Flannery fired

Pack yer bags, mate

Pack yer bags, mate

The Herald Sun reports:

PROFESSOR Tim Flannery has been sacked by the Abbott Government from his $180,000 a year part time Chief Climate Commissioner position with the agency he runs to be dismantled immediately.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt called Prof Flannery this morning to tell him a letter formally ending his employment was in the mail.

Public service shake-up as heads go

In the letter, Mr Hunt tells Prof Flannery: “The Climate Commission does not have an ongoing role, and consequently I am writing to advise you that the Climate Commission has been dissolved, with effect from the date of this letter.

He thanked him for his personal contribution and then said “The Department of the Environment will soon write to you concerning administrative arrangements for finalising your engagement as Chief Climate Commissioner.”

All other climate commissioners will also be sacked with the move to save more than $500,000 this financial year and $1.2 million next financial year.

The Coalition will now take advice on climate change from the Department of the Environment. (source)

The Climate Commission didn’t have one single climate realist on board, and was stacked with Australia’s worst alarmists, Will Steffen, David Karoly and Flannery himself. Far from being an independent climate body, it was a mouthpiece for Labor government propaganda and shameless scaremongering.

Good riddance to the lot of ’em.

UPDATE: Commission’s Twitter account (@ClimateComm) has vanished already! Sad to see the website still there… not for long, however.

UPDATE 2: The ever-warmist ABC (Anything But Conservatives) gives Flannery space to gnash his teeth and wail about the injustice of it all:

Professor Flannery, who is also a former Australian of the Year, has defended the commission’s role.

“We’ve stayed out of the politics and stuck to the facts,” he said. [BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! – Ed]

“As a result we’ve developed a reputation as a reliable apolitical source of facts on all aspects of climate change. [Stop it!! Stop it!! My sides are splitting!!!!! – Ed]

“I believe that Australians have a right to know – a right to authoritative, independent and accurate information on climate change. [Er, I think I just wet myself… – Ed]

“We’ve just seen one of the earliest ever starts to the bushfire season in Sydney following the hottest twelve months on record.” [And, Flannery goes out true to form, with a ridiculously alarmist statement… See ya’ later pal. Glad we won’t have to hear from you any more – Ed]

(h/t Baldrick)

Rising scepticism and falling alarmism


Swings and roundabouts

Three articles of note today. First, UK chair of climate committee says warming may be natural, second, Met Office admits that warming of last century isn’t statistically significant, and finally, Aussie scientists downgrade alarmist predictions.

To the UK first, where Tim Yeo, chairman of the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee, has embraced free-thinking, rational scepticism and has abandoned dogmatic and quasi-religious alarmism, in a shift which will send shock waves through the climate community.

As the Telegraph reports, in 2009 Yeo said this:

“The dying gasps of the deniers will be put to bed. In five years time, no one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change.”

We didn’t need to wait five years for that, since Yeo has now finally acknowledged the uncertainties himself:

Humans may not be responsible for global warming, according to Tim Yeo, the MP who oversees government policy on climate change.

The chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee said he accepts the earth’s temperature is increasing but said “natural phases” may be to blame.

Such a suggestion sits at odds with the scientific consensus. One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm [that’s John Cook’s crock on consensus, by the way. What has consensus got to do with it anyway? If more people think the Sun goes round the Earth, does that somehow make it true? “8 out of 10 cats prefer Whiskas“… – Ed].

Mr Yeo, an environment minister under John Major, is one of the Conservative Party’s strongest advocates of radical action to cut carbon emissions. His comments are significant as he was one of the first senior figures to urge the party to take the issue of environmental change seriously.

He insisted such action is “prudent” given the threat climate change poses to living standards worldwide. But, he said, human action is merely a “possible cause”.

Asked on Tuesday night whether it was better to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change than to prevent it in the first place, he said: “The first thing to say is it does not represent any threat to the survival of the planet. None at all. The planet has survived much bigger changes than any climate change that is happening now.

He went on: “Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place.” (source)

Still in the UK, the Met Office has been forced, by a climate system that simply wouldn’t comply with the wishes of the alarmist “consensus”, to admit that the past 140 years of modest temperature rises are statistically insignificant, after six questions were raised in the House of Lords:

The issue here is the claim that “the temperature rise since about 1880 is statistically significant”, which was made by the Met Office in response to the original Question (HL3050). The basis for that claim has now been effectively acknowledged to be untenable. Possibly there is some other basis for the claim, but that seems extremely implausible: the claim does not seem to have any valid basis.

Plainly, then, the Met Office should now publicly withdraw the claim. That is, the Met Office should admit that the warming shown by the global-temperature record since 1880 (or indeed 1850) might be reasonably attributed to natural random variation….

Lastly, it is not only the Met Office that has claimed that the increase in global temperatures is statistically significant: the IPCC has as well. Moreover, the IPCC used the same statistical model as the Met Office, in its most-recent Assessment Report (2007)…

To conclude, the primary basis for global-warming alarmism is unfounded. The Met Office has been making false claims about the significance of climatic changes to Parliament—as well as to the government, the media, and others — claims which have seriously affected both policies and opinions. When questioned about those claims in Parliament, the Met Office did everything feasible to avoid telling the truth. (h/t Bolta)

Finally, David Karoly, arch warmist of Melbourne University starts hedging bets as he has to admit that ludicrously scaremongering claims of 6 degrees of warming were “unlikely”, but given Karoly’s well-known ideological and activist stance on the subject, the press release makes sure that the bandwagon still rolls on:

Scientists from the University of Melbourne and Victoria University have generated what they say are more reliable projections of global warming estimates at 2100.

The paper, led by Dr Roger Bodman from Victoria University with Professors David Karoly and Peter Rayner from the University of Melbourne and published in Nature Climate Change today, found that [good news…] exceeding 6 degrees warming was now unlikely while [bad news…] exceeding 2 degrees is very likely for business-as-usual emissions…

This was achieved through a new method combining observations of carbon dioxide and global temperature variations with simple climate model simulations to project future global warming.

Dr Bodman said while continuing to narrow the range even further was possible, significant uncertainty in warming predictions would always remain due to the complexity of climate change drivers. “This study ultimately shows why waiting for certainty will fail as a strategy,” he said. “Some uncertainty will always remain, meaning that we need to manage the risks of warming with the knowledge we have.” (source – h/t WUWT)

Interesting times…

UPDATE: The headbangers over at Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science (no link) respond to these developments with balanced and open-minded scientific curiosity… Nah, only joking! With yet more alarmism, this time from Kevin Trenberth, who, like most of the headbangers, must be worried he’ll be out of a job in a few years’ time, when “climate scientists” go the way of spear-makers, rag and bone men and gas lamp lighters:

Focusing on the wiggles and ignoring the bigger picture of unabated warming is foolhardy, but an approach promoted by climate change deniers. Global sea level keeps marching up at a rate of more than 30cm per century since 1992 (when global measurements via altimetry on satellites were made possible), and that is perhaps a better indicator that global warming continues unabated. Sea level rise comes from both the melting of land ice, thus adding more water to the ocean, plus the warming and thus expanding ocean itself.

Global warming is manifested in a number of ways, and there is a continuing radiative imbalance at the top of atmosphere. The current hiatus in surface warming is temporary, and global warming has not gone away.

Shock: Aussie heatwave "due to climate change" as UK Met Office downgrades warming forecast

Regurgitating propaganda

Joke organisation

The Climate Commission, the (very handsomely) paid climate propaganda wing of the Gillard government, trots out the drearily predictable line that the recent heatwave in Australia is all due to climate change and that if only we would reduce our emissions, the planet would get back to how it was in the Little Ice Age. At the same time the Greens are claiming the fires are “punishment” for the evils of burning coal. Who says the Renaissance and the Enlightenment never happened?

All of which is ably aided and abetted by the ABC, the Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation, naturally:

A new report from the Federal Government’s Climate Commission says the heatwave and bushfires that have affected Australia this week have been exacerbated by global warming.

The report – Off the Charts: Extreme Australian Summer Heat – warns of more extreme bushfires and hotter, longer, bigger and more frequent heatwaves, due to climate change.

It says the number of record heat days across Australia has doubled since 1960 and more temperature records are likely to be broken as hot conditions continue this summer.

When Prime Minister Julia Gillard linked the heatwave with climate change this week, the acting Opposition Leader Warren Truss said that was utterly simplistic.

But climate change experts have no doubt that climate change is a factor in the current conditions.

The scientific advisor to the Climate Commission, Professor David Karoly, has written the report for the Climate Commission to answer questions about the link between heatwaves and climate change. 

“What we have been able to see is clear evidence of an increasing trend in hot extremes, reductions in cold extremes and with the increases in hot extremes more frequent extreme fire danger day,” he said.

“What it means for the Australian summer is an increased frequency of hot extremes, more hot days, more heatwaves and more extreme bushfire days and that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing typically over the last decade and we will see even more frequently in the future.”

OK, who DIDN’T see that coming? Just like the recent floods and the drought and [insert any weather phenomenon you care to mention], it’s all caused or “exacerbated” by climate change. Well duh! Maybe the climate is changing. It says nothing about the cause. As any reader of this blog will know, if it’s hot it’s climate change, if it’s cold it’s “just weather”. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the Met Office has actually downgraded its warming forecast for the next five years:

AS Australians sweltered through a record-breaking summer heatwave this week, one of the world’s leading scientific bodies revised down its five-year projection for the world’s average temperature.

The revision, slipped quietly into the public domain on Christmas Eve by Britain’s Met Office, has fuelled a significant and growing debate about what exactly happened to global warming.

On one analysis, the forecast confirms what many people have been saying for some time. Global warming effectively stopped 17 years ago and, if the new forecast is accurate, that “pause” will be extended to 20 years.

Using new computer models, the Met Office now believes global temperatures up to 2017 will most likely be 0.43C above the 1971-2000 average, with an error of plus or minus 0.15C.

The Met Office had previously estimated the most likely global temperature increase to be 0.54C above the 1971-2000 average during the period 2012 to 2016.

The Met Office says despite the change, “we will continue to see near-record levels of global temperatures in the next few years”.

“This means temperatures will remain well above the long-term average and we will continue to see temperatures like those which resulted in 2000-2009 being the warmest decade in the instrumental record dating back to 1850.”

But the release of the data – and the way in which it was released – has fuelled a strong reaction. David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the new prediction challenged the assertion that the underlying rate of change of global warming was unchanged.

“If the latest Met Office prediction is correct, and it accords far more closely with the observed data than previous predictions, then it will prove to be a lesson in humility,” Whitehouse said.

“It will show that the previous predictions that were given so confidently as advice to the UK government and so unquestioningly accepted by the media, were wrong, and that the so-called sceptics who were derided for questioning them were actually on the right track.”

In response, Britain’s science media organisation released quotes from leading climate scientists to explain the revision.

Richard Allan, reader in climate science at the University of Reading, said: “Global warming is not ‘at a standstill’ but does seem to have slowed down since 2000 in comparison to the rapid warming of the world since the 1970s.”

He said the slowdown reflected greater scientific understanding and was due in part to increased heat being trapped in the world’s oceans. “Nothing in their (Met Office) data leads me to think that global warming due to human influence has stopped, or is irrelevant. It hasn’t, and it isn’t,” he said.

Professor Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics Group at the University of Oxford, effectively said the revision provided a lesson in the dangers of spin.

“A lot of people (not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) were claiming, in the run-up to the Copenhagen 2009 conference, that ‘warming was accelerating and it is all worse than we thought’. What has happened since then has demonstrated that it is foolish to extrapolate short-term climate trends.”

For the sceptical, the Met Office’s near-term predictions are coming home to roost. In 2007, it predicted that by 2014 the global average temperature was expected to have risen by 0.3C compared with 2004, and that half of the years after 2009 were predicted to be hotter than the current record hot year in 1998.

“Given that we have data for three of the five years of that period, and all show no departure from a constant temperature when analysed statistically, this is a prediction that will probably be totally wrong,” Whitehouse said.

“In any case, it is completely at odds with the new forecast.”

The headbangers are in strife, desperate to hose down this story, so Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science does it’s usual trick of assembling an article by cutting and pasting lots of scary GISS graphs and portraying anyone who could possibly reach a different conclusion as somehow one thermometer short of a weather station.

Happy New Year (just the same as the last one, two, five, twenty…).


David Karoly

I haven’t had a chance to read the FoI materials on this yet, but Climate Audit and Bunyipitude dissect the Karoly/Gergis Hockey Stick debacle, on-hold, correction, retraction, withdrawal or whatever it really was.

Prof Bunyip has an ongoing series of posts here.

Climate Audit reports on the discovery of the error here, and the battle with the Journal of Climate here.

You can download all the documents here.

Freedom of Information: request for donations

Karoly the activist*

UPDATE: Very many thanks to all of you who have made donations so far (you know who you are) – we now have enough to cover the present FOI expenses. However, if you haven’t donated yet, please consider doing so anyway to help cover some of the ongoing costs of hosting this site (which exceed US$150 per month). We’re still waiting for that Big Oil cheque to arrive. Must have got lost in the post… Perhaps I should try and get some Big Green funding instead – that seems a great deal more bountiful.

I don’t normally request donations, but in this case I am making an exception, so I hope you will forgive me in advance. Firstly a bit of background.

Since my ANU Freedom of Information request was covered by The Australian (see here for full details), I have submitted a further request to The University of Melbourne (or the “Parkville Asylum” as it is known). The request is again relating to death threat emails, this time in respect of Prof David Karoly and one of his colleagues.

Prof Karoly is a Review Editor for the IPCC’s Assessment Report 5 (see here – large PDF) and also on the science advisory panel for the WWF’s Climate Witness project. Apparently, being closely involved with an environmental activist organisation like the WWF does not present Karoly with any conflict of interest, whereas clearly any “denier” who earns one cent from a sceptic think tank is hopelessly compromised. Double standards are a wonderful thing.

[UPDATE: Karoly is also happy to be associated with other shrill environmental advocacy groups, like the naive Australian Youth Climate Coalition, presenting a video on “the science” here. Now we all know that if a geologist has even the most tenuous association with a fossil fuel company, he is immediately ostracised and never trusted or listened to again. So applying those same standards to Karoly himself, presumably we should never trust him or listen to another word he says either, right? No, wait…]

He is well known to readers of this blog as being one of the Gillard government’s climate advisors and a climate alarmist (see here for a recent example). Karoly was one of the climate scientists interviewed in the original Canberra Times article relating to death threats, and a month later gave a lengthy interview to The Age in which he recycles the tired old arguments yet again:

More broadly, however, [Karoly] notes an organised distribution of emails against mainstream climate change scientists.

He points to “so-called think tanks” established by climate change sceptics, whose claims are cited widely by conservative industry lobby groups in a bid to convince legislators that climate change science is full of unknowns.

He highlights the recent establishment of a website by a group called the Galileo Movement. “This site has [ Sydney broadcaster] Alan Jones as the patron and a list of the usual climate change sceptics as their scientific advisers.”

The journalist didn’t ask him about the WWF, sadly, and Karoly clearly has no awareness of the issues that climate science faces with regard to its credibility, given Climategate and the duff predictions of people like Tim Flannery (the Climate Commissioner).

Unfortunately, it seems climate scientists love to play the role of victim. The death threats story was perfect, as it allowed them to portray themselves as innocent bystanders targeted by evil “deniers” in the pay of big oil. And they can’t stop doing it.

You may recall the Gergis et al paper, which was withdrawn after blogger Steve McIntyre found flaws in its calculations? Karoly politely wrote to McIntyre about the issue, but once the dust had settled, was back in his old ad hom ways, accusing McIntyre in a book review of  “promulgating misinformation” (the original review by Karoly has been removed, but the Google cache still shows it, and I have preserved it in PDF here).

When asked by McIntyre to provide examples of such activities, instead of responding, Karoly retreats to the cosseted environment of Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science to resume his victimhood, protesting in the comments:

 In Australia, I have just received a threat of legal action from Steve McIntyre in Canada and am currently dealing with 6 different FOI requests.

There was no threat of legal action, just a “please explain” – but it’s so much better for The Cause if you don the mantle of victimhood and claim you’re under threat of legal action. Read Steve’s post over at Climate Audit here.

Also, one of those FOI requests was mine – I was going to let it drop, but seeing the  manner in which Karoly has reacted to McIntyre, I’m going ahead with it. So I am therefore asking if you would be so kind as to make a donation.

It is likely to be several hundred dollars, so if you are able to contribute anything (every single dollar helps) I would be personally very grateful. Please mark your donation “FoI” so that it can be allocated specifically to this project rather than towards general operating costs.

Click the Donate button in the Big Oil Tip Jar in the left sidebar to send funds via PayPal.

Thank you all in advance.

*Karoly’s t-shirt reads “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” – the slogan of the radical Left “Weather Underground” movement – see here. Again, it’s perfectly fine for Karoly to be an activist! 

Aussie Hockey Stick paper 'put on hold'

UPDATE: Leigh Dayton, “science” writer for The Australian responds to an email relating to this issue from one of my readers thus:

“I deal only with peer-reviewed science, not cherry-picked “evidence” from people not engaged in research.”

Only thing I can say is: wow. Yet another self-selected environmental activist, alas. Check out this article if you are in any doubt about her blinkered approach to climate. It even uses the “D” word.

Again, thanks to the tireless efforts of Steve McIntyre, truly a hero of the realist cause, the paper by Joelle Gergis (climate activist), which claimed a Hockey Stick in Australia (and who then refused to release the data), has been put on hold.

David Karoly writes to McIntyre:

An issue has been identified in the processing of the data used in the study, which may affect the results. While the paper states that “both proxy climate and instrumental data were linearly detrended over the 1921–1990 period”, we discovered on Tuesday 5 June that the records used in the final analysis were not detrended for proxy selection, making this statement incorrect. Although this is an unfortunate data processing issue, it is likely to have implications for the results reported in the study. The journal has been contacted and the publication of the study has been put on hold.

This is a normal part of science. The testing of scientific studies through independent analysis of data and methods strengthens the conclusions. In this study, an issue has been identified and the results are being re-checked.

We would be grateful if you would post the notice below on your ClimateAudit web site.

We would like to thank you and the participants at the ClimateAudit blog for your scrutiny of our study, which also identified this data processing issue.

Note that Karoly says McIntyre’s scrutiny “also” identified the issue, hinting that they had found it themselves independently. How likely is that? Where were all the peer reviewers? Missing in action? Blinded by their own ideology? Just a coincidence that McIntyre blows holes in it and suddenly they find a problem? D’ya think they’d have bothered if McIntyre hadn’t exposed the paper as being potentially flawed? I very much doubt it – it would have just added to the “consensus”.

McIntyre however cautions:

I urge readers not to get too wound up about this, as there are a couple of potential fallback positions. They might still claim to “get” a Stick using the reduced population of proxies that pass their professed test. Alternatively, they might now say that the “right” way of screening is to do so without detrending and “get” a Stick that way.

Why are they trying to “get” a stick? Is that science, or activism?

Read Steve’s post here.

(h/t Paul M – thanks)

Hockey Stick lives! In Australia, apparently…

Mann's Hockey Stick: on life support in Australia

UPDATE 2: Thanks to Baldrick in the comments for this. Joelle Gergis is, guess what, a climate activist. Her blog is here, and although it hasn’t been updated for some time, a five minute glance found the following, which praises the election of Rudd in 2007, gleefully celebrates the end of Howard, and looks forward to “action on climate change”:

“After 12 long years, we have a progressive prime minister who will ratify the Kyoto protocol, prioritise a rehaul of the education system and have the humility to say sorry to the indigenous people of our country.

This hilarious article by The Age columnist Catherine Deveny sums up how many of us felt about the end of the Howard era. Tracee Hutchison’s piece celebrating the rise of women in politics is also great.

As a climate scientist, I am hopeful that we will finally see real action on climate change.”

Are these the words of an impartial scientist? Which comes first, being a climate activist or a climate scientist? How can we rely on papers written by climate activists?

UPDATE: The paper claims that the MWP was 0.09°C below 1961-1990 levels. That’s 9 HUNDREDTHS of a degree , with a margin of error of over twice that (±0.19°C). The abstract goes on to cite the usual, “we dunno, so it must be us” reason for the recent late 20th century warming:

“The unusual 20th century warming cannot be explained by natural variability alone, suggesting a strong influence of anthropogenic forcing in the Australasian region.”

Full abstract here (paper behind paywall).

More warmism leading up to IPCC AR5:

For the first time scientists have provided the most complete climate record of the last millennium and they found that the last 50 years in Australia have been the warmest.

The researchers from Melbourne University used 27 different natural indicators like tree rings and ice cores to come to their conclusion, which will be a part of the next United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change report.

The findings show that no other period in the last 1,000 years matches the temperature rises Australia and the region has experienced in the last 50 years.

Report co-author Joelle Gergis says the findings are significant.

“It does show that the post-1950 warming is unusual in the Australasian region,” she said.

27 different proxies? Sounds worryingly like a re-run of the Hockey Stick to me.

But at least we have finally got rid of the Medieval Warm Period! Would you expect anything less from our own David Karoly, committed believer, and one of the authors?

All lovingly reported by the ABC (Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation).

Expect much, much more of the same.

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