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


Advertising

Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


micropace


GoldNerds

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



Radi-Aid: Africa helps freezing children in Norway

This is the Easter Spirit!

Gotta love it. h/t Eric W

Lewandowsky, Cook claim 78,000 skeptics could see conspiracy survey at Cooks site where there is no link

The MoonLanding paper is finally here. Eight months after Lewandowsky was so sure he had a “peer reviewed” conclusion that he announced his results in The Guardian and The Telegraph , the paper has finally been published.

Lewandowsky et al claimed to show skeptics are nutters who believe any rabid conspiracy like the “moon-landing was faked”.  Their novel method for discovering the views of skeptics involved surveying sites frequented by those who hate skeptics.

The survey questions included conspiracies likely to appeal to a small percentage of conservative or free market thinkers, and largely left out conspiracies that would appeal more to supporters of bigger government (like the idea that the rise of “climate denial” was a big-oil funded conspiracy). It studied big-government conspiracies and ignored big-corporate ones. There are gullible conspiracists who also believe in global warming, but there was no danger this survey would find them. The survey bias was so obvious, even alarmist commenters said they feared few “denialists” would take it. The results that were headlined in newspapers were based on a tiny sample of ten respondents to an anonymous online survey. Not surprisingly Lewandowsky’s university (UWA) received many complaints about ethics, methods, and the dismal quality [...]

Unpaid students to review AR5. This is rigorous expert science right?

The Risk Monger (David Zaruk) was astonished to receive an advertisement from the Dutch government looking for 60 young PhD students to help with the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

They salary is “none”. But they are not just looking for any old student. You don’t need experience, but to qualify you need “an affinity with climate change”. I guess they are not looking for skeptical students who feel an affinity with logic, reason, and empirical evidence?

The reasons for asking the unpaid students is actually described as an “ambitious plan” to do a “thorough review” because there were “errors in the fourth assessment report…”. O.K.

The Risk Monger:

Maybe I am jumping to conclusions, but with all of the mess of the last IPCC Assessment Report (including a non-scientific WWF campaign document predicting the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers getting through the review process and becoming one of the IPCC’s main conclusions), shouldn’t they try to do a more rigorous review process this time around? Students, working for free, are not perhaps the ideal choice of reviewers needed to challenge the experts

What troubles the Risk-Monger more here is that many environmental activists are working on their PhDs and [...]

Upgrade coal power and cut 15% of emissions. Where is the Green applause?

If the Greens cared about CO2 they’d be very interested in ways to reduce emissions. But their selective interest speaks volumes about their real priorities. Anton Lang shows how newer coal fired powers stations run hotter and at higher pressures, and use 15% less coal to produce the same amount of electricity. We could upgrade our power stations and cut a whopping 15% of their emissions — which is huge compared to the piddling small, often unmeasureable savings thanks to renewables. Even massive floods that stop industry don’t reduce our emissions as much as this would. Do the Greens hate the coal industry more than “carbon pollution”? — Jo

———————————————————–

Ultra Super Critical Coal Fired Power gives a 15% CO2 Emissions Reduction

Guest Post: Anton Lang (aka TonyfromOz)

It all comes down to steam.

Assume (for a moment) that we have to reduce the emissions of CO2 by something like 20% between now and 2020.

Previously I showed we could achieve a reduction of 13% in CO2 emissions from the electrical power generating sector just by converting from the current 70’s technology coal fired power to the newest technology USC (UltraSuperCritical) coal fired technology. That 13% I quoted [...]

Labor downgrades “Climate Dept”. Greens slam it as “symbolic retreat”

Dr Craig Emerson, Minister for Science, Weather, Inventions, Factories and Universities.

After the leadership farce last week and the resignations of the more-sensible Labor ministers, Gillard has reshuffled again and the DCC (Department of Climate Change) is disappearing into a “super ministry”. It is a sign of the times.

The P.M. has bundled the Department of Climate Change into a nightmare acronynm:

The Prime Minister used her sixth ministerial reshuffle to merge the Department of Climate Change with the Department of Industry, creating a new Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Is that DIICCSRTE?

Gillard has made Craig Emerson minister of nearly everything.

Gillard also appointed the former Woodside director, Gary Gray, to cabinet as mines and energy minister. The Climate Spectator is worried. Gray said something skeptical once in 1993: that the evidence linking human activity to climate change was ‘‘pop science”. Years later he apparently said he regretted the comments, but this was not enough to convince the religious that he has discovered the faith.  He made the mistake of saying there needed to be “intellectual challenge and debate”. These plain and sane words marked him as a confirmed skeptic. Only [...]

Apollo 11 engines found and recovered from 4km deep

 

Hey, Moon Landing Deniers… here’s an interesting tid-bit and an epic project. The historic engines that propelled Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on their trip to the moon (with Michael Collins orbiting above them) have not only been found but recovered. These F-1 engines fell back to Earth at 5,000 miles per hour and sank four kilometers underwater in the Atlantic. (The Apollo 11 crew splashed down later in the Pacific on July 24, 1969.)

It was not immediately clear when or where the objects might be displayed, but Mr Bezos said when he launched the project last year that he hoped they could be viewed at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

[...]

What happened to “Earth Hour”? Celebrate: It’s the “Power Hour” tonight!

Turn on your lights from 8.30pm-9.30!

Remember all the fuss? What happened to Earth Hour 2013?

It’s that time-of-year for the hour of Green Darkness. But how times have changed.  On Their-ABC, the only mention I can find is this: “Is Earth Hour dead?“  The Age and The SMH pay lip-service to Earth Hour with an article in today. But there is nothing like the hype of previous years. The Guardian puts on the best spin, but concede Lomborg might be right. Even the Huff Po is telling us it’s a waste of time.

It appears Lomborg took the fun out of it by pointing out that Earth Hour was a waste-of-time token that produced more emissions than it saved.

Earth Hour teaches us that tackling global warming is easy,” Lomborg writes at Slate. “Yet, by switching off the lights, all we are doing is making it harder to see.”

How so? Well, for starters, Lomborg argues that more than a billion impoverished people around the world have no switch to flip, lacking the electricity that we take for granted. Earth Hour, he implies, demonizes a technology that has lifted great swaths of humanity from lives of [...]

IPCC Lead Author calls Lewandowsky “deluded”

People across the UK are rolling in the aisles in laughter.

Lewandowsky’s latest paper, “Recursive Fury” (which has just reappeared),  categorized a comment by Richard Betts under the heading “Excerpt Espousing Conspiracy Theory” (in the supplemental data). But instead of being a comment from a rabid tin-foil-hat skeptic, Betts turns out to be Head of Climate Impacts at the UK Met Office and an IPCC lead author.

When Betts was informed about this by Barry Woods, he tweeted “Lewandowsky et al clearly deluded!”

Here’s the comment by Betts that Lewandowsky et al think demonstrates conspiracist ideation. Betts is pointing out how easily the authors of the original paper (claiming that skeptics-believe-the-moon-landing-was-faked) could have posted their survey link in places where skeptics were actually likely to see it. The Moon landing paper — after all — claimed to analyze skeptics but ended up getting results only from sites that were virulently anti-skeptic.

Richard Betts: “The thing I don’t understand is, why didn’t they just make a post on sceptic blogs themselves, rather than approaching blog owners. They could have posted as a Discussion topic here at Bishop Hill without even asking the host, and I very much doubt that the Bish [...]

Who will be Australia’s PM tomorrow? (Answer – Gillard)

UPDATE: Rudd refused to contend. Gillard and Swan “won” uncontested. (The ALP loses.) QLD State Liberal Premier Newman calls for a federal election. “‘The country cannot afford the waste of time; the paralysis we’ve seen.’” ——————————————— It’s on. Finally.

Leadership ballot called for Labor Party at 4.30pm today. [...]

Andy Hoffman admits they’re losing: Fighting skeptics is like fighting slave traders

Andy Hoffman has flown from Michigan to deliver the pop science solution to our atmospheric catastrophe.

You may have thought it was about planetary radiation, or moist adiabatic lapse rates, but Hoffman is here to save you from the waste-of-time science debate. Discussing science with “climate deniers”  is like “talking to a wall” he says. We agree — anyone who denies we have a climate is thick-as-a-brick. Have you ever met one? No, neither have I. The mythical climate denier seems to be causing global warming through their inaction, but no one as yet, can name a single person who denies the climate.

I’m sure Hoffman wouldn’t want to be loose and inaccurate with his words — so no doubt he will find an actual “climate denier” or start to speak English instead.

Perhaps the debate he says he wants, will start when we speak the same language?

It’s obvious the Great Global Warming Scare is unravelling when the losing team turn into sour-puss-psychologists — finding dark mental failings in those too stupid to understand their Gift with The Weather.

When it comes to pop-psychology anyone can play…

Hoffman thinks skeptics aren’t convinced because they are afraid:

MANY climate sceptics [...]

FOIA, Government-Funded Climate Science and Hole-Digging

Here’s  a benefit FOIA probably didn’t imagine. Skeptical networks. For anyone who doesn’t know, Jennifer Marohasy has published one of the longest-running skeptical blogs in the world, and she’s one of the few other women on the front lines. I don’t know why we hadn’t spent a long time on the phone before. I’m delighted that we are in much better contact…

– Jo

—————————————————————————-

Guest Post By Jennifer Marohasy

FOIA is a recognised shorthand for Freedom of Information Act.  Legislation by this name has existed in the USA since 1966, Australia since 1982 and the UK legislation was introduced in 2000.  It was climate scientists at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, conspiring to evade the UK FOIA that probably inspired Climategate, with Mr FOIA, as the “hacker” calls himself, releasing over 220,000 documents and emails beginning in November 2009.  In a recent email he explained: “The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen.  Later on it could be too late.”

By providing public access to emails and documents from leading climate scientists, Mr FOIA exposed how tricks, adjustments, and corrections, were routinely applied to climate data to [...]

The Cyprus Moment: Steal money from ex-KGB deposits? Hello, Crunch-time.

UPDATE: Cash is being flown to British Troops in Cyprus. The banks will stay shut til Thursday. The finance minister has resigned. [SkyNews]

Remember how the EU was supposed to promote stability?

Sooner or later a central fund managed by central bureaucrats is going to fail in a “central” way. This isn’t it, but we are getting closer to the center.

Without competition between states on currency, Europe left itself open to be a case study in centralized stupidity. The bureaucrats needed to stop the waste of public spending, they needed to halt the corruption, increase competition. And their answer? Steal 10% of depositor’s funds from everyone in Cyprus. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We are now in new territory. In previous bank bailouts, if anyone took any losses it was the shareholders and the bond holders, and the depositors did not lose any money. In the Cyprus bail out, the bondholders and shareholders lose nothing but the depositors lose about 10%. (Any chance the bondholders of the Cyprus banks include the ECB or IMF?)

Where is the natural law that makes sense in this decision? Don’t punish the shareholders, or the bondholders, [...]

Ocean plankton suck up twice the carbon we thought they did

Hyperia | Credit Wikimedia

Despite the fuss about CO2 emissions, on a global scale no one is quite sure where a lot of it ends up. Those mystery “sinks” draw in a large proportion of CO2. Here’s a big sink that just got twice as big.

Science Daily  Mar. 17, 2013 — Models of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans need to be revised, according to new work by UC Irvine and other scientists published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience. Trillions of plankton near the surface of warm waters are far more carbon-rich than has long been thought, they found. Global marine temperature fluctuations could mean that tiny Prochlorococcus and other microbes digest double the carbon previously calculated.

The trouble started when someone made an assumption.

[...]

Most of Earth covered with life powered on hydrogen. Living Rocks?

File this under: What don’t we know?

We just discovered slice “2″ is alive.  |1 – Continental crust | 2 -Oceanic crust | 3 – Upper Mantle | 4 – Lower Mantle | 5 – Outer Core | 6 – Inner Core | Image Credit: Dake

You might have thought that photosynthetic life forms had the Earth covered, but according to some researchers the largest ecosystem on Earth was just discovered and announced last Thursday, and it’s powered by hydrogen, not photosynthesis.

The Oceanic Crust is the rocky hard part under the mud that lies under the ocean. It covers 60% of the planet and it’s 10km thick. (The oceans themselves are a paltry 4km deep on average.) We’ve known for years that the isolated hot springs in trenches held life. But who thought that all the hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of basalt rock in between had its own life cycle? Last week a group from the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University, Denmark announced that they had drilled through crust that was 2.5km underwater and 55 km away from anything that mattered. They found life in the basalt.

“We’re providing the first direct evidence of life [...]

Hottest summer record in Australia? Not so, says UAH satellite data

There are probably only ten people in Australia who haven’t heard it was the Hottest Ever, Record Summer Downunder. And they were probably born yesterday.

Summer here was so scorchingly awful it was Angry. But a funny thing happened on the orbit overhead. Check out the UAH satellite data on summers since the UAH records began.  The graph below (thanks to Ken) is the temperature data from the NASA satellites, processed by UAH (University of Alabama in Huntsville). Strangely there is a disparity between what the satellites recorded and the BOM.

The satellite data shows that the summer of 2012-2013 was close to ordinary, compared with the entire satellite record going back to 1979. Not a record. Not even extreme?

According to UAH satellite measurements summer in early 2013 was not a record. Not even close.

The graph data comes thanks to John Christy, Director, Earth System Science Center, Distinguished Professor, Atmospheric Science University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama State Climatologist and Roy Spencer. It was graphed by Ken Stewart at KensKingdom, and inspired by Tom Quirk at Quadrant. I was very happy to connect them this weekend. The data cover “average lower troposphere temperature anomalies for land grids [...]

Unthreaded Weekend

Who knows what might have turned up…

The Marcott Hockey-stick: smoothing the past and getting a spike from almost no data?

The message to the world is unequivocal:

“We are heading for somewhere that is far off from anything we have seen in the past 10,000 years – it’s through the roof. In my mind, we are heading for a different planet to the one that we have been used to,” said Jeremy Shakun of Harvard University, a co-author of the study.

Source: The-world-is-hottest-it-has-been-since-the-end-of-the-ice-age–and-the-temperatures-still-rising.

There are two factors in the new Marcott paper that are major red flags. For one, there is hardly any data in the modern end of the graph. Ponder how researchers can find 5,000 year old Foraminifera deposits, but not ones from 1940? Two: they’ve smoothed the heck out of longer periods. Marcott et al clearly say there is “…essentially no variability preserved at periods shorter than 300 years…” So if there were, say, occurrences of a warming rise exactly like the last century, this graph won’t show them.

Some of the data has a resolution as poor as “500 years” and the median is 120 years. If current temperatures were averaged over 120 years (that would be 1890 to now), the last alarming spike would blend right in with the other data. Where would the average [...]

ClimateGate III — the password is out

FOIA has been in touch with skeptics today. Here is the email below, sorry, without that password. There are 220,000 emails in the file. There may be private information which could cause grief that is not related to taxpayer funded work. Obviously that large file is not in a form that can be released publicly yet. I do hope people are very very careful with the password.

This is your chance to understand why FOIA did what they did, and your chance to say thanks to the person who quite possibly saved us from a bureaucratic coup in Copenhagen in 2009. The draft treaty promised to take up to $140 billion from some and redistribute it to others. As Christopher Monckton revealed, sovereign nations would be ceding powers to a group of foreign officials, but the document did not have the words “election” or “democracy” or “vote” or “ballot”.

To all those who think, post hoc, that Copenhagen was never going to succeed anyway, I say that in November 2009, when I asked the carbon traders which outcome the money was betting on. The answer was: we don’t know. The players are out of this market.

You can leave your [...]

Has the world started cooling? Hints from 4 of 5 global temperature sets…

I’m not keen on short term trends at all, they have a habit of flicking in and out of statistical significance with each month’s new data, or even switching from cooling to warming. But for what it’s worth, and only time will tell, perhaps the world entered the downswing of the PDO cycle in temperatures circa 2005.

If the world was entering a gently cooling phase, this is what it would look like

Syun Akasofu pointed out that there was a simple 60 year oscillation of global temperatures (about 30 years of warming, about 30 years of mild cooling) on top of a long slow rise that started more than 200 years ago. He predicted that we were at the top of one of the cycles, and were about to see the beginning of a cooler cycle. This early data suggests he may be right.

See the little red dot with the green arrow at about the 2010 mark. Dr Syun Akasofu

The cooling for the last eight years is statistically significant in 4 of the 5 major air temperature datasets. One, UAH, shows a small (statistically insignificant) rise since 2005.

And here’s the political point: how many of [...]

East Anglia University are trying to spot hoaxes

Oh the irony?

Three years after the scandal that was ClimateGate, the University of East Anglia has a campus wide poster program to teach staff and students how to protect themselves from pfishing. (Thanks to reader pickabelief). Could this be a plan to protect the university from more embarrassing hacks and leaks too?

(Given other standards at UEA*, we have to ask if this is the rapid-response-squad?)

*With apologies to good scientists and workers at UEA. You didn’t ask for this test, but if you want to protect your reputation, you need to speak up. You could start with explaining why you do things differently to the people who use tricks to hide declines, avoid FOIs, and consort to delete taxpayer funded email records.

Some at UEA applaud work where random numbers produce the same “result” as a poor-censored-and-truncated-proxy does, and you might think, rightly, this is not science. But as long as sloppy, inept activist-scientists use the UEA brand to bolster their credibility, everyone who tacitly supports them gets tarred with the same brush.

The hoax that matters is the one that billions of dollars depend upon ($257 billion are invested in renewables per annum and $176 [...]