JoNova

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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Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


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



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Fitness consensus takes a hammering. For couch potatoes, 12 minutes a week makes you fitter

Sorry to do this, but now there are no excuses (apart from arthritis, amputation and angina).

Don’t read on if you are a conscientious objector to exercise. The “I don’t have time” excuse doesn’t wash anymore. Though, if you are habitually running to catch the bus, you can now call that an exercise program (when your doc asks, you can say you do the 1-AIT training regime from NTNU — Trondheim).

If you are sedentary, new research from Norway suggests that if you do just four minutes of high-intensity training three times a week, within 10 weeks your peak ability to take up oxygen will have improved by 10%.

Do you care about VO2max? It’s a measure of aerobic fitness and it’s linked to that factor that trumps all others: “all cause mortality” (ACM). To put this study into perspective, a 10% improvement is only 10%. The fittest people have 100% higher VO2 max that the least fit (eg from about 20mL/kg/min to 40mL/kg/min). But even a 10% improvement in VO2 max can make a difference to your mortality.

A review of results from 102,000 people showed that if people are split into groups of “fitness” the least fit were [...]

Tim Yeo’s switches from “Deniers last gasp” to warming might be “natural”

Tim Yeo, conservative MP who heads the UK climate change committee has broken the litany. This is a man who’s wanted to decarbonize the Brits for years, and he has just admitted “natural phases” might be to blame. He is only saying the bleeding obvious, but what happened to the official “no debate” doctrine? What exactly are deniers denying now, and where did that overwhelming evidence go?

Tim Yeo 2009: 

“The dying gasps of the deniers will be put to bed. In five years time, no one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change.”

Before he changed his mind. | Daily Mail, Gerry Peev.

Tim Yeo 2013:

[Telegraph, Matthew Holehouse]: “He (Yeo) insisted such action is “prudent” given the threat climate change poses to living standards worldwide. But, he said, human action is merely a “possible cause”.

Asked on Tuesday night whether it was better to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change than to prevent it in the first place, he said: “The first thing to say is it does not represent any threat to the survival of the planet. None at all. The planet has survived much bigger changes than any climate [...]

Who’s a conspiracy theorist then Paul Syvret?

Paul Syvret  seems to be hoping no one will notice that he doesn’t even try to respond to arguments about wind turbines. His technique to avoid debate is to decree that some other people were wrong once on a different topic. They used a rapid fire technique called a Gish Gallop, so therefore, thusly and henceforth anyone with a rapid fire technique can be dismissed with a handy wave of The Gish. It’s just another label in Syvret’s all-purpose excuse-list for not having a grown up conversation.

Those who have no evidence just make things up and toss insults. Syvret of The Courier Mail defends the wind industry from its critics — not with data about windfarms, but with allegations of imaginary astroturfing and denialism. He uses all his biggest scientific words: it’s “a barrage of BS”, “pseudo-science”, and a crusade run by a rat-bag in an incestuous network. He wants to make sure his readers know the critics are shills and conspiracy nutters because, well…  he says so.

The Australian Environment Foundation is his main target today. What’s it guilty of? Well, it links to unpaid bloggers that Syvret doesn’t like: those ” sites promoting climate-change denial (such as [...]

Banks and trading houses bought two-thirds of carbon permits

During the northern winter, there were more speculators in the carbon market than genuine players.

Those bankers must be very concerned about the environment.

Speculators main buyers in EU carbon auctions -report 17 May 2013

LONDON, May 17 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Banks and trading houses bought more than two thirds of the 138 million carbon permits sold by 25 European governments between Nov. 2012 and Feb. 2013 to help power plants and factories comply with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, an EU Commission report published Friday showed.

Six “credit institutions” and six “investment firms” dominated the 35 auctions held over that period, picking up as much as 80 percent of the allowances sold in January alone, the report said, adding that only one of those companies was eligible to bid on behalf of clients.

http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2378205 paywalled.

Things have changed in the carbon market. From 2005-2012 most allowances were given away free, but now they are being sold at auction. So the period starting Nov 2012 was probably the first sales under the new system. It is expected that the bankers and traders will sell the permits to the power companies in the futures [...]

Unthreaded Week

Sorry about that spot of maintenance. Out of my hands… back up now.

Domino makes carbon-free cane-sugar. It’s certified.

And you thought advertising or certificates couldn’t get more stupid. Thanks to Christopher Essex for spotting this gem:  http://www.dominosugar.com/carbonfree/

You’ll have to click to go to the Domino site to see the helpful man tell you that “This is Big”.

They probably paid a lot for that ad.

Some of the poor users are not sure what it means. That’s OK, Domino helpfully provides an FAQ page: Is it the same sugar? Will it function the same way in my recipes?

Yes, it is still 100% pure cane sugar with 15 calories per teaspoon. And, it functions just like all Domino® Pure Cane Granulated Sugar. Use it cup for cup exactly like the original Domino® Pure Cane Granulated Sugar.

Look out. You might think that carbon free sugar would be the ultimate diet-sugar. But it’s not so. Carbon free is not low-calorie. Lucky it is still useable at high temperatures “just like” normal sugar, eh? Just so everyone can appreciate this special-chemistry-moment: in the sugar molecule below, the grey circles with a “C” are the carbon ones.

A glucose molecule. C stands for Carbon.

… Remember the low-carbon crowd that this product appeals to are the ones who [...]

Tony Jones lets Bill McKibben get away with barking nonsense “Really one degree is utter catastrophe”

Here are the questions Tony Jones could have asked if only he or his billion-dollar organization had the time to use the Internet. Is he a journalist or an activist pretending to be one?

And how much does Jones get paid by the taxpayer for allowing McKibben a free pass to say things that are easily shown to be false? The ABC wants to keep that a secret. It wants your money, but not your opinion.

The full transcript is on the ABC site, I’ve selected parts below. (My cost to the taxpayer: $0).

ABC Lateline

“Stop investing in carbon intense industries”

TONY JONES: Let’s start with the statement most frequently used by climate change sceptics: the planet has stopped warming since 1998 and started to cool, actually cool, since 2003. True or false?

[Tony Jones is offering a blatantly false position for McKibben to knock over.... skeptics most frequently point out that there has been no significant warming  (there are 350 million google results for that compared to 10 million for global cooling since 2003). The UK Met office, and the head of the IPCC say the same thing. The issue that matters is the "pause" that [...]

The secret life of internet climate trolls…

UPDATE from Hoyt himself below…

I like Hoyt.

Two earnest young chaps drive out to meet the slimy-ogre-from-the-hobbit who posts skeptical comments all over the web, and discover, shock, Hoyt is actually a nice guy. He’s not only normal looking, he’s well spoken, and he has good manners. He’s likeable.

Watch: The secret life of internet climate trolls: part one – 5 min  video

They young fans of the climate scare get excited when Hoyt admits he doesn’t believe a Democrat. (Hmm, I suspect they are thinking “ideologue”.)

They also got excited when he said he was a prostate cancer survivor, not because he survived (though I say, Thank Goodness) but because it gave them an excuse to talk about “doctors”. There’s an attempt at a James Delingpole-BBC moment coming where they play up a logical fallacy as if it tells us something about the climate. You trust medical science, but not climate science? I do hope Hoyt responded that if his medical doctors had been hiding data and losing records he would have been skeptical of them too.

[...]

Amazon River produces monster levels of “pollution”. The dilemma. Should we stop the river?

The mouth of the Amazon is the worst source of “pollution”.

Bad news for fans of The Amazon River. A new study shows that while the Amazon rain forest is the Lungs of The Planet, pulling down gigatonnes of CO2, the river undoes all the good the trees do, and pours all the CO2 back into the sky. Damn that river eh? Lucky it only discharges one fifth of the worlds freshwater.

Apparently most researchers thought bacteria couldn’t digest the tough woody lignin of tree debris fast enough to prevent it getting to the ocean*. Underestimating microbial life seems a common affliction, and we hear was a big surprise that only 5% of the lignin actually ends up reaching the ocean where it might sink to the floor and be sequestered. The rest is broken down by bacteria and released into the air. The clues were there for years that the Amazon was giving off lots more CO2 than people expected, but the consensus was that it “didn’t add up”. So much for that consensus.

Yet another victory for observations over opinions.

Until recently, people believed much of the rain forest’s carbon floated down the Amazon River and ended [...]

Major 30% reduction in modelers estimates of Climate Sensitivity (Skeptics were right)

Finally the modelers are catching up with the slow-down or pause in global warming over the last decade. Where the best estimate for the IPCC was 3.3 degrees C with a range of 2.0 to 4.5C, Otto et al have revised the best estimate to 2C, with a range of 1.2C – 3.9C.

Effectively the power of CO2 to warm just got 30% less, according to a team of researchers, many of whom have in the past have published more alarming papers.  Remember “there is no debate” and “global warming is a fact” a lot “like gravity”. (And that gravitational constant g could be revised by a third soon, right?)

The Australian writes it up as “TEMPERATURE rises sparked by increased carbon dioxide levels will be lower than previously thought, an international research team has found”. The Age tells us that disaster is still coming but it will be slower. “Warming to take longer in reaching forecast levels”.

Otto et al looked at the global energy budget which means adding up atmospheric, ice, continent, and ocean energy. They compare it decade by decade since 1970, and argue that the long term equilibruim temperature response need to be revised down. The [...]