Climate change:

Deltoid‘s Tim Lambert writes: Re. “CRU emails reveal a worrying pattern of bad behaviour” (yesterday). Sinclair Davidson has systematically misrepresented the stolen emails in order to smear climate scientists.  For example, when scientists discuss how to quite properly avoid taxes on research funds he accuses them of the crime of tax evasion. When a scientist asks for suggestions as to who he should nominate as possible peer reviewers, he accuses them of attempting to subvert the peer review process.  He accuses them of refusing to make data available to journals while artfully omitting the fact that the scientists had signed an agreement to not redistribute the data.

He accuses them of attempts to manipulate the editorial stance of journals without mentioning that the context was a scandal were a rogue editor had slipped a plainly defective paper into the journal.  He accuses them of making threats to physically assault rivals giving the impression that there was a real threat when it was obvious that the threat was not real and there are more serious threats made on his Davidson’s blog. And on and on.

Science historian Spencer Weart has observed:

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The theft and use of the emails does reveal something interesting about the social context. It’s a symptom of something entirely new in the history of science.

Aside from crackpots who complain that a conspiracy is suppressing their personal discoveries, we’ve never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance.

Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers.

Davidson and Crikey should be ashamed of themselves.

Mark Jones writes: I’m sure the irony is not lost on your readers of Sinclair Davidson’s response to the CRU emails. Economists have never manipulated data to achieve a desirable outcome.

They’ve never changed a variable into ratio so that it fits a little better into a model, or used an ARIMA estimated variable, changed statistical techniques part the way through, or dropped an assumption, or hidden data behind a commercial in confidence contract, or simply put up peer reviewed work with peers who have the same opinions.

Need I go on. Economic modelling is even more ludicrous then Climate modelling and the fact is that I’d never expect an economic rationalist to support a theory that highlights the markets biggest failure, that being negative externalities on the environment.

The fact of the matter is a “rationalist” in the climate debate is not a sceptic, sorry Viv Forbes (20 November, comments), it’s the 70 to 80 percent of Australians who acknowledge that we can’t continually pump pollutants into our atmosphere or destroy forests at the current rate and want the government to do something about it.

A true “rationalist” acknowledge that there will be a cost to the change, that this cost will be passed on to the consumer, that its implementation will be along the same lines as the GST, that the economic impact will be no worse than the current financial crisis, that it will lead to technological change, that will eventually reduce costs. Short term pain for long term gain.

C’mon Sinclair and other denialists think of it as fast tracking Schumpeter’s Creative Destructionism by world governments, rather than relying on the market, because vested interests in the market are obfuscating and ignoring Mother Earth’s signal, that being our environment is stuffed.

James Younger writes: I’m not qualified to comment as to the facts around climate change, but given my background in business process improvement, I find myself shaking my head at the way that the climate change debate has been handled by both the mainstream media and the scientists involved. How is it that we’ve all forgotten to ask that most important question of all…”why?”

Day after day, we are told of the doomsday scenarios, and when anyone puts up an opposing argument or asks for evidence, they’re laughed out of town. Talk about playing the player, not the ball. Where is the constructive, technical debate here people? There are three issues that have not been adequately addressed (if at all):

  1. Why the top three carbon producing industries in Australia all exempt or receiving massive compensation for continuing to produce massive carbon emissions.
  2. The content of the proposed Copenhagen agreement (though this is now a moot point given it doesn’t appear to be worth the paper it’s written on).
  3. Fact-based debate on the fundamental science of this issue. I cite the following example, being Janet Albrechtsen’s commentary from Nov 4th.

She quotes the following source: “Morner is a former professor who headed the department of paleogeophysics and geodynamics at Stockholm University and past president (1999-2003) of the International Union for Quaternary Research commission on sea level changes and coastal evolution.”

So to my logical brain, Morner “should” know what he’s talking about, and when I hear him say that yes, the climate is changing, as it always has, and the current global warming is simply the earth and it’s normal cooling & warming cycle, (and supports it with data), I start to wonder what on earth is going on. Clearly I’m not alone here, poll figures are showing that climate change is now steadily moving down the list of importance according to the public.

So, to the 99.99% of experts who support climate change, here’s a challenge, if you can’t a) all agree that there is a problem, and b) prove it clearly, and irrefutably, why are you upset at people who don’t take your statements at face value? I cite as further evidence, the recent hacking of the Climate Research Unit in Britain, showing emails detailing blatant data manipulation and scientists complaining that they can’t prove that climate change exists. The naysayers are your own creation.

Jobs in journalism:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “All those journalism graduates … all these jobs” (yesterday). Chris Scanlon tries to answer the question,  “If journalism …is in crisis, then why are journalism programs going gangbusters?”

Frankly, I think the question is based on a false premise.  Few uni students have much of a conception of the job market.  Rather than reflecting  developments in the media industry, the demand for courses probably reflects little more than a general desire for an education that offers better employment prospects than a traditional BA.

The Australian:

Derryn Hinch writes: Hinch here. Sent this letter to The Australian which, not surprisingly, was not published. Wondered how many other Crikey readers feel the same way I do about the expensive revamp:

I used to read The Australian for work and pleasure. It was my favourite newspaper for news, opinion and even Cut & Paste. Now reading it is a  chore. Just slabs of unappetizing small type.

Your pages are no longer alive. The  ALL CAPS HEADLINES no longer eye magnets. The trendy pale blue bylines nigh invisible. You’ve turned me into an “Oz skimmer”. Sorry guys… you’ve blown it.

I subscribe to Crikey because I believe in a free, open and independent media where news and opinions can be published that I can both agree with and be challenged by.

As a Crikey subscriber I always feel more informed and able to think more critically about issues and current affairs – even when they don’t always reflect my own political viewpoint or lived experience.


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