Facebook post by Craig Kelly

Fact check: Craig Kelly and snow in Canberra

The claim

On Saturday, Craig Kelly posted this on his Facebook page:

“GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE : SNOW FALLING AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE

With Parliament recommencing on Monday, it looks like a tough week coming up for Warmist MP’s.

Just imagine being inside the Parliamentary chambers, warmed and protected from the freezing weather outside (thanks to NSW’s coal-fired power stations) while arguing that our nation must borrow more money from China (leaving a debt for future generations) to then send that money back to China in exchange for Chinese made solar panels, because you’ve been deluded into believing that this will somehow stop bad weather – all the while as snow falls outside.” 

Now I did wonder if he is just joking. But it seems from the comments that plenty of people take this seriously. So I will too.

I’m seeing two claims are implied here:

  1. Snow in Canberra is evidence that is tough for “warmists” to explain.
  2. Moving to solar energy won’t stop bad weather.

Analysis

1. Tough for “warmists”?

The Canberra Times reports: “Light flurries of snow have fallen in suburbs across Canberra”.

It isn’t hard to find out why this isn’t at all tough for anyone (except those out in the snow without warm clothes). You can find the answer in …

Two facts are all anyone needs to know.

1. It’s called “global warming” because it’s a global measurement. Just because it’s cold here doesn’t mean it’s cold everywhere. In fact, if it’s colder than usual here, it’s hotter than usual somewhere else.

2. There’s a difference between climate and weather. The climate is what happens generally, over a period of time. The weather is what happens day to day.

The climate is getting warmer – more than one degree Celsius globally since 1880 (see graph) – while the weather fluctuates, night and day, day-to-day, season to season, and so on.

There is even a fluctuation in the yearly values, as the temperature graph shows (in light grey), but the trend line is quite clearly upwards.

Graph of global temperature
Global temperature trend, 1880-2019

No-one who understands global warming thinks a cold day is evidence against a global trend.

2. Solar energy won’t make a difference?

Energy generation produces a significant proportion of total greenhouse gas emissions – almost 40% of CO2, and about 25% overall. Moving from coal-fired generation to solar generation would eliminate most of this.

And the costs have been estimated. Converting to solar energy generation would be cheaper than new coal and gas, and deliver better climate outcomes.

This would have a significant effect on the world’s climate. But of course it wouldn’t stop the occasional cold day.

The verdict

#1 Problem? Wrong.
Craig’s post confuses climate and weather, and doesn’t reflect the known science of global warming.

#2 Solar. Less than half right and misleading.
Renewable energy won’t stop cold days occurring (no-one suggests that). But moving to solar will make a significant difference to global warming.


Top graphic taken from Craig Kelly’s Facebook post that is being reviewed here. Copyright law allows such “fair dealing” use for review, criticism and reporting news.

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