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



Climate Change is making us mental — fear of “storms” undoing evolution!

These days people are practically getting post traumatic climate disorder after bouts of extreme weather. More pointlessly, some are getting pre-traumatic stress from events that haven’t even happened.

Makes you wonder how humanity survived the ice ages every time a storm hit — no fire department, no Hurricane-Relief funds, no phones, no food stores, no doctors. Electricity out for 90,000 years.

Americans’ Mental Health is Latest Victim of Changing Climate (Op-Ed)

For months after Hurricane Sandy sent nearly six feet of water surging into her home in Long Beach, N.Y. — an oceanfront city along Long Island’ s south shore — retired art teacher Marcia Bard Isman woke up many mornings feeling anxious and nauseated. She had headaches, and inexplicable bouts of sadness. She found herself crying for no apparent reason.

“I would feel really sad, and that’s just not me,” she said. “I felt like the joy was out of my life. I still haven’t recaptured it.”

What Isman is experiencing is one of the little-recognized consequences of climate change, the mental anguish experienced by survivors in the aftermath of extreme and sometimes violent weather and other natural disasters. The emotional toll of global warming is expected [...]

Map: The Climate Change Scare Machine — the perpetual self-feeding cycle of alarm

Two professors of sociology think they can explain why “Climate Deniers” are winning.  But Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright start from the wrong assumption and miss the bleeding obvious: the theory was wrong, the evidence has changed, and thousands of volunteers have exposed it.

The real question sociologists will be studying for years to come is: how was an exaggerated scare, based on so little evidence, poor reasoning and petty namecalling, kept alive for two whole decades?

Climate Change Scare Machine Cycle: see how your tax dollars are converted into alarming messages

See your tax dollars converted into their scare. Click for a larger image. Reference: Climate Money, Science and Public Policy Institute, 2009.

….

 The Full PDF version The key points

1. The money and vested interests on the pro-scare side is vastly larger, more influential, and more powerful than that on the skeptical side. Fossil fuel and conservative-think-tanks are competing against most of the world financial houses, the nuclear and renewable energy industry,  large well financed green activists (WWF revenue was $700m last year), not to mention whole government departments, major political parties, universities dependent on government funding, the BBC (there is no debate), the [...]

The Branch Carbonian Cult: and the difference between “denier” and “cultist”. One may be true.

Queen Meave and the Druid, Eleanor Hull, The Boys’ Cuchulainn, Image:  S. Reid.

Some commenters wonder why I allow the word cultist, but sometimes there is no better term. Remember, apocalyptic storms are coming, and we’re all going to die, unless we heed the prophesies of the new Gods of Science.

What’s the difference between a real disaster foretold by scientists, or a cult? Evidence, for starters, and we’re still waiting for observations that support the idea that a catastrophe is coming, but there are more clues.

In normal conversations people can be, you know,  wrong, but in a cult, wrongness is not a comment on a scientific point, it’s a statement of identity and a judgment of moral fitness. Those who speak against the (insert doctrine) are not just wrong, they are evil, immoral, and not “worthy” of polite conversation. Believers who become skeptics, are exiled (think “apostate”) and let’s not forget the sacrifices for penance (anyone want to buy a carbon credit for their  sins?).

Then there’s the machinations to avoid dealing with reality. No matter what evidence skeptics point to, the answer is effectively always the same: the weather-balloons, satellites, ocean buoys and temperature proxies are [...]

Death threats are never OK, but for those without morals they can be a useful PR tool

My sympathies go out to anyone who lives in fear for their life, no matter what their beliefs are about a certain climate theory. I soundly condemn death threats.

Though, as it happens, such a thing is completely out of character for any skeptic I know.

After 50,000 comments on my site, violent thoughts are exceedingly rare, from skeptics anyway. Only a few [skeptics] have even issued vague allusions wishing ill-health on someone. (And these were made not by regulars, but by anonymous “hotmail” commenters; real skeptics, or poseurs perhaps?)

Indeed, the team that makes naked death threats publicly has always been the pro-carbon-tax fans.  Think of Greenpeace “we know where you live…“.  Think of 10:10, “we will blow up your children”. Joe Romm encourages the idea that skeptics will be strangled in their beds. A blogger at TPM pondered when it would be acceptable to execute climate deniers. Richard Glover, suggests forcibly tattooing skeptics opinions on their bodies’ (though wisely thinks maybe it’s a bit too Nazi creepy).  Willis Eschenbach came up with a list of hate-related behavior. There is plenty to pick from.

So when the Canberra Times claims skeptics have been threatening climate scientists, I am, not [...]

Johnny Ball on how he has been vilified

Maintained by bullying and bluster, the facade grows more brittle by the day, as heretics start to come out of the woodwork — being pragmatic, concerned, but unapologetic.

From the Daily Mail in the UK –  Johnny Ball says Beware of the Global Warming Fascists. More evidence that this is a propaganda campaign, not a question of science (as if we needed that). Kudos to the Daily Mail for printing thousands of copies of this story. A hat-tip to Johnny Ball for being brave enough to face down the bullies.

In the past decade or so I’ve been mocked, vilified, besmirched — I’ve even been booed off a theatre stage — simply for expressing the view that the case for global warming and climate change, and in particular the emphasis on the damage caused by carbon dioxide, the so-called greenhouse gas that is going to do for us all, has been massively over-stated.

And something very similar has happened to Dr David Bellamy, who has never been shy about expressing his belief that climate change is an entirely natural phenomenon. His media career, particularly in television, has suffered as a result. [...]

The Vision of The Annointed

Thomas Sowell wrote Vision of the Anointed in 1995, and didn’t mention climate change. Yet such is the insight of the man that what he wrote was prescient, pertinent and 100% applicable 15 years later. Our battle today follows a similar pattern to  battles over many other social policies. Sowell discusses The War on Poverty, sex education, affirmative action, discrimination, crime, infant mortality. They’re unrelated to climate science, yet the tactics repeat ad nauseum.

We fight to test policies with empirical evidence through polite discourse, while those who want influence and money have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to muddy the search for truth. The anointed substitute baseless declarations, flawed assumptions, and irrelevant motivations for real arguments.

How many areas of public policy have a genuine, no name-calling, clean cut debate about what works and what doesn’t?

Just like Earth’s atmosphere, it’s the feedbacks that matter.

Self Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

Dangers to society may be mortal without being immediate. Once such danger is the prevailing social vision of our time–and the dogmatism with which the ideas assumptions, and attitudes behind that vision are held.

It’s not that these views are especially evil or [...]

Mystery Solved: Why the PR hacks exploded their credibility

Click to read the full PDF

The world was baffled. What were they thinking?

This colossal PR disaster was 20 years in the making, and it took a special set of conditions to achieve a true marketing black hole. Never before in the history of public relations has so much star-power, money and kudos been used to score such a monstrous global own-goal. The campaign to dehumanize skeptics laid the groundwork and somehow, fittingly, the eco-terrorists own name-calling has come back to bite them.

How could people with red carpet careers make a mistake so smashingly spectacularly awful that they scored negative press all round the world, lost 20% of their members, and drove away three out of four major sponsors within days?

They can’t be written off as a little side group of extremists. 10:10 was sponsored by the UK government, major corporations like Sony, and was a group of nearly 100,000 people (now only 73,000). A hundred odd people must have spent months preparing, with casting, scripting and special effects meetings, so they could capture the effect of exploding ten-year-olds without once noticing the rather invidious parallels with, say, Pol Pot. Incredibly the 10:10 [...]

Throwing the Hate Crime Grenade

Hate Crime legislation is the last resort of those with no real case. It’s the last resort in the “shut-up” campaign that Team-Carbonari have been running against the free world for two decades. The unverifiable, unknowable crime of intent. (Anyone have one of those Handy-Hate-Meters that reliably measures the dreaded Evil-Score to two decimal places? No? It’s a matter of time…)

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post called Evidence What Evidence? where I dismantled the words of a famous Australian science journalist for parroting bureaucrats and not investigating the evidence. What I wrote is not a recipe for building a better bomb with your Mazda, but Ben E took issue with my pointed discussion in the comments:

“Sad, but scarcely surprising. Sites like this one will eventually be shut down in future updates to hate crime legislation, as they are well on the way to inciting violence and hatred towards scientists and science communicators.”

Willis Eschenbach popped in with a devastating reply that deserved to be repeated.

“Well, let’s review the bidding regarding “violence and hatred” …

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Skeptics Handbook II! Global Bullies Want Your Money

Finally, Part II in the Skeptics Handbook series – the bluster and bluff, the deceit, and the money.  Enjoy & Share.

It’s unthinkable. Big Government has spent $79 billion on the climate industry, 3000 times more than Big Oil. Leading climate scientists won’t debate in public and won’t provide their data. What do they hide? When faced with freedom-of-information requests they say they’ve “lost” the original global temperature records. Thousands of scientists are rising in protest against the scare campaign. Meanwhile $126 billion turned over in carbon markets in 2008 and bankers get set to make billions.

[...]

Global bully Rudd fights for foreign committee, against citizens

The world is considering a new financial market larger than any commodity, it’s “based on science”, but if you ask for evidence, you’re called names—“Denier”, and by our Prime Minister, no less. This is supposed to pass for reasoned debate? [...]

Two days to go to The Cinematic Tea Party

Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer have made a desperately needed and polished documentary. Once again, as resistance to the one-sided coverage of the greenhouse crisis grows we can marvel at the determination of people to find a new way to spread the word that there is another side to the story. Once again, grass-roots citizens rise up to fight the witchdoctors who promise to save us from their own exaggerated threats. The indomitable human spirit shines, but sadly so does the destructive power of ideology without rational debate.

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Australian conservatives get gift opportunity: wreck it

Australian conservatives implode — the suppressed majority rebel

In an extraordinary development, it’s now publicly known and beyond any doubt that most of our conservative’s in opposition do not want an ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) before Copenhagen.

But our opposition leader wants an ETS, and has put his job on the line to get it. The Government wants to start negotiations in a week, or else they will “dissolve parliament” (which is not quite as scary as it sounds).

It’s not obvious which way this will go. One state conservative branch has called the bluff, and The Nationals (the junior partners in conservative politics) have made it clear they will not vote for the ETS. The main conservative party in Australia is fracturing because intimidation and bullying has suppressed real opinions.

No one is debating the science. Instead, the government bullies the opposition with election threats, and  the opposition leader responds by bullying the opposition too. This is not what democracy was supposed to be.

This is an international version of my shorter local OnLineOpinion Commentary

[...]

Turnbull’s crushing loss called a “win?”

Is this the same conference? One newspaper reports a “win” for Turnbull, while another calls it “a slap in the face.”

Below, The Australian reports that our opposition leader won a concession from his party–yet it’s hardly a win. His party (or at least the WA State branch) clearly don’t want him to agree to an Emissions Trading Scheme before Copenhagen. Their “concession” was that he’s allowed to …um, talk about the details of the scheme that he can’t agree too. What Turnbull wanted and desperately needed was a concession that he could pass the ETS legislation in some form, and clearly he hasn’t got that. The real headline should be:

“Malcolm Turnbull wins meaningless concession from WA Liberals.”

[...]

Breaking news: Cherry Picking of Historic Proportions

A big news day. It appears Steve McIntyre (volunteer unpaid auditor of Big-Government-Science) has killed the Hockey Stick a second time…

The details are on the last three days of Steve McIntyre’s site Climate Audit, and summed up beautifully on Watts Up.

The sheer effrontery and gall appears to be breathtaking.

The Briffa temperature graphs have been widely cited as evidence by the IPCC, yet it appears they were based on a very carefully selected set of data, so select, that the shape of the graph would have been totally transformed if the rest of the data had been included.

Kieth Briffa used 12 samples to arrive at his version of the hockey stick and refused to provide his data for years. When McIntyre finally got hold of it, and looked at the 34 samples that Briffa left out of his graphs, a stark message was displayed.  McIntyre describes it today as one of the most disquieting images he’s ever presented.

[...]

Exile for non-believers

An original paper for the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI)

Source: PDF Report

The price for speaking out against global warming is exile from your peers, even if you are at the top of your field.

What follows is an example of a scientific group that not only stopped a leading researcher from attending a meeting, but then—without discussing the evidence—applauds the IPCC and recommends urgent policies to reduce greenhouse gases. What has science been reduced to if bear biologists feel they can effectively issue ad hoc recommendations on worldwide energy use?  How low have standards sunk if informed opinion is censored, while uninformed opinion is elevated to official policy? If a leading researcher can’t speak his mind without punishment by exile, what chance would any up-and-coming researcher have?  As Mitchell Taylor points out “It’s a good way to maintain consensus”.

[...]

School president censors science

In a spot of unwitting self-parody Michael Kundu states: “…we need to have the ability to tell fact from fiction. This last mailing is an excellent example of ‘fiction’.” Thus Michael Kundu, whale photographer, pronounces the data from NASA, Hadley, UAH, CSSP, IPPC, as fiction. [...]

Reply to Deltoid

This is vintage spinmeister-Tim. Overall he claims I’m deluded, confused, constantly repeating discredited arguments, “doesn’t even know what the hot-spot is”, and “doesn’t understand how the greenhouses gases warm the planet”. But when it comes to backing up the giant patronizing put-downs, it amounts to nit-picking phraseology; irrelevant points; straw men; his own false understanding of what a fingerprint is; and then an own goal when he drops in a graph that shows that the hot-spot is indeed missing. [...]

Attempting to Intimidate a Skeptic?

Leo Elshof from Arcadia University in Nova Scotia* has written to me asking that I put a comedy disclaimer on the Skeptics Handbook, and otherwise threatens to ridicule me at international conferences and set the media onto me. The email is here and my reply is below. What have our universities sunk too? See Leo’s scorecard on logic and reasoning. [...]

AGW is a religion

Science based ideas are falsifiable, whereas religious ones are not (thanks Karl Popper). The acid test for climate scientists: “What evidence would convince you that carbon was not significant?” [...]