Durban alarmism: permafrost – again

It's all over, pal

Funny, isn’t it, that when a stack of emails is released just before a climate conference, revealing climate scientists behaving badly, it’s regarded as malicious, whereas those very same climate scientists are perfectly happy to release alarmist research in an attempt to bolster that very same climate conference. Oops, I forgot for a minute – this is the mainstream media, where double standards are simply par for the course.

Today’s dose of alarmism, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald (currently battling it out with the ABC for top spot in the climate hysteria stakes):

The threat to climate change posed by thawing permafrost, which could release stocks of stored carbon, is greater than estimated, a group of scientists say.

By 2100, the amount of carbon released by permafrost loss could be “1.7-5.2 times larger than those reported”, depending on how swiftly Earth’s surface warms, they said.

In volume terms, this is about the same as the amount of greenhouse gases released today from deforestation, they say.

But the impact on climate could be 2.5 times greater, as much of the gas will be methane, which is 25 times more efficient at trapping solar heat than carbon dioxide (CO2), they say.

Deforestation today accounts for up to 20 per cent of total greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The study, published in the British journal Nature, coincides with a 12-day UN conference on climate change, unfolding in Durban, South Africa.

It touches on one of the biggest sources of concern, but also a major area of uncertainty, in climate science.

Permanently iced land covers around a quarter of the land in the northern hemisphere.

In essence, it is a carbon store, holding in icy stasis the organic remains of plants and animals that died millions of years ago.

The worry is that as temperatures rise, the soils defrost, microbes decompose the ancient carbon and release methane and CO2 to the atmosphere. (source)

This is obviously a dumb question, but why didn’t this happen in any of the recent phases of the climate that were warmer than today? And if it did, well, we’re still here aren’t we? That’s the obvious logical flaw in all of these tipping point arguments – if the planet is balanced so precariously on a knife edge, fearful of even the tiniest nudge, how come the climate system hasn’t toppled over and spiralled towards either permanent snowball or permanent hot-house in the last few million years, from which recovery was impossible? Answers on a postcard (from Durban).

Media hypocrisy: Wikileaks good, Climategate bad

Double standards...?

More journalistic double standards in our balanced media. Fairfax loves to defend Julian Assange, darling of the Left, for the release of the Wikileaks material, but is far more reticent about defending those who were responsible for the release of the Climategate emails.

Sunday Age editorial, 12 December 2010

Julian Assange and the public’s right to know

WikiLeaks, acting with newspapers around the world including The Age and The Sunday Age, is publishing information that makes governments uncomfortable. This action affirms the role of the media, which have a duty to expose the secret machinations of those who wield power. In the US, the chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, Joe Lieberman, has suggested that because it published some of the leaked information The New York Times might be subject to criminal investigation. This would breach the First Amendment protecting freedom of the press.

So leaks of intelligence that may damage national security is fine, because it is the duty of a journalist to “expose the secret machinations of those who wield power.”

The IPCC and climate scientists around the world also wield power. Lots of it. National governments are on the verge of turning their economies upside down on the basis of the IPCC’s dire predictions for the climate if emissions are not drastically reduced. How would The Age respond to exposing the “secret machinations” of the IPCC? Very differently, of course.

When Climategate 2.0 broke this week, The Age was more interested in the opinion of Phil Jones, one of the alleged “victims” of the leak, rather than staunchly supporting the release of the emails themselves:

The Age, 24 November 2011

Climatologist speaks out after new leak

The British climatologist ensnared in a major new email leak has taken his case to the public, arguing that he and his colleagues’ comments have again been taken out of context.

The University of East Anglia’s Phil Jones was one of the major players in the controversy that erupted two years ago over the publication of emails which caught prominent scientists stonewalling critics and attacking them in sometimes vitriolic terms.

The University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of how world temperatures have varied over time [not any more – Ed], and Jones came under particular scrutiny following the 2009 disclosures – even receiving death threats over allegations that he was a leading a conspiracy to hype the dangers of climate change.

Jones and his colleagues have since been vindicated by a series of independent investigations, but the university’s reputation has been dented by criticism that it refused to share data with sceptics.

Jones said that his “heart did sink a bit” when he heard about the most recent leak, which apparently consists of old messages held back the first time around. (source)

A quick Google search of “Wikileaks” at “” produces 15,400 results. A similar search of “Climategate” produces just 330, barely 2% of the coverage given to Wikileaks. Fairfax also invariably refers to the release of the Climategate emails as a “hacking”, in order to taint it with illegality or criminal behaviour. Naturally, Fairfax also avoids giving prominence to the story because it challenges one of their preset agendas, that of the reality of dangerous man-made climate change.

So instead of robustly defending the release of the emails as a “journalistic duty”, Fairfax pens a teary piece about the “victims”, including rehashing the non-story of the “death threats” in order to garner sympathy for the scientists whose confidences have been betrayed. Such a stark contrast.

Australian Alps to be "free of snow by 2050"

Six inches of global warming in the UK - that should never have happened

As if by magic, in the week that the carbon tax bills are due to be forced through the lower House, the government-funded scare stories appear – right on cue! The Sydney Morning Herald salivates:

AUSTRALIA’S ski slopes could be completely bare of natural winter snow by 2050 unless concerted action is taken against global warming, according to a government-commissioned report that paints a grim picture of the effects of climate change on alpine areas.

The report, Caring for our Australian Alps Catchments, has found the Alps, which stretch from Victoria through New South Wales to the Australian Capital Territory, face an average temperature rise of between 0.6 and 2.9 degrees by 2050, depending on how much action the international community takes to combat climate change.

”The effects of climate change are predicted to be the single greatest threat to the natural condition values of the Australian Alps catchments,” the report states.

Rain, snow and other precipitation will decrease up to 24 per cent over the next four decades, accompanied by more bushfires, droughts, severe storms and rapid runoff, causing heavy erosion.

Australia’s major mountain range, which peaks with Mount Kosciuszko at 2228 metres, is vulnerable to climate change and faces a dramatic transformation unless serious efforts are made, the study concluded.

”The scenario that is most likely is that there will be less snow both in total and in area, and that we shift more to summer rainfall,” said study co-author Roger Good, a retired botanist with the NSW government.

A “botanist”? Gasp! But he’s not a climatologist! Shock! How many peer-reviewed papers on climate change has he published? [Cue sound of gramophone needle being hastily removed from surface of record] No, wait a minute, he’s saying all the right (alarmist) things that back up our policies, so it doesn’t matter.

As usual, all of this is based on flaky computer modelling, which is as good as useless for any kind of climate projection. But who cares? The timing is perfect – government fear-mongering to scare the population into accepting, if not supporting, the pointless carbon tax.

But hang on a minute… what will having a carbon tax do for the Alps (even if we assume the nonsensical alarmist viewpoint of manmade CO2 being the only control on the planet’s climate)? Reduce the temperature by about 0.0001˚C, that’s what. And will it make any difference? Nope.

Reminds me of that article in the UK Independent that said that snow in Britain was a thing of the past… yeah, right.

Read it here. Full report can be downloaded here (9MB PDF)

Official: climate change makes you crazy

No climate crisis, no Climate Institute

It certainly makes me crazy – listening to the nonsensical ramblings of Gillard, Combet, Flannery, Brown, Milne, Gore and Garnaut is enough to send even the most level-headed individual completely round the bend.

But here we have the totally impartial Climate Institute, with no vested interest in the outcome, clearly, commissioning a report on the effect of climate change on the population’s mental health. So given the report’s provenance, was there ever any chance that the conclusion would be anything other than alarmist? No, because with no climate crisis, there would be no Climate Institute.

RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.

The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.

As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events.

The report, A Climate of Suffering: The Real Cost of Living with Inaction on Climate Change, called the past 15 years a ”preview of life under unrestrained global warming”.

”While cyclones, drought, bushfires and floods are all a normal part of Australian life, there is no doubt our climate is changing,” the report says.

”For instance, the intensity and frequency of bushfires is greater [no evidence. More to do with idiotic green policies prohibiting land clearing – Ed]. This is a ‘new normal’, for which the past provides little guidance …

”Moreover, recent conditions are entirely consistent with the best scientific predictions: as the world warms so the weather becomes wilder [no evidence – Ed], with big consequences for people’s health and well-being.”

How many nonsensical statements can you find? The only sensible statement is “cyclones, drought bushfires and floods are all a normal part of Australian life”. Yes, have been for thousands of years and will continue to be for thousands more.

This is total junk science, reported gleefully by Fairfax (where else?).

Read it here.

It's all the CWM's fault

Warning! CWMs ahead!

That would be “conservative white males”. Desperate as always to avoid engaging with sceptics’ arguments, the Sydney Morning Herald decides that it’s their background that is more important.

Helpfully illustrated with photos of Pell, Bolt, Jones and Monckton, the SMH claims that sceptics’ political and cultural views are causing their (obviously deranged) attitudes to climate alarmism, and not hiding data, fudging results, pal-review, Hockey Stick, and all the other highly dubious practices of climate science:

A US-based study has found that white men with politically conservative views are far more likely than the rest of the population to doubt the science of human-caused climate change.

And the “conservative white male effect” has been linked to Australia, with one prominent researcher citing the existence of a successful, politically engaged and outspoken coterie operating in high-profile positions that attract wide media coverage.

In the US researchers’ paper published in the journal Global Environmental Change, Dr Aaron McCright and Dr Riley Dunlap analysed data from 10 annual US opinion polls on environmental issues.

They found 58 per cent of conservative white males – or CWMs for short – thought recent global temperature rises were not caused mainly from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. This compared with 31 per cent of other adults.

Some 29 per cent of CWMs thought the effects of global warming would “never happen” compared with only seven per cent of other adults.

Professor Joseph Reser, a Research Fellow with Griffith University’s Climate Change Response Program in Queensland, agreed broadly with the findings, but said his own research and other comparable studies from the US and Europe suggested the proportion of true climate change sceptics was much smaller. [See here for Reser’s earlier study – Ed]

“If you look at this group of conservative white males, less than 30% are characterised as denialists – they are not a majority even within this grouping,” Professer Reser said.

“But these CWMs tend to stand out and do well in many social, work, and political organisations; they align themselves with those sharing similar views; and they are also more likely to be outspoken in their views and politically engaged, and to work and operate in sectors where their views get aired more.”

He said the fact conservatives were unduly confident about their own views on climate change “also makes them less open to differing views or able to accept that they might be wrong”. (source)

There are a number of points here. Firstly, note the intentional confusion between “sceptics” and “denialists” – terms that Fairfax uses interchangeably, despite the fact that most climate “realists” are “sceptics” and very few indeed are outright “denialists”. Secondly, Reser is quick to condemn CWM’s for failing to accept the possibility of error, which is precisely the charge laid against most alarmist climate scientists, who play down uncertainty as a matter of course.

I have to suggest the obvious alternative, and highly politically incorrect, conclusion here, that maybe those CWMs, thanks to age, experience and education, have a greater capacity for critical thought, and are not taken in by government and media propaganda?

Who cares anyway – it’s just another generalisation that the alarmists use to label the sceptics and thereby avoid having to actually respond to their points in a rational way.

The Sunday Age launches "The Climate Agenda"

Set the agenda

This could be interesting. The Sunday Age (part of the Fairfax press, and one of the true believers in man-made global warming) has launched a new initiative entitled “The Climate Agenda”:

What are you confused about in the climate debate? What do you want investigated? Are you furious about the proposed carbon tax, or curious about the role renewable energy will play in Australia?

We are using the website to gather our ideas. Oursay is a Melbourne-based group committed to enabling more people to be involved in public debate. Using it is easy: Go to to post a question you want answered, or vote on other peoples questions. Voting ends on September 2. (source)

I’m not sure what the SA is hoping to achieve by this, and whether they truly take any notice of the questions people ask, and given the anger surrounding the carbon tax, it might not be pretty. But bearing in mind the urban-green readership of Fairfax, I don’t think they need worry, looking at one of the early questions:

“We need action on climate change. Why can’t the government communicate the issue properly? The government has wasted millions of dollars of advertising on an awful communication strategy but still can’t gain popular support. Why is this?”

Yawn. It will, however, be interesting to check back on 2 September to see what the final ten questions are.

P.S. I couldn’t resist: Read my question and you can register and vote as well.

Fairfax publishes another article by Bob Carter

Climate sense

Two in a week is pretty good going (see here for the first). As before, they will no doubt have lined up a bunch of hysterical alarmists to smear and rubbish Bob Carter, but at least they are letting their readers see the other side of the debate for once.

In this piece, Carter addresses points made recently by Chief Scientist Ian Chubb:

Sound science is based upon observation, experiment and the testing of hypotheses in the context of the principle of simplicity (often termed Occam’s Razor).

The unvalidated computer models that now dominate the public face of climate ”science” are a jungle of complexities, and represent speculative thought experiments not empirically tested science.

In support of these methods, the former director of the British Meteorological Office, Professor John Mitchell, has said that ”people underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful … Our approach is not entirely empirical”.

The last part of this statement is only too true, and leads to the discomfit expressed by those such as the British engineering professor John Brignell: ”The ease with which a glib algorithm can be implemented with a few lines of computer code, and the difficulty of understanding its implications, can pave the path to cloud-cuckoo land.”

Read it all here.

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