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Column – Greens smash your food bowl February 11, 2010

Posted by BlueGreen in Deception, Doesnt Understand, Smear.

Column February 10, 2010

A column in which Bolt damns the findings of a government report:

This report is the work of the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce, set up by the Howard government in 2007 to find ways to use the huge water supplies of the north.

Bolt laments the fact that:

But then came the Rudd Government, and this week its reformed taskforce, now stacked largely with Aboriginal activists, environmentalists and green scientists, said, sorry. Developing northern Australia’s agriculture is a no go. Pity.

This was presented as the result of a cool consideration of the science (and where have we heard that before?): “The potential for northern Australia to become a ‘food bowl’ is not supported by the evidence.”

The north was no good for intensive agriculture because, said the report, the huge rain of the wet season was followed by next to none in the dry.

Bolt’s solution:

Simple, you might say. Build a dam. Catch the water when it’s raining. Release it when it’s not. Worked before, you know.

Leaving aside Bolt’s argument about the dam proposition, let’s examine some of Bolt’s subsequent logic, or lack thereof. He says:

Sure, the report concedes, it’s true that it rains up to 2m a year in some parts of the north, but the CSIRO had said that by 2030 global warming would make the region “hotter and largely drier”. So there’ll be less water to dam.

Oh, really? But the kind of regional climate models the CSIRO uses for its typically scary predictions can’t even predict past weather and “cannot be credible”, as a National Technical University of Athens study said in 2008.

And the report itself concedes the rainfall has actually become more intense, not less: “In recent years (1996 to 2007), rainfall intensity (rainfall per rainy day) has increased slightly across the north compared to the past (1930 to 2007)…” The real weather isn’t doing what the CSIRO’s models say it should.

Bolt is trying to imply here that rainfall intensity, which is increasing, is commensurate with or implies increasing rainfall amounts or volumes. This is not necessarily the case and certainly does not contradict the CSIRO model results.

And, in fact, if rainfall volumes are decreasing and yet intensities are increasing – therefore meaning that rainfall is even more inconsistent and seasonal – it only underscores the findings of the report.

Bolt then writes:

Worse, the report calls for an “intensification of pastoralism” so that “large areas of pastoral land” in that cattle country can “be taken out of production”.

Astonishing. A report to find ways to turn the north into a food bowl tells us to shrink our cattle stations instead.

Firstly, Bolt fails to realise that “intensification of pastoralism” does not necessarily equate with shrinking production levels.

And secondly, Bolt forgets that, in calling for dams to be built, he is, as a by-product, calling for a reduction in the amount of land available for pastoralism.

Such is the logic of Bolt.

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