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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Australian government finally gets slightly serious with CSIRO board

The Abbott government has at least grown enough backbone to not renew the Labor appointees Chairman to the CSIRO board, who have allowed scientific standards to decay so badly. It’s about time. As long as any director of CSIRO claims that “consensus” has any meaning in science, then the board is an unscientific failure.

UPDATE To clarify: There is no official policy to not reinstate people because they were appointed by Labor. But three directors/panelists say they have heard unofficially there is.  I think board members should be sacked if they don’t serve the public, not because of who appointed them. It would be a silly thing for a Minister to say. But in the case of the CSIRO, the Labor appointee appears to be a political assignment rather than a scientific one, and should have been replaced long ago. See my comment #1.1.1 for names and more details.

UPDATE #2: Bolt calls it an anti-Abbott rumour. “And a spokesman for Tony ­Abbott told The Weekend Australian there were more than 50 government agencies with boards where a person was appointed by Labor and reappointed by the current government… “

Not surprisingly, this has [...]

The leadership “challenge” in Australia

I’m calling for readers to send messages to their MPs. It does matter. The Coalition needs to hear from voters. It worked before, and it can work again. For foreign readers, yes, there are rumours of another leadership spill or challenge all over the Australian press.  See my comment #10.2 for background.

Malcolm Turnbull could’ve stayed leader in 2009 — all he had to do was agree to delay the emissions trading scheme until the rest of the world acted. But he fell on his sword for a pointless scheme which benefits few outside bankers, brokers and the renewables industry. And he has never said he would do anything differently.

We can’t get rid of a carbon market. Why risk it?

Malcolm Turnbull is the leader that the ABC wants for the party that most in the ABC won’t vote for. If you follow the ABC and Fairfax and feel despondent about our national debate, don’t give in to apathy. That’s exactly what the “consensus” crowd wants — your submissive acquiescence. The same people who tell us a carbon trading scheme is inevitable are the now ones calling the government dysfunctional, even though it achieved its three largest goals [...]

Leadership debacle in Australia — Tell the politicans what you think

UPDATE: Spill vote is now Monday, not Tuesday. Turnbull has not resigned, but announced he will challenge if the spill vote passes, and is mocking Abbott. — Bolt  Polls show Turnbull would deliver only a 6% bounce in the honeymoon. Not even enough to win a snap election.

UPDATE#2: The spill vote defeated 61:39. Abbott stays on as PM, but will have to do something differently, or he has only bought time until the next one.

Firey emails are crossing my desk today of people vowing to quit the Liberal party.

Malcolm Turnbull lost his leadership in 2009 because he wanted an emissions trading scheme. But that extraordinary wave may get reversed. Australia may still end up with an emissions trading scheme which will send billions in brokers fees to bankers, won’t change the climate, and will be almost impossible to unwind. It’s not about free markets, it’s about fake ones. What’s worse than a carbon tax? A carbon market.

In 2009, a week after ClimateGate, and two weeks before Copenhagen, the furious outcry from Coalition party supporters and skeptics turned the Liberal party upside down. The skeptic message has spread since then. In 2014, even [...]

Leadership spill thread. It’s on, it’s off… who will be the PM next week?

The thread for discussing “the spill motion”. Will we get a new PM next week?

The attempted spill of the Australian PM is on.

Some skeptical MPs and commentators have been aggressively and publicly attacking Australian PM Tony Abbott, yet he’s has been one of the most skeptical PMs in the Western World. The climate debate is heating up again with Paris on this year. Seriously — is any alternative better?

Potential candidates include Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison. According to Dennis Shanahan both Turnbull and Morrison have said they will not challenge. The WA MP rebels (both skeptics) are apparently angling for Julie Bishop, a fellow West Australian.

Malcolm Turnbull is Australia’s version of David Cameron. Will Turnbull, ex Goldman Sachs, former opposition leader who died on the sword of an emissions trading scheme, be our PM next week? If Turnbull did run and win, the only bright point is it will be the best thing for those hoping to set up the equivalent of the UKIP in Australia. It could be the trigger for the conservatives to split from the Labor-lite Liberals. The passion against Turnbull runs deep.

The Nationals have vowed that Turnbull would have to [...]

Maurice Newman: conservatives outsmarted — they apologise where they should demand apologies

A wake up call from Maurice Newman. The gravy train of bigger and bigger government is grinding to its inevitable halt, and Greece is the destination the Western Express is headed for. Those who promised that big-government could solve everything have bought votes, while using schools and universities to train a generation to hate free market competition. Young people were raised to blame the system and demand the handout, rather than take responsibility. The soft-west has gone too far left. The weak right has rolled over and tries to be a mini-left, settling for being the team B of “progressivism”. Newman’s best line is that the conservatives apologize where they should demand apologies. So true.

To illustrate dismal standards in science and the media, Newman cites joannenova.com.au (thanks Maurice), and thousands more Australians find out a small part of the scandalous failure of academia (specifically, Lewandowsky at UWA) and the ABC. The stories he refers too are: “Lewandowsky peer reviewed study includes someone 32,757 years old” and the “ABC got it wrong, BOM not concerned with Australian public being misinformed“. Ken Stewart at Kenskingdom deserves credit for catching out the ABC and BOM. Readers, when you want to throw your shoe [...]

Australia tithes $200 million to Green Blob. Time to stand up to the bullies and out-Green them instead.

Pander to the crocodile. Danegeld. The Australian government has offered $200 million for the UN Green Climate Fund. It’s more advertising money for the Green Blob, guaranteed to fund nice jobs that depend on the belief that man-made climate change is real, dangerous and can be solved by the UN. The cluster of dedicated climate-changing lobbyists will grow (slightly) and Australia’s foreign aid budget will shrink. In the end, it won’t make any difference to the global climate, but it will increase the number of press releases pushing the meme, and demanding more money from the public. Shame.

When Green bullies use outrage to push for money, the answer is not to pay them off, but to out-Green them and expose the hypocrisy.

Imagine if the Abbott government stood up to the so-called environmentalists and said: “We’re doing something real to help the poor and the environment — we’re funding programs direct to make sure the funds go where they are needed most. Large conglomerate centralized groups are inefficient, they tend to feed bureaucracy and junkets. We are going to be the first nation to fund an independent science program. For the sake of the environment we going to audit [...]

Good news. Australia say NO to UN Green Climate Fund – bypasses Green Gravy Train

Good news. The Australian government is cutting out the enviro-middlemen, saying “No” to one $11 billion Green Blob.

Australia stands as the only wealthy country to have ruled out a contribution to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. As of last week, the fund had received pledges from 22 countries totalling $US9.6 billion ($A11.2 billion) against an initial funding target of $US10 billion.

The UN money making scheme was never about the poor or the environment. If it was they wouldn’t be wasting “aid” on so-called clean energy subsidies, which won’t change the weather:

The fund is a new financing mechanism to help developing countries protect themselves from the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will invest in clean energy generation and distribution, energy-efficient buildings and transport, forest conservation and management, and the “climate-proofing” of infrastructure and agriculture against storms, floods and higher temperatures.

Apparently the Australian government can see that funding these UN agencies is hand-feeding sharks. By paying for environmental aid direct, our tax funds might achieve something useful, and it exposes the hypocritical self-interest of the Green Gravy train. Which environmental groups will praise Abbott and Bishop? All the ones [...]

Election over, so US, China agree to make unenforceable long term commitment with no consequences

Now that the mid-term elections are over in the US,  Obama is free to announce the climate commitments that voters didn’t need to hear. (I did say this would happen.) It’s a “landmark” agreement and a “gamechanger”, but no one can point out what  happens if either country doesn’t stick to its agreement.

The end-point of this grand theater of intent and glorious promises is Paris 2015.

What matters is the appearance of “momentum” — and this show ticks all the boxes. The two global superpowers make a sudden, unexpected agreement to reduce emissions and the press can call it “remarkable”, as if it has substance.  Obama –  the President without a majority in either house of Congress –  has announced a big new target of 26% reduction by 2025.  What can a lame-duck President achieve? Fluff and PR. As it happens, US emissions have been falling for years because of the miracle of shale gas and oil. This announcement supposedly doubles the pace of that reduction which was occurring anyhow, and which had nothing to do with any green policies aimed at reducing emissions. Furthermore, Obama, magically, will do it without  imposing new restrictions on [...]

Big lesson for Australia from US voters. Climate change is over as an election issue.

Remember how we were told people everywhere are “waking up to the threat of climate change”? Welcome to 2014. In Charles Krauthammers words “The National Weather Service has upgraded the election from tropical storm to tsunami, especially the results of the governorships. If you look at the bluest states in the country, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, all gone Republican.”

Australians may have missed what happened this week in the US (especially if they only watch the ABC). Climate Change is over as a voting issue.  Will Australian Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, get the message? Just last month he pledged to put carbon trading on the next election agenda (again). The conservatives across the nation must be cheering.

In the US, Tom Steyer threw $74 million into a campaign to convince voters to be very afraid and vote out the Republicans. Nearly all of Steyers favourite candidates failed. It was no accidental issue. The NextGen Climate Action Super Pac took Steyers money, and spent it all (and more) to push President Obama’s green agenda, specifically targeting coal “for extinction”. The Republicans supported energy of all kinds from coal to oil, fracked gas, and more pipelines.

This was the “biggest investment the environmental [...]

Coal Miner Clive Palmer to host a climate conference for global leaders

Australian politics is pure side-show cabaret.

For Clive Palmer, it’s a smashing winner all the way ’round.  It’s more photo opportunities,  more Palmer-Party headlines, and a chance for him to hobnob with any international names who feel like turning up for a few days of taxpayer funded R&R to his Coolum Resort.

Thus Clive disarms his opponents, networks with the odd VIP, and unnerves the government all at the same time. He can wave the Green flag in future negotiations with Abbott and co, to try to haggle extra bits and pieces in his favour. Plus he distracts people from a messy legal matter with a Chinese firm, and he could certainly use some guests at his 95% empty resort. Which, by the way, is also a legal headache and in the news for all the wrong reasons.

It is a bet that a few politicians wouldn’t mind a Sunshine Coast junket after the G20 on November 17. They get to relax for a few tax-deductible or tax-funded days while they pretend to talk about the insolvable climate problem. Plus it’s a fun way to look compassionate and caring for the third rock from the sun. Everyone earns greenie points, [...]