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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Heat and fires from when CO2 was “ideal”: Black Thursday, 1851

The year 1851 and CO2 is 287ppm in Law Dome Antarctica. The climate is perfect, but Australians are dealing with the worst fires in recorded history, scorching heat, drought, searing wind and by the sounds of it, an arabian dust storm. There are no skycranes, no mobile phones, and no helitankers. Temperatures in the shade hit 117F in Melbourne (that’s 47C), 115 in Warnambool, 114 in Geelong. But those are not BOM official records  (the BOM didn’t exist until some 50 years later). The conditions were unprecedented in living memory even though, at the time, many people said fires and droughts were commonplace. Businesses stopped, and it was described as “wanton martyrdom” to go out in the streets. People fighting the fires realized they had to flee instead and took en masse onto galloping horses to head for bare hilltops or watercourses. One writer two weeks later suggests the fire consumed 150,000 pounds of life and property, “to the utter ruin of many families.” The population was around 80,000. Despite the devastation, no one suggests a carbon tax.

‘When the smoke turned day into night’  Painted by William Strutt | Library Of Victoria

Apparently the pall of smoke was [...]

Chance to see Bob Carter, Mr David Leyonhjelm in Perth – Saturday

The PGA (Pastoralists and Graziers) convention is on Saturday morning in Perth. It’s a great event, has a few movers and shakers going, and I very much enjoyed the last one I went too. If you want to go, email the PGA or phone them today. The normal fee for non-members would be $250, but I put in a plea for readers who might be retired, or just coming “out of interest”, and Jenni Stawell kindly offered to reduce the price — mention you read about the offer here.

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Bill McKibben says wind is cheap as coal. Jo Nova says “so who needs a carbon tax then?”

Bill McKibben wants to stop a mine in Australia because it might affect the weather. He says wind power is as affordable as coal.

The Australian, Friday Oct 25:   “… we’ve reached the point where alternatives have become realistic.Wind power is now as affordable as coal-fired power in Australia, not to mention the limitless energy potential of the powerful sun that shines on your continent.”

To which I say, fantastic. If wind power is as cheap as coal, we don’t need a carbon tax, emissions trading schemes, renewable targets, or other subsidies … people will use wind simply because it is cheaper. Alternatively, Bill is talking out of his hat.

Kill the schemes, cut the subsidies. Bring it on. I say!

We can see how many people rely on Windpower in Australia

That’s the yellow part. Coal is the black or brown part.

Source: ESAA

Source: ESAA

All the assertions of “cheap wind power” are only true if we assume our CO2 emissions cause warming, amplified by water vapor and cloud changes, which causes dangerous and expensive outcomes. Furthermore we must assume that it is cheaper to mitigate rather than adapt (which it isn’t), and then assume that taxes, [...]

Nearly $1 billion a day to change the climate… the invisible vested elephant in the room

Here’s a stark statistic that came out last week in a new report: The Climate Industry draws in nearly $1 billion dollars a day. But here’s an ominous combination:  …  it openly admits that taxpayer money is its “engine-room”. Reading between the lines below, this industry is almost completely dependent on domestic policies that funnel money from citizens to itself, and tilts the playing field — without those policies, it can’t attract much private money. That is, it can only get money at least partially by coercion, people won’t give it money purely voluntarily. These same groups want even more — they want the public to take the risks too. What could possibly go wrong?

Al Gore, said it himself: “Special interests control decisions too frequently.” [See the ABC]. So he must be concerned about the lobbying weight of a $360 billion dollar baby whose existence is contingent on government gravy? As if…

From: The Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2013 from the Climate Policy Initiative

“Landscape 2013 finds that global climate finance flows have plateaued at USD 359 billion, or around USD 1 billion per day – far below even the most conservative estimates of investment [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

A favourite rock pool of mine. My photo.

 

 

Catalyst says consensus wrong on cholesterol – but unquestionable on climate

On the ABC program Catalyst this week, Dr Maryanne Demasi slayed a few dietary myths–like, cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease.

She described how medical science was distorted for decades by the influence of money, and how one key researcher networked his way to the top of an influential association, casting ad hom insults at his competitor, ridiculing him, and calling his rival theory about sugar “quackery”. The personal attacks and name-calling worked, and for fifty years people have been paranoid of cholesterol, and scoffing corn syup instead, while study after study showed that that approach was not working.

Everything said about the processes in this tale could be equally well said about climate science: Correlation is not causation.  Weak, flawed studies can be cherry picked while good studies are ignored.  Associations can be taken over by one activist. Large financial interests distort science.

So the consensus was wrong about cholesterol, but is untouchable on climate? (See Witchcraft on Catalyst — Scary weather is coming, it’s all our fault, be afraid!)

Will it take 50 years for Catalyst to stop repeating the verdict of associations, and start investigating the evidence? The big lesson of the Enlightenment is that [...]

UK Government hides its own graphic comparing Nuclear to Wind and solar

Is this a 2013 Streisand-Effect finalist?

The UK has decided to build its first new nuclear power plant in 20 years. The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change posted this graphic below in a News Story probably to help justify why it really did make sense to go nuclear rather than renewable. The Renewable Energy Association called it “unhelpful”, and lo, it disappeared from gov.uk.

Credit goes to Emily Gosden’s Tweet, and  Will Heaven‘s Blog. Hat tip to Colin.

 

(Click to enlarge to see the fine print)

The fine print (edited out in the small copy here) says that Hickley Point C “is estimated to be equal to around 7% of UK electricity consumption in 2025 and enough to power nearly 6 million homes.” About onshore wind, the fine print reads: “The footprint will depend on the location and turbine technology deployed. DECC estimates the footprint could be between 160,000 and 490,000 acres“. That’s quite some error margin.

How many National Parks does one nuclear plant save then?

It’s a good representation of just how much of the Earths surface we have to give up if we want to live off renewables at the moment. So who [...]

Solar effects seem to shift wind and rainfall patterns over last 3000 years in Chile

A team of researchers looked at the solar influence on Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SWW). These winds influence rainfall patterns and ocean currents in the Southern Hemisphere. Varma et al infer rainfall patterns by looking at iron deposits in marine sediments near Chile, which are apparently higher during drier conditions and lower during wetter times. They compared these to both Beryllium (10Be) and Carbon-14 (14C) which they use to estimate solar activity.

The end result is they find that the westerly winds shift northwards towards the equator during lower solar activity, and conversely move southwards towards the poles during higher solar activity. The shifting wind patterns move the rainfall. An effect is apparent in records for the last 3,000 years.

In graph a below, 10Be (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) have a decent correlation coefficient (r) of 0.45, while the 14C  (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) correlation in b has a lower correlation (r) of 0.21. Varma et al say:

“the large correlation coefficient for 10Be would suggest that ca. 20% (i.e., r2) of late Holocene rainfall and hence SWW variability could be attributable to solar forcing.”

They conclude that the current models don’t give the sun a large [...]

Fuel Loads Not Climate Change Are Making Bushfires More Severe

The Age in Melbourne said they were “keen” to get a piece like this from David on Tuesday, but on Wednesday decided not to go with it.

Unfortunately figures on fuel loads are rare. David used to do carbon accounting for the Australian Government, which included developing the ability to estimate forest debris in Australian forests from a combination of plant models, satellite data on vegetation, and weather data. That capability exists in the Department of Environment, in the unit that produces Australia’s carbon accounts. However the figures here are only what David has heard from other sources over the years, and do not reflect any official or government figures. – Jo

UPDATE: Skynews tells us Defence admit starting the mega Lithgow fire last Wednesday. “A massive fire burning in Lithgow and the Blue Mountains was caused by explosives training which was being carried out in the area by the department of defence.”

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Fuel Loads Not Climate Change Are Making Bushfires More Severe

Dr David Evans

The bibles of mainstream climate change are the Assessment Reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) every six years or so. The latest was issued recently, in September [...]

ABC plan to stop bushfires with windmills and buckets of your cash

The Australian media are going all out on climate change and bushfires.

The ABC 7:30 Report last night clearly laid out the options for preventing mega bush-fires.

Funded by you whether you like it or not.

 

Watch the whole bizarre post-modern witchcraft here: ABC Channel 1

Yes, the world has warmed by 0.7C since 1900. We are living in a new climate. Before, when things were, on average imperceptibly cooler, megafires did not happen. Right?

Thanks to Peter Ritson for the short video version.

“The Science is in”. Annabel Crabb tells us “The link is established between climate change and bushfires”. (What “link” would that be Annabel? — That when there is a bushfire there are more media stories about climate change?)

As Simon at ClimateMadness jokes, obviously there is no groupthink at the ABC because they put forward all the views from every side of Greenness:

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