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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Happy New Year

Best wishes to everyone for 2019.

Back at the desk soon!

Weekend Unthreaded

In 2018 Climate change caused “disastrous” loss of 0.1% of World GDP

It’s serious folks: If you use models that don’t work, extrapolate, exaggerate, and spin the runes properly, at worst, man-made climate change caused “100 billion dollars of damage” in 2018. It’s another BIN moment (a Big Irrelevant Number).

To put that in perspective, the GWP (Gross World Product) is around $100 Trillion dollars. So, all that inflated climate damage rained upon us and 99.9% of the global economy wouldn’t even notice.

Climate change-induced disasters cost nations at least $100 billion in 2018, says watchdog

News, AFP, AAP, BBC, maybe ABC, CBC, CNN, CBC, everyone with a channel.

As reported by the same people who say “If you want heart surgery, ask a doctor.”

The bill for climate-linked disasters in 2018 is estimated to be more than $100 billion according to a leading UK relief organisation.

A Relief Charity added up these numbers. They couldn’t possibly have anything to gain by inflating them, could they?

From floods to extreme heat, 10 of the worst climate-linked disasters in 2018 caused at least $A120.8 billion worth of damage, says a study released by the charity Christian Aid.

I don’t think they meant to tell us that [...]

Fireman warns solar powered batteries may cause ferocious fires

Channel Seven News.

Unintended consequences: When your insurance to stop the planet burning burns down your house instead.

Storing all that energy in a small box at home. What could possibly go wrong?

Fire crews are warning that solar powered batteries may cause fires that move fast and burn with “ferocity”.

Solar home battery warning after Brisbane house fire

Brisbane Times, Toby Crockford

The homeowner told reporters they had solar panels connected to lithium-ion batteries and suspected the fire started nearby, a view shared by firefighter Malcolm Muscat.

“[There were] approximately three battery banks so lithium-ion, lead-acid batteries, they burn with a ferocity that moves through the house quickly,” Mr Muscat said.

Remember: When the future of the planet is at stake, there’s no such thing as too much insurance.

We just hope the owners had plenty.

Friends and family can be consoled that the house has been sacrificed for a good fashionable cause.

Note this is the “suspected” cause in this fire, but solar panels have been linked to many other house fires.

Does your home need a “fire bunker”? ‘Years to understand’ fire risk of solar power systems

From July 12th, [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Merry Christmas with Carols For Coal :-)

Image by pixel2013

Thanks to readers who responded to the request to respond to the  Carols against Coal. After the gripping thrill of “We Wish You a Steady Climate“, get ready for a treat.  Here’s draft one of Christmas Carols to Warm the World. Forgive the odd blasphemy, there are some absolute gems lines here. With a little more fine tuning I see lots of potential — a book for next Christmas? Thank you to the star contributors, and please keep them coming!

Merry Christmas to everyone. — Jo

Tides of Mudgee:  O Come All Ye Warmists

Oh come all ye warmists You think you’re so triumphant Oh come on, admit it now, you’re wrong, wrong, wrong Climate is changing, But we are not the cause of it. We cannot change the CO2, It doesn’t drive the temperature, The biggest lie in history Christ I’m bored.


Reed Coray — Jingle Coal

Burning all that coal Warms our very soul o’er the lumps we roll Staying warm’s our goal.

Watching Gaia squirm Maybe even burn Looking for a fight Makes our spirits bright.

Doing what we should Even all we could Doing plants much good Better coal [...]

New Report: Renewables indirectly make electricity MORE expensive, so ABC tells Australia the opposite

One big government agency quietly admits renewables make electricity more expensive, and another big gov media agency hides it.

The new AMEC report tells us renewables will make electricity prices go down a tiny 2% in the short run but make electricity more expensive in the long run due to forcing out cheap baseload players. What matters most to Australians — that we can expect our electricity costs to be 2% less than “obscene” for the next couple of years, or that the artificial transition we are forcing on the grid will indirectly make electricity more expensive?

Which message does the ABC headline? Say hello to Trivia!

Renewables set to drive down power prices, new AEMC analysis shows The ABC is essentially a taxpayer funded advertising machine for the renewables industry.

A flood of new renewable energy projects is likely to drive down household electricity bills, according to new analysis by government policy adviser the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

On a national basis, household bills are set to fall by 2.1 per cent — but price falls in the eastern states and South Australia are offset by increases in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and [...]

Weekend Unthreaded


Sydney Hail Storm: Just how hailproof are those solar panels?

Here’s a problem coal fired plants don’t need to worry about.

Sydney’s ‘catastrophic’ hailstorm happened on Thursday, the damage bill said  to top $125 million. How much of that damage is to rooftop Solar PV? The last massive hail storm in Sydney was in 1999 — but there were hardly any solar panels then.

From SBS News

There are wild scenes and images everywhere.

Worst Sydney hailstorm in 20 years declared catastrophic

Jessica Cortis and Sascha O’Sullivan, The Australian

 At least 50,000 homes remain without power in northern Sydney and more than 1000 calls for help are waiting to be responded to by State Emergency Services after Sydney and the NSW central coast were yesterday rocked by the worst hailstorms in almost 20 years.

Before anyone yells “Climate Change”, Reader, Pat, found stories about hail the size of Eggs in Sydney in November 1929. Hail the size of Tennis Balls fell on Reids Creek near Brisbane in 1934 and hail the size of Tea Cups fell on Brookville in 1902. Paddington had “ice inches deep” on Nov 1, 1931. There are scores more Hail-the-size-of… Maybe building 2 million solar panels on a continent with hail [...]

Want to hurt the competition? Send in climate protestors… $91 billion cost

Opportunity costs are the most invisible costs in the world.

Purely hypothetically, if you wanted to nobble a competing country, you could pay…

“We know what it takes to stop this industry,” said’s May Boeve. “It is not a mystery, it is not magical.

Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times

Climate protests cost $91 billion in lost economic activity, chamber study finds

Climate activists fighting to derail pipelines and other energy projects have blocked $91.9 billion in U.S. economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to a new report.

See more at:

There is no Economy B. Once we have wrecked this one….

The report analyzed 15 targeted projects, including the hotly contested Keystone XL pipeline, Constitution Pipeline, and Oregon LNG terminal, as well as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 fracking ban.

In addition to $91.9 billion in lost economic activity, the protests cost nearly 730,000 job opportunities and $20 billion in tax revenue to federal, state and local governments.

…the U.S. surpassed Russia this year to become the world’s largest crude oil producer and has led the world in natural-gas [...]

Deadly: a quarter of all solar panels pose high or severe risk

Got Solar PV? Don’t let the kids play on the roof

Would you like a 240Volt shock with that?

In Australia, shonky fly-by-night installers are botching the wiring and not screwing the panels on properly. As many as a quarter of solar panels pose a high or severe “electrical safety” risk. Since there are two million households with solar panels, that’s half a million homes sitting under a live problem.

By mismanagement and delusional climate-changing schemes the government has entirely and artificially created the solar bubble. Hopefully people won’t die like they did in the Pink Batts Bubble. Back then, to stop droughts and storms and save the nation from the Global Financial Crisis, the government decided to rush out home insulation. The artificial bubble brought in poorly trained workers and four people died. Kevin Rudd (former PM) now says he wouldn’t have done it if he’d known the risks. But heck, way back in 2010 no one could have realized that artificial government industry bubbles wouldn’t mix well with 240 Volts.  Sure.

Australia’s big advance seems to be to stop unnecessary deaths under roofs, and start doing them on top.

Warning of deaths over solar panel installations Simon [...]

Midweek Unthreaded


What the hell was he thinking?

Looking for a great Christmas present idea? I’ve been enjoying the new glorious full-colour book covering the work and “why’s” of a great Australian cartoonist. There is still time to buy it for a friend, or put it on your list. Cartoonists have leeway to say what no one else will, and of cartoonists, there are few like John Spooner.

John Spooner’s Guide to the 21st Century:  What The Hell Was He Thinking


  If a scholar in two hundred years time happened to be regarding the intricacies of Australian political life at the turn of the 21st Century, they would find few better guides…. than the cartoons of John Spooner. – Gordon Morrison

John Spooner’s last cartoon, 2016. The Age.

As well as being a collection of his work, a keepsake with over 250 images, Spooner explains what was going on in the editorial zone of one of Australia’s largest newspapers as it evolved over the last 40 years.

Spooner writes about how different things were in The Age in the 1970s. (It used to be a real newspaper once). He describes the gradual closing down of dissent from the party line. He worked [...]

Trump trolls the UN

The UN collective junket for 25,000 people is over. In PR Bingo, all the winning phrases were launched. As usual, “it’s progress”, but “nowhere near enough”.

“Weary” climate negotiators “worked through the night”, in a “marathon” and “but the agreement fell well short…”

‘1,000 little steps’: Global climate talks end in progress but fail to address the galloping pace of climate change By Brady Dennis ,Griff Witte and Chris Mooney, The Washington Post

The agreement was non binding and has no chance of achieving the 1.5C or even the 2C goal, despite this, the crowd was happy:

“Approval of the agreement prompted a standing ovation from the delegates. “

People who think in group-formation will cheer any form of “Yes” –  nevermind the numbers.

Trump is trolling the UN

The US is out of Paris (theoretically) but “in” the negotiations. It will take four years for the US to formally leave the Paris Agreement, but in the meantime, he’s technically at the table, unbridled, and free to kill sacred cows in public. The UN, no doubt, thought the four year cooling off period would work for them (with the help of 4 year US election cycles) but being out-but-in gives Trump license [...]

Weekend Unthreaded