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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Who will be the next IPCC chairman?

The last time an IPCC chair position was up for grabs was in 2001, when things were not so politicized and aggressive, and there was not so much money and power on the table. Lobbying for this role is running hot and Tony Thomas compares the five men who are standing for this role. The position will be decided by October 8, and the new chairman will presumably be influential, or at least very visible, in Paris at the UNFCCC in early December. In the elections, there is one vote per country, so it is not so much about scientific credibility (and never was, think of Pachauri) but more about the powerful voting blocks that may form with small developing nations. Given that the new chairman will be in the media frequently and soon, this post is about being prepared. No  matter who wins, I think the IPCC is unsaveable and needs to be shut down or deprived of funding as soon as possible.   — Jo

Guest Post by Tony Thomas

Five candidates have put up their hand to become chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from October 8.

They are Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Belgium), Hoesung [...]

Lost knowledge — 10th Century cure for MRSA “Superbug”

If the “leech” doctors circa 1000AD were able to treat superbugs that modern doctors struggle with, I wonder what other knowledge has come and gone and had to be rediscovered?

How many lives have been lost because information was not there when they needed it?

Image: © The British Library Board (Royal 12 D xvii)

Judith Curry posted a link this week to a story about a medieval recipe for an “eyesalve” that rather surprised researchers when it worked against the ghastly MRSA superbug, which is resistant to almost all modern antibiotics.

The book is one of the earliest known medical texts, called Bald’s Leechbook. The recipe called for garlic, onion, wine, and bile from a cow. It was very specific — the mix had to be brewed in brass and then left for nine days. The researchers at the University of Nottingham followed it closely, then it was tested in the lab. Will it work on people, and what are the side-effects?

[...]

The UK National Trust wants to stop floods with leeks and lightbulbs

Tony Thomas visited the UK and found old fading National Trust signs using scary photos of flood damage and warning people to “eat local” and change their light globes to stop more floods. He followed that thought to a 2005 web plea from the National Trust, to find them claiming floods are accelerating but using 20 year old photos to scare people with.

Years from now people will study climate propaganda and marvel at how stupid it was.  — Jo

Guest Post by Tony Thomas

My wife Marg and I, two Antipodean yokels, wound up at the National Trust’s Bodiam Castle in Kent last month, awed at its 650-year history. After all, our colony’s iconic historical moment was in 1854, when someone broke a hotel lamp in Ballarat, Victoria and precipitated a scuffle between goldminers and police. The ringleader, instead of being quartered like Mel Gibson  — sorry, William Wallace — acquired a seat in Parliament next year and eventually died in bed. That’s all you need to know about Australian history, unless you’re into sheep.

Marg and I had lunch and wandered out the back of the Bodiam cafe towards the Rother River. “Hey, come [...]

Why are Wind Farms called “Farms”? It’s not like anything grows there.

Wind Farm, Wind Park, Wind Sheep, Wind Cows, & Wind-Flowers?

This week’s note on mangling English: Since when was an industrial plant a farm? Electricity does not grow, breathe, or look cute in photos. There is nothing biological to sell.

Some will say the term “farm” has broader definitions now. I say we might as well call a coal-fired-plant a “coal farm”, or Fukishima a “nuclear-farm” (that had a “farming accident”)?

The word “farm” has been stolen for its good PR value. Let’s take it back.

Industrial wind turbines are a massive subsidy swamp that produces almost nothing that can’t be provided in cheaper and more efficient ways elsewhere.

Can someone let Wikipedia know that Industrial Wind Turbines are not “Wind Parks” either?

 

 

Photo: “Windpark-Wind-Farm” by Philip May – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Which country has the most skeptics? Australia tops name-calling, limited, biased, ambiguous survey!

Graham Readfearn, at Ecowatch, thought the USA would top the list. He was wrong:

Published in the journal Global Environmental Change, the study found that 17 percent of Australians were “climate skeptics.”

Norwegians come in second at 15 percent, followed by New Zealanders at 13 percent and then Americans at 12 percent. The UK tied for fifth with Sweden and Finland, where 10 percent of people were skeptics. The lowest ranked country for climate skepticism was Spain, where only two percent of people were classified as climate skeptics.

The real number of skeptics is much higher. A better, more accurate survey in Australia showed that about 53% of the Australian population are skeptical; I note they stopped that annual survey after getting these clear results.

This survey of surveys were more ambiguous than usual — “rising temperatures” from any cause is now man-made. The surveyors merely asked if you thought “rising temperatures” (magnitude unspecified) were “dangerous” , and so you know what to say, they added “for the environment”. All spin and attitude, otherwise meaningless. This is all so horribly confounded:

While the survey did not directly ask people if they accepted the science linking climate change to human activities, [...]

Is a mini-ice age coming in 2030, and does the sun have two dynamos?

Is the Sun driven by two dynamos, each running on slightly different 11 year cycles?

Many people are talking about a new forecast of a mini-ice age (which seems to be an increasingly popular thing to predict.) This one comes from a paper published last year but presented at the Royal Astronomical Society last week. Shepard, Zharkov and Zharkova may have gotten us a step closer to understanding why the solar cycle varies in length from 8 to 14 years. Since the level of solar activity correlates with both the the length of the current solar cycle and the surface temperatures on Earth one solar cycle later (the notch-delay theory, and see the work of David Archibald),  it may make it possible to predict the climate decades in advance. (With the caveat that this new study is still a model, correlation is not causation, etc.)

One of the better descriptions comes from Astronomy Now.

The Sun, like all stars, is a large nuclear fusion reactor that generates powerful magnetic fields, similar to a dynamo. The model developed by Zharkova’s team suggests there are two dynamos at work in the Sun; one close to the surface and one deep [...]

Forget the climate — Spend billions to stop Australia being called names like “Pariah” and “Denier”

Color me alarmed. We might be called names! Let’s make National Policy to avoid embarrassment.

Tim Flannery and the “Climate Council” think we should spend billions in an attempt to pander to foreign opinions — but it’s not even the average global citizen we are talking about, just the international inner-city cafe-latte crowd. Everyone worries about the environment in surveys, but they don’t care enough to spend much money on it. And last time I looked, being a Global Climate Pariah was good for our tourism –  visitors were still flocking to Australia after we got rid of the carbon tax, and the Chardonnay set were still drinking our wine (all 700 million liters).

It’s not about global temperatures

No one can pretend Australia can cool the planet: we emit a mere 1.16% of human emissions. Total human output of CO2 is a mere 4% of nature. Even if the IPCC was completely right, and we shut down Australia and everybody left — we would cool world temperatures by 0.0154 °C. Welcome to Futility Island — Australian emissions of CO2 are irrelevant to global temperatures.

So why cut CO2 at all –  Because we are scared of being called [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

The 99.99% pure climate consensus – how to ignore thousands of skeptical scientists

Joy. It’s another profoundly unscientific “consensus” study. At least one person thought that the  97% PR figure was not enough, and that magic 99.9% would sway the crowds. As if there was even one fence-sitter sitting, waiting, saying, “97% was too low…”

For the herding type of human, “consensus” is magnetically convincing. Not so for the independent minds who have seen prediction after prediction fail. If a 97% consensus on a highly complex, immature science is difficult to believe, a 99.99% one is comic. More of the same unconvincing stuff will do nothing except set off the BS meter.  This new study will sway no one. The supernatural purity of it will work against “The Cause”.

A consensus is the one and only argument of the unskeptical, and they are doing it to death.

One fan, James Powell, was so enthused he spent nine months reading titles and abstracts of 24,000 papers, and found only four scientists (4!) who didn’t agree with the consensus. Some 69,402 other scientists apparently endorse “the consensus” (whatever it is) because they used the terms “climate change”, or “global warming” and they didn’t also make a clear statement that it was false, or [...]

UK Government cuts green subsidies, investment falls, calls for “more subsidies” rise

That didn’t take long. The recent UK election means the conservative government has the power to get rid of some subsidies for “low carbon”, “green” electricity, and make it easier for oil and gas. Renewable energy companies are feeling the pain, and complaining bitterly. Of course, if they were competitive, they wouldn’t need the subsidies and the stock market would throw money at them. Such is the fear, that there is an emergency summit happening within the green energy sector. “Scottish Renewables has warned the move could put up to £3bn of investment in Scotland at risk.” So $3 billion dollars was placed on a bet that the subsidies would continue, that the voters would not get sick of paying too much, and their bets have failed. I have no sympathy. Anyone playing the subsidy market should have done their homework. With the science shot with holes, the subsidies were always built on vapor. GWPF has all the stories.

The green tax target is going

Tim Ross, The Telegraph: Green energy subsidies spiral out of control

George Osborne to abolish coalition’s green tax target as customers face paying £1.5billion more through their bills to subsidise wind farms, [...]

What’s really warming the world — NASA has no idea (Not the Sun, Never the Sun!)

In the twit-world, it’s being called Bloomberg and NASA’s “proof” that man made CO2 is causing global warming.

But it’s just a zombie rehash of the same-old routine I described in How to create a crisis graph in 6 simple steps. It’s all in the art of what you don’t say and the things you leave off the graph. This is a “NASA” graph that reduces everything about the sun to one single temperature. As if the magneto-nuclear-dynamo 1.3 million times the volume of the Earth would have a weather report that just read “still hot”. Nothing to see here…

Want to scare people with graphs? Pretend your climate models work. Ignore the missing hot spot, the pause, the record antarctic sea-ice, the lack of accelerating seas, and the utter failure of climate models to model anything before the last 150 years, as well as stuff like “rain[1]“, “ drought [2]” and “humidity[3]“. Include all the factors you can think of that don’t explain the latest bump in the squiggly line. Ignore all the factors that might like cosmic rays, solar wind, solar magnetic effects, solar spectrum cycles, lunar effects on our atmosphere, and who knows how many other potential [...]

Climate scientists: More scared of an inquiry into the science than they are of climate change

What’s more terrifying to a climate scientist than “2 degrees” of warming? Answer: Half a degree of hard questions.

Australian climate scientists don’t complain at all when the UN says it wants to redirect $89 Trillion in a quest to change the climate. But they are suddenly all concerned that the Australian Government might waste 0.0001% investigating the science. A disaster!  Since when were climate scientists concerned about wasting public money? Since never.

A group of thirteen scientists, who’ve personally achieved little in the way of scientific advances, have written to Dennis Jensen and Chris Back offering to brief them on the “latest science”, afraid the skeptics might launch an inquiry into the science.  The ABC calls them “prominent”: Climate change: Scientists warn sceptic MPs Dennis Jensen, Chris Back against inquiry into evidence of human influence.

Isn’t the scientific evidence the most important thing?

Surveys show half of the Australian public are skeptical — unconvinced by their claims that coal will cause a climate crisis or that solar panels can stop the storms. Right now, if the climate is headed for a disaster, nothing is more important than convincing the public. Instead, the climate scientists keep repeating that the debate [...]

Forest fires may produce as much CO2 as half of all fossil fuels burned

Globally, fires have been overlooked as a key player in the global CO2 cycle. Tom Quirk has dug up some studies showing that CO2 emissions from fires can be as high as half of the total emissions from human fossil fuel use.

“In October and November 1997, the haze from fires in Indonesia spread as far the Philippines to the north, Sri Lanka to the west, and northern Australia to the south. In the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo, there was a pollution index reading of 860.” | Annette Gartland

Peat deposits can be an extraordinary 20 metres thick. In 1997, a fire consumed 8,000 square kilometers of mostly peatland in Borneo. Researchers estimated 0.2 Gt of carbon were released in this one area that year, and that carbon emissions from fires across Indonesia in 1997 emitted between 0.8 and 2.5 Gt — or “13 to 40%” of the size of global human fossil fuel emissions.[1] Obviously uncertainties are large, but so are the numbers. It all makes the idea of a “carbon market” pretty meaningless: the largest players in this market can’t play and don’t pay. In carbon accounting, fires are “an act of God” (non-anthropogenic), and [...]

High pressure propaganda: Greens using children to write activist letters in school

Gary Johns (former Labor Minister in the Keating Government) writes in The Australian that children are being dished up green speakers at school, asked to write letters about “their thoughts” to politicians, and taking letters home to parents seeking their permission to join the campaign which is run by a volunteer for The Greens. The children were offered sample activist letters to copy.

Greens infiltrate the classroom

I received a letter this week that had been sent to the parent of a 10-year-old schoolboy and signed by the deputy principal of Cottesloe Primary School, Perth. The letter requested her permission to send a letter, allegedly written by her son, to Julie Bishop regarding the UN climate talks.

The activist site is Curtin’s CASE: Climate Action for a Safe Environment. Curtin refers to the electorate (not the university). The site has sample letters to ask Julie Bishop to get climate action and change the weather. The speaker at schools was Dr Chilla Bullbeck, who was “chair of women’s studies at ­the University of Adelaide until 2008 but is now a full-time “volunteer” for the Greens in Western Australia.” She claims “Curtin’s CASE is not a political organisation, [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

… Let it rip…