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 word Skeptic is back!

Here’s a devout follower telling off his own kind for showing their “faith”. “Beyond Belief” (Climate Spectator)

The “believers” have suddenly realized how uncool it is to talk about “beliefs” when it’s supposed to be about science. So the rush is on to post articles warning believers to hide their “faith” and to throw in token comments about evidence instead. Indeed the Real Deniers are scrambling to claim the “name” skeptic that they used to despise.

It’s a measure of how far this debate has come. Such was the success of the PR campaign, some skeptics gave up on the term and opted to use “realist”. But the skeptics have been proved right time after time, and the unskeptical scientists have been embarrassed by their own conniving words, mistakes, tricks and lies. The resurgence of the word “skeptic” is rising like a rocket.

As I’ve said many times, the opposite of skeptical is gullible. And an unskeptical scientist is an oxymoron.

So here’s Paul Gilding in the publication that panders to the climate industry: Climate Spectator, offering the fake guise of a skeptical soul:

It’s time for true confessions. I don’t believe in climate science.

That’s because I’m a [...]

Canberra (the ACT) will cut emissions by 40% (!) by… 2020

File this one under: Experiments in Green Government. Watch this box.

There’s a spot in Australia called The Australian Capital Territory, where our National Capital, Canberra, sits and which has it’s own anachronistic government: a kind of glorified local council and  junior “state” government at the same time*.

In 2008 they were lucky enough to elect a Labor minority government with a Green coalition. Now it seems they’re going to showcase the ACT in a grand symbolic experiment by enacting the strictest carbon reduction scheme in Australia.

ACT environment minister Simon Corbell tabled the new target in a Bill in the Legislative Assembly today. (Aug 26, 2010)

“Governments have a responsibility to act on this issue, and the ACT Labor Government is leading Australia on reducing our carbon footprint,” Mr Corbell said in a statement.

The ACT has also pledged to have its emissions peak by 2013, decline by 80 per cent by 2050, and for the ACT to be carbon neutral by 2060.

Forty percent cuts (from 1990 levels) in just ten years?

Samuel J at Catallaxy Files calculates that as the mother of all emissions cuts translating to a 62% per capita reduction in a decade.

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We have been conned

cartoonsbyjosh.com

You can’t buy the truth, but you can buy a committee interpretation of it.

One year ago a group of eminent scientists wrote a letter to congress provocatively titled “You are being deceived.”

Now, in a similar vein, but with all the gory details, John McLean has put together a 66 page compilation of the modus operandi and history of said deception. It’s a story of how small committees of activists cite their own work, ignore contradictory information and dissenting reviewers, use the peer review system to lock out opponents,  and blithely acknowledge crippling uncertainties (but only in tracts of text that few will read, and  never in summation when it matters).

Click to read the full article

When your favourite prancing-horse-committee — the IPCC — is failing to impress the crowds, it’s time to distract them with dressage from another source. In this case, the IPCC is being reviewed by the brand new InterAcademy Council (IAC). Expect their somber pronouncement to discover some minor flaws of process, posit a few proceedural improvements, and then declare that above all, the science is sound, rigorous, and that carbon dioxide will surely kill millions if we [...]

Ice Core evidence — where is carbon’s “major effect”?

The ice cores are often lauded as evidence of the effects of carbon dioxide. Frank Lansner asks a pointed question and goes hunting to find any effects that can be attributed to carbon.

Where is the data that actually shows a strong and important warming effect of CO2? If CO2 has this strong warming effect, would not nature reflect this in data?

He has collected together the data from the last four warm spells (the nice interglacials between all the long ice ages) into one average “peak”. The common pattern of the rise and fall has already been recorded in many scientific papers. Orbital changes trigger the temperatures to rise first and about 800 years later (thanks to the oceans releasing CO2), carbon dioxide levels begin to climb. At the end of a patch of several thousand warm years, temperatures begin to fall, and thousands of years later the carbon dioxide levels slowly decline. No one is really contesting this order of things any more. What is contested is that those who feel carbon is a major driver estimate that the carbon dioxide unleashed by the warming then causes major amplification or [...]

Corruption for dinner anyone? The Carbon Market Scandal

Thanks to Down To Earth Magazine. Author: DIVYA

All round the world thousands of greenonomists recommend a “free market solution” to our so called pollution problem. But as I keep saying: this “free market” isn’t free. It’s a pale pathetic imitation: a “managed market”.

In Europe, if a factory produces CO2 (what factory doesn’t?) it can pay people in China and India to not produce an-equivalent-amount-of-CO2. Sounds sort of fine in intent except that paying people to not do something they were-going-to-do depends on knowing the future (and reminds us of a process known as extortion). That’s loophole number one. Officially it’s called “additionality”, which is a fancy way of saying people wouldn’t do something-in-particular to reduce emissions unless they got paid in carbon credits.

The Chinese and Indians, not being stupid, immediately gamed the system. Why wouldn’t they?

The irony of unintended consequences. Here’s how it goes: HFC-23 is the godfather of greenhouse gases: it’s 11,700 times as powerful at warming as CO2 is. The chemical makers are paid as much as $100,000 in carbon credits  for every ton they destroy… Suddenly making-and-then-destroying HFC-23 is very valuable business, so people rush to fill this “demand”. HFC-23 is a [...]

Head of Australian Science Academy issues decree from Pagan Chieftans of Science

An interesting story quietly slipped into the news last week during the election campaign. It crosses several new lines, none of which it acknowledges.

Not only are the Western Climate Establishment sitting up and paying attention to skeptics, they’re slowly getting the hang of having the climate debate, and they have finally realized they can’t pretend the “science is settled” on climate feedbacks.

Australian Academy of non-Science

Humans affect climate change

* From: The Australian (my emphasis added) * August 18, 2010

THE Australian Academy of Science has pitted its expertise against the greenhouse sceptics in a report stating that humans are changing our climate.

Good news. They finally admit (by inference) that there is a debate. Since we amateurs are beating them in the debates and asking questions they can’t answer, they have finally acknowledged that they need to try to answer the questions, and they need to call us skeptics. (They can hardly pit expertise against “deniers” eh?)

The statement expresses for the first time the consensus among Australia’s top climate scientists on the evidence for human-caused global warming.

Oh ha-de-ha… after all the other versions of the anti-science fake consensus [...]

Duplicitous last minute declaration of intent…

With one day to go before the Election, Julia Gillard announces that she is prepared to make one of the most significant changes to our economy by putting a price on carbon, and that if she wins she will assume she has a mandate for it.

She’s had weeks to announce it, put it up for discussion, and convince the voters it’s a good idea. Instead she quietly slides it in at the last minute, allowing no time for dissenting views. This makes a mockery of a “mandate”.

When it’s something as serious as a committee of lucky-dip-citz’ with no official powers:  that deserves a proper launch and three weeks consideration.  But an economic move that affects every transaction, our international competitiveness, the energy sources we built our civilization on; That’s trickled into an interview with 24 hours to go. Righty-o.

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I was once a Green who believed in man-made global warming

Since time immemorial people have been inventing or exaggerating scares to gain power. I used to think carbon dioxide posed a real threat, and I even used to be an active member of the Australian Greens. Then I discovered all the things we weren’t being told (like this and this), and how much money was involved and I was shocked.

There are many good people among the Greens who will be outraged when they realize how they have been used.

The most selfish aims are always cloaked in “good intentions”

Some Greens really believe a market based trading system is the best way to deal with pollution. But this pollution is not a pollutant,  and this “free market” is not free. Last year the carbon market reached $130 billion dollars. It’s projected to reach $2 Trillion, and you can be sure that “sub-prime” carbon is coming too. The market depends wholly on government mandate; it’s “fixed” from beginning to end. Who would buy a carbon credit if they weren’t forced to? In a free market, no one.

Worse, funneling money through fake markets is like inviting corruption to a three course meal.

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South Pacific sea levels – Best records show little or no rise?!

Are the small islands of the South Pacific in danger of disappearing, glug, under the waves of the rising ocean? Will thousands of poor inhabitants be forced to emigrate, as desperate refugees, to Australia and New Zealand? Has any of this got anything to do with man-made emissions of CO2?

By looking closely at the records, it turns out that the much advertised rising sea levels in the South Pacific depend on anomalous depressions of the ocean during 1997 and 1998 thanks to an El Nino and two tropical cyclones. The Science and Public Policy Institute has released a report by Vincent Gray which compares 12 Pacific Island records and shows that in many cases it’s these anomalies that set the trends… and if the anomaly is removed, sea levels appear to be more or less constant since the Seaframe measurements began around 1993.

Sea levels: The El Nino / tropical storm anomaly in 1997-1998 is clear. A long sustained rise is not.

Take the infamous Tuvalu for example. It’s sea level rise was reported as 5.7 mm/year back in  2008. Now it’s calculated as 3.7mm/year. But look at the Seaframe Graph – [...]

Carbon-trading supertanker adrift

Good news… In news just in, there’s another important sign that the momentum is shifting as Money goes in search of better prospects.

ICE cuts 50% of staff at Chicago Climate Exchange

The 1st round of layoffs began July 23, with more to come.  U.S. climate inaction is being blamed as main reason for cuts. Things are so bad, that ICE is collecting feedback on what to do with climate bourse

ICE just came in one day and started hacking away … We were told the company was restructuring,” said one source, who declined to be named.

Another said ICE cut around 20 roles at the CCX late last month, and at least another six high-level layoffs would come before next spring.

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Zombie Hockey stick dies again

Just when you think it’s too dead to kill: along comes a new paper in a top ranking statistics journal by McShane and Wyner. It’s worth taking stock. It’s a damning paper:

…we conclude unequivocally that the evidence for a ”long-handled” hockey stick (where the shaft of the hockey stick extends to the year 1000 AD) is lacking in the data.

But in the big scheme of things the Hockey Stick Graph was already dead.

Each one of these points is enough to cast grave doubts on the Hockey Stick. The Hockey Stick uses the wrong type of proxy – tree rings. Trees grow faster when it’s warmer, and when it’s wetter, or when the tree next-door falls down and a herd of manure-making cows move in. Almost all other types of proxies disagree (like ice cores, ocean sediments, corals, and stalagmites). Over 6000 boreholes, hundreds of studies, as well as recorded history show the world was warmer 1,000 years ago. (See here for the refs.) Even among tree rings, the Hockey Stick uses the wrong type of tree – Bristlecone pines – which appear to grow faster as CO2 [...]

Lewandowsky: the ABC parades a witchdoctor again

Once more the ABC is posting logical failures, confused non-evidence, and baseless thinking. This time Professorial Fellow Stephan Lewandowsky also tries to talk about economic cost benefits, without analyzing either costs or benefits, and doesn’t seem to know the difference between a free market and a fixed one. Why do they bother?

Lewandowsky says we should act — despite the supposed “lack of certainty”. Given that there are multiple studies and empirical evidence that suggests carbon has no catastrophic effect, what he  is effectively saying is we should ignore the observations and be obedient to the Gods of “science” instead. It harks straight from our stone age tribal era.

Right from the outset, let’s be clear, that for all Lewandowsky’s bluster about the scientific evidence, he has never once posted any reference showing observational evidence that the touted positive feedback written into the models-of-doom has any basis in fact. As usual, he points to the Biblical “Consensus”, even though we’ve pointed out the basics of science (that consensus is an unscientific, illogical argument from authority, and is baseless in science). When the government has poured in billions to “find” a consensus, it would be flat out shocking if they couldn’t [...]

Can Peer Review be fixed?

The peer review system, so important to the bolstering the voice of the climate establishment and suppressing dissent, is broken. Not that it was perfect and somehow got wrecked, but that it was never stringent or transparent in the first place. As the force of money, power, and reputations was ramped up,  it was an eminently corruptible system, and thus it has become. Seriously, what other profession would call unpublished comments by two unpaid anonymous colleagues “rigorous”?

Dear IRS officer, my tax return was audited by two accounting friends I won’t name, and they say it’s right. OK?

Nigel Calder (a former editor of New Scientist) recently discussed the merits and failings of peer review and pointed at a couple of interesting articles in The Scientist. Not surprisingly, it’s not just climate science where peer review is up-the-creek. Other branches of science are subject to the same petty personality squabbles in a system where no one really gets much benefit from doing a proper honest analysis of their competitor (or compatriots) work.

I Hate Your Paper

Source: The Scientist. The story of how some journals are trying to fix peer review.

Suggestions include ways of allowing authors [...]

The models are wrong (but only by 400%)

This is one humdinger of a paper and it’s been a long time coming. It’s a big step forward in the search for the hot-spot. (If the hot spot were a missing person, McKitrick et al have sighted a corpse.) In 2006 the CCSP quietly admitted with graphs (in distant parts of various reports) that the models were predicting a hot spot that the radiosondes didn’t find (Karl et al 2006). Obviously this was a bit of a problem for the Scare Campaign. Much of the amplifying feedback created in the models also creates the hot-spot, so without any evidence that the hot-spot is occurring, there goes the disaster (and the urgent need for funding and junkets). Douglass et al officially pointed out the glaring deficiency in 2007. Santer et al replied in 2008 by discovering a lot of uncertainties, and stretching the error bars. Since the broad errors bars overlapped he could announce that the hot spot wasn’t really missing (even though he didn’t really find it either). He wrote this up in words effectively saying that the inconsistency in temperatures was not so inconsistent. McIntyre and McKitrick pointed out these key Santer results which used data up to 1999 were overturned with the use of data up to 2009. Somehow, despite all the excitement over Santer et al 2008, the IJOC decided updating it and contradicting it was “not interesting” and it took months to reach that banal conclusion. [...]

Skeptics iPhone App Endorsed de facto by Critic

Endorsed? Even the supposed blog experts on Climate Change can’t find an error.

The Guardian Blog has posted John Cook’s thoughts on the new skeptical iPhone App – Our Climate.

Has he found errors, lies, or critical omissions? Read it yourself. No, hardly, and “as if”. Instead he’s found “cherry-picking”,  confusion (his), and strawmen.

Really, this is a great endorsement — after all, Cook runs the ambush site SkepticalScience.com. If Cook can’t find an error, or name the peer reviewed paper with evidence for catastrophic positive feedback, who can?

SkepticalScience.com is a parody of skepticism. It is “skeptical of the skeptics”, which is all very well, but it accepts everything offered up by Authorities as if it is the Word of God.  “NOAA can do no wrong” (and was that NOAA or Noah?)

All of the points held up by Cook are weak “whatever” issues: things that are hardly a flaw. He’s noticed that the disorganized mass of real skeptics sometimes disagree with each other, golly gee, which proves we think for ourselves and don’t answer to a higher bureaucracy. John Cook — who so wants to be seen as skeptical –  instead is anything but, and conforms strictly to [...]

New Scientist? Reedeeming themselves? You’re kidding right?

A few skeptics got half-way excited when they saw the New Scientist’s editorial a couple of weeks ago, and wondered if it meant the editors were changing their views.

No such luck.

This is a magazine which held the multi-part-Denier-Special-extravaganza only two months ago. When it comes to standing up for independent thinking, maverick scientists and whistle-blowers who bust the establishment, New Scientist don’t just ignore the unfunded little guys, they practically phone the Establishment to ask if they can help with PR to quash the dissent.*

A single editorial and minor article that admits the obvious (for a change) is a good step, but we’re still 42 kilometers (26 miles) from the end of the marathon — and from the rest of the articles in this single print edition, it appears New Scientist is running the race backwards.

The editorial Without Candour We Can’t Trust Climate Science was a landmark event for New Scientist, it was just what we’d expect of any half way serious magazine. Crikey – The Muir investigation didn’t look into the science? It didn’t even ask if those scientists deleted the emails that they conspired to delete? What scientist wouldn’t be outraged at the white-wash.

Despite this [...]

Is the cold weather coming?

Guest Post by Bryan Leyland El Nino/La Nina effect (SOI) predicts global cooling by the end of 2010

A July 2009 paper by McLean, de Freitas and Carter showed that global average temperatures followed the Southern Oscillation Index (El Nino/La Nina) with a 5-8 months lag. The graph below shows that when the SOI is shifted forward by 7 months the two plots change direction together (except when volcanic eruptions caused cooling).

The chart above shows a projection of temperatures to Feb 2011. The chances are that the present warm spell will end quite suddenly before the end of this year. Over the next few months the SOI will indicate whether or not the cooling will continue beyond Feb 2011. Evidence from studies on past climate and sunspot cycle related effects gives a strong indication that the cooling will continue.

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NOAA’s State of the Climate Report

SPPI has put out an excellent collection of papers in response to NOAA’s State of the Climate Report.

NOAA State of the Climate reply by SPPI

.. As usual, the official taxpayer-funded report is full of half-truths and strawmen. Arctic sea ice is shrinking (no mention of the Antarctic), the world is undeniably warming (yes, so? what’s causing that warming?). There’s the compulsory allusions to “consensus” — 300 scientists, blah blah blah (trust us! we’re experts).

The interesting thing is that the seven different responses are all quite different, yet all skeptical, even though there was no coordination behind the scenes to create that. There are so many holes in the NOAA document, that seven commentators could fire ad lib, and for the most part, all find different targets.

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900 peer reviewed papers to deny

UPDATE: It’s now 900 peer reviewed papers. See PopTech for the additions and answers to all the common criticisms.

Counting papers is not science, but it’s a hell of a way to show just how counterfeit the line is that “deniers” deny the evidence.

The PopularTechnology list of peer reviewed papers is still growing and is up to 900 now.  After thousands of sneering believers have ridiculed skeptics because “what-ever-you-say hasn’t been peer reviewed“, when they are given a list of hundreds of peer reviewed references, do they suddenly appear gracious, discover polite conversation and show an interest in the evidence? Not so. Instead, the sneer shifts gear, and attack the list of 800 papers because some of the papers are only a correction, an erratum, a submission (unpublished), a comment, an addendum, or a reply. And that’s a bluff too. Because if they had actually counted the list they’d know that there are a more items on the list than 800. The guys at PopularTech keep those not-peer-reviewed-but-valuable parts of the scientific conversation in the list, they just don’t count them. So this list is really 800 peer reviewed references plus other supporting material.

Naomi Oreskes claimed that [...]

Got baseless smears and innuendo? Perfect for the ABC.

Re: Climate change ‘brown wash’

Kellie Tranter attacks imaginary deniers who she doesn’t name, cite, or reference. All her inferences and innuendo are backed up by assertive confidence, a pile of convenient guesses, and nothing else.  Everything she accuses the Deniers of is something that those on the Big Scare Campaign do–and if the Deniers do it at all, those who sell-the-scare do it 100 times more.

Shouldn’t we be suing the guys who lost the data we paid for?

And countermanding her legal speculation: sanctions for those who provide inaccurate or misleading information are surely more appropriate for the workers who are paid by the citizens to give balanced and careful reporting — rather than those who offer a product for voluntary purchase in the private market.

The citizens are, after all, forced to pay for the services of the Department of Climate Change, the CRU, the CSIRO, BOM and ABC. No citizen is forced to buy Heaven and Earth. The official organisations are chartered to provide the whole truth, not just their favorite parts. Who in their right mind expects a single speech or book from a private individual to encompass the entirety of scientific knowledge?

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