Archive for April, 2011

circle work

April 26, 2011

Bringing a mob of sheep into the yards thismorning, I was thinking that society is very like a mob of sheep. Everybody is running around in circles, we have a vague notion that we don’t want to go in a particular direction and when a few start to lead; a bloody dog appears from nowhere and frightens the b-jesus out of us and we end up inexorably moving towards the gate and then through it and find ourselves in the yard with no choice at all about what happens next.

letter to Molong Express

April 24, 2011

A farmers view on climate change

 Dear Sir/Madam,

 I would like to contribute some balance to your paper on the subject of global warming and climate change. Readers could well be confused given the political shenanigans inCanberraand the vitriol coming from some commentators in the media. I am no expert but I have tried to study the topic objectively which is difficult given the size of the issue and the vested interests at stake.

 Carbon Dioxide is a relatively small component in the atmosphere. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was first noted to be rising in the 1960’s and scientists have been trying to work out the causes and effects ever since. They have shown that small increases in CO2 concentration will tend to warm the planet by increasing the effectiveness of the blanket that the atmosphere already provides for the earth. They call this the “greenhouse” effect because, like a greenhouse, the atmosphere lets the sun’s heat in to warm us up but does not let it all reflect back out again. This greenhouse effect is not disputed by any reputable scientists because it can be easily demonstrated. So, we have a theory that has been worked on for fifty years to explain what the effect of rising concentrations of CO2 might be. That theory predicts that temperatures on earth would be expected to rise. The predictions of this theory are now more robust because actual measurements of the air temperatures and ocean temperatures around the world are rising.

 The Bureau of Meteorology recently published that its measurements of air temperatures aroundAustraliashow that the last three decades have been progressively the hottest on record. The CSIRO also publishes data to support the proposition that the earth is actually warming up quite quickly when compared to other epochs such as when we came out of the ice age 10,000 years ago. Even those who are sceptical about climate change are more accepting of the fact that the earth is warming whereas a couple of years ago many people were saying it had been cooling since 2005. I tend to believe institutions like the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology because I have spent a lifetime as a farmer benefiting from the efforts of scientists making advances in technology that we quickly take for granted. People who work for these organisations earn a salary if they conduct research and report the facts as they see them. Salaried scientists have nothing to gain from peddling nonsense and lots to lose.

Far more contentious areas of research are trying to work out what effect the rapidly warming oceans and atmosphere will have on our weather and if we can do anything to reverse the trend and at what cost. Maybe we could discuss these issues in another letter.


Robert Lee

Larras Lee

April 18, 2011


My name is Rob Lee, I farm sheep, cattle and crops in the central west of NSW. I am a businessman, a capitalist and have grown up dealing with free and volatile markets for the products that I produce. Given that background and the fact that my family have been farming here as long as Europeans have been here, conservative voting is in my blood.

I have started this blog which was done for me by my daughter because I am very concerned by the spectre of climate change and our society’s response to it.

Although some regard the writing of letters to newspapers a sad and futile pursuit a letter to my local paper just might help form the opinion of someone who would not otherwise engage with the subject. That can’t be bad. If you can find the letters here, please leave a comment.

This blog will be very intermittant. I’ll be back sometime.