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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Obama spends $8m to research climate change *indoors*

How will that 1mm sea level rise affect your office?


Apparently, no one can escape the dangers of climate change. Even when you are indoors, safe from the “extreme weather events” and flooding that we are told are the result of increases in the Earth’s temperature.

The Obama Administration has awarded $8 Million in government grants to nine universities to study the impact that climate change has on indoor air quality. The EPA defends the move by claiming that climate change’s effects on indoor air pollutants that lead to asthma, as well as mold and mildew, aren’t well understood. However, as with everything negative that occurs in the world, the Obama Administration is assuming that global warming probably has something to do with it.

Not only is the climate impact on asthma not well understood, asthma isn’t understood either. So lets ask a climate model that doesn’t work to figure out future rates of a condition we don’t know the exact cause of during imaginary weather that probably won’t happen.

Really the main effect of anthropogenic climate change is not on our lungs, it’s on our wallets.

I predict man-made-climate-change means the weather will stay the [...]

Australian Psychology Society uses biases and fallacies to accuse skeptics of bias and fallacies

If psychologists want to be taken seriously, and want psychology to be called “a science”, they need to elect a director who knows what science is.

Executive Director: Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM FAPS

The Climate Study group in Australia published a half page advert in The Australian last week – Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence.  In reply, Prof Lyn Littlefield, Executive Director of the Australian Psychology Society wrote a letter to The Australian protesting — claiming that the Climate Study Group are the ones suffering from the confirmation bias they accuse climate scientists of.

“The advertisement, ‘Psychology and the New Climate Storm’  misuses psychology-based arguments to add credibility to myths and misinformation about climate change. In doing so, the authors illustrate aptly the very error bias (confirmation bias) they are erroneously attributing to the climate science community.”

It’s the “the pot calling the kettle black”, exclaims Littlefield. But since her arguments are entirely fallacies, this is the kettle calling the pot calling the kettle black.  The Climate Study Group mentioned many scientific observations, and in reply Lyn Littlefield can’t find an error in any of them, she can only cite “the consensus”. [...]

“A Disgrace to the Profession” The World’s Scientists own words on Mann and his Hockey Stick


The unstoppable Mark Steyn has collected illuminating quotes from Michael Mann’s peers about the value of the Hockey Stick and Mann’s work.  Steyn has both announced the book, and taken apart the critics like “Sir Charles” already. In fine form:

“…not a single amicus brief was filed in support of Mann by any scientist or any scientific body. As I say in the book, Mann claims to be taking a stand for science, but science is disinclined to take a stand for him”

Is there any writer more apt, more prosaic or more entertaining? There are cartoons from Josh too:

A guy can’t sit around waiting for litigious fake Nobel Laureates to agree to discovery and deposition. So, with the Mann vs Steyn Trial of the Century currently stalled in the choked septic tank of the DC court system, I figured I might as well put some of the mountain of case research clogging up the office into a brand new book – all about the most famous “science” graph of the 21st century and the man who invented it.

Michael E Mann’s defamation [...]

The BOM: Homogenizing the heck out of Australian temperature records

There are adjustments on top of adjustments. Homogenised records are being used to correct raw records. Some man-made adjustments can infect data for miles around…

Rutherglen is a long running station in central Victoria. There are no documented site moves, but the long raw trend of slow cooling was adjusted up to a warming trend. What was cooling of 0.35C per century became a 1.7C warming trend.

Jennifer Marohasy, and others, have spent months trying to get answers from the BOM explaining why these massive adjustments were made. Excuses flowed. In the latest round, the BOM claim the changes are necessary to make the Rutherglen record match the trends in the neighboring stations. What the BOM doesn’t say is that there was no warming in the neighbours either,  not until after they were homogenized. The order in which stations are homogenized matters, which rather says something important about the arbitrary nature of the adjustments. Anomalous trends from far distant and poor locations can spread through waves of homogenization until better, longer stations succumb to political correctness and show the “correct” result. Small choices about which stations to to use first in the process can make a huge difference to the [...]

Australian target set at 26% reduction by 2030 — billions spent to reduce global CO2 emissions by 0.01%

The Australian Abbott government has announced the target of a 26% reduction in emissions of CO2 by 2030. This futile effort to change the weather is all cost and no benefit. It’s 26% reduction in 1.3% (Australia’s share) of  4% (human share) of total CO2 emissions globally. If we succeed there’ll be 0.01% less CO2 in the air (at best).

The only good thing is that the policy supposedly can be achieved without “without any need to purchase emissions reductions from overseas.” That means Australia won’t be feeding the global banker-broker machine and assorted “carbon market” bureaucrats — not until the Labor Party come to government, anyway. This is a big win, helping to slow the cycle of governments feeding vested interests who promote big-government.

For once the Greens had a realistic response, though they probably did not intend it that way:

“The Greens party room also discussed the government’s target. The party’s MPs agreed it was “an all-around science fail” and they “all nodded vigorously”, a senior source said.”

Because “carbon accounting” is a joke, measured in a dozen mindless ways, all sides are spinning this in equal and opposite directions. Black IS white simultaneously, and too [...]

BOM method finds more heatwaves in Antarctica than Marble Bar

The danger is in the definition

Ken Stewart has been diligent at trying to understand the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) method for finding heatwaves. He’d heard BOM head, Rob Vertessy speak on ABC radio, declaring that heatwaves were the “number one cause of death” from natural disaster in Australia. Ken wrote to Vertessy repeatedly  but for some reason, despite the deadly risk to Australians, Vertessy was unable to answer the question of how to define and estimate heatwaves. (Perhaps if the BOM had The Internet, he could have sent Ken Stewart this link, which Stewart has now found himself four months later.)

The Excess Heat Factor: A Metric for Heatwave Intensity and Its Use in Classifying Heatwave Severity, John R. Nairn and Robert J. B. Fawcett (2015) [1]

With these instructions Ken has now replicated the BOM results for the 2014 heatwave in Melbourne. He has also used the same technique on Marble Bar, Western Australia, and Mawson, Antarctica and found that potentially heatwaves are a killer danger to our Antarctic researchers, and if heatwaves kill, they’d be much safer in Marble Bar. For the record, Marble Bar is the place that had 160 days in a row [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence

Across the West, there is a layer of smart-but-busy intellects who have not been involved in the climate debate. For one reason or another they’ve been too busy setting up IPO’s, doing research projects, or directing companies in perhaps technology, mining or banking, and generally being productive. It is excellent to see some of this caliber adding their brain-power and resources to the public arena. Especially so in Australia, where the debate is almost entirely bare-bones-volunteers versus billion-dollar-institutions, and where the culture of philanthropy is not well developed compared to the US.

This unusual advert was placed in The Australian today. In a normal world, investigative journalists would have already interviewed and discussed views like these, but in the hyperbolic, politicized and religious world of climate-alarm it was simpler for productive people to just get on with it, talk to their peers and make it happen.

Click to enlarge, or read the text below.

Psychology and The New Climate Alarm

Lowell Ponte’s 1975 book warns:

“Global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is [...]

Life on Earth more adaptable than models predict

Potato Beetle

Researchers predicted a particular beetle would not be able to get into the cold areas of Kazakhstan and western China. But the sneaky beetles learnt to cope with the cold by burying themselves in the ground.  The modelers failed completely to predict the spread. Imagine the ecological modelers who are not only using inadequate biological models, but guesstimating the future temperature with climate models that don’t work either.

In the last 500 million years as life on Earth evolved the temperature has swung up and down through a range of about 15C. We are currently in the cooler half of that temperature range, in a mini-warm-moment surrounded by ice ages. Despite this, the climate-industry is panicking that a half a degree of extra warmth this century will wipe out species that survived the last ten million years.

The potato beetle laughs at them.

Crop pests outwit climate change predictions en route to new destinations Scientists highlight the dangers of relying on climate-based projections of crop pest distribution


Even after heavy loaded survey lists climate disasters, half of Brits don’t want to pay a cent

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers in the UK (IMechEng) has a new “climate” survey out. It’s good fodder for headlines about fear and worry. But after priming the audience with a litany of climate disasters and asking them if they are worried about “cyclones”, “droughts” and “the future of the human race”, the awful truth is that half of the Brits don’t want to pay anything to stop it.

It’s another motherhood-two-cent-survey, meaning it asks motherhood type questions and gets everyone’s “2 cents” on an issue (and it’s worth both cents). We get insights like finding that 64% think global warming is “already a problem”, but it can’t be that big a deal because 52% of people don’t think they personally should pay more in tax in an effort to do something about it.

No hard questions are asked, no one is forced to rank the worries of life, only the worries of the climate industry. Evidently the surveyors don’t really want to know if people think “climate change” is man-made. Nor do they want to know how much people want to spend attempting to change the weather. Money is only a Yes No type question.

As usual, there are [...]

Obama’s $2.5 trillion plan to kill jobs, coal, make a 0.1% reduction in CO2, and cool world by zero degrees

Welcome to the fairy-land world where we try to control the weather with our electrical generation sources.

Obama’s new plan to stop storms and hold back the tide could make the US poorer by as much as $2.5 trillion dollars, but will not make any difference to the global climate even if it is carried out (somehow) and even if the highly immature, overly politicized science is “right” (despite the evidence). The plan is for the U.S. to cut overall electrical power plant emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

This “ambitious” goal is purely symbolic. Here’s why. Electrical power plants make 37% of US emissions, which are about one-fifth of global human emissions, which are 4% of total CO2 emissions globally. So a 32% cut in US electrical emissions will result in a 0.1% cut in total global CO2 emissions (at best)*. If the Obama/EPA plan is “successful” and if the IPCC are right, Paul Knappenberger and Pat Michaels estimate that  Obama’s new plan will cool the world by an unmeasurable 0.02°C by 2100.

The theoretical, best case (fantasy) cost

“The Obama administration said it would cost $8.4 billion annually by 2030, but argued that [...]

More energy means more people – lots of humans are alive because of coal

Twelve thousand years of human history show that more energy leads to more people. There is also positive feedback, where more people means more energy too. Growth rates rose faster and earlier in England and Wales than Sweden (see Fig 3), where coal use became dominant about a hundred years later.

Given a constant resource supply to a population, the per capita availability of resources declines as the population grows. As resources become scarce, individuals consume less, driving down birth rates and/or raising death rates.

Although many resources may influence birth and death rates (e.g., water), energy is a uniquely universal currency because all forms of work require energy expenditure. This applies to the metabolic rates of individuals in wild populations [18] as well as to the industrial energy use of modern human populations, as energy is used to harvest food, deliver water, and provide health care [19–22].

Fig 1. Relationship between energy use (W) and population size for the world, the United States, Sweden, and England and Wales through time. The relationships are highly variable, but overall, the slopes are greater than one (that is, the exponent in the power-law function relating energy use [...]

Weekend Unthreaded