An entertaining interview by Australian radio host Alan Jones of MP Craig Kelly, about the 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery is being discussed at Bishop Hill, at the Australian climate skeptics and here. It’s amusing not just for the failure of Flannery’s predictions, but also for the style in which interviewer and interviewee keep telling each other how right they are. Here is a partial transcript:
Radio show host Alan Jones talks to MP Craig Kelly
[Introductory material about recent storms, introduces Craig Kelly and his politics ]
Alan Jones: I thought I’d talk to him today because he alone has done some homework on, how topical, the Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, in the light of what’s happened in the last week. And, as Craig Kelly has said, it’s a decade ago that Flannery made his predictions.
On the one hand he said we were coming to the peak of production of oil, and he talked about inevitable fuel cutbacks that might work to the benefit of fighting climate change. And he asked us to play a thought game, ten years on, this is Flannery, Australian of the Year, another catastrophic and disastrous decision. He said, make it ten years out, 2016. Well we’re now in 2016. Flannery said governments would be spending even more money defending their low-lying areas, and sea levels have started to rise quickly, he said imagine oil prices two or three times what they are today. He said imagine the increased problems of hurricanes and insurance losses, imagine the problems he said of water being unavailable, and he was so insightful they made him Australian of the year. Of course he had an agenda. They’re the ones who get the gig. As Craig Kelly says, let’s come to 2016 and see how credible Flannery is. Oil prediction? Well Craig Kelly has put it all together. This bloke’s good enough to hold a ministry. Craig Kelly, good morning.
Craig Kelly: Good morning Alan.
Jones: So in March 2006 Flannery made his prediction; the price of oil was US $62.80 a barrel, his prediction for 2016 was that the price of a barrel of oil in ten years, that’s now, would be up to $190 a barrel, without allowing for inflation.
Kelly: That’s right, Just having a look now, you’d spend 31 dollars and 79 cents.
Jones: [laughs] I mean it is laughable. We’ve just been talking about that other bloke they’ve made Australian of the Year. What about his sea level predictions? He said that by 2016, sea levels would by now have started to rise quickly, sea levels?
Kelly: That’s right, remember  at the central coast telling anyone with an eight storey building that they would be underwater by now. Last time I checked down by the beach, you know, the sea levels looked pretty much what they were about 30 years ago
Jones: And the melting Arctic ice was going to cause sea levels to rise quickly at the start of 2016.
Kelly: Well at the start of this year, January 1st, the Arctic sea ice levels were actually higher than what they been at any time over the last decade at the start of the year.
Jones: So sea ice has remained. Good stuff from the Australian of the Year. Water availability: didn’t Flannery have an article entitled “Running out of water and time“, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 25 2005?
Kelly: That’s right Alan, and in there the Warragamba dam was never supposed to be full again. We’ve had two years now almost three years Warragamba dam has been 80% full, and right now Warragamba dam’s sitting lapping at the sort of brims at about 95%.
Jones: Yeah and this bloke, the story in the Sydney Morning Herald said Tim Flannery, Director of the South Australia Museum and Australia’s most high profile scientist, and ecologist, his next book to be published in October will feature the water crises to be faced by Perth and Sydney. It quoted Flannery: “I’m personally more worried about Sydney. Climate change is working against Sydney. There’s only two years water supply in Warragamba dam, if the computer models are right then drought conditions will become permanent in Eastern Australia. Most of New South Wales is, yet again, experiencing drought, drought’s the term that’s used but it’s wrong, ,a better term is climate change. The water restrictions now in force in Sydney are never (his word) going to be lifted, except for a run of freak conditions, just as the Warragamba Dam is never again going to be full.” What?
Kelly: [laughs] We can have a bit of a joke about these things but there is a real cost. We are now paying here in New South Wales, it’s half a million dollars every single day of the year, and we’ll do that for the next fifty years…
Jones: For a desalination plant that’s not used.
Kelly: … looking, we’re in enormous trouble down here in government, we’re trying to get our government spending under control, we’re spending too much money, we’re looking at what taxes have to be changed, and we’re paying half a million dollars in costs, completely wasted, every single day of the year for the next 50 years, because people are listening to this man.
Jones: Absolutely right. His computer models, all this stuff’s based on computer models, were hopelessly wrong. For the past 5 years, Warragamba dam has reached between 80 and 100% capacity. Then there’s the hurricane predictions; the complete opposite of Flannery’s predictions, the USA is experiencing its longest hurricane drought since 1851.
Kelly: Yes Alan. What we should actually do is put Mr Flannery in a room,and whenever we have a difficult problem, ask him what his predictions are for the future, and we should do the exact opposite. But as I say it’s the cost, we’re seeing it now, these computer models Alan, we are wasting, we’re looking at spending $8Bn on building wind turbines around the country. Alan, this, we should be screaming the house down over this …
Jones: But when you say this in the Parliamentary party down there, the leadership down there is on Flannery’s side?
Kelly: Well Alan, I sometimes just nod my head, just shaking my head…
Jones: [laughs] Insurance losses, let’s look at that one. In their annual review of insurance payouts from natural disasters in 2015 the re-insurer Munich Re showed that there was $27 billion in insured damage during 2015, $27 billion, lower than the 31 billion registered in 2014, and well below the 10-year average of 56 billion. Now he predicted, Flannery, that insurance claims from natural disasters would go through the roof. The exact opposite has happened to what Flannery predicted.
Kelly: Absolutely right Alan, again the exact opposite of what this man predicted. And yet he’s held up as some type of fountain of wisdom that the government should follow and listen to. The ABC roll him out all the time as someone we should listen to and yet his failed predictions are costing this economy a fortune.
Jones: But he became the Australian of the Year in 2007 because of these predictions, the reality is the exact opposite of what he predicted, and as you say we’ve wasted billions of dollars believing Flannery.
Kelly: That s right Alan. Look, as a member of parliament I see everyday so much need we have for things in the community. We see areas of disability, we see areas of healthcare, we see areas where people are in need of legal aid…
[personal stuff about Kelly family and disability. More ranting about wind turbines and renewable subsidies and Oz politics..]
Jones: …Why are we chasing Chinese wind turbine operators up the road with an open cheque book?
Kelly: Look Alan, it’s so a few people can feel good. That’s the simple reason. Nothing else. We can build all the wind turbines we like here in Australia and it’s not gonna change the temperature of the globe, it is simply a waste of money so some people can get their kicks and feel good and pretend they’re doing something for the environment and it’s the exact opposite of what we should be doing. If we’re going to come up with some form of renewable energy, what we need to do is put our money into research and investment to try and come up with some technological breakthrough.
Jones: But coal will always be the principle source of power for the next any number of years.
Kelly: That’s right. Alan, even by the year 2040, right, 2040, the amount of power generated around the world by wind turbines and solar panels will be 2.4%,
Jones: That’s wind turbine and solar.
Kelly: Billions and billions of dollars wasted. We will still be in only 2.4% by 2040.
Jones: You’re absolutely right 2 and a bit percent from solar and wind in the next 40 years.
Kelly: … and that’s with all this money wasted and spent on it.
Jones: And yet Flannery said, on the ABC, on Dec 13 last year, following the Paris climate conference, “Leaders the world over have marked the end of the fossil fuel era. The era of renewable energy is upon us”. Cite that statistic again.
Kelly: 2.4% Alan by the year 2040. Even if everyone does everything they promised in Paris, even if we spend trillions of dollars every year around the world, we will have 2.4% of the world’s energy produced by wind and solar by the year 2040. They are the figures by the International Energy Authority Alan. And that involves, we’re going to need more energy. We’re going to be putting more coal, more oil, more gas in 2040 than we are today even with all this money that’s being…
Jones: So I suppose the people listening to you could make a quid out of all this discussion we’re having this morning, because with Flannery’s track record, it’s obviously the kiss of death for wind turbines, so the best share market tip of the year is to do the opposite of what Flannery says, buy coal oil and natural gas shares, right?
[More Oz politics. Interviewer heaps praise on interviewee.]
Jones: … You’re not going to get anyone better than that bloke, he’s a dyed-in the wool ordinary Australian, Craig Kelly …
One of the Flannery pieces being discussed is Grappling with Climate Change from 2006. “There was a study in 2004 that had projected out to 2080 and tracked trends in hurricane intensity and all the rest of it. What we see in the real world is these things are arriving a hell of a lot faster than we see predicted in the computer models”.
See also Craig Kelly’s Facebook page.