JoNova

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


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

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



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Key Tool for the Scare Campaign: Censorship. How bullying critics keep editors from straying.

A very curious thing happened on Saturday.

There’s a media war going on here in Australia. At stake is free speech — but the discussion about it is completely disguised and parades instead as a debate about “balance” in science reporting.

It’s reached the point where our national masthead felt the need to issue a whole feature article rebutting their critics (Climate debate is no place for hotheads) which includes quote after quote of The Australian’s pro man-made-global-warming editorials. But why under the Goddess of Free Press should any serious newspaper feel required to declare their belief in a particular scientific theory?

“The Australian ‘s editors are being attacked for questioning authority. They’re supposed to be journalists who investigate everything, not a PR agency who promotes an ideology. In reply the Australian could have been roasting the other media agencies…”

The Australian has been taking heat from the rest of the Australian media (notably Fairfax and ABC employees, and a couple of book writing academics). It’s not that The Australian has held back on publishing the illogical, unreasonable PR, and baseless posturing of vested-carbon-scare-interests, no sir. They are just as ready as anyone to publish the unscientific Lomborgs, [...]

First recorded “casual aside” marks decline in scaremongers credibility

This is the first time I’ve seen a mainstream story on an unrelated topic where the writer assumes everyone understands how dodgy climate science is. Climatology is relegated to a joke.

For the sake of posterity, I wanted to capture this moment in the downfall of a once respected profession. Source, the Wall St Journal: Wikileaks R US

Private companies already offer solutions to protecting data systems. “Data-at-rest” and “data-in-motion” programs look for anomalies in emails and other data moving through networks or resting on hard drives. SIM (security information management) software tracks network intrusions. It’s pretty good, the way climatology is pretty good.

Ladies and gentlemen, its only a small sign, a crumb, but it’s revealing. When Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of the Wall St Journal, was looking for an example of something that doesn’t work well, he thought of climatology.

[...]

The Medieval Warm Period hit west Antarctica

What do you know? The Medieval Warm Period, which either “didn’t exist” or “only happened in Europe”, also hit Western Antarctica.

Booth Island and Mount Scott are also on the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: Stan Shebs.

The climate models don’t know why the world was warmer 1000 years ago. They don’t know why it cooled into the Little Ice Age either. The models don’t do regional projections well, and they don’t do seasonal projections with any skill, and they (in the last ten years) don’t work on short decadal timeframes either, but surely when it comes to big global temperature changes the models have got all the major forces figured out? Surely they’d be able to predict large movements across the entire globe eh? — but the first test we come to, a mere thousand years ago, shows the models have a predictive ability not significantly different from a coin toss.

Just because it was warmer 1000 years ago (due to some other reason), doesn’t mean that CO2 isn’t responsible for this warming cycle, but when all the evidence for CO2′s guilt comes only from models that can’t get the last warming cycle right, and from argument from ignorance (“Our [...]

Wikileaks sordid details reveals climate science is irrelevant

It’s all a grand charade — the matinee show put on by the Theater of Science was merely being used for the Grand Extravaganza called the Theater of Politics.

Wikileaks, not surprisingly, turned up some not-so-diplomatic and not-so-scientific goings-on in the political race to steer power and dollars.

From The Guardian

The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial “Copenhagen accord“, the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

Negotiating a climate treaty is a high-stakes game, not just because of the danger warming poses to civilisation but also because re-engineering the global economy to a low-carbon model will see the flow of billions of dollars redirected.

The wrangling behind the scenes involve the usual offerings of pork-barreling type funding for piddling little projects  — like $50 million dollar projects in the Maldives, or $30 million in aid for Bolivia — to [...]

Breaking News: World’s third largest economy bails on Kyoto II’

Source national post news.

“Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances.”

Japan is the third largest economy in the world. In absolute, unequivocal terms it has just announced it will not be extending the Kyoto agreement.

It’s hard to see how a carbon trading scheme can continue to grow when major emitters are pulling out.

“The delicately balanced global climate talks in Cancún suffered a serious setback last night when Japan categorically stated its opposition to extending the Kyoto protocol – the binding international treaty that commits most of the world’s richest countries to making emission cuts.

The Kyoto protocol was adopted in Japan in 1997 by major emitting countries, who committed themselves to cut emissions by an average 5% on 1990 figures by 2012.

However the US congress refused to ratify it and remains outside the protocol.”

From The Guardian: Japan refuses to extend Kyoto

Presumably this is the perfect time then for the Gillard Government to launch Australia (with it’s minor player, 800 billion dollar, GDP) into a sacrificial symbolic scheme that the rest of the world is abandoning.

‘The forthrightness [...]

Book discount for readers: Aynsley Kellow, Science and Public Policy

Aynsley Kellow: Science and Puplic policy

Ansley Kellow’s book “Science and Public Policy” normally sells for  $110 (£59.95), but he’s arranged for a special discount for readers of climate science blogs: $40 (£25)! Use the email information below to order.

It deals with the politics and philosophy of science, including the hockey stick controversy, the SRES scenarios, the species-area rule, etc. Published in 2007, it deals with the preference for computer modelling over observational data and the corrupting influence of modern communications such as e-mail on peer review and other quality assurance processes. (Aynsley writes that “I can claim to have anticipated Climategate – though I underestimated its extent”).

Science and Public Policy

by Aynsley Kellow

Normally £59.95/$110.00  Special price $40/£25 + postage and packing

To order this book please email (with full credit card details and address): sales@e-elgar.co.uk, or  on our website enter ‘Kellowoffer’ in the special discount code box after entering your credit card details and the discount will be taken off when the order is processed.

More info below

[...]

Update from the Thompsons: The legal limbo drags on

The Thompsons have no income, but fight on with borrowed help.

Matt and Janet Thompson moved to Australia, got all the approvals to set up a cattle feedlot, invested their life savings, then the rules began to change. They didn’t need a license at all when they started. Then a paddock was called a watercourse, and apparently they needed one. They were turning away customers in 2007, but then Matt spoke as a skeptic and things began to degenerate. In March 2008 their cattle license was cut in half. The West Australian Dept of Environment solicited complaints, and green groups, funded with lottery commission assistance, advised locals on how to target businesses and cut their cash flows to destroy them.

The license conditions suddenly increased, Matt and Janet responded to every request, but no matter how many letters of support, petitions, surveys, studies or odour assessments they got, it was never enough. All the way along DEC kept promising verbally that uncertainties would be resolved soon, but each time the written information arrived, the uncertainties grew and the news got worse and worse. DEC has issued an unbankable license, whereupon DEC can declare [...]

Solar Panel subsidies: A billion dollars to provide cheap electricity to wealthy households

A billion dollars that could have been used for housing, schools, hospitals and health programs was drawn into solar subsidies to provide electricity that could have been produced in far cheaper ways.

There is no sunnier first world country than Australia. If solar was going to be a raging success anywhere, surely it would be in the land of the Sunburnt Country. Instead the Australian government has poured in more than a billion dollars to install solar panels on the roof tops of private homes.  It’s a text book case of misdirected spending.

In the end the government drew money from the population-at-large to help Chinese solar panel manufacturers, and to provide “cheap” electricity to 107,000 households in mostly medium-high wealth areas. It reduced Australia’s emissions by a piddling 0.015 per cent, at an exorbitant carbon price of $300/ton.

Solar power is clearly not viable yet. So that billion dollars could have been spent on research to make solar power economic (in which case no subsidies would be needed). It could have made us world leaders with a product to patent and sell (or it might not). Instead governments of both major parties chose to pour a billion [...]

2000 Forecast: Snowfall to disappear from the UK

Photo: London Evening Standard 24 Nov 2010

Monday, 20 March 2000.  Look out! Back when every witchdoctor had a PR agent and newspapers dutifully repeated their latest crystal ball incantation, it was reported (without so much as a caveat) that there would soon be no more white Christmases in London, and worse, soon  “kids will not know snow”. Gone too would be the scenes that inspired glorious impressionist images, and lyrical poetry. Are you in tears yet? The travesty!

Pity the poor shop owners who were trying to order stock based on met office “forecasts”. Back in 2000, shop owners were not bothering to stock sledges.

No more snowmen in England!

h/t to Bernadette and Trevor who spotted this gem.

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians, 20th March 2000

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not [...]

Carbon Credits reach their true value!

I can hardly let the demise of the Chicago Climate Exchange go by without a note.

Didn’t I point out that if carbon trading was a free market, nobody would pay a cent?

Well, hail the triumph of the free market.

(Yes, a couple of weeks back, when the news came out that the CCX was closing, it did make my day.)

But as Steven Milloy points out the death of the US national carbon market has barely made a mention in the news.

How did the Green press react? Denial:

“[There are] no implications for the EU and UK,” Emilie Mazzacurati, head of carbon research for North America at Point Carbon, told BusinessGreen in an email.

No implications? None? And would they have said that if new markets had blossomed in, say, Japan or Brazil?

The market opened in Nov 2000, and as Milloy notes, with a red carpet future:

The CCX was the brainchild of Northwestern University business professor Richard Sandor, who used $1.1 million in grants from the Chicago-based left-wing Joyce Foundation to launch the CCX. For his efforts, Time named [...]

Finnish Translation of Climate Bullies Want Your Money: Ilmastoskeptikon käsikirja

Send this to your friends who speak Finnish… even if they’re not skeptics. –  Jo

Thanks to Pasi

Ilmastoskeptikon käsikirja 1 & 2

Ilmastofoorumi ry on julkaissut suomennokset australialaisen toimittajan ja kirjailijan Joanne Novan kirjoittamista The Skeptics Handbookista (Ilmastoskeptikon käsikirja) ja edellisen jatko-osasta Global bullies want your money (Ilmastokovikset haluavat rahasi). Palautetta suomennoksista voi lähettää osoitteella kasikirja.ei.roskapostia@ilmastofoorumi.fi.

[...]

Now we are not even allowed to doubt?

It’s Naomi Oreskes reasoning which is scary.

Some people just can’t think.

Naomi Oreskes “reasons” by Remarkable Parallels, which is as bogus a way of thinking as any tea-leaf-incantation that we thought we left behind in the caves. She thinks that because she can find parallels between Tobacco and Climate Skeptics, therefore skeptics are wrong about climate sensitivity due to a trace gas. Go figure why anyone struggles to analyze ice cores when they could have just done a Google search?

I can find remarkable parallels between Lysenko and modern climate science, but I don’t bother writing a book on it. If I want answers about the climate I look at the data from the planet, not data about personalities.

Mike Steketee (Some sceptics make it a habit to be wrong) has learnt a new way to throw names from Oreskes. Nick Minchin (recently retired Senator from the conservative opposition) is just the latest target of this effusion of confusion.

Now anyone who raises points against a policy can be called a “doubt-monger” and the Orwellian destruction of our language advances one more notch.

Naomi Oreskes IS the Merchant of Doubt

Ponder the irony of what Oreskes herself [...]

Unintended Consequences: Greens protect coal deposits and destroy rainforest

In Borneo, the Dypterocarp forest, one of the species-richest in the world (F), is being replaced by oil palm plantations (G). These changes are irreversible for all practical purposes (H).

Oops.

Brought to you by the same kind of people who regulate free markets to the point where you can get detained for selling light bulbs heat balls, comes the cry for a “free market solution” on carbon emissions. These people wouldn’t know a free market if it was the only bridge across a swamp full of crocodiles. Is that a stable path; a simple choice; a tested way through the quicksand?  No No! There’s a log (it looks like a log)… “it’s natural”. (It’s two hundred million years of natural selection.)

Playing with fake markets is begging to be bitten, and what do you know? A carbon market puts a price on life, but it only applies to some goods (all pigs are equal… but some are more so). The loop-holes pile on loop-holes until out the other end of all those angelically good circular intentions pops the exact one answer they were trying to avoid.

Figure it out. If global policies devalue concentrated energy underground and [...]

Lomborg: uses irrational name-calling and denies the evidence

The Australian published Bjorn Lomborg: A Rational Take On Warming last week.

It was self-contradictory, baseless name-calling from a formerly sensible writer.

Rational?

Lomborg and Gore are not so far apart

The only rational response to climate change is to use empirical, observable evidence. Rational people can point to results from 28 million radiosondes, 6000 boreholes, 30 years of satellites, 3000 ARGO ocean diving thermometers, raw data from thousands of surface thermometers, as well 800 peer reviewed references which include studies of corals, caves, pollen grains, ocean floor sediments, ice cores, and diatoms.

Lomborg is happy to call these rational people names, but irrationally doesn’t appear to have read their arguments. His method of quoting scientific studies, which was so successful on other topics, has come unstuck on climate science. He doesn’t realize that the US government poured $79 billion dollars into demonstrating one theory, but next to nothing to research, audit, or question that theory. He’s been tripped up by the skewing effect of monopolistic funding.

Far from being rational or scientific, he accepts the opinions of the Scientific Gods at the IPCC, and ignores the empirical evidence

Far [...]

Oreskes, Readfearn: Got no evidence? Throw different names. Skeptics are paranoid ideologues afraid of reds under the bed.

Ad Hominem Unleashed (aka ABC): On the origin of the sceptics

Commentators on a sinking ship search for reasons to “keep the faith afloat”.

The debate has moved a peg. Instead of “oil shills” now we’re just paranoid ideologues afraid of reds under the bed.

Naomi Oreskes

The battle cry: the “skeptics” are shills of big oil, has become an own goal. The PR team for the catastrophic theory have no new evidence of Big Oil funding and thousands of people now point out that the UNskeptics were paid 3500 times as much (at least). So they are moving on… the religiously devout believers can’t admit they were wrong, and nor can they look at the evidence, so what’s left? Post hoc random over-analysis of the irrelevant. Before, skeptics were paid hacks… and now they’re wrong because they … are ideologically against big government and regulation. From one ad hom to another.

And again, the ABC uses our taxes to promote the smear campaign,  support neolithic reasoning, and does everything it can to stop people talking about scientific evidence (by spreading misinformation or slurs about all the characters on one side). Oreskes and freelance writer [...]