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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BBC finds wind farms have no effect on climate

For a moment I thought the BBC was tackling a very important question:

Wind farms’ climate impact recorded for first time

Most taxpayers want to know whether wind farms have an impact on our global climate. But the BBC are looking at whether wind farms cause warming on the square kilometer below them. A question hot on the lips of almost no people.

In the first study of its kind, scientists have been able to measure the climatic effect of a wind farm on the local environment.

The team said its experiment showed that there was a very slight warming at ground level and that it was localised to within a wind farm’s perimeter.

Data suggested the operation of onshore wind farms did not have an adverse ecological effect, the group added.

That will presumably reassure all three residents living under wind-farms who were worried about their house overheating, or the clothes not drying on the line.

It may not reassure the 99.9% of the UK people who pay for the BBC and hope to see it report something useful. Voters might have preferred to see a cost benefit analysis on the billion-dollar industry: [...]

Even believer media are bored of climate change — TV coverage down

It’s panic stations over at Believer Central. They are losing their grip on the media. And 2015 was a bumper year for Climate Scares – the hottest ever year, the giant Paris Junket, The El Nino, The Pope!  (The Pope?)  Despite all that, the media spent less time on the climate. It doesn’t get any better  than 2015 for the Global Worriers — there is no higher level of panic. But the free propaganda machine is slowing…

Lookout, climate denial is on the rise (don’t ask about the error bars):

 

Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian

During the most important year for climate news, TV coverage fell

A report by Media Matters for America reveals that the media are failing to inform the American public on the most important issue of our time.

Media Matters for America has published a report detailing US broadcast news coverage of climate change in 2015, and their findings are stunning.

Stunning eh? Or not.

Dana might be knocked over, but I see ABC down 20, Fox up 20, and some “other stuff”. It’s not really much of a trend. The thing that really bugs Dana seems to [...]

ABC news is bread and circuses agitprop, nothing to see on matters of national importance

UPDATE: For those who can’t see the ABC footage we have a copy at dropbox, thanks to Panda.

UPDATE #2: This episode has now been pulled from the ABC website 13 days early. The ABC, with its billion dollar budget, has a website to show all its programs for 14 days after they run. But for no stated reason this one has been deleted after just one day. Did the ABC not like us discussing it? (H/t to Panda). Thank goodness we have a copy. [Screencap of current ABC page here.]

h/t to Peter Q. Thanks to Andrew M as well.

Dennis Jensen has  a lot to say on matters of national importance, but the ABC doesn’t ask him very often about those.

Tonight Dr Dennis Jensen was just the “Climate denier” target who had stepped over the line on another topic — breaking a sacred taboo. He might lose pre-selection. He might be out of a job. The ABC seem to think we care about the party political machinations more than the suffering of Australian citizens, which Jensen had been trying to get us to discuss. Instead the ABC went into great details of [...]

The non-disaster of 150,000 missing penguins? They just went somewhere else.

The media hype and the story of the false Penguin Panic

Image: UNSW/Chris Turney

Much fuss was made of 150,000 missing penguins in Antarctica as if climate change had killed them. A monster iceberg had washed in, stopping the cute swimming tuxedos from getting to dinner and the colony of 160,000 suddenly shrank to 10,000. Where did all those penguins go? In previous tough times, when they could be tracked they just split up and went to different colonies.

Given that the penguins have survived repeated ice ages and warming for millions of years who would have thought that they would have a strategy for dealing with the odd big iceberg?

The penguin catastrophe:

[Grist] Researchers found that a colony of Adélie penguins in Antartica’s Cape Denison has decreased from 160,000 to just 10,000 since 2011, when a huge iceberg ominously named B09B became grounded in nearby Commonwealth Bay. The penguins were once a short waddle from their food source, but the arrival of the iceberg — which is nearly the size of Rhode Island — has turned that jaunt into a 75-mile round trip. Talk about a long lunch.

Cry for those penguins:

“It’s eerily silent now,” expedition leader Chris Turney told [...]

How many things can Lord Deben get wrong?

I did a spot on the ABC Drum today. Very odd to do it from a studio where I could not see any of the panel at all, and didn’t know the etiquette of how these things work. (I know a lot more now). But I’m glad to have a chance to speak, even if it was short.

So just in case there is anyone out there thinking that Lord Deben had some good points, here’ s what I was thinking as he spoke without pausing to breathe, and here’s my reply (it would have been nice to say it on air):

Firstly, all of this presupposes that there is a reason to reduce CO2. Thousands of scientists and millions of measurements suggest not.

That aside, saying Australia is “not a special case” is to deny geography and demographics.

The UK might have the fastest growth rate in the EU but Australia’s population growth rate is two-to-three times faster than the UK.  Do those people count? Not in climate change maths. Australia’s population has grown by 38% since 1990. It’s massive and it matters.

Adding more wind power won’t help solve the [...]

Climate Change is altering the shape of the Planet (blame your car)

It’s taken five years to figure it out, but apparently climate change is even worse than the last time we thought it was worse. Who knew? Once upon a time, glaciers were at a constant perfect position. Life was paradise on Earth and all the animals were happy. But then mankind built that first planet-destroying coal powered station in 1880 and now mountains are being moved, the Earth is changing.

Or at least, that’s sort of what the press release implies. What this tale is really about is the way the media hyperbole is just another excuse to repeat The Climate Mantra even if has nothing much to do with what the paper. What were those observations again?

If Nature, the formerly esteemed journal, was half what it used to be, it would have helped young Michele Koppes keep a longer term perspective, and not lace the press release with baseless speculation. Probably she’s seen a few too many Greenpeace-BBC specials and thinks Antarctica is warming (when the satellites show it isn’t). And curiously, the part that is warming happens to be right over the edges of the tectonic plates where the volcanoes are. She might think climate models work [...]

Rent-seekers reveal awful truth: Abbott wanted to investigate BOM data, Hunt opposed “due diligence”

Imagine the crime of trying to audit the BOM?

Last year, Graham Lloyd wrote in The Australian about how the BOM had made whopping two degree adjustments to data which turned cooling trends to warming trends and instead of improving the data, it created discontinuities. The BOM’s eventual explanation lamely exclaimed that the stations “might” have moved. (And they might not, too. Who knows, but remember this is what 95% certainty looks like.) Lloyd wrote about how historical records of extreme heat at Bourke had effectively been thrown in the trash. Who cares about historical records?

In response to the embarrassment and revealing questions, Tony Abbott wanted an investigation.  But Greg Hunt, and The Dept of Environment opposed the investigation and opposed doing “due diligence”. What are they afraid of? Instead, Hunt helped the BOM set up a one-day-wonder investigation with hand-picked statisticians that wasted another nine months before admitting that the BOM methods would never be publicly available or able to be replicated.  If it can’t be replicated, it isn’t science.

The BOM’s defense is always that their mystery method is considered “best practice” by other agencies around the world — who share the same incentives to exaggerate warming, [...]

The Climate Wars are Damaging Science

Matt Ridley has produced the shortest whole, killer summary of the sordid state of climate science, science journalism, and science associations for Quadrant magazine. This is the ideal single-chapter-length-work to bring in anyone who missed the last twenty years of clima-farce, scandal, hubris and hypocrisy.

Matt is not just summing up the way his career as a science writer has transformed, but also writing the best review of the IPA book “Climate Change: The Facts” that I have yet seen. He talks about the way science writers used to ignore the papers that didn’t impress them, and leave it up to the scientists to take them apart, but now the supposedly most esteemed scientists stay silent while abject failures not only get published in the scientific world, but get absurdly lauded in the media, and tweeted by “the President”. Formerly great scientific institutions have turned themselves inside out:

“The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. “

Matt’s career, like mine, started with faith that [...]

Big-government propaganda: ABC, BBC are “Aggressive political participants”. Sell or Split?

What to do with the public broadcasters? ABC BBC CBC (Can anyone explain public media in NZ?)

Big-government fans forcibly take funds from all citizens to support big-government propaganda by journalists who predominantly vote left or very-left (see here or here). The question is not whether or not they should do this but whether to privatize the public broadcasters, or to split them in two. I say, let’s forget the submissive plea to get one conservative commentator among a monoculture of “progressives”.  Chop the current one in half and call it what it is: pro big-government. Then set up a new counter half to match — the pro-small-government broadcaster with the same funds but new staff. (Game on — let the best team win that ratings war.) Abbott could keep ABC funding promises. ABC-L plus ABC-R equals current ABC-LL+ funding.

Obviously, true free-market libertarians want public broadcasters 100% sold — their incentives are always going to run counter to unbiased reporting and the hunt for the truth. On the other hand, among the populace, the ground is not remotely laid for a big-sell. Many voters remain blind to the bias, and have no idea how filtered the half-truths are: [...]

The Guardian-the-gullible: blind to whistleblowers, ignoring scandals, defender of feel-good teenage thinking

In years to come when people wonder how so much money came to be wasted in a frivolous attempt to stop the storms, people will marvel at the failure of parts of the free press. The Guardian will rise above that pack, standing out as the one that dressed itself in the color of gullible.

There are more than 31,000 whistleblowers inside science, 9,000 with PhD’s, 2 with Nobel Physics prizes, and 3 men who walked on the moon. There are meteorologists who won prizes in Meteorology, and physicists who studied with the greats — and they’re warning that the science is not settled, but the journalists at The Guardian know better.

Instead of asking hard questions of both skeptics and believers, the writers saw the passion and energy of namecalling activists and were swept off their feet to join the march. Now they dish out their infinite wisdom on science, on national policy and finance. If only the rest of us could be as genius and kind as Alan Rusbridger, eh?

But what are the Guardian guarding these days? They want to silence skeptics, and push a committee consensus. It isn’t free speech, and it isn’t science. If there [...]