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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It’s always Dark Sky Week in Africa

From Steve Goreham’s article on the “Horse and Buggy advice” from the green movement.

In March we enjoyed Earth Hour, when citizens were urged to turn off their lights around the world. Last week was Dark Sky Week, an effort to make citizens aware of “light pollution.” It’s always Dark Sky Week in Africa, where the majority of a billion people don’t have access to electricity.

Last year, Tony FromOz looked at Niger, Africa and discovered 17 million people use less electricity than the small town of Dubbo, NSW (pop 40,000).

From Steve Goreham:

Why do decrees from environmentalists always seem to come from the Dark Ages?


Nothing is more scary than funding a skeptic. Flannery over-reacts, accidentally satirizes himself

To paraphrase: People who disagree with my economic predictions should not get funds.

 UPDATE: What an extraordinary moment. UWA has announced that due to the unexpected “passion” of the staff and students they have to cancel the Lomborg Consensus Centre (May 8th 2015). Does UWA do science-by-passion?

The Australian Government is spending $2.5 billion on Direct Action to reduce atmospheric carbon. They offer to spend a tiny $4m extra setting up a centre for an economist who studies the effectiveness of action to change the climate.

Tim Flannery’s reaction to the Consensus Centre:

“…it’s an insult to Australia’s scientific community.”

It’s an insult I tell you! Imagine taking Australia’s climate scientists seriously, and setting up an economics centre to solve the crisis they say is occurring.  How could any scientist stand that.

Lomborg-the-economist agrees completely with the IPCC and Flannery on the climate science. But he disagrees on the economic and policy positions. Obviously it’s a disaster if the Flannery-IPCC economic predictions are subject to analysis.

Flannery, self-satirical, on the appointment of Lomberg:

“Mr Lomborg’s views have no credibility in the scientific community. His message hasn’t varied at all in the last decade and [...]

Financial system on the rocks. Repo spike suggests derivative bomb is triggered

Here’s a monster number lurking under an invisibility cloak. It’s the Quadrillion dollar bomb, and either the fuse has been lit, or it’s already going off in a slow motion big-bang. I first mentioned it way back when I talked about the danger of Carbon credits as another fiat Currency (my 12th post). Hang on for the ride.

The Repo action is now much worse than in the GFC (check out that graph below –  the “GFC” was a speed bump). The volcano bubbling at the end suggests that the Derivatives Bomb probably started a slow motion explosion early last year.  The US Federal Reserve are trying to contain it.

Derivatives* are often used for insurance or hedging, but are mainly highly leveraged bets.They are so much larger than the actual market, it’s better described as a global casino. World GDP is around US$60 trillion but there are at least US$600 trillion of derivative contracts, perhaps as much as US$1.5 quadrillion, as measured by face value, according to the Bank of International Settlements (the “central bank of central banks”). The problem is that all the bank debt or “all the money in the world” is less than US250 trillion.

On the [...]

Scientists reply to hypocrites: We dare you to talk science instead how you hate “fossil fuels”

Caught with their pants down.

Unskeptical-scientists, like Hansen, Trenberth, and Mann, have plastered their name on a document aiming to stop scientific research. They want less science funding. Who hates science then?

The Ethical Poseurs

Who cares about the ethics of fossil fuels funding skeptics, but doesn’t care when renewable-energy corporations sponsor pro-crisis exhibitions? Siemens was principle sponsor of the UK Science Museum’s propaganda gallery on climate science. It makes EUR 80 million profit each quarter from wind and renewables. Where is the outrage? When mercenary corporates use museums to boost their profits, that’s OK for Hansen, Trenberth and Mann. The other big sponsor was Shell, which profits from gas sales, when its cheap competitor coal gets hit thanks to “climate-panic”. Shell, of course, likes windmills, which need a gas form of back up.

Time skeptics stood up for science funding

We skeptics need to stop buying into the bullying and intimidation of those who say fossil fuels can fund unskeptical research but not skeptical (i.e. real) research. The sole reason they do this is to starve skeptics and to poison the well for audiences. It is anti-science, anti-free-speech, anti-intellectual in every way.

Most times when a skeptic says “we [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Been away for a few days again… north this time. Cute small fishing towns are overlooked.

Hope you are having fun too.

Bjorn Lomborg gets funding for a new centre at UWA, howls and protests begin

UPDATE: What an extraordinary moment. UWA has announced that due to the unexpected “passion” of the staff and students they have to cancel the Lomborg Consensus Centre (May 8th 2015). They give no rational reason — this is caving in to bullies. The government needs to fund this centre as an independent unit. Academia in Australia is beyond saving. “Lomborg commits the unforgivable sin of failing to feed friends of big-government.”

Bjorn Lomborg writes in The Australian reasonably often, so he is fairly well known amongst the thinking set in Australia.

The Consensus Centre is coming to UWA, my old alma mater, and former home of Steven Lewandowsky, and PhD candidate John Cook. Strange company indeed. It is promising that something rational will probably come forth from UWA for a change. It’s also promising that the Abbott government seems to recognise the need to break the monopoly in funding by a small amount. The choice of UWA might not be as outlandish as people think. It is as politically as pathetically correct as any university, but it doesn’t have a major climate gravy train. Their climate science courses page says it all — they only have a generic enviro-science major, [...]

Fewer heatwaves for 9 million Australians in Sydney, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne –”thank CO2″!

Let’s play the Heatwaves PR game. If CO2 had an effect we’d see a significant increase in the rate of global warming over the decades since WWII, the models would work, and climate scientists would be able to predict our climate. Since none of that is true, those with a political agenda have to clutch at noisy but marketable extremes instead. Apparently even a half-true, noisy, non-causal link is good enough for post-modern scientists.

Heatwaves are perfect for generating scientific sounding fear, but not so useful for generating actual scientific knowledge. There are an infinity of ways to measure them. They can last 3 days – 160 days, and be cut off at any number from 35  – 40C, or at some percentile outlier. They can be measured one town at a time, or on a regional or state-wide level. The permutations are rich with headline scoring possibilities. And in the end, on a long warming trend that started 300 years ago, it is obvious, inevitable, and predictable that we should score more now. What’s surprising is how often we don’t.

On ABC radio before Easter, Dr Vertessy, Director and CEO of the Bureau of Meteorology, claimed that we are seeing [...]

The German electricity crisis – twice the price, but everyone’s going broke

When the Germans mess something up, they do it properly

Germany — is aiming for a 40% cut in carbon by 2020, and have “led the way” with solar and wind power. Electricity bills are now twice the price of those in North America, and some 800,000 poor people had their power cut off because they can’t pay their bills.  Despite the high prices, gas power has become uneconomic, even though it is one the best methods for dealing with the erratic energy delivered from wind and solar. Nuclear can’t save them, they will have none after 2022 when the last reactor turns off.

The pain is pointless. For all the money spent, they aren’t saving much CO2, and aren’t changing the weather.  They end up importing many of the goods which need energy, so the emissions occur in other countries without emissions controls. The German manufacturing sector can’t compete and struggles by on subsidies. Consumers pay more for goods or pay more through tax for the subsidies. Meanwhile, in the EU politicians seem to have realized that biofuels won’t work, but they don’t have the courage to kill them off and face the backlash — instead they fund it just [...]

The simple trick to solve the impasse in the climate debate — have one (Tell the Australian govt).

For the last twenty years, the IPCC and co. have spared no expense in inundating us with full gloss, swanky adverts and catchy bumper stickers. The Rudd government spent $13.9 million on one advertising campaign “Think Climate, Think Change”. Yet the number of skeptics is growing — fully 53% of Australians are skeptical. The debate is more polarised than ever, and the “deniers” are often blamed for slowing action. So resolving the impasse, the stalemate, ought be the highest priority for the planet, right? But more advertising won’t change the trend, the issue has been marketed to death. What hasn’t been tried is the old fashioned, hard but honest way to resolve an issue — real public debate.

Tony Abbott could be the most forward-thinking scientifically-advanced world leader. He could be the first to take the bull by the horns and really tackle the climate stalemate. He might break the impasse. For the planet’s sake, we can’t afford to wait. Right?

The Australian Federal Government is seeking public consultation 

What should the Greenhouse Gas Target be? The Federal Government is seeking your input for the UNFCCC meeting in Paris, COP 21 (see ABC news). The government also wants to know [...]

Monckton willing to bet $500,000 on icesheets

The  Age in Melbourne published a letter from a “Maurie” declaring that the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets would “melt away in the next decade.” Monckton found it hard to believe The Age would print this drivel, and was amazed to find Maurie, apparently, is one of Australia’s foremost chemists”, — Maurice Trewhella, who seems to have won a green award at the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. (Not that I have heard of him).

So Monckton explains why the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets won’t be gone in 2024 then offers Maurie, and four others, the chance to win $100,000 each if this wild prediction comes even ten percent close. To show he is serious he offers to donate the first $10,000 to charity (so will other bet contenders). Will the “mean area of the combined Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets” in 2024 be less than 90 percent of what it was in 2014″?

Christopher Monckton:

Some 4,000 years ago, the temperature on the summit of the Greenland plateau was 2.5 Celsius degrees warmer than the present. Yet the ice did not melt. And it didn’t melt in the last interglacial period, 110,000 years ago, when again the [...]