Archive for July, 2011

July 8, 2011

Sunday’s the day, Get Up “blackmail” and advertising campaign

So, we’re going to hear from the real Julia on Sunday about the details of the carbon tax/ETS scheme. Much bandied about is the $23 per tonne number and compensation this, exemption that. It could be easy to lose sight of the forest for the (not-planted-because-the-National-Party-wants-to-keep-clearing) trees.

and see youtube here.

Next up, from here: Get Up have written to a bunch of companies like companies including Coca-Cola, Heinz, Kraft, McDonald’s, Schweppes, Nestle, Arnotts, Colgate-Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson, saying its 57,000 members will be urged to boycott them if they oppose the proposed carbon tax.
This is after reports that the Australian Food and Grocery Council had signed up with a group campaigning against the government’s carbon tax package. Kate Carnell, Chief Executive of the Australian Food and Grocery Council,described the letter as blackmail and bullying.

I LOVE how these industry outfits call it blackmail and bullying when citizens organise to make consumption choices based on the ethics (or usually, lack thereof) of companies. They want all the rights of personhood without any of the responsibilities…

Finally, interesting report in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald about the impending fact-giving/state propaganda campaign(depending on your perspective) that we will all have the pleasure of over the coming weeks/months. Hope they hired the same company that did the mining one with the Vietnamese refugee kid – that stuff is SLICK.

July 7, 2011

Youtube: Climate Denialist Ploys- Cassandra and Canute

Three minutes of your life to burn? Fill yer boots…

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July 6, 2011

Youtube: Climate Change is a left-wing issue

Trolls keep telling me climate change is really a communist plot. And, as usual, they have all the evidence on their side. No, wait…

Click below for a four minute scroll through the mainstream politicians and big business who want action on climate change, followed by wild and provocative speculation on some of the psycho-social dynamics of denialism.


Not sure I’d characterise it as an old white guy thing. Sure, they mostly are old white guys and the dominance of grey haired old wrinkled faces is striking. But as I’m sure you know, it’s all about the values system that these old guys happen to have.
They would also say it’s not about control, they’d characterise it as the opposite – that it’s about small government and reducing the control government has over our lives. Check out this quote from Roy Spencer (which affirms the values basis for climate denial):
“I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

July 6, 2011

Truly hilarious survival guide to the carbon price apocalypse

Crikey’s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane has written a genuinely laugh out loud and extraordinarily useful guide to the coming days and weeks of special pleading. Pure, unadulterated genius. It starts…

Out they’ve come over the last two days, lured by the imminent announcement of the carbon price details — more corporate shills, more politicians, more unionists, more polluters, with their hands stuck out, making that distinctive bleating noise of the rentseeker in full cry. It’s like a zombie film, with a shuffling, clumsy but somehow inescapable horde of the undead — braindead, more correctly — roaming the streets, demanding “compensation”.

Ralph Hillman rose at the Press Club a short while ago to repeat his long-discredited claims about the impact of a carbon price on the coal industry, a sector which faces only one real problem, how to count all the money that’s going to roll in from China in the next few years. Instead, Hillman wants handouts from taxpayers for an industry that is the chief dealer to the cheap energy and cheap steel junkies of the planet.

Andrew Wilkie has joined in. Having declined to participate in the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, he’s now pulled the classic swing vote stunt of issuing demands right at the death. Wilkie has his own version of “think global, act local” by demanding special measures for his own electorate and its industry. Nicely played.

This stuff will be incessant for the rest of the week and then really ramp up next week, when the rentseekers who missed out will lift the pitch and volume of their bleating. To cut through all the propaganda, self-interested analysis and political race-calling, it might be useful to keep in mind some basic principles in judging Sunday’s announcement. These are some criteria by which to judge a carbon price scheme.

And continues here. OMG, ROFLMAO.

PS And (most of) the comments are worth a read to (up to 9.22pm, anyway) – astute stuff.

July 6, 2011

Youtube: IPCC scenarios for beginners

This 5 minutes of your life will feel a LOT longer. May also cure insomnia (I’ll leave the claims of cures for HIV to Christopher Monckton).
It would take a better youtube maker than I (currently am) to add zest to such a dry subject. The IPCC released a “Special Report on Emissions Scenarios” in 2000. I couldn’t find a video explanation of them on tinterwebs, so have made one. Here it is.

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July 6, 2011

Pro-carbon tax businesses sign statement

This from AAP via Indaily

MORE than 50 companies including GE, AGL and The Body Shop have signed a statement backing a price on carbon.

The federal government will on Sunday outline its emissions trading scheme (ETS), including a fixed price on carbon from July 1, 2012, household and industry assistance and funding for low emissions technology.

The companies representing the infrastructure, energy, technology and retail sectors say a carbon price, with “cost-effective complementary measures”, is critical to cutting emissions and ensuring Australia remains globally competitive as the rest of the world reduces emissions.

They have also launched a website, Businesses for a Clean Economy (, out of concern that many businesses are not getting a say in the carbon price debate.


July 5, 2011

Event Weds July 13: “Mining the Sun”

From the Environment Institute website…

Experts from The University of Adelaide and industry will join Professor Aldo Steinfeld of ETH, Zurich, one of the world’s foremost researchers in the field of mining and resources, to discuss the emerging opportunities to integrate concentrated solar radiation into mining and minerals processing operations and find out how mining and mineral processing companies can lead the way with energy technologies that may eventually contribute to developing renewable energy sources for domestic consumption.

In association with the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology, Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources and Environment Institute and the Royal Institution of Australia. Find out more.

Join us at this event.

Date: Wednesday 13 July

Time: 6pm-8pm


July 5, 2011

No Port in a Storm for Chris Monckton

crikey reports

Lord Christopher Monckton has slammed Port Adelaide Football Club for its decision to withdraw its venue for his speaking tour and accused activist group GetUp of betraying Australia’s historic principles of free speech.

One of the commenters nails it (IMHO)  How is this a ‘free speech’ issue? A private organisation has made a decision not to allow a bloke to speak at its venue.
Maybe the good Lord (soi-disant) will be a bit more careful throwing around Nazi slurs before going on speaking tours where the venues are … German clubs.  And this is a guy, who can’t even see three weeks ahead in his own wretched life, who wants to tell the world to ignore 97% of climate scientists.  Epic. Fail.

Still, the speaking fees won’t matter, since he has got a cure for HIV.


July 5, 2011

A gish gallop or a genuine set of questions?

Someone has left a comment on a post I did about Christopher Monckton (you know, the sane and rational peer-reviewed scientist who also claims to cure HIV). It’s a long ‘un, full of questions that denialists use, and with unreferenced claims. It may be a denialist indulging in a little extended trolling, or it may not. Sticking with the principle of charity, I’ve gone with the benefit-of-the-doubt option. My bits are in plain, his are in italics.

Thanks for getting in touch, Mr X. Shall we call you Matlock, as per the old cop show on TV?

It is my understanding that satellite thermal data has been left out of the Governments Climate Committee’s computer modelling because it conflicts with the data gathered on the ground.  (i.e. ground data when allegedly collected in carefully selected places show increased global temperatures and satellite thermal data shows a cooling earth.

I had not heard that. Can you provide a link to a newspaper or media account?

 (I think it was Dr David Evans who was a committee member who left to committee because of dishonesty in recording and selecting of data to prove a point.

Again, I’d need to see an media account. If you are going to make strong claims like this, it would be helpful to all if you provided a citation. (And the words “I think” are later replaced in your reply by some level of certainty!) Who is Dr Evans. Why did he quit? What was the response to this Dr Evans’ demands and claims from the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Climate Commission and the other Commissioners? (by the way, I’ve made an unofficial ‘bluffers’ guide’ to the Climate Commission – it’s here.)

I still don’t know what to think about data apparently showing Arctic ice thinning – in the meantime the last two European and North American winters have been particularly cold.

Those are two separate issues. I think the ice thinning is pretty robust science – a mix of satellite data (!) and on0the-ground observations.
To my knowledge the world experts on this are the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the States.

It’s slightly old (2007) but the book “Field notes from a catastrophe” by Elizabeth Kolbert, has lots of useful information about the Arctic.

On the question of cold European winters, well, that’s not a global phenomenon (as in, it being cold in one place doesn’t disprove global warming), and in any case, with all that extra water vapour in the atmosphere, extra snow and rain is hardly surprising. – This post at Climate Progress may help you. It’s also interesting that you’ve chosen just two (and popular-with-denialist) events from a 2009 and 2010 that was just full of extreme heatwaves etc… (See what the insurance giant Munich Re had to say about 2010.)

Further data shows a slowing of sun spot activity with eminent global cooling.

Again, it would be helpful if you supplied a citation for your claim. Further data from where? Sun spots have certainly had an impact on the Earth’s climate, there’s no doubt, but can’t explain the kinds of temperature increases we’re seeing. See this page at Skeptical Science for further explanation.

Julia Gillard announced yesterday that CO2 levels are the highest they have been for millions of years.

It seems odd to personalise it like this. Julia Gillard doesn’t claim to be a climate scientist. She is reporting the scientific consensus.

I would like to know why they were so high before and why was life on earth not wiped out?  Indeed in the time of the dinosaurs, CO2 levels were much higher and life thrived.  Am I missing something here or what?

The planet was warmer than it is now. The thing is, it’s not about C02 levels being so high as to make it impossible for mammals and reptiles to breath – it’s about the planet having a lot more energy “sloshing around” under a blanket of carbon dioxide. This will mean much higher temperatures than we have now, melted icecaps and glaciers (though of course the North Pole’s melting means zilch for sea levels) and sea level rise, more frequent “extreme events”.
For further information, check out this post on Skeptical Science about “C02 levels were higher in the past.

It is these missing links which fail to prove the argument in the Global Warming argument.  

I don’t think they do (but then, I would say that, wouldn’t I!). I will take you at your word though, and expect that you will read the info above and then – if you’re convinced – become an advocate for reducing human greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the changes “in the pipeline.”
I think if you want the scientific case for climate change, there are various sources that might help you – Royal Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science (Royal Soc equivalent) The list of groups concerned about climate change goes on and on, far beyond the scientific community; The US military, the insurance industry etc.

I am a former police officer and whilst I am not a scientist, gathering of evidence to prove a case – either on the balance of probability or beyond all reasonable doubt is my area of expertise.  

And doubtless as a police officer you often had to consult specific experts (forensics, etc). And you didn’t just go to the guy down the pub, you went to the people with a track record, who could explain (to you and to a jury) what they were talking about. Or am I missing something?

It is on this basis I am not able to accept the argument at there is in fact global warming or any kind of rapid climate change.  One of the things I have also been very suspicious of as a copper was when witnesses were untruthful or failed to tell the entire truth.  

Then by your previous statement, you must be very very suspicious of the denialist lobby, which has constantly re-used fallacious and disproved arguments and “evidence” to meet their needs. Are you aware of the “Global Climate Coalition,” funded by oil companies, that spent the 1990s casting undue doubt on the science of climate change, in exactly the same way tobacco-company funded scientists cast doubt on the link between cigarettes and lung cancer?

This was a way to determine if a witness was a hostile witness and therefore sided with the accused and not to be trusted or was a truthful and honest witness and produced evidence to support their argument or claims and even identified evidence that was not in their favour.   Climate change protagonists have allegedly persistently hidden evidence that did not support their argument or tended to debunk their argument.  

Sorry, the phrase “allegedly persistently” seems odd to me. Could you give some examples? (I suspect you mean the Climategate emails, but I could be wrong). If you DO mean climategate, please read this from Skeptical Science

This is why people such a Dr David Evans left the Government Climate Committee

again, please supply a citation

and Patrick More, a co-founder of Green Peace left that organisation.

Patrick Moore (please note spelling) left Greenpeace (see previous) for various reasons, but climate change was a distant worry back in those days. I’ve just googled – the straw that broke the camel’s back, Moore says, was Greenpeace’s oppostion to chlorine as an additive in water supplies.
Wikipedia says “He has sharply and publicly differed with many policies of major environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, on other issues including forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture, and the use of chemicals for flame retardants.[1]”

The global warming protagonists call us sceptics, rednecks and in general insult us or belittle those of us who do not accept their argument.

My preferred term is denier or denialist, since it captures the denial of well-established science. I think sceptics do something different, something valuable. Scepticism is how science progresses, denialism is one of the things that slows it down. Redneck is a stupid term, full of city-folks’ disdain for rural dwellers, (not that I romanticise rural life – it is hardly perfect itself) and with not a little class hatred in it too.

Since when has science been proven by the biggest insult?

Science is proven by evidence, with results in line with a theory’s predictions, and its ability to explain new findings parsimoniously (Occam’s Razor). Interestingly, a recent commentary on Nature Geosciences points out that climate models are not very good at explaining the likelihood of “tipping points” – the kinds of rapid climate change that you doubt.

I have also taken note of human behaviour in conflict as a police officer and largely, people who have lost the argument, debate or whatever and have little or no evidence to support their claims, resort to insulting the other party.

Several of the regular commenters on this blog made initial contact with salvos of abuse. If you are looking for people “insulting the other party”, well, you might just as easily start there. I have now blocked a couple of those people because they only ever offered personal abuse and false accusations (for example that I had retrospectively changed videos). Are all advocates of climate action saints? No. Am I a saint? Most definitely not. I plead guilty (it’s a fair cop) to flinging back mud. I am trying not too in future though, since I acknowledge the wisdom in the saying “never wrestle with a pig – you both get muddy, but the pig enjoys it.”

This again is evidence that global warming is not well supported by scientific evidence.

No, I’m afraid it’s not. It’s evidence only that humans disagree and often resort to abuse of those who they disagree with.

Assertions about humans not even being able to predict the weather is a prime example.  Yesterday in Adelaide I was supposed to receive a blast of winter with strong winds and up to 30 mm of rain.  I had a few drops (2mm) and some wind, no damage to trees or anything.

Well, I’m glad there was no damage to your trees, but there is a big difference between weather and climate, and our ability to predict the two. You might like to read the following, again from skeptical science.

This claim is based more on an appeal to emotion than fact. The inference is that climate predictions, decades into the future, cannot be possibly right when the weather forecast for the next day has some uncertainty.

In spite of the claim in this myth, short term weather forecasts are highly accurate and have improved dramatically over the last three decades. However, slight errors in initial conditions make a forecast beyond two weeks nearly impossible.

Atmospheric science students are taught “weather is what you get and climate is the weather you expect”. This is why this common skeptical argument doesn’t hold water. Climate models are not predicting day to day weather systems. Instead, they are predicting climate averages.


I hope this has helped you? I see that you’ve subscribed to the blog, so there’s no doubt you’ll be seeing this reply, which has taken a considerable amount of my limited time.

July 4, 2011

AFR clippings 4th July

Business to pay fuel carbon tax
4 July 2011
Louise Dodson and Laura Tingle

Business will pay more for petrol and diesel through reduced fuel tax concessions under the carbon scheme being finalised by Labor, but individuals will be unaffected….
The exemption for motorists is a disappointment for the Greens and a win for rural independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott….

Dumbing down carbon tax debate (page 23)
Alan Mitchell
So, the carbon tax debate is about to be enriched by the addition of yet another television advertising campaign – this one sponsored by business. Sadly, there may be some loss of subtlety in the translation from detailed discussion papers to plasma screen, particularly if business has its usual difficulty in distinguishing between legitimate issues of public policy and its own grubby rent-seeking.

And there’s a long profile piece on Greg Combet too, if that sort of thing floats your boat…