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



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 2017 29% of  meteorologists who thought climate 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.


CO2 reaches 410ppm: Panic now because Earth just hit another slightly significant base 10 number

A trace gas in our atmosphere hit 410ppm for the millionth day on Earth says Grist and this turned the planet in to something different. Who knew 410 was that exciting?

We just hit 410 ppm of CO2. Welcome to a whole new world.

This is not normal: We’re on track to witness a climate unseen in 50 million years by mid-century.

In pre-industrial times, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stood at 280 parts per million. And that number has been rising ever since, warming the planet by 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C) along the way.

It’s Big Number Fear Mongering which works so well on the innumerate. It might be the first time CO2 was this high in 50 million years, but if CO2 is so important, how come temperatures  haven’t gone “to a whole new world”?

Kate Yoder on Grist has the usual calm dispassionate analysis:

As fictional carb-thief Aladdin once said: “Unbelievable sights/Indescribable feeling/Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling/Through an endless diamond sky.”

Frankly, I think Grist missed that in Base 3 this is the incredibly important 120,012 ppm.  Spooky eh?

PS: Find numbers in other bases here. How much fun can you have?


Save the planet, get “biggest investment op in history of world”

The anti-carbon industry is in trouble — both Al Gore, and The World Bank are doing the hard-sell on “climate investments”.

The Fin Review used to be able to spot a chain letter…

Climate change offers huge investment opportunity, Al Gore tells World Bank

How did the worlds bankers miss something this big?

“It’s the biggest opportunity in the history of the world – it’s the biggest investment opportunity, but we have to have a clear vision, we have to have policy leadership… to bring the world community together to get the financing that is needed to move the momentum more quickly,” former US Vice President Al Gore told the discussion.

Any day now, this is going to be huge. (Right after they get that “strategy hammered out” yeah.)

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said financing climate action could offer a more lucrative home for $US8.5 trillion ($11.2 trillion) in negative interest rate bonds, $US24.5 trillion in very low-yielding government-type bonds and a further $US8 trillion in cash, though a clear strategy still needed to be hammered out.

 Try not to think about what it means when the government is borrowing money from people and Good-Friends-of-Government [...]

Warning shots fired at Christie/ Spencer UAH Building?

News just coming in suggests someone took some pot shots at the building the UAH satellite data is analyzed in.

Shots Fired into the Christy/Spencer Building at UAH

April 24th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

A total of seven shots were fired into our National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building here at UAH over the weekend.

All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy’s office is (my office is in another part of the building).

Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence. When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way.

Maybe the “March For Science” should have been called the “March To Silence”.

More discussion at Roy Spencers Blog and also at WUWT.

Roy Spencer adds in an email:

I doubt any media have covered it yet. I doubt the police have even written a report yet. From what I’ve heard, it sounds like the police believe the shots were fired from a passing car, [...]

Nearly 10% of USDA scientists believe their work has been tampered with

A survey of Dept of Agriculture (USDA) scientists by the agency’s inspector general suggests some very fishy things are going on in government science:

[Darryl Fears, Washington Post]   According to the survey’s findings, nearly 10 percent said their research has been tampered with or altered by superiors “for reasons other than technical merit,” possibly because of political considerations.

Looks like  Monopsony Trouble: When almost all the research in some fields is done by government funding (one buyer), there is no competition. In answer to that, instead of finding ways to encourage competition, the government set up an agency instead — the SIP.

That didn’t work either.

In the survey, 85 percent of the 1,300 scientists who responded said the Scientific Integrity Policy established to protect their work didn’t benefit them, or offered no opinion. Nearly 20 percent said they didn’t know the policy existed.

Nearly 40 percent didn’t bother to take the survey, according to findings released April 13. Of those who did, more than half said they didn’t know how to file a complaint and some said they didn’t do so because they feared retaliation.

“You do not need to have many cases [...]

Unthreaded Weekend

March “for Science” — an attempt to replace the failing Earth Day

Today, the misnomer “March for Science” is trying to take over the aging faded Earth Day. It’s an attempt to steal the good brand “Science” yet again for other causes.

Once upon a time, Earth Day used to mean something. Back in 1970, 20 million people took part, 12,000 events were held:

 Congress took the day off, and two-thirds of its members — Democrat and Republican alike — spoke at Earth Day events. The Today show devoted 10 hours of airtime to Earth Day.

Can anyone imagine both sides of politics cheering the March for Science?

By 2013, Time Magazine noted how irrelevant it was:

Earth Daze, what happened to the environmental movement?

It’s Earth Day, though you could be forgiven if you missed it

So, lo, along comes another name “March for Science”. Same political motivations, different guise.

Stand up and “March for Science” say people who don’t know what science is

The March for Science is on Saturday.

Will J Grant and Rod Lambert struggled with the message behind the “March for Science” at The Conversation. We should march, they said a month ago, because “science is a human process”, which will be news to people who thought science was about evidence and reason instead. On Saturday they will be marching for the kind of science that is  “passion” and “belief”. Don’t turn up thinking this is about the dispassionate Laws of Physics. You’ll be at the wrong rally.

Is the March to solve a problem or create one?

The March seems to be fighting strawmen. It is supposedly about “Encouraging scientists to share their research” (as if scientists like to hide their research). We know they hide their data, their methods and their adjustments, but when the ABC turns up to interview them, they don’t seem to hide their opinions. They hide their declines  but don’t hide their Nobel Prizes (even if they didn’t get them). Do they need encouragement?

And the March is there, apparently, “affirming science as a vital feature of a working democracy”, who says it isn’t? Like voters have been asking for witchdoctors instead? Absolutely no [...]

Climate change steals river

Overnight a river in Northern Canada disappeared. A glacier had retreated and allowed the water upstream to sneak out via a different path. The water now ends up in the Pacific 1300 km away from the Bering sea where it used to emerge.

A close-up view of the ice-walled canyon at the terminus of the Kaskawulsh Glacier, with recently collapsed ice blocks. This canyon now carries almost all meltwater from the toe of the glacier down the Kaskawulsh Valley and toward the Gulf of Alaska. Credit: Jim Best/University of Illinois


You might think this event has happened every time glaciers retreated in the last 30 million years, but you would be wrong. Really, this is due to coal-fired power stations.

In a report published on Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, Dr. Shugar and his colleagues provide a detailed analysis of how an atmosphere warmed by fossil-fuel emissions has led to the river’s dramatic disappearance.

“To me, it’s kind of a metaphor for what can happen with sudden change induced by climate,” said John Clague, who holds a chair in natural hazard research at Simon Fraser University and was a co-author on the report.

Let’s play [...]

Cotton grows 60% faster with double CO2 and warmed by 7 degrees

CO2Science found a 1999 paper done in China that shows just how awful climate change is for cotton. It’s a major global crop for fibre and oil and when the researchers warmed daytime growing conditions from 27C to 34C the plants seemed pretty happy about it as they grew faster and bigger. But if CO2 levels doubled as well, in hot conditions plant growth was up 60%. (Panic now.  It’s a international emergency).

Don’t change your cotton futures portfolio just yet. At the current rate of warming (0.13C/decade) it will take about 500 years for Earth to get seven degrees warmer.