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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The extreme heat of 1666

UK FlagThe UK is home to the longest single running temperature series in the world, and Paul Homewood caught up with the latest data. Two hundred years before the first coal fired power plant opened the summer of 1666 was hotter than the summer of 2019 in the centre of the UK.

Global warming is “still within the noise”.  There’s a warming trend there, but this fantastic long dataset rather puts it in perspective. Even though the 1680 – 1700 period is regarded as the depths of the Little Ice Age, even then, there was still the odd hot summer.

Paul Homewood was responding to the headlines of “Hottest late August Bank Holiday Monday on record!” The only thing that’s extreme about this summer in the UK is the climate propaganda.

With 2,000 possible permutations and combinations of records at that inane level, there’s a new record somewhere every day of the year, not to mention that there weren’t too many air conditioners, tarmacs or concrete towers back in 1700 to warm the thermometers then.

 Summer Heatwaves? It Was Hotter In 1707!!

Paul Homewood, Notalotofpeopleknowthat

Last month was no warmer than 1801, 1842 and 1932.

The summer of 1976 still remains top of the list, but second hottest was way back in 1826.

Indeed there have been warmer summers on 28 occasions prior to 1900. Notably, one such summer was 1666, the 18th warmest. That was, of course, the year of the Great Fire of London, which swept through London between the 2nd and 6th of September.

 Almost all human emissions have come out since 1945. Note the catastrophic effect.

Summer Temperatures England, last 400 years.

Summer Temperatures England, last 400 years. (Click to enlarge)

Could it be that in a cooler, drier climate, we just get more extremes? The average might be cooler, but the maxes might just as hot as they are now.

Well spotted by Homewood. Did anyone at Hadley or the BBC make this point? All they had to do was grab that data and graph it….

Meanwhile the UK is spending billions to avoid hot summers?

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Midweek Unthreaded


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David Attenborough’s reputation was last seen falling off a cliff


Attenborough turned a natural phenomenon into an advert for the Climate-scare industry.  As Benny Pieser at GWPF points out Falling Walruses were turned into the new posterboy of climate change, “It would be a sad legacy if he did not set the record straight.””

Here’s the brief synopsis in case you don’t feel like watching walrus horror flicks.

Though this old video that Polar Bear Expert Susan Crockford found is kinda novel — you can see scientists test theories and then throw them out.

Biologists in 1994 noticed walruses falling down a steep incline. They tried to figure it out. They scratch their heads. Admit they don’t know. They saw it happen three years in a row,  and as many as 120 walruses met a flattening end.

The first theory was the animals were trying to escape severe storms, but the next year the weather was perfect. Walruses rolled and crashed again. So did that theory.

The second theory, was that perhaps the sights and sounds of humans were putting them out… but no — discussions with locals suggested not.

The third theory was that they were suicidal. But Dr Seagers, quaintly, doesn’t think we should put human thoughts into a walrus. We have no information, he says with disarming honesty. The lack of any data wouldn’t stop modern climate scientists of course. They could always do a Monte-Carlo on 3,000 model runs of simulated walrus brains.

In the end Dr Seager thinks it’s probably just that the mass walrus gathering has become too crowded. He says they spread out and change the terrain making new paths, and they simply have access to higher ground to fall off from now (or something like that).

I’m glad I’m not a walrus, though some gullible Greens must be feeling like one.

EPA post delayed while I solve a html glitch with references…

There were other flaws in the Netflix documentary which we’ve discussed before.

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Banned by Big Oil — Jo Nova’s Christmas speech for geologists cancelled by Woodside

So much for being “funded by fossil fuels” — they not only don’t fund me, Big Oil won’t even let me speak

It’s all sweetness and light on the Woodside’s “part-of-the-solution” home page. But a ton of industrial bricks are coming for those who dissent.

Woodside Petroleum, FesAus, Censorship

Part of what solution?

In March I was invited to present the FESAus Christmas function in December this year. They’re the Formation Evaluation Society of Australia, a non-for-profit volunteer organisation for Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts. A niche technical club of experts. It was unpaid, but I was happy to help make it a fun and push some buttons. “Hot” graphs, cartoons and all.

But in June, suddenly it became controversial to make jokes about climate change. Committee members started resigning, and dummy-spit declarations were made that “a discussion about climate was stupid”. People were shaken. The chips were on the table, the members said “yes” but the committee was split. When decision time came, the key committee meeting was hijacked by an outsider from Woodside who turned up by surprise and darkly threatened that all funding or support for the professional organisation and all future speakers from Woodside would be withdrawn if that climate denier, Jo Nova, was allowed to speak.

It was Woodside or me…

So my presentation was cancelled, and by Woodside no less. What’s astonishing is the effort someone inside this 4 billion dollar revenue giant went to — to stop an unpaid blogger from speaking to a low profile, small technical organisation, with little, as in, almost zero, media influence.  Seriously? As if a group of experienced geos were at risk of being badly influenced by yours truly — there are people who analyze seismic logs and signatures of key stratigraphic surfaces for fun. Does Woodside think they need “protection”? Or is Woodside just running chicken itself? Scared of the Western Australian EPA, which is currently calling for submissions, and promising draconian guidelines that threaten to kill off the industry? Woodside need the EPA to approve all their new projects. Petrophysicists might be almost all skeptical, but some either work for Woodside or hope too. Woodside are the largest operator of oil and gas production in Australia.

When asked to put their objections in writing the Woodside representative refused. When put the test, they weakly said they objected to all climate change discussions. But of course, there were, and are, other discussions mentioning climate on the agenda and they’re not being threatened.

And the fallout hasn’t finished yet — more resignations may take place if threats from Woodside prevent an esteemed member of FesAus from speaking in my place and about climate change. I hear he is skeptical too. That decision is due soon.

Soft power character assassination

Jo Nova in Munich

Good enough for Munich, Oslo, London, New York, Sydney and Washington. Not so much, Perth.

Via emails, which I’ve seen, I was referred to as a climate denier, just a blogger, and whose husband was a holocaust denier. It was the full character assassination. We’ve heard it all before. Here’s our reply to one hapless media outlet that posted the anti-semitic allegations about Dr David Evans and then issued a complete apology. I still remember being impressed that the original article was deleted within the hour, late on a Friday night, and our explanation posted immediately. Despite that action, the baseless slurs persist. And what’s my husband got to do with me giving a presentation anyhow? (Where is a feminist when you need one?)

Evans, by the way is PhD, M.S. (E.E.), M.S. (Stats) [Stanford Uni] and a few more degrees, a medal, OK, I’m just showing off. But it doesn’t matter how many prizes you’ve won if the rumor mill circulates lies and innuendo and no one stands against it. Which is why I’m so glad that several people are pushing back. It takes courage when industry heavyweights turn up… especially when jobs are at risk.

One big unspoken implication is that if Woodside won’t let a skeptic speak at an outside event, why would they hire one? Many younger geologists and engineers — who are largely skeptics — are becoming afraid to speak up…

(Lordy B! Pray for Woodside if it hires believer-engineers.)

For what it’s worth, as things got hot I decided to turn up to a FesAus technical meeting myself and listen to a presentation.  I handed out Skeptics Handbooks all round. As expected, almost all of the members are friendly and already skeptical  (see Lefsrud et al). Geologists and Engineers are the most high-grade skeptics around. They know too much about the history of Earth, and the fickleness of models.

Why this heat? Perhaps there is a religious zealot in middle management at Woodside, it’s hard to believe anyone in upper management would have made such a cackhanded PR move and over-reached this badly.

Otherwise this is the dark hand of soft power — the Administration State has a billion reasons to silence independent thought. When the government gets too big there doesn’t need to be an edict to quash dissent. People silence themselves.

Not us.


Alarmists get into a sweat,
Overcome with fear, fright and fret,
That a climate-change joke,
Might dissension provoke,
Which they see as a terrible threat.

 – Ruairi



Lefsrud and Meyer (2012) Science or Science Fiction? Professionals’ Discursive Construction of Climate Change, Organization Studies, vol. 33, 11: pp. 1477-1506. , First Published November 19, 2012.

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Green electoral poison: State Labor Party attacks and vows never to work with Greens again

Tasmania, Australia. Map.After the dramatic loss in Tasmania at the May election the local state Labor party has realized they went too far Green left.  They are scrambling to distance themselves from the Greens — saying that working with the Greens  was a mistake. They are even talking about working people again as if they matter. It is a 180 shift from trying to win votes from the Greens by adopting their policies to openly isolating the Greens and pointing out their flaws.

Far from trying to fight “a climate election” they are even trying to fight on economic issues — ground that usually suits the Liberal (conservative) party. The problem for the Tasmanian branch is that they said something like this in 2010, then reneged when push came to shove and did a deal. Unless they get serious about pointing out why Greens policies are so toxic, the voters won’t believe them. The added advantage of scrutinizing the Greens (finally) would be that the Labor party might win votes from both the left and the right.

Rebecca White is the leader of the Labor Opposition in Tasmania.

Tasmanian Labor Party vows never to make ‘mistake’ of working with Greens again

Ms White will rise to her feet on Sunday to spruik Labor’s commitment to the working class, and to raise concerns about a “jobs emergency” in Tasmania.

She will use her speech to distance Labor from the Tasmanian Greens.

After working with the Greens earlier this year to pass transgender reforms through state parliament, Labor now seems intent on avoiding the appearance of being too cosy with the minor party.

Ms White’s speech will criticise the Greens’ positions on energy policy, tourism, and planning.

“As bad as the Liberal Government is on jobs — the Greens are just as bad,” Ms White’s speech reads.

“I am tired of the Greens standing in the way of Tasmanian jobs.

“They leave people behind. Working people. Our people.

In 2007 Ken Rudd ran his campaign on a promise of being great economic managers. The Australian Labor party won and did what they usually do –they blew away the surplus, raked up debt, built $800,000 tin-sheds for schools that needed libraries, and created a bubble in pink batts.  It’s very risky for any Labor Party to run a campaign on “the economy” — but finally they appear to realize the empty shell of the climate election — where everyone says “they believe” and “they care” but no one wants to pay, and every other issue rates higher. The votes just aren’t there.

The party appears to have decided the key to future electoral success lies in convincing voters it would be a stronger economic manager than the Liberals, both at a state level and federally.

“The Morrison Government is in denial about the economy. A soft economy has been their blind spot, and it’s becoming their weak spot.”

Matthew Denholm at The Australian points out that the Labor Party in Tasmania have done this before:

The Greens, Australia.

White admitted past alliances with the Greens, most recently from 2010-14, had been a mistake. She painted Labor’s former power-sharing partners as arrogant, anti-everything, job-destroying naysayers.

Her quest to distance herself from the tree-huggers went as far as endorsing roo shooting as a pastime.

Her problem is that Tasmanians have heard this song before. Former premier David Bartlett promised never to do a “deal with the (Greens) devil” in 2010, shortly before doing exactly that to cling to power. Many still recall the similar Faustian pact between Julia Gillard and Bob Brown in the same year.

In preferences, Scott Morrison put Labor ahead of One Nation. What are the odds the Labor party would put the Liberals ahead of the Greens? Close to nothing.

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Weekend Unthreaded

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The uncanny prophesy of Margaret Thatcher on the European Union

Sep 19, 1992  Margaret Thatcher was Speaking to the CNN World Economic Development Conference

The Grocer’s Daughter on Facebook

Huge sums would have to be transferred from richer to poorer countries and regions to allow them to take the strain. Even then unemployment and mass migration across now open frontiers would follow. And a full-fledged Single currency would allow no escape hatch.

The political consequences can already be glimpsed: the growth of extremist parties, battening on fears about mass immigration and unemployment, offering a real — if thoroughly unwelcome — alternative to the Euro-centrist political establishment.

Keep reading  →

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Submission due for the West Australian EPA on Monday

The West Australian EPA is calling for submissions by Monday Sept 2.

Given the timeframe, this is a draft post — just to flag this and start a discussion. Suggestions welcome. More coming Monday.

In March the WA EPA astonished the state by suddenly declaring that all new projects would need to “demonstrate how they would offset all emissions from their developments.” After an outcry these were withdrawn, but the EPA still wants them and are calling for submissions.

The requirements were so drastic they would affect the whole country just because of the size and the revenue lost from the WA projects. Not to mention that if the WA EPA gets away with this scientifically empty power grab, other EPA’s will follow…

Tens of billions of dollars in new resource projects will be at risk after Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority announced tough new measures around carbon dioxide emissions.

The new regulations will affect planned projects such as Woodside Petroleum’s $US11 billion ($15.6bn) Scarborough gas project and its $US20.5bn Browse development, as well as existing projects such as the $US34bn Wheatstone LNG plant and the $US54bn Gorgon LNG plant.          — Paul Garvey, The Australian.

My post at the time: First they came for the coal industry, now for oil and gas: West Australian EPA decides state must meet “Paris” alone

The EPA is made up of five members appointed by the minister. It’s a QANGO, paid by the government, dependent on the government, but supposedly independent of it. It makes recommendations regarding the approval of new projects in the state but the government can choose to do something different. The problem is though, that companies need to jump through the hoops (which costs money and time), and it’s harder for a government to say “Yes” if the EPA says “No”. Plus it’s another PR win for the religion of climate change. More paid press releases.

  • How do we predict or assess the “environmental benefits”: The EPA are only supposed to be considering the environment, not the economy, and they’re only supposed to be considering Western Australia, not the world. It seems to me that the hardest point for them to justify is how cutting emissions in a state of 2.6 million people or 0.3% of the worlds population will have any measurable outcome on the West Australian environment.
  • Their entire assessment of “likely harm”comes from generic quotes and Argument from Authority from the CSIRO, BOM and the unaudited foreign committee. Who is responsible for checking these?
  • The EPA needs to define what a “reasonable” measure is. If the rest of the world is doing almost nothing, is it reasonable for West Australian companies to pay exorbitant fees to allay emissions  which will drive them out of business? And emissions that will just be emitted elsewhere and which will have no measurable effect to the fourth decimal place on the temperature of WA?
  • The EPA document is poorly researched — it argues that “It is rapidly becoming standard international practice for greenhouse gas emissions to be considered by regulatory agencies”. Obviously the EPA is unaware that of what is happening in Russia, China, Indonesia, India, Africa, Brazil or the USA. Do they realize Donald Trump won?

On that basis the EPA are calling for submissions and promising to publish them and their responses. (That way they can say they consulted, even if they ignore everything that’s too hard). Nonetheless, it’s still worth putting in a submission Monday. Which I will. This post is here to remind others that’s it due, ask for suggestions, and offer to help.

Info:    Greenhouse Gas Consultation – Background Paper

Keep reading  →

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Rare: Sudden Stratospheric Warming in the Southern Hemisphere — cold weather coming?

Right now a very rare southern SSW (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) is taking place, possibly peaking today or this weekend over Antarctica. In the Northern Hemisphere SSW’s happen more often and in the month afterwards, wild polar blasts like the “Beast from the East” can peel off. So somewhere way up at 10hPa or 30 – 50 km, there is an area that’s warmed from -60C  to close to zero. The warming up high throws a spanner in the normal jet streams and weeks later, down at the surface, blobs of  cold air from the poles may end up wandering far from “home”.

We (as in Africa, Australia, Argentina, or New Zealand) may get bumper snow and severe frosts, or we may not. Some researchers are getting excited and are using the word “historic”.

SSW, Southern HEmisphere, Antarctica, NIWA, graph.

These are rare over the Southern Hemisphere — due to Antarctica being shaped like a circular cheesecake right over the pole and surrounded by water. The geography is cleaner and simpler than at the north pole, and that generates a strong circumpolar jetstream.  The strong pattern normally stops these sudden warmings up high which occur with wandering jetstreams.

In the Southern Hemisphere there have only been two officially recorded SSW’s in the last 50 years, one in 2002 and a more minor one in 2010. Though I’d venture to guess that we haven’t got much data on temperatures 30km above Antarctica in 1922 (or whenever). In the northern Hemisphere, some are already discussing the odds of another one for this winter, #PolarVortex.

Dr Amy Butler at CIRES/NOAA ESRL is excited.

“… this plot gives a sense of how large planetary-scale atmospheric wave propagation is in the mid-stratosphere (in the SH, the biggest values are more negative). These waves can break (think waves breaking on a beach) and rapidly slow the normal circulation there.”

While those with crystal balls and CMIP5 models may blame any freak weather on CO2, none of the models can predict this. Indeed, the modelers are still trying to define SSW’s Is it a wind reversal, or a temperature gradient change? (Junsu Kim 2017).  The best meteorologists can only predict a Sudden Stratospheric Warming a whole week in advance.

Time to arm up on ways to explain to the superstitious that any cold snaps that may come are not another spooky sign of A CO2 Effect.

Keep reading  →

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Tears for the climate (or to boost their social status?)

 The Tear Stained Flogs of Climate Science

The unstoppable Tony Thomas has collected the tears of climate scientists the world over as they wallow in their self-inflicted heartache. For anyone who hasn’t come face to face with the raw emotional PR power of a crying scientist, check out Quadrant.

In particular, this new study:

The $2.5 million dollar study of The Emotional Labor of Climate Scientists

.. let’s get back to the psyches of Australia’s top warming spruikers. Geographers Professor Lesley Head (Melbourne University) and Dr Theresa Harada (Wollongong University) have published a breakthrough paper in the peer reviewed journal Emotion Space and Society.  It’s called  “Keeping the heart a long way from the brain: The emotional labour of climate scientists”.[4] This includes insights about climate-panic people’s “emotional labour” from “feminist perspectives” in which the scientists combat “a strong climate denialist influence”. The authors, straight-faced, found that our climate scientists use emotional denial to suppress the consequences of climate change. Guilt-free, they can then continue “extensive use of long-distance airplane trips throughout a scientific career”.

The authors accept, no questions asked, that 33-50 per cent of the world’s petroleum and over 80 per cent of coal should be left in the ground. Even so, they fret we’re set for maybe 6 degC warming and transformation of society. From this bland starting point, they sample four female and nine male Australian climate scientists — half of a group of 26 rated “the nation’s leaders in this field”. Tragically, the names of this band of bedwetters are withheld. The 13 interviews are wrapped with references to  nearly 70 prior academic papers.

The study took at least three years.  The scientists were surveyed from mid-2014 . The paper was submitted in May 2015 and re-submitted after revisions in July 2017. It was funded from part of an ARC research grant of $2,467,256 [you read that right: nearly $2.5m] for “cultural dimensions of environmental sustainability and human-environment interactions, including climate change.”

The interviewees’ particular terror was the “strong climate denialist movement [that] was a source of pressure and a cause of anxiety”. Into the bargain the  denialist discourses were “seen to undermine the legitimacy of science authority”. The authors seem unaware that Australia’s leading “denialist”  is Joanne Nova, one-time professional science educator and now a housewife in outer  suburban Perth with a global reputation. Her only resource is her intellect and her only income is from her blog’s tip jar. No $2.5m taxpayer grants for Joanne…

As Thomas says — “note the elistism”. I would add — “note the narcissism”. Could Dr Ailie Gallant be the only homo sapiens that cares?

# Dr Ailie Gallant, Monash: “I often feel like shouting… but would that really help? I feel like they don’t listen anyway. After all, we’ve been shouting for years. How can anyone not feel an overwhelming sense of care and responsibility when those so dear to us are so desperately ill? Perhaps I’m the odd one out, the anomaly of the human race. The one who cares enough, who has the compassion, to want to help make her better. Time is ticking, and we need to act now.”

Or could it be she cares so little about the rest of her species she can’t be bothered even listening to them? And she has so little interest in saving the world she won’t even seek to find out why skeptics are skeptical?

Imagine if she did? She might not be so afraid.

Read it all at The Tear Stained Flogs of Climate Science

 Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and on-line here

h/t Tony, Tom and Marvin

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Basslink cable out again, costing Victorians more as prices rise

The Basslink cable has gone down again, and is expected to be out of action til mid-October. Luckily for Tasmania, the dams are at 45% full. However in Victoria, which sits on one of the largest brown coal reserves in the world, currently prices are hitting $300/MWh every morning and every evening at peak time.  This graph below shows 5 minute prices for the last two days in Victoria. Every dollar Victoria saves at lunchtime from solar generation is lost a few hours later, and then some. Though it’s wrong to use the word “saves” at any time of day. The wholesale price of brown coal power for years was $30/MWh, and this below is a wholesale price graph. Even the lunchtime “low prices” are twice as expensive as brown coal which can supply all day, every day and for hundreds of years to come and doesn’t cause voltage surges, frequency instability, or house fires, and doesn’t need backup batteries, demand management schemes, free movie tickets, or dark hospitals.

The AEMO must be counting their lucky stars that this happened at probably the “best” time of year when demand is lower.

AEMO, prices, 28 August 2019. NEM.



The effect of the Basslink outage is presumably obvious above the noise of the monthly graph of 30 minute prices in Victoria (see the last three days of thick red spikes). However, the biggest bonfire of money on the Victorian grid is the forced energy transition “every day”. Just look at the prices from 2015 (blue) when Hazelwood coal was still running and compare them with prices this year (red). That’s what the renewables revolution does.

Victorian prices, AEMO, August 2015, August 2019.

Victorian prices, AEMO, August 2015, August 2019.

At lunchtime even with all those Victorian solar panels working, SA and QLD were keeping the lights on in Victoria.

Keep reading  →

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Midweek Unthreaded


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G7 Success — leaders issue statement 2% of usual length — and climate sidelined

Winning:   The ABC news implied the G7 didn’t achieve much and was a bit of a flop with leaders “unable to overcome their differences…” and signing only a one page form. But for the rest of the world, the G7 was a big success  — there were no long pledges to lead the world in weather changing voodoo. Climate was sidelined.

Plus the 2019 G7 leaders statement was 54 times smaller than the last G7 leaders statement.

Varney: Trump ‘dominated’ the G-7 summit ‘like no other president has done in years’

Stuart Varney, Staff, Fox News

“No matter what you read and hear from the media, this G-7 was all about Trump re-aligning the world — reshaping the world economy with America’s interests first and foremost,” said Varney on Fox Nation’s “My Take.”

“Trade was the headline issue … A deal with Japan – they will import a lot more of our agricultural product. Britain gets a major trade deal after Brexit, and there’s dialogue with Germany on car tariffs as well, but the most important – China,” stressed Varney.

After President Trump’s news conference, at the conclusion of the summit on Monday, CNN’s Jim Acosta said, ”I think perhaps one of the biggest headlines coming out of this press conference that we just witnessed here in France is that the President would not be pinned down on this question of climate change.”

Good governance means less government:

Peter Baker @peterbakernyt

TWEET: Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times and MSNBC analyst.

With all the differences with Trump, the G7 leaders ended up releasing a largely general one-page statement that added up to 264 words. The last joint statement under Obama in 2016 was 14,263 words

That’s a 98% reduction in word pain.

Speaking of that Trade War

The Z-Man points out that China is much more vulnerable

China is selling cheap labor which is available in so many other places:

China is not selling the world anything the world does not have or cannot make. What China is selling is a safe haven to avoid the labor, tax and environmental laws that exist in the West.

U.S. imports from China totaled $539.5 billion in 2018. U.S. exports were $179.3 billion. … the U.S. market is about 5% of the Chinese economy, assuming the fake Chinese economic numbers are even close to reality, which is surely not the case. The Chinese market is less than one percent of the U.S. economy in 2018.

Keep reading  →

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3 weeks to go til Climate Propaganda Week starts

Did you get the memo?

Climate Propaganda Week! How to time and phrase your stories to help unaudited, unaccountable supranational government, bankers and bureaucrats.

Which journalists are “just following orders”?

All groupthink-minded, obedient journalists have been advised to find a climate crisis to report on in Sept 16th which is the week before the next UN climate summit on Sept 23. How many will obey, conveniently serving the UN, big government activists with “free advertising”?

Kip Hansen on WattsUp spotted the National Narrative for media on Climate Change a couple of months ago.

The best things skeptics can do is expose how artificially crafted and politically timed this “reporting” is. Spread the word that it’s coming to help neutralize the effect.

Let’s ask our favourite ABC/BBC/Guardian/NY Times journalists in advance if they plan to obey this directive. Perhaps we could score each journalist with a Climate Patsy mark as the week unfolds and they hit their prescribed targets? They score extra points for saying “12 years to go”, “all scientists agree” and using the terms “climate crisis”, and “climate emergency”. Triple points go to photos of weather porn: Eg melting asphalt, “rain bombs”, freak clouds, and 20 year old photos of the Amazon burning.

The Email to Journalists


We’re writing from Covering Climate Now, a new project of the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation aimed at dramatically improving journalism’s coverage of climate change. We invite you to join us.

The science is beyond clear: humanity faces an emergency situation. Rising sea levels and record heat waves, wildfires, and floods are unleashing devastation worldwide, and much more is in the pipeline. We have 12 years to radically change course, UN scientists warned last October, or face catastrophe.

As journalists, we have a professional responsibility to report on the urgency of this moment. Despite good coverage by some news outlets, climate silence still reigns in much of the media. For example, only 27 percent of Americans knew in election year 2016 that virtually all scientists agreed that climate change is human-caused, happening now and very dangerous.

The good news is that 63% of the public recognized that the statement “virtually all scientists” agree is a PR and advertising line. No one has surveyed “all scientists”. And the few fields that have been polled show that climate scientists are failing to convince all the professional fields of scientists around them.  Surveys show 50% of meteorologists don’t believe the doctrine (Maibach et al 2017), 66% of engineers and geologists are skeptical (Lefsrud et al 2012). Even most certified climate scientists don’t agree with the full 95% certainty that the IPCC claims (Strengers et al 2015).

The Columbia Journalism Review could be sued for false advertising — pretending to be journalists, pretending to be concerned about “facts” and then promoting fake facts.

Previous reasons for underplaying the climate story—fears of alienating audiences, losing money, or appearing partisan—no longer hold. Most people under age 40 care intensely about climate change, irrespective of their political outlook—even Republicans and independents want action, while Democrats call it their number one concern. That may help explain why The Guardian, our first partner at Covering Climate Now, has found that its extensive climate and environment coverage is making, not losing, money.

Instead of most people under 40 “caring intensely” — most people rank climate change as one of their lowest environmental concerns. Here are just a few surveys. Young people universally score higher in belief, but they grow out of it as they grow up.

 Just another million dollars of advertising?

We describe our plans for Covering Climate Now in this FAQ, which links to the April 30 conference at the Columbia Journalism School that launched this project and where iconic TV newsman Bill Moyers announced a $1 million pledge from the Schumann Media Center to fund the first year of our work.

Because all good journalists should time their articles to help the UN political agenda?

Our ask of you is simple: commit to a week of focused climate coverage this September. We are organizing news outlets across the US and abroad—online and print, TV and audio, large and small—to run seven days of climate stories from September 16 through the climate summit UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hosts in New York September 23. The stories you run are up to you, though we can offer ideas and background information and connect outlets looking for content with content providers looking for outlets.

Keep reading  →

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