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


Advertising

Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


micropace


GoldNerds

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



Weekend Unthreaded

Cumulonimbus over Queensland | Photo by Geoff Derrick | Click to enlarge

Magnificent.

Climate change believers are using ‘medieval’ tactics to silence debate says George Brandis

How loaded and vitriolic the conversation is about the weather. Too loaded.

George Brandis describes how the left have stopped arguing for free speech and instead do everything to silence different views. He was shocked, he said, at the deplorable attitudes in two particularly white-hot topics: climate change and racial discrimination. Australian Senator Brandis is the Attorney General of Australia, and at the center of the debate about the noxious 18C legislation on hate-speech and whether we Australians have to make sure we don’t say anything to offend anyone. Curiously, this interview has got The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald talking. Commenters at The Guardian are doing their best to say why Brandis is wrong (“he is a lunatic”), while at the same time proving nearly everything he says about their tactics is true. Brandis, after all, explains that he agrees with the climate consensus, but doesn’t see why asking questions about the science should evoke a shocking form of authoritarianism and anti-intellectualism. He speaks of the emergence of a habit of denying the legitimacy of any other point of view.

Commenter “scuzzlebutt” says: “I’m starting to believe that Brandis may just be one of the most dangerous people in [...]

Prof Fiona Stanley jumps on climate-pulpit, says skepticism “is like child abuse”

It’s another pious scientist. Sigh.

Why do good researchers sometimes throw their professional standards to the wind (or in this case, just blow them right up?)

Fiona Stanley has done great work in the prevention of spina bifida with folic acid, and with indigenous health problems. The new big state funded hospital in WA is named after her, and she’s another Australian of the Year. (Is that award the worst thing that can befall a good scientist? Post hoc, they seem to think the world wants to know their personal feelings on topics they know nothing about.) Cue Professor Fiona Stanley who assumes all fields of science “work” even though she herself says climate science is politicized.

Stanley goes so far as to say that being skeptical of the IPCC view is like “child abuse”. But isn’t it a form of child abuse to throw away the Scientific Method, to sacrifice the next generation’s quality of life, their careers and then burden them with debts to the the God of Wind-farms and the Saint of Pink Batts? Don’t we owe our kids the transfer of a culture of logic and reason that was handed to us?

At least Stanley admits [...]

Abusing statistics in the name of global warming

UPDATED: Lovejoy has responded (in PDF and in comments. See below.)

I could tell from the headline below this was going to be a candidate for the Top-Ten most vacuous papers. It lived up to expectations, and then some.

“Odds that global warming is due to natural factors: Slim to none”

Is there anyone with the lights on at McGill University or “Climate Dynamics“? Surely ScienceDaily ought to have laughed at the press release and sent it back?

Seriously, people wield the magic wand of “statistical significance” without realizing that a/it isn’t magic, and b/ tiny p values can still mean nothing. (Depends on the hypothesis and assumptions underneath, hmm?). LoveJoy looked at 4500 years of a very squiggly line (the last 5% of this graph) and pronounced his magic tool could tell whether the last wiggle was …. ahem, unnatural. If that looks like tea-leaf reading to you, join the club.

Modern climate science can predict virtually none of the spikes and wiggles on this graph. Note the graph doesn’t include the last 100 years which adds about 1C to the rise.

Don’t look now, but it’s another Nail In the Deniers Coffin.

Sciencedaily

Odds [...]

Ask Stephan Lewandowsky anything, except “please can I have that data”.

Good news, according to The Guardian Stephan Lewandowsky is doing Reddit/Science Ask Me Anything session (finished for today, but back again tomorrow).

Richard Tol asked Stephan Lewandowsky how he felt about data. Stephan Lewandowsky replied with exactly the right answer, saying it’s crucial, and “I release all relevant data immediately”. Then Barry Woods quoted the Vice Chancellor of UWA refusing to provide Lewandowsky’s data (after many requests). Apparently it is UWA practice not to release data, no matter how many times researchers politely enquire. How unfortunate for Stephan to have worked at such a backward institution?

Strangely,  Barry Woods comment disappeared completely. (Lucky there’s a screen-shot.)

There must be something wrong with the server at Reddit, surely? Nonetheless Stephan Lewandowsky is passionate about data, I’m sure he will fix this as soon as possible in the morning. (Actually he is probably emailing Stephen McIntyre this minute). It could all be solved so quickly.

Of course, it is too late for him to call the Vice Chancellor, so it may take til lunch time tomorrow to change UWA’s data hiding practice.

We look forward to advancing cognitive science with open data too Professor Lewandowsky.

-Jo

—————————————————————————————————————–

The Reddit Comments

Look out! Climate change makes fish reckless

AIMS researchers found that fish near a natural CO2 vent were not as scared of predators as their colleagues from more alkaline water: “Ocean Acidification robs reef fish of their fear of predators”.

They compared populations in reefs with normal pH levels with those near the vent. I note this line in the abstract didn’t make it to the press release:

“Contrary to expectations, fish diversity and community structure differed little between CO2 seeps and nearby control reefs.”

So the natural laboratory of the vent has biodiversity and a community, despite the “acid” (which is not acidic of course). Milne Bay, I gather, has pH of 7.7.

The abstract points out that there might be a reason why fish are bolder:

“Our results suggest that recruitment of juvenile fish from outside the seeps, along with fewer predators within the seeps, is currently sufficient to offset any negative effects of high CO2 within the seeps.”

Less predators, anyone?

So these might be well adapted little fish that suit the natural environment around them? Call the press…

If warming were politically correct, then people might say the fish became more confident. : -)

Indeed shouldn’t we worry that fish in higher [...]

IPCC ambit demands tithe of 10% of everything

Who is in charge of arithmetic at the IPCC?

As Graham Lloyd points out, in March the IPCC Working Group II estimates the cost of a 2C temperature rise as being between “0.2 and 2.0 per cent of income.”

So how much should we spend to prevent 2% damage to our GDP? The IPCC Working Group III says “10%”.

Remember it takes millions of dollars of your taxes to come up with something this inanely stupid. Only a large government funded committee could suggest that spending 10% to save 2%* is an idea worth writing in actual words on actual paper. A private organization would have binned it at the back-of-the-envelope stage, the IPCC took it all the way through multiple drafts of multiple reviews of multiple meetings and sent it to every media outlet they know.

Too much money is never enough

This is pure ambit. The IPCC ask for 10% of everything in the hope that they’ll eventually get 1% and then instead of being grateful for that massive and entirely unnecessary funding they can feign how “poor” they are, how badly they’ve been treated, and why the answer is even more money.

The masters of PR

Notice [...]

Scream for the climate! Schlock & Haw Haw & the ABC

Global panic — strictly for your weekend entertainment. Enjoy!

The funny side of screaming for the climate.

 

h/t Geoff S : – )

Three Frontiers editors resign in protest over Lewandowsky’s Recursive Fury retraction

And the PR stunts continue.

Once upon a time  “Editors Resigning!” sounded important. Today, not so much. There are apparently hundreds of editors of Frontiers. As far as I can tell, these are not resignations from paid jobs, but resignations from a somewhat self-appointed, voluntary chore. They’re also not about any scientific argument, and it’s not clear that any of these editors were actually involved in editing the paper in question.

The three editors are Ugo Bardi (energy and resources),  Björn Brembs (neurobiology of flies and snails), and allegedlyProfessor Colin Davis of the University of Bristol (who at least is an expert in Cognitive Science). Davis doesn’t appear to have made a public statement. The only record is Desmog. Bjorn Brembs intends to resign, but may not have actually done it.  Who knows? (More to the point, who cares?)

Ugo Bardi, Chief Specialty Editor of the Frontiers Journal is resigning over the debacle about Stephan Lewandowksy’s twice failed paper. Overall, it’s an excellent event, but he’s a year too late. If I were an Editor, I would have resigned on Feb 3 last year (because on Feb 2, the journal published a ethically dubious, one-sided paper with no scientific merit, [...]

Welcome to Climate Nuremberg

A blog after my own heart. One that espouses extreme opinions, no holds barred. Absurdio reductum to the end!

Do be careful to read it in the right spirit.

Climate Nuremberg

Communication Dilemmas #1: Wishing Death on People Without Losing Them

Part of being a science communicator is hoping a natural disaster kills as many members of the audience as possible, as soon as possible, with as much media exposure as possible. As a communicator myself, I’d like nothing better than if thousands of middle-class white people died in an extreme weather event—preferably one with global warming’s fingerprints on it. Live on cable news. Tomorrow.

The hardest thing about communicating the deadliness of the climate problem is that it isn’t killing anyone. And just between us, let’s be honest: the average member of the public is a bit (how can I put it politely?) of a moron. It’s all well and good for the science to tell us global warming is more dangerous than Nazism, but Joe Q. Flyover doesn’t understand science. He wants evidence.

So we’ve probably reached the limits of what science communication can achieve. At this point only nature herself can close the consensus gap—or the fear gap.

[...]

Watching Cyclone Ita – Category One (was Five yesterday) over Queensland

UPDATE Sat morning: Thank goodness this has slowed dramatically. Now Cat 1 at 120 km/hr. 990hPa. While some have lost homes, there don’t seem to be any lives lost, though rainfall and storm surges mean the situation is still dangerous.  Courier Mail appears to have the best live coverage.

About midnight, last night Queensland time, Cyclone Ita crossed the coast. (Roughly about now). Hopefully it will pass through a less developed region. It potentially could be disastrous. We hope not. It is about 500km across (?) while Cyclone Yasi was 600km wide.  Winds were nearly 300km per hour but have slowed to 265km/h  205km/h. One meteorologist predicts it to slow to Category Four as it makes landfall. [He was so right, it's now a Cat 3]. Other reports say there’s no sign of that.

Cyclone Ita is currently Category 5 Category 4 Category 1 bearing down on the region around Cooktown and Cairns in North Queensland.

The Cairns 500km radars show it. The BOM warnings. ( 120km 105 30km N of Cooktown. Winds: 295km/hr.   265km/hr 205km/h Pressure: 931 939 960hPa. ) It’s clearly visible in the satellite image on the radar link. ABC live blog. [...]

Mapping the Skeptical Blogosphere

 People are writing in about the  Amelia Sharman study called Mapping the climate Skeptic Blogosphere. It came out last year as a Working Paper from The Grantham Institute, and then to show how meaningless peer review is, this fairly pointless, weak, banal production has come out again, almost unchanged as “new” but not original research in the peer review literature. What is the point? But I had a lot of fun with this study last year, so I’m reproducing nearly the whole post. And let me stress, at least Amelia Sharman seems to be very genuine in her inquiries, which is truly rare, and admirable. I just wish the brains trust advising her had a grip on logic and reason (and had less of our tax dollars).

The bottom line is that thousands of dollars were spent on a blogroll study which discovered that skeptics “value scientific inquiry”, and  are “alternative public sites of expertise.”

As well as WattsUp, Climate Audit and JoNova, obviously Bishop Hill, ICECAP, Tom Nelson, No Frakking Consensus, and Climate Etc were also found to be influential and connected. Note Climate Depot was ruled out because it pools stories rather [...]

There are fewer Australian tropical cyclones (thanks to climate change?)

UPDATE: Cyclone Ita is now Category 5 bearing down on Cooktown in North Queensland, the radars will show it soon. 175km NNE of Cooktown. Winds up to 300km /hr.  931 hPa.  See The BOM warnings. Thoughts for those in the path. (It’s clearly visible in the satellite image on the radar link).

——————————————————————————–

A new paper by Andrew Dowdy tells us that from 1980 to 2013 the incidence of tropical cyclones around Australia has been falling. If CO2 is influencing cyclones around Australia, presumably this implies we should burn more coal.

Those convinced about the power of CO2 will point out that the models predict an increase in intensity, not frequency. To that end, I say: see the BOM graph below. Note the red bars marked “severe”. Then tell yourself that the science is settled and we should spend billions to change those trends. The BOM say “the number of severe tropical cyclones (minimum central pressure less than 970 hPa) shows no clear trend over the past 40 years.”

Interestingly Callaghan et al 2010 goes back all the way to 1870. It finds the trend of severe land-falling cyclones has fallen by a whopping [...]

How to convert me to your new religion of Global Warming in 14 easy steps

A reader here sent me this excellent letter, which definitely deserves to be shared, and widely. Enjoy! – Jo

A Guest Post by the Clipped-Wing Warrior

Hi, there.  I’m a Global Warming sceptic.  By that I mean that I am sceptical of all but the first of the Ten Tenets of the Church of Global Warming, which are;

 The globe warmed over the course of the 20th century.  The globe is warming right now.  The global warming is going to continue in the future.  This warming is unusual, unnatural, and unprecedented.  This warming is an overall bad thing.  This warming is caused mainly by increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere.  Human CO2 emissions are responsible for most of the warming.  Humans are capable of reducing their global CO2 emissions.  A significant amount of warming could be avoided if humans reduced their CO2 emissions.  The amount of CO2 emissions reductions that would be achieved by bringing in a CO2 tax will reduce the amount of global warming by a large enough amount as to be worth the economic pain that would come with the application of a CO2 tax.

Apparently, to be a true Warmist you must confirm your belief in [...]

New Lewandowsky study finds Uncertainty Monster under his bed, will cost billions

Get ready. Nowhere and nothing is safe. The Uncertainty Monster is here and it wants to raid your national finances.

In another stroke of tax-funded-insight, Stephan Lewandowsky has scientifically shown that the less we know, the more we should spend. This could be the perpetual-fountain-of-grants for scientists who discover Uncertainty. Sadly this is bad news for scientists who find something real instead.

Gone are the days when policy-makers try to do cost-benefit analysis on the factors we know and can measure. In a brave new world The Uncertainty Monster arrives in Monte Carlo and eats the Discount Rate. Common sense dissolves in a naked singularity, then Climatic Change publishes what’s left.

It’s not clear what effect this news will have on national climate science research budgets. Lewandowsky notes in Part I that: “…it is independent of the presumed magnitude of climate sensitivity.” This will come as a relief to modern climate scientists who have been actively failing to pin down climate sensitivity for nearly four decades. Now we know that it doesn’t matter what climate sensitivity is,  the answer is “money”.

Some critics warn that political leaders might use this new research as a reason to cancel all BOM and [...]

Abbott tells G20 that climate is off the agenda (and the EU are not happy)

Australia is holding the G20 later this year. P.M. Tony Abbott has said climate will not even be on the agenda. The EU and the UN are not happy about that, so we know this is an excellent move. Bravo Abbott.

It’s another day in the death of the climate-religion.

EU ‘unhappy’ climate change is off G20 agenda

[The Australian] EUROPE is unhappy with Australia’s decision to drop climate change from the G20 agenda and is lobbying the Abbott government to reconsider.

European Union officials say Australia has become completely “disengaged” on climate change since Tony Abbott was elected in September last year.

They are disappointed with the Prime Minister’s approach, saying Australia was considered an important climate change player under Labor.

One well-placed EU official has likened the change to “losing an ally”.

The EU has a long-running emissions trading scheme which was going to be linked to Australia’s market. But Mr Abbott has pledged to scrap the carbon price in favour of his direct action policy.

An entire continent doesn’t like Abbott’s climate action plan apparently.

Europe is sceptical of Mr Abbott’s replacement plan.

How do we know? An unnamed person reckons there are lots of [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Journal admits Lewandowsky paper retracted because it failed. Twice!

Relish this win.

Recursive Fury, the ideated paper that Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook and Michael Hubble-Marriott tried to publish early last year, was of such poor quality that it was placed in the scientific limbo-land of being not withdrawn, not retracted, and not published for almost 12 months. Lewandowsky previously published an article claiming skeptics believed the Moon Landing was faked, based on only 10 anonymous internet responses gleaned from sites that hate skeptics.  Recursive Fury made out that skeptics who objected this previous paper were barking-mad conspiracy theorists with nefarious intent.

Finally, a  week ago, the journal issued a strange but brief official retraction notice. Bizarrely, despite the ignominious failure, Lewandowsky and many others played the victim card, fanning the idea that legal threats had stopped them from publishing a paper that was otherwise academically and ethically fine. The howls of faux-outrage grew, as usual, over-played to the point where they became self-defeating.

Now Frontiers, the journal, already suffering from being associated with such dubious work, has finally had to set the record straight and defend their reputation. They had not caved in to bullying, or legal threats from the evil denier machine. Actually there were no threats at all, [...]

Does honesty matter? Labor still supports the Carbon Tax – Nothing has changed: WA Senate election

UPDATE: 50% counted so far, likely result = Lib 2 | Lab 2 | Greens 1 | Pup 1 [ABC tally]  (This page says all 6 seats are “elected” yet only 50% is counted. Can someone explain? – Jo]

The WA re-election of six senators runs tomorrow. The carbon tax lie is still here, the zombie law dead, but living.  The Abbott government can’t get the legislation through the Senate to bury it.

It’s been a novel political strategy by the Labor Party: make a definitive commitment to voters, win by the skin of your teeth, then do the exact opposite. Get caned in the next poll, lose resoundingly. Then stick with the commitment you promised you wouldn’t commit too. Apparently, at the core of the Labor Party philosophy — Truth Is Optional. Changing the weather is more important than being straight with the voters. It’s how you serve them, right?

Ponder the ambition. Gillard declared  “there will be no carbon tax” then chose voluntarily, in full view, and with no gun to her head, to break her commitment. She hoped perhaps the Australian people would a/ forget, b/ say thanks, or c/ be understanding — after all, She Really [...]

Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society

Who’s the Number One enemy of people who thrive on big-government dependence? Charles Koch. He’s the archetypal threat to their prestige and power. Not only does he have the money to actually fund programs to promote free markets, self reliance, and free speech, he could be a bit of a poster boy for the independent free-market way of life. There’s the danger more people might start to aspire to stand on their own two feet, to create 60,000 jobs while producing products other free citizens value. To take pride in their achievements, and to eschew hand-outs. Therefore it’s imperative that only moguls who toe the collectivist line be allowed to be seen to be “good” people.

..more government means less liberty…

Here he explains what he’s fighting for. What’s not to applaud? — Jo

Hat tip to The HockeySchtick.

 —————————————————–

Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.

An Op-Ed in the Wall St Journal

By Charles G. Koch April 2, 2014 7:47 p.m. ET

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that [...]