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

Climate Money Paper


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Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


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GoldNerds

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



So much for certainty? Just two months later, Australia starts changing the carbon tax.

The Australian Government,via Greg Combet, announced this week that Labor’s version of certainty is the kind that is un-certain. For two years they’ve been emphatically declaring that “Australia needs certainty” or it’s variant, “Business needs certainty” . (Right before that, they were emphatically declaring that “There will be no carbon tax”, so later, when they did exactly what they said they wouldn’t do, we found out what certainty means to the Australian Labor Party. It isn’t the kind of certainty that helps business and voters “establish beyond doubt” what a vote for a Labor Government means.)

While people are saying we have now linked Australia’s carbon “price” (from 2015 onwards) to the EU market. In effect it was linked before, as I mentioned here. Now that link is rearranged. Previously Australian companies could buy ultra cheap EU options but had to top them up to the floor price, but now they won’t have to pay extra to lift it to $15/ton.

Mr Combet said the government was not considering any other changes to the scheme.   [Source: The Australian]

Yes, and we believe him don’t we?

Things are slightly more sane than they were last week, but the [...]

Lewandowsky – Shows “skeptics” are nutters by asking alarmists to fill out survey

I‘m putting on a conservative, understated hat. This could be the worst paper  I have seen — an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”.

Professorial fellow Stephan Lewandowsky thinks that skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate believe any kind of conspiracy theory, including that the moon landings never happened, that AIDS is not due to HIV, and that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. But he didn’t find this out by asking skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate or by reading their popular sites.  He “discovered” this by asking 1,000 visitors to climate blogs. Which blogs? He expertly hunted down skeptics, wait for it…  here:

Deltoid, Tamino Scot Mandia, Bickmore, A Few Things Ill Considered, Hot-Topic (NZ) Trunity (unconfirmed?) John Cook (through twitter, h/t Barry Woods at Climate Audit)

This is the point where the question has to be asked: Did Lewandowsky, Oberauer,  and  Gignac really think they would get away with it? Did none of the reviewers at “Psychological Science“ think to ask if the “sampling” of alarmist blogs would affect the results?

The paper is titled:

“NASA faked the moon landing  — Therefore (Climate) Science is a [...]

Another pointless poll – 2% of Canadians are “deniers”? Not so. But 32% think natural cycles have stopped!

 It’s another useless question written in a another pointless poll.

Define “climate change”: does it mean the climate doesn’t stay the same year after year, or is it code for “man-made global warming”? The term is so overused, so cliched, it is a meaningless part of any survey. Since “partially” means any number greater than zero, technically I’d have to answer that climate change is partly natural and party man-made. So the survey finds that many dedicated skeptics hold the majority opinion, but that’s not the way it’s being reported. With vague questions, this survey is not designed to find out what the population really thinks, it’s there to support media headlines and the propaganda push. A cheap trick to try to convince politicians that “carbon action” is a vote winner, and a ploy to try to demoralize skeptics into thinking they are a small and shrinking part of the community.

It shows, as do many other studies, that only a third of the population believe the IPCC message that all the recent warming is due to man-made emissions. 65% of the population know there is natural component to the way our climate changes, the question that matters is “how [...]

Peter Doherty responds in The Australian but science is not done by committee

There’s a letter in the paper today in response to my article:

Climate scientists are not failing to convince others

From: The Australian August 27, 2012 12:00AM

Every significant science academy supports the case made by the climate science community. These academies encompass the full spectrum of science and members are elected by merit.

As a researcher in immunobiology, I watch the climate field from the sideline, go to some seminars, talk to scientists, monitor key websites and read leading journals such as Science and Nature.

Climate researchers are rigorous and conservative, and I don’t see anything that gives me unease. The Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, for example, input 50,000 pieces of new data every day. These are the people who dedicate their lives to grappling with the massive experiment we’re doing with our atmosphere. Unlike my field, this is an experiment that can never be repeated.

Peter C. Doherty, Medical School, University of Melbourne, Vic

My point was that argument from authority is not science, and Doherty’s response is to argue from authority.

One of the reasons “Argument from Authority” is a fallacy is because people are human, and associations of humans don’t always neutralize our failings, [...]

Jo Nova in The Australian: Manne is anti-science on climate

I’m published this weekend in The Australian (building on the post I did previously here.  Manne himself popped in there to tell us “Deniers Hunt in Packs” — demonstrating his true depth of insight into the libertarian independent psyche — a group defined by it’s non-pack nature.)

—————————————————————– Manne declares that the “Denialists are Victorious” (in The Monthly, August 2012) but his sole reasoning that the victorious are “deniers” is merely that some chosen experts tell us a disaster is coming and he feels they could not possibly be wrong. Argument from authority is a fallacy known for 2,000 years, and it is a key point, it is the disguise of the witchdoctor — “Trust me, I am the chosen one”. The one defining difference between science and religion is that the devout can argue from authority, but the scientific cannot. In science there are no Gods and there is no Bible — what matters is the evidence. The highest experts may declare the world is headed for catastrophe, but if 3,000 thermometers in ocean buoys disagree (and they do: see “Argo”), the scientist questions the opinions and goes with the observations.

Robert Manne thinks internet surveys of [...]

I feel sorry for ABC listeners, they have no idea what’s going on

Australia’s politics is boiling at the moment, but you’d barely know if you got all your news from the Love Media ABC.

Yesterday in a long press conference our Prime Minister was finally forced to address “questions” that have been burning across through the net.

I heard our Perth ABC drive time presenter Geoff Hutchison discussing this at length yesterday, and in that time I heard all the ad hominem answers the Prime Minister gave, and how well she gave them, and how powerful she sounded. I’m now full bottle on all the names she calls the malicious misogynist nut jobs and how they will not accept any answer or any evidence. I heard that The Australian has apologized. Apologized! And then I heard that again. Twice? It must be significant. I also now know that Larry Pickering is bankrupt (though I can’t quite see what that has to do with running our country).

I did not hear what The Australian apologized for, which was strange, because the tone of voice conveyed that it was an important and unusual event. (Apparently, it appears The Australian said it was a “Trust” which is, go figure… defamatory. Accurate reporters should have used [...]

John McLean – ENSO drives sea surface temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg wants us to consider putting sun shades over the Great Barrier Reef, but it begs the question — how much is the reef heating up, and how sure are we that it’s man-made and not natural?

John McLean digs into the data and finds that temperature variations on the reef appear to be closely tied to the ENSO cycle, and that there is little reason to think our SUVs and coal fired plants have anything to do with the rises and falls.

We wonder, as usual, why those paid by taxpayers can’t do the same basic calculations and graphs that the volunteers do online.

 

Great Barrier Reef sea temperatures – What the data says

John McLean

 

Inspired by the absurdity of putting shades on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR),  I studied the observational data.

We can extract data  for the grid cells that cover the reef from NOAA’s “Optimal Interpolation” sea surface temperature data (see here).  When that data is averaged across the entire reef we find that the average sea surface temperature along the Great Barrier Reef has an annual cycle very similar to that of Willis Island, a Bureau of Meteorology observation [...]

Prof Antonino Zichichi (of anti-matter fame) is angry at climate science

You may not have heard of the World Federation of Scientists – it certainly isn’t run with a budget of millions or a professional PR team, instead it’s exactly the kind of organization that outstanding scientists would set up. No flash graphics, no spiffy logo, and no inundation of press releases. It’s only got two colours, but the people who meet and talk there range from world leaders in politics to people who changed the modern world with their science.

It’s the opposite of UN “science”, what it lacks in marketing skills, it more than makes up for in sheer heavyweight scientific brainpower and kudos. The Federation has 10,000 scientist members apparently, including T. D. Lee (parity violation, the Lee Model, particle physics, Nobel Prize) and Prof Antonino Zichichi (1000 papers in particle physics, first example of antimatter). Former members (until their deaths) were  Laura Fermi, Eugene Wigner (Nobel in Physics fundamental symmetry principles), Paul Dirac  (Nobel Prize, Dirac Equation, Fermions, theoretical physics, “genius”), and Piotr Kapitza (Soviet scientist, Nobel Prize and superfluidity, “Kapitsa resistance“).

Prof Antonino Zichichi founded the World Federation of Scientists and he’s angry at the state of Climate Science.

Christopher Monckton writes from the World Federation of [...]

Big Green Machine – GE makes $21 billion a year on “clean energy”

GE — A clean energy revenue machine

GE is so large that its annual revenue ($150 billion) is greater than New Zealand’s gross domestic product ($140.43 billion). But GE stands to profit in solving man-man global warming, whereas New Zealand will just pay.

In 2011 GE generated $21 billion in “clean energy revenue”. (GE Annual Report 2011, p 3).

GE boast that their “technology helps deliver a quarter of the world’s electricity”. “We are one of the largest clean energy companies in the world” (page 18) “GE wind turbines, among the most widely used in the world, will soon power the largest wind farm in the U.S ”

Not just a whitegoods company any more.

In other words, they are one of the largest companies in the world which makes profits that depend on a climate of fear. How much would their wind turbines be worth if western governments pulled the pins on all the subsidies?

Here’s how much:

“Manufacturers of turbines and other components will shed an estimated 10,000 workers in the U.S. this year in anticipation of a slowdown in orders, says the AWEA. If Congress doesn’t extend the production tax credit, that figure will [...]

Are they serious? Shade Cloth over the Great Barrier Reef to save it from climate change?

These people are not good with numbers.

In a paper published in Nature Climate Change today, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, together with Greg Rau of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, and Elizabeth McLeod of The Nature Conservancy, say new tactics are needed to save oceans from CO2 emissions.

“It’s unwise to assume we will be able to stabilise atmospheric CO2 at levels necessary to prevent ongoing damage to marine ecosystems,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

“In lieu of dealing with the core problem – increasing emissions of greenhouse gases – these techniques and approaches could ultimately represent the last resort.”

In addition to using shade cloth over coral reefs, the paper suggests novel marine conservation options, including applying low-voltage electrical current to stimulate coral growth and mitigate mass bleaching; adding base minerals such as carbonates and silicates to the ocean to neutralize acidity; and converting CO2 from land-based waste into dissolved bicarbonates that could be added to the ocean to provide carbon sequestration.

Alistair Hobday Research Scientist – Marine and Atmospheric Research at CSIRO said novel solutions are required. “We need to be mature enough to listen to [...]

Renewable energy is a $250 billion dollar industry that makes about 3% of our electricity

In June this year the UNEP report announced that Global Renewable Energy investment reached $257 Billion in  2011. It’s so large it rivals the $302 billion invested in fossil fuel power. But how much electricity do we get for all that money? When the details are pulled from the fog, a quarter of a trillion dollars appears to produce only about 3% of all our global electricity, and even less of our global energy. All that money, so few gigawatts.

The 2012 UNEP report “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment” compares the

“…despite an increasingly tough competitive landscape for manufacturers, total investment in renewable power and fuels last year increased by 17% to a record $257 billion, a six-fold increase on the 2004 figure and 94% higher than the total in 2007, the year before the world financial crisis.”

Renewables growth has slowed somewhat:

“Although last year’s 17% increase was significantly smaller than the 37% growth recorded in 2010, it was achieved at a time of rapidly falling prices for renewable energy equipment and severe pressure on fiscal budgets in the developed world.”

The last couple of quarters have not been good for [...]

Compulsive namecallers: nutter, conspiracy theorist, anti-semitic, denier — trying to censor through denigration

Got no evidence? Can’t hold a rational discussion? Just call people names — smear them.

David Evans (my other half) pointed out that anyone who opposed the regulating class gets called a racist sooner or later (see those quotes at the end). Now it’s happened to him. Two weeks after getting a mention of climate “feedbacks” into The Age, he’s being called antisemitic. And on what basis? Wait for it… two years ago, on a different topic, Dr David Evans wrote the word “Rothschilds”. Then those who can’t think, but were keen to do a character assassination, leapt to use their psychic abilities, crack secret codes, and drew on their best kindergarten reasoning to call that “antisemitic”. The essay was about banking history and systematic flaws in our currency system, and there was no mention of any religion or any race. But no matter, it’s just another variation of the pathetic Holocaust denier meme. It’s what a smear-artist does — denigrate speakers to try to stop people hearing their message.

As usual, a lack of evidence doesn’t stop the rabid conspiracy-theory-spotters from writing reams of speculation about something that isn’t there and never was.  David has never mentioned anything about [...]

How much electricity do solar and wind make on a global scale? Answer: “Not much”

Simple numbers are hard to get, so when Anton Lang pointed me at the EIA site (U.S. Energy Information Administration), I wanted to give everyone the straight answer to the question: just how much electricity do renewables make on a global scale? The EIA has the only database in the world with a this much accuracy.

The answer is that 80% of our electricity comes from the fossil fuels and nuclear that the Greens despise. Hydroelectricity, with all its pluses and minuses, produces a serious 16% of the total. But all the vanity renewables bundled together make about 3.5% of the total.

Wind power is a major global industry but it’s only making in the order of 1.4% of total electricity. And solar is so pathetically low that it needs to be bundled with “tidal and wave” power to even rate 0.1% (after rounding up).

For all the fuss and money, if the world’s solar powered units all broke tonight, it would not dent global electricity production a jot.

No one connected to a grid would notice.

 

These are the total global numbers from the US Energy Information Agency (The  EIA) for 2009.

[...]

Climate Evangelism: The Priestess Oreskes warns of the Evil Fox!

Naomi Oreskes visited Curtin University in Perth last week. Blessed are those who came to bear witness to the true prophecies!  Dr Roberto Soria from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, was there at what he so aptly describes as an evangelistic event.  His dry satirical report of that day follows, a very enjoyable read for those who have been at the receiving end of similar sermons. Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to absorb the Oreskes message. Enjoy! — Jo

Naomi Oreskes preaches hatred of sinners

The Parable of Oreskes is epic!

Guest Post Dr Roberto Soria The glorious banquet is coming to an end.  For 150 years hundreds of millions of guests have eaten to their hearts’ content at the Banquet of Gaia. But now, the Son of Man has arrived to deliver the bill. The diners are in shock. Some begin to deny that this is their bill. Others deny that there even is a bill. Still others deny that they partook of the meal, or suggest that they simply ignore the waiter. But there is no way out. The bill is due now, it is time to pay, or we [...]

Thompsons Update – looking for work in the US, and pursuing DEC legally in Australia

Matt Thompson was asked for an update from a local reporter in West Australia, and sent this today:

Thank you for your enquiry. We believe that we were treated extremely unfairly by DEC. Through draconian licence restrictions, they made it impossible for us to continue operating Narrogin Beef Producers, after we had received all the required permissions and gone through all the proper processes before and during operation of the feedlot.

We were also in a dispute with NAB over their involvement in destroying our company. About a month ago, we reached a settlement with the NAB which included giving them possession of Narrogin Beef Producers’ physical assets. We still retain the right to sue the State over the destruction of our business, which we are still pursuing. This is our only means of attempting to repay unsecured creditors.

We are interested to see who ends up in possession of our former assets, as these assets would have no value unless the new owners are treated differently by DEC than we were. We remain deeply saddened by the destruction (including abattoirs) of the beef industry in WA, which showed such promise a few years [...]

Zebra Fish like it warm – they swim faster and adapt even better to climate change

Experiments with Zebra Fish show that if their embryo’s develop in warmer water, they not only are able to swim faster but they cope better in both warmer and colder water. (How catastrophic can that be, I ask you?)

ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2012) — New research by McMaster University biologist Graham Scott suggests that growing up at warmer temperatures helps some aquatic animals cope with climate change, raising questions about the limits of adaptation.

Scott and Johnston found that when embryos raised in warm water experienced temperature variation as adults, they could swim faster, their muscle was better suited for aerobic exercise, and they expressed at higher levels many of the genes that contribute to exercise performance.

The improvements were true for the adult fish in warmer and colder water alike — a finding that surprised the researchers.

“We thought that they might do better under warmer conditions because they grew up in warmer conditions. We didn’t think they’d also do better under colder conditions, but they did.

Their research shows the fish are hardier after being raised in a warm-water nursery, and raises the question of how far the temperature [...]

Models get cloud feedback wrong, but *only* by 70W/m2 (that’s 19 times larger than the CO2 effect)

Yet another paper shows that the climate models have flaws, described as “gross” “severe” and “disturbing”. The direct effect of doubling CO2 is theoretically 3.7W per square meter. The feedbacks supposedly are 2 -3 times as strong (according to the IPCC). But some scientists are trying to figure out those feedbacks with models which have flaws in the order of 70W per square meter. (How do we find that signal in noise that’s up to 19 times larger?)

Remember climate science is settled:  like gravity and a round earth. (Really?)

Miller et al 2012 [abstract] [PDF] find that some models predict clouds to have a net shortwave radiative effect near zero, but observations show it is 70W per square meter. Presumably, cloud shortwave radiative effect means the sunlight bounced upwards off the surface of the clouds and out into space.

What’s especially interesting about this paper is the level of detail. They test shortwave and longwave radiation, precipitation flux, integrated water vapor, liquid water path, cloud fraction, and they have observations from the top of the atmosphere and the surface. With so much information they can test models against short wave and long wave radiation, to see [...]

UWA sponsors world wide junkets for poor research, inept smears: Oreskes

I wondered who was funding Oreskes to fly all the way around the world to deliver two seminars in Perth to audiences of mostly evangelical believers. Michael Kile (Quadrant magazine) reveals more of the details. Presumably she is funded by the Professors-at-large program at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia (UWA). We still have no details on the amounts.

UWA think achieving “international excellence” is so important they’ve put it in their logo.

We see below how many of the UWA hosts benefit from climate change grants, and thus would potentially gain from promoting a baseless smear against critics who threaten their funding or status. These hypocrites are happy to promote the untruth that skeptics are funded to speak, when the they themselves are the ones who benefit financially from a dubious scare campaign. The professors-at-large program is supposed to foster public debate, but four of the ten Oreskes hosts signed a letter seeking to silence a skeptic from speaking at another university.

Who would sponsor an expert that is ignorant of 99.99% of their topic?

Oreskes claims skeptics are funded by big-oil, but misses that most oil companies [...]

The meme spreads: Patrick Moore “gets it”

It’s interesting how the message is spreading. David and I have been arguing for 2 or 3 years that the feedbacks are the key gaping flaw, the critical point in the skeptic’s case. (And see this post last week.) It’s the amplification in the models with water vapor and clouds which is the point of highest uncertainty (and indeed it’s not just uncertain, the evidence points towards negative feedback. The models are wrong.)

Patrick Moore shared emails with David in February 2012 saying: “Yours is the best straightforward explanation of the skeptic’s rationale that I have seen, and thank-you for that.”

And now we see an interview with Patrick Moore in the Washington Times, sharing the meme:

“What most people don’t realize, partly because the media never explains it, is that there is no dispute over whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and all else being equal would result in a warming of the climate. The fundamental dispute is about water in the atmosphere, either in the form of water vapour (a gas) or clouds (water in liquid form). It is generally accepted that a warmer climate will result in more water evaporating from the land and sea [...]

Allegations about our PM raging across the internet around Australia

For the last three months emails have been burning across Australia with links to Larry Pickering. It’s a mark of the times that the ground breaking investigative research and news is breaking through the blog world, and barely touched in the mainstream media (see here and here as it starts to come out.)

All I will say is that our prime minister, Julia Gillard, strenuously denies any knowledge of illegal activities, but Larry Pickering, a well known national cartoonist,  is piecing together allegations (like extortion, misuse of union funds and money laundering) that many Australians will find very interesting: “Our prime minister is a crook” Part I (and “Is our prime minister a crook?” Part II) UPDATE: and now  Part III

UPDATE: PART IV (There are two sites to check on, especially if one is down – The Pickering Post and Larry Pickering)

For foreign readers: If the allegations pan out, this could bring down a government and one day may become a case study in the depths of systematic corruption and deceit in Western democracies. It’s a spectacle. If true, it does not get much more sordid than this. To make sense of this you’ll need to know that [...]