Sunday, August 02, 2015

Halfway to Hell: Global Temperatures Hit Critical Point, Warn Scientists (!)

Ya gotta laugh! A one degree temperature rise in 135 years!  Panic!  No-one even noticed it until the Greenies began to froth at the mouth about it. And even that one degree embodies a prediction.  The reality is around two thirds of that.

They list what appear to be five interlocking temperature graphs.  They are interlocking indeed.  They all use the same basic terrestrial temperature readings.  They are far from independent.

How strange that the authors have omitted the much more comprehensive satellite records!  The fact that the satellite record shows NO warming might have something to do with that.  The whole article below is essentially a fraud ginned up to influence the forthcoming Paris climate conference

And the wording is really slimy. The bit that amused me most was:  "Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns already increase heat-related illnesses".  That's true by definition. What about illness from all causes?  It's actually COLD that increases illness from all causes!

And there's the old chestnut that "2014 was the hottest year since records began".  Which records?  Certainly not the satellite record. And even if we take the terrestrial records as honestly compiled, the 2014 temperature differed from the temperatures of the last 18 years only by hundredths of one degree. So "2014 was the hottest year since records began" gives a quite false impression that the temperature rise is ongoing.  It is not.

And what about the "scientists" in the heading?  WHICH scientists?  Certainly not all scientists.  An honest heading would be "Many Scientists" but honesty is not to be expected of Warmists, of course.

I could go on but the crooks below have pulled out every trick in the book to make their case -- which shows you how non-existent their case is.  It's propaganda worthy of Dr. Goebbels

As 2015 shapes up to be the hottest year on record, scientists warn the world could be halfway towards surpassing countries’ self-set red line of 2C temperature rise.

New research commissioned by the New Scientist shows that four out of the five major surface temperature records are set to pass the 1C point this year, measured from the 1850-1899 average.

At 1C climate change is already affecting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations as warming brings escalating sea level rise and more intense and volatile weather extremes.

Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns already increase heat-related illnesses, enhance the spread of disease, reduce crop yields and threaten access to clean water and could result in forced migration, conflict and social disruption.

Bold climate action will save huge numbers of lives and produce significant cost savings in the health sector. Direct health impacts from climate change are expected to cost the world US$2-4 billion a year by 2030.

2014 was the hottest year since records began.

Now with an El Nino underway and predicted to intensify, it looks as if the global average surface temperature could jump by around 0.1C in just one year. And, 2015 is “shaping up to smash the old record.”

The latest research underscores the urgency for government’s to act and the solutions are ready and waiting.

In December governments will meet in Paris to agree a new global climate pact, aimed at moving the world closer to keeping warming below the 2C threshold, or even the 1.5C demanded by vulnerable countries.

With the renewable sector strengthening every day and fossil fuels facing a battle for survival, there is no excuse for inaction.

Governments must arrive in Paris ready to signal their collective vision for a complete phaseout of fossil fuels in favor of a 100 percent renewable future.


Now it's Legionnaires' Disease that is supposedly caused by global warming

Pesky fact:  Even the much-massaged terrestrial temperature data show no statistically significant global warming for many years.  So NOTHING can be due to global warming over that period

The number of reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise in the United States and researchers say the increase could be partly a result of climate change.

More than three times as many cases of legionellosis, of which Legionnaires’ disease is one form, were reported in 2009 than 2000 — 3,522 up from 1,110, according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York City, where an outbreak in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx has killed two people and sickened 46 since July 10, has seen a similar rise. The incidence of cases increased 230 percent from 2002 to 2009, with the greatest number in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to an October study in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The recent outbreak in the Bronx, where residents already have high rates of asthma, is the second in the borough this year. Twelve cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in December and January and were traced to an apartment complex cooling tower.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that two rooftop cooling towers in the area had been found to be contaminated, including one at Lincoln Hospital. Both are now being disinfected, he and the New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, said.

"We’re aggressively investigating and testing all possible sources," de Blasio said.

Legionnaires’ disease, identified after 34 deaths among American Legionnaires returning from a 1976 convention in Philadelphia, is a sometimes deadly pneumonia that is spread through the environment, rather than person to person, often in a mist of contaminated water from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers or faucets. It is not contagious.

Dr. David N. Fisman, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said in an email that he doubted the increase was the result solely of improved testing. The rise is linear and across all regions of the United States, he said.

It is difficult to be certain that climate change is a factor but it seems plausible, he said. The bacteria is more infectious in warm temperatures and some studies, including one he and others did in 2005, have shown that wet, humid weather predicts an upsurge in the risk of contracting the disease over the following week or two. That finding was not replicated in Toronto, he said, but there the disease peaks later in October in that area.


Another ecoflop

"Green" buildings have a woeful history of bungles and a new eco development has been plagued by damp, draughts and dodgy gas pipes

An eco development by Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud has been plagued with a series of building blunders including damp, draughts and problems with the gas supply.

The 78 properties in Stroud, Gloucestershire quickly sold out as buyers snapped up the state-of-the-art homes, which have been 'super insulated' and triple glazed to preserve energy.

But now homeowners have reported a string of complaints with the houses, which include damp on the walls, draughty windows, uncapped chimneys and poorly installed plasterboard.

Some properties also did not comply with standard reulations for central heating systems as a gas leak was discovered.

Several residents were forced to move out of their houses for up to three weeks and put their belongings into storage, while extensive repairs were carried out.

The development, called Applewood, is built on the site of the former Cashes Green Hospital in Stroud.

It was designed by Mr McCloud's property company HAB - Happiness Architecture Beauty - and built by construction firm GreenSpace.

The estate, has a variety of green spaces including a 'pocket orchard' and a natural 'wildlife corridor' running through the site.

Clare Honeyfield, 51, moved into her £125,000 apartment at Applewood almost a year ago.

Her company Made in Stroud, even provided some of the product for the interior of the show home.

But now she said: 'I bought this very much on the Kevin McCloud brand. They were designed by his architect company. I could not feel more let down.

'I don't see the corporate social responsibilty I would expect from Kevin McCloud's company. I feel like we have been dumped while they move on.

'I absolutely regret buying into the Kevin McCloud brand. I feel very disappointed.

'You could make a whole episode of Grand Designs about the issues the neighbours here are going through.

Ms Honeyfield first started to notice problems with her apartment late last year and says she has been trying to resolve them ever since.

Three weeks ago, she moved out of her property with all of her possessions for repairs to take place, and only moved back in yesterday.

She explained: 'I have been in a property for nearly a year which isn't gas safe. It's not a saleable property.

'In October I noticed damp patches on the chimney breast in the bathroom and the bedroom.

'The wrong sort of plasterboard had been used and it had been put straight onto the brickwork.

'It now turns out the chimneys weren’t capped. I had to have three of the windows replaced because they had been fitted out of square and there wasn’t a proper seal.

'My property is also still not gas safe because there isn’t an isolator valve on my gas supply.'

Another resident, who moved into a property last year with her husband but did not want to be named, added: 'We bought these houses in good faith to a certain specification, they were sold with a slightly different ethos than the average new build.

'It was all caring and community based, it was all about sustainable living.'

While another mother, who moved in with her husband and two children, said: 'Across the site the bills that people have been getting have ranged from £45 a month for gas and electric to some people who were sent bills for £1,000 a month.  'Basically I think a lot of the meters were faulty, that’s why loads of them have been replaced.

'Subsequently at some point somebody had a gas leak and called out the emergency gas people who came and took at it and said this is not compliant with the current gas regulations.

'That opened up an investigation and 90 per cent of the properties have this issue. It’s already well known in the Stroud community that we’ve had these issues.'

The problem has been so extensive that Stroud MP Neil Carmichael has met with around 20 residents and now intends to write to GreenSquare on their behalf.

HAB has since tried to defer blame for the project onto GreenSquare, who partnered the company on the project.

Simon McWhirter, HAB’s head of sales said: 'HAB’s partner at Applewood, GreenSquare Group, was responsible for the delivery of the scheme and we must defer to them to comment on the construction issues that have come to light since the development was completed.

'It’s clearly been a very frustrating time for the residents and we’re sorry that their experience has not been as good as it should have been.

'However, we are pleased that a plan is in place that will resolve all of the outstanding issues, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation very closely.'

Meanwhile GreenSquare has opened a temporary site on the development to help coordinate the repairs.

Phil Bowley from the firm said: 'We have been working to deal with a series of "snagging issues" picked up from our surveyors’ survey visits earlier in the year and are glad the majority of these have been resolved in recent weeks.

'When we asked an independent Gas Safe registered expert to have a look at the gas installations our contractors had completed at Applewood, he found that they did not comply fully with regulations because pipes had been routed within the cavity walls.

'But he confirmed that they are not considered to be dangerous and can continue to be safely used until remedial work is carried out.'

The completed community comprises of 21 four-bedroom houses, 29 three-bedroom houses, 14 two-bedroom houses, eight two-bedroom apartments and six one-bedroom flats.


Bikers, boaters and big oil unite in fight against biofuel

Count bikers, boaters and, to hear some say, even God, among those who oppose the US law that forces refiners to use corn to make gasoline.

In more than 413,000 public comments to the Environmental Protection Agency, ethanol opponents are battling it out with big oil producers and farmers in a bid to reshape the 2007 law. The agency, which in May proposed lowering the amount of ethanol refiners must use in gasoline, is expected to release final targets November 30.

The plan has drawn passionate responses from both sides. "If God meant corn to be used for fuel he would have made it flammable in its natural state," said Kathleen Baker of Clarkston, Washington, one of at least 23 people who invoked the Holy Spirit in comments to the EPA.

Tom Morgan, from Mondamin, Iowa, wrote that the ethanol mandate helps to defund "terrorists," by reducing dependence on foreign oil. Pal Ray took aim at government intervention in the fuel markets.

"The stupid government is subsidizing production using our food crops," Ray wrote.

In May, the EPA, in a long-delayed announcement, proposed lowering the amount of ethanol to be used this year to 13.4 billion gallons and to 14 billion in 2016, less than the 15 billion required under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

That was good news to recreational boat owners and motorcycle riders who wrote EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy saying the law's Renewable Fuels Standard would increase the total concentration of ethanol in gasoline beyond 10 percent, a level that could damage their engines. They have joined ranks with bar owners, a household cleaning lobby and environmentalists who say ethanol raises food prices.

Motorcycle woes

Mark Petit, from Yakima, Washington, told the EPA that his Honda Valkyrie motorcycle gets fewer miles to the gallon on ethanol-laced gasoline and that the US should simply "eliminate the RFS mandate."

Valero Energy, the biggest US refiner and third- largest ethanol producer, agreed. The San Antonio-based company is pushing EPA to overhaul the program to better reflect how motor fuel makes its way to filling stations.

Ethanol supporters, like the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, Washington-based trade groups, say the EPA's proposal undercuts the industry's future and that targets should not be eased. The American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, which represent oil producers and refiners, say the EPA didn't go far enough in reducing the requirements.

Production of the biofuel is 1.2 percent higher than it was a year ago, government data show.

Farmers who grow corn and other feedstocks for biofuels say the program has been a growth engine for the rural economies and has helped the environment by reducing smog.
Big oil

"As ethanol producers, traders and marketers, we believe that the original goals of the RFS are reasonable and within reach," Archer-Daniels-Midland, the second-biggest US ethanol maker, said in comment to the agency.

Todd Becker, chief executive officer of ethanol producer Green Plains Renewable Energy, said the biofuel's opponents have fallen for Big Oil's public relations campaign.

"Use reverse logic," Becker said in an interview. "You're mandated to use 90 percent gasoline. You're being held hostage."

The public comment period on the proposal ended July 27.


Not a Typo: Military Pays Nearly $30 a Gallon for Green Fuel

A recent Government Accountability Office report on the Department of Defense’s fuel consumption habits illustrates just how expensive alternative fuel actually is. From 2007 to 2014, the military burned through 32 billion gallons of petroleum-based fuel. During that time, it also invested in two million gallons of alternative fuel to develop an alternative fuel supply. It makes sense: It’s all a part of developing resiliency.

But while the Pentagon paid on average $3.35 for a gallon of conventional fuel, it paid $29.30 per gallon for a plant-based naval and jet fuel called F-76. Wage a war powered on the stuff, and you might just run out of money before you could win.

Still, DOD is planning on increasing the amount of F-76 it uses — all in the name of powering 50% of the military on alternative fuel by 2020. “To help the Navy purchase alternative jet and naval distillate fuels blended with conventional fuels, the Department of Agriculture plans to provide funding directly to alternative fuel vendors that meet certain requirements and receive awards from DOD,” the GAO reports. “These funds are intended to defray some of the alternative fuel producer’s extra costs — such as costs of domestic feedstocks.”

In other words, the Department of Agriculture will provide subsidies so that alternative fuels don’t eat away at the Pentagon’s budget. It’s an accounting trick meant to disguise the real cost of outfitting the green army. Just for your information, an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank burns a gallon of fuel for every 0.6 miles.


Australian public broadcaster has a climate change obsession

Like a judge turned advocate, or umpire turned player, the ABC’s Media Watch has become a ­spruiker in one of the nation’s most crucial policy debates — ­climate change.

Jonathon Holmes, a former presenter and columnist for The Age, this week trumpeted his fondness for renewable energy and disinterest in the cost of electricity.

Defending [Leftist leader] Bill Shorten’s  uncosted promise to deliver 50 per cent of Australia’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, Holmes said “no one has a clue what the comparative cost of coal-fired and renewable energy will be by 2030.”

He also argued that renewables “create at least as many — arguably far more” jobs than coal-fired ­electricity and that News Corporation Australia (publisher of The Weekend Australian) has launched an “assault on climate change ­action.”

He is free to subscribe to whatever ill-founded conspiracy theory he likes, of course, and The Age is perfectly entitled to publish them.

But it would be a shame if he had used his pulpit at Media Watch to promote Leunig Left views.

Holmes fronted Media Watch from 2008 until 2013 when he was replaced by Paul Barry.

Over that period climate policy has been one of the nation’s most contentious political, economic and environmental issues: Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was proposed, rejected and then dropped; the Coalition switched from supporting emissions trading schemes to opposing them; Labor ruled out a carbon tax then introduced one; the Coalition repealed it; and now Labor again proposes a trading scheme and the ambitious renewables target.

A quick check of Barry’s Twitter feed shows he shares the ­climate alarmist and renewable-at-any-cost stance of his predecessor (along with a healthy dose of Murdochophobia).

Views such as these might be economically naive and politically jaundiced but they are common enough among university activists and Greens politicians, so we can hardly get too excited about Barry subscribing to them.

But what if this Green Left push infiltrated the professional posture of senior journalists at the national broadcaster?

What if Media Watch — a program the ABC says aims to expose “conflicts of interest, misrepresentation and manipulation” — was used to consistently promote a climate alarmist and pro-renewables mindset?

This week, Media Watch returned to an old theme when it picked up commentators using an erroneous figure relating to the high cost of wind and solar energy over coal.

The mistake inflated the costs by a factor of 10 (so was most likely the result of a misplaced decimal point). It occurred in this newspaper’s Cut&Paste section more than four years ago and was ­corrected.

Given the incorrect figures made wind power 19 times more expensive than coal, “you’d have to be mad to support it (wind ­energy),” Barry mocked.

Yet the correct figures showed wind was twice as expensive as coal and that solar is more than five times the cost — so the pertinent question might be whether you would be mad to support renewables on those numbers?

Barry didn’t make that point or pose that question.

Far from being a binary emotional question about “belief” in climate change and “love” for renewables, climate policy involves a complex serious of competing objectives to reduce emissions, contain costs and support economic growth.

Every cost needs to be measured against a desired benefit, and each goal needs to be weighed against the known costs.

Aside from this newspaper, and perhaps the Australian Financial Review, few media organisations have looked at these issues seriously.

The Australian has long accepted the scientific basis of anthropogenic climate change, understanding the need to reduce CO2 emissions and, for a quarter of a century, has argued for an economically rational market mechanism to deal with it.

At the same time it has fostered an intelligent debate, including reportage of changing climate observations and modelling, and rational analysis of various climate factors and proposed solutions.

Media Watch has shown something of an obsession for pursuing coverage of climate change issues and, in particular, reportage in The Australian.

Its executive producer, Tim Latham, declined to provide a tally of how often the program had criticised coverage of dissenting or sceptical climate views compared to reports showing alarmist overreach. He did, however, point out a segment from March last year, which appears to be the exception that proves the rule.

It highlighted media reports of a climate change study that found the Sydney Opera House would be swamped by rising sea levels.

Mocking the sensational nature of the reporting, Media Watch pointed out the study was looking at consequences 2000 years into the future.

“The Sydney Opera House will not be submerged in the next 100 or 200 years if indeed it ever is,” lectured Barry, “and to imply that it will be is alarmist nonsense of the sort that brings journalism and ­climate science into disrepute.”

Yet, of course, it was the study that was sensational. It claimed more than one per cent of the global land mass, 7 per cent of the world’s population and 136 UNESCO world cultural heritage sites would be swamped — in 2000 years.

If anyone was bringing climate science into disrepute surely it was these climate scientists themselves.

The study generated exactly the sort of media reporting intended.

Typically, Media Watch analyses, corrects, criticises, crosschecks and mocks journalists and commentators who give oxygen (pun intended) to scientists or activists making dissenting or sceptical arguments about global warming.

The alarmist scaremongering and frightening predictions of climate activists that are regurgitated daily by a wide variety of media organisations, especially Fairfax and the ABC, are seldom subjected to scrutiny.

When the national broadcaster publishes claims such as this — “That’s over 2 billion atomic bombs worth of heat built up on our planet since 1998” — Media Watch doesn’t spring into action to question the language.

Tim Flannery’s predictions about permanent drought and dams running dry sit stubbornly unfulfilled and inexplicably unexamined on ABC websites.

Instead of pointing out the jaundice, Media Watch replicates it and continues its crusade against sceptics.

Often that effort has been directed at this newspaper’s environment editor, Graham Lloyd, who is a committed environmentalist, accepts the physics of climate science and has opined in favour of an emissions trading scheme but dares to report a wide range of scientific analysis.

“The fundamental point,” says Lloyd, “is just because I don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it should not be put into the public domain where it can sharpen debate and understanding.

“The alternative is self-censorship and authoritarian control.”

In extensive and diverse coverage of data, developments and opinions on climate issues over countless stories and many years there is one story (sourced from overseas, misinterpreted in the production process and for which The Australian published a correction) that would have been better left unpublished.

But the rest of Media Watch’s numerous admonishments amount to little more than a misplaced decimal point here, a less than ideal headline there, or nitpicking about the emphasis given to particular points of view in ­various reports.

It is beyond contention The Australian and The Weekend Australian have covered a broader array of scientific and economic analysis and opinion on climate than the ABC.

Take the hiatus, or global warming pause, which has been debated in detail by scientists for more than six years, especially since scientific frustration at the pace of warming was revealed through the infamous “Climategate” emails. Renowned climate scientist ­Judith Curry blogged about the latest research this month saying the “hiatus clearly lives, both in upper ocean heat content and surface temperatures” and added it would be interesting to see how the media reacted to this news given they had declared it an “artefact” only weeks earlier.

This debate has been largely absent from the ABC except for belated attempts to debunk the pause claims.

The science program Catalyst tackled the issue last October in a story that included Professor Curry explaining that “globally ­average surface temperatures haven’t increased in any significant way since 1998.”

While Curry was identified as belonging to a “small minority” of scientists she was allowed to make the central points about a “growing divergence between the observations and climate model simulations.”

Yet the story’s clear aim was to relay that “all things considered, there’s been no global warming pause.” It gave most prominence to that argument and scientists promoting it.

“The whole of the climate system is really warming,” said Kevin Trenberth, “it’s just that the warming can be manifested in different ways.”

What we’re seeing in the models,” said Matthew England, “is that the warming out of the hiatus is gonna be rapid, regardless of when that hiatus ends.”

In other words the models that did not predict the hiatus are now predicting that when the hiatus ends warming will be even more rapid.

Does this mean they are really saying forget the observations, believe the modelling?

The ABC refuses to ask such obvious and sceptical questions.

The national broadcaster prefers to turn its sights on any media raising an eyebrow, testing an assertion or allowing experts to do the same.

Tellingly, the ABC never reported the significant revisions to global climate predictions that were snuck onto the UK Met Office website on Christmas Eve 2012.

Given the Met’s standing as a leading international climate centre, this was big news.

“If the forecast is accurate, the result would be that the global average temperature would have remained relatively static for about two decades,” reported the BBC.

“An apparent standstill in global temperatures is used by critics of efforts to tackle climate change as evidence that the threat has been exaggerated. Climate scientists at the Met Office and other centres are involved in intense research to try to understand what is happening over the most recent period.”

It appears the ABC never reported this issue and, all-in-all, ­ignored the pause until it was ready to run reports debunking it, or at the end of last year, saying it was over.

ABC radio breathlessly reported in December that 2014 was on track to be the warmest year ever and that “contrary to the position argued by climate change sceptics” global warming had neither paused nor slowed down. Rather than “contrary to the position argued” by sceptics it would have been more accurate to say “contrary to the recorded ­observations.”

The ABC gives us alarmist claims from those demanding urgent action and denies us information about observed evidence or dissent against the alarmist claims. Yet we are given rebuttals of the dissent.

It is Orwellian.

Media Watch took a keen interest in this newspaper’s coverage from 2012 of beach erosion issues at Lake Cathie, on the NSW ­Central Coast, where residents faced the threat of planning changes based on IPCC sea level projections.

“We don’t want to shift, no way,” said Russell Secombe who, along with his wife, Anne, and the owners of 16 other houses on the Illaroo Road beachfront, was ­concerned about a report before council recommending a “planned retreat” in the face of coastal ­erosion.

Media Watch forensically analysed these reports, demonstrating poor headline choice and contesting some interpretations.

But reporter Ean Higgins ­pursued this story over subsequent years, taking up the cause of ­people who had invested their life savings in their homes and seen their values fall because of the looming restrictions.

Eventually, thanks in no small part to Higgins’s reporting, the planning minister stepped in.

“The problem that property owners face is that some councils have been casting potential longer-term issues as a clear-and-present danger,” said the minister.

“We just needed to get councils to jump away from that doomsday scenario.”

This is the core work of journalists — identifying issues where citizens are being adversely affected by authorities, shedding light on their fears and concerns, seeking responses and sometimes, just sometimes, helping to build ­momentum for resolutions.

Ideally such reportage would never suffer from an error or inappropriate headline but the world is not perfect.

In a range of other areas — perhaps workers concerned about asbestos, or farmers concerned about climate change reducing their crops — we know the ABC would champion such journalism.

Perhaps for Media Watch the problem with Higgins and the homeowners at Lake Cathie was not so much that they stood between the council and the sea but that they stood between climate alarmism and a sensible, more cautious approach.

Another Media Watch attack centred on Lloyd’s January report about a groundbreaking study into the possibility of adverse health effects from wind turbines.

His story contained all the relevant details about the scope, funding and limitations of the study.

And it overtly referred to the need for more research into an open question: “It opens the way for a full-scale medical trial that may resolve the contentious ­debate about the health impact of wind farms.” Yet Media Watch insisted that Lloyd’s report had “got it so wrong” and it lined up a series of so-called experts to condemn the coverage.

Barry selectively quoted the study’s author to suggest he disagreed with Lloyd’s reporting when he did not (Barry had him rebutting a claim that was not made) and he quoted damning comments about the “atrocious” study and its coverage from an academic without disclosing the professor’s qualifications were not in science but sociology.

Media Watch was slapping down Lloyd for daring to air a study that merely raises the possibility of adverse health consequences from wind turbines.

Barry and his sizeable team used precisely the toolkit of selective reporting, omission and emotive posturing that they seek to expose in their targets.

They mock the suggestion of health concerns with jokes about “yolkless eggs” and snide ­comments about stories being “excitedly” relayed.

To put the program’s journalism and objectivity into perspective we need only pose this question; do we think they would be this dismissive of early reports about possible health risks with asbestos, coal dust or yellowcake?

We don’t need to believe wind turbines are harmful to make the point that if the industry were not renewable energy, the ABC might be all over the potential workplace health and safety implications of new technologies.

Good journalism is obliged to investigate and debate such ­matters.

For regular viewers there is a clear sense that Media Watch is campaigning on climate. Inquirer spoke to prominent advocates in the climate change debate and none seemed surprised to be asked about their engagement with the program.

Australian National University professor and former climate commissioner Will Steffen says he “interacts a lot” with the ABC but “not a whole lot” with Media Watch.

“I think I have been in contact with them once or twice to comment on issues but that has come at their instigation,” he said.

At the Clean Energy Council, spokesman Mark Bretherton also talked down their contact. “It is not that often that we talk to Media Watch,” he said, “the last time would have been a year or two ago and generally when we talk to them they contact us rather than the other way around.”

But the Climate Institute’s John Connor admits to being more proactive. “They come to us for fact-checking,” he said, “we’re happy to help and perhaps the same amount of times I have raised issues with them, perhaps once or twice.”

Mr Connor said when he made his suggestions they had been followed up with broadcasts but he can’t remember what the issues were. “I certainly wouldn’t characterise it as an ongoing relationship.”

Back in 2012 Media Watch was again defending the renewable energy sector and admonishing The Australian for daring to report that despite the addition of wind turbines, Victoria’s dirty brown coal generators were still running at full capacity.

“It was one of those stories that make The Australian’s readers wonder why we bother with all this renewable energy nonsense,” sneered Holmes, preferring not to review it as an important story explaining how the addition of wind farms tended not to diminish the need for baseload power.

Media Watch based their entire criticism on the reality of the National Electricity Market, suggesting that with wind energy inputs Victoria could export more coal power and reduce emissions in NSW and South Australia.

It was a heroic argument, ignoring the coal burned, not for export, but just to keep the baseload generators running.

The facts were disputed by experts including Hamish Cumming, the source of Lloyd’s story, who complained that Media Watch refused to consider his research.

Few issues could be more pertinent to the national policy debate than whether the additional costs to consumers of mandated renewables was actually reducing emissions. But Media Watch, it seems, would rather we didn’t inquire.

This month Media Watch again singled out a Lloyd report as it ­attacked many media organisations for the way they reported new research about the prospects of a “mini-ice age” or, more correctly, the onset of a Maunder Minimum because of reduced solar activity.

Barry admonished Lloyd, even though his report was detailed, ­accurate and played down the overall impact of this phenomenon.

“The dominant view among ­climate scientists is that it is too small to have a major impact,” ­reported Lloyd.

Tellingly, Barry was dismissive about the possibility of regionalised cooling of up to 0.8 degrees when warming projections generate great excitement.

Laughably, he criticised Lloyd’s report because the qualifying information was deeper in the story than the newsworthy claims in the first two paragraphs “which is what everyone reads”.

We can only imagine how busy Barry would be if he troubled himself with such journalistic parsing-in-full of stories predicting increased global warming or exacerbated environmental damage.

We see a familiar pattern here.

The Australian puts studies, concerns and information into the public arena to contribute to serious policy debates and Media Watch hits back, condemning those reports, suggesting information that questions the economics, environmental benefits or health effects of renewable energy should not be reported or that reports focusing on climate observations that are less than alarmist should be ignored.

This is jaundice, pure and ­simple.

And it raises the question of whether the personal prejudices of Holmes and Barry (and possibly others) have had a strong influence on the editorial direction of Media Watch over the past decade, helping to buttress a widespread lack of journalistic curiosity on ­climate change issues.

Media Watch could be the choirmaster of the ABC’s climate change groupthink and a broader journalistic chorus.



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.  

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