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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US Presidential candidates ranked for independent thinking and gullibility on climate science

How many Presidential candidates are susceptible to groupthink, scare campaigns and low-base science agitprop? Thanks to Seth Borenstein, Michael Mann & Andrew Dessler we can rank them according to their ability to resist profoundly unscientific propaganda like “there is a consensus”.

Ted Cruz is clearly the best at holding his own in the independent thinker stakes.  Ben Carson and Donald Trump do well. But poor Hillary Clinton doesn’t stand a chance against the onslaught of junk graphs, hyperbolic claims, and inane bumper-sticker cliches.

US presidential Candidates, climate science, groupthink

Those who fall for the consensus argument are in no position to run a nation.  Firstly it’s profoundly unscientific — we don’t vote for the laws of science; scientific theories are either true or not true regardless of opinions. Secondly, it only takes ten minutes of independent searching to find that there is no consensus among scientists as a broad group, anyway. There is a consensus among various definitions of certified climate scientists, but not among meteorologists , geoscientists and engineers or other hard science areas.

As I’ve said before, skeptics outrank and outnumber believers, they make planes fly, find mineral deposits, and walked on the moon. Believers produce climate models that don’t work. If climate scientists were good scientists, the first people they’d convince would be the physicists, mathematicians, geologists and engineers.

Most readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in  comments^) have hard science degrees. Dan Kahan conducted a survey of 1,500 people and found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical. In other words, skeptics were better informed about science^. If we had to name a list of skeptics versus believers, the skeptics number 31,000, yet there is no list of named scientists who believe that comes close — let alone a list of 300,000 which would imply some truth to the statement that the science is settled, and the world’s scientists agree.

The famous 97% consensus is really a 0.3% consensus.

See real scientists review climate science with thousands of peer reviewed papers. NIPCC report.

Climate Depot, Pat



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New Science 20: It’s not CO2, so what Is the main cause of Global Warming?

We are back in the hunt for the main mystery drivers of our climate. The IPCC says it can’t be the Sun because the total amount of sunlight barely changes. Which is the usual half-truth that  pretends the Sun is simple a ball of fire with no magnetic field, no solar wind, and has no changes in the “color” of the spectrum it emits. But the Sun has a massive fluxing magnetic field that turns itself inside out and upside down regularly, it churns off a stream of charged particles that rain on Earth, and if human eyes could see infra red and UV, we’d see the color of the Sun change through the cycle. We  are only just beginning to figure out how these aspects affect the climate. But we know these factors influence ozone, probably cloud seeding, and possibly jet streams.

The only good long data we have on the Sun are the sunspots, which give us a reasonable idea of total sunlight since 1610. David uses Fourier maths to find the way that total solar irradiance (TSI) might relate to temperatures on Earth. TSI itself barely changes, so it could only have caused about 10% of the variation of Earth’s temperature since 1900 (if the official temperature records are to be believed). But it’s the main clue we’ve got to figure out how other parts of the solar dynamo may be changing the weather here on Earth.

The most likely mechanism is through cloud cover, which covers 60% of the Earth and reflects 30% of the incoming energy. And small change will make a big difference. David‘s model looks for externally driven changes to albedo, which means forces other than surface warming that influence our clouds. The IPCC assumes this doesn’t happen. What can I say? Their models don’t work.

The notch delay solar model is a physical model, based on physical principles, not curve fitting. It uses standard analytical tools employed throughout the electronics industry. Few climate scientists were trained in them — they have probably never heard of most of them. But engineers have to get the maths and the feedbacks right, or the phone and the electricity don’t work… these tools have been tested.

When the signals from the Sun are pulled apart this way, the patterns show a classic notch filter. At the frequency of a half solar cycle (about 11 years), some mechanism operates which temporarily reduces the effect of incoming solar radiation. Because it is so in tune with solar cycles it must originate on the Sun itself. Further, here seems to be a delay between changes in TSI and its effect on Earth’s temperature, also of about 11 years. The maths of notch filters shows this delay might be part of the notching mechanism, or might be separate. Obviously sunlight itself is not having a delayed effect on Earth 11 years later, instead a change in total sunlight is a leading indicator of some other solar factor that changes a half cycle after TSI changes.  The delay is synched to the Sun. The exact mechanism is still to be figured out (there are several candidates).

David updates the progress on this from last year. While we said then that a notch filter dictated that there had to be a delay, Bernie Hutchins pointed out that it didn’t guarantee it. But by then we’d found other independent empirical evidence — published in a few papers over the last 20 years, that indicate a delay must be occurring.



20. So What Is the Main Cause of Global Warming?

Dr David Evans, 22 November 2015, Project home, Intro, Previous, Next.

Background of the last 19 posts: our understanding of carbon dioxide is framed by the top-down conventional basic climate model. But that model has major architectural errors. When the errors are fixed, the model estimates the Earth is not very sensitive to carbon dioxide. Indeed, it’s an order of magnitude less important than the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated. All that extra atmospheric carbon dioxide very likely caused less than 20% of the global warming of recent decades*. (Kindly note that those findings are logically distinct from the notch-delay hypothesis coming up, so even if that hypothesis proves to be wrong then the critique of the architecture of the conventional basic climate stands.)

So if carbon dioxide is not the cause of 80% of global warming, what is? Let’s start by ruling out what it is not.

It’s Not Variations in Direct Heating by the Sun

The dog-obvious suspect is the Sun. But the IPCC is adamant that it’s is not that important. You  have to read the fine print – they only consider the direct heating effect of the total solar irradiation (TSI), not all the other potential solar factors.

The energy from the Sun is almost constant.

Figure 1: The energy from the Sun is almost constant. (Source)

Keep reading  →

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The one most important factor for Paris — The US congress

Will Obama and the UN succeed in forcing “climate taxes” on the US?

h/t to GWPF for finding the stories that matter

When the press releases come out saying that Paris has succeeded (which will happen, no matter the outcome) the key factor is not just whether the agreement has any meaningful teeth, but whether it can be forced on the US without approval of Congress. The US didn’t approve Kyoto, and now, more than then, there is no reason to think anything significant would get through. The GOP Republican candidates are not paying lip service to the global warming meme anymore, things have changed so much they’re almost all competing to be skeptics. Just 6 weeks ago a poll in the US showed the amazing, astonishing result that 31% of respondents agreed with GOP candidates statement that Climate change is a total hoax.

The EU and UN players know they can’t convince the US people, and nor can they get past their elected reps so they are talking of doing things in ways that don’t require congressional approval. Naturally, if they had overwhelming evidence, and half a case, they wouldn’t have to do that.

No matter what country you live in, remind all your politicians, journalists, and delegates to Paris that no matter what Obama says or signs, the US Congress is vowing not to pour money into the climate deals.

U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday said Congress would not approve the Obama administration’s $500 million request for its first payment into a United Nations climate fund, a move they said would undermine the upcoming climate change summit in Paris.

“This president is going to go (to Paris) with no money,” said Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who chaired a hearing in the Senate environment panel on the international climate negotiations, which begin on Nov. 30.

Capito and other Republican members of the committee said they will ensure any deal the U.S. strikes in Paris will face congressional scrutiny, and warned they will block President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget request for the first tranche of the $3 billion pledged last year to the U.N. Green Climate Fund. — Reuters

The American Interest

Fifty two senators voted to block the US EPA rule that would cut coal power station emissions. While Obama could veto that, the message is that the Senate is not going to approve his climate ambitions:

Keep reading  →

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Weekend Untheaded

I’m travelling today…

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1 million German households had power shut off in last three years due to green energy cost

How much further backward do things have to get?

In the great industrial nation of Germany power companies are going broke, and 350,000 households are getting their electricity turned off each year because they can’t afford the bills. In a nation of 82 million, power companies are issuing some 6 million threats to cut electricity.

Pierre Gosselin no trickszone: Socially explosive German homes losing power

From Speigel:

“Over the past three years it all totals to be a whopping 1.025 million households.”

“Spiegel writes that the price of electricity in Germany has doubled since 2002 in large part because of the renewable energy feed-in surcharge. Private households are the hardest hit; they have to pay some 45% more than the EU average (while German power producers get 30% less than the EU average)! The government-interfered market is grotesquely distorted.”

It is not only Germany’s power companies who are bleeding to death financially, but so are many private citizens, who are unable to pay for their power. A shocking situation in one of the world’s most technically advanced nations.

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Bullying is everywhere and it works — even on surgeons

Global Warming, Bullies, Kevin Rudd,

The evidence is overwhelming right?

Civilization is a pretty thin veneer, really.

Bullying and coercion is not just a school-yard thing. It’s everywhere and even at the highest levels.

This report on Australian surgeons was released a few months ago, uncovering bad behaviour from people we would normally think of as being outstanding and pretty darn smart. So bullying works even on people at the top of the pecking order, and in supposedly the most caring of professions.

We humans are a gregarious lot, and we pretend we’re all rational, but the pressure to conform and fit in is intense. Even for rational souls it’s easier to say nothing. No wonder the climate science debate is loaded with namecalling, bad manners, and petty mockery. Politicians and newspaper editors often don’t speak up because they are afraid of being called stupid or a “denier”.


Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment are rife in the surgical profession, a damning report has found.

Half the surgeons and trainees who responded said they had been victimized.

We are winning the debate on the science, but we need to win the social war too:

Although about three out of five registered trainees surveyed said they’d been bullied, making complaints was widely believed to be “career suicide”.

Sexism was entrenched and endemic and sexual harassment pervasive, with women reporting they felt powerless to protest.

Skeptics often undervalue the networking and social effects. But it’s not enough to get the physics and the facts right, we need to reach the crowd.
Never underestimate the impact of sending emails and letters of support to the people you see taking that risk. (Heck, praise, approval and fear of retribution is what keeps most of the global scare campaign running — that and a few billion). Keep writing the letters to the editor, complaining to your universities and adding your comments to news stories. You may never get acknowledgment but it sucks the confidence from offenders and bolsters those who fight back. Bullies are stopped by third party observers who speak up.
It’s a self esteem thing. Many of our most successful people in society hide their lack of confidence with science — they’re the ones deferring to “experts” (ain’t it especially so with science-journalists?)
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Don’t drive, you encourage terrorists

If only we had more electric cars and windmills, lives could’ve been saved.

Ponder that air conditioners can cause people to do random acts of murder.  They might keep people in the room calmer, but outside that pollution* travels, heats the world, and lo, a terrorist is made.

(Call me a skeptic, but I tend to think that if we turn off all the air-conditioners (or run them on solar power, which is almost the same thing) we might get more acts of terror rather than less, but what would I know?) Bernie Sanders says that we should stop terrorists by reducing our carbon emissions. Somehow, there were people who did not laugh at him.

Time Magazine : “Why Climate Change and Terrorism Are Connected”

Drought in Syria has contributed to instability

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used the terrorist attacks in Paris to call for action to address climate change at a primary debate Saturday. But, while the plea attracted ridicule across the political spectrum, many academics and national security experts agree that climate change contributes to an uncertain world where terrorism can thrive.

U.S. military officials refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” that takes issues like terrorism that would pose a threat to national security and exacerbates the damage they can cause. A 2014 Department of Defense report identifies climate change as the root of government instability that leads to widespread migration, damages infrastructure and leads to the spread of disease. “These gaps in governance can create an avenue for extremist ideologies and conditions that foster terrorism,” the report says.

The weather and violence link seems a bit unlikely at first, but think about it — if a big volcano had gone off in 1939, things would have been cooler, and Hitler might have been a lot nicer, say, more like Napoleon. Am I stretching the analogy? I sure hope so.

But we live in hope and pray to the Gods of Political Correctness that perhaps a volcano will go off and save the day — a spot of cooling and a dash of rain, and the murderous types of migrants will all head back where they came from and there will be peace.

But wait, what if it was a Big-Oil plot?

Oliver Tickell in the Ecologist wonders if the aim of the Paris terrorists was to save oil profits instead of being a reaction to dry weather?

“Is it a coincidence that the terrorist outrage in Paris was committed weeks before [the UN’s] COP21, the biggest climate conference since 2009? Perhaps. But failure to reach a strong climate agreement now looks more probable. And that’s an outcome that would suit ISIS – which makes $500m a year from oil sales – together with other oil producers.”

Tickell asked “ISIS Inc defending its corporate interests?”

As Bishop Hill says “A real OMG moment here folks”.

For commenters, thanks to Australia’s 18C laws on racial vilification — even if you are not discussing a race, but a meme or a religion — you can’t cause offence. Please [SNIP-18C] yourself. Don’t do it for their sake, do it for mine. For your info, it appears to be accepted in Australia to say mean and offensive things about Daesh believers.

Weep for our freedom of speech when talking about anyone else.

Niall Ferguson has an excellent article in The Australian and London Sunday Times.

h/t, David, Colin,

*Pollution, aka fertilizer. What’s the difference?

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New Science 19b: A Synopsis

We’ve had a lot of requests for a single document to summarize the blog posts so far. Some people like to print and read all in one place (that’s me). I hope this helps. Skeptics on threads are busy cracking away at getting a rerouting mechanism fleshed out. The quest…  thanks to everyone who is supporting this project in so many ways, whether it be via email, sharing with others, or through donations. We really do appreciate it. We’re going to figure this out. :- ) — Jo

Dr David Evans, 15 November 2015, David Evans’ Basic Climate Models Home, Intro, Previous.

I’ve prepared a synopsis of the 19 posts in this series. It’s a standalone document of 20 pages that explains the important points, some from a different point of view than the blog series. The summary and introduction at the front are non-technical and suitable for politicians and journalists. The synopsis is light on for equations — there are some, but you can pretty much ignore them because it mostly reads fine without them.

If you wanted to show someone the series, this is the document to use. It is downloadable from the project home page, which is the url to give someone if you only give them one link to his work/series.

I’ve also written three introductory essays, which will soon be downloadable from there also.

Here is the synopsis: download.

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Weekend Unthreaded


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Breaking: Terrorist atrocity kills 127 (+200 injured many critically) in France


Paris is under seige — Multiple terrorists arrived with AK 47s and bombs strapped to themselves in six separate attacks. The latest toll is 153 127 dead, and France has closed its borders. Our thoughts go out to the victims of these pointless atrocities, to all of their friends and families, and to all of France, in shock.

The Bataclan concert hall was attacked and people taken hostage, “at least 112″ killed.  A SWAT team arrived and over 100 hostages were released.  A suicide bomber attacked the Stade de France (the national stadium). President Holland had to be evacuated. There are gun attacks as well. There are reports of 14 people killed by gunshot at Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant.

Information from the CNN live update page.

Sky news Paris ‘bloodbath’ kills at least 160

UPDATE: Islamic State (ISIL) have claimed responsibility.

UPDATE: Death toll appears to be 127 plus 200+ injured, 99 critically.

Graphic sad stories in The Telegraph are rolling in.

With between forty and fifty thousand people converging on Paris in two weeks to start the UNFCCC COP21 meeting the obvious question is security and safety of everyone. WattsUp points out some journalists are asking if Paris will still host the climate talks. I find it hard to believe that massive conference-junket would be changed now, though some attendees will be feeling very anxious and some will drop out. Security will obviously be ramped up, but if every restaurant is a target, how safe can safe be? I expect the leaders could be closeted away in a secret location — the rest of the conference was mostly a cabaret. Given the size of the “theatre” and the heavy media presence that would be much more difficult to manage.

Anthony Watts so aptly quotes Obama, April 2015:There is no greater threat to our planet than climate change”

I know this is a hot topic, please keep comments constructive and bear in mind this is primarily a science blog with volunteer moderators.

UPDATE: From The Wall St Journal / Australian

But today’s shootings and explosions across Paris illustrate the difficulty authorities in France and elsewhere face in containing a diffuse but deadly terror threat.

They also underscore the security challenge France will face when a global summit on climate change begins at the end of the month. The government this week decided to restore border checks during the summit, the first time it has taken that step in years. Over 100 world leaders are expected to attend the opening of the summit.

 * The headline originally said “over 150 killed” but was revised 10 hours later to reflect updated numbers.

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