JoNova

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


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


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Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


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GoldNerds

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



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

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

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

EU ‘unhappy’ climate change is off G20 agenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

Europe is sceptical of Mr Abbott’s replacement plan.

How do we know? An unnamed person reckons there are lots of scientists who say it won’t work.

“You have a huge amount of scientists and economists saying the direct action policy isn’t going to work,” the official, who did not want to be named, said in the Belgian capital Brussels this week.

Abbott merely wants the G20 to stick to topics that matter:

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Weekend Unthreaded

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Journal admits Lewandowsky paper retracted because it failed. Twice!

Relish this win.

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

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

Now Frontiers, the journal, already suffering from being associated with such dubious work, has finally had to set the record straight and defend their reputation. They had not caved in to bullying, or legal threats from the evil denier machine. Actually there were no threats at all, and the  complaints they received from skeptics “were well argued and cogent”. (See below).

Furthermore the journal admitted it had taken a whole year to retract the paper because Frontiers asked Lewandowsky et al to resubmit, and they did, only to fail a second time to produce a paper worth publishing.

I’d like to thank the Frontiers editorial staff for choosing the right path (albeit a bit slowly), and just say “Welcome to the Climate Wars”. It’s fun isn’t it?

In my opinion Frontiers should have never published the profoundly unscientific work in the first place.

It boggles the mind that Lewandowsky (a Psychology Professor), and Cook (who is doing a PhD in Psychology) so misread the situation, and know so little about … you know, psychology. Lewandowksy either bragged or gloated and advertised his seemingly narcissistic views without realizing that he was drawing attention to his own grand failure, and hurting the very journal that had tried to help him. Cook evidently did not see the train wreck coming either. The pain-quotient for the journal finally reached the point where the journal had to act. It was so inevitable. Once again, Lewandowsky, Cook and Marriott have been shown to have little grip on what is reasonable. Lewandowsky was so delighted with the false fury in the media he listed it all again in his blog. Apparently The Guardian fell for the hyped up bullying claim. Elaine McKewon, a reviewer, tried to whip up sympathy on The Conversation, Scientific American and Socialscienceplace (the latter has already added the Frontiers clarification). Techdirt also got caught. Desmog obediently whipped up false angst. How many will correct their record? Are they even interested in truth?

In the end, remember, Recursive Fury is one of Lewandowsky’s proudest seminal achievements, one of his “most read papers“. This is Lewandowsky, below, framing the sensible objections to his work as cyber bullying, public abuse, trolling, vexatious, did I mention sadistic?

The strategies employed in those attacks follow a common playbook, regardless of which scientific proposition is being denied and regardless of who the targeted scientists are: There is cyber-bullying and public abuse by “trolling” (which recent research has linked to sadism); there is harassment by vexatious freedom-of-information (FOI) requests; there are the complaints to academic institutions; legal threats; and perhaps most troubling, there is the intimidation of journal editors and publishers who are acting on manuscripts that are considered inconvenient.

Such restraint. Marvel that he left out the pedophilia!

Credit for this unequivocal win goes to Stephen McIntyre, Barry Woods, Shub Niggurath, Geoff Chambers, Foxgoose, Brandon Shollenberger, Paul Matthews, Lucia, and Anthony Watts (see his letter). In Perth, James Doogue and Michael Kile have also applied calm relentless pressure. Thank you to everyone who helped.

Now we ought turn our focus to UWA, which is still hosting a copy of the failed paper and refusing to release data to Steve McIntyre. It’s time also to talk to the ARC which funded the entire fiasco, and to The Royal Society, and the University of Bristol, which both fund and endorse the naked ad hominem attacks of Lewandowsky.

Frontiers in Psychology issue new statement

(My bolding)

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

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

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

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

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

Alas, it didn’t work. Nor did the propaganda. The public didn’t like being deceived, and they don’t want climate action much either. They twice voted not to be carbon taxed. Having suffered a bucketing, Labor’s new strategy is to do “more of the same”.  Could voters make it any clearer?

The question no one seems to be asking the Labor Party is whether being honest matters — they got rid of Gillard but kept fighting for the proceeds of her crime. Many of the MPs still here today were accomplices in voting the deceit in, and as long as the Tax is still here they are still endorsing the tactic.

This is a matter of principle that ought to trump any policy. Without trust, we have nothing. What does an election campaign or a democracy mean if politicians can promise one thing and do the opposite?

Armchair critics will protest that “all politicians lie!” But this lie was a Richter-scale-10.  Politicians have always overpromised and underachieved, they’ve always said “we’ll build a bridge by January then cure unemployment” and failed. We can debate whether they knew beforehand that their promise was or was not achieveable.  But when a politician says “I will not do X” and then does exactly X, what’s left to debate? It crosses the line in the direction of fraud and deception. Could there be mitigating circumstances? Sure plague, war, mass death, maybe mental illness. Gillard’s excuse was that she didn’t know a “hung parliament” could occur when she made the promise. Bollocks. The hung parliament changed nothing. Except that her government won by the tiniest of margins and had a nano-thin-mandate. It was legally real, but popularly-not.

The result turned on a mere 400 voters in Corangamite (and those two independent unrepresentative members). How many voters would have voted the other way if they had known Gillard was going to do the opposite of what she and Swan were saying loud and clear? A friend urged me to vote Labor back then, saying it would be ok because Gillard and Swan were promising not to introduce a carbon tax.

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

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

..more government means less liberty…

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

Hat tip to The HockeySchtick.

 —————————————————–

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

An Op-Ed in the Wall St Journal

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

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.

A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

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Global warming, not so bad at all really: says NIPCC report and thousands of references

I decided that the IPCC Impacts report was irrelevant speculation because it utterly depended on the IPCC science report and the climate models which we already know are wrong. But the dedicated team at NIPCC show that, even if we take the claims of “impacts” working group seriously, they still come to nothing. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant, there is little risk of famine due to our emissions or due to global warming. Life in the oceans is likely to adapt reasonably well as so many studies have shown, and less humans will die overall as a bonus. For those of you who enjoy well written, well researched arguments, and especially if you are looking for scientific references and the nuance of this debate, there is much to learn. The NIPCC reports are an invaluable reference for me. Careful scientific language is so much more informative than the full-gloss IPCC double-speak about theories which are consistent with uncertainties but not with observations   – Jo

————————————————————

Report Finds Global Warming Causes ‘No Net Harm’
to Environment or Human Health

Independent review of climate science contradicts
“alarmist” views of United Nations report

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) on Monday released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. The 1,062-page report contains thousands of citations to peer-reviewed scientific literature — and concludes rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels are causing “no net harm to the global environment or to human health and often finds the opposite: net benefits to plants, including important food crops, and to animals and human health.”

Click here to read the full report in digital form (PDF). An 18-page Summary for Policymakers is available here. Print versions of the full report and the summary will be released by NIPCC in Washington, DC the week of April 7. Individual chapters of the full report can be downloaded at the Climate Change Reconsidered Web site. (Look at middle of page and scroll down.)

Among the findings in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts: 

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The ultimate climate book — Steyn, Delingpole, Bolt, Watts, Lindzen, Carter, and Jo Nova

There has never been a book quite like this. Please join us and make this happen.

The IPA is raising funds to make the ultimate climate book. I’m delighted to be involved, and I’m humbled and honored to be part of this extraordinary line up. Now Ross McKitrick joins us too. It’s a who’s who of the climate world, and as well as the names in the header, it also includes Donna LaFramboise, Jennifer Marohasy, Bill Kinninmonth, Ian Plimer, Alan Moran, Nigel Lawson, Pat Michaels, John Roskam, Rupert Darwall, Stewart Franks, John Abbot and Bernard Lewin.

If you only buy one book on the climate this would have to be it. It will have something for everyone.

Donations are tax deductible. This book will make waves.

(Click the book to be a part of it)

I’ve got some great news for you. Already 512 IPA members and supporters have donated a total of $144,544 to support the publication of a new book – Climate Change: The Facts 2014. Confirmed contributors include Mark Steyn, Andrew Bolt, Richard Lindzen, Jo Nova, Anthony Watts, James Delingpole, Bob Carter, and Ian Plimer.

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Debunking every IPCC climate prophesy of war, pestilence, famine, drought, impacts in one line

We could spend hours analyzing the new IPCC report about the impacts of climate change. Or we could just point out:

Everything in the Working Group II report depends entirely on Working Group I.

( see footnote 1 SPM, page 3).

Working Group I depends entirely on climate models and 98% of them didn’t predict the pause.

The models are broken. They are based on flawed assumptions about water vapor.

Working Group I, remember, was supposed to tell us the scientific case for man-made global warming. If our emissions aren’t driving the climate towards a catastrophe, then we don’t need to analyze what happens during the catastrophe we probably won’t get. This applies equally to War, Pestilence, Famine, Drought, Floods, Storms, and Shrinking Fish (which, keep in mind, could have led to the ultimate disaster: shrinking fish and chips).

To cut a long story short, the 95% certainty of Working Group I boils down to climate models and 98% of them didn’t predict the pause in surface temperature trends (von Storch 2013) . Even under the most generous interpretation, models are proven failures,  100% right except for rain, drought, storms, humidity and everything else (Taylor 2012). They get cloud feedbacks wrong by a factor 19 times larger than the entire effect of increased CO2 (Miller 2012). They don’t predict the climate on a local, regional, or continental scale (Anagnostopoulos 2010 and Koutsoyiannis 2008). They don’t work on the tropical troposphere (Christy 2010,  Po-Chedley 2012, Fu 2011, Paltridge 2009). The fingerprints they predicted are 100% missing.

..

Even the IPCC admits in the fine print that the models don’t work. Water vapor in the tropics is the most important feedback, yet the models get it wrong. See Chapter Nine “Evaluation of Climate Models”:

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Climate Change could make humans extinct says “expert”

Time to panic. Climate Change could make humans extinct, warns the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Earth is warming so rapidly that unless humans can arrest the trend, we risk becoming ”extinct” as a species, a leading Australian health academic has warned.”
The trend, the trend, which trend exactly? The trends have been flat on the surface for 17 years, so if that trend continues, we risk “staying the same”? That’ll be deadly. In 1997 global population was 5.8 billion. Since then, there has been no significant warming in the part of the world that humans live in, and global population plunged to 7.2 billion.  Hold off on the End-of-Humanity Party.

Helen Berry, associate dean in the faculty of health at the University of Canberra, said while the Earth has been warmer and colder at different points in the planet’s history, the rate of change has never been as fast as it is today.”

Luckily Helen Berry has seen the Neanderthal global data sets from the paleolithic era which recorded those climate changes. Otherwise how would she know the exact rate of global warming from, say, 11,900 -11,860BC or 42,040 – 42,000BC? The only records I’ve seen (like, the ice cores) suggest things were warming pretty fast sometimes. Who knows? If only they had satellites over ancient Sumeria.

Evidently Berry is talking about the rate of the last 40 years, and seems pretty much unaware of the 4 billion years before that:

”What is remarkable, and alarming, is the speed of the change since the 1970s, when we started burning a lot of fossil fuels in a massive way,” she said. ”We can’t possibly evolve to match this rate [of warming] and, unless we get control of it, it will mean our extinction eventually.”

What Helen Berry (and Peter Hannam, the SMH journalist) don’t realize is that the warming in the last 40 years was entirely “precedented” and we don’t need to go back to the last ice age to find that kind of warming rate, just to the 1930s. It’s all happened before. Indeed (as I keep saying) the peak decadal rate of the 1870s was the same was that of the 1980s.

All that CO2, and nothing happened that was new.

Source: Phil Jones BBC interview  You get the drift.

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Skeptics romp in 6 Bloggies categories — (Lifetime Achievement Award for Jo- thank you!)

The Bloggies awards were so enthused that skeptics dominated the Science and Tech category that they removed the category.  So I suggested skeptical readers pick different categories, and lo and behold today skeptics win in six different areas.

Thousands of readers will not go away.

I’d like to thank especially, the Mainstream Media, without which I would have hardly any traffic. I dedicate this win today to the science journalists in the ABC, BBC, CBC, CBS or CNN, and to Roger Harrabin, Andy Revkin and George Monbiot — all of whom make it so easy for skeptical blogs to flourish. Their promotion of logical fallacies, one-sided reports, and rank name-calling paves the way, en masse for hundreds of thousands of disappointed, thoughtful, inquisitive readers to hunt online for something better.

If science journalists were good scientists or good journalists skeptical blogs would not be one of the largest single categories on the world wide web. (Judging from the other winners, the mainstream media is also lacking in Moms).

Best European Weblog, Winner: Tallbloke’s Talkshop

Best Weblog About Politics, Winner: The Global Warming Policy Foundation

Best Topical Weblog ,Winner: Climate Audit

Best Group or Community Weblog, Winner:  Watts Up With That?

Lifetime AchievementWinner:  JoNova

Weblog of the Year, Winner: Watts Up With That?

Congratulations to Best Canadian Weblog Winner:  Small Dead Animals

“Congrats” to Michael Mann who wins “Climate Duplicitist of the Year” at WattsUp.

Thank you to skeptical readers who responded to the call for alternate-category nominations and who took the time to vote.  Congratulations to Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts, Roger Tallbloke Tattersall, and Benny Peiser.

A special note of thanks to the dedicated volunteers who help moderate; this would not be the site it is, without their help.  And of course, thanks to all the commenters here who entertain and inform us, or just ask very good questions which can sometimes be the most useful thing of all.

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The Great Unravelling: Even fans of “climate fear” admit skeptics are fashionable

Just another signpost on the road to Sensible-land. Remember how skeptics were the fringe minority, the dying dinosaurs, and there were only a few left on the planet? That was last week. Suddenly, begrudgingly, being a skeptic is fashionable (but still wrong, of course). This is “fashionable” in the sense of popular but meaningless, not storming Gucci-type chic, more like getting a high-def TV built into the fridge door. It’s trendy but essentially useless. (By the way, the cool TV has a remote control, DVD and FM radio so you…  don’t have to get off the kitchen floor. I suppose it’s just a matter of time before the TV in the family-room will get a fridge built in?)

But I digress.

The Telegraph has the headline “Global warming – there’s hope amid the gloom” .

Geoffrey Lean tells us “scepticism has replaced concern about climate change”, and you and I might think, that therefore, global leaders ought to pay attention to their citizens. But Lean says more skepticism means world leaders have to shout at the punters even louder. Never, ever assume the voters are right.

Lean hasn’t read Marcel Crok and Nicholas Lewis’s report about climate sensitivity being lower now than past IPCC estimates:

“Here we go again. On Monday the world’s governments and top climate scientists will publish the most devastating assessment yet of what global warming threatens to do to the planet.”

The last thing any fan of climate fear wants is for a repeat of Copenhagen. So look out for the PR-theme for Paris 2016. Firstly we-the-friends-of-the-IPCC must reduce expectations, secondly (contradictorily) we must not be too pessimistic and well, alarmist about our chances of getting a more global bureaucracy. Thirdly, repeat after me, it’s different this time.

As Lean says:

World leaders will meet in New York in September to address climate change for the first time since the ill-fated 2009 Copenhagen summit. Then they assemble again in Paris in December next year to try once more to conclude a pact to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases. But they are approaching it in a very different atmosphere from five years ago.

Not that I’m suggesting that Lean got instructions on how to do this, just that all the people hoping Paris is not another Copenhagen will probably adopt similar strategies intuitively.

Here’s the lowered expectations, combined with a token red herring scapegoat:

Last time, such warnings were almost universally accepted, but they now fall on much more sceptical ears. That is partly because the predecessor to Monday’s report contained several inaccuracies, most notably vastly overestimating the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting.

If only the IPCC had double checked the Himalayan Glaciers, it might have panned out alright then?

Here’s the line admitting the skeptics are winning, and look out, the Copenhagen pain was so bad it left scars:

Over the intervening years, fashionable scepticism has replaced fashionable concern over climate change. And government leaders, traumatised by their experience in Copenhagen, have tended to stay quiet.

Those poor government leaders forced to sit through cold waste-of-time meetings. The pain. The pain!

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Weekend Unthreaded

Australian Outback  | Photo by Geoff Sherrington  | (Click to enlarge)


Photo by Geoff Sherrington

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Whales dive to nearly two miles depth, hold breath for two hours

Friday curiosity: Duck-diving Cuvier’s beaked whales can hold their breath for over two hours, and reach a depth of 2 miles (3.2 km) underwater. What’s more, when they come up, they recover in an unbelievable two minutes. (Actually, I really do find this hard to believe. Two minutes? Seriously? )

Cuvier Beaked Whale | Oceanus Magazine Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

These whales can go four times deeper than modern nuclear submarines which are estimated to have a hull crush depth of around 730m. Presumably the Department of Defence will be looking into blubber power or nuclear whales.

But seriously, whales and seals can hold their breath for a ridiculously long time because they pack a lot of oxygen away in their muscles — it’s attached to myoglobin which they have in abundance. Myoglobin‘s quite a lot like the haemoglobin molecule found in blood, it uses iron to bind the oxygen.

For a completely useless culinary tip, whale meat is thus the absolute reddest-of-red-meats and very iron rich –  “perfect” then,  for anemic vegetarians.

Scientists monitored Cuvier’s beaked whales’ record-breaking dives to depths of nearly two miles below the ocean surface and some dives lasted for over two hours, according to results published March 26, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Gregory Schorr from Cascadia Research Collective and colleagues.

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Dennis Jensen MP — Calls for audit on the BOM and CSIRO data

Dennis Jensen, M.P. in the Australian Parliament, made a formal parliamentary request for an audit of the BOM and CSIRO data handling processes.

This is an excellent request, something Australia desperately needs. Good data on the climate.

Given how important our climate is, I’m sure Tim Flannery, The Climate Council, The Australian Conversation Foundation, and The Australian Greens will join us in demanding that the BOM and CSIRO datasets are independently audited. Naturally, all of us would want to ensure our climate data is of the highest quality possible and not subject to any kinds of confirmation bias, or inexplicable adjustments. Right? And maybe its even worse than we thought, so they will want to check, yes?

Let’s leave no stone unturned in making sure we understand the threats to the Australian environment, the impact on our farms and homes, and on our National Balance Sheet! How could any Green disagree?


Dennis Jensen talks about the response he got from the BOM and the questions he did not get answered:

” ... the BOM state the temperature trend prior to 1910 is unreliable. But the IPCC use data on Australia going back to 1850. So the question is, how to reconcile unreliable Australian data prior to 1910, with supposedly reliable data going back to 1850. Let’s suppose Australia has the most unreliable data on the planet…. even then, … how can their global estimates be reliable.

How then can global average temperatures be reliable prior to 1910…?

Has the BOM advised the IPCC in writing that Australia’s data before 1910 is unreliable? If so what was the IPCC response?

…we have a similar rate of warming from 1910 to 1945 and from  1975 to 1998, after which there was a haitus… the simple fact is the warming from 1910-1945 cannot be blamed on CO2.

Why are our old historic and detailed temperature records being ignored? Why does the BOM use mysterious methods without full and complete details to adjust our datasets?

He refers to the APS panel discussions, to the Darwin adjustments, to the strange way the oceans are now taking up the missing heat, but why did this mechanism only become operative after 1998?  What is that mysterious mechanism? Why, if they are taking up heat, is the the sea level rise not accelerating? Why is there a lack of an upper tropospheric hot spot.

Dennis Jensen is the only science based PhD in the Australian Parliament. He’s the only one asking questions which are so crucial to spending billions of dollars. He is an under-recognised asset. (Who else would ask these essential but detailed questions?) We need more politicians with his analytical background. Give Dennis our support.

Jennifer Marohasy has been in contact with Dennis Jensen and is keeping me informed (the information below comes from her blog).

Marohasy sent a letter to Greg Hunt, Minister for The Environment with 7 questions in early March. This is part of question 4.

Q4. Given potential and actual conflicts of interest, could the Australian Bureau of Statistics, (ABS) rather than the Bureau of Meteorology, be tasked with the job of leading the high quality and objective interpretation of the historical temperature record for Australia?

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Rating: 9.8/10 (146 votes cast)

Prof Richard Tol wants his name removed from “exaggerated” IPCC report

The IPCC Working Group II report is due out next week. As is the way, the summary is leaked in advance so the media can slaver over the ghastly possibilities, while the irksome details and accountability are held back so they don’t get in the way of the media pump. But alas, like Paul Reiter, and Christopher Landsea, another lead author wants his name removed from the IPCC document.

 UK professor refuses to put his name to ‘apocalyptic’ UN climate change survey that he claims is exaggerating the effects

  • Prof Richard Tol said UN academics were exaggerating climate change
  • Comes as a blow to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Panel to publish its first update in seven years on the impacts of climate change

By Ben Spencer, Daily Mail

Professor Richard Tol, an economist at the University of Sussex, said fellow UN academics were exaggerating climate change and comparing it to the ‘apocalypse’.

Prof Tol, the lead co-ordinating author of the report’s chapter on economics, was involved in drafting the summary for policymakers – the key document that goes to governments and scientists. But he has now asked for his name to be removed from the document.

He said: ‘The message in the first draft was that through adaptation and clever development these were manageable risks, but it did require we get our act together.

‘This has completely disappeared from the draft now, which is all about the impacts of climate change and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is a missed opportunity.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

The BBC writes this up as well and apparently Richard Tol is missing the point.  Dr Arthur Petersen, the chief scientist at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, explains that it was not what the IPCC Working Group II report was about:

“Working group I (the physical sciences) doesn’t want to sound alarmist. In working group II, they don’t want to chance not having spotted a particular risk so they have a bias in the other direction,” he said.

So it’s not the job of the IPCC to give accurate risk assessments, and an economist is not expected to do an economic cost-benefit analysis. The real aim is to make sure they have the complete list of all disasters (and not so many of the benefits).

Once again national policy is reduced to a YES-or-NO question, not a numerate one. Who needs climate numbers? The only numbers that matter are the gravy train type.

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Canadians dreaming of “plus 1″

RMR (Rick Mercer Report) sends up the long winter.   Love that Canadian sense of humour. : – )

Pace, Paul Howard’s comment on youtube: here’s sending a group hug for our Canadian friends.

h/t Richard

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Science buried in bureaucracy and corruption: Office of Research Integrity director quits in disgust

Bureaucrats have not only taken over much of the science world, but even the parts of the bureaucracy designed to hunt out corruption in science are incapacitated with bureaucracy-at-its-worst too. This is second order corruption — even the checks and balances on corruption are corrupted.

As James Delingpole points out: Science is rife with corruption, incompetence, dishonesty and fabrication–and now, thanks to a frank resignation letter by the US’s top scientific misconduct official we have a better idea why.

Government science desperately needs auditing– or the free market solution, competition

One in 50 scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once. It’s not just about fraud, it’s about bias, and statistical sloppiness. Up to 30% admitted other questionable research practices. When asked about their colleagues,  14% said other scientists falsified results, and 70% used other questionable research practices (Fanelli 2009). In the modern electronic science world, not only are many results not replicated, but the raw data itself is not even available for checking most of the time. Research shows that scientists who withhold data are more likely to have published errors (see below). Half of the papers in high-end journals contained some statistical error (Wicherts 2011).

What we’re seeing here is how even government funded checks on government funded science don’t work. Without free market competition and private funding, the layers of corruption and perverse incentives just build on the previous layers rather than neutralize them.

In this corrupt climate the need for independent checks is even more important

The director of the U.S. government office that monitors scientific misconduct in biomedical research has resigned after 2 years out of frustration with the “remarkably dysfunctional” federal bureaucracy. David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), writes in a scathing resignation letter obtained by Science Insider that the huge amount of time he spent trying to get things done made much of his time at ORI “the very worst job I have ever had.”

Science Mag has the letter from David Wright:

“The rest of my role as ORI Director has been the very worst job I have ever had and it occupies up to 65% of my time.  That part of the job is spent navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy to secure resources and, yes, get permission for ORI to serve the research community.  I knew coming into this job about the bureaucratic limitations of the federal government, but I had no idea how stifling it would be. What I was able to do in a day or two as an academic administrator takes weeks or months in the federal government, our precinct of which is OASH.

On one occasion, I was invited to give a talk on research integrity and misconduct to a large group of AAAS fellows.  I needed to spend $35 to convert some old cassette tapes to CDs for use in the presentation.  The immediate office denied my request after a couple of days of noodling.  A university did the conversion for me in twenty minutes, and refused payment when I told them it was for an educational purpose.

Wright describes OASH (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health) as “secretive, autocratic and unaccountable”.

Third, there is the nature of the federal bureaucracy itself.  The sociologist Max Weber observed in the early 20th century that while bureaucracy is in some instances an optimal organizational mode for a rationalized, industrial society, it has drawbacks.  One is that public bureaucracies quit being about serving the public and focus instead on perpetuating themselves.  This is exactly my experience with OASH. We spend exorbitant amounts of time in meetings and in generating repetitive and often meaningless data and reports to make our precinct of the bureaucracy look productive.  None of this renders the slightest bit of assistance to ORI in handling allegations of misconduct or in promoting the responsible conduct of research.  Instead, it sucks away time and resources that we might better use to meet our mission.  Since I’ve been here I’ve been advised by my superiors that I had “to make my bosses look good.”  I’ve been admonished: “Dave, you are a visionary leader but what we need here are team players.”   Recently, I was advised that if I wanted to be happy in government service, I had to “lower my expectations.”  The one thing no one in OASH leadership has said to me in two years is ‘how can we help ORI better serve the research community?’  Not once.

I’m offended as an American taxpayer that the federal bureaucracy—at least the part I’ve labored in—is so profoundly dysfunctional.

Hidden Data

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Join the “radical” international protest: Work on Wednesday

Remember the decidedly uncivilized protests we had here in Australia last week, called the “March-in-March”?

Tim Blair, of The Daily Telegraph, laments that he made fun of the kind-hearted and caring people who wore shirts suggesting they’d like to have sex with our Prime Minister, or alternately, to kill him. In a brilliant move he suggests the right thing to do is a mass national counter protest called “Work on Wednesday”. I’m in! Will you join me?

Celebrate civilization & democracy, and help the GDP too — Work on Wednesday!


Let’s make it global. This crosses national boundaries and cultures, it’s about democracy. It’s about being civilized. It’s about not using free speech to metaphorically behead, kill, or abort people. It’s about having an argument instead of just an insult.

Let’s show them how a civilized protest is done.

Twitter: @WorkonWednesday. Retweet it to your friends.

Tim Blair explains:

I was also wrong to dismiss the March in March movement as inconsequential. This is because I hadn’t realised the rules had changed, and that last September’s election can now be overruled by some shouty people whose total number amounts to only around one-tenth of Brisbane council’s electorate.

The only proper response, obviously, is for the forces of civilisation to conduct an even larger demonstration – without the obscene signs, Socialist Alliance t-shirts and dopey chants. This will be a demonstration of solid Australian values, supporting democracy, order, good manners, application and ambition.

I propose that we hold just such a demonstration this very week. Despite minimal time for organisation, this could be the largest demonstration in Australian history. For that matter, it might turn out to be one of the largest demonstrations ever held on earth.

Forget March in March. This counter demonstration is called Work on Wednesday. Here’s how you can participate in the greatest display of collective Australian solidarity witnessed since settlement:

  • This Wednesday, the 26th of March, proudly and defiantly take to the streets and go to your place of employment.
  • Put in a hard day’s work, earning money for yourself and your family.
  • When the demonstration is over, after perhaps eight hours or so, again take to the streets and return home.

It’s a lot to ask, I know, but your Work on Wednesday sacrifice will really send a powerful message to the ABC and others about community values, inclusiveness and diversity.

Tim Blair asked all those participating to send him emails on Wednesday of them protesting.

Social media is important these days, according to social media, so Work on Wednesday has its own Twitter feed where regular updates and progress reports will be posted throughout the big day. Everyone who joins in is invited to send photographs of their Work on Wednesday activities to my blog. Email me at blairt@dailytelegraph.com.au.

Let’s show those howling misfits at March in March how to conduct a real demonstration, with a positive message, a huge attendance and a brilliant outcome. Work on Wednesday! If it succeeds, we might have to do it all over again next week.

 

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Nick Cohen “deniers have won” — gets startlingly close to the truth

What insight. ‘Tis prosaic — Nick Cohen in The Guardian packs more truth — runs tantalizingly close to a major insight, yet skates off, one single word short.

It’s projection on a rampage, and Cohen almost seems to realize it.  Perhaps we can help him?

“The climate change deniers have won”

Where else, but The Guardian?

Yes, Mr Cohen, those whom you deliberately and with malice call “deniers” are winning. Incredibly, even though they have only 0.03% of the funds, none of the machinery or the institutions, the enmity of western governments, existential opposition from the $350 billion renewables industry, no support from the large global carbon trading market, and only scorn and derision from the entire UN, and yet they are winning with nothing but wits and facts.

“Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it”
Exactly!  If you care about the environment you need to think. How serious is the problem of CO2? Here’s a handy list of topics that won’t tell us that answer:
  • Any list of organizations, associations, committees.
  • Any survey of keywords used in publications.
  • Psychoanalysis, pop psychology, anonymous internet surveys
  • Funding, imaginary or real.
  • Studies of cults.
  • Speculation about vested interests, oil companies, political ideology.
Here’s a list of topics that will:
  • Observations about the climate – weather balloons, ice cores, satellites, corals, rocks, thermometers, stuff like that.
Cohen talks about the green-gravy train grinding to a halt, and says:
All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.
It’s neat how he compares being skeptical of the climate to being skeptical of Auschwitz, then calls people cry-babies who point out that “deniers” is namecalling and a tactic that bullies and people who have no arguments use.  See, I wouldn’t have said “holocaust denier” in an email, because I’d assume he uses the denial word simply as cheap shot, an abuse of English. Indeed — in a sense, this is the only word he’s got wrong in the whole article, and his logic is sort of sensible and understandable if there were deniers denying scientific observations. But everything he’s written depends entirely on the accuracy of that highly unscientific word. He uses it as a tool to shut down debate, without realizing the minds it closes are those of him and his friends.
I mean, go figure, who would listen to a denier? It’s like talking to your cat. No wonder he finds this debate so baffling.
Tempting though it is to blame cowardly politicians, the abuse comes too easily. The question remains: what turned them into cowards?
What turns politicians into cowards? How about a rampant vicious namecalling campaign run by second rate journalists calling people deniers? Could be…
And when the world makes no sense you have to resort to rabid conspiracy theories eh?

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Unthreaded Weekend

Carved granite  | Photo: Jo Nova

Each year the winter whitewater carves out a tiny bit more rock, and each summer we see the ripples in the granite.

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