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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Who wants to aim for the Paris policy, or worse the 2 °C target, and starve 84 million more people?

Fujimori et al estimate that if we aim for the 2°C Paris commitment as many as 84 million more people will be going hungry by 2050. Their solution, naturally, is to still aim for futile, global weather management targets, but to add another layer of socialist complexity and welfare. It’s only money.

If we feed corn to cars instead of people, and we limit land-use to carbon storage rather than food crops, how could the outcome be any other way? A million dead here, a million dead there, and pretty soon someone will be using their deaths to ask for for a grant, a tax, and a supranational committee.

For thirty years people have been saying we need to reduce our emissions as a precaution even though we can’t predict the climate. But when we can predict that people will starve, the principle seems to be do it anyway and “give them your money”. I can find zero mentions of the precautionary principle in their paper.

This paper is, yet again, another variation on a plea for more governance, more tax, more fiddling with global systems.

Inclusive climate change mitigation and food security policy under 1.5 °C climate goal Abstract [...]

Global warming means a global fall in wildfires

Strangely, despite NASA Giss “discovering” that the world has heated a lot since 1998, fires have declined.

Apparently increasing our CO2 emissions means less fires. Tell the world.

Figure 2. Wildfire occurrence (a) and corresponding area burnt (b) in the European Mediterranean region for the period 1980 – 2010. Source: San-Miguel-Ayanz et al. [37].

This new paper points out that the perception is that fires are worse than they have ever been, but that this is simply not true, not in the last thirty years, and not in the last few hundred either. It also documents how much money and effort we put into suppressing almost all fires and that this is in contrast to tens of thousands of years where humans used fire as a tool. Suppressing fires is getting increasingly expensive and sometimes costs lives as well.

Putting things in perspective. We spend a lot of money to avoid death and damage by fire, yet earthquakes kill 700 times as many people and floods kill 1,800 times as many people. There is something primal about fire that we feel driven to stop.

Table 1. Global comparison of human and economic losses derived from wildfire, earthquakes and flood [...]

The Crash Test Dummy speeds up: our Renewable Target is 16% and rising, so are our electricity prices

The Renewables Lobby subsidy and handouts are still growing. In 2018, Australia must get 16% of all our electricity from “renewables”, up from 14.2% last year.

That’s 28,000 Gigawatt hours of magical green electrons from generators that give us nice weather as opposed to generators that cause droughts, floods, cyclones and spread crocodiles, dengue fever, cause wars and change butterflies.

Welcome to modern Australia where our grid is designed by witchcraft, run by superstition, and panders to every whim of the Giant Renewables Industry Lobby.

The noose tightens in Australia.

Renewables must supply 16% of our electricity in 2018, and even more in 2019.

Source: 2001-2030 Annual Targets and renewable power percentages, Clean Energy Regulator.

Prices are rising too: Could there be a connection here?

Even the ABC now says “Something has gone terribly wrong with our electricity prices”. Prices went off the ranch from 2007, rising much faster than the CPI. This is also the point Australia started ramping up the intermittent renewables. Before that the Snowy Hydro Scheme –the only reliable and cost effective form of renewable power — had been operating for decades. Correlation is [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

As it got hotter in Spain, less people died. Thank air conditioning and electricity.

Cheap energy might save more lives than expensive “climate-changey” energy?

Researchers looked at 47 major cities in Spain, from 1980 to 2015 and checked 554,491 deaths. Even though temperatures have risen, less people are dying of heat in Spain. Apparently human ingenuity, energy and air conditioners were more than able to keep up with climate change. The population is older but less vulnerable to heat now than it was forty years ago.

Air conditioners rose from 5% of the population to 35% during the study period.

Oh the dilemma — to save lives, should we build more windmills to try to change the global climate or aim to get 100% of households access to an air conditioner?

Welcome to the dire threat of climate change:

The relative risk of death fell as temperatures rose (According to the model used). See the caption below.

From the Discussion in the paper:

The temporal evolution of heat-related mortality risks here found is, in general, consistent with those reported by previous studies in some other countries [12–15], which provide evidence for a decrease in vulnerability to climate warming despite the ageing of societies. For example, in Spain, the proportion of people [...]

Climate Change is a ratings killer — Everyone is bored to death of the sermon

After 30 years with no debate and one predictable, repeated lecture the audience is switching off

Scott Whitlock at Newsbusters reports that one climate-worrier journalist revealed in a tweet that climate change kills the ratings. Another tweeter had prodded Liberal MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes to cover more on climate change. “Acting like there is nothing to be done is not excusable.”

In reply Chris Hayes lamented:

“almost without exception. every single time we’ve covered it’s been a palpable ratings killer. so the incentives are not great.”

@chrislhayes 24 July 2018

Those crashing ratings would change overnight if news networks threw open the doors and pitted skeptics against believers in a real televised form of debate. The spectators would suddenly be able to pick sides — may the best person win. There would be genuine controversy. Sacred cows would be slaughtered, and for a while at least, climate change would rate well.

What stops the media doing this? Most editors are too scared of being called climate deniers if they dare allow the other side to speak. Look at the pushback when the BBC allowed Professor Bob Carter to do one interview:

The [...]