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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Draft IPCC report leaked (the evidence is so overwhelming it has to be kept secret!)

UPDATE: IPCC officially confirms that when it says “transparent” it means “secret”.

UPDATE2: Donna La Frambois points out Working Group III documents are still secret. “This is What Transparency Looks Like”

What was the point of keeping the IPCC draft secret? The point is so the IPCC can control both the content and the PR. The IPCC wants a free kick, and they get one if the world doesn’t see how they arrive at the conclusion, and if critics can’t specifically point to errors or flaws until weeks after the giant press circus has done its megaphone production.

It’s how the media game works. First they release the “up and coming” scary headline. (Already done for AR5.) Critics can’t criticize what they can’t see.

Then they release the Summary with a three ring display of terrifying headlines. The black box that justifies it is shown off in all its mysterious glory: 4,000 experts labored for 5 years, produced 2,000 papers, 2 million emails, and rigorously, savagely dissected the science to give you this ominous, frightening message. Pay us your tithe! We will stop the Storms! The inner workings of the black box are held in the Sacred Vault. Those who question [...]

The IPCC was not right. Frame & Stone ignore main IPCC predictions

Professor David Frame and Dr Daithi Stone have produced a paper claiming the IPCC predictions in 1990 were successful and seem accurate.

Those who read the actual FAR report and check the predictions against the data know that this is not so.

They ignore the main IPCC predictions (the prominent ones, with graphs, in the Summary for Policymakers) They don’t measure the IPCC success against an IPCC graph or within IPCC defined “uncertainties”. They measure success against  a “zero trend” — something they defined as any rise at all beyond what they say are the limits of natural variability (which they got from the very models that aren’t working too well). Circular reasoning anyone? Frame and Stone themselves say the IPCC models didn’t include important forcings, and may have been “right” by accident.

Why did Nature publish this strawman letter? It’s an award-winning effort in selective focus, logical fallacies, and circular reasoning to be sure, but does it advance our understanding of the natural world? Not so.

Frame and Stone have produced a Letter to Nature saying that 3 is a lot like 6 (they are both larger than zero). If you ignore the Summary for Policymakers, pick a line [...]

The IPCC was wrong. (Matthew England and the ABC mislead Australians)

This is a rare unequivocal case of overreach.

Prof Matthew England proves he is either willing to stretch things beyond reason “for the cause”, or he doesn’t know what he is talking about, or both. Sarah Clark at the ABC didn’t do five minutes research on the story to check the facts or ask informed questions. This is not science, and it isn’t journalism either.

The Facts: The IPCC used the word “prediction” in 1990 and predicted a best estimate of 0.3°C with a  range of 0.2°C – 0.5°C per decade Even with the most generous overestimate of current trends, the temperature trend has fallen below their lowest estimate, while CO2 emissions were higher than expected. The 1990 predictions can not be called “true”, “consistent” or to have “occurred” by any definition in any English dictionary. The IPCC Prediction was Wrong

The quote from the first page of the Executive Summary of the Summary for Policy Makers, FAR 1990:1

“Based on current model results, we predict:

Under the IPCC Business-as-Usual (Scenario A) emissions of greenhouse gases, a rate of increase of global mean temperature during the next century of about 0.3C per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2°C – [...]

Are sea-levels rising? Nils-Axel Mörner documents a decided lack of rising seas

We’ve all heard the dire prophesies: Rising seas will reshape the world’s coastlines, a one meter rise will inundate 7000 sq mi of dry land, and cost over $100 billion in the United States alone. Worse, we thought things were bad before, but now it’s even rising faster than we predicted. (“We” being the unvalidated computer simulations, and “rising”, as it turns out, being one interpretation of some highly adjusted, carefully selected data, all possibly “corrected” by one outlying tide gauge in Hong Kong).

Nils-Axel Mörner is here to point out that the raw satellite data shows barely any rise, and furthermore, the observations from places all over, like the Maldives, Suriname, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, Venice, and Germany show not much either. It’s close enough to zero to call it “nothing”. Oh.

But that’s only spots from The Atlantic, The Pacific and The Indian… there are other oceans.

As we graphed before with Frank Lansner, most of the current “rise” is due to man-made adjustments, not man-made emissions. According to Mörner, it’s not that the sea levels are rising less than expected, it’s more like they aren’t rising much at all, and haven’t been for years . — Jo


Weekend Unthreaded

Let ‘er rip (this time with comments turned on).


Monckton tossed out of Doha, COP 18 and Qatar

UPDATE: See the video below

So Monckton snuck onto a microphone and dared break the sacred tabernacle of climate. There are some things you just can’t say…

Tallbloke is having a caption contest for this pic.

E &E Newswire story

After the news conference, and as diplomats gathered for the climate conference president’s assessment of how close countries are to agreement, Monckton quietly slipped into the seat reserved for the delegation of Myanmar and clicked the button to speak.

“In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming,” Monckton said as confused murmurs filled the hall and then turned into a chorus of boos.

CFACT are always busy at these conferences.

Release: Call to suspend climate treaty negotiations at CFACT press conference

PS:  I hear Andrew Bolt discussed it with Steve Price today (but I can’t find that reference).

UPDATE: MaxL finds it here (thanks) Andrew Bolt and Steve Price (2GB) talked to Lord Monckton here.


FLASHBACK — Monckton has been getting evicted from things since Bali 2007

Monckton, David and I were thrown out of convention centre halls, and out of the security precinct [...]

Fasullo and Trenberth find spurious success, make headlines, but still the models crash

It’s worse than we thought — again….

Fusulo and Trenberth scored headlines around the world recently with a new paper that suggested that a few models got the relative humidity right in some tropical spots, and they also happened to be the models that predicted the hottest global outcomes.

John Christie pointed out that the models with the highest climate sensitivity are also the ones which are the worst at predicting future temperatures.

But there is more to this. It is a likely a case of twenty models predicting 40 parameters, and you can take your pick of the permutations and combinations which give one or two models a “success” here and there on one or two factors. But in the end, as Richard Courtney says, all the models are different so only one model can possibly be The Right One for the whole atmosphere, and quite likely they are all wrong.

In this case, they are still all wrong. The hot spot is still missing, and the region below it with which they scored some success is not that important.

The words hot spot and humidity over the tropics lead many commentators to think this was something to do [...]

Doha: dead — Kyoto: kaput, but NGO’s win anyway

How is Doha going? (Where was that, again?)

The Indians have gone home, The Chinese are being told off. Nobody else is very interested, except developing nations looking for a handout. The Australians already agreed to everything whatever it is. (Great negotiation ploy by our Labor Government that.)  The EU wants to do what it’s already doing.

Mike Haseler at the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum says it’s all over, bar the shouting. Kyoto ends on December 31, and there is no treaty to replace it, and there can be no ratified treaty by Jan 1.

“Contrary to what many green NGOs are saying, the Kyoto commitment to CO2 reduction will cease effect on the 31st December. This is because the treaty requires amendments to be ratified well before they come into effect (by 3rd October). It took some 4 years for a quorum of countries to ratify Kyoto. Even if there were total agreement at Doha on any amendment (there isn’t) the earliest change to Kyoto is 2015. Without agreement the earliest if there were agreement at the end of next year is that a change to the Kyoto Commitment could come into force in 2016. “

Tory Aardvark  [...]

Most Useless Flagrant Flop of Government (MUFFOG 2012): Finalist — Victorian Desal

In a competitive field it’s going to hard to beat this.

In 2007 the Victorian Government thought it was a good idea to spend $24 billion to build a humungously big desalination plant. There was a drought on at the time, and a specialist in small dead mammals said the drought would never end.  But now Victorian households will pay up to $310 extra in water bills next year, and something like that every year for the next 28 years until it’s paid off.

Even the people running the plant say it’s too big,

Herald Sun EXCLUSIVE: THE French boss of the troubled Wonthaggi desalination plant has admitted for the first time that the plant is too big for Melbourne’s water needs.

Suez Environment chief executive Jean-Louis Chaussade told the Herald Sun the size of the plant was based on unrealistic rainfall expectations.

“The design was done to provide water to the full city of Melbourne in case of no rain during one year – which was not realistic … The details why it was 150GL per year, I don’t know,” he said.

Which bright spark believed the government paid advertising that said there will be endless droughts? Who [...]

The UN threat to internet freedom

Oh Joy and Goody. Imagine if decisions about the global internet were made by the same institution that thought the rights of the downtrodden would be best protected by Col. Muammar Gaddafi? Hands up who wants another group of people you have no control over, making decisions for you and behind closed doors?

Of course, they will tell us the new regulations are there to help us, to stop spam, keep the internet fair and open. Then sooner or later, as with all human institutions, politics and ambition will mean the power is misused.

The people who will suffer the most are those in third world dictatorships. But free speech is the thing that stops the first world from turning into the third world. It’s hard to see how we get more than one shot at this. Once the net stops being open, imagine the fun trying to get that freedom back. Think of how fast protest groups can be arranged online through Facebook and email. Then think about how hard that gets if you have no e-help? The protests favored by the establishment get the free pass. What does everyone else do? Make thousands of cold phone calls? Use [...]

Unthreaded weekend

Let it rip…

More medical good news… the research we could be doing

It’s a feel good thing, to read some of the latest medical news.

Stem cells are the child-like cells within us that could theoretically be converted into almost any tissue we need. But getting them is difficult. Embryonic cells pose all kinds of dilemma’s. We’ve already managed to get adult cells from skin, but that requires a biopsy. Now researchers have obtained stem cells from blood. It makes things just that much easier. They can also be stored and frozen. Handy to have as a back up in years to come; more flexible because they don’t have to be converted into the powerful Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells straight away.

One day, your GP will take a blood sample and send in an order for blood vessels, heart valves, muscle tissue — if you need a new bladder, people are already working on creating them. There won’t be so many waiting lists and prayers for donations, and there won’t be any need for immunosuppressant therapy either. Your body will be happy to have your own cells back.

Ponder how much we could achieve if we focused on solving real problems instead of fake ones.

This is the kind of research [...]

Is your snout in the trough yet?

While cancer patients will have to pay more or wait longer for treatment, the Department To Fix The Weather handed out nearly 1 billion dollars in 2010-2011, some* of which was used to “educate” people about energy efficiency and the benefits of government policies.

*UPDATE: While there are a lot of “education” grants in 2012, there are some research grants going to the CSIRO (eg in 2012 at least $13m of the $40m that year was for research at CSIRO). In 2010 (the big dollar grant year) many more of the grants were for “strategies”, for IPCC matters, for universities and the CSIRO — though none of the grants I’ve seen on a random sample add up to anything like the total outgoing.)

Is this advertising by any other name? Instead of running an ALP campaign advert, they award money to groups which promote their policies and get disguised third party ads by NGOs who collect donations and are seemingly the voice of the community (what percentage of these non-profits comes voluntarily from the community and what percentage comes via forced payment from tax?).

“Do Something” picked up $800,000 to become a type of GONGO and run a [...]

Tim Flannery – baseload is just a “coal” industry idea (Yes and darkness is a “renewable” idea, right?)

How is this for a scary thought?

Tim Flannery says renewables will run the economy:

“What we can now see is the emerging inevitability that renewables are going to be running the economy…”

And I say: Prepare for economic armageddon. Picture an Australia where we all have jobs — jobs  digging holes, mucking out the stables, and chopping those last few remaining trees down. We may lead the world installing chinese-made solar panels, but they won’t help us make anything that anyone else wants to buy. Anton gives us some numbers no one seems to have mentioned to Tim. Like, it takes 1,000 new wind towers to kinda equal one coal plant. – Jo


Guest Post: Anton Lang

Get ready — this is how much the 25 most recent, powerful, high-tech wind plants generate. Not the red line — that’s how much electricity we used. Look at the expanse under the blue line — every bit of that (“bit” being the word) is all thanks to those brand spanking new wind turbines.

Courtesy of the National Electricity Market. (NEM)

The red line at the top shows total electricity demand for NSW, Vic, Qld, SA, and Tasmania [...]

The message from boreholes

There have been suggestions that Jo Nova might be trying to hide or ignore the most recent boreholes graph from Huang et al. So here it is. This is the last 2,000 years according to 6000 boreholes, with the last 100 years also using the “instrumental record” which gives us that hockey-stick uptick at the end. Below I explain the pros and cons of this study and update my thoughts.

Huang and Pollack 2008: Their latest boreholes published study


A borehole sounds like a bit-of-a-stretch as a proxy. How could we tell if the world was warmer in 1066 by drilling a hole in the ground? Yes, fair point. But what makes boreholes useful is that they are global and there is a lot of data: specifically 6,000 holes all over the world.

I’ve been looking at boreholes in more detail, analyzing them in the light of newer proxies. When all the evidence is considered, boreholes turn out be not-much-use at giving us meaningful numbers in degrees C, and in my opinion, not-too-hot at telling us the “when” of an event either. Too much depends on assumptions.

But what are they good for is that, when combined with [...]