The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change

In the News

Tim Flannery
named Australian
of the Year

Tim talks about climate change and criticises the Australian government on its tardy response.
Interview with Kerry O'Brien ...
Interview with ABC radio ...
Tim on Murray-Darling river scheme...
Tim critices the government...
PM's response to Tim's criticism...
Tim's comment on receiving the award...
Tim sells climate change message

Flannery: Coal export no longer acceptable

It is no longer socially acceptable for Australia to keep exporting coal knowing the damage it is doing, according to the scientist and Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery. Professor Flannery said that in the future, coal would be seen as just as dangerous as asbestos is now. ''As the situation unfolds and the matters get more critical, the world is not going to allow people to pollute our common atmosphere, as occurs at the moment,'' he told ABC television.Go to news report.


International climate panel: 'We told you so'

Read IPCC Report.

This was the IPCC saying 'We told you so'. Man 'responsible for global warming'. Seventeen years and a zillion computer hours after the world's climate scientists first ran the big calculation, they came up with the same estimate of the warming the planet will see by the end of the century if we go on pouring out greenhouse gases: 3 degrees C.UK Telegraph report.

In a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate change scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human activity is the main driver, "very likely" causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950. Read New York Times report.

It's no longer about whether climate change is real, but what we do about it. That's where the debate has stalled in Australia. Read Age analysis.


Harsh climate effects in Australia

The Great Barrier Reef will become "functionally extinct" within decades at the current rate of global warming, while wilder weather is set to affect property values and drive up insurance bills in many Australian coastal communities.Go to report.


Australia is already feeling the effects of climate change, through extra stresses on water supplies, an unusually severe drought and changing ecosystems. That is the unofficial verdict of the world's leading scientists, who have spent the past six years re-examining the science behind climate changes.Go to report.


Dire U.N. draft report on climate change

"News flash! Climate change: It's for real, and humans are causing it! What, you say, you believe you may have heard this news somewhere before? Yes, but this time, we really, really mean it." Read Salon report.

A draft U.N. report projecting a big rise in temperatures this century is likely to add fuel to the debate about whether the world is facing dangerous global warming, experts said on Friday. Read Reuters report.

Droughts will be longer, flooding rains will be rarer but heavier. Cyclones will hit harder. Violent storms and extreme heatwaves will strike more frequently. Read Age report.

Audio of TIm Flannery on the nuclear question

Tim gave a speech at Sydney University during 'Sydney Ideas'. Hear the podcast here. Go to introduction.

The Weather Makers wins Book of the Year

At this year's NSW Premier's Literary Awards, Tim's book on climate change won the top prize. See report.

Free TV gets a lesson in climate change

From Crikey, reporter Sophie Black writes:
Free TV must have looked up the chapter on climate change in their science textbooks since rejecting South Australian company SolarShop's ad last Friday (yesterday item 12) – the TV classification and approval body announced yesterday afternoon that it would reinstate the ad in its entirety. (Click here to view the ad).
Commercials Advice (CAD), a branch of FreeTV, initially rejected the ad scheduled for Adelaide TV (after first approving it) on the grounds that Dr Tim Flannery's statement - "Climate Change is the greatest threat facing humanity today" - was "problematic." But they've since decided that Flannery has the authority to back up his claim.
"Whilst this has been unfortunate to say the least and damaging to the SolarShop, which can ill afford to have its $50,000 TV campaign diluted like this, what it has done is served a very positive purpose - it has raised the focus of the average Australian on the seriousness of climate change," a spokesperson for SolarShop told Crikey.
FreeTV's chief executive Julie Flynn told the SMH that "we have just cleared the ads after strong representation from the advertiser that Dr Flannery is an authority in his own right."
Greens Senator Christine Milne told Crikey: "The key thing here is that Free TV is making a decision about what the public can hear in a political context. Their level of ignorance on climate change is a concern, as is the level of political intimidation in this country..."
"I find it absolutely bizarre that this is even a controversial matter when the rest of the world is clear that climate change is the single most important environmental issue," Member for Adelaide, Labor's Kate Ellis, told Crikey, "meanwhile, we're arguing over what we can and can't say in an ad."


UK Prime Minister endorses The Weather Makers

"Climate change is perhaps the most challenging collective action problem the world has faced. Almost uniquely, The Weather Makers provides insights not only into the history, science, and politics of climate change, but also the actions people can take now that will make a difference. Only through understanding can problems be properly addressed and solved. All who read The Weather Makers will be left wiser and able to appreciate how fragile our climate is and how it is this generation who must act to protect it." - Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain


Tim in the London Times

A couple of Tim's articles extracted from The Weather Makers were printed in the Times in London. The first extract was used on the front page.

Read article 1. Read article 2.


Time running out for Pacific

A World Bank report has warned that climate change will have a huge impact on Pacific islands, and has cautioned against adopting a "wait and mitigate" approach to the looming crises that are expected to affect the region. The report, entitled Not If But When, says the impact of climate change will be felt most heavily in low-lying atolls and that Kiribati could experience flooding by rising sea waters of up to 80 per cent of the land mass in some areas.Read article.


Tim Flannery's new job

Controversial scientist, writer and South Australian Museum director Tim Flannery is expected to take up a new job at Macquarie University in Sydney. Although the appointment has yet to be announced, it is already stirring debate within the scientific community. Read article.


Climatologists refute Lovelock's dire prediction

James Anna, climatologist and blogger, has some pertinent remarks about Prof. James Lovelock's dire predictions (see below). For Annan's creds, go here and his observations can be read here. His colleague, Wiliam Connolley, a climate modeller, also disagrees with the professor. Connelley's creds are here and his remarks here.


Flannery sets deadline to save the world

Australian scientist Tim Flannery does not agree with a warning by one of Britain's best-known environmentalists that the world has already passed the point of no return on global warming. (See below) He said that we got maybe one to two decades to address the issue...

Read 'Flannery's response to Lovelock prediction'

Lovelock: The Earth is about to catch a 100,000 year fever

So what should we do? First, we have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act; and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can...

Read 'James Lovelock on climate change'

Environment in crisis: We are past the point of no return

Thirty years ago, the scientist James Lovelock worked out that the Earth possessed a planetary-scale control system which kept the environment fit for life. He called it Gaia, and the theory has become widely accepted. Now, he believes mankind's abuse of the environment is making that mechanism work against us. His astonishing conclusion - that climate change is already insoluble.

Read 'Environment in crisis'

Icons under threat: Kakadu

The bountiful life in the Northern Territory's famed national park is at risk, scientists warn, because of rising sea levels ... For a half-century, salt water has been creeping into Kakadu's world-renowned freshwater wetlands. On the East Alligator River alone, tidal creeks have edged inland four kilometre ... The world's oceans are on the rise. And there is now a clear scientific consensus, says CSIRO's sea level expert John Church, that planet-warming fossil fuel emissions play a significant role.

Read 'Kakadu under threat'

Could this be the hottest year on record?

This year may not have seemed like a scorcher, but it is firming as the hottest year since records began. The past decade had unusually hot years, but 2005 is the one climatologists are watching closely ... The Bureau of Meteorology says the first 10 months of 2005 were the warmest equivalent period since monthly records began in 1950, and it probably would be the hottest year since annual records began in 1910. Climate scientists are picking up a similar trend globally.

Read 'Hottest year on record'

Minister makes sceptics see green

By Matt Price, in The Australian: ... [Federal Environment Minister] Campbell is convinced "a very small handful of what we call sceptics" are dead wrong when they insist the science behind global warming is flimsy and deliberately alarmist. He has seen the graphs on climate change and carbon emissions that, having held steady for millions of years, "take off like a skateboard ramp" after 1950. "It is a very serious threat to Australia," Campbell warns. Sceptics argue the jury remains out on all this, that recent warming of the planet is unexceptional and comfortably within the range of natural variability. But Campbell reckons the argument is over. He cites George W. Bush, Blair and Australia's former chief scientist Robin Batterham as fellow travellers who accept humans have made the world hotter, hence humans must work to reduce carbon emissions. "Not exactly raving pinkos," Campbell notes.

Read 'Minister riles sceptics'

Book prompts Australia to recognize global warming

The environmental movement may have found its standard-bearer in Tim Flannery. Following in the tradition of policy-changing books like Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed, Flannery's The Weather Makers, published in Australia four weeks ago, was cited by that country's Environment Minister in an announcement yesterday that the government will officially recognize and address global warning as a growing threat. Now the book's American publisher, Grove/Atlantic, hopes it will prompt U.S. policymakers to do likewise.
"What happened today shows that books can change the world," said Grove/Atlantic president Morgan Entrekin, referring to Senator Ian Campbell's endorsement of Flannery's book, reported Thursday by an Australian daily newspaper.

Read full article (US)

Senator vows to go 'beyond Kyoto'

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell says he agrees with a leading scientist that climate change is a threat to civilisation, but has again rejected calls for Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. In his book, The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery argues that the consequences of climate change will be devastating and that Australians need to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Professor Flannery also sets out the case for why Kyoto is an effective response to climate change. Senator Campbell has reiterated the danger that climate change poses to the world, and has called for Australia to consider a range of technologies including nuclear power, wind and solar power.

Read 'Minister vows: beyond Kyoto'

Debate is over, climate change is real;
time to save the planet, says Minister

The debate on climate change is over. As far as the Howard Government is concerned, Australians must accept that humans contribute to global warming and adapt their behaviour to save the planet. Environment Minister Ian Campbell said he agreed broadly with the contention promoted recently in environmental scientist Tim Flannery's book The Weather Makers that Australia and other industrialised nations need to take urgent action to avert environmental disaster.

Read 'Minister: Time to save the planet'

A passionate friend of the earth

"I'm a restless soul. I like effecting change, I like making things happen." Such words might trip lightly off many a business mogul's tongue but in Robert Purves's case they have the weight of action behind them. For the past few weeks Purves has been busily sending out copies of Australian scientist Professor Tim Flannery's alarming new book on climate change, The Weather Makers, to key federal and state politicians.

Read 'Friend of the earth'

Tim Flannery book wins Science Writing prize

At this year's Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, Tim Flannery and Peter Schouten won the Prize for Science Writing for their book Astonishing Animals. Peter Schouten and Tim Flannery collaborated to create a gorgeous illustrated treasury of remarkable creatures. Astonishing Animals reveals ninety-seven of the world’s most amazing beasts—from the depths of the oceans to the loftiest mountain heights. These creatures exist at the "outer limits of life’s progress."

Read 'Judges' remarks' See 'Astonishing Animals'

Statement on drought by the National Climate Centre

September rainfall was generally below the long-term average in the various areas of eastern and central Australia affected by rainfall deficiencies, the Bureau of Meteorology announced ... This most recent period of deficient rainfall in southeastern Australia comes on top of below average to record low 8-year rainfall totals in the same region.

Read 'Deficiencies persist'

Climate change anxiety grows in the US

An excellent sharp piece in the Seattle Times reports on rising concerns and the "huge disconnect between what professional scientists have studied and learned in the last 30 years, and what is out there in the popular culture." Money quote: "The fact that so many scientists think it's likely a truck is heading for us means that the last thing we want to do is close our eyes and lie down in the road."

Read 'truth about global warming'

Listen to Tim in Conversation Hour

On ABC Queensland, presented by Steve Austin & Trish Lake. Conversational topics include climate change and personal action, farmers as leading energy conservationists, coal, 4WDs, water heating and airconditioning, geothermal solutions, the Gaia idea, cities as weather makers and more.

Read 'Conversation Hour'

Green city visions

Architect and critic, Elizabeth Farrelly writes: If we started again our cities would look like Manhattan: dense, high-rise and highly artificial.

Read 'Future is grey and green'

Flannery dismissed as 'more shaman than showman'

Christopher Pearson writes: Previously I've dismissed him in this column as the P.T. Barnum of his profession, just a showman. But, as his new book The Weather Makers makes plain, he's more shaman than showman, a folk mystic and prophet for the New Age remnant.

Read 'Science for Believers'

New green targets demanded

New green energy targets must be set to halt the effects of climate change and ensure South Australia maintains its lead of the nation in solar and wind energy investment.

Read 'New green targets'

Tim Flannery warns of Alice heatwaves

Scientist and author Dr Tim Flannery says climate change is likely to bring frequent and extreme heatwaves to central Australia in years to come.

Read 'Alice heatwaves'

Climate change debate: 'alarmist', 'mother-earthism'

The National Forum: Professor Bob Carter at James Cook University says The Weather Makers is 'alarmist': "Not needed is more of the futile 'feel goodery' espoused by those infected with the 'mother earthism' syndrome."

Read 'Mother-earthism' Read 'interview with bob carter' Read 'critique of bob carter'

Andrew Bolt hits back at Tim Flannery

If Tim Flannery is right, I should quit. He says I've lied about his writings on global warming. But if Flannery is once more wrong, he should be finished as a commentator on global warming.

Read 'Flannery's Science Fiction'

Tim Flannery replies to Andrew Bolt

In the latest salvo in the climate change debate, scientist Tim Flannery says the "errors" Andrew Bolt discovered in his book are, in fact, howlers on the columnist's part.

Read 'Here are the facts'

Newspaper readers' responses to climate change

The Age this week asked readers what, if anything, they are doing to respond to climate change? What should Australia be doing? Or do you think the threat is exaggerated?

Read 'Newspaper reader's responses'

Paleontologist outlines his plan for the future

The Weather Makers 'paints a desperate picture of a future of rising seas and extreme weather, unless we make dramatic changes to the way we live. But already, his critics are suggesting the book is over the top and that the Flannery plan for the future would be an economic disaster.'

Read '7.30 report'

Newspaper editorial on climate change

The Age: Storm warning on impact of climate change

Read 'Age editorial'

Tim Flannery's 2004 comment on Sydney's future

The next 50 years offer Sydney the last chance to avoid catastrophic climate change that would devastate south-eastern Australia, the scientist Tim Flannery has warned.

Read 'Flannery's prophecy'

Metereologist disputes human factor

William Kininmonth writes, the science linking human activities to climate change is simplistic and Flannery's arguments are assisted by the fact we are in a period of apparent warming.

Read 'A change in the weather'

Hurricanes can be tied to climate change

Tony Jones: Well, Dr Tim Flannery is arguably Australia's best known popular scientist. His new book, The Weather Makers, takes a look at the debate on global warming and possible solutions. Thanks for joining us, Tim Flannery.

Read 'Tim on Lateline'

Globe warming despite Bush denials

Mass tabloid USA Today's editorial of June 14, 2005: Yes, globe is warming, even if Bush denies it

Read 'USA TODAY'

Andrew Bolt cans Tim Flannery and climate change

'I repeat: Flannery cannot be ignored. When even such a man can repeat so many exaggerations, untruths and distortions to 'prove' man-made global warming is a menace, reason is dead."

Read 'Hysteria heats up' Read 'Andrew Bolt's comment'

Ill winds and the collapse of civilisation

The hurricanes devastating the American coast are the wake-up call the world needs. Do nothing about climate change, and the collapse of civilisation is 'inevitable', according to Dr Tim Flannery.

Read 'Ill winds'

N-debate needed

The scientist Tim Flannery says nuclear energy will not solve Australia's long-term energy needs, and he remains open to a debate about its role in tackling climate change.

Read 'N-debate'

A plan for the future

A transcript of a 7.30 Report on Tim Flannery and The Weather Makers.

Read 'A plan for the future'

Heavy weather

Tim Flannery, also the director of the South Australian Museum, says destructive hurricanes such as those that have pounded the Gulf of Mexico recently could become more frequent.

Read 'Heavy Weather'

The Worried Weatherman

Once called the Indiana Jones of science, Tim Flannery is as controversial as he is celebrated. Melissa Fyfe talks to him about his 10-year mission.

Read 'The Worried Weatherman'

More extreme weather events

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, the Australian scientist and environmental commentator, Dr Tim Flannery, is warning that Australia too should expect more extreme events as the effects of climate change take hold.

Read 'More Extreme Weather Events'

Scientists expect more violent hurricanes in the future

Read article

Philip Adams: Let's have a war on meteorological terrorism

That considerable scientist Tim Flannery sees Katrinas galore heading our way as surrounding sea temperatures reach the boiling point that gets hurricanes and typhoons bubbling.

Read 'Let's Have a war on meteorological terrorism'

Tim Flannery: The power beneath our feet

There is one other option for the continuous production of power.

Read 'The power beneath our feet'

That CO2 feeling

Every time you drive a car, turn on the television, or cook a meal you produce carbon dioxide (CO2), and around half the CO2 you produce will remain in the atmosphere for at least a hundred years.

Tim on WWF

Tim Flannery is one of the world's leading writer-scientists and thinkers in environmental science. More

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Tim Flannery toured across the US in 2006, from Boulder to New York, from Tampa to New Orleans.

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