JoNova

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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Christopher Booker gets serious about understanding “Groupthink”

Groupthink, Christopher Booker GWPF. We toss the term Groupthink around a lot, but Christopher Booker gets serious about exactly what it is and what it means. He analyzes the “Climate Change” debate through the lens of the original scientific study of Groupthink as published by Irving Janis, a professor of psychology at Yale back in the 1970s.  It’s uncanny…

Obviously we need to understand it so we can preventlimit it.  But Groupthink is also ripe fodder for driving Eco-worriers up the wall as we list the ways — to a T — that they are The Textbook Example. There’s a useful strategy that flows from this. The core tenet is that because believers hold a shaky, fragile idea, they must be aggressively hostile to protect it. So put the boot on the other foot. Let’s ask Believers how they don’t fit the Groupthink mould. Do they welcome debate — go on, prove it.

Richard Lindzen’s introduction:

[Booker] asks how do otherwise intelligent people come to believe such arrant nonsense despite its implausibility, internal contradictions, contradictory data, evident corruption and ludicrous policy implications…

The phenomenon of groupthink helps explain why ordinary working people are less vulnerable to this defect. After all, the group that the believers want to belong to is that of the educated elite. This may have played a major role in the election of Donald Trump, which depended greatly on the frustration of the non-elites (or ‘deplorables’, as Hillary Clinton referred to them) with what they perceived to be the idiocy of their ‘betters’

 Booker himself:

…I kick myself that I did not discover the book that inspired this paper until 2014. When I finally came across Irving Janis’s seminal analysis of ‘groupthink’, I realised just how much more it helped to explain about the story I and many others had been following for so long.

The three rules of Groupthink:

 The late Professor Irving Janis analysed what happens when people get caught up in what he termed ‘groupthink’, a pattern of collective psychological behaviour with three distinctive features, that we can characterise as rules.

  • A group of people come to share a particular view or belief without a proper appraisal of the evidence.
  • This leads them to insist that their belief is shared by a ‘consensus’ of all rightminded opinion.
  • Because their belief is ultimately only subjective, resting on shaky foundations, they then defend it only by displaying an irrational, dismissive hostility towards anyone daring to question it.

This paper begins by showing how strongly all these three symptoms were in evidence, right from the start…

Read the whole paper at GWPF, click the book image or go here…

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Electricity prices fell for forty years in Australia, then renewables came…

Electricity prices declined for forty years. Obviously that had to stop.

Here’s is the last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation. During the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade.  As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. Must be a coincidence…

Today all the hard-won masterful efficiency gains of the fifties, sixties and seventies have effectively been reversed in full.

Indexed Real Consumer Electricity Prices, 1955-2017. Graph.

Indexed Real Consumer Electricity Prices, Australia, 1955-2017.

For most of the 20th Century the Australian grid was hotch potch of separate state grids and mini grids. (South Australia was only connected in 1990). In 1998 the NEM (National Energy Market) began, a feat that finally made bad management possible on a large scale. Though after decades of efficiency gains, Australians would have to wait years to see new higher “world leading” prices. For the first years of the NEM prices stayed around $30/MWh.

But sooner or later  a national system is a sitting duck for one small mind to come along and truly muck things up.

Please spread this graph far and wide.

Thanks to a Dr Michael Crawford who did the original, excellent graph.

For decades the power price fell,
In Australia, where the system worked well,
But renewable power,
For each kilowatt hour,
Shot up prices and rang its death knell.

–Ruairi

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Save Liddell Coal: Event Thursday in Singleton with David Archibald 6:30pm

Liddell Coal Plant, NSW.

Liddell Coal Plant, NSW.   Image: Webaware, Wikimedia

UPDATE: 6:30pm for a 6:45 start.

AGL has promised to close the Liddell Coal generators early. Why won’t they sell this generator? Perhaps they want to save the planet (Corporate Saints?!), or maybe is it better for business not to have another cheap coal plant competing with their profitable gas and subsidized-renewables generators in Australia? Perhaps they like to feast off million dollar power price spikes and forced subsidies from the Renewable Energy Target?

How screwed is our free market when the cheapest form of generation is so “worthless” corporates buy it to “throw it away”?

Archibald is a take-no-prisoners presenter. If you can get there, do!

Save Liddell and keep the Hunter Valley working (not to mention our national grid).

Thursday 22nd February, Singleton Diggers Club, cnr York and Church St Singleton, NSW.

  1. The Science of Climate
  2. Power Prices
  3. The true story at Liddell
  4. The Lesson from the US
  5. What’s needed for the Hunter

Presented by David Archibald, Geologist, climate scientist and energy analyst.

Contact David.archibald AT westnet.com.au

Ph 0410 664 853

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Midweek Unthreaded

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New climate forcings discovered: Girls Education, Pill, changes weather

Funny how the answer to everything always turns out to be a pet lefty cause?

TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE, EDUCATE GIRLS AND GIVE THEM BIRTH CONTROL

Robyn George Andrews has a paradigm shaker: if we could just keep girls in school, and give them contraception — droughts, floods and nasty storms will go away. I wonder if condoms are better than the pill for climate control?

Andrews seems to think that if we could somehow just sneak teachers with emergency girls schools into Rwanda et al, the atmosphere on the Third Rock will right itself and achieve the stable ideal weather that it never had. Too bad about the boys though. As it happens, in Rwanda, they’re slightly more likely to miss out on school than girls are (88% of boys, versus 90% of girls attend primary school). If we could just fix that gender bias…

Nevermind about Rule of Law, endemic crime and corruption, and a complete lack of infrastructure, if the girls had studied The Sociology of Myley Cyrus (at Skidmore) they’d be too busy tweeting about twerking to overpopulate the planet and generate hot spots and cold holes in the atmosphere.

But Andrews seems to have missed the real and devastating implications of female education

On Earth, the more we educate women, the higher our emissions are. I graphed UNDP and World Bank statistics, and the trend is stark:

Carbon emissions per capita, Years of Female Education. Graph. UNDP, World Bank.

There’s no hope for Earth if we keep educating women.

 

Give women more than five years schooling, and the planet is facing a crisis. It’s simply impossible to keep per capita emissions below 2 Mt.

Perhaps someone had better let Andrews know, or maybe he does, (he is really a satirist, right?)

Keep reading  →

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It’s not cold, it’s a “warming hole”

Brought to you by the Theory That Can Never Be Wrong — what’s the opposite of hot? A hole!

Next time you are feeling cold you will know you are in a hole instead. Stop digging.

h/t Climate Depot

Snow-covered beaches? Chilly iguanas? They are part of a mysterious ‘hole’ in global warming

BY STUART LEAVENWORTH, February 15, 2018 05:00 AM

… “according to a scientific study published this month, the Southeast’s colder winter weather is part of an isolated trend, linked to a more wavy pattern in the jet stream that crosses North America. That dipping jet stream allows artic air to plunge into the Southeast. Scientists call this colder weather a “hole” in overall global warming, or a “warming hole.”

“What we are looking at is an anomaly,” said Jonathan M. Winter, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and the principle investigator in the study. “The Southeast is the exception to the rule.”

 Coming soon, new discoveries will show that the Little Ice Age was not cold, just part of an isolated trend that happened all over the world.

This particular modern hole is happening over SE USA. Obviously some of the cold air in the upper troposphere is falling down the hole.

The Southeast’s warming hole has been studied many times before, but the Dartmouth study in Geophysical Research Letters nails down some of its key features. The study concludes the trend started in the late 1950s, and is concentrated in six states — Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Nearby states are also affected, such as east Texas, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Genius communication analysts with PhDs at Yale have done a study that shows no one (especially not truck drivers or farmers in redneck states) could doubt university experts except through random happenstance or because of cold weather.

Either because of coincidence or cooler climes, residents of these states tend to be relatively doubtful that global warming is happening and is largely caused by human activities, according to surveys compiled by Yale and George Mason universities.

This new discovery changes many things. During hole-y times when you might get goosebumps, don’t turn on the heater, get into the troposphere and fix the hole with some pink batts.

Next month, we’ll find out that every day is an anomaly.

 

 

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Weekend Unthreaded

Perth, beach, WA. Photo.

Just another day at a suburban beach in Perth at sunset. See the hordes…

Clearly Perth has too many beaches.

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‘The Illusion Of Debate’—A History of the Climate Issue: Part 2 (2009 – 2011)

Here’s the long-awaited followup to Part 1: The history of the Climate Debate from 1850 -2008, where history is tragedy reënacted as comedy, adapted for irony and syndicated as sarcasm.  By Brad Keyes from  Climate Nuremberg (whose motto is Deride And Conquer).  — Jo

Guest Post by Brad Keyes

2009

  • Documents liberated in the so-called Climategate leaks don’t show any impropriety on The Scientists’™ part whatsoever, which is why 19 independent inquiries are held to make sure.*
  • Glaciergate happens
    • Using nothing but schoolboy logic and denier logic, voodoo scientists identify a false prediction in IPCC AR4.
    • Citing something called the scientific method, fundamentalist Feynmanites point out that if the IPCC’s prediction was wrong, its hypothesis must be wrong.
    • Jubilation worldwide as the Intergovernmental Panel decides to hold onto its apocalyptic hypothesis anyway.
  • After a lifetime questioning the claims of pea-thimbling ghost-realtors, evolution-denying WMD-existers, telekinetic psychopaths and telepathic psychokines, James Randi suddenly turns his back on everything Skepticism stands for by questioning The Science™. Skeptic authorities take the 87-year-old legend aside for a quiet chat about CAGW and, 24 hours later, Randi has freely accepted how silly he was to doubt something so rock-solid that no other Skeptic with a capital S even feels the need to examine it.

*Independent of each other, not of the Climate Research Unit in question.**

**Independent in a poetic, not a legal, procedural, or quote-unquote ‘actual,’ sense.

2010

  • Climatologist Will Steffen simply tells PM Gillard to “Make tax hurt”—yet within hours, skeptics have somehow politicized his science.
  • With the complicity of fellow fabulists, Prof. David Karoly concocts the meme that skeptics are waging a “relentless campaign of death threats” against scientists. If journalists are gullible enough to parrot this libel, then maybe, just maybe, the public will finally see why you can’t trust skeptics.

There is “real, physical evidence” that our atmosphere is in crisis, Prof. David Karoly reassures demoralised students. And scientists would love to reveal what it is, he says—if only someone hadn’t put a rat on Ben Santer’s doorstep in 1996. The resulting climate of fear (no pun intended) has condemned a generation of honest researchers to silence, euphemism and self-censorship.

  • Motley CRU rehabilitated
    • Desperate to restore trust in British climate science, between 7 and “dozens” of official exonerations are launched into the non-consensually leaked material from the UEA: the private publicly-funded data; the private work-related emails; private conversations between anonymous peer reviewers; private admissions that Steve McIntyre “has a point”; etc., etc.
    • A “trick to hide the decline” is explained away when investigators learn that trick, to, the, decline are perfectly normal science words.
    • The consensus on a particularly infamous email, in which CRU boss Phil Jones appears to celebrate the death of a skeptical scientist, is that it was an appalling choice of medium.
    • With the single caveat that “the science was not the subject of our study,” the Science Appraisal Panel declares the science sound.
    • Even more reassuring to the public, though, is the finding that Prof. Jones may have been secretive and unhelpful, “but that was true of all the climate scientists.”
  • Journalist Donna LaFramboise is thumbing through IPCC AR4 one morning when she spots an embarrassing oversight: 5,587 non-peer-reviewed citations.
  • When AmazonGates Attack, Part 1: He Never Signed Up For This
    • Dana Nuccitelli is a successful environmentologist with the whole world at his feet, but deep down, all he ever wanted to be was a psychic book reviewer. So he can’t resist posting a one-star prefutation of Andrew Montford’s Hockey Stick Illusion, prebutting what he previsions as the “misinformation, lies, and nonsense” that presumably comprise the “work of science fiction.”
    • Like a good scientist, Nuccitelli is careful not to defame Montford in more detail than his own limited imagination can support. The last thing he expects is for other Amazon customers to use this virtue against him, teasing him mercilessly over his vague, hand-wavy hatchet-job.
    • SkSFührer John Cook chides Dana for taking it personally when skeptics demand that he “read the book, Nutticelli [sic]” or “be honest for once!” This tactic—Impossible Expectations—is just a Characteristic of Denial, explains Cook; and he ought to know, having literally written the book on rejecting reality.
  • Even in antisemitic circles, the Oreskes/Conway conspiracy yawner Merchants of Doubt has few fans until it’s ingeniously re-released as non-fiction.
Naomi Oreskes, Merchants of Doubt, climate change, science, philosophy

Taken from Chapter 4, this long-overdue correction to millennia of Western epistemology is one of several gems in Merchants of Doubt. Everyone from Aristotle onwards has made the mistake of thinking knowledge meant justified true belief. Simply by dropping the ‘truth’ requirement, Oreskes and Conway usher in a golden age of human ‘knowledge’ about climate change.

2011

  • The Müller’s Tale
    • The press is calling Prof Richard Müller a converted skeptic, after he asks the press to “call me a converted skeptic.” It’s the ultimate Man Bites Dog data point! For reasons not yet understood, scientists who are born believing inevitably become more skeptical the more they examine the evidence. Yet Prof. Müller seems to have gone the other way, overturning a law of nature. It would be unethical for science journalists to waste time fact-checking such an historic scoop.
  • It’s worse than anyone thought logically possible!
    • Professor Will Steffen uses Australian television to break the news that’s too terrifying for the peer-reviewed literature: far from pausing, announces the popular Klimakommissar, the effects of climate change are actually happening faster than anyone dared dream, in just about every metric except temperature.
    • The implications are disturbing: if this is what global warming is capable of now, what horrors would it produce if the globe was actually warming?

    With a PhD in chemical engineering, Prof. Steffen [left] is obviously one of our top climate scientists—second only in climato-credibility to former Australian Gillard Government Climate Commission Chief Commissioner Distinguished Panasonic Sustainability Chair Professor Timothy J. Flannery, PhD, the zoologist who’s forgotten more about ancient wombat stride lengths than most people will ever know [right]. (Glamor shots courtesy of ScaredScientists, the website so scared, it’s too scared to exist anymore.)

     
  • Cheering news, in an odd way, with the unveiling of Climategate 2.0. The cyberterrorists known only as FOIA have been busy, carefully selecting the one or two thousand emails that look bad when seen out of context.

    Keep reading  →

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How much do we have to pay people to NOT use electricity – up to 30 times more?

To understand the real value of electricity, consider the price at which people will give it up. “Demand Response” is the nice euphemism for a voluntary blackout. At what point do people volunteer to go without? For most of the market, apparently, it’s more than $7500/MWh.

If I read this graph correctly, look how fast the prices rise, and how small the response is. For example, in South Australia there is only about 10MW available at less than $300/MWh? (From this AEMO report). For reference the total SA demand is around 1500MW. So 10MW is less than 1%.

AMEC report, 2017, Demand Response in the NEM, Electricity, costs, graph, Australia.

(See below for the

Consider how few people are willing to turn the electricity off:

AEMO expects there to be approximately 50 MW of demand response in NSW when the price reaches $1,000/MWh.

The total size of the NSW state market is about 10,000MW. Retail electricity sells for $250 — $470MWh (and only $100/MWh in the US). Hence when the price hits two to four times the normal retail cost of electricity, only about 5% of the market say they will willingly stop using it. When the price hits $7500MWh another 2% will give it up. We can’t take this reasoning too far, but the message is clear that the pain of giving up electricity costs a lot more than generating it. Demand is “inelastic”.

Electricity generation creates wealth. People value the product far above the cost of production.

We could raise prices but business locations are “elastic”….

Keep reading  →

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Surprise, IPCC draft report leaked, on cue, ready to be milked for another round of press

Six months to go and why waste a perfectly good press opportunity?

Hold on to your hat: This draft is almost the same as every other draft ever was.

A draft United Nations climate science report contains dire news about the warming of the planet, suggesting it will likely cross the key marker of 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, of temperature rise in the 2040s, and that this will be exceedingly difficult to avoid.

Blah. Blah. Must act urgently. Blah. The two messages we will never hear is that we are doing enough or spending too much.

The leak is so predictable, and such a standard marketing tool, that the IPCC even has an excuse at-the-ready:

The document’s leak has become a standard affair for major United Nations climate science reports, because they are seen by so many reviewers.

This is supposed to be a transparent process to solve a global problem. How can that be “leaked?”

A slight change in flavour is that while we were always aiming for two arbitrary degrees of warming, now we are now also aiming for an arbitrary 1.5C as well. The lower target is unachievable, apparently, allowing script writers to simultaneously say we “are past the point of no return”, going to overshoot” and “not on track” and also say “we can keep warming under the target” (just, barely, etc) depending on which target you want to refer to. This scores double points in keyword bingo. Something for everyone.

Since such rapid and severe cuts aren’t likely, the report notes that it’s virtually unavoidable that the planet will “overshoot” 1.5 degrees Celsius. To cool the Earth down afterward and avoid staying at dangerously high temperatures for long, it would then be necessary to remove carbon dioxide from the air at a massive scale — but that, too, is highly problematic.

 

 

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