JoNova

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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NOAA whistleblower tells how they used bad data to rub out “pause” for Paris

The abominable Karl et al paper came out in the nick of time to pretend that the “pause” didn’t happen. We knew the paper was junk thanks to hard sleuthing, especially from Ross McKitrick, now  Dr John Bates, a pal of Judith Curry is speaking up from the inside to confirm that the paper used bad and unapproved datasets which were so flawed they have already been revised. The data wasn’t archived either, which is a mandatory requirement. Bates retired from NOAA and was given a medal for setting up the “binding” standards which were ignored for the sake of generating headlines in time for Paris.

David Rose at the DailyMail:

Exposed — How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data:

In an exclusive interview, Dr Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data – the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – of ‘insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation… in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy’.

Dr Bates was one of two Principal Scientists at NCEI, based in Asheville, North Carolina.

Breitbart: Whistle-Blower: ‘Global Warming’ Data Manipulated Before Paris Conference

by Thomas D Williams

According to reports, NOAA has now decided to replace the sea temperature dataset just 18 months after it was issued, because it used “unreliable methods which overstated the speed of warming.”

A reported increase in sea surface temperatures was due to upwards adjustments of readings from fixed and floating buoys to agree with water temperature measured by ships, according to Bates.

Bates said that NOAA had good data from buoys but then “they threw it out and ‘corrected’ it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that’s what they did – so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.”

The land temperature dataset, on the other hand, was the victim of software bugs that rendered its conclusions “unstable,” Bates said.

 The nitty gritty at Judith Curry’s where Karl et al is referred to as K15.

Climate scientists versus climate data

by John Bates

A look behind the curtain at NOAA’s climate data center.

 I read with great irony recently that scientists are “frantically copying U.S. Climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump” (e.g., Washington Post 13 December 2016). As a climate scientist formerly responsible for NOAA’s climate archive, the most critical issue in archival of climate data is actually scientists who are unwilling to formally archive and document their data.

The computer ate my homework:

So, in every aspect of the preparation and release of the datasets leading into K15, we find Tom Karl’s thumb on the scale pushing for, and often insisting on, decisions that maximize warming and minimize documentation. I finally decided to document what I had found using the climate data record maturity matrix approach. I did this and sent my concerns to the NCEI Science Council in early February 2016 and asked to be added to the agenda of an upcoming meeting. I was asked to turn my concerns into a more general presentation on requirements for publishing and archiving. Some on the Science Council, particularly the younger scientists, indicated they had not known of the Science requirement to archive data and were not aware of the open data movement. They promised to begin an archive request for the K15 datasets that were not archived; however I have not been able to confirm they have been archived. I later learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure, leading to a tongue-in-cheek joke by some who had worked on it that the failure was deliberate to ensure the result could never be replicated.

How to solve this? –

h/t David, Scott, Pat, Clipe and Don A.

 REFERENCE

T.R. Karl; A. Arguez; B. Huang; J.H. Lawrimore; M.J. Menne; T.C. Peterson; R.S. Vose; H.-M. Zhang  (2015) “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus,” by at National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Asheville, NC; J.R. McMahon at LMI in McLean, VA.

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Weekend Unthreaded

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Japan building 45 HELE coal plants, Australia 1 (maybe)

Japan will use Australian coal to build 45 modern coal fired plants:

Japan is the largest overseas market for Australian coal producers, taking more than a third of all exports.

Why coal? It’s cheaper than gas:

Tom O’Sullivan, a Tokyo based energy consultant with Mathyos Global Advisory, said in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Japan started importing more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia.

But he said the move to more coal fired power was because coal was cheaper than LNG, and the energy security was priority for the government.

The new ultra super critical coal plants burn hotter and are more efficient (hence, high energy, low emissions = HELE).

Finally, after blackouts and scandalously high electricity bills, Malcolm Turnbull is just starting to float the idea of building, maybe, one. China has them, even Indonesia will get one before us.

Japan needs to import 95% of its energy. Australia is the largest exporter of coal in the world, and has the largest known uranium resources in the world, but we voluntarily wear a hair shirt to appease GAIA. We sacrifice our cheap energy advantage for fear that loud ill-mannered people who are bad at maths will call us selfish and uncaring.

The US meanwhile is ramping up oil and gas production:

The world’s largest oil-consuming country could sell as much as 800,000 barrels a day of crude overseas this year, according to four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That’s more than OPEC producers Libya, Qatar, Ecuador and Gabon each pumped in December. The U.S. exported 527,000 barrels a day in the first 11 months of 2016, Energy Information Administration data show.

–Bloomberg

The Trumpocene is a new world, Australia is years behind.

“it is estimated that as many as three-quarters of Australia’s coal-fired power stations are operating beyond their original design life, “

Engineers Australia submission Nov 2016

This week in Australia HELE plants are being called “clean coal” because they produce 15 -50% lower emissions (depending on who you ask and how dirty the old plant is that they replace.) But almost no one even mentioned these plants until last week — clean coal used to mean only the fantasy of carbon capture.

h/t GWPF, David, Scott of the Pacific.

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Molten lava ball called Earth springs leak — incandescent rock “waterfall” on Hawaii

It is easy to forget we stand on a molten lava ball. Worth a minute of your time. Wow.

It’s being called the Lava fire hose — 70 feet of flowing liquid rock. Pure Geo-voyerism.

How close is that boat… camera trick?

I gather Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano has been erupting pretty much all the time since 1983 so this is not “evacuation time”. But I’m guessing this waterfall variety is pretty unusual. If it keeps up, it’s one helluva tourist attraction.

All the forces of nature are pretty much just showing off here — wrap your mind around this steam:

“The steam plume created by the lava reaching the water is also a concern.

“It’s super-heated steam laced with hydrochloric acid from the interaction with the seawater and has shards of volcanic glass,” Ms Babb said.

“It’s something to be avoided.”

The story: Massive lava stream exploding into ocean in Hawaii (ABC)

 

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Trump moves hands on Doomsday clock for the EPA and the Paris Climate Agreement

James Delingpole dropped in at the GWPF press conference where Myron Ebell says Trump will pull the US out of the Paris agreement and says “I’ve just watched the London liberal media’s heads exploding like ripe watermelons.”.

They hated it. (Especially the bit where Ebell told them that Trump would definitely be pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate treaty) They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. They curled their lips. They laced their questions with the bitterest scorn. But they didn’t really tune into Ebell’s measured, silken, soft-spoken answers because, hell, they knew what he was saying just had to be wrong and they didn’t really understand what he meant anyway.

The reporter who set the tone – and if nothing else, you’ve got to admire his honesty – was the one from Channel 4 News who told Ebell: “It will occur to you that this room is full of people like myself who consider that nothing you say has any basis in fact. So what you’ve been telling us is essentially meaningless.”

Ebell replied with some painful home truths. “Elections are surprising things…” he began and went on to explain to the mystified audience why and how it was that Brexit happened and Trump happened.

Basically, he argued – perhaps channelling Michael Gove – people have had enough of the “Expertariat”. And with good reason: “The expert class is full of arrogance and hubris.” — Breitbart

There is a meltdown at the EPA:

“Looks like the EPA may need its own doomsday clock, because its time of promoting dubious science to back up a political agenda is running out.” — Julie Kelly, National Review

A key advisor Myron Ebell brings the bad news to a room full of believers.  The GWPF ran a press conference with Myron Ebell, head of Trumps transition team on the EPA:

US president Donald Trump will honour his campaign pledge to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement and defund UN climate programmes says Ebell

Argus Media:

Ebell expects Trump “to be very assiduous in keeping his promises despite all the flack he is going to get from his opponents,” adding that he brings a “message of hope” in terms of the new administration’s energy and environment policy.

The first hopeful aspect is that the US will clearly change course on climate policy, Ebell said. Secondly, the new US president has undertaken to unleash US energy production growth. Trump said he wants to make the US the world’s largest energy producer and achieve a position of global dominance for the country, he said.

This will help the US and hurt the middle east and Russia:

“This is obviously good for the US, but also for the world because in becoming the top global energy supplier the US will reduce the influence of certain countries in the Middle East and of Russia,” Ebell said. “This is going to happen because the US has the world’s largest fossil fuel reserves — by far the largest coal reserves and also, because of the shale revolution, gigantic fields of natural gas and oil.”

Three ways to get the US out of the Paris deal:

1. Cut the funds:

…the president can simply stop any US financial contributions to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In any event, all US funding to the UNFCCC, including to the Green Climate Fund, represents a violation of US law ever since Palestine — which is not internationally recognised as a legitimate state — was accepted as a UNFCCC member, Ebell argued.

2.Congress can reject a treaty that was illegally passed by executive order:

Trump can have the US Congress reject the Paris agreement on the basis that legally it is a treaty and does not qualify as an executive presidential order. He can also withdraw the US from the UNFCCC altogether, which according to Ebell would be “the cleanest way” as it would absolve the US from any commitments, financial or otherwise, under the UNFCCC and the Paris climate deal.

3. Fix the laws based on bad science and get rid of the EPA Endangerment finding on CO2. In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that  greenhouse gases were a threat to public health ie “pollution“. The Supreme Court finding is scientifically wrong because the hot spot does not exist, and the cause-and-effect correlation of CO2 emissions on global temperatures is lousy. (See the long report there for the details).

 The science-industry is up in arms that someone could try to stop junk-science:

The Union of Concerned Scientists called the Trump administration’s move “an attack on scientific integrity,” and the group’s president sent a letter to U.S. senators claiming that “freezing grants and contracts would almost certainly increase health risks for children and other vulnerable people in our country.” The group has also set up a hotline so federal scientists can anonymously tattle on their new bosses.
Scientists feel so threatened by the Trump administration that some are planning a protest this spring modeled after the Women’s March on January 21.
The agency’s junk-science promoters are flipping out. In his recently released and timely book, Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA, author Steve Milloy says this about the Environmental Protection Agency:
The EPA has over the course of the last 20 years marshaled its vast and virtually unchallenged power into an echo chamber of deceptive science, runaway regulations and fatally flawed research derived from unethical human experiments. The EPA’s conduct runs the gamut from subtle statistical shenanigans to withholding key scientific data, from seeking to rubberstamp baseless research data to illegally spraying diesel exhaust up the noses of unsuspecting children and other vulnerable populations.

Milloy who runs Junkscience.com is thrilled:

“I can think of no agency that has done more pointless harm to the U.S. economy than the EPA — all based on junk science, if not out-and-out science fraud.”

Article from Julie Kelly, National Review

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World is going to hell but we’re finding new coral reefs everywhere…

coral reef, acidification, amazon, map.

Click to enlarge map.

2016 was a good year for coral surprizes. Until recently no one even knew that corals could grow just out from the  river-mouth of the Amazon. Then 9,300 square kilometers of reef was found living in a region no one thought corals could grow.

Volunteers found very nice reefs in Morton Bay, not far from the ferry route, but entirely “unexpected” and “better than tourist sites”.  Researchers also found another 4.000 square kilometers of reef off Queensland, hidden under 20m of water.

In every media article the corals were immediately called into action against mining, farming, stuff like that. Journalists talk to scientists and head straight over to Greenpeace. The poor corals are politicized before they’d even been put on a tourist map.

Somehow scientists that are wrong are always described as surprised, excited or astonished. Other professions dream that their errors would be recounted this way. (Think –tax accountants, pilots, politicians…) . In terms of hard questions from the media, the only group that gets it easier than Hillary Clinton are scientists. Not that I’m saying they should have known, but the same profession that talks about 97% certainty can’t also get a free run every time their assumptions are 100% wrong. The corals discovered near the Amazon might be quite important. The journalists describe the zone as having a”unique pH”, which is a funny way to say that it was almost certainly a lower pH (because rivers are naturally low). Why hide that –  it might show that corals aren’t under as much threat from “acidification” as some people want you to think.

Amazon Reef: First images of coral system discovered at mouth of river released

Scientists were surprised to find the reef in “unfavourable conditions”, beneath a muddy plume where water flows from the Amazon River.

The riverine discharge, which generates a plume and muddy bottoms, affects a wide area of the tropical North Atlantic in terms of light penetration, sedimentation, salinity and pH, according to Science Advances — the journal that announced the discovery last year.

“This reef system is important for many reasons, including the fact that it has unique characteristics regarding use and availability of light, and physicochemical water conditions,” Nils Asp, researcher at the Federal University of Para in Brazil, said.

“At the moment, less than 5 per cent of the ecosystem is mapped,” he said.

From The Guardian in April last year:  … the reef appears to be thriving below the freshwater “plume”, or outflow, of the Amazon. Compared to many other reefs, the scientists say in a paper in Science Advances on Friday, it is is relatively “impoverished”. Nevertheless, they found over 60 species of sponges, 73 species of fish, spiny lobsters, stars and much other reef life.

Then, all this time, there were giant 250m wide donuts of corals under the water, but nobody noticed because they were all of 20 -50m deep, below the reach of the average diver. Ponder that it was only 20m of water hiding these when the average depth of the oceans is 4km.

Scientists puzzled by fields of giant donut-shaped reefs found off north Queensland

Australian scientists working with laser data from the Royal Australian Navy have discovered a reef system covering around 6,000 square kilometres, north of the Great Barrier Reef.

James Cook University’s Dr Robin Beaman explained the ‘inter-reef’ structure sits just behind the familiar coral reefs, on a deeper seafloor.

“The mapping that had been done earlier said that there are about 2,000 square kilometres off the Great Barrier Reef inter-reef area. Well, we’ve tripled that now,” Dr Beaman said.

AUSSIE SCIENTISTS FIND NEW REEF BEHIND THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

The 6,000 square kilometre reef was hiding in plain sight. — National Geo

And the Ferries kept driving past some great corals in Morton Bay:

Moreton Bay coral discovery mapped out by scientists seeking better protection for reef

Scientists have discovered and mapped out new parts of the coral reef system in Moreton Bay with the hope the work will help inform decisions to better protect it.

The area’s secret spots were revealed during the most detailed reef mapping ever done of the south-east Queensland coastal region.

“On Goat Island, not far from where the ferry travels to go to North Stradbroke Island, there’s quite a lot of coral there which most people would be really surprised to know,” Reef Check Australia’s Jennifer Loder said.

The researchers called for more time and money to be spent on Moreton Bay’s reefs.

Perhaps those same scientists who want money could speak up when other colleagues say they’ve mapped the reef and x.xx% has died? Surely they know something about the uncertainties that the public who fund them deserve to find out?

h/t David B

Those scientists shocked and surprised,
Who just cannot believe their own eyes,
Finding new coral reefs,
Should examine their briefs,
Then rethink, review and revise.

– Ruairi

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Surprise: Ocean acidification quite good for some shells

Wait, wait – someone made an assumption that carbon life forms would not like more carbon, and that they might not be able to adjust to a change even after surviving for 100 million years of other changes. But now researchers are surprised that some shells are not only as good in an “acidic environment” but might be even better. Indeed formanifera turned out to micromanage pH levels so that in the right spot, where they need a higher pH, they can create that. The researchers say “such an active biochemical regulation mechanism has never been found before” and wonder “what if” the majority of organisms can do this?

More carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air also acidifies the oceans. It seemed to be the logical conclusion that shellfish and corals will suffer, because chalk formation becomes more difficult in more acidic seawater. But now a group of Dutch and Japanese scientists discovered to their own surprise that some tiny unicellular shellfish make better shells in an acidic environment. This is a completely new insight.

Researchers from the NIOZ (Royal Dutch Institute for Sea Research) and JAMSTEC (Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) found in their experiments that so-called foraminifera might even make their shells better in more acidic water. These single-celled foraminifera shellfish occur in huge numbers in the oceans. The results of the study are published in the leading scientific journal Nature Communications.

Since 1750 the acidity of the ocean has increased by 30%.

Well… at least in theory. (Number of pH meters in 1750 = 0.) Models predict the oceans have become less alkaline.

According to the prevailing theory and related experiments with calcareous algae and shellfish, limestone (calcium carbonate) dissolves more easily in acidic water. The formation of lime by shellfish and corals is more difficult because less carbonate is available under acidic conditions. The carbonate-ion relates directly to dissolved carbon dioxide via two chemical equilibrium reactions.

Self-regulating biochemical magic trick

Keep reading  →

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NY Times makes out climate change believers are forced to speak in hidden codes

More Fake News from the NY Times

Here’s a creative effort to sell the story that the people with billion dollar industries, all the academic positions and a sympathetic media entourage are going underground, forced to disguise their belief about “climate change”.

This is a death-throes type article, clutching for ways to pretend Global Worriers are still relevant, and to feed a fantasy that they might be the underdog.

In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’

So while climate change is part of daily conversation, it gets disguised as something else.

“People are all talking about it, without talking about it,” said Miriam Horn, the author of a recent book on conservative Americans and the environment, “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman.” “It’s become such a charged topic that there’s a navigation people do.”

What really happened is that climate change is overused agitprop and people are tired of being beaten over the head with it. The first most compelling example the NY Times can find is a farmer called Doug Palen who talks about “carbon sequestration” in his soil (and what crop farmer wouldn’t?) Palen is painted as a “believer”:

In short, he is a climate change realist. Just don’t expect him to utter the words “climate change.”

But this is the strongest statement he makes:

“If politicians want to exhaust themselves debating the climate, that’s their choice,” Mr. Palen said, walking through fields of freshly planted winter wheat. “I have a farm to run.”

And he is so much of a believer “he didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.” Need I say more?

Apparently anyone who discusses weather problems or ecology could be painted, via some kind of fantasy, as a believer in disguise who is hiding the topic of climate change.  This is the best they could do?

Palen may be a believer (who knows), but there’s no evidence of it in his quotes. The article goes to quite some length to tell us about him, but it’s all just good farming science. Palen has “a conservationist streak” and is a no-till farming advocate. He looks after his soil, and feels alienated by environmentalists because he uses chemicals. Palen even says he wants to “be left alone” by the EPA. He sounds like every skeptical farmer I know yet this is the guy painted as the star example of an underground believer?

Last week, Mr. Palen, the farmer, was again talking weather — if not climate change — at a conference of no-till farmers in Salina, Kan. Sessions included “Using Your Water Efficiently,” “Making Weather Work for You in 2017” and “Building Healthy Soil With Mob Grazing,” a practice that helps to fertilize the land.

As evidence the topic is too hot to discuss, The NY Times writer, Hiroko Tabuchi, tells us a science teacher has even suffered “car keying” (like that never happens) and once got a letter from a student saying: “Know that God’s love surpasses knowledge.” Scary stuff indeed. Why even mention these?

To be fair though, the teacher did get a book bag thrown at him, so now he asks students if they like light bulbs as a soft way to lead into climate talk –  as if climate science was anything like the science of light bulbs. (Light bulb models can predict things…)

Tabuchi manages to find some real believers who have realized they have to change their boring messaging. This also fits with my theory that ‘climate change’ is a dead dog topic on its way out. The last die-hards are repackaging the message, but few people care.

The editor of one magazine admits people hate the term “climate change”:

Mr. Kurns spoke candidly over concerns of a backlash in an editor’s note that led the issue. When he became the magazine’s editor two years earlier, he said, he had been warned, “Never use the words ‘climate change.’”

“I was told: ‘Readers hate that phrase. Just talk about the weather,’” he wrote.

Here is some of the hate mail he got in this “hot” arena:

“When you start quoting ‘climate scientists’ and the United Nations,” wrote in one reader, Bill Clinger, a farmer based in Harpster, Ohio, “you are as nutty as Al Gore.” Measures to control emissions, he said, “are just seductive names for socialist programs intended to micromanage people and businesses.”

If he got more aggressive or nasty letters you think they would have used them. So “that’s it”. A snowflake editor?

The NY Times Fake News moments:

The classic false memes get pushed:

 ”…well-financed push by fossil-fuel interests…”

How well financed are skeptics when believers get 3,500 times as much (and the rest).

The NY times has never even found a reason for oil companies to back skeptics since most of them lobby for carbon action, and profit from gas sales and like it when wind farms are subsidized.

More fake news:

She has sat through committee meetings where climate skeptics, including the discredited scientist Wei-Hock Soon, blasted the science behind global warming. “Carbon Dioxide, CO2, is merely a bit player in climate change,” reads one slide Mr. Soon presented in 2013. “Rising CO2 is largely beneficial to plant and human life.”

“I remember being horrified,” Ms. Kuether said.

Horrified that CO2 increases crop yields? Willie Soon is merely explaining the basics and his work stands up well on its own merits.

If he could be discredited because his university received “fossil fuel” money, that rules out everything the East Anglia Climate Unit has ever said. Since Big-government benefits from pushing the climate-panic button, this kind of reasoning rules out 97% of climate research.

If anyone could find a serious error in Willie Soon’s work we would all have heard about it.

This article is an experimental, floundering step in the transmogrification of the climate debate. Most of the science here has nothing to do with climate science and everything to do with plain old ecology, agriculture, and soil care. Tabuchi is blending together successful science with failures so he can rescue something from the disastrous climate change crusade.

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Unthreaded Week (and what a great week it has been)

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Trump to sack climate change scientists and slash EPA: Unskeptical scientists are terrified

No elected representative has done more to speed climate research up:

Donald Trump to sack climate change scientists

Myron Ebell, who led Mr Trump’s transition team at the agency, said that he expects the new President to sack at least half of the staff there. He also hopes that the organisation will have its budget cut significantly, he said.

Trump will save the state based EPA roles, but chop the federal monster which has 15,000 employees:

Ebell suggested it was reasonable to expect the president to seek a cut of about $1 billion from the EPA’s roughly $8 billion annual budget.

About half the EPA’s budget passes through to state and local governments for infrastructure projects and environmental cleanup efforts that Ebell said Trump supports.

We live in hope:

“President Trump said during the campaign that he would like to abolish the EPA, or ‘leave a little bit,”‘ Ebell said.

Not surprisingly, climate scientists are reacting with their usual calm demeanor:

GOVERNMENT SCIENTISTS AT U.S. CLIMATE CONFERENCE TERRIFIED TO SPEAK WITH THE PRESS

The mood was understandably gloomy at the National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment.

“It’s strange,” the woman said. “People keep walking up to me and giving me hugs.” Like several others I spoke to for this story, she declined to tell me her name out of fear that she might suffer retaliation, including being fired.

Imagine not being able to speak freely? Welcome to the world of skeptical scientists.

On the other half of the divide people aren’t just afraid of being sacked, they get exiledsacked, evicted, blackballed,   terminated, punished, vilified and general bullied.

I’m thinking right now of a friend at an Australian University who I can’t name, who isn’t even in the field of climate research but was specifically warned not to speak publicly about climate issues, even in his personal time, “or else”.  We’ve had messages from people in Australian and US institutions which study the climate or meteorology and who tell us there are other quiet skeptics “in the office”. And there is at least one other story of what sounds like quite appalling treatment that I have yet to cover.

The thing about being a skeptic is that, it’s not just scientists, but all kinds of people who can face punishment — even skeptical farmers can get suddenly slapped with severe new license conditions, and bled cash til they lose their farm.

 

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