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

Great Barrier Reef an icon that half of Australia never visits. Climate change scary as “litter”

Another survey that proves Australians still tick “yes” to motherhood statements. (Especially when there is no cost involved, and all choices are “Free”)

Survey shows Aussies’ love and concern for their Great Barrier Reef

A James Cook University researcher has found more than three quarters of Australians regard the Great Barrier Reef as part of their national identity and nearly 90 per cent believe it is under threat from climate change.

But what the media-release doesn’t say is that after 25 years of hearing how the climate apocalypse is coming, people think climate change is going to be slightly worse than beach litter.

In terms of extreme threats, 6% more people think Climate Change will be worse than flotsam and jetsam. As a multibillion dollar marketing campaign endorsed by the UN, WMO, IMF, and western media — that’s got to hurt. Climate change is not much more scary than litter, ships, or runaway fertilizer.

Figure 3: Respondent perceptions of threats to the Great Barrier Reef as scored on a 10-point scale (1=not at all threatening and 10=extremely threatening). The “Top 2%” refers to the percentage of respondents [...]

World will still rely on oil and gas in 2040 says Exxon — Renewables no threat to fossil fuels

If there were grand profits to be made from renewables the big rapacious energy giants would be buying in to solar and selling out of coal and oil. They’ve done their research.  The fantasy fear campaign would have us think that Big-oil is afraid of renewables, but they truth is that if renewables were worth a lot, big-oil would have bought them.*

This week Exxon released their report on the energy outlook for the decades to come. Not much has changed since the last report in 2014, even though 40,000 people met in Paris and did historic breakthrough type things.

Exxon says oil and gas will still dominate energy in 2040

By DAVID KOENIG   The Associated Press

The way oil giant Exxon Mobil sees it, the global energy landscape won’t be radically different in 2040 than it is today.

Oil and gas will remain king, accounting for an even slightly larger share of the energy supply. Coal will fall behind natural gas to become the third-largest source of energy.

Exxon forecasts that emerging renewables such as solar and wind power will triple but remain small — just 4 percent of [...]

Mystery Divergence? There’s a strange gap between temperatures measured by satellites and on the surface

Right now there is a very odd divergence of satellite and surface thermometers. It started about two years ago. It is not like the El Nino of 1998, where all four rose together, and satellites recorded a higher spike than the surface records. This time around the satellites are lower. In the graph below, David Evans uses the older UAH official set, not the new “beta” version which would show UAH much closer to RSS and would make this divergence look even more stark.

According to the theory of Man-Made Global Catastrophe, the satellites, which record temperatures in the lower troposphere, should be warming faster than the surface. Where is that trend?

El Ninos slows ocean turnover, keeping a layer of warm water at the surface instead of stirring it in with the cooler water below. For some reason the thermometers near airports, carparks and cities are picking up the ocean warming better than the satellites. Hmm?

I’m wary of concluding anything at this stage. There was a big gap in 2007 which resolved in two years. This gap is longer, but may resolve soon too.

Then of course, there’s the point that even the past can change, [...]

Since 2000 humans have put out 30% of their total CO2 but there is nothing to show for it.

The global “pause” has been running for nearly 19 years. But a whopping 30% of all the human emissions of fossil fuels, ever, has come out since the year 2000. Nearly 40% of all our emissions since 1990.

All that CO2, and nothing to show for it. Half of all human emissions of “carbon pollution” have occurred since 1987.


Here’s your handy reckoning table for human emissions from 1751 – 2014. (I know you’ve been waiting for it). Next time you need to know what percentage of the total human emissions of CO2 has been emitted since, say, Ash Wednesday, Cyclone Tracy, or Napoleon, or whatever, this is the table you need.  When we hear that it’s the warmest summer since 1939, this table tells us what the CO2 levels were in 1939.


CO2 kills aliens — Oh No. The Gaiian bottleneck

 Global Worriers can explain everything with CO2 (hammer: meet nail, meet hail, meet ET too).

The holy matrix theory strikes again. (h/t to Phys 1)*

With our university approved CO2 helmet we can explain things, like why there are no aliens. And we know there are none because we’ve had mass radio for 100 years out of the last 4.5 billion** and no one has picked up Alien FM. Plus we’ve landed some kind of gadget on nearly 1,000, almost 100, not quite 10, well 2 whole other planets and we haven’t found a single Klingon. Indeed we haven’t even found a cousin of e-coli.  And some of the probes on Venus hunted for a full 120 minutes before they were vaporised.

Though naysayers about our knowledge of alien life point out that if intelligent life also went on to develop fibre optics,  Wifi, and then entangled quark phones (or whatever) the radio transmissions window may last 500 years (or less) and thus we’re looking for intelligent life which may be a million years ahead of us which also happens to be a million light years away (and whose radio signals are still comprehendable spread over a sphere which is [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Hottest Shattering Year since the last one: Five reasons it was not hot, and not relevant

 Tell the world, 2015 is the hottest year since 2010.

The fuss made over contested decimal points in highly adjusted datasets of irrelevant factors only shows how unscientific the public debate is. It probably wasn’t the hottest year in the last 150, and even it was, who cares –  that doesn’t tell us anything about the cause. (Remember when cause and effect used to matter to a scientist?) Natural forces like the Sun and clouds can cause hot years too. Even if it was “the hottest” in a short noisy segment, the world has been hotter before (and life on Earth thrived) and the climate models are still hopelessly wrong. If CO2 was a big driver of the climate, 2015 should have been a lot hotter.

1. It wasn’t the hottest year.  Satellites have better, broader coverage, surveying almost  the whole planet (rather than selected car parks, runways, etc. like the surface thermometers). The satellites say that both 1998 and 2010 were hotter. In any case, these kind of piddling noisy differences are just street signs on the road to nowhere — what matters are the long term trends, and the predictions of climate models. (If the models worked, “scientists” [...]

“Bob Carter cost me my career” – Michael Smith’s praise

This has got to be the best obituary I have ever read.

Michael Smith  writes: “How Bob Carter cost me a career – and made me a better person.” For foreign readers, Smith hosted a talkback radio show on the East Coast of Australia. While the rest of the mainstream media was running dead on a story of an old union slush fund scandal that was connected to the Prime Minister of the day (Julia Gillard), Michael Smith pursued the story relentlessly until the point where he “resigned under pressure” after asking too many “unauthorized” questions. He now runs an influential political blog and lives off donations. There have been days in Australian politics when every political tragic was reading his site.

But knowing this, I had no idea that Bob Carter had a role in Michael Smith’s career. Before Smith did talk back radio, he confesses that he was a Gore fan working at the University of Queensland, soaking in inconvenient propaganda and promoting the University’s carbon accounting courses. Bob not only turned around Smith’s views on climate science he did something far more important –  he showed him a way to speak out “when it’s costly” which Michael [...]

Bob Carter — a great man, gone far too soon — tributes flow

Professor Bob Carter

One of the best things about being a skeptic are the people I’ve got to know, and Bob Carter was one of the best of them, sadly taken far too soon. He was outstanding, a true gem, a good soul, and an implacably rational thinker. A softly spoken man of conscience and good humour.

So it is dreadful news that he suffered a heart attack last week in Townsville. For the last few days I have been hoping that he would return to us, but alas, tonight he passed away peacefully, surrounded by family.

We shall miss you Bob.

Professor Bob Carter (74) has been a key figure in the Global Warming debate, doing exactly what good professors ought to do — challenging paradigms, speaking internationally, writing books, newspaper articles, and being invited to give special briefings with Ministers in Parliament. He started work at James Cook University in 1981, served as Head of the Geology Department until 1998, and sometime after that he retired. Since then he’d been an honorary Adjunct Professor.

He was a man who followed the scientific path, no matter where it took him, and even if it cost him, [...]

“Climate change” is toxic: Republican Candidates now competing to be skeptics

The Green Blob must be hating this. It’s the worst kind of momentum shift…

In 2008 the main US Presidential contenders were all supporters or “the free market solution” for carbon (called cap n’ trade in the US). But in 2015 the political landscape cracked, and now they’re going out of their way to reverse that. It’s now seen as a bad thing to look like a gullible patsy for Big Green.

How times have changed.

U.S. Republicans Increasingly Sceptical Of Climate Alarm

Amy Harder and Beth Reinhard, The Wall Street Journal

GOP presidential candidates who had generally accepted the scientific consensus on climate change have said recently that it is unclear how much, if at all, humans are contributing to warmer temperatures.

Shortly after a conservative website on Wednesday posted 2008 footage of Sen. Marco Rubio backing a cap-and-trade program to combat climate change, his campaign roared back with a counterattack that included an entire web page aimed at debunking the video.

In media-speak, this is not so much about Republicans waking up to something, it’s Obama’s fault:

Mr. Rubio’s muscular response revealed how toxic the issue of climate change has [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Fake fixed carbon markets feed five billion to financial sharks in EU fraud

Free markets are a hot tool, but sometimes they’re “hot” like a jackhammer at a sewing bee.  Who thinks it’s smart to use a free market on a ubiquitous molecule that cycles through almost all life on Earth? Answer: people who profit from it, or people don’t know what a free market is.

About 5 years ago, the VAT tax scam with carbon credits earned financial sharks around five billion Euro. The follow up to that is that, slowly, years later, in Frankfurt about 10 people have been given prison terms. (Is that all? Only ten people and 5b, or are there others in other countries?)

This type of fraud could happen in other markets too, but it surely must be easier to accomplish in fake markets where no goods are transferred. The Global Worriers narrative is that there’s risk in unleashing carbon dioxide, but they never discuss the risks of setting up fake markets, which need a lot of regulation, auditing, checking and all that — especially when every cat and dog have a stake, and the whole market might be controlled by phytoplankton.

Every fake market we set up is a feeding lot for corruption and friends-of-the-mafia. Is [...]

“Nanophotonic” incandescent light bulbs that are more efficient than LEDs

MIT has an experimental globe that uses some kind of crystal coating to reflect back the wasted heat generated by incandescent lights. The energy can be “recycled”, putting incandescents into a similar efficiency range as some LED’s. Potentially, the researchers claim, the efficiency scores could be nearly three times better than even the best current LED’s, giving incandescents total supremacy again.

Normal incandescents are only 2 – 3% efficient. These experimental ones are already 6.6% efficient. Current LED’s range from 5 – 15% efficient, but everyone hates the unnatural spectrum. Meanwhile, Compact Florescents (CFLs) are hazardous waste bombs, so whatever their efficiency is, it’s not enough.

Potentially, the press release promises, the new lights could reach a whopping 40% efficient. (Go Edison! Actually, go Joseph Swan. h/t Robbo in comments. :- ) )

Right now it’s probably illegal to sell them.

A nanophotonic comeback for incandescent bulbs?

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office

Traditional light bulbs, thought to be well on their way to oblivion, may receive a reprieve thanks to a technological breakthrough.

Incandescent lighting and its warm, familiar glow is well over a century old yet survives virtually unchanged in [...]

Who says scientists don’t do it to get rich? Queensland climate expert in court over $500k in false expenses

Dr Daniel Michael Alongi, 59, is accused of taking over half a million dollars in federal funds over the last seven years. The carbon sequestration, mangrove, reef, eco-expert has admitted he made false invoices to claim federal funds (Courier Mail, paywalled). He is in court on Jan 18th. The alleged sum is the rather impressive $556,000.  His superannuation of $900k, and $80k in long service leave, has been frozen. (Nice work… )

I’m glad his financial accounts are being audited. But far more public money is potentially “hijacked” thanks to scientific accounts, let’s start auditing them too. When people claim a nation has warmed by 0.9 degrees we want the original receipts, not the ones they readjusted (and we need independent auditors and systematic methods, not “secret instructions”).

“The Science” has become “the loophole” where nearly any friend of big gov can get a hand in the treasury-bag.

There are reasons you aren’t allowed to pal review your tax return.

[Courier Mail] Alongi, who was well regarded in the science industry, allegedly pretended he was paying for “radioisotopes” imported from the US and to have samples analysed in US laboratories for his Great Barrier Reef research.