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

Climate Money Paper


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Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


micropace


GoldNerds

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



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 [...]

An Abbott fan offends with a bad joke. Gillard lies, cheats, and burns your life savings. One of these things matters.

Pre-draft Update: I wrote all this before the latest twist came. For foreign readers: gawk, supposedly in March at an Opposition fundraiser, a menu listed an insulting Julia Gillard Kentuky Fried Quail (and worse). It turns out the menu was not even used, it was an inhouse mockup. No one at the Liberal fundraiser saw it, let alone approved it. The reason I wrote at all about it was that it should never have wasted so much airtime. Like Parliament, like blogs. It is almost as if trolls are running our national debate. UPDATE #2: Worse. The resturanteur who wrote the insult turns out to be a Labor man.

How easily people are diverted.

The parody of our “national” conversation is literally reduced to a bad joke. The desperate Julia Gillard is milking a spot of tasteless humor made by a Liberal supporter, wringing all the political mileage she can get out of it. It is everywhere in the news today. A waste of bandwidth. She says a comment that Tony Abbott didn’t make, and doesn’t approve of, tell us something about the culture of the conservatives. “Join the dots” she snidely implies.

Yes, I say, [...]

Labor downgrades “Climate Dept”. Greens slam it as “symbolic retreat”

Dr Craig Emerson, Minister for Science, Weather, Inventions, Factories and Universities.

After the leadership farce last week and the resignations of the more-sensible Labor ministers, Gillard has reshuffled again and the DCC (Department of Climate Change) is disappearing into a “super ministry”. It is a sign of the times.

The P.M. has bundled the Department of Climate Change into a nightmare acronynm:

The Prime Minister used her sixth ministerial reshuffle to merge the Department of Climate Change with the Department of Industry, creating a new Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Is that DIICCSRTE?

Gillard has made Craig Emerson minister of nearly everything.

Gillard also appointed the former Woodside director, Gary Gray, to cabinet as mines and energy minister. The Climate Spectator is worried. Gray said something skeptical once in 1993: that the evidence linking human activity to climate change was ‘‘pop science”. Years later he apparently said he regretted the comments, but this was not enough to convince the religious that he has discovered the faith.  He made the mistake of saying there needed to be “intellectual challenge and debate”. These plain and sane words marked him as a confirmed skeptic. Only [...]

Who will be Australia’s PM tomorrow? (Answer – Gillard)

UPDATE: Rudd refused to contend. Gillard and Swan “won” uncontested. (The ALP loses.) QLD State Liberal Premier Newman calls for a federal election. “‘The country cannot afford the waste of time; the paralysis we’ve seen.’” ——————————————— It’s on. Finally.

Leadership ballot called for Labor Party at 4.30pm today. [...]

Topher’s new video: The Forbidden History of Terrible Taxes

A video that ought to be shown to all students in every school. A concept that I don’t remember being mentioned during my education.

I like his clean uncluttered style, the snappy irreverent wit. …

Thanks Topher, and thanks to all the people who supported him to make this possible (like The Australian Taxpayers Alliance).

Note the first ever First Australian Libertarian Conference will be held in Sydney on April 6 and 7. Now that would be fun.

Send this video around

WA State Labor leader has it both ways: Carbon Tax bad but trading good. No. No. No.

Mark McGowan , the West Australian Labor leader hoping to win the election in March and become Premier of WA, announced that he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax. But apparently he does like emissions trading, showing that he’s as keen as anyone to help large financial institutions reap nice profits for little risk, and no benefit.

It’s an industry which deals in paper sales of an atmospheric nullity and thus, by design, prone to fraud. (See the $7b VAT tax fraud where 90% of trades in some markets were criminal). The EU emissions price is collapsing, and the scheme has made no difference to emissions in the EU. The US reduced CO2 more than the EU without a tax or a national trading scheme. In the unlikely event the scheme overcame the fraud and inefficiencies and actually reduced carbon dioxide, stopping the entire output of Australian industry and commerce would make 0.0154 degrees to global temperatures, at best, and that’s assuming the IPCC assumptions turned out to be correct despite all the evidence suggesting they are wrong.

“It’s no coincidence that the only people who argue for a free market solution are those who profit from it, or [...]

The WA Labor Opposition Leader just announced he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax

I saw on the ABC news tonight that Mark McGowan announced that he doesn’t like the Carbon Tax. He’s the West Australian state opposition leader and there are just four weeks left before the State election. Strangely I can find no story, no news headline to confirm this.

What does it matter you say…  it’s a federal issue, not a state one. But it says everything you need to know about how unpopular both Gillard and the Carbon tax are. McGowan has dodged the question repeatedly for months, but trailing in the polls, he finally chose to dump the policy, despite it making his name Mud with the Federal Government and his fellow Labor compatriots. Peter van Onselen suggested it would pick him up some votes only a few days ago.

He would be the first Labor State Leader to do so.

In May the former Labor premier Kristina Keneally says Julia Gillard should revoke or wind back the carbon tax in order to claw back public popularity.  But she’s was safely out of the action by then. On August 9th 2012, the NSW Labor leader — John Robertson told his caucus they’d never hear him support the carbon tax, [...]

Wipeout poll. Labor down 6 percent. Polls swinging wildly

In the last week, Australia was flooded or burned, Gillard called an election 9 months ahead, two of her highest ranking party members said they would quit, Gillard cut down a long serving senator to pop in her “captains pick” candidate, and one of her former party members was arrested with 150 charges to be laid. Labor is back to the polling territory it spent most of last year at — a 32% primary vote and the Greens at 9%.  But these polls are swinging wildly.

I can’t think why Gillard likes this uncertainty, and doesn’t call an election immediately…

The Australian:

The poll puts Labor’s primary support at 32 per cent – a wipeout of the six-point gain recorded between December and January – as the Coalition’s support rose four percentage points to 48 per cent in the past three weeks.

With the Greens steady on 9 per cent and “others” going from 9 per cent to 11 per cent since the poll in January, the two-party-preferred figure has the Coalition back with a huge election-winning lead of 56 per cent to 44 per cent.

Ms Gillard’s support as preferred prime minister fell four percentage points from 45 per [...]

Gillard calls election for Sept 14th 2013

From The Australian (preferences could flow quite differently in 2013)

I’ve heard rumors she might rush a March election partly because the global economy is teetering… (and the coalition obviously heard those rumors too, with the mini-campaign launch they put on the weekend). But given that the polls are fairly awful it’s not surprising she’s put it off.

But it is surprising that she announced it so far in advance. She may be staving off challenges to her leadership. As Bolt puts it: ” Her declaration is likely to pressure her party critics into rallying behind her. She also gets credit for making a decision, and ends the latest bout of criticism about her management – whether over the Nova Peris pick or the Mathieson joke embarrassment. “

Link to polls source: The Australian

Gillard calls Sept 14 election date [ABC]

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Did everyone miss it? Combet brags that Labor Party doesn’t care what Australian voters want

The line that everyone seems to have missed (or become numbingly inured to)  is one where Combet claims that Australians won’t be able to get rid of the carbon price even if they want to:

“(Greg Combet) said the linkage of the schemes would make it more difficult for Mr Abbott to axe the carbon price if the Coalition were elected.”   [Source: The Australian]

The spiffy idea, apparently, is that voters won’t have an option of voting to decide a major part of our economic system. The Australian Labor Party’s proud contribution to the national debate is to tell us they have deliberately crafted the legislation that way. We the voters are supposed to be impressed that it will be harder for any newly elected representatives to remove it without major penalties. If the Australian people decide to toss the current government off an electoral cliff, the current government is going to fall, but make the nation pay.  Yes, score ten points for Machiavellian behaviour, but I’m not so sure the voters will be impressed when they have to foot the bill.

Over 80% of Australian’s at the last election voted for parties that promised “no carbon tax”, [...]

Allegations about our PM raging across the internet around Australia

For the last three months emails have been burning across Australia with links to Larry Pickering. It’s a mark of the times that the ground breaking investigative research and news is breaking through the blog world, and barely touched in the mainstream media (see here and here as it starts to come out.)

All I will say is that our prime minister, Julia Gillard, strenuously denies any knowledge of illegal activities, but Larry Pickering, a well known national cartoonist,  is piecing together allegations (like extortion, misuse of union funds and money laundering) that many Australians will find very interesting: “Our prime minister is a crook” Part I (and “Is our prime minister a crook?” Part II) UPDATE: and now  Part III

UPDATE: PART IV (There are two sites to check on, especially if one is down – The Pickering Post and Larry Pickering)

For foreign readers: If the allegations pan out, this could bring down a government and one day may become a case study in the depths of systematic corruption and deceit in Western democracies. It’s a spectacle. If true, it does not get much more sordid than this. To make sense of this you’ll need to know that [...]

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

———————————————————————————-

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 [...]

Canberra Skeptics can join the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics party

Reader Mike passed me a note that Canberra/ ACT residents may be interested in. The Climate Sceptics party has changed its name to the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics and is working to establish a branch for the ACT elections. The party needs another 70 members by June 30th, so it can register in time for the ACT Election in October. Perhaps you know someone who can help out?

The Climate Sceptics Blog is here, the Climate Sceptics Party is here.

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The spectacle that is the Australian Parliament – top viewing for political tragics around the world

Even if you aren’t in Australia, you can’t help but find the  Australian Parliament the best reality TV show on the box anywhere.

The background: Our Leftie Labor Government was elected with a roughly equal tally of seats as the right leaning coalition, in late 2010. It was such a knife edge, one Labor seat was won by just 400 votes (Corangamite). There were five independents, who would normally be  as important as the wallpaper in the House, but suddenly had supreme power. Our PM Julia Gillard did deals to remake the entire national economy with the one Green member of parliament, promising everything he wanted and more for his vote, even though he would rather walk on glass that vote “right”. (And some say she’s a good negotiator?) She won the support, with deals, platitudes, and pork barreling promises of three of the other four independents — two of whom who were representing rural, conservative electorates, so they did exactly what the members of their own seats didn’t want (those same voters voted very conservatively in the Senate). The whole schmozzle of our hung Parliament is balanced on a knife edge. If only one independent switches support from Labor [...]

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?

———————————————————————————-

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 [...]

Climate Coup — The Politics

How the regulating class is using bogus claims

about climate change to entrench and extend their

economic privileges and political control.

Guest Post: Dr David M.W. Evans, 29 Feb 2012, last updated 13 Mar 2012, latest pdf here

The Science

The sister article Climate Coup—The Science (a more mainstream version of The Skeptic’s Case) contains the science foundation for this essay. It checks the track record of the climate models against our best and latest data, from impeccable sources. It details how you can download this data yourself. It finds that the climate models got all their major predictions wrong:

Test Climate Models Air temperatures from 1988 Actual rise was less than the rise predicted for drastic cuts in CO2 Air temperatures from 1990 Over-estimated trend rise Ocean temperatures from 2003 Over-estimated trend rise greatly Atmospheric hotspot Completely missing –> water vapor feedback not amplifying Outgoing radiation Opposite to reality –> water vapor feedback not amplifying

 

The latter two items are especially pertinent, because they show that the crucial amplification by water vapor feedback [i] assumed by the models does not exist in reality. Modelers guessed that of the forces on [...]

Phase change: Australian politics turns liquid

Who says it’s only Rudd versus Gillard? Abbott came from nowhere.

Australia may have a new Prime Minister as soon as next week. Former PM, Kevin Rudd has just resigned from his Foreign Ministership so he’s going to challenge the current PM, and it could be any day.

Here in Australia everyone seems to be saying it’ll be either Rudd or Gillard… but think back to the way another candidate can emerge when the heat is on. That’s what happened to the Liberals (our conservatives) when Abbott appeared.

[...]

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

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In 2002 Ron Paul saw the next ten years coming

Ron Paul is painted as fringe by the Establishment. (If you’re not part of the establishment then you must be “fringe”, right?).

Ten years ago Ron Paul made long series of detailed economic and foreign policy predictions that he hoped he would be proven wrong on.  It was a year before the US started action in Iraq. Five years before the housing bubble busted. Six years before the Global Financial Crisis. Nine years before the Arab Spring.  (At least he was wrong on the US “draft”. So far).

How many mainstream politicians can point to a speech like this?  How many presidential candidates saw it coming?

“Let it not he said that no one cared,

that no one objected once its realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy”

Ron Paul

Ron Paul 2002 April 24th.

 

There’s a copy of the video of the speech without newspaper overlays, and background music, for those who prefer the uncluttered view.

“He saw these things coming because he reveres liberty above all else and when you cherish liberty you can see the things that threaten it. “  John Carey

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