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



Skeptical view makes Australian front page: climate madness, dishonesty, fraud, deception, lies and exploitation says Maurice Newman

The giant boondoggle is coming undone.

What makes this article remarkable is the strong language coming from a credible source on the front page of a major national daily. We have crossed another line in the decline and fall of the Great Global Warming Scare.  Maurice Newman is chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council , was Chairman of the ABC, and of the board of the Australian Stock Exchange. He was Chancellor of Macquarie University until 2008. The Op-Ed and news article today sums up the worst of the last five years of climate, and is the first time I can recall seeing a well respected commentator use such unequivocal and damning language and so prominently. There is no hedging here, no pandering. Newman obviously reads skeptical blogs and is very aware of what is going on. Ponder that he was Chairman of their ABC, and if someone of his sensible insight could not clean it up, we need far more drastic action (that’s another topic we will explore soon).

His opinion piece in the Australian (Crowds go cold on climate cost), is discussed on the front page as a news item titled “Climate policies helped kill manufacturing, [...]

Third icebreaker abandons rescue of climate scientists boat in Antarctica, media fog, obscure, don’t say “climate”

LATEST NEWS: Aurora Australis abandons attempt to save Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica. The SMH headline could’ve said “Another icebreaker abandons attempt to save climate scientist’s boat in Antarctica.” UPDATE: Russia says 54 of 74 passengers to be helicoptered off if weather permits. (h/ tPeter Miller) The Polar Star icebreaker has left from the US to come help. It will take 8 -9 days to arrive. (Guardian)

Welcome to Media-Sport, where we score points watching a part of the media dance around the hysterical folly of an Antarctic climate science expedition trapped in sea ice for six nights (and counting). The Art of Propaganda is not just in the telling of one-sided lines, but is crafted through parts left unsaid.

More global warming, it is everywhere you look. View from Akademik Shokalskiy

With three ice-breaker rescue ships trying to reach them, the latest news is that the scientists and media entourage may have to abandon ship and be helicoptered to safety (though right now even that is not possible due to the very rough weather).  The ABC news home page at time of posting this has zero references to “Antarctica”, but does say there are cracks in ice around a [...]

IPCC “science” on sea-levels dumped by an Australian State Government

It’s just another day on the road back to reality.

The New South Wales state government in Australia has announced it will tell its local councils  that not only are they not bound by the IPCC sea-level predictions, they must do their own research on their own beaches. It’s the polite way of saying that no one believes the IPCC predictions anymore, worse, that they are so sure the IPCC is wrong that councils have to get different advice. For the IPCC it’s just one more signpost on the path to oblivion.

The Australian:

The NSW government will order councils to study the scientific evidence for sea-level rise on a beach-by-beach basis, amid fears that many local authorities may be undermining property values by imposing punitive planning conditions based on predictions contained in reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

IPCC credibility has crumbled in so many ways. People were suffering real pain  — properties near the ocean in some councils were being denied the approvals to renovate or expand, and their values had fallen. Owners were locked into properties they couldn’t improve and couldn’t sell. The NSW state government told councils last year they didn’t [...]

Tell the world to stop blaming your home air conditioner for peak power spikes

Guest post by TonyfromOz (Anton Lang)

The Peak Power story is that spikes in electricity occur 6 to 10 days a year and we need to cut back on the power we use at home to ease spikes. In Australia, the spikes are on the hottest days of summer, and commentators tut-tut and blame the profusion of air conditioning in our homes. Their story goes that there is no point in building more power stations because the spikes are short lived.  [See  Western Power,  Reneweconomy, The Queensland government, and Urban Ecology for examples of people making out  residential air conditioners are to blame. That last link has this hysterical quote "The big mistake was putting air-conditioning in cars." If people were not used to being cool in their vehicles, they would not demand it in their homes. (Tony O'Dwyer, National Economics)". Never let the riff raff use the industrial magic tools eh? Keep the air conditioners for the elite academics, pollies and white collar office workers! -- Jo]

But here’s the kicker. There’s one day of the year when more people are at home than any other day, so if home air-conditioners were the problem, then Christmas Day should be a [...]

Merry Christmas to all for 2013

Merry Christmas to readers everywhere, especially to those who are far from family and friends in time or place…

… or possibly separated by the politics of modern tribes. A shame.

Mischief likes the big green cat-toy with balls to pounce on.

New British plan will pay people to be “ready to do nothing” to help with energy crisis

The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution has a new bright idea. Big-Government is going to take £1 each from people using electricity and instead of giving it to people who make electricity, they’re going to give it to people who don’t absolutely have to have electricity. Those people might be paid for doing no useful work, or indeed, in a fabulous twist, they might be paid not to do no work, but just to be prepared to do nothing. It’s a brilliant left-of-center economic move, guaranteed to help the non-essential part of the economy at the expense of the part that does things that matter.

Expect to see the UK doing more non-essential things in future.

Businesses could be paid to shut down from 4pm and 8pm on winter weekdays, under plans approved by regulator Ofgem

by Emily Gosden

Hundreds of businesses could be paid to switch off their power between 4pm and 8pm on winter weekdays as soon as next winter to prevent blackouts, under plans approved by regulator Ofgem.

Mothballed old gas-fired power stations will also be paid to come back to stand-by so they can be fired up to prevent the lights going out when demand is [...]

Unthreaded Weekend

Interference patterns ripple through clouds at my favourite rock pool.

 

Reddit gives up on debate, bans “deniers” and repositions as low traffic propaganda unit

Reddit is a social media website which calls itself the “front-page of the Internet”. It’s possible you’ve even heard of it (but not from me.) One Reddit moderator proudly announced on Grist that climate change is the hottest battleground in all of science, and actual debate is too hot for Reddit.

I’d like to thank them for sending more traffic to skeptical bloggers as they stop pretending to be on the “front line” in science. Though to be honest, I don’t expect to notice the difference: their “environment” page is positively raging along, with most posts getting only 1-2 comments. “Front page of the Internet” my foot.

According to Nathan Allen, Reddit-science means following consensus polls and doing pop-psychology on your opponents , while allowing people you like to post conspiracy theories, but protesting when opponents do the same.

Here’s a wild idea, perhaps this debate is the hottest battleground in science because a religious theory about the climate has usurped real science, and thousands of scientists are rising up in protest? (If I’m right, the number of skeptics will be increasing and the tenor of the discussions will get more and more acrimonious. Oh look… UK poll suggests there [...]

Sun dumps 500 times as many Hiroshima bombs of energy as “climate change”

Announcing the all new Solar-Insolation Hiroshima Bomb App, thanks to Dale Kent.

Since 1998, Global Warming has been occurring at 4 Hiroshima Bombs per second, not that we can measure that rate to a statistically significant value*, or that it means anything at all. Every second the sun pours 2700 Hiroshima bombs of energy on the Earth at the top of the atmosphere. 

As well as missing the big-picture, Cook and Nuccitelli show us they don’t have a good grip on cause and effect. The world may have been warming, but that does not  mean that CO2 caused it. Though they would very much like you to think that.

But if you want to scare people out of their money and impress fools, the Skeptical Science widget is just the thing. As SkS say on their page: “ Put a widget on your blog to let people know that climate change is important to you. ” To which  JoNova adds, “The Sks widget performs a valuable service, advertising the bloggers who don’t understand big numbers or trends, and who struggle with statistical significance. If someone wants to show they think-with-the-herd, and not with their brain, the SkepticalScience widget [...]

Two high school students take on teacher over climate and win standing ovation

A reader Russell writes in to tell me his Year 9 son Jordan and his friend, Tom, took on their teacher’s sacred belief in man-made global warming. Given no warning, and called insulting names in front of the class, they took up the challenge with gusto and stayed up til 1am that night to put the presentation together. Not surprisingly the teacher tried to pull out the next day, but the class would not let her.

One of the slides quotes Al Gore mocking “the tiny minority”, like the ones “who still believe that the moon landing was faked…”. Then it shows and quotes four Apollo Astronauts and Burt Rutan (the first private astronaut).

One of the ten slides

From reader Russell:

The other week at school my eldest son (15) was challenged by his teacher to present to the class why he is a ”climate change denier”. He had to do this presentation the next day.

At the start of his class the next day he advised the teacher he was ready.  She told him she wasn’t interested now, maybe another day. His classmates started heckling her saying ”You Chicken Miss”. She eventually agreed [...]

Climate Fat Cats exposed with naked conflicts of interest. Where was The BBC?

Another cycle of the Climate Change Scare Machine is laid bare.  David Rose explains how those lobbying and advising the government on green policies are benefiting from green projects. It’s all in the  Daily Mail. The Green Industrial Complex has simply bought everyone off, and, cleverly, done it with your money.

It’s the new business model really. Why work for customers and compete in the free market? Instead scare the public, sell them the “answer”, and to make sure they pay, convince the government that you need grants and gravy (or you’ll call them names). Pretty soon, the government forces the public to pay, disguises and splits the payments into a thousand parts, and tells the people it is for their own good. The fun ramps up when the government hires you back to advise it on how to keep the gravy flowing to you.

What is really mindboggling is that it’s so blatant. Many of these connections “exposed” by Rose are listed on the CCC website, the conflicts are obvious. Why it wasn’t exposed years ago? As I keep saying, the problem is not so much that there are people on the take (there always will be) the real [...]

Snowing in Egypt for first time in years

Many are saying it’s the first snow in 112 years, see News.com. Though there are reports the Egyptian Meteorological Authority disagrees that it has been that long. As a cold snap hits the Middle East, snow is falling in many places, including Israel, where it is said to have been the heaviest snow since 1953.

Global warming hitting Egypt hard. First snow in a century. http://t.co/w6gKC6VpUg pic.twitter.com/5y9TSwbhro

— Steve Goddard (@SteveSGoddard) December 13, 2013

LA Times:  “In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares.”

Huffington Post: ” In Jerusalem, local media reported that schools and roads were closed, and transport suspended after four inches of snow – the most since 1953. “

Cars stuck under snow in Amman, Jordan via @AmerSweidan @beamman pic.twitter.com/oUzgFm3QL8

— Curtis Ryan (@Curtisryan1) December 14, 2013

I hear snow in Amman is not that unusual. Still, that’s a decent kind of snowfall.

Washington Post reports that “Jerusalem was last snow-covered about 50 years ago. As these photos show, the snow has brought [...]

Why the Lewandowsky, Cook, Marriott paper would fail if submitted as a blog post

Taxpayer funded radical plan to make you pay more, use less, stay home. Joy!

UPDATE: See what David Hone from Shell thought. He went and discovered  the “”vegan” “low tech” element who talk of annihilating coal.

Tyndall Centre UK has just held The Radical Emission Reduction Conference: 10-11 December 2013. This is their logo:

Things have to go “radical” now, because there are no sensible pragmatic or long term solutions left:

“About the conference Today, in 2013, we face an unavoidably radical future. We either continue with rising emissions and reap the radical repercussions of severe climate change, or we acknowledge that we have a choice and pursue radical emission reductions: No longer is there a non- radical option. Moreover, low-carbon supply technologies cannot deliver the necessary rate of emission reductions – they need to be complemented with rapid, deep and early reductions in energy consumption – the rationale for this conference.

These people are seriously discussing reductions of energy of 8%, not just by 2020, but every year.

“… More specifically the conference will consider how to deliver reductions in energy consumption of at least 8% per year (~60% across a decade). It will foster an up-beat and can-do mentality.

 The Radical Emission Reduction Conference

From the speaker abstracts

[...]

OK to kill endangered birds? Yes if you are a windfarm. Greens seem to be fine with that.

It’s one rule for you, and another for their friends. If a coal plant was wiping out thousands of birds and bats you can be sure Greenpeace would be launching a campaign. But when an industrial turbine with blade-tips travelling at 180mph does the killing, who cares?

The law for normals makes it expensive to kill birds and bats:

“Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, BP was fined $100 million for the damage it caused to bird populations in the area, both migratory and resident.  — AlaskaDispatch

“Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay $600,000 in penalties after approximately 85 migratory birds died of exposure to hydrocarbons at some of its natural gas facilities across the Midwest.  — NY Times

And it was going to get expensive for windfarms:

“Nov 22 2013 Duke Energy has agreed to pay a $1 million fine for killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two Wyoming wind farms. – audublog

That was the first time a windfarm got pinged. And it works out to be about $6000 a bird. Could get expensive, eh?

“The Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that 440,000 birds are killed [...]

Nobel Winner boycotts journals Nature, Science, and Cell for damage to science

The pursuit of knowledge does not fit well into human institutions, the 9 – 5 regime, career plans, nor the profit motive. Cracks are everywhere. The message grows that science is being exploited and distorted.

Randy Schekman received his Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine yesterday. At the same time he has declared that his lab will not be sending papers to the top-tier journals Nature, Science and Cell because they are damaging science. He calls for more open access papers saying “science must break the tyranny of the luxury journals”

Randy Schekman in the Guardian

“I am a scientist. Mine is a professional world that achieves great things for humanity. But it is disfigured by inappropriate incentives. The prevailing structures of personal reputation and career advancement mean the biggest rewards often follow the flashiest work, not the best. Those of us who follow these incentives are being entirely rational – I have followed them myself – but we do not always best serve our profession’s interests, let alone those of humanity and society.

Chiefly, he points out that the “luxury” journals manage themselves as brand-names, and choose papers for reasons other than their scientific advances. The journals seek [...]

IPCC spin translated – the leaked Synopsis admits 97% of models fail

Joint Post: Geoff Sherrington and JoNova

The IPCC Synthesis Report first order draft has been leaked (h/t Tallbloke) . It is part of the big Fifth Assessment report  see the parts already released here. The Synthesis Report supposedly summarizes the science. In the real world the topic du jour is the plateau, pause, or hiatus in warming which the IPCC can no longer ignore. Instead the masters of keyword phrases test new bounds in saying things that are technically correct, while not stating the bleeding obvious. Luckily we are here to help them. : -)

Translating IPCC-spin:

“The rate of warming of the observed global-mean surface temperature has been smaller over the past 15 years (1998-2012) than over the past 30 to 60 years (Figure SYR.1a; Box SYR.1) and is estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over the period 1951–2012. Nevertheless, the decade of the 2000s has been the warmest in the instrumental record (Figure SYR.1a).”

Translated: Yes temperatures are not rising faster as we predicted, even though more CO2 was pumped out faster than ever. Let’s ignore that this shows the models were wrong, the important thing is to [...]

A few facts on Flannery, Climate Council, and prophecies of bushfire: no long trends for Katoomba

Flannery and the Climate Council are at it again — trying to scare money out of people with their prophecies of bushfires. They are milking the fear factor from the October fires in the Blue Mountains, telling us disaster planning means we have to get “the facts straight”.

Let’s get the facts straight on exactly how human emissions of CO2 have affected the temperature and rainfall in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. How much hotter and drier is the climate? Ninety percent of human emissions have been produced since WWII. Katoomba has the longest running temperature series I could find in the BOM records -see below. But where is that rising trend? The string of hot years in the late 1930s appears to be just as hot as the last decade.  The 1920s and 30s look a lot like the 1980 and 90s.

The facts about Katoomba annual temperatures

Source: Katoomba annual mean temperature

see also Katoomba October mean temperatures

 

But wait, the Climate Council tells us “Hot, dry conditions create conditions favourable for bushfires. Australia has just experienced its hottest 12 months ever recorded.” Any sane person would assume the Blue [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

..

… (Click to enlarge) Photo: Jo

I took this flying from Denpasar to Perth. Glorious ancient landscape in the dry season north-west WA. Click for a larger broader image.

UPDATE: thanks to help from Steve R W, I think I’ve found the location. It appears to be part of a long ridge in The Barlee Range, just north of the Frederick River in the Pilbara area of Western Australia.  It is so remote, Google Earth tells me “you can’t get here from where you are”.

Land clearing caused drop in rainfall in South West of Australia

Rain rain go away, let’s chop a forest down today?

Mark Andrich and Jorg Imberger compare the rainfall patterns in different regions of southwest Western Australia. The areas where the most land was cleared show the greatest decline. They estimate that as much as 50 – 80% of the observed decline in rainfall is the result of land clearing, which doesn’t leave much to blame on CO2.  The paper came out in 2012.

This fits with other researchers working on the Amazon who estimated chopping down the forests could reduce rain by as much as 90%. Once again: it’s not so much that trees grow where the rain falls, but that the rain falls where the trees grow, and the taller the trees, the better.

So the good news for Greenies is that we ought to plant more trees (and I’m all for that). But driving a Prius, building windmills, and using solar panels won’t do much for our rainfall. (It’s so strange anyone thought it would. The witchdoctors have them completely bamboozled.) The Abbott government’s plan to plant trees to sequester carbon may work, but by accident, not because of anything to do with CO2.

Oh the [...]