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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Kochs, Exxon “influence”? Yale experts hunt through 40,000 documents for Big-Oil smear, find almost nothing

Got no actual data-trail on “big-oil” dollars? That’s no reason not to run another name-calling smear article. A Yale group has spent countless months reading through the tea-leaves of old worn out climate themes and think they’ve discovered that the Kochs and Exxon carried the most influence.

What’s really remarkable is that the Yale group had so much funding they could trawl through 40,000 documents, track 4556 people and 164 organisation across 20 years and through 39 million words. Yet despite this, they found nothing. There’s no smoking gun, no proof that anyone was being dishonest, that the messages were wrong.

What the Yale team found was that “documents produced by lobbyists backed by two key corporate benefactors (Koch and Exxon) — proved to have been reproduced more often and with more “semantic similarity”. Justin Farrell (of Yale) thinks that means the Koch’s and Exxon are artificially skewing public opinion. Here’s another hypothesis — Exxon and the Kochs are smart businessmen. They spotted the leading skeptics in the 1990′s and gave them some help. The messages stuck with the public because they were good ones, not because they were “oil funded”. Farrell gets cause and effect confused.

Despite running down 40,000 rabbit holes, Farrell misses the numbers that matter when it comes to money and influence. If the Koch money has influence, the trainload of government money ought be 5000 times more influential. If, as Farrell says, only 14% of Americans think man-made climate change matters, either Koch and Exxon money is wildly effective, or just possibly, the government funded argument is a loser and 86% of Americans have figured that out.

Climate science: corporate donors behind influential deniers

Corporate dollars are skewing climate science in a taste of things to come as researchers become increasingly reliant on private funding.

Which private funds? The climate debate is the gold-plated government funded gravy train of scientific research. In 2014 Obama gave more than $2.6 billion to research climate science. That’s got to fund a few climate scientists. Now ask yourself how many private companies are building climate models to predict the climate in 2100. Zero? Could be.

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Planetary Heroes meet in Paris to save Earth from bad weather

Never before has there been so many egos in the one room:

It was the largest single-day gathering of heads of state or government in history, the UN said.

“Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high because it concerns the future of the planet, the future of life,” French President Francois Hollande said in an opening speech.

“The hope of all of humanity rests on all of your shoulders.”   -- Paris Climate Change Talks begin, The Australian, Graham Lloyd.

Glory be. Pray to our Elected Fathers (and Mothers) who have come to save us from our sins.

The Chosen Ones shall rescue us with full gloss PR. For it is only in the world of Mass Marketing that we can call China a climate saviour:

[Obama] then met Chinese President Xi Jinping before the summit started, with his focus turned to deepening co-operation between the world’s two biggest emitters of the greenhouse gases that cause ­global warming.

“As the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action,” Mr Obama said as he sat alongside Mr Xi.

And so it comes to pass that the largest producer of carbon dioxide “pollution”, the land with the dirtiest factories can be lauded.  (And the journalists will largely fall for this fanciful narrative.

For each product they make, Chinese factories on average, will make four times as much CO2 as cleaner Western factories. Who seriously believes that the nation that is the largest consumer of coal is suddenly “determined to be responsible” even though all its promises amount to nothing more than token schemes and business as usual.

Based on past numbers, in the next 12 months, China will increase its emissions by an amount that is more than Australia’s total annual emissions. As is already widely known, it’s likely Chinese population growth will peak in 2030, as will their emissions. The Chinese are flatly smiling, watching Western competitors cripple their own industries, while they reap income from selling solar panels, and then take money for carbon credits from cleaning up a few of the worst factories. What’s not to like?

If Australia somehow “succeeds” in cutting our emissions by a whopping, preposterous 25%, at the moment China will replace that in 45 days.

Our little blue planet needs saving,
From the egos in Paris now raving,
About climate control,
As their ultimate goal,
When it’s lust for world power they’re craving.

 — Ruauri

Coal Fired plants, World Reources Institute, China

World Resources Institute, 2012



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What you don’t know about the climate (Half page advert in The Australian)

Here’s the full copy of a half page advert in The Australian. In a normal world, this would be discussed at conferences, and reported by science reporters in magazines like New Scientist or Scientific American, or on shows like Catalyst. Instead, private citizens have to fork out thousands to pay for an advert. — Jo


The climate cooled for 37 years during the period 1940 to 1976. Books were written expressing alarm. Lowell Ponte’s 1975 book warns: “Global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance: the survival of ourselves, our children, our species.”

We now have a new climate alarm and similar statements are being made. Climate models used by authorities forecast that CO2 emissions will cause dangerous global warming, now referred to as Climate Change.


Sources: Various, as described in the “State of the Climate in 2012” in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society1, August 2013.


Recent findings in the area of psychology, “Psychology and Economics” by the eminent behavioural economist Prof. Matthew Rabin, University of California, show the prevalence of a number of bias errors when people make decisions. Such errors are relevant for climate scientists in examining the evidence claimed to support the threat of dangerous global warming with rising CO2 levels. The following reviews the importance of two key bias errors referred to by Prof. Rabin in his paper.

The bias error of “there is a misinterpretation that purely random events are too long to be purely random and represent a long term trend”.

  • The Australian Millennium Drought from 1997 to 2010 was misinterpreted as a long term trend as a consequence of Climate Change. This lent support to State Governments over-investing in desalination plants.
  • Research by Professor Sir Samuel Wadham, University of Melbourne of world climate over 100 years, revealed that Australia of all countries has the most variable rainfall. This is not well appreciated by policy makers or investors.

The bias error of “once forming a view people are often inattentive to information contradicting their view. There is the problem of selective scrutiny of evidence”.

A bias problem of “selective scrutiny of evidence” that carbon dioxide emissions drive Climate Change is illustrated by the following:

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Labor hope for fantasy 45% reduction in Australian emissions by … 2030

Australians keep voting against climate taxes, but in 2016 we’re having an election based on climate. (We get the choice of “Bad” or “Worse”. For the economy, it’s the TNT-plan or the Nuclear-bomb?)

The Liberals are offering the obscene cut of 26 – 28% from 2005 by 2030. As a nation dependent on fossil fuels, with no nuclear or no new hydro on offer, the target is ridiculous. With the most rapidly growing population in the West, and one of the most energy intensive export industries globally, it’s economically suicidal. The Labor Party have a fantasy that it should be 45%. (Why not 85%?)

As far as the election goes in 2016, our only hope is to elect minor party and independent Senators to stop our two main parties from  hobbling the nation. Start planning now.

According to the opposition spokesman Mark Butler on the 7:30 Report last night, the 45% fantasy will all be fine, because energy use and economic development will be “decoupled” (for the first time in human history) and new technology will save us. We’ll have profoundly different cars he says.

Look at what the last 15 years have done for cars…

Holden Commodore, 2000, 2015, carbon emissions

Imagine how different cars will be in 2030?

Hey, but the last 15 years have been pretty profound for the Volkswagen. ;- ) Back then, who would have predicted cars would be smart enough to cheat on lab tests?

If Butler means “electric cars” – he ought know that if they are recharged by coal-power, they’re worse for the environment, and each new car on our grid could cost $2000 per year more for the grid infrastructure. Not to mention that Australian’s don’t want them, with total sales over the last five years averaging to four whole electric cars each week across the entire nation.

Here’s that interview below; note that at no time does Mark Butler answer any question by bringing in actual scientific or engineering, points. Apparently the Labor Party picked the 45% target because a committee suggested it. When pushed to justify it, it turned out to be not a target, but just a “starting point”, which doesn’t need justification.

How will Australia achieve this mindblowing goal? Not with nuclear power, not by damning every river valley, and not by converting all our coal to ultra-super-critical hot burners. No mention of those. Instead we’ll do it on “hope”.

But there’s always the possibility we just keep burning all the coal anyway but ship trillions of dollars to foreign bankers for carbon credits to make us feel good about.  We can also ship our factories to China, and stop using air conditioners. But Butler didn’t mention that. Neither did Sabra Lane.

SABRA LANE: Based on the sorts of figures that were achieved under the carbon price when Labor was in Government, the carbon price came up to $23 a ton. Assuming that an Emissions Trading Scheme is part of your plan in achieving a 45 per cent cut in emissions, that would put the dollar cost at something like $200 a ton based on understandings by Warwick McKibben?

MARK BUTLER: That’s not right at all. Warwick McKibben did some modelling Tony Abbott’s Government. He modelled a range of targets frankly from doing pretty much nothing right up to 45 per cent cut, the sort of recommendation you saw on the Climate Change Authority’s report. Mr McKibben found by 2030 if you adopted a 45 per cent target there would only be a difference of about 0.3 per cent of GDP compared to the target Tony Abbott and now Malcolm Turnbull are taking to Paris. Really a very, very modest impact on the broader economy but what professor McKibben also found was that there would be a substantial positive impact on investment because obviously of the need to change to newer technology and invest much more in renewable energy.

SABRA LANE: The 45 per cent figure, as you say, comes from the Climate Change Authority report. It found even a cut of 30 per cent by 2025 would require a sharp reduction in emissions intensity of the Australian economy and would impose severe burdens on certain industries. What sorts of industries would close under your plan?

MARK BUTLER: Well, not necessarily any industries would close. A 45 per cent cut-

SABRA LANE: A 45 per cent cut is a huge cut and there would be some industries would be hugely impacted.

MARK BUTLER: Well 45 per cent is a starting point for our discussions but it is a substantial change to the way in which we do business over the course of 15 years but I think your viewers Sabra would see all around them incredible changes in technology happening, the way in which we produce electricity, the sorts of technology we use around the house and in many businesses and they’re starting to see the production of very, very different models of motor vehicles as well. I think most Australians understand that by 2030 the way in which we do so many things will be profoundly different to what we’ve become used to over recent decades and those substantial reductions in carbon pollution levels will be decoupled. The CSIRO only said in the last couple of weeks, will be decoupled increasingly from the path of economic growth.

Mark Butler is opposition spokesman for the Environment.

Car images Wikimedia:  VT Holden: VF Holden

How much has that fuel economy improved? In the year 2000 — Holden Commodore VT was a  V6 Automatic getting City / Highway: 12.0 / 7.2 (L/100km) The Holden Commodore 2015 specs claim fuel consumption combined is 9.7/100km.  (Can someone find me the equivalent “profoundly” different figures now?)

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Weekend Unthreaded

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New Science 21: The mysterious Notch in the Sun-Earth relationship — the dog that didn’t bark

The notch in the Sun-Earth relationship is the dog that didn’t bark — the clue that was there all along, telling us something about the way the Sun influences Earth’s climate. There is a flicker of extra energy coming in at the peak of every solar cycle — roughly every 11 years. It’s only a small peak, but there is no warming on Earth at all — it’s like the energy that vanished. A good skeptic would be saying but, the increase in energy is so small, how could we find it among the noise? And the answer is that Fourier maths is so good at doing this that it is used every day to find the GPS signals which (as David details below) are so much smaller than the noise that they are much harder to find than this signal from the Sun.

Thousands of engineers know about and use Fourier maths and notch filters, but due to a strange one-sided bureaucratic funding model, none of those thousands of experts have applied that knowledge, which is so well adapted to feedback systems to the Sun Earth energy flows. David has used an input-output “black box” method to find the empirical transfer function and discover the notch. Viva the independent scientist, supported only by independent donations  — at a fraction of the cost of the billion dollar models, David Evans has done something in three years which none of the bureaucrat-driven golden icons have managed in thirty years.

Is the notch real? It shows up independently in different eras and different datasets (see  fig 2). What does it mean? Something is occurring which is “tuned” to the solar cycles to change the way the Earth reacts to incoming solar radiation just as that radiation peaks. The mechanism for this must originate on the Sun, because the timing is too accurate, and that unknown mechanism obviously has an influence on Earth’s temperature (maybe through clouds). Obviously to build a full climate model we need to understand that.

Notch filters are used in electronics to filter out “hum”. Notch filters usually do not involve a delay, but they could, which alerted us to the possibility of a delay. This eventually led to the discovery of an 11-year (or half solar cycle) delay, originating on the Sun, between the solar peaks in sunlight and the factor that neutralizes their effect. David discusses a few possible mechanisms in a later post. He finds evidence suggesting that that this indirect effect of the Sun is ~14 times more powerful at driving changes in our climate than the influence of variations in direct solar heating. Something about the Sun, some force, is changing conditions on Earth in a way that conventional climate models don’t understand. They are “plugging the gap” with CO2 in the last 50 years, but can’t possibly work until they understand this missing key. In this post we start the hunt.

Thank you to those who keep us going. Together we hope to advance our understanding of what controls the climate…

– Jo


21. The Notch in the Empirical Transfer Function

Dr David Evans, 27 November 2015, Project home, Intro, Previous.

This post begins the search for the cause of global warming. This is the most mathematical post of the solar part of this series.

We start by finding the empirical transfer function from total solar irradiance (TSI) to surface temperature — which tells us how much surface warming we get per increase in TSI, at each frequency. We find an unexpected notch therein, and discuss its implications.

Our Formal System

For simplicity while searching for a relationship between TSI S and the surface temperature TS, we assume that the TSI is the only influence on TS. As discussed in the previous post, it is plausible that TSI is a dominant cause of global warming — or more precisely, contains information about a dominant cause because the mechanism is indirect. If TSI mostly predicts TS, and there is a strong and obvious relationship between them, then this assumption is adequate for the exploratory analysis here.

Formally, consider the system whose input is the TSI anomaly at 1 AU (the change in TSI at the average distance of the Earth from the Sun, one astronomical unit), denoted by ΔS, and whose output is the mean global surface temperature anomaly, ΔTS. Both ΔS and ΔTS are functions of time.

Formal system from TSI to surface temperature.

Figure 1: The formal system under consideration: surface warming 100% controlled by changes in TSI.


Some Background on Transfer Functions

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Life copes: The horses that adapted to massive climate change in just 800 years

Biology, adaption, climate change, horse

In evolutionary terms, it’s a blink. Around 1200-1400AD a bunch of people bought a few domestic horses to far east freezing Siberia, where the temperature sometimes falls below -70. Somehow the horses have already become physiologically and genetically well adapted to the extreme climate. The panic-merchants would have us believe that the climate is changing “faster than evolution”, but biology and genes turn out to be amazingly flexible. (Who knows, maybe 4 million years of swinging ice ages has that effect on gene pools?)

DNA studies revealed that these horses were all derived from distant domestic horses, even though wild unrelated horses lived in the region til 5,000 years ago. This is pretty spectacular.

Dr. Ludovic Orlando: “This is truly amazing as it implies that all traits now seen in Yakutian horses are the product of very fast adaptive processes, taking place in about 800 years. This represents about a hundred generations for horses. That shows how fast evolution can go when selective pressures for survival are as strong as in the extreme environment of Yakutia.”

Analyzing the genomes shows that it’s not driven by mutations in genes as much as by changes to the regulatory parts of the genome. In other words, the instructions about the instructions changed. Useful genes (like fur) get expressed more often, less useful ones become dormant. Imagine all mammal species, say, carry a similar toolkit. It’s not a question of inventing fur, just of making it thicker, or stick around longer. A bit like building houses — if we change the instructions – the same tools and types of materials can make good houses in both Darwin and Greenland. A brick is a brick, but you can have lots of bricks, high walls, thicker walls, and empty spaces. A small change in the plans makes all the difference.

Humans, mammoths and horses appear to have separately picked up changes in things like shivering, or fur thickness that help them adapt to the extreme cold. It’s called “convergent” evolution.

It doesn’t prove that all species will adapt to big changes, but it shows that things are (yet again) a lot better than the apocalyptic scenarios suggest. It’s possible that life can adapt.

To believe that a slight climate-change,
Could destroy life on Earth is most strange,
When in fact what we find,
Is that beasts and mankind,
Can adapt through a vast climate range.

                          — Ruairi


Adapting to -70 degrees in Siberia: a tale of Yakutian horses


From an evolutionary perspective it happened almost overnight. In less than 800 years Yakutian horses adapted to temperatures of -70 degrees found in the extreme environments of eastern Siberia. The adaptation mechanisms involved the same genes found in humans as well as the extinct wooly mammoth.

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Climate Spectator bites the dust

Shucks. A few days before the giant UNFCCC starts in Paris, Climate Spectator has been closed. (Didn’t know it existed? It was a part of the Business Spectator). Maybe Big Renewables is not doing such a roaring big business?

You can see how active and non-stop the pro-green energy message was, thanks to Google caching of The Climate Spectator. That was yesterday. For some odd reason the headline link to it is already gone, obliviated already and fed through to the mother-publication by default. Typically, the more popular articles got 5 – 10 comments, the rest, zero. To get the flavor, see “Going off grid” — where Tristan Edis argues that all that solar energy you make will be wasted (and it will cost you a lot of money too). He seems to think that intermittent unreliable energy is “useful” to the Grid, and there’s no sense in the article that I can see of the waste of the Grid’s resources and energy in accommodating his surplus.

The collapse of the Climate Spectator is of course, framed by some as “Murdoch strikes again”. Presumably Murdoch acquired it in 2012 and has been waiting all this time to fulfil his evil plan…

The Climate Spectator was part of suite of news website that came with the acquisition of Australian Independent Business Media by News Corp in 2012….

It’s a conspiracy you know. Though the love media, like Fairfax, have also been cutting other journalists. Coincidence?

Editor, Tristan Edis let slip that he sometimes cursed the competition from The Conversation:

“The Conversation has also added a new insightful set of voices, even though I often cursed it for taking away several learned voices of friends and long-time colleagues I would have preferred to have been writing for Climate Spectator exclusively.

Yet again the government funded groups help drive out the free market competitor that provides the same service at no expense to the taxpayer.

It’s tough competing with the ABC, SBS,  and The Conversation.

The Climate Spectator may be just another victim of Big-government.
h/t to Jim S.

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Only 3% of US people think climate is most important issue

Has there ever been a greater disconnect between what the elected leaders are offering and what the public really wants?

Obama must know what these polls say, so when he tells us that “climate change is the greatest threat” we know he’s not doing it to win votes. If he is  hoping to “lead” the people, his failure is dismal.

Is there any doubt left that The Climate Cause serves politicians and not the people?

USA, Poll, Fox News, Climate Change, Greatest Threat, 2015

The numbers have shifted since July when the survey was last done. “Terrorism was up from 11% to 24% thanks to Paris. The economy and jobs was down from 30% to 21%. Climate change was all of 5% then, dropped to 3% now (pretty much in the error margin).

SOURCE:  Fox News Survey. 1,016 registered voters of a random national sample with a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.


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The original meaning of “denier” was those who reject a religion

Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC, Wind Poer, Climate Religion, Denier


In 1475, the word “Denier” meant those who did not accept the church doctrine.

Five hundred years later, not much has changed.

“According to the Oxford English Dictionary, OED, the term “denier” — starting with its coinage in 1475, during the language’s transition period — has traditionally been used in a theological context, as in “Deniers of Christ Jesus.”

Yale Climate Media Forum

The use of “Denier” in a theological sense continued for hundreds of years. Here it is in 1835:

“A denier of our Lord’s divinity will argue that it was an exclamation of surprise and ignorance; he makes it, in fact, a sort of modern  profaneness.

The Literary and Theological Review, Leonard Woods Junior, 1835. p449

In 2015, anyone who thinks that leeks and lightbulbs won’t stop floods in Peru is a “denier”. If you don’t accept that your air-conditioner causes war in Syria, or that sharks can protect us from heatwaves, get used to being referred to as a mindless denying apostate.

I’ve put in excerpts from an 1840 book below. Breathe deeply:

“FOURTH. Point out the difficulties of Atheism

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