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ABC-watch: Economist talks unresearched conspiracy science to pretend journalist

Welcome to another $3 million-a-day quality moment on Their ABC

Here’s a Nobel Prize winning economist reviewing scientific evidence — something Nobel Prize winners in physics don’t get to do on the ABC. His interviewer is the star economist Emma Alberici.

The guest opens with near apocalyptic predictions:

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: If more and more of Australia are not liveable because of climate change, you’re not going to be better off.

You know, the future of the world, let alone the future of Australia really is at stake when we are talking about climate change.

These days, wild claims are just introductory wallpaper. Meh.

Who knew, the key scientific evidence was reviewed by economists.

The evidence is overwhelming and I was on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that reviewed the evidence back 1995, …

Which tells you everything you need to know about how rigorous the IPCC science reviews are.

But it would be OK if only he knew something about climate science, the IPCC or its predictions:

…and I’ve kept looking at the evidence and you know, the one mistake we made in 1995 was that we didn’t anticipate how fast things were going to change.

Indeed, things changed so fast the IPCC has spent the last twenty years downgrading its estimates of climate sensitivity and future warming:

Falling, climate sensitivity, carbon dioxide, IPCC, graph, Scaffetta 2017.

Climate sensitivity keeps falling, Scaffetta 2017.  Thanks to NoTricksZone.

 This is not what “faster than expected” looks like

Since 1995, the temperatures didn’t rise for longer than any of the modelers thought was it was possible for temperatures to not rise. Antarctic sea ice set new highs, Antarctic temperatures did nothing, and tropical islands grew instead of shrinking. The hot spot went missing, and never returned, despite multiple search parties combing the data in search of missing upper tropospheric redness. Thus we found out the core assumption driving most of the prophesied warming was wrong.   We also found out CO2 didn’t lead temperatures for the last half a million years, instead, the hallowed ice cores showed the exact opposite. The evil pollutant turned up 800 years late to nearly every warming party there was. So much for “cause and effect”.

A thousand tide gauges showed sea levels rose slower than expected, and had even slowed down. Ocean heat went missing too and instead of being where the IPCC thought it would be in 1995, it’s probably twenty-three light years away, approaching CassiopeiaePredictions of methane growth failed dismally (see here) after the Russians plugged their leaky pipes. The IPCC did not see that coming. But carbon dioxide emissions grew faster than expected, yet had even less effect.

Meanwhile hurricanes over the US stopped for the longest time on record, and hurricanes all over the world became less energetic.

Emma didn’t ask.

Excuses, Excuses — tomorrow will be sunny with weather variability?

Stiglitz: We didn’t fully anticipate some of the effects like the increase in weather variability, the hurricanes, the cyclones and it is I think, fundamentally short-sighted not, not to be thinking about this but over the long term, the real wealth of a country is based on the skills, the abilities, the innovation of the citizens and that is going to depend on the investments that you put in your people — not on coal, not on iron ore.

You know, I spent a lot of time in China. They are beginning to wake up to the dangers of coal. Air is not breathable, that’s the most concrete immediate effect but they too understand the dangers of climate change.

He spent all that time in China, but sadly Google didn’t let him see the secret coal boom, the collapsing solar industry, nor the coal-volcano-trains. He may have missed that when Chinese Crypto companies want cheap electricity, they are buying coal fired power in Australia.

The Chinese do understand the dangers of climate change. They know it’s a scam.

So, I think there will be a global consensus on eliminating coal and that means it is all the more imperative for Australia to get off coal.

Emma Alberici skips the chance to discuss science or economics and asks him a softball psych question instead:

EMMA ALBERICI: I want to know how you explain the politicisation of climate change as an issue, given so many well regarded economists like yourself indeed — the Nobel Prize in economics has gone to William Norhaus this month, who has pioneered a framework for understanding how the economy and climate interact — and yet on the other side we have this politicisation of the issue such that if you want to reduce carbon emissions, certainly in this country, you’re a green leftie. And if you agree that it is all a bit of alarmist nonsense, then you’re really a true conservative.

She works for a tax-payer funded institute which ignores half the country and calls them names, but this ABC senior star can’t figure out why things are “politicized.”

The Nobel prize-winner doesn’t know either, but speculates anyway:

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Yeah, I really, it is a little bit of a puzzle. You know, there are special interests who make a lot of money out of fossil fuel — coal, oil companies — and they have an economic interest to try to persuade people that its hokum, that it is a liberal conspiracy.

Except that oil companies lobby for and benefit from carbon penalties that punish coal more than them, and which also subsidize unreliable power that needs gas back up. If only Stiglitz understood economics…

If only Emma Alberici were a journalist.

h/t George


Scafetta et al., 2017   Since 2000 there has been a systematic tendency to find lower climate sensitivity values. The most recent studies suggest a transient climate response (TCR) of about 1.0 °C, an ECS less than 2.0 °C and an effective climate sensitivity (EfCS) in the neighborhood of 1.0 °C.”

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