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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Climate Money Paper



Merkel says she wants to talk to skeptics. We’ll believe it when we see it

Angela Merkel, last week.  Source: Kremlin

Now she  gets it — fifty years after school:

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – The world needs an open dialogue about climate change to heal the gap between sceptics and believers since time is running out to cut the emissions that drive global warming, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

This may seem important after three decades of skeptics being called deniers, and being shut out of every debate, decision and research grant. But it has all the hallmarks of relevance-deprivation-syndrome. The US people elected a skeptic, and he and Saint Greta have stolen her limelight:

The first two days of the annual Davos gathering were dominated by the back-and-forth between the 73-year-old former businessman Trump and 17-year-old campaigner Greta Thunberg, with corporate leaders caught in the middle, concerned that as well as words, there was a need for concrete decisions.

Statements like this provide cover for the reality which is rampant social ostracism, exclusion, coercion and bullying. But it’s soothing theatre for the Davos crowd who would love to be seen to be diplomatic. They are clapping their own generous image.

She drew applause from the [...]

ABC says Arson = 1%. NSW police say 42% of fires are man-made. 9% are “natural”. Rest unknown. (So far)

It’s an arson epidemic

Holy Smoke Batman! An astonishing 12,000 fires have started in New South Wales since August. The police have investigated 1700 so far. Of those, fully 42% are described as “deliberately lit” which includes both intentional and accidental and at the moment police refuse to put a number on how many are truly arson, as opposed to people deliberately lighting a campfire which ran amok. Only 156 fires of the total investigated, or 9%,  were caused naturally (presumably that means by lightning).

Another 745 fires of the 1700 are not yet determined. There seems plenty of scope to increase the number of man-made fires but I would assume the extent of lightning strikes are already known.

‘Like nothing we’ve ever seen before’: police step up bushfire investigations

Forty specialist police officers will investigate to zero in on and profile would-be arsonists. “Strike Force Tronto is about profiling. It’s about zeroing in on serial arsonist behaviours that occurs during the bushfire period,” he said.

“That sets the framework for the next fire season so that we do zero in on and target those individuals who we believe may be involved in arsonist behaviour. “This [...]

Sydney on blackout watch, people told to close windows and doors, turn off non-essential

In the largest city in a country with 300 years of coal left, yesterday the government asked a few million people to pull down the blinds on a midsummers day, to turn off the pool pumps, and not run the dishwasher from 4 – 8pm if they could avoid it. It was 42 degrees C.

Remember the good old days when the nation could afford to run the air con? Here in metropolis Australia, some days it’s better to bunker down in a few dark rooms with the air con at survival mode.

Welcome to Renewable World. What’s wrong with all those solar panels? Between dust storms and bushfires and the hail in Canberra,  possibly they are covered in dust or soot, or perhaps, holes.

Imagine how much productive brain power is being consumed. The whole nation (almost) is becoming involved in management of the  hypercomplex random generation network. As well as all those poles and wires and control rooms, we now need radio and twitter to send messages to the serfs to open and close windows, change their work schedules, or run out and click the pool pump off.

’Close your doors’: NSW’s power at capacity

Ben Graham, The [...]

Friday Open Thread

“Climate Change” out: it’s Global Warming again because it’s more scary

Who cares about being accurate. The point of being a journalist is to tell people what to do. But after twenty years of propaganda the punters are still not getting the message, so Faye Flam (her real name) thinks it’s time to stop using “climate change” and switch back to “global warming”. Apparently a five year old Yale Study suggests that it’s more scary, and Flam has discovered it just in time to wring a bit more propaganda value out of the Australian fires. “Lucky”. eh?

She seems to think that a George W Bush adviser tricked the world into using “Climate Change” because it was less scary.

Let’s Go Back to Calling It Global Warming

by Faye Flam, Bloomberg Opinion

Seems “Climate change” is vague and doesn’t convey enough urgency.

As scientific terms go, “climate change” is lame. It sounds like something created by committee. And it’s hard to understand as a crisis when we also hear scientists talking about ice ages and other natural changes to the climate happening throughout earth’s history. “Global warming” is something people have worried about for years, though. It’s essentially another term for the same thing, but conveys a [...]

Unprecedented hail, phenomenal damage in Canberra: 1871, 1877, 1897, 1919, 1936, 1956, 1963

Yesterday hail the size of golf balls fell on Canberra:

Windows, cars, gardens smashed. Already there have between 15,000 insurance claims made and it’s been declared a catastrophe. (Tough few weeks for insurers in Australia).

Hail destroying the trees at Parliament House.. poor gardeners

— Tamsin Rose (@tamsinroses) January 20, 2020

Not too good for solar panels:

Canberra aims to be 100% renewables (but they aren’t cutting the line to the coal power). Will we ever find out how much the bill for the solar panel damage was?

One hundred and thirty three years ago:

h/t John in Oz.

… (Click to enlarge)


Queanbeyan is Canberra’s twin city, 15 minutes from Parliament House but in the next state. Long before Canberra was even founded, there were shocking hail storms. At a glance, terrible hail storms appear more common in summer.

January 7, 1871: Queanbeyan  Hail of “large jagged shapes”, “bigger than pigeon’s eggs” shattered “hundreds of glass windows”, “cut ripe paddocks of wheat to pieces”, was “ruinous on fruit” crops, vine and trees. Many buildings were damaged. Hail lay in “deep drifts on the ground”.

Dec 29th, 1877: [...]

Tuesday Open Thread

So much to discuss. Time for two unthreaded lines midweek.

57 Bushfire Inquiries isn’t enough. We need one more for leaders to hide behind

Big Government strangles our ecosystems just like it strangles scientific research.  Australia has had 57 bushfire inquiries since 1939. We knew what was coming and we knew how to stop it, and we’ve known for eighty years (and indigenous people for thousands). Instead we paid a garrison of gravy trainers to not-read-those-reports and to create the exact conditions we knew would turn into a pyroconvective catastrophe. State Premiers missed a major threat to their people, their industry, our environment. On top of the death and destruction toll, just one industry, tourism, is looking at a $4.5b loss. Heads must roll. If they were misled, then name the names.

Our institutions failed us: The CSIRO didn’t save us, the ABC didn’t. What’s the point of them? Academics and CRC’s could’ve warned the nation, but instead most experts and the “reporters” said renewable energy would prevent these fires, even though climate change has made no difference to rainfall or droughts, which are driven by ocean currents, and solar cycles, not carbon dioxide. Let’s promote those who got it right, and turn off the tap to those that didn’t. Who pays damages? Who gets sacked?

Just do it: less fuel, less rules, more [...]

Climate change is the excuse to hide an Inferno of Incompetence — heads must roll for the billion dollar bushfire mistakes

Whose fault was it and will they get away with it (like all the other times)?

Twenty seven people died, a billion animals, 2,000 homes, tourism wrecked and a plume of smoke stretched from here to South America. Unless heads roll, this cycle repeats every 10 – 20 years. Imagine if the media was demanding to know how State Premiers had allowed this catastrophe, or if the opposition was accusing the government of listening to the Ivory Tower instead of the firies? The problem is, they’re all complicit. Both sides of politics are guilty, and the media didn’t see this coming either.

We can recognise those avoiding responsibility by the way they fob off hard questions:

1. Let’s blame “climate change” (because these fires are “normal” now, get used to it. Plus luckily no one ever says — “you mean it’s China’s fault?”)

2. Let’s say “now’s not the time to play the blame game” and,

3. Coming soon:  “let’s wait for the Royal Commission, or Almighty Investigation, or 28th Fire Report” — or whichever comes last. (Who wants to preempt a report even if we already know what it will say. )

But [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Panic now: Drought breaking rains could raise emissions! (One drought was twice as good as all those renewables!)

This is an idea surrounded by layers of dumb. Like an onion, but not that smart.

Firstly, rejoice, nice big rain is falling, and Australians are Pretty Happy About That. But, oh no. Who knew, all along — the drought we thought was so bad was actually helping cool Australia. Golly, droughts cripple our agriculture industry and therefore reduce our agricultural emissions. It follows then (if you are crazy) that when the rain comes back that will raise our emissions.

Today is the first day I’ve seen the term “Drought-breaking” entertained…

But wait, there’s more. This rain is falling on Conservatives:

The Morrison government’s goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions could be sunk in the short term if there is a break in the intense drought.’

Mike Foley, Sydney Morning Herald

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to rise if there is a break in the intense drought in eastern Australia, sinking the Morrison government’s goal of lowering emissions in the short term.

Yes, and in a world not obsessed with political power games, when rain falls, green stuff grows, sucking down the CO2. Nevermind.

The agriculture sector did most of the heavy lifting [...]

Billion dollar bully ABC resorts to namecalling for the nightly news

The first words of the nightly 7pm news Jan 15th:

” The Government tells Climate Change Deniers to stop arguing and accept The Science.”

ABC Prime Time News in Australia this week stooped to abject petty namecalling — claiming those despised climate change deniers are robbing Australia again. In reality, the people robbing Australia work for the ABC. If they only had evidence they wouldn’t need to stomp all over debate.

And in the ABC website:

“Climate change deniers robbing Australia of time to respond to impacts, Science Minister Karen Andrews warns”

Yet the government said nothing that insulting.

In other non-news — the Australian Science Minister obediently repeated a twenty year old robot meme that Al Gore invented. Unlike what the ABC headline and wording suggests, it doesn’t appear Karen Andrews mentioned “deniers”. That profoundly unscientific and inflammatory activist term seems to be all the ABC’s. And they call themselves “reporters”?

The formerly esteemed journal Nature did it once, and after I pointed out how unscientific it is, they backed down.

What the Minister for Science said:

Those who are still debating whether climate change is real are wasting time.


You think I’m the devils child and you branded me a climate change denier…

Let me be the one to introduce DanPrawn to the world.

Man this is going to go viral. 17 views and it’s headed for thousands…

Great new talent!

“I thank my lucky stars that I became a climate change denier”

Thank you Dan!

UPDATE: A few days later as it’s gone to 13k views. See the youtube link.

Midweek Unthreaded

Global Patsy: Since 1990 — Each Australian has already cut CO2 emissions by 40%

Proving that actual carbon reduction is totally irrelevant…

It doesn’t matter what any nation does. The CO2 blame-game is a fashion contest and success is not measured in megatons, but with megaphones.

Over the last 30 years, the Australian population has grown faster than nearly any other western nation on Earth. At the same time the Australian GDP more than doubled. Despite that and against all the odds of being a large, remote, thinly spread population which makes a living from industrial mining and agriculture and is further on Earth from anywhere, each Australian has reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 40% each.

In a normal world, if environmentalists cared at all about carbon dioxide, Australia would be the star of the Kyoto Agreement. Instead, when nearly all the major nations are failing to meet their Paris agreements, plus the US  has left, Indonesia has threatened to, somehow when we are one of the only nations trying to keep up with this game, we are the big evil polluters?

Dear Australians, it’s a con, and we are The Mark.

This carbon reduction comes at a price: We stole land off our farmers without compensation, locked up native regrowth and created million-hectare [...]