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

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The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper




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



The start of the end. Rudd ditches carbon tax for a trading scheme. Eurocrats now dictate what we pay.

What once was the Greatest Moral Challenge, has now been downgraded. Not because the evidence shows it is futile, but because of the polls. It’s democracy in action, working through the fog of ulterior motives, and the inefficiency of lazy journalists informing distracted voters or not, polled with non-specific questions. But somehow, through the haze, the public realizes they are getting a bad deal, and finally Rudd realizes there is no rescuing The Carbon Pox that voters didn’t vote for.

We were told we needed a price on carbon specifically to increase our electricity prices, reduce emissions, and to cool global temperatures by zero degrees. Now, apparently the cost of living is too high — even though that was entirely predictable and indeed a mark of the tax’s “success”. Instead of admitting it was a mistake, we’re “moving forward” and now we need to copy a trading scheme that hasn’t worked, and which is called “free” but is fixed by EU bureaucrats that neither we nor even Europeans can vote for. The New Zealanders are ahead of us.

Australia – a non-voting non-member of the EU?

Thus the Australian economy is now partly dependent on decisions made in the EU, [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

This weeks spot for all those thoughts that don’t fit anywhere else.

News media networks report global warming 92 times, versus global pause, zero times

As I keep saying, it’s not that the media has a problem, the truth is the media IS the problem.

If we had accurate and balanced reporting the global warming meme would have crashed and burned long ago, voters would have said “No thanks”; politicians would have wasted less money; scientists would be researching useful things; universities would have to fire professors who can’t reason, and we would all be richer.

So when the budget office says our ABC costs us $1 billion, I say No, the cost is measured in national GDP.

No wonder most of us have given up watching the old media.

Here’s a study, by the Media Research Centre, reported in the Wall St Journal. Hat tip to the HockeySchtick blog and Tom Nelson. It refers to US networks so “ABC” means the American variety. Curiously, the New York Times looks good in comparison to the network news. It told its readers about the global pause only six months after its foreign competitors did. It was only a few years behind the bloggers.

Networks Do 92 Climate Change Stories; Fail to Mention ‘Lull’ in Warming All 92 Times

ABC, CBS and NBC ignore ‘mystery’ [...]

Macquarie Uni responds to Murry Salby. What they don’t say speaks volumes

In reply to my email request, a spokesperson from Macquarie replied today. The entire response to Murry Salby’s 20-point-list of serious accusations is reproduced in full (my thoughts below):


Prof Murry Salby

Macquarie University does not normally comment on the circumstances under which employees leave the University. However, we feel in this instance it is necessary to do so in order to correct misinformation. The decision to terminate Professor Murry Salby’s employment with Macquarie University had nothing to do with his views on climate change nor any other views. The University supports academic freedom of speech and freedom to pursue research interests.

Professor Salby’s employment was terminated firstly, because he did not fulfil his academic obligations, including the obligation to teach. After repeated directions to teach, this matter culminated in his refusal to undertake his teaching duties and he failed to arrive at a class he had been scheduled to take.

The University took this matter very seriously as the education and welfare of students is a primary concern. The second reason for his termination involved breaches of University policies [...]

State of the carbon market in 2013 is so sick the World Bank cancelled the report

State of the Carbon Market: Started in 2003, but wiped out in 2013

Each year  for nearly a decade The World Bank has published “The State and Trends of the Carbon Market” in May or June with great fan-fare and press releases. It’s the definitive guide telling the world how many dollars are turning over in the global markets (which really means “the EU market plus a few other bits”). I’ve been quoting their figures for years — The 2012 report told us that $176 billion dollars turned over in 2011. So what was the number for the 2012 year? Whatever it is, it’s so bad the World Bank cancelled the report.

Figure what the cancellation of the report tells us about the The World Bank. Was it publishing these figures for the last nine years because they were important for investors and policy-makers? I guess not, or they would still be publishing them. By dropping it at the first major downturn, we know the reason for the report was pure PR, something for whipping up momentum about the market and getting headlines in newspapers. The numbers in 2013 became a PR disadvantage — the World Bank did [...]

Did Macquarie University sabotage, exile, blackban, strand and abandon Murry Salby?

Prof Murry Salby

NEWEST UPDATE #4: Both Salby and Macquarie Uni responded today. See this newer post.

UPDATED: After hours of emails and phone calls I still have not heard from Salby but have news that Christopher Monckton has spoken to him and confirms that “

“This case is outrageous. I shall be finding out further details from Professor Salby and shall then arrange for powerful backers to assist him in fighting the university, which – if his side of the story is in all material respects true – has committed multiple criminal offenses. This needs to be a high-profile case.” Christopher Monckton

(Thanks to John Smeed and Malcolm Roberts for passing on CM’s email).

Short of sending Murry Salby to Siberia, Macquarie University have seemingly done everything they could to sabotage and silence him and his PhD student. Is his research is so dangerous to the cash cow that is “global warming” that it had to be stopped at any cost?  Is is difficult to imagine any response they can give which would justify the behaviour described below if it is accurate. The truth will out in the end, and how will Macquarie’s reputation stand up then? I would [...]

Oh Wait! Bricks and mortar will create warmer nights (weren’t we supposed to blame CO2 for that?)

I thought warmer nights were a fingerprint of CO2 induced warming? John Cook has claimed that at least five times on his blog:  The human fingerprint in the daily cycle. It’s also known as Diurnal Temperature Range, and the theory is that extra CO2 keeps us warm all night.

Now Excellent* (Alarmed) Climate System Experts are saying that UHI (Urban Heat Island) effects can cause warmer nights too, at least in the future. (Perhaps this only applies to future-bricks, not past ones — you think?)

City expected to feel heat as it expands

Ben Cubby

Parts of Sydney will be up to 3.7 degrees hotter by the year 2050, as urban expansion spawns ever more asphalt and concrete, new research suggests.

The ”urban heat island effect” – the build-up of heat in built-up areas – will amplify climate change, particularly in the outer fringes of Australian cities, according to University of NSW researchers.

”If you are living near the edge of a city today, you will notice the temperature change, mainly through the minimum temperature change at night,” said Daniel Argueso, the lead author of the study that was prepared at the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

”There [...]

Weekend (sort of) unthreaded

Another spot to tell odd news …

Fake polite guys, and Fake “skeptical scientists”: Stephen Emmott tries it on

It’s a sign skeptics are winning. A few years ago the term “skeptic” had been turned into an insult. People would write to me and implore me to call myself a realist. (I wasn’t having a bar of that). Now, all kinds of wannabees are pretending they are skeptics even as they swallow and repeat the establishment lines ad infinitum.

Take, for example, Professor Stephen Emmott. It’s a PR game — Emmott hopes the half-asleep audience will see the right keywords and not notice that what he actually says is the complete opposite of the badges and labels he claims as his own.

Emmott (Emmott who?) has written yet another scary book and is doing his best to pretend he is the voice of reason.  According to Donna LaFramboise his new book is just a rehash of a 40 year old one.  (Geoff Chambers has all the other links).

Let’s unpack the empty PR

Quotes below are from The Australian.

First up, Emmott tries to look reasonable by saying he won’t demonize climate skeptics:

He [Emmott] affects bafflement at climate scepticism: “I have no idea why people don’t believe what is overwhelming evidence for climate change,” he says. [...]

Witchcraft on Catalyst — Scary weather is coming, it’s all our fault, be afraid!

There they go again. Last night the ABC again used taxpayer dollars to post up a slick advertisement for their favourite religion. Because Catalyst won’t read skeptical blogs, interview skeptics, or ask difficult questions, they give a false impression to any poor viewers who haven’t figured out that the presenters (in this case, Anja Taylor) are more activist than investigator.

“The gorilla in the kitchen remained invisible. Where was cause and effect?”

The Earth has had extremes of every kind of weather for 4.5 billion years. What makes the current ones any different? Any cause of warming could melt ice, raise sea-levels, shift jet streams, change cloud cover and shift evaporation rates. How do we know this warming is due to coal fired power stations? We only “know” because some climate modelers say so — but they rely on models that assume relative humidity stays constant when it doesn’t, and which are proven “unskilled” at precipitation, cloud cover and upper tropospheric temperature profiles.  The models ignore lunar effects, solar magnetic effects and millions of observations so they can blame your SUV and air-conditioner for causing droughts, storms, blizzards, and floods.

This is the modus operandi of the ancient witchdoctor. [...]

Peter Gleick thinks (or pretends) CO2 can melt traffic lights

Peter Gleick — infamous for using deception to steal documents “for The Cause” (see fakegate) — tweeted that it was getting hotter every year. He attached a picture of melting traffic lights. “Hot enough for you?” How good is this man’s physics?

This is a wider picture of events near to the traffic lights that melted in Kuwait.

248am blog shows another angle.


One landmark old study shows 75% of people give the wrong answer just to follow the herd

Which line matches the line on the left? On any given test one third of people will say A or B if the crowd around them does.

In the 1950′s a psychologist called Solomon Asch wanted to find out how strongly people would conform to the group around them. He gave about 100 men a card (supposedly like the one in the image to the right) and asked them whether A, or B, or C matched the line. Not surprisingly, most people got the answer right if they are on their own, but if they were surrounded by a group of people who were giving the wrong answer, often they would give the wrong answer too.

In the study, the test subjects thought that the people around them were being tested too, but those people were actors who’d been coached to give the wrong answer. Typically there were 6 or 7 actors and the test subject would be positioned last or second last, so they would hear the other wrong answers before their turn came.

So when faced with an obvious answer, about one third of the time people picked the group-think response instead. Ultimately only 25% of people [...]

That’s a 0.3% consensus, not 97%

We’ve already found enough flaws, but Christopher Monckton analyzes John Cook’s 97% consensus paper and sharpens the scythe. He finds:

It should never have been done, it’s an unscientific method — “consensus” The “consensus” was defined in three different ways. (Which hypothesis are they testing?) None of the three definitions is specific enough to be falsifiable. The paper strangely omitted the key results. (Why make 7 classifications, if they were not going to disclose how many papers fell into each category?) Of nearly 12,000 abstracts analyzed, there were only 64 papers in category 1 (which explicitly endorsed man-made global warming). Of those only 41 (0.3%) actually endorsed the quantitative hypothesis as defined by Cook in the introduction. A third of the 64 papers did not belong. None of the categories endorsed “catastrophic” warming — a warming severe enough to warrant action — though this was assumed in the introduction, discussion and publicity material. The consensus (such as there is, and it being irrelevant) appears to be declining.

The nice thing about this commentary is that Monckton provides a summary of the philosophy of science (showing Cook et al are 2,300 years out of date). [...]