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




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

Penn and Teller on the religion called Recycling

We could have so much fun doing a show like this Busting the Religion called Climate Change.

Why recycle? “It feels good”

The show uses a few more crass words than it needs to, apart from that it’s a lighthearted satire that kills quite a few sacred cows. The first 5 minutes sets it up with a bunch of people telling us that believe it makes them a better community player, a better mom, a good example for their kids, and helps the planet etc etc.  Then Penn and Teller do some creative experiments on unsuspecting victims of the Recycling Religion.

This so lends itself to climate change. We could lead people through a series of questions where they agree to statements revealing they believe windtowers stop storms and solar panels hold back the tide.

My submission for the Australian contribution to Paris UNFCCC

Just add your voice. (It appears to be still open, though that may change any minute). You don’t have to do a big document. My post on submissions was last week.

The Australian government website asks these questions:

Q.1 What should Australia’s post-2020 target be and how should it be expressed? In responding to this question you could consider the base year (e.g. 1990/2000/2005), the end year (e.g. 2025/2030), the type of target and why the suggested target is preferred.

Australia should help improve crop growth and reduce desertification in arid areas by having no CO2 target at all. CO2 is a beneficial byproduct of economic activity.

Q2.  What would the impact of that target be on Australia? In responding to this question you could, for example, consider the impact on our economy, jobs, business and on the environment.

Australia would be more competitive economically by removing unnecessary restrictions on CO2. As the largest driest continent with vast arid zones, both our farmers and arid conservation areas benefit from extra atmospheric CO2.

Q3  Which further policies complementary to the Australian Government’s direct action approach should be considered to achieve Australia’s post-2020 target and why? We need [...]

Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupts

The Calbuco volcano in Chile has suddenly erupted. People have been evacuated from a 20km radius. Local flights are canceled. The ash cloud is moving east. It’s not clear yet how much effect it will have on the climate. But it is big and worth watching. So far, there are no reported casulties. This volcano has been quiet for 42 years, and caught everyone by surprise. h/t David W

Calbuco volcano, Chile @SegHumana

The free market wins again – carbon auction price is $14 per ton — up to 300 times cheaper than Carbon Tax

Landfill gas

All the usual suspects declared it could never work. Instead, “Direct Action” is likely to be wildly cheaper and more effective (at reducing CO2). The catch is, it won’t reward friends of big-government and it won’t punish miners, manufacturers and small businesses –  which must be why climate activists don’t like it.

Results are just in from the first Abbott government Direct Action carbon auctions. The government offered to pay for carbon reduction, and held a reverse auction (where people who bid the lowest price would win). The average price came in at $14 a ton.

The Numbers: The Australian government will spend $660 million to reduce emissions by 47mT. These projects will run for about 7 years, and mean the government is on track to meet the target of 180mT reduction by 2020. — Details are at the Clean Energy Regulator.

It’s a lot less than the fantasy schemes that use wind and solar power, of which cost estimates vary partly because no one really knows what the lifespan and disposal costs are. One MIT study estimated the cost of abating carbon with wind was about $60 AUD per ton, and the cost of [...]

It’s always Dark Sky Week in Africa

From Steve Goreham’s article on the “Horse and Buggy advice” from the green movement.

In March we enjoyed Earth Hour, when citizens were urged to turn off their lights around the world. Last week was Dark Sky Week, an effort to make citizens aware of “light pollution.” It’s always Dark Sky Week in Africa, where the majority of a billion people don’t have access to electricity.

Last year, Tony FromOz looked at Niger, Africa and discovered 17 million people use less electricity than the small town of Dubbo, NSW (pop 40,000).

From Steve Goreham:

Why do decrees from environmentalists always seem to come from the Dark Ages?


Nothing is more scary than funding a skeptic. Flannery over-reacts, accidentally satirizes himself

To paraphrase: People who disagree with my economic predictions should not get funds.


The Australian Government is spending $2.5 billion on Direct Action to reduce atmospheric carbon. They offer to spend a tiny $4m extra setting up a centre for an economist who studies the effectiveness of action to change the climate.

Tim Flannery’s reaction to the Consensus Centre:

“…it’s an insult to Australia’s scientific community.”

It’s an insult I tell you! Imagine taking Australia’s climate scientists seriously, and setting up an economics centre to solve the crisis they say is occurring.  How could any scientist stand that.

Lomborg-the-economist agrees completely with the IPCC and Flannery on the climate science. But he disagrees on the economic and policy positions. Obviously it’s a disaster if the Flannery-IPCC economic predictions are subject to analysis.

Flannery, self-satirical, on the appointment of Lomberg:

“Mr Lomborg’s views have no credibility in the scientific community. His message hasn’t varied at all in the last decade and he still believes we shouldn’t take any steps to mitigate climate change. When someone is unwilling to adapt their view on the basis of new science or information, it’s usually a sign those views [...]

Scientists reply to hypocrites: We dare you to talk science instead how you hate “fossil fuels”

Caught with their pants down.

Unskeptical-scientists, like Hansen, Trenberth, and Mann, have plastered their name on a document aiming to stop scientific research. They want less science funding. Who hates science then?

The Ethical Poseurs

Who cares about the ethics of fossil fuels funding skeptics, but doesn’t care when renewable-energy corporations sponsor pro-crisis exhibitions? Siemens was principle sponsor of the UK Science Museum’s propaganda gallery on climate science. It makes EUR 80 million profit each quarter from wind and renewables. Where is the outrage? When mercenary corporates use museums to boost their profits, that’s OK for Hansen, Trenberth and Mann. The other big sponsor was Shell, which profits from gas sales, when its cheap competitor coal gets hit thanks to “climate-panic”. Shell, of course, likes windmills, which need a gas form of back up.

Time skeptics stood up for science funding

We skeptics need to stop buying into the bullying and intimidation of those who say fossil fuels can fund unskeptical research but not skeptical (i.e. real) research. The sole reason they do this is to starve skeptics and to poison the well for audiences. It is anti-science, anti-free-speech, anti-intellectual in every way.

Most times when a skeptic says “we [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Been away for a few days again… north this time. Cute small fishing towns are overlooked.

Hope you are having fun too.

Bjorn Lomborg gets funding for a new centre at UWA, howls and protests begin

Bjorn Lomborg writes in The Australian reasonably often, so he is fairly well known amongst the thinking set in Australia.

The Consensus Centre is coming to UWA, my old alma mater, and former home of Steven Lewandowsky, and PhD candidate John Cook. Strange company indeed. It is promising that something rational will probably come forth from UWA for a change. It’s also promising that the Abbott government seems to recognise the need to break the monopoly in funding by a small amount. The choice of UWA might not be as outlandish as people think. It is as politically as pathetically correct as any university, but it doesn’t have a major climate gravy train. Their climate science courses page says it all — they only have a generic enviro-science major, and a bland “thesis” for postgrads. Their Climate Science page is (as wiki would say) a “stub article” in need of content. It  links to the UnskepticalScience blog, Lewandowskys nearly dead blog, and one respectable twitter account. In other words, $4m would make a huge difference in UWA-climate-land, which is a vacuum. I don’t think there was any chance of Lomborg getting help from say, Uni NSW instead (where Sherwood, England, [...]

Fewer heatwaves for 9 million Australians in Sydney, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne –”thank CO2″!

Let’s play the Heatwaves PR game. If CO2 had an effect we’d see a significant increase in the rate of global warming over the decades since WWII, the models would work, and climate scientists would be able to predict our climate. Since none of that is true, those with a political agenda have to clutch at noisy but marketable extremes instead. Apparently even a half-true, noisy, non-causal link is good enough for post-modern scientists.

Heatwaves are perfect for generating scientific sounding fear, but not so useful for generating actual scientific knowledge. There are an infinity of ways to measure them. They can last 3 days – 160 days, and be cut off at any number from 35  – 40C, or at some percentile outlier. They can be measured one town at a time, or on a regional or state-wide level. The permutations are rich with headline scoring possibilities. And in the end, on a long warming trend that started 300 years ago, it is obvious, inevitable, and predictable that we should score more now. What’s surprising is how often we don’t.

On ABC radio before Easter, Dr Vertessy, Director and CEO of the Bureau of Meteorology, claimed that we are seeing [...]