Bernard Keane and Catholicism:

Tony Mora writes:  Re. “Kevin and Mary — a match made in Heaven” (Monday, item 1). Well Crikey, I guess you’ll claim freedom of speech for Bernard Keane, but how about the licence you give him — viz. freedom from responsible professional writing — to come across like any ranting bigot from a bygone era in the West?

His rabid attack on the Catholic Church came across as eavesdrop puerile cant — more that of a sillybilly hairdresser to Octogen BigEars, his toptipping Hedda Hopperlike, than one of Crikey‘s heavyweight scribes. I’ve been a journalist/writer — admittedly mostly abroad — since 1960 and have run into Keane’s type east and west. Usually in bars not news rooms. Editors were editors in them days. Who does Keane take Crikey’s audience for? Who does he take you for?

Bob Geldof once said to me — in Melbourne, 1985 — “I just want to bloody well get it done and it’s embarrassed me to find the Church I had no time for that’s for ages been pulling its finger out before me wherever I go. Sceptics and most media do-nothings just stick theirs up.”

Keane doesn’t cut any mustard with considerate, thoughtful people, or with those at the world’s socially impoverished coalfaces. There’s a lot not to like among the Pope’s 1.3 billion but compare Benny 16 and his mob with big government and other corrupt government and thank God == whether you believe or not == that nature [God?] abhors a vacuum.

Take away the Church, Keane? You funny man. By crikey, eh?

Come time to renew my sub. I’ll be thinking of where it might do more good as a charitable donation than contribute to this sad sack’s salary.

Peter Lloyd (whose mum tried to raise him as a good Catholic) writes: When a Muslim blows something up or says something particularly stupid, we are bombarded with demands that “average” Muslims make loud and public their condemnation of such words and actions.  Now that Geoff Coyne and Marcus L’Estrange (yesterday, comments) have demonstrated their hair-trigger reflexes in coming to the defence of the irreproachable Catholic Church, I would like to extend to them a similar invitation.

As they were typing, it has emerged that yet again the Catholic school system is obstructing the exposure and prosecution of an alleged sexual predator in a Toowoomba school.  While Bernard Keane slung a few barbs at the magic tricks of Mary MacKillop and dared to question whether a man like Kevin Rudd might consult a media advisor before his public prayers, extremely dubious forces in NSW have staged a virtual coup, with their figurehead a woman whose Catholicism is not some incidental byproduct of a rich and complex set of qualifications, but it rather her only reason for being in parliament at all.

“One of the world’s most corrupt and damaging corporations”?  Don’t get uppity guys, it’s the loyalty of people like yourselves, the tacit silence and refusal to clean up your own, that allows the rest of us to view Catholicism as nothing more than a cloak that seems to allow any corruption to pass unquestioned.


Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Copenhagen: interview with the thinking man’s sceptic Bjorn Lomborg” (yesterday, item 10). Why does Matthew Knott describe Bjorn Lomborg as “the thinking man’s climate sceptic”?  As Knott notes in the next breath, “he doesn’t reject the science of anthropogenic climate change”.  But the label “climate sceptic” unmistakably lumps him with those who do!

Can we all move beyond the unthinking dogmatism and meaningless labelling that dogs this debate?  There are two separate issues:  the nature of the problem, and the best solution.  On both issues there is a wide range of opinions which need to be openly thrashed out.

Environmental campaigners want “action on climate change”.  But peddling simplistic nostrums, stage-managing bureaucratic circuses, or hunting imaginary heretics is the same as inaction.  And all the research time calculating bovine flatulence (that is not a euphemism) could have been spent developing alternative energy.

Barnaby Joyce:

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re “Rundle: Crazy Barnaby shooting from the heartland” (Monday, item 2). If Barnaby is influenced by the CEC let’s hope he gives that away and realize what they are up to. The late Professor Max Teichman, who wrote extensively and brilliantly for the National Civic Council’s estimable journal News Weekly, often felt that the CEC was trying to influence the NCC to an abnormal degree.

The current NCC leadership and Barnaby Joyce should resist this attempt and stick to the Catholic social teachings enunciated in the Papal encyclicals Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno and Centisimus Annus, amongst others. If not the late and great Bob Santamaria and Max Teichman will be turning in their graves.

Christmas cards:

Ava Hubble writes: Postman Pat’s understandable frustration (yesterday, comments) with the inadequacy of Australian household letter boxes seems to have blinded him to the point of my own rant.

My complaint was that while Australian Post makes much of providing a special 50 cent stamp for Christmas cards it has failed to cogently warn customers that many cards will be too big to be eligible for that special rate.  After all, my cards, measuring only 140mm x140mm failed to quality.  You won’t  find too many cards on sale that are smaller than that.

Even so, they cost $1 each to mail within Australia.

Melbourne Uni:

Christina Buckridge, Manager, Corporate Affairs, University of Melbourne, writes: Re. “Mass exodus at VCA as music staff exit stage left” (yesterday, item 11). Might I suggest that Andrew Crook please read the discussion paper for the consultation and review of the Faculty of the VCA and Music instead of making it up as he goes along?

The discussion paper sets out a range of options — not just one —for the Faculty of the VCA and Music and arts education. It invites ideas and comments from staff, students, graduates, and members of the arts community and arts industry, and of the wider University community. To dismiss this thoughtful document as just canvassing options “for the staged adoption of . Melbourne Model” is to completely miss the paper’s important contribution to prompting genuine responses to the future of higher education.

I would urge anyone interested in the future of quality higher arts education in Victoria to read the paper and make a submission to the consultation process. The paper can be downloaded here. Submissions do not have to be in until 12 February so there is plenty of time.

And I would also like to point out that the “heavily-criticised Melbourne Model” is simply so because Mr Crook keeps criticising it from an uninformed position. I would encourage him to inform himself on the Melbourne Model and to listen to the voices of this week’s top VCE students expressing concerns about the narrowness of current education models, and to consider some of the views of the Model expressed by others, nationally and internationally.

Climate change:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Matt Andrews (comments, yesterday) insists Earth is receiving more energy than it emits because the energy flows are directly measured by NASA’s CERES satellites. What does Kevin Trenberth, key IPCC contributor and head of the Climate Analysis Section at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research say about the data coming from CERES?

Here’s a leaked email from October 2009:

But the resulting evaporative cooling means the heat goes into atmosphere and should be radiated to space: so we should be able to track it with CERES data. The CERES data are unfortunately wonting and so too are the cloud data…

And he further states:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.  The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Well, there’s a surprise. I thought the science was settled?  Hmm … no matter.  Matt assures us that the heat is being transferred into the oceans and that’s why the atmosphere seems to have cooled.  Problem is that Trenberth disagrees.  Here he is in the same leaked email:

The ocean data are also lacking although some of that may be related to the ocean current changes and burying heat at depth where it is not picked up.


Matt finishes with an assertion that the leaked files show “zero evidence of unethical manipulation of data”. Here are a few quotes from those leaked files.  Judge for yourself:

  • Phil Jones, head of the CRU, in 1999:  “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
  • Phil Jones in 2004: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
  • Jones in 2005 after a request for data: “I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”
  • Notes in the Harry_read_me computer file for CRU data: “These will be artificially adjusted to look closer to the real temperatures.”  “Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!”

Ken Lambert writes: Mark Byrne and Matt Andrews (yesterday, comments) resist invitations into the famous Crikey Climate Change Cage Match, because they like vague generalities and not hard numbers when it comes to proving alarmist AGW.

Boys, look at Climategate email references to lead IPCC author and energy balance guru Dr Kevin Trenberth and his now famous article.  In it he calculates that the overall heating power imbalance from IPCC AR4 of +1.6W/sq.m has dropped to +0.9W/sq.m (with feedback effects), and that a 1% error in cloud measurements can drop it a further -0.5 /sq.m.  This results in +1.6 dropping to +0.4 W/sq.m.  The accuracy he reports measurement of cloud cover is +/- 1%.

So the IPCC AR4 ‘Summary for Policymakers” for people like Rudd, Wong and Hunt shows the Earth is warming at a relentless and locked-in +1.6W/sq.m  and rising, when it is actually +0.9 and with a minor error in clouds down to +0.4.

So we have roughly 50% down to 25% of the warming IPCC ’scientists’ thought we had. Then if you add SO2 and other aerosols (cooling effects at  -1.2W/sq.m), the imbalance is easily wiped out or turned negative.

Aerosol effects are rated as “uncertain” in Dr Trenberth’s article.  That is why India and China are now in the frame for the amount of SO2 and other aerosols which might be unaccounted for in estimates of cooling effects from reflection of incoming solar energy.

This is most likely what has been happening for the last 10 years or so with the plateauing of temperatures (or slight cooling), and the vast gap (Residual) which Dr Trenberth finds in the energy balance from 2004-2008.

Hence his frustrated cry to his email mates; “Where did the heat go?”