JoNova

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


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

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GoldNerds

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



Climate science hopelessly politicized. Geological Society of Australia gives up on making any statement

So much for the consensus.  In 2012 The Geological Society of Australia (GSA) was one of the few associations to make a slightly skeptical position on climate. For poking their heads above the parapet they’ve had years of headache and debate, and finally have issued a statement saying they have given up entirely on putting out any statement. The debate is so furious and divisive that no position could be agreed on. (I wonder exactly how many of their members are fans of climate models? Was this the work of just a few zealous believers?) I think I’ve hardly ever met a geologist who wasn’t somewhat skeptical.

The back story is that, like most science associations, in 2009 the GSA chanted the litany. (Their 2009 statement is here). They wrote that governments should take strong action to reduce CO2 and that meant paying geologists more to do research and sit on plum advisory committees. How predictable…

1. That strong action be taken at all levels, including government, industry, and individuals to substantially reduce the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions and to mitigate the likely social and environmental effects of increasing atmospheric CO2.

2. That Earth Scientists with appropriate expertise [...]

Abbott needs to be more pro-science and cut funding to models that don’t work

Look out, Australia might trim a tiny slice from the Tithe to the Gods of Weather (protest coming)

The Australian budget is in dire straits after the Rudd-Gillard years of promised surpluses but exploding arithmetic. The Commission of Audit is here to test public reaction to all the possible ways of paying off the Labor debt. Somehow, it missed the biggest cherry waiting to be plucked. We could save billions if the the Abbott Government become more rigorously scientific. Abbott should cut funding to any scientists who are using models that don’t work, and only fund ones that do.

“Abbott should cut funding to any scientists who are using models that don’t work, and only fund ones that do.”

I expect the Greens will join me in declaring that if the Abbott government cared about the environment it would immediately launch a royal commission, a real audit, or an independent investigation into the effect of carbon dioxide. Only the best science for the planet, right? All funding to environmental programs dependent on unverified research should be frozen until the audit is finished. Easy eh? Let me be PM for a day. :- )

But apparently the sacred carbon cow must not [...]

Cook’s 97% consensus is a case study of Agnotology – ignorance and misinformation

Agnotology is the study of how ignorance grows through repetition of misleading misinformation. You might never have heard of it, but it’s the perfect term for the climate science “debate”. Predictably its use began when those convinced of man-man global warming claimed fossil fuel groups were funding misinformation. But as per usual, unskeptical scientists opened a promising new front only to got burned by the evidence.

In the latest volley, from Legates et al 2013, John Cook’s “97% consensus” survey has become the case study in agnotology. Based on incorrect results, a flawed method, and a logical fallacy,  it kept key facts hidden while sloppily blending vague language into a form that is easily and actively misinterpreted. That it passed peer-review is another damning indictment of peer review.

Cook still refuses to provide about half the data, but the data that has been made public shows (after some digging) that a mere 41 papers out of 12,000 was called a 97% consensus. The trick is that Cook et al interchangeably use different definitions of consensus.

The Bait and Switch

The Bait: In the introduction Cook states that the reason for the paper is “to determine the level of scientific consensus that human [...]

Climate Institute Poll finds we are all stupid, confused. Gillard must sell The Carbon Pox better!

We know the answer is always that they are smart, and that if we don’t “get their vision” they just need to explain it better.

“Australians have limited understanding of climate change, Climate Institute finds”

A new survey by the Climate Institute on attitudes to climate change shows the majority are concerned for the environment, but confusion reigns supreme.

After years of vigorous and at times toxic debate, more than 1000 people surveyed gave an amazing array of answers …. Sixty-nine per cent thought humans were causing it. But when asked to explain the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing scheme, focus groups returned blank stares.

The reality is of course that climate scientists have a limited understanding of our climate, and that most Australians are suspicious that a tax can change the weather.

Try not to throw up reading the actual report: Climate of The Nation. For starters, the low contrast colors in baby blue and penitentiary-grey-brown are designed not to be read, but to be absorbed. The layout and feel is very much the style of a baby formula brochure. Bask in the “atmosphere” as you scan, but bring out your magnifying glass if you [...]

My reply to Dr Paul Bain — on rational deniers and gullible believers

UPDATE: Dr Paul Bain has replied to say that pressing work commitments mean he cannot respond to this until next week.  We look forward to that, and I will make sure it is available for readers here (should Dr Bain permit). – Jo

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Dear Dr Paul Bain,

Thank you for replying (and so promptly). I do sincerely appreciate it. Apologies for my tardiness.

I do still think I can help you with your research. Indeed, in more ways than you realize.

You describe in your  Bain et al letter in Nature, that the number of deniers is growing despite “enormous effort”. There is a policy problem. I absolutely agree. No one is having any success getting deniers to believe in anthropogenic climate change. Could it be that they don’t understand deniers at all?

Let’s go through the points in your email reply to me, then the bigger implications.

First and foremost – obviously you did not provide evidence to back up your assumption that the “existence” of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change  is real. That doesn’t mean it does not exist, but I’ll get back to this. It is the key and only real point.

Secondly, you may regret the [...]

ABC Biased. Scientist Matthew England, outrageous error or dishonest? Nick Minchin owed an apology

Bottom line: On Q&A Nick Minchin said the IPCC predictions were wrong. Matthew England said “Not true” their 1990 prediction was “very accurate”. But the IPCC predicted 0.3C per decade, and we got at most 0.18C per decade. (Forster and Rahmsdorf 2011 ) How is is “very accurate” when the result is below their lowest estimate?

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Oceanographer Matthew England owes Nick Minchin an apology. Will Tony Jones correct the record on Monday?

How strange is this debate where politicians know the science better than the “scientists”?

The ABC Q&A program shows they have no interest in pursing the truth on climate change. The panel was, as always designed to push an agenda. Five believers, with a sixth in the audience, faced two skeptics. No skeptical scientists were invited to attend, let alone sit in the front row with a mike, like England who was called in so the warmists could get the last word on the science without fear that a skeptic might disputing their version of events. We can’t allow people to damage the faith of those duped ABC viewers.

Nick Minchin claimed there is a major problem with the [...]

Carbon ship sinking: Barclays bank closes its carbon desk

Gillard once lauded the genius of the carbon market. That part of the “free” market which is free to move, is moving — and right out. The smart money is saying that carbon trading is a dead dog. It’s a has-been-tulip, a sick puppy, a sinking ship.

The future of global carbon trading is so “certain” that Barclays Bank is not even bothering to leave one part time guy in the US office with a post box, so they can pretend they still have an interest in it. The mood has so changed, they see an advantage in letting the world know they’re not wasting a single cent more on carbon trading in the United States of America. Well that made my day. .

“That is not good news for carbon-dioxide trading, especially not in the US,”

Barclays was the first UK bank to set up a carbon trading desk, and fast to move into carbon trading: “Barclays Capital is the most active player in the emissions trading market, having traded some 300 million tonnes as at February 2007″.

Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk In Latest Cap And Trade Setback

[...]

Blast Deniers into space eh?

Frustrated cult members know they can’t explain their faith to the rational. [See Grist]

They bombarded us with glossy brochures, with full feature documentaries, and awarded people on their team with Nobels for nothing. They spend billions of dollars of our government funds and investment monies, and, once upon a time, the full support of the EU, UK, US, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand governments, all the major financial houses of the world, and of course the supertanker of governments – the UN. They had 70% of the Western population convinced and a $144 billion dollar global trading scheme with all the patrons that engenders.

So now that it’s all going to rot and ruin, they have no ammo left. Their arsenal is reduced to namecalling and jokes that reveal the Christmas wish-list of the inner totalitarian.

Those with billions of dollars attack the mostly unpaid volunteers who are beating them. It’s emblematic that in this meeting of the “ruling class” where the joke is funny, the only people not represented in the audience of politicians and businessmen are the taxpaying citizens:

Our biggest problem is to deal with the skepticism and denial of the cult-like lemmings who would take [...]

Tallbloke’s computer seized, Jeff ID threatened in Climategate retaliation: It’s intimidation

BREAKING: As Jeff ID says, “The Empire Strikes Back”

Industrial wall in Donetsk, Ukraine. Photo: Борис У.

UPDATED: See Washington Examiner story below.

Tallbloke’s computers were confiscated by police today, allegedly in the search for the climategate leaker. But it’s obvious that there won’t be any clues left on Tallbloke’s computer (it would have no record of comments dropped onto wordpress.com, a US service). See Watts Up.

The point of this is not to catch the leaker, it’s to intimidate bloggers.

 Jeff ID writes:   Tallbloke a fellow recipient blog of the climategate emails, and linked on the right, was raided today in what seems to be a coordinated effort by Metropolitan Police, the Norfolk Constabulary and the Computer Crime division and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division.  His home was raided and computers were taken for ‘examination’.

They don’t really want to catch the leaker, because a whistleblower is protected by UK legislation. The proof that this is aimed at intimidating bloggers rather than catching the climategate leaker is the coordinated and pointless US dept of Justice action through wordpress. To wit:

Both Tallbloke and JeffID received “the following notification from the U.S. [...]

Enron called Kyoto “a victory for us” in 1997

Enron was jubilant when the Kyoto agreement was put forward

Here’s a legacy exhibit from the historical annals of How the Global Warming Scam Grew. You can see the cogs of the industrial machine picking up the “green theme”, becoming patrons of eco-legislation, and pouring money and influence into any big-government scheme that also promises them big profits. This is exactly the unholy alliance of Big-Finance with Big-Government that I described in the Climate Scare Machine Map. The email below documents one part of that self-fulfilling cycle where the taxpayers and citizens get screwed, corporates and politicians win, and the environment is irrelevant. The Greens ought be ashamed their naivety and ambition was so easily gamed by the real powers-behind-the-scenes.

Robert Bradley Jr. was working for Enron in 1998, and saw Enron lobbying for profits in the green sector. Bradley’s name was on the “to” list of this email below (perhaps with the wrong address because it did not arrive). He only saw the email when another man asked Bradley what he thought of it, and Bradley asked him to forward the message.

See Master Resource for the full email. Here are some key snippets.

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One lone East Anglia man stands up against poor practice. Where are the rest?

The other headline I could have used: Jo Nova and Watts Up graphs used in UEA lectures!

It doesn’t get much better than this. Imagine finding out your work helped to support a university course in a place right at the center of the dogma and unscientific reasoning you are working to expose? Well I’m chuffed.

Allan Kendall is a lecturer at the University of East Anglia (UEA) with principles and an open mind, who gave his students the whole story. I applaud his brave approach, he would have known he risked castigation and exile in his workplace, and that there would be little reward.

Curiously a small storm erupted  on Bishop Hill. Alan Kendall is defending UEA, saying that not everyone or every branch of research at UEA ought to be tarnished with the poor behaviour of the Climate Research Unit. And his behaviour rather proves his point, but many commenters at UEA are bagging him for expecting anyone to take UEA seriously, and in a sense they are right too. Therein lies the rub.

People of Kendall’s quality are either rare or silent at UEA. As long as the Chancellor of UEA continues to deny that it [...]

Pointman — A dead man’s hand detonator on hidden emails may protect ClimateGate whistleblower

In the high powered risky game of whistleblowing there are ways to make the the leaker a less attractive target.

Pointman analyzes the ClimateGate whistleblower’s tactics and explains why he, she or they probably released those other 200,000 emails but kept them hidden behind the 4000-8000 character almost unbreakable password. He points out there are no emails released yet between key scientists and people in power, hence the worst, most damaging emails may be kept under a ” dead man’s hand detonator”. If politicians are afraid of what might be in those released-but-hidden emails, they may not want to expose or attack the whistleblower for fear of unleashing the other emails. The hidden emails buy the whistleblower protection.

Jo

Some thoughts and some questions about the Climategate 2.0 release

Guestpost by Pointman

Two years ago, I did what can only be described as a highly speculative profile of the climategate leaker. You can find it here. I strongly suggest you read it now or you’ll have some difficulty following the rest of this piece. Reading it again in the light of what more can be deduced about them from the second release, it holds up surprisingly well. Where it [...]

Australia picks last possible moment to leap ONTO burning ship

Gillard — the Australian Prime Minister — got the timing perfectly wrong.

Within two weeks of the Carbon Tax finally becoming Law, it’s becoming hard not to notice that the whole Global Scam is fragmenting. This Carbon ship is on fire,  the lifeboats are leaving, the rats are jumping, and the Australian team just turned up with the family jewels. Their policies are “take no prisoners” and “bring no life jackets”. Their exit plan is to have No Exit.

Sergey Abramov (ship, 1960) …By Leksey

It’s hard to imagine how the timing could have been more quintessentially insane, or their  “Leadership of Clean Energy” more poignantly inane.

After subterranean lakes of Shale Gas were discovered two months ago under Lancashire in the UK , even half-tinted-Green governments started stepping backwards from diabolical renewables deals. Nearly everyone popped up and said No No No to Kyoto. “Let’s be frank” said EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, “At best we could only get the EU, Norway and maybe two or three more countries to sign up for a second Kyoto period.” The Bloomberg article about the collapse of the Kyoto agreement discusses 14 nations and two continents, but Australia wasn’t  [...]

More emails: Phil Jones paid £13.7 million in grants but “not a public servant”

Up to £13.7 million in grants have been paid to Professor Phil Jones, from a number of funding bodies including the European Union, NATO, and the US Department of Energy. But the intellectual and philosophical climate is so weak that Jones doesn’t even consider himself to be paid to serve the citizens of those countries. No wonder he feels that people asking for “his” data are nuisances and pests.

Usually in Science-World, scientists don’t have to deal with pesky FOI’s — because they make their data and methods available for free upon request. It should never come down to legal action for citizens to get what is rightfully theirs.

Phil Jones is Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. He’s one of the key climate scientists behind the IPCC reports (he and James Hansen of GISS in NASA are the two leading alarmist climate scientists).

Emails released in ClimateGate II that show he deletes emails, rationalizes that he is a not really a public servant, and discusses ways to hide from FOI requests, even as he admits the models are all wrong.

Prof Phil [...]

IPCC scientists test the Exit doors

RE: Mixed messages on climate ‘vulnerability’. Richard Black, BBC.

AND UPDATED: The Australian reports the leaked IPCC review, AND a radio station just announced it as “IPCC says we don’t know if there is a reason for the carbon tax”. See more below.

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This is another big tipping point on the slide out of the Great Global Scam. IPCC scientists — facing the travesty of predictions-gone-wrong — are trying to salvage some face, and plant some escape-clause seeds for later. But people are not stupid.

A conveniently leaked IPCC draft is testing the ground. What excuses can they get away with? Hidden underneath some pat lines about how anthropogenic global warming is “likely” to influence… ah cold days and warm days, is the get-out-of-jail clause that’s really a bombshell:

“Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability”.

Translated: The natural climate forces are stronger than we thought, and we give up, we can’t say whether it will get warmer or colder in the next twenty years.

[...]

Welcome to a “Hung” Democracy

And so it came to pass that a small band of the selfish or deluded came to steal the blood, sweat and toil of the many.

They lied, broke solemn promises, failed to provide evidence, and displayed a singular lack of good-manners. They viciously insulted anyone who disagreed, they hid the models the public were forced to pay for, they gave patrons highly paid jobs to advertize their scheme.

They speak arrant nonsense as if it is the bleeding obvious: telling us that we will grow rich if we use energy that costs more; that coal miners are to blame for heavy rain; that more taxes will bring investors; that we’ll lose jobs if we don’t pay more than we need to for energy; or that 6.98 billion people will follow the 0.02 billion who lead us on the path to the Land of Stupid. They made prophesies that failed time after time, yet speak on, as if  only they have the vision to guide us.

The polls show the public would not have elected people who wanted to bring in a Carbon Tax. Yet it is law.

The narcissistic self-anointed activists have overreached, and it will be their undoing.

[...]

Kyoto II is dead. EU bails out (as Australia tries to “save Earth”)

The End Game of the Great Global Warming Myth draws closer

With impeccable timing the Australian Government is snatching defeat from the jaws of what could have been a glorious victory. Just as Gore,  activists and then Hansen admit they lost, the infighting among the big scare campaign begins, the EU pulls the pin on Kyoto, and UK news outlets are asking if a Little Ice Age is on the way…

No one in officialdom is admitting the science has changed, or that they got it wrong, but the world is behaving as though it no longer believes.

What are the odds? Today the Australian Government is voting on the “Clean Energy Bill” (which will henceforth be known as the “Costly Energy Bill”) and at the same time the EU is saying: Enough! The big boys have to play or we are out. Which means the impossible trio of USA, China and India need to sign up to Kyoto II.

They might as well have said: “It’s all over for us. Kyoto II is dead”.

EU sets conditions for signing up to Kyoto II

LUXEMBOURG – European Union environment ministers — responsible for only 11 percent of global carbon emissions [...]

Map: The Climate Change Scare Machine — the perpetual self-feeding cycle of alarm

Two professors of sociology think they can explain why “Climate Deniers” are winning.  But Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright start from the wrong assumption and miss the bleeding obvious: the theory was wrong, the evidence has changed, and thousands of volunteers have exposed it.

The real question sociologists will be studying for years to come is: how was an exaggerated scare, based on so little evidence, poor reasoning and petty namecalling, kept alive for two whole decades?

Climate Change Scare Machine Cycle: see how your tax dollars are converted into alarming messages

See your tax dollars converted into their scare. Click for a larger image. Reference: Climate Money, Science and Public Policy Institute, 2009.

….

 The Full PDF version The key points

1. The money and vested interests on the pro-scare side is vastly larger, more influential, and more powerful than that on the skeptical side. Fossil fuel and conservative-think-tanks are competing against most of the world financial houses, the nuclear and renewable energy industry,  large well financed green activists (WWF revenue was $700m last year), not to mention whole government departments, major political parties, universities dependent on government funding, the BBC (there is no debate), the [...]

Dr David Evans: Four fatal pieces of evidence

Dr David Evans lays out four crucial pieces of evidence, and calls for a debate with Prof Andrew Pitman. But the evidence is so unarguably strong for skeptics, we know that the name-calling-team-who-want-our-money will do anything to avoid a public debate. If the evidence is “overwhelming” why are they so unwilling to explain it?  — Jo

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Submission to the Inquiry into Carbon Tax Pricing Mechanisms

Dr David Evans

20 September 2011

Dr David Evans consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005, and part-time to the Department of Climate Change from 2008 to 2010, modeling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. Evans is a mathematician and engineer, with six university degrees including a PhD from Stanford University.

Global warming has become a scam. Let me explain how it works.

It has superficial plausibility. Yes, global warming is occurring. Yes, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and levels are rising. And yes, every molecule of carbon dioxide we emit causes some global warming.

Many non-scientists think that proves the case, but it doesn’t. In particular, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that carbon dioxide is merely [...]

Lucky you’re not a climate “scientist” eh? Worse, you could be a skeptic.

On The Conversation Matthew Bailes, Pro Vice Chancellor at Swinburne University of Technology, is feeling sympathetic towards those poor climate scientists who have to deal with daily criticism, but he doesn’t seem to know much about how climate science works. I’d like to help him out, but don’t think the Conversation team would let me add my comments into his article, so I’ve done that here, responding to Bailes:

“Imagine for a minute that, instead of discovering a diamond planet, we’d made a breakthrough in global temperature projections. Let’s say we studied computer models of the influence of excessive greenhouse gases, verified them through observations, then had them peer-reviewed and published in Science.”

Verified?”#$%^!!  Sorry, what’s that? No one in the official world of climate science has mentioned “verification” since the mid 1990′s. Shhh. In climate science they verify the observations first: when they fit the models, then they know the equipment worked.

“Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings.”

No qualifications?  Psst, Ivar has a Nobel Prize (and … in Physics). I know Nobels [...]