A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



Australian Speakers Agency


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

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



PR Wars: IPCC fights for relevance, halves warming, claims to be 95% certain of something vaguer

We are over the peak. Years late, the IPCC concedes some territory and wears headlines they must hate (“Global warming is just HALF what we said“, “We got it wrong on warming“), but PR still rules, and in the big game, this will quickly spin to a minor bump. It’s a classic technique to release “the bad news” before the main report, to clear the air for the messages the agents want to stick.

Since 2007 they’ve burned through their credibility in so many ways:  think Climategate, and getting caught pretending activist material was science, being busted for 300-year-typos like the Himalayan Glaciers, plus 15 years of no warming, no hot spot, models being wrong, droughts ending, and ice returning, all the while pouring scorn and derision on anyone who questioned them. The IPCC were being hammered and they had to change tacks. Now, for the first time, the IPCC is making a serious retreat, presumably in the hope of being able to still paint itself as “scientific” and to fight from a different trench. Anything to continue the yearly junkets and to save face. What they hope is that no one will notice that the deniers were right [...]

Dennis Jensen would be a great science minister

Dr Dennis Jensen in Parliament

Dennis Jensen spoke out about the hype around global-warming as long ago as 2004, when there were almost no politicians (or anyone for that matter) daring to publicly mention any skeptical thoughts. It was so risky. What he said then is still largely true.

Jensen obviously knows what science is, can see through the sacred cows, and has the background to foster and filter good science from bad. Science is much more than “climate”, and vested interests pull at it from all directions. We need a science minister who won’t be fooled by slick press releases or activists wearing lab-coats.

Science is broken, web sites are funded to smear senior scientists, namecalling is rife to the highest levels. Government funded work no longer belongs to the public — instead so-called scientists and their universities fight legal battles to hide it from critics, while they run away from public debate. Science has been misused, exploited and corrupted, to justify sweeping changes to the economy, our laws, potentially our way of life.  The ARC has lost its way, funding political research disguised as “psychology” that is transparently designed to denigrate voters who disagree with the government. [...]

Finally a Labor guru gets it right – Bill Kelty says “Carbon tax to blame”

It’s taken a week, but at least one Labor adviser has finally got a better answer as to why the Labor Party suffered a record loss. As long as Labor “spins” its mistakes, not only does it not learn any lessons, but it gives the public no reason to trust that it has changed. Labor suffers so much from not having open ongoing debate. If Kelty (and others) had said this two years ago, they would not be in such a hole now.

The Australian

…the party’s breach of trust with voters over the carbon tax was a bigger cause of its defeat than the disunity cited by senior ALP figures.

Mr Kelty, who is backing Bill Shorten in the mould of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating to become the next ALP leader, said the seeds for last Saturday’s loss could be traced back to the failure of Labor to explain to voters why Kevin Rudd was dumped in favour of Julia Gillard in 2010.

“To be honest, I think they lost the election in two points of history,” Mr Kelty said.

Spin has a price:

“They didn’t ever explain the change of leadership from Rudd to Gillard. Therefore [...]

Monckton on Readfearn: A journalist with a grudge is a mere propagandist

Readfearn’s quiz is one of the most trashy-teenage-smears I’ve seen in print. (Where else but The Guardian?).  Monckton responds to Graham Readfearn’s vacuous attacks on Dennis Jensen M.P. with his trademark withering style. Readfearn had tried to be withering, in a 12 year old kind of way, but petty snark-by-association only proves how incapable he is. Readfearn (journalist) scorns Dr Jensen — PhD in materials engineering, CSIRO researcher, Analyst – Defence Science and Technology Organisation. But Readfearn has nothing at all on Jensen, not a single tiny point, the best he can do is try to paint Jensen with things other people said. It is scorn by proxy — Readfearn is really attacking Monckton. That the Guardian editors thought this worth reproducing says a lot about the intellectual caliber there.  – Jo

A journalist with a grudge is a mere propagandist By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

A journalist with a grudge is a mere propagandist. Graham Readfearn, described as “a journalist”, heavily lost a public debate on the climate against me some years ago and has borne a steaming grudge ever since. Readfearn is no seeker after truth. He is an unthinking propagandist for the [...]

Three cheers for Senate Micro’s

We have discussed this issue at length on The Senate-Rage! post. I’ve taken those thoughts a bit further in an Op-Ed in The Australian today. There are no comments allowed there so here is a thread for further thoughts and feedback on our new Senate and whether we need to revamp the system. This is my first purely political op-Ed. I find it surprising that almost no one, on any side of politics, is speaking out for the little guys and the disaffected voter. Bob Brown (former Greens senator) calls it a “scandal” of “legally induced frauding”, that “must” change, so I know I am onto something. He thinks Liberal voters don’t know the difference between “liberals” and “liberal dems” and that “Stop The Greens” might fool Green supporters. How stupid are the voters. Really?  — Jo


Three cheers for micros by: Joanne Nova From: The Australian September 13, 2013 12:00AM

UNLEASH the sanctimony! Practically everyone on all sides of mainstream politics is not pleased with the success of the micro-parties in the Senate election. For goodness’ sake, car-loving, sports-crazy Australians may have elected car-loving, sports-mad senators. Is that so bad?

The not-quite-elected souls [...]

Growing trees 40% faster with the help of the right bacteria and fungi

Mycorrhiza helps root growth  | Photo CAES

Amazing how the Agricultural Revolution started 10,000 years ago, yet we still know so little about plant growth. We’ve been tossing bulk carrier loads of fertilizer at plants all over the world, but wasting some of it, and putting up with poorer yields and slower growth by not paying enough attention to the microbiology under the surface.

Obviously good scientific research, real science, can still deliver big improvements. Here’s a study showing that fruit trees, which normally take six years to reach maturity, can get there in three or four with the help of the right bacteria and fungi. This would help us adapt to climate change (of whatever kind is coming), help with reforestation, help feed the starving and improve the ability of these trees to survive during drought conditions too.

It applies to not just one or two species but to many kinds of trees: oaks, pines, mesquites, acacias, citrus and guava. Presumably this would help the “direct action” plan store more carbon in our soils too, not that that will change the weather, but it will help improve our soils:

“…the beneficial bacteria are located in the immediate area [...]

Coalition starts axing Australia’s carbon-bureaucrat-machinery

The clean up begins.  I am beaming.

Just enjoy with me the small sweet pleasure of a day when government waste shrinks. There is no joy in axing jobs of workers, albeit ones who should never have been employed in the first place. But there is satisfaction in knowing that hundreds of pointless reports and press releases will not have to be debunked, and millions of dollars in taxes can be put to some other use (or returned to taxpayers – I can dream).

[The Australian]  PUBLIC servants are drawing up plans to collapse 33 climate change schemes run by seven departments and eight agencies into just three bodies run by two departments under a substantial rewrite of the administration of carbon abatement schemes under the Coalition.

Looks like DIICCSRTE the Department of Everything is gone forever. (That’s the  Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education). Now the climate change programs will run under the Department of Environment and the Department of Resources and Energy. We are back to sensible acronyms.

The move is forecast to save the government tens of millions of dollars. The Coalition budgeted for savings of $7 [...]

Senate-rage begins — trashing independent Senators already — blame the media, not 23% of voters

Unleash the Sanctimony! Practically everyone on all sides of mainstream politics is not pleased. For goodness sake, the car loving land of Australia has elected a car-loving Senator, and the sport-crazy nation will have a sports-mad Senator too. Is that so bad?

Wayne Dropulich, possible new Senator

You’d think so. The not-quite-elected-yet souls have barely uttered a word in public, but apparently this is such a disaster we need to remake the Senate voting system. I was amazed at how media commentators were using the term “representative democracy” as if these new members were somehow not representative, and as if only first preferences  count in a preferential voting system where some of us had to write in 110 preferences. How arrogant. Blame the voter.

A guy that rebuilds cars  for a hobby is probably better connected to reality than a Monash graduate in Marx and Pashukanis.

Those with God-like insight say ignorant voters “accidentally” voted them in, assuming those people are too stupid to know how preferences work, and that those voters are not happy with the result. Commentators raved about the mere 0.22% of the vote that one new Senator got in first preferences, but they ignored [...]

Voters crush the carbon tax and corruption — worst Australian government gone — Labor learnt nothing


Tony Abbott announces Australia is open for business again.


Finally Australia steps back from a porkbarrelling party that stood for nothing more than being in power.

They broke promises to anyone and everyone with Olympian success. And it was not just the usual politician broken promise of failing to solve a problem they promised to solve: they brought in The Carbon Tax after dishonestly guaranteeing they would not. Would they have won the 2010 election if they hadn’t made that promise? (It would only have taken 400 voters in Corangamite to rewrite history.) They’ve taken broken promises to an all new level, where nothing they say can be trusted. It was not a question of them trying and failing, it was a question of being elected through deception. Every single Labor member chose to break that promise; any one of them could have stopped it. This is not a “leadership” question. It’s a question of integrity, and it applies to every member of the party.

The Labor Party also told us Tony Abbott was a misogynist, relentlessly negative, and a denier, and in return the Labor Party received one of the lowest primary votes in history.

I wish I could say it [...]

Australian Election Today (Finally!) Rudd-Gillard government to go

Yes I’m having a party. : -)

The total seats in the house of Representatives is 150, so when a party gets 76, they win.

UPDATE:  7:28 pm Eastern Time (5:28pm in the West, polls are still open): ABC giving 42 seats for Labor, 72 to the Liberals.

This election will be called soon. 


UPDATE: 7:41pm Eastern Time. 43 Labor, 73 Liberal.

Treasurer Wayne Swan looks like holding his seat. 30% counted. Swing against him is 2.5%. The Worlds Greatest Treasurer, who proved so adept at spending other people’s money on things like $800,000 tin sheds will keep his seat. Anyone in charge of the national cheque book can accrue $250bn of debt… spending money is the easy part. Paying it back is another thing entirely.


UPDATE: 7:56pm  Labor doing better. Greens get their man.

Labor 48; Liberal 73; Green 1: Other 2

Adam Bandt, sole Green member of the house of Reps elected? again (or as good as) in Melbourne

The ALP / ABC have set expectations so low that Labor will claim anything over 50 seats as a “win”. It helps them put a good spin on a bad loss.


UPDATE 8:20pm: Done deal. Labor [...]

Don’t throw your vote away. Australian Senate preferences are a wild-card

This election everyone is talking preferences. The Senate is a wild-card and no one is game to say how things will pan out. (Antony Green is scathing about our current system). The preference deals were subject to a major networking gambits with much wheeling and dealing behind the scenes.

Leon Ashby, president of the Climate Sceptics has been working very hard in South Australia, and convincingly makes a case that he has a very good chance. I wish him the best of luck. It would be something to see him beat Sarah Hansen Young of The Greens for the last senate seat position in South Australia. (The Shooters and Fishers Party took out the local Green Senator here in the West Australian State election last March. It happens).

Instead of accepting the preference deals, you may prefer to vote below the line  but it means numbering up to 110 candidates.   (Hints below for foreigners to follow the lingo*) Is it worth the effort? Above the line voting means preferences will flow as per these lists at the links below.  It may be more effort to follow these lists than to number 1 – 110.

Australian Electoral Commission Links


Monckton — The bull and the Borg

Christopher Monckton is very popular in outback Australia isn’t he? For the sake of the farmers I’ve met, it seems only fair to spread a voice telling some more of their stories. (The ABC certainly weren’t too willing to inform Australians about the Thompsons plight or Maxwell Schulz either.)

The inner city and rural producers have become so disconnected, it is like a visit from aliens  — Jo


The bull and the Borg

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Captain’s Log, Stardate 2013.67: Antipodean climate extremists are going to have a field day with this one. In Australia (where else?) a pedigree Hereford bull has been named “Lord Monckton”. And the Prime Directive forbids me to intervene.

Peter Manuel, who farms many thousands of acres in the Lofty Ranges, became so exasperated with the Natural Resources Management Board of South Australia for interfering with farming that he arranged for Lord Monckton (the real one, that is) to visit the state and give a series of talks to farmers.

Lord Monckton’s semen is now available at premium prices

Peter is chief executive of Farmers’ and Landowners’ Group Australia (FLAG), which campaigns to defend [...]

Coalition wants to stop wasting ARC funds on “futile research” – Here’s a few more suggestions

Cut those waste-of-time academic projects? Not a moment too soon.

If the Coalition wins the election they want to refocus the Australian Research Council (ARC). The first “wasteful” project mentioned is about adapting to climate change through public art. What a good omen…

Some ARC funds appear to be nothing more than disguised government advertising. That has to stop.

MILLIONS of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants for obscure research projects – such as the role of public art in climate change – will be scrapped or redirected to find cures for dementia and other diseases as part of a Coalition crackdown on government waste.

And a further $1.1 billion is expected to be returned to the budget bottom line from the scrapping of the carbon tax, under the Coalition election promises costings to be released today.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that as part of the Coalition’s budget savings measures, a dedicated team will be formed under its proposed Commission of Audit to re-prioritise about $900 million in annual Australian Research Council grants.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that a list of the types of grants that would no longer be funded under new and more stringent guidelines for [...]

“Climate change” is still tearing Australian politics apart

Don’t think the carbon dioxide wars are over in Australia.

What turmoil lies ahead. The Coalition looks like easily winning the election on Saturday (though Jeff Kennett points out he lost an election people thought he would win). If they win, they’ve promised to wipe out the Labor Party’s carbon tax. (Not a moment too soon.) Abbott was made leader on this issue in December 2009, and has vowed “in blood” to remove it.

But after this election the Senate will still be in the grip of a Labor Green majority until July next year, when the new senators (whoever they may be) take over half the Senate. Yesterday Tony Abbott renewed his pledge that this election is about “the carbon tax”. If he wins, and the Senate won’t pass his climate change legislation, he says he’s determined to pull the ultimate political trigger and call a double dissolution election.

The stakes are high. For the sake of foreign readers, the double dissolution is a rare event that, unlike a normal election, means every senator is suddenly out of a job and up for reelection (not just the usual half a Senate at a time). We could, in theory, have [...]

Astounding discovery: World War II had low carbon footprint

USS Pennsylvania leads convoy to reduce Japanese carbon emissions

Tom Quirk sends me thought provoking news.

File this in the Semi-Satirical Times

Since 1920, ice cores from Law Dome show only one significant pause in an otherwise relentless rise in CO2. Ominously, that sole plateau occurs from 1940 to 1950. If human activity drives changes in global CO2, there is no mistaking that the pause was during the only decade that war went global.

The question has to be asked: Is war an alternative to wind-farms?

Who would have thought all the tanks, bullets and bombs, and all the men in green uniforms, could be so good for the planet? World War II must have been a low electricity use time.

Or was it the mass burials – a form of carbon sequestration? (Though, cremation, after all, undoes the benefits. Does anyone have stats on the ratio of burning versus burial? Can we get a grant?)

In World War 2, direct action against the evil large fossil fuel polluters took on a new meaning. Don’t just tax those factories, bomb them!

Ahem… (all [...]