Flat White

Blow-in Barry blows hard on the ecopocalypse

22 October 2018

4:00 PM

22 October 2018

4:00 PM

It seems that Paul Barry—climate alarmism’s very own ‘chicken little’—has himself just been schooled. Just like fellow global warming activist and Q&A panellist, Tim Flannery, who falsely prophesied in the early 2000s that “.Perth will become a ghost metropolis over the next few decades unless the government acknowledges that global warming is a reality.” The scientific reality, though, is that in 2018 Perth is wet, cool, productive and 30 per cent larger. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, a quick recap of what caused Barry’s own temperature levels to rise.

The Media Watch host presented an extended ten-minute segment recently which was especially critical of a column by Miranda Devine. However, Barry also unleashed his wrath upon all other NewsCorps journalists for their repeated unwillingness to preach the gospel of climate catastrophism, even though, as an emeritus professor in atmospheric physics at MIT, Richard Lindzen, has incisively argued, the issue is not as simplistic as the various advocates in politics, environmental movements and the media would have us believe. Barry began his leftist jeremiad by recounting how:

Last week’s dramatic report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change really sounded the alarm on the future of our planet, with scientists predicting the Great Barrier Reef could be wiped out by 2050 if we don’t act to slow down global warming.

The problem is, 2050 is so far away that most people will have forgotten by then the ‘environmental ecopocalypse’ that was supposed to have already occurred. Take for instance the dire prediction—due to global cooling—which was being so confidently touted by Paul Ehrlich, a biology professor at Stanford University, back in 1970:

In ten years, all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.

Clive James noted that it wasn’t long before segments of the Australian media were making the same catastrophic forecasts regarding our own fragile habitat. As James wrote in The Australian:

Actually, a more illustrative starting point for the theme of the permanently imminent climatic apocalypse might be taken as August 3, 1971, when The Sydney Morning Herald announced that the Great Barrier Reef would be dead in six months.

After six months, the reef had not died, but it has been going to die almost as soon as that ever since, making it a strangely durable emblem for all those who have wedded themselves to the notion of climate catastrophe.

Admittedly, in the early seventies, I was just a twinkle in my father’s eye. So then how about something a little more recent such as the example of John Hamre, the United States Deputy Secretary of Defence, who pontificated just before the Sydney Olympics, “The Y2K problem is the electronic equivalent of the El Nino and there will be nasty surprises around the globe.”


As Tim Blair has argued, it seems that with persistent regularity someone—normally from The Guardian or the ABC—predicts the imminent destruction of the planet due to the heating or cooling effects (depending on which decade) of man-made climate change. What’s more, they have this uncanny fondness for asserting that the next ten years, in particular, will be critical.

But, as this video demonstrates, they’ve been making this type of apocalyptic prediction for the planet being in its last days for at least the last thirty years. However, the Maldives is suffering more from a flood of foreign investment from Saudi Arabia than from a rise in sea levels.

The point where Barry really came unstuck though, was when he erroneously—and rather embarrassingly—stated that the journalist Miranda Devine was not a scientist. O dear, you really want your research team to have done their homework before you start professionally denigrating one of Australia’s most popular journalists. Maybe I should just let Devine’s Twitter Feed speak for itself:

The problem for Barry, though, is not only does Devine have a fully accredited science degree from Macquarie University, but she has also previously worked for four years at the CSIRO in their textiles physics division before going on to do further study in journalism. I guess all that academic credibility doesn’t count for much over at the ABC…

But how about Barry himself? Is he academically qualified to lecture the populous on controversial issues such as climate change? Well, according to his official profile for the dead posh Saxton’s speakers agency:

Paul studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford. In 1973 he graduated with First Class Honours. Soon afterwards, he began his journalistic career in London as economics correspondent for the Investors Chronicle. Born in England, Paul had lived in Australia since 1986 and is now of the country’s most respected journalists.

Now, the thing to notice here is that while Barry is undoubtedly “one of the country’s most respected journalists”, according to his own criteria that he himself used against Devine, how can even he be considered a journalist since he doesn’t have any formal academic qualifications in the field? In fact, she is far more qualified than Barry himself is! As Devine told Flat White:

I don’t hold myself up as a scientist. But when Barry calls Jo Nova a scientist and me “not a scientist” he’s showing his bias because she and I have similar qualifications and now both work with words, she as a science writer and speaker. Jo holds a BSc in microbiology, and a graduate certificate in communications while I have a BSc in mathematics, with a double major in computer science and a Master’s of Science in journalism. So, technically, I have two science degrees. It’s so petty, but Barry can’t have it both ways.

Bias and the ABC? Who would have thought! Of course, while we’re all fully aware of Barry’s education—a first class honours degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford—this doesn’t make Barry a climate scientist, or even necessarily a journalist.

All of which means that ultimately, despite Barry’s obvious intellectual abilities, he’s no different from many other gifted ‘columnists’ in the media. The only difference is, his column just got audited, and he was beaten at his own game.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

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