Monday, November 17, 2014


Seven current articles below, including Mr Obama's latest effusion

University of Qld preaches Warmism

They think that you learn critical thinking by absorbing warmist dogma, not by criticizing it.  Course outline below.  It's clear that climate skepticism has got them rattled.  It's an EDx (online) course -- which makes it difficult to ask questions and answer back.  The University of Qld is one of the homes of "Mr. 97%" -- psychologist John Cook.

In my years doing psychological research I grew accustomed to finding conclusions in the work of my colleagues that were  at variance with what they actually found.  And Mr Cook's work does not disappoint.  As you see below, the take-home message of his study was that "97% of climate scientists conclude humans are causing global warming".  What he actually found however was that two thirds of the academic publications he surveyed "expressed no position" on warming, probably suggesting that many of the writers disagreed with it.  Disagreeing with it explicitly is perilous for a scientist these days

There are also other serious problems with the Cook study and its conclusions

The fact that UQ students are being taught the sort of deceptive nonsense below goes a long way towards explaining why Obama got a rapturous response from some UQ students when he gave a Warmist speech there

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? Learn to make sense of the science and to respond to climate change denial.

About this Course

In public discussions, climate change is a highly controversial topic. However, in the scientific community, there is little controversy with 97% of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming.

Why the gap between the public and scientists?

What are the psychological and social drivers of the rejection of the scientific consensus?

How has climate denial influenced public perceptions and attitudes towards climate change?

This course examines the science of climate science denial.

We will look at the most common climate myths from “global warming stopped in 1998” to “global warming is caused by the sun” to “climate impacts are nothing to worry about.”

We’ll find out what lessons are to be learnt from past climate change as well as better understand how climate models predict future climate impacts. You’ll learn both the science of climate change and the techniques used to distort the science.

With every myth we debunk, you’ll learn the critical thinking needed to identify the fallacies associated with the myth. Finally, armed with all this knowledge, you’ll learn the psychology of misinformation. This will equip you to effectively respond to climate misinformation and debunk myths.


Green Obama in Australia

He knows how to sound good to the ill-informed, as Leftists usually do.  It's their stock in trade.  Doing good is however usually beyond them

U.S. President Barack Obama gave a landmark speech at the G20 Summit on Saturday where his call for immediate action to protect the Great Barrier Reef was met with rousing applause.

Conservationists have claimed that the U.S. President's urging should force industrialisation along the Queensland coast to stop immediately.

Mr Obama piled pressure on the Abbott government to act on climate change, declaring that natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef were under direct threat from climate change.

And although Prime Minister Tony Abbott did not mention climate change in his opening address to G20 leaders, it appears the government may be backing down on the eve of the main leaders' event.

The U.S. President said today that no country was immune to the effects of climate change and that everyone must play a role in fighting the global phenomena.

'I want my daughters to be able to come back and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit, he told an audience at the University of Queensland to loud applause.  'I want that there 50 years from now.'

Despite the official G20 agenda excluding the issue of climate change, President Obama mirrored the concerns raised by protesters outside the venue in South Brisbane, calling for developed nations to join in the 'global fight'.

While the Australian government attempted to keep the focus of the Asia-Pacific leaders summit on economic growth and jobs, Mr Obama steered the focus back to climate change, following the U.S. deal with China to slash emissions.

The U.S. President also urged younger Australians to put pressure on politicians to take action on the issue and committed $US3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to aid developing nations to assist with initiating economies that were cleaner-fueled.

Japan is also expected to unveil a $US1.5 billion contribution to the fund over the G20 summit weekend.  Civil society groups are urging Australia to make its own contribution.

President Obama's speech to several hundred lucky students was one of the hottest items on the G20 agenda, and he didn't disappoint

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said the US president had put the reef's future front and centre, and the government must stop paying lip service to serious concerns raised by UNESCO, the UN's environmental arm.

UNESCO has given Australia until February to show it is properly managing the Barrier Reef, and if the world body is not satisfied with the response, the reef could be listed as a World Heritage site 'in danger'.

Felicity Wishart, spokeswoman for the Marine Conservation Society said that it was time for the Federal and Queensland governments to 'take heed and act decisively.'

She claimed that the government had attempted to 'placate concerns by whitewashing international consternation such as that expressed by UNESCO and the World Heritage committee.'

Ms Wishart said that in order to reverse the trend, 'our governments must stop the rapid industrialisation of the coastline, driven primarily by plans for increased coal mining.'

President Obama also issued a stark warning to Russia over the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and pleaded for the world to act on climate change.

President Obama told the audience that Russian aggression was a 'threat' to the world

In the address, the president also urged the world to seal a global deal on climate change, 'because I have not had time to visit the Great Barrier Reef,' Mr Obama said, to a roar of laughter. 'And I want to come back!'

The president also acknowledged Australia has had a 'healthy debate' about action to stop climate change but he said that if China and the United States could strike a deal on the global threat - as they did earlier this week: 'We can get this done.'

After the address, Australian political bigwigs seemed to transform into political groupies, delighting in receiving a handshake from the president as he left the room.


Obama a Peking lame-duck president

Piers Akerman

IT doesn’t take much to fool the hopey-wishy media, as the announcement of a ­non-binding agreement between the US and China on global ­warming has so clearly demonstrated.

Labor and the Greens were also there, sucked in and trying to exploit the empty pledge to wedge the Abbott government on its Direct Action emission ­reduction plan.

Stripped of the pretentious verbiage, the announcement merely states that the US and China have a non-binding intention to cut C02 emissions.

The Chinese have made a Peking duck out of the lame-duck US President Barack Obama — who was resoundingly rejected by American voters at last week’s midterm ­elections.

Reader Alan M. Jones put the Obama administration’s non-binding intention “to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent” by 2025 into perspective.

He found that the US ­reduction target, based on its peak 2005 emissions baseline of 6112 million tonnes per year, if achieved, would bring US C02 emissions to about 4523 million tonnes by 2025, or to about 5318 million tonnes by 2020, or in other words about 11 per cent below 2000 US levels of 5971 million tonnes.

Owing to a combination of sluggish economic growth under the Obama presidency and the huge ­uptake of domestic gas, the US had already dropped to almost exactly that level (5383 million tonnes) by 2012.

China’s non-binding ­intention to reduce emissions from 2030 is equally laughable.

By contrast, the Abbott government has won ­binding legislation that will see Australia reduce its C02 emissions by 2020 by 5 per cent below its low 2000 ­levels, unconditionally, or 13 per cent below its similarly relatively high 2005 C02 output.

While Labor, the Greens and their media friends at the ABC and Fairfax Media have tried to beat up on the Coalition, the authoritative US journal The Hill reports from Washington that senior Republican, Senator James Inhofe, who will head the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee next year, says China can’t be expected to hold up its end of the bargain.

“It’s hollow and not ­believable for China to claim it will shift 20 per cent of its energy to non-fossil fuels by 2030, and a promise to peak its carbon emissions only ­allows the world’s largest economy to buy time,” ­Inhofe said. “China builds a coal-fired power plant every 10 days, is the largest ­importer of coal in the world, and has no known ­reserves of natural gas.

“This deal is a non-­binding charade.”

China accounted for more than 70 per cent of the world’s energy consumption growth in 2011, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, and not ­unnaturally, its emissions have risen correspondingly.

China’s chief negotiator at the Doha climate change conference, Xie Zhenhua, told the Xinhua news agency that the country’s greenhouse gas emissions — which rose 171 per cent between 2000 and 2011, and by just under 10 per cent last year — would keep rising until its per capita GDP had reached $20,000 to $25,000. It currently stands at $5000.

Taking anything the ­Chinese say at face value is risky though, as the left-wingers’ bible The Guardian ­acknowledged in its report on the non-binding deal.

The paper reported that “China’s environmental authorities are notoriously opaque, making the true extent of its carbon emissions — and its progress in mitigating them — difficult to assess. In June, scientists from China, Britain and the US reviewed data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics and found that the country’s total emissions from 1997 to 2010 may be 20 per cent (1.4 billion tonnes) higher than reported.”

While a raft of NGOs ­palpitate over Australia’s role in supplying the energy that has lifted thousands of millions out of poverty in China and elsewhere, left-wing organisations rail against C02, the tasteless, odourless gas that is ­essential to plant growth and is boosting crop ­production globally.

One of Australia’s largest food producers, the Costa group, which is expanding its Guyra tomato-growing glasshouse complex and increasing its employees to about 470, generates about 1800 tonnes of C02 a year by burning propane to keep the glasshouses at a constant temperature. This C02 is ­indispensable to the growth of Costa’s tomatoes, as it is to all forms of plant life, though green-left vegetarians won’t recognise this fact.

What the luvvies like is the vibe of the empty statement. As Fairfax’s rapidly shrinking print organs ­wistfully reported, “symbolism is the most potent ­element”, as if there was some ­substance in the hot air erupting from Beijing.

With global warming alarmists unable to explain the pause in rising temperature, the failure of the IPCC to present any new data in its most recent report, and the hollowness of the ­commitment made by the world’s two biggest economies, Labor and the Greens have again shown ­themselves to be out of touch with reality.


Warmists rely on outdated data

Michael Asten, a professor of geophysics, points to inconvenient data that the IPCC has left out

THE climate lobby will be working the corridors of the G20 ­meeting in Brisbane this weekend, using the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report and Climate Council ­commentary.

Curiously, neither has updated the underlying observational ­science relating to climate change; the figures are subsets from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, where data and literature review stops at 2012. Observational data and climate model predictions are presented separately, concealing the uncomfortable truth of the global temperature ­hiatus, which challenges the fundamental ­assumptions of the models. It is a challenge that gets stronger every year as increasing atmospheric CO2 content is unmatched by predicted temperature increase.

How would Joe Hockey fare if he went to the G20 with economic data that was two years out of date?

While scientists published in top journals treat the temperature hiatus as fact, activists still deny its existence. Thus the Climate Council (once a proud group of government-­funded scientists in the Climate Commission, now a privately funded lobby group) claims, “Myth: The Earth has stopped warming since 1998”. Use of the word warming is imprecise, being interpreted as “temperature” or “heat content” dep­ending on the argument of the moment.

The “heat content” approach hypothesised that warming of the deep oceans was compensating for lack of global surface warming. This has been studied in a series of important papers, most recently by William Llovel and co-workers at the California Institute of Technology who used quantitative observations of global ocean mass and temperature profiles to show that the deep ocean has in fact cooled slightly in the past decade.

Failure to include this in updated assessments by the IPCC and Climate Council is inexcusable.

The hiatus in temperature can also be studied using smoothed averages. Both the Synthesis Report and the Climate Council report use old plots that show a steady rise in smoothed temperature to 2010.

Yet NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies’ global temperature graphs are updated monthly, show five-year averages, are publicly available on the internet and show average temperatures peaked in 2004 and show a decline for the following eight years. Since similar declines in global temperature occurred in 1880-1910 and 1950-75, it is reasonable to ask whether the present apparent decline is historically unusual, and why our government science advisers ­persist in the view that steady increases in atmospheric CO2 are the major driver of such changes.

If a downward trend in global temperature is confirmed in the next decade, it will be no surprise — at least three recent peer­-eviewed papers predict that — but such views are not even hinted at in the IPCC or Climate Council reviews of possible scenarios.

The dichotomy between observational data and models is similarly marked with sea-level data of the past 120 years. The rate of rise across the past century is 1.7mm a year and has increased to about 3.2mm a year across the past 20 years. The data shows that the fast 3.2mm a year rate of rise has occurred twice in historic times (around 1860-80 and 1930-50). The IPCC modelling studies of sea level rise to 2100 show up to 80cm of total rise by 2100, increasing from the present 3.2 to a predicted huge 15mm a year. These projections have immense economic and community importance, as they have been supplied to government and planning bodies for consideration of restrictions on coastal land development.

Given we have 20 years of over­lapping precise satellite ­alti­meter-observed data and the mod­els, we should have been given comparisons between sea-level data and model predictions, and assessment of any evidence for acceleration of the rate of rise in the first sixth of this century. Yet neither the IPCC nor the Climate Council, or the publicly funded CSIRO on its website, even admits the existence of recent data such as that by Anny Cazenave and co-workers at the Geophysical and Oceanography Laboratory, Toulouse, which shows that from 1994 to 2011 the rate of observed rise in global sea level decreased from 3.5 to 2.5mm a year.

It is of great concern that bodies meant to provide scientific advice are unable to admit that observations show the rate of sea level rise going in the opposite direction to predictions for the first 15 per cent of the model time span.

If Australian politicians get shirt-fronted at the G20 on climate change, they should insist on briefings on recent observational data and its implications for climate model predictions before committing taxpayer dollars to the $100 billion a year UN-led Green Climate Fund.


Save that tree!  Too bad if your house burns down

Typical Greenie disregard for people

Almost all NSW's coastal land from one end of the state to the other is affected by the controversial 10/50 bushfire clearing laws, a never-before-seen map drawn up by the NSW Rural Fire Service shows.

The laws allow people living near bushfire prone areas to remove trees within 10 metres of their house without seeking any approval, leading to concerns the green light would be given to lopping trees in sought-after suburbs.

The map, which the RFS told the NSW parliament in August did not exist, was obtained by Greens MP David Shoebridge after a Freedom of Information battle with the fire agency.

Mr Shoebridge said it shows how much land is affected by the new laws.

"The potential reach of the 10/50 laws is far greater than previously thought," Mr Shoebridge said.

"The chainsaws are loose in the third of the state where almost everybody lives, it looks like this is just the starting point for the 10/50 laws."

A spokesman for the Rural Fire Service said that "much of the NSW coast has been identified by local councils as being bushfire prone land."

"However, it would be misleading to say that most of the coastline falls within a 10/50 entitlement area, as much of this area consists of national parks, public land and private land, on which there are no homes,"  the spokesman said.

The Sun-Herald reported in August widespread concerns that the new 10/50 bushfire laws were being abused by some landowners up and down the coast felling trees and shrubs for harbour views and development potential rather than reducing bushfire risks.

Councils and community groups have complained that trees have been disappearing overnight in some Sydney suburbs. Lane Cove residents Corrine Fisher and Gaye White have recorded the felling of 240 trees in their suburb since the introduction of the laws on August 1. Ms Fisher said of those maybe five were for bushfire safety reasons.

Ms Fisher said an added complication has been that the chip bark from the felled trees was being dumped or spread around the suburb, adding to the bush fire risk. "This is a complete and utter policy failure," she said.

The new laws were introduced to give people living near fire-prone category I or category II bushland the ability to increase their level of protection against fires, after the devastating blazes that destroyed more than 200 homes last year.

An investigation by The Sun-Herald into the 10/50 laws revealed that since the laws were introduced on August 1, trees were being stripped from areas from Palm Beach to Pittwater, Mosman and Sutherland Shire to improve views and property potential.

A critically endangered remnant rainforest has been being cleared on a property at Fingal Head on the north coast and tree-lopping companies advertised discount rates for streets banding together to clear unwanted trees. Concerned residents have said almost all the central coast appears to have been affected.

Fairfax Media reportedthis week that the trees on 92 per cent of Lake Macquarie properties south of Newcastle, could be removed if the new laws stayed.

After a public outcry, the RFS has agreed to review the laws and take submissions made by the public, councils and community groups. The spokesman said by the closing date they had already received more than 1200 submissions, which would be taken into consideration.

However, residents are calling for an immediate moratorium on the laws until the review has finished and are planning a protest outside the Premier Mike Baird's office on November 24.


Conservative NSW government puts NSW coal seam gas plan on table

Coal seam gas projects would be considered for Sydney's sensitive drinking water catchments and landholders will have no legal right to refuse drilling on their land under a state government plan for the controversial industry.

The government hopes the announcement will defuse community angst over coal seam gas mining ahead of the election next March. However voters will not be told where coal seam gas mining is allowed until after the election.

Announcing the plan on Thursday, NSW Nationals leader Troy Grant said coal seam gas was the "most polarising" issue facing the government. The plan would toughen regulation and take a more strategic and transparent approach to releasing land for gas exploration, including better science and data collection.

Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts said the regime would secure the state's gas supplies and drive down prices.

There is a temporary ban on coal seam gas activity in Sydney's water catchment buffer zones known as "special areas". However under the new regime, coal seam gas operations anywhere in water catchments would be considered.

The position is at odds with a 2009 promise by then opposition leader Barry O'Farrell, who said a Liberal-National government would "ensure that mining cannot occur in any water catchment area. No ifs, no buts. A guarantee".

The government said it had adopted the 16 recommendations of NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane's landmark report into the industry, including rigorous enforcement, improved communication and better compensation for landholders and communities.

A new assessment framework will determine which areas are open for gas exploration, considering economic, environmental and social factors. It will not be in place until mid-2015.

Mr Grant said the government would only allow operations "where it is safe and appropriate" and all national parks and urban areas will be protected.

Coal seam gas operators Santos and AGL have agreed not to enter properties to drill without landholder consent, but the deal is not legally binding. The government's new plan does not enshrine a veto right in legislation.

However, the government will require gas companies to negotiate land access arrangements and pay compensation to landholders.

The government will extinguish 16 pending petroleum licence applications covering 43 per cent of the state, and continue a freeze on new licence applications.

The Environment Protection Authority will assume responsibility for enforcement and compliance. Existing coal seam gas projects, such as those at Camden, Gloucester and the Pilliga, will not be subject to the stricter rules.

The Greens and Labor both claimed the plan gave the green light to the coal seam gas industry, and questioned the government's claim that Professor O'Kane's recommendations had been fully implemented.

AGL welcomed the plan, saying it acknowledged the need to secure the state's gas supplies. Santos warned the announcement must not slow existing projects.

Protect Sydney's Water Alliance spokeswoman Isabel McIntosh said coal seam gas mining can have unintended results, and the industry must be permanently barred from water catchments.


Vic Libs preference Greens last: Napthine

This refers to an important peculiarity of the Australian electoral system that non-Australians are unlikely to understand immediately:

THE Liberals will preference the Greens last in all lower house seats in the upcoming Victorian election, Premier Denis Napthine says.

DR Napthine said the Greens were bad for the economy and bad for Victoria.  "The Greens will threaten the future of our strong economy," he told reporters on Thursday.  "They will destroy jobs and put Victorian families at risk."

Dr Napthine was unclear on whether this would mean the Liberals would preference the Greens higher than controversial parties such as Rise Up Australia.

"We'll be putting the Greens last in lower house seats, and we'll be reserving judgment in the upper house," he said.  "In most cases, we'll be putting the Greens last."

Victorians go to the polls on November 29.

Dr Napthine said it was not known who all the candidates are yet, and when asked about Rise Up Australia, said: "We've got to see where they've got candidates".  "We will put the Greens last as a general rule."  "If there's extremist candidates we will consider putting them below the Greens."

The Greens say they had already assumed they wouldn't get the preferences.  "The fact is many inner city Liberal voters ignore the how-to-vote card and preference Green anyway," the party said.

Labor has already shunned a formal preference deal with the Greens.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: