A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



Australian Speakers Agency


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

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Matt Ridley: Wind power makes 0% of world energy

It’s all in how you spin it. Supra-zoogle-watts of new wind power capacity was added last year. Wind and solar grew faster than fossil fuels. There are now 341,000 wind turbines around the world! Thus do Meaningless Big-Numbers flow.

Instead  Matt Ridley gets down to the small numbers that tell us what is going on: Wind Turbines are neither clean nor green.

The Spectator:  Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.

Key Renewable Trends IEA 2016

The only renewables superstars are those you never hear about — wood and hydro:

Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly [...]

Goldman Sachs — bigger than fossil fuel in the climate debate

We can’t blame Goldman Sachs. It’s just good business.

Goldman Sachs pours money into lefty causes and politicians of both stripes. The gifts to left-wing flagships like climate change and same-sex marriage buy protection from the anti-bank Occupy crowd. And climate propaganda is doubly useful — Goldman Sachs can invest and profit from government largess. And these are very big biccies – -in 2009 Goldman Sachs announced it would spend $150 billion on green energy by 2020.

The message to non-left causes is that if you want to get multimillion dollar philanthropic funds, mobilize people and march in the street. When Goldman is afraid of what you might do against their bonuses or profits they might get interested in your cause too.

But infamously and so much more importantly, Goldman donates to both sides of politics and their people are appointed to key positions in the Treasury and corridors of power. When Goldman crashes, it gets bailed out — and that has happened four times in the last 20 years. The TARP bailout for Sachs was as much as $10 billion, so a mere $675k in speaking fees for Hillary-nearly-Pres might be viewed as a decent investment at the time [...]

Worldwide: Over 1,200 laws aim to change weather — need more to limit downpours, seas, storms

Welcome to paleolithic politics: in this version, the witchdoctors are syndicated and with lap tops.

OSLO (Reuters) – Nations around the world have adopted more than 1,200 laws to curb climate change…

Patricia Espinosa, the U.N.’s climate change chief, … said the findings were “cause for optimism”…

Because more laws are always good.

Forty-seven laws had been added since world leaders adopted a Paris Agreement to combat climate change in late 2015, a slowdown from a previous peak of about 100 a year around 2009-13 when many developed nations passed laws.

All those new laws and global temperatures peak anyway. Must be depressing for legisladocktors.

Too many laws is never enough:

“We don’t want weaklings in the chain,” said Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He urged all countries to adopt laws that help limit downpours, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

I’m with him. Why not speed limits for winds?

h/t Climate Depot

“Demand Destruction”: How to destroy national economy

A funny thing happened on the way to the market. The government picked a winner, and everybody clapped as the losers left the room. But the electricity prices doubled, and unpredictable brutal price spikes started to happen (forty times a month). Then the real free market (or what was left of it) reacted — traders started to game the system, and the investors start to back away. Welcome to Queensland.

But dire news for everyone:

Australia passes a ‘tipping’ point in energy crisis

There is an energy crisis in the world’s largest exporter of coal, the second largest exporter of gas and a major exporter of uranium. We need real solutions. Unless we make decisions really quickly, and I mean in the next 12 months, that re-establish base load capacity then we have no chance of sustaining the economy in the shape that it is in now. – Financial Review

“In the end the market will work its way to balance,” Freyberg continued. “It will stabilise – but the wrong way and for the wrong reason. The inability to secure affordable base load supply means that the problem will befixed by demand destruction.

Ouchy prices….?

Weekend Unthreaded

One coal worker or 79 solar ones, same electricity

Solar – creating 79 pointless jobs

The New York Times tells us that Today’s Energy Jobs Are in Solar, Not Coal. But watch the pea -  these jobs are “energy jobs”, not jobs that use energy.

Apparently it takes 79 people to create the same energy through solar as one person does through coal. (And that would be cheaper, how? )

Washington Examiner.

To start, despite a huge workforce of almost 400,000 solar workers (about 20 percent of electric power payrolls in 2016), that sector produced an insignificant share, less than 1 percent, of the electric power generated in the United States last year (EIA data here). And that’s a lot of solar workers: about the same as the combined number of employees working at Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pfizer, Ford Motor Company and Procter & Gamble.

In contrast, it took about the same number of natural gas workers (398,235) last year to produce more than one-third of U.S. electric power, or 37 times more electricity than solar’s minuscule share of 0.90 percent.

…to produce the same amount of electric power as just one coal worker would require [...]

Trump may pull US out of Paris agreement within two weeks

All over the US media today –  discussion over whether Trump will pull the US out of the Paris agreement. We all know the Paris agreement will not alter world temperature*, slow storms or stop floods but is potentially a trap for domestic legal action, it hurts the poor via high electricity bills, and reduces living standards (for those outside the $1.5 Trillion Green Industrial Complex). The free citizens around the world may score a big win soon. We hope.

*To put the impotence of Paris in perspective: if we use IPCC estimates, and all industrialized nations make a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2100, we can only cool global temperatures by 0.35C — a third of one degree at most. That’s no oil, no gas, or coal, in a world powered by handmade nuclear reactors using mud bricks transported by horse and cart. And that assumes that the models are right despite them failing on regional, local, short term[1] [2], polar[3], major feedbacks [4] [5], humidity[6], rainfall[7], drought[8] and on clouds[9].

White House may pull out of Paris agreement due to legal implications

Timothy Cama, The Hill

Trump could announce as soon as next week his [...]

ABC pushing “suppressed scientists” story but misses that CSIRO won’t even employ a skeptic

Poor petals. The ABC is selling the sob story of scientists paid from the public pocket who feel suppressed because they aren’t allowed to voice their personal unresearched opinion on things like international treaties and energy policy.

Leaked emails from 2015 reveal a bitter dispute within CSIRO, Australia’s leading science body, as management tried to prevent top scientists from breaking ranks before the Paris climate summit.

The disagreement took place after CSIRO declined to make a formal submission to a government consultation about Australia’s new emissions target.

CSIRO has guidelines for its researchers, which encourage them to speak publicly about their areas of expertise — provided they do not stray too far into policy.

Critics say these tensions between CSIRO management and scientists are a symptom of ongoing self-censorship by an organisation fearful of offending government and losing funding.

The ABC entirely misses the plight of skeptical scientists who can’t be suppressed at the CSIRO because they would never even get a grant or a job there.

Put this in perspective, the CSIRO pour out climate reports in full gloss designer color on a regular basis. They forget to mention Australias hot [...]

NY Times furor due to half-skeptic — Mass subscription exodus? Best thing!

Nothing is more dangerous than a polite conversation.

On April 28th Brett Stephens wrote his first NY Times column, but dropped a complete bomb, he made it seem respectable to not robotically accept every bit of wild hyperbole about climate science:

“Let me put it another way. Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong. Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts.

None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences. But ordinary citizens also have a right to be skeptical of an overweening scientism. They know — as all environmentalists should — that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.”

Naturally, the spaghetti hit the fan, people who think they are logical, scientificy types, but who pray at the Altar of Scientism have no where to run with this kind of dangerous material around. For once they have to think for [...]