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Journalism

Mar 21, 2011

The Long View: climate change and the search for balanced reporting

Climate change adviser Ross Garnaut recently suggested the media treatment of the issue has undermined support for action by giving equal weight to mainstream peer-reviewed science and sceptical views not backed by published evidence.

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These days anybody can publish, spreading news and opinion to the world. Meanwhile, holed up in the remaining nooks, crannies and shelters of mainstream media, journalists adhere to their traditional credo: that what they publish should be balanced. That disinterested reporting, a fair shake of the stick to all concerned, is what defines credible media.

But what does that mean? The case de jour, and for that matter of the year, the decade and the century, is climate change. What constitutes balanced reporting?

Climate change adviser Ross Garnaut recently suggested the media treatment of the issue has undermined support for action by giving equal weight to mainstream peer-reviewed science and sceptical views not backed by published evidence. He said:

“If you take our mainstream media, it will often seek to provide some balance between people who base their views on the mainstream science and people who don’t.

“That’s a very strange sort of balance. It’s a balance of words, and not a balance of scientific authority.”

Data is hard, perhaps impossible, to obtain. After all, climate change is an issue that bleeds into everything else, from the economy to gardening columns. How does one even begin to measure amounts of air play or balance? It’s a bit like trying to measure the coverage given to food, money, motherhood or any other foundation of our existence.

Yet the impression remains that as the majority of scientists become more certain on the evidence, and their predictions grow more gloomy, climate change is being treated with less urgency and more scepticism by journalists and the public they serve.

And then there is the straight-out drubbing given to the experts by some, such as this effort by Andrew Bolt, first on the Steve Price Breakfast Show and then in transcript and text, when Jill Duggan from the European Commissions’s Directorate General of Climate Action was the guest.

It seems there is an edge to the debate in this country and in the US, a scepticism about the weight of scientific opinion, which doesn’t exist in Europe. Consider the comments on this story as just one example. You’ll find similar fare at the foot of most online reports on the issue.

Why is it so? And what, if anything, has changed in media coverage since 2007, when Kevin Rudd was elected after declaring climate change the greatest moral challenge of our times, and today when carbon tax might turn out too hard a political ask?

I spent some time contacting the people who run our news services last week to get their response to these questions. Some, sadly, such as the editor of The Age, Paul Ramadge and the editor-in-chief of the Herald and Weekly Times, Phil Gardner, did not respond to stimuli.

Others, such as the ABC’s head of policy for news, Alan Sunderland, responded with length and thought, his answers sure to provide more fodder for the ferals on Senate Estimates next time that particular show rolls into town. (For Sunderland’s complete response, see my blog.)

Keep in mind that this is a particularly pointy issue for those at the ABC, with chairman Maurice Newman having last year declared himself a climate change “agnostic” (as though it were a question of religion, not science), and labelled those journalists who fail to report sceptics as being guilty of group think.

But we all know, if we think about it at all, that the battle for mainstream opinion is fought, not on the ABC’s airwaves but on commercial radio and commercial television news, still the main sources of news and information for the majority of Australians.

The head of news and current affairs at Channel Seven, Peter Meakin, said that although he didn’t have figures to back up his impressions, he believed climate change was more newsworthy now than it had been in 2007, and as a result  his channel was running more stories about it.

Why? Because of  the floods, bushfires and other natural disasters that had pushed the issue to the front of viewers’ minds. His newsman’s instinct was that people in general were more worried about it now than they had been in 2007, and Channel Seven was responding to that.

And what about balance? It was the nature of public debate, says Meakin that passionate believers “would like to see their opponents silenced”. It was the job of journalists to make sure that didn’t happen.

“Not all climate change sceptics are lunatics,” he said. And most journalists were not scientists. Balance meant representing the debate that was actually occurring, not trying to create the debate that one or other side thought should occur.

Sunderland, on the other hand, rejects any notion of balance that means tit-for-tat coverage. His understanding leaves a role for journalistic judgment and weighing of evidence. He says:

“It is one of the most common and inaccurate myths about balance on this or any other topic that it requires all sides to be given equal time and equal weight. It does not. It never has and it never will. Our editorial policies make it quite clear that ‘it is not essential to give all sides equal time’. Another better way to express and understand this is to understand that the kind of balance we aim to achieve in our news coverage is balance that follows the weight of evidence. In other words, if for example 90% of credible, peer-reviewed scientific opinion supports the existence of human-induced global warming, then you would expect that weight to be reflected in our coverage. I believe it is.”

Yet those inside the ABC will tell you wearily how every time they publish or broadcast a climate change scientist, the sceptics will complain. And being an accountable public broadcaster each complaint must be dealt with, in triplicate, before the aforementioned hashing over in Senate Estimates. In this, the real politic is that the more Clive Hamilton you publish,  the greater the pressure to publish Mike Hendrickx as well.

Balance is even harder to maintain, or even to define, when suffering from battle fatigue.

The classic example of dilemmas to do with balance in journalism is the tobacco and public health debate in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. Would a good journalist in those days have given equal coverage to the scientists who said that smoking damaged health, and the industry that claimed there was no evidence to support the contention?

In hindsight, we know that the industry itself had evidence that it chose to cover up about the damaging health affects, so it is easy to assess right and wrong.

But the climate change debate is much bigger than even Big Tobacco. As Sunderland says, it is a story that impacts on every other. And we have no hindsight.

Climate change is more than one issue, and it is simplistic to simply conflate all of the aspects into one topic. There is, of course, a continuing debate over the fundamental question of the extent of human-induced climate change, and this debate has both a scientific and political aspect to it. There is also a debate about the appropriate responses to human-induced climate change, including the appropriate policy settings. This too has  scientific and political aspects to it as well, and it is a debate that is taking place internationally as well as taking place within Australia … And within the broad issue, there are also very specific associated issues such as the state of Arctic ice, the fate of low-lying islands in the Pacific, the future of nuclear power, the future of coal-based industries, the role of fossil fuels and biofuels, etc, etc, etc …

So what does balance mean? What does a good journalist do?

Hard to proscribe.  At this time in human history, climate change is about everything, and everything is about climate change.

And if objectivity means anything, it surely means slavish, courageous following of the evidence. We have yet to see if humanity is up to that task, let alone the media.

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310 comments

310 thoughts on “The Long View: climate change and the search for balanced reporting

  1. danr

    Hi Frank

    “Flower would indeed be persona non grata, Danr, but you just don’t get the political point. It applies to both left and right. ”

    I understand what you are saying Frank, but for myself I’m trying to get a handle firstly on the science of CO2 in the atmosphere and then to see why other people understand or believe differently.

    Political energy in humans is precious, we get discouraged and worn out easily.

    Why waste energy on a Phantom like CO2 AGW when the real pollution issues continue.

  2. Frank Campbell

    Danr/Flower:
    “You seem to be firmly entrenched in lefty politics and would probably be committing social suicide if you disowned AGW…real science is apolitical”.

    Flower would indeed be persona non grata, Danr, but you just don’t get the political point. It applies to both left and right.

    No one gets it, least of all Simons. The AGW split is tribal. Just watch Jonathon Holmes every week on Media Watch (my favourite program) editorialising on “climate change” (formerly the artist known as Global Warming). It’s fine to get stuck into febrile Bolt, the most privileged Victim in the country, the misunderstood, mistreated King Kong of the tabloids. But not to use that as an excuse to editorialise. Grattan does it. Fyffe does it (former environment reporter for The Age). Annabel Crabb (Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Bumcrack) does it. They all do it. They can’t help themselves.

    They’re proving their progressive credentials. Cementing group solidarity. Asserting their orthodoxy, their membership, their loyalty.

    That’s why I asked Simons 300 posts ago what she would think/do if a close associate came out as a heretic. Uncomfortable silence? Ostracism? Pleading? Recommendations to medical specialists?

    Of course on Crikey we don’t expect ideologically-tested handpicked writers to stoop to commenting on comments…

    Ultimately, this evasion and relentless pursuit/ridicule of heresy destroys progressives politically. I’ve been on about this for two years here. The main enemy of the AGW hypothesis isn’t the motley assortment of shockjocks, rednecks, and hard-Right politicians- it’s the myopic, militant True Believers. Look at Preacher Rudd in Copenhagen. The politicised CSIRO. Clowns like Flim Flannery with his silly, specific predictions. Agonised zealots like Glikson. Renewable energy fantasists like Diesendorf. Tossentators like George Monbiot who’s gone nuclear because of Fukushima. Hysterics like Prof. Kevin Anderson, saying we’ll all be dead by 2050. Low-postcode Greens outsourcing their carbon guilt by forcing wind turbines on to others- never in THEIR million-dollar backyards.

    Politically, Progressivism is a suppurating, reeking mass of hypocrisy. Class-based hypocrisy. Fatal to any rational action on global warming because the ALP govt. is headed for oblivion (in spite of gaffy, naked Abbott).

    What did Gillard do after almost losing the election? Learned nothing from the fiasco-in fact she upped the ante by demanding a “carbon tax”. She’s made the next election a referendum on global warming.

    The ALP may be a degenerate, corporatist shadow of its former self but it still carries the hopes of progressives. So did the Greens- before they poured all energy into the carbon cult.

    So leftists and greens like me are in the strange position of watching a political suicide. By default, the hard Right is masquerading as the worker’s friend, curtailing the sharp, regressive increases in cost of living by killing the “carbon tax”.
    The Right is swallowing Labour’s base.

    And how often do I have to say it? There will be no apotheosis of the Greens. They’re now a single-issue party, the Carbon Party. They’ve reached their high water mark.

  3. danr

    Flower .

    I grew up poor, did without, paid for my own education, worked bloody hard and got over it.

    As someone else says: “The class war continues.”

    You seem to be firmly entrenched in lefty politics and would probably be committing social suicide if you disowned AGW – MMGW : sometimes know as incineration by CO2 induced CC.

    Real science is apolitical.

    Sorry , you have to be a scientist to understand that.

  4. Flower

    Aw….. “carbon pollution” has more than one syllable so poor old Abbott’s clones, Groucho, Trippin and Mr Spiteful are struggling.

    And Abbott’s dancing boy reckons 100km by 100km equals 100km2 . I like it, I like it. But hey what the heck it’s wash day and I deserve some vaudeville. Gee, I could dance to this trio’s melodies till the cows go to bed. On second thoughts I’d prefer to dance with the cows till they go to bed. But it’s ironing day on Tuesday. Bad Mutha Goose and Brothers Grim? Quack Pack? Hint hint. Surprise me.

  5. danr

    CO2 is a scientific non event.

    Convection and water vapour swamp any CO2 effect whether MM or “natural”

    Big business wins.

  6. danr

    Flower , you write again,

    “the “apocalyptic utterings” from just a few of us have been projected for some forty years to no avail. It should never have come to this. Governments of both persuasions have been captured by corporate polluters since colonization and they have learnt zero since”

    You and the other pro warming lobbyists don’t seem to appreciate the paradox that you are all enmeshed in. Frank routinely points it out.

    The REAL chemical pollution continues. eg Garnaut in PNG mines, uranium mining disasters in the north, the new “fracking” technology being pushed for the hunter region. These are all known pollution issues where governments have been maybe” bought off?”

    What political efforts have WWF Greenpeace etc made to have controls enforced??

    Come on really.

    THIS IS POLLUTION on a grand scale ignored by green movements.

    They pick on CO2 — THE ONLY NON POLLUTANT in the industrial processes???

    Scoreboard: big polluters and politicians 10, WWF etc 0.

  7. David Hand

    Yes Frank,
    It is unsettling when members of the climate cult change their mind. The problem is not so much the shifting of knowledge when new information is discovered because that’s how science and knowledge develops. The problem is the fundamentalist rhetoric that has gone before. Any reasonable questioning of the data is met with viscious put-downs that questioners are greedy denialists who do not love their children.

    I believe this crusading “Never mind the facts – just say what will win hearts and minds” attitude has been the single most damaging influence on action to reduce carbon emmissions.

    We have Flower to thank for confirming that the climate cult is a continuation of the class war that has been going on since the industrial revolution and therefore has only a tenuous relationship with facts and science. I coudn’t have expressed it better myself.

  8. Frank Campbell

    The media coverage of climate change? Balance? Look no further than the constant promotion of George Monbiot (The Guardian). The Monarch of Millenarianism is ubiquitous. Even Tony Jones was incredulous at George VII on Lateline. Monbiot announced his conversion to nuclear. It happened in a flash, he said: Fukushima.

    This “horrible technology” (George’s words) was the only solution to CO2. Bugger gas- it’s too urgent for that. Situation desperate. (Tony Jones irritated by this point).

    The Chief Hysteric of The Guardian went neutral on nukes in 2009, he told us. But no one died at Fukushima. Thousands die mining coal in China every year. Jones the Interviewer said George’s Fukushima death toll might be premature. Jones didn’t mention spreading contamination which could put a big chunk of NE Japan into Chernolimbo for decades…

    I’ve warned about fallout from the cult for years: it drives us to nuclear. And what of “renewables”? What about the billions wasted on wind etc? George is now telling us they don’t work. So worldwide wind turbine misery was pointless.

    Not only are current renewables a flop, but Fukushima is causing a rapid shift to coal in Europe and elsewhere. Because there’s no alternative to coal. Except nuclear.

    Media “balance” is not a matter of putting up a Lord Planckton against a George Monbiot- it’s about journalists who are sufficiently well-informed to question the extremists on both sides. Most journalists (like Simons) know next to nothing about the economics, technology of science of climate change. They simply take the computer-generated scenarios of the current dominant paradigm for granted. A matter of faith.

  9. Flower

    @ David Hand: “What I was trying to say is that the apocolyptic utterings of many on the climate lobby are designed to tell everyone that profound changes…..”

    I am in agreement David but please remember that the “apocalyptic utterings” from just a few of us have been projected for some forty years to no avail. It should never have come to this. Governments of both persuasions have been captured by corporate polluters since colonization and they have learnt zero since. But then there is nothing like using humans, the nation’s fragile environment and beyond as cannon fodder to achieve maximum profits eh?

    Corporate polluters have not been made to operate under a MACT system (Maximum Achievable Control Technology). US EPA lists 188 toxic air pollutants (including carbon chemicals) under MACT which must be stringently regulated. Show me a polluter that is regulated under this system in Australia. Regulated by “persuasion,” Australian polluters, through community appeals (rarely successful) are forced kicking and screaming into investing in scrubbers, electromagnetic precipitators, baghouses and the like.

    One can read the rants of the EPAs on how they regulate polluters under BACT (Best Available Control Technology). The National Pollutant Inventory shows a different story and their estimates are gleaned from the polluters’ own analyses so please forgive my cynicism.

    Recently Victoria’s Ombudsmen and Auditor-general reported on the systematic failures of Victoria’s EPA to protect the public and prevent harm to the environment in matters of compliance and enforcement.

    Astonishingly the culprits responsible for a major part of global warming, the mining industry, spent more than $20 million fighting the Government’s resources rent tax before the last federal election. Hey David try driving around with a smoking exhaust pipe and you will soon realise that the “Polluter Pays” principle applies only to Joe Citizen. Yet global polluter BHP Billiton made almost $11 billion profit last year in six months, free of charge, while dirtying up our environment.

    It is well documented that Australians are dying from a heated environment, the results of air pollution. Many of the victims are children, the elderly and the less well off who have to reside in industrial areas where corporate polluters are on rampage.

    Free marketeer, ignoramus and ethics-free Abbott doesn’t know a VOC from a sock, nor does he care and he has offered no effective alternative to a carbon tax so count me in on Gillard’s proposal (warts and all). Something’s better than Abbott’s bullshi-ing NOTHING proposal, considering the dire need to act quickly.

  10. Frank Campbell

    This is the 300th post on Simons’ piece.

    No doubt the most she’s ever got. 300 comments on what is by her standards a low-quality article.

    Climate millenarianism is wasting everyone’s time big time…

  11. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    … Sigh. Two more comments.

    I’m going to turn off the automatic notification of new comments.

    If you want to tell me something NEW or RELEVANT, go to the comments on DrGlikson’s article.

  12. danr

    Instead of by real scientists.

  13. danr

    “This thread was supposedly about the media coverage of climate science”

    I have to agree with you that media coverage of this topic, CO2 induced AGW has not been “on Target”.

    The fact that political action is being made on a base of poor science is a result of this poor and uninspired journalism which has failed to get to the facts.

    This leads to the unfortunate situation where warming advocates, like flower, have their views reinforced by the media and authority figures like yourself.

  14. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    If you want to comment, please do it in a single one, instead of multiple interjections (it’s making the comment count ridiculous), and please, actually make a comment instead of taking something I’ve said out of context and figuratively shaking your head. Better still, why don’t you go to Dr Glikson’s post from yesterday? I’m certain he’ll be interested in your comments on the science of climate change. This thread was supposedly about the media coverage of climate science. Which, alas, it rapidly stopped being (and I’m one of the guilty parties, mea culpa).

  15. Frank Campbell

    Wayne: “Thinking that a yearly increase in CO2 of 3 ppmv must also be accompanied by a similar increase in temperatures is ignoring the messiness of climate.”

    This observation is both common sense and accurate. Yet is heresy for zealots such as Glikson. I can’t comment on Glikson’s latest piece because I’m no longer a Crikey subscriber. I don’t want to give money to a brazen propaganda site. But I will use it to criticise climate hysteria because I want to reach my tribe, the Green Left- to show them it’s OK to “come out” and not be intimidated by the climate bullies. I do the same at times on The Age and ABC sites. I don’t bother with the feral Right such as Bolt.

    I’ve read many Glikson articles. He is frighteningly sincere. A true zealot. Terminally myopic.

  16. danr

    “It’s a small effect, similar to the CO2 effect.”

    What????

    Are you joking?

  17. danr

    “Was the Little Ice Age due to the Maunder minimum? Or to the multiple outbreaks of the Black Death in Europe and smallpox and other epidemics in the Americas? ”

    Creationism is mild compared to this!

  18. danr

    “Stating that science must be observational I think would be impossible to apply to climate science. ”

    All you have to do is measure the temperature.

    The results do not support MM CO2 AGW.

  19. wayne robinson

    Frank,

    I might be wrong when I said that you wrote that climate science is an immature hypothesis. Your comments are often very long. But anyway, when does a hypothesis become mature? I don’t know the answer.

    Stating that science must be observational I think would be impossible to apply to climate science. Inevitably, you’re forced to use computer climate models (as much as you and I hate them). How else would you be able to tease out the effect of the factors that we know influence climate? Was the Little Ice Age due to the Maunder minimum? Or to the multiple outbreaks of the Black Death in Europe and smallpox and other epidemics in the Americas? Or to volcanic activity?

    The current solar cycle is unusually quiet. It isn’t part of the ‘normal’ variation. It’s a small effect, similar to the CO2 effect. But we know from the past that small changes over larger areas can have large results, as shown by the minor changes in Earth orbit and tilt having major and sudden changes in glaciation and interglacial periods for the past 3 million years at least.

    2010 in Australia had a low average maximum temperature, the mean temperature and minimum temperature were both above average. The reduced maximum temperature was explained by the Australia Meterological Bureau as being due to above average rainfall. Globally, the temperature for 2010 was the warmest on record equal to 1998 and 2005.

    But then again 1 year’s records are just ‘weather’, subject to all the messy chaotic factors that impact climate, some going one way, some in the reverse.

    Thinking that a yearly increase in CO2 of 3 ppmv must also be accompanied by a similar increase in temperatures is ignoring the messiness of climate.

    If you think that AGW is wrong, why don’t you go to Dr Glikson’s post from yesterday and prove that he’s wrong.

    I’m not certain whether I’d like a wind farm in my backyard too. Although, when I was in Copenhagen, I thought that they looked very attractive and took a lot of photos of them, but they were a long way away, and distance probably is the operative word.

    PS Any typos are due to the accursed Autochecker on this iPad, it keeps on changing the words! Messiness became neediness at one point I noted.

  20. Frank Campbell

    Wayne: “I was taking issue with Frank’s reference to climate science as being an immature hypothesis. If he wants to argue that anthropogenic global warming being an immature hypothesis, then it’s up to him to make the case for it.”

    I never said “climate science” was an “immature hypothesis”. A science is not “an hypothesis”. Read with more care.
    Climate science is a nascent science however- it is a busy intersection of several sciences. An unsealed roundabout. Add to that the problems of chaotic natural systems etc , unknown and Rumsfeldian unknowns…this is why there are so many competing hypotheses about so many aspects of climate science.

    As for AGW, of course it is an immature hypothesis.

  21. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Golly, Danr, you do say exactly the same thing ad nauseum.

    Why don’t you pop over to the comments on Dr Andrew Glikson’s (paleoclimatologist at ANU) article on why Tim Flannery is correct, published yesterday, and set him right? I’m certain he’ll appreciate your expertise as a combustion engineer.

  22. danr

    The basic science of AGW is very pedestrian, embarrassingly so .

    The problem is the confusion created by the vast number of chemical and physical interactions in the CO2 – biosphere temperature question.

    They are easily quantified if you take the trouble, but cause embarrassment to the AGW Cause if taken into account.

    Why would any scientist on a grant take the trouble to do the full analysis when they can get away with doing work on one small element of the process.

    There are reasonable CO2 mass balances done on many sources and sinks of CO2 but you will find nobody wants to integrate the parts into a complete whole.

    The reason is that such an analysis shows the human produced component of CO2 to be disappointingly small against the real sinks and sources. The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.

    This is not good science but a very interesting study in Group Behaviour patterns.

    It’s the universe of politics at its finest.

  23. David Hand

    Flower, I re- read my post and what I said wasn’t what I meant. I apologise for that. I think if profound changes to our way of life are necessary to save the environment for future generations then we must make them.

    What I was trying to say is that the apocolyptic utterings of many on the climate lobby are designed to tell everyone that profound changes are necessary when there is a lack of take up by those in power who can actually make a difference. On our side of the world, both Labor and the Coalition are treating it solely as a political problem, not a crisis in the future of our civilisation and this is a key indicator that the writings of the apocalyptic fringe of the climate change movement are as unsupported by the science as Monkton et al on the denialist side.

  24. danr

    Frank

    Outstanding posts.

    I’m envious of your capacity to describe the far reaching talons of the mooment as it seeks to control and drain us.

    You can’t blame people for believing CAGW is true, the Pro Warming web sites sound so plausible when they mix real fact with a final unreal conclusion.

    I’m even drawn to Believe in it myself but then rationality kicks in and I’m pulled back to the fact that the Core Science is missing.

    In the mean time while we chase this phantom, the real pollution, like Garnaut in PNG, China’s magnet industry, and Australia’s uranium industry plough on unhindered causing untold damage.

    A cynic might even suggest that the big polluters are behind MMGW to divert attention from their real crimes.

  25. wayne robinson

    David Hand,

    I was taking issue with Frank’s reference to climate science as being an immature hypothesis. If he wants to argue that anthropogenic global warming being an immature hypothesis, then it’s up to him to make the case for it.

    I have never claimed that extreme weather conditions are due to AGW. I think it’s impossible to prove so.

    My concern is about how rapidly climate change has occurred in the past and the existence of well recognized tipping points.

    Perhaps we should close this thread and continue our conversation in comments of item #11, Tim Flannery was right, from today’s Crikey’s newsletter, which has to do with the science of AGW, instead of this thread’s stated topic of the public perception of it as reflected in the media’s coverage.

  26. danr

    “Roy Spencer? …. intelligent design creationism.

    Yes we are all fallible.

  27. Frank Campbell

    Dearie me, the Crikey knitting circle’s needles are out- to dispatch the interloper David Hand, who dares to contradict them.

    Don’t touch the Lamingtons, David. It’s like Midsomer Murders in there…

  28. danr

    “Mr Abbott is a “believer” ”

    Yes, he’s a Believer.

    IN VOTES!

  29. Flower

    1. David Hand Posted Tuesday, 22 March 2011 at 12:19 am
    “As a member of the Liberal Party and a believer in AGW”

    2. David Hand Posted Wednesday, 30 March 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    “Now I believe it myself but I am offended by the lack of objectivity from people who demand profound changes to our way of life.”

    Believes it himself? Profound changes? Tsk tsk. What profound changes? So what can we read from that David Hand? Hyperbole, duplicity, denial, delay or aliteracy?

    Have you ever read beyond the writings of Tim Flannery? It’s difficult debating with someone with such a parochial mindset on the matter of climate science. You really should endeavour to be more objective and perform your own research otherwise you could give the impression that you are one of Mr Abbott’s dancing boys.

    Did you know that Mr Abbott is a “believer” too and he, with the help of the good Lord, is going to solve global warming with BAU?

  30. Frank Campbell

    “The lack of a statistically significant warming in the last 12 years (which isn’t the same as no warming, which there was anyway) is explained by the fact that the Sun has been in a quiet phase for the same period. So my prediction, and NASA’s too, is that we’re in for increased warming when the Sun comes out of the current phase”

    I like this comment from Wayne because it’s honest. Denialists say “no recent warming”; Believers say “hottest decade on record”. Both are disingenuous. Trenberth, core member of the AGW modellers (and honest, unlike some of the others) bewailed the “lack of warming” in the Noughties. Believers just shift the graph- over a longer period the line still goes up. The hockey-stick fraud has gone, but it still looks pleasantly threatening. The fact is temps plateaued for a decade. This probably means nothing for the fate of our immature hypothesis. 2010 was the coolest for a decade for Australia. Means nothing either. Not much more than regional weather.

    “Hottest decade on record”? But how long is the record? Quality global temps date from the late 1970s. The recent is fraught with problems. So, FFS, much of the drama is based on a VERY short observational record. 35 years. Not much more than weather. The jury hasn’t even reached the jury-room yet.

    Why do you think there’s so much tension and angst among the climate modellers? Because they know it’s a big call on weak evidence. They’ve cried wolf, so they hope like hell the mangy dog actually turns up…it a two-horse race because they defined it that way. All their money is on one horse. You’d be pissing in your pants too if it was neck and neck at the last turn…

    The same applies to Wayne’s confident bet: “The lack of a statistically significant warming in the last 12 years… is explained by the fact that the Sun has been in a quiet phase for the same period.”

    Plausible indeed. Convincing- no. Like all climate theories. Why do you think there are dozens of climate theories? A whole creche of immature hypotheses! Because there’s so much uncertainty about the science. Remember the wretched Penny Wong, the wooden Adelaide lawyer shafted with the ‘climate change” ministry under Rudd? She’s so much happier now. No longer moronically repeating “the science is settled, the science is settled”.

    Wayne knows that the science is not settled. But he plumps for the regular 11 year quietude of the sun for Trenberth’s unhappy decade. Hmmm Wayne, I know that Trenberth knows (or believes) that the wattage per squ metre of this type solar variability is small. Very small. Too small. I’m not saying you’re wrong Wayne, but have you bet the house on it?

    And what of the Swedish scientists who predict a cooling for the next couple of decades, followed by more CO2-induced global warming? They’re Believers, but they’re buying time for the cult by this nifty device. Politically disastrous though- 20 cool/cold years will kill the cult stone dead.

    So who do we blame when the earth capitulates in 2035 and the hypothesis comes of age- settled, proven science…all too late for H.Sapiens, Esq.

    We’ll blame the excesses of the cult, the hubris of the hysterics and the incompetence of the bureaucracy which ruined the politics of climate change.

    The cult is its own worst enemy.

  31. danr

    “The lack of …. warming in the last 12 years is explained by the fact that the Sun has been in a quiet phase for the same period”

    Exactly what basic science says.

    The sun drives Earths temperatures.

    More CO2 is powerless to increase earths temp when solar output declines.

  32. David Hand

    Wayne,
    I am back in this discussion because of your quite unhelpful responses to Frank’s post. I think his point about climate science being an “immature hypothesis” was reference to our understanding of it, not the phenomenon itself. This is the sort of unhelpful point scoring rhetoric that makes a thread like this so hard to take part in. You add nothing to the discussion and you certainly don’t answer Frank’s basic point – that every weather event that occurs causes the climate cult to modify its message to a new narrative and the willingly gullible bloggers just spout it as received truth.

    A reasonable observer might form the view that they don’t really know what is happening in climate change and this is evidenced through the climategate emails.

    The most obvious Australian example of this is the way that water and its scarcity was, until two years ago, proof of global warming. now we are breathlessly told that it is extreme or unprecidented weather events, even though there are precidents for most of them in the lifetimes of people living today.

    I can assure you that it doesn’t matter what climate activity occurs during the rest of 2011, Flannery and his mates will assure us all it proves that global warming is real. Now I believe it myself but I am offended by the lack of objectivity from people who demand profound changes to our way of life.

    It would be helpful if the climate lobby admitted that it is still working it out, not rush onto TV with “received truth” that happens to be different to what they were saying last year.

  33. wayne robinson

    Cripes Frank,

    That certainly is a diatribe.

    I suppose you’ll be posting a similar comment on Dr Glikson’s item in Crikey’s newsletter (#11) today, proving that he’s wrong.

    Climate science is mature; it has been around longer than evolution.

    As I said, I base my understanding of climate on what has happened in the past, not what computer models show.

    Agreed, if a carbon price affects people, and they can’t adjust to it because there’s no public transport available or general transport costs are higher, then they deserve more compensation.

    Got to hop on my bike and have my daily exercise fix at the gym …

  34. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Roy Spencer?

    The climatologist who says that he studied evolution for 2 years 20 years ago and came to the conclusion that intelligent design creationism is a better explanation of life’s diversity than evolution. To a simple mind without understanding the basic facts, ID is certainly an easy explanation but it’s certainly not correct.

    Agreed, you don’t need to publish to be a scientist (you also won’t get tenure at a university or get any respect from your peers), but you do need to understand the facts. As of which Ian Plimer is incapable.

    What about the other comments I made?

    Regarding your last comment, you’re still laboring under the false dichotomy of either CO2 has no effect or it is the only factor. The true state is that climate is complex with many factors influencing it, including CO2.

    The lack of a statistically significant warming in the last 12 years (which isn’t the same as no warming, which there was anyway) is explained by the fact that the Sun has been in a quiet phase for the same period. So my prediction, and NASA’s too, is that we’re in for increased warming when the Sun comes out of the current phase

    I got to finish today’s and get to the gym …

  35. danr

    cdg en fr.

    The proof of any scientific theory is in the measurement.

    cO2 atm has been increasing . Until the AGW storm I had not taken much notice of this.

    Global temps (atm) have been going no where. The measurements tell us this quite clearly.

    The is no positive correlation between pp Co2 and Temp atm.

    Therefore. AGW by CO2 does not exist.

  36. danr

    Wayne

    My definition of a scientist does not include being “published:.

    A scientist should have curiosity, kick the tires, explore ideas and be disciplined enough to make an effort to learn the basic science needed to study the CO2 – Runaway Global Warming theory.

    Roy Spencer is not alone in his disappointment at the damage being done to science by the ALL IN approach to CO2 Climate Change.

  37. Frank Campbell

    Wayne: actually, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, not punnery. But never mind.

    Re Climategate- it’s not just “scientists behaving badly” as you put it…you witness the creation of a self-conscious, militant group from scratch. Over 15 years or so. It’s their hypothesis, their baby, and they strain every fibre to make it survive to maturity. (But of course AGW is at best an immature hypothesis). This natural process, as always in academe, engenders a lot of sneaky, dubious behaviour. Otherwise the campus novel wouldn’t exist.

    You witness the recruitment process. Careful and deliberate. Who is reliable, who can be trusted? Who might be iffy because they associate with actual or potential enemies? You witness the power plays- the corruption of “peer review” by the simple device of avoiding anyone who might criticise basic assumptions. The peer review process still works at one level- they are all extremely alert to anything which might endanger the health of the baby, as you’d expect of good parents. An acolyte who is slipshod in method or execution or lacks relevant knowledge- they are quickly brought into line. They’re forced to revise. Fine, except the assumptions are left untouched. Also, the main players always look out for each other. Most are very aware their expertise is limited- inevitably- it’s a vast, incoherent field, climate science. And it’s still in nappies. It’s amazing how many of the emails are about stats- most modellers lack maths skills and seek out correction and confirmation from those more equipped. In fact they lack many things, often taking on trust the assumptions and results of others to buttress the hypothesis. This is most evident in research on “proxies”, i.e. evidence at one or more removes from core evidence- dendrochronology for eg. Once again, that’s fine, but the assumptions are never questioned.

    You witness power plays in other less salubrious arenas: struggles to control journals, contempt for journals which seem to threaten their little bundle of AGW joy…

    Above all you witness the expansion of control, funding and status. We really are talking about marginal academics here- nobodies who are swept suddenly into global prominence. Hubris spreads like a fungus. Simultaneously, fear and anxiety take hold of the new Masters of the Universe. How could it be otherwise? The world hangs upon their every word. From obscurity to fame in no time. Critics proliferate. Many of them far superior in scientific status to our bunch of provincial computer modellers. They’re right to be terrified: failure means instant ridicule, loss of funds, crippled careers. Trenberth’s cry of anguish says it all: as global temps level off after 2000, he bemoans the lack of warming. Where the hell is it? It MUST be there. It can’t be the hypothesis- it’s just a failure of measurement, surely.

    None of this would matter a damn if the progressives of the world hadn’t taken up the cause.

    The great tragedy is that unlike most millenarian cults, the economic and political fallout from foolish, premature “action on carbon” affects everyone. The YK2 mini-cult had an expiry date: 1/1/2000. Climate Armageddon is by contrast infinitely malleable, elastic. There’s no cutoff date- or rather there are many (Prince Charles: July (!) 2017. Prof Kevin Anderson -95% of us will be dead in 40 years). No one has a clue what 2 degrees will do, or 4. So there’s ample room for the cult to simply postpone each date and change each symptom: three years ago is was all about permadrought. Australia, we were told, was the most vulnerable country. Flannery made several idiotic short-term predictions, now mere Bolt-fodder. One big La Nina has flooded the entire country (bar Perth). Lies were repeatedly told about “unprecedented” Black Saturday. There have been many.Now the horror scenario has been revised to include floods. No matter that we’ve had many brutal cyclones and big La Ninas in the past.

    It’s all so specious, so desperately unconvincing. So patently opportunistic. Dangerously close to unfalsifiability.

    Ironically, fools like Flannery and zealots like Hamilton jeopardise the very “climate action” they demand: people see the inconsistencies. And when carpet-baggers like Garnault patronise voters, AGW scepticism grows.

    You ask: “Why shouldn’t the remedies be ‘class based’. Why shouldn’t the polluters pay? Suggesting the state put money into research and development of renewable base load power generation is actually ‘class based’ anyway, because high income earners will pay a disproportionate amount.”

    You misread what I said: I said ‘class biased’. The poor and working class are penalised far more than the rest (who as it happens are promoting the penalties), because the sharp increases in costs affect them most. A decline in manufacturing would hit the remnant industrial working class hard also. The rural poor are big FF users (no choice)- low postcode Greens for example are well-off and benefit from inner city public transport etc.
    The politically obtuse Gillard was told this in the days after her “caahbun tax” announcement. So she now wants to hand much of the tax back to the biggest losers. Not to mention subsidies and exemptions for various industries. The purpose of the tax is subverted.

    The misery of cruel and stupid “climate” policies is already here. But Simons and the rest will never mention it. It’s covered in the provincial media but not in low postcodes: this from yesterday’s Ballarat Courier-“Wind farm inquiry in Ballarat: anger, tears at hearing”.
    This refers to a Senate inquiry. An inquiry which would never have happened without one senator’s efforts, a senator who lost his seat, a senator who is widely ridiculed, a senator whose politics and religion are anathema to me as a militant atheist Green: Sen. Fielding.

    It’s an awful commentary on the callousness of the cult and the urban middle class professionals who prosecute it: only Fielding listened. What do the Greens do? They insult every windfarm refugee/victim as a “nimby”. The Liberals are hoist on the MRET and keep their urban mouths shut. The Nationals only reacted after the shit hit the rural fan. Fielding: humane, Christian, charitable, concerned. I have to admit it.

    I won’t go through the whole list of wind turbines horrors, just think murder threats, beatings, arson, criminal damage, constant abuse, appalling noise, loss of half the value of properties (many unsaleable)…the enrichment of a handful of rednecks…

    and you wonder why I despise the cult!

  38. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    “I have never “implied that he was a publishing climate scientist”.

    The reference I made was to you. Everyone knows that Ian Plimer is not a climate scientist. The blurb for his book clearly states that, as does the blurbs for Tim Flannery’s books.

    On Monday 21 at 10:06 pm in answer to a question by Flower, you wrote:

    “I’ve gotta put my hand up for your challenge;

    “And despite repeated requests, no-one has yet referred me to one publishing climate scientist with credentials in the appropriate disciplines – anywhere on the planet, who has critiqued Plimer’s Heaven and ‘Mirth,’ favorably.”

    Well Ive read it and as a scientist I think it is fantastic”.

    My reference was directly concerned with that.

    If that’s not claiming to be a publishing climate scientist I don’t know what is.

    You certainly wouldn’t be answering the challenge if you had correctly written:

    “I’ve gotta put my hand up for your challenge;

    “And despite repeated requests, no-one has yet referred me to one publishing climate scientist with credentials in the appropriate disciplines – anywhere on the planet, who has critiqued Plimer’s Heaven and ‘Mirth,’ favorably.”

    Well Ive read it and as a combustion engineer with a BSc degree years ago with units in neurophysiology, neuroscience and statistics I think it is fantastic”.

    Ian Plimer’s book, while I agree that it’s difficult to understand, it’s mainly because it includes a lot of detail that is extraneous and often just wrong. There’s no point in claiming that the Sun has a solid iron core (it’s so far beyond fringe science that it is almost 100% certain to be wrong, nothing in science can be disproved absolutely). His claim that the Sun is a pulsar (a rapidly rotating neutron star) is also wrong, although I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it was a typo, twice. The book is badly padded, and he repeats himself a lot.

    Whenever he discusses climate, he often gets it wrong. When he was giving his confused account of Milankovich cycles, he stated that in an ice age (or better still a glaciation, he hasn’t got the ideas right) as ice caps and glaciers increase and ocean levels fall, the continental shelves are exposed resulting in a warming effect. This is actually a monumental failure of understanding of climate. Oceans have the minimum albedo; light penetrates and heats the water at depth. Land has a higher albedo; it reflects more of the Sun’s energy into outer space. Exposing continental shelves has a COOLING effect, not WARMING, as your hero Plimer claims. He’s too ignorant of anything not to do with science other than mining geology to realise this. He is ignorant of other sciences, so he picks authorities in astrophysics and possibly astronomy who are dubious.

    The reason why Tim Flannery and Bill Ruddiman get quoted so much is because they get the science facts correct. Once you have the facts, then you can reach conclusions. I’m not saying that AGW is a certainty; there may be negative feedbacks that we haven’t allowed for. Some skeptics have said that with rising temperatures, there will be increased clouds, which will partially stop the warming. I always wonder whether increased clouds will reduce our agricultural output due to decreased solar radiation and if it may not be the benefit touted.

    Certainly, the average person (I can’t think of anyone more average than Tony Abbott) has got a lot out of “Heaven and Earth’; that is, someone has written a book hundreds of pages long with 2500 references, so AGW must be ‘crap’.

  39. wayne robinson

    Meski,

    Thank you for that link to damnyouautocorrect.com but you owe me a new iPad. I laughed at the one
    ‘My ankles are swollen today from too much sodomy. OMG I meant sodium’
    so much the coffee I was drinking went all over the iPad.

    It’s a worry that the auto checker was programmed with sodomy though. At work I used to use a voice recognition program for writing reports, and I found the best way of using it was to delete any words the program mistakingly substituted if I was extremely unlikely to use it, ever. But the program had a feature preventing deletion of common words frequently used, such as ‘crore’, which I found out later is an Indian unit of currency, equivalent to about one million pounds Sterling. I realized then that it’s true that most of the computer programmers nowadays are in India, and that they must be grossly overpaid.

    I have decided as I previously thought that Danr is getting sarcastic, amending his target CO2 to 302.5 ppmv.

  40. danr

    I have never “implied that he was a publishing climate scientist”.

    Ian Plimer’s Book was a very difficult read and it treats material which, given some time and effort, I can mostly understand.

    I don’t think that the average person with only high school science would get much out of it.

    This is probably why books by Bill Ruddiman and Tim Flannery are quoted so much. The detail is more descriptive.

  41. danr

    Having had time to reflect on the seriousness of the CO2 induced temperature rises facing humanity I have revised my target for atm CO2 levels to 302.5 ppm as of 1:00 Pm today.

  42. wayne robinson

    Frank,

    Taking your points in order.

    A pun is the lowest form of wit. I still don’t get it.

    I only referred to sleeping ducks and submariners because Danr had used it in his arguments several times.

    I disagree completely with your second paragraph. We can’t predict weather in the short term but we can potentially predict climate in the long term, given better programs and computers. The divergent projections in the IPCC are due to differences as to how the energy use changes over time.

    Why shouldn’t the remedies be ‘class based’. Why shouldn’t the polluters pay? Suggesting the state put money into research and development of renewable base load power generation is actually ‘class based’ anyway, because high income earners will pay a disproportionate amount.

    My worries about climate change is based on what’s happened in the past. Climate is such that it changes abruptly from cold to hot and vice versa in response to minor influences. I don’t take much notice of computer models.

    Nope, I won’t read the Climategate emails. Scientists behaving badly don’t interest me at all. I’m only interested in the facts of climate science. I don’t have the time to read emails going over a decade or more. I don’t often read my own emails.

    My sense of humor is more self deprecating. When Danr said he was a combustion engineer, had a BSc from years ago with units in neurophysiology, neuroscience and statistics, and implied that he was a publishing climate scientist, I noted that I felt inferior having just a MB,BS and FRCPathA (neither of which I can use, since I’m non-practicing voluntarily in retirement, and also quipped that I should have been struck off the medical registry twice, to show how important I am).

    I do get frustrated whenever anyone blatantly refuses to provide facts for their opinions, despite repeated requests for them to do so. And wouldn’t you admit that Danr is a serial offender of this. Like one of the characters in ‘Grumpy Old Men’ (which I watched thinking that it wasn’t a comedy, agreeing with EVERYTHING that was said), I think that sometimes you do have to use a little personal abuse to cut through the bulls**t occasionally. Didn’t work though, and I regretted doing it afterwards.

  43. Meski

    @Wayne. I forgot spelling checkers, no worries about it (it just puzzled me a bit)

    For more in that line 🙂

    damnyouautocorrect.com/

  44. Had Enough

    @ Frank Campbell.

    On the shores of Sydney Harbour concerned residents after WW1 built a ampitheatre and sold tickets to witness the second coming. They sold every seat.

    The ampitheatre was pulled down and is now a block of ugly flats.

    Same with the Climate Change whoha. People will make money and it will be written up in history in the gulliable humans section.

  45. Frank Campbell

    Wayne: tree phonemail socrates: I was merely punning on some latinate disease you referred to- i.e. staggeringly obscure and irrelevant to the subject- as part of the jumping the duck/shark/submariner. Don’t worry about it.

    Global warming is occurring and some of it is AGW. Probably not a lot. There is no way chaotic systems like climate can be predicted on the basis of computer models, therefore the key questions (impacts of climate change) are little better than guesswork. The very wide IPPC range of scenarios illustrates this. Even that tendentious, politicised source. If impacts are not predictable, the policies we’re offered are likely to be irrelevant or self-defeating.

    There are great many things that could be done to reduce CO2 emissions, but eveyr policy must have multiple benefits and not be class-biased. Unlike the moronic caahun tax. The most crucial requirement is baseload renewables. We’re going to have to change eventually, so the abject failure of R and D so far is dismal. Bring back the state.

    The matter will be settled by observational science. Of course. How else. Not by a cabal of third-rater computer modellers at the University of East Bumcrack.

    You seem to have plenty of time, Wayne- so read all the Climategate emails. 2 to 3 weeks. Tedious in the extreme, but…notice that cult spear-carriers like Simons, Grattan etc have not and will not read the emails. In fact no Believer seems to have done so. the emails are a rich source of the sociology of science. Far more interesting and complex than the fraud-hunting Denialists think they are. You can no more trust a Denialist than you can a Believer. They’re part of the same cult.

    You don’t seem to comprehend the diff. between satire, friendly joshing (Petal for Flower. I actually like Flower) and abuse. Your lack of a sense of humour (endemic on Crikey, and not just the commenters) seems to make you abuse people from time to time. I don’t mind at all, but many do. And abusing public figures is fine, subject to quixotic moderating and libel laws…If I want to describe Pauline Hanson as a political cane toad or Flannery as flogging land to Melburnians in Mangrove Heights, I will.

  46. wayne robinson

    Hi Frank,

    I’m still curious as to your reference to Tree Phonemail Socrates. Could you enlighten me?

    Seems to me you’re equally abusive in referring to Flower as either Flour or my dear Petal (I apologize to Meski as Me ski, the error correction on an iPad sip sometimes hit and miss).

    Even Danr seems to have come around to agreeing that AGW is real by proposing a CO2 target of 325 ppmv (although I doubt it, I suspect it was meant sarcastically).

    My predictions for the next 10 years? There won’t be much global warming. I think it will take tipping points to kick in before we get really serious warming (as Ian Plimer states, climate is chaotic and non-linear from top to bottom). My other prediction is that I won’t be a subscriber to Crikey if Frank Campbell is chief moderator.

    Had enough,

    It’s arguable that the money spent of the Y2K bug 12 years ago was actually money well spent. At least companies invested in new hard- and software. Not having a crash doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t have happened. The Montreal police strike in 1969 shows that paying for prevention actually is a very good idea.

  47. Frank Campbell

    Had-enuff:

    Y2K: just another millenarian panic. But my scepticism is not genetic. In 1999, in spite of remonstrations, my mother was quite worried by Y2k. For those who don’t know, Y2K was the year 2000: computer dates were programmed to 1999- the notion was that the computerised world would collapse at the stroke of the new millenium. People were advised to (among many other things) to stock up on food. My mother did so. A startling quantity of Black and Gold brand provisions appeared.

    They lasted for years. Some are still in her garage.

    I’ve kept a couple- with a Y2K explanation written on them- as anthropological evidence of the potency of millenarianism.

  48. Had Enough

    @ Frank Campbell.

    Excellent start to the day.

    Same as Y2K bug, 12 years ago…… distant memory

  49. Frank Campbell

    Flour: “Your prolific commentary on climate threads indicates that you too are a “victim of the climate cult,” whatever that means.”

    My dear Petal, how right you are. We are all victims of the cult. I can think of many things I’d rather/should be doing than flogging Believers. But someone has to do it. This is crunch time. If this inane Thuggernaut gets rolling it’ll cause far more than just wind turbine misery.

    It has to be stopped. Regrettably, the only way that’s likely to happen is for the stumbling half-arsed Right to rule, given that Gillard has chosen political suicide.

    I bet that after 10 years of the naked Jesuit and his successors, the Greatest Moral Challenge will be in the skip of history. Along with the following:

    Flannery – selling land in Mangrove Heights, Qld.

    Clive Hamilton : Vice-Chancellor of Birdsville Community College

    Anna Rose – Director of BHP (Clean Coal Division); mother of eight.

    Eric Beecher – proprietor of the Northern Territory News

    Guy Rundle- editing “Arena” from intensive care

    Bernard Keane- Mr. Bolt’s Personal Trainer

    Michael Mann: Tutor in Scientific Ethics, Birdsville Community College (Innamincka Campus).

    Phil Jones: No fixed address

    Al Gore: Living in Tuvalu

    Ross Garnault: Director of Fisheries, PNG.

    Julia Gillard: Paul Keating’s carer

    Frank Campbell: Chief moderator, Crikey

  50. danr

    I think it’s probably going to need to be 325 ppmv.

    350 is still too high.

  51. Flower

    Indeed not Meski but it’s those sky daddy trolls that sabotage endeavours to cease chewing the ar-e out of Momma Nature. You get my drift – God dunnit?

  52. Meski

    At least we don’t believe in Thetans, Flower. 🙂 (trolling to see if I can get a sc**ntologist involved.)

  53. Flower

    @ Frank Campbell: ” Neither of you are idiots. Just victims of the climate cult.”

    Well that’s an oxymoron Frank since one of the above is a Bolt clone and the general consensus, at least among the discerning, is that Bolt is an idiot.

    “Just victims of the climate cult?” Aw come on Frank. Your prolific commentary on climate threads indicates that you too are a “victim of the climate cult,” whatever that means.

    Lift ya game Frank.

  54. Meski

    Well, bioengineering like that isn’t really a big deal.

    Cold fusion: It was a nice idea, but if you can’t reproduce the results, it’s just so much cr*p. Assuming you mean the Fleischmann/Pons experiment.

  55. wayne robinson

    Meski,

    I actually agree with you. Limiting the increase to 450 ppmv isn’t going to be enough. It’s probably going to need to be 350 ppmv, owing to the warming that’s already built in.

    Frank,

    Actually, if you look through the comments, I think you’ll find it was our friend Danr who brought up the sleeping ducks in the first place.

    The Australian publishing 152 comments in one morning (it might be many more by now) is illustrative. The Australian doesn’t publish every comment it receives, although it also doesn’t vet the comments for accuracy. One reader said we should put money into COLD FUSION pseudoscience if there ever was. Another reckoned that oxygen and nitrogen are greenhouse gasses.

    When did I mention Tree Phonemail Socrates. I don’t even now what you’re talking about.

    If someone comments to me, I feel obliged to respond. I’m just sitting in my armchair, reading a novel on my iPad, trying to get the energy up to go to the gym, so if MAIL beeps because I’ve got a new email, I’ve got to look at it.

    Tim Flannery’s projections are not his own. He has taken them from the experts in climatology. If you want to abuse someone, abuse them.

    Ian Plimer isn’t an expert in climate science either. He also has selected the experts he has quoted, including the astrophysicist who reckons the Sun has a solid iron core and the astronomer who thinks it is a pulsar star (although that might have just been a typo; a pulsar is a special type of rapidly rotating neutron star which emits intense directional radiation, which the Sun definitely isn’t).

    Newspapers and other media often close comments when the thread has outlived it’s usefulness, which I thought happened on Sunday at the latest.

  56. Frank Campbell

    Whine: “I’d be happy if this thread could be turned off, or if at least the comments part be closed, as is done on many websites.”

    Why? ‘cos you don’t approve? It’s you Robbo who held forth about duck breathing, malodorous submariners, Tree Phonemal Socrates etc…

    And Flannery is being outscored by Marge because we all know his predictions fail hilariously….hence I’ve dubbed him Prepostradamus….

    anyway hang in there: we gotta out-Bolt the vile Bolter- only 747 posts to go…

  57. Meski

    @Wayne: stopping CO2 at current levels is too passive, I’d think we need to do something active to lower CO2 levels. OTTOMH, how about massive algal growth to do that?

  58. wayne robinson

    Hi Luke,

    I’d be happy if this thread could be turned off, or if at least the comments part be closed, as is done on many websites.

    The fact that we’ve got 250 comments on on item complaining that there’s no balance in giving equal space to the two sides is illustrative.

    The Australian has had 152 comments so far on its front page story that Tim Flannery has said that even if we stopped CO2 emissions tomorrow, global temperatures wouldn’t return to today’s for hundreds of years, if not a thousand.

  59. Luke Buckmaster

    Luke Buckmaster here, Crikey website editor.

    Some quality robust debate in this thread but can I please ask people to lower the tone of the discussion to something less personal. At Crikey we endorse the technique “to play the ball and not the person.” Please keep this in mind and consult our code of conduct for more info.

  60. Frank Campbell

    Mesky: Money for jam. Just mention “climate” in the title.

  61. Meski

    @Frank: I’m hoping Margaret gets some kind of per-comment commission.

  62. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    It’s still my professional opinion that you desperately need to see a psychiatrist. Antipsychotic medications will do wonders for you. Your grasp of reality is obviously impaired. You regurgitate information from the Internet without having the ability of discerning the plausibility of the information you’ve gained. For your information, Cheyne-Stokes respiration in heart failure isn’t non-terminal. It’s usually the last stage before the patient’s death. The same in strokes. You need to go beyond superficial, or rather simpleminded.

  63. danr

    Now Wayne.

    Maybe we should all take a chill pill.

    I do freely admit that where C-S breathing at death is concerned my only area of study relates to neural interaction with breathing cycles. My very superficial assessment that it may involve alkylosis is not based on any great depth of understanding and as such I would sensibly defer to someone better trained, you.

    The net provided this: “Cheyne-Stokes respirations refer to a rhythmic change in respirations wherein breathing becomes shallower and shallower variably with a slowing in respiratory rate that culminates usually in complete cessation of breathing for several seconds to more than a minute. This is followed by progressively stronger respirations that become exaggerated and quite deep. This pattern is thought to result from abnormal brainstem responses to CO2 levels in the blood – initially undercompensating and then overcompensating. Cheyne-Stokes respirations can occur in other nonterminal disorders such as heart failure and stroke.

    The obvious point is that non-experts should think twice before harassing people with better training and qualifications in subject.

    Your expertise in “Climate Change” could seen as BROAD rather than incisive.

    Stay with your area of expertise ; Pathology.

  64. Frank Campbell

    Robinson to Danr:
    “You really are an idiot , aren’t you?

    I bet you don’t know who Cheyne or Stokes were, or perhaps you think they were the same person? It’s a pathological pattern of respiration, often associated with brain damage, but then again, you’d know about that, showing increasing signs of it.

    No, sorry, I should take that back, I’m insulting unfortunate people who are innocent and don’t deserve to have brain damage.

    You really don’t have the intelligence to hold more than one thought together at the same time in your brain. Don’t take any penicillin because it will kill the treponemal spirochetes holding your two cerebral neurons together.”

    Neither of you are idiots. Just victims of the climate cult.

    Look at Simons’ comments score: 250 and counting. This for a lightweight piece. Normally she’d get 5 or 10 posts (often for far better commentary than this). Simons is also a victim of the Great Moral Challenge of Our Time.

  65. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    You’re an idiot. You don’t have the slightest idea what Cheyne-Stokes respiration is. You’re just parroting what you’ve read somewhere without having the nous of knowing what it means. Get your grandparents to explain this to you.

    No, I take the charge of idiocy back, you’re showing all the signs of psychosis, with an inability to connect with reality. Go and see a psychiatrist. There are medications that will help you.

  66. danr

    Cheyne-Stokes breathing is the last phase before expiration, on a permanent basis.

    Removing too much CO2 from blood then … severe alkylosis then death.

    This will be the end for most of us unless its something sudden like a car crash.

  67. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    You really are an idiot , aren’t you?

    I bet you don’t know who Cheyne or Stokes were, or perhaps you think they were the same person? It’s a pathological pattern of respiration, often associated with brain damage, but then again, you’d know about that, showing increasing signs of it.

    No, sorry, I should take that back, I’m insulting unfortunate people who are innocent and don’t deserve to have brain damage.

    You really don’t have the intelligence to hold more than one thought together at the same time in your brain. Don’t take any penicillin because it will kill the treponemal spirochetes holding your two cerebral neurons together.

  68. danr

    “…know how to do an Internet search don’t you? If not, perhaps you might be able to find ..”

    Sorry Wayne. I can’t do that”

  69. danr

    Ducks.

    No lets do singing.

    As someone who is up on respiration you should follow this. No Flower not you; go back to your other creationist blogg.

    Singing involves a good breath to start, which allows a controlled use of breath for each phrase.

    Then another quick breath in and a longer slow release.

    Holding air in the lungs for longer than normal causes build up of CO2 in lung and bloodstream. We feel good as a result. Counters panic like re-breathing in a paper bag.

    This is the opposite of the breath pattern in Cheyne-Stokes breathing which has a relatively long slow inhalation and rapid expulsion. Removing too much CO2 from blood then …

    This of course hasn’t been peer reviewed yet but is intuitively obvious.

  70. danr

    “I was asking why you think it’s wrong.”

    Most of it is not relevant.

    “global warming deniers often are young Earth creationists”

    From the point of view of basic science : Global warmers show the same level of scientific skill as Earth creationists.

    Both groups show a disregard for science.

  71. Flower

    Should we commence countdown at 20 for a tosser who types with one hand – the other ………well…..ahem!

  72. wayne robinson

    Hi Flower,

    I wasn’t aware that Bill Ruddiman had won the last Lyell Medal, he deserves it, but anyway countdown to the next inane comment by Danr:

    10, 9, 8, …

    Darn, I can’t think what it’ll be, but it should be a good one …

  73. Flower

    @ Danr: ” Is a “scapular feathers” part of a birds wing perhaps”?”

    Please, someone spare us from this cretin. Is there a shrink in the house?

    And this stupefying swill:

    “A somewhat dubious honour coming from the U of Virginia.”

    The London Geological Society advised that “the winner of the 2010 Lyell Medal is Bill Ruddiman who has made major contributions to both the theory and practical assessment of long-term and abrupt climate changes during the Cenozoic. He has published prodigiously and written or edited several books, the most recent of which won the 2006 Phi Beta Kappa Award for Science. His influence, it is no exaggeration to say, has been inspirational and revolutionary.”

    The Lyell Medal is a prestigious annual scientific medal, awarded on the basis of research to an Earth Scientist of exceptional quality. It is named after Charles Lyell who published the Principles of Geology in 1830 and a volume which is recognised as the “most important scientific book ever.”

    The Lyell Medal has been awarded to exceptional scientists since 1876.

  74. wayne robinson

    You really are getting tedious Danr.

    Don Prothero in ‘Catastrophes’ in the chapter on global warming noted the global warming deniers often are young Earth creationists, and often use the same tactics, of refusing to give sources, making invalid arguments, not answering questions, praising their own intelligence over everyone else, and whenever everything fails, run through the exact same stages again.

    You are showing all the signs of it, you have for the entire week.

    Don’t post again until you answer the simple questions I’ve asked you, and no I wasn’t asking what you thought of my discussion, I was asking why you think it’s wrong. That shouldn’t be difficult for someone who is so certain that he knows more than anyone on this thread.

    Scapular feathers? You do have access to the Internet and know how to do an Internet search don’t you? If not, perhaps you might be able to find a 5 year old who will able to show you how.

  75. danr

    Is a “scapular feathers” part of a birds wing perhaps”?

  76. danr

    Have you read it? Why don’t you tell me why you think it’s wrong?

    Yes I read it. An interesting post as it marked some important milestones in human development.

    It did not however give a coherent , believable explanation for MMGW.

  77. danr

    I’m sure ANY type of scientific detail would be “Just incoherent gibber jabber” to you.

  78. danr

    “And no, it wasn’t AGW, it was apparently due to the Sahara becoming not hot enough, so the Summer African monsoon moved south reducing rainfall.”

    Well I’ll be doggone, Real, natural climate change.

  79. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    I’m getting tired of your multiple random ejaculations.

    I pointed out in my previous long description of how greenhouse gasses cause warming. Have you read it? Why don’t you tell me why you think it’s wrong?

    You claimed that there are peer reviewed papers in mainstream science showing that increasing CO2 would cause a negligible increase in global temperature. I was making it easy for you by asking you to just cite one.

    The 3 ppmv is the annual increase in CO2 per year. It doesn’t mean that it’s all coming from human activities, but it’s a fair bet. About half of the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels by calculation appears to be being absorbed by the oceans. In a previous comment, you seemed to be suggesting that all the yearly increase was coming from ocean warming, and I asked you to show the figures to demonstrate that this is true.

    It should be easy for you to provide what I’ve been asking you to do for days, since you claim to be so much wiser than everyone, including the 98% of climate scientists who agree that AGW is happening.

    And no, not all of the climate scientists are computer climate modellers. Most of them are doing research that’s interesting on its own account. Scientists like Bill Ruddiman, who are interested in past climate changes, and questions as to why the Sahara became a desert. And no, it wasn’t AGW, it was apparently due to the Sahara becoming not hot enough, so the Summer African monsoon moved south reducing rainfall.

  80. Flower

    Ah the dastardly Danr has landed. No links, no citations, no references – nothing. Because there is nothing. Nothing on ducks, nothing on atmospheric CO2. Nothing. Just incoherent gibber jabber. I smell something… Is it dog? No…….. Is it horse? No…….. I know…….it’s bull**it!”

  81. danr

    Ah

    Bratislava

    Now I get it ; the duck thing.

    I dealt with that for Wayne. yesterday.

  82. danr

    “Cite at least one paper in the peer reviewed science literature showing that increasing CO2 levels would have negligible effects on global temperature.”

    It’s basic inescapable science. The law of diminishing returns applies here. Look at the basic ground spectra available to “Green House Gases.”

  83. danr

    “Also where are your references for your claim that the human contribution to CO2 is 3%?”

    The IPCC report.

    You have personally claimed that human contribution is 3 ppm per year.

    3 ppm human cf 390 ppm total extant is approx 0.76% of atmospheric CO2.

  84. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Cite at least one paper in the peer reviewed science literature showing that increasing CO2 levels would have negligible effects on global temperature.

    Also where are your references for your claim that the human contribution to CO2 is 3%?

  85. danr

    “Impoverished Australians? Where do the impoverished hang out? Big Macs, Red Rooster or Chicken Treat? Mind you I have witnessed the “impoverished,” stuffed to the rafters, consuming junk food at shopping mall cafes which could explain why “impoverished” Australians are now among the most obese on the planet.”

    You have just described people with no hope, no idea they have been suckered by a system designed to turn them and their families into “Voting Fodder” for the political system. In some places there are now 4 generations who have failed to break the bonds and get away from this too tempting life on free money.

    Wouldn’t you describe these people as “Impoverished Australians?”

  86. danr

    “You cannot plan for climate change action without including economists”

    I can understand why you left out scientists in this but why leave out politicians?

  87. danr

    “The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.”

    There are numerous reliable sources which state that the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere assists in holding heat energy in the atmosphere to keep the planet livable. These peer reviewed papers from mainstream science also demonstrate that additional CO2 being made available in the atmosphere would have negligible effect over and above the existing identified contribution. Temperatures would rise very marginally with increased CO2.
    The human component of all this is about 3%. The error limits associated with this calculation are larger than the estimated human component of warming increase.

    ie. The human Contribution to warming by CO2 is almost undetectable.

    To sum up many of us are asking why spend billions to study and manipulate an insignificant effect?

    The money should be going to basic natural energy research eg solar.

  88. Flower

    Flower to Runaway Danr. You are not authorised to enter Crikey zones via Bratislavia. Return to base pronto. Repeat: request for information @ 1735 hours, urgent. Is something missing from your cockpit? State your intentions.

  89. Flower

    @ Danr: “devotes time in publishing stupid ditties on his blog about Al Gore. could you please put up a link for this.”

    I would be thoroughly delighted Danr. Ready and waiting but first I believe it only fair that you provide us with a reputable paper asserting ducks sleep with their bills under the wing. In addition, please provide a link to prove that “The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.”

    I’m confident that with your vast knowledge on all matters known to man, you can respond immediately, as can I , so chop chop Danr. What’s keeping you? Standing by.

  90. danr

    devotes time in publishing stupid ditties on his blog about Al Gore.

    could you please put up a link for this.

  91. Flower

    Facts Alone: Fred Goldberg received a PhD in welding technology in 1975. A climate scientist he is not though you purposely portrayed him as an expert. Goldberg did not develop an amateur interest in climate change until 2004, the same year he was consultant to the heavily polluting Store Norske Spitsbergen coal mining company. In 2009, Store Norske coal was shut down, at least for some time, because of pollution issues. And I’ve read where activists had placed a banner: “Coal-fired Arctic Meltdown.”

    Goldberg is currently listed widely by denialists as an Adjunct Professor of the Royal Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden just to throw readers off the track. However, correspondence with the Royal Institute of Technology indicated that Goldberg is “not currently employed” there. In fact Goldberg was last employed by the Institute in 2000. Some denialists lists Goldberg among the “international luminaries” of climate experts.

    Pachauri’s role at the IPCC is not as a climate scientist. Pachauri is an engineer with a PhD in economics. Why are you obscuring relevant information? Pachauri’s scholarly papers concern public policy, economic development, economic planning, long-range energy requirements, political economy of global energy, economics of climate change etc. You cannot plan for climate change action without including economists. Catch on?

    The Oregon Petition which you peddle as ‘facts alone,’ was printed on a fake letterhead to dupe recipients into believing it had come from the National Academy of Sciences. The Oregon petition included signatures of scientists without their knowledge. You can’t get much lower than that.

    If you believe that the bulk of climate scientists are sceptics, then they would have heaps of peers to review and cite their work, however, there are far fewer sceptics publishing in reputable peer reviewed journals. Why is that?

    Further, unlike the denialist scum, to which you devote your research endeavours, Al Gore has never claimed to be a climate scientist but Roy Spencer, a climate scientist and sceptic, devotes time in publishing stupid ditties on his blog about Al Gore. Not a good look for a climate scientist and creationist who rants about twanging his guitar at church on Sundays.

    And I see you failed to acknowledge that the authors in your link manipulated a publication by Scotese. You can persist with propaganda that that the majority of the authors you provided us with are “climate scientists” but that just makes you look even less credible and most certainly an aliterate (a person who can read but is too apathetic to derive information from credible literary sources).

  92. wayne robinson

    God almighty Danr,

    I was talking about Bill Ruddiman.

    How ‘very small’ was the human population 10,000 years ago? Or were you referring to your IQ?

    You’re not a wit, you know. Not even half of one.

    Unless you have anything sensible to state, please ask your parents or legal guardians to remove your Internet privileges.

  93. danr

    Do you?

    Yes I do.

    It was very small.

    “As for publishing in peer reviewed journals”

    Does it qualify to have published in the AJA – The Australian Journal of Accounting?

  94. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Unless you have any further ejaculations….

    I mean Ian Plimer. He is director of 3 mining companies and chairman of a 4th, and has earned around $400,000 per year in fees.

    Teaching at a university doesn’t automatically lead to publishing in peer reviewed journals. Before he retired, he wasn’t involved in the climate change debate, being merely interested in what caused climate to change in the past.

    And yes, he does know what the human population was 10,000 years ago (as much as one can as there were no censuses then). Do you?

  95. danr

    “Holocene human influence on climate”

    Does Bill have a clue what the worlds population was 10,000 years ago?

    What significance does all his work have in relation to CO2 when the current global temp is dropping?

  96. danr

    “climate science and has published in the field.”

    A somewhat dubious honour coming from the U of Virginia.

  97. danr

    “a director of several mining companies,”

    Are you talking about Mr R Garnaut here?

    The despoiler of PNG natural habitat?

  98. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Now you’ve outdone himself in going from the silly to the absolute ridiculous (I thought it would be impossible for even you to do).

    Bill Ruddiman is a retired professor of paleoclimatology (which means that he actually knows something about the factors that drive climate) and also is only as young as any person can be who is old enough to retire from work.

    Unlike your hero, Ian Plimer, who is a mining geologist, and whose expertise is understanding the effects of intrusions of igneous rocks into other rocks, and is also a director of several mining companies, he actually understands climate science and has published in the field. His post-retirement work has been spent developing his hypothesis of Holocene human influence on climate, seeing if the evidence supports it and encouraging researchers to continue the study.

    You have managed to pick up Plimer’s snide tone though.

  99. danr

    Facts Only

    It seems to have escaped them that Bill Ruddiman, under their qualifying rules, would be disqualified as a fair dinkum “Climate Guy”.

    Despite this he has been given a lot of air time.

    Young Bill also attends the same uni as that Climategate fellow. What was his name, Mann ofr somehting like that.

    Completely independent researchers though.

  100. wayne robinson

    Thanks Facts only,

    I was wondering who Fred Goldberg. I’d describe him to be an engineer, not a scientist, and not one with any training in atmospheric or oceanic science.

    Not that it means that he can’t have adequately studied the questions and come to a reasonable conclusion, in the same way that Ian Plimer, as a mining geologist, could not have done the same thing.

    But again, I’m not impressed by either the document you provide nor am I impressed by ‘Heaven and Earth’.

    I think to come to a conclusion, we should concentrate on just the last 3 million years since the start of the last ice age, and in particular the last 800,000 years for which we have the most accurate climate records from ice cores, and ask what is different about the current interglacial period to the previous 50 or so interglacials?

    This would spare us from reading Plimer’s claim that 250 million years ago (at the time of the Permian mass extinction, which caused the extinction of around 95% of all species) was a time of warm climate, a CO2 level of 2000 ppmv and thriving life. Besides being wrong, it’s irrelevant, because all the continents were joined in Pangea and the ocean currents were different.

    It’s the last 3 million years that are critical. I think I have provided the reasons why the current interglacial is so different to the previous ones, in that it has lasted much longer. Based on the previous interglacials, with the same arrangement of continents and the Sun not significantly advanced along its evolution to being a hotter star, with the seemingly minor variations in solar input due to the Milankovich cycles, we should have been back into a glaciation for thousands of years.

    I think Bill Ruddiman in ‘Plows, Plagues and Petroleum’ has gone a long way to explaining the mystery, with humans seizing control of climate at least 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. Periodic plagues partially explain cooler periods, such as the so-called little ice age; volcanic eruptions and solar minima also are involved.

    I think we should bury the false dichotomy that either CO2 has NO influence on climate or it’s the ONLY factor influencing climate. Climate is complex.

    Anyway, I’d be happy if this thread could finally be buried.

  101. Facts only

    Flower

    In your response to the facts presented in http://www.globaltempfacts.com you referred to Fred Goldberg, one of the authors, as a welder. This is one of the numerous misinformations (lies) commonly spread by the AGW freaks. He is a scientist of high standard as you can see from this link. http://www.klimatbalans.info/CV_Fred_Goldberg_Eng.pdf

    You also mentioned that one of the scientists referred to had died. Should this be taken to mean that if a scientist is no longer alive, his findings carry no weight in your opinion?

    A standard argument from AGW freaks is that if someone who is not a climatologist presents well peer reviewed reports published in reputable scientific magazines, but does not support their agenda, they are not valid. However, statements made by Ravrienda Pachauri, railroad engineer and Al Goore, politician/actor, will be regarded as holy facts, no matter how erroneous statements (lies) they have produced.

    You also indicated that the lack of replies is related to how scientifically valid the presented material is. I would say that the more errors it contains, the more comments you are likely to get.

  102. Had Enough

    @ wayne robinson

    Thank you Wayne, great post.

    The blinkered Greens will come back following their wake today and quote one of their Climate scientists, or economists like Garnaut all of which are paid to keep this spin spinning along.

  103. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    OK, I give you the science of greenhouse gasses.

    Ian Plimer is absolutely correct when he notes that CO2 saturates with its absorption of infrared radiation and that it’s currently close to its saturation point now.

    He’s also correct when he states that water vapour and methane are stronger greenhouse gasses than CO2.

    That’s the explanation of his analogy of curtains with the effect of CO2 on global temperature. He says if you have one curtain (the current CO2 level) it cuts out a lot of the ambient light. Add another curtain (a little more CO2) then it cuts out most of the rest of the outside light. Adding a 3rd or 4th curtain (adding a lot more CO2) has absolutely no effect.

    That’s his argument.

    It’s actually wrong.

    What actually happens is that some of the heat radiated from the ground (and oceans) is absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules near the ground increasing their vibrations, which then release the added energy, again as infrared radiation, potentially in any direction, downwards back to the ground, to air molecules at the same level and also upwards. It’s a random process. Only the energy radiated upwards can be potentially lost eventually from the Earth.

    The current CO2 level is around 397 ppmv, which is giving CO2 as a proportion of all the molecules in the air, actually dry air, because water vapour varies with humidity. The CO2 level doesn’t change as you ascend in the atmosphere, although the barometric pressure decreases, there are progressively fewer air molecules and the number of CO2 molecules progressively falls beneath the saturation level.

    This results in the amount of IR radiation progressively declining with increasing altitude and hence a declining temperature. This falling temperature with altitude is often wrongly attributed to the adiabatic effect, in this case compression of gasses around gravity sources (such as the Earth) resulting in increased temperature of the compressed gas.

    Lord Kelvin in the 19th century attempted to use the adiabatic effect to estimate the age of the Sun and hence the Earth to get a figure of 100 million years, subsequently reduced to 30 million years. He didn’t know about nuclear fusion of course, but the reason he was able to estimate it was because he knew all about the laws of thermodynamics. Warm objects, such as the Sun or the compressed lower atmosphere of the Earth always lose heat (which is a form of energy) to colder objects, in this case the cold of outer space. It is absolutely forbidden by the law of conservation of energy for a warm object to lose heat to a colder object and still remain warm. Without added energy, the warmer object will cool. The adiabatic effect isn’t a magic pudding or perpetual motion machine producing heat and still remaining warm indefinitely.

    Sorry to labour this, but people usually bring this up to explain why Venus is so hot.

    With increasing altitude and decreasing temperature, water vapour condenses out to form droplets, and the air becomes drier and it loses its greenhouse effect.

    Other gasses, such as methane, nitrous oxide and CFCs, retain their relative concentrations, but then again they are also produced by human activity too; methane with pastoral activities and wet agriculture of rice, nitrous oxide with some industrial processes, and CFCs – well, I don’t need to tell you about that unintended human experiment with the atmosphere.

    Temperature in the atmosphere decreases up to the tropopause, and then starts increasing again in the stratosphere, due to absorption of UV radiation by ozone.

    Satellite observations have shown a warming troposphere (the lower atmosphere we live in) and a cooling stratosphere not accounted by the recovering decrease in ozone. This is the smoking gun of global warming due to greenhouse gasses; if the Earth were heating due to increased solar activity, which it isn’t – the Sun has been remarkably quiet for the past decade or so – the stratosphere should be warming, not cooling.

    The analogy Ian Plimer should have used is using many bed sheets only on a bed to keep warm during a frigid night, with each added sheet (increased CO2) retaining a little more heat. Curtains don’t let through light by absorbing light. Sheets retain heat by getting warm themselves.

    Most of the book is a hunt for anomalies and the false dichotomy that either:

    1. CO2 has absolutely no influence on climate.
    OR,
    2. CO2 is the only factor influencing climate.

    And then he hunts for the many occasions when CO2 had no influence on causing a global warming, and promptly states that 2 is disproved.

    Actually, there is another possibility:

    3. Climate is complex, with many factors influencing climate, including solar activity, minor variations in the Earth’s orbit and tilt (the Milankovich cycles), the orientation of the continents with tectonic plate movement, the pattern of ocean currents, the level of greenhouse gasses etc etc etc.

    Looking at the last 3 million years:

    The distribution of the continents assumed their modern form with the joining of North and South America at Panama
    Warm ocean currents in the Caribbean were rerouting north to form the Gulf Stream
    Warmer ocean water in the Arctic increased precipitation including snow
    Increasing snow in the Arctic lasted longer in Summer increasing albedo and causing an ice age (Ice at both poles, that’s the definition of an ice age – it has nothing to do with whether there are glaciers covering New York)
    Minor variations in insolation due to the Milankovich cycles (see Plimer’s grossly inadequate discussion for details, or better still look at the wikipedia or virtually any other source for an explanation) lead to episodic warming, about 50 interglacial periods separating about 50 glaciations.

    The glaciations have been coming recently at the 100,000 year interval, of variation in eccentricity of Earth’s orbit, from nearly circular to elliptical.

    Humans evolved about 200,000 years ago, so we’ve lived through 2 glaciations and either 2 or 3 interglacial periods.

    For most of this time, we have been hunter gatherers with little effect on the environment.

    Most of the interglacial periods have been due to variations in insolation (the heat from the Sun heating the Earth, especially in the Arctic Summer, melting ice and snow, reducing albedo and causing a runaway warming effect). And then as the oceans warm degassing of dissolved CO2 occurs increasing atmospheric CO2 levels AFTER the warming. This is no big deal. It’s been known to climatologists for years. It only excites the denialists because of their insistence on the false dichotomy. CO2 is not the only influence on climate

    The last interglacial has been different to the others; it’s cooler to begin with and it has lasted much longer than all the others. It’s still going strong after over 10,000 years whereas the others lasted only a few thousand years.

    The explanation is as follows:

    Modern humans left Africa around 70,000 years and reached Australia around 60,000 years where they promptly caused the extinction of all the megafauna by overhunting and altered the climate making it drier. But Australia is such a small continent, it had little effect on global climate.

    Then sometime in the last 20,000 years humans reached Siberia and caused the extinction by overhunting of the mammoth, a very important species in the Arctic for plowing snow away from vegetation and allowing other browsers to also get at the fodder. So at the start Summer growing season the ground was free of snow, warmed more quickly and lengthened the growing season. Without the mammoth, snow remained longer increasing the albedo and vegetation remained covered with snow, froze, trapping the carbon – so the interglacial started with a relative deficiency in CO2 – both of which leading to a delayed warming.

    And then humans developed agriculture with land clearing and burning increasing CO2 levels and wet agriculture in Asia increasing methane levels.

    William Ruddiman discusses this in his book “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum”. We’ve been affecting climate for 10,000 years, not just 200 years. Such episodes as the Little Ice Age were due to epidemics, such as the Black Death which took off 30-40% of the European population just in its first outbreak in 1347, and then it recurred at 10 to 15 year intervals for centuries. This cause abandonment of marginal farm, regrowth of forests, decrease in the CO2 level and global cooling. There were other epidemics such as in the Americas with eg smallpox after Columbus reached there in ‘1492’.

    And then the Industrial Revolution with its mass burning of coal and other fossil fuels around 200 years ago.

    Gawd, I’m bored with this. I’ll stop now so I can go to the gym. If you have any questions, I’ll take it up again later.

  104. Flower

    @Danr: ” There are people who grew up in a post WW2 Australia who do know what poverty is.”

    Yeah that would be me Danr. Happy, hungry and athletic. And I remain as healthy as a cricket, youthful looking (so I’m told) and walk three kilometres every day with friends under 45 who can’t keep up with Fido and me. Raised a family alone, bought three houses during which time, my annual salary never exceeded $35,000 and the only outside assistance I received was a four thousand dollar loan from the NAB for my first home which was lined with flattened cyanide drums (according to old time prospectors.) Brother went guarantor for the NAB loan. No child maintenance and no Centrelink payments – cringe!

    Whadda ride……………fabulous! And my well-to-do healthy kids agree!

    “It’s not something that is an overseas “poor country” thing and looking over the heads of impoverished Australians …..?”

    Impoverished Australians? Where do the impoverished hang out? Big Macs, Red Rooster or Chicken Treat? Mind you I have witnessed the “impoverished,” stuffed to the rafters, consuming junk food at shopping mall cafes which could explain why “impoverished” Australians are now among the most obese on the planet.

    You’re as ignorant on true blue impoverishment as you are on climate change and the sleeping behaviour of ducks. And equally as ignorant on the carbon tax proposal since the impoverished are set to receive compensation for increased costs in energy use.

    And the astute Wayne Robinson would know that I am as rich as he even though it would not be in dollars and cents terms.

    “” ………… I’m a slow learner.” Well you sure got that bit right pal.

  105. danr

    “I’m glad to say that he’s dead. I hope he died in a particularly prolonged and painful fashion.”

    What was that about marble statue and a real person?

    Well after reading that last outburst I understand. I’m a slow learner.

  106. danr

    Wayne

    There are people who grew up in a post WW2 Australia who do know what poverty is.

    People who are little older than you.

    It’s not something that is purely an overseas “poor country” thing and looking over the heads of impoverished Australians so that we can only see overseas poverty is a little self serving politically.

    It aids politicians in that they are not made to deal with unpleasant realities at home.

    It’s like the Emperors New Clothes.

    Which funnily is also a good analogy for CO2 induced Climate Change.

  107. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Actually almost everyone in Australia is rich beyond all the dreams of people living in previous centuries. Anyone can buy a bottle of wine for less than $10 of better quality than that drunk by the kings of France.

    People are just not satisfied with what they’ve got, always looking around and thinking that others have more and think that they’re happier. The second doesn’t follow the first. Friends and families are more important than money or possessions. We’ve just got it around the wrong way.

    I think I’m rich because I now have the time to do what I want to do, instead of the continual battle to do little more than earn a living, acquire products that I’ll never have the time to enjoy and visit countries I’ll forget about the following year.

    We don’t know what true poverty is.

  108. danr

    Well after reading that last outburst I understand. I’m a slow learner.

    Good luck Wayne. I’m really happy for you that you are rich.

  109. Frank Campbell

    To all of you: Jumping the Shark

    This refers to TV series which, having exhausted their original idea, are reduced to contrived silliness. I think from The Fonze, where a character jumps over a shark…i.e. time for the program to be euthanased.

    Nothing useful is being said or done in this country because climate millenarianism monopolises everything. The shark was jumped long ago. Intelligent, well-informed people on both sides (and in the middle) end up wasting time that would be better spent watching TV or gardening.

    The shark in this thread is a duck.

    Birds, submarines, sleep and CO2. Here are a couple of examples:

    “Ducks put their bills into the scapular feathers to sleep where periods of rest are interspersed with quick eye-opening ‘peeks’ allowing them to be sensitive to predators. The only bird to put its beak under the wing is the penguin.”

    “I don’t have any problems in accepting that submariners tolerate a CO2 level of 8000 ppmv.”

    Al Gore has a lot to answer for.

  110. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Well, the way you listed your qualifications to praise Ian Plimer’s book is pretty damning.

    The level of CO2 that humans have in their arterial and venous blood has nothing to do with the safe level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    I’ve seen a list of Plimer’s errors in his on the Internet which goes through Plimer’s errors, page by page, so the errors are not arranged in order of decreasing importance.

    Who wrote the critique? Having a mathematician criticize a mining geologist writing about climate science, and including a grab bag of extraneous facts, mightn’t be ideal. I agree that Plimer is a scientist, but his career was based on studying formation of rocks. He certainly wasn’t trained to examine other sciences, except from that which he picked up in his general reading.

    I read Plimer’s book on my iPad putting a question mark as a highlight against every dubious or extraneous ‘fact’ stated and ran out of space in the device’s memory, so it keep on crashing. His errors are legion, but mostly of little significance, because the incorrect fact was illustrating a point that was irrelevant to climate.

    For example, he stated that the Sun has a solid iron core, which throws out everything astrophysicists know about stellar structure. I think he came across some papers written by an Emiritus professor of astrophysics in Ohio who also claims that everything we know about nucleosynthesis is completely wrong. Ian Plimer doesn’t show much critical judgement in what he accepts as true in fields he has little actual knowledge. In another section he states categorically that the Sun is a pulsar star, giving as a reference a 40 year old paper entitled ‘Is the Sun a pulsar?’. His very long list of references impresses the ignorant, but in this case I suspect he has just got his reference wrong. A pulsar star is a specific type of rapidly rotating neutron star at the end of its evolution, generating highly directional high energy radiation. I suspect the reference was actually referring to the Sun being a variable star, but I have no way of checking the reference.

    That’s what made Plimer’s book so tedious; the way he apparently jumbled together a large number of irrelevant often incorrect facts over many pages with references that don’t support his argument, and then when he does make an important point, he throws in out in a single sentence without giving a reference to support it.

    Haven’t you got it around the wrong way? I’m looking for answers and you’re looking for confirmation? I’m surprised that you say that you learnt your science using PSI. Where and when did you study? In high school in the ’60s we were entirely metric. I did a unit in medical physics in first year university in 1972 given by a certain Dr Stanford, who announced at the start of the year that he was going to be using units we’d be using for the rest of our professional careers, pounds, feet, etc. I’m glad to say that he’s dead. I hope he died in a particularly prolonged and painful fashion.

    Why did you only recently learn that avian respiration is different to mammalian? You don’t seem to be taking much interest in science, except for that which confirms your biases.

    I’ll write my critique later when I’ve recovered from the concert last night, and probably after I go to see the Eagles start (and probably finish) their 2011 AFL season this afternoon. I also want to look at the new iPad, OK I don’t need it …

  111. danr

    “The last 150 ml of air exhaled from the lungs in humans, rich in CO2 and depleted in O2, fills the airways, throat and mouth, and in the next breath of 500 ml, the first 150 ml is the CO2 rich/O2 poor air, then the next 200 ml is room air and the final 150 ml of room air fills the airways, throat and mouth again.”

    Interesting.

    I grew up on PSI and changed to Pa part way through.

    I only became aware the other day that birds have a very different respiratory system to humans. This doesn’t exclude the possibility of CO2 playing the same neural regulatory role as it does in humans. Ducks put their beaks under wing to rest their necks.

    The importance of CO2 as a neural regulator is well illustrated by the mechanism underlying the Butayko breathing method. It is designed to overcome the initial lowering of CO2 in the system caused by over- breathing under stress.

    I took up the challenge from an anti Plimer blogg on one occasion and checked through a number of his “so called” errors purporting to list hundreds in the book.
    After the first 7, the best ones, I started to laugh.

    The level of criticism was at kindergarten level and showed poor scientific capacity. Perhaps mathematicians weren’t meant to critique real scientists? To the uneducated the “criticisms looked real and if you didn’t know better you could be sucked in. The only real error listed was that which criticised a typographical error relating to a graph. Not a big deal.

    At one time several years ago I accepted Global Warming because it was sponsored by the UN. When I heard a few comments that were “weird science” in the area of geology I started to explore. What a disgusting can of worms this thing is.

    ps We inhale air with 390 ppm CO2 and exhale 40,000 ppm. It would seem that our systems are designed to cope with a little more CO2 in the air than we have at present.

    Wayne, my qualifications are not important here. What is important is that our basic approaches are different.

    I’m looking for answers and you are looking for confirmation.

    Think about it.

  112. wayne robinson

    Danr;

    “Surely as a publishing climate scientist,” Wayne if you keep saying things like this, while knowing that I have never claimed it, then you deserve all you get in return.

    Right. On Monday 21, you wrote:

    “I’ve gotta put my hand up for your challenge;

    “And despite repeated requests, no-one has yet referred me to one publishing climate scientist with credentials in the appropriate disciplines – anywhere on the planet, who has critiqued Plimer’s Heaven and ‘Mirth,’ favorably.”

    Well Ive read it and as a scientist I think it is fantastic.

    Another of your statements : “there is no other explanation for the rapid and unprecedented escalation of CO2 occurring now”

    On this all I can say is ; if you don’t go looking then you aren’t going to find. Not a very scientific approach, but then what else would we expect”.

    So strictly speaking, you didn’t lie that you’re a publishing climate scientist, but your comment is certainly misleading, perhaps deliberately so.

    Your statement would certainly have seemed much less impressive if it had more accurately read:

    “I’ve gotta put my hand up for your challenge;

    “And despite repeated requests, no-one has yet referred me to one publishing climate scientist with credentials in the appropriate disciplines – anywhere on the planet, who has critiqued Plimer’s Heaven and ‘Mirth,’ favorably.”

    Well Ive read it and as a combustion engineer with a BSc with units in neurophysiology, neuroscience and statistics years ago I think it is fantastic”.

    Well, it certainly explains a lot, including why you’re so ignorant with regard to climate science and why you think Ian Plimer’s dreadfully scientifically inaccurate book “Heaven and Earth” is ‘fantastic’.

    I’ll ponder overnight how I’ll explain greenhouse gasses to you yet again, using words of one syllable or less so you’ll understand it.

    I don’t have any problems in accepting that submariners tolerate a CO2 level of 8000 ppmv. After-all, the normal arterial CO2 level is 40 mm Hg (sorry, I learnt physiology years ago, I don’t know what the modern SI units are) which corresponds to 5000 ppmv (not much lower). This is because mammals, unlike birds, have a large anatomical dead space. The last 150 ml of air exhaled from the lungs in humans, rich in CO2 and depleted in O2, fills the airways, throat and mouth, and in the next breath of 500 ml, the first 150 ml is the CO2 rich/O2 poor air, then the next 200 ml is room air and the final 150 ml of room air fills the airways, throat and mouth again.

    I’ll post again tomorrow.

  113. Flower

    @ Dullard: “Ducks put their beaks under their wings to increase CO2 levels so they can get off to sleep. An inconvenient truth.”

    Ducks put their bills into the scapular feathers to sleep where periods of rest are interspersed with quick eye-opening ‘peeks’ allowing them to be sensitive to predators. The only bird to put its beak under the wing is the penguin.

    Definition of a troll: An idiot who can’t win arguments in real life, so he goes on the internet and posts random bullsh*t to make himself feel better about being a moron.

  114. Captain Planet

    That is the closest you have come to actually admitting your true purpose, DanR.

    And you say you don’t know what a troll is.

    You have a very clearly demonstrated mastery of finding out a tiny bit of information from Google and then pretending to be an expert on the subject, why don’t you extend your neurophysiological, psychological, combustion engineering, climate scientist, marine astronaut rocket scientist, capabilities to finding out what a troll is.

    Or you could use a mirror.

  115. danr

    “That pretty much sums up every line of every post you have ever made on Crikey.”

    Well it served its purpose. It got another bite.

  116. Captain Planet

    @ danr

    “The truth is I don’t know for sure but it was a good stir.”

    That pretty much sums up every line of every post you have ever made on Crikey.

  117. danr

    “Surely as a publishing climate scientist,”

    Wayne if you keep saying things like this, while knowing that I have never claimed it, then you deserve all you get in return.

  118. danr

    “I’m getting tired of your insults of people who disagree with your opinions”

    I have learnt a lot from my participation in this forum.

    On a number of occasions I have been reminded of small errors I have made in comment.

    I always take the scientific criticism seriously and look for a better reality in my understanding of the CO2 AGW argument.

    In return I have often been abused as a “denier”, a “skeptic”, a”troll” whatever that is, an oil shill and so on.

    The people using these terms show no personal ability to understand the full and coherent process of what goes on in the atmosphere with man made CO2.

    Reliance on web sites is fraught with problems for the uninitiated and this shows up in the comments.

    Wayne if I started to hold forth on matters of human biology and pathology you would quickly realise that I was not qualified in that area. If I persisted to push a point on which I was poorly briefed I would rightly be seen as lacking in judgement.

    With the boot on the other foot I can look at the comments made by people here and judge their scientific worth and depth of understanding.

    You may be right about ducks and sleep. I don’t know for sure.

    What I did was extend my knowledge and learning of human neuroscience into the quirk of birds puttings their beaks away to sleep. The truth is I don’t know for sure but it was a good stir.
    Humans do get drowsy in high CO2 environments so there is a possibility I was Ok on that. Its not important.

    The important thing is that higher CO2 levels (submarines 8,000 ppm) does not harm people.

    If the science is so clear about CO2 and MMGW lets hear a condensed, clear explanation in somebody’s own words.

    I have NEVER yet heard it done by anybody.

    All we hear is small bits of the puzzle.

  119. wayne robinson

    Hi Flower,

    The A stands for Australasia, so it includes New Zealand and would you believe it Singapore. I thought it was to get tax deductions for conferences in exotic locations, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the AMA from holding their conferences in such Australian locations such as Turkey, Greece, Egypt and this year Spain, apparently.

    Danr,

    You’re still abusive and fact free.

    I suppose like all authors of papers in medical journals, I’d better make a declaration of potential financial interest in AGW.

    I’m rich, so I won’t get any compensation for a carbon tax.
    I’m old(ish) so I expect to be dead before any catastrophe from AGW occurs (or it’s avoided if adequate action is taken).
    I don’t have any children, so I don’t have any interest in leaving them a livable world.
    I have shares in Alumina, which as one of the most electricity energy hungry companies, which I’d expect to be disadvantaged with a carbon tax.

    Would you care to make a similar declaration?

    I’m getting tired of your insults of people who disagree with your opinions which you say are based on your undisclosed climate science qualifications.

    And for the record, I still doubt that ducks sleep with their beaks under their wings to get a respiratory hypercapnia to induce sleep. Have you ever measured the CO2 levels in ducks while they’re asleep? And then attempted to replicate that by putting them in a chamber with that partial pressure of CO2 to see if that induces sleep. Anyway, it’s irrelevant with regard to a discussion of AGW.

  120. danr

    yes Rewolf

    We should all tread carefully when commenting outside our areas of competence.

    You have many such areas.

  121. danr

    “Ducks put their beaks under their wings to increase CO2 levels so they can get off to sleep.

    An inconvenient truth.

    I would much rather have excess CO2 in my bloodstream than excess O2.”

    The above is only partially informed surmising.

    Too much CO2 and a duck is “sacrificed”.

  122. Flower

    “Tred?” Cleans toilets at UWA? Delusional?

  123. Frank Campbell

    Danr:
    ” … pushes the green IPCC line uncritically.”

    the GREEN ipcc line? There’s nothing “green” about it. Just because Green parties (and a host of other victims) swallowed it doesn’t make it intrinsically ‘green” or anything else. In fact the biggest loser from Pachauri’s tendentious, selective, political committee is…the environment. The real environment. It is ignored (look at the aptly named Crikey environment blog, Rooted: 99% of articles are AGW-related).

    Why do you think a writer like Simons suddenly gets 200 posts on a piece? She’d normally get a dozen. So many posts on an article embarrassing in its bias and the patent lack of knowledge she has about the tangled technicalities and forces which envelop this controversy. Simons doesn’t have a clue about the institutional, technological or class factors at work, let alone “the science”.

    It is literally an article of faith.

    Yet the obsession with AGW drags everyone in.

    Nothing to do with “green”…

  124. danr

    Rewolf,

    MPD is for the movies.

    While I have some university level training in Neuropsychology and Psychobiology and have previously made comments on the effects of CO2 in brain function and human physiology, I would tred very carefully in disputing the opinion of a practicing Psychiatrist in relation to my opinions on that topic.

    In relation to “Global Warming” I certainly would not defer to your opinion as it lacks any inkling of coherence.

    At least Wayne has carefully read relevant material and is familiar with some of it. He is yet to put it all together in the right way and seems unlikely he ever will.

    He’s like a chicken following a green line.

    Mezmerised and unable to look away.

  125. Flower

    Multiple personality disorder? Schizo?

  126. danr

    Yes Flower, guilty of sarcasm.

    But everyone really liked it.

    Wayne I take no offense ” a few days ago, which I’ve been regretting ever since”.

    I am more put out that someone who professes to be educated is unable to explore other options and just pushes the green IPCC line uncritically.

    Remember. Each little item you read could be real in some circumstances but when integrated into the real life situation of the atmosphere can be irrelevant.

    I can understand why flower is a believer, he at least has an excuse.

    It is when an ideologue poses as an intellectual that I am disappointed.

  127. Flower

    Don’t know what the “A” stands for Wayne Robinson but pathology, pathological – no worries since I’ve heard that lunatics are now undergoing blood tests to better treat their manic disorders.

    Psst – have a Bo peep at the following:

    danr
    Posted Monday, 21 March 2011 at 3:51 pm:

    “How can people say that man made global warming is not real when governments have spent billions worldwide to research the problem.

    “There are thousands of PHDs who know that AGW is very real and will lead to runaway global temperatures far too soon for us and our children.

    “As one blogger says, “Australia has the worst pollution record in the developed world” and we must take action now.

    “Surely. People cant be serious when, like Andrew Bolt, they questions the ABC.”

    Still got your syringe Wayne Robinson?

  128. wayne robinson

    Hi Flower,

    Well, I did ask Danr to b**ger off a few days ago, which I’ve been regretting ever since.

    Actually, I’m retired, which is a reason why my sanity is improving, and also off the practicing section of the medical registry (voluntarily, I almost wish I could use the Goon Show gag about being so important that I got struck off the medical registry TWICE). Also the Path in FRCPathA means pathology. I wouldn’t be able to tell a live patient from a statue.

  129. Flower

    Goodness Wayne Robinson – you have the patience of a saint. And I’m sure you’ve arrived at a diagnosis for your opponent but no doubt you are adhering to the principle: “do no harm” and just feed the poor demented troll.

    Could I drop into your surgery and see you for a couple of hours? I’d like to bore you to sobs about the freckle on my big toe.

  130. Had Enough

    Talk about sneaky Federal Government:

    I run a small online business which posts orders in parcel post satchels direct to customers in Australia. Australia Post is raising prices again by 5%.

    This is the THIRD INCREASE in 20 months (July 1, 2009, June 28, 2010 and April 4, 2011). Prior to that the increases were every few years.

    There has been an 18% increase in 20 months. Not justifiable. Way ahead of inflation rate.

    http://auspost.com.au/media/documents/parcel-post-prices-4-apr-11.pdf

    Since the introduction / announcement of various taxes, levies and the carbon tax, our online sales have been very subdued and now I am faced with the decision to either pass on or absorb the increase.

    The Federal Government needs to know their price rises are unaffordable, unjustified and unwarranted.

    There is nothing on the Aus Post website on the home page regarding this increase, nothing in their news section, I mad to get google to find it.. Very sneaky.

  131. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    I was only using the standard climate science terminology. We are still in an ice age, as there is ice at both poles. We have been in an ice age for about 3 million years, divided into about 50 glaciations and 50 interglacial periods.

    Surely as a publishing climate scientist, you should be aware of this? I’m surprised that you think that there’s not much of the original Antarctic ice cap; ice cores go back 800,000 years. Greenland ice caps for a similar period, despite there being up to 8 interglacial periods, or melts as you so elegantly put it.

    As a publishing climate scientist you should also be aware of this? Definitions are important.

    I get my climate science information from books, Internet sites and news media, including AGW doubters, even Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven and Earth’. I look at the evidence and the arguments, do more reading and then come to a provisional conclusion as to what is probably true.

    Which reminds me, in an earlier comment you claimed that hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted on AGW research, which should have been spent on research in solar energy. Besides being self-contradictory (if AGW is bogus, then there’s no urgent need to spend money on alternate energy sources, we do have at least 250 years of coal reserves remaining), not even Joanne Nova makes this claim. She claims that the actual figure is 79 billion dollars and concedes that some of the money has paid for 1 or 2 satellites. Actually, a lot of the money has gone for research into past climate. Drilling ice cores in the Antarctic and Greenland is not cheap. Satellites giving more accurate assessments of global climate also aren’t cheap. And then you have to spend money collecting and analyzing the data.

    If any of the money is being wasted, then it’s that which is going into developing computer models, not cheap I admit requiring weeks of runtime on very expensive supercomputers. Perhaps with development of better models and larger computers, we might eventually get results that are reliable. Eventually perhaps the money spent might not be wasted after all?

    Also, it’s a little silly to quote the figure of 3% being humans’ contribution to the increase in CO2 levels coming from the IPCC report, as mentioned by a ‘warmer’. If you’re arguing that the IPCC report is a dubious political document arguing the case of AGW for nefarious reasons of achieving world government and hastening the Marxist revolution, or whatever paranoid fantasies you might have, then that’s the last thing they’d even think of including.

    I don’t know what’s in the IPCC report. As I’ve said, I regard it largely to be a political document, like a camel is a horse designed by a committee. I don’t regard it to be a bible, well actually I do, so I ignore it.

  132. danr

    “My MB,BS if it’s of any use is to teach me to look at the evidence and to decide whether it’s adequate. But my natural skepticism is of more use; I question everything, or at least everything that is of personal interest or concern.”

    Well said but you seem to contradict this independent posture by swallowing whole any and all stuff on warmist sites.

  133. danr

    “Actually, we’re still in an ice age”

    I was in New York s central park 2 years back.

    There was NO ice there. The 1.5 km deep ice field that was there 18,000 years ago is now gone. It’s now part of the ocean which rose 120 metres during the melt.

    As for the icecaps, its not much of the original ice mass. That’s why the rate of sea level rise is now only 1.5 mm per year.

    The main melt ended about 5,000 years ago.

    Come on man, think. Do some homework.

  134. danr

    “You still haven’t given your reference to your claim that humans only contribute 3% of the increase.”

    That was supplied by another warmer who said he got it from the IPCC report? Good enough – from the bible.

  135. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    OK, my equation was inaccurate. We’re adding megatonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere to add 3 ppmv x normalized volume of atmosphere to sea level pressure (the atmosphere extends at least a 100 or so km but most of it’s very thin) x conversion factor to bring molecules measured in ppmv to mass of CO2 per volume each year.

    The heat at the tropopause gets there by radiation (and also by convection, but if convection was the major factor, then the tropopause would be warmer. Convection leads to weather).

    That’s what greenhouse gases are doing; they’re affecting radiation. At each level of the troposphere, CO2 molecules are absorbing IR photons, and re-emitting them, some downwards, some upwards. It’s the ones going upwards that lead to the loss of heat eventually. The same thing happens in the Sun; energy is proved at 20 million degrees. The extremely high energy photons take tens of thousands of years to reach the surface to be released as photons with an energy level corresponding to about 6000 degrees.

    You still haven’t given your reference to your claim that humans only contribute 3% of the increase.

    Ascribing the increase in CO2 levels from 280 pre-industrial to almost 400 ppmv now to recovery from the ice age seems silly coming from a publishing climate scientist and combustion engineer. Actually, we’re still in an ice age (there’s ice at both poles). I take it you either mean the last glaciation maximum (which is thousands of years too early) or since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age, a very inaccurate term. Admittedly, a warmer ocean will release some CO2 due to decreasing solubility of gasses in water with increasing temperature, but increasing temperature should have also increased plant growth too, to cancel out at least some of the increase.

    Where are your figures to prove me wrong? I suppose you’d have numbers for total CO2 in the oceans, percentage decrease in solubility and volume of the atmosphere to calculate an increase of 120 ppmv since pre-industrial times?

    You still don’t appear to be showing much scientific rigor. Next ice age coming? You actually mean, next glaciation. As I said, we’re in an ice age (we have been for around 3 million years).

    Put up or shut up. What are your climate science qualifications? What are your references? As I have said before, I haven’t read the IPCC report, I don’t care what’s in it. I regard it as largely a political document, similar to a camel being a horse designed by committee.

    My MB,BS if it’s of any use is to teach me to look at the evidence and to decide whether it’s adequate. But my natural skepticism is of more use; I question everything, or at least everything that is of personal interest or concern.

  136. Frank Campbell

    “I would be happier if we put the money being wasted on chasing the MMGW thing into basic research into renewable sources of energy.

    Had this been done, the hundreds of billions of dollars could have given us effective solar by now.”

    Correct. And the policies now being touted (“proycing caaahbun”) will misdirect scarce capital and put lead in the saddlebags of the economy and the poor…The Right will take power. Climate millenarians will then have to postpone armageddon.

  137. danr

    JamesH

    Had a look at SS and the 400,000 year graph.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

    The mechanism postulated there for feedback is quite plausible in those circumstances.

    Increasing solar energy liberates CO2 which can then absorb more ground IR and assist in holding energy in the atm.

    This feedback only works when the suns radiation is increasing.

    As soon as solar radn becomes constant or drops the feedback stops.

    The graph also illustrates that the cycle will almost certainly continue under the effects of the main drivers of orbital mechanics.

    Solar radn has been decreasing for a few years now and even if CO2 could get at the ground IR (instead of water) it could not have any more effect.

    Also the feedback mechanism stops working at the peaks in the chart because that is where the solar input starts to drop. off.

  138. danr

    “But most of the net loss of heat from the Earth occurs at the tropopause”.

    Think Wayne.”

    Think real hard.

    How does it get there?

    Lastly Wayne.

    Are you really MB BS etc. Your thinking skills are very focused.

    OMG And this. Still. Widen the scope.

    “3 ppmv times volume of atmosphere.” Unbelievable nonsense. True IPCC stuff.

    “So the human influence has been to increase CO2 levels from 280 pre-industrial to almost 400 ppmv after about half has been dissolved in the oceans. If not due to humans, then what has caused it?”

    OK Wayne. I give up. Lets forget science and just say God did it.

    One last go.

    ” 280 pre-industrial to almost 400 ppmv” Caused by warming at end of last ice age recovery.

    Next ice age coming soon.

  139. wayne robinson

    Frank,

    You’re making the same mistake as Danr in assuming that you have to be able to measure all the inputs of CO2 into the atmosphere in order to have a reasonable idea of greenhouse gas effects on climate. You also have to consider the processes removing CO2 from the atmosphere, such as subduction of calcium carbonate containing sedimentary rocks returning carbon to the Earth’s mantle to be spewed into atmosphere again by volcanos (most of which are suboceanic ones, erupting everyday, not like the obvious ones such as Toba which almost caused human extinction due to global cooling. I still worry about Yellowstone or Long Valley).

    The equation is:

    Human inputs of CO2 to atmosphere + other unmeasurable inputs = Estimated human outputs (regrowth of forests) + other unmeasurable outputs of CO2 from the atmosphere + 3 ppmv times volume of atmosphere.

    So the human influence has been to increase CO2 levels from 280 pre-industrial to almost 400 ppmv after about half has been dissolved in the oceans. If not due to humans, then what has caused it?

  140. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    It’s too early in the morning to think about a complete rebuttal (didn’t sleep well last night, it’s unusually hot for Perth this year, 36 degrees maximum at the end of March).

    But anyway, you write ‘so I’m told’. Reference?

    You concede that CO2 levels are increasing at 3 ppmv per year recently, as a result of human activity. Also, since the CO2 level has gone from 280 ppmv preindustrial to almost 400 now, so that’s an increase of almost 50%. To turn around and claim that since humans make only 4% of the inputs then that’s the human contribution to it greenhouse effect. This ignores the ‘outputs’. Animals eat plants and exhale CO2. Plants inhale CO2 and make plant matter. Bush fires add CO2 to the atmosphere. Revegetation after bush fires removes it. Volcanos add CO2. Oceanic plate subduction removes it. Degassing of CO2 from warm oceanic waters add CO2. Cold oceanic water removes it man burns coal, and man creates new coal? …

    Agreed, water vapor is a greenhouse gas. But most of the net loss of heat from the Earth occurs at the tropopause, which is bone dry. The tropopause is also currently rising in altitude as the troposphere warms and the stratosphere is cooling (the smoking gun for global warming, if warming were due to increased solar output, then the stratosphere should also be warming).

    I think the downplaying of CO2 as a greenhouse gas arise from the (correct) observation that CO2 saturates in respect to its absorption of IR radiation, that it’s close to its saturation level now, so adding more won’t do anything. It ignores that when a CO2 molecule absorbs a photon of IR radiation, it then re-emits, potentially in any direction, including downwards, back to the ground. With increasing altitude, atmospheric density drops, so that even though the CO2 level stays the same in ppmv as an absolute number in molecules per volume it progressively drops below the saturation level and heat passes through not warming the atmosphere. That’s why the atmospheric temperature decreases with increasing altitude till the tropopause is reached, and then heating of the stratosphere due to absorption of the Sun’s UV radiation by ozone (which thankfully has recovered from our other uncontrolled experiment of adding CFC to the atmosphere).

    It’s all Plimer’s incorrect analogy of CO2 acting as curtains cutting out ambient light, instead of the correct analogy of adding sheets to a bed to retain heat.

  141. danr

    Wayne,

    I agree he posts I have made seem not very smart from a strictly accurate science point of view.

    To start with, it is true that :

    Human activities ARE increasing the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. How could that not happen.

    CO2 levels DO have any effect on climate.

    The problem scientists face on these bloggs is that as soon as you agree to these two things the resultant clamor is: Aha, so you do admit Man Made Global Warming is real.

    The problem is that while these two things may be happening it does not prove that man made CO2 has a significant, or measurable effect on Earths atmospheric temperature.

    There are confounding issues which are deliberately “left out” of analyses.

    For example the human contribution to atm CO2 is about 3%, so I’m told. Another major issue is that water vapour seems always to be left out of the analysis.

    CO2 has three slots on the black body ground radiation spectrum. The two at higher frequencies apparently don’t have much effect from a total quantity of energy point of view.

    The longer wavelength spot ( 8% max of total spectrum) competes with water in the air. This is a big problem for people who want us to accept that increasing CO2 will lead to global warming when water is doing most of the heat transfer.

    So the basic science says that man made CO2 can theoretically account for a maximum of 3% of 8% of ALL warming involving solar re – radiation from ground sources.

    So if we put all that together mans temperature input to atm through CO2 is 0.0024 of total.

    To quantify this; if we have had 0.5 deg C rise in the last 150 years the human accountability is for 0.0012 C deg.

    For myself I would be happier if we put the money being wasted on chasing the MMGW thing into basic research into renewable sources of energy.

    Had this been done, the hundreds of billions of dollars could have given us effective solar by now.

  142. Flower

    @ David Hand : Whatever I write, you will twist to stay within your fundamentalist religeous (sic) beliefs. You have demonstrated an inabilaty (sic) to concede even the most minor point in this discussion….. as you conveniently massage the statistics from per capita to absolute emissions.”

    Looks like Flower’s copping a “David Spratt” attack. Who’s next?

    Please note that “climate performance” does not equal per capita. Please note that the “ten largest polluters on the planet” are not assessed on pollution per capita.

    Please note that the “ten largest polluters on the planet” equals absolute emissions – equals the global share of all CO2 emissions worldwide regardless of the size of the population.

    However:

    China 1.3 billion population – global share of CO2 emissions = 22%
    US population 300,000 – global share of CO2 emissions = 19.5%
    Russia 142 million – global share = 5.42%
    Japan 127 million – global share = 3.92%
    Canada 34 million – global share = 1.88%
    UK 62 million – global share = 1.74%

    The US with the highest number of nuclear reactors has the second highest absolute emissions on the planet whether you want to accept that or not and Australia has the highest CO2 emissions per capita on the planet. That’s curious David Hand since the three largest coal producers in the world are China, US and India. I imagine that information is hard to swallow for bigots particularly bigots who feign a belief in A/CO2 emissions.

  143. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    You still keep on saying that the human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable. You’re saying either one or both of two things in the same sentence (from what I can gather from your previous statements).

    1. Human activities aren’t increasing the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
    2. CO2 levels don’t have any effect on climate.

    So which is it? Humans aren’t increasing CO2 or it doesn’t have an effect.

    The first is obvious nonsense. You need to give some evidence to support the second.

  144. Frank Campbell

    No, I’m not holding my breath.

  145. Frank Campbell

    “danr
    Posted Friday, 25 March 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    “Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, believes only around 10 per cent of the planet’s population – around half a billion people – will survive if global temperatures rise by 4C.”

    This is preposterous.”

    What’s more preposterous is that climate millenarians never ever mention Anderson. I quote him every day, but he’s the fart in the lift for Crikey editorial and crikey commenters…

    I wouldn’t bother to quote him at all if he was a Karoly or Hamilton or Flannery- but he runs the “centre” created by Phil Jones and his clique. He is le grand fromage of the AGW movement. (The world’s biggest Danish Blue)

    What I’d like to see from Simons is an assessment of Anderson.

  146. Frank Campbell

    I had to do something after that rat Tony Crook pinched my seat…

    Iron-Bar

  147. danr

    “There is absolutely no point in engaging in dialogue with such a committed fundamentalist as yourself.

    I respect your right to your views.

    Australia is a broad tolerant community that can accommodate religeous fundamentalist nutters on both sides of politics.”

    David, the only way to reduce CO2 is through nuclear plants. Agreed.

  148. Frank Campbell

    David Hand: don’t take the climate millenarians personally. This crop (about the third since I first looked at Crikey over 2 years ago) are gentlemen compared with previous harvests. And there are far more sceptical commenters now than say 18 months ago. There are also fewer head-banging Denialists. Several are in neurosurgery as I write. They may recover, but will not remember who they are.

    I only bother with Crikey for one reason: to show that there is a Green/Left critique of the climate cult. The usual Right-Left tribal split actually encourages the cult: they love a good reeking semi-literate Right-wing troll. All’s right with the world when your enemies are who they’re supposed to be.

    The only way we’re going to defeat this toxic, self-defeating nonsense is to wean the waverers off the AGW tit.

    It can’t escape anyone’s notice that AGW absorbs everyone’s attention. So many vital things are ignored or distorted through the millenarian prism. This is the most pernicious byproduct of the cult.

    I leave you with this endearing thought from the spangled Admiral:

    “Captain Planet
    Posted Friday, 25 March 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I think Frank Campbell is actually Wilson Tuckey.”

  149. Frank Campbell

    Wayne says:
    “How do you even roughly estimate the amount of CO2 emitted by all the volcanos, most of which are suboceanic, among other inputs, which would be purely estimates?”

    Indeed. Climate models invariably assume that vulcanism contributes in a very small way to global CO2 emissions…

    Given your Sumatran research, I suppose you’re well informed on this point…what do you think?

  150. David Hand

    Well, Flower,
    Whatever I write, you will twist to stay within your fundamentalist religeous beliefs. You have demonstrated an inabilaty to concede even the most minor point in this discussion.

    From your 24 March post:
    “David – In the some thirty four OECD countries, the 2011 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) ranks the UK for climate action at number eight. Australia ranks dead last. Why is that?”

    When I point out that it is the nuclear factor in many OECD countries and Australia’s almost total reliance on coal, you dig up this little beauty in your 25 March post:

    “David – It depends on how you apply the logic. The ten largest polluters on the planet (including the UK) are all nuclear states. Until China’s very recent industrial expansion, the US was the largest polluter on the planet and they have 104 nuclear reactors – a global record.”

    All true as you conveniently massage the statistics from per capita to absolute emissions.

    I’m leaving this discussion with this post. I only got into it because I was attracted by Frank Campbell’s poignant and lucid writing.

    There is absolutely no point in engaging in dialogue with such a committed fundamentalist as yourself. I respect your right to your views. Australia is a broad tolerant community that can accommodate religeous fundamentalist nutters on both sides of politics.

  151. drsmithy

    The reason is that such an analysis shows the human produced component of CO2 to be disappointingly small against the real sinks and sources. The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.

    Source ?

  152. danr

    The basic science of AGW is very pedestrian, embarrassingly so .

    The problem is the confusion created by the vast number of chemical and physical interactions in the CO2 – biosphere temperature question.

    They are quantified if you take the trouble, but cause embarrassment to the AGW Cause if taken into account.

    Why would any scientist on a grant take the trouble to do the full analysis when they can get away with doing work on one small element of the process.

    There are reasonable CO2 mass balances done on many sources and sinks of CO2 but you will find nobody wants to integrate the parts into a complete whole.

    The reason is that such an analysis shows the human produced component of CO2 to be disappointingly small against the real sinks and sources. The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.

    This is not good science but a very interesting study in Group Behaviour patterns.

    It’s the universe of politics at its finest.

  153. danr

    Wayne

    “I’m not certain how you think ALL the inputs of CO2 into the atmosphere can be calculated”

    I totally agree. It’s a near impossible task but some sense could be made of it if we tried.

    Too much of the AGW “science” is very narrowly focused on MM CO2 to the exclusion of all other factors and natural CO2.

    Not speaking personally there.

  154. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    I’m not certain how you think ALL the inputs of CO2 into the atmosphere can be calculated. We can accurately measure the amount of fossil fuels burnt by humans in a year and therefore get a reasonable idea of the CO2 released. We can estimate the amount land clearing and burning. We can estimate the amount of reforestation. We can accurately measure the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere. We can estimate the volume of the atmosphere. We can therefore calculate how much of the CO2 which should have been added to the atmosphere has actually been taken up by sinks such as the oceans. How do you even roughly estimate the amount of CO2 emitted by all the volcanos, most of which are suboceanic, among other inputs, which would be purely estimates. The amount of CO2 removed in carbonate sedimentary rocks would also be a wild estimate.

  155. danr

    “DanR says “There are more CO2 inputs to the atm than human ones”

    They may be in the report but they obviously are not in he final calculations.

    You MUST actually use them in the calculations. Not done.

    Hence a false theory AGW.

  156. danr

    “Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, believes only around 10 per cent of the planet’s population – around half a billion people – will survive if global temperatures rise by 4C.”

    This is preposterous.

  157. danr

    “Even Tony stood up” But why?

    Tony is a politician.

    Doing what pollies do.

    Playing to the LCD.

    Not wanting to completely disaffect all voters.

    This is not a scientific debate. It is Politics.

  158. Captain Planet

    I think Frank Campbell is actually Wilson Tuckey.

  159. Flower

    @ David Hand: “The answer to your question about why Australia ranks last of 34 OECD nations CCPI is that most of them have nuclear power stations to provide base load power and Australia is mostly coal.”

    David – It depends on how you apply the logic. The ten largest polluters on the planet (including the UK) are all nuclear states. Until China’s very recent industrial expansion, the US was the largest polluter on the planet and they have 104 nuclear reactors – a global record.

    France’s performance in reducing CO2 is not that hot either having been outranked by Brazil, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the UK according to the 2011 CCPI report.

    If you believe Gillard and her carbon tax proposal is “bad” what are you suggesting? “Honest” Abbott’s proposal? Soil carbon sequestration? That’s a nice dupe because it’s already occurring on agricultural lands but it won’t reduce FF emissions. So is it Abbott’s BAU? Delay, delay, delay?

    @ Frank Campbell: “The only practical solution is to fund anti-AGW research. The Antis want to overthrow the AGW paradigm, so call their bluff and pay them.”

    Come, come Frank. Their bluff has been called for years. Anti-AGW research has been going on since 1989, immediately after the IPCC was formed in 1988. The fossil fuel industry has thrown millions at skeptical climate scientists to disprove AGW. There has been far more big bucks thrown at the anti-AGW establishment than reputable science institutions and I have at least ten pages of evidence to sustain those allegations. Alas, the majority of anti-AGW scientists have been an abysmal failure and unlike reputable climate scientists, they fail to publish their corrections. Sorry Frank but four, five, six or seven sceptical climate scientists does not make a consensus.

    And why the Royal Society and its allusions to the uncertainties? Of course there are uncertainties. Always will be. Explain to me why heaps of heavy smokers fail to succumb to lung cancer? So should we all take up the fags?

    The Royal Society – Climate change and a summary of the science:

    Conclusions – excerpt:

    “There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human
    activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last
    half century. This warming trend is expected to continue as are changes in precipitation
    over the long term in many regions. Further and more rapid increases in sea level are
    likely which will have profound implications for coastal communities and ecosystems.”

  160. Frank Campbell

    Wayne:

    “I don’t accept that there is a pressure on scientists to conforme to unpopular theories”

    It’s time you read the East Anglia emails. And your earlier assumption that they reflect just one “centre” is wrong: the core is Jones-Mann. The network was and is worldwide, from Russia to NZ….if you read chronologically, from the mid 90s, you can see them move from being penniless to copiously funded and from just a handful to quite a bunch, many recruited in the usual unsavory academic manner.

  161. Flower

    @ FACTS ONLY: “ When looking at the response to my article “Proven errors in the IPCC report” with references to globaltempfacts it surprises me to notice the believer’s inquisition style arguments with:”

    Facts Only – I haven’t noticed anyone responding to your article. Could it be because the link is ……..well…..silly? A quick perusal reveals that you have provided us with a publication where a significant majority of the authors have zero expertise in climate science:

    Sceptics in links:

    Fagnell Bengt: Professor of Medicine
    Yngve Strom: Never heard of him
    Fred Goldberg: Welder
    John Daly: School teacher (deceased)
    Theodor Landcheidt: Amateur climatologist

    Reputable scientists in link:

    Ole Humlum: ““According to ice core analysis, the atmospheric CO2 concentrations during all four prior interglacials never rose above approximately 290 ppm; whereas the atmospheric CO2 concentration today stands at nearly 390 ppm. The present interglacial is about 2oC colder than the previous interglacial, even though the atmospheric CO2 concentration now is about 100 ppm higher. “ (Ole Humlum)

    *C Scotese – The Modern World: “We are entering a new phase of continental collision that will ultimately result in the formation of a new Pangea supercontinent in the future. Global climate is warming because we are leaving an Ice Age and because we are adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.”

    * I note that Scotese’s publication had been truncated in your link and the “Modern World” section omitted Facts Alone? Why was that? Should you consider changing your nick?

    Further while you would like to calm the “hysterical” among us, by providing maps which show warmer periods mya, you have failed to understand that if humans were alive then, they would be more than likely be extinct now.

    My favourite palaeontologist, Dewey McLean, wrote about the carbon perturbation and volcanism hypothesis that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 mya. His papers were first published in the late 70s, before the existence of the IPCC and when debate on A/CO2 among the general public was zero. These days volcanic emissions of CO2 are lightweights in comparison to what humans dump in the biosphere and beyond.

  162. sc300

    Alan Sunderland:-
    “ credible, peer-reviewed scientific opinion .”

    Maybe it would improve reporting to distinguish between say “work published in refereed scientific journals” and “scientific opinion”.

    Much of the implied balance I see in reporting mixes the two together, and blurs the distinction between credible and reasonable arguments. All arguments are reasonable, but credibility is achieved through rigour.

  163. wayne robinson

    Facts only,

    Also the Heartland Institute has received about $600,000 from ExxonMobil, according to their reports. Of course, it doesn’t mean their opinions were bought, it could mean that they’d assumed them on reasonable grounds, and then Exxon funded them out of the goodness of their corporate hearts.

  164. wayne robinson

    I don’t know where to start.

    AGW deniers start with the false dichotomy that either CO2 has no effect on climate or it’s the only factor, so therefore if they can demonstrate climate warming not due to increasing CO2 in the past, then AGW is falsified. Climate is complex, please read my comment about the document Facts Only.

    Kuhn was largely wrong. Paradigm shifts are actually quite rare. What actually happens is that evidence is gradually collected over years to support a previously unpopular theory, which converts progressively increasing numbers of scientists. Einstein’s insights didn’t come out of the blue. He was building on work of other scientists who were very close to arrive at the same theory.

    I don’t accept that there is a pressure on scientists to conforme to unpopular theories. What killed off the non-avian dinosaurs 65 MYA? If you ask the general public, you’d probably get the answer that there is a scientific consensus that it was the asteroid impact. Actually, this is one of the rare times that Ian Plimer was actually correct in ‘Heaven and Earth’ when he disputes this. The alternate hypothesis that it was the Indian Deccan traps volcano is rapidly gaining strength particularly since the dinosaurs were in decline before the impact, Bratosaurus survived 1 million years after the impact and frogs managed to survive it.

    Professor Anderson’s estimate of the human die off might seem extreme. However, his figure of a 4 degree increase is supported by a consensus of climate modellers (OK I know models are rubbish, perhaps). But don’t forget, the 4 degrees, if it happens, is an average global temperature increase, lower over the oceans and in the tropics, higher (possibly much higher, with extreme soil drying) in the interior of continents (where we grow most of our crops) and in the polar regions. I imagine monsoons would increase vastly and affect areas not usually affected, so there might be some advantages. For one thing, the Sahara and Sahel might get its monsoon back and bloom again. As I have said climate is complex.

    OK, I apologize again for asking Danr to b**er off; I was getting irritated with the refusal to prove the claims that he or she is a publishing climate scientist while insulting everyone else’s science literacy.

    If one of my friends or relatives reveals themselves to be AGW doubters, I’d asked for their reason and have a discussion, as we’re doing now.

    The government’s proposed action (what little we know of it) isn’t extreme, and probably isn’t going far enough. China is doing much more than Australia. Even though the Republicans rejected action federally in America, quite a few of the American states, including California, are taking action. We’re actually not at the head of the pack. Actually, we are the laggards. Even India is ahead of us.

  165. David Hand

    Hey, Wayne,
    There’s general consensus almost everywhere that AGW is real. Even Tony Abbott has publicly said so on a number of occasions in the last few days.

    What consensus do you think there is about this?

    “Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, believes only
    around 10 per cent of the planet’s population – around half a billion people – will survive if
    global temperatures rise by 4C.

    “Anderson, who advises the British government on climate change, said the consequences were “terrifying”. “For humanity it’s a matter of life or death,” he said. “We will not make all human beings extinct as a few people with the right sort of resources may put themselves in the right parts of the world and survive. But I think it’s extremely unlikely that we wouldn’t have mass death at 4C. If you have got a population of nine billion by 2050 and you hit 4C, 5C or 6C, you might have half a billion people surviving.””

    Is the good professor giving thoughtful, expert findings with a bit of scientific qualification? As he is the source of choice for the apocolyptic party, should the British Government, who he is advising, act on his recommendation? Are his views peer reviewed? Does this mean we are all doomed?

  166. Frank Campbell

    Wayne:
    “Expect further retreats in the near future. Their arses still feel vulnerable”. The RS is an independent body not subject to political pressure, so they are free to look at the evidence, unlike the NASA which was pressured by GWB’s government to water down its reports. Anyway, in the UK, there’s general consensus across Government and Opposition that AGW is real.”

    The RS is “independent” in certain senses- but I’m referring to the power of the dominant paradigm. That exerts real influence. Crosses institutional boundaries. Read Kuhn.

    And don’t equate the certainty of the sun rising with the AGW hypothesis. Laughable. It’s telling that govts, academics etc have to constantly reassert that they “believe” in AGW. Literally an article of faith. Denial means heresy and excommunication, ridicule. Why don’t you try it Wayne? Then tell your peers afterwards that it was just a sociological experiment, in jocular vein. You wouldn’t risk it, would you? Note that Margaret Simons ignored my invitation to describe what would happen if a close friend of hers confessed to climate heresy…(to be fair, Simons ignored every post, which is par for the course on Crikey- it shows the contempt the Crikey clique have for us slumdwellers)

    The first critical error is to conflate the relative certainty of the basic AGW hypothesis with a putative certainty about climate sensitivity to CO2. The second is to assume that the great mass of derivative hypotheses bolted onto the primary hypothesis are much more than embryonic.

    This sleight of mind is at the root of the power of the millenarian cult: commentators like Margaret Simons are typical – they accept (as nearly all of us do) the authority of science. Aside from insane creationist America, this Enlightenment principle rules. As it should. But accepting basic science is not the same as belief in corollaries, scenarios and derivative hypotheses concerning chaotic systems (like climate), least of all projected into the future.

    It is a perversion of science to do so. Lambeck and the RS grudgingly admit this- in effect- by mentioning a range of unknowns.

    We should be intensely critical of derivative hypotheses. That’s science. Instead, fear of retribution (and of association with the forces of unreason whether they be rednecks or slime-covered shockjocks) combines with the fear of Armageddon (read Prof. Kevin Anderson) to create a fascistic, authoritarian atmosphere.

    It’s drawing an even longer bow to then demand a vast range of instant and radical changes in the economy and society based on fervent belief in derivative second and third tier hypothesising.

    (This doesn’t mean we should do nothing and wait. As I keep saying on these posts)

  167. wayne robinson

    Frank Campbell,

    If you ask a scientist, as a scientist, whether the Sun is going to rise in the East tomorrow (funny that after 500 years we still don’t have correct terms for sunrise or sunset) he or she will qualify the prediction, to allow for the very slight possibilities that the Earth will be struck by a very large asteroid or the Sun might go supernova (well that won’t happen, the Sun is not large enough) overnight.

    All scientific theories, whether evolution, big bang cosmology or even AGW, are never assumed to be absolutely proved, just failed to be disproved. Some theories, such as evolution and big bang cosmology, we can be reasonably certain will largely the same in a 100 years.

    The authors of the Royal Society’s position paper expressing the uncertainties of AGW are doing just what scientists are expected to do.

    Managing uncertainties is what politicians (and we as electors) are supposed to be doing, deciding whether the evidence is good enough, whether the consequences of not acting serious or likely enough, whether the proposed actions will be effective etc.

    No I don’t “Expert (sic) further retreats in the near future. Their arses still feel vulnerable”. The RS is an independent body not subject to political pressure, so they are free to look at the evidence, unlike the NASA which was pressured by GWB’s government to water down its reports. Anyway, in the UK, there’s general consensus across Government and Opposition that AGW is real.

  168. Facts only

    When looking at the response to my article “Proven errors in the IPCC report” with references to http://www.globaltempfacts.com it surprises me to notice the believer’s inquisition style arguments with:

    Scientifically unsupported statements

    Statements with no references

    General debunking of scientific evidence not in line with their beliefs.

    Wishful thinking

    Absolute belief in a their good book, regardless of how many proven errors it contains

    Let me give some samples:

    “Peddle back to the landfill.”

    They claim I have a contract with those who are against the carbon tax legislation.

    It is more important who presents the documents, than how scientifically valid these are.

    Hartland Institute is financed by oil companies. (If so, I would be interested in evidence to prove this. At least they have not destroyed the background material for their findings, as IPCCs’ main supplier of temperature records has done.)

    Statements like, “I think has already been debunked” with no references, has no place in a scientific debate.

    “Why don’t you b**ger off?” ( If you can’t produce more intelligent arguments than this, it would be a relief for others, if you refrain from taking part in scientific debates.)

    An open mind and willingness to thoroughly examine properly peer revived scientific reports is more likely to lead to the truth, than fundamentalism based on a book with a number of now proven errors, or scientists who would loose their funding, if they publish results not in line with those who feed them.

  169. Frank Campbell

    “JamesH
    Frank,

    I wish you would stop misquoting professor Lambeck and the Royal Society.”

    There were no quotes, so don’t verbal me. Both Lambeck and the RS grudgingly concede many unknowns in climate science. They could hardly do otherwise. Expert further retreats in the near future. Their arses still feel vulnerable.

  170. David Hand

    Flower,
    The answer to your question about why Australia ranks last of 34 OECD nations CCPI is that most of them have nuclear power stations to provide base load power and Australia is mostly coal.

    But my real point is about why a so called eminent scientist is predicting a climate catastrophe in the next 40 years and nobody is taking any notice of him. I am suggesting this is so because he isn’t believed by those in power and who have the means to validate his view. Another way to describe this is that he’s probably one of the lunatic fringe of the eco-fascist lobby.

    As far as the carbon tax goes, Gillard is doing it to get re-elected. This is why there is such massive redistribution of wealth in it and Emerson is now calling it a carbon tax cut. Her lack of belief in its potential effect on emissions is demonstrated by her belief the country can afford it. In the unlikely event that energy generation goes green, the tax receipts would disappear but the compensation would remain. Actual reduction in coal fired power generation would be an economic and political disaster for her. This is why the carbon tax, with it’s pork laden compensation, is bad.

  171. Flower

    @ David Hand: “Well, Flower, it’s a pity for 8.5 billion human beings that Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, can’t get anyone with the power to act on carbon emissions at the rate he scientifically honestly objectively sagely demands to do anything.Why is that?”

    David – In the some thirty four OECD countries, the 2011 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) ranks the UK for climate action at number eight. Australia ranks dead last. Why is that?

    And I note the innuendo in your most recent post that Australia should not impose a carbon tax – same old same old. So you reckon that compensation will eventually come out of general revenue? And just where do you think the multi-trillion dollar tab has come from for the last 100 years to clean up the freeloading polluters’ mess – much of it beyond repair?

    I remind you that the Environmental Protection Acts were legislated in the early 70s (WA – 1971). Had the tenets of the EPAs not been manipulated and corrupted by polluters on rampage and sycophantic bureaucrats/politicians from both major parties, there would be no requirement to debate the status quo – the country’s ignominious carbon emissions.

    Promoting the world according to Abbott (“climate change is crap”) is irresponsible since he is a member of the axis of idiots – the freaks who have willfully and persistently kneecapped endeavours to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. Think Howard, second-hand smoke skeptic Minchin, Jensen, Joyce, mad dog Tuckey. Sidekicks George Pell, Alan Jones, WA’s megalomaniac, Colon Cadaffi, the lobotomized Bolt, fudging Bob Carter the fraudulent Plimer. The right-wing fascists waging war by importing the unqualified maniacal Monckton and Watts as climate experts.

    So what are you suggesting? That Gillard is trying to tax us all for no benefit while Abbott will do the same for free?

    The carbon tax will happen – loop holes and all. At least loop holes can be ‘exterminated.’
    The public have had a guts full of the right-wing’s fanatical witch hunts, inquisitions and pogroms against the science establishment.

    Abbott and his ecocidal clowns, drunk on coal and predominantly devotees of a deaf mute sky daddy, relish a fouled and less inhabitable year 2050. Lucky for us the dullards are too arrogant, too avaricious to gauge an accurate opinion of an outraged community. Losers now, losers at the next election. Betcha?

  172. Frank Campbell

    I just noticed this, Wayne:

    “Another criticism I have is that it quotes Climategate. OK, it didn’t look good. But it takes sentences out of context. To decide how culpable the scientists were I would have wished to see the entire email. Anyway, one ‘suspect’ centre doesn’t affect other scientists.”

    You can read all the emails and see the context. Tedious, but…

    see my previous post.

  173. JamesH

    Frank,

    I wish you would stop misquoting professor Lambeck and the Royal Society.

    DanR says “There are more CO2 inputs to the atm than human ones… Nobody on the IPCC mentions it. That is not science.”

    Yet again he bases his arguments on easily rebutted falsehoods. here, for example, is just one of several sections of the IPCC’s report where they discuss natural sources and sinks of carbon dioxide. At great length. here, as another example, is a section entitled “the carbon cycle and the climate system… section 1, the natural carbon cycle”.

    DanR, if you are going to lie about things, have the decency to make your lies hard to detect.

  174. Frank Campbell

    Wayne:
    “You might not accept it, but mainstream science does. ALL the national science associations, such as the Royal Society, have issued position papers agreeing that AGW is true.”

    Two points: (i) yes there’s a demonstrable effect at the lab. level. No doubt it occurs in the field also. But everything else is questionable. The observational record is short. Proxies raise more questions than they answer. The interrelations between known (not to mention unknown Rumsfeldian) variables in “chaotic” (not my word) climate systems are very poorly understood. Climate science is a nascent science, and may never grow out of nappies this century.

    (ii) AGW has a strange history as a paradigm: a promising hypothesis was taken up by computer modellers. The scenarios varied wildly. Gore and other propagandists ran with the fear. Suddenly, a marginal and very tight clique of quasi-scientists found themselves carrying the world on their shoulders. Reading the Climategate emails is instructive: there’s little or no fraud (sorry Denialists) but there is extreme tendentiousness and real desperation (eg Trenberth’s wail about the absent warming). There is also a fierce determination to kill off scientific sceptics- by the usual academic means: control of journals, promotion of believers, piling up research grants, building a network of dependent researchers, refereeing each others work, weeding out “peers” who might give critical reviews…it’s all there Wayne, thousands of emails. Perfectly normal academic behaviour.

    The warning is: be genuinely sceptical. Not easy, because scientists have to avoid being labelled heretics or they’ll lose grants, suffer ostracism etc etc. Academia is very nasty indeed, but we need scientists with guts.

    The only practical solution is to fund anti-AGW research. The Antis want to overthrow the AGW paradigm, so call their bluff and pay them.

  175. Meski

    Mine looks anonymous, but it’s linked thru gravatar, so all the meskis with that picture are the same person. (and it’s one word, guys, stop splitting it in two) – if I used my real name, mike smith, you likely wouldn’t believe that either.

  176. Meski

    My point is that as a work of fiction it pushes more buttons than Dan Brown’s book that touched on Opus Dei, and made the catholic church go up in arms. Perhaps because it made people question authority? And that after all, is such a bad thing.

  177. Frank Campbell

    Flower:

    “In case you hadn’t noticed Frank, the bottom dwelling blood sucking troll IS barking mad and he’s been sent to destroy *your” environment. The climate palooza have sent the low rankers on missions to tell everyone that peer-reviewed stuff coming from guys in white coats is junk science. Can’t you hear the global cacophony Frank – all jerking their chains in unison?”

    It takes two sides (of a cult) to raise a cacophony. The “guys in white coats” you mention are coming to take you all away.

    Which side is more dangerous? Believers, because their hysteria is driving voters to the Right.

    Our awful conundrum: If there is any substance to the AGW hypothesis, a decade of Right rule is just what we don’t want. If Gillard wins, the climate will be unaffected but we’ll all suffer from her self-defeating and damaging policies- not to mention the relegation of the real environment to the back burner, where it has languished for years. That chorus of zips you hear is the feral Right preparing to pack-rape the environment. Think “cattle in the park”.

  178. Frank Campbell

    wayne: ” Yes I’m anonymous. I’m identified as Wayne Robinson, and strangely enough that!s my real name, just as Danr is his (her?) real name.’

    yes sorry Wayne- I was speaking generally…

    (but danr is in effect a pseudonym, right?. Anonymity is fine if the writer is under threat- employment usually. But that sure ain’t the case for most of the Crikey knitting circle…)

  179. wayne robinson

    Frank Campbell,

    Yes I’m anonymous. I’m identified as Wayne Robinson, and strangely enough that!s my real name, just as Danr is his (her?) real name.

    Me ski,

    Yes I read ‘State of Fear’ and actually I enjoyed it. Admittedly, all the way through I kept thinking that the litre of petrol we burn today we can’t burn tomorrow, so conservation of a finite resource is another reason for action.

    Facts only,

    I’ve read the document and I’m not impressed. It sets up the false dichotomy:

    CO2 has no effect on climate

    CO2 is the only factor affecting climate.

    And then appeals to incredulity by appealing to ‘reason’ asking how a trace gas with a concentration of 400 ppmv could have an effect. Well, the concentration of ozone is around 3 ppmv and it has an ENORMOUS effect.

    It then goes on to claim that as many climate changes were not due to CO2, then it never has an effect.

    In truth, climate is extremely complex with many factors affecting climate such as the distribution of continents, pattern of ocean currents, Milankovich cycles, solar activity, volcanic activity, greenhouse gasses to name just a few.

    Many of the graphs I recognize from Ian Plimer’s book and I’ve read elsewhere that some of them were adjusted to make a point.

    I’ll confine myself to the last 3 million years, in which the modern arrangement of continents was established with the joining of North and South America at Panama, the detouring of the ocean current northwards to form the Gulf Stream, increased precipitation including snow in the Arctic as a result of warmer water, formation of the Arctic ice sheet, start of the present ice age, drying out of the African continent and evolution of our ancestors Australopithecus afarensis.

    Since then, there has been about 50 glaciations and 50 interglacial periods, due to slight variations in insolation as a result of Milankovich cycles. Humans evolved about 200,000 years ago so we’ve lived through 2 or 3 interglacial periods. Most of the 200,000 we’ve been a relatively unsuccessful hunter-gatherer with no much effect on the biosphere.

    The current interglacial period is different to the previous ones; it’s lower and it has also lasted much longer than the previous ones. It has been suggested that, again, humans are to blame, sigh … The hypothesis is that at the end of the glaciations, human hunters moved into the Arctic tundra and quickly wiped out the mammoths. The mammoths were performing a vital function in the Siberian environment, plowing away snow from the underlying grass, allowing access of other ungulates such as horses access to feed, fertilizing the soil and leaving bare earth available to the Sun earlier in the Summer allowing a loner growing season. Humans wiping out the mammoths left snow longer on the ground, which has a cooling effect due to increased albedo, and burying of vegetation frozen permanently reducing CO2 levels.

    And then, as William Ruddiman in ‘Plows, Plgues and Petroleum’ postulates, 10,000 years ago humans developed agriculture with increased CO2 due to land clearing and increased methane due to wet cultivation of rice, so humans have been affecting climate for 10,000 years, perhaps 20,000 years.

    And then to make things more complicated, very large volcanos with their cooling effects have intervened. The eruption of Protokrakatau around 535 CE was thought to have initiated the dark ages. The eruption of El Chichon in 1258 was thought to have initiated the little ice age. Famine resulting from volcanic winter reduced peoples’ resistance and set them up for epidemic infections. And then the Black Death from 1347 reduced the European population by 30-40% causing the collapse of agriculture, regrowth of forests and a drop in CO2 levels. The introduction of smallpox in the Americas from the 16th century also reduced agriculture and led to a drop in CO2 levels.

    S Fred Singer has written a book claiming that warming cycles occur at 1500 year intervals and that we’re heading for the cooling. Actually without a mechanism, it’s untestable. I remember that some scientists had noted that smallish mass extinction events occur at 23 million year intervals, and with no other evidence at all postulated the existence of a dark star orbiting the Sun in a highly elliptical orbit, and at 23 million year intervals, when it comes closest to the Sun, unleashes numerous comets into the inner solar system, some of which impact with the Earth causing extinction events. Actually, the period was between 20 to 30 million years, the length of time necessary to evolve specialized less adaptable species less capable of surviving random disasters, leaving the weedy generalist species alive. Singer’s 1500 year cycle actually turned out to be plus or minus 500 years, so yet another attempt to invoke natural explanations for today’s climate fails.

    Another criticism I have is that it quotes Climategate. OK, it didn’t look good. But it takes sentences out of context. To decide how culpable the scientists were I would have wished to see the entire email. Anyway, one ‘suspect’ centre doesn’t affect other scientists.

    In another section it quotes Professor Jones that there has been no global warming recently, with a link to the Dail Mail, not the most reliable source. What he was actually reported as saying was that there was no statistically significant global warming in the past 15 years, which is something completely different. I could have a rigged coin which turns up heads on every toss, throw it 4 times, get 4 heads, and then say truthfully that the is no statistically significant evidence the coin is rigged.

    I hope this will finish this thread on the forum for good.

  180. Meski

    @Dr: And on the other side of the equation, we’re reducing the ability to break down CO2 – deforestation, etc.

    Natural sources of GHG come from melting ice (mostly methane, and yes, it’s possible to ascribe the reason for the melt to be man made, but this is a secondary effect)

    As an aside:

    “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton – for a work of fiction, it seems to be pressing a lot of people’s buttons.

  181. David Hand

    Couldn’t have put it better myself, Frank.
    There’s enough consensus to stop arguing about whether or not AGW is true. Even Tony stood up in front of a bunch of rabid climate deniers yesterday and said he believes in AGW. All the focus should go on the political and economic response.

    And the politics is abysmal. The carbon tax morphed within about 10 days to the carbon tax cut – a sleight of hand that gob smacks me. We had the bizarre spectacle of Craig Emerson on Insiders last Sunday accusing Tony Abbott of promoting a tax increase and reductions in pensions by opposing the carbon tax.

    The plain fact is that if the carbon tax succeeds in shifting energy generation to green methods, the tax will no longer be collected and so the compensation to large sections of the community will need to come out of general revenue. So the spectacle of Garnaut yesterday, talking about redistributing the carbon tax receipts demonstrates that even he does not believe the tax will have any measurable impact on greenhouse gas emmissions.

    This gives the right strong grounds to argue that the carbon tax is just a massive wealth redistribution measure dressed up as saving the planet.

    Surely we can do better.

  182. danr

    As Frank intimates the Kaaarbon Tacks is not beneficial for the environment.

    Is it a vote raising exercise.

    The important things , like developing alternatives and reducing pollution are not being done.

  183. Flower

    “The climate “debate” has moved from merely repetitive and sterile to the barking mad:”

    In case you hadn’t noticed Frank, the bottom dwelling blood sucking troll IS barking mad and he’s been sent to destroy *your” environment. The climate palooza have sent the low rankers on missions to tell everyone that peer-reviewed stuff coming from guys in white coats is junk science. Can’t you hear the global cacophony Frank – all jerking their chains in unison?

    Put ya dukes up Frank – the smoke blowing troll’s threatening your national security.

  184. danr

    We need to be directly investing in alternative energy research as a National project.

    Doing it because of supposed climate change is regressive and wastes effort and money.

    The wrong people are getting public funds to continue a false concept ie AGW.

    All the money should go to direct research.

  185. Frank Campbell

    wayne: you all choose to be anonymous. So berating Danr misses the point. It’s a constant refrain in these comments: the nameless demanding the qualifications of the anonymous.

    Let the arguments stand or fall on their merits.

    90% of what appears here is polemic anyway. Mostly as revealing as Parliamentary question time. A therapy session of ritual tribal abuse.

    A staggering amount of energy, pardon the pun, goes into ‘scientific’ argy-bargy. As someone correctly observed above, AGW is an “immature hypothesis”. If it wasn’t , the projections of CO2 impacts wouldn’t vary from slight to catastrophic.
    The great range of Rumsfeldian unknowns enable both sides to vent volcanic amounts of gas. (Kurt Lambeck and the Royal Society have recently warned about these unknowns).

    There should be far more critical attention given to policy, politics and economics.
    If the Right wins, all these billions of polemical words will be wasted, enviuronmental degradation will accelerate (the cattle are back in the National Park)…

    That’s why the “caaahbun tax” has to be stopped: it will either elect the stumbling reactionary Abbott, or will burden the country without making the slightest difference to climate.

    Crikey’s role in the AGW war is embarrassing: not a single article criticising the “science” , but (far worse) nothing critical of the political economy of AGW. Crikey inflicts a prison diet of ideologues like Hamilton, Flannery etc plus desserts of Garnault. Garnault is treated as the Oracle. Garnault is a paid “advisor” to the govt, FFS. A brazen spin doctor. With an unsavory environmental record in Lihir Gold and Ok Tedi…

  186. drsmithy

    Its ludicrus to say that somehow man made CO2 acts separtely from “natural” CO2.

    No-one is saying that. They’re saying that digging billions of tons of fossil fuels out of the ground and then burning them to create CO2, is not part of the natural carbon cycle.

    You claim natural sources are responsible for the observed increased in CO2. What are they ? By what measure and evidence are they more active now than they have been in the past ?

  187. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    ‘Is there any evidence’?

    Answer: YES. You might not accept it, but mainstream science does. ALL the national science associations, such as the Royal Society, have issued position papers agreeing that AGW is true. A few such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists have issued neutral ones. There are no dissenting ones.

    Now let me get back to my book on the Toba supervolcano.

  188. danr

    “evidence that increasing CO2 levels is bad news”

    Is there any evidence?

    Main stream science does not accept this theory.

  189. danr

    “in a closed cycle.”

    Yes Closed of by the IPCC..

    Not by real science..

    You MUST use ALL inputs.

    You cant cherry pick.

    Its ludicrus to say that somehow man made CO2 acts separtely from “natural” CO2.

    Not possible.

    CO2 is CO2.

  190. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Reply to your last comment.

    Your point?

    Everyone knows about the carbon stores and the carbon cycle. It’s actually regarded as part of the solution not the problem. Pyrolysis if it ever becomes commercially viable promises to take waste plant matter and convert it into biochar and fuel, so it’s carbon neutral. The biochar can then be buried in the soil of agricultural land, improving its quality, water holding capacity and also remove CO2 from the atmosphere, so it has more than one advantage.

    I haven’t read the IPCC report so I don’t know what’s in it. I’d imagine that it’s only concerned with the evidence that increasing CO2 levels is bad news. How we decrease it is up to us, both governments and individuals. Burning fossil fuels isn’t part of any natural carbon cycle (OK oil does naturally seep to the surface to be metabolized by bacteria but it’s not a significant process). There are no major swamps being buried to create new coal. I doubt whether new oil is being currently being created to match the quantity we’re now burning.

    Now please unless you have something new to say pretty please desist from commenting again. I have better things to do.

  191. drsmithy

    Just look at the amount of biological activity in the top metre of soil worldwide. It creates a stupendous amount of CO2. Then the ocean reservoir of CO2 and volcanic activity.

    These are natural processes in a closed cycle.

    Unless you have evidence to support the implication that these natural processes are producing more CO2 than they have historically, with no matching increase in absorption capacity ?

  192. danr

    The effect is the change in temperature produced by CO2 activity in the atm.

    CO2 traps heat.

    The input is the absorption of ground IR by CO2.

  193. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    Right, when you say that ‘the human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable’, it actually means ‘CO2 doesn’t absorb IR radiation’? That’s not what you wrote. You’ve removed human effect from your reinterpretation.

  194. danr

    To avoid confusion I have separated this comment.

    There are more CO2 inputs to the atm than human ones.

    Just look at the amount of biological activity in the top metre of soil worldwide. It creates a stupendous amount of CO2. Then the ocean reservoir of CO2 and volcanic activity.

    Nobody on the IPCC mentions it. That is not science.

  195. wayne robinson

    Frank Campbell,

    OK my reaction to Danr was excessive. But don’t you you think that someone who identifies himself as a combustion engineer, and a publishing climate scientist who thinks that Ian Plimer’s book ‘Heaven and Earth’ is fantastic, refuses to document his science qualifications (beyond a BSc in neuroscience years ago), belittles the science literacy of anyone who disagrees with him, is quick to point out errors such as CO2 levels instead of CO2 activity (whatever that is) but never apologizes when he deliberately reads scientist to mean climate scientist has well and truly worn out his welcome on this forum? He hasn’t provide any arguments to think about.

    Page 15 of today’s Age gives lie to the assertion that Australia is too far ahead of the world in tackling CO2 emissions. China is much further along than we are, despite the deniers’ claim that it is slacking. It gives me a little optimism.

  196. danr

    The activity of CO2 in its role in the atmosphere. eg in absorbing ground IR and then doing what gases normally do in the air when in possession of extra energy.

    Wayne, I don’t dispute that “3 ppmv increase each year, “.

    The activity I referred to was that of being a heat absorber, carrier and distributor.

    I am not disputing carbon dating or the capacity to identify isotopes.

    All I am saying is that this problem is far from being a laboratory thing and has many interacting and confounding elements at work.

    The IPCC and “Climate Scientists” want to ignore these because it suits them.

    I appreciate the question and will respond civilly to questions that are after the science. I don’t respond well to the denier tag because the onus is on the AGW proponents to show their case.. That has not been done yet.

  197. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    WTF do you mean by CO2 activity? CO2 goes in, CO2 leaves, the difference gives the change in CO2 level. What do you think is causing the 3 ppmv increase each year, with a clear signature that it’s greater in Winter. And also that it’s depleted in C14, from burning very old fossil fuels, so scientists have to use timber from 1850 to do carbon 14 dating. I googled CO2 activity and got no hits. You were quick to misread scientist as climate scientist, to criticize me. What is the technical definition of CO2 activity and provide a reference.

  198. danr

    Wayne

    “If the human effect on CO2 levels in the atmosphere is undetectable”

    You changed this quote. Naughty.

    “The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.”

    As a highly educated person you should know the difference.

    My comment still stands Wayne.

    You cannot see the effect of human activity from the other main CO2 activity.

    It wouldn’t matter if human CO2 out put doubled or trebled. It is still too small an input to matter in the overall scheme of things.

  199. Captain Planet

    So many outright lies and assertions from DanR and his Alter Ego “Facts Only”

    So little enthusiasm on my part, to provide this troll with oxygen for his denialist manufactured debate.

    The fossil fuel lobby astroturf brigade are working overtime it seems. I predict that the minute the Carbon Tax legislation is passed these guys, having fulfilled their contract, will vanish from the blogosphere.

  200. Flower

    @ Danr: “The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.”

    Fossil fuel emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere are identified by the isotope fingerprint of coal, oil and natural gas so why not be a good little troll and peddle back to your landfill?

    Hasta la vista!

  201. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    I was hoping not to have to comment again tonight, but you do continue to sprout absolute b*llsh*t. If the human effect on CO2 levels in the atmosphere is undetectable, then why is it increasing at around 3 ppmv per year? What’s causing it? OK, animals expire CO2, but plants inspire and convert it into animal food. Volcanos release some CO2 in eruptions (the main gas released is water vapor). CO2 in oceanic carbonate rocks is returned to the Earth’s mantle by subduction of oceanic plates. Bush fires release CO2. Regrowth of vegetation traps it again. Humankind burns oil, coal and natural gas. Where’s the balancing uptake?

  202. danr

    A scientific overview to AGW is interesting.

    The basic science of AGW is very pedestrian, embarrassingly so .

    The problem is the confusion created by the vast number of chemical and physical interactions in the CO2 – biosphere temperature question.

    They are easily quantified if you take the trouble, but cause embarrassment to the AGW Cause if taken into account.

    Why would any scientist on a grant take the trouble to do the full analysis when they can get away with doing work on one small element of the process.

    There are reasonable CO2 mass balances done on many sources and sinks of CO2 but you will find nobody wants to integrate the parts into a complete whole.

    The reason is that such an analysis shows the human produced component of CO2 to be disappointingly small against the real sinks and sources. The human effect on CO2 activity in the atmosphere is undetectable.

    This is not good science but a very interesting study in Group Behaviour patterns.

    It’s the universe of politics at its finest.

  203. wayne robinson

    Facts only,

    I’ve downloaded the document and it’ll probably take some time to digest. It’s almost 6 pm and I’ve done absolutely nothing all day. I read this morning that there are places in Japan that have had no Internet access for over a week; I think I might move there.

    At first glance I find the document rather suspicious. There’s no indication as to who the authors are. They link to the Heartland institute (which is partially funded by petroleum companies), and causes suspicion just on that ground. They refer to the notorious Oregan petition with its 30,000 American ‘scientist’ signing, most of whom are engineers, computer scientists or medical practitioners. It makes statements that are patently false, such as the assertion the IPCC had predicted that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by now; actually it was incorrectly stated that this would happen by 2030, and it has been admitted that this was wrong. Some of the graphs show data for the past 10 years only, which is too short a period to demonstrate a trend, and the graph appears to have been altered to show a decrease compared to the actual non-significant increase, non-significant because it’s too short a period to avoid the noise in a chaotic system. In the discussion on solar factors, there’s no mention that we’re currently in a quiet sunspot free period (have been for about 12 years) which would be expected to result in cooling. Satellite measurements of atmospheric temperature show trophospheric warming and stratospheric cooling, which is a smoking gun indication of global warming. It attempts to appeal to incredulity by its reference to trace gasses being impossible to have any effect on temperature. It asserts that there isn’t enough fossil fuels left to cause the feared increase in CO2 levels, which I think has already been debunked. As a rough assessment, at current rates of consumption we have 50 years of oil, 100 years of natural gas and 250 years of coal left, which to me seems entirely adequate to do it, particularly with tipping points (yeah, I know Ian Plimer disagrees that tipping points exist, although he contradicts himself when he also says that climate is chaotic non-linear from top to bottom).

    Enough! The dog wants his walk.

  204. Frank Campbell

    The climate “debate” has moved from merely repetitive and sterile to the barking mad:

    Wayne to Danr:

    “You’ve proved beyond all reasonable doubt that you’re an absolute idiot. You’ve refused to answer to all our challenges to demonstrate your science background, in particular in relation to climatology. You’ve insult anyone who dares to disagree with you. Why don’t you b**ger off? I also doubt that ducks sleep with their heads under their wings to induce a hypercapnia to induce sleep. How would scientists be able to determine this? The level of hypercapnia wouldn’t be sufficient to match the levels used in anesthesia or euthanasia. I suspect it’s actually to keep their heads warm.”

    To think that Australian politics and policy has been reduced to the nasal banality of “We wiw proice caaahbon”.

    Meanwhile, the daily pack-rape of the real environment continues unabated.

  205. danr

    “Why don’t you b**ger off?”

    Sorry Wayne, I can’t do that.

  206. wayne robinson

    Danr,

    You’ve proved beyond all reasonable doubt that you’re an absolute idiot. You’ve refused to answer to all our challenges to demonstrate your science background, in particular in relation to climatology. You’ve insult anyone who dares to disagree with you. Why don’t you b**ger off? I also doubt that ducks sleep with their heads under their wings to induce a hypercapnia to induce sleep. How would scientists be able to determine this? The level of hypercapnia wouldn’t be sufficient to match the levels used in anesthesia or euthanasia. I suspect it’s actually to keep their heads warm.

  207. danr

    DENIALISM:-

    The failure to accept that lack of scientific education is an impediment to understanding.

  208. Facts only

    Proven errors in the IPCC report

    Statements from the IPCC report below that have been proven wrong by properly peer revised scientific reports, and some statements have also been deliberately faked. There are most likely more to be found.

    1. Historical temp records deliberately showing higher increase than there was
    2. Global warming has not taken place as predicted
    3. How, or if, urban heat effects have been considered, has never been revealed
    4. Predicted increase of atmospheric temperature never occurred
    5. There have been a number of periods warmer than now
    6. Sea levels have not risen as predicted
    7. The Maldives shows no sign of being drowned
    8. Melting of the Himalayan glaciers has not taken place
    9. No increased melting of glaciers in general
    10. Predicted melting of the Greenland and polar ice highly exaggerated
    11. Desert areas have not increased
    12. Predicted spreading of malaria was unfounded
    13. There is not fossil fuel available to create predicted increase of CO2 in the atmosphere
    14. CO2 will not stay in the atmosphere anywhere near as long as stated.
    15. The predicted increase of storms due to increased temperature was wrong
    16. Release of methane will not take place as predicted
    17. Mathematical models are not good enough for predicting coming climate according to climate scientists

    Some very important background material has also been deliberately destroyed by the scientists behind the IPCC report.

    Is it really wise to base a whole world’s political decisions on a report with so many proven errors? It is not just one little error as claimed.

    For concentrated facts on the effect of CO2, don’t miss:

    http://www.globaltempfacts.com

  209. Captain Planet

    DENIALISM:-

    “the various forms of denialism have the common feature of the rejection of overwhelming evidence and the generation of a controversy through attempts to deny that a consensus exists.”

    “Individuals or groups who reject propositions on which a scientific or scholarly consensus exists can engage in denialism when they use rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. “

    “Seth Kalichman summarizes the “several incarnations of denialism” by stating: “All denialism is defined by rhetorical tactics designed to give the impression of a legitimate debate among experts when in fact there is none”.”

    DanR, anyone?

    It would be better to stop giving this ASTROTURF IDIOT oxygen. Ignore him.

  210. JamesH

    The point, DanR, is that we are talking about raising the atmosphere’s temperature by 4+ degrees. Since you were so fond of talking about the effect of carbon dioxide on individual’s bodies (ducks, submariners, etc) I thought you might understand the analogy of temperature.

    You can look up the earth’s average temperature on a monthly basis in a wide variety of sources (UAH, GISS, RSI, HadCRUT, etc) . Trying to report daily would add a lot of reporting and computation for very little extra payoff.

  211. Meski

    Putting up strawmen isn’t going to help anyone. What we (as a society) are doing is increasing CO2. The argument is is it significant, and will it cause harm? There’s good arguments against applying the precautionary principle, and there’s good arguments for *not* burning petrochemicals (hint: they are useful for doing other things). I’m not going to wind up the nuke issue again, you likely all know where I stand on that one.

  212. danr

    “Jim Hensen in ‘Storms of My Grandchildren’ ”

    Ha Ha Ha Ha

    At least I gave up reading comics when I turned 12.

  213. danr

    David

    “Why is that?”

    It’s because it’s all over.

    Even the pollies realise the lie has limited lifespan and are trying to disconnect.

    Last one left in the MMGW AGW pool will be seen as dumb.

  214. danr

    James

    “what is the result of elevating someone’s core temperature by 4 degrees+, and keeping it there?”

    And what if we ate 500g of table salt.

    And what if we jumped in a thermal spring at 100 deg C.

    And what if we …. and so on.

    The point is we don’t.

    What is the point of your comment??

  215. David Hand

    Well, Flower, it’s a pity for 8.5 billion human beings that Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, can’t get anyone with the power to act on carbon emissions at the rate he scientifically honestly objectively sagely demands to do anything.

    Why is that?

  216. danr

    “would you finally reveal your qualifications as a climate scientist, and list your publications?”

    No. Don’t have to.

    But consider this.

    People claim to be able to tell you the Earth’s temperature.

    Do you know what it is today? Where do you look up today’s Earth Temp?

    Can’t do that. Well maybe we have a problem.

    Do you realise what a scientific achievement it would be to actually have a scientifically based Earth Temperature?

    This all before we get to the question of whether the earths temp is changing.

    So No, I don’t believe in MMGW.

  217. wayne robinson

    DANR,

    When you finally get around to stop abusing everyone else on this forum, would you finally reveal your qualifications as a climate scientist, and list your publications?

    For your information, Ian Plimer most certainly isn’t a climate scientist either. He’s a mining geologist. Being scientifically trained, he should have made the effort of getting the facts right before twisting them to get his preconceived conclusion.

    Tihsllub,

    I’ve just noticed your previous comment.

    I say Ian Plimer is an AGW denier and you say that he’s an AGW denier, and then you turn around and claim that he isn’t a denier! Reading the précis of the book isn’t a very good way of judging his position. Précis writers often lie (Dan Brown’ ‘The da Vinci Code’ was said in one to be based on facts).

    And then you say that you’re familiar with the Ruddiman hypothesis, that humans started altering climate 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and increasing carbon dioxide and methane levels, and that it’s consistent with the data, then claim that it rules out the influence of CO2 on climate.

    Saying that the data showing similar warming pre-10,000 years to that now is pretty thin evidence to justify rejecting something potentially serious as AGW being true. It’s rather tenuous.

  218. JamesH

    DanR,

    Hate to break it to you, but the world is not a giant duck that needs more CO2 so it can get to sleep at night. Nor is the principal concern about global warming that we are all going to die of CO2 poisoning.
    Since (given your medical background) you seem to be fond of biological analogies: what is the result of elevating someone’s core temperature by 4 degrees+, and keeping it there?

  219. danr

    Inspirational

    “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.
    Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
    Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
    Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
    The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

    For all those who have not found the key to understanding why Man Made Global Warming is mythology, a little inspiration.

    Press on. You will eventually find the truth.

  220. danr

    Flowers Contribution

    “The clueless Danr should be forced to smoke 100 petroleum dipped cigarettes by his mommy, locked in an outhouse and set on fire – “yay, I love my CO2.””

    No scientific content,

    Not so clueless that I can’t pick someone with no real education Rewolf.

  221. danr

    “Exactly how does a degree in “Psychobiology, Neuroscience, Abnormal Psychology and Stats” make you a combustion engineer and climate scientist?”

    That’s a second degree. I didn’t identify the first BSc a long time ago.

    Don’t intend to because it is more than adequate for the task of seeing through the guilt ridden AGW theme.

    Please donate to Greenpeace.

  222. danr

    Wayne,

    Perhaps you might like to consider that comments like the quote you made below are based on hysteria science not accepted in any way by MAINSTREAM scientists.

    “He estimates that if we reduce CO2 emissions by 3% per year (which is a big ask) starting in 2015 in the developed world and 2030 in the developing world, then we have a 50/50 chance of limiting global temperatures to less than 4 degrees by 2080, perhaps 2070 or even 2060.”

    It is patently scientific rubbish peer reviewed by the guy sitting next to him.

  223. danr

    Thanks DAMO for being man enough to admit that his is a dedicated “WARMER” site.

    I guess I’m in the wrong place.

    btw.

    Ducks put their beaks under their wings to increase CO2 levels so they can get off to sleep.
    An inconvenient truth.

    I would much rather have excess CO2 in my bloodstream than excess O2.

    MB,BS and FRCPathA,
    NOT qualified as a professional warmer. Real warmers are generally less qualified than this.

  224. wayne robinson

    Yes, the 4 degree estimate comes from Professor Anderson.

    He estimates that if we reduce CO2 emissions by 3% per year (which is a big ask) starting in 2015 in the developed world and 2030 in the developing world, then we have a 50/50 chance of limiting global temperatures to less than 4 degrees by 2080, perhaps 2070 or even 2060.

    This might seem extreme based on the lower temperature increases seen so far, but it’s based on tipping points, which Ian Plimer states many times in his book as not being scientific terms and therefore doesn’t exist. The concept does exist, except they’re called catastrophes, tipping points being used to avoid panicking the punters.

    Tipping points include such things as the Arctic ice sheet melting completely in Summer reducing albedo, thawing of Arctic permafrost and bacterial decomposition of buried plant matter releasing methane, warming of the oceans and degassing of CO2 as a result of lower solubility of gasses in water with increasing temperature, collapse of the oceanic thermohaline circulation (the oceanic conveyor belt, of which the Gulf Stream is part) with loss of mixing of top and bottom layers of the ocean resulting in reduced ability to take up CO2, collapse of methane clathrates on continental shelves and dying off of the Amazon jungle due to reduced rainfall as a result of increased CO2, increased closure of the leave’s stomata and reduced water transpiration.

    The order in which they’d occur I’m not entirely certain. But the point is that one tipping point leads to the next, as an inevitable consequence, and it’s sudden and irreversible. The politicians probably don’t understand this, and think that AGW is gradual and reversible, and can easily be reversed by action 20 0r 30 years down the track.

    4 degrees would be an enormous increase for us to adapt to. For a start we’d have to reorganise to get the right crops (assuming there are any available) into the right agricultural land.

    Personally, if this is true, I hope the idea of tipping points is true, because I expect to be dead before 2050 and hopefully not too many tipping points would have been tripped. I would like to stagger onto 2060, to see Halley’s comet a second time, but that’s probably too optimistic.

  225. Flower

    @ David Hand: For example, last week, Criky published a piece from a climate activist blogger under the headline “Communicating the science honestly” that climate change will reduce the world’s population to 1 billion before 2100……..It smells like bullshit and less bullshit like that might make the scientific message easier to get out.”

    David Hand – Sloppy perusals of articles can get you into hot water when you erroneously attribute a quote to the blogger, David Spratt. In fact Spratt was relaying a quote attributed to Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change in the UK.

    The Scotsman reports:

    “Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, believes only
    around 10 per cent of the planet’s population – around half a billion people – will survive if
    global temperatures rise by 4C.

    “Anderson, who advises the British government on climate change, said the consequences were “terrifying”. “For humanity it’s a matter of life or death,” he said. “We will not make all human beings extinct as a few people with the right sort of resources may put themselves in the right parts of the world and survive. But I think it’s extremely unlikely that we wouldn’t have mass death at 4C. If you have got a population of nine billion by 2050 and you hit 4C, 5C or 6C, you might have half a billion people surviving.””

    However, if you want to witness ‘ hyperbolic commentary’ look no further than the ‘lunatic fringe’ and the loudest mouth in the deniers’ camp, representing the right-wing movement:

    “Where are they all today, those bed-wetting moaning Minnies of the Apocalyptic Traffic-Light Tendency–those Greens too yellow to admit they’re really Reds?

    “Do we want to see the bed-wetting liars, hucksters, shysters, fraudsters, and racketeers ever-more-extravagantly rewarded with honors and prizes for their ever-more-extravagant falsehoods, fables, and fictions?” (Charlatan, Christopher Monckton, global spokesperson for the right-wing movement.)

    ”Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is not and has never been a member of the House of Lords. However, allegations that he has claimed to be a member, and that he has used an emblem resembling the parliamentary emblem, have been drawn to our attention.

    ”The House is currently taking steps with a view to ensuring that Lord Monckton does not in future either claim to be a member of the House or use the parliamentary emblem or any variant thereof.

    ”Best wishes,
    Information Office
    House of Lords
    London SW1A 0PW
    020 7219 31
    parliament.uk/lords”

    The worst and most vile of the corporate-funded climate science deniers responsible for subverting public understanding of climate change, and risking civilization are in your conservative movement and the Liberal Party in Australia are surreptitiously supporting them. It is with great shame that I advise (anonymously thank God) that two of my immediate family members were once Liberal politicians.

    This is not the age of the conservative movement respecting Planet Earth. It is the age of kicking it in the guts.

  226. wayne robinson

    Jamesh,

    That’s what I was wondering. Either Danr is a really modern polymath or he installs domestic gas heaters and has delusions of grandeur …

  227. JamesH

    DanR,

    Exactly how does a degree in “Psychobiology, Neuroscience, Abnormal Psychology and Stats” make you a combustion engineer and climate scientist?

  228. Flower

    So fossil fuel emissions of CO2 aren’t smog and smoke?

    The clueless Danr should be forced to smoke 100 petroleum dipped cigarettes by his mommy, locked in an outhouse and set on fire – “yay, I love my CO2.”

  229. Damo

    Why are all you denialist still wasting your time here at crikey?
    If you had real evidence that GW wasn’t happening, you could quite easy get some hard cash from Gena Rinehart and her follow fossil fuel mates(they give out more to Denialist then you can get from the government in science grants). There is also possibly a Nobel prize in it for you.

    Do you honestly think I’m going to go against established science based on the rantings of a no body on a blog?

  230. drsmithy

    We draw in CO2 at 390 ppm and expire at 40,000 ppm.

    How is it relevant to the consequences of CO2 as a greenhouse gas ?

  231. wayne robinson

    DANR,

    You do have a reading disability don’t you? I was agreeing with you when I wrote that CO2 is toxic to humans only in ver high levels.

    What exactly are your qualifications? Please list them. I’m getting confused. Combustion engineer, publishing climate scientist, BSc in psychobiology, neuroscience etc.

    I’m starting to feel inferior, since I’ve only got a MB,BS and FRCPathA, neither of which I think I’m allowed to use, because I’ve joined the ranks of the idle rich and now not practicing.

    Your comment of CO2 sinks might not be the salvation you imply. As the oceans warm up, the water will hold less CO2 in solution, so there will be a net release to the atmosphere. This is what we have observed in the past. As the Earth warms up, for whatever reason including the Milankovich cycles, the atmospheric levels increase after the temperature increase. Climate change deniers love to point this out, thinking that it’s a slam dunk counter argument. But it’s just basic science and well known. Jim Hensen in ‘Storms of My Grandchildren’ discusses it at length. At other times, greenhouse gasses lead the temperature increase such as the PETM 55 mya due to a degassing of methane from deep sea stores.

    No one claims that all climate change is related to CO2.

    Another book I’d recommend (published last week) is Don Prothero’s ‘Catastrophes’, which deals with earthquakes, tsunamis, mass extinctions … And global warming. He really takes your hero Ian Plimer to pieces.

  232. danr

    DrSmithy

    We draw in CO2 at 390 ppm and expire at 40,000 ppm.

    Wow

    And!

    we don’t die, amazing .

  233. danr

    Wayne, Wayne,

    You say “CO2 is toxic to humans only in levels of around 5-10%”

    Are you joking?

    Anything is toxic when you ramp up the exposure to unrealistic levels.

    Even the IPCC propaganda machine doesn’t predict anything like that.

    And yes I’m qualified to talk about this via a more recent degree B.Sc. majors in Psychobiology, Neuroscience, Abnormal Psychology and Stats.

    The big problem for humans is that our neural wiring predisposes us to respiratory alkalosis.

    This is sometimes known as “NOT ENOUGH CO2 IN THE BLOODSTREAM”

    Oxygen availability in our daily lives is not normally a problem, unless you are working next to a Blast Furnace where CO will get you.

    Our main problem is lowered CO2 levels which are associated with panic attacks.

    The one big flaw in all this CO2 rubbish is that there are natural CO2 sinks which change in capacity because of “feedbacks” ( I love that word in the right place) in direct proportion to CO2 increases.

    Do some research.

    Sorry that should have been Duck.

    Have you looked at ducks when they’re asleep?

  234. drsmithy

    US submariners live for extended periods in CO2 atmospheres of 8,000 ppm CO2.

    It is hard to believe such a grotesque misrepresentation of the argument could be made by someone without an agenda.

  235. wayne robinson

    DANR,

    I’m still waiting for you to release your list of publications as a publishing climate scientist (as well as a combustion engineer). Also, what exactly you find fantastic in Ian Plimer’s book. Agreed, CO2 is toxic to humans only in levels of around 5-10%, as shown by the asphyxiation deaths in Africa as a result of the discharge of CO2 from lake sediments. The concern with increasing atmospheric CO2 is with its action as a greenhouse gas and in oceanic acidification. Or do you think that Ian Plimer’s analogy of ‘curtains’ is correct and why?

  236. danr

    But then I never went to the University of Sydney ABC campus.

  237. danr

    And as for animals.

    Find out for yourselves how docks and many species of fowl get to sleep.

    You might be amazed.

  238. danr

    “Well CO2 is dangerous to man.” Or so you say.

    Get this.

    Normal atmosphere is 390 ppm CO2.

    US submariners live for extended periods in CO2 atmospheres of 8,000 ppm CO2.
    Official US Government Report.

    The idea that CO2 increase will hurt us is rubbish.

    p.s. don’t go to a large , packed auditorium. CO2 levels can get up to 10,000 ppm CO2. Stay away from rock concerts.

    The uneducated led by the politically cunning.

  239. Flower

    @ DANR – “The end to all this stupidity is near. The world is now realising that CO2 is innocuous in every way and not only that but is essential to our survival on earth.”

    Yep DANR – Why not suck on it and see? The results? In the view of Professor Ervin Laszlo – “very bad” and he also believes that the drop in atmospheric oxygen levels, though insignificant now has potentially serious consequences if A/CO2 emissions continue to rise.

    And those who fail to pursue knowledge are a danger to society.

    So Mr “Combustion Engineer” and “Scientist” – did you know that Ralph Keeling, Director of the CO2 programme at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, wrote about internal combustion engines taking in oxygen and emitting greenhouse gases that send carbon dioxide levels up while atmospheric oxygen levels go down? No? That’s about 400 ppm from 1989 to the present day, a loss of 20 out of every million oxygen molecules per year. C + O2 = CO2.

    Nevertheless, you will find some comfort in the hypothesis that cockroaches and sea slugs cope well in the event of reduced oxygen levels.

    So what will you achieve if you win the climate war Danr? A dirtier environment? More extinctions? Acidic oceans? An unbearably warm planet? Less atmospheric oxygen? A sicker human race? More frequent droughts and floods? Environmental refugees? Every nation for itself? Congratulations!

    See you in your “New Vorld Order” unless you’ve been asphyxiated by CO2 levels during an incarceration in a 2×2 windowless cell for fraudulent misrepresentation of the sciences.

  240. tones9

    ” In other words, if for example 90% of credible, peer-reviewed scientific opinion supports the existence of human-induced global warming, then you would expect that weight to be reflected in our coverage. I believe it is.”

    If this is the official view of the ABC, then it explains a lot.

    Or is it using the weasel word “if” to make a statement it has no evidence for?

  241. thisllub

    Wayne,
    I have just read a precis of the Plimer book that states
    “Plimer sets out to refute the scientific consensus that human emissions of CO2 have changed the climate.”
    Apparently he does this by attempting to attribute other factors to the observed recent increase in global temperature.

    That is entirely consistent with what I said previously.
    “Plimer doesn’t deny global warming he just doesn’t think it is caused by man.”

    Interestingly enough the Ruddiman hypothesis I have heard before and it is consistent with the data.
    There are plenty of sites with charts showing the rates of warming pre 10000 years ago being roughly equal to the current.

    If this hypothesis is correct it would very likely rule out CO2 as the culprit.
    If you look at the chart linked below it appears we were headed to where we now are on the climate scale irrespective of the industrial revolution.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/EPICA_temperature_plot.svg

    It is not necessary to believe in man made global warming to understand that the Earth is getting hotter.
    Just as I have life insurance yet as far as I know have at this time no need for it, I believe it is wise to reduce carbon output just in case the CO2 theory is right.

    DrSmithy,

    The point is that it is not a 200 year window. If you look at the chart linked to above you will see that we are approaching the end of a cycle of warming that seems to last around 120000 years.
    The key question is “is our CO2 emission contributing significantly to this warming?”.
    I am not entirely convinced that it is significant yet I don’t discount the possibility.
    I would like to see evidence that can accurately calculate any percentage of contribution by AGW to the natural warming cycle, because that would mean that we might have some control over it.

  242. twobob

    DANR

    You are an Astroturfer aren’t you.
    You crack me up, because you spout all sorts of goop and dress yourself up as ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘authoritarian’.
    But when you commend plimer you let it all out. Have you seen plimes debate with George Monbiot? The slimy scum sucker couldn’t lie straight in bed and you reckon it’s terrific? Your outed mate.

  243. Meski

    I’ll out myself as not being a climate scientist. I’m a software engineer. Which means I can follow physics only so far.

  244. drsmithy

    Personally I think that #1 and #2 are happening independently of #3 which is making an as yet undetermined contribution.

    Based on what ? The (im)probability, alone, of natural and rapid climate change just happening to coincide with the 200ish year window where us humans are roaming around burning stuff, would seem to require some pretty impressive evidence to counter.

  245. wayne robinson

    Thisllub,

    Go and read ‘Heaven and Earth’, I dare you, to find out what Ian Plimer actually believes. Also read ‘Plows, Plagues and Petroleum’ by William Ruddiman, who argues that humans have been changing climate for 10,000 years, ever since the development of agriculture. William Ruddiman is a retired paleoclimatologist (he doesn’t have any undisclosed issues with research funding) and says that before retirement he was fairly neutral about AGW, being more concerned about resource depletion, such as peak oil. We have been increasing CO2 and also methane for a very long time, except it’s only increased vastly since the industrial revolution. Previously humans were limited to burning stored carbon in timber (from the previous few decades) or peat (from the previous few centuries) and now we are busy using up tens of millions of years of stored carbon from 300 or 100 million years ago.

    Ian Plimer is a denier. Insisting he isn’t based on what you remember he said at a talk doesn’t count. Why don’t you read his book if you don’t believe me?

  246. thisllub

    Wayne.
    Please read my post again
    Just to make it clear, in simple terms I said Plimer doesn’t deny global warming he just doesn’t think it is caused by man.
    I agree somewhat.
    Global warming has been occuring for 10000 years regardless of CO2 emissions.
    It appears to be accelerating because of CO2 but it is difficult if not impossible to quantify the extent of this.

  247. wayne robinson

    Thisllub,

    Well, go and read Ian Plimer’s book before you claim that he doesn’t deny AGW. I did read it (it’s extremely painful, so why shouldn’t you suffer as much as I did), and he does insist that CO2 has nothing to do with climate change.

    His analogy towards the end of the book is to state that CO2 acts like curtains, one cuts down the light from outside a little, 2 a lot more, the 3rd or 4th add little more. I think a better analogy is added sheets to a bed when it’s cold, 1 sheet you’re freezing, 20 sheets you’re warm. The analogy has to do with the fact that CO2 is close to saturation with regard to infrared at it’s current level, so adding more doesn’t cause more absorption. However, what happens is that the infrared absorbed by CO2 is then released, and it may be in any direction including upwards, which is the direction heat is lost. So that’s the reason why you get a temperature/altitude gradient in the atmosphere with falling temperatures with increasing height. Net loss of heat occurs at progressively higher altitudes with increasing CO2 levels, which is why Plimer’s analogy of curtains is thisllub reversed.

  248. Frank Campbell

    D.Hand says
    “last week, Crikey published a piece from a climate activist blogger under the headline “Communicating the science honestly” that climate change will reduce the world’s population to 1 billion before 2100. Now, consider for a moment, the enormity of an outcome like that. Then consider the scientific veracity of that message. If it has serious scientific expert support, I would expect the world governments to be taking far more direct action than they are. Because they are not, I doubt that it has serious scientific support. It smells like bullshit and less bullshit like that might make the scientific message easier to get out.”

    How wrong you are David: “I doubt that it has serious scientific support”. You haven’t come across Prof. Kevin Anderson, who says that in 39 years 95% of homo sapiens will be dead from AGW. Anderson is not some fringe nutter, but diredctor or the Tyndall Climate centre (UK). This was a creature of the East Bumcrack climate modellers made famous by Climategate.

    What really astonishes is that sensible-shoes commentators like Simons can’t smell the bullshit too…

    Crikey’s incessant role in only ever publishing pro-AGW material (most of it vulgar propaganda like the one you mentioned) will not be forgotten: anti-intellectual, repressive, self-defeating.

  249. thisllub

    Chemist actually.
    Long time ago now though.

    Anyhow the scientific method says if you have a hypothesis you have to prove it right and everyone else will try to prove it wrong.

    @ Wayne Robinson.
    It is important that you distinguish between three completely different things.
    #1 Climate change
    #2 Global warming
    #3 Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    I have not read Plimer’s book (not this one anyway) but I have heard him speak and he clearly believes in #1 and #2. This puts him ahead of Nick Minchin and a large part of the coalition.
    I suspect that some of his reasoning in the book is probably an attempt to get the climate change industry some much needed scrutiny.

    Personally I think that #1 and #2 are happening independently of #3 which is making an as yet undetermined contribution.

    ALL of this intersects with the greater problem of how we will provide food and power to the vastly overpopulated numbers on this planet.

    Whatever we choose it is going to cost us four times as much as it does now.

    Nuclear is economically unfeasible under any circumstances.

    Aust govt figures

    (2006) Technology↓ Cost (AUD/MWh)↓

    Nuclear (to suit site; typical)[16] 75–105
    Coal 28–38
    Hot fractured rocks 89
    Gas: combined cycle 37–54
    Small Hydro power 55
    Wind power: high capacity factor 63
    Solar thermal 85
    Biomass 88
    Photovoltaics 120

  250. Frank Campbell

    David Hand:
    ” a group think view that we must shock, scare and frighten a complacent population into action and that accuracy and truth aren’t really necessary because the end will justify the means. ”

    It’s ironic that the parties of the Left are unable to see the class origins of their intensely patronising behaviour. A myopia which is costing them government. How often do we read in these comments that ” a few hundred dollars more on your power bills is a small price to pay …(for climate salvation)”?

    The Greens are now a low postcode party. This is postcode for property-asset wealth. Greens are the accidental beneficiaries of the inner-urban property boom. Meanwhile, back at the ALP, Labour has degenerated into a party of corporate managerialism, run by an incestuous coterie of lifetime apparatchiks. Their ignorance of the empirical, practical world is profound. Their detachment from the daily struggle of the average voter ever greater. They are the blight on the hill.

    Climate millenarianism is the prism which focuses this toxic sociology: at a stroke, the moral Gordian knot is cut. Protestant disgust at hyperconsumption, anger at the daily rape of the environment, revenge against capitalist greed…one great slash of the sword. It’s about guilt, punishment, suffering and redemption. We must go through pain, transformation, and emerge into to the light. Salvation.

    Where is Marx now that we need him?

    Climate is the opiate of the urban Left. Brazen hypocrisy. The chief beneficiaries of hyperconsumptive capitalism are…low postcode Greens, Turnbull-led inner urban Tories and the institutionalised Left in the ALP, the bureaucracy, media and universities.

    And they can certainly afford the costs of the “climate” policy shambles they have infliected on others. Wind turbines will never be in their backyards. There’ll be no insulation fires at their place. Fuel is hardly needed in the inner city. All costs will rise but they’ll hardly notice. Most are tenured in some sense, and on high salaries.

    The political expression of this hubris was exposed in the Higgins/Bradfield byelections. Civilised Liberals would flock to the Greens, appalled by lack of “climate action” and the rise of gauche, hard-Right Abbott. Climate Savonarola Clive Hamilton, “public ethicist”, would sweep into power.

    Nothing happened.

    Will voter revulsion (after years of being patronised by incompetents) be assuaged by Gillard’s tax-cut bribery? Don’t bet on it.

  251. wayne robinson

    Frank Campbell,
    Frank Campbell,

    How many years do you reckon a science has to exist before it’s regarded as not nascent? Climate science has been around ever since the 1830s when the idea of previous ice ages was proposed to explain the piles of rock debris throughout Europe moved by widespread glaciers (previously they were thought to be due to the Flood). Greenhouse gases is also a 19th century discovery as too were changes in the Earth’s orbit to explain climate change. Milankovich in the 20th just added to the science. Plate tectonics as an explanation for much of the carbon cycle has been around for 50 years. Worries about CO2 didn’t just arise with Al Gore.
    Water security and the perceived need for desalination plants and decarbonising the economy are two separate issues. I’d be very happy if algal production of biofuels turns out to be commercially feasible (there’s also research being reported using genetically modified Cyanobacteria), but the scaling up from small laboratory studies might be impossible. Trying to pick winning technologies and throwing large sums of public money at the research probably won’t work (it’s sort of a repeat of the desal plants situation). From a market force perspective it’s better to increase the cost of fossil fuels to account for the currently uncosted environmental damage and to make alternate sources more competitive. The research funds will then follow. Siggy, when he was trying to boost an Australian nuclear power industry, was proposing a carbon tax of up to $50 per tonne to make nuclear competitive.
    Again plan #3 is going to be the way to go, but we need to start very soon. No one thinks that we’re going to be able to build 50 billion dollars of solar or wind or geothermal power facilities in a year. It will be done over many years. And if algal biofuels turn out to be viable in 10 or so years, it will also take many years to make much effect. In the meantime the money spent on other energy sources hasn’t been wasted; it just is another source of energy.

  252. Frank Campbell

    Syzz goes: ” Do you not want to admit that Greenies are right? Can you not believe that progress has its limits? Perhaps the thought that humanity can influence something as big as the atmosphere scares you? Or is it religious? Just don’t pretend it’s a scientific debate.”

    You have to distinguish between tribal Denialists and other critics. For tribal Denialists, climate is just an excuse to attack their traditional enemies on the Green Left. Denialists are the other side of the Janus-faced climate cult. Some are rednecks, some are upper middle-class urban ideologues, like Bolt. Radio shockjocks are the worst- natural bullies. Congenital thugs.

    The Left looks at this unsavoury crew and retches: understandable, but this reaction (tragically) reinforces Left adherence to climate millenarianism: oppose the cult and you’re smeared with contempt.

    As a longtime Greens voter, I despair at the suicidal stupidity of a Left in thrall to the cult. I’m appalled at the latent fascism the cult generates- the intolerance, the repression, the intellectual corruption, the nastiness of socially regressive policies such as the “carbon tax’.

    The cult has control of most institutions- and the progressive media. It’s under siege but still defiant. Simons’ piece reinforces its authoritarianism.

  253. FelineCyclist

    Media Watch covered this last night. The bottom line seems to be that obviously unbalanced reporting by commercial media should be the subject of a complaint to the regulator, ACMA. The right are constantly tying up ABC resources with nonsense complaints about bias and lack of balance. Over the years, the ABC has responded by giving in and having more right-wing hacks on their shows (Insiders anyone?). Why shouldn’t the left and those concerned about accurate reporting put in similar complaints of bias on the topic of climate change against commercial media?

  254. Frank Campbell

    “the science related to CO2 is still very much an immature hypothesis.”

    I’ve been saying this for years. Climate science is a nascent science. The Royal Society (and Kurt Lambeck here) have warned about the innumerable unknowns. We might call it the Rumsfeld Syndrome.

    Just look at the abysmal predictive record of cult propagandists like Flannery and Gore. Flannery tried to foist a desal plant on Brisbane. Flannery-style hysteria forced the world’s second largest desal plant on Victoria. $20 billion. May never be used. $20 billion would buy Abbott a lot of algae. Flannery said Adelaide (etc) would run out of water at a date now in the past. But failure never fazes millenarian cults: they just change the date. And they change the disaster: only 4 years ago it was all global warming, deserts, mass death from heat, fire etc etc. Black Saturday was falsely labelled “unprecedented”. This was denied by the Royal Commission. It is also denied by history. There have been a dozen Black Saturdays in Australia’s short white history.
    Now every “weather event” is a portent, sign and omen. Dangerously close to unfalsifiability.

    Margaret Simons is a victim of climate millenarianism. A sensible, critical commentator blinded by a strong and simple faith. It IS religion, Margaret.

  255. wayne robinson

    DANR,

    It’s too early in the morning to get your moniker right. CO2 isn’t innocuous in every way as you claim. Besides the fact that in concentrations of around 8% it’s rapidly lethal, increasing CO2 levels lead to oceanic acidification with all the consequences for species that use calcium carbonate in their skeletons such as corals, which provide a lot of the oceanic biodiversity, besides being nice to look at and a major source of tourism revenue. Life on Earth currently has evolved to roughly the CO2 levels existing now, plus or minus a 100 ppmv. Undoubtedly, life, given enough time, will adapt to a CO2 level of 1000 or even 2000 ppmv and the conditions entailed. The question is will humans? C3 plants might grow 13% better with a doubling of CO2, but C4 plants won’t. Weeds will also do better in crop lands. Plants absorb CO2 through stomata in their leafs, and with increasing CO2 levels, they’re not left open for as long, because the plants also transpire water through them. A lot of the rainfall in the Amazon Jungle is due to this recycling of water by transpiration, so increasing CO2 will lead to progressive declines in rainfall starting in the western parts and a die off of the Amazon, which is one of the tipping points which will occur, in spite of Ian Plimer’s obstinate repetion of the mantra that there are no tipping points. He also stated correctly that climate is chaotic and non-linear from top to bottom. Non-linear means that there are tipping points (I wonder if he realizes this?). Small changes in a factor above a certain point leading to big disproportionate changes. Ian Plimer, whom you so effusively praise, also isn’t a climate scientist. Given a choice between Tim Flannery, who gets the science mostly right (OK, in ‘Here on Earth’, he did make the error of stating that plants split CO2 to release oxygen, they don’t – they split water to release oxygen), and Ian Plimer, who makes a lot of errors, I’d accept Tim Flannery as the more plausible.

  256. Frank Campbell

    We’re seeing a lot more of this: anonymous scientists commenting. Ask yourself what would happen to these people if they wrote under their real names.

    I’m pleased that genuine scepticism (science) is finally surfacing. “Thisllub” (say it backwards..) says:

    “As a scientist, I see scepticism about AGW as absolutely necessary.
    Again, the evidence for GW is as good as the evidence for evolution i.e. undeniable.
    However, the science related to CO2 is still very much an immature hypothesis.
    Despite this we have a few choices.

    #1 The ostrich approach.
    Until we can no longer deny it, ignore the problem (Liberal).
    #2 The panic approach.
    Believe that all carbon emissions are evil and implement ridiculous legislation that we can’t predict the outcomes of. Introduce penalties that may harm economic activity without any direction towards economic sustainability (Labor).
    #3 The contingency approiach.
    Move our society to renewable energy as quickly as economically feasible. Stabilise population. Encourage development in areas least likely to be affected by increase in average global temperature.”

    But there’s a problem with #3. How to move to renewable energy? Apart from nuclear, nothing yet works as baseload. Nuclear’s brief and undeserved renaissance is over. You know why. At present, vast subsidies are thrown at domestic solar (more or less dumped now) and wind. Wind actually makes things worse: guzzles scarce capital and cannot power a single bulb 24/7. Struggles to reach 20% of rated capacity. Has to be backed up 100% by FF. Is 3 times more expensive than FF. If you wanted an immediate reduction in CO2, gas can do it. Convert coal stations.

    So there’s no alternative to massive publicly funded renewables R and D. Capitalists won’t do it. A carbon tax certainly won’t. The costs will simply be passed on to the consumer. FF infrastructure is vast- the inertia colossal. The price and reliability advantage huge.

    The killer app will come. Perhaps it will be Abbott’s Algae, or geo-thermal or…
    Not a matter of picking winners- every plausible technology needs attention.

  257. danr

    Hi Wayne,

    The basic flaws in the CO2 – AGW mess are at such a basic level that you don’t need to be too over educated to see them, just willing to explore.

    “Yes, I know he trained as a zoologist ” If he was the only one I wouldn’t mind but he is representative of untrained spokespersons for the AGW movement.

    Reality check.

    It’s ideologically based.

  258. wayne robinson

    DADR,

    Grrrrh, do you have a reading impediment? Go back and look at my comment. I called Tim Flannery a scientist. Yes, I know he trained as a zoologist and did a lot of research in Papua-New Guinea as an ornithologist. I didn’t say that he trained as a climate scientist. I’m still waiting for you to list your qualifications and publications as a publishing climate scientist. Heck, I’d be happy if you’d do the same as a combustion engineer.

  259. danr

    “but you cannot deny the irrufutable evidence that many of the fossil fuel chemicals that burn to CO2 are carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic.”

    At least flower understands part of what’s going on.

    The funny thing is the Green AGW movement seems to be led by the fossil fuel industry.

    It has been led to focus on the ONLY harmless off gas in the whole fossil fuel combustion process, CO2, while ignoring the very real and dangerous pollution.

    The end to all this stupidity is near. The world is now realising that CO2 is innocuous in every way and not only that but is essential to our survival on earth.

    The public , and even many politicians, are now coming to the scientific realisation that they have been mislead about CO2. They will be totally neutralised by this cunning scenario organised by the Coal Oil bloc.

    Green canon fodder working for the oil mob.

    Who’d a thought it?

  260. danr

    Hi Wayne,

    You quote “Tim Flannery” as a climate scientist.

    He has no qualifications in that area.

    Have you even checked. I have and its another joke.

    The unqualified leading the obsessed into a scientific bog.

  261. David Hand

    Hey, Frank Campbell,
    Thank you for your thoughful and depressing commentary from the left. As a member of the
    Liberal Party and a believer in AGW, I am also very disappointed about the quality of the debate that has gone on.

    In my view, one major contribution to the dire level of the debate has been the language and rhetoric of the global warming lobby almost from the start. It is an unfortunate myth that all the nutters and axe-grinders are denialists. There are quite a few lunatic ramblings, masquerading as scientific truth, put out by the AGW lobby that have frankly given oxygen to the denialist cause.

    Like the boy who cried wolf too often, there seems to have been a group think view that we must shock, scare and frighten a complacent population into action and that accuracy and truth aren’t really necessary because the end will justify the means. The problem here is that the hyperbolic commentary has had so many things wrong in it that it is almost impossible to distinguish the true science from lunatic fringe polemics. The climate change lobby has handed sceptics and denialists compelling issues on a plate by making so many ill-considered and stupid claims.

    This confusion is what makes the message so hard to communicate.

    For example, last week, Criky published a piece from a climate activist blogger under the headline “Communicating the science honestly” that climate change will reduce the world’s population to 1 billion before 2100. Now, consider for a moment, the enormity of an outcome like that. Then consider the scientific veracity of that message. If it has serious scientific expert support, I would expect the world governments to be taking far more direct action than they are. Because they are not, I doubt that it has serious scientific support. It smells like bullshit and less bullshit like that might make the scientific message easier to get out.

  262. Flower

    Touche Captain Planet.

  263. Captain Planet

    @ FLOWER,

    combustion engineer and a scientist too…..

    SNAP!

    Great minds…..

  264. Captain Planet

    Thisslub,

    Hmmmm another “scientist” eh. Hope you’re not a combustion engineer as well.

    You really want to have your cake and eat it too, don’t you?

    “#3 The contingency approiach. Move our society to renewable energy as quickly as economically feasible.”

    Having rejected an ETS, acknowledged by economists worldwide as the most economically feasible mechanism for moving our society to renewable energy as quickly as possible, how exactly do you propose to achieve this?

    As for the red herring about population, nice try. It is true that population growth needs to be dealt with for a whole raft of environmental and practical reasons, but do not attempt to conflate involuntary draconian population control with action to reduce greenhouse emissions.

    As for “Encourage development in areas least likely to be affected by increase in average global temperature.” Good luck with that. I’m sure the mass transnational migration of humans across sovereign borders will be accepted with equanimity and compassion in the same manner as Australia treats people attempting to move here to escape intolerable living conditions.

  265. Flower

    Wow – A combustion engineer and a ‘scientist’ too DANR? My we plebs are in esteemed company this evening. So when can you introduce us to our first briefing on the science of climate change (via Heaven and Mirth, naturally?)

    And in which of the major fuel and energy divisions are you employed as a “scientist?” Oil, gas, coal or nuclear? Or do you know stuff about everything?

    And surely a gentleman of such high rank wouldn’t be quibbling about a couple of hundred bucks a year he would need to contribute towards cranking up a carbon tax to mitigate the carnage the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries have inflicted on the only inhabitable planet in the universe? And mostly for a couple of hundred years with impunity too.

    Coincidentally my comedian brother keeps telling me he’s a combustion engineer until I gently remind him that he’s actually a pretty good looking grease monkey.

    Aw – not another scientist THISLLUB. So what do you “science” in? Obviously not ambient and tropospheric industrial pollution because the first thing you would know is that regulation by persuasion for forty years, has been an abysmal failure. The second thing is that you can deny A/climate change all you like but you cannot deny the irrufutable evidence that many of the fossil fuel chemicals that burn to CO2 are carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic. Just ask our resident combustion scientist, DANR.

    So that’s what you are promoting with your “contingency plan?” BAU? Delay, delay, delay? Well anyone who advocates for more delay in mitigating FF killer chemicals that are dumping in air, on soil, crops, water and on one’s dinner plate, causing hundreds of thousands of morbidities and mortalities around the planet every year, should be lined up and shot at dawn for crimes against humanity – climate change or no climate change!

  266. wayne robinson

    Thisllub,

    No, Ian Plimer does deny climate change. He just thinks that it’s all part of natural cycles and that we will soon be going into a serious cooling phase in spite of whatever the CO2 level is at the time.

    Tim Flannery and James Hansen, to name 2 scientists, agree with your plan #3, decarbonise the economy as quickly as economically feasible, stabilize population and adapt to the effects of the inevitable climate changes we can’t avoid.

    If we need to build 50 billion dollars of wind/solar/geothermal or whatever energy plants, then we do over many years, and in later years with more experience and research we’ll get better designs.

    The trouble with the government’s approach is that it doesn’t even do #3 let alone #2. It might lead to a little energy conservation, it might make renewable energy a little more price competitive, but it is a start at any rate.

  267. klewso

    If we continue to listen to these “conservative-government-pimping parrots and shock-jocks” (like Jones, Hardgrave, Sattler, Bolt, Ackerman et al, all selling “the joys of their coal-ition”) with their “selectivity” of “fact”, deliberately cultivating ignorance (for mischief and galvanising voters), we’ll find ourselves back to the future knee deep in horse shit – plus the sort they generate!
    Just because someone says something you want to hear – doesn’t necessaily mean they intend to do what you want done. That’s practical “Of course I’ll still love you in the morning” stuff.

  268. thisllub

    @Flower.

    Sorry but you have to understand that Plimer doesn’t deny climate change.
    Far from it.
    However he does question the science that can’t separate the CO2 theory (which can only explain the last 5% of the current warming cycle) from as yet unknown factors.
    As a scientist, I see scepticism about AGW as absolutely necessary.
    Again, the evidence for GW is as good as the evidence for evolution i.e. undeniable.
    However, the science related to CO2 is still very much an immature hypothesis.
    Despite this we have a few choices.

    #1 The ostrich approach.
    Until we can no longer deny it, ignore the problem (Liberal).
    #2 The panic approach.
    Believe that all carbon emissions are evil and implement ridiculous legislation that we can’t predict the outcomes of. Introduce penalties that may harm economic activity without any direction towards economic sustainability (Labor).
    #3 The contingency approiach.
    Move our society to renewable energy as quickly as economically feasible. Stabilise population. Encourage development in areas least likely to be affected by increase in average global temperature.

    Why is it that the parties find the sensible approach (#3) abhorrent.
    Given the choice I am certain the majority would favour it.

  269. wayne robinson

    Syzygium,

    Well, I don’t have any children and I’m at such an age that I doubt I’ll be around to experience catastrophic climate change, so for me mitigation is all pain (I don’t think it will be as expensive as the deniers claim though) and very little gain. Still the same, I will be cheesed off if the human species goes into a serious steep decline toward the end of the century or earlier.

  270. syzygium

    I think the comments section makes Simon’s point exactly – any time you even mention Climate Change you get a crop of denialists who poke their head up and say, “No! Wrong! I know better!” So, as she points out, if you’re a publicly funded institution, what are you to do.

    Denialists, I mean, open-minded truth-judging sceptics, what’s the real agenda here, honestly? Do you not want to admit that Greenies are right? Can you not believe that progress has its limits? Perhaps the thought that humanity can influence something as big as the atmosphere scares you? Or is it religious? Just don’t pretend it’s a scientific debate. Your evidence that this is a massive fraud is far, far more scanty than the evidence for AGW. Please, some of us have children who need to live in this world. Give it up.

    Please.

  271. wayne robinson

    DANR,

    Grrrrrh …. I wasn’t doubting your expertise as a combustion engineer, I was doubting your expertise as a climate scientist.

    I see that you have subsequently promoted yourself to being a climate scientist who thinks Ian Plimer’s book is fantastic. Well, what are your qualifications meeting the other part of the challenge, please provide links to your publications in climate science and list your qualifications.

    Which parts of Ian Plimer’s book do you think are fantastic. The part about the Sun having a solid iron core? Or the Sun being a pulsar star? Or the part about life thriving 250 million years ago with a CO2 level of 2000 ppmv (that was actually the time of the end of Permian mass extinction, the mother of all mass extinctions, probably due to the Siberian trap super volcanos, accounting for the CO2 levels)? Those are only the errors I remember off the top of my head. When I read it, I was amazed that he made so many errors, virtually one a page. I had a suspicion that it was actually a ‘Poe’ and that he was going to soon reveal the hoax …

  272. Frank Campbell

    Wayne: “The reason why there are a lot of ‘warmists’ in today, because we are actually in the majority. It’s only when the ‘freeze brains’ manage to start a fear campaign by exaggerating the cost of mitigation, that the majority opinion veers to the other side.”

    As always with Believers, patronising the public. 18 months ago on Crikey there were hardly any Denialists or even sceptics. Just one or two. Now there are many. (No doubt Crikey editorial is aware of this- but don’t seem to draw any inferences, other than perhaps to muse that there are lot of dickheads around thse days…)

    The polls since 2006 tell the story. It’s wearing off. Of course all sort of nutcases and rightwing ferals are galvanised by climate millenarianism- it’s a stick with which to beat their opponents- the Greens, the ALP and Greg Huntish Liberals. Creeps like Alan Jones can’t believe their luck: a declining cult now enforced by a desperately unpopular tax…

    The climate cult is the worst enemy of climate action. Firstly, fanaticism guarantees political defeat. Secondly, cult policies will not mitigate climate. In fact these policies will undermine/displace potentially useful action.

    Wayne also goes: “Catastrophic climate change is going to be more of a hazard to the poor than the middle classes being made to pay more to fill up their large 4-wheel drives and power their large plasma screen televisions in their air-conditioned home cinemas.”

    Again, Armageddon trumps everything. This is why progressive politics is sinking.

  273. danr

    Hi wayne.

    “And what are your qualifications as a combustion engineer”

    More than adequate and no doubt way ahead of yours.

  274. danr

    I’ve gotta put my hand up for your challenge;

    “And despite repeated requests, no-one has yet referred me to one publishing climate scientist with credentials in the appropriate disciplines – anywhere on the planet, who has critiqued Plimer’s Heaven and ‘Mirth,’ favorably.”

    Well Ive read it and as a scientist I think it is fantastic.

    Another of your statements : “there is no other explanation for the rapid and unprecedented escalation of CO2 occurring now”

    On this all I can say is ; if you don’t go looking then you aren’t going to find. Not a very scientific approach, but then what else would we expect.

  275. wayne robinson

    DANR,

    And what are your qualifications as a combustion engineer to pontificate about greenhouse gases?

    I agree that one should ‘look for the money’. That’s why I’m impressed that all the national science associations have issued position papers accepting AGW. There are none denying it and very few such as the American Association of Petroleum Engineers issuing neutral statements.

    So it’s not just climate scientists seeking funding.

    Research funds are limited. Scientists regard funding of other scientists’ research as being theft from them. When President Obama liberalized federal funding of embryonic stem research, his government was taken to court by two scientists working on adult stem cells who complained that it would make their gaining funding more difficult.

    Frank,

    Catastrophic climate change is going to be more of a hazard to the poor than the middle classes being made to pay more to fill up their large 4-wheel drives and power their large plasma screen televisions in their air-conditioned home cinemas.

  276. Flower

    “On this he shouldn’t be verballed.” I don’t see anyone verballing Plimer, Thisllub. Plimer categorically states that climate change is not anthropogenic so that is quoting Plimer, not verballing him.

    Plimer claims that climate scientists are “pompous and arrogant and are treating people as stupid.” And talk of carbon pollution is nonsense since, he asserts, if the atmosphere were being polluted we would all be in the dark because “carbon is black”.

    Right – Plimer appears oblivious to the fact that black carbon is a result specifically of incomplete combustion. Black carbon is a major contributor to global warming. Further he is clearly is unaware of the gigantic, irrefutably anthropogenic “brown” clouds of particulates and soot that hover over Asia which are dimming the lights in major cities and which have the potential to play havoc with ecosystems. And if memory serves me correctly the size of the Asian brown cloud expands to some 10,000 square miles.

    One does not need a science background to understand that Plimer has flogged his book under false pretences.

    Such notables as Professors Karoly, Ashley, Lambeck, Enting, Bindoff, Wooruffe, Lowe et al and Drs Ayers, Pearman et al have debunked Plimer’s nonsense. Further informed citizens understand that fossil fuel emissions are causing a disturbance in chemical equilibrium of the carbonate buffer. A

    I have read that when carbon dioxide concentrations increase or decrease, causing the equilibrium to be disturbed, a life threatening situation can occur. Check out extinctions and you will discover that carbon perturbations were occurring in the majority of these events though they occurred slowly over thousands/millions of years. And recoveries to the biosphere took some 5 -10 million years.

    However, there is no other explanation for the rapid and unprecedented escalation of CO2 occurring now and over just a few decades too except that the escalation is a direct result of human activity. And could someone please get through to Plimer and tell him that humans now emit >100 times more CO2 than all the volcanoes on the planet?

    And what self-respecting scientist would risk his credibility (or his career) by supporting the lobotomized Plimer, a lead miner and director of several mining companies – the inconvenient facts he endeavours to obscure? Hmmm……perhaps it’s the lead?

    And despite repeated requests, no-one has yet referred me to one publishing climate scientist with credentials in the appropriate disciplines – anywhere on the planet, who has critiqued Plimer’s Heaven and ‘Mirth,’ favourably.

    Come on DANR – enough of the waffle – show us ya money.

  277. danr

    In using the term “Civilised urbane Liberals” are you referring to the person who wanted a tax on CO2.

    Is this the same person who used to manage the Australian branch of one of the worlds largest Carbon Trading Banks.

    Was there perhaps another reason for proposing the tax than simple reduction of CO2?

  278. danr

    Hi John

    Re : “Hell of a lot of warmists in today!”

    Don’t believe everything you read here.

    Thisllub, RoXX, yourself and I seem to have common ground.

    A quote above refers to “thousands” of climate scientists” who consensivise about AGW but what this person wont admit is that many of them in the US especially have been trained in the University facultys of Climate Science. The course work involves little in basic science past year 12 level in Australian schools and then moves on the Environmental studies etc which assume AGW to be proven, established science.

    That very few Australian journalists have the scientific erudition to see through the IPCC AGW CO2 construct is really sad and disheartening for the future of science and an indictment of journalism standards world wide.

    And so we get alarmist comments like:
    “But we are now performing an uncontrolled experiment of burning tens of millions of years of stored carbon fuel in decades, without being clear of the results.”
    which no journalist seems capable of examining.

    The fact is that combustion engineers like myself can easily quantify this “stored fuel” combustion and put it in an engineering context which makes claims of AGW look like monstrous fabrications.

    The scientific truth has been very well hidden by lots of quasi scientific froth and bubble.

    As is always the case the answer to why is found in the old adage: “Look for the Money”.

  279. wayne robinson

    John,

    The reason why there are a lot of ‘warmists’ in today, because we are actually in the majority. It’s only when the ‘freeze brains’ manage to start a fear campaign by exaggerating the cost of mitigation, that the majority opinion veers to the other side.

  280. Frank Campbell

    After you’ve answered my question, I’ll tell you what Hazel Rowley did.

  281. Frank Campbell

    Here’s question, Margaret.

    Let’s suppose a friend you really respect and admire, say a media professional, confesses to you that he/she has lapsed: they’ve suddenly become a Denialist. Not only that, but they’re going public. Outing themselves.

    Assume they do just that. And garner a degree of instant notoriety.

    What would you do?

  282. Frank Campbell

    “At this time in human history, climate change is about everything, and everything is about climate change.”

    The sheer intimidatory power of climate millenarianism is evident in this piece. If Margaret Simons, one of the most rational , thoughtful members of the progressive commentariat, is tied to the fundamentalist position she outlines here, we on the Left are in deep shit.
    This is why the Right, as ugly and discredited as it is in Australia, will win. Remember that the Crikey tossariat predicted Liberal schism after Abbott’s narrow victory. They predicted the apotheosis of the Greens. Some said the Libs were finished. Civilised urbane Liberals (code for Turnbull) would defect. I said the opposite. No need to be Nostradamus- you just had to be outside the bell-jar of the cult.

    Gillard is in an impossible position: she has gambled on a “carbon tax”- a burden on corporations, the working class and the poor. The only way to make it palatable (easy to predict- just took a few weeks to fess up) is to use the tax as a vote bribe. Which subverts its purpose.

    What is the purpose of the tax? It cannot affect climate one whit. It will not affect decisions of other states. It is most unlikely to drive investment in renewables R and D. The price advantage of coal and gas is so great that the tax would have to be far larger to have any effect. But most damningly, the neglect of renewables R and D for decades means there is no substitute anyway. Pumping billions into domestic solar and wind is just another attack by the middle class on the poor, egged on by carpet-baggers.

    The Right is taking advantage of this policy fiasco. Many people will hold their noses and vote for Abbott precisely because “climate change is about everything, and everything is about climate change.”

    The irony is that fervent belief is guaranteed to kill “climate action” of any kind for a decade. You’ll be left with Abbott’s Algae and the rest of the bag of mixed lollies the Right calls policy.

    The critical error in Simons’ position is not climate “belief” vs “denial” or “agnosticsm” getting some “balance” in the media (we don’t need yet more sterile “debates about the science”- just look at crippled Crikey)- it’s that climate policy is subjected to fundamentalism from both sides of the cult. The tribal split determines which set of policies is taken for granted.

    The failure of progressives- and journalism- to critically assess the shambolic implementation, social, economic and “climate” implications of ALP policies in 2009-10 reflects tribal myopia. Did we see anyone criticise the billion dollars handed to the middle class in solar subsidies? To produce just 0.1% of power?

    Green/ALP climate policies are catastrophically stupid. Abbott’s are an incoherent mess.

    There’s no need to mention ‘the science’ at all.

    Now, what was that about “balance” Margaret?

  283. David Reid

    I think the problem may be related to climate change stories being broadly classified as political or scientific. On scientific articles journalists seek to report the science and don’t need counter-arguments from unqualified people. Where articles are political though the deniers get their voice into the story as an alternative political viewpoint. Perhaps Margaret could ask some of her students to analyse this.

  284. John

    Hell of a lot of warmists in today!

  285. wayne robinson

    Thisslu,

    Ian Plimer isn’t a skeptic, he is a denier. Most people who disagree that AGW is happening I call ‘doubters’. But Plimer prides himself on being a scientist and as such is obliged to scientific accuracy. His book ‘Heaven and Earth’ is just a mess of grossly inaccurate science (I know, I was unfortunate enough to have read it).

    Agreed, climate has changed many times in the past, for different reasons. But we are now performing an uncontrolled experiment of burning tens of millions of years of stored carbon fuel in decades, without being clear of the results.

    You might be right that the Bass Strait didn’t exist over 10,000 years ago, so the Aborigines got to Tasmania without getting their feet wet. On the other hand, they could have used similar boats to the ones they used to get to Australia in the first place, and then lost the technology, because they no longer needed it (similar to the way that they lost the ability to start fire, preferring to carry embers from one camp to the next, which is actually sensible – when you’ve walked long distances during the day you don’t want to have to wait for someone to start a camp fire).

  286. andrew

    Is Bolt a holocaust sceptic too?

    If not then why? His job is to make stupid remarks after all.

  287. thisllub

    @flower;
    Plimer isn’t a climate change sceptic, rather he believes that it is happening outside our sphere of influence.
    On this he shouldn’t be verballed.
    Consider that the Aborigines walked to Tasmania up to about 10000 years ago, long before man made carbon emissions.
    Climate change towards a warmer environment has been happening for a long time.
    The science on warming is in but the science on any effect a change in our behaviour might have is up there with casting chicken entrails.
    What we should be spending our money on is developing contingencies.

  288. Flower

    @ John: “Thousands of independent (not for sale) climate scientists refute the dodgy science and crooked data dished up by the warmists.”

    That’s a load of old cobblers John . Show us the “thousands” of climate scientists on your list who actively publish in peer reviewed journals on climate change. If you are referring to the Oregon Petition it is clear that you were too apathetic to open some of the links where you would have discovered that the climate mafia have included authors who agree with the tenets of anthropogenic climate change. And signatories from those who claim a degree in medicine, veterinary science etc does not qualify them as climate scientists.

    Further, there are very few reputable climate scientists on the list. Among the most prominent few are industry and tobacco shills and creationists who feed from the teat of the fossil fuel industry but fail to declare their interests. Why is that?

  289. danr

    Meski.

    It’s good that you highlighted “dihydrogen monoxide.”

    Along with Boron, associated with nuclear fuel, it is extremely dangerous.

  290. wothers

    Margaret, I read Bolts interview with Jill Duggan – so where is the “drubbing”. Bolt asks her a lot of totally daft questions like “how much is it going to cost” which she answered “I don’t know”. Bolt apparently thinks the sort of “costings” pumped out by economists like Lomborg and others have some validity. You are right in one sense, Jill Duggan was far too polite to Bolt. In her shoes I would have answered “I don’t know, you silly twat”.

  291. David

    [What people forget is that the Andrew Bolts of this world are actually proud of their ignorance.]

    The very same Bolt who on the weekend insisted a dose of uranium “is good for you”. Ignorance doesn’t do justice to the tosser.

  292. wayne robinson

    John, when you write about the thousands of independent scientists who doubt AGW, you don’t mean the notorious Oregon petition, with its list of 30,000 signatures? The list includes extremely few climate scientists, consisting mostly of engineers, computer scientists and medical practitioners. The category of atmosphere experts also include astronomers.

    What I find convincing is that all the national science associations, such as the Royal Society, have all put out position papers agreeing with the seriousness of AGW, with none disagreeing and only a few non-committal such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

    It’s not just climate scientists who agree that AGW is occurring.

  293. John

    Who are these scientists who are making gloomy predictions about climate change, apart from the few UN funded IPCC lackeys? Thousands of independent (not for sale) climate scientists refute the dodgy science and crooked data dished up by the warmists. Let’s get real here.

  294. Flower

    That’s it Meski – He can drink from the fount of the holy dihydrogen monoxide if he insists but will he leave out the Chivas Regal?

  295. Meski

    @Flower: Pell really said that? You’ve made my day. He needs to be alerted to the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide.

  296. Flower

    Why would ethical journalists give equal time to a climate sceptic like Plimer who has been ridiculed for a comedy of errors, fudging and manipulation of the data in his book:, Heaven and “Mirth?” Plimer’s book was thoroughly debunked and murdered by Australia’s most eminent scientists.

    Then there’s the self-appointed climate expert and Plimer shill, Cardinal Pell, whose letter on climate change was actually incorporated into Hansard. Let this guy blog away like the rest of us, particularly when he wrote that that he has metadata analysis—that is, “ an analysis that sits above all the papers that are random reviews—but he just cannot find it.”

    Pell writes of greenhouse gases where he includes the gas nitrogen. Head of BOM Dr Ayer, a former CSIRO marine and atmospheric research chief who holds a doctorate in physical chemistry , advised the Senate hearing: “That is not a greenhouse gas; it is 78 per cent of the atmosphere. You cannot have people out there telling the public that nitrogen is a greenhouse gas, because it is not.”

    ”Ayers, when he spoke to the House, was obviously a hot-air specialist. I’ve rarely heard such an unscientific contribution,” crowed Pell to the Herald after telling people at a public lecture earlier that “There’s no substitute for knowing what you’re talking about,”

    On reflection how about a comic series Crikey? Like: “First dog on the moon barks at climate goons?” Membership of the climate mafia would be sufficient for the series to run for a week, surely?

  297. johnd

    What people forget is that the Andrew Bolts of this world are actually proud of their ignorance. They parade it as some sort of measure of how close they are to the “common man”. Bolt doesn’t understand the science, so it must be fake or wrong.

    Of course, they are dragging the “common man” down to their level, but their readers don’t see this as they feel safe and comfortable with Bolt calling all the science wrong. They therefore don’t have to make any effort to understand it.

  298. Jim Reiher

    Roxx – I dont quite get your point. Are you saying that the current crop of journalists are good at distinguishing between truth and exagguration? Or are you being a bit tongue in cheek and implying that they are 2nd rate at reasoning and logic?

    I wonder if a lot of current journalists are the failed students who really wanted to do other courses, but just were not smart enough to get in, or complete them. I suspect that many of them are actually of pretty average intelligence or lower. There are some wonderful exceptions, but the industry as a whole, has not won any merit points from me.

    Especially in the way it handles the topic of climate change.

  299. danr

    How can people say that man made global warming is not real when governments have spent billions worldwide to research the problem.

    There are thousands of PHDs who know that AGW is very real and will lead to runaway global temperatures far too soon for us and our children.

    As one blogger says, “Australia has the worst pollution record in the developed world” and we must take action now.

    Surely. People cant be serious when, like Andrew Bolt, they questions the ABC.

    The ABC is a Government funded institution and has the benefit of all Government scientific resources at its disposal in addition to a fine moderator in Tony Jones.

    If it pushes a certain view it is because it must be so confident of it’s position that there is no need to be impartial.

    It’s just more convenient that way.

  300. michael r james

    [MESKI Posted Monday, 21 March 2011 at 2:30 pm |

    Q: What do you call a qualified Aussie nuclear engineer?
    A: Unemployed.]

    No, it would be closer to the old joke about the death of British science: Contrary to claims that British research is dead, in fact it is alive and well. It’s just that it is in California.

  301. Meski

    @Climate Change: Yes, I’d give the mainstream scientific viewpoint on this the benefit of the doubt, but *never* be uncritical of it. After all, Heliocentrism[1] was once mainstream too. :^) It’s kind of disappointing that the mainstream scientists are behaving like the Vatican in the sixteenth century.

    [1] and a long long list of science ‘facts’ over the centuries.

  302. Meski

    @Jedi: A bad joke, to demonstrate things regarding Aussie experts in the nuclear field.

    Q: What do you call a qualified Aussie nuclear engineer?

    A: Unemployed.

  303. RoXX

    A nonsense story – more deserving of a place in “The Australian”.

    Blind Freddy or possibly even a cadet journalist will be able to discover the difference between *truth* and *lies* in a complex story – all in less than half an hour.

    Especially anyone who has been trained to use the research *tools* that are now generally available to everyone. And if they can think then they might even do it in 15 minutes.

    Or are you saying the current crop of *journalists* can’t do that?

  304. arnold ziffel

    I cannot reoncile the quote from Sunderland above with the attention that was given to Lord Monckton last year – the ABC’s idea of balance apparently doesn’t consider credibility as a factor.

  305. willozap

    @Captain Planet: Oh, I don’t doubt it that journalists have to drum up readership.

    I just thought we were debating the pull of journalists’ ethical code (as Margaret argues, balance; as I would prefer, accuracy) against any more prosaic business interests.

  306. klewso

    Which “journalists” (holed up in thoose nooks and crannies – like “cockroaches”?) that “adhere to their traditional credo: that what they publish should be balanced” are you referring to – read today’s editorial and that piece – nurturing uncertainty and prejudice?
    “Journalists”? You mean like “Papa ‘doch’s” “political correspondents” – with an agenda to run?

  307. Jedimaster

    As Garnaut said: “That’s a very strange sort of balance. It’s a balance of words, and not a balance of scientific authority.”

    The ABC should heed this comment. For example, in its coverage of the on-going nuclear power station problems in Japan, the ABC has given prominence to two passionate, non-expert nuclear boosters- Ziggy Switkowski and Barry Brook.

    Fran Kelly was almost fawning when she back-announced Switkowski last Monday as a “nuclear expert”. He was a theoretical physicist 35 years ago and Ansto chairman recently, but he is not an engineer or nuclear safety expert.

    Brook is a professor of environmental science, not even nuclear science, but continues to get airplay on ABC’s 24, making reassuring, seemingly technical, comments about a topic that is far afield from his expertise.

    If these gentlemen were asked for their qualifications to substantiate their opinions, they would be found wanting. As would many interviewees on the ABC who are more than eager to make unsubstantiated claims for their cause.

    Of course journalists cannot be expected to be expert on everything that they have to report on, but they need to have the skills to verify the expertise of those whom they interview.

    And they should heed Lord Northcliffe’s dictum: “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.”

  308. Captain Planet

    @ WilloZap,

    Unfortunately in the modern media environment the central credo of a “good” journalist is to write stories which sell as much advertising, newspapers, airtime etc. as possible.

    Creating the illusion of a hard fought debate over climate science and then covering the manufactured debate with breathless anticipation, as though it were a world heavyweight title fight, sells more papers and attracts more viewers / listeners than sound, accurate presentation representative of the majority of the world’s scientific opinion.

    Especially when the intrinsic message is that our way of life has to change drastically. People don’t want to hear that and they will flock to any media outlet which offers them an alternative viewpoint – no matter how unsubstantiated.

  309. willozap

    Surely the central credo of a good journalist is not to adhere to some mythical notion of ‘balance’, but to represent both knowledge and uncertainty as accurately as possible? Surely?

  310. Captain Planet

    Alan Sunderland:-

    “if for example 90% of credible, peer-reviewed scientific opinion supports the existence of human-induced global warming, then you would expect that weight to be reflected in our coverage.”

    Hear, Hear.

    Finally a voice of reason from within the media establishment.

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