George Soros has poured money into promoting “climate change” politics through his foundations, working to demonize coal, but the man himself is now buying coal stocks. Analysts are asking if he is buying in to shut them down, or to pick up a bargain and take the profits. (There must also be options where he gets control to turn them into mixed energy renewables/coal plays.) But in the end he’s 85, and worth $24 billion. He has an 11 billion dollar stock portfolio and he’s spent less than $3 million on coal. It’s hard to believe the profits would be worth the bad press. Though Steve Milloy points out those companies own rights to 11 billion tons of coal reserves.
Coal used to supply 50% of US electricity, now it’s 40%. Peabody Energy Shares used to trade at $90, but now trade at $1.
Soros, whose Climate Policy Initiative think tank recently urged the world to stop using fossil fuels in general and coal in particular, snapped up 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and half a million shares of Arch Coal, giving him significant stakes in what’s left of the U.S. coal industry.
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NOAA has a press release out being picked up around the world. For example, the DailyMail, UK, is saying July was the hottest month since records began in 1880 as heatwaves swept the Earth’s countries and oceans. Other silly tabloids have headlines about this being the hottest July in 4,000 years, as if we have even the remotest idea what the average July global temperature was in the days of Plato.
Better data shows July this year is the hottest since way back in… 2014. It’s not 4,000 years, not 135 years, it’s the hottest July since the last one.
July 2015 is not even the hottest month since June.
But some journalists will believe anything. Anthony Sharman, sports journalist, News.com, Australia, thinks we know the global temperature of the July that Jesus was born. Who’s a gullible journalist then? (And who was that gullible editor?) We have estimates of the temperature of whole years circa one AD, but we don’t have “monthly” data. Not too many thermometers. How good are those tree-rings? Check out this fantasy headline:
Yes July could have been the hottest month in 4,000 years, and it could have been the first month Earth was visited by aliens — there is no evidence for that either.
Anthony Sharman read one press release and thinks he knows more than what he got from the cereal box:
CLIMATE change is real. Climate change is happening. The world is getting warmer. There was no global pause. This thing is not slowing down.
These are the inescapable conclusions for anyone who sources their information beyond cereal boxes, internet forums and oil industry spokespeople…
It’s no-holds-barred, pure agitprop. (I’ll bet he feels smug today, eh? ). Do leave a comment to help them get past their fawning commitment to publish chumpy unresearched propaganda.
Welcome to carbon accounting games. Which other global “free” market is based on a ubiquitous molecule made by life on Earth, and produced in massive quantities in places where it’s almost impossible to even measure accurately? The largest non-human and human players don’t play (they don’t pay). Massive quantities go missing from the accounts, while other countries are expected to turn their economies upside down to cut one tenth as much.
Shu Liu et al estimate China’s output of CO2 was 14% lower in 2013 than other estimates. They estimate China emitted 2.5 Gt of “carbon” in 2013. Australia produces around 0.1 Gt a year.* So China’s “reduction” was 2 – 3 times what Australia produces every year. There is no other market in the world where so much hard money changes hands based on soft guesses about a product that no one wants, and is hard to even measure.
Frank Jotzo, ANU, reveals how irrelevant actual CO2 emissions are — it’s “good news” that doesn’t make any difference:
Frank Jotzo, the director of the Center for Climate Economics and Policy at the Australian National University in Canberra, said it was “good news” that Chinese coal was yielding less carbon dioxide, “but it does not change the fundamentals, nor the challenge that China faces in getting away from coal.”
China uses nearly half the world’s coal. People from the outside are trying to guess how much CO2 China emits.
Some things were never going to be suitable for a “free market”. CO2 is one of them.
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The book Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes, was made into a box office bomb (it crashed). But, darkly, it has an ongoing life in our schools. Tony Thomas uncovers the push to put propaganda in front of children, dressed up as education. The director of the film tells the world that his aim is to stop skeptics from being broadcast on TV. (Because that’s what you do when you can’t win a fair debate eh?)
This film was never about science, but about doing exactly what it claims to “expose”. (It’s projection all the way down.) The real merchants of doubt are those that seed doubts about honest whistleblower scientists, using character assassination, namecalling, tenuous associations, innuendo and allusion instead of scientific arguments. They don’t find a scientific fault in anything skeptics say, but resort to twenty year old false tobacco smears.
What we need are resources for teachers to help students critically analyze propaganda like this. How do children spot what isn’t said? What clues do we see in this movie that reveal its anti-science, political nature? Is it that they don’t let their skeptic targets talk about climate science at all? Readers suggestions are welcome. How do we sharpen students to spot the hypocrisy and fallacies? As I said before, Naomi Oreskes IS the Merchant of Doubt.
“Ponder the irony of what Oreskes herself is doing. Is she not profiteering from being a doubt-monger about scientists’ reputations? Is she not a conspiracy theorist about webs of vested interests among conservative speakers? Could it be that her entire reasoning dies by its own sword and her claims turn out to be as hypocritical as they are mindless?”
Merchants of Censorship: the authoritarians’ new push
By Tony Thomas
On a flight home over the Pacific last month, with nothing better to do, I took a look at the Naomi Oreskes-based Sony film Merchants of Doubt. Back home, I delved further.
The film urges direct action now: to get all skeptic commentators blacklisted from TV news and comment because they are liars and shills for corporate vested interests.
The film’s director Robert Kenner emailed pals on March 6, 2015:
“Why I produced MD [Merchants of Doubt]. People who mislead the public on climate change should not be on TV. Period. That is one big reason why I produced Merchants of Doubt, a film that lays bare the greedy, shameful world of climate denial and the journalists who broadcast it.
This is also why, right now, we are launching a people power national campaign that could keep climate deniers out of the news for good…
“Forecast the Facts” has successfully held the media accountable before. One year ago, over 100,000 of us pushed the Washington Post to improve its climate reporting and we won. Now we can do it again with our TV news . RK.”
The film’s backers also helped push the Los Angeles Times and a dozen other US papers into banning “anti-fact” skeptic views.
Merchant of Doubt’s second target is the education system. The film comes conveniently packaged with classroom study guides for teachers and students. Green groups such as Cool Australia and Australian Youth Climate Coalition will waste no time in leveraging their influence in schools to get the film playing and streaming on the smart whiteboards.
Predictably, Tim Flannery’s Climate Council is promoting the film. It sponsored a special Melbourne showing at the Nova, Carlton, with council CEO Amanda McKenzie on the platform.
The film has bombed commercially, grossing a mere $US192,000 in March-April on the US cinema circuit.
Not to worry, the executive producers have deep pockets. They’re eBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar (net worth $US9 billion) and eBay’s inaugural president Jeff Skoll ($US4.4b).
Through their Participant Media offshoot, they’ve made dozens of activist films, including Inconvenient Truth (2005) and Climate of Change (2010). “Participant creates a unique social action campaign designed to give audiences specific actions they can taken on the issues illuminated in the project.” Skoll also runs the Skoll Global Threats Fund, which focuses on five global issues “that , if unchecked, could bring the world to its knees: climate change, water security, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict.”
The official website for the Merchant’s of Doubt has a “Take Action” button. There we find a “Petition to Help End Climate Change Denial in the Media” with 17,500 signatories to date (target: 30,000).
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This postmodern art is what wind power looks like on our national electricity grid. (Like a kindergärtner on steroids). There are 35 wind farms on this spaghetti graph, spread across 6 of our 8 states and territories. They cover thousands of square kilometers and are connected in allegedly the largest electricity grid in the world. This frenetic action covers the last two weeks, and is pretty normal.
You might think the wind “averages out” across the nation. Noooo. Some days, Australia is windy…
The total megawatts output varies as per the black line, from zero megawatts right up to 3000.
This below is a typical days national grid demand in winter. Even in the dead of night, the minimum baseload demand is 18,000MW. The nation is talking of going 26% renewable (unless it goes 50%). What could possibly go wrong!
According to AEMO Australia has the largest interconnected electricity grid in the world covering the east coast from Port Lincoln in South Australia to Cairns in Queensland (See the green and red squiggles on the right hand side of the map below) . That’s most of the Australian population. The wind power is mostly sited in the South East – SA, VIC, and NSW.
Australian Electricity Grid, transmission lines, 2009 | Click to enlarge
We are a windy country with wind turbines spread all around. But this big nation has big weather systems. Some days the whole grid is windy and other days, not.
Australian synoptic chart August 15th 2015.
Just in case you think August is unusual. Here’s the action for July — with the spaghetti removed and the unit in megawatts.
Pity the network manager.
The whole month of July 2015 — wind power across the national grid
Graph sourced from ANEROID ENERGY.
As Tonyfromoz has pointed out, if the Greens were serious about cutting carbon (sic) they would talk about the new ultracritical hot coal plants which can save as much as 15% of our emissions and produce reliable electricity at the same time.
Or, if say, the health of the planet was a stake, I reckon they might even discuss nukes.
h/t George and his friend on Facebook
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Looking for some mythical myths?
Sydney Morning Herald/Age serves their subscribers up a few. Apart from “Myth 1″ below, Adam Morton avoids answering the most important points skeptics are making, but offers up some secondary bit and pieces. He supplies vague wordy answers announcing definitive conclusions based on irrelevant, motherhood type reasoning, non-sequiteurs, and little research: it’s just what we’ve come to expect from a Fairfax “investigation”.
“Myth 1″: The new climate target will be difficult to meet
Adam’s has four arguments (3 irrelevant, 1 wrong) to convince us it will be easy. I’ve paraphrased the wordy stuff. His arguments are so weak, the marvel here is that our national conversation is so irrational. “Not even trying” as they say.
Lo, behold, it will be “easy” to cut our carbon emissions by 26%, because:
1. The last small target we set for 2020 of a “5%” cut was less than other countries are achieving.
Jo says: There’s a reason our target was smaller. Australia’s population is growing faster (proportionally), our distances are larger, population density smaller, our largest export earner is “coal”, and some of our other exports have “energy” built in (so the carbon emissions occur in Australia for goods consumed elsewhere, e.g. aluminum). In any case, how does meeting a 5% target suddenly make a 25% target “easy”? We bankrupted farmers to achieve it, and most of those other countries won’t meet their targets.
2. The leap to 25% is really only a leap to 22% if you consider that the baseline years changed.
Jo says: So 25% is not much bigger than 5% (his first point), but 22% is significantly smaller than 25%? Not only is that not worth mentioning, and contradictory, it’s probably neutralized (and then some) by population growth. Our population has grown 38% since 1990.
3. Bernie Fraser says that we sort of committed to the 25% target in a subclause to the UN year ago, and “several analyses” reckon that clause was met.
Jo says: So an unrealistic target set yet ago which was never seriously attempted (because it depended on other countries “doing stuff” which they mostly didn’t do) could be said to have been a real target by some analysts in some circumstances, and is not much different to the new commitment. And this makes the reality of 25% “easy” how?
4. Recent evidence says it will be “easier than most people appreciate” because our emissions stopped increasing anyway, manufacturing declined, and people put lots of solar on their roofs.
Jo says: Manufacturing declined. We make less stuff to use and sell, how is that “good”?
Solar had little to do with the decline in emissions. Per capita most of our cuts in emissions came from locking up farmland and stopping land clearing. (That’s 20% of the 28% per capita fall in Australian emissions since 1990.)
5. An activist group called Climate Works says we could cut emissions by 50% by 2030 “easily” and grow the economy too.
Jo says:”Great” — so if existing technology is that good, who needs carbon markets, reduction schemes and legislation? Answer: existing technology is wildly expensive, inefficient, and high maintenance, so no one would use it if government didn’t force them to.
“Myth 2″: Australia is cutting per capita emissions faster than anyone else
His first argument is that this myth might be true, but we’d still have the highest emissions per capita anyhow. (As if we know what 2030 emissions/population will be). When is a myth a myth, and when it is it just clickbait junk journalism?
Adam says this is a myth because other countries (that didn’t meet their last promises) have higher promises for 2030. Notably, to answer his point about “per capita” emissions, for most of his column space, Adams dumps the “per capita” part and just looks at numbers per country. In any case, those other countries are promising things, but cutting their green schemes: The UK is chopping those renewable subsidies, the EU carbon market is only kept alive by government rescue packages. Germany gave up on its renewable target.
It’s all a carbon accounting game anyway. Australia has a high per capita emissions because we export a lot of energy-intensive goods like aluminum. Those emissions get counted “here” but used overseas. If we changed the carbon accounting to reflect where the product is used, the statistics look very different. If we don’t make it, someone else will. We could lower “our” emissions by exporting these industries (e.g moving aluminum smelters to say the Philippines), but it doesn’t do the planet a whit of goods.
“Myth 3″: Australia is doing more than China [to reduce CO2]
China is doing a lot to cut emissions? That’s what 500,000 new MW of coal power means for carbon activists….
Notice the vertical line here and the phenomenal rise of Chinese coal use after 2001? Tell yourself that China is reducing emissions. Repeat. Stare at the orange blob. Drink Vodka.*
“Myth 4″ Electricity prices won’t go up
Finally Adam gets on the right side of reality, for a sentence. Electricity prices will rise. This is what has to happen if we are to control world temperatures through our power plants. The point skeptics make is that it isn’t worth the price. Adam says, innumerately, that arguing purely on the grounds that “prices will rise” is like denying there is a problem. Jo says: arguing about national policy on a yes: no basis is like talking to a three year old. “How much will it cost?” Adamikins says “yes”.
Australia produces 1.3% of global human emissions. We spent $15 billion to reduce global emissions by 0.004%. We changed the global climate by 0.0C. How much will it cost to cool the world? An obscene, eye-watering, ridiculous amount. The world bank has visions of $89 Trillion, but even they won’t say how many degrees of cooling this will buy us.
“Myth 5″: Coal plants have a healthy future
There are a thousand new coal fired plants in the planning stage. Sounds healthy to me. See the answer to “Myth 3″. The only threat to coal is if they world goes nuclear. (The Greens are doing all they can to protect coal from that.)
“Myth 6″: Australian coal can lift 100 million poor Indians out of poverty
Adam has exactly zero numbers to suggest why this is not so. Instead it’s wrong, apparently, because it doesn’t take into account the “health and social costs” of coal done by groups that use broken climate models to predict fantasy trends, and also pretend (despite the evidence) that warming kills more people than cold does. Studies on 74 million people show cold kills 20 times more people. It’s lucky cheap coal can keep houses warm so efficiently. It can not just lift Indians out of poverty, it can save their lives in winter as well.
If Co2 had much warming effect it would be a good thing.
See if you can figure out Adam’s point. He says: “…if Australia is paying for the cheapest cuts only, there will be nothing to transform the economy”. I think he is arguing that even if we cut carbon the cheapest way possible, that is “good” but not enough. He says (with God-like omniscience) we also have to “replace energy infrastructure” and “change transport and agriculture” and that “… won’t happen with a low international carbon price alone.” Right, so we must use the deeply flawed, fake free-market to make carbon reduction cheap, then, because he knows that won’t work to actually change “infrastructure” (like a real free market does every day) we need government regulation on top of the government-regulated failure of a market. The answer is always more state control.
Tell us Adam, how is funneling money to Chinese solar panel manufacturers to produce ineffective solar panels going to produce an effective, competitive, solar panel? It will only happen if the profits for the Chinese manufacturers are so large they use a tiny slice of them to spend on research. If our aim is to make a solar panel that sells without a subsidy, isn’t it about 200 times more efficient to just spend the money on research ourselves? Then we own the patents too. Cheaper, faster, better for us.
Or could it be that the real aim is not “better” panels or CO2 reduction, but really to create a large pool of people with a vested interest in the grand climate campaign? People on the solar panel gravy train will defend, lobby and vote for solar subsidies and the man-made climate crisis because they cream some money off it.
The pointlessness of “solar” discovery by funding bad versions on houses fits the second theory, not the first. But hey, what’s empirical evidence against a motherhood-feels-good idea?
“Myth 8″: There is a plan to meet Australia’s target
There are a thousand plans and there are no plans. It’s all hope and change. The Abbott government is doing the cheapest thing possible (which is still mostly a waste of money). The Labor government want to change the whole economy in a grand scheme, despite energy use being inelastic, and most of the players not changing behaviour unless the price gets exorbitant. A forced market is a fixed market. A forced payment is a tax, even if your economic ignorance is so complete you think it’s OK to call it “free”.
*Vodka? There is a Chinese type, and it’s the most consumed distilled spirit in the world according to an unreferenced line in wikipedia. .
How will that 1mm sea level rise affect your office?
Apparently, no one can escape the dangers of climate change. Even when you are indoors, safe from the “extreme weather events” and flooding that we are told are the result of increases in the Earth’s temperature.
The Obama Administration has awarded $8 Million in government grants to nine universities to study the impact that climate change has on indoor air quality. The EPA defends the move by claiming that climate change’s effects on indoor air pollutants that lead to asthma, as well as mold and mildew, aren’t well understood. However, as with everything negative that occurs in the world, the Obama Administration is assuming that global warming probably has something to do with it.
Not only is the climate impact on asthma not well understood, asthma isn’t understood either. So lets ask a climate model that doesn’t work to figure out future rates of a condition we don’t know the exact cause of during imaginary weather that probably won’t happen.
Really the main effect of anthropogenic climate change is not on our lungs, it’s on our wallets.
I predict man-made-climate-change means the weather will stay the same (especially indoors) but we’ll get poorer, which will mean more asthma unless it means less.
The warmists agree to presume,
That the climate-changed air in a room,
Will not be the same,
Needing millions they claim,
To fix or face absolute doom.
If psychologists want to be taken seriously, and want psychology to be called “a science”, they need to elect a director who knows what science is.
Executive Director: Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM FAPS
The Climate Study group in Australia published a half page advert in The Australian last week – Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence. In reply, Prof Lyn Littlefield, Executive Director of the Australian Psychology Society wrote a letter to The Australian protesting — claiming that the Climate Study Group are the ones suffering from the confirmation bias they accuse climate scientists of.
“The advertisement, ‘Psychology and the New Climate Storm’ misuses psychology-based arguments to add credibility to myths and misinformation about climate change. In doing so, the authors illustrate aptly the very error bias (confirmation bias) they are erroneously attributing to the climate science community.”
It’s the “the pot calling the kettle black”, exclaims Littlefield. But since her arguments are entirely fallacies, this is the kettle calling the pot calling the kettle black. The Climate Study Group mentioned many scientific observations, and in reply Lyn Littlefield can’t find an error in any of them, she can only cite “the consensus”. So instead of using a thermometer to measure the temperature, she wants to use keyword studies in abstracts of publications, and pronouncements of sub-committees of scientific associations. Hey, it’s not like consensuses have been wrong before, or grants committees, journal editors, and scientists could possibly have any personal motivations, training deficits, or biases, right? But who would expect a psychologist to spot those…
Littlefield seems to think that scientists are robots. She talks of “vested interests” of the skeptics, but is blind to the 3500:1 ratio of funding for climate “belief”. Then she accuses skeptics of cherry picking and bias. It’s projection, projection all the way down.
The world cooled for 37 years while CO2 rose. Does that matter? No, says Lyn, the Royal Society was founded in 1662. Welcome to a conversation with a blind believer. Seriously, the good scientific psychologists need to speak up lest the fawning confused believers in their profession stay glued to the public mouth-piece. (Lucky Jose Duarte has spoken, and Littlefield should read his blog. Where are the other good psychs?)
Littlefield wants to talk “fallacies”, so let’s take her “jumping to conclusions” fallacy and raise it. Those who jump to assume long reports from human committees are “facts” are falling for the fallacy known as “argument from authority”. Real scientists look at the data — which is exactly what the Climate Study Group did.
The danger of believing press releases — there is a reason “argument from authority” is a fallacy
Littlefield seems to think that if an association issues a statement it’s an accurate reflection of the members, but these societies almost never survey their members. Those of us who understand the psychology of groups know that most associations speak on behalf of the six most motivated volunteers who signed up for the sub-committee on Climate Thingys. (You’d think, maybe, a psychologist might know that?) It’s just another reason the scientific method does not include “opinions of associations”. We have almost no evidence of what the members opinions are because no one asked them, and it wouldn’t matter anyway because it’s not evidence about the climate. (Perhaps we should start a new society to supplant the Royal Society for people like Littlefield — maybe the Royal Gossip or the Royal Opinion?)
Lucky Professor Littlefield, director of The Australian Psychology Society, does not assess surveys for a living, eh?
Surveys show there is no consensus among scientists
For the record if Littlefield did some (any) research before writing to newspapers, she’d know there are a few surveys of scientists but they pretty much all have devastating news for naive fans of a “consensus”. Empirical data shows only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, that 52% of meteorologists think natural causes are more important and only 43% of climate scientists (fergoodnesssake) agree with the biblical certainty expressed in the IPCC. Clearly skeptics outnumber believers, but as a scientist, I’d never use that to defend my views. It all comes back to real evidence instead — observations from stuff like satellites, sediments, ice cores and boreholes.
Define “climate science denial” — is that where psychologists deny the empirical evidence?
Littlefield understands that the work “empirical” is a good word to use to sound scientific. If only she knew about empirical climate data, instead of empirical data of online-anonymous-surveys. One sort of data matters:
There is a growing body of empirical research into the psychology of climate science denial, and a number of these characteristics are on display in the Climate Study Group’s advertisement.
The Climate Study Group can back up their statements with empirical data, which unequivocally shows that the models are wrong, the hot spot didn’t appear (even according to the IPCC), the surface stopped warming when it shouldn’t have, and the warming started long before it was supposed too (1680 versus 1900). Logically the “climate science deniers” are the ones who think 28 million weather balloons don’t matter, but ten anonymous responses in a survey of unskeptical sites do.
A real discussion we need to have is about the pathetic state of psychology
Are the successful scientists and corporate directors misusing psychology, or is it the psychologists misusing psychology?
There are questions the Australian Psychology Society really need to answer. “Climate denier” is an abusive form of namecalling; does it have a place in university psychology? It defies any literal definition; no one denies we have a climate and no one denies the climate changes. There don’t appear to be any people who fit the definition. Even PhD students of psychology (like John Cook) are being encouraged to use it. Does accurate English matter in psychology?
Does Littlefield think it’s OK for psychologists to generate derogatory media headlines based on three anonymous responses? Does she think it’s useful to survey sites that are hostile to skeptics to find out what skeptics think? (Would she survey Jews in order to understand what Palestinians feel?) Is it acceptable to claim that 78,000 skeptics saw a link to a survey on a site run by a co-author that never hosted the link? Does the APS care about truth, or does the ends justify the means?
These kinds of “climate” psychology studies start from the “consensus” fallacy (despite the empirical evidence that the consensus does not exist) . Do they serve the taxpayer, or is it just a way of improving propaganda in order to bilk the public for more big-government funds?
There’s a unspoken potential vested interest here. Corporates, miners, and skeptics don’t funnel much money on the climate issue to research psychologists because they know how pointless it is. Big-government however seems happy to fund psychologists who use the money to promote their own personal political (big-government) beliefs. Does psychology suffer from its own “confirmation bias”? Aren’t “climate” psychologists just government-funded activists in the Climate Change Scare Machine?
The evidence Littlefield either denies or is ignorant of is that the climate models depend on assumptions about feedbacks that observations have long proven to be false.
The models not only fail on global decadal scales, but on regional, local, short term,  , polar, and upper tropospheric scales  too. They fail on humidity, rainfall, drought  and they fail on clouds . The hot spot is missing, the major feedbacks are not amplifying the effect of CO2 as assumed.
–see the scientific references for those.
The consensus that doesn’t exist, depends on models that don’t work. Can anyone spot a problem?
Background info: See more posts about the missing hot spot, find out how models get the core assumptions wrong,
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