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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It was a Global Climate Picnic Day: Go on — Show us you mean it guys — cut the cord to the coal fired grid

Anyone can say fossil fuels are evil. But let’s count the protestors living without them?

Every kind of motherhood spirit and mass delusion was at the Global Climate Picnic today. It was all things to all people, a day to absolve guilt about living rich, while simultaneously earning social status miles in the Flying Socialite Program. (Or perhaps that’s the Flying Socialist Program).   The Climate Picnic was green and fluffy, nice and sunny, and a walk in the park with the distant promise of free perpetual motion machines.  What’s not to like about a day off school feeling like a rebel for conforming with the throng?

It was a chance to complain about corporate greed, and do a cathartic exorcism of smoke and black stuff, which everyone knows must be bad. It was a spiritual event, a social event, and faked up as a science event too. The dumb could feel smart, the rich could feel pious, and everyone could feel so important. They were of course superheroes saving the whole goddam planet.

Fighting Climate Change is morally right, just like the battle against slavery — says someone in The Guardian, as if setting people free is like liberating electrons. Lordy! Those exploited subatomic particles imprisoned in solar panels would feed the world if only we let them!

So nice, but poorly educated kids skipped getting a bit more education while their overly educated parents acted out a pagan ritual drilled into them during the degree in landscape architecture that they didn’t need and never used. And the luckiest generation on Earth found reasons to panic and emote about balmy weather.

With rather meaningless lives in a civilization they’ve been taught is a toxic imperial invader, the gullible, the lost and the resentful were easy pickings to be swept up into a fake movement promising salvation, better weather, nicer insects and less jellyfish. The nonsense runs wild, and placards prophesy a dying Earth in a game of theatre designed to spook weak politicians. This was climate propaganda week after all. These people were part of the advertising.

Let’s see some real climate action

Anyone can wave a banner at a climate picnic.  True believers need to prove they care and show us the way. None of this one-day walk-in-the-park stuff. If solar is so cheap — let’s see those leaders go off the grid. No more coal fired electricity. No more gas back up. No more frequency stability for free. Let them put the wind turbines on their own roofs and run their cars on solar powered battery packs.

Years from now PhD students will pore forth over the historic artefacts of The Great Global Warming Delusion and wonder how so many thousands of people got swept into the witchdoctor cult that stops storms with magic PV panels.

Coincidentally this week snow fell in Australia right down to 560m in one area, and it was also starting to fall already in the Northern Hemisphere, in Sweden, China and California. Not that means anything. Just another #climateemergency. They’re everywhere you know.

These people are calling for the end of coal, but they have no idea what that means.

Spot the new religion

Apparently a lot of people want to find a messiah to follow:

Greta Thunberg, saint.

Greta Thunberg, saint.
Would you like to feel smug with that?

A lot of people who aren’t very good at science enjoy a chance to feel like they are.

Let’s call this condescension-bias:

Greta Thunberg, saint.

A bit confused about the science maybe?

Keep reading  →

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Under seige: The Conversation pulls the weak “trust your doctor or Climate God” excuse

Today, for your amusement, Misha Ketchell, ex-ABC journalist, editor and ED of The Conversation scrambles to justify why banning half the population from speaking is not censorship. It’s almost a form of satire, but it’s not that clever.

He pulls out the old Argument from Authority and Ad Hom fallacies, known since Aristotle. He’s only 2,300 years behind the leading edge of rhetoric. Worse, the journalist doesn’t even understand the basics of journalism — as in, to research, present the best of both sides, and let the readers decide. Instead Ketchell, whose top scientific qualification is watching the ABC for twenty years, has decided that climate sensitivity of CO2 on planet Earth is 3.3C give or take nothing.

The biggest scandal of university research and science is there waiting to be told, but Ketchell-the-journo is 100% obedient to a collection of unaccountable foreign committee members who do unaudited work with unvalidated models.

The Conversation

Here come the excuses:

There’s a good reason we’re moderating climate change deniers: uninformed comments undermine expertise’

Real experts just answer the questions, they aren’t scared of the uninformed. Why is it only climate science where we need to protect the public from know-nothing comments? Either the punters are too stupid to spot the expert, or perhaps the fake experts need to be protected from the punters?

This absolutely is about free speech

Just saying it isn’t won’t make it so:

This is not about a denial of free speech. Media outlets have always curated the ways in which they feature audience feedback. Think about the big bags of letters newspaper editors used to sift to pick a dozen or so to publish every day. The skill was always about giving a debate a chance to be aired, to allow all sides to be heard, and then to move on.

But Ketchell isn’t banning misinformation, he’s banning a whole class of people, even “locking their accounts”. That makes it absolutely about “free speech”. Read his words, “deniers are dangerous”. No matter what they say, how well they say it, or how qualified they are, some citizens are the unmentionables who shall have no voice sayth Cardinal Ketchell. It doesn’t get more unfree than a namecalling pogrom with no right of reply.

The Conversation has become the definition of unfree speech. It’s the case study of 2019. The GoTo classic story of censorship for scholars a hundred years from now. The only uncertainty here is if Ketchell has the faintest idea of what free speech is?

Does he just realize he’s banned half of meteorologists?

Say hello to the false equivalence and strawman meme of your doctor versus your untrained friend:

Imagine you discovered you had a serious illness and went to a doctor who recommended an operation. Then you surveyed 10 of your friends about whether they thought you needed an operation. Then, rather than have the operation, you spend the next 10 years, in deteriorating health, every day hearing from your doctor the operation is needed, while a small subset of your mates comment on how the doctor is a nutjob.

What if your friends were engineers, dentists, doctors, PhD’s and Professors? What if your doctor was caught hiding declines, adjusting figures, manipulating reports, using fake photos, and resorted to bluster and coercion? What if he refused to answer questions, explain his methods, hid his data, his history  and just called his critics petty names? Let’s say your doctor was paid handsomely to do risky operations with wildly exaggerated outcomes that failed every basic cost benefit test?

Let’s say their models didn’t predict who got sick, who got well, how many died, and apart from random luck, not much that happened even 10 days in advance?

Misha Ketchell says “don’t ask” just pay the bill, take the drugs — your doctor is practically a God

When we do this to experts of any sort, these uninformed comments undermine their authority. People are less inclined to believe experts when their views are presented alongside hostile opinions. But the two things are not the same; they are entirely different types of information and they don’t deserve equal weight.

The right approach, if you don’t believe your doctor, is to seek a second opinion from another medical expert. And maybe a third or a fourth. And then you make a decision on how to act, based on the evidence.

What if there are other doctors all performing the exact same unnecessary operation, collecting huge fees, being treated like Planet Saving heroes on the ABC and getting nice two week junkets in Bali as well? They are the leading “experts” eh? Who cares that their expertise, status and income is also totally dependent on that type of operation. Complete patsies will ask them, ignore the conflicts of interest, and sign up to have a lung removed to stop their cough.

Which journalist has not done any, as in five minutes of research Misha Ketchell?

He’s out of his depth, like the journo’s who just repeat the sales catalogue of the local real estate agent — the boom is just around the corner! Reality is going to blindside him. He believes in the “thousands” of unnamed expert modelers who don’t even exist. And he believes there is rigor in anonymous unpaid pal review:

In the case of climate science we don’t just have two or three expert opinions, we have thousands. All rigorous and peer reviewed. We also have a range of vested interests who are attempting to discredit that science, following the playbook of big tobacco to profit from casting doubt and delaying action.

Sure, and thousands of commenters on The Conversation get cheques and instructions in the mail from Phillip Morris. Who knew? Or more to the point, who’s got a huge baseless conspiracy theory?

Instead there are 31,500 independent, unpaid, scientists, PhDs and professors who are signed up skeptics (and the rest) but the core group of IPCC paid experts amounts to “scores” — literally. The number of expert reviewers on Chapter Nine of the 4th IPCC report was just 62. Everyone else was a groupie — a scientist who knew a lot about lemurs, or barley crops, or beach erosion who has never ever gone near any analysis of radiative modeling or verification of feedbacks. They just assumed it’s right, and their paid interest depended on “not looking”.

Ketchell talks about “vested interests” but doesn’t realize there are $1.5 trillion in vested interests 100% depending on him (and other un-journalists) to swallow up their prospectus and sell their schemes. Most so-called Big Oil funding goes to alarmists, not skeptics.  Big Oil uses the carbon-hate against its main competitor Big Coal, and panders to EPA whimseys out of fear of offending the bureaucrat rulers it depends on. Woodside oil and gas not only doesn’t fund skeptics it won’t even let one speak at a tiny niche Christmas event for petrophysicists. So much for the myth of Big Oil being a merchant of doubt.

But Deutsche Bank thanks you Misha Ketchell. Bankers want to save the planet dontchaknow?

Spot the totalitarian

Having announced such a cackhanded crackdown, Ketchall is feeling the heat and complaining that he’s being bullied, but who’s the bully here? The one that uses his power arbitrarily to say shut up to tens of thousands of people who partly fund his own job, or the one earning money from voluntary payments who is working to persuade others to stop funding an incompetent publisher?

A few loud media voices have claimed our approach is totalitarian. In an interview with Senator Eric Abetz on Sky News Chris Kenny did what bullies often do – he tried to intimidate and cause maximum damage by asking the Senator to ensure The Conversation never again receives government funding.

Yes, let’s talk intimidation –  and start with “deniers” and “denialists” and let Ketchall define them in scientific terms. What empirical evidence is being denied?  Or are these just pure insults, declaring that anyone who doesn’t agree has the brain of a lizard and is not worth listening to?

As I’d explain to the children in the room, obviously the only point of these hostile demeaning terms is to stop people questioning the religion.

Ketchell is still in denial that half the population just don’t buy the foreign committee report he considers gospel:

The truth is that how to handle the views of the small group who are hostile to climate science is a complex media ethics question…

Remember the “climate election”? Survey’s, polls and millions of votes show the citizens of Australia are not convinced the world is going to hell — the journalists job is to persuade them, the totalitarians job is to shut them up.

Hypocrisy knows no bounds

Misha Ketchell says:

And this means less emotive argument that distorts the evidence.

Jo Nova says: Sure, and calling critics “predators of our children“, or zombies is all calmness and light yeah? Not to mention “great science”. Go “the Con”.


A climate-change ideologue,
Fearing comments and free dialogue,
From the skeptical few,
Who challenged his view,
Had them shut down and barred from his blog.



The Conversation
PS: Readers, send in your ideas for the logo. The Conversion needs a new byline.

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“The Conversation” gives up conversing, admits defeat on climate, bans all skeptical scientists from commenting!

What kind of conversation only has one side? Paid propaganda.

The Conversation is a site established** by your taxpayer dollars, in countries where 50 – 60% of the entire population don’t agree with the IPCC’s dominant mantra. Yet no matter how qualified you are, no matter how good your argument, your evidence and your data, you, we, half the population, is now banned. The editor Misha Ketchell has officially  blocked unbelievers, and thus effectively admitted that they can’t reply to skeptics, and that skeptics are posing too many questions they can’t answer. They’ve been deleting skeptical comments for years, so it’s good that they finally have the honesty to admit it.

The irony of a site called “The Conversation” which won’t allow a conversation is perfect Owellian Newspeak. Let’s just call it The Conversion from now on (thanks Travis) — the mission is to help converts keep the faith. Yesterday they published hatemail from Tim Flannery calling scientists who disagreed, deniers who are “predatory threats” to his own children. Today they’re banning half the population.

If only they had evidence they wouldn’t need to ban people:

The Conversation, banning, denialists, deniers, skeptics, climate change.


The poor snowflake believers of the Windmills-change-the-weather religion can’t cope with hearing arguments that threaten their faith.  Thou shalt have no other God but mine:

Climate change deniers are dangerous – they don’t deserve a place on our site

 Climate change deniers, and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation, are perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet. As a publisher, giving them a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.

Terrified! Lord save my eyes from blasphemy:

That’s why we’re implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.

Yougov, survey, Australians, skeptics, deniers, believers, climate change.

Looks like 56% of Australians can’t comment on The Conversation

So a “stalled public discourse” will be able to move forward by gagging half the population? What’s your definition of “stalled”? No wonder people like Ketchell can’t understand why our electrical grid is being destroyed by subsidizing random generators with no spinning reserve in distant locations — Ketchell doesn’t even understand the basics of discussion — to unstall an argument you let both sides debate, and may “the best man win”. The reason the debate is stalled is because the only outcome Ketchell will accept is belief in fairy weather control. Since it’s a joke, maintained by namecalling “denier” and indignant fautrage, manipulated data and unvalidated models known to fail, this debate will only unstall when the debate is hammered out through … conversation, which obviously isn’t going to happen at The Conversation.

But it can happen here. All believers and escapees from The Conversation are welcome to comment at The only limits are legal, and basic manners.*

One half of the population are wrong on this topic, and one half are running chicken from debate. Join the dots.

Conversation snowflakes need protection

Here comes the fake sciencey motherhood statements. Every hypocrite, pocket-dictator and cult-ruler uses some version of “it’s better for you if I protect you from hearing things I deem unworthy”:

We believe conversations are integral to sharing knowledge, but those who are fixated on dodgy ideas in the face of decades of peer-reviewed science are nothing but dangerous.

It is counter productive to present the evidence and then immediately undermine it by giving space to trolls. The hopeless debates between those with evidence and those who fabricate simply stalls action.

As a reader, author or commenter, we need your help. If you see something that is misinformation, please don’t engage, simply report it. Do this by clicking the report button below a comment.

So who’s a troll then? Roy Spencer? Ph.D. in meteorology, NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, supported by NASA, NOAA, and DOE?

Half the population of Australia, the UK, USA, NZ and Canada are trolls according to surveys and most national elections. As I’ve said before, the polls are in:

Climate change is not a battleground — it’s a fantasy land. Skeptics are usually an absolute majority and have been for years, repeatedly, and across the continents. A ten-second online search shows 56% of Canadians are skeptics. Likewise,  54% of Australians are skeptics (a CSIRO estimate). The latest Yougov survey shows 63% of the USA, 56% of Australians, and 49% of the Brits don’t think the IPCC is right. The OECD estimates  Australian skeptics outnumber believers. A very well done British survey show skeptics are a “minority” of 62%.  A third in the US are not just skeptical they think it’s a total hoax. (And that was years ago, before The Trump. It would be higher now). If a majority “agreed with the consensus” why is it that most Australians don’t want to pay even a tiny $10 a month for renewables to save the world? Nearly half of US adults don’t want to pay $1 a month.  And The British don’t want to pay a cent.
Survey’s show 80% of Australians don’t donate to environmental causes or vote for it. How committed are they? Answer, not even ten bucks a year. On flights, not even two bucks a trip. Survey after survey shows that when people rank issues, climate concerns are flat at the bottom of the barrel. Only 3% of US people think climate is most important issue.

Welcome to the world according to Misha Ketchell

What would Roy Spencer know about climate change?

Obviously he doesn’t have Misha’s scientific qualifications which apparently amount to watching twenty years of The ABC:

Misha Ketchell

Misha Ketchell

Editor & Executive Director

Misha has been a journalist for more than 20 years. In previous roles he was a reporter at The Age, founding editor of The Big Issue Australia and editor of Crikey, The Reader and The Melbourne Weekly. He also spent several years at the ABC where he was a TV producer on Media Watch and The 7:30 Report and an editor on The Drum.



History won’t be kind to those journalists who fell for the belief that solar panels can stop storms which tens of thousands of qualified engineers, atmospheric physicists, geologists, doctors, and scientists tried to warn about. Nobel prize winners of physics and men who walked on the moon. Freeman Dyson. Shame none of them are as smart as Ketchell.

Previous high points in science at The Conversion include Prof Michael Brown attempting collective smears with ad homs, fallacies and photos of blood soaked zombies. Then there was the time Stefan Lewandowsky argued that it was morally OK to impersonate and deceive in order to steal documents from people you can’t beat in a fair argument. Gems, truly worthy of the title “higher education”.

The Conversation’s conflicts of interest hidden in plain view

As for funding: The Conversation in Australia  (the original source that spawned the other national sites) was funded with $6m in government funds, and is now maintained by second-hand government funds washed through “university admin accounts”. They have a record of putting up deceptive and inane Disclosure Statements which say the authors does not work for, consult to, or own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. Virtually all authors on The Conversation earn their income from Big-Government handouts, and virtually all of them put forward arguments that big-government should get bigger — research should get more funding, universities should get more money, welfare should be larger, the government should be managing the weather, the conversation, your light globes and what you read.

Try to find thinkers who argue for free markets, free speech, small government, fewer laws, greater efficiency and to stop meddling do-gooders from interfering in every aspect of your life. Good luck with that.


h/t’s  Chris Gillham, Ken Stewart, Todd, Geoff Chambers

* Message to believers: Please, bring out your best, invite your friends! I promise to publish any comment that disagrees with skeptics and doesn’t breach copyright or defamation laws, is relevant to the topic, not a repeat, and is posted by someone with a working email. We ask only civilized manners. Those with a pattern of dominating threads (>10%), hijacking threads, not answering questions, repetition, and who post ad hom fallacies will be asked to change their behaviour.

**Edit: the word “funded” by taxpayer dollars, replaced with “established“. As I explained later in the post the funding is now maintained mostly from universities — so a lot of the funding is still public funds “washed” through grants to universities and student enrollments. Can someone tell me what percentage of university funding ends up coming from the government? Judging from this page — of $11b total in funding for research, it’s all government bar business ($500m) Donations ($250m), Overseas ($372m) and Other Australian ($0.3m) = $1.1b. So university research is 90% government funded? But universities get students too. The bottom line of all funding from higher ed financial accounts suggests the total uni sector gets $32b of which students pay $9.1b, investment  $1.2b, consultancies $1.3b, other $1.8b and the rest appears to be govt. So the govt pays $18.5b which means 57% is government funded?So I get a figure of nearly 60% government funded. I’m not sure that’s right because accounting is not my thing. Do students repay all that debt or does the govt end up footing more of their bill?

 The Conversation partners include many unis, plus a couple of foundations, and include CSIRO (are they still funding it?), the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), and CSIROs data61. But  without actual numbers, who knows?

I think 60% indirectly government funded is a fair claim. And given that The Conversation is about research mostly, not students, then in some ways it leans closer to 90% government funded.

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“Climate deniers are immediate threat to our children” — Ranting, Tim Flannery admits his “colossal failure”

Like the death throes of a religion…

Tim Flannery, Denialists are a threat to our children, Predators.

I’d like to see the errors bars on that says Jo

Tim Flannery unhinged. What a rant. Apparently people who deny that Earth has a climate are coming to eat his children or something. It must be awful inside his head:

…the climate crisis has now grown so severe that the actions of the denialists have turned predatory: they are now an immediate threat to our children.

After all his predictions went wrong years ago, now he feels like a failure?

No climate report or warning, no political agreement nor technological innovation has altered the ever-upward trajectory of the pollution. This simple fact forces me to look back on my 20 years of climate activism as a colossal failure.

I say, not at all Tim. You were paid to sell carbon credits and industrial renewables and I’m sure Panasonic are very happy.

Flannery and his institutions may never have been funded by Vestas, GE,  HSBCDeutche Bank, Goldman Sachs, BBVA and Citigroup  or Communist China but they’re happy too. I mean they’d like to be happier still, but Flannery did his best. And a lot of feudal bureaucrats and desalination-plant-owners are also glad Flannery came to forecast the end of rain and scare the heck out of all the little kiddies and state premiers.

But Flannery still thinks that his side’s aim was to reduce carbon dioxide, rather than just get rich or fill a spiritual vacuum. No wonder he’s hysterical. It’s kind of touching how he doesn’t realize his backers, patrons and fans were never serious about carbon reduction — they just wanted a job, the dough, or an invite to dinner parties in the right circles. If any of them cared about the climate, they would have demanded nukes.

Sitting at 100% on the screaming dial of doom:

In this age of rapidly melting glaciersterrifying megafires and ever more puissant hurricanes, of acidifying and rising oceans, it is hard to believe that any further prod to climate action is needed.

Mass deaths are predicted to result from, among other causes, disease outbreaksair pollutionmalnutrition and starvationheatwaves, and suicide.

How could he forget the endless droughts and hordes of locusts? (Perhaps Prof Andy Pitman finally explained that droughts were never part of the deal anyhow?).

Tim-Not-an-Economist-Flannery thinks coal need subsidies:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to sing the praises of coal, while members of the government call for subsidies for coal-fired power plants.

When what coal power really needs is for us to get rid of renewables subsidies.

Time for fury, anger and rebellion?

Here’s comes the means-to-an-ends excuses:

How should Australia’s parents deal with those who labour so joyously to create a world in which a large portion of humanity will perish? As I have become ever more furious at the polluters and denialists, I have come to understand they are threatening my children’s well-being as much as anyone who might seek to harm a child.

In the past, many of us have tolerated such pronouncements as the utterings of idiots — in the true, original Greek meaning of the word as one interested only in their own business.

Words have not cut through. Is rebellion the only option?

So he quotes the Extinction Rebellion Declaration of something which says essentially: Democracy is dead and “We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void.”

Yes, indeed, voided perhaps when Flannery has paid back the Australian taxpayer for his past salary plus damages (anyone want to buy a desal plant?)

h/t David-of-Cooyal

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Most people in the West are still skeptics of climate change and the IPCC position

A large Yougov Climate Change survey has questioned about 1,000 people in 30 different countries. Despite being loaded and biased towards the IPCC religious position, and despite 30 years of non-stop propaganda, most of the population in major western countries are not obedient believers in the IPCC message.

h/t GWPF

Who do this half of the population vote for? Which mainstream major party even says humans are only partly responsible?

If political parties represented the voters, one of the two major  parties in every country would be willing to say “the IPCC exaggerates the problem”. Only the USA (at the moment) has a leader that doesn’t repeat the IPCC line, even though many Republicans still do. In most western nations both sides of politics are competing for the 40 – 50% of the population that thinks humans are mainly responsible. As Donald Trump, Tony Abbott, Doug Ford and Jason Kenny show, most voters are easily inspired to vote against the climate dogma.

These numbers are typical of bigger and better studies over the years. Though the UK figure shows more believers than an ITV Newrs poll in 2014 showed. (Fully 62% of the UK were skeptical then and may still be if they were asked in a decent survey.)

Yougov, climate change survey, 2019,graph, USA.

Yougov, climate change survey, 2019,graph, USA.

I’ve included “don’t knows” as skeptical simply because saying “don’t know” in a loaded survey, and after all these years of repetition of the politically correct line is very much a skeptical position. Who could claim they hadn’t heard the IPCC position when it’s now taught in schools? So the “don’t knows” are people who could’ve said they believed the IPCC but chose not too. Because anyone who doubts climate change is called ugly names — where’s the tolerance for diversity — we can also be sure that a percentage of people saying they agree with the IPCC are feeling badgered into it.

Yougov, climate change survey, 2019,graph, USA.

Yougov, climate change survey, 2019,graph, Australia.

Yougov, climate change survey, 2019,graph, USA.

Yougov, climate change survey, 2019,graph, UK.


How loaded are these questions?

Which of the following comes closest to your view?

It’s already too late to avoid the worst effects?
We are still able to avoid the worst…
We will be able to avoid the worst if we broadly carry on with the steps being taken.
Don’t know?

 Or how about the options they didn’t ask, and don’t want to hear?

Action to change the climate is mostly a waste of time and money

Action to change the climate is a deadly burden on good people that costs lives and livelihoods?

So when critics turn up to ask why the “don’t knows” are included as skeptics, my answer is that the survey was loaded and biased and largely maximized the number of believers.  Does anyone really think that the respondents would answer the same way if they’d also been offered realistic choices?

“Climate Change” is still a useless ambiguous phrase to design a survey around

Anyone who was really interested in knowing what people think would not use the term “climate change” because it intrinsically means natural change as well as man-made change, and they don’t specify.

Yougov, survey, 2019, Graph, countries, climate change.


So take it all with a grain of salt, but I am heartened to see our Scandinavian friends have a lot of skeptical brains and are often the least likely to “believe”.

Keep reading  →

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Greens “science” means calling you names and telling you to shut up

Climate change is a religion, collage.The Greens religious beliefs are so fragile that they have to defend their science by stamping out any discussion at all. You either believe in their God or you are a despicable child killer denying that the Earth is round. How many senators will fall for this naked bullying? The Greens realize that their fantasy belief that windmills and solar panels control storms and hold back the tide, will fall apart under the most gentle of questioning. So they have to stop every question.

Reverend Adam Bandt thinks climate sensitivity is a yes no question, and that if man landed on the moon therefore upper tropospheric water-vapor feedbacks are positive and dangerous even though 28 million radiosondes say otherwise.

This is a dummy-spit of kindergarden proportions. Which of our elected leaders will call them out, or are they all so underconfident in their scientific knowledge that they are too afraid to admit moon landings and cloud microphysics are actually different topics, and that “yes” and “no” are not numbers?

Greens equate climate denial to conspiracy

Matt Couglan and Rebecca Gredley, AAP

The Australian Greens will urge the Senate to put the denial that burning coal has an impact on climate change, on par with some of the world’s wackiest conspiracy theories.

Party leader Richard Di Natale will move a motion on Monday noting that the upper house accepts humans first landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and that the earth is round.

The motion also calls for the upper house to accept that burning thermal coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change, in a move designed to compare denial with conspiracy thinking.

Bandt wants legislation that ensures any Green-religionist can take a day off work to worship windmills in mass gatherings called “strikes”.

The “Conspiracy” insult is inane. It’s just the Greens destroying our language once again. Some conspiracies are real, and climate science has nothing to do with it either way. It’s as if the Greens are suggesting that no two humans ever conspire to rip people off, and the word must now be removed from English.

In 1475, the term “denial” was first used, and it meant to deny God.

Some things never change and good but weak people fall for these stone-age tricks every time.

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Weekend Unthreaded

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Fires in August in 1951 in Queensland were described as “catastrophic” when CO2 was 311ppm

 The Bushfire season started in August in 1951 in Queensland

In 1946 in August “Mt Archer, in the Kilcoy district, was a 1500 ft torch tonight”. The 1951 fires did £2m of damage, and within three years the people of Queensland responded by creating six times as many fire teams and more firebreaks. One farmer put in 500 miles of firebreaks on his own property.

Since then humans have put out 85% of all the CO2 emissions we have ever put out, showing that cutting our emissions by 85% (in reality, even going wildly negative to get back to 311ppm) won’t stop fires in August in Queensland.

We don’t have a climate emergency, we have a history emergency. It’s like hundreds of years and the effort of thousands of people just doesn’t exist.


The outbreaks hare been the worst for years.
The fire risk is being maintained by westerly winds and the tinder-dry nature of the land.

Flames are laping 60 ft high and whirlwinds carrying blazing foliage and grass often 200 ft. high, are spreading the fire…

After the savage fires of 1951, Queenslanders formed hundreds of volunteer bushfire groups, cleared firebreaks, and it was simply understood that fires were coming, and could occur anytime after August.

1954:   State Facing Worst years for Bushfires

“The bushfires of 1951 were the board’s worst on record, with losses totalling more than £2,000,000. Mr. Healy said an outbreak of bushfires this year was so certain that it was just a question of when. There had been two recently in the Monto district, but they had soon been brought under control. Most risky time would be after August, with October possibly the worst month.?” -–  Warwick Daily News, Tuesday 15th June 1954

In 1951, there were only 50 volunteer bushfire brigades, but by 1954 in Queensland there were 300.

“One grazier in the Barcaldine district had made 500 miles of fire lines on the one property.”
Bushfire, Queensland, 1951, News


Out in Longreach, fires were so common, the fire season ran all year, but was reduced in winter.

12 May 1953: Trove: Winter lessens Bushfire Risk – May 12 1953

With the beginning of winter, the bushfire risk had lessened and no serious outbreaks were expected until August-September, Mr T. Pyae, manager Of Dalgety’s…

 In 1946 in August, hundreds of square miles of drought and flames

Bushfires sweep SE Queensland

Bushfires sweep SE Queensland

BRISBANE, August 14. -
Hundreds of square miles of
drought-stricken South-east
ern Queensland were aflame
tonight. From Bundaberg to
the border bushfires, driven
by south-westerly winds,
were menacing homesteads,
stations, property, stock, and
army buildings and destroy-
ing the last remnants of win-
ter feed.

And back in 1935, a pall of smoke ranged over Brisbane

The city and suburbs were again overcast with a pall of smoke from bush fires continuing to burn on he ranges surrounding Brisbane.  – 6 Aug 1935: Trove: Courier Mail Brisbane

Bushfire, Queensland, 1951, News

Thanks to Graham Dunton and Pat for finding these stories.


Several bush fires on the North Coast have threatened farms, and in some cases caused damage… -  August 6, 1935

A bush fire which started on Noora homestead after a goods train passed through burned out between 15,000 and 20,000 acres in the district… — Aug 6, 1935

Bush fires in the Mulgowie district during the week-end did much damage, and it is estimated that more than 1000 acres of grass was destroyed. … — Aug 6, 1935

Meanwhile this week in 2019 the ABC and Queensland fire and emergency services are telling us that the fire seasons are starting earlier.

28 Aug: ABC: Queensland bushfire season expected to last longer, authorities warn
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche said Queensland had already started its fire season, with several fires coming close to homes and killing wildlife in the south-east last week.
“The bushfire season has started early and we expect it will go later as well,” he said…

9 Sept: MyPoliceQld: Fire investigation, Lakes Creek
Following investigations into a fire in the Mount Archer area, police commenced proceedings by way of a Notice to Appear against a 63-year-old Lakes Creek man for the offence of Light Unauthorised Fire under the provisions of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990.
Around 1.45pm yesterday a member of the public called Triple Zero after seeing a man acting suspiciously in the area.
It will be alleged that the man was conducting his own backburning operations without a permit – and the fire subsequently spread from Lakes Creek to Mount Archer…
The man is scheduled to appear at the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on 8 October 2019.


And some at the ABC chose to talk up the fires, but not mention the arson which was already well known by 11 Sept: ABC The World Today: Residents return home to Peregian Beach as bushfire threat eases By Rachel Mealey on The World Today. 

Just sayin’…

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Ecological Grief – when scientists think they need therapy, but what they really need is debate

Once upon a time, scientists had colleagues that brought them back to earth. Then sensible scientists were sacked and the only people left in the department were the hyperbolic dramatists. Is it any wonder that what’s left of university departments thinks they need  therapy? Every time one of them hits the panic button they all panic together.

‘Ecological grief’ grips scientists witnessing Great Barrier Reef’s decline

Barnes, who is still analysing her results, was surprised that many of the scientists whom she interviewed felt intense grief and sadness about the reef’s deterioration. Nature has also spoken to several coral-reef scientists not involved in Barnes’s study who echo those sentiments.

“I now feel much more hopeless, and there’s a deeper anxiety breaking through,” says John Pandolfi, a marine ecologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

David Suggett, a coral physiologist at the University of Technology Sydney. “Nothing can prepare you for seeing it play out in real time,” he says.

Nothing can prepare you — unless of course a wiser older colleague reminds you when it all happened before. “No biggie.”

Suggett says that he finds it difficult to set his emotions aside about the reef’s condition when talking to the public. He worries that if he shows his feelings, then people will accuse him of being biased. “It’s very challenging for researchers to maintain the appearance of being objective while showing that they care about the ecosystems they’re working on,” Suggett says. He thinks a lack of support networks for scientists struggling with the emotional effects of their work could also lead to feelings of isolation.

Dear Dr Suggett — why maintain the appearance of objectivity when you could maintain objectivity instead? We can show we care about the ecosystems by studying them better — by listening to opponents, debating it freely and tossing out cherished assumptions.

Scientists don’t need a therapy group — they need a debate.

Keep reading  →

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SSW, Sudden Stratospheric Warming hitting a record over Antarctica, Ozone hole almost gone already?

Two days ago over the Antarctic the SSW or Sudden Stratospheric Warming was still running strong up at 10 hPa or around 30 km high.

NIWA claim it may be the strongest SSW seen in the Southern Hemisphere ever (which means the last 50 years).

Temperatures in the  green circle marked in the centre were 11C, instead of minus 40 to minus 60C. As we mentioned before, this is extremely rare, and the likely implications are that sometime in the next few weeks a cold beast will hit somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, but no one really knows where. The Australian BOM are rather bravely predicting a warmer less rainy spring for NSW and QLD. (See below).

If only we really understood the major drivers of our climate we might have predicted this more than a few weeks in advance. Perhaps it is caused by some of those solar factors that the big GCM’s completely ignore?

From Nullschool:

SSW, STratospheric Sudden Warming, Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica.

Stratospheric Sudden Warming, Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica.

Two years ago, same time, we see a single large polar jetstream at 10hPA and temperatures of around minus 40C in the warmest part and minus 60 elsewhere in the jetstream. These normal winds flow in a westerly direction at around 200km an hour especially in spring.

SSW, Stratosphere, Temperature, Antarctica, Southern Hemisphere. Nullschool.

More normal stratospheric pattern over Antarctica in 2017

There are hardly any news reports on this in Australia, indeed it’s even hard to find twitter discussion:  #SSW

Predictions for the Australian weather from The Conversation on Sept 5th.

Impacts from this stratospheric warming are likely to reach Earth’s surface in the next month and possibly extend through to January.

Apart from warming the Antarctic region, the most notable effect will be a shift of the Southern Ocean westerly winds towards the Equator.

For regions directly in the path of the strongest westerlies, which includes western Tasmania, New Zealand’s South Island, and Patagonia in South America, this generally results in more storminess and rainfall, and colder temperatures.

But for subtropical Australia, which largely sits north of the main belt of westerlies, the shift results in reduced rainfall, clearer skies, and warmer temperatures.

Past stratospheric warming events and associated wind changes have had their strongest effects in NSW and southern Queensland, where springtime temperatures increased, rainfall decreased and heatwaves and fire risk rose.

The influence of the stratospheric warming has been captured by the Bureau’s climate outlooks, along with the influence of other major climate drivers such as the current positive Indian Ocean Dipole, leading to a hot and dry outlook for spring.

 The peak was expected a couple of weeks ago, but apparently the peak moved and was repredicted to be yesterday at 17C.

 Ozone hole headed for zero (as in “solved”)

During the SSW the ozone hole shrinks and repairs itself even faster than usual. Normally the ozone hole grows and peaks in October. But right now it is already vanishing as the winds up high turn back on themselves. At least half the Stratospheric jet stream — especially over the Australian side appears to be flowing from the East instead of the West.  Twitter #Ozonehole

From the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Program:

Ozone hole, southern hemisphere.

Must be the CFC-Free bug spray….

Sudden warming in the high stratosphere,
In winter, in the Northern Hemisphere,
Is a forcing, it seems,
On its lower jet streams,
And a sign that a cold blast is near.


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Burn Money: wind farms in Tas and Vic are “correlated” — all useless at the same time

How to make electricity more expensive: build 1,000MW of random generation which needs expensive back up and an undersea cable too.

Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly noticed that the team selling the new “largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere” on Robbins Island are claiming it will help stabilize the supply of intermittent power in Australia. Instead it’s likely to do the opposite. This is the same 1GW wind farm that even Bob Brown, former Greens leader, doesn’t want. An eagle-chopping eyesore.

UPC Renewables are claiming the correlation between the Tasmanian Robbins Island output is “very low” compared to the wind farms in Victoria. It would be nice if only it were true. Instead they apparently got their r mixed up with their r2 — and incorrectly claim the correlation is low when actually its dangerously high. I say “dangerous” because it’s a danger to the NEM — the national grid. The last thing we need is 1,000MW of useless extra energy that arrives when all the other useless energy arrives — exacerbating the ups and downs — driving the efficient baseload providers out of business even faster, and leaving the nation with an expensive headache and sitting on a knife edge of frequency hell.

And there’s no point (or any profit) without a second undersea interconnector, so who’s paying that bill? It’s being sold to the taxpayer as a necessary bit of infrastructure for the forced transition (that we didn’t need in the first place). All so UPC investors can make money.




Tasmania – Australia’s offshore wind farm?

Guest post by Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly

Is it possible that Tasmania could become Australia’s offshore wind farm? A proposal by UPC Renewables[1] [1] an international developer of wind farms, suggests that a 1000 MW wind farm could play on important role in moderating the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable resources.

UPC wants to construct what would be one of the largest wind farms in the world on Robbins Island, near Cape Grim in northwest Tasmania. There are two wind farms in the north of Tasmania that are part of the Australian Energy Market (AEM). These are Woolnorth to the west and Musselroe to the east. These and the proposed site on Robbins Island are shown in Figure 1 with the Victorian wind farm at Bald Hills, the closest mainland wind farm to Tasmania and along with the Basslink connection that joins the Tasmania grid to the grid in Victoria.


Wind farm, Tasmania, Robbins Island. Map.

Figure 1: Layout of operating and proposed wind farms in Tasmania, along with Basslink and Bald Hills in Victoria.


At present Tasmania with hydropower, wind farms and the Basslink connection has enough energy available for its own needs and is also able to supply surplus energy to Victoria as Basslink has a capacity of 400 MW, and for short periods of up to 4 hours, 630 MW. However adding 1000 MW potential of the new wind farm will require not only a transmission line from Robbins Island to the Basslink terminal near Launceston but also an additional 500 MW link to Victoria.

The key question is what will these connectors cost for the consumers and taxpayers?

However before discussing this, an independent assessment of the benefits, and also, any potential risks, of the proposed new wind farm, needs to be made.

In their submission, UPC Renewables provides an analysis that states:

UPC has done its own analysis of 5 minute NEM data for 2017 which demonstrates that the correlation between operating Victorian and Tasmanian wind farms is very low (i.e. R- Squares below 0.2 in most cases — refer Table 3 appended See Figure 2 below). This points to the value of development in geographical diverse locations to minimize coincidently high or low output and hence avoid the issues that coincident generation or lack thereof brings.”

The key point in the above quote is the use of the term “correlation”. A correlation coefficient ranges from +1 to -1 or 100% to -100%. The UPC quote above and their table quoted there refers tothe correlation coefficient as “R-Squares”, or “r2“. How or where does this r-squared term arise? The question arises because “R-Squares” is not a term in normal usage as a correlation coefficient[2].
A second point about looking at correlations among the outputs of these wind farms is that the energy generated as a function of time needs to be examined in detail as there may well be low correlations but nonetheless swings in energy output of any of the wind farms, even large swings, may occur, being not necessarily made apparent by the correlation analysis alone.


Robbins Wind farm, Tasmania, Musselroe, Bald Hills,

Figure 2: Extract from Table 3 appended to the UFC document. The table shows correlation values for the wind farms shown in Figure 1.and the average values for the 35 wind farms examined.

Given that there are ambiguities arising from the form of the UPC renewables statement as per the quote above, the rule in any such potential for confusion is: look at the data.

Correlations among selected Wind Farm outputs

 The 5 minute NEM data for 2017 has been obtained from the AEMO website and Figure 3 shows the 5 minute variations for the month of July 2017 for Woolnorth and Bald Hills. Figure 4 shows Woolnorth and Musselroe. These wind farms are about 250 km apart from each other.


Wind farm, graph, Woolnorth, Bald hills, 2019.

Figure 3: 5 minute variations for the month of July 2017 for Woolnorth and Bald Hills.


Wind farm, Graph, Woolnorth, Musselroe output.

Figure 4: 5 minute variations for the month of July 2017 for Woolnorth and Musselroe.


The correlation coefficient for Woolnorth against Bald Hills is 57 +/-  1 % and the value for Woolnorth against Musselroe is 54 +/- 1%. The error is so small as there are between 8,000 and 9,000 5 minute values for each wind farm.

But if you square these July correlation coefficients you get 32% for Woolnorth against Bald Hills and 29% for Woolnorth against Musselroe !

The full analysis of the 5 minute data is given in Table 1. The UPC quoted values are the squares of the correlation coefficients.

Table 1 Comparison of correlations coefficients

Month 2017

Woolnorth Bald Hills 2017

Woolnorth Musselroe



Bald Hills Musselroe





















































Year 2017







UPC r2 value




UPC r value





Should this usage be in fact what UPC Renewables has chosen to offer in their presentation of the apparent correlations in wind farm output? It does pose one potential disadvantage for the case that they are presenting. The squaring of the correlation coefficient, remembering that the real, non-squared, value is across a range [-1, +1]), has the apparent advantage that, indeed, it results in a smaller numerical value An example from the table above gives the real value of the correlation coefficient (the bottom row of the table) is 57% or 0.57. Squaring this yields the value of 0.325, apparently a low value for the “correlation”. However, a possible value of -0.57, would have been much more supportive of the argument that UPC Renewables is trying to advance, then squaring this latter value to get +0.325.

However, the actual data show no negative correlations for the full year of 2017 (Figure 5).

Victorian wind power, output, June 2019, Graph.

Figure 5:  Full year correlations of Woolnorth against all other wind farms for 2017


In the event, the fact remains that the correlation is positive, and is significantly higher overall than the UPC Renewables paper would seem to suggest.

So what performance might be expected from this new wind farm?

Robbins Island is some 25 km from and immediately to the east of the Woolnorth wind farm so its performance should be similar. As an example, in South Australia, two wind farms, whose latitude and longitude data are separately published, North Brown Hill and Hallett 2, are 35 km apart and their correlation coefficient for the year 2017 is 85%. That is, their respective outputs are seen to track each other fairly closely. Therefore, given that the proposed Robbins Island wind farm would be even closer to Woolnorth than the 35 km that separates these two South Australian wind farms, it can be expected that, if anything, the output of the proposed Robbins Island wind farm would track that of Woolnorth even more closely.

So it is possible to model the Robbins Island contribution to Victorian wind farm supply by scaling both Woolnorth and Musselroe to 1000 MW as the behaviour of the Robbins Island wind farm. Table 2 show the contributions increase the intermittency. Figure 6 is an example of potential Victorian wind farms correlation to Robbins Island from Woolnorth scaled to 1000 MW.

Table 2: Victorian wind farm performance with added supply from Robbins Island

Wind farms

Correlation with Victoria

Capacity including “Robbins Island”

Annual average MW

Capacity factor

Mean 5 minute changes MW

% of changes over 100 MW

Maximum change MW


























Victoria, Robbins Island, correlation, wind output, graph, 2019.

Figure 6: 5 minute variations for the month of July 2017 for Victorian wind farms and Robbins Island scaling the performance of the Woolnorth wind farm to 1000 MW

Extent of the swings in total wind farm output

What has become a clear issue in the deployment of so much in the way of the ever-increasing proportion of the total installed capacity of both wind farms and solar PV installations is both the inherent intermittency of these forms of generation, and their virtually complete lack of a contribution to that all-important component of generation, system inertia, that is so important to the grid’s ability to deal with the stress of unexpected transients, such as that due to lightning strikes, loss of generation and bushfires passing under major transmission lines.[3]

One of the tasks required of the professional engineer in developing any proposal is the requirement to properly examine any and all likely worst-case scenarios.

The determination of a correlation index as performed by UPC Renewables does not address the matter of volatility in any way whatsoever. That volatility in the output of wind farms is clearly a concern can be seen by an examination of the total wind farm output on the Eastern Australian grid for virtually any month of the year. That for June 2019 is reproduced as Figure 7 below as a typical example.


Wind energy production, June, 2019, Australian, NEM, graph.

Figure 7 Total Wind Farm output of all AEMO-registered wind farms on the Eastern Australian grid for the month of June 2019[4]

The figure shows numerous occasions where deep minima in the output occur. Remember, this is the output of the total wind farm fleet. This also raises doubts about the UPC correlation analysis as recorded wind output varies by a factor of 10.

Clearly, if this supply were the only source of generation, then multiple grid-wide blackouts would have occurred during this month of June 2019 alone.

We need to keep very firmly in mind that supply and demand on the grid must be maintained in second-by-second balance. If the balance is not maintained 24/7, grid collapse, (the technical term for widespread blackouts), very quickly follows.

Now, let’s talk about the acceptability or otherwise of grid-wide blackouts. Remembering that a grid-wide blackout that lasts even a few hours can have catastrophic and even tragic consequences, and also remembering that the required “black start” after a grid-wide collapse may take several days to enable restoration of power, clearly a grid-wide failure occurring at any time is totally unacceptable. That this is so was a message brought home loudly and clearly to the British authorities after the occurrence of a widespread, very disruptive blackout on Friday, 10 August last. See, for example, the coverage in the Daily Mail.[5]

We may safely conclude then, that a grid-wide blackout, at a frequency of even just one in every ten years, is totally unacceptable.

So, what does the possibility of grid-wide blackouts have to do with the choice of whether or not to build a great, big, new wind farm, in northern Tasmania, the largest so far to be installed in Australia?

The clue can be found in an examination of either or both of the outputs of the Woolnorth and Musselroe wind farms shown in Figure 4. Each exhibits swings in output across the full range of its capacity, Woolnorth’s for example varying from zero to near its full installed capacity of 140 MW and back, and similarly Musselroe varying over its full capacity from zero to 168 MW. Furthermore, figure 4 shows that both wind farms vary in their output over their full range very frequently, if seemingly chaotically and frequently the swings over their full range occur quite rapidly. What is interesting is that the higher capacity factors demonstrated in the Tasmanian wind farms simply results in power excursions over the full installed capacity rather more frequently than might occur in lower capacity factor wind farms of mainland Australia. Maintaining control over the grid is a challenge where such uncontrolled variations are occurring, particularly where multiple generators are involved.

We can be quite certain then that should the Robbins Island facility be built then the grid operator will have to deal with an additional wildly swinging input varying from zero to 1000 MW and back, virtually fully correlated with the wild swings of the Woolnorth (and Bald Hills) wind farm. Without the building of a new 1000 MW gas-fired power station purpose built to back up this new wind farm, continued control of the Eastern Australian grid would be hugely challenging, if not impossible, to achieve.



Our analysis of the correlations among the various wind farms shows that the proposed wind farm at Robbins Island would add a very large additional highly variable, intermittent, supply that is positively correlated with the existing wind farm supply. As a result, any wind farm built at the Robbins Island location will merely add a large chunk of additional instability to what is an already increasingly unstable Eastern Australian grid. This instability is due to the inherent intermittency in the output of all wind farms and solar PV installations. As with all these other intermittent sources of generation, any such wind farm will also fail to provide the very necessary synchronous inertia provided by conventional dispatchable plant, inertia that protects the grid from the sudden shocks induced by such events as already mentioned. This second shortcoming is of concern if the Robbins Island wind farm is considered to be some sort of replacement for any coal-fired power station, to which UPC Renewables allude in their submission.

The sheer scale of the installed capacity of this proposal then should give cause for grave concerns for the continued operational stability of the Eastern Australian grid should it proceed.

Furthermore, our analysis shows that any suggestion that the building of wind farms at other sites in Tasmania would contribute the desirable output negatively correlated with that from wind farms in mainland Australia would require rigorous analysis before any confidence could be given to any such claim.

The development of the Robbins Island wind farm comes in two parts. The first stage of the farm would be a 500 MW installation. A transmission line would be needed to deliver the electricity to the Basslink station near Launceston. The second stage would add a further 500 MW and would require a second Basslink cable.

The impact would be experienced in Victoria as the wind farm output under the RET scheme has entry at zero bid price so receives the price set from the bid stack along with REC payment. Victoria already has some 4,000 MW of proposed or approved wind farms that will come into operation over the next five years. A further 1,000 MW will simply add to an already overloaded renewable intermittent energy supply.

This development by a supplier outside Victoria where there are limited interconnectors to other states shows that there is no effective planning for the development of electricity supply on a national scale.



[1^] The UPS Renewables submission may be found at:

[2^]Correlations   That a term such as “R-Squares” is not commonly used as a correlation coefficient can quickly be ascertained by reference to any standard text on statistics. A website such as: that discusses statistics in a very general fashion allows the reader to quickly determine what are the standard formulae and standard procedures.

[3^]  Past analysis: Miskelly A & Quirk T 2010, ” Wind Farming in South East Australia”, Energy & Environment Vol 21, Vol 20 Number 8 – Vol 21 Number 1 / December 2009 – January 2010. Available at:

Miskelly P 2012, “Wind Farms in eastern Australia – Recent Lessons”, Energy & Environment Vol 23 No 8 December 2012. Available at:

[4^] Courtesy Andrew Miskelly, from:

[5^] Daily Mail at:

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It’s a Science Emergency: How many fires can Australia stop with solar panels and windfarms?

As some fires rage, parts of the nation are gripped with witchcraft.

What to do about wildfires?

Skeptics think we should stop firestorms by reducing fuel loads, and clearing firebreaks. Unskeptical scientists on the other hand are talking about going vegan, swapping light globes, installing windmills and photovoltaic panels and of course…. planting more trees. Oh the dilemma? Should we stop fires with firebreaks or wave some solar panels? Yea, verily, let’s control fires on Mt Tamborine by cooling the world?  Hail Mary and line up the wind towers to face north at the equinox!

Joelle Gergis has a PhD in climate science, yet even she apparently believes that these fires are caused by coal plants, and could have been prevented if only we installed enough solar panels. It says a lot about what a PhD is worth these days. It also says a lot about the Australian National University, and all of it is sad.

Gergis, in particular, is not the only one, but she is all “moss drenched” hype and marketing, no caveats, no qualifiers, and no error bars.

I never thought I’d see the Australian rainforest burning. What will it take for us to wake up to the climate crisis?

– Joelle Gergis, The Guardian

What will it take for us to wake up to the Science Crisis? Somehow it had never occurred to her that rainforests can burn. What are our universities teaching?

Five kilometers away from the Binna Burra disastrous fires is Numinbah, where there is no trend at all in rainfall

This is the reality of climate change:

Numinbah rainfall, graph, Bureau of Meteorology.


The only trend that’s meaningful in fires is that 67 years of fire management in the hot, dry state of WA shows the more prescribed area we burn, the less wildfire does.

As the Bushfirefront team says — high fuel loads make unstoppable fires:

Fires on hot windy summer days in long unburnt forests simply cannot be put out by humans, no matter how many, how courageous and how hard they work and how good their technology. Even under relatively mild conditions, the intensity of fires burning in fuels over about 10 tonnes per hectare is simply too great to allow them to be attacked successfully. The 2007 Victorian fires demonstrated that the entire firefighting resources of Australia, plus international assistance from NZ, Canada and the USA, were inadequate.

Let’s see that data again. After terrible fires of 1961, prescribed burns were ramped up dramatically, and wildfires were almost non-existent for the next twenty years in WA.

Prescribed fire reduction, South West WA.

As prescribed fire reduction declined, Wildfires increased in South West Australia.

In Australia we can either have man made fires or natural catastrophes. Cool burns, or uncontrollable firestorms.


Other fires are burning on the Sunshine Coast and there are no trends in rainfall there either

Rainfall data from Nambour Bowls Club from 1900 – 2015 and then at Palmwoods shows no correlation with the rise of man-made CO2.

Rainfall record, Bureau of Meteorology, Nambour Bowling Club, Sunshine coast, graph.


See the rainfall in Mapleton Post Office

Rainfall record, Bureau of Meteorology, Nambour Bowling Club, Sunshine coast, graph.


Here’s Joelle Gergis at The Guardian joining fantasy clouds of cause and effect in vague prophet-speak:

Although there are natural seasonal fluctuations in the Indian and Southern Ocean that are influencing the dry and windy conditions we are currently experiencing, all of Australia’s weather and climate variability is now occurring in a world that is 1°C warmer than it was since pre-industrial times.

If that one degree is a magical switch why was the worst fire in Australia in 1851?

The human fingerprint on Australian temperatures has been clearly detected since 1950. This means that all natural variability is now being modified by human influences on the climate system, leading to changes in observed climate variability and extremes.

What human fingerprint? The CCSP said it was the hot spot, but it didn’t exist?

Since the 1970s, there has been an increase in extreme fire weather, and a longer fire season, across large parts of the country.

She doesn’t mention the lack of any trends in drought or rainfall.

Gergis is “the modern” fortune teller, but just like fortune tellers have done for eons, she refers to mystical signs and plants suggestions with emotive allegory:

It’s clear to me that the extreme events we are experiencing right now in Australia and all over the world, are a sign of things to come. Events that were considered extreme in today’s climate will become average in the future as records continue to be broken and the “new normal” emerges.

What we expect to see in our future climate is playing out right now, not decades in the future. As we begin to drift away from the safe shores of historical variability, the only certainty is that life in the “new normal” will be outside the range of human experience.

The same questions need to be asked of the ARC (Australian Research Council) — they continue to fund Gergis (and many others who apparently agree with her). Let’s go right up the chain, The Minister of Science needs to explain how taxpayers are benefiting from funding profoundly unscientific work.

It’s time the ABC explained why it does not ask its own science unit to look at the basic important data on climate change, and ask scientists like Gergis, her Director, the university, the ARC and the minister even one hard question.

We don’t need to do a sophisticated analysis here, just the basics, obvious to anyone able to read.

    1. Fires are worsened by drought, temperature, fuel-loads, wind speed, wind direction, lightning and arson. Globally there has been no change in droughts for 60 years, and climate models — can’t predict rainfall or droughts, exaggerated temperature trends, and got wind speeds wrong. Wind speeds have been slowing — which ought to make fires slower too. The only way CO2 emissions make fires worse is through fertilizing extra growth and increasing fuel loads. This is the one factor none of the unskeptical scientists will mention.
    2. Theoretically there is not even a reason CO2 emissions cause droughts. Professor Andy Pitman says that “a priori” CO2 emissions are not linked to droughts. Warmer worlds are also more humid worlds, with slightly higher rainfall (on average).
    3. Rainfall patterns inland on the Gold Coast, in Brisbane and on the sunshine coast show no correlation with CO2 emissions. There is no trend.
    4. Anyone who questions the magic spell is called a “Denier”. Obviously, the scientific case is so pathetically weak it must be guarded by name-calling.


See the rainfall in Brisbane back to 1840

From the Brisbane Regional Office, and then Alderley six kilometers away.  A very long record and no correlation with CO2.


Rainfall record, Bureau of Meteorology, Nambour Bowling Club, Sunshine coast, graph.


Which part of recent rainfall do we blame on climate change?


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Cost of Living is biggest concern among Australian voters on both sides of politics

What’s the polar opposite topic to climate change? Probably “cost of living”.

The latest Newspoll shows that the Coalition has far more to gain from addressing cost of living instead of “climate change”.  Labor voters are even more focused on cost of living than conservatives — which means there are a lot of Labor voters who can be potentially won over to the conservative side if the Liberal-National government plays the cost of living card against climate change and shows they are the team to get costs lower.

As far as conservative voters go, Climate Change ranked 5th as an issue. For every vote the Libs lose by aggressively tackling this — they stand to win far more. Furthermore, of the one in ten voters who are “conservative” and concerned about climate change, how many will dump the concern if we finally get some real debate in Australia? If one major party starts to talk about how futile and expensive it is to change the global climate these numbers will swing.

The Australian

poll, Australia, political prioritites, Sept 2019


The cost of living is now the greatest concern for voters, with a ­majority claiming it should be the federal government’s top priority.

Amid high energy prices and stagnant private sector wage growth, an exclusive Newspoll commissioned by The Australian shows 37 per cent of voters named cost of living as the most important issue, with 19 per cent citing economic management.

We can’t have both a low cost of living and a forced renewables transition. The Coalition could wedge Labor on this if they dared face the name-calling bullies.

The Newspoll is the third to be conducted since the election and surveyed 1661 voters across city and country areas from September 5 to 7.

It involved 956 online surveys and 705 robo interviews with a margin of error plus or minus of 2.4 per cent.

Both parties pander to the namecallers, and debate is practically non-existent in the Australian mainstream media, so this poll is “as good as it gets” for the unskeptical alarmists.

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