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Mar 2, 2010

Balance without judgement: your ABC

The ABC continues its habit of "balancing" mainstream climate science with the views of bloggers and professional denialists rather than climate scientists.


Yesterday the ABC’s Drum site published a piece by Alan Moran attacking mainstream climate science. It was the first of what is promised to be a week of pieces “commissioned from noted writers on the sceptic side of the climate science debate”, apparently prompted by that site’s publication last week of a five-part article by Clive Hamilton on the campaign being waged against mainstream science by climate denialists.

Moran is obviously entitled to his views regardless of whether they are easily shown to be false. The question is more why they were given a run on The Drum without some basic fact-checking or balance. Moran’s article did not “balance” those of Clive Hamilton, who wrote on a specific aspect of the climate change debate in which he is professionally involved. Moran can at least claim – unlike Tom Switzer – that he has expertise on climate scepticism, having been working on the issue for the IPA for some time, including speaking at international conferences.

But yesterday, while he began on the issue of the public credibility of climate science, he quickly drifted onto climate science itself, and he isn’t a climate scientist.

This is a further example of the ABC’s balance without judgement on the issue of climate science. Out of an editorial concern for balance, the ABC gives time not to experts who are in a position to offer credible scepticism about aspects of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, but to bloggers and right-wing commentators. The rollcall of Drum sceptics this week says it all: none of Alan Moran, Tom Switzer, Bob Carter and Jo Nova are climate scientists.

Moran’s piece is comprehensive in its listing of sceptic and denialist claims. A number of them were recycled by Tom Switzer in the second climate denialist piece today.  They’re worth going through in detail to illustrate how thin the climate denialist case is when checked against the evidence.

Moran: “The leaking of emails in October last year from the premier global centre of climatic panic, the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, provided evidence that scientists leading the charge on climate change were keen to avoid scrutiny.”

As is now clear to anyone who has considered the emails themselves in their context, there is no “evidence” of any scientists avoiding scrutiny, only of scientists deeply unhappy with the constant efforts of denialists to waste their time and discredit them.  The now-famous “trick” to “hide the decline” refers a technique of plotting actual data alongside reconstructed data, and the “decline” refers to the decline in the reliability of temperature data from tree rings. Kevin Trenberth’s “travesty” that “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment” relates to his paper on global energy accounting and how there’s as yet no explanation for how natural variability accounts for rising heat levels.

Moran: “[Mistakes] started back in 2003, when Canadian researchers McIntyre & McKitrick undertook statistical analysis of Professor Michael Mann’s “hockey stick”. Representing a one thousand year temperature trend, the “hockey stick” with its upward trajectory in the 20th century appeared to refute previous thinking… McIntyre & McKitrick deflated the statistics behind the “hockey stick”…”

Wrong. The US Congress requested the National Research Council to investigate the issue. It found some minor flaws in Mann et al’s work but concluded “it can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries… less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600.”

Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900.” The “hockey stick” has since been confirmed repeatedly by data from a variety of sources such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Moran: “We have seen the evidence of imminent Himalayan glacier retreat refuted in spite of sneering attacks on the questioners by the IPCC head, Rajenda Pachauri.”

The IPCC process indeed failed on this claim – and not just or even primarily because the claim was included in the first place (the original text is actually self-contradictory) but because the IPCC editors did not act on numerous comments by climate scientists (and even the Japanese Government) at the time that the claim was not backed up.  However, there is considerable peer reviewed evidence that glaciers are in retreat in the Himalayas, China and Tibet, and in at least one case the rate of retreat is accelerating.

Moran: “We have seen evidence that the Amazon rain forests disappearance is exaggerated…”

Wrong.  This derives from the claim that an IPCC statement was sourced from a WWF document. In fact the WWF drew on peer-reviewed literature on critically-low levels of soil moisture in the Amazon.  The IPCC statement that 40% of the Amazon is under threat from a small reduction in rainfall is backed by peer-reviewed literature.

Moran: “…that half of the Netherlands is not, after all, facing oceanic inundation…”

The 2007 IPCC report said 55% of the Netherlands was below sea level, based on advice from the Dutch Environment Assessment Agency.  The Dutch subsequently altered their advice to say that 26% of the country is below sea level and another 29% is susceptible to river flooding.

Moran: “…and that hurricanes are not increasing in intensity or frequency.”

Wrong.  Climate change has not been clearly linked by climate scientists to increasing hurricane frequency but there is a suggested link made by climate scientists between climate change and hurricane intensity. There is peer-reviewed evidence of hurricanes gaining in wind speed since the 1970s.

Moran: “Warming itself has appeared to have stopped, perhaps temporarily, a fact that even the defrocked high priest of the rising temperature trend, CRU’s Professor Phil Jones, has been forced to concede.”

Wrong, and Moran’s IPA colleague John Roskam who was busted claiming this last week.  This is what Jones said – asked if there had been no statistically-significant global warming in the last 15 years, Jones said:

“Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.”

Interviewer: How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

Phil Jones: “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

Contrary to Moran’s statement that “there is no new data about climate trends”, the end – or at least faux, media end – of the 00s decade enabled NASA to conclude that 2009 was the second hottest year on record – just shy of either 2005 or 1998, depending on your data set.  And the decade was the hottest ever, beating the 1990s, and the 1980s.

Moran: “And the IPCC estimated climate trend prior to 1980, which predates accurate satellite based records, is also under a new assault because crucial data has disappeared and many claim records are contaminated by local warming.”

Wrong again.  Peer-reviewed evidence shows no noteworthy impact of factors such as urban warming, and NASA adjusts its data to remove any impact anyway – although a large minority of readings show urban records are cooler than rural records because many monitoring units are located in parks.

Moran can’t even get the rhetorical stuff right. “There are no new findings about… the likelihood of people in rich countries contracting heat induced dengue fever.” Which would come as a shock to Singapore, which is dealing with a significant rise in dengue fever as temperatures have risen over the last decade and earlier, and to Taiwan or for that matter Florida, which last year saw the return of dengue fever for the first time in fifty years.

If the ABC wanted to provide genuine balance on the issue, it could invite contributions from Roger Pielke, a climate scientist who has criticised the IPCC, particularly on the important of CO2 in global warming. Or ask Australia’s Garth Partridge about whether anthropogenic impacts are large enough to significantly affect climate. Ask George Kukla about how much human activity accounts for the current warming. Ask John Christy about over-reliance on modeling. Or ask scientists who welcome global warming, believing it will provide net benefits to humanity, including increased plant growth.

It’s not hard to find credentialed climate scientists, with credibility amongst their peers, who dispute elements of the AGW hypothesis.

Instead, the ABC asks the same group of conservatives and professional denialists, none of whom have expertise in climate science and whose work involves serving up the cream of the denialist blogosphere, despite their claims being repeatedly shown to be wrong. Their views, with errors intact, now come with the ABC logo, giving it a credibility it didn’t previously have – just like Chris Monckton’s falsehoods and distortions went uncorrected during his extensive airtime on the ABC recently.

Balance without judgement isn’t balance at all.


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164 thoughts on “Balance without judgement: your ABC

  1. baal

    It would be instructive know by whom the IPA (and other think tanks) is funded.

  2. Most Peculiar Mama

    Clive Hamilton is not a climate scientist.

    And you can bang on about the peer-review process all you like…the fact is (the process) is almost irreparably broken and so-called climate scientists are 100% responsible for its demise.

  3. Mike Jones

    More instructive it is to understand that Alan Moran has qualifications not in climate science. He’s a mathematical modelling type of dude.

    Google some of Alan in Wonderland’s prescient contributions. What ? No refereed ones in serious journals ? How surprising !

    So if the model and the reality don’t co-incide, the reality must be wrong. Right ?

  4. Ben Harris-Roxas

    If the ABC wants to provide balance on climate change they should also include the views of climate scientists who believe the IPCC’s forecasts are too conservative and that climate change will result in more drastic changes.

  5. Mark Duffett

    Please don’t overstate the case, Bernard.

    …there is no “evidence” of any scientists avoiding scrutiny…

    How else would you characterise the correspondence that clearly demonstrates attempts to avoid or otherwise circumvent FOI requests for data and computer code? Undoubtedly many of these were indeed from “denialists to waste their time”, but some were from serious practitioners attempting to reproduce results – a fundamental scientific process. That FOI requests were even required is an indictment, if not of the CRU scientists themselves, then certainly data and code management practices prevailing in the entire climate field.

    While Crikey is lecturing the ABC about how to provide balance (ironic to say the least), it could do worse than to examine the olive branch proffered by climate scientist Judith Curry at Steve McIntyre’s blog, and her related essay in Physics Today.

  6. JamesK

    How very magnanimous of Keane to ‘allow’ Moran his opinions “regardless of whether they are easily shown to be false”.

    Whereupon Keane then demonstrates that he is more merely than incompetent for that task easy or otherwise.

    Every single quote of Moran that Keane pathetically attempts to ‘fisk’ here is not disproved. Every single one are genuine critiques that might be argued but none could be dismissively gainsayed as Keane does here.

    This isn’t commentary; it’s advocacy.

    Considering the amorality and dishonesty of warmenists in general and Keane here in particular, at least it’s a woefully poor catastrophist diatribe.

  7. JBG

    Oh Bernard, you are such a hypocrite! How can you crticise the sceptical contriubtors to the debate for not being climate scientists when the man they are being brought in to refute, Clive Hamilton, isn’t one either. All five of Clive’s articles pushed the science, yet not one single little sentence from you criticising him for not being a climate scientist.
    More objective journalism and less cheerleading for your bestie, please Bernard.

  8. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    Greate article.

  9. Richard Carter

    Bernard sounds like a believer in denial.

  10. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    JBG, the point is that Bernard and Clive’s views are backed up by the scientific literature. They don’t need to be climate scientists because those scientists support their views.

    On the other hand, Moran’s views are fabrications only supported by lies, misquotings and misrepresentations. The fact that he isn’t a climate scientist, nor do any climate scientists support his views, is at the very heart of the matter.

    It’s depressing that the denialists’ rubbish is so easily batted away, yet it keeps on being repeated by people who just don’t care that it’s incorrect because it alligns with their political ideology.

  11. Tom McLoughlin

    4 seasons in Europe are weeks out of schedule now.

    Ice roads in Canada are for a much decreased period now.

    The permafrost in Siberia is melting.

    The arable land in Greenland is expanding.

    The carbonic acid has reduced the carapace of marine micro organisms by 1/3 in recent years.

    The snows of Kilimanjaro are disappearing.

    The insurance industry is paying out at record levels for intense storm damage.

    NASA satellite records show increasing temperature trend way beyond any urban heat island effects.

    There is no uncertainty only science gumbies riddled with guilt.

  12. SBH

    Rich Uncle Skeleton – I agree it’s depressing and I wish it would stop sooner. Just remember Trofim Lysenko who poopooed Gregor Mendel was believed for a very long time.

    Spectacular hyperbole from mama wilberforce btw

  13. Peter Smith

    Perhaps The Drum is introducing “balance” under protest, and so are selecting the looniest contributors on purpose?

    I live in hope.

  14. Michael James

    The truth is that the earth seems to be warming. The issue that is in question is how much of that warming is man-made and how much is entirely natural and outside man’s control.

    Given the periods in recent (geological) times where temperatures were warmer than they are now, it makes sense to accept that outside forces do have a significant effect on the Earth’s temperature.

    The discredited ‘hockey stick’ graph which flattened warm periods in the name of pushing a partisan point of view underlined the fact that much of the alarm driving the AGW debate is from scientists who seem to have used worst case analysis to gain attention to their propositions and now find themselves having to justify those tactics and conclusions, and coming up short

    I believe that the earth is warming, however I have little confidence that mankind is wholly or even majorly responsible.

    The earth has been significantly warmer during periods of recorded history; it has also been significantly colder.

    I believe that the current warming is another of those cyclical changes and humanity cannot determine the changes, it can simply adjust to them as best as possible.

  15. Mr Denmore

    There is now little doubt that ABC news and editorial has been captured by the loud but unrepresentative Howard culture warriors, paid propagandists for fossil fuel industries and sundry god botherers, xenophobes, libertarian fruitcakes and sundry right-wing nutters.

    The organisation has basically laid down, spread its legs and sold what little integrity it had left for the sake of being left alone by a clique of nasty, small-minded people (Gerard Henderson) who spent the last 25 years complaining that it was a nest of trendy lefties.

    Happy that there will be no angry “please explains” from the Howard-stacked board, the ABC journos can walk around with their chests puffed out thinking they are “fair and balanced” because they present as considered opinion the slanted and self-interested lies of the grubby agents of the polluting industries and people who want to present climate change science as some sort of war between right and left.

  16. Russell

    At the end of last week’s Media Watch, the presenter signed off with his usual knowing smirk and instructed us all to go to the program’s website to read an extended biffo between him and Pier Ackerman on climate change (sigh).

    I wonder if any anyone did? I wonder if anyone bothered to read Clive Hamilton’s turgid lectures to us on why we should change our evil ways, and any of these mind bogglingly tedious rebuttals on The Drum?

    Bernard Keane, journalists cease to have any usefulness to their employers, and relevance to their readers, when they become evangelists for either side.

    Get a grip. We have tuned out of this.

  17. SonofMogh

    The right wing appointments of The Lying Rodent have finally started to pay off by giving this crap an outlet.
    It will do nothing but cheapen the ABC brand.

  18. klewso

    Interesting watching Grayling (admittedly he’s only a philosopher) last night on Lateline, when asked what he thought about the debate, and he pointed out that 95% of climate scientists agreed that humanity was responsible for a great part of the problem (so one in twenty doesn’t) and that some of the most vocal “sceptics/(denialists)”, driving “the practical procrastination” agenda, weren’t actually scientists, let alone specialists in the field, and had vested interests in prolonging the debate to buy time (“to continue exploitation of those natural resources certain interests are hoeing into now, earning their profits while they can”?).
    He also noted that slowing down this sort of “development at any cost or perish” mentality, might just be in the planet’s interest!
    But, then again, he was only a “philosopher”!

  19. JamesK

    “There is now little doubt that ABC news and editorial has been captured by the loud but unrepresentative Howard culture warriors, paid propagandists for fossil fuel industries and sundry god botherers, xenophobes, libertarian fruitcakes and sundry right-wing nutters.” says the perennially silly Mr Dunmore.

    The Drum is edited by Jonathan Green!!!!!!!!!

    Mr Dunmore is pontificating about the perenially leftist ABC now on leftoid Green steroids on The Drum.

    Apparently now, according to Mr Dunmore the ABC is an extreme right wing organisation.

    There is no such thing as leftist shame only leftist highbrow condescension……..
    however puerile

  20. baal

    @Russell is right. These foolish threads with the to-ing and fro-ing of puffed up skeptics and wild-eyed axe-grinders help not one jot to clarify or enlighten. The Drum is another pathetic attempt by time servers of various hues to pose as the future of journalism.

  21. Cuppa

    Baal wrote:

    [“It would be instructive know by whom the IPA (and other think tanks) is funded.”]

    I recommend to you and all Readers the site SourceWatch.

    [“SourceWatch profiles the activities of front groups, PR spinners, industry-friendly experts, industry-funded organizations, and think tanks trying to manipulate public opinion on behalf of corporations or government.”]


    On the IPA it says:

    [“It has close links to the Liberal Party of Australia, with its Executive Director John Roskam having run for Liberal Party preselection for a number of elections.”]

    According to SourceWatch, the IPA has funding from “a small number of “conservative corporations”.


  22. twobob

    Moran is obviously entitled to his views regardless of whether they are easily shown to be false.
    And those who believe false views would be morons.
    And the comment @ 2 ignores all the effort put in to repudiate the claims made by moran.
    It does not address the issue of incorrectness in the piece by moron.
    It then must be assumed that the skeptics are happy to be mislead.
    Is that a definitive action of a moron? I am sure it is in MDMorons case and aslo in JamesKs.

  23. davidk

    Thank you Bernard for alerting us to this disgrace. I totally agree with you Ben and Rich Uncle. Presuming balance is served by one person speaking on each side of a topic is not balance at all as it does not reflect the reality of a discourse that has overwhelming support on one side and very limited support on the other. It gives credence to the denialists which is disproportionate to the true value of views that are unsupported by the scientific literature. I wonder why I haven’t seen proponents of the view; apparently widely held by Christians; that the earth is only 4000 years old debated with people of the opposing view that it is in fact 4 billion years old.Would not that also be a balanced debate?No doubt future generations trying to grapple with the consequences of climate change will appreciate all the air time given to the opponents of action.

  24. Cuppa

    I’ve just been looking through the list of contributors to ‘The Drum Unleashed’, and found some noteworthy names:

    Tony Abbott

    Eric Abetz

    Richard Allsop (IPA)

    Kevin Andrews

    Timothy Andrews (Vice-President (Policy) of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia (NSW Division))

    David Barnett (He is the author with his wife Pru Goward of a biography of John Howard)

    Coral Bell (recently published by the Lowy Institute. SourceWatch describes The Lowy Institute as “a neoliberal international policy think tank based in Sydney”


    Philip Benwell (National Chairman of the Australian Monarchist League.)

    Chris Berg (Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs and Editor of the IPA Review)

    Cory Bernardi (Liberal Senator, South Australia)

    Bill Bowtell (of the neoliberal international policy think tank, the Lowy Institute)

    Jessica Brown ( Policy Analyst at the Centre for Independent Studies. The CIS is described by SourceWatch as “Australia’s first ‘neo-liberal’ think tank.”)


    …. And that’s just the names starting with the letters A and B.

    There’s plenty more Liberals, right wing ideologues and think tankers on the list.

    I found this one interesting:

    Cyrus Brooks (spokesperson for the Church of Scientology.)

  25. Flower

    It’s unsurprising that the most vociferous screeching and wailing comes from the IPA where it’s all about them, their front groups, their connections to big-time eco-vandals and mining barons, their bank vaults and the wielding of power.

    And how long will it take for Alan Moran, Tom Switzer, Bob Carter, Jo Nova et al to plot and colludem to form a response to the latest climate analysis from GISS?:

    “2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, also shows that in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880.

    “January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record.

    “Although 2008 was the coolest year of the decade, due to strong cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2009 saw a return to near-record global temperatures. The past year was only a fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest year on record, and tied with a cluster of other years — 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 1998 and 2007 — as the second warmest year since recordkeeping began:”


    So who’s applying the “pear of agony” to our ABC?

  26. michael crook

    Good article Bernard, the saddest thing is that the ABC has never recovered from its emasculation by Howard.

  27. Mack the Knife

    Imagine if Labor did a Nick Minchin on the ABC for right wing bias at the moment and false reporting.

    It wouldn’t even be a close competition. The pity of it is that the ABC has blatantly become a Liberal tool for ‘elect Abbott at any cost’ and they have failed their charter to inform the public in an honest manner.

    Are there any honest journo’s left at Auntie?

  28. Michael

    Dr Bernard Keane B.Sc, M.Sc, PhD, and General Know it All.

    Hasn’t anyone told you that Elvis has left the building?
    And he took with him the last modicum of credibility left in the Global Warming Wealth Distribution Scheme.

    You look so silly standing there all alone with your big shiny trumpet playing to an audience of 2 old women, a dog & 3 crickets.

    Go home Bernard, go on son, just go home.

    So sad.

  29. Mr Denmore

    James K, like all the other Fiberals and ugly, unpleasant trolls who infest blogs like this you misrepresent my position to make a cheap playground debating point.

    I did not say the ABC was an extreme right-wing organisation. I said the ABC had allowed itself to be used as a platform by noisy and unrepresentative, but well-funded, right-wing groups who shriek that “balance” means offsetting manifest truths with falsehood and spin.

    No journalist worth his salt allows valuable editorial space to be occupied by propagandists who are allowed – unchallenged – to fabricate information to push someone’s barrow.

    This is not a “leftist” argument as your tiresomely complain. It’s an argument in favour of truth and editorial integrity, neither concept you appear to be familiar with. But never mind, you have plenty of excuses already.

  30. Flower

    “You look so silly standing there all alone with your big shiny trumpet playing to an audience of 2 old women, a dog & 3 crickets.”

    Michael – please be more coherent. The “2 old women” (Christopher Monckton and Ian Plimer) to whom you refer, are the darlings of silly old codgers, just like you I suspect. Are you well enough to debate the topic?:

    “Balance without judgement: your ABC”

  31. earnest scribbler

    @ Russel said

    “Bernard Keane, journalists cease to have any usefulness to their employers, and relevance to their readers, when they become evangelists for either side.

    Get a grip. We have tuned out of this.”

    Too true, Russel. Good comment.

  32. davidk

    Hush now Earnest, the grown ups are talking.

  33. Cuppa

    Keep up the good work Bernard. You (and Crikey) are a refreshing voice in a sea of media sameness (including the ABC).

  34. my say

    i really feel it should be renamed their abc.

  35. Alexander Berkman

    what i love about people like the IPA and all the ‘climate change is a lie” peaknuckles is their lack of vision for any sort of sustainable future. What do they present, what do they espouse? Business as usual and nothing that hinders profits for the big players. It seems they deny climate change in order to keep the status quo yet are seemingly unable to give us any idea of what sort of future they envision to leave for future generations. Money is god, who gives a flying fark about the planet! Climate change is a leftist plot, the economy is more important than the ecology. Surely they understand that we live on a planet with FINITE resources and that it can’t be doing the planet any good to be burning fossil fuels like there literally is no tomorrow along with all the other destructive unsustainable things we humans are capable of? What planet are they living on?
    Well, it is with a judgment so harsh that these greedy money lovers will be seen in times to come by their children’s children whose legacy will be a world in environmental turmoil.

  36. James McDonald

    “the ABC gives time not to experts who are in a position to offer credible scepticism about aspects of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, but to bloggers and right-wing commentators.”

    Why didn’t you object to this preference for loudmouths and zealots over real experts last week, when left-wing commissar Clive Hamilton was given yet another soapbox at taxpayer expense, this time to speculate without any evidence whatsoever that abusive blogging is a right-wing conspiracy.

    Clive Hamilton. A nutter who would have thrived in Lavrenty Beria’s thought police. The only “specific aspect of the climate change debate in which he is professionally involved” is his claim to expertise on ethics — a commissar, in other words — based on nothing much except that he can quote from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

    So it’s OK to print left-wing commentators on the strength of their passionate convictions alone, but right-wing commentators have to be scientists? Lead by example, Crikey. Reserve the soapbox for people who can be trusted to inform rather than just heckle.

  37. Liz45

    ME DENMORE – CUPPA – MY SAY – FLOWER & others! I agree!

    The ABC is a source of great disappoint to me too!

    Didn’t they announce a new policy prior to the 2007 Election, that they’d ensure that both sides of a question would be canvassed within 24-36 hours?
    I recall a person interviewed on my local radio station re those on disability support pensions due to bad backs. As a person who’d been on it for RSI and a fractured spine, I was waiting for someone representing people like me. I sent an email to the station, of which the announcer read out several points which I appreciated, but nobody was interviewed in defence of those people, who are often maligned without recourse. I’m still waiting! This is not an infrequent circumstance! Abbott has his eye on these people if elected! God help them!

    I’m no scientist or pretend to have real knowledge re climate change. What I do realise is, that with all the filth put in the environment every day all day, it would be quite remarkable if it wasn’t doing any damage. I believe the scientists who are very concerned, and I hope govts act before we’ve reached the point of no return! For my grandkids sake, and all kids of course! Also, what is causing the horrific incidence of cancers? Probably/possibly related, but no research of note!

    I find it rather amusing(irritating) that when the ABC does report a story that questions the mainstream media’s slant, the ‘right wing nutters’ scream ‘left wing bias’? Predictable!

  38. Rodger Davies

    From the Wikipedia website on the IPA; “It is funded by its membership which include businesses. Among these businesses are ExxonMobil,[1] Telstra, WMC Resources, BHP Billiton, Phillip Morris,[2] Gunns Limited, Monsanto Company,[3] Murray Irrigation Limited,[4] and Visy Industries.”

  39. Kerry Lovering

    Almost every geologist and astrophisicist recognises from the evidence that climate changes all the time. About 6 centuries ago Vikings farmed in Greenland and grapes were grown in northern England. Then the earth cooled.
    About 170 years ago people were skating on the Thames in England–since then the earth has warmed–nothing to do with CO2 emissions.

    There was NO Sunspot activity between 1645 and 1710–called the Maunder Minimum–this was followed by the mini ice age–skating on the Thames etc.
    In the past couple of decades the sunspot activity reached a maximum from which it is now receding –lack of sunspot activity is being noted by real astronomers.

    It is extraordinary arrogance (or religious fervour) for mere mortals to think they can control the climate. We can certainly reduce pollution but the earth will do as the Sun dictates whatever people think.

  40. James McDonald

    Partly funded by businesses? Ooooh, it must be evil then. Along with Rotary and most of the churches and charities in the country.

  41. Bernard Keane

    Couple of things.

    1. To whoever said that Clive Hamilton isn’t a climate scientist – correct. Well spotted. That’s why I specifically noted that his pieces last week related to an issue within his professional experience – the attacks by denialists on scientists and activists. Given Clive has received many a death threat, and researched his piece by talking with activists and scientists who had been threatened or smeared, he was talking from a position of authority on the issue, even if you may not agree with his conclusions.

    2. Those having a go at the IPA about their funding – that’s not the issue. Funding should be revealed, in my view, but what matters is the rigour of their ideas, not the source of their money. Even a researcher entirely dependent on resource company funding can make a good argument that merits a proper response.

  42. Alexander Berkman

    James McDonald, JamesK, MPM,Ernie Scrabble, – your visions for a sustainable future please?

  43. baal

    @Rodger Davies – v. useful and interesting. Perhaps the ABC and the Australian Financial Review should print that information every time one of these wallahs vents.

  44. Cuppa

    On the Institute of Public Affairs, from ‘Inside Story’, 26 May 2009:


    [The IPA is, of course, concerned with private rather than public affairs, its extreme neo-liberalism and deification of the so-called free market displaying a thoroughgoing contempt for anything public: public ownership, public service, public transport and, indeed, the public itself. It is the ideological mouthpiece of very private enterprise that likes to glorify in the name of “free” enterprise.]

    … Which does rather beg two questions.

    1) Why is the ABC bending over backwards to accommodate on its blogs and airwaves these avowed opponents of public (broadcasting)?

    2) Why is the IPA apparently beating a path to the ABC’s door to get its views published on ABC blogs and electronic media? To be true to their free-market, neoliberal ideology, wouldn’t they reject on principle the idea of appearing on the national public broadcaster? Would they not be confining their promotional / propaganda activities to buying advertising space on the open market of the commercial media?

  45. baal

    @James MacDonald. Your remarks about Clive Hamilton are way out of line, as is your risible suggestion that Gunns and Monsanto are somehow the same weight, value, influence as Rotary and the Salvos. Clearly, you will stop to pick up any slime to throw. Careful it doesn’t stick.

  46. Liz45

    JAMES McDONALD – Try and act like a grown up, there’s a good boy!

  47. Jeremy Williams

    Its a bizarre debate across the media landscapes. The shockjocks and the Australian seem to think its left wing if you believe in the science.

    There was a couple of thousand peer reviewed papers on climate change in the last year not a one questioned the view that man is creating global warming. Yet commentators and your average joes everywhere seem to think they are qualified to discredit the science.

    The majority of doctors say that smoking is a health risk – they must be left wing.

    The abc has just followed the bizarre debate more generally. In an ideal world the debate would be between 2 qualified climate scientists not lobbyists or the unqualified.

  48. Tamas Calderwood

    Bernard, surely you jest. Hamilton’s “expertise” is specifically in the field of “attacks by denialists on scientists and activists”?

    What a remarkable new area of professional “expertise”.

    The point remains Bernard. You give a pass to Hamilton and his like to say anything they want because they are supported by “THE SCIENCE”. But whenever sceptics point out all the inconsistencies in that SCIENCE we are shouted down because we don’t have PhD’s in “climate science”. What a joke.

    Bravo to the ABC and Jonathan Green for allowing a debate rather than the one-sided hysteria we normally get.

  49. Tamas Calderwood

    And another point:

    The “trick” to “hide the decline” wasn’t referring to a “decline in the reliability of the temperature rings”. It was a reference to the fact that the proxy data from tree rings started DECLINING from the 1960’s while the instruments were showing warming.

    This calls into question the entire reconstruction that the hockey stick was based on. If the tree ring proxies aren’t reliable now, why would they be reliable back 1,000 years or so? Better to just “hide the decline” and pretend the Hockey stick was accurate.

    Oh, I know, I know. I’m not a climate scientist so I should just shut up and not make points like that, right?

  50. Bernard Keane

    Sorry Tamas you’ve been led astray. The Jones email is discussing what is called the “divergence problem” about tree ring data which diverge from modern temperature records in recent decades. The issue has been discussed in peer-reviewed literature since the mid-1990s. “Hiding the decline” refers to ways of addressing the divergence problem in the data. Stop removing quotes from context and pursuing confected “gotchas”.

  51. Alexander Berkman

    @Tamas -your vision?

  52. baal

    @Tamas: given the nature, persistence and woodenheadedness of the denialists it’s not surprising that one might need to develop ‘professional’ skills to deal with them. Just wading through the obfuscations, distortions, repetitions, changes of subject etc etc, is a tedious task. Indeed, denialists deploy their arguments as a campaign (bordering on mischief) which will continue regardless of successful rebuttals and revelations. Recognising the strategy is one thing, dealing with it is another.

    @Jeremy Williams: shock jocks and the Australia and all those people who worry about ‘political correctness’ see any kind of intelligent analysis as ‘left wing’

    @Cuppa – the IPA has been seeking respectability for some years now. Roskam and Moran frequently appear in the Australian Financial Review as if they were worthy of respect rather than mouthpieces for corporate interests

  53. kdkd

    You give a pass to Hamilton and his like to say anything they want because they are supported by “THE SCIENCE”. But whenever sceptics point out all the inconsistencies in that SCIENCE we are shouted down because we don’t have PhD’s in “climate science”. What a joke.

    Tamas appears to be claiming that factual accuracy is not a precondition for a sensible discussion on climate science. There is indeed a joke here somewhere 🙂

  54. Tamas Calderwood

    Bernard – I am well aware of the divergence problem.

    “Hiding the decline” was Phil Jones and Michael Mann’s “trick” to cut the tree ring data line off in the hockey stick graph as that proxy data began to decline in the 1960’s – yet they continued the graph with the instrument data, which shows only an increase.

    This “trick” makes the current warming look far more dramatic and unambiguous.

    And the point remains that the divergence problem calls into question the entire reconstruction of the proxy temperature estimate.

    So I’m not removing quotes from context and you are excusing a scientific “trick” that was designed to lead people astray.

  55. kdkd

    In addition every talking point from the delusionosphere in this comment thread can be dealt with by referring to the climate ‘skeptic’ arguments catalogue. For those not interested in propogating lies, these assessments of the delusionals’ claims also include references to peer reviewed literature.

  56. kdkd

    And conveniently we can rebut Tamas’ latest lie with a simple link.

  57. Tamas Calderwood

    Bernard – you also say “Kevin Trenberth’s “travesty” that “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment” relates to his paper on global energy accounting and how there’s as yet no explanation for how natural variability accounts for rising heat levels.

    That is incorrect. The travesty is how they can’t account for “the lack of warming at the moment” – just as Treberth says.

    And if they don’t understand how natural factors are causing the “lack of warming at the moment” how can they be so sure about the warming effects of human CO2? They cannot. And that is indeed a “travesty”

  58. Bernard Keane

    I don’t think I’ll bother, Tamas. Like denialists, you’re not interested in facts or logic. The alleged “gotchas” have been demonstrated to be nothing of the sort but you insist they are. Well, if that’s your view, onya. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.

  59. kdkd

    Oh the joy of email alerts. Tamas latest lie is easily debunked. Global warming has not stopped. Tamas is misrepresenting what Trenberth’s claim to suit his delusional argument.

  60. Tamas Calderwood

    Bernard – you also say “Peer-reviewed evidence shows no noteworthy impact of factors such as urban warming, and NASA adjusts its data to remove any impact anyway – although a large minority of readings show urban records are cooler than rural records because many monitoring units are located in parks. Peer-reviewed evidence shows no noteworthy impact of factors such as urban warming, and NASA adjusts its data to remove any impact anyway – although a large minority of readings show urban records are cooler than rural records because many monitoring units are located in parks.”

    Yet the Guardian today reports that Jones admitted to the Commons enquiry that “ for the first time he did concede publicly that when he tried to repeat the 1990 (Urban Heat Island effect) study in 2008, he came up with radically different findings. Or, as he put it, “a slightly different conclusion”. Fully 40% of warming there in the past 60 years was due to urban influences. “It’s something we need to consider,” he said.

    And as Steve McIntyre points out “Neither CRU nor NOAA have archived any source code for their (UHI) calculations, so it is impossible to know for sure exactly what they do”

    I’m not playing gotcha Bernard, I’m just pointing out inconsistencies that you don’t need a PhD in climate science to see.

    So your “onya” response is simply not good enough. My points are logical yet you cannot or will not address them. You just accuse me of not being interested in facts or logic. That’s a slur and it’s pathetic.

  61. kdkd

    *sigh*. More of Tamas’ lies, this time showing that the warming effect is not caused by heat island effects. Also independently replicated by others. Meanwhile the originator of the UHI furphy knows about this but is maintaining an undignified silence. Give up, the facts are not on your side.

  62. Alexander Berkman

    Tamas -Pathetic is the skeptics who consistently provide no vision what so ever to what sort of sustainable future they envision. Me? I worry about what sort of future my newborn daughter is going to have so I live a lifestyle that minimizes my ‘ecological footprint”. I worry for her and it gets my back up when I here people claimign humans have had no impact on our climate, who espouse the free market ideology that puts profits over the very planet that sustains us. So tell me, what sustains you and all the other naysayers? Perhaps some idea of how you would like to see the world in 20yrs time might be a good start and how we are to get there!

  63. FunkyJ

    I’d just like to know why the ABC is held up to a higher standard than commercial television?

    Check out the story aired on Ten Nightly News this weekend…


    Every single statement in this story is false. This whole story is media beat up. I mean, for fucks sake they can’t even get the name of the game right!

    How come there’s no 2,000 word rant about this ridiculous bullshit?

    If anything, this kind of thing is worse than the ABCs balance issues – at least the ABC is offering a balanced story!

  64. Tamas Calderwood

    Bernard – seeing as you’ve got my back up with your “illogical, denialist” slur…

    Did you actually READ the paper you linked to on Dengue fever in Singapore? I just did.

    It says the following:

    “the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified factors such as accelerated urbanization and population growth, weakened public health infrastructure, increased international travel, and lack of effective vector control system as main determinants for global emergence of dengue”…

    hmm… no mention of climate change.

    It goes on with this: “view of global climate change projections, the future climate MAY be favorable for greater dengue outbreaks; especially in subtropical and temperate countries. It was ESTIMATED that global mean surface temperature WOULD be rising approximately by 1.4–5.8°C in current century; whilst temperature for Asia Pacific region WOULD be increasing around 0.5–2°C by 2030 and 1–7°C by 2070. (My emphasis because I love the MAY’s, COULD’s and ESTIMATED’s that are rife in climate science).

    Anyway Bernard, I just did a linear regression on the UAH temperature data for the tropics. Guess how much temperatures have gone up in the past 31 years: 0.21C.

    So there’s nothing in your referenced article about climate change having actually caused a recent increase in dengue fever in Singapore, just that it might in the future. And anyway, the temperatures have only gone up by 0.21C in the past 31 years.

    And you accuse me of being “not interested in facts and logic”.

    As I said, pathetic.

  65. Tamas Calderwood

    Sorry, I meant to add in this brilliant quote from that dengue fever in Singapore paper:

    “Nevertheless, the burden of climate change regarding dengue incidence in Singapore is so far uncertain.”

    Anyone for some facts and some logic?

  66. kdkd

    Tamas 0.21ºC is what you would expect for temperature increase in the tropics over a 30 year period. The models show, and the observations confirm that in this early stage of global warming we expect enhanced warming in the arctic, and reduced warming in the tropics.

    Anyway one charge of over-enthusiasm from Bernard’s end (I’m guessing he’s not a scientist, just one of the better journalists at reporting science – they’re pretty rare unfortunately), still doesn’t change the fact that there have been several bare faced lies and misrepresentations from your end.

    While Bernard has trodden on his trouser cuffs slightly, your pants are uncontrolably ablaze. And yet despite your lack of clothing you still claim to be dressed in a snazzy suit.

  67. malcolm dougherty

    The climate warming debate is becoming very similar to the evolutionist/intelligent design debate. On one side evidence is gathered, causality proposed, discussed, refuted etc. Slowly out of this process theories are developed which aren’t necessarily 100% accurate but are the best fit at the moment. On the other side arguments are developed to fit a preexisting dogma. And just like the evolution debate it will go on for ever independent of any evidence to support one side or the other. Its all very tedious really.

  68. earnest scribbler

    There is simply no point debating this.

    Its’ the equivalent of creationism vs. Darwinism.

    Minds made up. Attack, bark and ridicule. What an awful mess.

  69. earnest scribbler

    correction: It’s

  70. David Frith

    for Balance.. how about some coverage of this;

    real scientists not happy with the paleo (mainly dendro) shamers….
    (yes I now a significant % of the AGW theory is based on sound physics, that I’m sure the IOP are quite happy with.. black body radiation, absorption spectrum, ocean pH, etc.. but the lack of coverage of just how bad the famous Climate ‘scientists’ have been is alarming by its absence.. doesn’t quite fit your agenda Crikey.. so let’s not talk about that)

  71. David Frith

    for Balance.. how about some coverage of this;
    ..add .htm to the end of that (otherwise my comment gets stuck in moderation)

    real scientists not happy with the paleo (mainly dendro) shamers….it’s an interesting rebuke of the CRU from the Insitute of Physics….

    (yes I now a significant % of the AGW theory is based on sound physics, that I’m sure the IOP are quite happy with.. black body radiation, absorption spectrum, ocean pH, etc.. but the lack of coverage of just how bad the famous Climate ‘scientists’ have been is alarming by its absence.. doesn’t quite fit your agenda Crikey.. so let’s not talk about that)

  72. kdkd

    Earnest. You’re correct. And in common with creationism versus Darwinism, one point of view is based on superstition, preconceptions and a primitive anthropocentric view of how the world should work, while the other is based on theory, observational and experimental evidence, and somewhat counter-intuitively a rather less anthropocentric view of the world. Counter intuitive in that the climate delusional ideology seems to be that the only reason the world exists is for humanity to exploit to the maximum possible extent.

  73. Tamas Calderwood

    I love it. you guys say there is no point debating this. The debate is OVER!

    Yet you respond to none of my points about urban heat islands, dengue fever, “hide the decline” and the “travesty” of the lack of warming at the moment.

    Why do you think public support for global warming is collapsing? Because your “la-la-la-I can’t hear you” approach to the debate will not stand as we sceptics point out all the dodgy “science”.

    I hope you enjoyed your “the debate is over moment” because it is now over.

  74. kdkd

    Tamas: Ludicrous. All your points (aside from the dengue one) were soundly refuted. You’re in denial delusion boy.

  75. Tamas Calderwood

    kdkd – what about the urban heat islands?????? Phil Jones admitted today that they might account for 40% of the warming in the paper he re-calculated!!!

  76. Tamas Calderwood

    David Frith. Brilliant link.

    Points 3 & 4 from the UK Institute of Physics:

    · historic temperature reconstructions from measurements of ‘proxies’, for example, tree-rings.

    4. The second [tree ring] category relating to proxy reconstructions are the basis for the conclusion that 20th century warming is unprecedented. Published reconstructions may represent only a part of the raw data available and may be sensitive to the choices made and the statistical techniques used. Different choices, omissions or statistical processes may lead to different conclusions. This possibility was evidently the reason behind some of the (rejected) requests for further information.

    Tell me kdkd and Bernard, is the UK Institute of Physics delusional and not interested in facts or logic?

    How’s that “hide the decline”” hockey stick looking now? How’s the “Science is settled” argument going?

  77. kdkd

    Tamas, I’m reckon you’re misrepresenting things again. Jones is guessing about a small number of Chinese weather stations. However usually the delusionals refer to the UHI effect in US weather stations. “Numerous studies into the effect of urban heat island effect and microsite influences find they have negligible effect on long term trends, particularly when averaged over large regions“.

    I mean you could look this stuff up easily enough yourself if you didn’t restrict your reading to delusional blogs and the writings of right wing economic think tanks. Anything except the real peer reviewed science eh?

  78. Ken Lambert

    kdkd is up to his old tricks again and Tamas is right as usual:

    For those who want some good information read on:

    Dr Trenberth’s Aug09 paper mentioned in the famous emails has a starting point. He starts with a warming imbalance of 0.9W/sq.m (2000-2004 average) which equates to 145E20 Joules/year applied to the whole planet’s surface.

    The O.9W/sq.m is made up from radiative forcing elements quoted in IPCC AR4 Fig 2.4 plus various feedbacks. Dr Trenberth makes the point that this number is not derived from direct measurement because the devices for such are not accurate enough. ie. an imbalance of 0.9 W/sq.m is not possible to directly measure in the roughly 240 W/sq.m of energy flux passing through the atmosphere. So the 0.9 number is composed from climate model corrections and indirect measurements, feedbacks etc (complex to describe all the components).

    Dr Trenberth then goes on to account for a range of 45-115 E20 Joules/year (av 80) by best estimates of ice melt, land warming and ocean warming etc leaving a residual of 30-100 E20 Joules/year (av 65) for the period 2004 – 2008.

    So of the 145 he accounts for roughly 80 and a residual of 65. That is the current state of play.

    The 80 accounted for represents an imbalance of about 0.55W/sq.m of his assumed starting point of 0.9W/sq.m.

    In the Aug09 paper and a particular email he suggests that brightening of clouds could be an unmeasured factor. Cloud albedo has a low LOSU and wide error bars in the IPCC AR4 Fig2.4 forcing numbers requoted in Dr Trenberth’s paper.

    Clean Air Act reductions in SO2 are quoted as explaining the cooling of 1940-70 but there were few if any direct measurements 1940-1980, and the Clean Air Act does not apply to current India & China (the world’s most reliable witnesses to these emissions).

    I would suggest that the places to look hard at the discrepancy between the proposed 0.9 W/sq.m warming imbalance and the roughly accounted 0.55 W/sq.m are:

    1) Cloud Albedo increase from unaccounted emissions,
    2) Much more accurate measurement of ocean heat content.

    Remember that AGW theory rests on an assumed warming imbalance postulated by the lead IPCC author Dr Trenberth at 0.9 W/sq.m. He can only account for 0.55 W/sq.m as of Aug09.

    There are only two possibilities – (1) either the imbalance is not 0.9 but something less – closer to 0.55 W/sq.m due to overestimated CO2 effect or increased cooling effects mainly from aerosols …..OR… (2) the ‘missng heat’ is sequestered in the oceans below the depths which currently show no warming (700-900m).

    A paper by von Schuckmann publiched after Dr Trenberth’s Aug09 paper suggests that 0.77 W/sq.m of ocean surface equivalent heat flux is stored down to 2000m. This sole paper (unknown to Dr Trenberth until last month) is the only piece of evidence so far quoted in the AGW blogs which finds the missing heat energy. Several other analyses of ocean heat content give different results.

    The above illustrates the serious uncertainties in the current knowledge of the energy balance of the earth system – which is the key to the degree or warming (if any) occurring at the present time.

    This is far from the catastrophic certainties based on ‘advocacy science’ of green agenda alarmists like kdkd.

  79. Trevster

    I don’t have a problem with a non climate scientist presenting information/arguement on the debate on Climat Change so long as they are well informed and intelligent. Often it takes a non-scientist to present information in a form that is digestible for the general public. Al Gore would be a leading example of this type of person. I do have problems with people from any side of an argument that resort to insults rather than dealing with data; problems with those who quote out of context, misquote/distort or take the information that “suits them” without taking the body of information that it came from.
    I wish many of the general public would look into the claims on both sides properly; not just take a stance based upon existing values.
    I do believe that Climate Change due to human activity is happening; my position is based upon reading the journal aimed at the lay public (New Scientist, Scientific American, etc). I have tried reading counter arguements (Quadrant for example) and have unfortunately found that on the anti side many of the arguements consist of insults, selective quoting.
    As for the ABC; well…it seems to like to give “equal air play” to many “alternative views” in different areas without ensuring that material is factual/soundly based.

  80. Eponymous

    Bernard good article. This concept of ‘balance’ in the media does my head in. It happens across all topics. AGW, economics, insulation, hospitals. Something happens and the news that night is the opinion of someone whonread about it in the newspaper.

    Another thing that does my head in is the boneheads arguing about climate science every time someone mentions CO2. With respect to this article, do you not recognise the irony of what you’re doing? None of you are climate scientists, none of you have done any actual science, except Tamas who has done a linear regression analysis, woopee, all you’re doing is having a pissing competition to sharpen your insult delivery.

    Consider this. On both sides of the argument if you can not answer the question ‘what information would it take to change my mind’ you are an intractable, one-eyed lunatic.

  81. kdkd


    You’re a very tedious little man. The hockey stick is verified by multiple independent sources of which the late series tree ring data is a single problematic point, hardly a damning indictment as Tamas wrongly claims it is.

    Even more tedious we have Ken Lambert repeating himself again. Essentially his argument is that the energy balance equation might give us a get out of jail free card if all the parameters in the equation go in a specific direction. Unfortunately there is absolutely no evidence that this is happening, and quite a bit of evidence for the opposite (positive feedback effects). Ken also has to rely on lies and misrepresentation to maintain his argument.

    Please close this thread down before we die of boredom.

  82. kdkd


    For a non-climate delusional, the answer to your final question (“what information would it take to change my mind”) is easy:

    If the observations start tracking below the lower range of the IPCC projections, then indeed we do not have a problem. However pretty much all the IPCC indicators are tracking at the top of the range – that is it’s looking much closer to a worse case scenario.

    Good luck getting the delusionals to provide their falsification criteria. I’ve tried to get our two main culprits here to fess up, and they’ve steadfastly refused, instead relying on lies, misrepresentation and misdirection to maintain their arguments instead.

  83. twobob

    You assume much about others that you do no know. And in one case at least you are wrong.

    What information would it take for me to change my mind on climate change?

    One reproducible, verifiable, published journal article showing how a natural phenomenon explains the recorded rise in the earth’s temperature.

    That’s all.

  84. Eponymous

    Ahhh, are you actually replying to me?

    Not sure if you are for or against 2Bob (watch?)?

    Are you saying that if you saw a journal article that explained the observed rise in temperature was due to a natural phenomenon only, you would stop believing in climate change?

  85. kdkd


    A single result in a single journal isn’t really good enough. A range of peer reviewed studies that showed that the multiple indicators for anthropogenic climate change (e.g. ecosystem changes, fire frequency, temperature trends, change in time of seasonal onsets and others) that began to show that the changes related to temperature had begun moving away from the IPCC projections for anthropogenic global warming would start to provide evidence that anthropogenic global warming isn’t the concern that the scientific consensus currently indicates would be good enough. This evidence currently does not exist, instead we have lies, misdirection and crackpot conspiracy theories in the so called skeptic camp.

  86. Mark Duffett

    While you’re all banging on about a piece in The Drum from a couple of days ago, don’t miss today’s contribution from Barry Brook. He points to the overriding need for energy solutions, climate change or no.

    Curious that this is apparently one of “a week of pieces “commissioned from noted writers on the sceptic side of the climate science debate””. Though unconventional in traditional environmentalist terms, he’s certainly no ‘climate sceptic’.

  87. Frank Campbell

    “As is now clear to anyone who has considered the emails themselves in their context, there is no “evidence” of any scientists avoiding scrutiny, only of scientists deeply unhappy with the constant efforts of denialists to waste their time and discredit them.”

    I don’t believe for a moment you’ve read all the emails, Bernard. I have, and as I’ve argued on Crikey recently, the context is all-important. Don’t just swallow Clive Hamilton’s diatribe exonerating the modellers. The emails show a tight cohort of provincial climate modellers cementing their relationships over 14 years. They also show increasingly desperate attempts by the group to control journals and repress the slightest dissent within and without their own ranks. They expressly corrupt the peer review process. Over time they form a self-perpetuating, self-referential, self-justifying cohort. From being marginal in every sense in the mid-90s, they gain sudden status and huge research grants. This gave them real power in academia. They were able to fund a younger generation of researchers, bound to the hierarchy of assumptions that “climate science” consists of.

    As Phil Jones said yesterday to the UK parliamentary committee, he sent “some awful emails”. But all academics do. The history of science is almost invariably a filthy struggle between generations, between paradigms.

    The CO2 hypothesis is such a paradigm, and it’s in deep trouble. For you and Hamilton to pretend otherwise is fantasy. As I’ve said repeatedly on Crikey, Hamiltonian bombast empowers Denialist ratbags like Bolt. The sole beneficiary of Hamiltonian hysteria is the hard Right. The political obtuseness of Keane, Hamilton, Manne, Rundle et al is remarkable: it’s only a few months since they were trumpeting the inevitable collapse of the Libs. Hamilton was going to sweep into parliament as the new MP for Higgins. Sooner or later, even the subsidised propagandists of the cult will have to capitulate. Hamilton (and Prof Kevin Anderson) are telling us the world is finished anyway- we all know that virtually nothing will be done to significantly reduce emissions in the next 20 years…but I don’t see any of the climate cultists selling beach houses , abstaining from reproduction or organising a great big fat Jonestown.

    Both sides of the climate cult are anti-science and profoundly irrational.

  88. kdkd

    The CO2 hypothesis is such a paradigm, and it’s in deep trouble. For you and Hamilton to pretend otherwise is fantasy

    Frank appears to be claiming that the laws of physics and theory of chemical bonds are fundamentally wrong. Odd then how some of the technologies required for the continuation of civilisation as we know it (e.g. the Haber-Bosch process) still work. One would expect that if c02 wasn’t causing the planet to warm then other simple chemical processes also would not work. Suspect Frank of confusing poorly thought out qualitative eyeballing of politicised texts with real physical science.

  89. Frank Campbell

    Rissell says: “Bernard Keane, journalists cease to have any usefulness to their employers, and relevance to their readers, when they become evangelists for either side.”

    He’s right. It’s a warning to Crikey and others…even on Crikey there’s been a big shift in bloggery on the climate cult in just a few months. There are far more denialists and more people in the middle.

    Hamilton’s rant on The Drum is instructive. The headings are:

    Part 1: Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial

    Part 2: Who is orchestrating the cyber-bullying?

    Part 3: Think tanks, oil money and black ops

    Part 4: Manufacturing a scientific scandal

    Part 5 Who’s Defending Science

    It’s a conspiracy theory, a fatal spreading infection. The selfless and decent are monstered by evil swine, orchestrated by evil capitalists. This has been so effective that even the decent media (ABC etc) are cowed ( or are just too “lazy” to be critical).

    This is the mirror image of Right-wing extremist paranoia. It’s Fox News from the Left.

    All propaganda contains truth. It’s the intention that is corrupt. Of course Big FF plots and schemes. Of course trolls whipped up by the feral Right act like rabid dogs. But what happens on the other side? Who held the whip hand, and used it ruthlessly, until just a few months ago? Who held the commanding heights of science, ideology and the media? The Cult Faithful. They were the censors, they were the abusers. I received ample abuse right here on Crikey comments. Much less now.

    Hamilton et al are in a rage because their monopoly has been broken. So they lambast the ABC, Fairfax etc, which , like the BBC, finally admit that the climate cult is in trouble and that other voices should be heard.

  90. Frank Campbell

    KDKD: as I constantly point out, the problem isn’t the laws of physics, it’s the tottering edifice of linked hypotheses constructed on top of basic science that is the problem. Climate science is not only new and still quite primitive, with very short data sets (don’t get me started on proxies), but it deals with chaotic natural systems which are poorly understood, or not understood at all. Read Trenberth, the believer.

  91. James McDonald

    People trying to turn this into a scientific dialogue again. Free country of course, you can talk science if you want to, but it’s a waste of time. The blind leading the blind.

    Tamas, excuse me but last year you based a lot of arguments on the First Law of Thermodynamics in a way that was just plain wrong. And I’m not going to explain why, because I don’t see this as a scientific forum.

    Bernard, receiving death threats does not make Hamilton an expert on whatever conspiracy he imagines to be behind them, any more than being a victim of crime makes anyone an expert on criminology and jurisprudence. Hamilton is an expert on only one subject: that of his own opinions.

    All you slamming the ABC and Green for not being partisan enough — for daring to give the other side some airtime whatever personal views they may hold — we used to call that “balanced coverage” back in the day. Closely related to “democracy” which many bloggers like to bang on about. The idea is, if the evil Right argues unconvincingly, then people will be unconvinced, and the right can’t complain that it was silenced by some left-wing conspiracy in the public broadcaster. If they argue convincingly, maybe that’s because there’s something in what they say.

    What is the problem? If you think dissenting views on climate are subversive and should be silenced, then why don’t you write to Sen Conroy and ask him to include denialism in his internet filter. I’m sure he’d love some extra approval from the left.

  92. baal

    @Frank Campbell

    ‘Both sides of the climate cult are anti-science and profoundly irrational.’

    Sadly your overblown assertion that because ‘climate cultists’ (really!) aren’t departing coastlines puts you in the same camp of self-aggrandising irrationality. Pity really, some of what you had to say was almost intelligent

  93. kdkd


    it’s the tottering edifice of linked hypotheses constructed on top of basic science that is the problem

    That’s an interesting assertion, but not supported by the evidence. You also appear to be claiming that because a system is chaotic and/or complex that it is in some way unknowable, which is also a rather problematic viewpoint. I suspect that you are massively underestimating the precision of proxy and non-proxy measurements in order to attempt to support your argument.

    James McD,

    I tend to agree, that this is not the correct place for a scientific dialogue. Unfortunately with the “skeptics” continuing to trot out the usual lies and disinformation I have the strong impression that giving them a free ride by ignoring them confers unwarranted legitimacy. What do you suggest as an alternative?

  94. baal

    @KDKD starve them of oxygen (they can live on the CO2 they seem to love)

  95. James McDonald


    “What do you suggest as an alternative?”

    Discussions need to be structured with given assumptions, certain things taken as a given for purposes of a particular thread. “Let’s say for the sake of argument that …

    Some people may disagree with the assumptions; separate threads can then be spawned to debate those assumptions.

  96. Liz45

    I’d like the denialists to answer one question……

    IF after all your insults and nonsense you find out that you’re wrong, and the overwhelming number of scientists who are more than concerned are right?

    Then what???????????

    Leave an apology for my grandkids before you fall off your twigs! Please!

    Wouldn’t it be a great idea to get rid of the s**t all our kids are breathing? Particularly those with asthma, cystic fibrosis, other respiratory diseases etc? To have renewable forms of energy instead of dangerous filth out of coal fired power stations or nuclear reactors?(the only part that isn’t knowingly polluting is the reactor itself – so?)

    My god, and I’m accused of being long winded!Truly!

  97. kdkd


    Sounds sensible. Unfortunatley Tamas’ (for example) assumptions are that all discussion needs to start from first principles, which is an excellent way to attempt to stall the debate at first principles. It does however explain his constant repetition of the same lies, misrepresentations and delusions.

    Also Tamas’ assertion that the British Institute of Physics is placing the science of anthropogenic global warming under sever questioning based on the climategate emails, is apparently not true, as they have had to issue a clarrification on their submission which clearly fails to support Tamas’ initial point.

  98. Eponymous

    Here’s an unsubstantiated and impossible to prove comment.

    I wonder if climate change IS causing more earthquakes?

    This starts from the assumption that there are statistically more earthquakes in recent years, which ignores the likelihood that we’re better at measuring them.

    However, more energy in the Earth’s system means slightly more energy available for moving things around. Like I said, impossible to prove or comment on, but the Earth is a big system, and outcomes from inputs are likely to be many and varied.

  99. SBH

    Epo you’re funny 🙂

  100. Michael


    My dog just farted – I heard him do it – it was a big fart which by my calculations produced at least 2 liters of methane.

    Can you run that past your computer model and let me know where, when & magnitude of the next earthquake?

    Make it quick mate, I’m packing my car just in case.

  101. baal


    Sorry mate. Forget the car. Suggest supermarket trolley and shanks’ pony. Haven’t you seen The Road?

  102. Liz45

    MICHAEL – In Australia, we spell “litre” like this?

    If you add the methane from your dog, mix it with what you contribute from your writings, you’d have enough to fire up your computer!!! Perhaps the beer fridge too!

  103. twobob


    When you put a lid on a boiling pot it boils more furiously so it would seem reasonable to theorise that the increase in the earth’s temperature would indeed lead to an increase in the flow of magma which would cause more earthquakes.
    @Michael The earth is warming did you not know? Just what that causes is fair to speculate upon and your contribution to an adult discussion on that is asinine and uncalled for.

  104. Liz45

    EPONYMOUS – “I wonder if climate change IS causing more earthquakes?”

    I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s challenging to realise, that the earthquake in Chile was a lot stronger than the one in Haiti, but less damage was done, and thankfully, so far, less people dead or injured? (fingers crossed). It’s probably due to the deforestation of hillsides etc and cheap & nasty building materials, unlike Chile, that has strict building guidelines – all buildings after ???must be built to withstand earthquakes! Money into peoples’ safety as opposed to US corporate interests???250,000 dead is a global disgrace!

  105. Rodger Davies

    JAMES MCDONALD “Partly funded by businesses? Ooooh, it must be evil then. Along with Rotary and most of the churches and charities in the country.”
    Find me a climate denialist who does not have a money trail back to a vested interest and you have not looked hard enough. For example, Andrew Bolt makes good money doing presentations to corporations who want to deny climate change, Ian Plimer is a geologist, a profession greatly in demand to mining and energy companies, and is on the board of several of these. Tamas Calderwood I can’t find anything about just now but I will let you know when I do.

  106. baal

    @Rodger davies – judging by Tamas’ efforts on Crikey over the months it would seem he has no corporate takers

  107. Maxi

    Very good article BK –

    Its just weird that the denialists’ who have no scientific credibility on the issue of climate change are continually given such a large public platform in which to flout their lies and deceptions.

    Particularly scary is that the ABC is also continually accommodating such nut jobs.

  108. kdkd

    I really doubt that CC would cause more earthquakes. Think about it thermodynamically. The mass of the atmosphere (5.3 X10^18 kg) stores a certain amount of energy at an average temperature of somewhere around 14ºC. As does the ocean at a different temperature. The planet itself and specifically when it comes to siesmic activity so does the mantle. Its mass is 4.278 x10^24 kg, and its average temperature is 3000ºC.

    So the mantle is about 800,000 times bigger than the atmosphere and contains a very large amount more energy (my energy calculations are very poor indeed, so I’m not even going to attempt it). So in a back of the envelope kind of a way, the chances of a small warming of the atmosphere resulting in change of the behaviour of the mantle is extremely slim.

  109. kdkd


    The ocean is 1.4X10^24, so that leaves the mantle as three times larger than the ocean and atmosphere. But even so the difference in the amount of energy stored in each place, and the strong buffering effect of the crust (which is quite big and a good insulator) would also suggest that the earthquake/climate hypothesis is unlikely to be true.

  110. JamesK

    Maybe Jonathan realised that serious nature of the criticism now that he edits a supposedly non partisan publication?


    A failing already obvious to most with the exception of the Dundermores and Keanes of this world?

  111. Michael

    “the earthquake in Chile was a lot stronger than the one in Haiti, but less damage was done, and thankfully, so far, less people dead or injured”

    For once Elizabeth, we are in agreement.
    Chile, thanks to to the foresight and great management skills of Generalisimo Pinochet and Milton Friedman, are now in great shape to withstand the aftermath of the earthquake.
    I can assure you my dear that if that drop-kick Allende or his Communist henchmen were still in charge of that great nation, the foreign emergency crews would be pulling bodies out of the rubble for 2 years.
    So much for Left vs Right.

  112. SBH

    but KDKD interestingly the scientist (i think he was a scientist but he could have been clive hamilton) on the radio reporting that the quake had sped up the earth because of the amount crust that had been moved said that the mass of the atmosphere was a more siginicant factor.

  113. Flower

    The entire vocabulary of denialists starts with a dollar sign and their greed has spawned the methodical destruction of a life-sustaining planet where these multinational ten horned beasts from the West , continue on rampage, inciting unrest, stealing booty and committing crimes against humanity.

    For hundreds of years these sadists have plundered and brutalised a continent and then exported that terror to the four corners of the globe wiping out the ecosystems of indigenous groups from Africa to the Amazon and then making a hasty retreat leaving the victims to clean up the mess.

    These are the eco-vandals and their front groups who denied responsibility for the hole in the ozone layer (24 million km2 in 2009), and continue to do so with king clown, Plimer ( a sycophant to the influential chlorine industry) persisting with the ridiculous notion that man-made chlorofluorocarbons come from volcanoes – hilarious! Only the environmentally illiterate would fall for that one and it seems they’re all in the denialist camp.

    These are the greed-driven beasts who continue denying the anthropogenic 10 million square kilometre, filthy Brown Cloud hovering over the Indian-Asian region, dimming major cities and impacting on climate including in Australia.

    Typical of prepubescent delinquents, they continue with their jabberwanky: “Wasn’t us Miss, we didn’t do it!” as they continue plundering the planet’s resources and denying the existence of other A/brown clouds over parts of North America, Europe, Southern Africa and the Amazon Basin which require urgent and detailed research.

    These cowardly vandals and their progeny now cower in all corners of the planet, terrified that humanity is on to them and as a result, a price will be put on the global environmental destruction they’ve caused, are causing or support and their ill-gotten profits will diminish.

    Yet they continue muttering, mumbling and lying, desperate in their endeavours to dirty things up while they plot to overthrow world governments even though 2009 was the hottest year in the Southern Hemisphere since records began in 1880.

    Now they mumble incoherently they have “proof” that scientists at GISS and NASA too are ” wanted criminals” and are evading justice. Just consult with vaude-villian, Tamas or read his comical posts – pitiful but hilarious!


  114. James McDonald

    Rodger – you just own-goaled your own argument in the same paragraph that you made it. Mr Calderwood may not be the best authority on science, but your theory that his opinion is financially compromised is circular.

    Most people have a bias behind what they say, be it financial, ideological, philosophical, or whatever. How many bloggers here can honestly say that they approached a question with a truly open mind, and researched it by some systematic method of their choice, before judging its merits as they saw it?

    How many of you, either left or right of centre, could I talk to for ten minutes on unrelated subjects of current affairs, and then not be able to predict with 90 per cent accuracy which side you take on climate change?

  115. Liz45

    @KDKD – I heard someone on ABC AM this morning saying, that the earthquake in Chile has resulted in the earth spinning more quickly, as the axis has been moved?(I think that’s the gist of it?) So, made me wonder what other activities contribute to changes on earth, whether it’s climate change or earthquakes etc.

    @ROGER – I wonder how many climate change denialists were working for tobacco companies, when they were in court lying their damned heads off over the safety of tobacco, both in becomming addicted and the health risks. Two extended family members died last yr from lung cancer, and both had given up smoking. those bastards have a lot to answer for. Perhaps in yrs to come, the denialists will be equally guilty!

    Plimer and Moncton will probably be in an aged person’s home by then – or have fallen off their twigs!

  116. Liz45

    Michael – You can’t help yourself can you? Patronising git! “my dear” indeed! I’ll call you ‘Mikey dear’ or some such patronising and offensive title!

    Allende was the elected person. It’s OK for the US to assassinate leaders they don’t like is it? That’s OK with you! God, what a hypocrite!

    Haiti would be better off today, if the peoples’ elected President, Astride was allowed to govern. You have no shame! It was with US’s interference and lust for money, that the mountainside was stripped of trees etc. The people lived in poverty while the chosen few lived like kings. Chavez is defiled because he wants the wealth to be spread among the poor – who are the majority in that country!

    Ask the people from Chile who had to flee here about Pinnochet – murdering bastard! No wonder Thatcher thought he was a great person – like types! Those who disappeared, the women and girls who were raped, those thrown out of aircrafts etc. Young women left on their family’s doorstep minus their breasts! I have friends who had to get out! The US has interfered with or brought about a coup in so many countries in Latin America. I have extended family members from El Salvador – ask them about the US interference in their country, and why they had to flee!

  117. Liz45

    James McDonald
    Posted Wednesday, 3 March 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I tell you what else you’d be able to find out James. That those on the left aren’t in favour of invading countries illegally and killing over a million of its citizens, or stealing other countries’ recources and telling lies to do it! You can also be assured, that we don’t worship the almight dollar and will tell lies to protect the profits – like tobacco companies, uranium mining companies, and the very well subsidised fossil fuel companies etc!

    I have no problem with asserting, that if being against the above puts me on the left – good stuff! Great! I can’t stand Abbott and all his sleazy mutterings either – can’t wait for him to be defeated and slink off!

  118. Mark Duffett

    Kdkd @1:37pm, I think you have the correct answer bracketed. My reference (Encylopedic Dictionary of Applied Geophysics) has 1.35 x 10^21 kg for the mass of the oceans, so mantle:ocean = a bit over 3000. Methinks your oceanic mass reference is in grams.

    Even though I think Evonymous was being somewhat facetious, climate change can cause (indeed, is causing) earthquakes, but it’s only a second- or third-order effect. CC has no impact on plate motion, at least on time scales less than millions of years (and even then it’s pretty marginal). However, melting and consequent unloading of ice from Greenland is causing accelerated isostatic rebound and associated minor seismic activity (magnitude 5 or thereabouts) around the continental margin there.

  119. davidk

    I’m very tired of trying to wade thru the bullshit blogs of Tamas, Mama, JamesK and others. The only conclusion one can come to is to ignore every post from them and move straight on to the next one, maybe they will be a real person rather than these idealogues.

  120. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Liz45 I think the man on the ABC said the earth’s rotation time had increased by 1.2 millionths of a second. Crikey being Crikey, I suppose the next thing will be a cage match over the science of timing earth’s rotation. I might choose to be a right-hander for that one.

  121. Eponymous

    Awesome answer Mark.

    Hydrostatic equilibrium effects in tectonic plates is one of my favourite processes. Good to hear of a real life/real time example.

  122. klewso

    Personally, I’d be much happier if the ABC, when they had these sceptics and deniers on, if more of those interviewing them actually had the relevant expertise to explore their assertions further, rather than letting them spout off, to little or no analytical challenge, and use the occasion as a soap-box event, holding forth their “home-made, hand-crafted” assertions.
    Occasionally, not often enough, it happens though!

  123. JamesK

    The relationship of global warming and earthquakes?

    As in the Chaos theory butterfly wingbeat effect?

    AGW is not based on Chaos theory per se but in the chaotic mindset of progressive-statist leftist idealogues like Keane, Mr Dumdum and David K

  124. Bruce Messmer

    You list Bob Carter as not being a climate scientist. I presume you refer to Professor Carter of James Cook University, Townsville and Adelaide Universty.

    CORRECTION – Prof. Carter is a very experienced and internationally recognised marine geologist and environmental scientist and is an expert in marine stratigraphy and sedimentology. He has done extensive research on the Barrier Reef which is widely recognised as authoritative.

    In this respect, it is interesting to note that a media report in the Australian noted that “…,after scouring 14 sites at the vulnerable southern end of the GBR last month (i.e. January, 2010), the team from Townsville-based AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science) found only a only a handful of “slightly stressed reefs”. Their conclusion, with other findings – ” there is no evidence of concerted bleaching across the reef whatsoever.”

    Furthermore, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, last summer (of 2009) warned of a bleaching outbreak that did not eventuate.

  125. kdkd


    To assess a scientist’s expertise, you have to look at their publications. According to his Wikipedia page Bob Carter would appear to have been published in a number of areas relating to paleo-geology, and possibly biogeochemical processes. He appears to have no expertise in thermodynamic issues related to environmental science or otherwise. It also seems that the only place that he can get academic publications on climate change is in a couple of pretty dismal looking economics journals.

    Sorry, to be continued due to Crikey’s stupid moderation rules …

  126. kdkd

    Now if I was looking for serious expertise on climate change impacts on Australian Reefs, I’d start looking at some of the stuff coming out of the field of reef ecosystem ecology, especially James Cook University where the work is world leading. The output of Professor Terry Hughes, and other people working in his lab would be a good place to start.

    Of course you’ll get the usual crap from the deluded right wingers that scientists are only there to feather their nests and grab the lucrative research dollar. Well I can tell you as a practitioner of the human sciences who could be a working in a lucrative field but for some inexplicable reason chooses the insecurity and (relative[1]) penury of chasing temporary work in an academic environment, you’re dreaming.

    [1] Yes it beats being a checkout chick most of the time. It’s also safer than being a brickie or a psychiatric nurse, but not as well paid.

  127. baal

    @KDKD Indeed, these tr*lls continue to repeat the same excesses, waste time, show off, misrepresent, repeat themselves, whatever it is they feel happy (or bitter) doing – so we know they aren’t serious. But by god do they want to be taken seriously!

  128. baal

    For the Skeptical Science digest of all the arguments in current use by deniers: http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

  129. baal


    ‘progressive-statist leftist idealogues’ – sounds nice but try spelling ‘ideologue’ correctly and you still won’t be taken seriously. Sad isn’t it?

  130. kdkd


    To be fair on Ken Lambert his main argument about the energy balance doesn’t fall in the excellent skeptical science list. But it does rely on pretending that false statements are true. The false statements are thoroughly rebutted in that list, it’s just some extra climate delusional misdirection in an attempt to snare the credulous and hard of thinking (like Tamas would be if his delusional thought processes weren’t so far gone).

  131. Frank Campbell

    Baal is right JamesK. Inevitable. Won’t be taken seriously. The East Anglia emails are full of poor spelling, gross grammar etc. One or two highly literate exceptions, but overall sub-pedestrian.

    And to all the latent gringos on both sides of the climate cult- it’s “sceptic”, not “skeptic”.

  132. Flower

    Bruce Messmer

    Carter is a shill for the mining industry. The improved health of the GBR is due to 32% of the GBR reef area now in no-take zones and “Given the major threat posed by climate change, the expanded network of marine reserves provides a critical and cost-effective contribution to enhancing the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.” (AIMS)

    Last year Queensland farmers tried to blackmail the government for $250 million to stop polluting the GBR. Anyone got an update? And what a cheek! So much for the “Polluter Pays” principle and industry aligned governments.

    Bob Carter is a marine oil and gas geologist so it’s “drill baby drill!” That’s why he hangs out with the grim reapers and he has the hide to call himself an “environmental scientist.”

    Carter, to my knowledge, performs no modelling on climate change but he’s proficient at mangling the graphs of experts to dupe impotent and silly old buggers who wouldn’t know a VOC from their smelly old socks.

  133. JamesK

    Well done BAAL but nonetheless it is really nothing of any consequence.
    As is usual from you.

    I had meant to place the word in quotes to hark back to DavidK’s original comment where he accused me of being one of “these idealogues” but I changed my mind without changing the spelling.

  134. Jeremy Williams

    We lived in Townsville and Carter was known for taking extreme contrarian positions on a few issues. When the global warming swindle movie was debated on abc David Karoly refuted Carters arguments convincingly and yet he didn’t skip a beat still putting forward his refuted arguments the very next day. Bob is now doing what he loves taking the contrarian position and being paid for it. And yes he has no publications in climate science in any peer reviewed journal but he has had a wonderful run in the media, particularly in the Australian.

  135. Eponymous

    I’m terribly glad this has degenerated into a spelling bee. Well done intelligent debate.

  136. JamesK

    @ Jeremy

    I don’t know Bob Carter but a 2 min google search gave a huge number of publications in peer reviewed journals. A smattering below….

    McLEAN, J., DE FREITAS, C. & CARTER, R.M. 2009 Influence of Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research 114, D14104, doi:10.1029/2008JD011637.

    CARTER, R.M. 2007 The role of intermediate-depth currents in continental shelf-slope accretion: Canterbury Drifts, Southwest Pacific Ocean. In: VIANA, A. R. & REBESCO, M. (eds) Economic and Palaeoceanographic Significance of Contourite Deposits. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 276, 129–154.

    CARTER, R.M. 2006 Great news for the Great Barrier Reef: Tully River water quality. Energy & Environment 17(4), 527-548.

    JAMES, N.P., BONE, Y., CARTER, R.M. & MURRAY-WALLACE, C.V. 2006 Origin of the Late Neogene Roe Plains and their calcarenite veneer: implications for sedimentology & tectonics in the Great Australian Bight. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 53, 407-419.

    CARTER, R.M. 2005 The status of local “stages” in the New Zealand Plio-Pleistocene. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics 48, 623-639.

    CARTER, R.M. 2005 A New Zealand climatic template back to c. 3.9 Ma: ODP Site 1119, Canterbury Bight, south-west Pacific Ocean, and its relationship to onland successions. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 35: 9-42.

    CARTER, R.M. & NORRIS, R.J. 2005 The Geology of the Blackmount district, Te Anau & Waiau Basins, western Southland. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences, Science Report 2004/23, 97 pp., Figs. 1-156, 1:50 000 map, CD-ROM.

    Carter, R.M., Fulthorpe, C.S.; Lu, H. 2004 Canterbury Drifts at Ocean Drilling Program Site 1119, New Zealand: climatic modulation of southwest Pacific intermediate water flows since 3.9 Ma. Geology 32, 1005-1008.

    CARTER, R.M.; GAMMON, P. 2004 New Zealand maritime glaciation: millennial-scale southern climate change since 3.9 Ma. Science, 304, 1659-1662 (supporting online material).

    CARTER, R.M., GAMMON, P.R.; MILLWOOD, L. 2004 Glacial-interglacial (MIS 1-10) migrations of the Subtropical Front (STC) across ODP Site 1119, Canterbury Bight, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Marine Geology 205, 29-58.

    CARTER, L., CARTER, R.M.; McCAVE, I. 2004 Evolution of the sedimentary system beneath the deep Pacific inflow off eastern New Zealand. Marine Geology 205, 9-27.

    GRAHAM, I.J.; CARTER, R.M.; DITCHBURN, R.G.; ZONDERVAN, A. 2004 Chronostratigraphy of ODP 181, Site 1121 (foot of Campbell Plateau, Southwest Pacific Ocean) using 10Be/9Be dating of sediment and entrapped ferromanganese nodules. Marine Geology 205, 227-247.

    [Edit – and you were going so well]

  137. kdkd

    Well you can learn something even from the delusional freaks. I’d always assumed that sceptic implied cynicism, while skeptic (with a more obvious greek root, impying philosophical legitimacy) implied the more rigourous philosophical scepticism. Many apologies for pandering to the will of the infidel pig dog capitalist opressor. Turns out my first year philosophy text books were from pig dog capitalist opressor publishers and not god’s own favoured race (or british).

    Meanwhile I have to try to differentiate between the opportunistic climate cynics, and the much more philosophical sceptics in some other way. Perhaps climate cynics is a good way to express their view point being less politically charged than denialist, but I still prefer delusional freak as more accurate.

  138. earnest scribbler

    Posted Wednesday, 3 March 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    “MICHAEL –

    If you add the methane from your dog, mix it with what you contribute from your writings, you’d have enough to fire up your computer!!! Perhaps the beer fridge too!”

    Pot meet kettle.

  139. Ken Lambert

    kdkd looks like he has had a go at a calculation of some sort and is out by 1000 fold…again

    The funny thing is that the ‘deniers’ are now really the AGW alarmists like kdkd who deny, deny, deny the uncertainties in climate science as revealed to the public by Climategate and its aftermath in order to save their pure dogma.

    Until Copenhagen, western governments were susceptable to influence by the political green agenda. Now they are not so sure.

    Realpolitic Chinese-style met 15000 green happy clappers and countless ratbag fringe groups.

    Result: Chinese 1 – Ratbags 0.

  140. kdkd


    It’s rude to copy and paste your drivel all over the place. And you can’t substitute paranoid conspiracy theory and ideological approach to science for verified observations and facts. Nobody’s denying that there are uncertainties in the scientific consensus mind you (ahem, another misrepresentation at best, more like another bare faced lie). You are massively overstating them mind you. Fortunately we can see from this that your argument is worthless and that you should stop wasting our time with your crap.

  141. Liz45

    earnest scribbler – And I can pick a ‘little finger’ person a mile off! I picked you a long time ago? Grow up baby!

  142. Alexander Berkman

    Ha! Wow, I gotta say the climate denialists bang on and on yet methinks they still can’t answer the simple question of, what sort of world do we want to leave for the future generations? Do we continue with the status quo or do we look at perhaps changing our idiotic ‘growth for growth’s sake’ economic mentality and think about what effect we are having? So I’ll cut’ n’paste it and say it again –

    “I worry about what sort of future my newborn daughter is going to have so I live a lifestyle that minimizes my ‘ecological footprint”. I worry for her and it gets my back up when I here people claiming humans have had no impact on our climate, who espouse the free market ideology that puts profits over the very planet that sustains us. So tell me, what sustains you and all the other naysayers? Perhaps some idea of how you would like to see the world in 20yrs time might be a good start and how we are to get there!” Pipe and smoke please

  143. Liz45

    ALEXANDER – Congratulations on the birth of your gorgeous little daughter. I can’t believe all those insensitive people who haven’t done this before. No, I do know why, they have no heart. Cherish her, and fight for her future! You’re not alone! The good news is, that no matter how much you love her today, you’ll love her even more tomorrow. By the time she’s 1?????

    Anyway, as a grandmother, I’m with you, and I’m very scared for their future. I’m so sick to death of these greedy self indulgent bastards who are so greedy that they’ll prostitute their kids/grandkids future to try and make the denialists out to have some integrity. Prostitutes all! I’d like to know those who aren’t getting money from an individual/group who isn’t/aren’t involved in activities that blast crap into the air that is poisoning my grandkids bodies and/or stuffing up their future. I predict, that if we sadly reach the point of no return, all these bastards will either bid a hasty retreat, or scream bloody murder! I hope my grandkids and your precious little baby girl don’t have to live with their criminal denials!

  144. Mark Duffett

    If nothing else, Carter’s publication list proves he has very little to do with the mining industry, shill or otherwise (Flower @ 8:05pm). Believe me, they don’t pay much for that sort of stuff. Moral of the story: ‘geologist’ does not necessarily equal ‘mining industry’ (and, by the way, ‘mining industry’ does not necessarily equal ‘fossil fuels’ or even ‘climate sceptic’).

    I think Jeremy Williams’ characterisation of Carter as a habitual contrarian is much closer to the mark.

  145. earnest scribbler

    Posted Thursday, 4 March 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    “earnest scribbler – And I can pick a ‘little finger’ person a mile off! I picked you a long time ago? Grow up baby!”

    LIZ45, Keep up the narcissistic drivel. You are priceless.

  146. napoleon dynamite

    I am not a denialist, opposite end of the scale actually, but, are there really that many out there?

    sure, there are people that are “confused” which is probably the fault of the various world governments – but flat out denialists? hmmmm not sure on that one.

    p.s what is a crikey article without personal insults.

  147. Mark Duffett

    And if you don’t believe me re my first comment, have a look at Nature today.

  148. Rohan

    Mark, I’m not sure what you mean by “that sort of stuff”. I can tell you from personal experience that the mining industry pays very handsomely for experts across a range of geological fields to predict subsidence-related (due to underground mining) impacts on the natural and built environment and groundwater systems. Very few people understand it.

    Granted, I don’t know enough about the sub-branches of geology to know whether Carter’s areas of specialisation would be relevant or sought after.

  149. Barbara Boyle

    Ah, Cuppa, you have made my (belated) day with the revelation that the wonderful duo of Abetz and Abbot,surely not two versions of the same scary persona, had contributed to the Drum!
    I eventually gave up on percussive perusal after finding nothing to equal Jonathan Holmes’ excellent offering on Analysis versus Opinion.
    And so I missed the possible( but not likely ) life enhancing experience of reading the offering(s) of this pair.

  150. EngineeringReality

    The fact of the matter is this:

    If we started our civilisation right now – with all of our knowledge and without any of the vested interests of what has gone before we would fuel our society on purely renewable means.

    The idea of going to the trouble of moving enormous amounts of rock and soil to dig up fossils and burning them to create energy when we know so much about how to create energy from the free and clean energy coming from the sun is insane.

    The only reasons people are being difficult is because they think its too hard to change the way we do things or make too much money from the existing coal, gas and oil business.

    But all you old, stick in the mud, there-is-nothing-wrong-with-burning-billions-of-tonnes-of-oil-and-coal-every-hour-of-every-day people are going to die in a few years – a few more generations and this debate will be looked upon with humourous disbelief in much the same way that we look upon medieval jousting.

    Electric cars, clean energy from the sun and wind – and petrol fuelled cars in museums. Its inevitable – just a matter of time. Its a pity only a certain proportion of humanity gets it at the moment.

  151. SBH

    Um NappyD there is no world government, there’s just lots of national governments who sometimes agree and sometimes don’t. There are however lots of people who don’t feel confused they just reject the idea of anthropogenic global warming. they’re nuts but whataryagunnado?

  152. James McDonald

    Funny, EngineeringReality. I seem to recall hearing similar sentiments from the idealistic baby boomers who came of age in the social revolution. What a bunch of mercenaries and real estate scalpers they turned out to be, on the whole.

    Half of today’s 20-somethings are driving 4-wheel-drive, motorized battering rams around the city, in a sort of arms race to survive collisions, and building McMansions with the air conditioning running day and night.

    Dream on, kid. You want to venerate your nature-loving generation, try teaching them to walk before they talk.

  153. baal

    @James MacDonald We won’t get a better (poorer really) example of the way deniers argue with their arse than this fatuous piece of sociological sneering:

    ‘baby boomers who came of age in the social revolution. What a bunch of mercenaries and real estate scalpers they turned out to be, on the whole.’

    It says so much more about your sir than it does about them. A snivelling, resentful, self-pitying, envious, cynical (price of everything value of nothing -O Wilde) bilge. Cease and be off you vandal.

  154. Liz45

    JAMES MCDONALD – “Half of today’s 20-somethings are driving 4-wheel-drive, motorized battering rams around the city, in a sort of arms race to survive collisions, and building McMansions with the air conditioning running day and night.”

    wow! good country this. Driving a 4 wheel drive around and building McMansions in their 20’s? Who said anything about GFC, underemployment etc? Not bad for their age? What jobs are they employed in that pay that well? They should be paying more tax so they can look after you when you go to the home for grumpy old men? Or are you there already?

    I had no idea young people had it so good? I’ve been following the wrong crowd obviously, perhaps the wrong country even. In my area, the unemployment stat for young people is still the highest in the country, has been for over 12 yrs?

  155. James McDonald

    LIZ, if the poor young can’t afford to pollute while the rich young can and do, what does that have to do with EngineeringReality’s fantasy that the virtuous new generations will set everything to right?

    BAAL, full points for feeling, but what makes you think only the grand class-enemy-of-the-month, these “deniers”, argue as I do? I suppose all wife beaters and tax cheats are deniers too?

  156. Liz45

    JAMES – I think there’s enough of them who want to “set everything right”? After all, it’s their future they’re protecting! I have more faith in them, not the kids of neocons or the small percent who own the worlds’ wealth – they’re a minority! There’s lots of young people who are intelligent, capable and smart! They won’t judge this generation very highly I can tell you. Abbott and his “big new tax” BS; while we’re living on the borrowed time of the next generations – what about them paying a “big new tax”?

    I’ve just been reading of the violent, abusive and most disturbing campaign of the climate change deniers? They’re sending death threats and horrible emails to people like Clive Hamilton etc. Some of them probably spriuk about democracy etc as well! The firm view is that”mostly it is anonymous and appears to be orchestrated”?

  157. EngineeringReality

    James I wasn’t talking about my generation (I am 31 in 20 days) but the generations being born now and into the future. As I said “a few more generations”. If you see the change in thinking of the current children about how to treat our planet and how to be sustainable – once they have children and grandchildren in 20-30 years thats when your tired old arguements will be clinging to the pages of history textbooks.

    Its funny how these 20-somethings you snear about are able to do a lot of those things due to the freedoms and changes in societies thinking brought about by the baby boomers (my parents generation). And our government sets the tax and investment framework in this country – can’t blame people for doing their best to maximise their wealth within the framework of the laws of our society. If government had the courage to set the rules up reasonably then everyone would act accordingly.

    And don’t underestimate the change in people’s thinking as they mature (even if your advancing age concentrates your bitterness and cynicism) and begin to bring new lives into the world. It changes people’s perspectives and a lot abandon the more hedonistic and selfish activities in order to make things better for their children.

    I’m hardly a tree hugger – I’m an electrical engineer working in the power industry – so I’m doing my bit to change things.

    I can tell you’re not going to change. Well we don’t need to convince you to – cause you’re only a temporary problem for this planet we live on.

  158. baal

    @ JAMES MACDONALD. Well just keep on supposing, like the clock that’s right twice a day, or the monkeys working on King Lear, you’ll get there.

  159. Liz45

    ENGINEERINGREALITY – I’m with you! I have a son 10 yrs older than you, and a grandson in his early 20’s and others down to a gorgeous little poppet of 7(going on 30? and who knows about the future? ) They’re very smart and I have every faith in their capabilities in the future. My fears are for the lives they’ll be forced to live, and their children and their…………?

    I don’t have the right to keep on supporting the rich & greedy at their expense. We hear lots of nonsense about the so-called ‘big new tax’ but apparently have no responsiblity as to protect the environment for their future – we’re using up their future – how obscene is that? What’s the point of money if the planet is f****d? None!

    I’m constantly amazed by those like JamesMc. I don’t know if he has kids, but I ‘got’ my kids through a lot of difficulty, and I have an appreciation and love for other peoples’ kids; I must support alternatives to the filth we’re pouring in to their lungs, food etc each day. I’ve had a baby with asthma(2 wks old – terrifying?) and one with bronchitis(9 mnths) and grand kids too.(due to inherited tendancies on both sides of the family). Even forgetting climate change, even if for this type of suffering by too many little ones, we must make the necessary changes. Australia is in probably the best position in maybe the world to do it!

    You keep on speaking out, and bless you!

  160. EngineeringReality

    @LIZ45 Yes you’re absolutely right -Australia is in a perfect position to change and adapt. We have the resources, the talent, the knowledge – unfortunately we are hamstrung into 1940s thinking by too many blinkered, greedy and selfish old men in charge of our governments and big businesses.

    Too often we hear people framing the debate, wrongly, as a choice between continue burning coal and oil and doing nothing or become hippies without cars and lights and heating.

    Complete and absolute rubbish.

    We have enough wind and solar radiation hitting our country to provide us with as much energy as we care to harness. Enough solar radiation falls onto the surface of Australia every day to provide all of the energy the entire world uses in 6 months.

    Look to Germany – where their governments are more sane, intelligent and forward thinking. With a population of only 4 times Australia in an area the same as NSW they produce more power with wind turbines than our whole country uses. If we transplanted all the wind turbines from Germany to Australia we wouldn’t need to burn any coal for all of our electricity needs.

    And thats with today’s technology – without tapping any of Australia’s solar resources. Convert our transport to electric vehicles or hydrogen powered vehicles and suddenly Australia is burning no fossil fuels for any of its electricity or land/marine transport.

    Hardly a crazy vision. Using today’s technology at the same rate of use being used in other countries.

    Its criminal not to do it!

  161. Liz45

    ENGINEERINGREALITY – One of my brothers lived in a home with solar hot water panels on his roof – that was in the 60’s. The district hospital at Gulargambone(70 miles north west of Dubbo – lived there in the 50’s) has had solar panels for all(I think – lighting/not water anyway) its electrical requirements for some yrs now – not sure exactly how long – it was the first of its kind. It can be done.

    If the subsidies to fossil fuel industry have been $10 billion per yr for last 10 yrs; imagine what could’ve been done with that money re research and development, solar hot water, electricity, even for lighting? Wow! We’d be in a good position now.
    Tim Flannery installed solar panels for all his requirements. I think he has a couple of kids, a wife etc. It was about $20,000 and he reckons about $30,000 if you work from home. I think he’s also self sufficient re water. I know he probably has a very good income, but it can be done! It’s a matter of priorities!

    I was stunned to learn, that unlike us, the US still have petrol fuelled buses and taxis. Imagine if they started using gas or electricity like us (Sydney does anyway).

    There’s places in remote Africa where people are using solar for lighting and cooking and lap tops, which means kids are exposed to education, reading etc. I find that so exciting! But of course, those who only want to steal their resources; use them for slave labour with the insistence of the World bank and/or IMF don’t want the kids educated. Who knows what they might expect if they know the truth???Haiti is a good example!

    Well, for the sake of my special peoples’ future, and yours, let’s hope the Greens have the balance of power in the Senate after the next election, and get rid of the fossils who lust after corporate wealth or help those who do! Like Minchin, Boswell, Martin Ferguson(would have nuclear power in a blink) and others. Brandis (the bloke who called Howard a ‘rodent’ or was it ‘ a lying little rodent’? More, like Abbott etc.

    It is criminal not to as you say. Germany is doing amazing things as are parts of the US and others! Farmers have solar panels on their land; they’re along busy highways (which is space that is wasted – away from the road but still in view and feeding those communities?)We wasted almost 12 yrs during Howard’s time, and we need to get going, but we need a govt with the guts to tell the mining companies, ‘this is how it’s going to be, get on with it or get out’? But instead, NSW is opening or extending coal mining?? Frustrating as hell!

  162. Flower

    “Moral of the story: ‘geologist’ does not necessarily equal ‘mining industry’ (and, by the way, ‘mining industry’ does not necessarily equal ‘fossil fuels’ or even ‘climate sceptic’).”

    Mark Duffett – I think you would agree that on this topic (CO2 and climate change), “geologist” does equal “mining industry” and “fossil fuels” – petroleum, gas, coal. In addition, mining industry and fossil fuels also equals diamonds, gold, silver, lead, nickel, bauxite, iron ore etc etc.

    In WA, jarrah forests are felled so Alcoa can get at the bauxite. Now the only family of quokkas in WA, to survive industrial slaughter, hangs out on the Island of Rottenest.

    Every time miners dig a dirty big hole, soil carbon is dispersed to the atmosphere. In Australia’s agricultural areas alone, some 50 – 80% of precious soil carbon has been lost to the atmosphere.

    According to expert, Gavin Mudd, it takes 691,000 litres of water and 141 kilograms of cyanide to produce a single kilogram of gold. Futhermore two million tonnes of solid waste is produced for one kilogram of gold where its primary function is jewellery. Huh?

    Nor can one exploit Mother Nature’s hazardous waste repositories without the use of other hazards. If she’d anticipated neanderthal man digging up her wastes , I’m sure she’d have left them on the surface for easy pickings.

    In addition, emissions from mining installations include carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic volatile organic compounds particularly those large operations which use untested waste oil as a fuel to pump up profits. Waste oil is filthy stuff and its pumped over communites who have no idea what they’re inhaling.

    Bob Carter, all the way from Queensland, recently emitted a hazardous diatribe at the Western Mining Conference Hall in Kalgoorlie – admission free too – hmmm? Who paid for the most expensive flight leg in Australia so the locals could be graced with Bob’s presence?

    Naturally, he never travels without his blinkers on so he failed to mention the prolific hazardous emissions from the world’s largest mining chasms – Barrick- Newmont’s Super Pit (KCGM) in Kalgoorlie, about to expand to some 4 km long, 1.6 km wide and 600 metres deep.

    I once followed a SO2 plume (and no doubt its toxic adsorbents) for some 300 hundred kilometres – an emission from KCGM’s Gidgi gold roaster. I arrived at my destination but the plume kept going. Only the Gods would know of its environmental fate.

    Can carbon emissions be accurately measured from massive mining excavations including waste rock like the Super Pit or from stack emissions every quarter when the house has been tidied up for the “visitors?” I don’t think so.



  163. Jeremy Williams

    Carter is a marine geologist not a climate scientist and those journal articles you cite reflect that.
    Which one of those articles does he dispute that global warming is caused by humans, I’m sure Plimer has done journal articles as well but like Carter has no publications disputing AGW. It would never get publication through any journal of note.
    If it turns out that you are correct and AGW is all crap thats great but so far all the contrarians have very poor arguments, suspicious funding (see below) and usually not even climate scientists all of which does little to alleviate my concerns.

    Regarding others comments about his funding, Carter is a member of the right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs fossil fuel funded, he has also been sponsored by the US version the Heartland Institute think tank also fossil fuel funded. Carter has never denied receiving payment from some of these groups he just argues its not relevant. Of much more suspicion is that if you’ve seen or been to one of his presentations he goes out of his way to tell people to ring or contact their local federal member to say no to the ETS etc
    He’s definitely a player and not some detached contrarian away from the political process.

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