The King Canutes of Climate Science

The monarch of old ordered the tide to recede as a lesson to his courtiers that no mere human, not even a king, can make the world to do as it’s told. Will Steffen, the CSIRO and other grant-fed warmists face a similar problem: while modern enablers still profess to believe them, actual sea levels pay no heed

canuteWhen climate scientists have a choice to peddle facts or forecasts, they go for forecasts every time. Especially on sea level rises. Let  me explain. Tim Flannery’s Climate Council, ruminating last year on supposed CO2-caused sea rise, was keen to crank up the scariness. So it included a couple of art photos in its report “Counting the Costs” on our allegedly fast-rising oceans.

One pic shows a frolicking humpback whale, with the remains of a dual lane highway visible below the waves. The other photo shows an old coot (about my vintage) slumped in his lounge chair, which is floating in the sea. Alongside  bobs an empty chair, with a dinghy is anchored nearby. I think the elderly gentleman must have loaded the armchairs and his vintage wife onto the dinghy to escape the sea pouring through his front door, but the wife fell overboard and that’s why he looks so sad.[i]

The Council report was lead-authored by Canberra’s Will Steffen, my second-favorite catastrophist (I’m loyal to Melbourne’s David Karoly, who seems to think the Hazelwood power station could be charged with murder).[ii] Meanwhile, it’s all so exciting!  “Coastal flooding is the sleeping giant,” Steffen says, not once but three times. “Globally, one estimate puts these costs at $US 1 trillion by 2050, while others estimate that
costs could rise to over 9% of global GDP annually. This is a scenario
for economic collapse.”

flannery funnies smallerIf you’re interested, the 9% of GDP figure equals about $US7.5 trillion per year, five times Australia’s current output.

The report ramps up to “peak scary” by creating a multiplying factor of 10,000-plus, for the combined impacts of sea rise and extreme weather. I’m not making this up, it  says,

“Table 2 shows the multiplying factors and impacts for Australian cities in 2100 based on the BAU  [Business As Usual emissions]  pathway.This shows that Sydney, Bundabergand Hobart would experience today’s 1-in-100-year flooding event every day or so by the end of this century. Even in Adelaide (the least vulnerable city shown in Table 2), today’s 1-in-100-year flooding event would occur every year or so by 2100.”  (P6. My emphasis)

I’m not a fan of Adelaide anyway, but when I book Virgin for  Sydney in 2100, remind me to take a  raincoat.

Steffen has the solution to all these future problems: cut CO2 emissions to zero, so we can  live happily in what he calls “a carbon free global economy” (P67). The CSIRO vetted all this text for scientific veracity, and saw nothing odd about “a carbon free global economy”.[iii] Maybe the CSIRO doesn’t do chemistry anymore.

The Council and CSIRO’s prescription for saving the planet would be more plausible if they could master simple arithmetic. The report, as finalized, says 0.2% to 4.6% of the global population at 2100 will be flooded annually, equal to 1.4m-32.2m people (P42).

Well who’d have thought  that the global  population in 2100  would be only 700 million?  In this Climate Council report titled “Counting the Costs”, it would help if the authors and reviewers[iv] could count.

The study also bigs up the sea-rise peril from the claimed melting Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets:

  • Our knowledge of the behaviour of the large polar ice sheets, such as those in Greenland and West Antarctica, has also improved, allowing better assessments of the risks from rapid and/or irreversible loss of ice from these regions.” P4
  • “Recent observations of changes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet suggest that there are legitimate concerns about its long-term stability through the rest of this century.” P22
  • If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is destabilised, sea-level could rise higher than currently expected.”P23

All well and good, “settled science” etc., blah blah blah, except that last month a study by the US National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) found that the Antarctic as a whole was gaining, not losing, mass.[v] NASA announced,

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

“According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed   to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

Climate blogger Steven Goddard commented, perhaps a little unkindly,

The implications of this study devastate climate alarmism:

  •  Antarctica is not contributing to sea level rise
  •  The Greenland ice loss interpretations almost certainly are wrong too
  •  Forecasts of rapid sea level rise are untenable
  • The climate scam is dead scientifically. There is nothing left but fraud, lies, corruption, censorship and extortion.”

Anyway, I stumbled the other day  across a user-friendly website for actual sea-level data (no forecasting or homogenising involved). It’s not one of those sceptic sites, like, but from NOAA,  America’s  National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. NOAA tracks sea-level movements around the globe via tide gauges.

Try starting with the NOAA sea data for Sydney (Fort Denison) and Fremantle.

The Sydney data go all the way back to 1886. The reference point is a plug in the northern wall of the Department of Lands Building in Bridge Street. There are other plugs in the stone wall on Fort Denison and Mrs Macquarie’s Point.

For the period 1886-2010, the sea level at Fort Denison rose by 0.65mm/year,  a rate of 6.5cm per century. That is a fifth of a foot, in other words.

So tiny? Some mistake, surely! Let’s check the Sydney numbers against those for Fremantle, 4000km to the west. In this case, the reference point is a little brass plate set in concrete below a cover plate at the inshore corner of ‘A berth’ landing. From 1897 to 2010, the average annual rise at Fremantle was 1.54mm, or 15.4cm  or a mere 6 inches per century.

So head north to Bundaberg and Townsville, and all you get is 5.8cm and 14.8cm per century, respectively,  a few inches and half a foot. Criss-cross to t’other side, Port Hedland (21.8cm/century) and Carnarvon (28.9cm/century). That’s a bit higher, but we’re still only talking of barely a foot in 100 years.

Over to NZ then, let’s spread our sample.  Same boring story, 12-23cm per century. So head  for those drowning Pacific isles, Tuvalu and Kiribati. Tuvalu gets an average annual rise (since 1977) of 3.74mm or 37cm a century: 15 inches. This rate  could become  a problem in 30-50 years if the islanders maintain their high  birth rate and continue degrading their environment. Even so, the island chain’s surface area is growing, not drowning.[vi]

But here’s Kiribati: a mere 6cm per century, a few inches. Then there’s the Cook Islands (15cm per century or half a foot), Palau just a tad higher, and the Marshall Islands, higher again at 36cm, or 14in.. But those statue-building descendants on Easter Island can relax: their vast Pacific Ocean surrounds are rising at a mere 3.3cm per century, or  not quite  2 inches in a 100 years.

Numbers like this spoil the narrative of our coastal-catastrophes-to-come. The Steffen crowd at the Council are satisfied with nothing less than a 1.1 metre sea rise by 2100, and devote a whole page of diagrams to what 1.1 metres will do to poor Australia. “Close to 250,000 homes at risk!” says one of Steffen’s excited labels. And kiss goodbye to 120 ports, 5 power stations, 75 hospitals,  44 sewage plants etc etc.

Tide gauges? Steffen recoils at the idea that the past century’s actual sea rises in our region are a reasonable guide to 21st century sea rise. The non-alarming  tide-gauge data haven’t been “adjusted”, he says, to allow for El Ninos, ice sheet behaviours (rightly or wrongly measured), atmospheric pressure, and all the other wonderful stuff that only climate scientists know how to do (Just trust them, OK?). When they do perform their  “adjusting”,  behold! The Australian tide-gauge readings rise up to meet the purported global averages.[vii]

The most useful estimates of future sea-level rise (i.e. the rise several decades or more hence) come from climate projections provided by computer models rather than from simple extrapolation of recent observations.  P9. [My emphasis].

There ares some caveats about the models that go unmentioned in Steffen’s report.  There’s been no global warming for 18 years and 9 months; the IPCC acknowledges that 111 of its 114 model runs have been running too hot[viii]; and with every year this century the gap between the models’ hot forecasts and actual global temperatures has widened. The long warming halt may be followed by more warming, or a new phase of ocean or quiet-sun-driven cooling. No one knows. Whatever, the IPCC climate forecasts for 2100 have already been done-in by climate realities.

Steffen doesn’t just forecast to 2100, however. That’s child’s play for any climate scientist worth his research funding. Steffen in his report endorses sea-rise forecasts out to 2200 (up to 2.03m) and even 2300 (up to 3.59m)!

But wait, what about the looming year 2450? Even under a conservative CO2 emissions scenario, Steffen foresees a 2m sea rise by 2450. He probably has a scientific sea-level ‘clock’ on his bedside table. Twist the CO2 knob and it shows the global temperature rise. This rise rotates a third cogwheel that shows global sea level rise for however many centuries ahead you like. QED, quite easily done, as my maths teacher used to say. Pass the Nobel Prize.

The  Council forecasts of 1 metre-plus sea rise were always just  computer doodling, but with real-world implications. Several Australian States have written the    circa 1m rise by 2100  into planning codes, as many home buyers, builders and renovators have painfully discovered. Should there be anyone beset by uncertainty at such long-range prophecies, Steffen whistles up psychologist  Stefan Lewandowsky, who earned a tinfoil hat for his mind-reading study while at UWA two years ago: “NASA faked the moon landing—Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax.” Lewandowsky’s  publisher, Frontiers, chose to formally retract his follow-up 2014 paper, “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation”,  citing legal  grounds.[ix]

Steffen quotes a different Lewandowsky study last year which says,

We conclude that any appeal to uncertainty compels a stronger, rather than weaker, concern about unabated warming than in the absence of uncertainty.

That zinger could be parsed as “The more dubious that  climate science gets, the more we should spend trillions on it, starting at Paris next month.” #

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here, I Hope

[i]   Photographer Heike Qualitz, in her own arty  annotation, writes: In our fast moving contemporary society it is not surprising the subtle shifts beyond our own front doors go by unnoticed – perhaps until they no longer can be ignored…Adaptation implies the need to accommodate an inevitable and impending change, but it also indicates resilience, a quality of our species that is steeped in hope. However, our deep interconnection with the trillions of life forms we breathe in and around raises questions. Will they too be able to join us on the journey of adaptation?” Will they indeed?

[ii] The other two authors were John Hunter and Lesley Hughes, congrats to both.

iii]  “We thank CSIRO for reviewing the accuracy and relevance of the science underpinning the report.” (Preface).

[iv] Apart from the CSIRO, the review team “whose comments and suggestions improved the report”
included   Jon Barnett (Uni  Melbourne), Melanie Bishop (Macquarie), Bruce Thom (Uni Sydney) and 
Stefan Trueck (Macquarie).  There were also “expert contributors” and Climate Council staffers  involved. “The authors retain sole responsibility for the content of the report,” Steffen says.

[v] Not to mention that Antarctic sea ice is at record levels for the satellite era

[vi] “23 of 27 atoll islands across Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Federated States of Micronesia either ­increased in area or remained stable over recent decades”.

[vii] NOAA: “The absolute global sea level rise is believed to be 1.7-1.8 millimeters/year.”

This would be well under a foot per century, but isn’t adjusted for land movements.

[viii] chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769

[ix]  Frontiers said, “ Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.”


  1. Lo

    Dear Mr. Steffen
    $US 1 trillion by 2050? Scarcely enough by then to buy a pie.

  2. Steve Spencer

    Steffen et al: “The most useful estimates of future sea-level rise (i.e. the rise several decades or more hence) come from climate projections provided by computer models rather than from simple extrapolation of recent observations.”

    I’ll say. Note the dubious use of the word ‘useful’. Why did he not use words like, ‘reliable’ or even ‘interesting’? A bit of a slip, methinks, giving the game away. Certainly, for researchers and others who depend on AGW funding, the most ‘useful’ estimates would be the most alarming, eh?

  3. Bill Martin

    One is almost compelled to feel sorry for the climate scare mongers. Just imagine how accutely they must sence the perilous state of their continued existence. Where ever they turn, they run up against “fraudulent deniers in the pay of big oil/big coal” and they are getting more numerous and more strident by the day. Some of the poor alarmists might well meditate on Hitler’s final days in the bunker, lamenting the betrayal by the ungrateful people for whom they sacrifised everything. Poor, miserable sods.

  4. Jack Richards

    The End is Nigh! Repent while there’s still time! Give us your money, your shares, your huddles savings and we’ll save you from Carbon!

  5. Jody

    I know this is tangential to the discussion, but this week on “Catalyst” the program was about womens’ sex drives. Jonica Newby fronted the program and discussed the diminishing sex drives of women, over time. She volunteered to take Testosterone as some medical specialists believe this reverses the effects of reduced sex drives in women. One doctor talked at length about how important Testosterone was for women, not just men. Another academic expert came on and said there was, as yet, “no evidence” that Testosterone could help women. My husband quipped, “if these two ‘experts’ cannot agree on the effects of Testosterone what makes people believe that climate science is settled in the scientific community”?

    I thought it was a question worth asking.


    I think all catastrophists, especially those in the media, should be vigorously told as often as possible that all life on this planet is dependant on CO2. When it drops below 150ppm all plants start to die and soon after [in geological terms] all animals will also die. All the ‘dreaded fossil fuels’ were once living things that originally came from atmospheric CO2. We are doing all life on this planet a favour by burning fossil fuels. Life on earth will cease in about two billion years time unless we return future life [CO2] to the atmosphere.
    Deserts have already started to ‘green up in many parts of the world and food crops have increased production by about 14% from even the modest amounts of CO2 mankind has re-released back into the atmosphere. The worlds temperature has NOT risen beyond natural variation levels since temperature records have been kept, and have not risen at all for the past 19 years despite the extra CO2.
    The greatest ‘tree saving’ event in recorded history was the discovery of the use of coal for fuel. Europe was doomed to be virtually treeless before coal. If the ‘tree huggers’ really like trees and not just hate humans they would encourage more fossil fuel use. This AGW hoax/farce has gone on far too long, civilisation is now under threat.

  7. en passant

    Until 2007 I was somewhat neutral about what was happening, but I had already become concerned at the screaming certainty of doom. I began reading, fortunately beginning with Tim Flannery’s 2005 book. I say fortunate because this set off every BS detector and sceptical neuron in my being. In 2012 I produced my personal 75-page fully referenced analysis that made me absolutely certain that CAGW was a money-grubbing con and that CO2 was innocent. In the case of sea level rise, let me quote an extract from my ‘thesis’:
    “There is a high water mark etched into a sea cliff in seismically stable Hobart in Tasmania. In 1841 the line in the cliff was put there by Captain Ross, as a reference point.

    There is a photo of it that can be found in the late John Daly’s blog at A check of the reference point in 2004 shows that the water level has not changed in the intervening 160 years. A similar mark in Sydney Harbour produces much the same result. Just two curious, coincidental anomalies that show no discernible sea level rise? I think not. What has changed is the honesty of the scientists responsible for measuring and mapping our climate and all that that entails.”
    Corruption for grant money or a political cause is never noble, but it does have a name in law when the fraudsters know they are peddling snake oil. The problem is that the politicians who approve the spending of our money are so embroiled in the crime that they cannot stop now, but must keep going until they retire.
    Facts are never going to win over dishonest political agendas.

Who’s Killing Our Climate Scientists?

Well nobody, actually, unless you count a smattering of sometimes rude emails as representing credible threats to warmists’ lives and safety. As with climate change itself, our purportedly un-settled scientists refuse to share their evidence of bloodthirsty sceptics on the warpath

cyber skullWhy is the Australian Academy of Science going off the deep end claiming “reprehensible vilification” of warmist scientists? It’s now saying they’re being so threatened and harassed that their ability to do science is in jeopardy. Academy President Andrew Holmes, addressing a greenhouse conference in Hobart on October 27, claimed

The costs to individuals can be high. It is therefore critical that as scientists and experts we stand together. The ability of scientists to conduct their work, free of fear or hindrance, is vital to the future wellbeing of our community, and the Academy will continue to advocate for academic freedom…   

“As the International Council for Science proclaims, the free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. 

I thought at first he was chastising the academics at University of Western Australia over their successful witchhunt against non-sceptic Bjorn Lomborg, or that he was chastising academics at University of Melbourne for wanting punitive fines to drive sceptics out of the media. Or maybe rebuking US academic peers who wanted sceptic corporations to be prosecuted under the Racketeering and Corrupting Influences Act (that exercise backfired spectacularly). But I erred, Holmes’ victimology includes only orthodox climate scientists as its purported casualties.

Those climateers make unlikely victims. There were hordes of them at the Hobart greenhouse conference. My estimate: I’d say 95% are on government or academic payrolls, plus expenses. The evening after Holmes spoke, they went tooling across the harbor “by luxury catamaran” for dinner “at the world-renowned Peppermint Bay, where’ll we’ll enjoy a delicious three-course meal set against a backdrop of the lush rolling hills of the Huon region, with commanding views across the d’Entrecasteaux Channel and north to Mt Wellington.” Saving the planet is not work for the faint-hearted, n’est ce pas?

Holmes’ victimology statement comes about a month before the great climate confab in Paris, which warmists hope will raise the price of fossil-fuelled power for the Third World’s billions of abject poor, who are desperate for electricity’s benefits and not-so-worried about CO2 emissions.[i]

The previous victimology  statement by the Academy, on June 10, 2011, coincided with key Parliamentary debates on the Gillard carbon dioxide tax and a 200-strong deputation  of semi-scientists at Parliament House to urge MPs to crush ‘disinformation’ about climate change. The 2011 Academy statement was not just by then-President Sue Cory but by the Academy’s executive committee of council, indicating its seriousness. It reads quite similarly to the current Holmes’ text, with a cry to “defend intellectual freedom”.

Academy President Professor Suzanne Cory said the Academy is deeply concerned about the threats being made to scientists.

“Today the Academy’s Executive Committee of Council issued a public statement defending the right of researchers to do their work free from abuse, acts of intimidation and threats of violence,” Professor Cory said.

“We call on leaders across the community to make the same defence of intellectual freedom.”

The statement endorsed by the Executive Committee reads:

The Australian Academy of Science is firmly of the view that the interests of the community and the advancement of knowledge is best served by an environment where researchers can put forward views and present data for discussion and scrutiny free from threats of personal or professional harm.

The more controversial the area …the more important that any researcher should feel free to argue a case based on evidence without fear of reprisal. We know of examples where prominent researchers have been personally and professionally threatened by individuals and organisations that disagree with their findings and conclusions.

We reiterate our common defence of the principles of academic freedom: any researcher has the right and duty to argue a case based on evidence, because only public discourse and experimental challenge can advance understanding.

So what’s behind this Academy angst? We’ll start with the 2011 Council statement and work up to its 2015 variant.

In May, 2010, John Coochey, a retired public servant, was chatting at a climate seminar dinner in Canberra with the ACT Environment Commissioner Maxine Cooper about the annual ACT kangarroo culls and eating game meat. He remarked that he had his cull permit, which he added are issued only to reliable marksmen, and he assured Cooper that she need have no concerns about cruelty to roos.

Someone excitable overheard some of this chat and relayed a garbled version to the ANU’s climate czar, Will Steffen. Alarmed, Steffen sent an email to his group of ANU correspondents on June 2 saying they were now under serious threat from “a sniper”. About half a year earlier, someone had visited the ANU unit’s premises twice and. according to Steffen, displayed an aggressive demeanour.  This supposedly led to security upgrades, although the only actual step was the introduction of new, broadly issued entry swipe cards.

A year or so later, on June 4, 2011, an enthusiastic environmental reporter on the Canberra TimesRosslyn Beeby, ran with a story, “Climate of Fear”, about death threats or abuse to ANU and other climate scientists and abusive emails. This story caused an international sensation and the Academy weighed in with its statement barely six days later.

On June 20, a staffer for the science lobby group FASTS (and earlier, for Labor ministers) reported receipt of a death threat email, which turned out to be from a serial pest in Seattle who cut and pasted nasty text into emails to lots of people globally. Blogger Simon Turnill of then FOI’d the ANU for the abusive/threatening emails. The ANU dug in its heels and refused for a year, until forced to come clean by the Privacy Commissioner Tim Pilgrim.

Well, well, well! There proved to be 11 emails to six climate people in the relevant six months of 2011, and the only one claiming a “death threat” was Steffen’s hyper-reaction to the garbled roo-cull conversation. The other 10 ranged from querulous complaints by citizens about waste of tax dollars on climate science (“Please be truthful in future,” one said),  to a few rich in four-letter words and insults.

Now scrabbling for credibility, the climate scientist community beat the bushes nationally for nasty emails — and it emerged that random nutters had indeed sent some sexist, abusive, threatening notes, a deplorable practice. The only actual violence cited involved someone throwing eggs at someone’s house and no-one thought of complaining to police.

To sum up, the Academy went into Full Outrage Mode over ANU claims of death threat-type emails, even though the “death threat” was rolled-gold hokum. The other ANU “abuse” emails work out at an average of two per climate academic during a six month period, of which one email, on average, involved nothing more sinister than members of the public griping about climate alarmism. After the Academy statement, details emerged of 30 or so other nasty, sexist emails nationally.

Keep in mind that un-elected alarmist climate scientists are advocating a total societal transformation to costly renewable energy involving massive government controls and big drops in living standards. Yet these brave climate warriors dissolve into puddles of jelly if a rude email hits their in-box.

I promised to fill you in on the Academy’s “evidence” for its latest victimology by President Holmes last month.  Sadly, the Academy refuses to provide any. Indeed it refuses to respond to Quadrant’s queries at all, on the ground that our article may not be flattering. Quadrant’s invitation to redact all identifying names failed to change the Academy’s stance.

All we can be sure about is that some climate scientists have complained to the Academy about hate mail, harassment and threats,   But whether those were just the 2010-12 complaints or new ones, the Academy declines to say. Other questions getting no answer were:

  • To what extent are these accounts from Australian sources, as distinct from overseas sources?
  • To your knowledge, did the providers of the accounts seek any police investigation of the  threats?
  • What is meant by the term ‘harassment’? Does that refer to allegedly excessive volumes of FOI requests (which have been publicly complained of by people like East Anglia Climatic Research Unit’s Phil Jones)? If not, can you clarify pls.

The Academy’s non-response rather undercuts President Holmes’ nice words at Hobart:

We can lead through small actions and words, such as…engaging in conversation with someone who lacks a scientific understanding of serious issues, instead of dismissing them.

Taking a tip from someone near the Molonglo, Quadrant decided to google “climate scientist abuse or threat 2015” . The  only thing relevant in the first few pages  was Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, self-proclaimed Nobel Prize Winner, running a “poor victim me!” line. Other stuff just referred back to the ANU 2010-12 farce, although there was also one bad person urging the children of sceptic-minded UK journalist David Rose to kill him.

Inputting “2014” instead of 2015 produced a similar result, but with the interesting addition of climate scientist Lennart Bengtsson[ii]who wrote:

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that life has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc.

I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.

The back story there is that Bengtsson, of Sweden, had accepted an invitation to join the academic council of the UK’s non-alarmist Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) two weeks earlier, but pulled out because of the above-described hostility of the warmist climate team.

It’s all very unsatisfactory. Climate alarmists, far from being victims and underdogs, as the Academy would have it, are in fact calling the shots on anti-CO2 investment of well over $US1b per day.  A tiny fraction of that sum could make huge inroads into here-and-now Third World issues, such as infant mortality, malaria, education, clean water and sanitation, and cheap fossil-fueled electricity. For alarmists, the high moral ground can be a bit slippery.

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here, I Hope

[i] Plus transferring $US100b a year to Third World kleptocrats

[ii] Professor Lennart Bengtsson has a long and distinguished international career in meteorology and climate research. He participated actively in the development of ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting) where he was Head of Research 1975-1981 and Director 1982-1990. In 1991-2000 he was Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. Since 2000 he has been professor at the University of Reading and from 2008 the Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland.

House of the Climate Kleptos

Very soon, Malcolm Turnbull will jet off to Paris with the taxpayers’ chequebook and a store of telegenic sound bytes hailing Australia’s generosity in ameliorating the injustice of climate change’s impact on the Third World. Thieves, rorters, scam artists and assorted corruptocrats will cheer lustily

scamEver used a dodgy builder? Then thank your lucky stars you’re not a granny cyclone victim in Bangladesh, with people from the government arriving to help. The money to build her a new house is provided by a climate-adaptation fund, but all she gets is a roof and floor but no walls. The structure then begins collapsing within two months.

The Paris climate talks next month are partly about creating a $US100b-a-year climate fund to help the Third World adjust to hypothesized global warming. In a bit of political theatre (we taxpayers bought her tickets), Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop last December pledged $200m to this fund, rhapsodizing about “investment, infrastructure, energy, forestry and emissions reductions.” [i]The Climate Fund is now taking heat for corruption and non-transparency. Newsweek, although a fervently warmist journal, ran a piece to that effect a few days ago.

An inkling of how such money actually gets spent comes from our Bangladesh example. Transparency International Bangladesh audited a $A4.5m project financed by a climate-change trust fund administered by the Bangladeshi  government.  It also tried to audit a sister-fund provided by aid donors, but couldn’t find enough documentation to even start the audit! One of its trenchant recommendations was to “mete out exemplary punishments to corrupt individuals.”

The government-funded plan was to build cyclone-resistant housing at Khulna for an abjectly poor community devastated by Cyclone Aila. The photo shows what was actually built for grandmother Mrs Khadija Begum — a 4metre x 5metre house with no walls.

Asked, “How do you feel about the Cyclone Resilient House?” she replied,

“I don’t know whether it is built for a human being or not. There are only four pillars with roof and there is no sidewall in this house. So I do not know how my family can live in this house”.

The auditors noted she has a granddaughter “and it is depressing for her as she is living in cold, and the house is not suitable for any other seasons like rains, storms and floods.” The “house” is pictured below.

house without walls

The “house” has no sanitation, water supply or personal hygiene facility. It is  also unsafe for adolescent girls and women because intruders can walk right in. The lack of walls was rationalised by the bureaucracy as follows: If the house had walls, the family would shelter in it instead of going to the community cyclone shelter, where they will be safer. Moreover, tidal surges can now wash straight through the wall-less house instead of being bottled up within the house.  Anyway,  “affected families could build the side walls on their own and thereby contribute towards ownership of the building.”

The auditors said, a little plaintively, “If the houses are not capable of playing their due role during disasters, then what is the justification of building such type of cyclone-resistant houses?”

Mrs Begum was aware that the government budget for each shelter house was US$1400. But the builders substituted cheap materials and ,within two months, the house was collapsing. Worse, it was now taking up some of her little plot, making that land useless. Other locals have begun using it as a cow-shed.

Actually, the budget for the house was supposed to be $US3100 and the original plans included “both roof and walls”. But the government agency cut costs by dispensing with walls. That way it could build more (wall-less) houses and publish fancier statistics in its annual report. There were no feasibility studies, and the funders “had no knowledge” about how to design cyclone-resistant housing. Transparency International notes that the families had already been pauperized by natural disasters and had no spare money for building walls.

Taking a step back, who decided who would get the (useless) houses? Well, a large committee of stakeholders compiled the beneficiary list — but it was then it was re-written by political insiders. One hopes, but cannot be confident, that no baksheesh was passed quietly under the table.

The main contractor let out the work to subbies for quick progress, but the subbies were accountable to no one about their materials, schedules and quality inspection. Unsurprisingly, their workmanship was ‘very poor’ and was followed by disintegration of plaster-work and collapsing roofs and basements. “The houses have now become a burden for their owners,” Transparency International says.

This wasn’t an isolated instance of climate-fund crazy constructions. The next project audited involved a Char-Mynka district dam and land reclamation, with total funding of $A9m.

The auditors found that the project had been chosen in the first place through “political consideration and emphasis on personal choice”. There was no environmental  or social impact statement, nor were there  consultations with locals. This led to blockages of a dozen wide and active water channels. The size of land to be reclaimed was left vague, and a protected forest conveniently disappeared from the project’s maps and blueprints. The project got under way minus the presence of any expert engineer, and because of poorly sited dredging, “the probability of breaking down of the dam is very high in the near future.”

The contractors quickly ran through about $3.5m in spending,  “but there was no significant progress in the project”. Oversight of the money disappeared in the cracks between the local and district authorities.

Mid-way through the project  the Water Board suddenly issued a permit to cut down 30,000 trees at the protected forest, creating a fight with the local forest authority. This fight held the project up so that it got caught by the wet season. The auditors concluded, “The future of the project is uncertain. In this circumstance, question can be raised about the accountability of [the climate fund]  authority in approving such project.”

A third project was Forest Department tree planting on coastal embankments, with a budget of about  $A2m.  Some of the assigned land had been leased away by other officials and used by shrimp farmers; some land was occupied by squatters and other communities; and some land was useless. The forest officials lost interest because they had no funds to actually visit the site.

However awful such projects areon the ground, they are enveloped in glorious clouds of bureaucratic prose. The three cited were among those programmed for

  1. Food security, social protection and health
  2. Comprehensive disaster management
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Research and knowledge management
  5. Mitigation and low carbon development
  6. Capacity building and institutional strengthening for climate funding”.

The Bangladesh government injected $US300m into its climate trust, with two-thirds for projects, and the rest “supposed to be used” for emergency response and collaboration with non-government organisations (NGOs). The audit’s wording suggests skepticism, borne out when disbursements to NGOs were stopped because of corrupt selection processes and “huge criticisms and protests by the media”. The number of central government officials – a mere five or six — monitoring 63 projects nationally worth $US150m would fit in  a telephone booth.

The other Bangladesh trust is funded by altruistic Western governments and agencies. This fund saw an outflow of $US125m in spending, but only three projects started, with spending of $US38m. Allegations of “irregularities and possible corruption” caused the government to vary the projection selection methods, creating new allegations of conflicts of interest. Transparency International could find documentation for only one of the projects, while the other two had nothing available for inspection, other than their names and amount of money approved.

The  World Bank, supposed to help with project selection and planning, deducted 4% of the funds for “fiduciary management and operating costs”.  Transparency International asked the World Bank for details about the projects and received no reply, rendering it unable to assess the governance risks.

The auditors also reported

according to reliable sources, some projects have been approved … for funding without prior justification and applicability of climate change criteria; rather, they were chosen under political considerations.

Meanwhile, Newsweek on November 8 ran a piece by Ben Wolford with a realistic heading about the  Paris-planned $US100b Green Climate Fund. It read, Green Climate Fund Must Fight Corruption Before It Can Beat Global Warming. The fund has garnered only (only??) $US10b so far of its intended $US100b per year, “and has been accused of promoting corruption”, Wolford says.

The 24-member board of the Green Climate Fund (50-50 First and Third worlders)[ii] met on November 2-6 at a swanky resort in Zambia overlooking Victoria Falls. The goal was to start carving up the $US10b among   claimants, such as those politicians in the Maldives who lamented their purportedly drowning nation by infamously conducting an underwater cabinetmeeting while furiously building airports and speedboat harbors for tourists. The fund’s board also has been keen to reassure the December talkfest in Paris that funds are already being disbursed. To this end, the confab led to $US168m being poured into eight  project approvals, jumping the gun on secure fiduciary systems. Wolford writes,

So far, leaders of the fund have talked about its commitment to transparency while remaining opaque in practice. The board has weighed major decisions behind closed doors and, in a draft version of its information disclosure policy, even suggested that tape recording certain meetings should not be allowed.

Wolford says the Fund should offer protection to whistleblowers. More than that, he wants it to explain who pays if money is misused or pilfered. As it stands now, as his piece notes, “once the money’s lost, the money’s lost.”

Believe it or not, Wolford says this Fund, lax as it is, still boasts tighter protocols than heaps of other funds for climate adaptation in the Third World, which in total received $US9.4b in 2014, up 50% on 2013. He finishes on a cheerful note:

Clarisse Kehler Siebert, a research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute, says that, yes, we ought to be concerned about corruption when it comes to the Global Climate Fund —but not to the point of ‘being paralyzed.’ She adds, ‘Daring to do something good is better than doing nothing at all.’

Also bear in mind that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has decided to go to the Paris talks. Asked if he would “go beyond” Australia’s current commitments, he said: “Sure, arguably. That depends on the rest of the world.” Gee Malcolm, add another zero to our Climate Fund contribution. It would still only be $2b were you to do that, and and the world’s poor clearly need many more wall-less, ramshackle hovels. As Siebert puts it, “It’s better than doing nothing at all”.

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)


[i] The coalition government had previously declined to contribute to the fund, but then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott changed his mind.


[ii] Our own Ewan McDonald, deputy secretary of DFAT, is on the board. Others include reps from corruption-free Congo, Egypt, South Africa, Cuba and Zambia.


  1. LBLoveday

    Surely they are “sound bites”, whether telegenic or not?

  2. Geoffrey Luck

    Having to be telegenic is the whole point of a sound bite.

  3. en passant

    My personal experience of NGO’s was recorded as a comment to a previous Tony Thomas article in Quadrant. You can read it at:
    Like building unions in Oz kleptomania is in the NGO DNA. In 2003 I sponsored a well-educated, well-meaning an dreamy-eyed Asian girl to attend a course at an Oz University. She wanted to return to her homeland and begin proselytising her kumbayah among the poor. On her return she accepted a low-paid job with an NGO and began helping the poor with the few funds remaining after corporate, travel and administrative expenses had been covered. Time passed, she married, had children and now found that idealism and low pay no longer cut it. She joined the UN, so now she is well paid and is buying a house, has a car and occasionally attends international conferences at 5-star hotels on such subjects as ‘Alleviating poverty in the Third World”. She has been able to afford to visit me in Oz.
    ‘Kumbayah’? She winces at the memory as she retains a conscience, but as Harry Chapin sang “there are planes to catch and bills to pay” and thank god for the endless poor otherwise the gravy train would stop and that would never do as I would no longer feel guilty when I say ‘No’ to the can-rattlers at traffic lights or throw the unopened begging letters in the bin.

More Farce Than Class at the ABC

While it is always handy to have a sharp lawyer, nothing beats a sympathetic judge. Having appointed two of its most ardent admirers to investigate both Q&A and its overall coverage of science,  that wisdom gets no argument from the national broadcaster

thumb on scaleTwo inquiries into the ABC’s professionalism are due for release shortly: the Ray Martin report on Q&A and Fiona Stanley’s  long-overdue examination of science coverage. As each has publicly extolled both the ABC’s virtues and the Coalition’s villainy, their findings, if less than critical, will be inevitably and grossly diminished by the widespread perception that their tasks should have been assigned to other auditors.

The report on Q&A, launched on July 1, was projected to take three months for its examination of 22 episodes.  The review is led by one-time Q&A panellist and current ABC fan Ray Martin, who has been teamed with  former SBS managing director  Shaun  Brown. It was prompted by the June 22 grandstanding on Q&A by ABC-invited questioner Zaky Mallah, who had earlier been convicted and done hard time for threatening to kill security officers.[i] This record did not stop the ABC driving him to and from the studio and, before his on-camera moment, providing him with coaching by the show’s producers.

Barely one week after Martin’s appointment, he gave a spray on  Channel 7’s Sunrise to then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott for having temporarily banned federal ministers from appearing on Q&Awhile the inquiry  was proceeding. Martin not only called the ban “silly” but said host Tony Jones was as tough on the previous Labor government as on the Coalition. Some of the ”rants and raves” about Q&A  had been “crazy”, Martin continued, saying that he hoped his audit would bring some balance to the debate.

Capping off what many will see as a remarkable display of bias, he further suggested the Coalition had been beating up its criticism of Zaky Mallah and Q&A as a pre-election ploy. Any ethical organisation would have replaced Martin to preserve the inquiry’s credibility. Not the ABC, but.

An ABC spokesman responded  instead  by saying that Martin had been  chosen to conduct the audit because

he is independent and the public perceive him to be. That doesn’t mean he can’t express an opinion.[ii]He made it clear that his final view will be shaped by an orderly audit of previous programs. His comments related more to the boycott than to the program itself, and everyone has an opinion on that.

Let’s turn now to Fiona Stanley’s pending report on ABC science, especially climate coverage. Even allowing for delays perhaps attributable to some members’ personal issues, its report is long overdue. When ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman announced the review way back in mid-2013, he told the Academy of Science, loftily, that science reporters were a dying breed outside the ABC, where Robyn Williams and Karl Kruszelnicki were paragons. ABC science coverage stands “head, shoulders, thorax and abdomen”  above other broadcasters, he boasted. Strangely, he made this pronouncement in advance of his own panel’s findings. Kruszelnicki, by the way, claimed that global warming since 1997 was six times more than the British Met Office had calculated, then abused columnist Andrew Bolt for getting the figure correct.

Spigelman said that while he is not a climate sceptic, ABC journalists need “to hold scientists and technologists to account for their claims and conduct”. He said “impartiality” included  giving opportunities over time for key points of contentious issues to be covered. However, “balance”’ involved following the weight of evidence on topics such as climate change.

We must go beyond PR handouts, or what has been called ‘churnalism’ …  What I believe needs most work, is to develop our capacity to appropriately challenge scientists, not least those whose work is distributed by press release from organizations with a vested interest in favourable publicity. That includes, these days, universities.

He emphasized that ABC accuracy and impartiality was not just something the board should promote but which by law it was required to enforce. The panel, Spigelman said, would examine ten representative ABC science stories. After the panel reports, it would run a private symposium with ABC staff on science coverage. The ABC would then issue a public report on the whole exercise. Later, other non-science ABC subject areas will get similar scrutiny, he said. As a sequel to the review of science journalism, the ABC’s political coverage brims with potential.

Amid all Spigelman’s good intentions, he omitted one adjective for his panel: independent. People just assumed the inquiry would be independent, but the ABC speedily appointed one of its own board members, Fiona Stanley, to head the inquiry.

What are the chances of Stanley giving the ABC a stern report sheet?

# First, she adores the ABC.
# Second, she’s a global warming super-activist, making stump speeches for greenies about “saving the planet”, and comparing sceptics to child abusers. So what’s not for her to like about the ABC’s climate alarm coverage?

Here she is talking about the ABC a year ago:

From the age of five, when I was an Argonaut, the ABC has been a force for good in my life and work.  It has educated, informed, entertained and excited me for over 60 years.  It is a fantastic resource for this nation.

Unfortunately,  many of us have taken the ABC for granted. My hope is that readers will realise how valuable our public broadcaster is and fight to save it from further cuts and harassment.

If you only read The Australian, or listen to the views of some politicians, you would think that the ABC is struggling to provide fair coverage of events, is biased in its politics and its science, and that it is wasting tax-payers’ dollars. Have you noticed that journalists critical of the ABC have started to call it ‘the taxpayer-funded ABC’?”  [Well yes, Fiona, strange, that].

“As a scientist”, as Stanley described herself, she believes the ABC is doing a great job, while “We are now in a situation where a major commercial news organisation [i.e. News Corp] is denigrating the ABC with a vicious, sustained campaign which is extremely damaging to our public broadcaster and to the nation.”

The nub of Stanley’s science inquiry involves the work of Robyn Williams, the maestro of the ABC’s flagship Science Show.[iii] Any normal auditor would be alert against creating perceived bias for or against Williams. Not Stanley.

She went on Williams’ show, mid-inquiry a year ago, to publicly sing its praises:

Fiona Stanley: There are lots of ways in which both Robyn Williams and Norman Swan are impacting Australia. There is no doubt that there is a huge both listening public and podcasting public that pick up on their programs.

Sharon Carleton [co-presenter]: Praise indeed from respected paediatrician Professor Fiona Stanley.

Fiona Stanley: And many of those podcasts are actually international, and so they are used extensively by people who are interested in science and health. We use them for teaching, in medical schools, and I’m sure they use them in public health. And so the impact, I think, goes way beyond the initial program.

Two of her  inquiry panel members – we kid you not – are ex-Media Watch compere and climate alarmist Jonathan Holmes and ex-ABC Triple J comedian Adam Spencer. A mixed bag – see here – of half a dozen outsiders complete the panel. Stanley, who has a distinguished background in epidemiology, paediatrics and Aboriginal health,  has a new career as a climate doomster and public speaker, for which she charges as much as $15,000 per appearance. Almost 19 years of no appreciable warming  has not diminished her catastropharian zeal in the slightest.

In April last year, mid-way in the ABC inquiry into the impartiality and accuracy of the ABC’s climate coverage, she actually compared climate sceptics with child abusers! “The way we are living on this planet is unsustainable, and that’s why I’m worried for my children, and my grandchildren and their children,” she said. By analogy, our own great-grandparents circa 1900 should have been worrying about threats to you and me in 2015.

Stanley’s forward genealogical concerns extend even beyond her great-grandchildren. She was lead signatory to a self-described “Monster Climate Petition” launched by greenies and luvvies in mid-2014, which included in its preamble:

It’s 3:23 in the morning and I’m awake 
 because my great-great-grandchildren
 won’t let me sleep. My great-great-grandchildren ask me in dreams what did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do when the earth was unraveling? (My emphasis)

“I’m not a climate-change expert,” Stanley gushed with commendable frankness.  “But I do trust the incredible [well said, Fiona!] scientific evidence … We don’t actually know if [warming] is on the rise, but all the risk factors for it are on the rise.”   Make what you can of that.

Climate sceptics make her “anxious and angry”, she has said, because they were dissing her favourite scientists and hurting those generations as yet unborn.  What we should be doing, she said, is eating less meat and catching more buses and trains. Anyone spotted Fiona returning from one of her speaking engagements on a Transperth bus, possibly munching a carrot?

Her logic runs as straight as a worm in compost. On the one hand, she says “the data is very compelling”, but on the other

To expect science to be able to predict something as complex as what is going to happen on this planet, given human activity and other things, is extraordinarily challenging and I think it is pathetic of people to criticise the imprecise nature of the science…

My bet:  the two ABC inquiries will issue nuanced results like this:

Ray Martin/Brown inquiry: “Ten out of ten for Q&A!”

Fiona Stanley inquiry on accuracy and impartiality of ABC science coverage: “Ten out of ten for ABC Science!”

You read it here first.

Oh, and by the way, the ABC in both cases declines to reveal how much the two teams are being paid. Whatever sums are involved, if Martin and Stanley really care about the ABC’s credibility and their own, they should step aside and let others tackle these job afresh..

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)


Justice Wood, when sentencing Zaky Mallah in 2005 to 30 months jail, had even then deplored the way the media had adopted Mallah and “gave him  an entirely undeserved and unnecessary exposure… Placing a person such as the prisoner into the public spotlight is … likely to encourage him to embark on even more outrageous and extravagant behaviour.”

Mallah registered to go on Q&A in 2011, went into the audience twice, and was booked by the ABC into the audience another three times, but was a no-show. He asked twice to join the panel but – and this is a mystery – Q&A rejected him. On a further occasion Q&A begged him to join an audience, but he in turn rejected the Q&A invitation. Then there was his June 22 appearance. (Dept of Communications report, 1/7/15).

[ii] Presumably the ABC would see nothing untoward in a judge remarking at the start of a murder trial, “Well personally I’d say this fellow’s innocent.”

[iii] Williams a year ago gave a platform to climate fabulist Naomi Oreskes to predict that global warming in 2023 would kill everyone’s kittens and puppies, a prospect that thrilled Williams because of its educative potential.

Williams: Yes, not only because it’s an animal but it’s local. You see, one criticism of the scientists is they’re always talking about global things…And so if you are looking at your village, your animals, your fields, your park, your kids, and the scientists are talking about a small world that you know, then it makes a greater impact, doesn’t it.


  1. Jody

    In short, an objective “bystander” would find these ‘reports’ biased? Is that what you’re saying? I certainly hope the reports are trashed and their authors consigned to the nation’s dust-bin, just as the ALP sought to do with Justice Dyson Heydon.

    One law for the Left and another for everybody else.

  2. Jody

    Today (Monday 19th) a female politician from the seat of Griffith (Qld) – the one vacated by K. Rudd – commented on the positive poll findings for Turnbull. It was played on “The Drum”. The member in question said, “Turnbull is good looking but we need something more than this”. Not a single mention on the ABC news tonight about this – only the first minute of the woman’s interview. If this kind of sexist remark had been uttered by a male, particularly one T. Abbott, we would never have heard the end of it. But the ABC judiciously airbrushed it out of the equation.

    An 11 year old child would easily spot this kind of fraudulence and bias from the ABC.

The Real Backlash

Gathered to honour the memory of a crusading editor, some of the biggest names in the news business were told by one of their own that journalists covering the Parramatta murder of Curtis Cheng are being targeted with death threats. So far, his remarks have gone unreported

mini mo est mortJournalists  covering the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng in Parramatta on October 2 are working in a climate of fear because of death threats. Chris Reason, senior reporter for Seven News, Sydney said this last night in a speech to about 100 media people and friends at a Melbourne Press Club function at the RACV.

Reason and his cameraman, Greg Parker, provided live coverage throughout the Man Monis siege at the Lindt Café in Martin Place last December.

“Some media outlets are receiving direct physical violent death threats, specific threats not to go near Parramatta Mosque, where the 15-year-old went to pray. At one point a senior member of the Daily Telegraph turned up there with two  flak jackets,” Reason  said.

“The situation is deadly serious among journalists covering the story in Western Sydney. People have been seen videoing journos in their cars. Journos and cameramen are doing their job more cautiously, but they continue covering this critical story well.”

The Press Club function to legendary Age editor Graham Perkin, killed by a heart attack 40 years ago at the age of just 45. Reason last March was named 2014′s Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year. He told the audience last night, “This is the sort of story Graham Perkin would have chased down hard and fearlessly.”

The Age had no coverage of Reason’s talk this morning, nor did the Herald SunThe Australian or ABC, at least according to online searching. Last night’s audience was a galaxy of past and present editors, investigative journalists, star columnists and commentators, and household-word media personalities.

Interviewed by Quadrant after the function, Reason said Sydney reporters, as far as he knew, were continuing to “keep going with their work” and their tone was not affected.

The Telegraph received direct threats to their journalists and the word spread from there. There had been an explicit threat to a young female Tele journo that she would have her arms ripped off and she would be murdered. It was very violent language, she told us.

“Counter-terrorist operators in Sydney intercepted messages between certain groups threatening and targeting journos and media. The Telegraph was one of them, AAP another. Executives organised precautions. Most media organisations like (channels) 7 and 10 ended up hiring private security guards while covering the story in the first week.

“It’s an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. I have never seen anything like it in Sydney in 20 years. In my organization there’s been some serious conversation  on how to cover it, how to approach the story, how to protect ourselves. Some cameramen are worried, some journos worried. I don’t know what’s being done about security at people’s homes.

“We have not talked about it publicly. No reporter has talked or written about it in Sydney.”

Quadrant Online understands that Telegraph crime reporter Mark Morri received a number of the threatening calls. A sample of  the death threats being received by journalists was provided, by coincidence, yesterday by Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. An email he received and reproduced on his blog reads:

“hi there again you arrogant piece of shit!!! You f—ng Jewish dog, stop hiding behind your f—d up articles and office and say your shit in Lakemba if you had any balls, which you don’t. You’re a piece of shit that gets your frills by bragging about Islam every time. May Allah the Almighty God bless someone to burn you and have your head on display without your body intact and feed you to dogs. Burn in HELL.”

The death threats to journalists in Sydney and Melbourne come against the backdrop of the murders of 11  Charlie Hebdo staffers in Paris in January.

The media anxiety in Sydney contrasts with the insouciance with which the media deal with organized crime and bikie gangs. Underbelly-style reports are often treated as low-life comedy. Crime groups are aware that killing a journalist would be stunningly bad for business. This was demonstrated when a drug-syndicate hitman killed whistleblower Donald Mackay in Griffith in 1977. Mackay was a furniture retailer, not a journalist, but keen to expose corruption.

By contrast,  the murder of a journalist would be “good for business” in the eyes of hard-line Islamists, even more so than a random slaying. When ISIL beheaded journalists Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria a year ago, ISIL posted triumphant videos of the acts as a warning to America.

At last night’s  Press Club function, a former Age editor told Quadrant Online that tensions with the Muslim community were fiercer in Sydney than in Melbourne. In Sydney, he said, it was easy to find marked anti-Muslim sentiments, especially in the western suburbs where  he divined a sense of displacement because of refugees taking up scarce housing and government services including health. It was much the same syndrome exploited by nationalist Pauline Hanson, he opined. “You don’t get those sentiments in Northern and Eastern Sydney,” he said.

Quadrant was slightly taken aback by this analysis, not least because Reason in his speech described Islamist threats but said nothing about any anti-Islamism.

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)


  1. Jody

    I’m appalled to read this, but not at all surprised. And we are expected to pander to the communities which give rise to this kind of violence, intimidation and ugliness. What on earth are these people doing living in our country? Many many thousands of Australian people demand to know the answer to that question; the miscreants who promulgated the multicultural policy in this country, on the back of cultural Marxism, have either run for cover, pontificate on a regular basis and bore us all into a coma with their virtue signalling naivete. The execrable and oleaginous Waleed Ally regularly writes patronizing and smug-filled articles in the smh blaming Australian politics for all kinds of ‘sins’ which he has deemed to be just that.

    The question is now: what are we going to do about all this rubbish, foisted on up by the left?

  2. Stuart

    The only good that may come of this is for some of the blinkered left to begin to wake up to themselves. Perhaps they will now see the so called religion of peace as it really is.

  3. Richard H

    I second Jody’s comments on this article. Thanks Tony for letting us know of this truly appalling situation.

    Just an extra point on Donald Mackay. As well as being a furniture retailer and campaigner against illicit drugs, he was a Liberal Party candidate at three elections. While he was never elected, his preferences helped a Country Party candidate unseat the execrable Al Grassby. After Mackay’s murder, Grassby was paid by the local mafia to circulate a sickening lie that Mackay’s widow was involved in the killing (she successfully sued for defamation). With full knowledge of these facts, then ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope decided in 2009 to erect a statue of Grassby in Canberra.

    • Jody

      My extended family lives in Griffith and they’re all quite old now. They all know the McKay family very well and they know what goes on, but which is kept from the public eye for fear of retribution. A statue of McKay sits in the main street of Griffith, according to my relatives “as a warning”!! Al Grassby was a corrupt and dangerous man who is largely culpable for what has happened to our country through the ‘multicultural’ project.

      There is a standing joke around Griffith that Al and his wife Eleanor Grassby made 3 attempts at the Primary Final!!!

  4. jenkins

    The comments of the former Age editor are indicative of the line taken by Fairfax media. I had tried previously tried to alert one of their papers of some of the incidents of harassment, intimidation and violence told to me by women who live in South West Sydney. My comment on the most serious incident was not published as it was yet to go to trial. Fair enough. The other incidents I described, including one involving myself, were met with disbelief and myself being called a “racist bogan” and the suggestion that there must have been something in my manner to attract such harassment, even though I had been simply walking to visit a family member on the grounds of a public hospital at the time. Sound familiar? To my astonishment a story, that was the complete reversal of my experience, was published in the paper: muslim women at a local hospital had been harassed by local youths on the grounds of a public hospital, and any muslims who had been similarly subjected to racist behaviour were encouraged to contact the police. I came to the conclusion that Fairfax could not be trusted as a source of the truth. Not only that, but IMO, they were placing woman in danger by not advising them of the truth.

    • Jody

      I can relate to your experience of censorship on SMH. Many of the comments I submit online never see the light of day; for example, the earlier one I made on this same page about Waleed (“The Project” LOL) Aly!!

      Do read what Tanvir Ahmed has to say in “The Spectator” about Muslims!!

UNlimited Corruption

The United Nations is dedicated to the notion that men and women of good will can do much to promote peace. Alas, something must have been garbled in translation, as the global body’s legions of grafters and grifters keep their focus on pocketing a piece of the action

“To dismantle corruption’s high walls, I urge every nation to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption. Its ground breaking measure have made important inroads, but there is much more to do.”
— UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

un hqIn 2003 the United Nations declared that December 9 would be “International Anti-Corruption” Day. The global body’s celebrations this year will be muted. The   2013-14  president of the UN General Assembly, John Ashe, is now accused by US prosecutors of  successfully soliciting   bribes of some $US1.3m from Chinese tycoons and understating his income by  the same amount. Free after posting $US1million bail on the tax charges, he denies wrong-doing.

Ashe can’t possibly be guilty! His priority is saving the planet from CO2 emissions, not taking bribesLook what he says on his UN website by way of “summing up his philosophy”:

Guided by a passion for sustainable development, Mr. Ashe has been in the forefront of international efforts to address the adverse effects of climate change and the fight to eradicate poverty… We only have the planet we live on, and if we are to leave it in a reasonable state for the next generation, the quest for a safer, cleaner, and more equitable world is one that should consume us all.  

Some innocents are  still starry-eyed about saving the planet from CO2 hell. They want  the UN’s minions and members to start the job in the Paris, where the world’s warmists will convene in December, the latest confab in the long series of global parleys intended to mandate expensive energy for rich and poor alike. They also hope that First World taxpayers will  pony  up $US100 billion a year as a climate-compensatory present for the Third-World’s kleptocrats.

These Paris-bound carbonphobics might profitably ponder the allegations against ex-UN President Ashe. He’s  been a standard-bearer in the UN climate campaign since way back in 1995. He represented the Group of Latin and American States (GRULAC) as vice-president of the first and fourth climate conferences (1995 and 1998), and in the next few years chaired the Subsidiary Bureau for Implementation (SBI) five times. In 2009  he chaired  the Kyoto Protocol Negotiating Track, preparing groundwork for the Copenhagen conference. His bright idea was First World emissions cuts in the near term of 25-40%, because that is what “the science is telling us”, he said. After Copenhagen’s debacle, he  chaired the Negotiating Track again in 2010,  preparing draft decisions for the Cancun round of talks, including “carbon market mechanisms”.

Give Ashe a platform (as distinct from the dock) and he’ll spout climate pieties till the methane-emitting cows come home. Listen to him as UN President at the Warsaw climate conference in 2013. (The date includes the period when, allegedly, he was taking bribes and fiddling his tax). He particularly urged the West towards “operationalizing and capitalizing post haste the [$US100b pa] Green Climate Fund.” 
He said,

If there is one constant than binds us all in this our UN global family, it is this: we are all committed to the overarching goal of improving the lives of our respective peoples...

… The time has come for you   to stand up and say: yes we will. Yes, we will do something. We will act. Not tomorrow, not next week, but right here. Today! Let me end with one heartfelt appeal: Do what needs to be done for 2015 – if not for yourself – then for the children both present and for those yet to come.

But when it came to donning the hair shirt and  shrinking his carbon footprint, Mr Ashe had other ideas. According to   prosecutors, this CO2-detesting Beau Brummel drew on his alleged bribes to spend $US59,000  on Hong Kong suits in 2013 and 2014. Heavens, were they made from cloth of gold?

To match his hand-tailored wardrobe, in 2014 he snapped up a pair of Rolex watches at roughly $US27,000 apiece (Full disclosure: I’m wearing a $US5 timepiece), and in late 2014 he took out a $US40,000 lease on a new BMW X5 (drive-away price, in Melbourne, about $A130,000). Then he bought a membership at a South Carolina country club for $US69,000, and solicited money to construct a $US30,000 basketball court at his home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

See also: Gillard, the UN and Me

Also in 2014, $US200,000 was wired into his private bank account, allegedly for a Presidential foreign trip to spruik the Macau conference-centre project of fellow-arrestee Mr Ng Lap Seng. Prosecutors assert Ng bribed Ashe with $US500,000, while other Chinese tycoons are said to have slipped Ashe another $US800,000 to support  business deals in his native Antigua. He allegedly shared some of that moolah with a then-Prime Minister of Antigua.

Doubtless by coincidence, one of the country’s two prime mMinisters that year, Gaston Browne, signed a huge deal with Chinese investors. I make no suggestion this involved any wrong-doing. The deal was for an enormous tourist resort with five hotels, 1,300 holiday homes, a golf course, marina and casino. The full cost of the project—spread over ten years—would have been equivalent to almost two-thirds of the country’s GDP.

The Antigua project itself had a troubled history. A previous equivalent proposal involved Antigua’s biggest private employer, Sir Allen Stanford. Sadly, Stanford (now minus the ‘Sir’) is now doing 110 years in a Florida prison for a $US7b Ponzi fraud. He will not be a free man before he attains the age of 172.

UN President Ashe was succeeded as President by Sam Kutesa of Uganda, who retired a month ago. Remarkably,  Kutesa also has links to one of the five current Chinese accused, Sheri Yan, CEO of the Global Sustainability Foundation, of which Ashe is chairman. Kutesa’s wife, Edith, is a vice-chair of the foundation.

Meanwhile, the Paris talks loom.  While Ashe has been obliged to accessorize his sartorial style with an FBI  monitoring bracelet, the UN’s current heavies will take over the spouting of Ashe-esque urgings for trillion-dollar climate spending. Many people don’t realize that the Paris talks will be more of the same UN crowd wearing different hats.

  • The science, such as it is, is compiled by the IPCC but vetted and tweaked before release by the UN member states.
  • The IPCC reports to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which again is just the UN members. The UNFCCC gave the IPCC its 1992 question-begging missionto report on the risks of human-caused climate change.
  • This is a political not scientific mission, since the mission statement ignores the role of natural climate change, and simply wants backing for the assertion that there is a human-caused climate risk.

In fact there’s been no global warming for 18 years and 8 months — risky, human-caused or otherwise. The prosecutor has fertile fields for examination. Mr Ng generously donated $US1.5m to the UN last year partly to host a conference in Macau for developing countries. At the conference, various ambassadors including from Bangladesh and  Kenya, waxed lyrical about Mr Ng’s proposed UN centre there, and the conference endorsed the project. Who knows what the motives were? The UN is Corruption Central and secretary-general Ban Ki-moon suspects it.  In his own words, the allegations against Ashe “go to the heart of the integrity of the UN.”

US prosecutor Preet Bharara says his job is to determine if “corruption is business as usual at the United Nations…If proven, today’s charges will confirm that the cancer of corruption that plagues too many local and state governments infects the United Nations as well.”

The UN’s corruption gets media airtime only occasionally. This is partly because, for the Love Media,  UN = Sweetness & Light.  And also because UN finances, including its budget,  are shrouded in near-impenetrable secrecy.  The only watchdog appears to be US law enforcement agencies, whose clout derives from the UN’s New York residency and the US’s 25%  funding of the entire UN budget (guesstimated at $US30b plus).

One reporter, Claudia Rosett, has made it her business to probe into the UN murk, much as Canadian Donna Laframboise was able to lift the lid on the shenanigans inside the IPCC, starting with her 2011 Delinquent Teenager book on the IPCC. Rosett, of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, won an award in 2005 for her exposes of the oil-for-food UN scandal. She expounded on the Ashe bribery allegations last week in an interview with The Wall street Journal:

It is a classic case of UN corruption. The UN just lends itself to this — it invites it — it is built into the UN’s DNA. They have immunity. They operate with enormous secrecy. After years of promises to reform and to become more transparent, they still are not.

It is a collective, ultimately accountable to no one, it’s just 193 member states. Unless the US enforces things,  there is really no power to enforce anything. This alleged corruption is the tip of a very big iceberg.

The hallmark of this big  scam is promising to do ‘good works’. This becomes cover for all sorts of sleaze and corruption.

It doesn’t figure in your daily doings, it figures in the things coming down  like the big [Paris] climate conference, which will affect   your electricity bills most likely.

Rosett noted in passing that the Chinese tycoon defendant Ng had been a  frequent visitor to the Clinton-era White House in the 1990s. “An interesting connection — and  here he is, again charged with an alleged bribe conspiracy enlisting the help of the head of the UN General Assembly to promote their endeavors. The US taxpayers enlist so much money and trust, but that is leveraged to line the pockets of corrupt officials.”

UN bigwigs would rather pick up a black snake, it seems, than do anything serious to root out the rorts. When the   charges were laid against Ashe, Ban Ki-moon claimed through his spokeswomanthat the UN had no powers to investigate non-staff, so it was merely “studying the complaints”. Diplomats were the responsibility of their home countries, the spokeswoman said, as if the UN had no jurisdiction over use and mis-use of UN funds.

After a public outcry, Ban Ki-moon had second thoughts and announced  an internal inquiry into Ashe’s Sustainability Foundation (which also has two Australian officesvis-a-vis the UN and the Ng entities.  The Foundation is one of more than 8000 such bodies and NGOs affiliated with the UN, not to mention thousands more working with UN sub-groups. Some of these are well-known to aid workers as “suitcase” NGOs — the joke being that they are said to channel suitcases of cash to their executives and/or “grey” recipients.

Ashe is not the only UN climateer under a cloud. The “father” of the UN’s climate push is Canadian business man Maurice Strong, who organized the first “Earth Summit” in 1972. He became head of the UN Environmental Program (UNEP), which joined with the World Meteorological Association to found the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 1992, he led the Rio Earth Summit as its secretary-general. At Rio, he suggested:

We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrialized civilization to collapse. Isn’t it our job to bring that about?

He then became sidekick to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Alas, the 2005 audits into the oil-for-food scandal turned up a 1997 cheque endorsed by Strong and made out to “M. Strong” for $US988,885. The cheque was issued by a Jordanian bank and came from South Korean business man Tongsun Park, later convicted in 2006 of trying to bribe UN officials.

Strong hastily resigned and, within days, had fled to Beijing, where he set up permanent residence. He said that  he just wanted to “sideline himself until the cloud was removed”. He claimed: “It just happened to coincide with the publicity surrounding my so-called nefarious activities. I had no involvement at all in oil-for-food … I just stayed out of it.”

Annan, near the end of his term at the UN,  delivered this touching tribute to Strong:

Looking back on our time together, we have shared many trials and tribulations and I am grateful that I had the benefit of your global vision and wise counsel on many critical issues… Your unwavering commitment to the environment, multilateralism and peaceful resolution of conflicts is especially appreciated.

In Beijing, Strong was a regime favorite because his cousin, Anne Louise Strong, had lived with Mao Tse-tung for two years. Then-Premier Chou En-Lai displayed his respect by arranging her 1970 funeral. Maurice Strong is now 86 and has disappeared from view.

The later  “Cash for Kim” scandal from 1997- 2007 involved the UN development Program (UNDP) giving Pyongyang access to sensitive security information, illicit transfers of dual-use US  technology and millions in cash without adequate controls. In effect, Kim Jong-Il was given UN pocket-money, while Kim was providing UNDP with counterfeit US $100 bills to store in the UNDP’s Pyongyang safe.

Russia for the past decade has stymied efforts to root out another form of UN corruption. This comes as no surprise, as Russia is the main beneficiary of $1 billion a year in rigged leasing contracts for aircraft and helicopters. Other key players will not confront Russia over this because they need Moscow’s cooperation on unrelated issues at the UN. In 2006, a Russian UN official pleaded guilty to US charges that he had been getting big bribes. A second Russian UN official was also convicted.

The biggest UN scandal of all was the $US13b oil-for-cash rorting, originally designed to keep humanitarian goods flowing to Saddam’s Iraq when that country was under UN sanctions. The   program was set up – allegedly by Russian intelligence operatives within the US — to deliver billions worth of cut-price oil vouchers to Saddam Hussein. Saddam distributed them as bribes, including to Russian entities who profited by $US476m and kicked back a share of the profits to Saddam. Russian beneficiaries included the son of the Russian ex-Ambassador to Iraq, an ex-PM of the Soviet era, the Russian President’s office director and the Communist Party. Even the Russian Orthodox Church saw a little graft tossed into its collection plates.

Another $US35 million from the program went to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers ($US15-25,000 each). Other beneficiaries included Al Qaeda, the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the chairman of the Qatari Horceracing Association. The UN official running that program was found  by a US inquiry to have been slung $US160,000 a year from beneficiaries. The official denied the charges, claiming that the flow of riches originated with a doting aunt in Cyprus, who had since died.

The UN   denied all requests by the US Government Accounting Office for access to the confidential internal audits. The GAO later reported that Saddam’s regime received a $US10 billion windfall from the oil-for-food program while Kofi Annan was UN  secretary-general. US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, said in his audit that Annan had not been found to be corrupt but “his behavior has not been exonerated by any stretch of the imagination”. Annan’s son, Kojo, was a marketing consultant to a Swiss-based inspection company Cotecna, which in 1998 won a $US4.8m contract under the Oil-for-Food program. Kojo successfully sued London’s Sunday Times for claiming he had confessed to wrongdoing.

Kofi Annan, in his foreward to The UN Convention Against Corruption, loftily promised that it

… will reaffirm the importance of core values such as honesty, respect for the rule of law, accountability and transparency in promoting development and making the world a better place for all.

Be assured that the United Nations Secretariat… will do whatever it can to support the efforts of States to eliminate the scourge of corruption from the face of the Earth.

The scams and scandals mentioned above merely scratch the surface of UN misdeeds. Not least is the impunity with which some members of  its peacekeeping forces – who total 100,000-plus – have engaged in rape, sex trafficking  and paedophilia, such as trading UN food rations with hungry children in return for sex. A UN Office of International Oversight Services report from May 2015 recorded 480 allegations of abuse between 2008 and 2013. Given the underreporting of such crimes, the number of victims is likely far higher. The so-called peacekeepers are accountable only to their countries of origin.

As an aside, The Age  reported in 2006 that, in early 2001, two Jordanian soldiers with the UN Peacekeeping Force in East Timor were evacuated home with injured penises after attempting intercourse with goats.

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)

The IPCC’s Legion of Hacks and Dunces

As climateers turn their gaze toward Paris, what the warmist media won’t be reporting is just how poorly qualified and error-prone many of them are. That’s no mere sceptic’s complaint, by the way, but the honest verdict of their fellow scientists

paris submergedThe basis for the Paris climate talks in December is “the science” produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The science must be good because it’s coming from the world’s top climate-type scientists,[1]  or so the story goes.

Well, the story is guff.

The IPCC scientists aren’t the best available, far from it. They’re a motley crew assembled via a typical United Nations boondoggle that stacks the scientific ranks with heavy quotas for Third Worlders, along with special consideration for females. The IPCC rules explain that the IPCC hierarchy “shall reflect balanced geographical representation with due consideration for scientific and technical requirements.” (My emphasis).

The senior scientists draft the all-important Summaries for Policymakers (SPMs), as distinct from their thousands of back-up pages of science studies. Then politicians and bureaucrats, not the scientists, sculpt the wording on the final drafts, including the Synthesis Report.

In IPCC-Orwell speak: “The endorsement process is based on a dialogue between those who will use the report – the governments — and those who write it – the scientists.” The stenographers of the mainstream media ignore this, receiving the summary kits and chorusing, “The Science has spoken.”[2] The best example of  Summaries’ propaganda   is that, while their 2013 forecasting of CO2 doom is climate-model based, no Summary includes the all-important admission from Working Group 1’s body text: that 111 of 114 model runs had over-forecasted actual temperature rises from 1998-2012.

It’s a good time for some forensic work on the  IPCC processes. This very week (Oct 5-8) in Dubrovnik, IPCC members from 195 countries will vote for a new leadership cadre. The top man right now is Ismail El Gizouli, who has been serving in an acting capacity since the chair, Rajendra Pachauri, quit abruptly last February after police laid a fistful of sex-harassment charges against him. Gizouli hails from benighted Sudan, no exemplar of scientific advances but a classic outcome of the above-mentioned UN boondoggle intended to give Third Worlders a share of the climate spoils.

The five contenders[4] for Pachauri’s job have now been joined by a sixth, Ogunlade Davidson, from that citadel of climate-science expertise, Sierra Leone.[5]

My interest particularly is in the elections for the vice-chairs of Working Group 11 (WG2) — Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability. There’s now a retiring Australian vice-chair, Dr Neville Smith, and a  new Australian candidate, Dr Mark Howden.[6]

WG2, sadly,  does not have a good pedigree. The InterAcademy Council’s audit of the IPCC in 2010 singled out the WG2’s 2007  Summary  as containing

many vague statements of ‘high confidence’ that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or are difficult to refute. The Committee believes that it is not appropriate to assign probabilities to such statements .

It also said many of 71 WG2 conclusions about “Future Impacts” of climate change were imprecise and unworthy of WG2’s purported “high confidence”.[7]

Looking closely at this WG2 election brings the guff elements of the IPCC into clearer focus.

Dr Smith is Deputy Director (Research and Systems) at the audit-free Bureau of Meteorology. Like all the other IPCC bigwigs, he is yet to get his head around the 18 years and 8 months halt to global warming measured by the satellites. He  also has   illusions about   the primacy of scientists within the IPCC, relative to politicians and apparatchiks. He told a warm-up meeting about the 5th report in 2012:

In the IPCC  it is the science and the scientists that rule. I knew that before I got into it but it is certainly evident now, having been inside the bureau for four years.

The sheltered Dr Smith apparently has never heard of the protracted cleansing process that sees government delegates of the UN member states, in secret sessions,[8] go over the scientists’ draft Summaries for Policymakers line by line and word by word. A reasonable analogy would be a cloud of seagulls descending on the scientists’ packet of chips.   The cleansing, massaging and deleting continues   until every bureaucrat, diplomat  and politician is in agreement about things like the required apocalyptic tone.

Pachauri, IPCC chair for the 4th and 5th reports, even admitted that “we necessarily have to ensure that the underlying report conforms to the refinements.” In other words, they make the “science” fit the political summary, not the other way around.

Who better than Harvard’s Professor Robert Stavins, a coordinating lead author in Working Group 111’s 2013 Report, and by no stretch a sceptic, to debate Dr Smith’s claim is about “the rule of science” in the IPCC?

Stavins wrote that several coordinating lead authors told him the 33-page summary approved line by line by governments should be called “the Summary BY Policymakers” not “FOR Policymakers”. He complained formally to WG 111 co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer[9] (and he copied-in chair Pachauri), that governments had “fundamentally revised or rejected” parts of the Summary over a grueling five-day-and-night session.

As the week progressed, I was surprised by the degree to which governments felt free to recommend and sometimes insist on detailed changes to the   [Summary]  text on purely political, as opposed to scientific bases…(G)overnment representatives worked to suppress text that might jeopardize their negotiating stances in international negotiations…  

I fully understand that the government representatives were seeking to meet their own responsibilities toward their respective governments by upholding their countries’ interests, but in some cases this turned out to be problematic for the scientific integrity of the IPCC Summary for Policymakers. …   

To ask these experienced UNFCCC negotiators to approve text that critically assessed the scholarly literature on which they themselves are the interested parties, created an irreconcilable conflict of interest…   

Over the course of the two hours of the contact group deliberations, it became clear that the only way the assembled government representatives would approve text for SPM.5.2 was essentially to remove all ‘controversial’ text (that is, text that was uncomfortable for any one individual government), which meant deleting almost 75% of the text.

In more than one instance, specific examples or sentences were removed at the will of only one or two countries, because under IPCC rules, the dissent of one country is sufficient to grind the entire approval process to a halt unless and until that country can be appeased…

 The process the IPCC followed resulted in a process that built political credibility by sacrificing scientific integrity.

The IPCC fourth report (2007) was no different.   As one participant described it[10],

This [approval process of the Summary] was an agonizing, frustrating process, as every sentence had to be wordsmithed on a screen in front of representatives of more than 100 governments, falling farther and farther beyond a realistic schedule by the hour.

Thus Dr Smith’s dictum about the “rule of science” at the IPCC is on a par with Pachauri’s past claims  that all IPCC material was peer-reviewed (In the 4th Report, DONNA Laframboise found 5,587  citations were to non-peer-reviewed items, ranging from government reports to Greenpeace tracts and even press releases). Dr Smith’s would-be replacement on WG11 is Dr Mark Howden, sponsored a month ago by Greg Hunt’s Ministry for the Environment. Howden’s day job is Interim Director at the ANU  Climate Change Institute, run by climate hard man Will Steffen.

This sponsoring letter was signed by Environment assistant secretary Rob Sturgiss, who’s on the IPCC “inventories” task force and is himself standing for re-election. Sturgiss tells the 195-country voting community that he’s “passionate about promoting the role of the IPCC in the development of national greenhouse gas emissions inventory reporting frameworks.” This passion-creating   counting exercise   is a bit tricky – only last month,   a Yale study discovered there are 3 trillion CO2-sucking trees on the planet, eight times more than previously estimated. That’s some margin of error!

Getting back to Dr Howden, what are his chances in the election? As it happens, he’s designated as part of the SW Pacific region, comprising 22 countries (half of them hopelessly aid-dependent island states). Six of the eight vice-chairs[11] have to be from a different region — Africa, South America, Europe etc. The SW Pacific slot (including Australia) is being contested by only one other candidate, Professor Joy Jacqueline Pereira from Malaysia. The loser would struggle against global  competition to get one of the spare two slots.

Howden’s CV is stronger by a mile (about 400 publications vs Pereira’s 120), and he’s been milling around the IPCC circuit since 1992 (Pereira contributed only to 2014′s 5th report).  But Pereira is female and the IPCC likes a bit of affirmative action: “Consideration should also be given to promoting gender balance.”

In voting for the Bureau candidates, each of the UN members has a single, equal  vote (Kiribati’s vote equals that of the United States or Germany).[12]  Of course the Third World bloc dominates the voting – Africa alone has 54 votes.  Some Third Worlders may get a buzz from elevating Malaysia’s Pereira above an Australian toff.

Howden’s statement to his voters runs to  a daunting 41 pages.      Much of his vast output concerns ill-effects of global climate change on agriculture.[13] However,  there hasn’t been any global climate change for nearly 19 years, and before that there was a century of only a modest and beneficial warming.  So I emailed Howden about his hiatus-denial:

I assume you’re aware that the RSS satellite temperature record now shows no global temperature rise for 18 years and 8 months. To what extent does this invalidate the IPCC’s global warming narrative and your own work?

He replied:

In relation to the temperature  record, many different analyses from different groups show the long term trend is clear and the statements from NOAA and other key institutions about recent surface and ocean temperatures indicate highest on record temperatures for this calendar year. I would refer you to the IPCC reports for a robust synthesis.

Enjoying the opportunity, I emailed back:

The 5th IPCC report acknowledges a 15 year ‘hiatus’ (since further prolonged) in the face of steeply rising CO2 emissions. The IPCC also seems at a loss to explain it. What is the ‘long term trend’ you refer to? The only long term trend evident from the temperature data seems to be a historic rate of sub-1degC per century.

You may be aware that NOAA and NASA last year claimed 2014 was the hottest year on record, but in the fine print had to acknowledge that this was only 48% probable (NOAA) and 38% probable (NASA)

The margins of error in the data are considerable and very small differences between years fall within the error bars, as is likely/possible in 2015 once final figures are in.

The response from Howden was silence, notwithstanding his CV claims:

I am an excellent communicator, able to build awareness and influence with a broad range of audiences… I estimate that over the past six years I have engaged with some 10,000 people directly.[Make that 10,001, Mark]. I actively seek opportunities to interact with broader audiences as I consider highly interactive delivery of science information as a critical first step in addressing complex issues such as climate change…

Dr Howden’s rare silence was doubly hurtful because I had alerted him to  an IPCC code-violation in his job application,  namely:

Selected Awards:
Distinguished Adaptation Scholar, University of Arizona (2014)…
Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (shared as part of the IPCC and with Al Gore)

This seems to be the same Laureate status that his employer CSIRO awarded him in 2007, relying on then-IPCC chair Pachauri’s say-so but failing to check with Oslo. “Climate scientists share in Nobel Peace Prize” said the CSIRO press release.  It continued that Pachauri had gonged all the 4th IPCC report’s lead authors. “This makes each of you Nobel Laureates and it is my privilege to acknowledge this honour on your behalf,” Pachauri purred.

The leader of CSIRO’s Climate Change Impact and Risks group, Dr Penny Whetton, said, “Recognition at this level is important …” and the press release went on to name   lead author-Nobelists, including “CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystem scientist Mark Howden.”

So far, so Nobel. This Nobel-inflation led to the  author of the IPCC 2001 report’s “Hockey Stick”, Michael Mann,[14] accusing critic Mark Steyn of a new felony: “defamation of a Nobel Prize recipient“. The IPCC ruled soon after that its authors should stop calling themselves Nobel winners, shared or otherwise.[15] [16]  

Returning to the IPCC election boondoggles, for the total 34 Bureau positions, 89 hopefuls are contesting, amid all manners of quotas favoring third-world countries. Two candidates are from Comoros. As you’re certainly aware, Comoros is an island group (pop 700,000) near Mozambique, with  “reports of corruption at all levels, including in the judiciary, civil service, and security forces”.

If Dr Howden gets up as an WG2 vice-chair, he may get mentoring from Ismaël Bachirou of Comoros in the next-door office. Mr Bachirou’s CV is in French but I gather he has an Egyptian diploma and is working hard for his PhD about les changements climatiques.

This Third World stacking of IPCC science extends all the way down to the grass-roots workers on the reports. A top-tier scientist is often afflicted with under-qualified Third Worlders with English not-so-good-speaking, as the 2010 InterAcademy Council report attested. The Council reviewed the many flaws of the IPCC after the 2007 Himalayan glaciers howlers (nine erratas for just one page, including simple arithmetic miscalculations). The Council put out a questionnaire to IPCC insiders, and here’s some of the 678 pages of  feedback:[17]

  • There are far too many politically correct appointments, so that developing country scientists are appointed who have insufficient scientific competence to do anything useful. This is reasonable if it is regarded as a learning experience, but in my chapter…we had half of the [lead authors] who were not competent.
  • The whole process…[is] flawed by an excessive concern for geographical balance. All decisions are political before being scientific.
  • Half of the authors are there for simply representing different parts of the world.
  • The team members from the developing countries (including myself) were made to feel welcome and accepted as part of the team. In reality we were out of our intellectual depth as meaningful contributors to the process.
  • Some of the lead authors (generally although not always from developing countries) are clearly not qualified to be lead authors and are unable to contribute .
  • The infamous Himalaya mistake as well as the other writings raising debate were all in regional chapters, and the most questionable ones in chapters with responsible authors from developing countries. IMHO [in my humble opinion] no coincidence.
  • “I have experienced the addition of lead authors or contribution authors during the process who often seem to come with a political mandate… –  they can be very disruptive – let alone the dubious nature of the science they contribute!”

So as the IPCC elections in Dubrovnik get under way, let’s wish our Dr Howden luck with the voting system, and may our friendly debates continue. And at the Paris talks in December, let’s allocate a few trillion on the IPCC science’s say-so.

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)

[1] “People at the top of their profession’; ‘the best talent available across the world’, according to ex-chair Rajendra Pachauri

[2] Donna Laframboise (“Delinquent Teenager”) has spotted a perfectly upside-down headline from the SMH:   “Science has spoken on climate change, it’s now up to politicians.”

[3] The prosecution has since languished in convenient labyrinths of the Indian judicial system

[4] The others are Jan van Ypersele (Belgium), Tom Stocker (Switzerland), Chris Field (USA), Hoesung Lee (Korea) and Neboisa Nakicenovic (Austria-Montenegro).

[5] Freedom House 2015 report on Sierra Leone:

“ Corruption remained rampant. The Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been repeatedly criticized for its poor prosecutorial record, especially in trials involving the president’s friends, family, and political allies.”


The other current WG11 vice-chairs are from Madagascar, Maldives (pop 340,000), Peru, Spain, and Russia.


[7] The IAC instanced a WG2 claim about climate-change harms in Central and Eastern Europe as having only an 80% chance of being true and even then, only under some set of circumstances (IAC’s emphasis, p36).

[8] Climate activist reps can attend as observors; journalists are barred. So much for the IPCC’s vaunted ‘transparency’.

[9] Edenhofer is famous for his quote: “First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy… One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore,”

[10] InterAcademy Council report on IPCC, Questionnaire, p 334

[11] For some reason two WG2 vice-chair slots are currently unfilled.

[12] This is a boon to tiny states in   soliciting aid and soft graft in exchange for their vote

[13] e.g. “Resilience for disaster risk management in a changing climate”


[14] The “Hockey Stick” was supposed to demonstrate that 20th century warming was at a level unprecedented in the past millennium, and that the Medieval warming and the 18thC “Little Ice Age” never happened. Mark Steyn has published an entire book of refutations of the Hockey Stick from the orthodox (not skeptic) climate science community.



[15] “The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner. It would be correct to describe a scientist who was involved with AR4 or earlier IPCC reports in this way: ‘X contributed to the reports of the IPCC, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.’”


[16] As at October 2, Howden had not corrected his CV.

[17] Hat tip to Donna Laframboise’s Delinquent Teenager book for some of these examples.