Merry Christmas from ACM


Still there!

Still there!

Wishing all my readers a very merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year.

On the other hand, Professor Richard Parncutt hopes “deniers” will be sentenced to death. Feel the Christmas spirit flow…!

UPDATEProf Parncutt posts an apology here. Kudos, but it should never have been published in the first place…

ABC: Mark Scott's response to bias charge "defies belief"


ALP Broadcasting Corporation

ALP Broadcasting Corporation

I have to admit I read Mark Scott’s piece in The Australian last week with increasing bewilderment. Comments such as this:

The panel [on Q&A] includes some of the most outstanding political correspondents in the nation: Phil Coorey, Annabel Crabb, George Megalogenis, Lenore Taylor, Mark Kenny, Malcolm Farr. They are employed by News Limited and Fairfax, broadsheets and tabloids, and by media outlets across the country. And their task is to provide analysis on the events of the week. Which they do, carrying no ideological badge and pushing no line

and this:

Not everyone will agree with all his remarks, but I believe [Barrie Cassidy - host of ABC's Insiders] works in a way that embodies journalistic standards of fairness, balance and impartiality

left me utterly dumbfounded. Is Scott really that blinded by his own organisation’s groupthink, or is he just dense? It has to be one or the other.

Andrew McIntyre responds today:

THE response by the managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corp, Mark Scott, to Janet Albrechtsen’s piece on ABC bias, almost defies belief. It is not the first time he has argued this case, even as he presented figures to a senate inquiry on the biased make-up of the panellists on Insiders.

Somehow, Scott trusts his “outstanding” commentators, by claiming that they are “carrying no ideological badge and pushing no line”. Well that settles it, doesn’t it?

If there is one lesson to be learned and many of us in Australia have been saying it for years it is about the selectivity of issues, the bias that is formed by the things that are not reported, and in interviews, by the people who are not interviewed.

This is an exquisitely refined technique on the ABC. Presenters tend to interview only those experts who agree with their own opinions, thus transforming news from factual content into a point of view without appearing to express the view of the presenter. On a panel on Insiders or Q&A, one simply gets the false impression that there is a consensus.

I guess if you stand on a platform that leans to the left for long enough, it begins to seem level again.

Equating climate sceptics with paedophiles is fine at the ABC


Offensive

Offensive: Williams

You will recall the story recently where ABC “science” presenter Robyn Williams opened a programme on climate “denial” with the following:

“What if I told you that paedophilia is good for children, or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma, or that smoking crack is a normal part, and healthy one, of teenage life, and to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths, again and again in recent times distorting the science.”

Lewandowsky got in on the act as well, naturally. I guess he’d be the go-to guy for people like Williams looking for an easy smear quote:

“I discovered that those people [sceptics] were not sceptical at all. They were rejecting the science, not on the basis of evidence but some other factor. We basically found that the driving motivating factor behind the rejection of climate science was people’s ideology or personal worldview.

[…]

Specifically what we find it that people who are endorsing an extreme view of market fundamentalism are likely to reject climate science.”

You forgot to mention that they also deny the moon landings took place, or that smoking is linked to cancer, or HIV linked to AIDS, or that the sun revolves around a (flat) earth – you’re slipping.

Former chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman, like many of us, was incensed by these comments and lodged a formal complaint. Especially since an article he had written a while beforehand was referred to specifically in the segment.

And the result?

“ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs have carefully considered the complaint, reviewed the program and assessed it against the ABC’s editorial standards for harm and offence which state in part: 7.1 Content that is likely to cause harm or offence must be justified by the editorial context.

“ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs have also sought and considered a response from ABC Radio. Audience and Consumer Affairs have concluded that there has been no breach of the ABC’s editorial standards for harm and offence. (source)

What a surprise! No groupthink there, right? So the next time a filthy “denier” equates climate alarmists like Williams to paedophiles (not that “deniers” ever get invited on to ABC except to be ritually humiliated and ridiculed), and the complaints come flooding in, the ABC will dismiss them too?

Newman responds in an op-ed:

Ordinarily it should be unnecessary to object to such appalling commentary. It should have been automatically withdrawn. But no. An ABC response used sophistry to satisfy itself “that the presenter Robyn Williams did not equate climate change sceptics to pedophiles”. Tell that to his listeners.

Global warming is today more about politics than it is about science. If flawed evidence fails, coercion and character assassination is deployed. No slur is too vicious, nor, as we saw with the BBC’s 2006 seminar of the “best scientific experts”, which despite strenuous attempts to resist freedom of information requests were finally revealed to be mainly NGOs and journalists, no deceit is too great.

Lubos Motl, a climate commentator and string theory physicist, said about the ABC’s Science Show: “We used to hear some remotely similar (Czech) propaganda programs until 1989 … but the public radio and TV simply can’t produce programs that would be this dishonest, manipulative, hateful and insulting any more”.

This is not the first time I have provoked the public wrath of the ABC’s climate change clique, but it is the first time I have publicly responded to it. It is important that I do. (source)

One thing we can be absolutely sure of: nothing at the taxpayer-funded broadcaster will change an inch.

You can download PDFs of the two stories here and here.

Lewandowsky on IPCC leak


At it again…

At it again…

UPDATE: A commenter jokingly suggests below that Lew should “see a shrink”, but the strange thing is that he ticks several of the boxes for the psychological characteristic of narcissism, including:

  • Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
  • Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
  • Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
  • Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

I will leave it to readers to decide…

Stephan Lewandowsky weighs in with his usual tact and diplomacy on the IPCC leak, spraying the D-word around like confetti:

“Science is one of the most transparent endeavours humans have ever developed. However, for the transparency to be effective, preliminary documents ought to remain confidential until they have been improved and checked through peer review,” he said in an emailed comment.

“The leak of a draft report by a reviewer who has signed a statement of confidentiality is therefore regrettable and dishonourable.”

“However, what is worse than the leak itself is the distortion of the content of the draft chapter by some deniers,” he said.

Prof Lewandowsky said that the report’s statement that humans have caused global warming was a “virtual certainty” meant it’s [sic] authors had 99% confidence in that view.

“That’s up from ‘very high confidence’ (90% certain) in the last report published in 2007,” he said.  [Hey Stephan:  How, specifically, were those 90% and 99% numbers calculated?  What, specifically, changed between 2007 and now that accounts for the alleged 90% reduction in uncertainty?]

“In other words, the scientific case has become even stronger and has now reached a level of confidence that is parallelled only by our confidence in some very basic laws of physics, such as gravity or thermodynamics.”

To claim otherwise by cherry-picking part of a sentence out of context is absurd, he said.

“Although it illustrates the standard approach by which climate deniers seek to confuse the public. Climate denial lost intellectual respectability decades ago, and all that deniers have left now is to misrepresent, distort, or malign the science and the scientific process.” (h/t Tom Nelson via WUWT)

Nowhere in Lewandowsky’s world is there ever any hint of doubt, uncertainty, contrition or scepticism about his own beliefs. He’s right on everything – always.

This is evident from the UWA FOI emails (on which more will follow in due course) where the many emails of complaint to the University about his recent work are dismissed in the same cavalier manner as any legitimate questioning of the alarmists’ position on climate.

Commenting on one particular blog article critical of the Moon Landing Denier paper, the Deputy VC at UWA, Robyn Owens, emails Lewandowsky:

“The sooner we get Critical Thinking 101 back to being a compulsory unit for all university students (and the rest of the population) the better!”

To which Lewandowsky responds:

“These folks are beyond educable.”

Funny thing is that the more Lewandowsky, John Cook and others like them insult, demean and belittle their ideological opponents, the more those opponents will dig in and fight back.

Quote of the Day: IPCC AR5 leak


Quote of the Day

UPDATE: The headbangers have all made up their minds too. Un-skeptical Pseudo-Science, the ABC, who wheel in a tame alarmist to hose the story down (see comment below).

From the It’s the Sun, stupid Department, a startling acknowledgement that the IPCC doesn’t know everything about the Sun’s effect on our climate (or the magnitude of such effects):

Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties.

Delingpole writes on it here.

Download everything from AR5 if you so choose at WUWT.

Doha's climate justice: will China now pay the rest of the world?


Do ha, so good.

One result of Doha is to allow the dumbest countries on Earth to continue poisoning their economies by extending the pointless Kyoto Protocol (which no longer includes Japan, New Zealand, Russia and Canada, and has never included the US, or any developing countries) until 2020. Even the Kiwis are smart enough to have bailed out, but not Australia, with Greg Combet proudly shackling us to the stern of the Titanic as she sinks beneath the waves.

More important than that is talk of “compensation” for “loss and damage” to developing countries caused by climate change.

As Tim Wilson puts it in The Australian this morning:

Unsurprisingly, developing countries want a blank cheque. Doing so would give life to the comments at the start of the summit from the chief of the UN climate body, Christiana Figueres, that “in the whole climate change process is the complete transformation of the economic structure of the world”.

If anything will ensure failure to secure a new global treaty to cut emissions, it is that statement. But for many countries a “complete transformation of the economic structure of the world” is what they are hoping to achieve with climate change as their Trojan horse. (source)

But once again, the muddled thinking would, if taken to its logical conclusion, result in unintended consequences.

China and India are two of the worlds largest emitters – China is THE largest. So I guess compensation should flow from China and India to, say, Australia, for the costs that we will incur adapting to rising sea levels [allegedly] caused by those emissions? Why should funds flow from Australia to pay countries that emit many, many times more CO2 than Australia?

No wait, they say. You evil developed countries started all this with the Industrial Revolution. Maybe, we say, but there was less than one degree of warming in 150 years. Look at the predictions now – 4 to 6 degrees in just 88 years! Your emissions, developing countries, are swamping everything we did since the 1850s.

The likelihood, of course, is that the compensation won’t actually be for our emissions, but for the behaviour of the Sun, or natural multi-decadal climate cycles, or some other factor the IPCC has missed or ignored, over which we have no control whatsoever, essentially reducing all of this to little more than global wealth distribution.

Freedom of Information Update


FOI update

Lewandowsky – Universtiy of Western Australia

Graham Readfearn complains at DeSmogBlog that climate bloggers including myself are:

“using FOI to rifle through scientists’ daily emails.

[FOI] is a law which appears to have been hijacked by climate science sceptics and free market think tanks as a means to rifle through their inboxes in search of anything which, when taken out of context, might be used to make them look bad.”

This has resulted in a release this week of more than 300 pages of correspondence, although the applicant, “Australian Climate Madness” blogger Simon Turnill, has yet to publish the files. Lewandowsky said:

“There will have been easily more than 100 person hours of publicly-funded time spent dealing with this request, which cost the applicant only $30 to submit – although I understand there was an charge of $400. Putting in FOI requests seems to be common practice now. There is no question in my mind that the intent is to intimidate and slow down research. These kinds of requests discourage scientists from doing their work.”

Yes, it cost me over $400, and like anyone else I am fully entitled to apply for documents under the Freedom of Information Act without having to give any justification, because I was curious to see how such a piece of research was ever agreed to by University of WA’s ethics department.

And no, the intention was never to “intimidate and slow down research”, it is to subject academics who vilify sceptics to proper scrutiny. I have only ever submitted FOI requests when a highly questionable claim is made in the mainstream media, as was the case here, namely that sceptics believed the moon landings were faked. In total, I have submitted just four FOI requests in two and a half years on just two news stories – hardly what can be regarded as vexatious.

Lewandowsky obviously forgets that our taxes (including mine) pay his salary. When he uses his publicly funded position to launch highly politicised attacks on those he disagrees with, thinly disguised as academic research, then there are likely to be people who find that offensive.

As to why the documents have not been published, it is because there are a number of key emails between Professor Lewandowsky and a significant third party which have been withheld because of the third party’s objection. I am awaiting the release of those documents in due course, following which I will be commenting further on them.

As an aside, I must mention that the FOI department at the University of Western Australia has been exemplary in its handling of this matter.

Death threats – Melbourne University

Readfearn correctly states that I recently received emails under an FOI from Melbourne University. Once again, the “non-death threats” story made the mainstream media throughout the world. It is entirely proper for such claims to be backed up by documentary evidence. Emails received from the ANU showed that whilst there was abuse, there were no death threats. In other words, the FOI was justified in providing a proper background to the story which the mainstream media failed to provide.

As with the UWA, I must give Melbourne University credit for the professional manner in which the request was dealt with. Both it and the University of Western Australia are in stark contrast to the handling of the FOI request by ANU, which was initially refused, forcing me to appeal to the Information Commissioner.

I am still working on these, but guess what? The worst I can find is: “Die you lying bastard”. Unpleasant and distressing? Certainly. A death threat? Certainly not.

More importantly, however, one of the scientists involved, a prominent name in climate circles, even admits that the timing of the death threats story was a “media beat up”, and that there was no evidence of a “conspiracy” by sceptics to intimidate climate scientists.

What do you make of that, Graham?

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