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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Prof Vincent Courtillot speaks with clarity

I’m traveling at the moment, in Darwin tonight. I can’t really comment on the hot-bed of climate action that Australia is right now, but instead this is something from afar that caught my eye a few days ago.

Video’s bore me usually, but I enjoyed watching Courtillot — he’s possibly the clearest, fastest, crispest speaker I’ve ever heard, and it’s all the more amazing because he speaks with an accent. Don’t misunderstand — there are no jokes, no satire, and no punch lines here, just an honest summary of the state of the current scientific play, especially with his synopsis of the cosmic ray theory. (He is a colleague of Nir Shaviv).

Usually I find speakers are too slow, but Courtillot packs the words in, without overstatement or monotony. He’s is a smart man who knows his topic well and it’s unusually obvious.

[...]

The Tyranny grinds on: Update on the Thompsons

Background: Can a Western Government wipe out an honest business with red tape? (What a naive question…)

Janet and Matt Thompson

Matt and Janet spoke out as skeptics in May 2007 and their life savings and business are now at grave risk as they fight off bankruptcy. What has undone them is not the financial crisis, or any failure of their business, but impossible clauses and conditions. Indeed they were so profitable in 2007 they were turning away business. They’ve broken no laws, are popular with their nearest neighbors, 6000 odour tests showed there was little problem in the town, and the Thompsons complied with every departmental request to manage the farm. Yet licensing changes and new conditions were so onerous, that banks won’t loan money against the license (it’s not much of a licence). Clause A1 means their licence can be whipped away again at any time if they “offend” anyone anywhere or interfere with their “health and comfort”. How do we measure that — Let the loudest complainer win. (If complaints about “comfort” can shut down a business, there go the wind farms…. Why is there one rule for one business, but not for all?) Even [...]

Lewandowsky bitten by a hoax

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky may not understand much about the climate, but he is a professor of psychology — so satire, humor, and hoaxes ought to be right up his alley, right?  He’s realized he fell for the brilliant Alene Composta (a master satirist) replying to her and even sending her fake request for advice to fellow blogger John Cook (who fell for it too).

Alene ticked all the headline stereotypical victim-leftie boxes, her interests included “christine milne”, “organic gardening” and “batik hangings” and lets face it, “Composta” is a red flag, rather. So she wrote to Lewandowsky begging for advice in dealing with monster commenters from Bolt and Blair, and notably pointed to him surviving my scorn and ridicule:

I recently began blogging, especially about climate change, and after a month my site was noticed. Noticed by the wrong people, sadly. Readers of Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt have swamped my site with genuinely abusive comments, many relating to my disability, which I find very hurtful.

So my question to you is this: How do you deal with monsters like this?

I have read and savoured every column you have published at Unleashed, and I have read the hateful comments [...]

130,000 Australians say No Carbon Tax, Greens flop, Labor issues biblical scare campaign

What a week downunder, just in case you missed it.

We’re a nation, up in arms. With three months til G-Day (when the Greens control the Senate on July 1) and the tax-based-on-a-lie likely to become legislation, the heat is on. Protests and smears are running strong. Forces are being mobilized, and people are being polarized. Yet the public is abandoning the carbon tax, and the parties who promote it.

As the mass rally movements begin the Big Scare Campaign fans responded with smears to paint the rally-goers as extreme fringe, loonies and nutters. The fringe in this case turns out to be 4 out of 5 people.  Who are the “deniers”? When asked, do you support the carbon tax? One hundred and thirty thousand people said NO.

83% of the Channel  Nine poll don’t want a carbon tax.

The Labor Party sent out biblical climate speaking notes to all it’s ministers – the floods and droughts are coming, oceans will rise up and wash away your home, there will be burning bushes, and the storms will kill your firstborn (or words to that effect). And they howl about Abbot running a fear campaign. Wait for the [...]

David Evans, Carbon Accounting Modeler, Says It’s a Scam

Dr David Evans’ address to the Anti-Carbon-Tax rally, Perth Australia, 23 March 2011.

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence,  was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools and liars out of our politicians.

Let’s set a few things straight.

The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now cheat and lie outrageously to maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

Let’s be perfectly clear. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and other things being equal, the more carbon dioxide in [...]

We are being deceived

Perth Protest Anti Carbon Tax Rally

My speech at the Anti-tax Carbon rally, Wednesday March 23rd.

I used to be a Green. I used to think Carbon dioxide mattered. I still worry about falling fish stocks, old growth forest and erosion, but wind farms won’t help the fish, and solar cells won’t keep the top soil from blowing away. Real environmental  problems are being sidelined by fake ones.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thought I was well informed, but I was shocked when I found out how what was going on behind the scenes. Everything you may have heard about carbon dioxide can be turned inside out.

How many excuses does it take?

CO2 feeds plants. It’s the only” pollution” pumped onto farms to grow food. Did you know plant life goes dormant if CO2 falls too low? Farmers don’t just pump in an extra 5 or 10% either, they ramp up the concentration 4 or 5 fold in greenhouses. Did the government scientists forget to mention that? Australia is the largest exporter of coal in the world. But did they say that China digs up nearly 10 times more coal than we do? The famous ice core graphs of [...]

Thousands of angry ordinary Australians turn up and alarmist smears begin

In Canberra today over 3,000 people went out of their way, coming in on 30 buses from more than 1000 km away, to let Julia Gillard know that Australians do not want her Carbon Tax. The news made every major broadcast for several minutes. Protesters were referred to as “climate skeptics” (mostly).

Other rallies around Australia got hundreds of people even though they were organized in a hurry, with no advertising, and with no pre-formed coalition of networked groups. There was a very good crowd at the Perth rally on a hot day during business hours, and one heckler (John Brookes). The mood was striking.

This is random shoe-string grassroots action at the last minute and look what it can achieve. It’s just beginning.

The photo gallery at the Australian makes it clear how decidedly normal most people were and what their main messages are.

This is mainstream Australia rising up, yet already the Big-Green-PR machine is at work, doing all it can to deny the undeniable. As I drove home in Perth after our rally, ABC news-radio didn’t mention that 3,000 people had gathered, nor that protests had happened all over the country, they may have said that earlier, [...]

Was 2010 the hottest ever?

Was 2010 “the hottest year ever” as the PR machine repeats ad nauseum? Yes — but only if you ignore three of the four main global datasets and those awkward questions about why nobody thought to put thermometers in better places.

Run your eyes down this page to see how the GISS temperatures pan out compared to all the other compilations. This is James Hansen’s group, and GISS stands for the Goddard Institute of Space Studies — and in the topsy-turvey world of climate change, that’s apt — the space centre and hot bed of rocketry calculates world temperatures by ignoring  … satellites. For GISS, measuring the world temperature, calls for irregularly spaced, unique, non-standardized temperature stations (sometimes near air-conditioning vents and concrete). And no sir, not the satellites that scan the Earth 24 hours a day, over land and sea, and which are usually not too close to exhaust vents, or buildings, or (thank goodness) fermenting vats of sewage either.

So, indeed, the only sane answer to the cherry picking crowd who crow triumphantly about their outlying most favorite result, is that “No” 2010 was not hotter than 1998, not according to the satellites. And even if it had [...]

Yes, it IS about the science

Behind-the-scenes I’ve heard the line this “isn’t about the science”. I said that myself back in 2007: it’s not about the science, it’s about power and money. But it’s a dangerous meme. In the long run, it IS about the science.

While people think a carbon tax is bad, but believe that “carbon is pollution”, we have won a battle but lost the war.

Many new folk are appearing on the anti-carbon tax team, and here’s the weird thing for we seasoned skeptics, some of these oppose the tax, yet “believe” the science (?!) “It’s too hard” they say. They seem to think if we just beat the tax, we can ignore the reason the tax is supposedly there in the first place.

The science is the whole official reason for the tax, and if we don’t force the crowds to notice the corruption, the cheating, and the way science is exploited, then we are asking to be bludgeoned with it again. We are letting the most outrageous scam-meisters leave the room with their reputations intact and asking to be victims of the next invented crisis.

Some anti-carbon-taxers say, “Don’t confuse the punters”, just stick to the economics. And don’t [...]

Way back when climate scientists were scientists: Chapter 8, FAR, circa 1990

You’ll find this hard to believe but I get excited about the 1990 First Assessment Report (FAR). It’s very different from wading through the later ones, because it’s remarkably honest, and things are not hidden in double-speak (well, not so much). Scientists behave like scientists and talk of null hypothesis, and even of validating models. Indeed they had a whole chapter back then called “validation”. How times have changed.

This is the short summary of Chapter 8 “Attribution”

Thanks to Alan for sending me this link today (Chapter 8, IPCC FAR).

The “Attribution” Chapter is the part where they try to figure out what “caused” the warming. Chapter 8 says, essentially, “we don’t know, we might never know, our models don’t work, and we can conclude it might all be natural, but then again, it might not.” Got it?

This is in the same era that Al Gore was saying “the science is settled” and “there is no debate”.

What’s clear in 1990 from the FAR was that it was widely admitted that the models were bodgy, and that figuring out exactly what caused the recent warming was very difficult, indeed impossible at the time. There were too many variables, [...]