Bolt: Have you got a number? I mean, there must be some numbers.
Flannery: I just need to clarfy in terms of the climate context for you. If we cut emissions today, global temperatures are not likely to drop for about a thousand years.
Bolt: Right, but I just want to get to this very basic fact, because I’m finding it really curious that no one has got (this) fact. If I buy a car … I want to know how much it costs and whether it is going to do the job.
Bolt: In this case I want to know the cost of cutting our emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 and will it do the job: how much will the world’s temperatures fall by if Australia cuts its emissions by this much.
Flannery: Look, as I said it will be a very, very small increment.
Bolt: Can you give us a rough figure? A rough figure.
Flannery: Sorry, I can’t because it’s a very complex system and we’re dealing with probabilities here.
Bolt: …I’m just trying to get the facts in front of the public so we know what we’re doing. Just unbiased. Is it about, I don’t know, are you talking about a thousandth of a degree? A hundredth of a degree? What sort of rough figure?
Flannery: Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed and that only happens slowly.
Bolt: That doesn’t seem a good deal… Someone surely must have done the sums that for all these billions of dollars we’re spending in programs that it’s got to have a consequence in terms of cutting the world’s temperature. So you don’t know about Australia, you wouldn’t dispute that it’s within about a thousandth of a degree, around that magnitude, right?
Flannery: It’s going to be slight.
h/t to Marc Morano