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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The Skeptics Handbook II

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



Spot the Vested Interest: The $1.5 Trillion Climate Change Industry

Climate Change Business Journal estimates the Climate Change Industry is a $1.5 Trillion dollar escapade, which means four billion dollars a day is spent on our quest to change the climate. That includes everything from carbon markets to carbon consulting, carbon sequestration, renewables, biofuels, green buildings and insipid cars. For comparison global retail sales online are worth around $1.5 trillion. So all the money wasted on the climate is equivalent to all the goods bought online.

The special thing about this industry is that it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for an assumption about relative humidity that is probably wrong. As such, it’s the only major industry in the world dependent on consumer and voter ignorance. This is not just another vested interest in a political debate; it’s vested-on-steroids, a mere opinion poll away from extinction. You can almost hear the captains of climate industry bellowing: “Keep ‘em ignorant and believing, or the money goes away!”.

To state the obvious:

Policy, or the anticipation of new policy, has been one of the biggest drivers of the industry, the report shows.

 Most industries this size exist because they produce something the market wants. They worry that competitors might chip [...]

What consensus? Less than half of climate scientists agree with the IPCC “95%” certainty

I used to think there was a consensus among government-funded certified climate scientists, but a better study by Verheggen Strengers, Verheegen, and Vringer shows even that is not true.[1] The “97% consensus” is now 43%.

Finally there is a decent survey on the topic, and it shows that less than half of what we would call “climate scientists” who research the topic and for the most part, publish in the peer reviewed literature, would agree with the IPCC’s main conclusions. Only 43% of climate scientists agree with the IPCC “95%” certainty.

More than 1800 international scientists studying various aspects of climate change (including climate physics, climate impacts, and mitigation) responded to the questionnaire. Some 6550 people were invited to participate in this survey, which took place in March and April 2012. Respondents were picked because they had authored articles with the key words ‘global warming’ and/or ‘global climate change’, covering the 1991–2011 period, via the Web of Science, or were included the climate scientist database assembled by Jim Prall, or just by a survey of peer reviewed climate science articles. Prall’s database includes some 200 names that have criticized mainstream science and about half had only published in [...]

SA Government won’t allow any non-leftist research — attacks Lomborg Centre

How easily it could collapse. What more proof do we need that the climate-crisis facade is maintained by hiding the counter arguments. Evidently the worst possible thing is for the public to be exposed to little pieces of paper with a message that runs against the creed.

The South Australian (SA) government is very very afraid, issuing statements yesterday, designed to intimidate Flinders University into rejecting the Lomborg Consensus Centre. They know that they can’t defend their “wind power” and “climate” policies, and the public will be up in arms when they realize how much money has been burned. (In 2012 Hamish Cumming estimated South Australian windfarms have saved 4% of their rated capacity in fossil fuels at a cost of $1,484 per ton.)

But it’s not about the environment or the economy,  it’s about prestige, popularity and status.

If the SA government fails to stop the Lomborg Centre at Flinders University, they know they will be called nasty names by their peers. They admit as much in their bizarre statements, which effectively use political pressure against a university to keep it free of “political pressure”, and admits researchers can be bought to support an agenda. Flinders Uni will look [...]

The Emissions Trading Scheme monster idea is back – but the conversation is booby-trapped with fake words

It’s a tax that’s “not a tax” and a “free market” that isn’t free.

Joy. An emission trading scheme (ETS) is on the agenda again in Australia. Here’s why the first priority is to clean up a crooked conversation. If we can just talk straight, the stupid will sort itself out.

The national debate is a straight faced parody — it could be a script from “Yes Minister”, except no one would believe it. Bill Shorten argues that the Labor Party can control the world’s weather with something that exactly fits the definition of a tax, yet he calls it a “free market” because apparently he has no idea what a free market really is. (What union rep would?) It’s like our opposition leader is a wannabe entrepreneur building a  Kmart that controls the clouds. Look out Batman, Billman is coming. When is a forced market a free market? When you want to be PM.

The vandals are at the gates of both English and economics, and we can’t even have a straight conversation. The Labor Party is in flat out denial of dictionary definitions — is that because they can’t read dictionaries, or because they don’t want an honest [...]

Wait ’til you see these numbers on Carbon Capture and Storage

Did you know CCS (carbon capture and storage) requires an industrial plant almost as large as the coal fired power station it is supposed to clean up? Or that it uses fully 40% of the energy of the entire output of the same station? It turns out to be such an onerous, costly pursuit it could only have been dreamed up by an enemy of coal.

The central problem is that under conditions we humans like to be in, the CO2 molecule emphatically wants to be a huge voluminous gas. To make it more compact and storable back in the small hole it came from, we either have to change it chemically, or forcibly stuff it in under some combination of extreme pressure or extreme cold. And there aren’t many cold sealed rock vaults in Earth’s thin crust, which rests on a 1000 degree C ball of magma. Any form of chemical, temperature or pressure change uses monster amounts of energy, and there is just no getting around it without fiddling with laws of chemistry. The whole idea of CCS is so insanely unfeasible that in order to stuff a beneficial fertilizer underground it appears [...]

Shortens “aspirational” world 2030

There is only one good reason to buy The Age: cartoonist John Spooner

For foreign readers, there are two big headlines in Australia this week that Spooner is teasing us with.

One is about Shorten’s fantasy that Australia can go 50% renewable by 2030. This is an “aspirational ambition”, which, according to opposition leader Shorten, doesn’t need any kind of feasibility or budgeting before being announced as a policy. He plans to wave his magic wand and make aspirations happen, regardless of stuff like “money”, “Watts” and thousands of dead bats.

Climate Death Squads funded by Big Oil strike people with lightning! How’s that for an ideated conspiracy?

Big Oil knows no bounds. Not only can it derail governments, and thwart the  UN, World Bank, and IMF but now it may be sending out climate death squads to assassinate Arctic Ice Experts. These expert hit squads apparently push people down stairs, run them off the road, and strike them down with lightning. Lightning! (That is one mother of aTesla Coil.) James Bond could learn something. Q, where are you?

Prof Wadhams at Cambridge has been the go-to man for Arctic scare stories across the UK (h/t Delingpole). In 2012, Wadhams predicted Arctic Sea Ice was set to collapse in just four years. Last year, after years of a relentlessly surviving Arctic, even some alarmists threw Wadham under the bus, (so to speak) as being too “extremist”. But now he’s topped that.

You see, in January 2013  there were four leading Arctic experts in the UK, now there is one, and he is very very worried.

No, seriously, you can’t make this up. Let’s try to imagine how much more profitable Big Oil would be if every single  Arctic climate expert in the World was dead. (Count the zeros…)

The utter futility of it all escapes Wadhams. After a [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Flinders Uni in panic, “repulsed” by hint of semi-skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg

What’s scarier than an Endless Global Drought? The fear that the public might… hear from a skeptic. Skeptical arguments are so dangerous that even the whiff of one will kill a $4million dollar project stone dead at conception. Be Gone Freak! Guess who has no answer to the questions skeptics ask? How they do advertise the dire state of their intellectual ammo? You might think I’m exaggerating.  Bjorn Lomborg believes the IPCC science 100%, and uses the “denier” term to distance himself from the scientific skeptics. It’s like cloaking himself in garlic, except it doesn’t work — true believers still hate him and seek to shut him down.  Lomborg wants to stop fossil fuel subsidies, the arch-enemy in the believers world, and that’s not enough. Furthermore he wasn’t going to work at the Australian Consensus Centre and it wasn’t going to discuss the climate, but two steps of purification is not enough. Lomborg commits the unforgivable sin of wanting to spend enviro-gravy in ways that actually help the poor and protect the environment. He wants measurements and accountability. And that makes him “repulsive” — just ask the students of Flinders University. The modern University needs no logical reason, [...]

Pope’s popularity fall 17% — preaching the climate change religion not so popular?

Pope Francis put out his pro-climate encyclical eight weeks ago, getting mass media attention, but the latest Gallop poll shows the people were not so enthused:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis’ favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff’s rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope.

Is this about “climate change” — the encyclical has 245 paragraphs, 16 mentions of “climate”, 7 mentions of “carbon”, and more than 100 mentions of the “environment”. Moreso it reported around the globe as a “coup” on the climate issue by groups who normally think the Pope is wrong, silly and anachronistic. Furthermore,  the biggest change has come among Catholics, Protestants, and especially conservatives. But he’s less popular among liberals too.

The drop in the pope’s favorable rating is driven by a decline among Catholics and political conservatives, two groups that have been ardent supporters of the modern papacy. Seventy-one percent of Catholics say they have a favorable image of Francis, down from 89% last year.