ABC Environment on Muller and crumbling scepticism

Sara Phillips

This article, by ABC’s environment editor, Sara Phillips (pictured), encapsulates all that is wrong with the national broadcaster’s treatment of the climate debate. Written, as always, from a position of belief, and institutionally critical of any dissent, Phillips attempts to show that scepticism is crumbling in the face of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary:

American physicist Richard Muller is one climate sceptic who has recently changed his mind after reviewing the evidence.

Muller crunched a bunch of numbers to do with global temperatures and announced in the New York Times that he is a “converted sceptic”. It was this opinion piece in arguably the world’s most influential paper that set tongues wagging about climate change all over again.

Muller had previously been claimed by those unconvinced by the science as one of their own, because he questioned the validity of Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ graph, used by Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth.

Muller was never a sceptic, and there are plenty of rusted on believers who have problems with both Mann’s hockey stick and AIT, which is nothing more than a propaganda film. Muller’s subsequent evidence-free claim of attribution to human causes has led to widespread ridicule from within the warmist community.

She then attempts to frame Bjorn Lomborg as a convert from scepticism, using some highly selective quotes from past newspaper interviews:

Bjorn Lomborg is another high-profile climate sceptic who changed his mind after reviewing the evidence. He now believes climate change is real, but that it won’t be the calamity predicted by some.

However, Lomborg directly addressed his alleged switch in a Guardian article cited indirectly:

He reiterates that he has never denied anthropogenic global warming, and insists that he long ago accepted the cost of damage would be between 2% and 3% of world wealth by the end of this century. This estimate is the same, he says, as that quoted by Lord Stern, whose report for the British government argued that the world should spend 1-2% of gross domestic product on tackling climate change to avoid future damage. (source)

He has never doubted the role of CO2, but has rightly questioned the cost-benefit analysis of the proposed solutions. Phillips then describes Alan Jones as “frothing” to David Karoly. Whether you agree with Jones or not, Phillips would never describe a consensus climate scientist as “frothing”, a highly inappropriate term to use. But it just helps to paint the picture of “deniers” as being deluded and crazy.

Of course there is a spectrum of views on climate – as she points out – which range from outright disbelief that temperatures are rising at all to acceptance of a measurable human signal in the global temperature record. However, she portrays this range of views in a very simplistic manner in an attempt to ridicule those who dare question the consensus.

Her conclusion appears to be that scepticism is on the wane and that “denial” is harder to sustain. But her view, distorted as it is by the prism of belief in AGW, fails to appreciate that the majority of sceptics accept the role of CO2 and that there is a human contribution to warming.

However, the reality is that there are problems with the surface temperature record, and there are problems with feedbacks in climate models, and there are serious questions to be answered regarding the proposed mitigation policies in response. Nothing in Muller’s alleged conversion changes any of those issues.

More importantly, she completely ignores the fact that, due in part to an endless barrage of scare stories which have failed to eventuate, scepticism of the alarmist claims of The Cause™ has increased substantially over the past decade, to the point where a significant proportion of the public are now highly suspicious of the pronouncements of climate scientists and government advisers such as Tim Flannery.

Unfortunately, the article is just the latest in a very long line of examples of ABC’s climate groupthink, where the utterances of climate scientists are beyond reproach and questioning of the consensus is frowned upon. That is not how science works: the motto, which the ABC, our taxpayer-funded and supposedly impartial national broadcaster, would do well to remember, is “question everything”.

Read it here.


  1. Typical ABC crap.

  2. She also had an article on The Drum to which I’ve made several comments (saved copies in case of immoderation) about the quality of data used by Muller and the conclusions to which BEST jumped.

    Nearly wet myself laughing when I read one drone comment:
    “Dr Judith Curry, works for Heartland – Dubious source”
    which is handy to know because she’s a co-author of the BEST papers.

    Meanwhile, on the article you mentioned, I commented:
    I’ve responded to the “simple physics” ploy previously on another blog, so I’ll simply copy and paste most of that here:

    IIRC from my first study of (planetary) radiation physics in 1977 (Physics 110); the “greenhouse effect” of +33°C is based on the assumptions of a non-rotating, stationary, massless planet with a uniform solid surface and perfect conductivity and no capacity to store heat, surrounded by a perfectly transparent, uniform, inviscid atmosphere also with no capacity to store heat; all at a constant distance from a constant sun. Those are the main simplifying assumptions used to _teach_ radiation physics.

    And that appears to be where many “Earth scientists” cease to understand thermodynamics. Never appreciating that the teaching model is nothing like any planet in the real universe could ever be. In their disappointment and driven by the urge to enhance their ignorance; they seek refuge in computer models.

    The greenhouse effect is actually the result of a classical fallacy: argumentum ad ignorantiam; argument from ignorance. “We can think of any reason why the planet is warmer than it should be by simple radiation physics so it must be the atmosphere.”

    [message logged for audit]
    I always add the “audit” thingy. Seems to moderate ABC moderators.

  3. Charles Gerard Nelson via Facebook says:

    I think the next government should de-fund the ABC for dis-services to the Australian People.

  4. Why bother with the truth, when the lie is so much more colourful!

  5. It’s been so long since there’s been any significant warming (at least 15 years) that desperation has set in. Hadcrut even changed their data when it didn’t match the hypothesis (the scientific process is to change the hypothesis).

  6. @ross the uea cru (hadcrut) lost *ALL* raw data in office moves in the mid-90’s…so any data since is “manipulated”/”adjusted” data…

  7. Her rave is so very similar to the current gun control rageings of the left who don’t care about truth or proof just their insane ideologies.

  8. Glen Balmer via Facebook says:

    “if you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth”.
    If only the ABC (and Conroy) knew who’s footsteps they were following.
    “those ignorant of history are oft bound to repeat it”.
    “where first they burn books (aka. censor information), they next burn people”.
    Again i say, if only the ABC (and Conroy) knew who’s footsteps they were following.

  9. Sadly Glen, I believe they know only too well.

  10. She looks like Martin Bryant.

  11. Oh,…so she does.!!!

  12. hahaha….it’s freaky.

  13. Her mentality is a littl dubious also.

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