JoNova

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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The rise of fake skeptics who “change their minds” about climate change

Poor Nick Kilvert at the ABC again, finds climate yeti’s everywhere — that imaginary creature, the converted skeptic. This is an important missing link in the fictional narrative — obviously if The Evidence Is Over-bloody-Whelming, there will be a stream of people gradually awakening. Alas, Kilvert doesn’t realize the traffic is all the other way, an exodus,  and there is no single outspoken skeptic that has convincingly switched the other way. The best he can do is drag out the self-declared convert Richard Muller who got away with his skeptic facade for while,  until awkward quotes surfaced from during his skeptic days where he declared that fossil fuels were the “greatest pollutant of human history”.  He was outed five years ago, but alas, Kilvert apparently still hasn’t got an internet connection and didn’t think to look. If only Kilvert could have emailed me?

The headline:

“Once were sceptics: What convinced these scientists that climate change is real? “

To which I might say “Once were journalists: Why don’t these writers do any research any more?”

This is as good as it gets. Muller is the “star” convert. He and his whole team were doubting skeptics:

In 2010, Professor [...]

Matt Ridley: Never experienced anything like this — the climate debate “blackening”

Matt Ridley is about as gentlemanly, polite and sane a man as you’ve ever likely to meet — which is exactly why the mob are so afraid of letting him speak. Ridley even agrees that humans have caused most of the warming in the last fifty years (I shall have to talk to him about that). But this middle position is a potent threat. He’s walking the very ground that threatens the Green Blob — there are no subsidy trains in middle land. There’s no urgency, no gravy, and yet it’s so temptingly sensible, which is why the minions work hard to silence him. He can’t be ignored as “fringe”:

The National Review — Julie Kelly 

“I’ve written about many controversial issues during my career,” Ridley said. “Never, have I ever experienced anything like what happens when you write about climate, which is a systematic and organized attempt to blacken your name rather than your arguments, and to try to pressure any outlet that publishes me into not publishing me any more.” A group of activists and scientists is urging the Times (U.K.) to stop publishing a regular column authored by Ridley because his views often [...]

Former NASA GISS climate scientist reveals incompetence, junkets, best model called “jungle” of code

Dr Duane Thresher who worked seven years at NASA GISS describes a culture of self serving rent-seekers, mismanagement and  incompetence. These are the top experts in the climate science field that we are supposed to accept without questioning. Those who say they are working to “save the planet” care more about their junckets than they do about the data or their “best” model.

NASA GISS’s most advanced climate model is run from the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Thresher recounts a story from someone on the inside:

“NASA GISS’s climate model — named Model E, an intentional play on the word “muddle” — is called the “jungle” because it is so badly coded.”   I know this to be true from my own extensive experience programming it (I tried to fix as much as I could…).

Thresher writes about how the team was happy to take taxpayer funds and spend it on unnecessary conferences which were “loads of fun” while they scrimped and saved on things like data security and incompetent tech staff. Secretaries and mail boys were hired for jobs they were not qualified for. At one point data was lost when exposed plumbing leaked in the [...]

Our electricity crisis is “the cost of virtue signalling”

Let’s get “certainty” — dump the RET.

Chris Kenny in The Weekend Australian puts almost all the pieces together.  This is self-sacrificial, pointless, and the RET is the problem because the subsidies allow renewables to drive out true baseload generation. The so-called hunt for “certainty” is a hunt for high prices because no one will speak the obvious “Dump the Renewable Energy Target”.

Dumping green folly will secure energy future, reboot economy

We are an energy-rich nation. Last year we exported 388 million tonnes of coal (valued at $35 billion) to supply affordable and ­reliable energy to countries such as Japan, China, South Korea and India. Our liquefied natural gas exports are doubling from 30 million tonnes a couple of years ago to almost 80 million tonnes (valued at $42bn) by 2019.

Australia also remains one of the largest exporters of uranium…

While we happily export our energy advantage, we have deliberately sacrificed it at home.

Turnbull — doing exactly the wrong thing after Trump won:

Astonishingly, less than a day after Donald Trump won the US election promising to abandon Paris, Malcolm Turnbull announced Australia’s ratification. The Prime Minister thumbed his [...]

Only half of meteorologists think human emissions are major cause of climate change

In 2016 67%  of meteorologists said that humans have caused most or all climate change and The Guardian headlined that there was a Growing Consensus among Meteorologists. In 2017 that fell to only 49%. The Guardian said nothing.

….

In 2016 29% of  meteorologists thought climate change was largely or entirely man-made, but that fell to only 15% this year.

Figure how this result fits with the idea of the overwhelming evidence and 97% consensus. Which group on the planet after climate scientists should be the second profession to “get it” — how about  meteorologists?

So either:

1. meteorologists are really stupid, or

2. meteorologists know how hard it is to predict the climate.

[...]

Climate grief group has nine step program

I nearly headlined this:  Climate grief group meets at someone’s house, Grist covers it. That’s pretty much all this program is. No one even counts to nine in this story.

Depressed about climate change? There’s a 9-step program for that.

Imagine Alcoholics Anonymous mixed with an environmental humanities course, and you’ll begin to get a sense of the “good grief” group started by Schmidt. Its goal is to help people cope with what’s been called “climate grief” — anxiety, sadness, depression, and other emotions provoked by awareness of the planet’s march toward a hotter,… future…

 What she found was that feelings of sadness and anxiety, and even literal nightmares, were common. Last year, with the help of her partner, Aimee Reau, Schmidt developed a nine-step program for building resiliency loosely modeled on AA…

But this is big:

About a dozen people attend each session and 50 subscribe to its mailings.

If I get 12 people to my house, and have 12,000 subscribers, do you think Grist will write it up?

Perhaps they have some good results?

Perhaps not:

Schmidt, who now works as an outreach coordinator at the environmental group HEAL Utah, hopes to soon [...]

Infamous Milgram experiments repeated: Only a few will stand up against authority

The Milgram Experiment. Image Wikimedia.

The chilling Milgram experiments have been replicated, and yet again, 9 out of 10 are willing to inflict electric shocks and pain on another person. In these infamous experiments the power of a white lab coat was enough to get more than half the participants (26 out of 40) to deliver a fatal shock (the participants didn’t realize the shock was faked, and the victim an actor).

This willingness to obey authority is both a great strength of humanity when authority is worthy and yet leads to the darkest abyss when it is not.

By nature, we are largely empathetic creatures: most people really don’t want to cause pain, they get quite upset themselves in the process. Yet many people will override this inbuilt ethical wiring if a person in a position of authority insist they do. It’s time we talked about ways to train people to resist. There is hope as outlined below in a different study from last year.

Conducting the Milgram experiment in Poland, psychologists show people still obey

Press Release: The title is direct, “Would you deliver an electric shock in 2015?” and the answer, according to the [...]

Cut carbon emissions by 50%? — Greens nightmare — Coal gasification may be the answer

A new MIT report suggests a better way to use coal in power-stations and potentially cut CO2 emissions by 50%. The process involves gasifying coal and producing electricity in one process at the same site. The coal only has to be heated once,  and the electricity comes from a fuel cell, not a fire — it’s a chemical reaction across a membrane.  The output is potentially much more efficient, and makes no ash. The researchers argue we could get twice as much electricity for each ton of coal burned. Currently coal fired power pulls out 30% of the chemical energy in coal, but coupling these two processes might increase it to 55-60%.

This report is based on simulations, but the separate processes are already well developed and running. The next step would be a fully functioning pilot plant to put the two together and test the idea. If there was the political will it could be done in a few years. There probably won’t be.

The Greens of course will hate the idea because the Evil-Factor of coal is near 100%.

In the eco-collectivist-world, cutting “carbon” is important, but apparently not as important as propping up a dependent lobby group [...]

Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence

Across the West, there is a layer of smart-but-busy intellects who have not been involved in the climate debate. For one reason or another they’ve been too busy setting up IPO’s, doing research projects, or directing companies in perhaps technology, mining or banking, and generally being productive. It is excellent to see some of this caliber adding their brain-power and resources to the public arena. Especially so in Australia, where the debate is almost entirely bare-bones-volunteers versus billion-dollar-institutions, and where the culture of philanthropy is not well developed compared to the US.

This unusual advert was placed in The Australian today. In a normal world, investigative journalists would have already interviewed and discussed views like these, but in the hyperbolic, politicized and religious world of climate-alarm it was simpler for productive people to just get on with it, talk to their peers and make it happen.

Click to enlarge, or read the text below.

Psychology and The New Climate Alarm

Lowell Ponte’s 1975 book warns:

“Global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is [...]

Study shows skeptics know more about climate science than believers

UPDATE Dan Kahan has replied in Comment #54.

So much for the theory that skeptics are dumb or uninformed.  Fox News reports that a new study shows that when people are quizzed about climate science, the skeptics outscored the believers.

Dan Kahan at Yale did the study on 2,000 people, but with only nine questions, so there is limited insight here, but it fits with his previous study which found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical.  Readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in comments) are likely to have hard science degrees. The world is slowly waking up to the fact that the skeptics are more knowledgeable about science.

In a proper science quiz, the gap would probably be even larger. On two of the nine questions, skeptics got the science right.  But believers “outscored” skeptics at repeating the propaganda (which shouldn’t be a question in a survey about scientific knowledge). I’d like to see all nine questions (can anyone find a preprint or the paper?)

Skeptics get science right:

One question, for instance, asked if scientists believe that warming would [...]