ABC: institutionalised bias


Faine and Williams

Two stories, taken together, demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt, that the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) is a mouthpiece for Labor, the Left in general and the Green agenda. OK, you’re saying, tell me something I didn’t know. Yes, yes, true, but these two examples perfectly encapsulate the blatant and institutionalised bias of the ABC ,which flies in the face of its legal obligations as an impartial public broadcaster, but somehow it escapes any sanction for doing so.

Story Number 1 – Julia Gillard and the Australian Workers Union

Overseas readers will have to bear with me for a little while. This story concerns our (sub-) Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in the days when she was a lefty lawyer in a lefty law firm in Melbourne in the 1990s. She helped to establish an incorporated association through the bank accounts of which a union official, who was also her boyfriend at the time, siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars for his own personal benefit. Gillard managed to have two journalists who dared raise this issue sacked – Glenn Milne of The Australian and Michael Smith, a radio presenter who now blogs at Michael Smith News (and, I must add, is on a personal crusade to get to the very bottom of this shady period in Gillard’s past – add a bookmark).

There are plenty of questions for Gillard to answer, but at the moment, she’s using the stonewalling technique, alternating with the amnesia defence. The Opposition here is pushing Gillard hard for answers, as the issue goes to the heart of her credibility and integrity – and suitability for the high office of Prime Minister.

The ABC refused to even mention this story until this week, despite it having been rumbling on for several months. Emails of complaint were met with brick walls and a bizarre inability to accept that the story even existed! I personally thought journalists were supposed to ask tricky questions, but in the case of the ABC I assume that they should ask such questions only when it’s not something bad for Labor.

On Thursday of this week, Jon Faine, presenter on Melbourne’s Morning show, did his very best to defend Gillard and Labor against these charges. As the ABC blog notes:

Mornings host Jon Faine has had it with a long-running media campaign casting aspersions about Julia Gillard and her alleged role in establishing a union slush fund. He lays into the journalists who continue to push the story, and raises doubts about whether information from former unionist Ralph Blewitt is likely to produce any evidence.

Jon “has had it” – in other words, he cannot abide the fact that his beloved PM may have some awkward questions to answer, and instead pretends that there’s nothing to see and the main witness has no credibility. You have to listen to it to get the full picture. Following this tirade, Michael Smith contacted the show and asked for a right of reply. He got it the next day. Once again, you have to listen to it to fully appreciate the the contempt in Faine’s voice – he was formerly a lawyer at the same firm – no conflict of interest there, clearly – and thinks he knows something about the law.

So here we have an ABC presenter, paid by the public broadcaster, out of taxpayer funds, who has no interest in impartial reporting but simply defending Gillard and Labor. Faine is just beyond belief. The whole thing is breathtaking.

Story Number 2 – Robyn Williams links climate sceptics to paedophiles and crack dealers

Robyn Williams is the presenter of the Science Show on ABC Radio National and has a long list of form of defaming and smearing sceptics (see here). Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychology professor from the University of Western Australia, has similar form for smearing sceptics, most recently equating them with fruitcakes who believe the moon landings were faked. He also works closely with John Cook of Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science so it’s hardly news that he and Williams are best mates.

“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.

[Quoting The Economist magazine on the US election] It was a telling moment of denial. Much like the comforting myth that there is no such thing as climate change, or if there is, humans are not involved. Ensconced in a parallel world of conservative news sources and conservative arguments, all manner of comforting alternative visions of reality surfaced during the 2012 election. Many […] involved having to think about unwelcome things, often basic science or economics.”

Lewandowsky is then wheeled in:

“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.”

I can’t bear to transcribe any more. It’s too painful. You can listen here (if you dare). This, of course, is the moon landing denier paper, rearing its ugly head again for the sympathetic Williams, who will accept it all as evidence of the fact that sceptics are bonkers – and of similar standing to crack dealers and paedophiles.

Once again, it is the same crude characterisation of sceptics as anti-science deniers that we have heard countless times by Williams and Lewandowsky.

All at the taxpayers expense.

Doha talks: what to do about this runaway global warming?


More “no global warming”

As you can see from the UAH graph (right), global temperatures are rising at a catastrophic rate. Or maybe not.

There has been over a decade of barely perceptible warming, which none of the models were able to forecast. Why? Because they fail to take into account the many unknowns in the natural climate cycles of the planet and obsessively focus on CO2. Emissions keep rising, but temperatures don’t.

Graham Lloyd in The Australian considers the predicament:

‘‘Not only are nations failing to close the gap between their actions and the two degrees goal,’’ says Union of Concerned Scientists director Alden Meyer, ‘‘but the gap is actually widening.’’

Last month’s Hurricane Sandy, which flooded New York City, has been widely cited as evidence that climate change is about bigger storms, not just higher temperatures. For climate change campaigners this is fortunate because the most recent global temperature record, released this week, shows the average global temperature f ell last year for the second year.

The decline is not considered statistically significant — temperatures remain well above the long-term average — and is explained by the strong La Nina weather patterns that caused rain havoc across eastern Australia. But it is nonetheless counterintuitive to claims that global temperatures are spinning out of control, just as increasing ice cover in Antarctica runs counter to the high level of scientific concern at increased ice melt in the Arctic.

The Antarctic ice growth does not necessarily undermine anxiety about the melting ice in the Arctic, but it does highlight the fact gaps remain in scientific understanding and that climate models don’t always work.

The British Met Bureau was forced to furiously deny reports in Britain last month that the latest temperature data showed global warming stopped 16 years ago.

The bureau argues the trend is still unambiguously up, with global surface temperatures having risen by about 0.8C in the past 140 years. ‘‘However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled,’’ the bureau said. ‘‘The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15-year-long periods are not unusual.’’

In short, there is agreement that the rising trend has stalled.

Many scientists accept there are natural processes at work that are not properly factored into the global temperature models.

German environmentalist Fritz Vahrenholt, a former Social Democrat Party senator, founder of wind-energy company REpower and president of the German Wildlife Foundation, has been particularly outspoken.

‘‘According to the IPCC climate models, there should be an increase in global temperature of 0.2C per decade,’’ he says.

‘‘But if you look at the data series of satellite-based temperature measurements and the data from the British Hadley Centre (HadCRUT), you find that since 1998 there has been no warming; the temperature has remained at a plateau. We know how mainstream climate scientists would answer this question: 15 years is not a climate signal; it must happen for 30 years,’’ Vahrenholt says, ‘‘But there must be an explanation for the unexpected absence of warming.’’

Vahrenholt’s answer is that the exclusion of solar activity and decadal oscillations from climate models leads to erroneous results. Vahrenholt’s point is not that climate change shouldn’t be addressed but that fear-driven energy policy works against the interests of nature, the poor and economic good sense. He says there is time to find solutions that work.

This is the background against which governments will meet in Doha to negotiate a globally binding agreement to cut carbon emissions, as agreed at last year’s meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.(source)

And my prediction is that the talks will achieve as much as all the previous climate talks, i.e. precisely nothing.

Ballarat museum indoctrinates children with climate propaganda


Climate indoctrination at work

This is truly astonishing. The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery has an “art trail” for children, which is basically alarmist climate propaganda on steroids. Here for example is the description on the museum’s web site for  A Bore on the Hooghli by Johan Jakob Bennetter (pictured):

A ship captain himself until the 1840’s, the Norwegian born Johan Jakob Bennetter attended the Christiania School of Design in Oslo before venturing to France in 1855 to further his studies. He was best known for his detailed and accurate depictions of ships at sea.

Painted after his return to Norway in 1880, A bore on the Hooghli relates to a natural phenomenon that is known as a bore tide.  These fast flowing  high waters occur following an extremely low tide when there is a rush of seawater into a narrow shallow inlet from a broad bay such as this, where the Hooghli River enters the Bay of Bengal, India.

One of two seascapes by this artist owned by the Gallery – the other, known as The first shot features a battle between a  ship flying the East India company’s flag,  and a French ship.of the Napoleonic era…  Both of these works and indeed several other early acquisitions, came  to Australia through the agency of Alfred Fletcher, an art dealer in Melbourne during the boom period of the 1880’s.

All well and good. But what does the “art trail” for children say?

Climate change, bringing with it an increase in extreme weather and rising sea levels, means that phenomena like the famous bores on the Hooghli at the Bay of Bengal now threaten the lives and livelihoods of literally hundreds of millions of people. This is one of the places in the world most vulnerable to catastrophe arising out of rapid rises in sea level…

What other changes in natural phenomena do you know of as a result of global warming?

How will predicted climate change affect your life?”

There are many, many more in similar vein. Shame on the Ballarat gallery for peddling this blatant, extremist political propaganda at children who do not have the capacity to question it, and who will in all likelihood, accept it as fact.

Tony Thomas at Quadrant Online has the full shocking story here.

You may wish to register your displeasure by emailing the gallery at artgal@ballarat.vic.gov.au.

World Bank makes UN look like the Heartland Institute


Moon(-bat) or Morano?

For the headless chicken propaganda merchants at the World Bank, the IPCC seems like a bunch of filthy sceptics. So they commission a report from the hyper-hysterical Potsdam Institute (see here and here for example), which claims temperatures will rise by 4 degrees by 2100 – or even [let's pluck a closer date out of thin air] 2060!

A new hero of climate alarmism has emerged, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who makes UN warmist Ban Ki Moon look like Marc Morano.

The Brisbane Times hyperventilates, complete with scary graphics:

The World Bank has warned the planet is on track to warm by four degrees Celsius this century – causing increasingly extreme heat waves, lower crop yields and rising sea levels – unless significant action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In a major report released ahead of the year-end United Nations climate summit in Qatar, the bank says changes associated with four degrees of warming would have dramatic and devastating effects on all parts of the world, including Australia, but that the poor would be most vulnerable.

Scientists say global warming must be kept within two degrees of pre-industrial temperatures to give the world the best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

The report – a snapshot of the most recent climate science prepared for the bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics – says global mean warming is now about 0.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

It says that if current promises by nations to curb emissions are met then it is most likely there will be more than three degrees warming. However, under that scenario it warns there is also a 20 per cent likelihood that four degrees of warming will occur by 2100.

If current promises are not met, then the world is “plausibly” on a path to warm by four degrees this century, possibly as early as 2060, the bank says.

The report, titled Turn Down the Heat, says if the world experiences four degrees of warming it would:

* See a 150 per cent increase in ocean acidity, leading to the extinction of some sensitive coral reef ecosystems.

* Result in sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1 metres by 2100, with more in following centuries, affecting low-lying islands and coastal communities.

* Lead to more extreme heatwaves, reduced run-off into major rivers and a significant decline in biodiversity, all risking the support systems of humans.

The report says the full impact on human development of a four-degree-hotter world is unknown, making it is unclear whether humanity would be able to adapt.

“A 4°C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread unequally,” the report says.

“It is likely that the poor will suffer most and the global community could become more fractured, and unequal than today.”

World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim said: “A four-degree-warmer world can, and must be avoided – we need to hold warming below two degrees.”

“Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.” (source)

So the planet has warmed 0.8 degrees in the last 150 years or so. It would then have to warm by that same amount every decade for the next 50 years to reach 4 degrees further warming by 2060. Given that warming has all but ceased in the past decade, that’s some turn around.

You can read it, in all its gory detail, here.

Agenda-driven Met Office's grudging concessions to reality


Agenda-driven

It’s bizarre to watch the UK Met Office squirm as it desperately tries to maintain an ideological position in the face of conflicting evidence. I never would have believed that such a formerly respected institution, scientific impartiality at its core, could be so compromised by a political agenda.

Instead of simply reporting on new developments in climate, they must instead be spun in order to bolster the case for political action. Such is the case today, where Peter Stott grudgingly concedes that temperatures have fallen in the past couple of years, but surrounds it with caveats and “yes, buts” in order to make sure The Cause™ is not diluted (see highlights below):

THE world’s climate has cooled during last year and this year, temperature data from Britain’s Met Office reveals — just before this year’s talks on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

The figures show that, although global temperatures are still well above the long-term average, they have fallen since the record seen in 2010.

The findings could prove politically sensitive, coming ahead of the UN’s climate summit in Doha, Qatar, where the global system for regulating greenhouse gas emissions faces collapse. The threat comes because the Kyoto Treaty, under which developed nations pledged to cut their carbon emissions, expires at the end of this year. Doha is seen as the last hope of securing an extension.

In such a febrile situation, any data casting doubt on climate scientists’ predictions is potentially explosive.

The World Meteorological Organisation, which oversees the publication of climate trend data from the four main global centres, including the British Met Office, has been strongly criticised for its policy of releasing such data just before the UN’s key annual summits.

“In the past two years we have seen a slight decline in temperature,” said Peter Stott, the Met Office’s head of climate monitoring and attribution.

“However, it is such a short period that it is scientifically meaningless. Climate change can only be measured over decades — and the records show that the world has warmed by 0.75C over the past century.”

The Met Office figures show that, for the first 10 months of this year, global temperatures averaged 14.43C; 2010 was significantly hotter at 14.54C.

Dr Stott says the heat of 2010 was caused by an El Nino event, where warm water currents in the Pacific released unusual amounts of heat into the atmosphere.

“It is a natural short-term fluctuation and nothing to do with climate change,” he said.

The longer-term record shows global temperatures have hardly risen for about 15 years. But Dr Stott said the key point was that they had remained consistently above the long-term average. (source)

In fact, the print edition of The Australian includes a further sentence, which reveals the Met Office’s bias even more clearly:

“This is why the Arctic icecap is melting and extreme weather events are increasing.”

That could have been written by Greenpeace or the WWF. No mention of the increasing ice in the Antarctic or the fact that no link from “extreme weather” to climate change has been established – even by the IPCC. The claim has no factual basis and is pure environmental ideology.

Bjørn Lomborg has an op-ed in The Oz as well today, on mitigation vs adaptation.

No increase in droughts despite 'global warming'


No change

From the Science is Settled department. Another ‘extreme weather’ lie is exposed, as it is revealed that there has been little change in droughts over the past 60 years, when CO2 emissions increased rapidly and our planet succumbed to the evils of global warming – allegedly:

According to a commonly used model of drought patterns, researchers had previously assumed that higher global temperatures were causing greater evaporation of water, and therefore more droughts.

But a more detailed analysis of weather data, including wind speed, humidity and radiation levels, found that in fact there has been “little change” in drought over the past 60 years.

Researchers from Princeton University and the Australian National University said drought was “expected to increase in frequency and severity” in the future, but added that currently used prediction methods are inaccurate.

Overestimating the influence of temperature on evaporation could skew estimates of the likely impacts of climate change over the coming decades, they reported in the Nature journal.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that global temperatures have risen by about 0.13C per decade for the last 50 years – nearly twice the rate of increase for the last 100 years.

In a report published in 2007, the IPCC claimed that “more intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s”, adding that “increased drying linked with higher temperatures and decreased precipitation has contributed to changes in drought”.

In a recent review, however, the statement was significantly revised to recognise that over-reliance on temperature recordings to predict evaporation may have inflated estimates of drought at regional and global scales.

Now in their new study, the American and Australian scientists have outlined “more realistic calculations” which suggest major uncertainty over drought trends since 1950, and little sign of an increase in the overall area affected by droughts. (source)

Paging the ABC, the Climate Commission and Greg Combet… hello? Anybody home? [tumbleweed]

By the way, when Combet labelled Tony Abbott’s statements on climate change as bullshit, we must remember that Combet himself is the foremost climate bullshitter. As Terry McCrann notes, no one spouts more ordure on this topic than Combet himself and the deceitful Gillard government.

Warmist Monbiot at risk of defamation claim


Defamatory tweet?

UPDATE [19 Nov]: The Guardian has confirmed it will not be paying Monbiot’s legal fees if he is sued:

“George Monbiot is not a member of the Guardian staff and was tweeting in a personal capacity,” he said.

“George has acknowledged that his tweets were wholly inappropriate and a serious error and has posted a comprehensive apology on his own blog.

“The Guardian cannot and will not take responsibility for comments that were made by a contributor in a personal capacity, however we have taken this opportunity to remind our journalists and freelancers, including George, that they should apply the same ethical and legal standards to what they say on social media as they do to what they write for the Guardian.”

The UK’s BBC, otherwise known as the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, last week made an unfounded accusation of child abuse against a senior Conservative figure in its flagship Newsnight programme. As Boris Johnson writes, this was just too good to be true in the eyes of the lefty Beeb, and the victim, Lord McAlpine, was forced out of retirement to defend himself:

It was not just wrong: it was a slander more cruel, revolting and idiotic than anything perpetrated by the News of the World. The programme makers hadn’t taken account of the real anxieties about the reliability of their witness, as expressed by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, who led the inquiry into Bryn Estyn. They hadn’t shown him a picture of McAlpine. They hadn’t even put the allegations to McAlpine! Unbelievable! And why not? It was, as they say, a story that was too good to check. It wasn’t just that it showed Newsnight taking up the cudgels against paedophiles, after the embarrassment of the axed Savile exposé. It went one better. It pushed all the buttons. It was like a dream come true for any vaguely resentful and Left-of-centre BBC producer. It was a chance to pour unlimited ordure on a man who – in their book – jolly well had it coming. He is rich, he is a toff, he is a Lord, he is a Tory, and – joy of joys – he is an EX-AIDE TO MRS THATCHER.

The journalism was so shoddy, so cretinous, so ready to let the wish be father to the thought that the Beeb really now has to show that Newsnight was not acting with malice. The BBC cannot minimise what the programme has done. There will be people out there who will continue to believe that there is no smoke without fire, that Newsnight would never have broadcast such allegations unless there was something in it. The BBC owes it to McAlpine to grovel and keep grovelling until the public gets the message. Everyone associated with the “paedophile” segment on Newsnight should be sacked instantly.

Unfortunately, it transpires that Lord McAlpine will be suing not only the BBC for defamation, but also certain Twitter users who gleefully published his name, including left-wing warmist George Monbiot:

George Monbiot, the Guardian columnist, and Sally Bercow, the Lefty wife of the Speaker, may soon be getting stern letters from m’learned friends about their online smearing of Lord McAlpine. They were in the thick of the online lynch mob that used Twitter last week to wrongly identify the former Tory treasurer as a paedophile.

As Boris Johnson points out this morning, it’s hard to envisage a more damaging accusation against a man. Yet Monbiot and Bercow were happy to encourage this appalling falsehood, doubtless finding the very idea of a top Tory paedophile simply too irresistible to ignore. There has never been a more graphic illustration of the way Twitter can be used quite casually to destroy someone’s good name. When the truth emerged, Bercow’s apology was hardly steeped in contrition: “Final on McAlpine: am VERY sorry for inadvertently fanning flames. But I tweet as me, forgetting that to some of u I am Mrs bloody Speaker”. It is not easy to fathom what she’s on about, but that sounds like the response of a naughty schoolgirl caught telling a whopper.

In contrast, the achingly self-righteous Monbiot produced the most abject mea culpa in living memory: “I have helped to malign an innocent man. I have done a few stupid things in my life, but nothing as stupid as this. The tweets I sent which hinted – as I assumed to be the case – that Lord McAlpine was the person the child abuse victim Steve Messham was talking about were so idiotic that, looking back on them today, I cannot believe that I wrote them. But I did, and they are unforgivable. I have helped stoke an atmosphere of febrile innuendo around an innocent man, and I am desperately sorry for the harm I have done him.”

If Monbiot has put as much thought into his original tweets as into his apology, he might not now be facing the possibility of costly legal action. More importantly, the McAlpine affair may finally force those who use Twitter to realise they can’t write vile untruths about people and expect to get away with it.

Hope he’s got good lawyers…

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