Mining industry veteran Hugh Morgan has further inflamed the climate change debate by claiming that the world’s climate scientists will be remembered in a similar vein to the “Chicken Little” theorists who published the apocalyptic tome The Limits to Growth more than 40 years ago.
The long-time climate change sceptic said the intensity of the debate on global warming made it timely to consider the impact of the 1972 book published by the Club of Rome, which sold 12 million copies and was translated into 37 languages.
The Club of Rome – a group of mostly European scientists and academics – used computer modelling to warn that the world would run out of commodities, including gold, mercury, silver, tin, zinc, petroleum, copper, lead, oil and natural gas, within 30 years.
The book captured the public’s imagination by warning of the “sudden and uncontrollable collapse” of economic life.
Mr Morgan, the former chief executive of Western Mining Corporation, told The Australian: “The book illustrates the dangers of academics talking about things they know nothing about.
“The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will be remembered in the same way as the Club of Rome for its ‘Chicken Little’ approach.”
Mr Morgan’s comments came as former Commonwealth Bank and Future Fund chairman David Murray suggested last week that the world’s climate scientists lacked integrity, prompting an angry response from a leading body representing scientists.
Mr Murray told the ABC’s Lateline program that the “climate problem” had been overstated by IPCC scientists and he would be convinced that man-made climate change was real only “when I see some evidence of integrity amongst the scientists themselves”.
Host Emma Alberici pointed out that the most recent IPCC report was written by 250 authors from 39 countries and was subject to review by more than 1000 experts, but he could not be swayed.
The Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society said on Friday it was disturbed by Mr Murray’s comments.
“The IPCC reports are an outstanding example of international science co-operation, rigour and transparency,” AMOC president Blair Trewin said. “The society regards the remarks of Mr Murray as being a serious slur on the integrity of the many Australian and international authors of the IPCC report.”