JoNova

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



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Funded arrogance

Professor Matthew England

The debate that Senator Steve Fielding started continues, this time between heavyweights in Australian climate science. Yet again, the side with the funding, the power, and the large claims is unable to answer basic polite science questions. The pompous arrogance is evident. Why not just answer the question?

Professor Matthew England’s research teams have received nearly $2.5 million in funding from the Australian government, much of it for studying oceans and climate change. So when we need good answers on the topic, he would be the man. If a school student asked for help, we might expect only a two line reply passing on a link. But when the question comes from one of the most informed climate scientists in the country, with 12 years as head of Australia’s National Climate Centre, and it’s about a graph at the centre of legislative negotiations, it’s inexcusable that the reply was vague, poorly reasoned and didn’t answer the question. All this, in a conversation that England himself started.

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Global politics is being influenced by the climate fawners

More muddy thinking. Once again, a politico-journalist writes about science and misses the point. Science is not like law, politics or sport: there is no umpire, no judge, no boss who sets the rules (at least not one you can interview). Opinions don’t control the climate, yet Mike Steketee makes the basic error of elevating opinions above The Real World. Steketee is The Australian newspaper’s National Affairs Editor. He’s even won a Walkley award for journalism, yet somehow, the rules of engagement for science writing are so lax he can get away with a commentary which fails the basic test of logic. He pays lip service to the benefits of scepticism in journalism, while he simply repeats official PR from international committees. This is not investigative journalism, or even informed commentary.

“We have the illusion of ‘free press’, but when the press is untrained in logic and reason, free press is just free propaganda.”

What’s so comi-tragic about Steketee is that he’s so sure he ‘understands’ science that he can patronisingly imply that Fielding-the-engineer, might be ‘influenced’ by a contrarian (god forbid, a person who thinks)—all while Steketee is clearly not just influenced, but beholden to group-think.  Yawn. There goes [...]

The Wong-Fielding meeting on global warming

Finally, the question we’ve all wanted to ask of the people in power: Where’s the evidence?

Senator Fielding holds a crucial vote on the proposed Emissions Trading Legislation.  Fielding and four independent scientists faced the Minister for the Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, The Chief Scientist, Penny Sackett, and Professor Will Steffen, director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. Read what happened from someone who was there.  Joanne Nova

Guest Post by Dr David Evans

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School president censors science

In a spot of unwitting self-parody Michael Kundu states: “…we need to have the ability to tell fact from fiction. This last mailing is an excellent example of ‘fiction’.” Thus Michael Kundu, whale photographer, pronounces the data from NASA, Hadley, UAH, CSSP, IPPC, as fiction. [...]

Finally, a politician doing what politicians should do

This is a big step. Steve Fielding in Australia holds a crucial senate vote on the proposed Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). Astonishingly (for a politician) he stands out from the crowd for simply saying the obvious. He wants to “hear from both sides of the debate.”

A simple statement like this should not be remarkable—but it’s so rare. Steve Fielding assumed the mainstream thinking was right, but is now doing what anyone who hasn’t looked at the debate in detail ought to be doing. Some research. It’s a rare occasion when you can see the good side of democracy and free speech in action. He paid for himself to fly to the far side of the world to attend Heartland’s 3rd conference on Climate Change to hear from scientists who are not convinced carbon has a large role to play in our climate.

The Australian newspaper covered it. And Steve expanded today in the Australian on why he went to Washington.

His visit to the Heartland conference has given the Australian ABC enough reason to bother sending a journalist to it (unlike the two previous conferences). See their short coverage from Washington. (Look out for the glimpse of The [...]