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 nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



ABC invites BOM and Marohasy to speak — BOM decline, Marohasy accepts, but is cut off?

Bronwen O’Shea, ABC

UPDATED: Correction. The interview was done by a fan of John Cook, not John Cook. Notes in the post and apologies. – Jo

Hm, curious event on the ABC today. Credit to Bronwen O’Shea, host of the ABC morning radio program for the Goulburn Murray, for asking both Jennifer Marohasy and the BOM to discuss the Rutherglen temperature adjustments. Good-o, I say –  public debate and answers! (Note that link is just to their website, I have not found a copy of the interview or transcript).

But everything worked against the ABC. First the BOM chose not to even try to answer. (Hm?)  Then not long after the interview started, the line suddenly went dead and Marohasy was abruptly cut off. She waited for the call back, but it never came. What bad luck eh? Even more unlucky –  when the ABC tried to call her back they got a fan of John Cook on the phone instead*. Then, things got even worse for poor ABC listeners — because the fan of Cook mistakenly thought Rutherglen was different to the surrounding stations, but the BOM raw records say otherwise (see the graph below). UPDATED: Apologies to [...]

BOM finally explains! Cooling changed to warming trends because stations “might” have moved!

It’s the news you’ve been waiting years to hear! Finally we find out the exact details of why the BOM changed two of their best long term sites from cooling trends to warming trends. The massive inexplicable adjustments like these have been discussed on blogs for years. But it was only when Graham Lloyd advised the BOM he would be reporting on this that they finally found time to write three paragraphs on specific stations.

Who knew it would be so hard to get answers. We put in a Senate request for an audit of the BOM datasets in 2011. Ken Stewart, Geoff Sherrington, Des Moore, Bill Johnston, and Jennifer Marohasy have also separately been asking the BOM for details about adjustments on specific BOM sites. (I bet Warwick Hughes has too). The BOM has ignored or circumvented all these, refusing to explain why individual stations were adjusted in detail.

The two provocative articles Lloyd put together last week were  Heat is on over weather bureau  and  Bureau of Meteorology ‘altering climate figures, which I covered here. This is the power of the press at its best. The absence of articles like these, is why I have said the media [...]

How the media distort the news: Lesson 1 — Lies by omission

The Sydney Morning Herald carefully removed the scientific arguments from an article today. Are they afraid their readers are not smart enough to reach the “right” conclusions if exposed to the wrong information? Hey, but its only national policy and billions of dollars at stake.

Today Maurice Newman warned that we are not prepared for climate change (he’s talking about the cold kind). The Australian published his thoughts citing Archibald, Usoskin, Svensmark, Brekke, Lockwood and Curry. Their readers are apparently clever enough to handle discussions of cosmic rays and large hadron colliders.

In Sydney Morning Herald, Latika Bourke and Lisa Cox write an article about Newman’s views, but carefully omit all of the scientific arguments, as well as the potential problems with one sided science funding and the names and credentials of the scientists he talks about. The pair do, however, find space to repeat the litany of the IPCC’s estimate of 95% “probability” (it’s hard to believe Sydney Morning Herald readers have not heard this before).  They don’t mention that the IPCC estimate is a speculative and unscientific number which gets paradoxically higher as the IPCC’s predictions are proven wrong. Nor did they interview Newman and ask him his [...]

ABC bias against coal hurts the poor and the workers: Sell the ABC

A new report shows ABC journalists are fond of renewables and overlook their dismal economic value, while putting out bad news on coal, and ignoring the benefits of vast cheap profitable energy. Who could have seen that coming: a large public funded institution attracts employees who like large public funding?

The IPA arranged for a media analysis firm to compare the ABC reporting on coal and renewables.

ABC gives the green light to renewables, and the red light to Australia’s largest export industry and provider of 75% of our electricity.

ABC accused of bias against coalmining

Andrew Fraser, The Australian

The analysis of 2359 reports broadcast on the ABC over six months before March 15 this year found 15.9 per cent of stories on coalmining and 12.1 per cent of those about coal-seam gas mining were favourable, while 53 per cent of those on renewable energy were favourable.

It also found 31.6 per cent of stories on coal mining and 43.6 per cent of stories on coal-seam gas were unfavourable, while only 10.8 per cent of stories on renewable energy were ­unfavourable.

The ABC has become its own best case for privatizing the ABC. How much could we get? The [...]

97 percent of Australian renewables investment dries up without subsidies (so the ABC gives free adverts to the industry)

We’re told “clean” energy is a viable and cost effective. But cut the government subsidies, and 97 percent of investors vanish (in Australia it’s collapsed from $2.6b annually to $80m). The truth is that renewables are almost totally dependent on taxpayer largess. No wonder they lobby like their life depends on it. It does.

Peter Hannam of the SMH:

“Australia’s investment in renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fuelled by the government’s latest review of the mandatory target, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In the six months to June, just $40 million was invested in large-scale renewable energy, such as wind farms, the lowest level since the first half of 2001, according to Kobad Bhavnagri, head of BNEF’s Australian unit.

The investment tally compared with $2.691 billion in 2013, the second largest annual inflow of funds to the clean energy sector behind the peak year of 2010.”

Elsewhere investment in renewables has slowed from its peak in 2011 but still running at $64b a quarter, or nearly $700 million every day. Spot that vested interest! From The Australian:

“Global clean energy investment surged to $US63.6bn in the second quarter of [...]

Sabra Lane, ABC 7:30 Report, was that an interview or an advert?

Sabra Lane interviews Bernie Fraser, Chairman of the Climate Change Authority on the ABC 7:30 report. She only had time for a few questions. Shame then, to only ask one’s everyone knows the answer to.

Instead of asking Fraser how many dollars each Australian will have to spend to lower global temperatures by one degree Celsius, Sabra Lane asks him about global psychology instead: “On the Renewable Energy Target, there’s a lot of talk about the Government watering it down or getting rid of it. What impact is that having on Australia’s reputation?

What does she think the head of any “authority” dependent on the fear of a carbon-crisis for its existence was going to say? Not much — Sabra, no one overseas cares a lot about what we do?

[...]

Are Australians more concerned about climate — or are Lowy polls loaded and misleading?

The new Lowy Poll has got some commentators arguing that climate fear is rising in Australia. What the survey actually shows is that 55% of Australian don’t want to spend money fighting climate change. The Lowy poll asked loaded questions, didn’t ask people to rank their concerns, and showed nearly everyone was critically worried about nearly everything. Was there a point?

Predictably, one small uptick is portrayed to pretend the climate religion is gaining momentum again.

The SMH leaps to say the climate of dread is heating up (they wish):

“In a striking shift in public opinion, 45% of Australians now see global warming as a ‘serious and pressing problem’, up 5 points since 2013 and 9 points since 2012. 63% of Australians say the government ‘should take a leadership role on reducing emissions’, while only 28% say ‘it should wait for an international consensus before acting’.” — Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald.

How important is a 5 point shift? The survey was of 1,000 adults in Feb 2014. The margin of error is 3.1%.

Peter Hannam doesn’t mention that the level of concern is 22 points down on the high that was recorded in 2006 when 68% of [...]

That West Antarctic melting couldn’t be caused by volcanoes could it?

We’re all doomed:

West Antarctic ice sheet collapse ‘unstoppable’ [ABC]

Irreversible Changes Now Affect Antarctica and the World [Live-science]

‘Nothing can stop retreat’ of West Antarctic glaciers [BBC, By Jonathan Amos]

West Antarctic ice collapse ‘could drown Middle East and Asia crops’ [The Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg]

Antarctica’s ice collapse threatens metres of sea level rise within decades  [The Ecologist]

Global warming: it’s a point of no return in West Antarctica. [The Guardian Eric Rignot]

“Last week saw a ‘holy shit’ moment in climate change science. A landmark report revealed that the collapse of a large part of Antarctica is now unstoppable”

What else is going on in West Antarctica? Oh. Look where those volcanoes are…

Guess which science correspondent mentioned the word “volcano”? None of the above. Did any of those responsible publicly funded climate scientists mentioned it in their press releases? (A gold star to anyone who can find one). Lucky Antarctic volcanoes are not hot.

Thanks especially to Janama, Jaypac, John, Sophocles and Tom. That is what comments are for!

Locations of volcanoes in Antarctica known to have been active since [...]

Big-Green have more money than Big-Oil but the media are blind to it.

Finally, some coverage of the massive amount of money pumping the Big-Green agenda. What is really so remarkable about this is that skeptics are winning, despite the fact that the greens have almost all the institutional, academic, government, and big-media support, and far, far more money. All we have is truth and wits.

The Washington Examiner

Mainstream media don’t know Big Green has deeper pockets than Big Oil

Ron Arnold

Mainstream reporters appear not to be aware of the component parts that comprise Big Green: environmentalist membership groups, nonprofit law firms, nonprofit real estate trusts (The Nature Conservancy alone holds $6 billion in assets), wealthy foundations giving prescriptive grants, and agenda-making cartels such as the 200-plus member Environmental Grantmakers Association. They each play a major socio-political role.

Seeing Big-Green funding means taking a broader view of the money trail:

Invisible fact: the environmental movement is a mature, highly developed network with top leadership stewarding a vast institutional memory, a fiercely loyal cadre of competent social and political operatives, and millions of high-demographic members ready to be mobilized as needed.

That membership base is a built-in free public relations machine responsive [...]

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 [...]

Global warming saves lives in Stockholm — but bad assumptions feed scary headlines

Here’s a tale of how to generate headlines from circular reasoning built on brave assumptions. All it requires are some unskeptical science journal editors and gullible journalists. Et Voila!

Congratulations to Chip Knappenberger, Pat Michaels, and Anthony Watts, whose response to Åström et al was published Wednesday.

In October 2013 Åström et al claimed that global warming had killed lots of people in Stockholm, hundreds. But the first thing you need to know is that they don’t appear to start with actual mortality data in the early 1900′s. Surprised? Me too. Anthony Watts found it hard to believe . The other thing worth knowing is that extreme heat was defined as the top 2% of hot days, and in Stockholm that mean everything above a terrifying 2-day-moving-average mean temperature of 19.6C (67 F).

From the methods:

We collected daily mortality during the period 1980-2009 and daily temperature data for the period 1900-2009 for Stockholm County, Sweden.

Åström 2013:  Figure 2 j Temperature distribution of 2-day moving average of mean temperatures during summer months. Grey distribution, 1900–1929; black distribution, 1980–2009.

It appears the authors compared calculated death rates (using a model) from 1900-1929 with rates from 1980-2009 and concluded that [...]

Climate Change could make humans extinct says “expert”

Time to panic. Climate Change could make humans extinct, warns the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Earth is warming so rapidly that unless humans can arrest the trend, we risk becoming ”extinct” as a species, a leading Australian health academic has warned.” The trend, the trend, which trend exactly? The trends have been flat on the surface for 17 years, so if that trend continues, we risk “staying the same”? That’ll be deadly. In 1997 global population was 5.8 billion. Since then, there has been no significant warming in the part of the world that humans live in, and global population plunged to 7.2 billion.  Hold off on the End-of-Humanity Party.

Helen Berry, associate dean in the faculty of health at the University of Canberra, said while the Earth has been warmer and colder at different points in the planet’s history, the rate of change has never been as fast as it is today.”

Luckily Helen Berry has seen the Neanderthal global data sets from the paleolithic era which recorded those climate changes. Otherwise how would she know the exact rate of global warming from, say, 11,900 -11,860BC or 42,040 – 42,000BC? The only records I’ve seen (like, the ice [...]

Skeptics romp in 6 Bloggies categories — (Lifetime Achievement Award for Jo- thank you!)

The Bloggies awards were so enthused that skeptics dominated the Science and Tech category that they removed the category.  So I suggested skeptical readers pick different categories, and lo and behold today skeptics win in six different areas.

Thousands of readers will not go away.

I’d like to thank especially, the Mainstream Media, without which I would have hardly any traffic. I dedicate this win today to the science journalists in the ABC, BBC, CBC, CBS or CNN, and to Roger Harrabin, Andy Revkin and George Monbiot — all of whom make it so easy for skeptical blogs to flourish. Their promotion of logical fallacies, one-sided reports, and rank name-calling paves the way, en masse for hundreds of thousands of disappointed, thoughtful, inquisitive readers to hunt online for something better.

If science journalists were good scientists or good journalists skeptical blogs would not be one of the largest single categories on the world wide web. (Judging from the other winners, the mainstream media is also lacking in Moms).

Best European Weblog, Winner: Tallbloke’s Talkshop

Best Weblog About Politics, Winner: The Global Warming Policy Foundation

Best Topical Weblog ,Winner: Climate Audit [...]

The Great Unravelling: Even fans of “climate fear” admit skeptics are fashionable

Just another signpost on the road to Sensible-land. Remember how skeptics were the fringe minority, the dying dinosaurs, and there were only a few left on the planet? That was last week. Suddenly, begrudgingly, being a skeptic is fashionable (but still wrong, of course). This is “fashionable” in the sense of popular but meaningless, not storming Gucci-type chic, more like getting a high-def TV built into the fridge door. It’s trendy but essentially useless. (By the way, the cool TV has a remote control, DVD and FM radio so you…  don’t have to get off the kitchen floor. I suppose it’s just a matter of time before the TV in the family-room will get a fridge built in?)

But I digress.

The Telegraph has the headline “Global warming – there’s hope amid the gloom” .

Geoffrey Lean tells us “scepticism has replaced concern about climate change”, and you and I might think, that therefore, global leaders ought to pay attention to their citizens. But Lean says more skepticism means world leaders have to shout at the punters even louder. Never, ever assume the voters are right.

Lean hasn’t read Marcel Crok and Nicholas Lewis’s report about climate sensitivity being lower [...]

Nick Cohen “deniers have won” — gets startlingly close to the truth

What insight. ‘Tis prosaic — Nick Cohen in The Guardian packs more truth — runs tantalizingly close to a major insight, yet skates off, one single word short.

It’s projection on a rampage, and Cohen almost seems to realize it.  Perhaps we can help him?

“The climate change deniers have won”

Where else, but The Guardian?

Yes, Mr Cohen, those whom you deliberately and with malice call “deniers” are winning. Incredibly, even though they have only 0.03% of the funds, none of the machinery or the institutions, the enmity of western governments, existential opposition from the $350 billion renewables industry, no support from the large global carbon trading market, and only scorn and derision from the entire UN, and yet they are winning with nothing but wits and facts.

“Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it” Exactly!  If you care about the environment you need to think. How serious is the problem of CO2? Here’s a handy list of topics that won’t tell us that answer: Any list of organizations, associations, committees. Any survey of keywords used in publications. Psychoanalysis, pop psychology, anonymous internet [...]

This is what we need more of: Scientists calling out newspaper hype

Professor Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research, Met Office Hadley Centre, responded to an alarmist news story in the Independent, both with a comment at the article, and in a tweet (or two). If more scientists spoke out publicly, reporting would get better.

Prof Richard Betts commenting at the Independent (my bold):

Official prophecy of doom: Global warming will cause widespread conflict, displace millions of people and devastate the global economy

Leaked draft report from UN panel seen by The Independent is most comprehensive investigation into impact of climate change ever undertaken – and it’s not good news

Climate change will displace hundreds of millions of people by the end of this century, increasing the risk of violent conflict and wiping trillions of dollars off the global economy, a forthcoming UN report will warn.

Based on thousands of peer-reviewed studies and put together by hundreds of respected scientists, the [IPCC] report predicts that climate change will reduce median crop yields by 2 per cent per decade …

And so on– it is pretty much all there: war, starvation, floods, seas rising, and death. Richard Betts comments (my bolding):

“I’m one of the authors of the IPCC WG2 report, and I [...]

Media bias — ABC, CBS exclude skeptical scientists for 1300 days

The bias is obvious in what they don’t say. Reporters are supposed to seek out and promote the most rational, well argued positions they can find. Instead they elevate themselves to defacto “science judges” and decide which scientists deserve to be heard. It could be called arrogance, or it could be called “lying by omission”.

 COLD SHOULDER: ABC, CBS Exclude Scientists Critical of Global Warming for More Than 1,300 Days | NewsBusters

Like a simple parlor trick, the networks are able to make skeptical scientists vanish, at least from the eyes of their viewers.

In some cases, the broadcast networks have failed to include such scientists for years, while including alarmist scientists within the past six months. ABC, CBS and NBC’s lengthy omission of scientists critical of global warming alarmism propped up the myth of a scientific consensus, despite the fact that many scientists and thousands of peer-reviewed studies disagree.

Neither CBS nor ABC have included a skeptical scientist in their news shows within the past 1,300 days, but both networks included alarmists within the past 160 days — CBS as recently as 22 days ago. When the networks did include other viewpoints, the experts were dismissed as “out of [...]

Newman says The Party is Over for the IPCC

Another sign the debate is shifting, and probably in an irreversible way. Like a ratchet, the truth is slowly advancing, but once revealed, there is no going back.

The debate is gaining nuance: instead of scientists and deniers, there the public starts to see the argument is about shades of grey. The real debate has never been about whether greenhouse gases were real, instead it’s about how much global warming will happen. The cheating tactic of pretending the conflict was about something that nearly everyone agrees upon is like a ticking bomb for alarmists. The fuse has been lit. They will pay for their deception eventually.

Maurice Newman, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, is following up on his extraordinary front page article in The Australian. He is influential and was Chairman of the ABC, and of the board of the Australian Stock Exchange, and was Chancellor of Macquarie University until 2008.

Maurice Newman in The Australian today:

GIVEN the low-grade attacks on me following my piece “Crowds go cold on climate cost” (The Australian, Dec 31) readers of Fairfax publications and The Guardian may be shocked to hear I believe in climate change. I also accept carbon [...]

Sydney Morning Herald allows a skeptic to say the games up for climate hysteria

Reader Cookster expressed amazement asked if the tide was turning and linked to Tom Switzers piece in the SMH today “Game Finally Up for Carboncrats”.  It’s a no-holds barred description of the current state of the climate scare. I’m not a regular reader of the SMH (the left leaning major daily in Sydney), so I might be wrong, but I’m tempted to agree with Cookster. What I can’t tell from the other side of the country is whether this was put out in print in the main Op-Ed section (please let me know).

Switzer is well respected in Australian newsprint (he’s the editor of The Spectator Australia) which no doubt made it hard for the SMH to say no. But look how confident, and well informed he is. The bland truth is that Kyoto is over, and as Tom says:

“Prospects for a replacement are virtually zero. Rich nations are rejecting climate compensation for the developing world. Europe is in a coal frenzy. Germany, a former green trend-setter, is slashing unaffordable subsidies to the renewables industry. The European Parliament is losing confidence in the EU emissions trading scheme. No Asian nation has an emission trading scheme in operation. China’s and India’s [...]

French Polar Chief slams SpiritofMawson fiasco

This really has been a PR debacle of amazing proportions. The ship stuck in ice has captured something larger than I would have expected. Methinks the timing must be apropos.

Good scientists are distancing themselves from the publicity hungry climate lightweights and commentators on both sides of the fence are agreeing in their criticism.

A third effect we are barely starting to see may ripple on for months — that’s when mass-media victims realize that the “Russian Tourist ship” was really a boat load of Australian and New Zealander scientists, paid for mostly by taxpayers and loaded and advised by supposedly “expert” climate scientists. This misinformation was despite the boat having BBC, and Guardian media on board, and Fairfax press in one of the rescue icebreakers. Today I see evidence of the first two effects.

From Skynews. The French chief of polar science calls the Spirit of Mawson trip “pseudo-scientific” and laments the effect it is having on real research.

The head of France’s polar science institute has voiced fury at the misadventures of a Russian ship trapped in Antarctic ice, deriding what he called a tourists’ trip that had diverted resources from real science.

In an interview with AFP, [...]