Glass jaw: don't criticise Flannery with 'vicious' attacks, says Steffen

Rapidly losing credibility

Advice to Climate Commission: when you’re in a massive hole of your own making, best stop digging. But they are so horribly compromised that such painfully obvious action is impossible.

The Climate Commission’s sole purpose is to “spruik the government’s case for tackling climate change” as the Sydney Morning Herald article puts it (somewhat too honestly in fact!), so what else are they supposed to do?

Anyone with half a brain (even Steffen and Flannery when they are alone with their consciences) knows that nothing Australia does alone will make any difference to the climate, so the Commission has to rely on blatant and shameless alarmism to scare the public into believing the government’s pointless carbon tax will actually make some discernible difference to the climate.

The latest chapter in this never-ending saga of alarmism from the Climate Commission was released on Monday and predicted dire consequences for New South Wales. Not surprisingly, many regarded the report as hysterical. And when the Commission gets called out for it, they have no response, except to attack their critics:

Climate commissioner Will Steffen has called on critics to stop their “vicious” attacks against the body’s chief Tim Flannery and rejected suggestions the federal government-created commission is alarmist.

Flannery, Steffen and the Climate Commission have a glass jaw. Note how, just with the ANU “death threats” non-story, criticism or disagreement of any kind is immediately emotionalised and exaggerated by being branded “vicious”. The report was described by various commentators and politicians as “alarmist” and “fear mongering”. Which of those terms are “vicious”, Prof Steffen? Maybe he was referring to the bloke in the penguin suit…

Flannery has a track record of making hopeless end-of-pier style crystal-ball gazing prophecies, as Gaia’s self-appointed incarnation here on Earth, which have been wrong virtually every time – and paid very nicely for by taxpayer dollars, lots of them. If he can’t take the heat, maybe he should get out of the kitchen, or take the criticism without resorting to this kind of whining:.

“Climate scientists take exceptional care to be absolutely straight,” [Steffen] told AAP in an interview on Wednesday.

“We don’t use inflammatory language, we don’t overplay and we don’t underplay.” [ACM editor snorts coffee all over the screen – Ed]

The ANU researcher compared climate scientists to the family GP.

While you wouldn’t want them only to give dire warnings, “you certainly don’t want them to underplay the risks you might face and can do something about”. (source)

But this is patently nonsense, and exposes Steffen’s impossible position of having to defend a pointless policy through alarmism. Because there is nothing we can do about it, even if you believe CO2 is the main driver of climate, unless China and India decide to do something about it as well. Otherwise, it is utterly pointless.

Claiming not to overplay the seriousness of the issue is verging on incredible, since the only way the government’s policy can possibly be sold is through fear. Here is what the report says (p10) about health risks:

  • increasing mortality due to heat
  • heat related injuries like dehydration
  • increased cardiac, respiratory and mental health problems and death
  • increased air pollution that would affect asthma, hay fever, lung cancer and heart disease
  • decrease in rainfall would “increase the suicide rate by 8%”
  • behavioural and cognitive disorders increase during heat waves
  • electricity outages due to “extreme weather” may cause refrigerators to fail and cause illness from improperly stored foodstuffs
  • damage to sewage systems may contaminate water supplies
  • droughts will increase algae and contaminants in dam water

It goes on and on. And the report is punctuated by scary graphics like this:

Just in case you weren't scared enough

And that’s just health, let alone all the other issues like sea level rises of a metre by 2100 washing thousands of houses into the sea, despite actual data showing sea level rising at the same rate (about 3mm per year), leading to a rise of perhaps 25cm by the next century. And many, many more.

All, allegedly, from an increase in global average temperature of less than 1 degree in the last 200 years, much of which was likely due to natural variation. And Steffen has the gall to claim that they take “exceptional care to be absolutely straight”.

Steffen also claimed in several interviews that it was like “the climate on steroids”. That’s not inflammatory language? If not, what is, pray?

May I offer the Climate Commission a little more advice. If you want people to start listening again (because right now they are switching off in droves), you must cut the emotionalising, acknowledge areas of doubt, cut the arrogance, display a little more humility, cut the alarmism and stop trying to silence your critics and perhaps, just perhaps, you may be able to regain some credibility, because right now, your credibility is running on empty.

But there’s no chance of any of that – the Climate Commission is hamstrung – the inevitable result of an organisation having to defend the indefensible – a government climate mitigation policy that will do nothing for the climate.

Climate Commission's unceasing alarmism and spin

Climate activism

Why should we be surprised? Tim Flannery is a “climate activist” (thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald for confirming that – see screen grab here in case it gets posted down the memory hole) and Will Steffen is one of the most committed alarmist climate scientists on the planet. Although I was under the impression that the Climate Commission was supposed to be independent, it is actually anything but. A quick read of their terms of reference reveals that it’s nothing more than a mouthpiece for implementing government policy (my emphasis):


The Climate Commission (the Commission) has been established to inform Australia’s approach to addressing climate change and help build the consensus required to move to a competitive, low pollution Australian economy.


The Commission will provide information and expert advice to:

  • Explain the science of climate change and the impacts on Australia.
  • Report on the progress of international action dealing with climate change.
  • Explain the purpose and operation of a carbon price and how it may interact with the Australian economy and communities.

Like I have said on previous occasions, organisations like this are a shambolic kangaroo court: a crazed lynch mob pummelling the poor victim (CO2 and the Australian public) without any defence. Just the prosecution, with free rein to say precisely what it likes, and no opportunity for cross examination or presentation of an opposing viewpoint. Judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one.

And the inevitable result of all this is the kind of laughably alarmist nonsense spruiked all over the media yesterday, which concentrated (bizarrely) on Western Sydney:

NSW is becoming hotter and drier. Record-breaking hot days have more than doubled across Australia since 1960 and heatwaves in the greater Sydney region, especially in the western suburbs, have increased in duration and intensity.

This is the critical decade for action. To minimise climate change risks we must begin to decarbonise our economy and move to cleaner energy sources this decade. The longer we wait the more difficult and costly it will be. (source)

They must genuinely think we are complete morons. How will decarbonising the economy of Australia help Western Sydney? Extrapolating this kindergarten logic, maybe if I don’t use my coal fire in winter, my garden won’t get so hot in summer. In case they hadn’t noticed (and even if one assumes the significant effect of CO2 on the climate they claim), it requires co-ordinated global action to make any reduction to CO2 and therefore, allegedly, to climate. This kind of call to action is ludicrous when China will continue to increasing its emissions fast enough to wipe out any possible domestic reduction hundreds (thousands?) of times over?

But it’s the psychology of this kind of announcement that is so fascinating. The alarmists must realise their message has lost its impact, so instead of taking the correct course, namely backing off from their entrenched position, reducing the fear mongering, acknowledging doubt, a little more contrition perhaps in the delivery, rather than the arrogance and contempt for dissent to which we are all accustomed, they do the precise opposite: more alarmism, more ridiculous quotes, more nonsensical crystal ball gazing. Steffen yesterday used the term “climate on steroids” without any hint of irony. Is it any wonder that the public have utterly disengaged from such pronouncements?

Flannery was interviewed on 2GB yesterday afternoon by Ben Fordham. He was challenged about his prophecies about rainfall and refused to back down even an inch. It was painful to listen to. Instead, he should have said, “On reflection, some of my comments displayed a little too much certainty given the complexities of the climate system” or something like that. But no, he pressed on, defending his failed fortune teller impression in the typical “just you wait and see, I was right all along” type way.

Not only is the tone of delivery all wrong, but the methods used are decidedly suspect. Jennifer Marohasy shows how data has been cherry picked to show a recent trend in hot days, despite the existence of records going far further back, which, if included, would have shown far less of a trend.

UPDATE: The Australian reports that the Commission cherry picked certain locations to show more warm days, whereas other sites show fewer warm days. Note that “attempts to contact the Climate Commission were unsuccessful.” Why? Has the phone been cut off? Not paid their bill? 

Why do they have to be so dishonest?

All I can hope is that when a Coalition government is finally elected and the current corrupt bunch of incompetents are swept into the dustbin of history, the Climate Commission will be one of the first organisations to be abolished.

Climate Commission report just rehashed IPCC propaganda

Rehashed IPCC propaganda

Australian scientists Bob Carter, Stewart Franks, David Evans and William Kininmonth have produced a stinging rebuttal of the Climate Commission’s biased report, “The Critical Decade”, issued last week (see here).

The main accusation, which is difficult to ignore, is that the report simply rehashes the same old IPCC propaganda without any critical review. The IPCC isn’t a scientific body, but an organisation formed to find evidence for a preconceived conclusion, namely that AGW is real and dangerous. The Climate Commission, comprised of well-know alarmists, simply regurgitated the IPCC line, and, since there are no sceptics allowed on the Commission, failed to critically assess the validity of the IPCC’s pronouncements:

IPCC advice has been known to be politically motivated since publication of the 1995 2nd Assessment Report, in which the wording of the Summary for Policymakers was tampered with after the scientists had signed off on it. In 2001, the 3rd IPCC Assessment Report took as its leit motif a deeply flawed paper by Michael Mann and co-authors that falsely depicted Northern Hemisphere temperature over the last 800-1000 years as having the shape of a horizontal hockey-stick in which the upturned blade represented alleged dramatic warming in the 20th century; this graphic was later exposed as false, and the result of statistical incompetence. Most recently, the 4th Assessment Report, published in 2007, has been subjected to a blizzard of criticism subsequent to the revelations of the Climategate affair.

The overall weaknesses of the IPCC have been well documented by Melbourne researcher John McLean, and they reflect that the IPCC represents a political advocacy organisation more than it does an impartial scientific advisory body. Relying on IPCC recommendations (as interpreted by Professor Steffen and the Department of Climate Change) as the sole source of advice for setting Australian climate policy is therefore clearly unwise. In no other major financial or medical context would such dramatic policy prescriptions be adopted without exposing the expert advice to contestability by seeking a thorough second opinion and audit.

The Critical Decade contains no substantial new science. Rather, the report is a reworked amalgam of many of the IPCC’s dated and alarmist assertions, and at the same time it ignores recent independent reports (for example, that of the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change; NIPCC) and also ignores the numerous published papers that are consistent with the null hypothesis that contemporary climate change has largely natural causes. As for the IPCC reports on which it is based, The Critical Decade cites no empirical data that demonstrates that dangerous warming is occurring, let alone that human-related carbon dioxide emissions were responsible for the late 20th century phase of mild warming. Instead, the case for action to “prevent” dangerous warming put by the IPCC and the Climate Commission rests almost exclusively upon the validity of numerical computer models that are known to be incompatible with decades of detailed observations of the atmosphere.

In other words, the report, and the Commission, simply ignore dissenting views, and as a result, have produced a worthless report, on which no government should ever base its climate policy. Read it all here (PDF).

In other good news, Tony Windsor has said he won’t support a carbon price unless the rest of the world takes action too (see here). OK Tony, read the next item below…

Kyoto has been pronounced dead, as Russia, Canada, US and Japan all pull out of any further cuts under the treaty (see here).

Looks like you can’t support the carbon tax, Tony…

(h/t Jo Nova)

Media meltdown on Climate Commission report

Hardly impartial

Millions of column inches have been taken up on the Climate Commission’s one-sided and alarmist report, and most of those column inches haven’t had the benefit of an ounce of critical thought. Oddly, none of the journalists at Fairfax or the ABC have considered the vested interests at work in the commission, the careers built on global warming alarmism, the corruption of science by the IPCC, the lack of any opposing or dissenting views, the political influence of a government desperate to pass a carbon tax, and any number of other red flags which any independent thinking person would raise.

No, the media regurgitate the press release and the report without any consideration of any of those issues. Of course, Labor has been spruiking the report for all its worth – as if its conclusion has come as some kind of surprise! What did they expect from a bunch of scaremongering alarmists like David Karoly, Will Steffen and Matthew England? Balance? I think not. And neither did they. This whole edifice is nothing more than a propaganda machine, spewing out climate predictions on demand from a government in thrall to the Greens, and desperate to get traction on its flawed climate policy.

Then there is the inevitable “trust the scientists.” As if everything a scientist says is beyond question. Wheeling out the old chestnut about the patient with cancer, they crow, who would you trust? The three specialist oncologists or the quack? Over at the Impact of Climate Change blog, this post sums that attitude up perfectly:

The Hon. Julia Gillard, yesterday, explained that she accepts expert, scientific advice:

“The science is in, climate-change is real.  The science is clear:  man-made carbon pollution is making a difference to our planet and our climate. […]

“When I first met Ian Frazer, and he told me he had a cervical cancer vaccine that could cut the rates of cervical cancer for women and girls, I didn’t pretend to myself I knew enough about cancer to second-guess what he was telling me was right.

“He was right; he’s a scientist.  We’ve got climate scientists here who are telling us exactly the same about the nature of global warming and the climate of our planet.”

That’s “harmless carbon dioxide gas”, rather than “carbon pollution”, Julia, by the way. And the response?

When I met Claudius Ptolemaeus and he told me that he could accurately represent the geocentric universe as a set of nested spheres, I didn’t pretend to myself I knew enough about astrology to second-guess what he was telling me was right; he’s a scientist, and couldn’t be mistaken. (source)

And what is the difference between oncologists and climate scientists? Climate science has been corrupted by money and politics, things that the medical profession manages, in the main, to rise above [yes there are specific exceptions, primarily in connection with pharmaceuticals of course, so don’t bother writing in]. For years, climate science was obscure, and suddenly, a crisis! Climate science is suddenly on the front pages of newspapers. Entire climate science departments have sprung up at universities all over the world, government climate departments have been established in virtually every country, the UN has climbed aboard the bandwagon and set up hundreds of climate committees, such as the IPCC. In other words, billions and billions of dollars spent, and the careers of thousands of scientists at stake.

And we somehow expect the results of all this to be impartial? If there were no climate crisis, none of these departments would exist, and climate science would return to that forgotten corner of the lab. That is why it is mainly retired scientists who dare speak their doubts about the “consensus” out loud.

So until the Climate Commission opens its eyes and ears and invites dissenting views to be part of its reporting process, it will remain nothing more than a hopelessly biased propaganda machine and mouthpiece for a government hamstrung by the Greens.

Minchin: "offensive nonsense from known global warming alarmists"

Nick Minchin

Senator Minchin we salute you. Speaking for all of us on this side of the debate, Nick Minchin doesn’t mince words in a classic quote:

LIBERAL powerbroker Nick Minchin has attacked a new report that declares the world is in imminent danger from human-induced climate change as offensive nonsense from known “global warming alarmists”.

Senator Minchin, who played a key role in terminating Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership over his support for emissions trading, said there was still a legitimate debate over the role of humans in climate change.

“The so-called Climate Commission is a Labor government-appointed committee of known climate alarmists, selectively appointed … to further the cause of global warming alarmism,” he said following today’s release of the commission’s first report.

“I think everybody should take anything they say with a grain of salt,” Senator Minchin said.

“What’s most offensive is (climate commissioner) Will Steffen suggesting the scientific debate is over.

“That’s nonsense because there is a very lively scientific debate about the role of human-induced Co2 emissions in climate change.” (source)

Couldn’t have put it better. BRAVO!

(h/t Dave N in the comments)

Will Steffen: Labor's Alarmist-in-Chief

Knows everything there is to know about the climate

It really is no wonder that the Climate Commission, headed by warmist Tim Flannery (salary $180k), and advised by Will Steffen, the Labor government’s chief scaremonger, has produced the skewed and catastrophist projections that it has. Let’s look at Steffen’s previous form:

In January 2011, Steffen linked the Queensland floods to climate change (whilst at the same time saying he wasn’t):

Climate change committee member Professor Will Steffen, the executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, said there was no direct link between global warming and the tragic flash flooding in Toowoomba which has killed at least nine people in southeast Queensland.

But he told The Australian Online that climate change would lead to heavier, more frequent rain.

“As the climate warms, there is more water vapour in the atmosphere,” he told The Australian Online.

“This means that there is a probability that there will more intense rainfall events around the world.

There is some evidence that we can see them now. I think the place where the best data is the US.” (source)

Then back in May 2010, he compared those sceptical of catastrophic man-made warming to “flat-earthers”:

While there were uncertainties about the pace and impact of change, he said, the core of climate science – that the world was warming and the primary cause since the middle of the last century had been industrial greenhouse gas emissions – should be accepted with the same confidence as the laws of gravity and relativity.

“Right now, this almost infantile debate about whether ‘is it real or isn’t it real?’, it’s like saying, ‘Is the Earth round or is it flat?’ [Climate change] is a hugely important question and yet we are not having a rational discourse in the media in Australia on this question. That is my biggest frustration.” He called on the media to focus on areas where there was not a consensus, including the link between climate change and the south-east Australian drought and how rapidly sea levels would rise. (source)

Steffen has never, ever, conceded that there is any doubt in the debate. EVER. He clearly believes that he knows all there is to know about the climate, and anyone who dares suggest there are unknowns is simply branded a filthy denier.

So is it any wonder that a climate report prepared by him spouts the usual alarmist hysteria? Nope. Not in the slightest.

Shock: "It's all worse than we thought!" sez Commission

Alarmism in graphical form

What a surprise. Just exactly as expected, given the Climate Commission doesn’t have a single sceptical viewpoint represented, and right on cue for Julia Gillard to say, “see we told you so, we need to take action on climate”, despite the fact that nothing Australia does alone will make any difference whatsoever.

Parroting the IPCC line all the way, and blaming the media (natch), the Climate Commission  is simply a cheer squad for climate alarmism, and that’s exactly the result they have delivered. The Sydney Moonbat Herald virtually wets itself this morning:

THE evidence for global warming is now ”exceptionally strong and beyond doubt” and actions this decade will determine the impact of climate change for the rest of the century, according to the first big report produced by Australia’s Climate Commission.

The report, to be presented to federal parliamentarians today, is designed to cut through the noise of political debate about the government’s carbon tax and find common ground.

It catalogues the latest [alarmist] research on the impact of climate change on Australia, updating the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including reduced rainfall, recorded sea level rises and increasing temperatures.
Climate science was ”being attacked in the media by many with no credentials in the field”, the report said.

”The questioning of the IPCC, the ‘climategate’ incident based on hacked emails in the UK and attempts to intimidate climate scientists have added to the confusion in the public about the veracity of climate science. [See? Climategate and fudging data was just a storm in a teacup – move along, nothing to see here – Ed]

”By contrast to the noisy, confusing ‘debate’ in the media, within the climate research community our understanding of the climate system continues to advance strongly.” (source)

Words are useless to describe the hysteria. Coming at the same time as new research in Nature shows that it is the oceans that have far more of an effect on the climate than the composition of the atmosphere. And then there’s the non-existent sea level rises:

SYDNEY will be the Australian capital most vulnerable to extreme flooding events, the Climate Commission says.

While the likelihood of damaging floods, storm surges and king tides will increase around the coast, Sydney can expect to see ”extreme events” once a month by 2100, the commission’s report The Critical Decade says.

”While a sea-level rise of 0.5 metre … may not seem like a matter for much concern, such modest levels of sea-level rise can lead to unexpectedly large increases in the frequency of extreme high sea-level events,” it said. (source)

Sea level has been rising at 3mm per year since the year dot, with no sign of acceleration. Yet the Climate Commission manages to spin this into a scare story.

Isn’t it funny how the decade we are living in right now just happens to be the “critical decade” and we must act now. Planet has been here for four and a half billion years, but we have to save it in the next ten…

Flannery: Climate commission "isn't selling anything"

Hopelessly compromised

Please stop it, I think my sides have split. Joke of the Week alert, as Tim Flannery, the Grand High Commissioner of Climate (or something), huffs and puffs and blusters and flusters in defence of his hopelessly compromised band of warmists in The Daily Telegraph today:

THE opinion piece by Tim Blair “Just pay up and ignore the irony” in Monday’s Daily Telegraph is not only insulting to members of the Australian Climate Commission, but contains serious errors.

Contrary to what was written, it is not the Climate Commission’s business to “sell” anything to the public. Our role is to engage people on climate science and the state of international climate change action, and to explain carbon pricing as Australia deals with this problem.

Your readers deserve also to know that the Climate Commission is independent of government. Having publicly criticised prime ministers from both sides of politics, I value my independence greatly, and would not have taken up the Chief Commissioner position were this not crystal clear. (source)

Independent of government, and also independent of any dissenting views. It’s a one-sided talking shop, where everyone has made his mind up and they all stew in their own warmist juices. Where’s Bob Carter or Ian Plimer? Where in fact is anyone with an opinion that doesn’t neatly fit into the IPCC’s consensus? Nowhere to be seen, of course.

But the fact that, according to Flannery, the Commission isn’t a tool for communication will certainly be news to Greg Combet, however, as the Commission’s launch document states:

“The Climate Commission has been established by the Gillard Government to provide an authoritative, independent source of information for all Australians,” he said. “It will provide expert advice on climate change science and impacts, and international action. It will help build the consensus required to move to a clean energy future.”

The Climate Commission would have a public outreach role, he said, to help build greater understanding and consensus about reducing Australia’s carbon pollution.

“The Commissioners are eminent Australians who are leaders in their fields and I’m pleased one of Australia’s leading science communicators, Professor Tim Flannery, a former Australian of the Year, has accepted the role of Chief Commissioner,” Mr Combet said.

“The Climate Commission will fulfil a key information and education role, enabling the Australian community to have a more informed conversation about climate change. I am delighted to lead this new Commission,” said Professor Tim Flannery. (source – PDF)

I suppose when the spin and misrepresentations are so blatant, you know they’re in a hole.

(PDF link thanks to Andrew Bolt)

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