Climate quiz

Climate quiz

It’s time for a little quiz. Read the following sentence:

“This [a] has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before [b].”

Questions [no Googling!]:

  • What is [a]?
  • What is [b]?

Bonus question, what year was it written?

I may even award a prize for the most entertaining answers, maybe…

Answers later on…

'Climate deniers are extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists' – Lewandowsky

Lewandowsky shares a platform with Anna Rose (Australian Youth Climate Coalition) and Naomi Oreskes (Merchants of Doubt) – says it all really…

UPDATE 2: Jo Nova says it could be the worst paper she has ever seen:

an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”

UPDATE: As expected, the eight “pro-science” web sites included some of the most vociferous “denier smear machines” – Deltoid, Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, Tamino, Scott Mandia and a handful of others. So, Prof Lewandowsky, precisely how many “deniers” did you actually find visiting those sites? As one commenter at Tamino stated:

“Yeah, those con­spiracy theory ques­tions were pretty funny, but does anyone think that hard­core den­iers are going to be fooled by such a trans­parent attempt to paint them as paranoids?”

In other words, as we expected, it’s a complete crock, and a desperate attempt to portray genuine, educated and well-informed sceptics as nut-jobs. TOTAL FAIL. (h/t Bishop Hill)

More deeply offensive nonsense from Stephan Lewandowsky, polarising the debate further and successfully ensuring that reasonableness and the prized middle ground is never threatened. It just shows the desperation to which “The Cause” is reduced in order to try to silence dissent and win the argument by default:

An Australian study says avid climate change deniers tend to be either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing was faked or Princess Diana was murdered.

The study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, also found that those who reject the scientific consensus on the human contribution to climate change are more likely to to reject other scientific findings such as the linkage between tobacco and lung cancer or between HIV and Aids.

The paper, titled “NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”, was based on a survey of more than 1000 visitors to blogs dedicated to discussion of climate change.

“We find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science,” the paper says. “We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings.”

The paper says that a staunch belief in free markets was an overwhelmingly strong factor in the rejection of climate science and was a stronger factor than conspiratorial thinking.

It surveyed people on attitudes to a range of conspiracy theories, including that the United States allowed the September 11 attacks to occur and that SARS was produced in a laboratory as a biological weapon. (source)

Lewandowsky is a true believer and regularly smears anyone who dares to question the “consensus” (see here, for example, and at The Conversation here), so it’s hardly a surprise that the results are as they are. In the real world, the caricature of a ‘denier’ presented here applies to a tiny fraction of those who question some aspect of the alarmist position. This crude and offensive assessment is then extrapolated to anyone who challenges any part of the Gospel according to Gore.

It’s a tired old tactic – rather than acknowledge that there exists a spectrum of scepticism, the majority of which is entirely valid, this study is yet another attempt to tar all realists and sceptics as extremist fruitcakes.

The paper (which can be found here – PDF) does not list the blogs from which the survey results were taken (why not?). It states that respondents were self selected from 8 “pro-science” [by which it means pro-consensus science] climate blog web sites, but that no “skeptic” sites chose to post the request (ACM wasn’t asked). So I assume that the blogs which did post the link were mainly populated by those accepting the consensus position – if so, what was the actual size of the sample that were classified as “deniers”?

In the same week as the death of Neil Armstrong, I am deeply offended by the suggestion that anyone who questions the alarmist and politicised consensus must therefore believe the moon landings were faked. Lewandowsky should get out of his ivory tower and talk to some genuine sceptics, rather than paint this idiotic, one-dimensional picture of “denialism”.

Labor's tactical retreat


Perhaps it’s finally dawning on them that a $23 a tonne carbon tax for three years, plus a $15 dollar floor price for the ETS after 2015 is economically and electorally suicidal, especially when the EU carbon price is currently under $10.

Could this be the first of a number of incremental tactical retreats? How far can they go before the Greens have a hissy fit? [Not very - Ed] Greg Combet would be delusional to believe that the carbon price will recover to Labor’s projected figure of $29, surely?

THE Gillard government will abandon the floor price for carbon from 2015 under a deal with the European Union to link the Australian and EU carbon trading schemes.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the move would not prompt a revision of federal budget figures, despite the low carbon price in Europe which has fluctuated between 3-10 Euros in recent times.

The budget figures rely on a $29 carbon price in 2015-16.

Mr Combet said the EU carbon price had been hit hard by the eurozone financial crisis, but it would recover.

“It is three years away,” Mr Combet said. “The treasury modelling is something we stand by.” (source)

Oh, he does. And he is.

All we need to do now is reduce the carbon tax from $23 a tonne down to maybe India’s level – $1.50 [actually 50 rupees, which is about 86 cents - thanks Andrew in the comments - Ed]?

On a serious note, however, if there are a number of small changes such as this, it may make it potentially more difficult for the Coalition to justify repeal if they win power. But while the fixed price remains at $23 a tonne for the best part of three more years, that won’t be a problem.

The government’s announcement is here.

Warning: Arctic alarmism ahead

Warning! Alarmism ahead…

UPDATE [1.45pm AEST]: And, right on cue, the ABC (Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation) comes up trumps:

The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has melted to its smallest point ever in a milestone that may show that worst-case forecasts on climate change are being realised, say US scientists.

They say the extent of ice observed on Sunday broke a record set in 2007 and there will likely be further melting with several weeks of northern hemisphere summer still to come. (source)

Batten down the hatches for an avalanche of alarmism relating to the impending Arctic sea ice minimum. It looks to be heading for a record low (although some measures are showing otherwise, see here), and whatever the cause, we will be swamped with links to AGW from the climate science consensus and the media.

And whilst it is at least possible that a proportion of the ice loss is attributable to warming from human emissions, the question, as always, is one of degree: how large are those effects relative to other, natural, forces?

Climate Depot details some of the other factors that may worthy of consideration, before we all leap to conclusions about the role of AGW:

  • satellite measurement began just over 30 years ago, and is too short a period to draw such confident conclusions about attribution
  • at the time satellite measurement began, Arctic ice had been growing for many years after a period of global cooling, and so a subsequent decline during a period of warming is to be expected
  • Arctic likely to have had less ice in 1930s and 40s
  • recent ice loss may be attributable to changes in ocean currents, wind or other weather-related phenomena
  • this year, a particularly severe storm caused the disintegration of a considerable area of sea ice
  • cyclical fluctuations of Arctic ice are known to have existed for millennia

I am not making any claim about the significance of any of the above, other than to say they may play a role.

But unfortunately, the AGW believers invariably insist on using Arctic sea ice levels as a crude “gotcha” to “prove” that they are right (canaries, coal mines etc), claiming absolute certainty of attribution, when in fact, as is almost always the case in these matters, it is a subtle combination of factors that lead to the present conditions.

Just another example of the extreme polarisation of the issues when the middle ground is where everyone should be focussing.

BHP Billiton dumps Olympic Dam, cites carbon and mining taxes

Australia not worthy of investment

Leigh Sales spectacularly failed to conceal her contempt for Tony Abbott on 7.30 yesterday, in equal measure shrill and patronising, and showing little if any respect for her guest – typical ABC in other words, where a non-Labor politician is concerned.

Accusing Abbott of being “loose with the truth” in linking BHP’s decision to abandon the Olympic Dam project, she refused to accept that the carbon tax and the mining tax could possibly have anything to do with it, because BHP boss Marius Kloppers had avoided mentioning them explicitly in the statement earlier in the day.

But as soon as he’s out of the country, guess what?

BHP Billiton head Marius Kloppers has told European investors that Australia’s carbon and mining taxes have helped to render the nation’s coal industry unworthy of further investment at this time.

Despite reassuring Australians that the taxes were not to blame for BHP’s mothballing of the $US30 billion Olympic Dam expansion, Mr Kloppers referred to both when telling British media that new investments in Australia’s coal sector would not be profitable. (source)

But isn’t that exactly what the carbon tax is supposed to do? Shut down our economy so that we create fewer emissions? It’s certainly working.

I assume we’ll be getting an apology from Leigh sometime soon, right?

Michael Mann to sue NRO

Michael Mann

I am tempted to say this is popcorn time, but knowing from personal experience how financially and mentally draining any kind of litigation can be, it’s difficult to make light of it.

Michael Mann has confirmed he intends to commence defamation proceedings against the National Review regarding the Mark Steyn article:

People have been asking for my reaction to the recent response by the National Review. Here is a statement from my lawyer John B. Williams of Cozen O’Connor:
The response of the National Review is telling with respect to the issues it did not address. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann’s research has been extensively reviewed by a number of independent parties, including the National Science Foundation, with never a suggestion of any fraud or research misconduct. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann’s conclusions have been replicated by no fewer than twelve independent studies. It did not deny the fact that it was aware that Dr. Mann has been repeatedly exonerated of any fraudulent conduct. It did not deny the fact that it knew its allegations of fraud were false. Rather, the National Review’s defense seems to be that it did not really mean what it said last month when it accused Dr. Mann of fraud. Beyond this, the response is little more than an invective filled personal attack on Dr. Mann. And further, this attack is coupled with the transparent threat that the National Review intends to undertake burdensome and abusive litigation tactics should Dr. Mann have the temerity to attempt to defend himself in court.
We intend to file a lawsuit.

This could potentially see the lid being lifted on an extraordinary range of documents and materials relevant to Mann’s work over the past 15 years, including, of course, all the work on the Hockey Stick. Not only that, but a full re-evaluation of the Climategate enquiries (to which Mann’s original letter refers) would almost certainly be required, which may finally confirm suspicions of their superficial nature.

I have just made a donation to NRO to help with defence costs – you may wish to consider doing the same here.


Antarctic peninsula warming 'unusual but not unprecedented'

Still there?

Canaries and coal mines. The Arctic and the Antarctic. We will inevitably have to suffer the hysteria of the warmenistas if Arctic ice falls to a new low this summer, which looks possible. Of course, it tells us nothing about the attribution of the ice loss, which could be contributed to by a thousand other things as well as anthropogenic warming.

And when we point to the Antarctic’s increasing ice, they wail “What about the Antarctic peninsula which is warming faster than ever?”

New light is shed on this topic by a paper in Nature, which indicates that the warming in Antarctic peninsula began long before the Industrial Revolution, or the invention of the SUV:

The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth — records since 1958 suggest warming of around 3.5°C per century.

But long-term climate data has been unavailable because of the logistical difficulties associated with finding good ice-core sites, says co-author and palaeoclimatologist Dr Nerilie Abram, of the Australian National University.

“What the ice core showed was that this site started warming 600 years ago — well before the Industrial Revolution — so there was a natural climate cycle that meant this area was warming naturally,” says Abram.

The researchers say the ice core records also show that the warming has accelerated rapidly over the past 100 years.

They describe this warming “unusual (but not unprecedented) in the context of natural climate variability over the past two millennia”.

Eric Steig, who has championed the Antarctic warming story for a long time (see here) comments as well:

In an accompanying editorial, glaciologist Dr Eric Steig, says it is possible to postulate the ‘null-hypothesis’ that the warming on the Antarctic Peninsula is happening independent of recent global warming trends, but that this is highly unlikely.

“The rate of recent warming at James Ross Island is highly unusual, falling within the uppermost 0.3 per cent of all century-scale temperature trends of the past two millennia, which would compel us to reject the null hypothesis with confidence,” writes Steig, professor of glaciology at the University of Washington.

Steig says the peninsula serves as a sort of mine canary for the rest of the continent.

See? I told you there would be canaries and coal mines…

Read it here. Abstract here.

Michael Mann's risky path ahead

You will recall that Michael Mann has threatened legal action against National Review Online (NRO) for publishing an article by Mark Steyn (see here for earlier story).

Now the NRO’s lawyers have written a vigorous defence in response to Mann’s threat, raising the very likely possibility of extensive disclosure of documents – precisely the same documents that Mann is fighting hard to keep private in other forums.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

Not pulling punches (click to enlarge)

Mann would be well advised to consider the possible consequences of pursuing legal remedies.

You can read the full story on NRO here (headline “Get Lost”!), and download the full PDF here.


Climate Commission's propaganda 'a call to arms'

Regurgitating propaganda

UPDATE: Read Will Steffen’s plugging of this report in the Silly Moaning Herald here (if you can stand it).

Even the Fairfax-owned Financial Review isn’t falling for the ludicrous spin of the Climate Commission any more, with a harshly worded editorial on their latest pronouncement. By the way, does anyone out there still believe that the Climate Commission isn’t just a mouthpiece for trumpeting Labor government policy, staffed as it is by a team of alarmists with not one single person in the clique to challenge the orthodoxy or put a contrary view?

This latest missive is intended to convince people that our carbon tax isn’t the economy-wrecking disaster we all know it is, and which will serve no purpose other than to appease the Greens, but is in fact essential for us to “keep up” with the urgent action being taken by the rest of the world  – hmm, like we were born yesterday.

The AFR, like me, isn’t convinced:

The report states that 90 countries, representing 90 per cent of the global economy, have committed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, and lists the efforts of major economies, country by country, in an appendix.

However, that list omits a great deal. For example, the report states that renewables accounted for 9 per cent of China’s energy consumption in 2010, but it does not say how much of that was due to the long-standing national focus on hydroelectricity.

A glowing report on Canada’s efforts does not mention that Canada formally withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol late last year, and a reference to South Korea’s emissions trading scheme, due to start in 2015, does not say that 90 per cent of the scheme’s permits will initially be issued for free.

Various emissions trading schemes are mentioned in the report, including seven that the Chinese government plans to develop in key cities from 2013, as well as schemes operating in the US. But for completeness, the report could have at least answered a devastating critique of the US schemes in a report by the Coalition-dominated Senate committee on the scrutiny of new taxes, released late last year.

The Climate Commission’s report is not the dispassionate analysis that we might have expected from a government body. It is more of a call to arms, presenting a selective view of international action on climate, and should be treated as such.

Bravo. Another clever trick with China is to use emissions “intensity”, or emissions per unit GDP, which, given China’s GDP is going through the roof, means emissions will too, despite intensity reducing. A cheap trick that fools no-one.

What a joke the Climate Commission is, with a joker in charge.

Read it here.

Australia's totalitarian Gillard urged to 'go harder' at media

(image Pickering Post)

UPDATE: Julie Bishop, former managing partner of the Perth office of national law firm Clayton Utz, believes Gillard’s conduct is a serious breach of professional or ethical conduct:

“If a partner didn’t open a file for work they were doing for a client with whom they had an intimate relationship, and then had no reasonable explanation for it, that would be viewed very seriously within a law firm.

“You have to have a file number, so you have to open a file so that other partners can see what work is being done.

“It would give the impression that there is something to hide and partners would view that very dimly.” (source)

Cue Gillard’s cracked record response, no doubt: I’ve dealt with this all before and I’ve done nothing wrong.

It’s wearing very, very thin, Julia.

Just a reminder that when you read the following, it’s 21st century Australia we’re in, not 1970s Soviet Union. The implications for press freedom (which includes the right for blogs such as this to publish views which challenge the government position) are significant.

Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard is floundering amidst allegations regarding her conduct as a lawyer in the mid-1990s, in particular the setting up of an association which was used – allegedly – to misappropriate union funds.

The Australian and talkback hosts are on the trail, and more of the media is becoming alerted to the story, yet instead of coming clean about it and making a statement, Gillard’s first instinct, and that of her party, is to deny everything, say nothing and instead shut down the legitimate questions by “regulating” the media (i.e. suppressing dissent and only allowing acceptable views to be printed – acceptable to Labor, Gillard and the Left, of course). The mark of a true totalitarian.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. If this was a Labor opposition making the same claims of a Coalition Prime Minister, the ABC and Fairfax would be screaming from the rooftops, but naturally, because it involves their mates, Labor, both of those organisations have been virtually silent on the issue.

JULIA Gillard has lashed out at her online accusers over the circumstances of her departure from law firm Slater & Gordon in the mid-1990s, as her caucus colleagues urged her to “take the gloves off” in a fight with the press.

The Prime Minister took aim at news coverage of her personal life and blasted internet blogs for their “gender-based” attacks on her leadership, amid increasing scrutiny of her link to a disgraced union official and her departure from Slater & Gordon in the mid-1990s.

In a heated discussion within the Labor caucus, MPs urged backbencher John Murphy to “go harder” as he attacked News Limited, publisher of The Australian, over its coverage of the government.

Ms Gillard responded by vowing to proceed with media reforms by the end of the year, keeping the threat of regulation hanging over the sector.

The remarks came as Tony Abbott said the circumstances of Ms Gillard’s departure from Slater & Gordon were the subject of “legitimate media interest” and the Coalition would give her “every opportunity” to make a statement on the matter to parliament.

Ms Gillard has refused to discuss claims by two former Slater & Gordon partners that she left the firm in 1995 after an internal investigation into her dealings with her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, a former Australian Workers Union boss who was later accused of corruption. (source)

Janet Albrechtsen asks Gillard some hard questions:

PRIME Minister, you once said News Limited had hard questions to answer. When pressed, you couldn’t elaborate. Allow me to elaborate on some questions for you. Simply repeating that you have answered questions previously is a political tactic that treats voters as stupid. But we are not. You may have answered other questions long ago. But new information has raised new questions.

On ABC1’s Q&A on Monday night, Graham Richardson said you don’t get the best advice from your staffers but the buck stops with you. He said that you have shown a lack of sound political judgment in the way you have dealt with this issue to date. Please reconsider your strategy. Surely you don’t believe that this is simply the work of feral bloggers? To be sure, a scurrilous online campaign is being waged. But completely separately, important issues are being raised by serious people in serious places. You might not like it but democracy depends on an intellectually curious media. (source)

The Australian‘s editorial is also on the same subject:

 On Sunday, Ms Gillard attacked our editor-at-large, Paul Kelly, arguably the nation’s most eminent political journalist, because he dared to follow up allegations made through this newspaper by former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne. “The central point was that the partner alleged you had to resign because of this issue,” said Kelly. “Is that correct or not?” “Look, Paul,” Ms Gillard responded, “I did resign from Slater & Gordon, that’s a matter of public record. I made the decision to do that. I mean, join the dots for me, Paul. What matters about this today for Australia and me being Prime Minister? Just articulate that … I did nothing wrong.”

While Ms Gillard dodges the question, Thomas has now confirmed through a second senior partner at the time, Peter Gordon, that the firm considered “terminating” Ms Gillard’s employment over her handling of the AWU matters before accepting her resignation. Mr Gordon and Mr Styant-Browne are not “birthers” – they are experienced lawyers who have been cautious and deliberate about their statements.

At the heart of this matter is the allegation Ms Gillard, while a salaried partner, carried out undeclared legal work for her then boyfriend and AWU boss Bruce Wilson and his bagman, AWU official Ralph Blewitt. This included establishing an entity named the AWU Workplace Reform Association – later revealed to have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies that were then used by Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt for private purposes, including buying a house in Melbourne’s Fitzroy. Ms Gillard attended the auction with Mr Wilson, who moved into the house. Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt later sold the property, keeping the proceeds.

And there’s plenty more. Rather than accept that a free press is one of the fundamental features of an open democracy, and difficult questions asked of a prime minister must be answered, the Left’s response is always to regulate and control the media, for their own selfish ends.


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