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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WA State Labor leader has it both ways: Carbon Tax bad but trading good. No. No. No.

Mark McGowan , the West Australian Labor leader hoping to win the election in March and become Premier of WA, announced that he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax. But apparently he does like emissions trading, showing that he’s as keen as anyone to help large financial institutions reap nice profits for little risk, and no benefit.

It’s an industry which deals in paper sales of an atmospheric nullity and thus, by design, prone to fraud. (See the $7b VAT tax fraud where 90% of trades in some markets were criminal). The EU emissions price is collapsing, and the scheme has made no difference to emissions in the EU. The US reduced CO2 more than the EU without a tax or a national trading scheme. In the unlikely event the scheme overcame the fraud and inefficiencies and actually reduced carbon dioxide, stopping the entire output of Australian industry and commerce would make 0.0154 degrees to global temperatures, at best, and that’s assuming the IPCC assumptions turned out to be correct despite all the evidence suggesting they are wrong.

“It’s no coincidence that the only people who argue for a free market solution are those who profit from it, or [...]

Most Geoscientists and Engineers are Global Warming skeptics

When researchers Lianne M. Lefsrud and Renate E. Meyer asked geoscientists and engineers their opinion about global warming, they discovered that two thirds of them think that the current warming is mostly due to nature.

They also found out that skeptics are scientifically informed and in positions of power and influence. What they didn’t figure out is why this is bleedingly obvious once you start with correct assumptions. Even though the skepticism of well respected scientists matches the skepticism of meteorologists (think about that) the researchers assume the skeptics are “deniers”.

Of course, polls of scientists are not evidence about our climate. But it is evidence that one of the main forms of argument “97% of climate scientists say man-made warming is real” is not just meaningless, but misleading. It’s PR, not science. The endorsement of “science associations” is one of the main points of “evidence” offered by pro-carbon-market activists. But few of those associations ever asked their members, their endorsement is usually just a committee pronouncement from six networking types on the “climate policy” committee. And few researchers even ask “most scientists” what they think. The one large survey was done by volunteers (and done twice) and they found [...]

The WA Labor Opposition Leader just announced he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax

I saw on the ABC news tonight that Mark McGowan announced that he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax. He’s the West Australian state opposition leader and there are just four weeks left before the State election. Strangely I can find no story, no news headline to confirm this.

What does it matter you say…  it’s a federal issue, not a state one. But it says everything you need to know about how unpopular both Gillard and the Carbon tax are. McGowan has dodged the question repeatedly for months, but trailing in the polls, he finally chose to dump the policy, despite it making his name Mud with the Federal Government and his fellow Labor compatriots. Peter van Onselen suggested it would pick him up some votes only a few days ago.

He would be the first Labor State Leader to do so.

In May the former Labor premier Kristina Keneally says Julia Gillard should revoke or wind back the carbon tax in order to claw back public popularity.  But she’s was safely out of the action by then. On August 9th 2012, the NSW Labor leader — John Robertson told his caucus they’d never hear him support the carbon tax, [...]

EU promises 20% of its whole budget to stop storms, rain, etc.

So what does this mean? Billions more dollars poured into the uber carbon gravy train? Twenty whole percent?

Current climate spending is estimated at  5-7%. So this might be a big increase. Has the EU gone over the waterfall, or is it more a PR exercise where money that would have been spent on other things is rebadged as a “climate” expenditure.*

The power of a single department may get diffused and spread among lots of departments. WWF are not happy and nor is the European Environmental Bureau. It can’t be all bad. ( )

 Environment News Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, February 8, 2013 (ENS) – European heads of state and government have agreed to commit at least 20 percent of the entire European Union budget over the next seven years to climate-related spending.

All-night negotiations in Brussels produced agreement among EU leaders on budget proposals for the rest of the decade, from 2014-2020.

“Climate action objectives will represent at least 20% of EU spending in the period 2014-2020 and therefore be reflected in the appropriate instruments to ensure that they contribute to strengthen energy security, building a low-carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient economy that will enhance Europe’s competitiveness and [...]

Fun on Friday. Smile :-)


 This is funny. .. Michael Davis Ford’s Theater part 2

Yes that is Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the front row.


Lewandowsky’s “research team”. Who is Mike Hubble-Marriott?

The fourth name on the new Lewandowsky paper is Mike Hubble-Marriott, from “Climate Realities Research, Melbourne”. What isn’t listed on the paper, is that Mike’s “climate research” is published under the anonymous moniker of Mike, on a site called WatchingTheDeniers A site incidentally, which is linked in the paper. Perhaps they ought to have disclosed that?

Climate Realities Research has no website, it doesn’t appear to be a registered business, and Googling doesn’t shed any light on it. Just how serious is his research?

“Mike” gave it away on The Conversation blog a long time ago, sort of, saying “my real name which is Michael Marriott – thus, any charges of anonymity can be dealt with.” Hubble-Marriott, or Marriott, what’s the difference? Hmm. (See Watching the Deniers) In his other life, he worked for a law firm as an information services manager. Perhaps he still does? But now apparently he’s a climate researcher. OK.

I’m not fussy about qualifications, there are plenty of Profs who can’t think. But Lewandowsky and Hubble-Marriott think qualifications are all that matter. Hypocrisy anyone?

Mike commented on this blog in March 2010 as “Mike” on this thread, but in the end failed the logic and [...]

How well did that 50 degree forecast work out for the BOM?

You could almost be forgiven for wondering if the Bureau of Meteorology is a science unit or a PR agency. They seem professionally adept at getting headlines, but not so hot at predicting the weather.

On Jan 7th the BOM models forecast 50 spanking hot degrees across hundreds of square kilometers in central Australia. But it was a whole week ahead, the prediction itself cooled with a day or two, and in the area under the “purple searing spot” the result on Jan 14th ended up being around 40C instead. That’s fine in itself — predictions are difficult. What’s not fine is the PR storm that ensued, which is still being used, as if somehow the very fact that our faulty climate models predicted a record temperature (but failed) is evidence of man-made global warming. How many thousands of people all around the world now think that Australia had a 50C plus day this January? Did anywhere hit the fifty mark? No report of one so far. Watch the loop of Australia’s January temperatures here. The highest brown bar on that graph is 45 – 48C, and those hot spots are a thousand kilometers from the purple patch.

That said, [...]

Who actually took notice of the Kyoto Protocol? Coal fired plants going up everywhere.

Guest post by Anton Lang (TonyfromOz)

(Thanks to ianl8888  for bringing this map from Tallbloke’s site to my attention)

This is a map of projected coal fired power plants that have been approved for construction. The map tells us a lot about the Kyoto Protocol, and more specifically, just how much clout does the UN really have.

Some parts of the world are increasing their coal fired electricity faster than others (Click to enlarge).

Source: Figures come from this World Resources Institute Report. (Nov 2012) Graphic? author unknown.

Kyoto was adopted in 1997, and so far, 195 Member Countries have signed up to it with that first signature. All but a couple of countries then added that all important second signature ratifying it, meaning that they were bound by what Kyoto asked for, a reduction of CO2 emissions to a level 5% lower than what they were in 1990. In 2007, Rudd added that second signature on behalf of Australia, leaving the U.S. as the only country not to ratify the Protocol. Some countries have said that they will not ratify any rehash of Kyoto, which expired at the end of last year. Only 24 countries [...]

Hottest reefs on Earth make a nice home for corals?

If Earth warms by 2 degrees The Great Barrier Reef is a goner, or maybe not. Tropical reefs are generally about 28C but even a one degree rise above normal temperatures can bleach corals.

This latest paper by Hume et al, showed that some corals survive in the hottest reefs on  Earth which are in the Arabian/Persian Gulf and are a whopping 36 degrees C. In order to survive, corals do deals with symbiotic algae, but these are very sensitive to changes in temperature (or so we thought):

Reefs are made up of many species of coral, each of which have a mutually beneficial, or “symbiotic”, relationship with algae living in their tissue. These algae supply vital nutrition to the host but are sensitive to environmental changes including increases in seawater temperature.

Even a temperature rise of just one degree Celsius can harm the symbiotic algae, which in turn can increase mortality in corals. The associated loss of symbiotic algae is known as “coral bleaching” because the white skeletons of the corals become visible through the tissue depleted from the algal pigments.

Obviously those Gulf coral survive those wildly high temperatures with freak heat-loving-symbiotic-algae that can’t survive in normal oceans [...]

Wipeout poll. Labor down 6 percent. Polls swinging wildly

In the last week, Australia was flooded or burned, Gillard called an election 9 months ahead, two of her highest ranking party members said they would quit, Gillard cut down a long serving senator to pop in her “captains pick” candidate, and one of her former party members was arrested with 150 charges to be laid. Labor is back to the polling territory it spent most of last year at — a 32% primary vote and the Greens at 9%.  But these polls are swinging wildly.

I can’t think why Gillard likes this uncertainty, and doesn’t call an election immediately…

The Australian:

The poll puts Labor’s primary support at 32 per cent – a wipeout of the six-point gain recorded between December and January – as the Coalition’s support rose four percentage points to 48 per cent in the past three weeks.

With the Greens steady on 9 per cent and “others” going from 9 per cent to 11 per cent since the poll in January, the two-party-preferred figure has the Coalition back with a huge election-winning lead of 56 per cent to 44 per cent.

Ms Gillard’s support as preferred prime minister fell four percentage points from 45 per [...]

Do forests drive wind and bring rain? Is there a major man-made climate driver the models miss?

Clouds over Amazon forest (Rio Negro). Image NASA Earth Observatory.

What if winds were mainly driven by changes in water vapor, and those changes occurred commonly in air over forests? Forests would be the pumps that draw in moist air from over the oceans. Rather than assuming that forests grow where the rain falls, it would be more a case of rain falling where forests grow. When water vapor condenses it reduces the air pressure, which pulls in more dense air from over the ocean.

A new paper is causing a major stir. The paper is so controversial that many reviewers and editors said it should not be published.  After two years of deliberations,  Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics decided it was too important not to discuss.

The physics is apparently quite convincing, the question is not whether it happens, but how strong the effect is. Climate models assume it is a small or non-existent factor. Graham Lloyd has done a good job describing both the paper and the reaction to it in The Australian.

Sheil says the key finding is that atmospheric pressure changes from moisture condensation are orders of magnitude greater than previously recognised. The paper concludes “condensation [...]

Two wind-turbines down in a week in the UK — Sabotage or failure?

Two wind towers are down in the last week in the UK 18 miles apart (Devon and Cornwall). It was thought the first tower (a six story £250,000 tower built in 2010) collapsed in the wind:

“The bolts on the base could not withstand the wind and as we are a very windy part of the country they [the energy company] have egg on their face,” she said. “There are concerns about safety.”

But, suspiciously, bolts were missing from the base and the second tower collapsed not far away. Sabotage is suspected. Who knows? The first tower was supposed to last for 25 years, and withstand winds of 116 mph. The night it fell, winds were only about 50mph.

There was fierce local opposition to the wind turbines. People do hate those things. That said, tampering with them would be a criminal act and also, logistically, possibly difficult to manage (according to some commenters on the Tele’s blog, “almost impossible”).  Accusing people of sabotage might be a convenient excuse for a company with “egg on their face”. In other words, we don’t know. Wind towers have fallen over before: There have been some 1500 incidents or accidents in the [...]

Yet another paper shows the hot spot is missing

Remember the evidence is overwhelming, and deniers deny the evidence. But in Oct 2012, two atmospheric scientists were reporting, yet again, the models are wrong. Twenty years after we started looking for the fingerprint of the amplification required to make the CO2 theory of global warming work, it still isn’t there. Forgive me for harping on. It’s still The Most Major Flaw in climate models.

Never heard of “the Hot Spot”? See the first post on the hot spot argument. The models are wrong (but only by 400%!) See how climate scientists admit it’s important and missing. See how they stoop to changing color scales on graphs to pretend they’ve found it and ignore 28 million weather balloons. Or just read the summary with scientific references I wrote in May.

Background: The assumption that was wrong

Researchers made an assumption that water vapor would amplify the direct warming of extra CO2 from a small harmless amount to a large catastrophe. They started with the theory that relative humidity would stay constant in a warmer world and the thicker layer of water vapor would warm the world even more. Greenhouses gases in this instance means mainly water [...]