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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The debate continues: Dr Glikson v Joanne Nova

Dr Andrew Glikson (an Earth and paleoclimate scientist, at the Australian National University) contacted Quadrant offering to write about the evidence for man-made global warming. Quadrant approached me asking for my response. Dr Glikson replied to my reply, and I replied again to him (copied below). No money exchanged hands, but Dr Glikson is, I presume, writing in an employed capacity, while I write pro bono. Why is it that the unpaid self taught commentator needs to point out the evidence he doesn’t seem to be aware of? Why does a PhD need to be reminded of basic scientific principles (like, don’t argue from authority). Such is the vacuum of funding for other theories that a debate that ought to happen inside the university obviously hasn’t occurred. Such is the decrepit, anaemic state of university science that even a doctorate doesn’t guarantee a scientist can reason. Where is the rigor in the training, and the discipline in the analysis?

Credibility lies on evidence

by Joanne Nova

April 29, 2010

Reply to Andrew Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson still misses the point, and backs his arguments with weak evidence and logical errors. Instead of empirical evidence, often [...]

Bluster comes back to Bite Rudd

Sigh. Time to party right? Heigh Ho and ra ha ha and all that. Yes, forgive me for not cracking open the champagne. Rudd (Australia’s PM) has finally admitted what skeptics have known for two months, that he doesn’t have the courage of his “convictions” and that all the pious rhetoric was a bluff.

A week before the National Budget comes out, he’s announced he’s shelving the Emissions Trading Scheme that was a defining part of his election campaign for Kevin ’07. It shocked some of the pundits.

Naturally, it’s not bad news, but let’s face it, a green tax is still on the agenda, literally billions of dollars is still being wasted in government programs, we’re still “signed up” for UN agreements worth gadzillions, and to top that off, we have a Prime Minister who’s so unprincipled that in his own words he’s a donothing delayer, an inactivist, a man who gambles recklessly with our childrens future. He’s a political coward, and a failure as a leader, and he’s acting against what he believes is Australia’s best economic interests. He said all that, and all the quotes of his faux anger (see below) come from just one speech.

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The silent undercurrent of skepticism

The Spectator gave me an unusual assignment. An open-ended request to gather thoughts over a couple of weeks and note them in a diary. It’s an interesting genre because it brings out messages that might not come to life otherwise. This was printed in the Australian Edition of The Spectator Magazine, out today.

Jo Nova opens her diary

Another friend, Troy, has had that transformation: not from a climate ‘believer’ to ‘sceptic’, but from being only vaguely interested to being hopping mad. Friends like Troy know my husband David and I are sceptical of man-made global warming, and have listened (if only politely). Then one day they’ll call us, suddenly very interested in details of missing upper tropospheric patterns or Vostok Ice core data or some other unlikely topic. It’s always the same pattern — no matter whether they’re an accountant (like Troy), a lawyer, or our high school babysitter. They’ve admitted some doubt in public, and then been shocked at the force of the response. The sneering derision — Oh My God! How could you? — is over the top. It has an extraordinary effect, as if a fuse has been [...]

Mann sues: Minnesotans say “Go ahead. Make my day”

A joint post with Baa Humbug

It’s all about audacity.

Michael Mann’s contribution to modern science may one day be remembered as the guy who made it statistically possible to get  a thousand year temperature graph using any local telephone directory as a data source. (Who needs tree-rings?)

If you were a guy who’d been caught producing scientific work so inept that people could pour in random data and get the same “curve”, then you might take a satirical video on the chin (or crawl into a hole). But if you’re Michael Mann, and you also used the wrong proxy, you hid your data, used graphs upside down, and invented deceptive “tricks” to hide declines, then you might call your lawyers.

The Minnestoans for Global Warming (M4GW) made the hilariously popular Hide The Decline video, which has now been removed from YouTube. Mann claims they defamed him “by leaving viewers with the incorrect impression that he falsified data to generate desired results in connection with his research activities”. The Minnesotans said “please do”, and responded undaunted by producing a new version (see below).

[...]

No, Dr Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson writes for Quadrant and I respond .

This is a copy. It begs the question. Dr Glikson, is an Earth and paleo-climate scientist at the Australian National University. He’s paid to give us both sides of the story.

No, Dr Glikson

by Joanne Nova

April 19, 2010

Dr Andrew Glikson says the right motherhood lines [see: Case for Climate Change]: he talks about empirical evidence, and wants evidence based policies. All this is good, yet he sidesteps the main point — what exactly is the evidence for the theory of man-made global warming? It’s the only point that matters, yet when he presents evidence it’s either not empirical, not up to date, or not relevant. Why?

By hitting all the right key phrases a reader might accidentally think that Glikson is presenting key evidence and good reasoning. Take this for example: Glikson fears we’re turning away from evidence-based policies. (Me too!) But to complete the sentence he lists all the committees who predict bad weather 90 years from now. It makes for good PR, but is not scientific evidence.

Committee reports count as “evidence” in a court of law, but in science, certificates, declarations, contracts, commission [...]

Newsflash: The fightback campaign against skeptics

George Monbiot

The advocates of man-made global warming are getting “sick of reading” all the comments by the masses of   skeptical public citizens.

They’re desperate enough to try to rally the troops in Blog Comment Land. They must be hurting.

Are you fed up with sceptics and pseudo-scientists dominating blogs and news articles with their denialist propaganda? Well, fight back! We are trying to create an online army of online volunteers to try and tip the balance back in the favour of scientific fact, not scientific fiction.

To sign up, just enter your e-mail address on their site.

Lucky you, you’ll get a message every day pointing you to climate change news articles where teams of coordinated unskeptical people might congregate to repeat the same messages you’ve heard every day for the last 20 years. Somehow AGW advocates hope these same messages will still work after their leading heroes were caught saying “pretty awful things” in e-mails. Somehow they feel sure people will be motivated to help scientists who hide parts of graphs, lose records, and leave out caveats and uncertainties in the megadocuments our tax dollars pay for.

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The ABC — protecting big government from awkward questions

Not to state the bleeding obvious, but there is mammoth legislation on the table — you know the drill: it will change the landscape of the economy, affect every purchase, and eventually, affect our weather too – the whole enchilada. Since it’s so big, you’d be forgiven for thinking that our dedicated public funded broadcaster (the ABC) would leave no stone unturned to make sure that this nationally transformative legislation stacked up. After all, the Australian people pay for the ABC?

If, hypothetically, some major foreign financial houses were going to benefit from the proposed legislation, we could be sure that would set off the red alert at the ABC, they’d be searching high and low for potential conflicts of interest. If a Nobel Prize winning physicist, a professor of atmospheric chemistry, and our former head of Australia’s National Climate Center all held grave fears that the legislation was based on out-of-date, inaccurate science, then the ABC would ferret out these independent views, and make sure that the public at least heard their “take” on the situation. We could count on the ABC to find the whistle blowers who are trying to save the nation from wasting trillions of dollars [...]

The IPCC: 5,600 small white lies

It’s a case of Big-Spin and Bluster. It’s what they do: aggressively push a simple message, a theme, a piece of marketing, and like all the rest of their audacious PR, it’s at best a half-truth, and in this case, a lie.

Rajendra Pachauri states:

IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin.

As usual, it’s honest volunteers who have conscientiously tested the IPCC by going through 18,500 references. And the final total? Fully 5,600, or 30% of their references are not peer reviewed. Donna LaFramboise at NoConsensus has coordinated the dedicated team (that is a lot of references to go through).

How many times do we need to show they are incompetent and dishonest?

[...]

Co2 is the magic gas that makes plants grow

A little under half (typically about 45%) of the dry weight of any plant is carbon, and almost all that “C” came from CO2 in the atmosphere. No wonder plants love more CO2.

Trees and bushes can grow out of cracks in rocks because they suck the carbon right out of the air. Likewise hydroponics is only possible because the building blocks come from liquid and aerial fertilizer.

CO2 is about the only “pollution” you can pump around plants and watch them grow faster, stronger, taller and indeed more resistant to most of the stresses that normally bother a plant.

[...]

Who needs a committee report to spot rank deception?

Last week I was invited by the ABC to respond to Clive Hamilton and the Parliamentary Committee report on ClimateGate. It was published a couple of hours ago on the ABC Drum. (Or Try this link, who knows why the article moved? 14-4-09)

The issue of the ClimateGate emails leaked or hacked from the East Anglia CRU is not that complicated. The emails are damning because anyone who reads them understands that they show petty, unprofessional, and probably criminal behaviour. We know the guys who wrote them are not people we’d want to buy cars from. They are hiding information. We don’t need a committee to state the obvious.

The emails show some of the leading players in climate science talking about tricks to “hide declines”, they boast about manipulating the peer review process, and “getting” rid of papers they didn’t like from the IPCC reports. It’s clear the data wasn’t going the way they hoped, yet they screwed the results every way they could to milk the “right” conclusion. Above all else, they feared freedom of information requests, and did everything they could to avoid providing their data. ClimateGate shows these people were not [...]

Ecocide? Bring it on (in a Western government court).

British campaigner urges UN to accept “ecocide” as international crime

Some British lawyer thinks that the UN or another undemocratic body ought to have the right to try someone for crimes against “peace”, which would apparently include crimes against non-humans too: you know, harm to flat-fish, garden-variety weeds, fungus, and algae.

It’s easy to imagine the “law” descending into high farce: People call for trials of oil CEO’s for raising CO2 levels; the price of energy rises. People in Scotland build tidal energy generators; Children in Mongolia freeze, and kids in Bolivia can’t afford to go to school.  The tidal energy generators go on to destroy the habitat of the yellow bellied mud lark; the Bolivian kids go on to become cocaine farmers; the Mongolian kids don’t go on to become anything, and the UN calls for trials of the people who called for trials of the oil CEOs.

Supporters of a new ecocide law also believe it could be used to prosecute “climate deniers” who distort science and facts to discourage voters and politicians from taking action to tackle global warming and climate change.

Trials for people who twist, deny, and distort science? Bring it on, I say. Skeptical [...]

I’m speaking on GlobalCooling Radio Saturday morning (US time)

Get all the information on his main Global Cooling Radio Page

// < ![CDATA[ obj=new Object;obj.clockfile="0001-blue.swf";obj.TimeZone="USA_Dallas";obj.width=250;obj.height=250;obj.Place="";obj.wmode="transparent";showClock(obj); // ]]> // < ![CDATA[ obj=new Object;obj.clockfile="5001-blue.swf";obj.TimeZone="USA_Dallas";obj.width=300;obj.height=25;obj.Place="";obj.DateFormat="mm-DD-YYYY";obj.wmode="transparent";showClock(obj); // // ]]>The clocks above are central daylight savings time USA, so you can figure out what the time will be in your own zone. The interview starts at 10am (and a copy will be available on the site later). You  can send in questions to Mark, or phone in 646-727-3170 and ask a question.

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Himalayan glaciers on show

This is a glorious NASA image from The Earth Observatory. The Himalayan Mountains in Southern China on Christmas Day, 2009. If you’d like a large version, you can soak in 4Mb of detail. I’ve posted it just  because it’s captivating and we are so fortunate (for all NASA’s failings) that we can marvel at a view like this.

Note the scale (bottom right). These are rivers of ice one kilometer wide “unnamed”. Imagine what it would take to melt this ice?

[...]

Spiegel online

Did I say a few days ago there would be more feature articles? Well already, here is another long professional article.

Don’t be put off by the start. The sympathetic treatment of Jones is faint praise, not unreasonable, and in the end, taking an impartial line means telling something of both sides of the story. Articles like this will help skeptics far more than they will help the Big Scare Campaign.

There is plenty of ammo, and punches are landed:

On balance, the entire profession has been seriously harmed by the scandal. “We are currently suffering a massive erosion of trust,” concludes German climatologist Hans von Storch. “Climate research has been corrupted by politicization, just as nuclear physics was in the pre-Chernobyl days, when we were led to believe that nuclear power plants were completely safe.”

That any reasonably unbiased view ends up being supportive of skeptics is, of course, just what you’d expect of a topic where skeptics have so much of that essential ingredient reality on their side. I found the whole article worth reading, and I expect Parts 3 & 4  are the most interesting to skeptics. It’s good to finally see the work of people like McIntyre and [...]

GreenLeft, 3000 years behind the scientific times

Green Left Weekly has attacked the lone voice of reason at the Australian ABC (Chairman Maurice Newman), and demanded he be removed, all because Newman dared to suggest to ABC reporters that they might want to present both sides of the story. How scandalous!

Green Left is an Australian magazine that’s been in publication since 1990. In 2005, it apparently won an award as “Australia’s most popular political site”. How times have changed.

The story: “ABC chair pressures journo’s on climate change” Green Left effectively claims that Newman is a nasty man who’s trying to “influence” journalists. So what does the Green Left team think it’s trying to do… err, influence journalists? The single point that sucks the moral foundations out from under Green Left is that Newman is not trying to suppress anyone, but the greenies sure are.

Only a few weeks ago, they were claiming to fight for free speech in Brunswick, Melbourne, and a few days ago, for free-speech at Sydney University. When Barkly Square Management confines them to just one stall “in a dead location”, that’s an attack on freedom of speech, but when the ABC chairman suggests reporters interview scientists on [...]

Greenpeace is coming: “We know where you live.”

UPDATE (My reply to Greenpeace comments, below.)

UPDATE 2 Greenpeace have responded to the outrage by removing the original page.

Watch out people. Greenpeace resorts to threats.

The moderator on-site is fighting a wall of disparaging, dismissive, and “dare you to” comments, but insists it’s all “non-violent”–really.

Judge for yourself:

“We need to hit them where it hurts most, by any means necessary: through the power of our votes, our taxes, our wallets, and more.”

“‘We must break the law to make the laws we need: laws that are supposed to protect society, and protect our future. Until our laws do that, screw being climate lobbyists. Screw being climate activists. It’s not working. We need an army of climate outlaws.’

“The proper channels have failed. It’s time for mass civil disobedience to cut off the financial oxygen from denial and skepticism.

“If you’re one of those who believe that this is not just necessary but also possible, speak to us. Let’s talk about what that mass civil disobedience is going to look like.

“If you’re one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments [...]

Global Cooling Radio (listen and talk to your favourite skeptics)

Mark Gillar who writes the Hootville Gazette has taken the initiative and arranged a set of radio interviews with the who’s who of skeptics, like Lord Monckton, Patrick Michaels, Ann McElhinney, Marc Morano, Chris Horner, Steve Milloy, Joseph D’Aleo, and yours truly. The first one starts tomorrow morning (US time). You can e-mail or phone in questions. Some details are below, but most are on the Global Cooling Radio site and, of course, details may change in the future, so check in at his site.

Lord Christopher Monckton

Date: April 3, 2010 Time: 10:00 am Central DST To Listen: Visit our BlogTalkRadio Page Call 646-727-3170 to ask a question./p>

OR email to ask in advance markgillar@hootervillegazette.com

[...]

UK Parliamentary Report busts all climate scientists

The UK Parliamentary Committee was always going to be a whitewash. They put no skeptics on the committee; they interviewed no skeptics; they didn’t ask Steven McIntyre to speak. The chairman was the “impartial” Phil Willis, who had already made up his mind in January and announced it in the Telegraph:

“There are a significant number of climate change deniers, who are basically using the UEA emails to support the case this is poor science that has been changed or at worst manipulated. We do not believe this is healthy and therefore we want to call in the UEA so the public can see what they are saying”

It’s no wonder the committee made a spin-like press release with wishy-washy weasel words. What’s amazing is that under the spin, they can’t help but bust all of modern climate science.

The UK report: [press release]

“The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.