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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Weekend Unthreaded

Greens using “think-tank” witchhunt

The emotional babies in Parliament will do anything to avoid discussing certain ideas on their merits.

The Australian Department of Education has been asking specialists if their appointed curriculum reviewers have been “connected” with two of Australia’s most prominent non-leftist think tanks. The crime apparently is to consort with the scum who ask if big-government is too big.

Both the IPA and CIS support free markets, individual liberty and limited government.

South Australian Greens senator, Penny Wright, wants to know.

“This is outright McCarthyism,” IPA deputy director James Paterson said. “It is pretty much ‘Are you now or have you even been a member of the IPA?’ ”

Should we or should we not teach points X, Y or Z to the children of Australia? Green-logic says it depends on whether the person making the decision has ever been associated with the IPA or the CIS. Presumably reviewers who’ve been published by Green Left Weekly, the CFMEU, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, or The Australian Conservation Foundation should be weeded out too. Right?

Maybe not.

The lead author of the original history curriculum was Melbourne University historian Stuart Macintyre. His connections were not pursued by [...]

Sydney Sea levels rising at just 6.5cm per century. Peak-panic is behind us.

In The Australian Bob Carter compares the long term tide gauge record in Sydney with projections, and exposes the exorbitant cost of insurance for alarmist sea level forecasts. The good news is that it appears councils are waking up, and  “peak-sea-level-panic” is behind us.

Sea-level alarmism has passed high tide and is at last declining. With luck, empirical sanity will soon prevail over modelling.

After years of research it turns out that talking about “global”  sea level rise is nearly meaningless to real people who live in one place. The ocean rise varies locally from beach to beach from as little as 5cm per century to as much as 16cm per century. The variations are mostly due to different rates of land subsiding or rising.

More importantly, the rate of rise was either the same or was even faster before World War II when CO2 levels were “safe”.

Figure 5: Comparison of decadal rates of change over historical record. Analysis based on relative 20-y moving average water level time series. | Watson 2011

Fort Denison in Sydney has one of the longest running continuous records, starting in 1886, and finally local councils are realizing that they need [...]

48 science minds misuse the term “scientist” – namecalling is not science

A group of people calling themselves “leading scientists” think that what the climate really needs is some A-grade namecalling. Specifically, they want the word skeptic for themselves, and want everyone who is unconvinced by their argument to be called a “denier”. I guess they’ve finally realized how uncool it sounds to be an unskeptical scientist. Their reasoning is that they have 48 sciencey type celebrities and they can quote Carl Sagan.  Their scientific greats include guys like Bill Nye the Science Guy, James Randi, and Dick Smith.

The headline reads:

End misuse of ‘sceptic’, urge 48 science minds

Me, I think –  let’s aim higher, and end the misuse of of the term “scientist”. Real scientists debate the evidence and don’t use namecalling as scientific argument. Denier” is not a scientific term, it’s a form of character assassination from lazy minds who want to avoid discussing the data.

Make no mistake, “denier” is not a descriptive term in a science debate, it’s equal to saying “you have the brain of a rock”. Being in denial of observations to the point where a person in toto becomes labeled a denier, is shorthand for saying that they are so mentally deficient that [...]

Australia tithes $200 million to Green Blob. Time to stand up to the bullies and out-Green them instead.

Pander to the crocodile. Danegeld. The Australian government has offered $200 million for the UN Green Climate Fund. It’s more advertising money for the Green Blob, guaranteed to fund nice jobs that depend on the belief that man-made climate change is real, dangerous and can be solved by the UN. The cluster of dedicated climate-changing lobbyists will grow (slightly) and Australia’s foreign aid budget will shrink. In the end, it won’t make any difference to the global climate, but it will increase the number of press releases pushing the meme, and demanding more money from the public. Shame.

When Green bullies use outrage to push for money, the answer is not to pay them off, but to out-Green them and expose the hypocrisy.

Imagine if the Abbott government stood up to the so-called environmentalists and said: “We’re doing something real to help the poor and the environment — we’re funding programs direct to make sure the funds go where they are needed most. Large conglomerate centralized groups are inefficient, they tend to feed bureaucracy and junkets. We are going to be the first nation to fund an independent science program. For the sake of the environment we going to audit [...]

It’s the name and shame campaign: Australia, you are the weakest link!

Does anyone care about actual carbon emissions anymore? (I mean, apart from our coalition government?)

What matters is not whether you emit or suck the CO2. It’s not even about whether you are seen to be doing something. Doing something is irrelevant.  It’s about joining the club and obeying the rules. And the rules are complex: Carbon trading is good. Planting trees is bad. Carbon taxes are good, but carbon soil storage is bad. And nuclear, of course, is awful — unless you are a large communist power, in which case, it’s a landmark agreement.

More efficient coal power is bad,  even if they reduce emissions, but inefficient wind towers are good, even if they don’t.

If there is a rule underlying the rules, it appears to be that any solution is a good solution if it makes big government bigger. If governments are already as big as they can get (e.g. China) then any solution is a good solution.

We can see the rules at work in the current name and shame campaign. Australia might meet those targets but who cares — it’ s now at the bottom of the Climate Oscars.

Oh no. The pain and humiliation. Australia [...]

UN Climate Funds build coal plants — do we call it corruption, or is it success?

One more reason not to give funds to the UN, but do enjoy the contortions.

Japan claimed it spent $1b on a particular action against climate change, which made the UN happy. But it turns out that money went to Japanese companies to build coal fired power stations in Indonesia, which makes the UN very unhappy because the UN does not support coal-powered projects, even if they lower CO2 emissions. Coal is evil, after all.

Newsweek:  U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres was apparently unaware of where those funds wound up until it was brought to her attention by the AP. Figueres told the AP that “there is no argument” for supporting coal-powered projects with climate money, and that “unabated coal has no room in the future energy system.”

Watch the anamorphosis as the PR picture turns inside out. Good money becomes bad money. What was UN money becomes not-UN money.  What was a CO2 reduction (with a more efficient coal fired power) becomes unsupportable.

The journalists at Reuters had to correct their Newsweek article within hours:

This article was corrected to clarify that the nearly $1 billion were not specifically U.N. funds, but rather Japanese funds that [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

HockeyStick, finally updated with modern trees, collapses

You’ll be shocked that after decades of studying 800 year old tree rings, someone has finally found some trees living as long ago as 2005. These rarest-of-rare tree rings have been difficult to find, compared to the rings circa Richard III. The US government may have spent $30 billion on climate research, but that apparently wasn’t enough to find trees on SheepMountain living between the vast treeless years of 1980 to now.

I’ve always thought it spoke volumes that many tree ring proxies ended in 1980, as if we’d cut down the last tree to launch the satellites in 1979. We all know that if modern tree rings showed that 1998 was warmer than 1278, the papers would have sprung forth from Nature, been copied in double page full-fear features in New Scientist, and would  feature in the IPCC logo too.

Ponder that the MBH98 study was so widely cited, repeated, and used ad nauseum. It was instrumental in shaping the views of many policy makers, journalists, and members of the public, most of whom probably still believe it. The real message here is about the slowness of the scientific community to correct the problems in this paper.

Steve [...]

Good news. Australia say NO to UN Green Climate Fund – bypasses Green Gravy Train

Good news. The Australian government is cutting out the enviro-middlemen, saying “No” to one $11 billion Green Blob.

Australia stands as the only wealthy country to have ruled out a contribution to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. As of last week, the fund had received pledges from 22 countries totalling $US9.6 billion ($A11.2 billion) against an initial funding target of $US10 billion.

The UN money making scheme was never about the poor or the environment. If it was they wouldn’t be wasting “aid” on so-called clean energy subsidies, which won’t change the weather:

The fund is a new financing mechanism to help developing countries protect themselves from the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will invest in clean energy generation and distribution, energy-efficient buildings and transport, forest conservation and management, and the “climate-proofing” of infrastructure and agriculture against storms, floods and higher temperatures.

Apparently the Australian government can see that funding these UN agencies is hand-feeding sharks. By paying for environmental aid direct, our tax funds might achieve something useful, and it exposes the hypocritical self-interest of the Green Gravy train. Which environmental groups will praise Abbott and Bishop? All the ones [...]

Satellites show 2014 was NOT the hottest ever spring (or winter or summer or autumn) in Australia.

The headlines are burning around the nation: 2014 was the hottest ever spring! Except it wasn’t. The UAH satellite coverage sees all of Australia, day and night, and are not affected by urban heat, airport tarmacs, “gaps in the stations”, or inexplicable adjustments.

When will the Bureau of Meteorology discover satellites? How many years will it take to train the ABC journalists to ask the BOM if satellite measurements agree or disagree with their highly adjusted, altered, deleted, and homogenised ground stations?

I used exactly no tax dollars to email John Christy of UAH, get the latest data, and graph it to show that in Australia 2014 was not the hottest spring, and not the hottest winter, summer or autumn either. Why can’t the BOM or the $1.1 billion ABC do that?

The obsession with cherry picked, unscientific and irrelevant single season records that are not even records shows how unscientific the Bureau of Met is. By its actions we see a diligent PR and marketing agency. If the BOM served the public, they would make sure the public knew that these records depend entirely on their choice of dataset and on their mysterious homogenization procedures. If the BOM were [...]

Peter Spencer update: In court today former Environment Minister Kemp. Plus Bob Katter attends

Today is a big day for the trial of Peter Spencer versus the Commonwealth with Dr David Kemp, Minister for the Environment and Heritage in 2003, appearing as a witness. Bob Katter will give  a press conference. Dr Alan Moran, former IPA director will appear too. See times and details below. Public  are welcome.

The background: Peter Spencer versus the Commonwealth and why it’s potentially “bigger than Mabo”

Peter Spencer is the farmer in New South Wales who bought a farm and then lost 80% of it when rules changed to stop people clearing native vegetation. Unable to use most of his property, but still owing money on the mortgage for it, he was bankrupted. He broke no law, but lost his life’s work. Farmers all around Australia lost billions of dollars in assets but at the same time the federal government gained billions of dollars in carbon credits and met our Kyoto requirements by counting the carbon in the vegetation that was locked away.

The implications of this case apply to land holders across the continent. Indeed, if any governments can arbitrarily take assets without paying, or force a small minority to bear the burden of [...]

Abbott government chops UNEP funding by 80% to help reefs, forest. Greens hate it.

This is tin-tacks taken back from the Green Blob, but cheer it on. The Abbott government apparently wants to use the money to protect rainforests, instead of given to green-bureaucrats. Enjoy the apoplexy among greens and environmentalists. Excuse me, I think your priorities are showing!

ABC news

The Federal Government has slashed funding to a key United Nations environment agency by more than 80 per cent, stunning environmental groups ahead of a global climate change summit in Peru.

The ABC has learned the Government cut $4 million from the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which provides advice on environmental policies and climate change negotiations.

Instead of giving $1.2m a year, we are giving $200,000. True to form, the green-blobby is “stunned” and immediately responds with a higher ambit claim. There is a scale for everything, and too much is never enough:

Environmental groups are stunned, especially because according to UNEP’s Voluntary Indicative Scale of Assessments, Australia should have contributed around $2.2 million next year.

The money is going to the environment, and environmental groups hate that:

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the Government had to “make choices in a difficult budget environment”.

The Green Blob expands: BBC wants Australian ratings. Their editor Wendy Frew heats Aust by 90C.

What’s better than Pravda? When Pravda is controlled by big government but masquerades as “commercial” and, even better, when it competes with and sucks money from independent competitors–making it harder for journalists who do ask the government hard questions to be heard at all.

Who needs the ABC?  The BBC has arrived to provide the propaganda for free and wants to compete with commercial news outlets. They’ve appointed the most gullible journalists they could find (who’ll believe any official edict). Their new Australian Editor, Wendy Frew, accidentally revealed that while she’s good at rearranging a press release and calling it news, she is not too good with numbers.

In a BBC article yesterday by Wendy Frew titled “Australia has hottest spring on record as temperatures soar” comes the extraordinary news that Australia has warmed by 90C since 1910.

“Australia has been warming up by about 0.9C [a year] since 1910,” Dr Braganza told the BBC.

The online article was fixed this morning (with no mention of the mistake), though copies of the error appear elsewhere. It says something that Frew went out of her way to add “[a year]“ into Braganza’s quote without doing the numbers and [...]

Thousands will die if we don’t pay the UN enough

The UN Department of Pointless Statistics tells us that 250,000 extra people will die every year from 2030 – 2050 because of climate change. This is assuming that the climate models which have never worked, start to, and that people behave like gladioli, staying put, not building walls, farms or inventing better gladioli homes. It also assumes that a 60% increase global atmospheric plant fertilizer will make no difference to crops.

Indur Goklany tries to help the UN by checking some of their assumptions in his new report: “Unhealthy Exaggeration” GWPF

“He argues that the health organisation wrongly assumed that people would not take practical steps to protect themselves. These include improving water supplies and hygiene to reduce disease and relocating away from stretches of coast most vulnerable to flooding. The assumptions used by WHO are not mentioned in its fact sheet but instead relegated to the third column of a table in the full report, which is based on computer models. The column, headed “potential options not included in model”, reveals that the forecast for deaths from diarrhoea does not include “improved water, sanitation and hygiene”. The forecast for coastal flooding victims does not include “population relocation” [...]