feet below the record set in 1893.
“For years, Australia’s warmists have been advising the authorities that the danger posed to the country by global warming is not floods but droughts: not too much rain but too little. One result, in Brisbane, was a relaxation of planning rules, to allow building on areas vulnerable to flooding in the past. As long ago as 1999, this was seen as potentially disastrous by an expert Brisbane River Flood Study (which was ignored and for years kept secret). Instead of investing in its flood defences, Australia spent $13 billion on desalination plants. (Queensland’s was recently mothballed because of the excess of rain.)
“Last week’s most disturbing revelation, however, was the contribution to Brisbane’s flooding by the South East Queensland Water company’s massive release of water from its Wivenhoe dam upstream from the city (for details see ‘Brisbane’s Man-Made Flood Peak’ on the Regionalstates blog). Instead of controlled releases through the previous week, the company allowed the level to rise to within a few inches of the top of the dam before releasing a vast volume of water, with devastating consequences for Brisbane 36 hours later.
“Last spring, Queensland’s prime minister, the drought- and warming-obsessed Anna Bligh, ordered the water company not to allow any releases from the dam because water was such a ‘precious resource’ that none must be wasted. Unsurprisingly, on Friday, the city’s Lord Mayor asked for a full judicial review of what had happened. But it is time our Australian cousins carried out a very much more wide-ranging inquiry into all the other decisions made by their gullible politicians in recent years, under the spell of a pseudo-scientific ideology which now looks utterly discredited.”
In spite of all this, the Greens’ leader is saying the floods are due to coal mining! Here is how one press report puts it: “Bob Brown says the coal mining industry should pay for the Queensland floods because it helped cause them. … ‘It’s the single biggest cause – burning coal – for climate change and it must take its major share of responsibility for the weather events we are seeing unfolding now,’ he told reporters in Hobart on Sunday.”
Needless to say, most are not impressed with this idiocy. Another press article says, “Minerals Council of Australia deputy chief Brendan Pearson accused Senator Brown of ‘rank opportunism’, unworthy of a serious political leader. And Australian Coal Association director Ralph Hillman said domestically-mined coal made a tiny contribution to global carbon emissions. Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said the Greens leader should apologise for his ‘insensitive’ comments. ‘Senator Brown’s comments expose the Greens and his leadership as shallow and cynical; willing to peddle political propaganda in the face of a natural disaster,’ Senator Abetz said.”
Andrew Bolt quotes one authority who thinks rather poorly of Brown’s remarks: “Emeritus Professor Cliff Ollier, a geologist and geomorphologist, explains why Brown should be laughed out of town: ‘There are at least three arguments against relating the Queensland floods to Anthropogenic Global Warming.
‘1. Even other people in the Global Warming game realize there is no relationship between broad disasters and carbon dioxide…
‘2. The second problem is that this is not an isolated event. There was another flood of about the same dimensions in 1974. There was no peak of CO2 at that time. It was not an especially warm year, so Global Warming cannot be invoked (1998 was a hotter year, but no flood). But there were even greater floods in 1841 and 1893. This is well before any possible Anthropogenic Global Warming, which began, according to its adherents, in 1945…
‘3. A third problem is that just a few years ago, global warming was blamed for causing droughts. This opinion was extolled during the last drought especially by Tim Flannery, another non-expert. In 2003 Professor Karoly published, under the auspices of the World Wildlife Fund, a report that claimed that elevated air temperatures, due to CO2, exacerbated the drought’.”
As noted, nature is hard to fathom, and much of what happens is out of our hands. But if there is human fault to be found here, it seems more likely to be laid at the feet of the radical ideologues, the Greens. But they seldom let facts and evidence get in the way of their social engineering.