ABC's stitch-up of Bjorn Lomborg

This is Bjorn Lomborg, I wanted to bring you a picture of Howard Friel, but I couldn't because there's not a single picture of him on the internet

UPDATE: Howard Friel responds personally to this post in the comments section (see here)

Interview? More like an ambush, as Robyn “100 metres” Williams on ABC’s Science Show devotes a long segment of the programme to Howard Friel, who has been embraced by the warmists for having written a book criticising Bjorn Lomborg’s book Cool It. Before we even start, you kind of know people are really desperate when they have to write an entire book just for that purpose. But anyway, we’ll let that pass.

Firstly, however, and I’m sorry to ask … but just who the hell is Howard Friel? I cannot find anything about him other than he is an “author”. Take a look at his Wikipedia entry – blink and you’ll miss it. [UPDATE: An answer is provided by commenter Pat B: "Mr. Friel is a hard-left idologue, an Israel-hater, and a minor satellite in the Chomsky system. He is drearily predictable, and his mode of entry into the climate debate is consistent with his established practice of attacking the 'moderate' left from the perspective of the ultra-left. His previously published work, all from Verso, an avowedly leftist publisher, attacks the New York Times for spreading George W. Bush's 'lies' and its cover-up of Israel's "crimes" against the Palestinians. Now he attacks Bjorn Lomborg - not by mistake, but because there is nothing the hard left hates more than the 'soft' left."] He has no history of writing about climate, no knowledge of climate science that I can find, no qualifications whatsoever in fact to write such a book. Ah, hang on a minute – qualifications only matter if you’re a sceptic, right? That must be it – Al Gore gets a free pass to say whatever he likes – but every utterance of a sceptic is scrutinised to the last letter, including his qualifications. So I think we’ll do the same, just for balance: where are yours? [Read more...]

Yet another UN climate gabfest

What the ABC thinks CO2 looks like…

It’s a whirling carousel of junkets for UN climate negotiators, as the latest talks kick off in Bonn. The UN knows that the climate game is almost up, so at the same time as lining up the next fabricated crisis via which to tax, regulate and generally get up the noses of ordinary people (that would be biodiversity, by the way), will no doubt throw everything at getting a deal locked in before the whole AGW edifice collapses:

Six months after the Copenhagen climate talks, delegates from more than 190 nations were starting a fresh round of talks in Germany on Monday night.

The United Nations is attempting to revive talks for a legally binding international climate treaty. [Sorry, the patient died on the operating table]

The UN says the mandate for all nations is to agree on a long-term global solution to climate change. [How about "Do nothing and adapt where necessary for a thousandth of the cost of CO2 reductions"?]

Copenhagen did not deliver a treaty with mandatory targets or a deadline to reduce the planet’s emissions.

The UN will table a new text at the Bonn meeting to integrate the Copenhagen Accord into a stronger climate deal.

Yeah, good luck with that. Nobody’s really watching any more. Wonder how many Australia is sending at taxpayers’ expense?

Read it here.

OT: Kevin Rudd misleads Parliament on mining tax ads

Couldn't lie straight in bed

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And there isn’t anyone more desperate at the moment than our Dear Leader, Saint Kevin of Kruddistan, who, not content with bungling the home insulation scheme (resulting in the death of four young men), backflipping on his centrepiece climate policy, wasting billions of your taxpayer dollars on the school building programme, and presiding over the greatest increase in asylum seeker arrivals in history, has now mislead Parliament about the reasons for avoiding his own government’s policy on political advertising.

Rudd sought an exemption from the policy to spruik his mining super-profits tax, claiming, laughably, that the mining industry was behind a campaign of misinformation [well he should know, he's an expert at campaigns of misinformation]. As Glenn Milne reports in The Australian:

[…] we only need to go as far back as Thursday when Tony Abbott asked the Prime Minister if he would now abandon the mining tax. Abbott cited four reasons; “the collapsing dollar, the falling stockmarket, the suspension of projects and the evaporation of jobs”.

It’s the falling stockmarket that concerns us here. In a lengthy answer, Rudd comprehensively rejected Abbott’s assertion that the government’s tax had had any impact on capital markets.

Let’s go the PM’s own words: “This goes to the other point he [Abbott] has made. I quote him from an earlier remark when he said, ‘Our sharemarket is under pressure because the government has totally mismanaged its proposal of a big new tax on mining’.

“Let us go to the facts of this matter. Share prices around the world have fallen because of the crisis in Greece and the honourable Leader of the Opposition would know that. Secondly, within mining itself he is yet to adduce any data to support the proposition. So on proposition No 1 about the dollar, on proposition No 2 about the share price, on proposition No 3 about employment: wrong, wrong, wrong, against all the factual data.”

Unfortunately the following day another piece of “factual data” surfaced in the form of Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig’s statement that he was exempting the government from its own lily white guidelines on taxpayers’ advertising to allow a $38m assault on the mining industry.

Among the reasons specifically cited by Ludwig for the exemption was the following: “I have also accepted the Treasurer’s advice that, as the tax reforms involve changes to the value of some capital assets, they impact on financial markets.”

So, the day after Rudd tells parliament Abbott’s claims the mining tax is affecting financial markets are garbage, his government uses the same rationale to justify rorting its own advertising standards.

But it gets worse. We now know that Swan first canvassed the idea of an advertising exemption based on market impacts at the time of the budget. So Rudd would have known about that justification since May 11. Then he told the parliament the opposite on Thursday.

When will the Australian public finally tire of this pitiful disgrace of a Prime Minister?

Read it here.

Shock: Newsweek runs balanced article on climate

Shock climate realism

Like toppling dominoes, media organisations and institutions are changing their stance on climate at an astonishing rate. Having realised that they have been thoroughly taken in my the politically and financially driven alarmism of the IPCC and many climate scientists, they are now back-pedalling furiously in order to limit the damage to their reputations. Newsweek, a veritable bastion of climate hysteria (thanks in no small part to the rantings of Sharon Begley), publishes a remarkably balanced article about the current state of the climate debate (thanks to Climate Depot):

This is no dispute between objective scientists and crazed flat-earthers. The lines cut through the profession itself. Very few scientists dispute a link between man-made CO2 and global warming. Where it gets fuzzy is the extent and time frame of the effect. One crucial point of contention is climate “sensitivity”—the mathematical formula that translates changes in CO2 production to changes in temperature. In addition, scientists are not sure how to explain a slowdown in the rise of global temperatures that began about a decade ago.

The backlash against climate science is also about the way in which leading scientists allied themselves with politicians and activists to promote their cause. Some of the IPCC’s most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, newspaper articles, and corporate reports—including claims of plummeting crop yields in Africa and the rising costs of warming-related natural disasters, both of which have been refuted by academic studies.

Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments. When other researchers aired doubt about the IPCC’s prediction that Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035, the IPCC’s powerful chief, Rajendra Pachauri, trashed their work as “voodoo science.” Even today, after dozens of IPCC exaggerations have surfaced, leading climate officials like U.N. Environment Program chief Achim Steiner and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research head Joachim Schellnhuber continue to tar-brush critics as “anti-Enlightenment” and engaging in “witch hunts.”

All very reasonable commentary, which ACM fully endorses. And the final paragraph sums it up well:

There are excellent reasons to limit emissions and switch to cleaner fuels—including an estimated 750,000 annual pollution deaths in China, the potential to create jobs at home instead of enriching nasty regimes sitting on oil wells, the need to provide cheap sources of power to the world’s poorest regions, and the still-probable threat that global warming is underway. At the moment, however, certainty about how fast—and how much—global warming changes the earth’s climate does not appear to be one of those reasons.

Well said indeed. Let’s wait for the inevitable backlash and torrent of ad hominems from the hysterics towards this poor author…

Read it here (and reinstate my subscription – maybe).

CSIRO has "breached trust"

Can't be trusted any more?

So says Terry McCrann, in an article comparing the cheerleading of the CSIRO for climate alarmism with the cheerleading of the Treasury for the resources super profits tax:

In March, [CSIRO] joined with the Bureau of Meteorology to produce a “snapshot of the state of the climate to update Australians about how their climate has changed and what it means”. Although the pamphlet had a neutral title, “State of the Climate”, it was clearly designed to bring the great weight of the apparent credibility of these two organisations to bear against, and hopefully crush, those pesky climate change sceptics.

But as one of the peskier of them, Tom Quirk — our version of Canada’s even peskier Stephen McIntyre — discovered, there was a very curious omission in one of the CSIRO graphs. It showed the rise and rise of concentrations in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and its fellow greenhouse gas methane. It was an almost perfect replica of the infamous (Michael) Mann Hockey Stick. After being virtually stable for 900 years, concentrations of both CO2 and methane went almost vertical through the 20th century. But as the eagle-eyed Quirk noticed and wrote about on Quadrant Online, methane was plotted only up to 1990, while the plots for CO2 continued to 2000.Why so, when the CSIRO measures methane concentrations and has data up to last year?

Did the answer lie in the inconvenient truth that methane concentrations have plateaued since the mid-1990s? Yet here is the CSIRO, the organisation dedicated to scientific truth, pretending — even stating — that they’re still going up, Climategate style. This is bad enough, but just as with Treasury, real policies are built on this sort of “analysis”. The first version of the so-called carbon pollution reduction scheme included farming to address the methane question. But as Quirk has shown in a peer-reviewed paper, atmospheric methane is driven by a combination of volcanos, El Ninos and pipeline (mostly dodgy old Soviet) leakage.

A second curious, and even dodgier, thing happened after Quirk’s Quadrant report. CSIRO “updated” its main graph to include the more recent methane data. No admission was made and the graph’s scale made it all but invisible and did not show the plateauing. Further, the CSIRO published a more detailed second graph showing what has happened in the past 30 years, as opposed to the first graph’s 1000 years. But only for CO2, despite the fact that it had exactly the same data for methane.

In short, the CSIRO is a fully signed-up member of the climate change club. It wanted to project the horror story of continually rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. So it simply disappeared inconvenient evidence to the contrary, in the process announcing it cannot be trusted ever again to deliver objective scientific evidence.

CSIRO, The Bureau of Meteorology, the UK Royal Society, the American National Academy of Sciences and hundreds of other organisations have all nailed their colours to the climate change mast, abandoning objective scientific enquiry in favour of environmental advocacy. As the Royal Society has discovered, it only works for so long, before credibility starts to disappear. As he concludes:

In short and in sum, our two pre-eminent centres of knowledge and public policy analysis across the social and hard sciences spectrum are now literally unbelievable. It is not an attractive or an appropriate state of affairs.

Read it here.

Climate staff discovered ETS was dumped via media

Not good at communicating…

Kind of like ditching your girlfriend via text message. Strange the government was so shy in telling its own staff that the ETS had been scrapped, when it plans to spend millions of your taxpayer dollars (in breach of its own advertising guidelines) about how the nasty, evil mining companies are “misleading” the electorate on the super profits tax:

SENIOR officials in the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency were unaware of the government’s decision to shelve the emissions trading scheme until it was leaked to the media, a Senate estimates committee was told yesterday.

The department’s secretary, Martin Parkinson, said the decision had also left many officials ”terribly, terribly disappointed”.

Dr Parkinson said staff were establishing ”time capsules” of their work to be opened ”whenever this current impasse is broken and we can have an appropriate debate … around climate change”. ”For many people, they could see their hard work, their commitment and their professionalism was not going to have a pay off at the moment,” he said, though he respected the Prime Minister’s decision.

Dr Parkinson added ”there is no point gilding the lily” and there were people within the department who ”were terribly terribly disappointed” about the decision to delay.

”For many people they could see their hard work, their commitment and their professionalism was not going to have a pay off at the moment.” Dr Parkinson said.

Read it here.

Royal Society to review climate message

Environmental advocacy

As we know, the Royal Society has become a credibility-free zone with regard to climate change, pushing hysterical environmental advocacy above the impartiality of science. Now the Society has been forced to reconsider its message after 43 fellows complained it oversimplified the issues.

They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood.

The society’s ruling council has responded by setting up a panel to produce a consensus document.

The panel should report in July and the report is to be published in September.

It is chaired by physicist John Pethica, vice-president of the Royal Society.

Its deliberations are reviewed by two critical sub-groups, each believed to comprise seven members.

Each of these groups contains a number of society Fellows who are doubtful in some way about the received view of the risks of rising CO2 levels.

A Royal Society pamphlet Climate Change Controversies is the main focus of the criticism [link here, although it will probably be posted down the memory hole pretty soon, so you can download the document from ACM here: Royal Society Climate Change Controversies]. A version of it is on the organisation’s website. It was written in response to attacks on mainstream science which the Royal Society considered scurrilous.

It reads: “This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change…”

One Fellow who said he was not absolutely convinced of the dangers of CO2 told me: “This appears to suggest that anyone who questions climate science is malicious. But in science everything is there to be questioned - that should be the very essence of the Royal Society. Some of us were very upset about that.

Yes, there are some things we are all agreed on, like the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and will cause some degree of warming when its concentration is increased. However, the scale of that warming we are not agreed on. The IPCC has wrongly concluded that the climate is very sensitive, and positive feedbacks will act to amplify that warming. Climate realists (and real world observations) show negative feedbacks, acting to reduce the warming from CO2.

As one commenter on Watts Up With That states:

In other words, they admit that they were lying all along and have been caught with their knickers down.

Read it here.

(h/t WUWT)


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