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

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The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Nature – finally “finds” cause of Antarctic pause, will last centuries, tosses “global warming” out

Nature ties itself in knots here, and reveals a lot more than they probably meant too, but mostly about themselves rather than about Antarctica. If it’s correct, the implications from this study are pretty big, not that the study will tell you that. The term “Global warming” is tossed under a bus, along with almost all the Antarctic man-made scares of the last two decades. The political nature of Nature is on full display.

This time Nature claims it has found the cause of the Antarctic pause.  Apparently this now finally resolves yet another conundrum (fantastic, what!) that was, as usual, not called a conundrum until it was solved. Another secret problem fixed. Where was the press release telling us there was a problem?

Those who said there was a conundrum were just deniers. It’s right there in the press release, paragraph two:

The study resolves a scientific conundrum, and an inconsistent pattern of warming often seized on by climate deniers.

Which rather begs the question: If there was a conundrum then the skeptics who pointed it out were not deniers, but correct. And if there was no conundrum, and deniers were denying something, then this is not [...]

That’s a 97% consensus at Shell that renewables are not profitable

The Top Ten solar companies don’t pay any dividends

 Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden says he is wary of switching completely to renewables as it may threaten the very survival of the company.

Amazing that the oil and gas giant Shell got its shareholders to vote on whether they should put their profits towards becoming a 100% renewables corporation.

Major investors have been applying pressure on Shell to increase focus on renewables in order to mitigate climate change risks.

97 percent of Shell shareholders at its annual meeting on Tuesday rejected a resolution to invest profits from fossil fuels to become a renewable energy company. The Anglo-Dutch firm had previously said it was against the proposal.

So despite twenty years of relentless spin that “Clean Green Energy” is the future, 97% of investors know it isn’t.

Once again, the green sector have overplayed their hand. Shell‘s been good to them, pandering to the fear campaign for years, donating to their causes, and lobbying for carbon credits (because even and oil and gas company can get extra profits from big-government gravy into “sequestration” and biofuels.) But the green activists were not content. Too much [...]

Trump: Cancel Paris, Cut Funds for UN Climate, Save the coal industry

Trump vows to cancel the Paris climate deal, stop funding UN global warming programs and save the coal industry.

Gotta love these plans. No wonder the big-government fans are apoplectic over Donald Trump as he paints targets on their most sacred cows.

In Australia Bill Shorten, potential Prime Minister, called Trump: “Barking Mad.” Shorten, showing his diplomatic talent, was burning goodwill with a potential US president and 45% of voters in the largest economy in the world and our most important strategic ally.

Below, the Trump plans this week: to use cheap energy; to stop trying to change the weather, and finish feeding faceless foreign bureaucracies.


Trump: “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement,” he said.

Trump slammed both rivals in his speech, saying their policies would kill jobs and force the United States “to be begging for oil again” from Middle East producers.

Trump said slashing regulation would help the United States achieve energy independence and reduce America’s reliance on Middle Eastern producers. “Imagine a world in which oil cartels will no longer use energy as a weapon,” he said.

Donald Trump Vows to Cut US Funding for UN Climate Change [...]

Another climate model paper in Nature misses a whole class of feedbacks

It’s always the same.  A new paper adds one more magical fine-tuning-cog to the models and promises “more accurate predictions”. There are a million small cogs we can add and it takes years to show they don’t deliver. These wheels can spin forever. The real climate machine has a whole extra exhaust pipe to which the models are blind.

 Why some climate processes are more effective at warming Earth

Conventional models assume increasing atmospheric CO2 warms the surface, then apply the feedbacks to the surface warming. But if feedbacks start up in the atmosphere instead, everything changes.

The assumption (bolded below) is the problem –

There are many processes which affect the surface climate: changes to the sun’s activity, to the cloud cover, precipitation patterns, or soil water content to name just a few. Currently climate scientists relate these processes by looking at how much they change the energy budget, described by perturbations in the radiative forcing. The existing assumption is that if a given process introduces a certain radiative forcing, then there will always be the same response in the surface air temperature. However, this assumption doesn’t hold for the temperature response on [...]

Australia’s ETS scheme: Hunt’s denial of the obvious

* UPDATE: The draft “SafeGuard” legislation in early September, before Abbott was outed, shows that the scheme was due to start on July 1, 2016, as it is now. Was Abbott aware?     h/t MV

The SafeGuard legislation appears to be a shapeshiftin tool  — it can be a minor fine to hit a few companies ($1.8 million) that have increased their output, or it’s a trading scheme that covers half the Australian economy. It all depends on the “cap” that’s set.

Greg Hunt, in his own words, in 2014:

Mr Hunt declared …emissions trading “is never coming back in any form“, potentially for the next two decades if the Coalition has its say.

No wonder Greg Hunt in 2016 denies that his ETS is an ETS:

Mr Hunt yesterday rejected claims a “secret” emissions trading scheme had been buried in the ­Coalition’s policies, which have been roundly criticised by environment groups as too little, too late. Mr Hunt said there were clear reasons why the Coalition “safeguards mechanisms” could not be considered a carbon trading scheme.

The clear reason it’s not an ETS?

“Our policy is not budgeted to raise [...]

Lookout — The USA is the new oil and gas superpower

“We are living in the midst of a veritable energy boom”

Since 2012, the largest producer of oil and gas in the world has been the United States, and its lead is growing.

The balance has shifted in the last ten years. US production now easily outstrips Russia and Saudi Arabia where the output has not increased much for the last decade.

The American Interest: Don’t Doubt the Strength of U.S. Shale.  h/t GWPF

What an innovation nation looks like:

The primary reason for the shift from net importer to net exporter “is we know how to produce natural gas in a very inexpensive way,” [said University of Houston energy economist Ed Hirs]. “And we’re going to be exporting the natural gas out of the U.S. and potentially, we’ll be exporting electricity.”

There’s a little shift in geopolitical freedom — “thanks to shale”.

Secret deal: Australia already has an ETS – carbon tax – starts in 5 weeks

Get ready. The legislation was done on the last day Parliament sat in December. The Coalition government knew it would be popular with the voters who all want “carbon action” so they… buried the news. No cheering. No speeches.

It apparently starts on July 1, and applies to 150 companies — about half our emissions. It’s a Cap N Trade system with “Caps” that can be screwed gently down as the climate warms to fill government coffers and raise electricity prices.  The Direct Action plan auctions can be phased out and the SneakTax phased in. It could end up being the main game. A blank cheque.

It’s called “Safeguard” — it was safe for politicians and guards them against their failure to meet pointless, symbolic international agreements to slow storms. A Safeguard for politicians but a SneakTax for the people.

What does it mean? It’s time Australia got a new central political party.

Alan Kohler in The Australian

From July 1, coincidentally the day before the election, the Coalition’s “safeguard mechanism” within its Direct Action Plan will come into force.

One-hundred and fifty companies, representing about 50 per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions, will be [...]

David Archibald: Australia Defence Policy (plus Perth speech Weds 7pm)

Perth readers: Free Public Lecture Australia’s Defence By David Archibald, 7:00pm at the Irish Club, Perth, WA.  Wednesday 25th May 2016

[Hear the 2GB interview with David last October]


David asked to crowdsource policies for the upcoming election, so China, Subs, RAAF, F-35s and more below…

Defence Policy

by David Archibald

The world is becoming more dangerous as US predominance recedes. A revanchist Russia is not expected to trouble Australia. The biggest near term threat is Chinese aggression in East Asia. Chinese attempts to expand its territory are quite likely to lead to war with a number of southeast Asian states, Japan and the United States. Australia will become involved because of our treaties with Japan and the United States. The worst outcome is that China wins a conflict in East Asia and dictates terms to Australia and other countries. A war in East Asia, whatever the outcome, is likely to result in countries acquiring nuclear weapons to counter aggressive hegemons like China.


ABC national tribute to vegan lecturer climber who died on Everest

Who are the national heroes according to the ABC?

Last night we saw two full indulgent minutes on our ABC national news broadcast (from 12:25 mins) on the death of the unfortunate Maria Strydom, as she tried to descend Mt Everest. My issue is not with her, but with the ABC choice of national priorities. The 34 year old climber ticked all the PC boxes, a vegan academic in pursuit of better holidays. The ABC lost one of their tribe. But where are the accolades for the 50 people have died already this year doing their jobs in Australia, like the farmers and miners who die supporting their families?

The effusive coverage did not mention the phrase “unnecessary risk”. It was just a straight out tragedy. (A very first world kind of one).

There was an unbridled virtue message about hallowed university experts:

“…intellectually, reaching a PhD by age 30 — massive achievement”

“…celebrate the life of people like Maria — who actually did what she loved”

ABC narrator James Hancock revealingly sums it up: “…risking their lives in pursuit of the ultimate goal”

Because in ABC-world, “the ultimate goal” is adventure for self-gratification?

The news article [...]

Weekend Unthreaded


The Solar Wind may be changing the surface temperature of the North Atlantic

Could it be the missing key? The solar wind blasts charged particles, electrons, stuff, towards Earth at 500 km a second  — that’s one to two million miles per hour. It speeds up, slows down and shifts in direction as it travels past the Earth and has its own magnetic field. The wind speed varies from 300 km per second up to 800 and the impact on Earth changes with our magnetic field and our seasons. You might think this kind of monster flow might have some effect on our climate. But modern climate models are 95% certain that none of this matters. Only crazy people would think that a electrons flying past at a million miles per hour could “do something” to our stratosphere, or ozone, or cloud cover.

Curiously, a recent study shows that when the solar wind is fastest, the North Atlantic is coldest on the surface. The NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) appears to correlate. The effect is strongest in the northern winter months. Notably the modern expert climate models fail to predict any of the cycles within our major ocean basins. How immature is our understanding of space weather?

Could changes in the solar wind be [...]

Children win Climate Change legal case: lose future economy

Children Win Another Climate Change Legal Case In Mass Supreme Court

[Forbes] This case is one of several similar cases in federal district courts in Oregon and Washington, and in the state courts of North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Colorado. All of these legal cases are supported by Our Children’s Trust, that seeks the legal right of our youth to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate in the future.

How about the legal right of our youth to live in a sustainable civilization? What if a stable climate costs more than a stable economy can afford?

Other parents might hope their children have the right to inherit a stable currency, and a government without trillions in debt.

Championed by Professor Mary Christina Wood in the Law School at the University of Oregon under the idea of Atmospheric Trust Litigation, these lawsuits claim that a government elected by the people and for the people has a duty to protect the natural systems required for the people’s survival.

So if the government is elected by the people to make these kinds of decisions, why is a court deciding public policy? The children of Massachusetts are free to [...]

Climate change causes hybrid Grolar bears? ABC cites facebook pic, no data, scientists guess

Does “climate change” cause more polar bears to chat up the grizzly girls producing Grolar Bear babies? Maybe…

The Headline: “Grolar bears: Climate change could be behind grizzly-polar bear hybrid, scientists say”

The evidence:

Chris Servheen, a bear biologist and Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the University of Montana, said sightings of this hybrid bear species have been very rare in the past.

“But they seem to be more common now,” he said.

Mr Servheen said not very much was known about the grolar and pizzly bears, as little contact had yet to be made between them and humans.

The recent photo of what many suspect to be one of the hybrid bears was posted on Facebook…

That’ll be one data point confirmed then?

Mr Servheen said it was hard to know how many of the bears existed.

In 2006 a bear shot by hunters in the Arctic was tested and confirmed as a polar-grizzly hybrid.

So if a scientist reported that thermometers “seem” to be more near airport tarmacs than they were in 1910, with a photo of an unconfirmed one on facebook, would that be worth [...]

Arctic greenery likes warmer world and arctic bacteria eat more carbon for breakfast

Don’t look now. Might be another negative feedback the modelers forgot. When the cold arctic warms up, there are more plants and less tough old moss. The real, err, surprise — was what happened to the bacteria and fungi. The micro-critters that normally decompose organic matter are pretty happy about the switch from tough moss to tasty tundra shrubs (or in this case, to cake, I’ll explain in a minute).  They adapt in a jiffy to chewing through the freshly dead bits of gourmet plants with more nitrogen. So instead of decomposing more in warmer weather, the soils got richer with carbon and decomposed less.

After reading the press release, I watched the video and was a bit surprised to find them seeding the ground with sugar, rather than gourmet arctic plants. I’m a bit underwhelmed by the study design. Though the end result sounds believable because life on Earth spent 500 million years figuring out ways to suck that CO2 out of the sky.

The researchers even suggest this might slow global warming. If it does, it will be a symbolic, unmeasureable semi-hundredth of a degree. But perhaps the nicest thing about this is that at Lund University [...]

ABC attacks philanthropist for old skeptical email. UPDATE Is it a sackable offence?!

UPDATE: A new ABC version of this story asks if it is a sackable offence for an energy company chairman to send an email praising The Skeptics Handbook years in the past before he was appointed? NSW Labor thinks so.

Click to download the PDF

The NSW Labor spokesman for Energy, Adam Searle, has described Mr Massy-Greene’s stance as “disturbing” and is calling for him to clarify his views or resign.

“If he is a climate change skeptic then his position as chair of publicly owned electricity businesses is untenable”, says Mr Searle.

“If Mr Massy-Green won’t resign, the Baird Government, which appointed him, needs to sack him.”

Amazing. Just to have ever sent an email praising the skeptics handbook years before he was appointed.

Are you now, or have you ever been a skeptic?


Streisand Effect coming

Nearly 7 years ago Roger Massy-Greene sent an email around to around 200 VIP’s with a link to the Skeptics Handbook saying “the best piece I have seen on global warming, and helps to explain what has so far been a very confusing debate.” Mr Massy-Greene later became chairman of [...]