A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).

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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Naomi Oreskes, THE Merchant of Doubt herself, uses tactics of the tobacco lobby

Naomi Orsekes’ big intellectual contribution to the climate debate is her fantasy that skeptics copy tactics from the tobacco lobby. It’s a trick to reframe real criticism — Dr A spots a real error, but Oreskes waves the “Tobacco tactic!” red flag. Stop the conversation!

Not only are these ad hom attacks tactics as old as the stone age, bone obvious, and used in every political hot-potato debate, but “tobacco tactics” are the stock and trade of Prof Naomi Oreskes.  She’s make a whole career out of mimicking the tobacco industry.

Oreskes wrote an entire book designed to denigrate scientists based on tenuous links on unrelated topics with 20 year old documents. She is The Merchant of Doubt — it’s what she sells — “doubts” about the motivation of skeptical scientists. Her fantasies about skeptics using tobacco tactics is pure psychological projection. Perhaps she isn’t aware?

In a science debate about the climate, the only things that matter are evidence and reasoning about the climate. Those who can’t point out flaws in the science debate launch personal attacks from the gutter instead. What has tobacco got to do with Earth’s Climate? It’s not a forcing or a feedback, but the smoke sure clouds the public discussion.

A. O. SCOTT, NY Times,unwittingly writes a parody of Oreskes:

The pro-tobacco strategy also called for smearing critics and invoking noble ideals like personal freedom against inconvenient facts like nicotine addiction.

Oreskes “smears critics” and invokes the noble ideal that believers in man-made climate change are doing it to help the poor and the planet. That doesn’t fit the facts, where believers get paid three thousand times more than skeptics, and don’t care  when the poor starve, or when their pet projects end up chopping and frying the wildlife they were meant to save. Hey, accidents happen, but it’s the response (or lack of) to the unintended consequences that telegraphs their real intentions.

The reference is to the long campaign to obfuscate and undermine attempts to make the public aware of the dangers of cigarettes. As early as the 1950s, tobacco companies were aware — thanks to their own research — that their products were hazardous and habit forming, but they waged a prolonged and frequently successful campaign to suppress and blur the facts. Their tactics included sending dubiously credentialed experts out into the world to disguise dishonesty as reasonable doubt. “We just don’t know.” “The science is complicated.” “We need more research.”

Who suppresses and blurs the facts in the climate debate? Could that be people who talk about tobacco instead of clouds and humidity?

Who sends out dubiously credentialed experts? Sounds like the Nobel Prize winners, who got “Peace” prizes because they weren’t smart enough to win a Physics prize (like these skeptics did). Or worse, is it like people who didn’t even win a Nobel Peace Prize but like to pretend they did? Is that dubious enough?

As for telling the world the cop-out “the science is complicated” — it’s not what skeptics do, instead it’s the alarmist modus operandi. The science is so “complicated” only certified approved climate experts can see the future, and riff raff like brain surgeons, nuclear physicists, and Fourier mathematicians are too stupid to be able to form an opinion on something as complex as a climate model. Besides, thousands of these independent “non-climate-experts” are being paid by Phillip Morris to seed doubts. You’ve never seen a conspiracy theory as big as this one.

What’s remarkable is that Orsekes is playing the weakest of hands, yet some journalists, columnists, and “scientists” can’t see through it.

From a post I wrote about The Merchant of Doubt in 2012:

Oreskes, the Queen of Climate Smear, ignores the big money, has no evidence, throws names

The skeptics seed doubts by questioning the evidence and pointing to contrary results (isn’t this known as “discussion”?). Oreskes seeds doubts by digging through biographies, analyzing indirect payments of minor amounts, hunting through unrelated topics and tenuous associations from 20 year old contracts.

  1. Oreskes can name virtually no significant funding for skeptics. Skeptics are almost all unpaid volunteers, working out of professional and patriotic duty, appalled by the illogical, anti-science sentiments of people like Oreskes.
  2. The enormous “vested interests” are well over a thousand to one in favor of alarmism as measured by funding, yet Oreskes has not even considered them. The largest proactive skeptical organization (Heartland) has a budget that is one hundredth of Greenpeace and WWF’s combined.  Funding for alarmist research since 1990 is at least $79 billion, and probably a lot higher. Funding for skeptical research is so small, no one can add it up. The oil giants like Shell and BP mostly support alarmism and carbon markets. The global carbon market was worth $176 bn in 2011, about the same as the global wheat trade, and the renewables investments added up to $243 bn in 2010. These are very large amounts of vested interest. Because Oreskes is blind to the real money in the debate we can only assume she is an activist rather than a historian.
  3. She resorts to twenty year old documents about tobacco funding to smear by association because she has so little real evidence of actual funding or misbehavior of skeptics. As it happens, Fred Singer was never directly paid by a tobacco company, has never doubted that smoking causes cancer, but corrected a scientific statistical error in a paper on passive smoking. He deserves thanks. Oreskes owes him an apology.

While skeptical scientists always criticize the scientific claims of the Climate-Fear Lobby, Oreskes can’t fight back on that front, because she’s completely out of her depth. She wrote that a pH of 6.0 denotes neutrality (p. 67) and that Beryllium is a heavy metal (p. 29) and she blames “Oxygen-15″ in cigarette smoke for being the cause of lung cancer, though she could not explain how this radioactive isotope is generated in cigarettes.  She doesn’t realize it has a half life of 122 seconds. No wonder she trawls through the gutter instead of debating a guy like Fred Singer on the science. She wouldn’t stand a chance.

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What stage of climate grief are you locked in?

What if you lost, say, the Great Barrier Reef? No seriously, what if you woke up one morning and it was gone? Celeste Young is paid to worry about that and she’s written a whole article on climate grief. It has no data, and uses models and namecalling which makes it a perfect fit for The Conversation.

A variety of losses can be experienced. People may grieve due to the perceived future loss of something; for example, the type of grief often expressed via social media over the potential loss of the Great Barrier Reef. Individuals and communities may grieve for the loss of a loved landscape damaged by drought, fire or flood.

She adapts the famous Kubler Ross Five Stages of Grief (doesn’t everyone) to to deliver clichés in table form. But don’t rush to knock it, I think this is a new form of grieving, where people project the grief of their collapsing religion onto something else instead, like “the environment”. Let’s call it Parody-grieving. Does Young realize the parallels? The Climate-club are still stuck at stage one. They know something is wrong but the cognitive dissonance is killing them: their heroes hide declines and data, are too scared to debate anyone, and the equipment just keeps failing and needs adjustment. Their saints get imaginary Nobel Prizes for Peace instead of science, but even with every six-member-science-committee on the planet reciting the hymn, half the citizens on Earth don’t believe them, and never will.

For Celeste and her friends the news is bad. They used to think they could control the climate. Feel her pain.

 Even with concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, some climate change cannot be avoided

She’s waking up to a world where the climate might change. The fantasy climate of her childhood dreams is evaporating. At least she can get some consolation that unlike most of the last 100,000 years of humanity, when the storms come, she has electricity, four wheel drives and hospitals.

That nine tenths of a degree of warming we’ve had is not so bad, Celeste, compared to an ice age.

The insights don’t stop:

Climate change does throw up some unique challenges because it is continuous change.

Continuous change — as opposed to what — the last 65 million years of  volcanoes, asteroids, and wild swinging interglacials? There’s that utopia of the stable climate again. Humans had to grieve through the Dark Ages, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. Somehow they grieved without an iphone.

This may result in people becoming overwhelmed as losses accumulate over time, or becoming “stuck” and unable to move through the grief process.


Grief Stage One – Some people deny we have a climate. Feel sorry for them. |  (Click to enlarge).

Young sees three key psychological responses:

Clive Hamilton discusses some of these responses in a 2009 paper, and in his 2010 book Requiem for a Species where he proposed that denial, maladaptive (bad) coping, and adaptive (good) coping were the three key psychological responses to climate change.

As psychological reponses go, “adaptive coping” is good, but logic, reason and evidence are better. See my thoughts on Clive Hamilton and his blind hypocrisy on “ethics”.

Thanks to Tim Blair. He always spots the good ones.

Celeste Young is a sustainability/climate change professional at Victoria University.

As MiltonG of Brisbane says in comments at Tim Blair’s:

I’m still grieving for the standards of Victoria University.  Celeste Young states in comments to her article that:

just to clarify that climate denial is a term that has been used in the literature, l did not use the word climate denier in the article

Yet the table gives “Climate denial” as an example of the first stage of grief adaption, and underneath the table it says “Celeste Young, author provided”.

Victoria U – fifth-rate to the core.

From Ruairi in comment #14:
To believe in warming,for years,
Then be duped by climate change fears,
Then reach the conclusion,
It was all an illusion,
Is bound to bring warmists to tears.
h/t to Handjive and manalive

From Chapter 4, Young struggles to get a grip on even the most basic aspects of human psychology:

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“Moral duty” poll: 57% don’t think UN Scientists can speak with authority on climate

New study says going on about “moral duty” will convince the skeptics (Sure, load on the guilt trip)

Last weekend a Reuters IPSOS survey found that if you ask the right questions, a majority of Americans see climate change as a moral obligation. The brains trust  inferred from this that the climate propaganda groups ought to load up on discussing values to convince conservatives as if that might be the magic key.

“The moral imperative is the way to reach out to conservatives,” said Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelic Environmental Network, a large evangelical organization that advocates for action on climate change. ”Talking in terms of values is the only way forward if we are to bring our fellow Republicans along.”

UPDATE: Results of the online poll 2,412

Thanks to Pat for finding the survey. How the full results change the picture. Half the population are skeptics. And most people distrust experts, politicians, and even UN scientists.

 Q6. Which of the following people, if any, do you think can speak with authority

about global warming?

  UN scientists 43%
  Bill Nye (the Science Guy) 31%
  Al Gore 18%
  President Obama 18%
  Neil deGrasse Tyson 13%
  Pope Francis 10%
  Democratic leaders in Congress 10%
  Republican leaders in Congress  9%
  Senator James Inhofe  4%
  None of these 31%

The public don’t trust anyone much. When asked “Which of the following people do you think can speak with authority about global warming?” Politicians from both sides rated very low: Democrat leaders,  10%; Republican leaders , 9%. But look out: Pope Francis scored the same, 10%. The public trust the Pope as much as the average politician.

But wait, here’s the real shocker: UN Scientists 43%. How devastating! 57% of people don’t think UN scientists speak with authority on climate change. Wow.

More than half the population are skeptical. Reuters didn’t report that 52% — of all respondents think climate change is mostly natural or are unsure. 47% think that human activity is mostly to blame.

Nor did they say that 46% didn’t think the Pope should even talk about climate change, and 49% think he should stay out of politics.

If these results are accurate (it’s only an online survey) it shows those pushing man-made global warming have pushed too hard. They have burnt through a lot of the credibility of the UN and “scientists”. Pushing the meme through the Pope isn’t going to help.

Sure I say, let’s talk about “values”– bring it on.

Warming kills less people than cooling. How about our moral obligation to help people dying of cold, or the 1.3 billion people without electricity? In Niger, Africa, 17 million people use less electricity than Dubbo, NSW, a town of 40,000. Children in poverty are suffering from lung damage now. The Greens priority is to spend billions to stop them dying in 2100 from seas rising at 1mm a year. How many people does expensive electricity kill? (How many birds does it fry?) Biofuels led to nearly 200,000 estimated deaths in 2010. Let’s talk about feeding corn to cars instead of starving children?

There are lots of ways the climate religion hurts us. Bad climate predictions kill people when authorities plan for “no snow” and run out of salt, or when they hold back floodwater in dams thinking that the rains won’t come. Researching pointless things means some people die who could have been saved. Fake markets feeds corruption, farmers die, rivers run dry and some are left homeless.

As I’ve said before the opportunity cost is the killer:

The real price is often invisible. It’s all the things we won’t do that we could have: $3.4 billion dollars spent on carbon sequestration is not just “money”, it’s 46 million people who didn’t get cured of blindness and another 100 million who won’t get clean water — some of whom will die from cholera or dysentery.

The highest moral imperative is to speak the truth about what drives our climate, to have free debate, open science, and honest disclosure of the uncertainties.

Does anyone think world leaders have no moral obligations? Anyone?

The Rev. Mitch Hescox appears to think the “moral”  message (ie. guilt trip) would be something to try. Where has he been for the last 3 decades?

The results were clear that approaching the issue of climate change from a moral standpoint could be more effective in swaying opinion, and this approach could even help unlock the endless debate in the United States.  Those invested in fossil fuels have been resistant to those that seek to reduce carbon emissions in the United States, much to the disappointment and alarm of climate scientists in both the United States and around the world.

The extended guilt trip won’t make any difference to skeptics. We’ve heard it all before. What we want is honest debate and real evidence.

As far as the survey went, who knows what the questions were, as Reuters don’t link to the questions or results. But 2,827 2,412 Americans were asked some things in February about the climate (See the update above). We know people are quite good at guessing what the surveyors want them to say and two thirds earned a jelly-bean that day.

Two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) said that world leaders are morally obligated to take action to reduce CO2 emissions. And 72 percent said they were “personally morally obligated” to do what they can in their daily lives to reduce emissions.

The Daily Science Journal repeats the results, but doesn’t have a link to the questions either. Not so “scientific” then?

Does anyone think world leaders have no moral obligations? Anyone?

So 30% of people think world leaders are morally free to pour out as much CO2 as they want? That’s a fairly assertive skeptical statement.

POST NOTE: How bad are these questions?

Question 10 asked Has the Pope’s views on climate change impacted you in any of the following ways? Paradoxically, 47% said “No”  that the Pope’s views have “not had an impact on my own views.” (It’s a double negative which may explain the paradox). When further prompted “I am now less skeptical of the scientific arguments about the existence of climate change”, fully 70% said “No”. So if half changed their minds, but 70% are not “less skeptical”, then the Pope made some people more skeptical. We’re at the overdone point and when even The Pope tells us to worry about the climate -- the punters know it’s junk-science.

The survey has the usual ambiguous loaded questions about “climate change” and “global warming”. Does that mean man-made climate change? Yes, if you are a UN employee; No, if you read a dictionary. Technically, I believe climate change is real (does anyone deny ice ages?) Any question with meaningless terms is not worth asking (unless you want a PR headline of the “right” kind).

The Last Word: Why didn’t Reuters give us the interesting bits in the press release?

Is Reuters a news service or a political advocacy group? These results were run through the half-truth sieve and only the parts that fitted the “story” were written up.

Here a result, below, that bundles people who “strongly agree” with people who “somewhat agree” and on a question that has a “most” in it. Is a somewhat-most, more than half, or less? The vagueness is then piled into a loaded sentence which includes a statement that was never in the question about mythical generic scientists saying it drives climate change.

Sixty-four percent of those polled agreed with the pope that human activities are largely responsible for the rising CO2 levels that scientists say drive climate change.

Readers of Reuters would not come away knowing half the population are skeptics, that 90% don’t think the Pope has any authority to speak on climate change, or that most of the public don’t even believe UN scientists do either.

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It’s Proof, Proof I tell you! Australia is getting hotter and the future is… back in 1922

Panic! “The proof Australia is getting hotter”

The headlines are as inane as ever — stating the obvious, proving only that the modern media is mostly bread and circuses.  Pretty much everyone agrees the world is slowly trending warmer, but it’s rolled out in the media as if someone somewhere is denying it, and as if mere proof of warming is “proof” it will keep warming. Watch the causal chain explode into climate astrology:

THERE is no point in denying it: Australia is getting hotter, and it’s not going to stop. And we have the figures to prove it.

If this proves anything about the future climate its that journalists are getting more gullible. They have figures too?!

Caroline Zielinski, of The Telegraph, dutifully repeats the PR line, that “2014 was the hottest ever on Earth”. She must have missed the press release that also said that NASA were only 38% sure of that. That makes them 62% sure they were wrong –  just another global warming factoid, eh?

Zielinski tells us that Boulia had 25 days of 40-plus temperatures – “the longest heatwave ever”. So Ken Stewart promptly checked the BOM records and found it was not. There were 31 days above 40C in 1973.

Zielinski tells us Western Australia had “several days of near-50-degree heat this summer.” Oh Yessity, Yes indeed. At Marble Bar a full century of global warming means it was almost as hot in 2015 as it was in 1905 and 1922. Back to the future we go.

To investigate the story, Zeilinski confirmed the big-government WMO press release by phoning the big-government BOM, as if either of these groups would contradict each other. Dr Karl Braganza at the BOM backed up the WMO, apparently not pointing out the awkward fact of the 62% wrong NASA press release, and not mentioning the data on Boulia either. Instead he went out on a limb with a brave theory that there was no climate change in Australia until 1950.

“Australia has warmed up most notably since the mid-20s century,” says Dr Karl Braganza, manager of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology.

“Prior to that, temperatures were reasonably flat — we didn’t have much of a trend.

“There was no clear trend prior to World War II — it’s from 1950 onwards that we’ve had a significant warming trend across Australia.”

There is a decided lack of convincing good temperature proxies for Australia, but proxies from pretty much everywhere else in the world show that the warming trend started two to three hundred years ago, long before man-made CO2 rose. That trend hasn’t changed much. In the last 16 years, the more CO2 we pumped out, the less difference it made.

Yes, it’s warming (a bit). The world has been warming for 300 years. So?

Everywhere we look there are signs the warming started around 1700 – 1800AD. In the Northern Hemisphere, 120 proxies show things started warming 200-300 years ago. Some 6,000 boreholes drilled on all continents (including Australia), show the same thing. Sea levels have been also rising for around 200 years. The water flowing  past Indonesia started warming around 300 years ago. (The Makassar and Lombok Straits are the main throughflow from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean.)

But maybe Australia didn’t warm or cool? The seas just rose and fell, the oceans changed, and the other continents got warmer and cooler.


Read more on the Indonesian sediments study .

Boreholes can only show the general trends, but the trends are pretty clear. What caused the medieval warm period? The models don’t know. What caused that cool dip around 1700AD? The models don’t know. What caused the recent warming — the models don’t know. They got the last 16 years wrong, and everything else. They’re broken.

Sea levels have been rising for 200 years, though they were generally falling for the 7,000 years before that.


Yes, we skeptics agree, Australia has warmed a little bit since the middle of last century – we aren’t convinced it warmed by as much as the B0M adjusted homogenized datasets claim. Listen to Jennifer Marohasy talk about homogenisation on 2GB.

Keep reading  →

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Historic documents show half of Australia’s warming trend is due to “adjustments”

Adjustments that cool historic temperatures have almost doubled Australia’s rate of warming.

CSIR published “Meteorological Data” 1855 – 1931

 There was a time back in 1933 when the CSIRO was called CSIR and meteorologists figured that with 74 years of weather data on Australia, they really ought to publish a serious document collating all the monthly averages at hundreds of weather stations around Australia. Little did they know that years later, despite their best efforts, much of the same data would be forgotten and unused or would be adjusted, decades after the fact, and sometimes by as much as one or two degrees. Twenty years later The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics would publish an Official Year Book of Australia which included the mean temperature readings from 1911 to 1940 at 44 locations.

Chris Gillham has spent months poring over both these historic datasets, as well as the BoM’s Climate Data Online (CDO) which has the recent temperatures at these old stations. He also compares these old records to the new versions in the BOM’s all new, all marvelous, best quality ACORN dataset. He has published all the results and tables comparing CDO, CSIR and Year Book versions.

He analyzes them in many ways – sometimes by looking at small subsets or large groups of the 226 CSIR stations. But it doesn’t much matter which way the data is grouped, the results always show that the historic records had warmer average temperatures before they were adjusted and put into the modern ACORN dataset. The adjustments cool historic averages by around 0.4 degrees, which sounds small, but the entire extent of a century of warming is only 0.9 degrees C. So the adjustments themselves are the source of almost half of the warming trend.

The big question then is whether the adjustments are necessary. If the old measurements were accurate as is, Australia has only warmed by half a degree. In the 44 stations listed in the Year Book from 1911-1940, the maxima at the same sites is now about half a degree warmer in the new millenia. The minima are about the same.

Remember that these sites from 1911-1940 were all recorded with modern Stevenson Screen equipment.  Furthermore, since that era the biggest change in those sites has been from the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect as the towns and cities grew up around the sites. In some places this effect may already have been warming those thermometers in the first half of the last century, but in others UHI can make 5 to 7 degrees difference.

If Australian thermometers are recording half a degree higher than they were 70 – 100 years ago, we have to ask how much of that warming is the UHI effect? Common sense would suggest that if these older stations need any correction, it should be upward rather than downward to compensate for the modern increase in concrete, buildings and roads. Alternatively, to compare old readings in unpopulated areas with modern ones, we would think the modern temperatures should be adjusted down, rather than the older ones.

The Official Year Book 1953

Chris Gillham discusses the potential size of the UHI changes:

“In 2012 and 2013 it was anticipated that UHI warming in south-eastern Australia will continue to intensify by approximately 1C per decade over and above that caused by global warming (Voogt 2002), with tests in 1992 showing a UHI influence up to 7.2C between the Melbourne CBD and rural areas. [PDF]

Smaller but significant UHI influences were found in regional towns, with a 1994 test observing a UHI intensity up to 5.4C between the centre of a Victorian town and its rural outskirts.”  [PDF]


The historic CSIR data:  226 stations from 1855 – 1931

The situation with adjustments stays roughly the same if we go back even further. Gillham compared 226 stations during the period from 1855 -1931 and the average is about half a degree less than what it is now — from 2000-2014.

The first station in the CSIR record, Melbourne, starts in 1855. Each year, new stations came online. By 1865 there are ten stations and by 1880 there are nearly 30.

Ideally we could compare 50 stations which didn’t move or start and stop over the same period, but even the ACORN dataset in the 1900s doesn’t do that, introducing new stations up to the 1970s.

It is hard to draw conclusions from the CSIR record as is. But neither can it be ignored. Roughly two thirds of the temperatures were recorded on Stevenson screens, but much of the data in the 1800s was recorded on screens, sheds and shades until Stevenson screens were introduced across Australia over the 20 year period from 1887 – 1907. And scientists in the 1930s were very much aware of the effect of slight changes in screens as one long running comparison of different screens side by side had already been going for over 30 years in Adelaide. (I’ll write more on that soon).

It’s rough but, as rough guides go, it’s the only data we have. Other peer reviewed papers have estimated Australia’s average temperature change to 0.09C  in 1000AD based on two groves of trees in Tasmania and New Zealand. Wouldn’t thermometers be kinda useful?

One small piece of good news is that at least the early CDO records maintained by the BoM online appear to match the averages within the Year Book and CSIR tables. At least the copies of the original data put online are accurate as far as these rough tests go.

The Bottom line

There is a treasure trove of information in these historic documents for people interested in long-term climate.

The difference between the original records and the adjusted ACORN dataset suggests that the adjustments cooled original temperatures by 0.4C between 1910 and 1940, which means that around 45% of the modern “warming” trend is due to these homogenisations and adjustments which have not been independently justified and oddly appear to go in the opposite direction to what common sense would suggest might be necessary. In the older and larger CSIR tables, there is an overall cooling adjustments of 0.5C.

Thanks to Chris Gillham for the massive amount of data crunching and tracking it takes to provide meaningful numbers.

Keep reading  →

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Weekend Unthreaded

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The leadership “challenge” in Australia

I’m calling for readers to send messages to their MPs. It does matter. The Coalition needs to hear from voters. It worked before, and it can work again. For foreign readers, yes, there are rumours of another leadership spill or challenge all over the Australian press.  See my comment #10.2 for background.

Malcolm Turnbull could’ve stayed leader in 2009 — all he had to do was agree to delay the emissions trading scheme until the rest of the world acted. But he fell on his sword for a pointless scheme which benefits few outside bankers, brokers and the renewables industry. And he has never said he would do anything differently.

We can’t get rid of a carbon market. Why risk it?

Malcolm Turnbull is the leader that the ABC wants for the party that most in the ABC won’t vote for. If you follow the ABC and Fairfax and feel despondent about our national debate, don’t give in to apathy. That’s exactly what the “consensus” crowd wants — your submissive acquiescence. The same people who tell us a carbon trading scheme is inevitable are the now ones calling the government dysfunctional, even though it achieved its three largest goals in the first twelve months. Tell the government and the media what you think.

The problems of the Abbott government are real (which government was perfect?) but they are not on the scale of the debacle of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years — when a major economy-wide transformation was denied before the 2010 election yet was delivered after the election, and when surpluses were promised each year but were never delivered. Abbott solved problems in six months that dogged the Labor government for six years. Our national discussion is consumed with inane red herrings. Should we debate the massive Labor debt created during a mining boom, or agonize over knighthoods instead? (Hint: NZ and Canada survived the princely honors issue without calling out a lynch mob.) Should we discuss the all pervasive entitlement culture, or whether Triggs was offered another job?

Some Liberal party supporters (and perhaps some MP’s) risk being fooled by the ABC and Fairfax. The ABC ignored some of them for years but suddenly shone the prime time glow all over them when their message was anti-Abbott. Do they suspect they are being used?

As I said a few weeks ago – there is only one choice for a real skeptic

Malcolm Turnbull lost his leadership in 2009 because he wanted an emissions trading scheme. But that extraordinary wave may get reversed. Australia may still end up with an emissions trading scheme which will send billions in broker’s fees to bankers, won’t change the climate, and will be almost impossible to unwind. It’s not about free markets, it’s about fake ones. What’s worse than a carbon tax? A carbon market.

If you worry about the endless, inevitable rush to bigger government, more freeloaders and less individual freedom, do something — express yourself.

Australia needs a real conservative-libertarian party.

The state of the debate: Steve Kates says “I would never vote for a Coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull“. Sinclair Davidson, says I would never (again) vote for a Coalition led by Tony Abbott. I confess to being unmoved by Davidson’s reasoning- – there is nothing pro-Turnbull there, and although Abbott should’ve repealed 18C (it’s pure freedom of speach) there is no sign that Turnbull will repeal it either.

If Turnbull becomes PM, much of the passionate support base for the Liberal party will switch to other conservative or libertarian parties. Abbott has let down his base by pandering to the bullies and greens, but he can change that. Does anyone think Turnbull will take them on?

See also: Andrew Bolt regarding Greg Sheridan: Abbott’s great strengths, and their danger.

Abbott is decisive, loyal, focused on outcomes, writes his own speeches, engages intensely with people; he is principled, pragmatic, stubborn, in love with the military, romantic, a sportsman, courageous, has immense willpower, and is conservative and religious…

[But] each one of his positive characteristics, which could make him a fine prime minister, is also potentially a negative characteristic and limits his effectiveness.

Bolt: Turnbull myth exposed: he has no deal with Bishop or Morrison

In the end, a Turnbull led Coalition may lead to the rise of alternate parties or a new Australian version of UKIP which might be a boon in the long run, but the price may be a permanent emissions trading scheme which feeds financial sharks. Do we really want to risk it?

Please keep your messages to politicians and news editors polite.

Thanks to Michael for this list below.

Australian Members of Parliament (Coalition) 2015

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Australian BOM under fire – questions about “adjusted” temperatures exploding around the world

A hard hitting article today from Graham Lloyd in The Australian. Finally the scientific debacle of climate records is being hung out like dirty laundry. For people who don’t read skeptic blogs it will be news that there are claims of scandal and corruption about temperature data adjustments around the world, against institutions that are (or were) respected household names.

Lloyd starts with a brilliant analogy from David Stockwell, who asks Would it be OK if we adjusted Don Bradmans batting average down?  It won’t affect the global batting average…. (The Don is the legend of international cricket — those stats are sacred.)

Lloyd goes on to tell the tale of how temperature adjustments that make historic records cooler are commonplace, and suddenly under the spotlight around the world. To his credit, Lloyd realizes this has been coming for a long time — he explains the Australian and UK Met offices were caught discussing ways to make it hard for skeptics. He talks about Christopher Booker’s article on adjustments in Paraguay getting 30,000 comments, and the issue “exploding” internationally with questions about the misleading public declarations about 2014 being the hottest year on record, as well as the issue of Arctic temperatures. There is now a review into the Australian BOM, and even the prospect of a US Senate inquiry.

CRICKET legend Donald Bradman is a useful metaphor for the escalating global row over claims the world’s leading climate agencies have been messing with the weather.

Imagine, for instance, if some bureau of sport were to revise the Don’s batting average in Test cricket down from 99.94 to 75 after adjusting for anomalies and deleting innings of 200 runs or more.

What if the bureau then claimed another batsman had exceeded the Don’s revamped record to become the greatest ever?

Critics could be told the adjustments “don’t matter” because they had not affected overall global batting averages. Just as many batsmen had been adjusted up as down. And complaints could easily be dismissed as the “cherrypicking” of a few, isolated batsmen.

David Stockwell, Australian Research Council grant recipient and adjunct researcher at Central Queensland University, raised the Bradman analogy in his submission to a newly formed independent panel that will oversee the operation of the Bureau of Meteorology’s national temperature dataset.

Stockwell was highlighting public concerns at the BoM’s use of homogenisation techniques to adjust historical temperature records to remove anomalies and produce a national dataset called ACORN-SAT (Australian Climate Observations Reference Network — Surface Air Temperature). The panel, or technical advisory forum, which will hold its first discussions with BoM staff on Monday, was formed in December after a series of questions were raised publicly about the treatment of historic temperature records that has resulted in temperature trends at some Australian sites being changed from long-term cooling to warming.

Climategate emails show how long the climate scientists have been unscientifically hiding their work:

Even better, noted East Anglia University’s Phil Jones, was to give troublemakers a big package of data with key information missing, making it impossible to decipher.

Much of the background work and hard questions come from Jennifer Marohasy and the independent audit team who assembled around this website back in 2010, and who write guests posts here. Together we’ve written 41 articles on the BOM here.

But critics of BoM are already lining up to have their questions answered.

Research academic Jennifer Marohasy has accused BoM of using “creative accounting practices” in both the homogenisation of data to remodel individual series as well as the choice of stations and time periods when the individual series are combined to calculate a national average for each year.

Marohasy says BoM’s methodologies have turned a cycle of warming and cooling over the past century into one of continuous warming.

 Ken Stewart has been tireless at independently checking BOM figures:

Self-declared “citizen scientist” Ken Stewart has been more pointed. “The apparent lack of quality assurance means ACORN-SAT is not fit for the purpose of serious climate analysis including the calculation of annual temperature trends, identifying hottest or coldest days on record, analysing the intensity, duration and frequency of heatwaves, matching rainfall with temperature, calculating monthly means or medians, and calculating diurnal temperature range,” he says.

“In conclusion, ACORN-SAT is not reliable and should be scrapped.

In a separate article this weekend, also by Graham Lloyd,  the headline points out that a lot of warming in Australia is created by adding warmer and dropping cooler stations from long term averaged records:

BoM’s new stations ‘explain warming’ in Australia

ALMOST half of the 20th-century warming for Australia’s nation­al average surface temperatures could be due to changes in the weather stations chosen for analysis, rather than changes in the climate, according to a submission to an independent review of the Bureau of Meteorology’s national records.

Merrick Thomson, a retired certified practising accountant, has asked the independent panel to investigate how and why stations were selected for inclusion to make up the national trend.

The panel of experts, headed by Ron Sandland from the CSIRO, will begin its review of BoM’s national temperature data next week, amid growing controv­ersy about the homogenisation of climate records worldwide.

In his submission to the review panel, Mr Thompson said when the BoM transitioned to the new ACORN-SAT system it had remove­d 57 stations from its calculations, replacing them with 36 on-average hotter stations.

“I calculate this has had the effect­ of increasing the recorded Australian average temperature by 0.42 degrees Celsius, independently of any actual real change in temperature,” Mr Thomson said.

“Of the 57 stations removed from the calculation of the nationa­l average temperature, only three of these have actually closed as weather stations,” he added.

Mr Thomson asked that the review panel investigate why the mix of stations changed with the transition to ACORN-SAT, and why this was not explained and declared, particularly given that it has resulted in a large increase in the 2013 annual temperature for Australia.

Read more in The Australian

The BOM were invited to write for The Australian, but declined.

This is a very long feature, with interviews of Judith Curry and Richard Tol. Don’t just run down and buy a copy of  The Australian –  subscribe to it. You certainly won’t get this information from Fairfax or The ABC. Graham Lloyd has done a great job, bravely following the hard questions — as has Jennifer Marohasy, in relentless pursuing this for so long, and so many of the other unpaid, and independent minds who expect the answer provided by the BOM to make more sense. My thanks to everyone who has put in long hours. I have a lot more material to share from them — it’s hard to do it all justice.

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Global warming must mean frozen seas

It’s so cold in the Northern Hemisphere the ocean has frozen in Nantucket. The Great Lakes are 85% frozen over. Cold weather is breaking records in the USSnow in the southern states of the US has meant 200,000 homes in North Carolina have no electricity. More seriously, 124 people died in Avalaches in Afghanistan. It’s winter.

Nearly frozen waves | Credit JDN Photographer

These waves are giant rolling ice slushies, not solid stationary curls. But apparently things went solid and froze over flat the next day:

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Not a 100% believer? Even borderline climate apostates like Pielke must be punished in the witchhunt

The witchhunt over tenuous connections to fossil fuel funding wants to do a lot more than just silence a few people. The aim is to maintain the global chill over all of academia. That’s why it’s so important we support the individuals under fire, and don’t give in.

Congratulations to Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Judith Curry, Steven Hayward, Roger Pielke, David Legates, and Robert Balling. All of them have been named to be investigated and lined up for character assassination like Willie Soon. Obviously they are effective and convincing speakers, and a threat to the climate-industry.

Stephen Hayward is flattered, and mocks the critics: “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Climate Skeptic?”

“Let’s start by axing a simple question: If I say “two plus two equals four,” does the truth of that proposition depend on whether I’ve received a grant from the Charles G. Koch Foundation? Apparently it does for Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. He has sent letters to seven universities targeting seven academics who, according to the Democratic spokesman for the committee, were chosen because they seem “to have the most impact on policy in the scientific community.”

Even a tiny step beyond the approved line will be punished

Consider how hard-line the inquisition is. Roger Pielke Jr. accepts most of the consensus IPCC positions, even calling for a carbon tax, and supporting Obama’s proposed EPA regulations, but he’s under fire as much as those who question everything.  The aim here is much larger than just stopping Pielke — the real audience are the thousands of silent borderline skeptical academics watching on. Imagine if they spoke their minds?  The message to them is “don’t even think it”. All academics must be 100% believers, and even the smallest deviation from the permitted line will receive the same treatment.

The harassment and pressure work on whistleblowers. We are all human. Sadly even Pielke admits, despite having tenure, that the harrassment means he has changed the way he writes and researches:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject.

As Mark Steyn would say the process is the punishment.

Judith Curry writes: This whole issue has now become personal.

As Paul Homewood says: McCarthyism is not dead.

The real conflicts of interest in climate science matter for people waving unreplicable models

Judith Curry discusses the conflict of interests and points out that it not as relevant in climate science as in other areas where things are not so easily replicable:

The issue is this.  The intense politicization of climate science makes bias more likely to be coming from political and ideological perspectives than from funding sources.  Unlike research related to food and drug safety and environmental contaminants,  most climate science is easily replicable using publicly available data sets and models.  So all this IMO is frankly a red herring in the field of climate science research.

I would argue that many of the results used in climate science are not replicable in practice. They come from mysterious black box models or detailed homogenization methods, which even if the full code were available, would take individuals months of work to replicate. In the total absence of funding and grants, no one independent is going to replicate them.

In other words, the people who have conflicts of interest that really need exposing are not skeptics reporting on public datasets which can be replicated, but climate modelers and temperature adjusters who make public announcements with billions of dollars and lives resting on them, but which have not been independently replicated. And when I say “independently” replicated, I don’t mean by another group with the same conflict of interest.

If the evidence was so solid, and the models so reliable, climate scientists would be demanding and welcoming funding to outright skeptics to settle the issue. Instead, fans of the complex unskilled and failing models know that their assumptions are dubious and unsupported, and if a truly skeptical scientist were given equivalent resources to replicate it, they would probably tear it to shreds, exposing how fickle the projections were and how dependent it all was on a few key, baseless, guesses.

The antidote to pressure and intimidation is the support of the crowd

Send Pielke, and all the others your messages of thanks and support, through emails or on their blogs and here below. It does matter. No one should stand alone against the big-government grinding machine. Let those who bravely speak their honest minds know how much you appreciate it.

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