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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Lo! Shark god protects us from storms, floods, heatwaves (sayth Nature & ABC)

Big news: A new endogenous forcing found for climate change — sharks. For millions of years you thought predator-prey relationships were just about big fish having dinner, but not so, they are climate forcings. Sharks cool the planet, and stop storms, floods, droughts and malaria. Crabs, on the other hand, pollute like a coal company. It’s a miracle that the planet made it through the last billion years without the EPA managing the  shark-crab numbers thing. This ABC interview inspired me to channel the spirit of neolithic science.

The dusken-shark doth smite the naughty fishies and give us nice weather

New research has found that sharks play an important role in preventing climate change, warning that overfishing and culling sharks is resulting in more carbon being released from the seafloor.

“Sharks, believe it or not, are helping to prevent climate change,” said Dr Peter Macreadie, an Australian Research Council Fellow from Deakin University and one of the paper’s authors.

Sharks: Good.  Crabs and Turtles: Bad.  Kill those turtles!

“Turtles, crabs, certain types of worms, stingrays — these animals that are overabundant to do with loss of predators used to keep their numbers in check,” [...]

News: 2.6 trillion lost trees found — whole world owes carbon credits to whole world

Yale scientist’s big new advance is to find the 2,600 billion trees humankind had not known about. Before now, 82% of the Earth’s trees were not counted, unknown, missing. This increases the tally of known trees by 7.5-fold.  Phew. They reckon there are now 3.04 trillion trees, or roughly 422 trees per person.

They also estimate that humans have deforested exactly 46% of the trees on the planet in the last 12,000 years.  (How fortunate that tree density estimates and satellite records are still available from 10,000 BC.) Presumably, the human deforestation factor is around 46% plus or minus 100%. Pick a number. Spin the wheel.

The idea was dumb enough to be produced by Yale and published in Nature.

Seeing the forest and the trees, all three trillion of them

A new Yale-led study estimates that there are more than 3 trillion trees on Earth, about seven and a half times more than some previous estimates. But the total number of trees has plummeted by roughly 46 percent since the start of human civilization, the study estimates.

Using a combination of satellite imagery, forest inventories, and supercomputer technologies, the international team of researchers [...]

The 99.99% pure climate consensus – how to ignore thousands of skeptical scientists

Joy. It’s another profoundly unscientific “consensus” study. At least one person thought that the  97% PR figure was not enough, and that magic 99.9% would sway the crowds. As if there was even one fence-sitter sitting, waiting, saying, “97% was too low…”

For the herding type of human, “consensus” is magnetically convincing. Not so for the independent minds who have seen prediction after prediction fail. If a 97% consensus on a highly complex, immature science is difficult to believe, a 99.99% one is comic. More of the same unconvincing stuff will do nothing except set off the BS meter.  This new study will sway no one. The supernatural purity of it will work against “The Cause”.

A consensus is the one and only argument of the unskeptical, and they are doing it to death.

One fan, James Powell, was so enthused he spent nine months reading titles and abstracts of 24,000 papers, and found only four scientists (4!) who didn’t agree with the consensus. Some 69,402 other scientists apparently endorse “the consensus” (whatever it is) because they used the terms “climate change”, or “global warming” and they didn’t also make a clear statement that it was false, or [...]

Your car causes war! Feel the fear about Australia’s climate security.

Not only climate change destroy coffee, chocolate and beer, but war is going to ruin your weekends too.

When war breaks out and they come for your first-born, you may ask if you should’ve left the car in the garage more. You may wonder if you could have used public transport, and converted all the lights to LEDs sooner and only eaten locally sourced oranges. Feel the guilt. Send them your money.

Walk for Peace!

There is no end to the combinations and permutations of ways to use fear to ask for funds. Before we set up Departments of Climate Change, Global carbon trading markets, Emissions reductions schemes, and prepare our Defence Force for the wave of violent desperate climate refugees that were forecast but didn’t come, we need one thing more than any other. We need climate models that actually work.

“Climate change will destabilise our region and undermine our way of life, yet we are doing nothing to prevent it.”

Exactly, we are doing nothing, nothing useful at all. Though we are pouring billions of dollars down deep wells trying to reduce CO2, and prepare for a climate we absolutely cannot predict. (Is that the kind [...]

Climate Change will ruin beer, chocolate, coffee, says The Guardian

More adventures in science from The Guardian. “No more beer, chocolate or coffee: how climate change could ruin your weekend”.

Obviously, since coffee, hops, and cocoa are all plants which like arctic weather and frosts, and grow mainly in Greenland glaciers, a warmer world will devastate these essential foods. I’m in tears just thinking about it.

Likewise, being alien silicon lifeforms, these plants will struggle as the pollution called carbon dioxide rises from 0.04% of the atmosphere to 0.05%. Oh the pain. If only these plants used CO2 as a basic building block like every other plant on Earth.

It must be tough being so much smarter than the rest of the world.


Somehow, somewhere, The Guardian become The Guard-Onion. I just can’t take these people seriously anymore. Dear Karl Matheisen, what were you thinking?

 No more beer, chocolate or coffee: how climate change could ruin your weekend

Karl Mathiesen

Climate change is the biggest threat to all of civilisation our species has faced since the 80s. Scientists say rising seas will envelope major cities around the world while heatwaves will bring wildfires and torrential rains bring floods. And the global economy is stuffed.


Which countries will survive climate change?

Great news for Australians, Scandinavias, Greenlanders, Poms, and New Zealanders:  all the headlines about how your home will be the hardest hit were wrong. Instead, your real estate will be the most valuable on Earth and everyone will want to visit you.

Thank The Guardian for its restrained headline:  Countries most and least likely to survive the effects of climate change . Study source: Diply

I expect you will all be relieved. Especially after the fear you felt reading “hardest hit” headlines like these:

“Rural Australians hardest hit by climate change”

“Sydney’s urban areas to be hit hardest by global warming”

“Predictions Australia will be hardest hit by climate change”

Greenland hardest hit by climate change

“…climate change is likely to have the strongest impact on Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden.”

“Climate change is faster and more severe in the Arctic than in most of the rest of the world”

– Thanks to ClimateChangePredictions  and Tom Nelson’s hardest hit list.

The original map on Diply also has a “least at risk” category, helpfully colored black and applied to no [...]

Murdered on the Arctic by climate deniers (or Greenpeace maybe?)

… and those with scientific evidence don’t need “names and addresses” instead. Eh?

Two Dutch Arctic Ice researchers were sadly presumed lost last week. You, silly fool, may have thought it was an unfortunate accident in a dangerous profession. Not so, according to “Schatzie” they were viciously murdered by an unlikely cohort of Obama and at least 24 named “climate change deniers”.  While “motive”, “means” and “opportunity” are a little thin on — premeditated intent is surely there: skeptics benefit from the PR storm about researchers dying on thin ice…  oh wait.

Anyway, those responsible for heating the planet are also all murderers, which pretty much narrows down the guilty to anyone who breathes, double for those who drive, and in the end, Mr Al Gore emits a lot of CO2, right?  Indeed, blame the Pacific Ocean, it releases more carbon than even Al does.

Schatzie is looking for names to add to her list.

I ask you to submit the names of known (or even little known) climate change deniers and those responsible for heating up our precious planet.

Who is responsible for heating up the planet? I dug deep to find the real culprits:

All [...]

New telescopes see magnetic flux ropes on Sun (which can’t possibly affect Earths climate).

A new telescope has peered into the Sun to see solar magnetic flux ropes for the first time. Severe flux rope twists have been described as being like “earthquakes” on the sun, and are linked to eruptions of large solar flares that change magnetic fields, and cause radiation and energetic particles to rain on Earth.

We don’t know much about solar magnetic flux ropes. We know they affect space weather, but thanks to climate experts we already “know” they can’t possibly, ever in a million years, affect Earth’s weather. Even though we’ve only just been able to see them and have no long term data on them, we have Global Circulation Climate models (which don’t include these solar factors), so we have 95% certainty that none of the particles, fields or radiation changes have much impact on Earth. They might fritz satellites, electronics and communications, but Earth’s atmosphere has no electrical component (wink), and the models “work” (kinda, sorta, apart from “the pause”, the arctic, the ocean, the antarctic, and the holocene) without any of this fuzzy solar stuff. Got that? Repeat after me. The Sun does not affect Earth’s climate. (Good boys and girls. You are fit for a [...]

Penn and Teller on the religion called Recycling

We could have so much fun doing a show like this Busting the Religion called Climate Change.

Why recycle? “It feels good”

The show uses a few more crass words than it needs to, apart from that it’s a lighthearted satire that kills quite a few sacred cows. The first 5 minutes sets it up with a bunch of people telling us that believe it makes them a better community player, a better mom, a good example for their kids, and helps the planet etc etc.  Then Penn and Teller do some creative experiments on unsuspecting victims of the Recycling Religion.

This so lends itself to climate change. We could lead people through a series of questions where they agree to statements revealing they believe windtowers stop storms and solar panels hold back the tide.

Climate change increases chance of dragons

Be warned. Don’t write this off as the usual exaggerated hype from Nature.

Zoology: Here be dragons Andrew J. Hamilton, Robert M. May & Edward K. Waters Nature 520, 42–43   doi:10.1038/520042a  Published online 01 April 2015

Emerging evidence indicates that dragons can no longer be dismissed as creatures of legend and fantasy, and that anthropogenic effects on the world’s climate may inadvertently be paving the way for the resurgence of these beasts.

Figure 2: The rise and fall and rise again of dragons. The relative frequency of ‘dragons’ in fictional literature (thick red line), as determined as a unigram probability4, with two historical reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature (decadal smoothing) shown in blue5 and purple6. Global temperatures have been measured since 1855 (thick black line5). Temperature anomalies represent deviations from the 1961–90 reference period. The rising incidence of dragons in the literature correlates with rising temperatures, and suggests that these fire-breathing lizards are being sighted more frequently. As a result, the large-scale ‘Third Stir’ is deemed to be imminent.

Ominous signs are there:

Further work has revealed that the early medieval period was a veritable paradise for dragons. This can be attributed to the [...]