Why Bolt says climate sceptics (like him) need to face facts
We sceptics can't go on like this. These bushfires demand we all stop pretending and face the facts.
And, yes, it starts with me.
So I admit: the planet has warmed.
I admit: this warming could affect a lot of people.
I admit: man's emissions probably play some role.
I admit: the Liberals' response has been hopeless and MUST change.
Enough. How can Prime Minister Scott Morrison possibly agree that global warming is a menace - giving us bad things like a "longer, hotter, dryer, summer season" - yet still promise to do less than Labor to save us?
That's simply not credible when people are freaking about a climate emergency that some think will wipe us out.
Morrison desperately needs a new line - one I privately urged him to take when he first became Prime Minister.
Now that the matter is urgent, I'm telling Morrison again, this time publicly.
Prime Minister, start tackling global warming with a true and traditional Liberal approach: the cost-benefit one.
But wait. Am I going too fast? Are you still stuck on what I admitted?
Fair enough. I knew the media Left would jeer at my "confession" and rage that I was disastrously wrong for so long yet now backtrack without even a sorry.
Indeed, it's started already, with a Guardian Australia writer last week gleefully announcing "Bolt's most recent concession to the reality of actual climate change".
In fact, they just haven't paid attention. I've actually said nothing here that I haven't said for more than 15 years.
In 2005, for instance, I wrote: "Over the past century the world has warmed, cooled and warmed again" and "most scientists (think) our emissions are partly to blame".
So let me repeat yet again the facts that we must all stop pretending aren't true.
Yes, the planet has warmed slightly over the past 100 years, although how much of that is due to our emissions is still debated.
Yes, this warming may hurt some people but many more may gain, and not just Siberians.
That's because this warming has not given us many of the predicted disasters, but many good things instead, like a greener planet, record grain crops and fewer cyclones.
Meanwhile the vast majority of low-lying Pacific islands are growing or stable, not sinking.
What's more, the richer we've got, the better we've protected ourselves from all kinds of natural disasters, from earthquakes to droughts. Our chances of being killed in a natural disaster are now 99 per cent less than what people faced a century ago, according to the International Disasters Database.
No surprise. You see that when a hurricane hits some poor island: tin huts are smashed but concrete mansions survive. Or see how heatwaves and cool snaps kill people too poor to cool or heat their homes.
Wealth saves. Conclusion: global warming schemes that make us poorer are potentially deadly.
The Liberals must now accept all these plain truths and change how they talk about global warming. They must, like serious people, talk cost-benefit.
For a start, stop grovelling and dishonestly pretending that global warming is all costs and no benefits.
Morrison should instead do the sums - and publicly: by how much will we gain from warming? By how much will we lose? What is the net cost, if any?
Same thing with plans to "stop" global warming.
Take these mad screams from Labor, the Greens and the ABC to slash our emissions harder to stop more bushfires.
First, figure the cost. How many coal-fired power stations must go? How many workers will lose their jobs? How high will electricity prices go and how hard will that hit our economy?
Economist Brian Fisher of BA Economics did this kind of costing with Labor's global warming plans before the last election, and worked out workers would earn $9000 a year less than expected by 2030.
Now work out the benefits.
By how much would the world's temperature then be cut? (True answer: about zero.)
But if it does change the temperature, what would we get? Fewer bushfires? Fewer droughts? Or more cyclones and smaller crops?
What would be the net gain?
See? Suddenly it's not so clear as warming extremists pretend. That's why they hate talking like practical adults, not religious zealots.
So for Morrison's Liberals it's confession time: say that global warming is not just about costs but benefits, too. Or must hysterics dominate this debate?