Quote of the Day: Ian Chubb

Quote of the Day

Ian Chubb is our Chief Scientist, and once again he indicates his belief that science is about counting heads, ignoring the hundreds of peer-reviewed papers that challenge that consensus, ignoring the fact that the IPCC ignores those papers, and looking away when something doesn’t fit with your pre-conceived views:

“After the work of very many scientists over more than 50 years, the views on climate change have converged to the point where the evidence has moved from possible to beyond reasonable doubt. But do we do nothing because of the mockers or because some scientists disagree, or because some others sit on the side and shout but don’t put their ideas into the scientific literature?

The quintessence of the debate about climate science should be based on the scientific evidence at hand.  Science is contestable; scientists are natural skeptics and highly trained critics.  They constantly evaluate and revise.  But sooner or later, prevailing views will converge after scrutiny and challenge. Some call that a consensus; not a contrived view but a majority view. After the work of scientists from multiple disciplinary backgrounds the lines of evidence on climate change have converged to support a high degree of confidence that climate is changing and that human activity is a primary cause.”

But there is no scrutiny or challenge to the cosy little coterie of warmist scientists – sceptics are silenced, excluded and ostracised, and their work (peer-reviewed or otherwise) totally overlooked. You can’t have it both ways. One failed prediction is enough to invalidate a model or a hypothesis, except in climate science, that is.

I repeat, it is not the realists that wish to turn our economy upside down to appease Gaia. For that to be justified, we need more than this.

Read it here.

Bob Brown: xenophobic and economically illiterate


Tell us something we didn’t already know. Sinclair Davidson in The Australian spells out the consequences of Brown’s brainlessness, which he exposed at the National Press Club yesterday:

Economic illiterates make several mistakes in their analysis. Because of his anti-foreign bias, Brown overlooks the benefits of interaction with foreigners. Unfortunately, he is not alone in exhibiting “capital xenophobia”.

Australia has long had to borrow money from the rest of the world to finance our economic prosperity. The local economy has grown and foreign investors got their money back. This arrangement has benefited everybody; Australian savings are simply too small to finance our economic growth and standard of living. Foreigners invest in those economies with good prospects and low levels of sovereign risk.

Australia has a good reputation as an investment destination. But Brown is placing that hard-earned reputation at risk. Suggestions by a major political party, in a formal partnership with government and holding the balance of power in the Senate, that foreign investment can be taxed with impunity, or even shut down, raises perceptions of sovereign risk. What’s worse, he is not alone. The ill-fated resource super-profits tax also raised serious concerns about sovereign risk.

Remarkably, Brown admits that Australia gets “jobs, export income, royalties and company tax” from mining. But that is not enough; he wants it all. He seems to object to foreigners, in return for their loans and investments, getting “profits, dividends, [and] capital appreciation”. There is also a bit of double counting going on; dividends and capital appreciation amount to profits. Or perhaps Brown doesn’t know that.

Economic illiterates believe that with some tweaking the world can be made a better place. In Brown’s case the existence of a carbon tax and the demise of the coal industry would make the world a much better place. Yet he has given little thought to how that world would be powered. It’s all very well talking about “renewables”, but which renewables and how much would they cost?

As the Productivity Commission recently flagged, renewables are expensive; wind power costs $150-$214 a megawatt hour, solar costs $400-$473 a megawatt hour. By contrast, coal-fired electricity costs less than $100 a megawatt hour.

A coal-free Australia would be a lot more expensive, with lower standards of living.

Brown quoted the UN statistic that for every year of delay on climate change $1 trillion of costs will be incurred. What he hasn’t explained is how undermining the Australian economy would reduce that cost and why Australians should bear that cost when the UN hasn’t managed to convince its members to act in concert on climate change.

The biggest problem Brown faces is that you can’t intervene in the economy on the scale he desires without a massive reduction in our economic wellbeing. The problem Australia faces is that Brown doesn’t understand that point.

Read it here.



Australia, June 2011: Green Hell

Ruining Australia

I would never have believed it possible. The country that I adopted as my own just eight short years ago has transformed from a healthy, vibrant, prosperous and flourishing society, to a bitter, divided, backward, frustrated mess run by the Greens. They hold the balance of power with two dishwater-weak independents in the House of Representatives, and soon they hold the balance of power in the Senate.

And between them, they are ruining this country, step by step, day by day.

Listen with incredulity to Bob Brown (lovingly reported by the ever impartial ABC, naturally):

Greens leader Bob Brown has guaranteed carbon price legislation will not be repealed despite promises from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott that he would “oppose it in opposition and rescind it in government”.

Senator Brown predicts an agreement on a climate legislation is only about two weeks away – but says it is not going to be a “green outcome”.

The Greens will have the balance of power in the Senate from Friday and Senator Brown says his party will not support any rescission motion – even if the Coalition is in government.

“I can give you a rolled gold guarantee that when and if this package, after all this work on behalf of the Australian people passes our parliament, we will be giving it every guarantee for the future,” Senator Brown told the National Press Club.

“Of course we won’t be supporting a rescission motion by Tony Abbott. This is, of course, central to the Greens.

“While ever we are drawing breath in the Senate we will defend the outcome – unless it can be improved.” (source)

The Greens register barely 10 percent of the vote, and yet here they are, determining the future of our country. Brown isn’t particularly knowledgeable about the Constitution clearly (neither are the ABC, who rush to print his insane ramblings without any critical thought) since there is the Double Dissolution procedure if the Senate fails to pass legislation from the lower house (section 57 of the Constitution). And it is a basic tenet of parliamentary supremacy that no parliament can bind its successors – or had you forgotten that in your mad rush to dictatorial power?

So Bob, just to make this quite clear: no one (except the ABC and Fairfax) gives a flying f*ck what you think. After the next election you will be relegated to the irrelevance that you and your despicable party really are.

ABC's War on Science – Part 1

War on science

Following the lead of an infamous warmist blog, I thought we’d start a new regular section, the ABC’s War on Science, where we can document the national broadcaster’s frequent smears and attacks on anyone that dares question any part of the alarmist gospel.

And what a cracking way to start, with Graham Readfearn on top form, writing an article that consists entirely of innuendo, with no challenges to the facts at all! It’s all the usual whining that we’ve heard a thousand times before:

Climate sceptics, deniers, contrarians – call them what you like – are engaged in a fight for column inches, radio waves, TV talk-time and community sentiment.

In Australia, the issue has turned decidedly unsavoury, with climate scientists revealing inboxes chock-full of hate and Government advisors being slurred as Nazis. [Readfearn forgets all the equally abhorrent slurs on sceptics, natch – Ed]

But as a memo from US Republican communications guru Frank Luntz revealed in 2003, the most important aspect of climate change denial is not to throw hate, but to sow doubt.

Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.

Doubt is the product of the climate change denial industry – an industry which is tightly knit, well resourced and globally linked. (source)

Actually, I’m not tightly knit or globally linked to anybody, just to clear that up. So we can run through the usual smear list:

  • Links to Big Oil and Exxon? Check [by the way, being in hock to Big Green is just fine – Ed]
  • Links to mining companies? Check
  • Links to Heartland? Check
  • Links to Tea Party? Check
  • Use of “denier”? Check
  • Claims that “deniers” are “well funded”? Check [laughable, seriously laughable – Ed]
  • Challenging any of the arguments put forward? … er, silence.

People tend to forget that it isn’t the sceptics that are demanding that the global economy is turned upside down and our standards of living trashed in order to appease Gaia – it’s the warmists. And nothing is going to stop me from holding everything they say to the fullest account possible, to ensure that their case (if indeed they have one) is based on honest, impartial, apolitical science – and nothing else.

I guess we should be pleased that this is all that the warmists have got left in their tool-bag. Smears, ad homs and innuendo. Because, as we all know, there sure ain’t anything else.

Skeptical Science, or just plain old alarmism?

Fully un-Skeptical

As expected after Bob Carter’s article appeared in The Age on Monday, the editors have lined up responses to try and tear it down. First off was John Cook, author of the “Skeptical Science” website:

Cherry-picking the evidence to suit a pseudo-scientific argument misses the alarming reality.

A Yiddish proverb states ”a half truth is a whole lie”. By withholding vital information, it’s possible to lead you towards the opposite conclusion to the one you would get from considering the full picture. In Bob Carter’s opinion piece on this page yesterday, this technique of cherry-picking half-truths is on full display, with frequent examples of statements that distort climate science.

The partial truths are further bolstered by scientific statements that have almost no basis in fact. It is not surprising that people present such fallacies, since the blogosphere is full of climate pseudo-science, but it is surprising that newspapers are still reporting such statements. Opinion is one thing, but scientific fact is another. Every major science body in the world has effectively refuted the assertions made by Carter. (source)

So far, so boring. And today they pull out some journalistic non-entity to smear Carter some more:

The myth of Climate-gate has endured because of media failings.

GEOLOGIST and long-time climate change denialist Bob Carter materialised on this page on Monday, reprising a weary routine – tiptoeing through the scientific archive to find the morsels of data that might, with a twirl here and a shimmy there, contrive to support his theory that global warming is a big fat conspiracy.

Meanwhile, in real news, the journal Nature Geoscience published a paper by American and British scientists that found West Antarctica’s Pine Island glacier is now melting 50 per cent faster than in 1994. (source)

Yawn. So far, so boring, again. I assume Pravda on the Yarra will run another dozen or so of these articles, just to keep its urban-green readership happy. The excellent blog Bishop Hill in the UK picked up on John Cook’s article and I thought I would share with you something that I discovered in the comments.

When I first became interested in climate change a few years ago, I visited “Skeptical Science” thinking it was exactly that, sceptical of the consensus on man-made warming. To my surprise it was exactly the opposite, attempting to rubbish all the sceptical arguments and bolster the alarmist consensus. In fact, the site is “skeptical” of sceptics, which is an odd concept, but still. The site lists the usual “denialist half-truths” (as I am sure they are regarded by the author), and places a rebuttal next to them.

However, in the comments on Bishop Hill’s post, someone pointed me to an extensive response to these “rebuttals” by Luboš Motl, who writes the equally excellent blog “The Reference Frame“. Here are the first few, with the sceptical argument first, then Cook’s rebuttal (each of which is a link on the site to a longer rebuttal) and then Lubos’s response (since Luboš wrote the response, the numberings have changed, so there’s a little cross-referencing to be done):

1. “Climate’s changed before”: Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.

Cook says that the previous history of the climate shows that the climate is sensitive to imbalances. Indeed, it is and it has always been. And he says that the past history provides evidence for sensitivity to CO2. Well, it virtually doesn’t. CO2, much like other effects, adds imbalances and pushes the temperature around. But there exists no way to disentangle CO2 from many other effects or argue that it has become the most important driver. So the climate continues to change in the same way as it did in the past, by the typical changes per year, decade, and century, and Cook has offered no evidence whatsoever that something has changed about the very fact that the climate is changing.

2. “It’s the sun”: In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions

I agree with Richard Lindzen that it’s silly to try to find “one reason behind all climate change”, because the climate is pretty complex and clearly has lots of drivers, and this applies to the opinion that “everything is in the Sun”, too. Cook shows that the solar irradiance is too small and largely uncorrelated to the observed changes of temperatures. I agree with that: a typical 0.1% change of the output is enough for a 0.025% change of the temperature in Kelvins which is less than 0.1 °C and unlikely to matter much. But I find it embarrassing for a student of solar physics such as himself to be so narrow-minded. The Sun influences the Earth’s atmosphere not only directly by the output but also indirectly, by its magnetic field and its impact on the cosmic rays (via solar wind etc.) and other things. He has completely ignored all these things. Of course, I am actually not certain that these effects are very important for the climate but the evidence – including peer-reviewed articles – is as diverse as the evidence supporting CO2 as an important driver.

3. “It’s not bad”: Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives.

Cook claims that the negative impact on agriculture, health, economy, and environment outweighs any positives. In reality, the overall impact is positive in all four cases. The agriculture becomes more effective, is able to feed people more easily, the economy grows, the fees for heating go down (and they exceed the money paid for cooling today). Cook’s statement is preposterous: if there were warming, it would be beneficial for life on Earth and the human society, too. Even 5 °C of warming would be a net positive. Cook’s methodology to “prove” that the negatives win is completely absurd. He first decided how many “positives” and “negatives” he allows in each category (so that the negatives dominate), and then he randomly added a few papers supporting them. That’s a completely wrong methodology. If he actually calculated the effects on agriculture in dollars rather than in “talking points” (whose number was predetermined, anyway), he would see that the positives outweigh the negatives by an order of magnitude or more.

There are 101 more which Lubos responds to in equal detail – it is a superb tour de force, and, I suggest, essential reading.

Cook has now reached 160 plus of these arguments, but there is little reason to doubt that the extra 50 or so are as unreliable and skewed as the original 10o-odd.

There is no scepticism at all in Skeptical Science, in fact it attempts precisely the opposite – to shut down free thinking enquiry and any challenge to the consensus. So it’s as we thought – plain old alarmism.

Read it here.

Author’s Note: Personally I find the formatting of Luboš’ blog a little tiring on the eyes, so I have produced a PDF of his post for download here.

EU carbon market crashes


The shambles that is the EU is held up as a shining example of what Australia should aspire to be – fractured, miserable, uncertain, and verging on bankruptcy. Terrific. And to cap it all the carbon price has now crashed to 12 Euros, or AU$16, far less than the Three Gs (Garnaut, Government and Greens) want ours to start at. Hopefully it will continue on down until it reaches the level of the Chicago Climate Exchange, where trading finally ceased at a few sad, sorry cents per tonne. Right before it was closed for good.

PRICES in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme have plunged to two-year lows, intensifying pressure on the Gillard government to start with a low carbon tax and threatening to complicate negotiations with the Greens, who are pushing for a strong start to the Australian scheme.

Business groups yesterday seized on reports that the EU permit price fell 11 per cent on Friday — and 22 per cent in a week, testing a two-year low of $16.79 a tonne — saying it highlighted the dangers of a fixed-price scheme that could leave Australian businesses facing higher prices than international competitors.

The EU price has traded well below the $20-$30 starting rate recommended for the Australian scheme by government climate change adviser Ross Garnaut.

European analysts said the reasons for the fall included the bleak economic outlook sparked by the Greek debt crisis, lack of confidence in the will of European governments to achieve their stated policy aims, and the fact energy-efficiency measures appeared to be replacing carbon pricing as the EU’s main climate change lever.

So Australia will plough into carbon pricing just as others, who have experimented with it and seen it fail, are looking elsewhere. Brilliant again, Julia, Greg, Ross etc etc.

Read it here.

Abbott overtakes Gillard as preferred PM


It keeps getting worse for Julia Gillard and Labor. I wonder why? Is it possibly because she LIED about a carbon tax before the election, and now intends to introduce one without giving the electorate the chance to vote on her backflip? Just a crazy, wild guess. [UPDATE: or perhaps being compared to children who won’t eat their vegetables? How patronising can you get? – Ed]

JULIA Gillard has sunk below Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister for the first time and is now the most unpopular modern prime minister since Paul Keating at his worst.

Voter satisfaction with Ms Gillard has sunk to a record low, along with her support as Prime Minister against the Opposition Leader.

According to the latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, satisfaction with the Prime Minister last weekend was down two percentage points to 28 per cent, her lowest since becoming leader a year ago and a fall of 22 percentage points since she announced the carbon tax.

Dissatisfaction with Ms Gillard has leapt to a high of 62 per cent, up seven points in the past two weeks.

On the question of who would make the better prime minister, she slipped below Mr Abbott for the first time, after falling two points to 39 per cent as Mr Abbott’s support rose two points to 41 per cent.

On the first anniversary of the removal of Kevin Rudd as Labor leader and Ms Gillard’s first year as Prime Minister, the government’s primary vote has dropped to a record low for Labor of 30 per cent. The Coalition’s support remains at 46 per cent, with the Greens on a steady 11 per cent.

Based on second-preference flows at the last election, the Coalition has maintained its clear election-winning lead over Labor of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

One thing’s for sure, the Australian electorate do not take kindly to being lied to.

Read it here.

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