A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



Australian Speakers Agency


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

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



The half-mile electric car charging queue in the US

This could’ve been us, Australia, if Bill Shorten had won two more seats.

One week ago in California:

Tesla drivers are stranded for hours in a half-a-mile-long line

Shanon Stellini was travelling through Kettleman City on November 30 when she stumbled across a backlog of around 50 of the electric cars waiting to recharge in a half-mile line outside of at a station near Interstate 5. — Luke Kenton Daily Mail.

Tyler Durden, Zerohedge

There are now around 400,000 Teslas on the roads of the U.S. and the company’s commitment to hoarding its cash by any means necessary, including not paying bills and not investing in its Supercharger network, could finally be coming back to bite its owners in pronounced fashion.

The Kettleman City Supercharging station has 40 superchargers, is halfway between LA and San Francisco and people were returning from Thanksgiving.

Looks like Tesla owners need a back-up “baseload” type car in the garage all year to be able to enjoy those special days. There go those fuel savings.

Though they could just fly. There go those fuel savings and those emissions…

The national electric car trap: What looks cheap, sounds fashionable but will not just send you broke, it could do-over the whole nation?

Electric cars may lower our fuel bills, but make electricity, jobs, lifestyle, unaffordable. For example, one enthusiastic man in EV saved 6700L of fuel but took three years longer to get where he was going. In other achievements EV’s are already causing some grid failures in Australia (and we hardly have any EV’s). Indeed, if you really want to destroy a grid properly: add a million electric vehicles (see those deadly stats from New Zealand).

Britain can have electric cars or turn Scotland into a wind farm, which will it be then?

There’s also the futile-funny case of the diesel powered electric car charging point in Australia. Laugh til you cry…

Electric cars are perfect for socialists: they boost Big-Gov, but are worse for CO2, pollution, coal use, and the whole dang grid.  Save the world with internal combustion engines


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.8/10 (71 votes cast)

26,000 junkets now in Spain at the UN Climate Change COP 25. Largest delegations? Ivory Coast and Congo

Junketees are on the move

Last week tens of thousands of officials, observers, and hanger-on-erers began their annual migration. To make the journey some 26,700 climate junketees used a form of petroleum and one caught a boat. Currently they are immersed in the seasonal two-week harvest before they migrate back.  Most delegates are collecting dollars, while others provide cash and collect Global Frequent Fashion Points instead.

Ponder that 11,000 athletes took part in the last Olympic Games and that’s only held once every four years. The COP events are the Olympics of government games.

Robert McSweeney of Carbonbrief  analyzes the UN Lists to find out which countries sent the most people. This year the junketee migration largely started in Africa, was headed to Chile, but somehow ended up in Spain. In 2019 the countries saving the world were the Côte d’Ivoire with 348 delegates, and both types of Congo with 293 and 163 delegates each.

This breaks down into: 13,643 people representing specific parties, 9,987 from observer organisations – such as scientists, business groups and various non-governmental organisations – and 3,076 journalists.

Marvel that 3,000 journalists have gone there yet we already know what they will write.

It’s an odd list, but looking at the top ten tells us a lot about the Climate Industry. Follow the money…

Delegates to the UN FCCC COP 25 conference

Click to see the longer list

Commiserations to the Spanish (who are the hosts with 175 delegates) and the Canadians (with 145) and French (124) who are all supporting a large crew. On the longer list, (click to see it), the US is sending 78 (who knows why?), the UK — 48, Australia only 20 (a miracle), and New Zealand just 19. Perplexingly, a country called the European Union is sending more people than France and Germany are.

Last year Guinea sent 406 people. This year, only 159.

Carbonbrief can tell you all the details you didn’t want to know, including the exact percentage of females to males, and which ten nations are sending an equal gender mix:

There are 10 countries that have delegations with a 50-50 split, which are Spain (172 delegates in total), Mozambique (48), Poland (38), the Seychelles (34), Belize (28), Tuvalu (18), Armenia (12), the Bahamas (10), Cuba (8) and Dominica (4).

The world is at stake, but there are a Frequent Fashion Points at play here, and intersectionality “scores”. Though 50:50 sex ratios are not ideal, and the winners are the two countries with all women delegates — get ready:

Two countries have all-female delegations – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (six delegates) and Syria (one).

If you live in a rich nation, remember your taxes make this possible.


The full list of party delegations of party delegations. The UNFCCC list provides the delegate names (although only about 8,200 party delegates are named, and that’s what this graph is showing, just those named ones.)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (55 votes cast)

Takes layers of incompetence to create mindless catastrophic hyperbole

With Alarmism off the dial, it’s nice to see some pushback coming from the near end of the science-scare. If journalists had asked questions like this back in 1988, it would have been all over by 1989.

Why Climate Alarmism Hurts Us All

Media Bias, voting behaviour of journalists.Michael Shellenberger, Forbes, does some research on the wilder climate claims. What a novel experiment!  He gets answers (at least for now) by taking the line, as he says in his twitter account, “Climate change is real but there’s NO SCIENCE for apocalyptic claims”. So he’s a believer that is concerned about the needless rising anxiety and panic.

When the media says “billions will die” Shellenberger wanted to know why. He just pulled on that string and it all unravelled…

It takes a layers of incompetence to wind up an atmospheric spectral change into Death To Billions. Mass delusion and catastrophic hyperbole just doesn’t come from nowhere — it’s starts with incompetent scientists who never ask each other hard questions, not even in the tea rooms. They tell journalists ambiguously phrased, cherry picked lines which are then amped up by the media, who also ask no hard questions and go on to misquote and exaggerate. By then it’s a junkyard of science communication, and that’s when attention-seeking zealots get hold of what they thought were scientific pronouncements and turn them into bumper stickers of enviro-biblical jello.

Firstly the worst quotes come from an XR Activist, not a scientist (why do the media repeat these claims?).

Shellenberger just followed the claims:

I wanted to know what Extinction Rebellion was basing its apocalyptic claims upon, and so I interviewed its main spokesperson, Sarah Lunnon.

“It’s not Sarah Lunnon saying billions of people are going to die,” Lunnon told me. ”The science is saying we’re headed to 4 degrees warming and people like Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Center and Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are saying that such a temperature rise is incompatible with civilized life. Johan said he could not see how an Earth at 4 degrees (Celsius) warming could support a billion or even half-billion people.”

Lunnon is referring to an article published in The Guardian last May, which quoted Rockström saying, “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that” at a 4-degree temperature rise.

So the XR activist thought it was from a scientist. But when Shellenberger interviewed the scientists it turned out they didn’t say that (well, not exactly):

 Rockström… told me that the Guardian reporter had misunderstood him and that he had said, “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate eight billion people or even half of that,” not “a billion people.”

So The Guardian had to make a correction — not 7.5 billion deaths then, only 4 billion (well, that’s alright then?):

Rockström said he had not seen the misquote until I emailed him, and that he had requested a correction, which the Guardian made last Thursday. Even so, Rockström stood by his prediction of four billion deaths.

But note the caveats, it’s not the evidence he has, but the evidence he doesn’t, and it’s not that he’s sure, in his judgement, he’s doubtful:

“I don’t see scientific evidence that a four-degree celsius planet can host eight billion people,” he said. “This is, in my assessment, a scientifically justified statement, as we don’t have evidence that we can provide freshwater or feed or shelter today’s world population of eight billion in a four-degree world. My expert judgment, furthermore, is that it may even be doubtful if we can host half of that, meaning four billion.”

Rockström said half of Earth’s surface would be uninhabitable, people would be forced to migrate to the poles, and other shocks and stressors would result from heatwaves and rising sea levels.

So Shellenberger, bless him, asks the obvious questions that almost no journalist on Earth has asked:

But is there IPCC science showing that food production would actually decline? “As far as I know they don’t say anything about the potential population that can be fed at different degrees of warming,” he said.  Has anyone, I asked, done a study of what happens to food production at 4 degrees warming?

And the expert admits he hadn’t really thought of that:

“That’s a good question,” said Rockström, who is an agronomist. “I must admit I have not seen a study. It seems like such an interesting and important question.”

The expert agronomist?

Shellenberger gives him the bad news that warming won’t kill as many people as climate policies will:

In fact, scientists, including two of Rockström’s colleagues at the Potsdam Institute, recently modeled food production.

Their main finding was that climate change policies are more likely to hurt food production and worsen rural poverty than climate change itself, even at 4 to 5 degrees warming.

The “climate policies” the authors refer to are ones that would make energy more expensive and result in more bioenergy (the burning of biofuels and biomass), which would increase land scarcity and drive up food costs.

Similarly, UN Food and Agriculture concludes that food production will rise 30 percent by 2050 unless “sustainable practices” are adopted in which case it would rise just 10 to 20 percent. Technological change significantly outweighs climate change in every single one of FAOs scenarios.

A great piece of work by Michael Shellenberger. Journalism students will study it a hundred years from now, wondering how it all got so stupid…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (83 votes cast)

Midweek Unthreaded

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.1/10 (17 votes cast)

Russians spent $95 million to NGOs to feed “shale fear” and anti-fracking campaigns. Most of the West fell for it…

Russia makes about $300 billion in gas and oil exports each year. For a tiny tenth of a billion dollars it fed western activists in NGOs* and successfully stopped fracking development in the UK (and some parts of Australia apparently). It’s what you call a stupendous investment.

Matt Ridley lays out just how game changing the discovery of shale fracking could have been for the UK, and how easily the politicians and system was exploited and fell over:

The Plot against Fracking, The Critic

When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. …

But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas.

The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies.

 It’s all so predictable…

The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”. The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.

Stories of tapwater on fire and other ludicrous misinformation fed doubts and protests, and the conservatives folded like a pop-up beach tent.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers. A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap and relatively clean energy. We don’t need fossil fuels, the politicians thought, we’re going for net zero in 2050! But read the small print, chaps: the only way to have zero-emission transport and heating, so says the Committee on Climate Change, is to use lots of hydrogen. And how do they say most of the hydrogen is to be made? From gas.

 The industry was badgered into agreeing to silly targets:

Despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about shale gas, [Friends of the Earth] kept up a relentless campaign of misinformation, demanding more delay and red tape from all-too-willing civil servants. The industry, with Cuadrilla fated to play the part of Monsanto, agreed to ridiculously unrealistic limits on what kinds of tremors they were allowed after being promised by the government that the limits would be changed later — a promise since broken. Such limits would stop most other industries, even road haulage, in their tracks.

 It wouldn’t have worked if the West had good media, and if schools taught students how to spot con artists, witchcraft and fake reasoning.

 Read it all, and weep…

h/t GWPF

*NGO’s meaning Non Government Organisations (which are often really more like a wing of the State, but without the accountability…)


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (60 votes cast)

Climate Change is sexist

Wired reports that Climate Change is worse for women

Who knew? Not only are all past droughts and floods wiped from history apparently climate change makes men invisible too:

The struggles are coming fast, and they’re coming hard. For farmers, drought or even just less reliable rainfall means crop failure and less water for cattle. Landslides from stronger monsoons wipe away farmland. Living alongside rivers is increasingly perilous, as stronger—yet often less frequent—storms flood communities.

So men walk 120 extra kilometers and women walk 30 fewer kilometers, and this is “worse for women”:

All terrible crises in their own right, but exacerbated by underlying societal norms. In East Africa, for instance, men in pastoral communities have traditionally wandered 15, maybe 30 kilometers from home in search of water for their cattle, returning to their families periodically. But with climate change, now they’re having to travel up to 150 kilometers. Before, women would go with the men and milk the cattle, using the product both for their family’s own nutrition and as an extra source of income, and heading home as needed. Now that the men have to cover much greater distances, the women end up staying at home base, thus losing out on the invaluable resource that is milk.

Men are forced to live in strange towns far from their families. But who needs families anyhow?

In India, the dynamics are even more complicated. Anticipating lower yields, men may plant seeds and get the crop going, then migrate away to find work in factories or on construction sites. Left with these new farming duties, on top of childcare and other household responsibilities, women struggle to support the family. Their agency slips farther and farther away as the family’s plight grows.

And men are simply bread-winning robots.

The author is Matt Simon a science journalist at WIRED, where he covers biology, robotics, cannabis, and the environment. This could be the blinding culture of political correctness, or in some part, just the hunt for status-points in the pecking order competition to impress the girls. Its so “fashionable” to show how much he cares for women. Too bad if it comes at the expense of third world men.

Amazing, the places political correctness takes us. To misandrist, anti-science, self-serving corners of the mind.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (42 votes cast)

ABC discovers data (on facebook) showing wet rainforest has not burned once, ever, or at all, in “tens of millions” of years

This is striking new finding by ABC journalist Ann Arnold that for some reason has not yet been published in a science journal.

Some mystery remains, however as to which dataset could rule out any and all fires in the last 30,000,000 years, or indeed which dataset could prove that those forests and trees have existed in the same place continuously. We keenly await more details on the high resolution sedimentary pollen and missing ash deposit that could show that there were never fires, not one, especially during the Miocene when Antarctica thawed around 24 million years ago and stayed hot for ten million continuous years.

It’s all the more remarkable given that temperatures have varied in the Antarctic by 15 degrees Celcius over the same period, and for 20 million years out of the last 30, it was even hotter than today.

Scientists keenly look forward to seeing those error bars, though one critic, Dr Hyperbowlie suggested the p-values “might be greater than 1. ”

Bushfires devastate rare and enchanting wildlife as ‘permanently wet’ forests burn for first time

Ann Arnold, ABC, Saturday Extra

These forests have legendary fire retardant status. If only we could bottle it!

The rainforests along the spine of the Great Dividing Range, between the Hunter River and southern Queensland, are remnants of Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent that broke up about 180 million years ago.

Ahh. Not sediments, but sedimentary song. This is history according to 30 million year old birds:

“Listening to the dawn chorus in these forests is literally an acoustic window back in time,” ecologist Mark Graham tells RN’s Saturday Extra.

“It’s like listening to what the world sounded like in the time of the dinosaurs.”

The forests are mountaintop islands that have been “permanently wet” for tens of millions of years.

But now, these forests are being burnt for the first time.

“We are seeing fire going into these areas where fire is simply not meant to go,” says Mr Graham,

Which extraordinary scientist is Mr Graham? He’s a fire specialist with the Nature Conservation Council. which bills itself as “The voice of Nature in NSW”.

Warning, this kind of journalism kills ancient songbirds and enchanting frogs

The Albert’s Lyre Bird. The Rufous Scrub Bird. The Log Runner. The Tree Creeper. And, confusingly, the Cat Bird; a large, green rainforest bird that wails like a cat.

They are internationally renowned. Birders from around the world come to see and hear them.

“These are global strongholds of the most ancient birds on the planet,” Mr Graham says.

The billion dollar ABC, again, acts as the free publicity arm of every two-bit green NGO, repeating their press releases without a single question. That is, “on a good day”. On a bad day, the ABC picks up their profane facebook comments and calls it “science”.

Seriously, I’m quoting Ann Arnold as she pours liquid hydrogen on a media circus with fake factoids from facebook. You can’t make up satire like this:

He [Mark Graham] wants to present only the facts, and avoid fuelling a media and political circus around the fires.

But the marathon toll of anxiety, threat and loss is exhausting, as evidenced by a recent post he made on Facebook, at 2.30am:

“Friends. Shit is getting well-serious.

“I am at my place at the very top of the Bellinger Valley. Smoke has completely saturated everything for days now.

“Most of this evening I have heard the wind absolutely roaring on the escarpment above. These beasts are inexorably heading for Point Lookout and New England National Park — the biggest and healthiest chunk of Gondwana.

“There are no words that can describe the significance, enormity and horror of what now looks highly likely to happen … Rain, RAIN … RAIN …”

So much for the well funded ABC Science Unit. Ann was just one email away from specialist science communicators. Where was their apoplexy?

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (50 votes cast)

Jeopardy: What happens when your single largest generator is uncontrolled and coordinated by clouds? Watch Western Australia

Western Australia is a giant experiment: Even the Energy Experts are saying solar is  jeopardizing the grid — it’s “dumb”

Solar Panels, Western Australia.

Watch this space — blackout coming, 3 years and counting…

Western Australia, WA. Map.The Western Australian grid is a separate island from the rest of the nation. It’s roughly a 2.5 GW system for 2.5 million people. WA is getting into trouble faster than nearly anywhere else. Solar PV is now up to …. something larger than 850MW (which is the size of the coal fired generator). The ABC doesn’t tell us what the real figure is (according to the AEMO it’s around 1300MW, and growing at 120MW a year). There are no interconnectors to rescue WA, just the taxpayer or hapless electricity consumer.

Unreliable solar is now the largest single generator in the Western Australian grid. It’s not only bad because there are no other states to dump the excess energy on, or to save the state, but despite the vast size nearly everyone lives within 100 kms (60 miles). So when the sun peaks for one it nearly peaks for all. When the clouds roll over, especially when those nice north-south aligned fronts roll in, it covers most of the infrastructure in minutes.

This could be fun (but not for Western Australians).

Now he tells us?

The rise of solar power is jeopardising the WA energy grid, and it’s a lesson for all of Australia

Daniel Mercer, ABC News

It is a cautionary tale for the rest of the country of how the delicate balancing act that is power grid management can be severely destabilised by what experts refer to as a “dumb solar” approach. “We talk about ‘smart’ this and ‘smart’ that these days,” said energy expert Adam McHugh, an honorary research associate at Perth’s Murdoch University.

“Well, solar at the moment is ‘dumb’ in Western Australia. We need to make it smart.”

Adam McHugh’s an “Energy Expert” at a uni, so his solution involves more centralized control and more dumb money. Apparently, we need to control people’s solar panels, and install “smart” batteries. Jo thinks we don’t need smart batteries, we need smart politicians, and smart academics. We need a smart grid — one that isn’t trying to control the weather, just to keep the lights on.

Now High and Low-demand days are both risky: “congrats”

It used to be that peak summer and winter were the headache days for the AEMO, now they get to worry about fine days in spring and autumn too. Some “achievement”.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which runs WA’s wholesale electricity market (WEM), said the islanded nature of the grid in WA made it particularly exposed to the technical challenges posed by solar.

AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman said these challenges tended to be most acute when high levels of solar output coincided with low levels of demand — typically on mild, sunny days in spring or autumn when people were not using air conditioners.

As random solar drives out the cheap reliable coal, the WA grid is headed for the intractable bind where solar destroys the thing that allows people to afford and run solar.

In other achievements we gained random unneeded electricity and lost “flexibility”:

“We’ve never worried about a system around low demand. You’re always worried about the highest periods of the summer.

“What we’re recognising now is that the flexibility we need in the system is one [issue] that we have to think about — how do we integrate solar and storage better? And these are new problems that we have to solve.”

Death by duck curve?

Duck Curve

The Duck Curve ocurrs in the middle of the day and gets fatter as more solar is added. The ramp up in the evening gets steeper  and more expensive.  This is the advanced Californian Duck Curve (above), but the WA one will be following…

Rolling blackouts possible within three years

In a “clarion call” earlier this year, AEMO said that if nothing was done to safeguard the grid, there was a credible danger of rolling blackouts from as early as 2022 as soaring levels of renewable energy periodically overwhelmed the system.

At worst, AEMO warned there was a “real risk” of a system-wide blackout.

It’s not just the voltage at risk, the state finances are too

The glorious State machine is driving it’s own state-owned energy company out of business.

The onslaught of renewable energy in WA has cut a swathe through the finances of state-owned electricity provider Synergy.

In September, the utility handed down a massive $657 million loss for the 12 months to June 30, the biggest reverse ever recorded by a government enterprise in WA.

So federal rules that steal money from non-solar consumers (through the RET scheme) helped people buy solar which dumped the cost on non-solar owners. This forced the price of electricity up, making even more people choose solar in order to afford electricity. Now running the grid — which most solar homes are totally dependent on — is more inefficient, which costs more, and either state taxpayers will pay, or non-solar electricity consumers will.

The Government is taking this seriously, they say, they’ve “launched a series of reviews”:

While Mr Johnston said he would be guided by the recommendations of the Government-appointed energy transformation taskforce, he acknowledged there were a few obvious changes that could be made to improve WA’s electricity system.

One was removing antiquated regulations that acted as a barrier to investment in storage capacity, such as community or grid-scale batteries.

How about we remove antiquated regulations that stop consumers from buying electricity from wherever they want to? How about we stop destroying the free market? How about we start charging solar customers fairer prices for the grid stability, both in voltage, frequency, and in back up power that they so depend on? This won’t seem at all fair to solar consumers who were sold something under false pretenses, so how about we figure out who’s accountable for making those decisions?

How about we  immediately stop people adding more solar power problems to the grid unless they go “off-grid”?

h/t Dave B, Steve, George, Bemused.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (62 votes cast)

Clive James was no skeptic, say people who have no idea

Climate Change, The Facts, Book, IPA, 2017,

In comments Peter Fitzroy claimed Clive James was no skeptic:

There is lots about scepticism, but no thing to say the Clive himself was sceptical about Climate Change. It should be remembered that he was primarily a wordsmith, and would write about anything for money.

I did, he is sceptical, but he does not link that to a personal position. But you will, no doubt. You really need the context, and that is, that he would take any topic, and any view, if there was money in it. His autobiography is chock full of this sort of stuff, much to the angst of his compatriots who were never cast in a favourable light.

Digging himself totally in..

Yep, proves my point, he would write anything for money, and to stir the pot. All this article does is rehash 10 years of anti science media, there is not one ‘fact’ that has not been debunked, countered or proven to be an outright lie.

Let’s cremate this meme and spread the ashes of what was pure baseless speculation…

Jennifer Marohasy, editor of what may have been his last major work, tells me that Clive James was absolutely a skeptic, wasn’t paid a cent, took months to finalize the 5,000 word chapter he wrote on climate change and the two of them exchanged 161 emails.

To put a fine point on it — One of the most significant works he did in last years was a long skeptical work. He was fighting cancer, didn’t have to do it, didn’t earn anything, yet went out of his way to do this, and do it well, despite the only reward being big thank you’s from groups who are maligned and called names. He risked his good name and with nothing to gain.

Would anyone who wasn’t a skeptic bother?

Which brings me to my original point — The ABC modus operandi is a million lies by omission. Their story on Clive was another example of how the ABC is a political agency, not a news one. (Save the children: sell it now).

Clive’s words on how the power of hyperbole could send careers down a fork in the road with no way back:

Kevin Rudd said this was the greatest moral challenge . . . of our generation’ before he arrived at the Copenhagen climate shindig in 2009.

When he left Copenhagen, Rudd scarcely mentioned the greatest moral challenge again. Perhaps he had deduced, from the confusion prevailing throughout the conference, that the chances of the world ever uniting its efforts to ‘do something’ were very small. Whatever his motives for backing out of the climate chorus, his subsequent career was an early demonstration that to cease being a chorister would be no easy retreat, because it would be a clear indication that everything you had said on the subject up to then had been said in either bad faith or ignorance. It would not be enough merely to fall silent. You would have to travel back in time, run for office in the Czech Republic instead of Australia, and call yourself Vaclav Klaus.

Clive’s essay “Mass Death Dies Hard” was published in “Climate Change. The Facts 2017 Published by the IPA, edited by Jennifer Marohasy.  Copies of the essay are available online (here) and in hard copy from To order a copy of Climate Change: The Facts 2017, click here.

Dear Peter F, now’s your chance to prove you can reason…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (48 votes cast)

Weekend Unthreaded


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (16 votes cast)

Class action win: 2011 floods were man-made — seemingly managed as if “the dams would never fill”?

ABC News: Queensland flood victims win class action against state, Seqwater and Sunwater over dam negligence

In January 2011, a record La Nina was in play known to cause higher rainfall in Australia, then flooding rains were forecast, yet the main dam holding water above Brisbane wasn’t releasing water and getting ready to be the flood buffer it was supposed to be. (It was almost as if climate scientists had advised them that the droughts would never end?). When the emergency releases came, it was too much, too late, and a bad flood became a devastating one. How much did the politically correct culture of the day cloud minds and lay the groundwork for a crisis, and how much was just mismanagement?

Skeptics saw this Class Action result coming in January 2011 (particularly Ian Mott, and Treeman writing here). Finally, nine years later, some victims will get compensation.

Blogs got the gist right in a week, the experts, government and legal machine took nine years.

A victory for the usually voiceless who stuck to the facts and prevailed

Hedley Thomas at The Australian was instrumental in drawing attention to the disastrous dam management:

At a policy level, it was a perfect storm. The Queensland government-owned dam’s operators, or engineers, were at its epicentre. There was growing hysteria before January 2011 because bureaucrats and politicians had heeded the alarmist predictions of climate warriors that floods were unlikely to trouble Australia in future. Tim Flannery’s dire warning that “even the rain that falls isn’t going to fill our dams and river systems” was followed by a drought that blighted Queensland.

The best journalists don’t get treated like heroes, they get called names:

For contradicting the official line being peddled across the media, we [Hedley Thomas and engineer John Craigie and Mick O'Brien] were ostracized and branded conspiracy theorists.

 O’Brien’s qualifications as a highly experienced chemical engineer were lampooned — engineers in dam management wanted him disciplined for having the temerity to investigate their colleagues and question their conduct. Craigie grows exotic plants — his critics scoffed: “What would he know?”

Hundreds of millions of dollars and many reputations were at stake. The truth wins in the end, but with literally trillions at stake in the climate debate, how many years will it take to overcome the same namecalling, fogging whitewash reports and system inertia.

Maybe the dam managers had their eye on the wrong ball — distracted by imaginary catastrophes that never came:

The Australian: Justice Beech-Jones agreed that engineers negligently managed the dams and that they did not factor in extraordinary rainfall forecasts in deciding how best to respond to the flood event. That was despite them being obliged, under the dam manual, to do so. He found that during days of heavy rain, before the peak of the flood on January 11, dam engineers prioritised keeping downstream bridges open over trying to limit flooding in urban areas.

Guest post by Ian Mott, here, that week in Jan 2011:

. This is all very much SEQ Water’s work. They all took the weekend off and watched a 1 in 120 year flood event turn a simple task into a crisis they couldn’t deal with by Monday afternoon. All the folks who’s homes and businesses didn’t go under until Wednesday can rest assured that, despite their policies, they are actually fully insured, courtesy of the SEQ Water public liability policy. And if they SEQ Water doesn’t have a policy then the rate payers of the major shareholders, the State Government, Brisbane City Council, Ipswich Council and a number of others who are not anywhere near the flood zone, will eventually foot the entire bill. The meter is already ticking on the class action.

Commenter Robuk at the time:

It appears that your government have stopped development near the coast because of the non existent sea level rise but allowed development within a flood plain.

h/t Eliza, Peter D.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (59 votes cast)

Tipping point in civilization: Experts say “listen to children” (sure, the adults are wrong)

Every day, grownups pay the bills, feed the world, and operate millions of heavy machines that move at deadly speeds. These same adults mostly don’t buy carbon credits, don’t vote Green, and don’t march in XR protests.

But evidently all those engineer-doctor-dentist-farmer humans are wrong:

It’s time to listen to the kids, Professor Steffen said.

“The bottom line is, we’re saying the schoolchildren have got it right — this is a climate emergency.”

The public broadcasting geniuses tell us we must listen to the experts, but the experts say we must listen to the kids.

Apparently the kids are invoking the unprovable endless tipping point. Anytime, anywhere, sorcerers can claim an event is just around the corner.

But the kids are right. The world is now dangerously close to tipping points that will set in motion unstoppable ecosystem collapses. This is a climate emergency.

That’s the message from scientists writing in Nature on Thursday, who say that for some systems, the window to act may have already closed.

As usual, Nick Kilvert writes good advertisements, but doesn’t ask a single semi-soft decent question like: “So Prof Steffen, do you have any empirical evidence that implicates CO2 directly in a cause and effect way? Is this just another prediction from climate models which overstated warming, got the Antarctic wrong, failed on the upper troposphere, and can’t predict droughts, floods, rain or wind trends and don’t include solar magnetic, solar winds, or solar spectral changes?”

A decade ago, it was widely thought that most tipping points wouldn’t be reached until around 5 degrees Celsius of warming, but now evidence is mounting that they’re more likely to happen at between 1C and 2C above pre-industrial levels, according to Will Steffen from ANU’s Climate Change Institute, one of the authors of the paper.

Currently we’re at a global average of about 1C degree of warming.

“The more we learn, the riskier it looks,” Professor Steffen said.

The more we run computer simulations the more we get exactly-the-same media headlines. The path may change but the tipping point is always “10 years ahead”.

Meanwhile some kids are setting fire to the nation, should we listen to them?

No idea or cliche is too inane for climate believer “scientists”.

New paradox: adult says “don’t listen to adults”.

h/t David B, george, Andrew McRae, Original Steve, bemused.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (56 votes cast)

ABC tells us Clive James was brilliant, but not that he was a climate skeptic

Clive James was all these things,

Incredibly funny

hysterically funny

Brilliant, we all know

So skilled, and like a juggler with words


Incredibly hard working

and really loyal.

 –quote,  Jennifer Byrne, ABC, 7:30 Report   22:10

But he was also very much, unmistakably, an outspoken skeptic. Something the ABC couldn’t bring itself to say. What was Clive James’s position on the most expensive national policy gambit in a hundred years?

The ABC lies by omission. If he wrote a glowing Chapter about Greta in his final years we know the ABC would have told the world.

Bless you Clive: Brilliant, funny, disciplined and a climate skeptic.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (77 votes cast)

Dumb poll, fake headline: Not climate change, 70% of Australians want cheap reliable electricity, 61% biggest worry is “cost of living”.

One survey — so much spin

The Fin Review headline is entirely misleading. “Climate rises as the No. 1 voter concern“. In fact, the same survey shows that two thirds of Australians didn’t even mention “climate change” as one of their top three concerns. The exact same survey shows that when prompted with different topics (rather than just asked what was on the top of their mind) the main concern of a whopping 61% was “cost of living”. Only 34% had said “climate change” in the unprompted question, and that was probably only because climate change is all over the media with bushfires, droughts and duststorms this month. It was the first issue that came into their heads, but not the issue they cared about when asked to choose among the major issues.

The exact same survey also showed that when it comes to Energy Policy fully 70% of Australians wanted cheap reliable energy more than they want “lower emissions”.

Australians prioritise energy affordability (38%), ahead of security and reliability (32%) and reducing emissions (30%).

So the message is unmistakable, yet JWS and all the media missed it.  The JWS media release appears to have an agenda. How could JWS miss the main meaning in their own survey? Somehow none of the media geniuses bothered to check the results of the original survey.  Phillip Coorey of the Fin Review swallowed the press release saying “climate change was No.1 concern” when five minutes of analysis shows the opposite.

UPDATE: Not only that but as TdeF points out they’ve bundled “environment” and “climate change” together. Many studies show that far more people are concerned about water pollution, litter, extinction, crown of thorns and other environmental causes. 55% of the population worries about water pollution but only 32% feel the same level of concern for global warming. (Gallop poll, 2015). In 2016 Australians were just as concerned about beach litter as they were about climate change. (Goldberg et al). If JWS was serious about finding out what people thought about climate change (as in their press release) they would ask better questions to find that answer. If, however, they were being paid to create a particular headline, they would conflate the two, ignore their own contradictory data….

What’s top of mind? Whatever the media say:

This first graph is mostly just a proxy for media coverage.

Poll, Australians, 2019, JWS, cost of living, concerns, climate change, graph.

Whereas, the same group said something totally different when prompted with a bigger list of topics.

Send this graph and the next one to your M.P. and send a letter to the Editor. Don’t let gullible politicians be fooled into thinking that the voters will actually vote “for climate change”.

Poll, Australians, 2019, JWS, cost of living, concerns.

And on energy policy, the 30% who care most about reducing emissions are probably already voting for the Greens or Labor.

Energy policy, survey, poll, emissions reductions, climate change, affordability.



Four take home messages from the survey:

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (49 votes cast)

Anyone for Christmas Drinks? Perth, Melbourne, Rocky, Friday 6th December — plus Adelaide, sunshine coast… others

Drinks, photo, beer, wine, Photo: Jonathan Rautenbach

UPDATE #2: There are Christmas drinks events in Perth, Rockhampton and Melbourne on this Friday.  Adelaide on Saturday. Sydney Dec 12th. Plus Buddina (Sunshine coast) Dec 13.    Sydney Dec 12th.  There may be others too, apologies if I’m not keeping up with comments below.   EMAIL: joanne AT and I’ll forward on your email to the key people.

UPDATE: Other events being discussed in many locations. Do a “find” search in comments….

  • Australia: Melbourne, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Hunter Valley NSW, Rockhampton Qld,  and Marysville, Geelong, Ballarat, Glenrowan, Vic. Gold Coast. There is already a fabulous group in Sydney running that started ten years ago on this blog by the great Jim Simpson. Ask and ye shall be connected.
  • New Zealand:  Nelson and Wellington. 
  • USA: How about central Washington State USA, and CT USA?

Perth, Australia: Party time, Christmas drinks and dinner is on from 6pm Friday 6th December.

We are lucky enough to have spectacular views, a central location, free parking, and just $20/head for steak and salad. Beer and wine for sale. Families welcome. No speeches.  If you’d like to come, I’d love to see you there Friday week from 6pm — email me to find out where this quiet, brilliant, private venue is.

EMAIL: joanne AT

For other skeptics in other cities (even in other countries)  — why not organise something? I’ll mention it here… let’s get skeptics together. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.7/10 (102 votes cast)