Climate Commission's 'manufactured drivel'


Regurgitating propaganda

Judith Sloan rips the Climate Commission’s latest propaganda to shreds:

Sadly, I do not have space to address the deficiencies of another recently released government report, the Climate Commission’s The Critical Decade: International Action on Climate Change. (Note: the hyperbolic title.) This intellectually dishonest report paints a picture of international action on climate change that is at odds with reality.

Even the earnest environmental reporters in the mainstream media could not take its content seriously, pointing out its many gaps and misinterpretations. The report makes the most of countries’ commitments and a possible global agreement, while ignoring the soaring emissions from China and failing to recognise that the lower emissions growth in a number of countries is primarily due to weak economic conditions.

It states that “it is in Australia’s interest to tackle climate change”, which is an incorrect statement in the absence of global efforts to tackle climate change. Unlike trade liberalisation, going alone inflicts only economic damage on a country such as Australia and makes not a jot of difference to world temperatures.

The appendix of the report also contains a number of extremely misleading vignettes of climate-change policies, both in operation and those proposed (the two are deliberately mixed up), in a number of countries.

It waxes positively about the New Zealand emissions trading scheme, while failing to note that any further extensions have been indefinitely delayed and the local price on carbon emissions is currently well south of $10.

The Climate Commission is nothing but a mouthpiece for government climate propaganda.

Read it here (paywall).

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.

Will Steffen defends Climate Commission report


Sydney hot days (click to enlarge)

Will Steffen writes in The Australian today, claiming that the paper’s own articles last week somehow back up the Commission’s own alarmism about hot days in New South Wales:

The Australian apparently asserts that the commission did not look at enough weather stations to provide an accurate overview of changes in hot weather in the Sydney region. It published five graphs of changes in hot weather, the original two from the commission’s report plus graphs for Sydney Airport, Bankstown Airport and Prospect Reservoir. However, these other graphs confirm precisely what the commission has shown – that the number of hot days in western Sydney has risen during the past four decades and has risen at rate greater than that for the eastern suburbs.

In fact, the commission erred on the careful, conservative side by not including the station at Prospect Reservoir, which showed a much more pronounced trend than either Parramatta or Bankstown Airport. In fact the trend is an increase of about 200 per cent in hot days since 1965.

Note how Steffen shifts the goal posts back to 1965, despite the fact that the graphs published by the Australian and the associated article (see here) only relate to the last 20 years. Eyeballing the data for the last 20 years shows a small increase, if you’re being generous, but Steffen cannot say how much can be attributed to increased urbanisation rather than “global warming”, saying it’s “probably” due to a combination of both. What combination, exactly? Er…

Steffen concludes:

The Australian said in its editorial: “We accept that the majority of scientific opinion says human-induced carbon emissions are contributing to a warming climate.” That is correct.

It could have added that human-induced emissions are the main contribution to observed warming in the past half-century. Then it would have been spot-on.

So there is much agreement between The Australian and the Climate Commission on the science of climate change. It is time to stop the phony [sic], divisive, manufactured “debate” on climate science, and move on to solutions to the climate change challenge. (source – paywalled)

Steffen has no idea whether human emissions are the “main contribution” to recent warming because no-one does. It’s all based on incomplete climate models.

And the debate is far from phoney, despite the usual attempts by the consensus side to shut it down. If human effects are small or even of a similar order compared to natural variation, then every dollar we spend trying to mitigate climate change is a dollar thrown away. In other words, until we know climate sensitivity precisely, all of this is based on the precautionary principle, except the costs far outweigh the benefits.

And as for “solutions to the climate change challenge”, I would be grateful if he would kindly explain what the government proposed solution of a carbon tax will actually do for the climate, when China and India’s increasing emissions will swamp anything Australia can achieve unilaterally. Actually, don’t bother. We know the answer: NOTHING.

In any case, why should we trust the Climate Commission at all? There’s no dissenting view present, no alternative opinion to consider, nothing to challenge the accepted consensus, no case for the defence. It’s just a bunch of like minded climate activists pushing AGW propaganda to prop up the government’s climate policies.

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):

Purpose

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.

Tasks

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.

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