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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We need a free market in climate science

This weekend, I’ve got another article in The Weekend Australian. It’s a credit to the Murdoch News team that they are willing to print both points of view. This point is one that resonates with many people — a consensus can be bought with monopolistic science funding. It explains  why research could run off the rails. We paid to find a crisis.

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Climate change suspect must be given a fair trial

GOVERNMENTS across the world have paid billions to find links between carbon dioxide and the climate, but very little to find the opposite, and that’s a problem.

Teams of professionals have searched high and low for any possible hint that CO2 poses a threat, and that is all very well, but no one has been paid to find otherwise. CO2 has been convicted without a defence lawyer.

It is self-evident that any expert in a field will reap more rewards, fame and fortune if their field is critically important. Why would anyone expect such experts to go out of their way to hunt down evidence that might suggest their field ought not be the centre of a global [...]

On climate change, the wrong choice kills people either way

Here’s a topic close to my heart. Before I became involved in climate change and currencies, my hot topic-of-choice for years was medical research and health. In my honours degree I worked to get a tiny step closer to treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. When I saw that The Australian Government was threatening to cut medical research, I wanted to put a razor fine point on just what muddy thinking costs us. This article I wrote is published in The Weekend Australian today. We can’t afford to get the decision wrong on climate change. We must fight the battles that matter, not build fortresses against imaginary foes.

Wasting money on climate change betrays sick Joanne Nova From: The Australian May 07, 2011 12:00AM

LOST opportunities are invisible but deadly. On climate change, the call to buy insurance by pricing carbon is a cop-out. Where is the cost-benefit analysis? We’re thinking of axing Australian medical research yet we’re supporting solar panel manufacturers in China. It doesn’t have to be this way.

All the money spent employing green police, subsidizing solar or researching how to pump carbon dioxide underground is money not spent on medical research. Opportunity cost is a killer. [...]

A journalist who confuses journalism with propaganda

Great news: This commentary appears in The Weekend Australian today (in a slightly different edited version). Below was what I submitted, before the edits, with the links intact. Comments are open at The Australian. I’ll be posting less often over the Southern Summer, possibly quite irregularly, so if you want to get an email from me and find out when the more important posts go up, please add your email to my list (top right, see “register”).

In the print edition the headline is “Journalists who think Newspapers should lead the country”*

David McKnight’s criticism of The Australian (Sceptical writers skipped inconvenient truths) makes a good case study of the intellectual collapse of Australian universities.

Here’s a UNSW “Senior Research Fellow” in journalism who contradicts himself, fails by his own reasoning, does little research, breaks at least three laws of logic, and rests his entire argument on an assumption that he provides no evidence for. Most disturbingly — like a crack through the façade of Western intellectual vigour — he actually asserts that the role of a national newspaper is to “give leadership”. Bask for a moment in the inanity of this declaration that newspapers “are our leaders”. Last [...]

Key Tool for the Scare Campaign: Censorship. How bullying critics keep editors from straying.

A very curious thing happened on Saturday.

There’s a media war going on here in Australia. At stake is free speech — but the discussion about it is completely disguised and parades instead as a debate about “balance” in science reporting.

It’s reached the point where our national masthead felt the need to issue a whole feature article rebutting their critics (Climate debate is no place for hotheads) which includes quote after quote of The Australian’s pro man-made-global-warming editorials. But why under the Goddess of Free Press should any serious newspaper feel required to declare their belief in a particular scientific theory?

“The Australian ‘s editors are being attacked for questioning authority. They’re supposed to be journalists who investigate everything, not a PR agency who promotes an ideology. In reply the Australian could have been roasting the other media agencies…”

The Australian has been taking heat from the rest of the Australian media (notably Fairfax and ABC employees, and a couple of book writing academics). It’s not that The Australian has held back on publishing the illogical, unreasonable PR, and baseless posturing of vested-carbon-scare-interests, no sir. They are just as ready as anyone to publish the unscientific Lomborgs, [...]

Lomborg: uses irrational name-calling and denies the evidence

The Australian published Bjorn Lomborg: A Rational Take On Warming last week.

It was self-contradictory, baseless name-calling from a formerly sensible writer.

Rational?

Lomborg and Gore are not so far apart

The only rational response to climate change is to use empirical, observable evidence. Rational people can point to results from 28 million radiosondes, 6000 boreholes, 30 years of satellites, 3000 ARGO ocean diving thermometers, raw data from thousands of surface thermometers, as well 800 peer reviewed references which include studies of corals, caves, pollen grains, ocean floor sediments, ice cores, and diatoms.

Lomborg is happy to call these rational people names, but irrationally doesn’t appear to have read their arguments. His method of quoting scientific studies, which was so successful on other topics, has come unstuck on climate science. He doesn’t realize that the US government poured $79 billion dollars into demonstrating one theory, but next to nothing to research, audit, or question that theory. He’s been tripped up by the skewing effect of monopolistic funding.

Far from being rational or scientific, he accepts the opinions of the Scientific Gods at the IPCC, and ignores the empirical evidence

Far [...]