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What the hell was he thinking?

Looking for a great Christmas present idea? I’ve been enjoying the new glorious full-colour book covering the work and “why’s” of a great Australian cartoonist. There is still time to buy it for a friend, or put it on your list. Cartoonists have leeway to say what no one else will, and of cartoonists, there are few like John Spooner.

John Spooner’s Guide to the 21st Century:  What The Hell Was He Thinking


  If a scholar in two hundred years time happened to be regarding the intricacies of Australian political life at the turn of the 21st Century, they would find few better guides…. than the cartoons of John Spooner. – Gordon Morrison

John Spooner Cartoons. The last cartoon.

John Spooner’s last cartoon, 2016. The Age.

As well as being a collection of his work, a keepsake with over 250 images, Spooner explains what was going on in the editorial zone of one of Australia’s largest newspapers as it evolved over the last 40 years.

Spooner writes about how different things were in The Age in the 1970s. (It used to be a real newspaper once). He describes the gradual closing down of dissent from the party line. He worked under 13 editors, “but with ever diminishing approval.”

Climate denier, cartoon. John Spooner.

The book is not just about the agonies of a ‘denier’.

The importance of the media and the downfall of good journalism is one theme that runs through the book. In 1975 the editor of The Age which first employed Spooner was Graham Perkin. Spooner writes that there is a youtube of Perkin years later talking about how he defined the test of a good paper: “You must be prepared to ‘run stories which may offend readers, which may lose you readers, because you believe its in the public interest.’ This was “editorial courage”. Perkins insisted that The Age was the natural opponent of government because ‘no one else represents the public’. Imagine an editor saying that now?

We’ve lost that core philosophy:

“Wherever your viewpoint was, you had a place at The Age.”
“On great matters of social or political tension,
The Age could own the whole debate.”

Book Cover, John Spooner

It’s a coffee table book which will start conversations. But also a book to read with many  explanations and thoughts.

Spooner felt right at home back then. He worked for The Age for years and said “I believed in it as a force for good.” Saying that strong media is a way to fight back against “the bullies”.

Sadly, as Spooner kept raising difficult topics, and brought in the likes of Bob Carter, Bill Kininmonth, John McLean and David Evans (all skeptics) he and The Age were growing further apart. At one point a reader wrote that Spooner had a “manic obsession with climate denial” comparable to “alcoholism”, and the editor replied that he thought the reader ‘had a point’. All that, merely because Spooner thought there were things the public ought to know.

Notably, Spooner emphasizes that The Age allowed him to express his views most of the time, but it’s obvious that it was getting harder and rarer. The culture had changed.

At times, apparently, it was only the cartoonist at The Age who was asking hard questions. In a room of senior writers and editors Spooner questioned the team “How will The Age explain to its readers the deliberate energy price rises that we have advocated?”  No one had an  answer.

A smart cartoonist is a funny one

To be funny, you have to be one step ahead of the audience. You have to join two new dots. The humor is in the surprise.

Spooner is one of the few cartoonists on the planet who grasps the scientific detail. Indeed in this book he even describes water vapor feedback and its importance correctly. Outside of scientists, almost no one is able to weigh up the issues and recognize what matters. I am always impressed with the depth of his backgrounding and the aptness of his filter.

Keep reading  →

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Trump trolls the UN

UNFCCC, climate change, conference 2018The UN collective junket for 25,000 people is over. In PR Bingo, all the winning phrases were launched. As usual, “it’s progress”, but “nowhere near enough”.

“Weary” climate negotiators “worked through the night”, in a “marathon” and “but the agreement fell well short…”

‘1,000 little steps’: Global climate talks end in progress but fail to address the galloping pace of climate change

By Brady Dennis ,Griff Witte and Chris Mooney, The Washington Post

The agreement was non binding and has no chance of achieving the 1.5C or even the 2C goal, despite this, the crowd was happy:

“Approval of the agreement prompted a standing ovation from the delegates. “

People who think in group-formation will cheer any form of “Yes” –  nevermind the numbers.

Trump is trolling the UN

The US is out of Paris (theoretically) but “in” the negotiations. It will take four years for the US to formally leave the Paris Agreement, but in the meantime, he’s technically at the table, unbridled, and free to kill sacred cows in public. The UN, no doubt, thought the four year cooling off period would work for them (with the help of 4 year US election cycles) but being out-but-in gives Trump license to send delegates to loudly not welcome a treasured UN scientific report, to showcase fossil fuels, and generally wreak havoc and play mischief. So the US blocked the “welcome” of the IPCC report midway along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In response, predictably, small island nations and environmental groups caused an uproar.

The world’s largest economy and its second-largest polluter played an at-times contentious role in the negotiations, with its officials rankling fellow delegates by initially refusing to accept a landmark climate report and later putting on a presentation touting the virtues of fossil fuels.

But fellow negotiators said the United States was mostly notable for its absence.

..  “The U.S. role here is somewhat schizophrenic — pushing coal and dissing science on the one hand, but also working hard in the room for strong transparency rules,” said Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions,

Real environmentalists think transparency will help them:

Keep reading  →

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Christmas Carols for coal

Oh yes, sure. These are really going to catch on. The grippy totalitarian, gimme dat culture strikes again with hot lyrics like “We Wish You a Steady Climate”, “We all Yearn for Solar Panels”, and “Away in The Arctic”. They sound for all the world like they were written by a climate model.  If we can’t outdo this, making them funnier and more in the spirit of Christmas, I’ll eat my keyboard.

Please do your best, the official PDF is here. (Carols against Coal backed up here.)

We wish you a Steady Climate

Tune: Trad English (We with you a merry Christmas) Lyrics: Petrina Barson

We wish you a steady climate,
we wish you a steady climate,
we wish you a steady climate
and a happy new year.

Glad tidings we bring
to you and your kin.
We wish you a steady climate
and a happy new year.

We just want ambitious targets,
we just want ambitious targets,
we just want ambitious targets
so bring some out here.
Glad …

We won’t go until we get some,
we won’t go until we get some,
we won’t go until we get some
So bring some out here.
Glad …

Cool Down the World

Tune: Antioch (Joy to the World) Lyrics: Petrina Barson (ed Sharon France)

Cool down the world, the time has come
for targets tight and fair.
Let petrol, oil and coal
prepare to go.
Let’s fund renewables,
let’s fund renewables,
let’s fund, let’s fund renewables.

Keep reading  →

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Climate change causes time travel? Humans turning clock back 50 million years

The Pliocene is coming to get you.

The shocking news is that the world cooled for 50 million years, then, just like that, two hundred years ago, humans stopped the cooling, and turned the global clock, or thermometer, whateveryoucallit, around. Now, unleash the disaster — by 2030 Earth is going to resemble the mid-Pliocene. So in just 11 years time, it will be like 3 million years ago. Apparently we are losing 250,000 years every year. Buy a solar panel now!

You think I’m joking:

Humans may be reversing the climate clock, by 50 million years

Our future on Earth may also be our past.

In a study published Monday (Dec. 10, 2018) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that humans are reversing a long-term cooling trend tracing back at least 50 million years. And it’s taken just two centuries.

By 2030, Earth’s climate is expected to resemble that of the mid-Pliocene, going back more than 3 million years in geologic time.

How bad was the Pliocene?

In the Pliocene, North and South America joined tectonically, the climate was arid, land bridges allowed animals to spread across continents and the Himalayas formed. Temperatures were between 3.2 and 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.8 to 3.6 degrees Celsius) warmer than they are today.

Look out for land bridges. Seriously, if you keep using coal power your only friends will be Australopithecus.

But worse is coming

It’s the Dr Who Hockey stick from hell. The Tardis is taking off.

By 2150, the Eocene will be upon us again:

Without reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions, our climates by 2150 could compare to the warm and mostly ice-free Eocene, an epoch that characterized the globe 50 million years ago.

During the Eocene, Earth’s continents were packed more closely together and global temperatures averaged 23.4 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) warmer than they are today. Dinosaurs had recently gone extinct and the first mammals, like ancestral whales and horses, were spreading across the globe. The Arctic was occupied by swampy forests like those found today in the southern U.S.

Well, that’s it. A world full of primitive horses and swampy forests? And who wants our continents to be packed more closely together?

I wasn’t worried about climate change before but if the dinosaurs have to go extinct again, I think I’ll buy a Hybrid car.

What’s really scary is that some people think this is scientific work

This paper is a naked politicized plea for renewables with no scientific skerrick of merit, they have practically no data, junk resolution, and error bars bigger than the Roman Empire — and yet PNAS published it.

The basis of the 50 million year analysis are the same models that can’t even predict the cooling back in the 1970s.

Image created by Robert A. Rohde / Global Warming Art

All our ancestors survived this for millions of years, but we’re in uncharted territory:

All of the species on Earth today had an ancestor that survived the Eocene and the Pliocene, but whether humans and the flora and fauna we are familiar with can adapt to these rapid changes remains to be seen.

So life’s done this before, but this is new”?

Faster than we’ve ever seen?

The biggest flaw in this joke of a paper is that we have any meaningful idea of what speed the climate was changing at millions of years ago on a resolution remotely close to 100 years.

The accelerated rate of change appears to be faster than anything life on the planet has experienced before.

Shall we just phone up the old Eocene Bureau of Met and ask if they are really sure there was not a two degree rise from 17,580,100 BC to 17,580,000BC?

What are the error bars? Perhaps they were like  Zhang et al 2017 who reported that their dating on Miocene carbon readings 21 Million years ago were “plus or minus 30,000 years”. Are temperature readings much better?

The numbers needed to analyze this stupendous era of history are mindboggling. There have been 500,000 centuries since the Eocene, yet these researchers are saying they know for sure that not one of half a million centuries warmed faster than today?  Are we kidding?

This paper is so obviously a political activist sheet

Look, modelers who investigate 50 million years ago also find man-made storms, and dead people now:

Keep reading  →

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Far Southern Ocean cools. Kiss Goodbye to polar amplication around Antarctica

Antarctic, Map, Latitudes of sea surface that are cooling.

A map of the sea surface zone that has cooled since 1979 — from 56S – 72S . It’s a pretty big area. Click to enlarge.

For years the IPCC have said that warming would be amplified at the poles. They warned us things would heat up twice as fast, which would melt sea ice. The oceans surface in turn would switch from being reflective white to a dark absorbing deep blue. Enormous amounts of energy would then flow into the ocean instead of being reflected back out to space. The more it warmed, the more it would warm — unleashing a devastating feedback loop.

As the Arctic warmed, the merchants of doom were keen to tell us how how right they were and this was evidence of man-made warming. But in the Antarctic exactly the opposite trend was taking place.

Mike Jonas has done what the IPCC should have been doing — investigating the trends in the Sea Surface Temperature in the polar latitudes with satellite records. In the latitude band from 56 to 72 degrees south the oceans have cooled, not warmed. The models don’t even have the sign of the trend correct. At the latitudes where the models expected the most warming, the ocean surface cooled as fast as a tenth of a degree per decade. For the sea surface, that’s surprisingly quick.

It’s more evidence that things are seriously wrong in the global models. The modelers don’t understand the climate, they can’t predict the major processes of ocean currents, cloud changes and albedo. How can they even say they “know” what drives changes in the Arctic if their same models fail so badly on the Antarctic? They claim random luck as “success” and throw a veil of silence over the non-random failures.

As McKitrick and Christy point out:

Swanson (2013) noted that the changes in model output between CMIP3 and CMIP5 improved the fit to Arctic warming but worsened it everywhere else, raising the possibility that the models were getting the Arctic right for the wrong reasons. …

When Jonas tried to get this significant finding published in the peer review, the usual gatekeeping process meant these simple but cutting graphs were rejected — without a right of reply (that’s another story for another day).

But here, I’m happy to publish his work in the exact form he submitted for peer review (so we can discuss the peer review process itself. Though I would have suggested some edits).  Thanks to Mike Jonas for all his work!



Southern Oceans Sea Surface Temperatures contradict a key element of the IPCC Report

Author: M Jonas  (Cover note of submission)

Author’s affiliations: None


The hypothesis – Surface warming is amplified by sea ice- and snow-related feedbacks near the poles – is supported by climate models and was an important factor in the fifth IPCC report. The sea ice part of this hypothesis was tested, using Sea Surface Temperatures of the Southern Oceans. The test showed clearly that the sea ice part of the hypothesis is contradicted by the data, because there was quite strong overall cooling in the latitudes where amplified warming was expected. There must therefore be one or more important large-scale climate processes that are not reasonably represented in the models. From this, it necessarily follows that the climate models are invalid and their Antarctic projections in particular are now untenable. It also necessarily follows that the climate models’ global projections are unreliable.

Keep reading  →

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Winning: Huge UN Climate junket only attracts four leaders

2018, Poland: When it comes to national leaders, nobody turned up

The second week of the UNFCCC conferences was always the one where the politicians swarm. But this time the only leaders are the ones from tiny pacific atolls who come in hope of increasing their GDP, one grant at a time.

Nina ChestneyAgnieszka BarteczkoKATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) – Brexit turmoil and French riots have kept many government chiefs away from the final and crucial week of U.N. climate talks, with only four national leaders present on Tuesday.

Out of around 134 national representatives delivering speeches over the next two days, only four are heads of government: the president of Kiribati and the prime ministers of Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tuvalu – nations among the most vulnerable to climate change.

No Leonard Di Caprio either.

If there was real money and power going down here, or leaders thought voters loved climate action, they would be in Poland.

Looks like winning.

h/t Pat

PS: Good luck to Great Britain. In the long run, will it be a real hairdryer, or EU approved one?

PPS: Good luck to the Yellow Vests. Watch Craig Rucker from CFACT interview the Gilets Jaune

The protest is about millionaires … with their private jets, talking about the environment.

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Midweek Unthreaded

PS: I’ve just got news that the brilliant ROM is facing significant health challenges right now which is why he is sadly missing from comments. He and his family would appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

I will pass on any messages sent to me or left in comments…    We miss you ROM!

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Santa says renewables “push down prices”. Sydney Morning Herald believes him.

It’s Santa’s happy hour in electricity land

Finally, No really, renewables are so cheap we can switch to them and change the global climate for free.

This is a new study by the kind of “independent” group that is totally dependent on Big Gov handouts. It compares Australian prices to other obscenely expensive countries and finds that “renewables push down prices”. Compared to what? Not compared to nations with cheap electricity. And not compared to most of the last thirty years in Australia before we added all the unreliable gear.

The tricky graphs clearly baffled Peter Hannam. If only he were a journalist, he could have asked some hard hitting questions and shown this study to be the concocted vaporous PR exercise that it was.

‘No trilemma’: Study finds increased renewables push down power prices

Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald

Renewable energy drives down wholesale power prices well in excess of subsidy costs and a further expansion of wind and solar would likely push them lower still, a study of Australian and European markets shows.

If renewables actually reduced average prices, this would be a first. Around the world, the more intermittent generators you have, the more you have to pay for electricity.

Graph, electricity prices, renewable energy.

Figure 1 The Y-axis shows residential electricity prices for the second half of 2014 from Eurostat. The X-axis installed wind + solar capacity for 2014 as reported in the 2015 BP statistical review normalised to W per capita using population data for 2014 as reported by the UN.   Source:  Euan Mearns.

Say it again: there is no country on Earth with lots of solar and wind power and cheap electricity.

We don’t need a tricky model, we just need a graph.

Compared to what?

The findings come as Neoen, owner of the world’s largest lithium battery, claimed the storage unit in South Australia had saved the wholesale market about $40 million in its first year of operation.

The battery, whose capital costs have been reported as $90 million, had saved almost $40 million a year in  Frequency Control Ancillary Service, benefiting SA and other regions.

Saved the market how much and compared to what? FCAS or Frequency control service charges hit a record high of $73 million last quarter (AEMO Q3 report, p 16). Has the battery saved us any money at all, or is it just that insanely expensive services could have been insane + $40m more? Wasn’t FCAS essentially free when we just ran with big coal plants?

The renewables research by the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, a hub set up by the Victorian government, examined the wholesales electricity market in South Australia from 2013-18 and compared it with the high-cost energy markets in Denmark, Germany, Italy and Britain.

Plum choice. None of these four nations have cheap electricity.  Don’t we want to be cheap compared to… our competitors instead?

It’s a magical time of free money. Finally you can have cake, eat cake, and stabilize the grid with cake

Bruce Mountain, director of the centre and the lead author of the report, said there was no longer an industry trade-off between power prices, reliability and greenhouse gas emissions.

This group could have called itself the “Renewable Energy Industry Lobby Group”.

The Victorian Energy Policy Centre (VEPC) was set up by an organization that says climate change is real and we should spend billions on it. That organization has pegged its bets (and staked its reputation) entirely on a forced renewables transition. It also consumes more than a quarter of the entire state GDP.

The VEPC calls itself “independent” which is the luxury of government funded groups that are permitted to ignore the largest vested interests in their state and pretend it is not a vested interest.

This subsidy we don’t need, shouldn’t stop, and other Soviet bed time stories

The Prof says they don’t need subsidies, but the subsidies “pay for themselves” so therefore the government should do it more and faster. I think we’ve heard this before somewhere…

But Professor Mountain said if the objective is to bring prices down, “you ought to be hastening the entry of cleaner sources more quickly than otherwise would happen”.

“There is no doubt that the market left to itself will bring in wind and solar but if you bring it in more quickly and it can pay for itself so handsomely why would you not seek to do it?” he said, adding that the SA experience would be mirrored in other states such as Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Indeed, in the non-communist-world, paying for something in advance to earn a greater return is known as “investing”. Since this is supposedly guaranteed free money, obviously Australia does not have entrepreneurs anymore. Either that, or Mountain is spinning a sales job, advertising lemons that don’t sell in the real world, because they don’t work, aren’t competitive and go out of business when the subsidies are cut off.

But who could blame him, Bruce Mountain is in a sense, a de facto employee of The Victorian Government, if he said anything less, they might have to shut down the centre, or at least, cancel next years grant. I’m sure everything he says is true (in a limited sense), and it just didn’t occur to him to compare us to countries with cheap electricity. Sure.

As for subsidies, we all know they prop up inefficient business and destroy jobs. Firstly jobs vanish thanks to the opportunity cost as other businesses close because they can’t afford electricity, then, secondly when the subsidy bubble bursts. The Germans have been cutting their subsidies, and it’s a bloodbath with 80,000 solar jobs gone. In Australia, when there were threats to review the RET scheme 90% of new large scale investments dried up. In China when $15 billion dollars of solar subsides were suddenly axed in June this year, solar stocks fell up to 30% the next day.

Notably, a Chinese academic explained at the time that the Chinese government was cutting the subsidies to make electricity cheaper – the exact opposite of what the Australian academic says. Who to believe? Should the government make investments or leave it to the market? See the Soviet Union versus USA, 20th Century.

One day, Australians hope to be as advanced as the Chinese in free market thinking for our electricity grid.

Back when Australian electricity was $30 a megawatt hour…

Renewables are so cheap that our wholesale electricity prices have tripled. For years the Australian NEM kept around a middling  price of $30 per megawatt hour. Now it’s $90.

So try to make sense of this sentence:

In 2018, average wholesale spot prices in SA were $38 per megawatt-hour cheaper because of renewables, easily triple the $11/MWh cost of subsidies, the report found.

 Cheaper than what? That’s a cost savings supposedly larger than the total cost used to be.

But when you are on a flimsy analogy, run with it!

“We estimate that expanding wind generation will reduce wholesale prices at the rate of around 9¢ per MWh, per one MWh of additional wind generation,” it said. “For solar – almost all of which has so far been on household roofs – we estimate the wholesale price reduction at the rate of around 26¢/MWh, per one MWh of additional solar production.”

 Don’t believe your lying eyes:

Graph, Australian Electricity prices, NEM. Wholesale.

Australian Wholesale Electricity prices, NEM 1999 –2017 | Click to enlarge |  Graph from


Same for retail prices in Australia

Electricity prices were stable for a quarter of a century. Then we introduced renewables in a big way. Must be a coincidence…

Real consumer prices, Electricity, Indexed to inflation, Australia, Graph.

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


The Sydney Morning Herald obviously serves its readers so well that subscriptions have gone through the roof, I hear the historic masthead was bought out and handed over to Channel Nine today.

It’s stories like these that get them there.

Note the disclaimer on the VCEP report: Scientific research may be incomplete

Disclaimer: The Victoria Energy Policy Centre and Victoria University advise that the information contained in this publication comprises general statements based on scientific research. The reader is advised and needs to be aware that such information may be incomplete or unable to be used in any specific situation. No reliance or actions must therefore be made on that information without seeking prior expert professional, scientific and technical advice. To the extent permitted by law, the Victoria Energy Policy Centre and Victoria University (including its employees and consultants) exclude all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using this publication (in part or in whole) and any information or material contained in it.

Publisher: Victoria Energy Policy Centre, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

 No kidding.

Handy questions journalists could’ve asked

Keep reading  →

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France: the streets belong to the Butchers and Bakers while the UN argues over a meanginless word

The timing is a disaster for the UN annual junket. The Yellow Vest protest has also spread to the UK now. Politicians must be tip toeing in Katowice, Poland.  The Western leaders can hardly offer prime symbolic gifts for carbon action for fear of triggering similar protests at home.

As the protests grew week after week, the “crumbs” thrown to appease the crowd only made them more resolute. The people are realizing how much power they have. The normal veneer of civility holds that the police and laws keep the peace, but the truth is that if the people feel exploited and act together, any free nation can grind to halt in days.

In hours, French President Macron is set to speak to try to defuse the anger.

Craig Rucker from CFACT took time off from the UN climate folly and walked the streets with the Gilets Jaunes. This is so interesting because he is not the usual journalist observer, and he is there, not opining from afar. He says the people have taken over the streets, but the movement is being smeared as violent, though the rioting is due to radical leftists not the core protesters of the movement. One thing is for sure, everyone with any agenda will be looking for a way to own the power in this protest.

CFACT:  The Gilets Jaune  are butchers, bakers and automobile makers.

Craig Rucker

After interviewing many gilets jaunes (yellow vests), and observing their demonstrations, CFACT can report that the streets belong not to the government, nor to the police, but to the men, women and children in the yellow vests.  Moreover, contrary to what you may have seen in the media, in their hearts, the police are with the protestors.

The demonstrators are in fact the friends, neighbors and families of the police arrayed against them.  Except in extreme cases, the police are standing aside and leaving the gilet jaunes in charge.

The gilets jaunes … are butchers, bakers and automobile makers.  They are the folks who drive the trucks, farm the food, build the buildings and fix what breaks.  They are France.  They have had enough.

The gilets jaunes took over a large toll station on the road to Marseilles.  CFACT was there.  They narrowed the lanes, but allowed traffic to pass.  Toll collectors and police left them completely in charge. The protestors did not allow motorists to pay the toll.  They are prepared to starve leviathan.

The real Gilets Jaunes are angry that the media and government are misrepresenting them. As Craig says, Just about everyone with an agenda is trying to horn in… (read it here).

Contrast that with Adam Nossiter of The New York Times who tries (hopes) to argue that this is not a populist movement (code for right wing) saying it is a class war, not a nationalist thing.  Jo Nova says, it may well be a class war rather than a climate change protest, but everybody knows which class wears the green pants. And right wing is by definition a movement against the overgrown size of government. What could be more right wing than a protest against a tax?

What both Nossiter and CFACT describe is a profound distrust of institutions.

How France’s ‘Yellow Vests’ Differ From Populist Movements Elsewhere

By Adam Nossiter, The New York Times

There’s this social distress that exists more or less everywhere,” said Marc Lazar, a specialist in Italian history at Sciences Po. “Of people who are very worried about the future, not only are they suffering, but they have profound distrust of institutions and political parties. This is what we are seeing everywhere in Europe.”

Institutions have been captured by the well-to-do bureaucrats, by corporate players, but most of all, by Big Government itself.  And the major political parties have become Institutions. Almost all the key institutions have burned through their brand-names, and climate change is surely one of the show ponies for Big Government’s blazing disregard. How many esteemed organisations joined the bandwagon of The Government against The People? Of the hundreds of national and historic groups, which Scientific and Academic institution or public broadcaster stood for the people?

Adam Nossiter tries to make out that this is “like Occupy”.

What ties these uprisings together, beyond the demands, is a rejection of existing parties, unions and government institutions that are seen as incapable of channeling the depth of their grievances or of offering a bulwark against economic insecurity.

But what makes France’s revolt different is that it has not followed the usual populist playbook. It is not tethered to a political party, let alone to a right-wing one. It is not focusing on race or migration, and those issues do not appear on the Yellow Vests’ list of complaints. It is not led by a single fire-breathing leader. Nationalism is not on the agenda.

The uprising is instead mostly organic, spontaneous and self-determined. It is mostly about economic class. It is about the inability to pay the bills.

In that regard, it is more Occupy than Orban

Except that Occupy was started by students, not workers and the key issue was inequality rather than grinding taxes. Occupy was the “99%” against the 1% of the most wealthy, but the Gilets Jaune is about the provinces against Paris. The people against The Governing Class. In the Occupy movement, fourteen times as many in the crowd identified with the US Democrats rather than Republicans. A third of the Occupy protestors had salaries over $100,000. [See Wikipedia, Protestor Demographics]. They are both leaderless uprisings against perceived unfairness, but that’s what any protest is about.

Meanwhile snowflakes at the UNFCCC are up in arms that they can’t “welcome” a scientific report:

While France burns, the petals at the climate conference are “shocked” they couldn’t even officially use the world welcome in the minutes to laud their latest pseudo-scientific gloom and doom report, issued in October. The UNFCCC commissioned that report, probably because it needed to readjust the PR memes and reissue the same-old message that there was “still time to save the world, but only just”. We Must Act Now Or Else [exclamation mark!].

 COP24 fails to adopt key scientific report

Who knew, reports needed to become part of the family?

Matt McGrath, BBC:

Scientists and many delegates in Poland were shocked as the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to this meeting “welcoming” the report. It was the 2015 climate conference that had commissioned the landmark study.

The report, launched in Incheon in South Korea, had an immediate impact winning praise from politicians all over the world.

Exactly. Only Big Government could get an apocalyptic report and “praise it”.

Instead they wanted to support a much more lukewarm phrase, that the conference would “take note” of the report.

Saudi Arabia had fought until the last minute in Korea to limit the conclusions of the document. Eventually they gave in. But it now seems that they have brought their objections to Poland. The dispute dragged on as huddles of negotiators met in corners of the plenary session here, trying to agree a compromise wording.

None was forthcoming.

Got to get those priorities straight eh?


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Weekend Unthreaded


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Dr Shearman diagnoses men who walked on moon, Nobel Prize winners, as “Delusional”

Feel the hate

Climate deniers are the delusional lizard-brain unworthy people who can’t see what preschoolers can.  They threaten human survival. So sayth Dr David Shearman, founder of Doctors for the Environment Australia, a place where the scientific method and good manners go to die.

Climate denigration, namecalling, ABC

This is an Opinion piece the 3 million dollars a day ABC thought was “useful”.

Dr Shearman from Adelaide has the rare genius ability to diagnose hundreds of thousands of people with a mental disorder without even meeting them. Better than a telepathic MRI machine. Indeed he’s so smart, he can predict the climate, and with 100% certainty, so I say — cancel the satellites, who needs em? Why bother to measure upper tropospheric moisture when you could “just ask Dave”?

I apologize forthwith to the rest of the planet:  all that money you have wasted installing temperature sensors, launching radiosondes and argo buoys. All along, Australia had David Shearman, SuperGod. He’s probably cured cancer. I can’t wait for him to tell us.

Today Dr David Shearman has diagnosed, and publicly, the mental state of Buzz Aldrin, Charles Duke and Harrison Schmitt, 3 of the 4 men alive who have walked on the moon. They are delusional, presumably along with the 28 million weather balloons which keep denying the hot spot. Naughty radiosondes.

Sadly these giants of human achievement have homo sapiens denialista.

Climate change denial is delusion, and the biggest threat to human survival

 The belief of climate change deniers is usually unshakable, like that of the flat-earth believers or Holocaust deniers. Many delude themselves that there is a conspiracy.

 Climate change delusion is dangerous to humanity, for it overtly or deviously prevents effective reduction of greenhouse emissions by governments in many countries, including the US and Australia, but is an increasing problem with the rise of right-wing governments in Europe and South America, including, Brazil where the new government has a foreign minister devoted to climate denial.

I am concerned to hear that a new Minister in Brazil denies we have a climate, or perhaps is a devotee of a new religion. Shearman is a little ambiguous here, which is disappointing, especially when he is describing unlisted medical conditions for the first time. Unless of course, Shearman is just mouthing off an unresearched rant as a member of a Labor-loving fan club and is waving his “doctor” qualifications while inventing medical slurs to intimidate and shut up opponents. But since the most well-paid editors in the country (at their ABC) published his esteemed opinion as a doctor, clearly we’re meant to read it as a medical thing.

Dr Shearman, Gastroenterologist, has also effectively declared at least 2 Nobel Prize winners in Physics are “the biggest threat to human survival”. So there, Ivar Giaever (Superconductors) and Robert Laughlin (Quantum Hall effect). And into the bin for you Freeman Dyson, Edward Teller, Frederick Seitz, Robert Jastrow (Founding Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) and William Nierenberg (Manhattan Project Member and Director Emeritus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography). You are all mentally defective, so sayth the doc of intestines.

David Shearman, SuperGod of Magical Science. Photo.

David Shearman, Medical Magical Science.

Now Shearman may protest that he didn’t name these people and it is unfair of me to do so, but if he had done ten minutes of research into “well known climate skeptics” he would know exactly who suffers the denialati affliction. Surely he wouldn’t diagnose tens of thousands of people, including half of meteorologists without doing basic high school research? Though we could forgive him perhaps if he only interviewed and psychoanalyzed several hundred sufferers. (Exactly how many did you study Doctor? What’s the confidence interval on your sample or is it hard to divide by zero?)

What if one skeptic is right?

Shearman may protest that he’s only talking about the stupid plebs with engineering degrees (like Dr David Evans, PhD, M.S. (E.E.), M.S. (Stats) [Stanford Uni], B.Eng, M.A., B.Sc., University Medal, [Syd Uni]. But that’s the thing: some skeptics may be delusional, but if any one skeptic is right, then even the deluded ones are closer to the truth than Dr Shearman is. Hence for Shearman to be making a useful well-reasoned point it follows that all skeptics must be wrong including the giants of physics (and two-thirds of geoscientists and engineers).

Put another way, it’s not possible for, say, Professor Richard Lindzen to be right, and 100,000 “delusional” skeptics to still be delusional.

But make no mistake I’m not saying that just because skeptics outnumber, outrank and out-reason climate believers that that means they are right about the climate. (The evidence shows that). But I am saying Shearman is a pompous fool.

Only 43% of certified climate scientists agree with the IPCC “consensus” that man-made CO2 is the main driver of climate change.  But what would they know — they’re only climate scientists. “De-lusion-al too!”

Even emeritus professors can make wild unresearched generalizations:

“To the denier, there is no climate change — so coal is clean, coal is good, coal is cheap, it is our duty to export it to the poor of the world to give them electricity.”

Look in a mirror. The only people on Earth who deny climate change are the carbon-phobes who think the Earth’s weather was non-stop perfection around 1703.

He tosses out the usual inflated scary stats:

“The denier’s mind carries this absolution of coal beyond greenhouse emissions, to disregard the air pollution caused by coal. Outdoor air pollution is responsible for 4.2 million deaths a year around the world and many also in Australia.

“In New South Wales, the five coal fired power stations are a health scourge from their pollution which causes 279 premature deaths, 233 babies born with low birth weight (less than 2,500g), and 361 people developing type-2 diabetes every year, who would not otherwise do so. These are preventable deaths and illnesses.

Without mentioning the Lancet study that showed cold kills 20 times as many people as heat does. Indeed, across 13 countries cold killed 5.4 million people between 1985 – 2012. How many people has coal saved in the last 300 years? Countless millions more than it has killed.  What was that antiquated saying “First do no harm?” If only he was a doctor…

“As Mr Trump and many of us have found, one big lie often leads to other lies and evasions to support it for example, in economics.

One big lie by omission eh? Forget to mention the deaths by cold, then you find yourself forgetting to define your terms, check  assumptions, do any research, and next thing you know, you’re haranguing scientific stars with namecalling looney diatribes.

Who’s confused about what “A Fact” is?

Here, he appears to think that economic models based on unverified climate models, wild assumptions, best guesses, and future projections are producing “facts”?

“The Nobel Prize for economics this year was awarded to Professor William Nordhaus for his economic modelling of climate change. One conclusion from his work was that coal would have no added value to industry if the cost of its externalities of health, social and environmental, were accounted for. The Australian Government has to deny these facts to support a continuation of coal power, some denial for an economics-above-all government.

A thousand other economists could create a thousand contradictory “Facts” about the same question, and if you let them start with 3000 model runs from 23 GCM’s you get 69 million versions of A Fact. And based on past performance, all of them will be wrong simultaneously.

Beware of what you wish for:

Unfortunately, the Government tolerates climate deniers, so their constituents must instead vote them out to save lives.

Or the voters might give the biggest climate denier the biggest win in Australia for twenty years, and then storm the US and Ontario as well.

Be aware that the dangerous and deluded are hidden among us. Shearman warns:

“…most committed flat earth believers appear normal in the rest of their lives “

Lucky Shearman has the Sacred Wand of Truth so he can spot them.

You might wonder how an Emeritus Professor of Health from the University of Adelaide could say things which are so careless, incompetent, and somewhat resembling of the Salem Science Trials. But he probably learnt his climate science from The ABC, or at least, that’s where he gets his “news” from. He probably has no idea at all of the hundreds of thousands of hard scientists who are the skeptics discussing thousands of peer reviewed papers online. The ABC has let him down twice, first with filtered FakeNews, then by publishing him. That the ABC asked him no hard questions, sought no clarification, definition or data on such a preposterously apocalyptic and specious piece of denigration says everything you need to know about The ABC. Any member of Parliament who doesn’t hope to sell this parasitic incompetent behemoth is not worth electing.

On another ABC page today there is a guide to how to listen well.  Strangely, it doesn’t mention calling people “deniers” anywhere?

Predictably, for a namecalling specialist who denigrates 54% of Australians Dr Shearman has a Member of the Order of Australia. Those awards can hit the pompous psyche especially hard. After winning something like that, even a gastroenterologist might feel compelled to unleash a rant about pop-psychology on atmospheric physics without doing as much as an afternoon’s research.

Last word: If Dr Shearman was stuck on a desert island he says his List of must-have books includes ones by James Lovelock describing him as “a brilliant scientist and thinker, never subject to the cage of academia“.

So, readers, do you want to break the bad news to him about the delusional Lovelock or shall I?


 And if you like these kinds of replies, please help me keep doing them.

This blog survives entirely on donations. To those who make it possible, Thank you!


Antonio Gasparrini et al.  (2015) Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational studyThe Lancet, May 2015 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62114-0.  Full PDF.

h/t to – David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz, OriginalSteve, George, TDeF, El Gordo.

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The vast social and political earthquake that started in France — first mass uprising against eco-elitism

The leaderless Yellow Vest#GiletJaunes protest against living costs is escalating in France and spreading around the world to Belgium, The Netherlands, Serbia, even Basra and Bagdad in Iraq.  A Yellow Vest protest is planned for Saturday in Vancouver. The workers are fed-up with being ignored and milked for causes they don’t support, fed up with being shamed for driving cars or for voicing their concerns. On twitter both the left and right sides of politics are trying to claim ownership (though most of the left are silent, recognizing that this is driven from the provincial and rural population and aims right at their sacred cows). Oil refineries are being blockaded. Ambulance workers and firefighters have joined in. Students have aslo started to protest about education changes — blocking over 100 high schools. So far four people have been killed and 133 people injured. Shops and hotels have lost 20% or more of their revenue. They’re flipping over Porsches. Macron’s popularity is down to 23%. The protesters are now starting to cite other issues like the UN migration pact which they don’t want Macron to sign.

Even after the violence and damage over 70% of people surveyed in France support the protests.

Is it any wonder the riots started in France — one of the highest taxing nations in the world, where 48% of the national GDP churns through government coffers?

After offering a weak 6 month delay in fuel taxes, Macron has now conceded that the tax will not go ahead at all. The headline  on Breitbart :”Victory: Macron Permanently Cancels Planned Fuel Tax Hike After Yellow Vest Protests”.  But instead of placating the mob, the masses are asking for more and calling for more protests this weekend. Another round to come.

Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator: It’s a profound crisis in democracy, this is about a broad anger against the political class, against the eco-orthodoxy

h/t Paul Matthews

At last, a people’s revolt against the tyranny of environmentalism. Paris is burning. Not since 1968 has there been such heat and fury in the streets. Thousands of ‘gilets jaunes’ stormed the capital at the weekend to rage against Emmanuel Macron and his treatment of them with aloof, technocratic disdain. And yet leftists in Britain and the US have been largely silent, or at least antsy, about this people’s revolt. The same people who got so excited about the staid, static Occupy movement a few years ago — which couldn’t even been arsed to march, never mind riot — seem struck dumb by the sight of tens of thousands of French people taking to the barricades against Macronism.

It isn’t hard to see why. It’s because this revolt is as much against their political orthodoxies as it is against Macron’s out-of-touch and monarchical style. Most strikingly this is a people’s rebellion against the onerous consequences of climate-change policy, against the politics of environmentalism and its tendency to punish the little people for daring to live relatively modern, fossil-fuelled lives. This is new. This is unprecedented. We are witnessing perhaps the first mass uprising against eco-elitism and we should welcome it with open arms to the broader populist revolt that has been sweeping Europe for a few years now.

This leaderless, diverse revolt, packed with all sorts of people, including both leftists and right-wingers, is important for many reasons. First because it beautifully, fatally shatters the delusional faith that certain Europhiles and piners for the maintenance of the status quo have placed in Macron since his election in May 2017.

…, far from defeating the populist thirst for change, Macron has inflamed it.

 the second reason this revolt is important is because it suggests that no modern orthodoxy is safe from the populist fightback.

…now, in this populist moment, people are daring to say precisely these unsayable things. They’re standing up to the EU.


The irony of the Paris agreement imploding from Paris, and while COP24 runs…

Geoff Chambers, a long time skeptic, lives in France and explains how this is consuming the nation.

… I get the impression that the British press, Europhile, Francophile, and Remainophile, will do all they can to suppress news of the vast social and political earthquake occurring here. If you think I’m exaggerating, consider this:

I get my information largely from three “independent” rolling news channels, all owned by millionaire oligarchs, and financed by ads which are almost exclusively for fast cars and perfumes – the kind of luxury products which France produces par excellence. In France, less than 8% of the population reads a national newspaper. News is for the élite….

BUT, these French channels are devoting 95% of their time (I’m not exaggerating) to a movement supported by 85% of the population, which is now demanding the resignation of a president recently elected by 65% of voters, plus the dissolution of parliament, to be replaced by some kind of popular assembly. This situation, incomprehensible to the English, is easily explained by the sociological analysis of Emmanuel Todd, to which I have frequently referred, e.g. here.

 Geoff has some interesting perspectives:

A demographer gave a most interesting explanation for the strength of the movement, laying the blame on INSEE, the government office of statistics, which apparently decrees that 95% of the population lives in urban, and only 5% in rural areas. A child, or a climate sceptic, could spot immediately the flaw in this statement, but not a President, his government, or the highly educated élite which advises them: It all depends what you mean by urban and rural. So, successive governments have ignored the sparsely populated three quarters of the country, where half the population lives, closing railways, hospitals and post offices, and leaving the mayors of small towns with no industry or commerce worth speaking of to finance their infrastructure from local taxes, with ever diminishing help from central government.

It’s all about Europe of course, and its golden rule of reducing the budget deficit. The pressure on wages exercised by twenty years of austerity dictated by Brussels has forced low paid workers further and further out of the cities into what has suddenly been identified as the périphérie – not the despised banlieu (suburbs) where the lumpenproletariat (often Arabs) vegetate in permanent unemployment – but the small towns and villages inhabited by the working class (or classe moyenne in French) – those whom Macron has described as “the people who are nothing.” And where a decent life is possible only as long as one can afford to drive to work, to school, to the hospital, or to the out-of-town shopping centre.

France stands out as one of the highest taxing nations in the EU

Graph, France Tax, EU.

Source : wikimedia


In week three — the economic toll is affecting the whole nation: [Reuters] Le Maire said sector revenues had been hit by between 15 and 50 percent.

While not providing a precise breakdown, [Finance Minister Bruno] Le Maire said small retailers had seen a fall in revenue of between 20 and 40 percent, and the hotel industry was seeing reservations down 15 to 25 percent.

Restaurants, depending on their location, had seen takings collapse by between 20 and 50 percent.

“The impact is severe and ongoing,” Le Maire said, emphasizing it was nationwide, although Paris, after riots and looting in some of its most upmarket districts on Saturday afternoon and evening, was particularly affected.

French oil major Total has said 75 of its 2,200 petrol stations have run dry as “yellow vests” blockade fuel depots.

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Now even Green IEA warns Australia of the threat of “avalanche” of renewables

Even heads of green institutes are telling Australians not to go too green too fast

The IEA is the kind of organization that runs global summits selling carbon capture. That’s a process so fantastically inefficient  it wastes 40% of the electricity a coal plant makes while it stuffs a useful fertilizer in a hole in the ground. With that context, I note that even the IEA is warning Australia not to get too carried away in its Speeding Green Transition. Presumably Faith Birol, IEA head, is worried The Renewable Crash Test Dummies might actually crash.

First, the other news today of how fast we are adding unreliable infrastructure:

About 3400MW of solar, more than the capacity of Victoria’s twin Loy Yang coal-fired plants, is expected to be installed this year in Australia with a further 4300MW next year, according to the Clean Energy Regulator.

– Perry Williams, The Australian

To put that in perspective, our total grid is 56,000MW. We only had 4,000MW or so of unreliable power in December last year and were already struggling. Now we have 6,000MW and look like adding another 3,400MW of solar – in the next year. And that doesn’t include the extra wind power. The Crash Test Dummies go double or nothing?

The IEA not only calls this an “avalanche” which we need to back up, but also warns we shouldn’t add a carbon price on top:

As Labor looks to revive the government’s now-abandoned national energy guarantee — underpinned by a 50 per cent renewable energy target — the Paris-based International Energy Agency says Australia needs to ensure an “avalanche” of clean energy supply is backed up by firm generation to keep the lights on. It also cautioned Australia about the perils of introducing a carbon price out of step with other developed nations as Labor mulls over its policy on the issue in the lead-up to the election amid a renewed campaign against a “carbon tax” by the Morrison government.

Bill Shorten, Labor opposition leader, is even scaring the green establishment players?

With a Labor win looming in our next federal election (6 months away) it appears even some eminent Green fans are worried Bill Shorten might drive the Australian grid and economy right off the rails. Presumably if we get too far ahead of the other trainwrecks-in-action they might balk at the flaming spectacle ahead?

The ideal process, apparently, is to all get wrecked at the same speed.

Neoen, owner of the giant Tesla battery in SA has jumped on that bandwagon too. Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s head says the IEA is right.  –“Renewables rush poses risks to reliability of energy supply: warns Neoen”. But how much is he concerned about sensible policies and how much is he concerned that the goldrush for renewables is also attracting fly-by-nighters?

 “The national government and the state government should be very careful about who is in charge of developing renewable energy projects,” Mr Barbaro said. “At Neoen we have proven we can deliver, but that’s not the case for all of our competitors.”

Barbaro translated “Give us your money”.

Would you like $79 billion of useless infrastructure with that?

Now pair up these two statements. One estimates in the next 22 years Australia will spend $79b on infrastructure that doesn’t work much, and just $2b on old coal plants that do:

It is estimated about 90 per cent of the $88 billion forecast to be spent adding power capacity in Australia until 2040 will be outlaid on clean energy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Just 2 per cent will be spent on coal, with that ­investment more likely to keep existing, ageing plants running rather than bringing in new coal-fired power stations.

The next paragraph tells us that those cheap old coal plants make 75% of our electricity:

That influx of cheap but intermittent supplies of wind and solar threatens to undermine ageing baseload coal generators in the national electricity market, which currently produce about 75 per cent of generation on the nation’s east coast.   – Perry Williams, The Australian

And the $79-billion-dollars-of-part-time-generators will be driving the cheap reliable part out of business.

Would you like to buy a second hand car that works two days a week (but you can never predict which day)?

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