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



Weekend Unthreaded – how can any post not be an anti-climax

I’ve been humbled by donations from Australia, USA, UK, Canada, NZ, Ireland, Germany,  France, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Holland, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Israel, Austria, and Cyprus. I hope I haven’t missed any? (For the record, Queensland has the most skeptics per capita. :- ) )

I thought I might have had writers block trying to live up to that.

Here’s the irony, can you believe? I’ve run out of chocolate. More than 600 people bought me a chocolate, yet I have none in the house.

Back soon…

Donors came from all over the West. This graphs the number of donors from each country.

 

(Thank you to everyone, I’m trying to send emails, but I may not manage…)

*Holland/Netherlands — yes I realize, but I’m acknowledging the names that donors used.

 

UPDATE: Oh! Norway added to the post and to the graph, as it should be! – Jo

 

 

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The end of a week un-threaded

ED here, one of the moderators. I’m stepping in here for a brief moment to start off an unthreaded post while Jo has a short respite. Certainly there must be something happening in the world that is happy, joyful and worthy of a weekend of conversation?

Cheers!

 

—–

 

Ha ha. ED I can see you and I were thinking the same thing. Thanks for looking out for me. It was an unthreaded week.  -Jo

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An offer I couldn’t refuse… Jo Nova gets outfoxed

UPDATE: This is just overwhelming. Amazing! New donations are coming in from the UK, Canada, France, Austria, New Zealand, Germany. Brilliant. Brilliant. Every bit counts. Thanks Anthony Thanks Jaymez.!

UPDATE #2: Donations (this random moment 9pm EST) are coming in the last hour from Columbus, OH; Lower Plenty, Victoria; Multi Way London; Newtown, New South Wales; Kew, Victoria; Aurora Ontario; Albion, QLD; Hollola Finland; Belmont, Western Australia; Sawston Cambridge, UK; Point Lonsdale, Victoria; Ermington, New South Wales; Witham, Essex UK; Marrickville, New South Wales; Ascot, Berkshire UK; Belair, South Australia; Oslo Norway; Tatura, Victoria ; Oxley, Queensland; Point Cook, Victoria; Stewarton, East Ayrshire UK …  I’m lost for the right word.

At this rate we might make the target Jaymez set.

UPDATE #3: Good news we are well over the half way  mark. I’m really delighted, thank you.

UPDATE #4!! Great news, we have claimed the full bonus from Jaymez. (Thank you! I owe a lot of people an email. I did not expect it to be reached so soon. :-)   Extra mention goes to donors to the NAB account, I have no way of identifying or thanking some of you personally (unless you email, please!). It all makes a big difference, and is support for us over the next few months. If you haven’t yet made a contribution, please don’t stop, the extra funds  are still very useful too — in the long run, we need to find a way to fund ongoing independent analysis, research and commentary in a more sustainable way. Any government will grow until something stops it. What stops it?  We, the people.  –  Jo

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I received a strongly worded email today from a long time loyal reader complaining that he almost missed this request which I placed at the bottom of yesterdays post.

Our bank account is looking very low. All contributions would be gratefully received. Thanks

   *    *   *

He claimed that hardly anyone would have seen it, and while I think I’m getting a great response, he thinks I’m crazy. He knows I hate asking for money (or even thinking about finances), but he also knows I work full time and despite the claims, big oil isn’t sending cheques, and there are no government grants to fund someone to fill in the gaps the CSIRO ($1.2b budget) and BOM ($300m) seem to miss. To cut a long story short he made an offer I just couldn’t refuse. I had to do a proper request for donations. He’s been ribbing me for ages to get onto it. I keep making excuses, but he’s finally outfoxed me, and in the nicest possible way.

This time, to ensure that I did so he made the extraordinary offer of giving me a dollar for every $4 I raise in the next week to a maximum of $5,000 (hypothetically if I was to raise $20,000). So any support you can give me would be gratefully received (and amplified by 25%). It will help me to keep not-thinking-about-money and think about corruption-in-science or getting logic-into-schools or trying to reduce your tax bill instead.

Indeed, it’s really just about our freedom to say what we think and the kind of civilization we want to leave for the kids.

I would love to claim the whole $5,000 he is offering, because it will be very useful (just wait ’til you see what’s been cooking around here). Just wait!

As Jaymez says: “So there is your challenge Jo! Now you have no excuse.”

Shucks, Thanks Jaymez.

Wow. Just wow.


For those who want to“buy” $1 units of chocolate support.  (Click on the currency button, and write in the quantity).

Deposit / Chq button

…or visit the Donations page.

Hate Paypal? There are alternatives (Deposit & Cheques button).

Why this odd arrangement? Would you believe — the Australian government say that I need permission from them to accept “donations”. (It might be your money, but you can only donate it to a Registered Charity.) So instead of accepting “donations” I’m “selling” units of $1 emergency chocolate support (for me) of which you may purchase as many as you want.


PS: For anyone wondering, Jaymez is not a magnate, not a wealthy businessman, and not in the fossil fuels industry. He spends some of his time working pro bono in developing countries. He writes that he “understands better than most how restrictions on industrial growth will impact the poorest in the world.”

PPS: I owe some other thank yous still.  They’re coming.

 

 

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What the CSIRO State of the Climate report forgot to tell you

The CSIRO decided to leave out some information about the state of our climate in their  State of the Climate Report CSIRO.

CSIRO published these “Fast Facts” in bold. I’m publishing the things they didn’t say, but could have, in points in between.

Fast Facts from the CSIRO and BOM

“Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.”
The CSIRO-BOM team could have said:
  1. Scientifically, extreme weather measures are lousy indicators. They’re noisy and not very meaningful. They are however useful for getting newspaper headlines. It depends on what your aim is…
  2. Australia’s had extreme hot days for as long as we’ve been measuring the temperature. Charles Sturt recorded 53C in 1828 which seems fairly extreme. Thomas Mitchell did it too in 1845 and are many others (see the map below, check Trove, ask the BOM — no don’t ask the BOM). The records prior to 1910 seem to have gone down the memory hole, but if the BOM and CSIRO were trying to give Australians a true sense of the state of our climate perhaps Australians might like to know that extreme heat occurred even when CO2 levels were ideal.
  3. Before we hit the national Panic Button about the effect a hot day has on our airconditioners, ponder what other Australians went through. The January 1896 heat wave killed hundreds, and temperatures of close to, or over, 50C, were recorded right across the country in Mullewa, Carnarvon, Southern Cross, Wilcannia, Ungarie, Quirindi, Camden, Brewarrina, Cunnamulla and Mildura. No phones, no cars, no helicopters. No refrigerators.
  4. It’s misleading to say that the recent “extreme” records are meaningful. The cause and effect connection between man-made CO2 emissions and Australian “extreme” hot days is extremely tenuous. CO2 is a greenhouse gas every day of the year, so if extremes are rising in some places and on some days, but global trends are not, a normal scientist wouldn’t make much of the connection. But the CSIRO-BOM do, though in a special kind of caveat-speak where a null result is reframed:
 ”Some recent instances of extreme summer temperatures experienced around the world, including record-breaking summer temperatures in Australia over 2012–2013, are very unlikely to have been caused by natural variability alone.”
Admire how a conclusion so weak a skeptic could agree somehow “seems” to endorse the general theme of fear and angst about CO2. It’s all in the wording. The corollary to the conclusion above is equally true: some of these hot summer records are very likely to have been caused by natural and unnatural variability together. Since any unnatural effect greater than flat-zero makes the above statement technically correct, the precise message it conveys is close to nothing. As I keep saying: all forms of warming, cause warming. It doesn’t mean that CO2 caused it.

The hottest temperatures here were recorded in the 1800′s.

“Rainfall averaged across Australia has slightly increased since 1900, with the largest increases in the northwest since 1970.  Rainfall has declined since 1970 in the southwest, dominated by reduced winter rainfall. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the southeast since 1990.”
  1. In a nation with the most unpredictable rainfall in the world, it would be amazing if some regions did not show some change over short periods like 100 years.
  2. In South West WA, the rainfall decline correlated better with man-made land clearance than CO2. Rainfall declined the most in areas where the most native flora was cleared. It didn’t change much in zones where humans left the scrub alone. Apparently Australians don’t need to know that planting trees might increase the rainfall. (Which side of politics wants to plant 20 million trees, again?)
“Extreme fire weather has increased, and the fire season has lengthened, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.”
  • Fires are caused by heat, humidity, winds, fuel loads, rainfall patterns and delinquent teenagers. In the last 100 years we are sure things have got hotter, and there are definitely more delinquent teenagers. But we can’t predict wind, fuel, or humidity, or for that matter, temperature in 2100. This apparently doesn’t stop us from accurately predicting “fire-weather”.
  • This short recent trend (since the 1970s) may not include the worst fire seasons we know of like those that occurred in 1939 or even in 1851. Real scientists would not draw any serious conclusions from a marker as vague as a “fire season”, nor over such a short period of time.
“Global mean temperature has risen by 0.85°C from 1880 to 2012.”
  • Temperatures started rising in the 1700s — long before CO2 did. Even though 85% of man-made CO2 was emitted after World War II, the rate of warming is no different to the era before that. The trend in the 1870s was the same as the peak trend in the 1980s. Even Phil Jones (Director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia) agrees both rates peaked at 0.16 C per decade.
  • Hadley Global Temperature Graph with trends according to Phil Jones trends annotated on top. Red trend lines there to show roughly where these trends occur.

“The amount of heat stored in the global oceans has increased, and global mean sea level has risen by 225 mm from 1880 to 2012.”
  1. The oceans appear to have warmed by two hundredths of a degree in the last 10 years. (If you believe that we can measure the 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of ocean to a hundredth of a degree, I have a giant working solar plant to sell you.)
  2. The heat stored in all the oceans is pretty hard to measure, and based on the best measurements we have, we are fairly, possibly, or a little bit sure the heat has  increased. Though the increase was a lot less than we predicted, and quadrillions of joules of energy is missing, these may not matter because the real error bars are so large that the ones on the observations totally overlap the ones on the predictions, ergo, we are still possibly right (or at least Not Wrong Yet). In 40 years we’ll know, in the meantime call it “settled”.
  3. The seas started rising in the early 1800′s about the same time Napoleon launched the moon mission. (Sorry, we mean that horses, carts, and wind-driven-boats caused pollution. Scratch that. Punters don’t need to know that.)
“Annual average global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached 395 parts per million (ppm) in 2013 and concentrations of the other major greenhouse gases are at their highest levels for at least 800,000 years.”
  • For most of the history of life on Earth CO2 levels were higher than they are today, sometimes 10 times higher. It was a lot hotter, except when it was a lot colder. For 500 million years nobody taxed carbon. Somehow life flourished and coral reefs existed.
  • Sometimes asteroids dropped in — and then, boy, did that climate change. But that’s not the point, no one can tax an asteroid.^

 

“Australian temperatures are projected to continue to increase, with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.”

The best models in the warmest decades, peak CO2 emissions, and still no glory for modelers.

 Information about the graph. [See all posts on Climate models].
“Average rainfall in southern Australia is projected to decrease, and heavy rainfall is projected to increase over most parts of Australia.”
  • See the point about models above. The models don’t work. It would be cheaper and just as scientifically valid to throw darts.
“Sea-level rise and ocean acidification are projected to continue.”

If the BOM and CSIRO had wanted Australians to be informed and calm about the risks of Ocean Acidification, they would have said things like this:

  • The oceans are not acidic, and not close to being acidic with a pH of more than 8 which is alkaline. However natural unpolluted clean rainfall has a shockingly acidic pH of about 5.  [Source CSIRO] Life on Earth seems to cope. Some natural undersea vents have a pH as acidic as 2.8. That’s acidic.
  • The ocean changes pH naturally. In the Southern Ocean pH shifts by 0.3-0.5 units every summer and winter. Quite a lot of marine life are okay with this.
  • Some parts of the ocean vary even more every day than the most pessimistic models predict the ocean will change in the next 100 years.
  • It’s tricky to know what the pH of the world’s oceans are today (because of this natural variability) but it’s even harder to know that the pH was in 1750 since the pH scale and meters and what not, was only invented 150 years later. Instead our scientists estimate what the pH might have been then with models. Did we mention we are uncertain about the accuracy?
  • Sea level rise has decelerated lately, which suggests that more CO2 does not make the sea rise faster. A lot of heat is missing from climate models, but if the “missing heat” is hiding in the oceans — sea levels would be rising faster.
  • Australian and New Zealand sea levels were rising faster in the 1930s and 1940s than they have in the last 40 years.  (Isn’t that a bit relevant?)
  •  Sea levels all over the world started rising before 1800 when CO2 was still at “perfect” levels. Something was warming the planet back then.  If climate modelers knew what it was, their models might work.

More information

Posts on , , , .

 

Our bank account is looking very low. All contributions would be gratefully received. Thanks

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* Remember how the BOM had to change the whole color scheme on the national weather map just to forecast a  potential “50C” in 2013? They had to issue a whole press release, where they also didn’t mention the previous 50C+ days in our national archives. Spot the pattern.

^This does not preclude the possibility that we might “need” a large bureaucracy and soon, to protect us from falling space rocks. Pace NASA, and DOD. Awaiting events in Syria/Ukraine…

 

REFERENCES

Berner et al, GEOCARB III: A revised model of atmospheric CO2  over Phanerozoic Time, American Journal of Science, Vol. 301, February, 2001, P. 182–204. (GEOCARB III)

Scotese C.R.,  Golonka, J., and Ross, M.I. (1994) Phanerozoic Paleogeographic and Paleoclimatic Modeling Maps, in A. F. Embry, B. Beauchamp, and D.J. Glass (editors), Pangea, Global Environments and resources, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Memoir 17, p. 1-47.

Scotese, Worsley, T. R., Moore, T. L., and Fraticelli, C. M. (1994) Phanerozoic CO2 levels and global temperatures inferred from changing paleogeography, in Klein, George D., (editor), Pangea; paleoclimate, tectonics, and sedimentation during accretion, zenith and breakup of a supercontinent. Special Paper Geological Society of America 288, p. 57-73, Boulder, CO.

Scotese C.C., Upchurch, G.R., and Otto-Bliesner, B.L. (1999) Terrestrial vegetation and its effects on climate during the latest Cretaceous, E. Berrera and C. Johnson, (eds), The Evolution of Cretaceous Ocean/Climate Systems, Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec. Paper, v. 332, pp. 407-426.

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Kochs give $100 million to hospital. People protest.

How much do they hate the Koch brothers? So much, that when the Koch’s paid for a new hospital care centre, nurses stormed the streets.

Washington Beacon: it was the New York State Nurses’ Association, the NAACP New York State Conference, and SEIU Local 1199, among others, who marched on the soon-to-be-built David H. Koch Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which was funded in part by a $100 million donation from the man one prominent liberal recently predicted would go down in history as a “famously evil person.”

The donation was the largest in the hospital’s history, and will presumably create a fair number of new nursing jobs. So why are the usual suspects up in arms? Well, the agitators were apparently agitated because this particular hospital didn’t need all the money. Oh yeah, and because it was International Women’s Day, and the Kochs are the primary funders of the “war on women’s reproductive rights … and many other issues of concern to American women.” They’re also behind “the effort to defeat and repeal healthcare to all Americans,” whatever that means.

From the twitter #kochBros

David Koch is against affordable healthcare. Why is his name on a hospital?

The real issue apparently is “Affordable Healthcare”. If you are dependent on big-government largess (or aiming to be that way), I guess the last thing you’d want is successful free market philanthropy.

Once upon a time people who created productive industries and gave away large sums of money were lauded, now there is no amount of money the Koch’s could give…

If you like your small hospital, you can keep your small hospital?

Oh the dilemma, The Koch’s support of climate skeptics* means the hospital gift is tainted money:

David Koch Gives $100 Million Dollar Donation to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Their Largest Single Gift in History While Koch Maintains Campaign Against Climate Changing Science..

The donation will bear his name, David Koch on a new outpatient facility and he sits on the Board of Trustees at the hospital.  This just goes to show what wealth is doing today in the US, sure the hospital welcomes the money and who wouldn’t but it’s strange spot to be in with the political side of where Koch goes with their campaigns, so I guess in essence we need fossil fuels to keep some hospitals going?  It’s a strange world we live in today.  BD

Grist are right into the irony (as they see it). The hospital is “desperate” because of the extra patients due to the trauma of Hurricane Sandy, and yet The Kochs helped made Hurricane Sandy worse!

“NewYork-Presbyterian declined to comment on whether the hospital is comfortable accepting millions of dollars from a donor whose companies create the conditions for future superstorms.”

 

h/t Marc Morano Climate Depot

*I’m not one.

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Weekend Unthreaded

The loose ends….

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Media bias — ABC, CBS exclude skeptical scientists for 1300 days

The bias is obvious in what they don’t say. Reporters are supposed to seek out and promote the most rational, well argued positions they can find. Instead they elevate themselves to defacto “science judges” and decide which scientists deserve to be heard. It could be called arrogance, or it could be called “lying by omission”.

 COLD SHOULDER: ABC, CBS Exclude Scientists Critical of Global Warming for More Than 1,300 Days | NewsBusters

Like a simple parlor trick, the networks are able to make skeptical scientists vanish, at least from the eyes of their viewers.

In some cases, the broadcast networks have failed to include such scientists for years, while including alarmist scientists within the past six months. ABC, CBS and NBC’s lengthy omission of scientists critical of global warming alarmism propped up the myth of a scientific consensus, despite the fact that many scientists and thousands of peer-reviewed studies disagree.

Neither CBS nor ABC have included a skeptical scientist in their news shows within the past 1,300 days, but both networks included alarmists within the past 160 days — CBS as recently as 22 days ago. When the networks did include other viewpoints, the experts were dismissed as “out of the scientific mainstream” or backed by “oil and coal companies.”

CBS was the worst, ignoring skeptical scientists for 1,391 days, ever since the May 15, 2010,  “Evening News.” That night, CBS interviewed former NASA climatologist, Dr. Roy Spencer during an extensive profile of alarmist meteorologist, and non-Ph.D., Dan Satterfield.

It was just 22 days ago, on Feb. 12, 2014, that CBS included an alarmist physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku on “This Morning.” Kaku is a contributor to “This Morning” and that day he warned of the “heating up of the North Pole” which “could cause gigantic storms of historic proportions.”

ABC last included a skeptical scientist 1,383 days ago. During the May 23, 2010, segment of “World News,” ABC played a brief, 23-second clip of Princeton-educated Dr. Fred Singer expressing his skepticism over man-made climate change, along with clips of two alarmist scientists. Singer’s was the only opposing view in that report and his views were actually taken from a much earlier interview aired on ABC March 23, 2008.

The ABC referred too here is the American one, not the Australian ABC. (Has anyone analyzed the local highly influential mass-media outlet?)

For those choosing networks in the US, NBC did better than either the ABC or the CBS. Of course, the evil Fox out-rates them all. Could it be those viewers hate being told what to think?

Fox News topped the cable news ratings race for the 12th consecutive year in 2013, with more total viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined. Meanwhile, MSNBC slid to third place in total-day viewership while CNN hit a 20-year low in prime time.  — politico

Cue the commenters who will claim news ought to reflect the consensus. Meaning that journalists should decide who goes to air, not by reason and evidence, but because key-word surveys on specialty magazine publications suggest that there are more scientists who believe a particular, unlikely, idea. Rent out your brain, you “investigative journalists”. Government funding pays for magazine subscriptions, just like it pays for repeated irrelevant press releases. Since when was this science?

Keep reading  →

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The miracle gas that causes everything and nothing

In the true spirit of satire Steve Hunter manages to pretty much expose the grand flaw.

Thanks to Steve Hunter

Man-made global warming is unfalsifiable.

Scientists make predictions and test them. Only unskeptical scientists ignore the failures.

Flannery has missed a few. Bolt has a copy of Flannery’s Dam Predictions. For the record.

For your entertainment, the list of things that global warming can cause has been collected by NumberWatch:

A list of things caused by global warming

A snippet from I – K:

 … indigestion, industry threatened, infectious diseases,  inflation in China, insect explosion, insect invasion, insurance premium rises, Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, invasion of alien worms, invasion of Antarctic aliensinvasion of Asian carp, invasion of cane toadsinvasion of caterpillarsinvasion of catsinvasion of crabgrass, invasion of herons, invasion of jellyfish, invasion of king crabs, invasion of lampreys, invasion of midges, invasion of pine beetles, invasion of rats (China)invasion of slugs island disappears, islands sinking, Italy robbed of pasta, itchier poison ivy, Japan’s cherry blossom threatenedjellyfish explosion, jets fall from skyKew Gardens taxed, kidney stones, killer cornflakes, killing us, kitten boom, koalas leaves inedible, koalas under threat, krill decline…


 

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Zombie carbon market falls 60%, revived by EU decree – media spins “soaring success”

Global Carbon Markets peaked in 2011 at €96bn euro. Over the next two years they plummeted to €36bn* euro collapsing by 60%. Though the press didn’t seem in a hurry to convey that, and if I search,  no government funded agency has done a graph like this below (perhaps I missed it?)

The decline was looking pretty terminal, but the EU government has now voted to backload (which means hold off the permits and cut the supply). This is a desperate measure involving over half the new permits to keep the “free” market alive.

Instead, the news agencies with greener leanings have underplayed the fall, and the 60% decline is now invisibly massaged in places like BusinessGreen into a “market set to soar”. This is not just media-spin but a news-through-a-centrifuge.

The value of the world’s carbon markets is set to soar to €64bn (£53bn) this year, up from €39bn in 2013, as the European Union launches a temporary fix to revive its ailing emissions trading system.

Peak carbon came and went. Those 2014 figures are speculation. Otherwise the trend was terminal.

A breathless journalist at Thompson Reuters describes the possible revival of the market back to 30% below the peak as “astounding”:

Emil Dimantchev, analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, anticipates that such significant growth will be driven by “expectations that after imminent backloading is implemented early in 2014, EUA prices could rise to €7.5/t, increasing over-the-counter and exchange traded liquidity. This would lead to an astounding increase in value, up by more than two thirds to €61bn ($US84bn) from €36bn ($US49bn) in 2013”. –BusinessSpectator

Let’s not forget this soaring revival is only due to Government decree. The EU voted to simply hold back some promised carbon credits. They cornered the market from the start. There is nothing “free” about this fixed market, and the people who will pay (consumers and taxpayers, us) don’t get a choice. The Australian carbon market is still tied to the EU one. Ask Bill Shorten (the opposition leader) why a group of EU bureaucrats are setting the price.

The long-awaited “backloading” of European Union carbon allowance auctions will start on 12 March, marking the first time that governments will sell fewer permits than required by power producers

Keep reading  →

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Warren Buffett says climate change made no difference to insurance on catastrophes

A CNBC show interviewed Warren Buffett  — and in the context of talking about insurance shares — the billionaire (and Bershire Hathaway shareholders) are smiling all the way to the bank. Climate scientists may be predicting disasters, but as far as insurance goes, nothing much had changed.

Interviewer:  How has the latest rise of extreme weather events changed the calculus on Ajit Jain in reinsurance?

Warren Buffett: “The public has the impression, because there has been so much talk about climate, that the events of the last ten years have been unusual. …They haven’t. We’ve been remarkably free of hurricanes in the last five years. If you’ve been writing hurricane insurance it’s been all profit.”

 Warren Buffett: “So far the effects of climate change, if any, have not affected… the insurance market.

It has made no difference. I calculate the probabilities in terms of catastrophes no differently than a few years ago… that may change in ten years.”

Warren Buffett: “I love apocalyptic predictions, because … they probably do affect rates…”

 Warren Buffett: “Writing US hurricane insurance has been very profitable in the last five or six years… now the rates have come down and we’re not writing much, if anything, on Hurricanes in the US at all. The biggest cat risk right now.. I think is earthquakes in New Zealand.”

Watch the interview on Squawk Box CNB.

It’s worth watching. Even the interviewers are skeptics.

 h/t Willie and the Wall St Journal.(Headlined:  “Warren Buffett, Climate-Change Denier. The sage of Omaha punctures liberal myths.” So the phrase “climate change denier” is used with cachet here. How times change. No insult intended. Ouch. Soon, everyone will want to be one.

Keep reading  →

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Weekend Unthreaded

: – )

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UNSW climate scientists shift goal posts, publish irrelevant “extreme hot days” trend

The pause in global warming is so crippling, so crucial, that scientists will go to extremes to find any excuse to issue something that combines the magic terms “no pause” and “extreme temperatures”. This is the winning combination in climate bingo. But marvel how far these researchers have to stretch to get there.

Gaze upon  Seneviratne et al  (UNSW) declaring that there is no pause in the trend of “extreme hot temperature days”. Watch the pea (or rather peas).

Globally, on average, regions normally expect around 36.5 extremely hot days in a year. The observations showed that during the period from 1997-2012, regions that experienced 10, 30 or 50 extremely hot days above this average saw the greatest upward trends in extreme hot days over time and the area they impacted.

The consistently upward trend persisted right through the “hiatus” period from 1998-2012.

If the world was warming, they wouldn’t bother with this strained nonsense, would they? They are talking about 15 year trends in air over land, in summer, on the hottest 10% of days.

  1. Seneviratne et al acknowledge the pause in global temperatures. Therefore the models, and the theory is wrong. Every other incidental trend in smaller markers is a deckchair on the Clitanic.
  2. There is no causal connection with CO2. The greenhouse effect is supposed to be full time. It’s not like there are days when it doesn’t work. CO2 is either making the global average warmer as predicted or… it isn’t and their models are useless.
  3. The paper admits the summer extremes are warming over land, but not the warm winter extremes. So the greenhouse effect switches off in winter? That will be news. Wait, they also find there is a cooling effect in the mid-high latitudes of the northern hemisphere during the boreal winter? Isn’t that pretty close to when and where peak CO2 levels occur? I guess that’s only 10ppm of extra CO2, but this is not “parts of a jigsaw” coming together — it’s cherry picking.
  4. Extreme heat doesn’t necessarily mean hot. Looks like some of these extreme warm days occurred in places like Russia, Alaska and Greenland. As far as I can tell, they define “hottest extreme days” as being the hottest 10% of all days in a grid cell from 1979-2010. The average July temperature in Nuuk, Greenland is 10C (50F)  so the top 10% of “extreme hot weather” there is not so scary.
  5. Are they serious? A 15 year noisy trend in 30 year dataset is irrelevant. The graphs start in 1979 (when satellites start) but that’s also near the start of the last long warming cycle. For all we know it is connected to the natural upswing in the 60 year PDO cycle. Indeed, if surface cooling of the ocean is reducing global averages now (the explanation Seneviratne offers for the lack of global warming), obviously surface warming of the ocean could have been doing the opposite before. Without longer records this is meaningless, mindless PR headline hunting with no scientific significance.
  6. Just because something is statistically significant doesn’t mean it is meaningful. Since it warmed for the first 20 years of the dataset and then paused at the warmer level, it’s hardly surprising that someone can still “discover” some short trends that are rising.

Are the UNSW scientists trying to learn something about the world, or are they trying to generate headlines with the words “extreme hot temperatures”? Judge them by their press releases….

Click to enlarge. Note big blue cooling areas in the DJF months (northern winter) and warming extremes in the Sahara. Note also the amount of “extreme” heat days in high cold latitudes from December to May.

They are discussing a 15 year trend in “hottest days” at the end of a natural variation which is something like this:

The graph ends 100 years ago. So extend that red line up 0.9C. Then whip up some panic about the last quarter millimeter.

Sure, this is GISP — one ice core from Greenland and not global temperatures. The truth is we have no idea whether the current level of “extreme” hot days is much different to the hot spells 1,000 years ago, 2,000 years ago, or 7,000 years ago. It is completely disingenuous to pretend that a 15 year trend in a data set this noisy tells us something that matters.

Forget global average temperatures — move those goal posts

This paper is very ambitious — they would like us to believe that global average temperatures aren’t that important now, really these heat extremes have more impact. And maybe heat extremes do have more impact (it’s debatable), but they don’t tell us about the cause.

The climate scientists really hate the term “pause” calling it “ill-chosen”, “misleading” and “erroneous”. (Who is in denial?)

Keep reading  →

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Australian Science Curriculum over run with green politics. Help them fix it!

The Labor Party pushed and got a National Australian Curriculum. Now instead of the states separately mucking up parts of kid’s education, we’ve achieved a monoculture — an entire generation spoon-fed the same flaws. At least with the state systems — for all their imperfections, some states would do better than others, and we’d get a generation of Australians with different strengths and weaknesses.

Three sacred topics?

Get the Pillars of Political Correctness out of our curriculum

The new Australian Curriculum insists that three areas were so important they must be taught in every subject. So, if you are a maths teacher or a French teacher or any other teacher of K – 10, you’ll need to consider how to embed these “Cross Curriculum Priorities” in your subject.

You and I might, in our naivety, think that the pillars of Western Civilization might be the sacred keys — perhaps we ought teach how free speech influenced maths, science and social studies? Maybe the idea of equality before the law, the Magna Carta, or property rights and liberty, the political foundations of our society’s success, ought influence every subject? Or how about the idea that science is a philosophy like no other — a way of knowing and understanding that depends on observations and not opinions — the most egalitarian of philosophies where gurus can be proven wrong, and favoured dictums can be overturned.

But instead of three pillars of Western Civilization, we’ve got three pillars of  political correctness:

Did anyone ask future employers whether they want maths graduates who understand calculus, or maths graduates who understand that good citizens reuse shopping bags?

For each cross-curriculum priority, a set of organising ideas reflects the essential knowledge, understandings and skills for the priority. The organizing ideas are embedded in the content descriptions and elaborations of each learning area as appropriate.

For example, figure out how you would teach the periodic table with reference to organizing idea 4:  “OI.4 The arts and literature of Asia influence aesthetic and creative pursuits within Australia, the region and globally.” Mendeleev, eat your heart out. Shall we stir-fry some Strontium? This is not simplifying and clarifying our curriculum, it’s a bonfire of clutter and complexification. These are disorganizing ideas. These are politicizing where politics does not belong, a la the Soviets, with every teacher a potential political indoctrinator, comrade.

To be sure, an excellent teacher can still be excellent even within this politicized curriculum, but for teachers who are taught by this system, and with the same philosophy in university, what chance do they have?

Turn these tables around. Rather than have social, political, and historical themes all through maths and science, shouldn’t we make sure the logic of maths and science are taught through every other subject. Get the humanities out of science, and put some science and reasoning into the humanities and we will all be better off.

“Sustainability” doesn’t mean sustainable. It means Green politics

I want sustainability – I want sustainable civilizations.

It would be fine it sustainability meant sustainability — but it doesn’t, it’s a coded, loaded word for sustaining Green philosophies. Consider that the new curriculum aims to sustain the biosphere, the ecosystem, and the environment, but not our lifestyle, our living standards, our productivity, liberties, or our budget. This is not a philosophy that cares about sustaining the workforce, our health, or our legal system. Real sustainability would be concerned with sustaining The Scientific Method. Green political sustainability does the opposite.

In the disorganizing idea of sustainability, the word environment appears six times, the word global — three times, but spending, budget, debt, or balance sheet don’t get a single mention.

I want sustainability – I want sustainable civilizations. What makes human cultures rise and fall, why have some countries prospered or conquered and others collapsed? What is it about the West, or the Anglosphere, that extends lifespans, increases wealth, discovery, productivity and means we look after our environments so much better than poorer civilizations? What is it about the West that means people from most other cultures want to move here, but few of us want to leave? (Pace Daniel Hannan, UK MEP that I was lucky enough to meet at the CIS event in Perth – book here for Melbourne.)

 A racist curriculum?

I’ll probably be called a racist for protesting that Aboriginal or Asian culture, beliefs and spirituality should not be a key part of our maths and science curriculum, but note that it is not me, but the curriculum that is making race an issue. Maths has no race. Science is not about skin color but about universal truths. Which part of trigonometry do we leave out in order to add Cambodian counting systems? Isn’t it odd that introducing race where it does not belong and treating subjects differently by race is not considered racist by you-know-who, but protesting that probably is. Orwellian.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Chinese, Korean and Japanese kids outscore ours in maths. Perhaps we should  teach maths in our maths class instead of teaching ours how to save the spotted quoll? I’ll bet the Korean curriculum does not insist kids engage with westerners and Christianity in their maths plan.

 Please send a submission to the review today or tomorrow.

 Terms of Reference

To read the Australian curriculum visit the ACARA website.

The people who created the curriculum don’t understand maths and science

Consider the  rationale for science. The whole topic is damned with faint praise. This is not about a philosophy that gave life to billions of people — that feeds the world, moves the food, cools it, warms it and cured diphtheria. This is not what keeps 10,000 planes in the sky continuously day in and day out.

“Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives. Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our desire to make sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems. “

Likewise the team which wrote the rationale for Maths seems to find maths a bore  — and we wonder why kids switch off? There is no passion, no concept of what maths means. They say “Learning mathematics creates opportunities for and enriches the lives of all Australians”... but we could say the same about golf. The discipline of numbers and quantifying our lives is the difference between phoning your friend or sending a carrier pigeon. It’s about having enough food to eat, or the right dose of medicine. Our quality of life depends on our ability to quantify our needs and meet them. The plane flies or it doesn’t; it is not about a spiritual connection, a diversity of people, or the uniqueness of an environment. Is the national curriculum more class warfare by the postmodern arts graduates who run our society against people who actually know what they are doing, or what?

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Half a million people in the air at any one time

Marvel at the science and engineering that keeps these planes flying, and remarkably safely:

Planes in the sky with half a million people in the air at any one time | Guardian & Flightstats

How many flights are in the air at once? NOAA estimates that 5,000 planes are in the sky over the United States. On any given day, more than 87,000 flights travel through US airspace… globally estimates seem to be that there are around 8,000 – 13,000 though I didn’t happen to find an authoritative source.

This youtube shows the dots in motion:

Keep reading  →

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Busted: 120 gibberish science papers withdrawn — so much for “peer review”

At least 120 computer generated nonsense papers have been reviewed and published in publications of the  Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Springer, as well as conference proceedings. The fakes have just been discovered by a French researcher and are being withdrawn.

Cyril Labbé found a way to spot artificially-generated science papers, and published it his website and lo, the fakes turned up en masse. In the past, pretend papers have turned up in open access journals–this time the fake papers appeared in subscription based journals. But the man who caught the fakes says he cannot be sure he’s caught them all, because he couldn’t check all the papers behind paywalls.

According to Nature:

The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.

Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers.

One paper was called “TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce”. In the abstract it claimed they “concentrate our efforts on disproving that spreadsheets can be made knowledge-based, empathic, and compact”.

The system IS the problem. Peer review is not rigorous, the incentives are all wrong, but it is given huge social and financial importance far beyond what it is capable of.

Labbé says that the latest discovery is merely one symptom of a “spamming war started at the heart of science” in which researchers feel pressured to rush out papers to publish as much as possible.

These fakes were generated by software and so blatant that they were spotted by software too (did anybody read them?):

Keep reading  →

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Almost everything the media tells you about skeptics is wrong: they’re engineers and hard scientists. They like physics too.

In the mainstream media, skeptics are called Flat-Earthers, Deniers, and ideologues who deny basic physics. So it’s no surprise that they are exactly the opposite. A recent survey of 5,286 readers of leading skeptical blogs (eg here, WattsUp) shows that the people driving the skeptical debate are predominantly engineers and hard scientists with backgrounds like maths, physics and chemistry. Which group in the population are least likely to deny basic physics?  Skeptics.

I asked Mike Haseler for more details:

  • around half of respondents had worked in engineering and a quarter in science
  • around 80% had degrees of which about 40% were “post graduate” qualified.
  • Respondents were asked which areas they had formal “post-school qualification”. A third said “physics/chemistry. One third said maths. Just under 40% said engineering. 40% said they had post school training in computer programming.

Furthermore, the media “debate” is nothing like the real debate. Four out of five skeptics agree our emissions cause CO2 levels to rise, that Co2 causes warming, and that global temperatures have increased. In other words, the mainstream media journalists have somehow entirely missed both the nature of the skeptics and the nature of the debate.

The so called “experts” (say like Stephan Lewandowsky, and John Cook) either don’t understand what drives skeptics, or they know but do their best “not to accidentally discover it” with irrelevant surveys, loaded questions, poor sampling and bad methodology. (I’m going with incompetence). Lewandowsky, after all, tried to figure out the motivation of skeptics by asking people who hate them if they believe Diana was murdered. Not surprisingly he didn’t find out that about half of skeptics are Engineers, but he did find 10 anonymous people on the Internet who said the moon landing was faked. This is the kind of result only government funded science could achieve.

The big question this survey doesn’t answer is why no government funded groups seem to have done this obvious research long ago. The climate is supposedly a high priority, so understanding skeptics would seem “sort of” useful. Then again, it’s only useful if you wanted to figure out whether there was a consensus, or if you wanted to reach one. I guess that’s not the aim…

Mike Haseler has done a great job here on a much needed task. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the results in future.

Full credit to all the other skeptics who didn’t need the hard science training to see the flaws. They sagely picked the correct side of the scientific debate. Congrats to those lawyers, farmers, doctors, taxi-drivers, and pool shop owners (I spoke to one yesterday) plus kids, and countless other sane brains who are not easily fooled.

Science, of course, is a philosophy, not a certificate.

Jo

PS: And the evidence that this survey is legitimate is in the comments of posts like this one where 200 readers gave their names and qualifications, and there are others who must stay anonymous. I’m continually impressed at the depth of the talent. I posted an anatomy curiosity recently, within hours my interpretation of a point was being criticized by email by a friendly Professor of Anatomy.

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A sceptical consensus: the science is right but catastrophic global warming is not going to happen

The Scottish Climate & Energy Forum has been conducting a survey on the background and attitudes of participants to online climate discussions. Thanks to the generosity of all who participated, the survey has had a massive response which will take time and resource to process. However initial analysis already shows that the actual views and backgrounds of participants are in sharp contrast with some high-profile statements being made about the participants. Therefore I felt we should make these initial results known as soon as practical to avoid further damage, both to the reputation of those involved in the online debate, as well as those making the unfounded and presumably mistaken accusations of “denial”.

As such, I am releasing the following statement regarding the survey.

A sceptical consensus: the science is right but catastrophic global warming is not going to happen

A recent survey of those participating in on-line forums showed that most of the 5,000 respondents were experienced engineers, scientists and IT professionals most degree qualified and around a third with post graduate qualifications. The survey, carried out by the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum, asked respondents for their views on CO2 and the effect it might have on global temperatures. The results were surprising. 96% of respondents said that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing with 79% attributing the increase to man-made sources. 81% agreed that global temperatures had increased over the 20th century and 81% also agreed that CO2 is a warming gas. But only 2% believed that increases in CO2 would cause catastrophic global warming.

So what’s going on?

Above all, these highly qualified people – experts in their own spheres – look at the published data and trust their own analysis, so their views match the available data. They agree that the climate warmed over the 20th century (this has been measured), that CO2 levels are increasing (this too has been measured) and that CO2 is a warming gas (it helps trap heat in the atmosphere and the effects can be measured). Beyond this, the survey found that 98% of respondents believe that the climate varies naturally and that increasing CO2 levels won’t cause catastrophic warming.

What next?

Overwhelmingly participants in this large scale survey support the science, however this is not how they have been portrayed in the media and this has led to deep and bitter divides between those who hold different viewpoints. This debate should be based on the evidence and that not only includes the scientific evidence on the climate, but also the evidence of the real participants involved in the debate. Given the huge number of responses and detail of questions a full assessment will take up to one year to complete. This is a huge commitment from an organisation that has no outside funding and is reliant on one full-time volunteer (Mike Haseler). We will therefore be approaching The Scottish Climate & Energy Forum has been conducting a survey on the background and attitudes of participants to online climate discussions. The survey has had a massive response which will take time and resource to process. However initial analysis already shows that the actual views and backgrounds of participants are in sharp contrast with some high-profile statements being made about the participants. Therefore I felt we should make these initial results known as soon as practical to avoid further damage, both to the reputation of those involved in the online debate, as well as those making the unfounded and presumably mistaken accusations of “denial”.

Mike Haseler BSc. MBA

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Monday Unthreaded

Sorry, other engagements call, back soon.

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Greenland ice cores show natural swings are large and warming means less storms

A new high resolution ice core in Greenland surprises even me with the wild swings and detail. The authors are discussing wind direction and storms that occurred in specific years 12,000 years ago, which is extraordinary information if accurate. They use elements like sodium (from sea salt) to figure out how many storms have dumped salt on the ice and take bands so thin they identify each summer so long ago*. The slices are so thin, they claim to have hundreds of samples per year.

The message here is that the cold younger dryas period ended abruptly (within one year) and so did the storms. Naturally, they warn that the abrupt changes mean the climate is unstable, “be afraid” type stuff. My take on this is that if natural factors cause abrupt climate change, we need to know what those natural factors are. The obsession with CO2 is hindering that. Also if warming brings less storms, that’s probably not such a bad thing. The caveats being that this is only one site, and less storms over the GISP site doesn’t tell us if less storms occurred elsewhere. It could be that jet streams shifted and moved the storms to another spot. But still, I like the level of detail. I wish we could get more cores from other places…

Look at the transformation in these graphs from jagged noise (storms) to periods of calm. The Younger Dryas (YD) was the cold period that lasted from 15,000 years ago til about 11,000 years ago in Greenland. It looks like a phase change, it’s so sharp.

Figure 1. The GISP2 ice core record. (a) Original calcium (p.p.b.) and sodium (p.p.b.) data plotted as age (years ago with AD 2000 as 0). (b) Dots mark original 10-cm resolution sample midpoint. Rectangle marks the location of the ice section discussed in this paper (1677.575–1678.580m depth (11 643–11 675 GISP2 a BP)) bridging the Younger Drays (YD)/Holocene transition. This figure is available in colour online at wileyonlinelibrary.com.

From the introduction

In this study (2–20-mm resolution) changes in calcium and sodium atmospheric circulation proxies preceded changes in snow accumulation, followed by a change in temperature using stable water isotopes. A second example of the advantage gained by high-resolution sampling is the demonstration, based on continuous melt sampling techniques (2.5–5.0-cm resolution), that the onset of Holocene climate occurred over 1–3 years and that the abrupt shift in atmospheric circulation at this transition preceded a change in temperature (Steffensen et al., 2008). Here, we use previously developed ice core climate proxies, expand upon the concept of finer scale sampling of calcium and sodium with the addition of iron, and focus on the abrupt climate change precursor – a change in atmospheric circulation.

I think I find this study most interesting because of the sheer detail, and the transformation that appears to take place so quickly. Can we really tell what direction the winds over Greenland came from in the summer of 9,651 BC (or whatever year close to that it turns out to be?) But I also find myself wondering what life would have been like if ice ages were also full of ghastly storms. How did people cope?

Keep reading  →

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Weekend Unthreaded

For all those other topics…

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The Deification of climate saints – Curtin University’s sacred Nobel wall

UPDATE: Commenters are reporting that the bio page has changed. Does anyone have a screenshot of the original? – Jo

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A friend at Curtin University, Western Australia reports that a new mysterious and imposing mural appeared on the facade. It is as if passers-by can look through the bricks and see a Saint-of-Science himself working.

The words on the plaque (which must be something like 5m wide) read “Inside our walls Professor Richard Warrick is continuing the climate change research that led to a Nobel Peace Prize. “  (Sing Hallelujah and praise Al Gore).

Richard Warrick [Jo particularly likes the aura effect Curtin create around this Saint.]

From the anonymous dissident within the enclave:

“We were showered with press releases when Richard Warrick joined Curtin last year… we have our own piece of the IPCC here with us! It’s the closest most of us will ever get to touching the holy hockey stick. (I heard stories that blind students have regained their sight after touching Curtin’s sacred wall)

“Warrick’s bio pages say that he is a “co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize” and that “he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and other selected IPCC authors in 2007.” And the Nobel Prize appears in that mural, too, and this official Curtin page too. If he stretches the facts so much in his own bio, shall I trust the results of his research?

Everyone knows these Nobel  claims are just an empty fawning political embellishment. Firstly, good scientific work gets a science prize, not a peace prize. Secondly, a peace prize is worthless even as a peace prize  since Obama got one for 11 days of just being in office.

Not only is the peace prize meaningless, but Prof Warrick didn’t get one, even the low-standard Nobel committee themselves say so. With every tom-dick-and-michael-mann connected to the IPCC suddenly claiming to be a Nobel Laureate, the Nobel committee declared that it was not so.

The official word as quoted by Donna LaFramboise:

“the IPCC issued a statement contradicting Pachauri’s 2007 proclamation. It says the prize was awarded to the IPCC as a whole “and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner.”” h/t to Chris Horner at WattsUp.

What’s most disturbing about this is that this pandering obsession with turning scientists into Gods is profoundly unscientific. It’s a mark of how weak the intellectual standards are. Not only did the Nobel committee award a political organization with peace prize for achieving exactly no peace, they lauded a group who call themselves scientists but behave as political activists. IPCC-science means hailing hockey-sticks created from misused-maths, the wrong proxy, and hidden and censored data. The Hockey-stick will achieve fame like the Piltdown Man, and the Nobel Prize now deserves all that glory. Far from seeing through the fake aggrandizement, the intellectuals in Academic-world crawl in servility to it, as if it were an achievement instead of a joke.

The dissident says:

“I remember Medieval historians pointing out that there were hundreds of true pieces of the Cross everywhere in Europe, several heads of the Baptist, who knows how many fingers of St Peter, etc. One day we should try to count how many “recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize” are populating academia these days.

 ”For those who want to worship on site — look for the John Curtin Building/BankWest Lecture Theatre.

Up close, the loving details appear.

One day when it is safe to talk about climate at Australian Universities I shall reveal the dissident’s name. The spy, by the way, is as much “a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize” as Warrick is. (Like “everyone” else eh?).

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