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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Australian skeptics outnumber believers say OECD. Globally, 63% don’t want their dollars spent on the environment…

The bottom line is that a third of people are concerned enough to be willing to act, a third say they are concerned but are only paying it lip service, and a third are openly skeptical.

What matters is that 63% of people around the world don’t want their governments to take any money from them to address environmental issues.

There is constant media spin that skeptics are a tiny fringe minority. (See Al Gore deny a third of the population. See the BBC call them mavericks and say they give too much weight to “fringe views”.) The marketeers pushing the meme know that many people are swayed away from “extreme” views and towards the dominant paradigm. Life is just “easier” if you follow the herd, so the big-scare campaign scores a free kick if the public believe that skeptics are rare. If the media reported the situation accurately, more people would be happy to sit in the “skeptical” camp as it would be perceived as equally valid.

As usual, those who believe in man-made global warming use every deceptive trick to push their policy, while skeptics simply benefit if the truth is told.

While skeptics just outnumber believers in [...]

Even with the best models, warmest decades, most CO2: Models are proven failures

This beautiful graph was posted at Roy Spencer’s and WattsUp, and no skeptic should miss it. I’m not sure if everyone appreciates just how piquant, complete and utter the failure is here. There are no excuses left. This is as good as it gets for climate modelers in 2013.

John Christy used the best and latest models, he used all the models available, he has graphed the period of the fastest warming and during the times humans have emitted the most CO2. This is also the best data we have. If ever any model was to show the smallest skill, this would be it. None do.

Scores of models, millions of data-points, more CO2 emitted than ever before, and the models crash and burn. | Graph: John Christy. Data: KMNI.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the blue-green circles and squares that mark the “observations”. These are millions of radiosondes, and two independent satellite records. They agree. There is no wiggle room, no overlap.

Any sane modeler can only ask: “But how can the climate modelers pretend their models are working?” Afterall, predicting the known past with a model is not-too-hard; the modeler tweaks the assumptions, fiddles with the fudge [...]

Unthreaded weekend

For all the other news…

Climate Aid: The $39 bn industry, mostly used to slow developing countries

Climate Analytics say that developed nations have paid $35.9 billion dollars into the UN Aid program called FastStart. This was the project rescued from the aftermath of the 2009 Copenhagen climate convention.  Somehow $3 billion of private finance has been tossed in as well, making it nearly $39 billion since late 2009.

As usual, when other-people’s-money is spent on the poorest of the poor, the poor seem to get no say, and not much use out of it either.

[Bloomberg] “Seventy-one percent of the total finance went to emission-reduction ventures rather than adaptation projects such as water conservation or flood defense, today’s report shows.”

Sooner or later, the aid-recipients are going to suffer through a flood or a drought (thanks to climate-sameness). But two thirds of this aid money won’t add up to a dime’s worth of protection. Seventy percent of the funds were used to stop emissions of a fertilizing trace gas instead of preparing people against the ravages of the weather. Indeed most of the money was spent reducing something that would be considered an asset if not for the decree of climate models that we already know are wrong.

Hey, but it’s only $27 billion or so [...]

Can the Moon change our climate? Can tides in the atmosphere solve the mystery of ENSO?

Image by Luc Viatour

The Moon has such a big effect — moving 70% of the matter on the Earth’s surface every day, that it seems like the bleeding obvious to suggest that just maybe, it also affects the air, the wind, and causes atmospheric tides. Yet the climate models assume the effect is zero or close to it.

Indeed, it seems so obvious, it’s a “surely they have studied this before” moment. Though, as you’ll see, the reason lunar effects may have been ignored is not just “lunar-politics” and a lack of funding, but because it’s also seriously complex. Keep your brain engaged…

Ian Wilson and Nikolay Sidorenkov have published a provocative paper, Long-Term Lunar Atmospheric Tides in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s an epic effort of 14,000 words and a gallery of graphs. As these atmospheric tides swirl around the planet they appear to be creating standing waves of abnormal air-pressure that slowly circle the planet, once every 18 years. If this is right, then it could be the key to finally understanding, and one day predicting, the mysterious Pacific ENSO pattern that so affects the global climate. Even at this early stage, brave predictions are on [...]

Lewandowsky, Cook and the Barack Obama tweet that wasn’t

Stephan Lewandowsky (and John Cook) got excited that Barack Obama ‘retweeted’ the (fallacious) 97% consensus study. In The Conversation, Stephan Lewandowsky made it the leading line (right under the name-calling headline):

“When President Obama last week tweeted that “97% of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made, and dangerous” it drew the attention of his 31 million followers to the most recent study pointing to the consensus in climate science.”

As a Professor of Psychology on a academic site, we might assume Lewandowsky might be more factual and less like a direct marketing campaign. (Dear Stephan, there is no chance 31 million followers read his tweets. Twitter is not like that. Obama is following 662,021 people. You think he reads them?)

Worse, that tweet was not by Barack Obama. The @barackobama account is run by an activist group called Organizing for Action (OFA). It’s the fourth biggest twitter account in the world, but Obama gave the account to OFA earlier this year, and he doesn’t appear to have used it since. (Still it’s not like Lewandowsky’s career depends on understanding how people work, and how to spot a fake right? Oh. Wait… )

OFA use Obama’s photo and his name, [...]

Global warming brings first ever summer skiing to South of France

[The Local] A combination of an icy winter and a chilly spring has meant that for the first time ever in the month of June, skiers will have the option of heading to the pistes in the French Pyrénées, French TV TF1 reported on Wednesday.

After recent cold weather, bosses at the ski station Porte Puymorens in the Pyrénées-Orientales region of the mountain range that divides France from Spain have taken the exceptional step to re-open the slopes this weekend after they had closed them at the end of the season in April.


Weekend Unthreaded

Is it cold where you are?

Arid regions of the world are 11% greener, mostly thanks to CO2

Increasing CO2 makes life easier for plants that live in hot dry places.

Thanks to satellites we know the world has “greened up” since 1980, but we were not sure how much of that was due to the fertilizing effect of CO2. To solve that, one group suggests we need to look in warm arid environments where water is the predominant limiting factor. These are the areas which ought to show whether CO2 was really helping plants grow,  because when there is more CO2 it enables plants to use water more efficiently for photosynthesis. In places where there is already a lot of water, it won’t make as much difference. So Donohue et al. did that, studying regions with a low level of rainfall. They found that the fertilization effect is real and significant and that the cover in these arid zones  increased 11% from 1982 – 2010 and CO2 played a significant role.

(Thanks to pollution, trees are invading grasslands. Whatever will the Greens do to get us back to the Halycon pre-carbon days? Call Gunns?)

CO2 may be the only “pollution” that greens the deserts.

“Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 [...]