JoNova

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

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The loooooong road to regaining trust?

POSTNOTE (2011): In hindsight, this was probably a critical moment for Judith Curry, known henceforth as a Judith-Curry-moment). She has gone on to set up an excellent blog [Climate etc], where you can see many details of climate science debated openly with insight and honesty.

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Just in case anyone out there has missed it, there is one of those landmark posts on Watts Up this weekend. Judith Curry tried to explain how Climate Scientists need to rebuild trust, and made the mistake of using the “Denier” insult (even though she thinks of it as just a label, rather than a perjorative term). She is still trying to blame poor communication or poor strategies to explain why Climate Science is looking so shonky at the moment. Then Willis Eschenbach diplomatically fries that idea, and points out that the only way to regain trust is not to look like honest scientists but to be honest scientists: to disavow the bad practices and disown the people who have failed science so badly.

Judith Curry responds graciously

To her credit she is engaging skeptics, and she points out in the comments to Willis’ post that:

… by staking this [...]

If carbon didn’t warm us, what did?

Svensmarks Cosmic Ray Theory. TOP: If the sun’s magnetic field is weak it allows more cosmic rays, which may seed more clouds on Earth. BOTTOM: A strong solar magnetic field blocks the same rays and could mean less clouds and clearer skies.

People have known for 200 years that there’s some link between sunspots and our climate.  In 1800, the astronomer William Herschel didn’t need a climate model, he didn’t even have a calculator — yet he could see that wheat prices rose and fell in time with the sunspot cycle. Since then, people have noticed that rainfall patterns are also linked to sunspots.

Sunspots themselves don’t make much difference to us, but they are a sign of how weak or strong the sun’s magnetic field is. This massive solar magnetic field reaches out around the Earth, and it shields us from cosmic rays. Dr Henrik Svensmark has suggested that if more cosmic rays reach further down into our atmosphere, they might ionize molecules and help “seed” more clouds. As it happens, this year, the sun has almost no sunspots, but for much of the late 20th Century, the solar magnetic field was extremely active. If the theory is [...]

Skeptics Handbook permeates Copenhagen

Part II of Climate Change Gone Dutch. This is one of the best advertisements I’ve seen yet for The Skeptics Handbook. Seeing footage like this gives me a warm glow. Thanks atomkerman. Priceless!

It’s 5 minutes and the fun starts at 2:00 mins. (Cue ominous soundtrack). Introducing… the dreaded skeptic — a faceless trench coated “mafia” man who surreptitiously leaves a copy of The Skeptics Handbook on the table for …  (gasp)… anyone to read. How dangerous. Friends of the baseless theory do what they always do, try to hide the graphs from public view. But the insidious copies are out there… people are reading them… the clock ticks.

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The global gullibles shift to high gear smear

It’s tough when you can’t talk evidence, and the topic is science. What’s left is just the Stone Age mud-throwing campaign.

There’s a Matrix-moment coming for Clive Hamilton. Skeptics are now the grassroots activists against Big Money and Big Lies, fighting for the poor and the environment. He’s doing his damnedest to suppress community participation, promote intolerance, and effectively fight for banker profits, corrupt scientists, and plundering bureaucrats.

The AGW camp has on its side all the authority positions in climate science (you don’t get appointed unless you believe), all the climate and science journals, all the government and university funding, the computer models, the Nobel prizes, the Western governments, all the propaganda money can buy, the Greens, the politically correct, the UN, and all the mainstream media (at least, until recently). And the skeptics have…evidence, logic, retired scientists, and donations to blogs. Clive imagines he is speaking truth to power.

Since he can’t win on the science, he tries to bully instead (ironically while whining about…bullies). He peddles easily refutable lies, using unverifiable words from anonymous entities. Twice, Hamilton even contradicts himself, probably because he knows he’s making defamatory claims he can’t back up.

Hamilton realizes [...]

GISS goulash at Gladstone

Gladstone is half way up the coast of Queensland, and though GISS (the Goddard Institute of Space Studies) can claim it has not “adjusted” the data, it appears to have cherry picked it.

Thanks to Ken Stewart for his detailed attention. The information here and graphs come from his blog.

Here’s how you double the warming trend without “adjusting” the data.

Start with several different records The oldest is the BOM (Bureau of Met) Post Office. The highest is the BOM radar, which stepwise jumps up a whole degree. The last is the BOM Airport, which confirms that the Radar for some reason is 1 degree higher than the rest.

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Lambert’s Pinker-tape “ambush”: PR stunt

Lambert has claimed a major win over his use of a voice recording (Monckton’s McLuhan Moment). As usual, it all sounds incredibly clear cut and impressive until the bluff gets hit with a 5 minute test…

The bottom line? The infamous “Pinker tape” turns out to be a reenacted piece of cherry-picking exaggeration, where lines are taken out of context to imply something important, or to frame it as if it was significant.

It’s true Monckton did get Pinker’s sex wrong (golly), and there was a point about fluxes being at the surface vs top of the atmosphere, but nothing Pinker or Lambert said makes much difference to the point that matters: climate sensitivity. (When the top of atmosphere problem emerged, Monckton recalculated the climate sensitivity on the spot; it changed from  “very low” to “even lower”.)  Pinker herself acknowledges that Monckton’s approach is reasonable.

Monckton has over the years pointed to many reasons why climate sensitivity is low. The Pinker paper is just another one of these corroborating pieces (and it looks a doozy). Using satellite measurements, Pinker shows that more sunlight is reaching the surface of the Earth (possibly due to fewer clouds over the ocean).  Over the [...]

The Jedi mind trick falters…

There are dozens of the Downfall of Hitler parodies, but this one stands above. (Click on the square above to see it).

Thank you jlakey1!  You made me laugh.

His theme of just how successful the big fake scam was, how close it came to success, and how completely the media prostrated themselves to be the doormats for big bankers and bureaucrats to walk on: “the public were begging for one world government” is so well described, so incisively done… I won’t do a plot spoiler. It’s only 3:54 minutes.  Enjoy

10 Wong reasons to tax us

Why tobacco is central to explaining Climate Science…

The Sydney Morning Herald published a speech by Penny Wong (our Minister of Climate Change, Storms, Droughts, and Rainy Days). Sometimes I marvel that humanity ever managed to get civilized.

“Climate Sceptics are all red herrings and quackery”

Get ready for the startling Proof by Motherhood Statements & WhiteWash. I’m loosely Paraphrasing Penny, taking the liberty of including the fuller more accurate message (that I’m sure she would want to share)… [then adding a few thoughts].

A strong global agreement is apparently “manifestly in Australia’s own national interest” (and worth paying billions upon billions for). Why?

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The big picture: 65 million years of temperature swings

Greenland Temperatures – last 10,000 years. Are we headed for an ice age? (See below for more detail.)

David Lappi is a geologist from Alaska who has sent in a set of beautiful graphs–including an especially prosaic one of the last 10,000 years in Greenland–that he put together himself (and which I’ve copied here at the top).

If you wonder where today’s temperature fits in with the grand scheme of time on Earth since the dinosaurs were wiped out, here’s the history. We start with the whole 65 million years, then zoom in, and zoom in again to the last 12,000 from both ends of the world. What’s obvious is that in terms of homo sapiens history, things are warm now (because we’re not in an ice age). But, in terms of homo sapiens civilization, things are cooler than usual, and appear to be cooling.

Then again, since T-rex & Co. vanished, it’s been one long slide down the thermometer, and our current “record heatwave” is far cooler than normal. The dinosaurs would have scoffed at us: “What? You think this is warm?”

With so much volatility in the graphs, anyone could play “pick a trend” and depending on [...]

4. Carbon dioxide is already absorbing almost all it can

Here’s why it’s possible that doubling CO2 won’t make much difference.

The carbon that’s already up in the atmosphere absorbs most of the light it can. CO2 only “soaks up” its favorite wavelengths of light, and it’s close to saturation point. It manages to grab a bit more light from wavelengths that are close to its favorite bands, but it can’t do much more, because there are not many left-over photons at the right wavelengths.

The natural greenhouse effect is real, and it does keep us warm, but it’s already reached its peak performance.

Throw more carbon up there and most of the extra gas is just “unemployed” molecules.

This graph shows the additional warming effect of each extra 20ppm of atmospheric CO2.

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Scandinavia-gate

Yet again,  we have a situation where the data doesn’t match the full-gloss coloured graphs produced by the PR agency for global warming called the IPCC.

Frank Lansner and Nicolai Skjoldby have started a new blog Hide The Decline, and posted that Scandinavian data shows clearly that temperatures got markedly cooler from 1950-1970, before they began rising again, and even after the warming, they only appear to be back where they were. But, all the IPCC graphs minimize the cooling. It would be reasonable to conclude from the data that the temperature today in Scandinavia is roughly similar to that of the 1930′s. But, you’d never know this from looking at the IPCC graphs.

Scandinavian Temperatures: 25 data series combined from The Nordklim database (left), compared to the IPCC's temperature graph for the area.

The IPCC needs to come forward and explain why its graphs are so different.

There is no “hockey stick warming” here. There is no unprecedented heat, and there is no good correlation with the rise of carbon dioxide either. Sure, this is just one region, not the globe, but this is yet another example of how the IPCC has not presented an honest assessment of the information.

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Shock: Phil Jones says the obvious. BBC asks real questions.

Here’s the short version of that BBC interview. (Wow? Was it really the BBC?) This major re-framing of the story and admission of facts are part of the ClimateGate Virus epidemic. Journalists are starting to ask better questions, and researchers are starting to give better answers. OK, it’s not exactly a grilling, but neither is Roger Harrabin allowing the UN to promote its scare campaign without a few seriously-pointed questions. This represents almost as big a turnaround for Harrabin as for Jones (which I’ll expand on below). Only two years ago, he claimed skeptics were funded to spread uncertainty, and likened them to tobacco industry lobbyists. How must he feel to suddenly discover they actually had a case worth considering?

Cutting to the chase: paraphrasing Phil Jones

Stripped of the extras, Jones’ answers boil down to the following (I’ve added a few things he didn’t say [in square brackets], and skipped some questions ):

A) This recent warming trend was no different from others we have measured. The world warmed at the same rate in 1860-1880, 1919-1940, and 1975-1998. [Kinda cyclical really, every 55-60 years or so, we start another round.]

Hadley Global Temperature Graph with Phil Jones trends annotated on top.

[...]

The great collapse of the global warming myth

Photo adapted from Ron Neibrugge’s beautifully crisp original at Wild Nature Images

This is it: The dam wall is breached.

There are defining moments in any era, and we are right now in the midst of the Great Collapse.

Jan 30, 2010: the hottest hoax

Open Magazine's "Hottest Hoax in the World" Cover Issue

The weekend before last, a magazine cover called it Fraud.  This could have been New Scientist, Scientific American, Discover, or any of the other popular science magazines, but it wasn’t.  They were all scooped by an Indian publication, Open Magazine, that had only been running for a year.

The climate change fraud that is now unraveling is unprecedented in its deceit, unmatched in scope—and for the liberal elite, akin to 9 on the Richter scale.  Never have so few fooled so many for so long, ever.

The entire world was being asked to change the way it lives on the basis of pure hyperbole. Propriety, probity and transparency were routinely sacrificed.

Feb 2, 2010: the Australian abandons the IPCC and the ETS [...]

Not FOUR degrees, 1.4 degrees

ADDENDUM BELOW (with answers from Christopher Monckton)

The December SPPI monthly report came out on Jan 23. As usual, it contains graphs of the latest juiciest data: sea levels, ice, sunspots, cyclones, global temperature trends and the latest papers. Here’s a few snippets that caught my eye.

Get ready for 1.4 degrees (or more… or less).

Global Temperature Trends 1981-2009

Call me a cherry picker, but going by the full satellite data record we have and drawing a simplistic straight line, we are rocketing towards 1.4 degrees of warming by 2100, (but only if that trend of the last 30 years doesn’t change, which it is, every year). For those who are new to this, there are two interpretations of the satellite data and this neatly combines both of them (UAH and RSS) and makes one wiggly line out of masses of data.  Not surprisingly, the SPPI team have chosen to ignore the surface record of airports and air-conditioners, “ground based thermometers”.

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French translation of Skeptics Handbook II

What do you do in your spare time — translate scientific and socio-political texts on atmospheric physics?

French Translation Skeptics Handbook II

There are those who are bridges between populations, who fight to spread information — the antidote to darkness.

This is the first translations of the Skeptics Handbook II, “Global Bullies Want  Your Money”. (And if you are wondering, this version of the Skeptics Handbook, which has been out since Nov 19, 2009,  is not just an update on Skeptics Handbook I. It is a totally new booklet.)

A big thank you again to Pierre Allemand for his professionalism, dedication and skill in translating the text and artwork. The place to go for French-speakers is to skyfal.free.fr

The Franco roots of English are on display: the Tyrannie, the Risques, the Marche du Carbone!

When the Normans conquered England in 1066 they bought French words. English became a quixotic meld of common Germanic words and polysyllabic French ones. (The farm animals were German, but the meat — the beef, poultry, and pork — was from France.)

The first Skeptics Handbook is also available in French.

Click on the image to download the French version. (2.4 Mb)

(More curious, [...]

Australian climate poll: 60% passionate (but half in the dark)

The poll of Australians commission by the Australian Climate Science Coalition is more sophisticated than the BBC poll, and shows a similar trend against the theory of man-made global catastrophe. But, perhaps not surprisingly, as with the nature of fraud and misinformation, the results also contain contradictions. It’s quicksand out there in voter-world. Half the population is no longer sold on the emissions trading scheme, but the other half is unaware of what is unfolding. A bare majority of Australians still want to do “something” to combat climate change (I wonder if the same number of people want to do “something” to combat the weather), but even those who want action don’t want to spend very much.

The full report PDF.

Table 20: ACSC Poll of Australians Jan 2010

The things we know for sure: Skepticism is growing in Australia since Climategate (and all the other gates) and the failure of Copenhagen. There is a great deal of ignorance out there on both sides of the fence. (The science communication on this topic has been poor, worse, and awful.) The population is politically split: The half that doesn’t believe in the scare campaign [...]

Monckton tour: a sellout with extra dates in Perth, Sydney

Christopher Monckton’s tour here has been so successful that extra dates have been booked for Perth (now Monday night and Tuesday night this week) and also a huge final show in Sydney on Friday with none-other than Alan Jones as MC. (For people not in Australia, Alan Jones is one of the most popular talk-back radio celebrities here). All up, Monckton will has spoken to around 6000 people live, and countless thousands through a packed schedule of radio interviews around the country.

UPDATE: Sydney has become a hot debate with Tim Lambert aka Deltoid  (see below). You must pre register to avoid disappointment for the Sydney final event on Friday. (download PDF!) The email to: ‘cool@exemail.com.au’ OR FAX: (02) 4861 2029

Monckton has played to packed houses everywhere, this one was in Newcastle. Photo: Thanks to Stefan.

Videos from one of the Melbourne speeches are linked below in two parts–they are excellent quality footage. Thanks to Case Smit and John Smeed for bringing the man and his wife Juliette this far around the world. Kudos to Ian Plimer for accompanying him.

Melbourne Part II

In Noosa, his talk was so popular that 350 [...]

Seismic shifts in opinions

A new BBC poll shows a major shift in public opinion in the UK since just last November. Look at the swing. Of the 41% of people who then said the cause of climate change was “well established,” more than 1 in 4  have switched sides. These people made up the major base of the active support, yet they are now questioning the assumption that man-made gases are driving the change.

Only 26% of people think “climate change is happening, and is now established as largely man-made”; on the other hand, 25% are so skeptical, they don’t believe climate change is happening at all.

[...]

Pitman: paid $190,000 a year to throw baseless insults

Last week a paid public servant spoke untruths, but instead of being exposed by the media, he was aided by our taxpayer-funded public broadcast network. Andy Pitman spoke about the socio-economic position of a group he avoids, and let down UNSW, abused the title “Professor”, and misled the public.

The journalists allowed the baseless smears to be broadcast without question, not just once, but twice.

Professor Andy Pitman on ABC Radio: Eleanor Hall interviews Andy Pitman on glaciers.

Robin Williams thought it was so “useful” he rebroadcast the same factually incorrect, irrelevant material on his “science” show. Oops.

It’s hard to cram more anti-truths into one declaration:

“My personal view is that climate scientists are losing the fight with climate sceptics. That the sceptics are so well funded, so well organized, have nothing else to do, they kind of don’t have day jobs, they can put all of their efforts into misinforming and miscommunicating climate science to the public, whereas the climate scientists have day jobs and this isn’t one of them. All of the efforts you do in an IPCC report is done out of hours, voluntarily, for no funding and no pay, whereas the sceptics are being [...]

Liberal policy removes rewards for bankers

Abbott still panders to the fake carbon scare, but takes the bankers and futures traders right out of the equation by ditching emissions trading:

“A coalition government would create a $1 billion fund that would be used to purchase initiatives aimed at reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has announced.”

The Coalition will have to find $3.2 b, compared to Rudd’s $40-$114 billion money-go-round.

Mr Abbott said the criteria by which the coalition would judge the bids for spending would fall into four categories. It must involve a reduction in emissions and it must improve the environment. ‘Third, there must be no increase in cost to consumers”, … (fourth, no lost jobs).

So the Libs take the policy that gives them the back door escape route — they can say that nothing about their scheme is bad, even if the science of climate change turns out to be “absolute crap”.

It’s a lot better than the Turnbull-led effort in Nov 2009 of dancing with the trading scheme on offer, except that I wish the  Liberals would be brave — stand up to the science bullies, and just say Who needs any policy at all on a topic [...]