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

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012



The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

Climate-trivia headlines and the BoM’s unscientific obession with “hottest ever” records

Bob Fernley Jones takes a close look at Australian temperature records, and finds that while the BoM can fish out records that are technically true, those “records” can also be paradoxically irrelevant and largely meaningless at the same time. Not so long back weren’t these same people telling us that only long term climate trends mattered, and that one hot or cold year, or bad storm was cherry picking and unscientific?

Dare I suggest the obsession with headline records is more a PR stunt than a scientific measure?

Its true, that 2013 was probably the warmest year in Australia averaged over the whole land mass and the whole year, at least since we started recording temperatures  (a microsecond ago in geological time). But even so, for individual Australians it didn’t necessarily mean anything much at all. Nor has it got any scientific meaning; one hot summer over 5% of the surface of the world doesn’t tell us anything about cause and effect and CO2. But who would know that from reading a BoM release? But from BoM data we can tell that:

  • All seven states and territories of Australia have had significantly warmer summers in past years. (So, except for toddlers and young children, almost all Australians have lived through hotter summers before.)
  • January 2013 was not the absolute hottest January in any state or territory.
  • Spring 2013 – not the hottest spring anywhere except in Queensland.
  • South Australia had the hottest ever year, but none of its seasons was a hottest ever season.

In the end, Australian temperature records are only 100 years old (according to the BoM anyway). Parts of Australia are 4,000 million years old. Wouldn’t impartial scientific advisors also point out the bigger perspective on how scientifically meaningless these records are?

– Jo


Guest Post by Bob Fernley-Jones

 More Naughties From The Australian Bureau of Meteorology et al.

Now that temperature data for last summer (Dec – Feb) are out, let’s review some scary authoritative pronouncements from the past year.

The Climate Commission, made much of dramatizing the earlier summer of 2012/2013 with labels like “angry” and unprecedented. (Then they were dismissed by the incoming LNP government [A] ).  On 3 January 2014, Dr David Jones, a senior scientist at the BoM [B] appeared all over the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) with the message that 2013 was the hottest year for Australia on record, and he also emphasised:

“The Year [2013] started with an exceptionally hot January, the hottest month on record at least since 1910” …and… “We had the hottest summer on record”

Furthermore, the BoM has a recent report entitled Annual Climate Report 2013 on its website, from which there is this extract:

“2013 was Australia’s warmest year since national records began in 1910…   …Summer 2012–13 and spring 2013 were the warmest on record, with mean temperatures 1.11 °C and 1.57 °C above average, respectively…  …January was Australia’s warmest month on record in absolute terms, with a mean temperature of 29.67 °C. Temperatures were above average over nearly all of the continent.”


Summer in this hot dry land [C] is arguably more important than whole year average temperatures, so let’s firstly take a closer look at the BoM data for summer.

Fig. 1 below comes from two BoM time-series graphics for all of Australia, that include the latest 2013/4 summer data.  The pink bars highlight the 2012/3 “angry summer”, and notice that the surrounding six or more years are much cooler (including unannounced below “average” blue) in both cases.  Words like “excessive noise”, “outlier” and “significance” could be used.


Figure 1


I’ve added green horizontal lines showing two alternative comparative averages over the last seven and twelve-years, (based on the so-called raw data in both cases).  Those high peaks may be mere noisy outliers.

Nevertheless, the so-called “Climate Council” [D] which was reincarnated from the sacked tax payer funded “Climate Commission” has issued another report calling the 2014 summer as another angry summer with even more records broken than 2013.

Strangely, global average temperatures (which include Australia?) from various other authorities start from 1850 or 1880, not 1910 (when BoM records start).  Furthermore, the period 1850 -1910, according to some sources, included extremely hot times in Australia (like in 1896); since discarded by the BoM.

According to the Fig. 1 data, the 2012/3 summer for the whole of Oz was prima facie unprecedentedly warm.  However, there is a paradox to be found in the more detailed BoM data following next.

Summer of 2013 was not a record in any state or territory

When Australian State and Territories are examined, a very different picture emerges for the whole of Australia:


Figure 2

In short, ALL seven divisions of Australia have records of significantly warmer summers in past years. It is  possible that when each state had its “hottest” ever year, the other states had cooler years so the net total average across the nation was smaller in those years. But nonetheless the claim that it was therefore an unprecedentedly hot 2012/3 summer is a potentially misleading claim.  Most people in all the states of Australia have lived through hotter summers, and one hot summer in one part of the world doesn’t tell us anything about cause  and effect and CO2.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.9/10 (46 votes cast)

Want to stop climate change? Happy to see black babies die?

How the concern for the worlds poor hurts. The pain! Ian D’oherty skewers the fake compassion. As I said in Global Bullies Want Your Money, How many people would you kill in order to save us from a theoretical “modeled” threat? Would that be thousands? Could it be more?

Could be… Let’s count the ways wasting money on climate change betrays sick? Indur Goklany estimates that biofuels lead to nearly 200,000 deaths in 2010 alone. Is that enough?  Warming kills less people than cooling, but let’s demand money to stop the warming. Poor climate predictions lead to real deaths, so why not shut down polite debate before it begins? Jail those deniers!

Researching pointless things will undoubtedly mean some people die who could have been saved — (never ever count the opportunity cost, unless you’re talking about how much funding green programs could have got). Fake markets feeds corruption, farmers die, rivers run dry and some are left homeless, what does a caring person do, call the fake market a “free” market and ask for more. Who hurts the most when cheap energy gets more expensive, not the rich doctors wives who can afford subsidized solar (see point 4).

Skeptics entirely hold the moral high ground. It’s time more skeptics unapologetically plant the flag there and call the fake compassion for what it is. The only ethical choice is to look at the evidence. D’oherty bluntly pokes at the contradictions of those who pretend to care.


The Irish Times

Climate change or starving babies – so what bothers you more?

Ian D’oherty

The UN has released its latest report into global warming or, as we’re now meant to call it, climate change.

And, like all UN reports, it should be treated with the same kind of scepticism and contempt that greets every utterance that is farted out of the bowels of that corrupt, counterproductive, bloated and profoundly dangerous organisation.

…if you want to stop climate change, you must automatically be happy to see black babies die. Or you are happy to let brown and yellow babies live in misery, squalor and fear. And are you happy with that?

I’m going to be a bit presumptuous here and suggest that, maybe, you’re not all that happy with starving children. If anything, they end up on the news and make you feel guilty when you’re eating your dinner.

But where do you think the massive increase in emissions is coming from? America? No. Europe? Are you mad?

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.9/10 (131 votes cast)

Weekend Unthreaded

Cumulonimbus over Queensland | Photo by Geoff Derrick | Click to enlarge


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (26 votes cast)

Climate change believers are using ‘medieval’ tactics to silence debate says George Brandis

How loaded and vitriolic the conversation is about the weather. Too loaded.

George Brandis describes how the left have stopped arguing for free speech and instead do everything to silence different views. He was shocked, he said, at the deplorable attitudes in two particularly white-hot topics: climate change and racial discrimination. Australian Senator Brandis is the Attorney General of Australia, and at the center of the debate about the noxious 18C legislation on hate-speech and whether we Australians have to make sure we don’t say anything to offend anyone. Curiously, this interview has got The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald talking. Commenters at The Guardian are doing their best to say why Brandis is wrong (“he is a lunatic”), while at the same time proving nearly everything he says about their tactics is true. Brandis, after all, explains that he agrees with the climate consensus, but doesn’t see why asking questions about the science should evoke a shocking form of authoritarianism and anti-intellectualism. He speaks of the emergence of a habit of denying the legitimacy of any other point of view.

Commenter “scuzzlebutt” says: “I’m starting to believe that Brandis may just be one of the most dangerous people in Australia.” Later he or she added: “The worst part is that he claims to be in agreement that climate change is real, yet turns such a matter in to a political football that he and his nasty party can exploit.” (And so it goes: saying you “believe” is not enough, you must also shout down the heretics too.) Meanwhile Jim Lakely at The Heartland Institute is already being deleted from The Guardian comments for the sin of posting links to NIPCC. There is no Gospel but the IPCC!

Brendan O’Neill writes up this excellent interview at Spiked Online It’s packed with quotable quotes. It should spread, and rampantly. The home truths are very well said.

Brandis says… “there were two recent, specific things that made him realise just what a mortal threat freedom of speech faces in the modern era and that he would have to dust down his Mill, reread his Voltaire, and up the ante in his war of words against, as he puts it, the transformation of the state into ‘the arbiter of what might be thought’. The first thing was the climate-change debate; and the second is what is known down here as The Andrew Bolt Case.”

“…rather than winning the argument [they] exclude their antagonists from the argument.”

He describes the climate-change debate – or non-debate, or anti-debate, to be really pedantic but also accurate – as one of the ‘great catalysing moments’ in his views about the importance of free speech.

He isn’t a climate-change denier; he says he was ‘on the side of those who believed in anthropogenic global warming and who believed something ought to be done about it’. But he has nonetheless found himself ‘really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would have excluded from the debate the point of view of people who were climate-change deniers’. He describes as ‘deplorable’ the way climate change has become a gospel truth that you deny or mock at your peril, ‘where one side [has] the orthodoxy on its side and delegitimises the views of those who disagree, rather than engaging with them intellectually and showing them why they are wrong’.

“The science is settled?”… It was ignorant, it was medieval”

He describes how Penny Wong, the Labor Party senator for South Australia and minister for climate change in the Julia Gillard government, would ‘stand up in the Senate and say “The science is settled”. In other words, “I am not even going to engage in a debate with you”. It was ignorant, it was medieval, the approach of these true believers in climate change.’ Wong, whom Brandis tells me is ‘Australia’s high priestess of political correctness’, is far from alone in suffering from what the American journalist Joel Kotkin recently described as ‘The Debate Is Over’ Syndrome. Throughout eco-circles, and among the political and media elites more broadly, the idea that the time for debating climate change is over, and now we just need action, action, action, is widespread. And to Brandis, this speaks to a new and illiberal climate of anti-intellectualism, to the emergence of ‘a habit of mind and mode of discourse which would deny the legitimacy of an alternative point of view, where rather than winning the argument [they] exclude their antagonists from the argument’.

“the eco-correct think of themselves as enlightened and their critics as ‘throwbacks’, when actually ‘they themselves are the throwbacks, because they adopt this almost theological view…”

The great irony to this new ‘habit of mind’, he says, is that the eco-correct think of themselves as enlightened and their critics as ‘throwbacks’, when actually ‘they themselves are the throwbacks, because they adopt this almost theological view, this cosmology that eliminates from consideration the possibility of an alternative opinion’. The moral straitjacketing of anyone who raises a critical peep about eco-orthodoxies is part of a growing ‘new secular public morality’, he says, ‘which seeks to impose its views on others, even at the cost of political censorship’.

“the best way… for wicked opinions to be exposed…, is to get them out in the cold light of day”

John Stuart Mill, particularly in chapter 2 of On Liberty, made the case better than anyone has made it before or since that the best way for the public to be enlightened, for wicked opinions to be exposed for what they are, is to get them out in the cold light of day and let there be a contest of ideas. Let people judge, having heard the contest of ideas, what views are right and supportable, and what views are wrong.

Indeed, in a recent TV discussion here about Section 18C, one firebrand leftist described free speech as something that only serves ‘old white rich men’.

this kind of new secular public morality, which seeks to impose its views on others…

… this is something new, …the left’s turn against freedom of speech is a pretty recent thing: ‘It’s a complete inversion. The right, until maybe the 1970s or 80s, used to be on the side of censorship, and the left used to be on the side of liberation. That has inverted in the last 20 or 30 years. Now it is the left, in the name of political correctness, in the name of this kind of new secular public morality, which seeks to impose its views on others, even at the cost of political censorship. And it is the right, traditionally more authoritarian than the left, which has become the custodian of classical liberalism.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (142 votes cast)

Prof Fiona Stanley jumps on climate-pulpit, says skepticism “is like child abuse”

It’s another pious scientist. Sigh.

Why do good researchers sometimes throw their professional standards to the wind (or in this case, just blow them right up?)

Fiona Stanley has done great work in the prevention of spina bifida with folic acid, and with indigenous health problems. The new big state funded hospital in WA is named after her, and she’s another Australian of the Year. (Is that award the worst thing that can befall a good scientist? Post hoc, they seem to think the world wants to know their personal feelings on topics they know nothing about.) Cue Professor Fiona Stanley who assumes all fields of science “work” even though she herself says climate science is politicized.

Stanley goes so far as to say that being skeptical of the IPCC view is like “child abuse”. But isn’t it a form of child abuse to throw away the Scientific Method, to sacrifice the next generation’s quality of life, their careers and then burden them with debts to the the God of Wind-farms and the Saint of Pink Batts? Don’t we owe our kids the transfer of a culture of logic and reason that was handed to us?

At least Stanley admits she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and is making a faith based statement:

“I’m not a climate change expert but I do trust the incredible scientific evidence, although no science is ever perfect,” she said.

So she’s a religious follower, which she’s entitled to be.  And the evidence is in-credible — we quite agree. (I don’t think she meant to say that.) With a true sense of fair play she even admits the scientists she “trusts” don’t know, and can’t be expected to know precisely what is going on.

“To expect science to be able to predict something as complex as what is going to happen on this planet, given human activity and other things, is extraordinarily challenging and I think it is pathetic of people to criticise the imprecise nature of the science.”

But look out, there’s contradiction ahead.

Professor Stanley said the data was very compelling, particularly about the extremes in factors such as temperature.

So the data is compelling, but the scientists aren’t precise?

Obviously she didn’t look at the data herself, but trusted those other experts to look at it and tell her accurately and without omission what is going on. (So suppose it’s 1614 instead of 2014. Who are you going to trust, the Pope and his experts or that little man from Padua?)

Duck for cover, here comes the sermon:

“It’s like child abuse and neglect, we don’t actually know if it’s on the rise but all the risk factors for it are on the rise,” she said. “The way we are living on this planet is unsustainable, and that’s why I’m worried for my children, and my grandchildren and their children.

I presume she means temperatures may not be rising, while “risk factors” are — supposedly the greenhouse gases. What Fiona Stanley doesn’t seem to realize is that obviously we don’t know what “all” the risk factors are — if temperatures are not on the rise, it follows that some actual factor is over-riding all her hypothetical rising risks. What could it be? Don’t ask a climate scientist — they don’t know, but they can give you a dozen possibilities. When good scientists speak so irrationally, that’s when I worry for my kids.

Don’t read this next one literally — it’s a spiritual thing looking after a ball of magma:

“This is more than about climate change, it’s about health and the survival of the planet.

Here come the Holy Rosary’s:

Professor Stanley said people could do their bit by eating less meat, driving cars less and using public transport more.

And is there any chain of evidence, or even a chain of assumptions that suggest that if every Australian became a bike-riding vegetarian that we would get nicer weather?

“My frustration is that when these issues become politicised, we need science more than anything, and yet scientists are being denigrated.”

Yes, Prof Stanley, good scientists are being denigrated. Some people call them “deniers”, and they get ostracized, exiled and blackbanned. Bad scientists are hiding data and declines, pretending adjustments are neutral, using mysterious methods, avoiding debates, and clinging to theories that are proven wrong. They pretend red is yellow, and ignore 28 million weather balloons. It is politicized. That is exactly the problem.

In fairness, she’s not trying to disguise her faith, nor to hide the hype:

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (151 votes cast)

Abusing statistics in the name of global warming

UPDATED: Lovejoy has responded (in PDF and in comments. See below.)

I could tell from the headline below this was going to be a candidate for the Top-Ten most vacuous papers. It lived up to expectations, and then some.

“Odds that global warming is due to natural factors: Slim to none”

Is there anyone with the lights on at McGill University or “Climate Dynamics“? Surely ScienceDaily ought to have laughed at the press release and sent it back?

Seriously, people wield the magic wand of “statistical significance” without realizing that a/it isn’t magic, and b/ tiny p values can still mean nothing. (Depends on the hypothesis and assumptions underneath, hmm?). LoveJoy looked at 4500 years of a very squiggly line (the last 5% of this graph) and pronounced his magic tool could tell whether the last wiggle was …. ahem, unnatural. If that looks like tea-leaf reading to you, join the club.

Modern climate science can predict virtually none of the spikes and wiggles on this graph. Note the graph doesn’t include the last 100 years which adds about 1C to the rise.

Don’t look now, but it’s another Nail In the Deniers Coffin.


Odds that global warming is due to natural factors: Slim to none

Date: April 11, 2014
Source: McGill University
Summary: An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth’s climate, according to a new study.

An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth’s climate, according to a new study by McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy.

Judge the calibre of the man by his, er…  name-calling:

“This study will be a blow to any remaining climate-change deniers,” Lovejoy says. “Their two most convincing arguments – that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong – are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it.”

And we all know that he conducted his research totally impartially, and if the results had suggested anything else, he’d tell the world “climate-change deniers” were right. Sure.

The actual abstract takes the farce to high art:

Although current global warming may have a large anthropogenic component, its quantification relies primarily on complex General Circulation Models (GCM’s) assumptions and codes; it is desirable to complement this with empirically based methodologies

The one useful thing about this paper is that it admits that GCMs are all the alarmists have and that their case boils down to “assumptions”. But the idea that LoveJoy did anything empirical is boggling.

By using CO2 radiative forcings as a linear surrogate for all anthropogenic effects we estimate the total anthropogenic warming and (effective) climate sensitivity finding: ΔT anth  = 0.87 ± 0.11 K, λ2xCO2,eff=3.08±0.58K .

So I went straight to the Great William Briggs who has indeed, already shed tears over this paper:

Lovejoy Update

To show you how low climatological discourse has sunk, in the new paper in Climate Dynamics Shaun Lovejoy (a name which we are now entitled to doubt) wrote out a trivially simple model of global temperature change and after which inserted the parenthetical words “skeptics may be assured that this hypothesis will be tested and indeed quantified in the following analysis”. In published comments he also fixated on the word “deniers.” If there is anybody left who says climate science is no different than politics, raise his hand. Anybody? Anybody?

His model, which is frankly absurd, is to say the change in global temperatures is a straight linear combination of the change in “anthropogenic contributions” to temperature plus the change in “natural variability” of temperature plus the change in “measurement error” of temperature. (Hilariously, he claims measurement error is of the order +/- 0.03 degrees Celsius; yes, three-hundredths of a degree: I despair, I despair.)

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (108 votes cast)

Ask Stephan Lewandowsky anything, except “please can I have that data”.

Good news, according to The Guardian Stephan Lewandowsky is doing Reddit/Science Ask Me Anything session (finished for today, but back again tomorrow).

Richard Tol asked Stephan Lewandowsky how he felt about data. Stephan Lewandowsky replied with exactly the right answer, saying it’s crucial, and “I release all relevant data immediately”. Then Barry Woods quoted the Vice Chancellor of UWA refusing to provide Lewandowsky’s data (after many requests). Apparently it is UWA practice not to release data, no matter how many times researchers politely enquire. How unfortunate for Stephan to have worked at such a backward institution?

Strangely,  Barry Woods comment disappeared completely. (Lucky there’s a screen-shot.)

There must be something wrong with the server at Reddit, surely? Nonetheless Stephan Lewandowsky is passionate about data, I’m sure he will fix this as soon as possible in the morning. (Actually he is probably emailing Stephen McIntyre this minute). It could all be solved so quickly.

Of course, it is too late for him to call the Vice Chancellor, so it may take til lunch time tomorrow to change UWA’s data hiding practice.

We look forward to advancing cognitive science with open data too Professor Lewandowsky.



The Reddit Comments


Please elaborate on the importance of reproducibility of research, including the availability of data and background data to other researchers if not the public, and on the importance of instilling this attitude in our PhD students.

StephanLewandowsky Professor of Cognitive Science

Crucially important. That’s why I release all relevant data immediately upon publication. I also have now begun to preregister my experiments, which i consider to be an exciting new development in the social sciences. I am also now increasingly relying on Bayesian statistics for similar reasons. Finally, I have rarely published anything without knowing that it has replicated (e.g. my two recent papers on conspiratorial thinking and the denial of science).

Barry Woods:

In this case will you be providing the data that was requested for – NASA faked the Moon Landing, therefore [climayte science] is a hoax, Lewandowsky et al, Psychological Science

The Vice Chancellor of UWA has refused to release it.

From: Paul Johnson

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (132 votes cast)

Look out! Climate change makes fish reckless

AIMS researchers found that fish near a natural CO2 vent were not as scared of predators as their colleagues from more alkaline water: “Ocean Acidification robs reef fish of their fear of predators”.

They compared populations in reefs with normal pH levels with those near the vent. I note this line in the abstract didn’t make it to the press release:

“Contrary to expectations, fish diversity and community structure differed little between CO2 seeps and nearby control reefs.”

So the natural laboratory of the vent has biodiversity and a community, despite the “acid” (which is not acidic of course). Milne Bay, I gather, has pH of 7.7.

The abstract points out that there might be a reason why fish are bolder:

“Our results suggest that recruitment of juvenile fish from outside the seeps, along with fewer predators within the seeps, is currently sufficient to offset any negative effects of high CO2 within the seeps.”

Less predators, anyone?

So these might be well adapted little fish that suit the natural environment around them? Call the press…

If warming were politically correct, then people might say the fish became more confident. : -)

Indeed shouldn’t we worry that fish in higher pH waters might be too anxious? Apparently, that is not the right question to ask.

Here’s fear inducing press release of the Australian Institute of Marine Science:

Ocean Acidification robs reef fish of their fear of predators

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (49 votes cast)

IPCC ambit demands tithe of 10% of everything

Who is in charge of arithmetic at the IPCC?

As Graham Lloyd points out, in March the IPCC Working Group II estimates the cost of a 2C temperature rise as being between “0.2 and 2.0 per cent of income.”

So how much should we spend to prevent 2% damage to our GDP? The IPCC Working Group III says “10%”.

Remember it takes millions of dollars of your taxes to come up with something this inanely stupid. Only a large government funded committee could suggest that spending 10% to save 2%* is an idea worth writing in actual words on actual paper. A private organization would have binned it at the back-of-the-envelope stage, the IPCC took it all the way through multiple drafts of multiple reviews of multiple meetings and sent it to every media outlet they know.

Too much money is never enough

This is pure ambit. The IPCC ask for 10% of everything in the hope that they’ll eventually get 1% and then instead of being grateful for that massive and entirely unnecessary funding they can feign how “poor” they are, how badly they’ve been treated, and why the answer is even more money.

The masters of PR

Notice too, the IPCC have perfected the technique of getting more media. Instead of releasing all three working group reports as one big release, they know that splitting them into three separate reports will generate more headlines, and they know that by leaking a draft, then releasing the draft, then by releasing the final, they get three shots for each of those three parts to get headlines. It’s the constant media drip feed that matters.

The aim of course, is not about reaching the right conclusion, it’s about being a media machine. How else could anyone explain why such nonsense could make it through so many supposed layers of expert review? Judge the IPCC as a scientific committee and it’s a rolling joke, but judged as a marketing tool, it was a monster success. (Until reality bit back…)

IPCC = Interminable Propaganda for Climate Change



VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (89 votes cast)

Scream for the climate! Schlock & Haw Haw & the ABC

Global panic — strictly for your weekend entertainment. Enjoy!

The funny side of screaming for the climate.


h/t Geoff S : – )

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.2/10 (86 votes cast)

Three Frontiers editors resign in protest over Lewandowsky’s Recursive Fury retraction

And the PR stunts continue.

Once upon a time  “Editors Resigning!” sounded important. Today, not so much. There are apparently hundreds of editors of Frontiers. As far as I can tell, these are not resignations from paid jobs, but resignations from a somewhat self-appointed, voluntary chore. They’re also not about any scientific argument, and it’s not clear that any of these editors were actually involved in editing the paper in question.

The three editors are Ugo Bardi (energy and resources),  Björn Brembs (neurobiology of flies and snails), and allegedlyProfessor Colin Davis of the University of Bristol (who at least is an expert in Cognitive Science). Davis doesn’t appear to have made a public statement. The only record is Desmog. Bjorn Brembs intends to resign, but may not have actually done it.  Who knows? (More to the point, who cares?)

Ugo Bardi, Chief Specialty Editor of the Frontiers Journal is resigning over the debacle about Stephan Lewandowksy’s twice failed paper. Overall, it’s an excellent event, but he’s a year too late. If I were an Editor, I would have resigned on Feb 3 last year (because on Feb 2, the journal published a ethically dubious, one-sided paper with no scientific merit, little research, and which abused English). Though we can applaud Ugo anyway, given his judgement, his exit means Frontiers is probably a stronger journal.

After the recent events in the saga of the paper titled “Recursive Fury” by Lewandowsky et al., I am stating my disappointment by resigning from Chief Specialty Editor of the Frontiers journal

When a science paper is retracted the first and most important thing is whether it has scientific merit.

But not for Bardi:

It is not for me, here, to discuss the merits and demerits of this paper, nor the legal issues involved …

Having said he won’t discuss the science (which is hard to justify) he then tries to anyway. Note carefully the scientific merit Bardi attaches to this paper, and his evidence for reaching this conclusion. Remember this man is an Editor (or was) of a peer reviewed journal and he’s resigning, you’d think he would have looked very closely at this paper:

The paper reported the results of a survey that showed that the rejection of climate science was often accompanied by a similar mindset on other scientific areas.

But  Bardi seems to have resigned over the wrong paper. Recursive Fury doesn’t report the results of any survey. Instead it lists blog comments out of context, attaches derogatory labels to those comments (regardless of the truth or not of their comments). It analyzes them from the unscientific mindset of a religious adherent who thinks science is done by consensus rather than by observation.

Both friends and critics have pointed out this mistake to Bardi, but instead of simply fixing it, he’s dug in and flat out denied what is obvious to anyone who looks. Recursive Fury does not report a “survey”.

But Ugo knows the Lewandowsky paper has value — apparently because he personally has “seen it himself” on blogs. Golly!

So “Climate skeptics” were also found to reject the notion that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus and that smoking causes cancer. A result not at all surprising for those of us who follow the climate debate in detail.

Is there any more unscientific guide than conclusion-by-personal-prejudice? It’s not like he’s looked at the sample, or the statistics, nor even read the methods. We wonder if he has even read the paper.

We also note that Bardi is a member of The Club of Rome, and lectures about renewable energy, so it would be fair to ask whether he is an impartial editor in any publication about climate change.

To use Lewandosky’s own recursive lingo the persecuted victim (PV) feels the world is against them. Here’s Bardi:

It is becoming commonplace for scientists to receive personal attacks (including death threats) for having stated their position on the climate problem. This violent reaction often takes the shape of mailing campaigns directed to the institutions of the targeted scientists.

Where were those “common” death threats, or even one in this case? According to other editors of Frontiers, there were not even legal threats, let alone death threats. But it did receive  “well argued and cogent” complaints. How terrifying for the editors.

Who exactly are the bullies here?

Who is intimidating who? Is it the unpaid volunteers writing on blogs and pointing out scientific errors, or is it the professors backed by university teams of lawyers and PR agents with government funds who use their positions to publicly diagnose and allege the unpaid volunteers write words that are mentally deficient?

Let’s get it straight. Bardi supports the team that started the campaign of intimidation against scientists long ago by calling anyone with difficult questions a “denier”. I defy Bardi to define it in scientific terms, and to show it has any use other than as a form of character assassination.  Lewandowsky’s paper essentially took blog comments and reviews that he personally disagreed with and labeled those remarks (which even included an IPCC lead authors words) with psychopathological characteristics. What could be more intimidating, and unconducive to open science review than finding that even if you speak up about a real scientific flaw, you will be labeled publicly in a science journal as someone who “Espouses Conspiracy Theories”.  Who wants to be  “ideated”?

Respect? Yes, let’s try some

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (106 votes cast)

Welcome to Climate Nuremberg

A blog after my own heart. One that espouses extreme opinions, no holds barred. Absurdio reductum to the end!

Do be careful to read it in the right spirit.

Climate Nuremberg

Communication Dilemmas #1: Wishing Death on People Without Losing Them

Part of being a science communicator is hoping a natural disaster kills as many members of the audience as possible, as soon as possible, with as much media exposure as possible. As a communicator myself, I’d like nothing better than if thousands of middle-class white people died in an extreme weather event—preferably one with global warming’s fingerprints on it. Live on cable news. Tomorrow.

The hardest thing about communicating the deadliness of the climate problem is that it isn’t killing anyone. And just between us, let’s be honest: the average member of the public is a bit (how can I put it politely?) of a moron. It’s all well and good for the science to tell us global warming is more dangerous than Nazism, but Joe Q. Flyover doesn’t understand science. He wants evidence.

So we’ve probably reached the limits of what science communication can achieve. At this point only nature herself can close the consensus gap—or the fear gap.

Read it all

There are other great headlines:

How Will Climate Change Affect People With Your First Name?

Under the heading The Lasting Impacts Of Climate Change, the authors list:

5. Hundreds of species of marine life to die off because they’re too weak-willed and pathetic to handle a little ocean acidification.

6. Nation’s Brad population to begin going shirtless as early as March.

I wasn’t sure, initially, how credible the information was, so—in the spirit of actual skepticism, as opposed to “skepticism”—I sniffed around the parent site for a bit. I must admit I hadn’t heard of The Onion before, but they’re clearly a bona fide organisation, as opposed to something run out of a guy’s garage.

*cough* OISM petition *cough*

Brad has a way of turning things inside out:

The great alienator

“We’ve studied hundreds of unsuccessful exposures—’failures to convert’ [FTC]—and asked participants what went wrong with the rapport between scientist and citizen.

The single biggest rapport-breaker?


Time and time again, scientists find the public arrogant.”


Take a hard hat and glass of Vodka. Channel the fear in the comments.

Don’t give the game away OK? Egg them on!

(Go on, get into the spirit. Life really is absurd)


* * *

UPDATE: OK OK — more clues. Read carefully. Brad knows us well, this is deep view that only someone who knows this debate from the inside could possibly write:

•    Deniers are continually pressing for a scientific debate. Why? Because they can’t refute the political reality (that climate change necessitates a new world order). So they attack the weakest link—the science—instead.


UPDATE#2: Wit is a weapon

The word satire derives from satura, and its origin was not influenced by the Greek mythological figure of the satyr.[6] In the 17th century, philologist Isaac Casaubon was the first to dispute the etymology of satire from satyr, contrary to the belief up to that time.[7] Despite the separate origin, satire shares the subversive nature of the satyrs themselves, which was a force in opposition to urbanity, decorum, and civilization itself.

– Wikipedia

h/t to Handjive and Marc Morano.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.2/10 (51 votes cast)

Watching Cyclone Ita – Category One (was Five yesterday) over Queensland

UPDATE Sat morning: Thank goodness this has slowed dramatically. Now Cat 1 at 120 km/hr. 990hPa. While some have lost homes, there don’t seem to be any lives lost, though rainfall and storm surges mean the situation is still dangerous.  Courier Mail appears to have the best live coverage.

About midnight, last night Queensland time, Cyclone Ita crossed the coast. (Roughly about now). Hopefully it will pass through a less developed region. It potentially could be disastrous. We hope not. It is about 500km across (?) while Cyclone Yasi was 600km wide.  Winds were nearly 300km per hour but have slowed to 265km/h  205km/h. One meteorologist predicts it to slow to Category Four as it makes landfall. [He was so right, it's now a Cat 3]. Other reports say there’s no sign of that.

Cyclone Ita is currently Category 5 Category 4 Category 1 bearing down on the region around Cooktown and Cairns in North Queensland.

Spare a thought for those in the path. We hope everyone can stay safe.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (29 votes cast)

Mapping the Skeptical Blogosphere

 People are writing in about the  Amelia Sharman study called Mapping the climate Skeptic Blogosphere. It came out last year as a Working Paper from The Grantham Institute, and then to show how meaningless peer review is, this fairly pointless, weak, banal production has come out again, almost unchanged as “new” but not original research in the peer review literature. What is the point? But I had a lot of fun with this study last year, so I’m reproducing nearly the whole post. And let me stress, at least Amelia Sharman seems to be very genuine in her inquiries, which is truly rare, and admirable. I just wish the brains trust advising her had a grip on logic and reason (and had less of our tax dollars).

The bottom line is that thousands of dollars were spent on a blogroll study which discovered that skeptics “value scientific inquiry”, and  are “alternative public sites of expertise.”

As well as WattsUp, Climate Audit and JoNova, obviously Bishop Hill, ICECAP, Tom Nelson, No Frakking Consensus, and Climate Etc were also found to be influential and connected. Note Climate Depot was ruled out because it pools stories rather than generating a lot of original content. I disagree, because Marc Morano compiles original lists of links and valuable information.

The new paper is paywalled. The older working paper is can be seen here. I gather they are almost the same. Paul Matthews (@etzpcm) sys: “Conclusions are same as draft ” Reviewers seem to have forced @Amelia_LSE to put in statement about sceptics being ideologically or politically motivated (p7) -

Skeptically mapping why Big-government research is often a waste of money

I feel like such a killjoy. Usually when academics reach out to the skeptics to “study” us, it is to attack us. So I ought to be grateful that Amelia Sharman is one of the few who appears to be doing it more nicely — even impartially (sort of). It’s a big step up. But I can’t help it, the skeptic in me is … skeptical. It should be a badge of honor. Here JoNova is listed with the ground-breaking Watts Up and inestimable Climate Audit:

A network of 171 individual blogs is identified, with three blogs in particular found to be the most central: Climate Audit, JoNova and Watts Up With That.

What an honor. Bravo Bravo. I’m touched.

Figure 1: The climate sceptical blogosphere, where round nodes are category 1
(openly sceptical) and square nodes are category 2 (self-proclaimed ‘openminded’)


Jo, Anthony and Steve are some “central” grey dots in the black scribble. (Ask how much has your knowledge of the universe been increased.)

Despite the notoriety invoked by the conclusion – I’m dubious: The language is sloppy, the data iffy, the main variable has a low signal to noise ratio, and cause and effect is back to front. This is not science, nor is it about science. It’s barely sociology. (Sorry Amelia.)

Firstly, we’re mapping the skeptical world using what… blogrolls? Maybe that works for big corporate bodies with committees that keep those things up to date, who have time to consider and ponder, but, and I hate to say it, but for this this solo operator my blogroll is something I think about 0.0001% of the time. I just don’t use it. I forget it’s even there. A link could go defunct and I might notice two years later. Some people who deserve a link had to prod me, which means I’m bound to be missing valuable sites. There is information in there, true, let me just say (trying to be kind) it’s better than reading tea-leaves. Though the result resembles them and if you ask me what this means, I’d say it means tax dollars should be better spent.

Secondly, the magic mud that is post-modern science makes an appearance early on. This next passage essentially says that climate science can never be resolved. It’s not a rational debate. We can’t measure success, or know which side is right, but there is a pointed note telling everyone that skeptics say that climate change is just another attempt to diminish their freedom. This is coded way to suggest that skeptics are ideologically opposed and not very rational.

In contrast to controversies such as the health impacts of tobacco smoking which is no longer widely publicly disputed, the scientifically abstract nature of climate science and its inherently values-laden character means that scientific evidence alone is  inadequate to drive policy decision-making (Hulme 2009). Hoffman (2011b) argues that the climate debate may have entered into the realm of what Pielke (2007) coins “abortion politics”, that is, a situation where no amount of scientific information can reconcile the different values held on a certain topic. While a speaking truth to power model would suggest that climate change could resolved by systematically uncovering factual knowledge, this “rational-instrument” approach whereby science is seen as providing ‘verifiable facts about reality on which rational policy decisions can be based’ (Gulbrandsen 2008: 100) is inadequate. The range of potential policy responses to climate change each hold deeply embedded ideological implications, with Hoffman providing the example of attendees at a climate sceptics’ conference in 2010 stating that ‘the issue isn’t the issue’; instead, that ‘climate change is just another attempt to diminish our freedom’ (2011b: 3).

In short  thanks to academia, Amelia has been sold a bag of rocks. The climate is not “values laden”. The rain falls or it doesn’t, there is no parallel reality where it is raining on free marketeers but not raining on socialists. It’s not about whether the rain has the right to fall, or whether we should be pro-choice about rainfall. With atmospheric physics there is an answer. If climate science cannot be resolved by observations, then it is not science.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (60 votes cast)

There are fewer Australian tropical cyclones (thanks to climate change?)

UPDATE: Cyclone Ita is now Category 5 bearing down on Cooktown in North Queensland, the radars will show it soon. 175km NNE of Cooktown. Winds up to 300km /hr.  931 hPa.  See The BOM warnings. Thoughts for those in the path. (It’s clearly visible in the satellite image on the radar link).


A new paper by Andrew Dowdy tells us that from 1980 to 2013 the incidence of tropical cyclones around Australia has been falling. If CO2 is influencing cyclones around Australia, presumably this implies we should burn more coal.

Those convinced about the power of CO2 will point out that the models predict an increase in intensity, not frequency. To that end, I say: see the BOM graph below. Note the red bars marked “severe”. Then tell yourself that the science is settled and we should spend billions to change those trends. The BOM say “the number of severe tropical cyclones (minimum central pressure less than 970 hPa) shows no clear trend over the past 40 years.”

Interestingly Callaghan et al 2010 goes back all the way to 1870. It finds the trend of severe land-falling cyclones has fallen by a whopping 62%. (Let’s rush to go back to 1870 levels of CO2, right?) All in all, the main conclusion I draw is that I can’t find any evidence that modern climate science understands what drives storm trends.

In January, Haig et al showed that almost all of the last 1,500 years has been filled with more cyclonic pain around Australia than we have now. I discussed that at the time, with a lot of caveats. But the picture grows that people who generate alarm about cyclone trends in Australia are decidedly unscientific.

(All fun aside, Cyclone Ita is becoming a category four  FIVE between Queensland and PNG. It has killed 21 in the Solomons already, and [now] threatens Cooktown, Port Douglass and Cairns. All the more reason for us to understand these storms instead of using them for political point scoring. Best wishes to all in her path. Expected this weekend Friday night.)

Hat tip: The Hockeyschtick

Figure 3. Time series of the number of TCs in the Australianregion (a) with the influence of ENSO removed based on NIN (b) and SOI (c). Linear fits to these data are shown.


I would not call this study “long term”, though it’s fair enough that Dowdy uses the longest satellite data he could.


Graph showing the number of severe and non-severe tropical cyclones from 1970–2011 which have occurred in the Australian region. Severe tropical cyclones are those which show a minimum central pressure less than 970 hPa. | Source BOM site.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (56 votes cast)

How to convert me to your new religion of Global Warming in 14 easy steps

A reader here sent me this excellent letter, which definitely deserves to be shared, and widely. Enjoy! – Jo

A Guest Post by the Clipped-Wing Warrior

Hi, there.  I’m a Global Warming sceptic.  By that I mean that I am sceptical of all but the first of the Ten Tenets of the Church of Global Warming, which are;

  1.  The globe warmed over the course of the 20th century.
  2.  The globe is warming right now.
  3.  The global warming is going to continue in the future.
  4.  This warming is unusual, unnatural, and unprecedented.
  5.  This warming is an overall bad thing.
  6.  This warming is caused mainly by increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
  7.  Human CO2 emissions are responsible for most of the warming.
  8.  Humans are capable of reducing their global CO2 emissions.
  9.  A significant amount of warming could be avoided if humans reduced their CO2 emissions.
  10.  The amount of CO2 emissions reductions that would be achieved by bringing in a CO2 tax will reduce the amount of global warming by a large enough amount as to be worth the economic pain that would come with the application of a CO2 tax.

Apparently, to be a true Warmist you must confirm your belief in every one of the Ten Tenets.  Declare your scepticism in just one of these and you risk being banished from the Church as a heretic.

I concede the globe warmed approximately 1 degree Celsius over the course of the 20th century, but I have my doubts about the other nine Tenets.  But if you are a devout believer in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) and want to convert me to your religion then I’m going to tell you how you can do it.

The fourteen easy steps

  • Step 1 – Stop making predictions that don’t come true.
  • Step 2 – When you make a prediction, don’t just say something “might” happen.
  • Step 3 – Don’t live your life like you don’t believe a word you’re saying.
  • Step 4 – Stop the hate.
  • Step 5 – Stop avoiding debate.
  • Step 6 – Answer questions.
  • Step 7 - Stop enjoying catastrophes.
  • Step 8 – Don’t use invalid arguments.
  • Step 9 – When you are wrong, admit it and apologise.
  • Step 10 – Stop claiming that 97% of scientists agree that humans are warming the globe significantly.
  • Step 11 – Stop lying.  If you think it is okay to lie if it’s for a good cause, you are wrong.
  • Step 12 – Rebuke your fellow Warmists if they act in an unscientific way.
  • Step 13 – Stop blaming everything on Global Warming.
  • Step 14 – Why are the only solutions always big-government “progressive” policies?

 Step 1 – Stop making predictions that don’t come true

Like in 2006 when Kenneth Davidson said “Within a decade, most of us on spaceship Earth will face the prospect of choking, freezing, burning or drowning, and all of us are likely to be extremely uncomfortable unless measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gases now.”  Well it is now 2014, 8 years into Kenneth’s 10-year prediction, and we didn’t reduce greenhouse gases, we actually increased them, and are most people on Earth choking, freezing, burning or drowning?  Hardly.  Conditions today are little different to 2006.  There are thousands of similarly exaggerated ludicrous predictions that can be found on the internet if you bother to look.  When you make a prediction and it doesn’t come true, it makes me sceptical of your position.  So stop it.

 Step 2 – When you make a prediction, don’t just say something “might” happen

The word “might” in that context just means a chance of more than 0% and less than 100%.  Not very helpful.  It is plainly transparent what you are doing when you say something “might” happen.  If it happens, you will triumphantly declare that you were right, and if it doesn’t happen, you will defensively declare that you only said it “might” happen, not that it definitely “would”.  If you say something “might” happen, you need to follow that up with something more specific, like “very likely” or “a slim chance” or “50/50″, otherwise I will write you off as a flake.

 Step 3 – Don’t live your life like you don’t believe a word you’re saying

Don’t say that the oceans will rise 10 metres this century, and then buy a house beside the beach.  Don’t say that we need to reduce emissions, and then fly around in a private jet.  If you say we should all live like the Amish, then you should live like the Amish.  Don’t complain that the Earth is overpopulated, and then father 6 children.  Yes, I’m looking at you, Sting.  Practice what you preach and you will gain my respect.

 Step 4 – Stop the hate

A. A. Gill once said “What is stopping vast numbers of perfectly decent concerned folk getting with the programme is the eye-rolling, dismissive loathing of the people yelling at them to get with the programme.”  Heed his words.  Assume I’m a good person.  Call me a bad person because I haven’t yet converted to your religion and you will all but guarantee I never will.

 Step 5 – Stop avoiding debate

On any issue, if I see that one side is willing to debate but the other side isn’t, I instinctively gravitate to the side that wants to debate.  It seems logical that the side that wants to debate believes they have a strong position with supporting arguments that will convince most listeners.  The side that refuses to debate does so because they know their position is weak and they can’t tolerate the thought of losing the debate.  So stop trying to think up reasons to not debate.  There are no good reasons to not debate.  Any time you start a sentence with “I’m not going to debate because…” I guarantee you the rest of that sentence is going to make you sound like a half-wit and a coward.  So debate.  Fairly.  Give your opponent equal time and respect.  And if, at the end of the debate, most listeners side with your opponent, don’t throw a tantrum.  Just go away and work on your arguments and be better prepared for the next debate.  Then you’ll have my respect.  Try to violate your opponent’s right to free speech and you become my enemy.

 Step 6 – Answer questions.

Any time I see a politician or commentator refuse to answer a question I reasonably conclude it is because the answer would be embarrassing and/or damaging.  So I assume the worst.  I think of the worst possible answer and assume it’s the case.  So just answer the question, even if the answer damages your case.  You can’t do any more damage than by not answering.  At least you’ll gain my respect for being honest.  So when somebody asks you “How much cooler do you think the globe will be on 1 January 2100 as a result of the introduction of Australia’s carbon dioxide tax?” give the honest answer which is “By an imperceptibly small amount.”  Everybody knows that is the truth so just say it.  And then when they ask “So what’s the point?” you can explain to them how it is a symbolic gesture, and symbolic gestures are important, they raise awareness and understanding and can alter behaviour, and hopefully it will cause us to use less coal and oil, and it shows the world we care, and maybe the rest of the world will get on board and do the same and then the effect on global temperatures will be more substantial.  See, it’s not that hard.  It’s better than hissing and spitting at the questioner and generally acting like a petulant child.  And by the way, trying to justify your refusal to answer on the grounds that the questioner is not a qualified climate scientist doesn’t work.  Just answer the bloody question, whatever it is (unless it is something inappropriately personal, like “what colour undies are you wearing?”).

 Step 7 - Stop enjoying catastrophes

When you hear evidence that the globe may not be warming as much as we thought, don’t react like this is terrible news.  Take Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, who said “If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences.”  Kudos to Phil for having the courage to admit what I’ve long suspected about many Warmists, that they actually want the globe to warm.  Catastrophically. It follows they would feel tremendously disappointed if millions of people aren’t killed as they predicted.  If I predicted some catastrophe I would follow that up with “…but I really hope I’m wrong.”  When you tell a Warmist that since 1998 it appears that global warming is slowing down or maybe even stalled entirely, they could say “Yeah, that’s great.  Maybe things won’t be so bad after all.  I really hope I was wrong and maybe those millions of deaths I predicted won’t happen.” Instead, mostly they become angry, defensive, abusive, and insist that global warming is going to kick into gear any time now.  Can’t you see that when you give people the impression that you want millions of people to die just so that you can gloat and say “Ha, ha, I told you so” –  it’s a bit of a turn off?

 Step 8 – Don’t use invalid arguments.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (349 votes cast)

New Lewandowsky study finds Uncertainty Monster under his bed, will cost billions

Get ready. Nowhere and nothing is safe. The Uncertainty Monster is here and it wants to raid your national finances.

In another stroke of tax-funded-insight, Stephan Lewandowsky has scientifically shown that the less we know, the more we should spend. This could be the perpetual-fountain-of-grants for scientists who discover Uncertainty. Sadly this is bad news for scientists who find something real instead.

Gone are the days when policy-makers try to do cost-benefit analysis on the factors we know and can measure. In a brave new world The Uncertainty Monster arrives in Monte Carlo and eats the Discount Rate. Common sense dissolves in a naked singularity, then Climatic Change publishes what’s left.

It’s not clear what effect this news will have on national climate science research budgets. Lewandowsky notes in Part I that: “…it is independent of the presumed magnitude of climate sensitivity.” This will come as a relief to modern climate scientists who have been actively failing to pin down climate sensitivity for nearly four decades. Now we know that it doesn’t matter what climate sensitivity is,  the answer is “money”.

Some critics warn that political leaders might use this new research as a reason to cancel all BOM and CSIRO climate funding. After all, it follows that better research that reduces uncertainty may also reduce the need for urgent action. Anyone who cares about the climate would surely not tolerate the risk.

Potentially The Uncertainty Monster implies that a disaster that is highly uncertain, but very unlikely, like, say, a Martian invasion, requires more urgent action than a disaster that is 99% likely but quite certain, like, say, national bankruptcy. It follows that accurate numbers are pointless, and the field of inquiry known as mathematics may be canceled too.

This new scientific philosophy will be a boon for researchers of asteroids and aliens — since their Uncertainty Monsters are potentially as large as The Universe, it follows that the budget should match. There are rumors Congress is now looking at aliens and asteroids anew, and will allocate 100% of the US national budget to both.

In other news the journal Climatic Change, formerly a peer reviewed journal, has announced it is remaking itself as a satirical outlet. The editor said: “There are so few true parody journals, and seriously, most real science is dry.  Naturally, don’t take anything we publish seriously again.”

Scientists unmask the climate uncertainty monster

Date: April 4, 2014
Source:University of Bristol
Summary:Increasing uncertainty in the climate system compels a greater urgency for climate change mitigation, according to new research. Scientists have shown that as uncertainty in the temperature increase expected with a doubling of carbon dioxide from pre-industrial levels rises, so do the economic damages of increased climate change. Greater uncertainty also increases the likelihood of exceeding ‘safe’ temperature limits and the probability of failing to reach mitigation targets. The authors highlight this with the case of future sea level, as larger uncertainty in sea level rise requires greater precautionary action to manage flood risk.

Scientific uncertainty has been described as a ‘monster’ that prevents understanding and delays mitigative action in response to climate change. New research by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Bristol, and international colleagues, shows that uncertainty should make us more rather than less concerned about climate change.

In two companion papers, published today in Climatic Change, the researchers investigated the mathematics of uncertainty in the climate system and showed that increased scientific uncertainty necessitates even greater action to mitigate climate change.

The scientists used an ordinal approach — a range of mathematical methods that address the question: ‘What would the consequences be if uncertainty is even greater than we think it is?’

They show that as uncertainty in the temperature increase expected with a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels rises, so do the economic damages of increased climate change. Greater uncertainty also increases the likelihood of exceeding ‘safe’ temperature limits and the probability of failing to reach mitigation targets. The authors highlight this with the case of future sea level, as larger uncertainty in sea level rise requires greater precautionary action to manage flood risk.

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology and member of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol, said: “We can understand the implications of uncertainty, and in the case of the climate system, it is very clear that greater uncertainty will make things even worse. This means that we can never say that there is too much uncertainty for us to act. If you appeal to uncertainty to make a policy decision the legitimate conclusion is to increase the urgency of mitigation.”

Co-author, Dr James Risbey of Australia’s CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, said: “Some point to uncertainty as a way to minimize the climate change problem, when in fact it means that the problem is more likely to be worse than expected in the absence of that uncertainty. This result is robust to a range of assumptions and shows that uncertainty does not excuse inaction.”

These new findings challenge the frequent public misinterpretation of uncertainty as a reason to delay action. Arguing against mitigation by appealing to uncertainty is therefore misplaced: any appeal to uncertainty should provoke a greater, rather than weaker, concern about climate change than in the absence of uncertainty.

[Science Daily]


Stephan Lewandowsky, James S. Risbey, Michael Smithson, Ben R. Newell, John Hunter. Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part I. Uncertainty and unabated emissions. Climatic Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1082-7Stephan Lewandowsky, James S. Risbey, Michael Smithson, Ben R. Newell. Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part II. Uncertainty and mitigation. Climatic Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1083-6

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (92 votes cast)

Abbott tells G20 that climate is off the agenda (and the EU are not happy)

Australia is holding the G20 later this year. P.M. Tony Abbott has said climate will not even be on the agenda. The EU and the UN are not happy about that, so we know this is an excellent move. Bravo Abbott.

It’s another day in the death of the climate-religion.

EU ‘unhappy’ climate change is off G20 agenda

[The Australian] EUROPE is unhappy with Australia’s decision to drop climate change from the G20 agenda and is lobbying the Abbott government to reconsider.

European Union officials say Australia has become completely “disengaged” on climate change since Tony Abbott was elected in September last year.

They are disappointed with the Prime Minister’s approach, saying Australia was considered an important climate change player under Labor.

One well-placed EU official has likened the change to “losing an ally”.

The EU has a long-running emissions trading scheme which was going to be linked to Australia’s market. But Mr Abbott has pledged to scrap the carbon price in favour of his direct action policy.

An entire continent doesn’t like Abbott’s climate action plan apparently.

Europe is sceptical of Mr Abbott’s replacement plan.

How do we know? An unnamed person reckons there are lots of scientists who say it won’t work.

“You have a huge amount of scientists and economists saying the direct action policy isn’t going to work,” the official, who did not want to be named, said in the Belgian capital Brussels this week.

Abbott merely wants the G20 to stick to topics that matter:

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.1/10 (205 votes cast)

Weekend Unthreaded

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.8/10 (15 votes cast)

Journal admits Lewandowsky paper retracted because it failed. Twice!

Relish this win.

Recursive Fury, the ideated paper that Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook and Michael Hubble-Marriott tried to publish early last year, was of such poor quality that it was placed in the scientific limbo-land of being not withdrawn, not retracted, and not published for almost 12 months. Lewandowsky previously published an article claiming skeptics believed the Moon Landing was faked, based on only 10 anonymous internet responses gleaned from sites that hate skeptics.  Recursive Fury made out that skeptics who objected this previous paper were barking-mad conspiracy theorists with nefarious intent.

Finally, a  week ago, the journal issued a strange but brief official retraction notice. Bizarrely, despite the ignominious failure, Lewandowsky and many others played the victim card, fanning the idea that legal threats had stopped them from publishing a paper that was otherwise academically and ethically fine. The howls of faux-outrage grew, as usual, over-played to the point where they became self-defeating.

Now Frontiers, the journal, already suffering from being associated with such dubious work, has finally had to set the record straight and defend their reputation. They had not caved in to bullying, or legal threats from the evil denier machine. Actually there were no threats at all, and the  complaints they received from skeptics “were well argued and cogent”. (See below).

Furthermore the journal admitted it had taken a whole year to retract the paper because Frontiers asked Lewandowsky et al to resubmit, and they did, only to fail a second time to produce a paper worth publishing.

I’d like to thank the Frontiers editorial staff for choosing the right path (albeit a bit slowly), and just say “Welcome to the Climate Wars”. It’s fun isn’t it?

In my opinion Frontiers should have never published the profoundly unscientific work in the first place.

It boggles the mind that Lewandowsky (a Psychology Professor), and Cook (who is doing a PhD in Psychology) so misread the situation, and know so little about … you know, psychology. Lewandowksy either bragged or gloated and advertised his seemingly narcissistic views without realizing that he was drawing attention to his own grand failure, and hurting the very journal that had tried to help him. Cook evidently did not see the train wreck coming either. The pain-quotient for the journal finally reached the point where the journal had to act. It was so inevitable. Once again, Lewandowsky, Cook and Marriott have been shown to have little grip on what is reasonable. Lewandowsky was so delighted with the false fury in the media he listed it all again in his blog. Apparently The Guardian fell for the hyped up bullying claim. Elaine McKewon, a reviewer, tried to whip up sympathy on The Conversation, Scientific American and Socialscienceplace (the latter has already added the Frontiers clarification). Techdirt also got caught. Desmog obediently whipped up false angst. How many will correct their record? Are they even interested in truth?

In the end, remember, Recursive Fury is one of Lewandowsky’s proudest seminal achievements, one of his “most read papers“. This is Lewandowsky, below, framing the sensible objections to his work as cyber bullying, public abuse, trolling, vexatious, did I mention sadistic?

The strategies employed in those attacks follow a common playbook, regardless of which scientific proposition is being denied and regardless of who the targeted scientists are: There is cyber-bullying and public abuse by “trolling” (which recent research has linked to sadism); there is harassment by vexatious freedom-of-information (FOI) requests; there are the complaints to academic institutions; legal threats; and perhaps most troubling, there is the intimidation of journal editors and publishers who are acting on manuscripts that are considered inconvenient.

Such restraint. Marvel that he left out the pedophilia!

Credit for this unequivocal win goes to Stephen McIntyre, Barry Woods, Shub Niggurath, Geoff Chambers, Foxgoose, Brandon Shollenberger, Paul Matthews, Lucia, and Anthony Watts (see his letter). In Perth, James Doogue and Michael Kile have also applied calm relentless pressure. Thank you to everyone who helped.

Now we ought turn our focus to UWA, which is still hosting a copy of the failed paper and refusing to release data to Steve McIntyre. It’s time also to talk to the ARC which funded the entire fiasco, and to The Royal Society, and the University of Bristol, which both fund and endorse the naked ad hominem attacks of Lewandowsky.

Frontiers in Psychology issue new statement

(My bolding)

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (97 votes cast)