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




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



Our daily big-government bread (Unthreaded)



Our taxpayers give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debt to our largely free university education,

and lead us not into skeptic temptation but deliver us from evil.


Written by Maverick on the site.



Yes, this is the unthreaded thread this weekend…

Compare policies: Labor takes $900 per house to reduce CO2, Coalition $100

There are not many serious comparisons of the ALP vs Coalition policies on “climate change”. Don Young, a statistician and IT consultant in Canberra, with experience at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and in Washington, is now (happily) retired and has had time to take a close look at both. Strangely, The ABC Drum declined to publish this analysis. (Perhaps the details of reducing CO2 is not a high priority?)

The centerpiece of the Labor strategy is the carbon tax/ETS, which will end up raising $7.7b in financial year 2012/13. That’s $900 per household, and judging by the record of the last few years works out at an average cost of at least $640 per tonne of Co2 not emitted. The Coalition propose to spend $800 million per year, or $100 per household, with a cap on the cost per tonne that is likely to be much lower, so a lot more effective per dollar. If it can be done.

The Labor Party want us to buy carbon credits overseas, which is “essentially foreign aid”. The Coalition are considering measures like increasing soil carbon, which might not be either verifiable or permanent. I would argue [...]

Sportsbet call it a Coalition win, *still* taking bets, but pay out $1.5m early

Sportsbet odds reached $11.50 for an ALP win, and as low as $1.03 for a Coalition win. They’ve just called the Australian Election, nine days early.

That’s it! Sorry Sky News, apologies to the ABC, don’t bother We’re calling it first. – Sportsbet

They’re saying the Coalition will win 90 seats, ALP 56, Katter 1, and Wilkie 1, but don’t know about the seats of Lyons and Lingiari.

Shame the Coalition appears to be missing his rare opportunity to give us the small government we so desperately need. They could savagely cut red-tape and spending, and unleash the power of Australian innovation, brains, and creativity. This is not even being discussed. Sigh. They offer $31b in cuts, but as Judith Sloan points out: “Essentially, both parties expect to spend nearly $1700bn in the next four years. ”

Government shouldn’t be trying to “create jobs” any more than they should be “picking winners” in the market. A governments job is to create the conditions that allow the cleverest, hardest working, and luckiest to mobilize the workforce in the most efficient and fairest way.


UPDATE: ! Oops. They are still taking bets, Title and Tweet corrected. Apologies to Sportsbet, I [...]

Let’s copy Germany: 23,000 wind towers make 7% of its electricity to stop 0 degrees of warming

Steve Goreham describes how one of the leading Green economies works: Germany has 23,000 wind turbines, half as many as the United States but packed into one 27th of the area. Average turbines are producing 17% of their stated capacity. All up, they make 7 percent of the nation’s electricity but consume 2 percent of the nation’s energy. Crikey! There would be a PhD thesis in making sense of those numbers, because most of that consumption is in the construction phase and depends on assumptions about how long those towers will work. I’d like to see a lifetime calculation of a Joules in and Joules out. Here’s a part I can’t quite wrap my head around: total renewables share of energy consumption (so that includes oil, gas, coal, wood and the like) apparently rose from 4 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2012. I can see a most unfortunate meeting of two lines on a graph here…

The Big-Green-Government in Germany decreed that everyone had to pay a lot more for the holy electrons from wind and solar (those electrons have good intentions, after all). Thus and verily (and partly thanks to the angel of [...]

Richard Tol: half Cook’s data still hidden. Rest shows result is incorrect, invalid, unrepresentative.

Richard Tol has been relentlessly polite in pursuing the data through email after email to John Cook, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Professor Max Lu and Professor Daniel Kammen, the journal editor. Tol simply wants the data so he can replicate and check John Cook’s results. Cook et al 2013 tried to demonstrate the irrelevant and unscientific point that there is a consensus among government funded climate scientists (if not among real scientists). We already know this study is fundamentally flawed (see Cook’s fallacy “97% consensus” study).

Now the University of Queensland’s scientific standards are being openly questioned too. Will UQ insist on the bare minimum standard that applies to all scientists — will they make sure Cook provides the data for a published paper? Did they realize what they were getting into when they gave Cook their platform?

Given the large media run when this paper was issued, and the importance of saving the world from a climate catastrophe, you would have thought that Cook et al would know [...]

Clive Hamilton preaches to the believers: tells them to “cringe” at deniers

The ABC keeps giving us more reasons to say “Privatize the national broadcaster”. Such is the quality of the insights on offer.

Clive Hamilton, ethics professor and former Greens candidate, uses most of the alarmist toolbox on the ABC Drum –the name-calling, hypocrisy, and argumentum ad auctoritatem. He still can’t tell the difference between science and religion, he thinks science works like a church, with decrees issued from the Mount. He talks of the mythical God known as “the science”. Clive has read the leak of the latest commandment from on high, and it says “95%”! There is gnashing of teeth:

Further confirmation of the science will certainly not persuade any climate science deniers. They are beyond persuasion, because the argument is only superficially about the science. It’s really about culture and ideology.

Strangely, he’s unwitting hit upon a truth. But it’s a projection of his headspace, run rife. Who denies the evidence showing climate models are broken. Whose argument is superficial? Who doesn’t even know what science is? Yes, really this is about culture and ideology. His. And it’s a dark ideology; read on.

What Clive wants more than anything is to monsterize anyone who questions his faith. His [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Two weeks to go…

Are forest fires evil polluters?

Note the mass emissions in the Amazon and Africa in Sept 2007

The Carbon tracker shows the major CO2 polluters as they splurt out CO2. See the massive plumes of CO2 around the planet.

Look at China… watch clusters of coal fired power stations bursting into life only to shut down a month later. (Or maybe not.)

Is that mass rallies of four wheel drives each August in the Congo? No, it must be air-conditioners in Kinshasa…

Tom Quirk tells me that the intermittent polluters around the equatorial region are likely to be massive fires. (And there are even monster fires as far north as Siberia).

I’m intrigued but I want some data. The NASA Earth Observatory obviously have some data — see the picture here of the same month as the picture at the top (sept 2007). It is not enough though. The dots represent the number of fires, but not the intensity, and not the fuel load…


Note the active fires in the Amazon and Africa in Sept 2007

Watch the global wildfires rage and die out in this animation below:


Consensus Police: 101 “motivated” reasons not to be a skeptic

Skeptics are often accused of being ideologically motivated to find reasons to “deny” the threat posed by man-made Global Disruptification (or whatever it is now called). Which begs the question of what ideology motivated Jo-the-former-Green, along with all the other former believers, to convert. It certainly wasn’t the money (we know from first hand experience). Could it be that damn truth-seeking ideology?

Judith Curry points out that “motivated reasoning” also applies to believers (to which I would add, yes, double-yes, and more-so — follow that money). When grants, careers, junkets, book sales, and offers to sit on golden-commissions are on the line, it doesn’t take much motivated reasoning to find excuses to believe your work is “science” even as you ignore opportunities to follow data that doesn’t quite fit, or delay publications of inconvenient graphs, while you double check, triple check, and invite like-minded colleagues to help find reasons the graphs are not important.

Some scientists are so motivated that they call opposing scientists petty names, and toss allusions they must be “funded” by vested interests, even as they ignore the billions of vested interests funding the name-callers. Meanwhile, all the silent so-called scientists in the tea-rooms that let the [...]

The day the Global Warming death spiral began

Let the historic dissection begin. Man-made global warming is a dying market and a zombie science.

The Carbon Capture Report, based in Illinois, tallies up the media stories from the English speaking media on “climate change” daily. Thanks to the tip from Peter Lang, we can see the terminal trend below. The big peak in late 2009 was the double-whammy of Climategate and Copenhagen (aka Hopenhagen). It’s all been downhill since then.

Mentions of “climate change” in news, blogs and tweets dropped suddenly from July 29, 2011

Source: Carbon Capture Report

But something that caught my eye was the drop in mid 2011 (or precisely — July 29, 2011) when media stories fell by half, a step-change fall from which they never recovered.

Media Matters, and Joe Romm make much of of the fact that after Paul Ingrassia (a skeptic) was appointed as Reuters deputy-editor-in-chief news coverage of climate change fell by half.

Media Matters found a 48% decline in climate-change coverage over a six-month period, after Ingrassia joined the agency in 2011.

But Ingrassia started in April 2011 not July. Media Matters compares 6 months before the global fall Oct 2010 – April 2011 — to [...]