Category Archives: Climate Unfrocked

Bullsh-t Detector at Work

Change Everything? You Bet. Spectator 14 October 2018

Tony Thomas Oct 13

 

 

Naomi Klein from Canada oversees courses for tens of thousands of Australian high school students.

She’s an anarcho-environmentalist mobilising grass-roots mobs like Occupy to overturn capitalism. She never finished her Bachelor degree but made a hit with her 2014 book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate”. As a New York Times reviewer hyper-ventilated: “[It’s] a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable.” Klein cites a 2012 author of a paper, “Is the Earth fucked?” who  tells her, “Yeah, pretty much!”

Klein has collaborated with tax-free charity Cool Australia to provide no fewer than ten discrete lessons based on “This Changes Everything” for our Year 9-10 kids. Each lesson certifies, “Produced in partnership with ‘This Changes Everything’”. Other lessons are co-partnered with lobbyists WWF.

Cool Australia has hundreds of free environment lessons  in ready-to-go format. From Cool’s start in 2008, the modules are now used by 89,000 teachers in about 80% of schools. It claims 1.7–1.9 million kids took lessons in 2017, though I dunno, its 2016 figure was only 1m.

Cool is the creation of the Jason and Craig Kimberley family, which sold its Just Jeans chain for $64m in 2001. Independent charity watchdog ChangePath fails Cool on transparency (zero Stars out of three). Who knows where Cool’s $1m revenue in 2016 came from? Donations were only $162,000. It’s got other mega-rich pals like wotif$140m beneficiary Graeme Wood.

Bendigo Bank departed last year as Cool’s big sponsor since 2014. The bank explains guardedly that both parties had moved on and agreed to split. New sponsor is Teachers Health, covering 300,000 educators.

 

 

Jason Kimberley says Cool’s goal is for students to be empowered change agents able to identify and solve world issues. Maybe they should pass their driver’s test before they fix the Middle East.

Teachers require kids, as per Cool lessons, to mobilise to improve society and harangue parents, small businesses, MPs, councillors and the public. With every child in class required to state his/her view, any kid would need outside knowledge and a hero’s courage to buck the teachers.

The climate zealotry in schools – also enforced by teachers unions – contrasts with polls of Australian adults showing 43% sceptical of the human-caused warming doom (Climate Institute, 2017).

Much of Cool’s urgings are harmless, like picking up plastic and conserving tapwater, though it admits to kids’ growing message-fatigue. But Cool’s climate gospel is driven right down to pre-schoolers, or tiny-trots.

“Early Learning Hot and Cold” lesson for pre-schoolers: “Using less electricity and finding alternative and greener sources of electricity – such as wind or solar – is essential to addressing climate change.” The material adds helpfully: New words for children to learn: “Electricity”, “Energy”.

Recommends one teacher: “Great ideas that we can use with the children  on the importance of sustainability at kindy and at home.” At kindy? It’s not as though we out-pollute Nigeria.

Klein is a master (or mistress) of videos brainwashing kids with her messages like,“Our economic model is at war with life on earth.”

One film depicts Greek villagers battling an Eldorado Gold project start-up. They chant, “The birds are welcoming us. Everything is blooming. We are one with this mountain. We won’t survive without it. To victory!”

Interviewer: What is the core problem? Peasant woman– “It is the economic system, capitalism I guess… They will go away and leave a desert behind.”

Narrator: Squeeze the earth, squeeze the people.

Mining equipment was torched (not shown in film), while demonstrators are shown being tear-gassed. Eldorado last year mothballed its billion-dollar mine, citing delays with permits. As if Greece needs such projects.

Another movie finishes with Germans – including a rabbi – literally sobbing for joy over new wind and solar plants.

The material harps on imminent economic collapse, hat tip to Karl Marx.“Thought starter: How do you think climate change would be affected if the global economy collapsed?”

Klein’s nostrums include higher wealth taxes and “basic income for all”, carbon taxes, fracking bans and anti-trade ‘re-localising’. She promotes worker and community ownership and “community-controlled” clean energy (tell that to AGL).

Teacher: “Do students have their own strategies for how to develop a clean and just economy?”

 

Her courses time-travel to the future where all  climate horrors have come true, including Sydneysiders expiring from dengue fever.

A strange graphic includes such Tim Flannery-style Gaia worshipping as “Consider everything alive and animate. Create a personal dialogue with your environment. Talk to it.”

Cool lists the Human Rights Commission among its “guys [that] get our creative juices flowing.
They are our daily go-tos and our funnest (sic) playmates.” Ex-HRC head Gillian Triggs pops up “fighting for freedom, equality, fairness and Justice”, except for persecuted QUT students and those, sadly, still saying what they like around the kitchen table. Other “funnest playmates” are  teachers’ unions and the Victorian Democratic Republic’s Education Department.

(Here’s a factoid: the Victorian Essential Learning Standards up to 2013 prescribed “Climate Change” lessons in seven different subjects for the small kid in Years 1-2, even including “Health, Physical Education – Movement and Physical Activity”).

Klein concludes disarmingly: “What if global warming is not only a crisis? What if it is the best chance we will ever get to build a better world?Change or be changed!”

A 2017 survey found 15-20% of Cool-registered teachers – particularly coordinators – were using the website 10 to more than 30 times a year. Most sought lesson plans which they used four times each. Cool has become a free, popular substitute for teacher-centred input.

Cool’s asylum seeker coverage is just as one-sided – with at least 12 “lessons” based on activist Eve Orner’s 2016“Chasing Asylum” film with such commentary as: “Staff would have to be trained how to use a Hoffman’s knife. The knife would be used to cut people down when they are found hanging.”

Learning Intentions: Students will recognise that human rights and social justice are core in issues relating to seeking asylum. Students will identify ways to take action at their school or in their community…

 

Teachers love the stuff. “Wow! I’m vibrating with joy after going through your gazillion lessons and resources… this is gold,” testified Terrina Phelan, sustainability teacher at St Mary’s Primary, Echuca, on the website. A coordinator (hopefully not of English courses) wrote that the lessons gave her “piece of mind”. Maybe parents could give their local school a piece of mind too. #

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ex-BHP Chief: Scrap Paris Now

The company he once led continues to pleasure the warmists by bowing and scraping before Gaila’s carbon-free altar,  but ex-chief Jerry Ellis has had enough: the Paris accord is “a farce” and a sane government would exit the pact in a heartbeat

jerry ellisEx-chairman of BHP (1997-99), Jerry Ellis  (left) ex-chancellor of Monash University, and an ex-director of ANZ Bank, has called for Australia to dump the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Ellis’s intervention puts cat among climate pigeons. 

The alarmists like to lie that sceptics are a fringe group. Ellis is hardly fringe. His former BHP continues to promote the story about human-caused catastrophic CO2 warming, as does Monash University. Ellis is an awkwardness for both.

By coming out against climate alarmism, Ellis, 91,  is giving added respectability to scepticism, much as ex-PM Tony Abbott did with his London sceptic speech of last October.[i] The credibility of the sceptic case, of course, rests not on authority figures but data such as the  more than two-fold exaggeration of warming since 1980 by the climate models on which the CO2 scare is based.

Here is Ellis’s statement on Paris.

Why Australia should Clexit Paris Treaty

It is clear that the push to meet the Paris carbon dioxide emission targets is leading to higher power costs, and hence prices, and unreliable supply.

It is also a fact that the predictions of the warmists have not happened.

The IPCC scientific reports are stated in possibilities, yet the guidance for policy makers is written as certainty. A farce.

I hope the new leadership of the Australian Government has the courage to guide our country in a rational manner on this subject. as Angus Taylor seems keen to do, and abandons the Paris Treaty.

Jerry Ellis AO

Ellis’ intervention comes on the heels of calls from Green Climate Fund supporters for Australia to add another $400m to its $1b plus commitment and $200m contribution to date. The fund under the Paris accord is supposed to parcel up $US100b a year in developed country donations to help the third-world combat climate change. The fund peaked at  $US10b – thanks particularly to President Obama – but has only $US3b left. Its July meeting of donors and third-worlders   disbanded in chaos with no decisions made and  the resignation on the spot of its executive director, Australian ex-climate bureaucrat Howard Bamsey.

The policy of Ellis’s former BHP on climate change reads:

BHP accepts the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment of climate change science, which has found that warming of the climate is unequivocal, the human influence is clear and physical impacts are unavoidable.

Climate change is a global challenge that requires a collaborative market and policy response. Playing our part in responding to climate change is a priority governance and strategic issue for BHP. Our Board is actively engaged in the governance of climate change issues, supported by the Sustainability Committee. Management has primary responsibility for the design and implementation of our climate change strategy.

Our climate change strategy focuses on reducing our operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, investing in low emissions technologies, promoting product stewardship, managing climate-related risk and opportunity, and working with others to enhance the global policy and market response.”

Former One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has replied to Ellis,

“A pity that your [BHP] successor in Jac Nasser, his CEO Andrew Mackenzie and his Coal Division President who is now Minerals Operations President Mike Henry lack your understanding.

What holds them back? Is theirs a lack of basic knowledge, a lack of integrity or a lack of courage? Or do they simply not care about humanity and the environment. Coal saved the whales. Coal saved the forests. Coal gave us cheap, clean energy that raised human productivity, prosperity and wealth that enables us today to care for the environment better than at any time in human history.”

Ellis is Chairman of MBD Energy, a director of Iron Road and on the Advisory Council of The Sentient Group. He is an ex- chairman of auto brake company Pacifica Group Ltd, and has chaired Australia’s premier environmental advocacy group Landcare Australia.

Ellis’ statement is published on the website of the Clexit [Climate Exit] Coalition.

The coalition was set up in 2016 by Queensland’s Viv Forbes, who runs it as secretary. A semi-retired geologist and current  livestock  breeder, he put in 40 years’ work for   coal, minerals and petroleum companies including as a director of Stanmore Coal.  The coalition committee includes ex-Czech President (2003-13) Vaclav Klaus , who is patron, Professors Will Happer  (US) and Ole Humlum (Norway), Chris (Lord) Monckton and leading blogger Roger Tattersall (UK) and astrophysicist and geoscientist Dr Willie Soon (US).

Forbes this month invited members  to add a statement on why their country should quit the Paris Accord. Ellis, an original coalition member, responded with this week’s statement. Others came in from more than 20 people representing Sweden, France, US, UK, Canada, Germany and others.

Ellis is now in the same camp as Hugh Morgan, CEO of Western Mining 1990-2003 and a Reserve Bank director 1996-2007. Morgan said today, “Ellis is absolutely right. People think the Paris Accord is just about commitments to lower CO2. It is really about transferring wealth through the UN to the so-called Less Developed Countries. It’s about advancing centralised control of people’s lives on a global scale.”

Morgan believes the alarmist movement has got so far because of backing by Western millennials who have been indoctrinated during their education. Enjoying living standards unprecedented in world history, they have embraced alarmism as a new secular religion, he says.

Ellis’ intervention could encourage other Paris sceptics to come out, including some top figures in Australia’s premier science bodies.

Tony Thomas’s new essay collection The West: An insider’s tales – a romping reporter in Perth’s innocent 1960s, can be pre-ordered hereTo get tickets to the launch in Carlton at 6pm on October 10, click here.


[i] With hindsight,that speech could have lit the fuse for last month’s ousting of climate-alarmist PM Turnbull.

[ii] The “Bloggies” annual awards

COMMENTS [6]

  1. Geoff Sherrington

    Many people from mining and exploration are among the strongest critics of the global warming scare. We became used to the large scale and long time periods of geologic processes as opposed to alarm because, for example, Arctic ice extent fell for a few years arcade ago.
    We are also critics because we have realistic targets. Ore bodies are either present or absent in exploration terms and they are mostly economic or not to mine. When we use science to discover and characterise deposits,there is no gain from creative processing of data or invention of data, such as is widespread in climate work, where the target changes to fit the theory and the non-rigid goalposts.
    You do not have to be eccentric or in a minority to arrive at this view. When global warming first started, its backers were the odd ones out. Failure to make a scientific case for global warming was always present, offset by massive advertising expenditure that convinced many of the gullible. Geoff

    • Peter Sandery

      Well and succinctly put, Geoff, I cannot understand why so many educated Australians cannot see the scientific logic to your argument but accept the chants of the modern day alchemists who turn words instead of base metals into money.

    • ianl

      C’mon Geoff – “mining hurts Gaia”. This widespread sentiment cannot be displaced with logic or facts. All that is needed to carry the myth is a photo-shopped picture of water vapour from cooling towers being deliberately and dishonestly portrayed as evil, black carbon smoke.

      For well over two decades now, I’ve harangued those who control the capital in mining circles to go public with fightback. They have persisted with the cowardly view that soft, back-room lobbying would suffice. Only in the last 12 months has there been some minor admissions that this was silly, but the green blob had well and truly won by then. As Ian Plimer pointed out (a statement of the bleeding obvious, unfortunately): there has to be much more pain yet.

      The ALP Govts of Q’ld and Vic plan to inflict that pain increasingly. The Lib SA Govt is as bat-crazy as the ALP. Liddell’s closure in a year or so will aggravate the destruction, probably a tipping point. As precise as Jerry Ellis is, he will be dismissed, shouted down, as a senile, old (white) man. Emotional power plays need no logic, evidence or common sense. In fact, such concepts are seen as inimical and will be squashed.

  2. Jody

    Uh oh, sorry, but corporate Australia has jumped in significant numbers onto the virtue signalling bandwagon. For their trouble they’re going to end up with gender pay issues, quotas and now Paris and renewables. They needed to be smarter in the first place, instead of putting their feet in the door and preventing it from being shut.

  3. Davidovich

    Thomas writes “Morgan believes the alarmist movement has got so far because of backing by Western millennials who have been indoctrinated during their education.” Hugh Morgan is quite correct, our education system has been overtaken by ideologues who teach only their view of climate and brook no dissent.

    I recently gave a necessarily short talk to my local Rotary Club on the facts about carbon dioxide which included the graph of average global temperatures produced by Prof Spencer and Dr Christy from NOAA satellite data showing the global hiatus in warming over 18 years or so. The talk also had graphs of ice core data illustrating that, for millennia, atmospheric carbon dioxide lagged hundreds of years behind global temperatures. A recently retired school principal was furious that such ‘fringe’ material should be shown as fact and was contrary to the orthodoxy on anthropogenic global warming or climate change. He called for me to be censured and to be ashamed of myself for such an error of judgement as to present such material. Sadly, this intolerant and doctrinaire attitude is prevalent within our education system from kindergarten to university and the damage being done to science and scientific process is huge.

Global Climate Fund Scam Collapses (Spectator August 2018)

Can you feel sorry for a climate bureaucrat? Well I do. Look at my fellow-Aussie Howard Bamsey. He’s been implementing climate policies abroad for the past decade, after a dep-sec stint in Kevin Rudd’s Climate Change Department in 2008-10.

Then he ran the Seoul-based multilateral Global Green Growth Institute and 18 months ago became executive director of the UN-created Green Climate Fund (GCF), now the financial muscle of the 2015 Paris Accord.

At the 24-member board meeting last month at Songdo, South Korea headquarters, the chaos was such that he finished the meeting by tabling a surprise resignation effective immediately (“pressing personal reasons”). He walked out of the room a free man.

 

The 24-person board at the four-day meeting  spent the first two days quarrelling about the agenda, and the next two days in such acrimony that it never approved the intended $US1b for 11 new grants to help its basket-case client States “mitigate and adapt” to climate change. Nor did it get around to solving where its desperately-needed top-up funding would come from – it’s only got $US2.8b free funds left from an original $US10.3b.

The previous board minutes  ran to 111 single-spaced pages plus 130 pages of appendixes, in total about 100,000 words. Maybe poor Bamsey couldn’t face another 100,000 word write-up, especially as this meeting could well precipitate the GCF’s collapse or a split into separate donor and recipient entities.

 

 

We Aussie taxpayers have so far contributed $A185m cash to the Green Climate Fund, with another $A15m due before Christmas: total $A200m. This is as pledged by PM Tony Abbott in December 2014 (what was he thinking?). It could be worse: Sweden  ($US580m) and Norway ($US270m) have peed more against the GCF wall. Those canny Kiwis across the ditch “invested” only $NZ 3m. The Danes stopped at $US72m. Canada put in $US275m but $US100m of it was just a loan.

Our $200m is just the tip of an iceberg – Turnbull pledged “at least” $1b in Paris fealty in 2015 just as Trump won office, and the billion’s now more-or-less delivered.

 

 

At last month’s GCF meeting, Howard Bamsey’s dummy-spit was not the only sensation.   Co-chair Paul Oquist, National Policies Minister of the nasty Nicaraguan regime, was a no-show, citing the civil unrest  at home (so far, 500 protesters shot). But he actually skedaddled to London, complaining to The Guardianthere about demonstrators’ looting, fake news and “quite depraved killings”.

 

Logjam and stalemate are built into the GCF constitution. Board decisions must be unanimous. Equal power goes to those who provide the cash (ourselves) and those who enjoy it, mainly African shit-holes – Trump’s words – and lying low-lying islands like the Maldives, Nauru and Tuvalu which  pretend they’re drowning under climatic seas.  Once mendicants get their paws on the funds, no-one else is allowed in to check and audit.

The GCF third-worlders couldn’t work out how to replace Oquist and the first-world’s co-chair Lennart Bage (Sweden) was left in limbo, lamenting what he called a “very difficult and disappointing” meeting. Our man Chris Tinning of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) is on the board but hasn’t piped up publicly.

Various green groups attended the meeting, like “Action Aid USA”. Its director Brandon Wu reported that some third-world board reps were out of their depth:  “Many of these people did not know how to navigate the minefield and the dynamics of the board, so there were a lot of little things that triggered people — and then those things spiraled into an hour long argument that could’ve been very easily avoided.”

Other board members protested about the meetings continuing past dinner-time, 6pm. Mr Wu lamented,  “Even if those comments were made in good faith, they were just denying the reality of what a democratic decision-making process looks like.”

 

The big player at GCF used to be the US. Obama had pledged $US3b and put in $US500m. During his last three days in office in January 2017, the feline president handed over a further $US500m by executive order as a so-there to his successor. Trump pulled out of  Paris six months later, making clear that GCF could go whistle for the missing $US2b.

The gap between Copenhagen/Paris money aspirations and reality is the stuff of farce. Australia via Kevin Rudd in 2009 agreed on this:

“In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries…A significant portion of such funding should flow through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.”

GCF’s  previous executive director  Hela Cheikhrouhouhad  chirruped about a need for $US450b a year after 2020, $US350b for fewer emissions and $US100b for adaptation.

 

So it’s tighten-belts time at GCF. There seems some fat there. Its 250 bureaucrats’ pay is  virtually tax-free and in US dollars. Staff get “a  rewarding benefits package” to meet the “growing global competition for talent.”There’s 26 days annual leave and 10 public holidays, plus 15 sick days, and up to 20 days can be worked at home or remotely. Not to mention special  living allowances, dependency and schooling aid for three children, and that delectable quasi-diplomatic passport. Candidates of all “gender identity and/or expression” are welcome.

 

As for  contributions to the fund after 2018, let’s hope PM Turnbull doesn’t get that generosity vibe at the next climate confab in Katowice, Poland in December. DFAT tells Spectator: Australia, with other developed countries, is committed to playing its part in achieving the goal of mobilising US$100 billion a year by 2020 from a variety of sources to support developing countries’ climate action.”Who knows what new commitments to GCF Turnbull could pull out of his hat?Recall his $444m  last April to a six-person Barrier Reef group, and $230m for Julia Gillard’s Global  Partnership for Education in Washington DC. Generosity can take a toll. #

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scientific Method: Hate, Spite, Spleen

As all who browsed the infamous Climategate emails will know, the men and women of science can go to almost any lengths to suppress, harass, slander and deride those whose theories are at odds with their own. Well guess what? It’s not just climateers who are at home in the gutter

dead dinoIn the trillion-dollar global warming controversy, how objective is the science community? Scientists claim to be a priestly and virtuous caste  concerned for truth and for the welfare of the planet. Ex-PM Kevin Rudd’s formulation went that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was the work of 4000 “humorless guys in white coats”.[i] Human-caused global warming is so contentious that it’s hard to step back and look objectively at the white-coated practitioners. So let’s switch to a less important science controversy and observe how scientists behave.

Here’s the case study: Was it an asteroid or volcanoes that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago?  The topic doesn’t get anyone emotional. The arguments have nothing to do with electricity bills, there is no cause for dumping prime ministers, capitalism is not at stake, and world government is not required. My dinosaur-debate text is a 9000-word blockbuster by Bianca Bosker in the latest (September) issue of The Atlantic. which informs us that the dinosaur researchers’ behavior is appalling. Name-calling. Blackmailing over academic careers. Data-tampering. Boycotts. Grant-snaffling. Peer review corruption. Consensus-touting… As you discover the details, you might notice parallels with the climate wars. Just one tiny example: $444m taxpayer money thrown to purported Barrier Reef saviors, while James Cook University sacks Professor Peter Ridd who challenged the reef alarmists’ data.

Now back to dinosaurs. In 1980, Luis Alvarez, who had already won the 1968 Nobel Prize for physics, made his claim that an asteroid’s hit finished the big lizards. This pitted the “Impacters” against the “Volcanists”, who blamed eruptions. The Impacters say a 9km-wide asteroid hit at Chicxulub by the Gulf of Mexico with the force of about 10 billion Hiroshima bombs, creating fireballs, earthquakes and a long darkness: an Old Testament version of hell, as The Atlantic puts it. These Impacters insist the science is now settled to near-total certainty. It’s as settled as evolution, they say, “The case is closed.”

But the minority Volcanists continue to argue that colossal eruptions of volcanoes in Western India’s Deccan Trapscaused the extinctions. Their leader is Gerta Keller, 73, who has published about 130 papers on the extinction (and a similar number on other specialties). Her disruptive data has caused some Impacters to have second thoughts about Alvarez’s theory. The Atlantic’s Bosker writes,

 Keller’s resistance has put her at the core of one of the most rancorous and longest-running controversies in science. “It’s like the Thirty Years’ War,” says Kirk Johnson, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Impacters’ case-closed confidence belies decades of vicious infighting, with the two sides trading accusations of slander, sabotage, threats, discrimination, spurious data, and attempts to torpedo careers. “I’ve never come across anything that’s been so acrimonious,” Kerr says. “I’m almost speechless because of it.”

Keller keeps a running list of insults that other scientists have hurled at her, either behind her back or to her face. She says she’s been called a “bitch” and “the most dangerous woman in the world,” who “should be stoned and burned at the stake.”

Keller endured decades of ridicule. But as one colleague told Bosker, “It’s thanks to her [Keller] that the case is not closed.” In the bitter feud’s most ugly aspects, dissenters feared for their careers. Bosker quotes other scientists complaining that “the feverish competition in academia coupled with the need to curry favor with colleagues — in order to get published, get tenure, or get grant money — rewards timid research at the expense of maverick undertakings…” Bosker puts it this way

Ground down by acrimony, many critics of the asteroid hypothesis withdrew — including two of the most outspoken opponents, [Dewey] McLean and [Chuck] Officer. Lamenting the rancor as ‘embarrassing to geology,’ Officer announced in 1994 that he would quit mass-extinction research.

Though McLean did ultimately get promoted, he said Alvarez’s ‘vicious politics’  caused him serious health problems and that he couldn’t research Deccan volcanism without ‘the greatest of difficulty’ because of fear or a health relapse… “I never recovered physically or psychologically from that ordeal.” Impacters had warned some of Keller’s collaborators not to work with her, even contacting supervisors to pressure them to sever ties. Keller listed numerous research papers whose early drafts had been rejected, she felt, because pro-impact peer reviewers “just come out and regurgitate their hatred.”[ii]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0n1-DoDA8E

The Impacters pushed their “consensus” — that word again — attested by 41 of them signing a paper to Science in 2010. But Bosker writes, “Although some might consider this proof of consensus, dozens of geologists, paleontologists, and biologists wrote in to the journal contesting the paper’s methods and conclusions. Science is not done by vote.” A blind test of fossil samples was organized for six researchers in 1997. They disagreed 3-3. Further, polls of scientists involved in the debate variously went 60-40 (Impacters) or 30-70, merely demonstrating that it’s a live issue. Keller’s group accused  Science of bias, favoring Impacters’ pieces by a tally of 45 to four articles. The editor denied bias.

The vituperation spread as different disciples, such as physicists got involved, and people couldn’t agree on standards of evidence. From The Atlantic

“Where the physicists trusted models, for example, geologists demanded observations from fieldwork. Yet even specialists from complementary disciplines like geology and paleontology butted heads over crucial interpretations.”

Keller claims Impacters tried to squash debate before dissidents could get a hearing. The acceptance of the Continental Drift theory of Alfred Wegener took 60 years but Alvarez was claiming settled-science within only two years, she said.[iii] Keller in her research suggests an analogy with Iceland’s Laki eruption of 1783, which blanketed the Northern Hemisphere with fumes and ash, causing three years of famine. She argues that a single eruption of the Deccan era was thousands of times worse, and those eruptions happened many times over 350,000 years before the dinosaur die-off. Bosker writes:

As Keller has steadily accumulated evidence to undermine the asteroid hypothesis, the animosity between her and the Impacters has only intensified. Her critics have no qualms about attacking her in the press: Various scientists told me, on the record, that they consider her “fringe,” “unethical,” “particularly dishonest,” and “a gadfly.” Keller, not to be outdone, called one Impacter a “crybaby,” another a “bully,” and a third “the Trump of science.”

Meanwhile the impact theory solidified, and volcanism was largely abandoned, Bosker writes. The dispute, she says, shows how the science process, while “ostensibly guided by objective reason and the search for truth, is shaped by ego, power, and politics.” Both sides claim their respective camps will win only after their opponents have literally died off.

I have no idea which of the dinosaur theories is right. But I’ve certainly learnt from Bosker that scientists, like everyone else, don’t deserve automatic trust. For what it’s worth, Keller is a CO2 warming catastrophist, believing the dinosaur-extinction story is template for our own demise. This notion “terrified” her interviewer.

Afterthought: Like to know more about Gerta Keller? Try these biographical details:

  • She grew up hungry with 11 siblings on a farm in Switzerland. Her mother stewed a pet cat and another time gave Keller’s older sister some “mutton” comprising Gertha’s pet dog.
  • When Keller came to Australia in 1965 as a young woman an “Australian official” tried to put her in a rag-trade sweatshop, attempting to negotiate a cut of Keller’s pay “in perpetuity”, Keller claims rather implausibly. She stayed here three years.
  • Returning from a picnic near Sydney’s Gap cliffs, she crossed paths with a fleeing bank robber who casually shot her near-fatally through the chest. She woke in hospital with a priest administering the last rites. The SMHheadline was, “Woman Shot for No Reason”.

Tony Thomas’s new essay collection The West: An insider’s tales – a romping reporter in Perth’s innocent 1960s, can be pre-ordered here.

[i] For the crucial chapter of the Fourth IPCC Report (WG I chapter 9), which claimed to attribute warming to human activity, there were a mere 53 authors, 40 of whom were either work or academic associates, or were joint co-authors of published papers. The crucial second draft was reviewed by just 55 reviewers and seven governments. The other 2900 authors and reviewers (not 4000 as claimed) largely accepted chapter 9 at face value, the other authors doing so before chapter 9 was written so they could write their own chapters in parallel.  As Donna LaFramboise has shown, not all IPCC authors were recognised experts in their fields, some were yet to obtain their PhDs.”

[ii] Compare with two of the most famous Climategate emails between scientists Phil Jones and Mike Mann when sceptics were published in peer-reviewed journals. Mann to Jones, 11/3/2003: This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a    legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate    research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal…

Jones to Mann, 8/7/2004: The other paper by McKitrick and Michaels is just garbage—as you knew. De Freitas is the Editor again. Pielke is also losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well—frequently, as I see it. I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC Report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow—even if we have to redefine what the “peer-review literature” is!

[iii] The global warming scare got under way only a few years after the end of the ‘global cooling’ scare of the 1970s, long before any serious research was undertaken.

COMMENTS [6]

  1. Lewis P Buckingham

    The last thing I saw on the Dinosoar extinction event controversy is that they could both be right.
    A bolide triggered volcanoes.
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/meteorite-killed-dinosaurs-also-triggered-underwater-volcanoes-180968106/

    Although the birds made it out of the flames.

    • ianl

      Yes, the combination of a massive meteorite impact triggering extensive mid-ocean ridge and subduction zone vulcanism has been offered as explanation for quite a while. Ffrom the collected empirical evidence, I tend to credit it.

      Another example is the mass extinction that marked the end of the Permian and its’ interface horizon with the overlying unconformable Triassic is ascribed to widespread vulcanism. Perforce, I’ve mapped a great many kilometres of that horizon – absolutely barren of fossils (especially plant imprints) but remnant eroded “pools” of claystone (lithified volcanic ash) are often found. The proximate cause of the massive eruptions is still keenly argued, although perhaps not as vociferously as the dinosaur extinction.

      My own explanation for the psychology of the dinosaur extinction issue with its’ intense rivalry as detailed above by Tony Thomas is simply the fame and worldwide acclaim attached to the resolution of the issue. Dinosaurs have become big Hollywood – yet another Jurassic Park is currently filling the cinemas – so world attention is easily focussed on the drama of their demise.

      Imagine then the intensity of “saving the planet”. Separating hard scientific fact from noble cause corruption is now impossible, as Climategate shows us.

  2. en passant

    Tony,
    Gerta almost persuaded me until she praised someone by calling them “the Trump of science.” (thus mistaking commonsense for an insult. Also, as she is clearly so stupid as to believe the ridiculous hoax that CO2 is a problem, her credibility and reasoning powers are suspect.

    Two years ago (when I had nothing better to do) I took a course in Paleontology through Hong Kong University. I don’t know what killed off the dinosaurs so rapidly, but it was unlikely to be an asteroid. There are several other super volcanoes that are contenders from Yellowstone, to Siberia and the Deccan Traps.

    I won’t take up the space, but the composition of the atmosphere is another possibility as CO2 plummeted, plants died off and the dinosaurs might just have starved.

    • ianl

      Reptiles are poikilotherms, as I’m sure you know. A deep and long-term drop in temperature, such as may be caused by large scale air-borne ash or dust from vulcanism and/or massive asteroid impact, would contribute to reptilian metabolic failure. That is, they may have slowly frozen to death, unable to forage efficiently, while food became increasingly scarce ?

      After 11 years of legal slugfest, the Uni of Arizona has finally agreed to release huge email tranches from scientists heavily involved in Climategate (notably Overpeck and Hughes). A measure of the depth of rancour is that the release has been ordered to be in easily readable, searchable format. That has not always been the case. These emails are expected to contain information on essentially successful attempts to sideline published papers, the magazines and editors that published those papers and destruction of the authors’ reputations, if such papers disagreed with “consensus”.

      [Pixels consume electric power, but space ? Oh well …]

  3. AlanIO

    It seems Volcanoes can provide lots of history. Mt Hekla comes to mind in SO2 studies. Woods Hole core samples and so many others provide good evidence. There are so many differences between people and humans. AlanIO

Suffer the children, via Academy lessons

brainwashing-kids

Of all the green/Left groups badgering schoolkids about human-caused global warming, the most determined is the Australian Academy of Science. It pushes its government-funded campaign to Year 9 students via the ‘Big Systems’ unit in its ‘Science by Doing’ course. About 16,000 Australian science teachers – two out of three – have signed on. The science teachers work in 80 per cent of secondary schools. About 160,000 users are registered, including 50,000 newcomers last year.

‘Big Systems’ is a revision of the Academy’s 2013 course. Here’s from the original (tinyurl.com/nwxj76e):

Lesson outcomes: At the end of this activity students will… appreciate the need to lobby at all levels of government to ignite and lead change – even if it is unpopular with the voters.

Ask [15-16 year old] students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause. Do they know of anyone who has? Key vocabulary: advocacy, campaign, champion, environmentalist.

If you were concerned about Earth’s sustainability, who would you vote for?

Mining attracts its fair share of controversy. It is not a pretty site! [Cue picture of ugly open cut].Could we do without it?… Would you work for a mining company? In what capacity? [One example –  ‘an environmental geoscientist’].

The Academy wants 30-40 per cent cuts in emissions by 2030 relative to 2000 (much tougher than the federal government’s 2030 Paris target). In 2015, it dumped fossil fuel stocks from its $50m investment portfolio. Bad BHP! Bad Caltex! Bad cars! In 2014 the Academy part-financed its Fenner Conference called Addicted to Growth? How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia, where eco-nuts advocated a 90 per cent cut to living standards.

Elements of the Academy’s  original school course remain, such as a ‘Climate Change’ logo comprised of letters of fire and  black smoke, with the letter ‘A’ as a mining excavator and the ‘T’ a construction crane.

The current material on so-called ocean acidification features environmental scientist Dr Sara Arthur, who in 2001 acidified her tank of coral and goldfish and sobbed at the aquarial mayhem: ‘One day as I was adjusting the pH [in the tank] I realised what impact extra CO2 in the environment was going to have on the coral reefs of the world. I cried. I wasn’t told, I worked it out for myself. The horror I felt was unspeakable… If I talk about [climate change] at a dinner party it’s a bit of a clanger. People were happy, until I spoke.’ I bet.

Other course pearls: Scientists let us know all the facts and figures about climate change. They know just how quickly the icebergs are melting, and almost to the day when the Great Barrier Reef will be dead. Such clever prophets!

By clinging to stale material of 2008, the Academy has scored an own goal: Even three or four years ago the scientific community was saying, ‘This is an emergency. We could have an ice-free Arctic by the year 2070, the year 2080.’ In the last few years those predictions have come way, way in towards the present, and now we’re saying maybe 2030, maybe 2020. There’s a group that makes a very strong case that in 2012 or 2013 we’ll have an ice-free Arctic, as soon as that. Sorry, no. In 2013 the Arctic minimum ice extent was 5.1 million square km; in 2017 4.6m square km.

The course features cartoon videos targeting kids with climate tear-jerkers like Little Hermie hermit crab, tragically finding all his shell homes crumbling, cracking, imploding and turning to powder (cue sad music). Hermie ends up naked under a rock and cowering from predators. The voice-over: While his struggle to find a home had an unhappy end, the real future has yet to unfold [sneakily admitting it’s all fantasy].

The revised course turns kids into proselytising pests. Kids create blogs, PowerPoints, plays and graphic novels to present to ‘the general public’, schoolmates, and family. Do your parents and siblings understand climate change? Students should scaffold [eh?] their presentations to suit their target audience. Teachers grade the kids for effectiveness as climate spruikers.

A template shows melting glaciers and ice, with two imperilled polar bears. (Polar bears have actually been stable or increasing since 2005). The planet has arms with a green sign saying ‘Act Now’.

A litmus test for honest science is the Academy’s handling of the major finding in mid-2016 (including CSIRO authorship) that rising CO2 has greened the planet by two and a half Australia’s. It’s buried in a minor ABC news feed below fluff like ‘Climate scientists feel the weight of the world on their shoulders’.

The course hides inconvenient truths such as decades of very low satellite-measured atmospheric warming during massive increases of CO2 (actual 0.3deg C warming from 1979-2015 versus model predictions of 0.9deg C – a threefold exaggeration).

The current course does include the antics of error-prone Al Gore (net worth $US200m). Incredibly, the Academy material for kids also includes Greenland ice forecasts by long-discredited doomster Dr James Hansen. Honoured albeit sceptic scientists such as Judith Curry and John Christie are unmentioned. The Academy instead directs kids to lobbyists like Friends of the Earth, ACF, WWF, and Greenpeace.

No scare is too far-fetched for kid-scaring, including the debunked Arctic methane eruptions. Heatwave deaths are cited but not extra deaths from cold snaps.

Take a look at the three penguins. If this image was a cartoon, what would your penguins say about climate change? An informed penguin would answer: ‘It’s great! You’ve just found a super colony of 1.5m Adelie penguins (Science Alert 2/3/18) and the king penguin count has increased in the past 50 years (Antarctic Science 4/2018).’ I assume the Academy would ‘Fail’ the penguin.

Cows are a worse climate hazard than cars – take that, farmers! About the only sop to serious science is that models differ in their estimates of the strength of different feedbacks in the climate system, particularly cloud feedbacks, oceanic heat uptake and carbon cycle feedbacks. There is no Academy follow-up noting that new papers downgrade the feedback factor from the IPCC’s 40-year-long guess of 1.5 – 4.5 times to only 2 times or less, demolishing the models’ 21st century heat projections. (see Lewis and Curry, J.Clim. 2018).

Here’s a mystery: 16,000 science teachers and not one has called out this greenwash-hogwash. Too indoctrinated? Too career-scared? Parents, over to you.

The Extinction of Honest Science

July 25th 2018

Warmists’ predictions of climate doom haven’t come to pass or anything like it, but give them credit for agility and perseverance in always concocting a fresh scare. The latest meme to keep grants flowing and careers on track: the purported mass die-off of species large and small

planet down drainWith no significant warming for 20 years, the climate alarmists need better scares.  The temperature rise of about 0.8 degC in more than 100 years is not only non-scary, it’s been immensely beneficial for feeding the globe’s burgeoning population. Now  the “extreme weather” furphy  is at work, with any storm or flood attributed  by Al Gore and the Climate Council to fossil fuel emissions. There’s the purported “ocean acidification”  but I’m yet to see evidence that it has hurt a solitary crab, let alone a species.

As for sea-level rises, well, check my birthplace, Fremantle, butting the Indian Ocean: its tide gauge shows 12 cms rise in the past 120 years – compare that with 20cm for the length of my hand. To cap it off, the warmists, including the green-colonised CSIRO, have had to recognize that extra CO2  in the 30 years to 2010  has greened the earth to the extent of two and a half Australias in area.[1]

There are two handy scares still slithering around: “The Anthropocene” and “The Sixth Mass Extinction”. Both are fakes. Both are foisted on kids by green/Left educators. Both require as supposed remedies a supra-national enforcement agency run by the Left/liberal crowd, along with a roll-back of capitalist progress.

Here’s an example. I was in Chicago in 2013 and visited its great natural history centre the Field Museum (named after a 19th century $US9m donor Marshall Field). In the “Evolving Planet” gallery for kids, there was a   chart, “The Geologic Time Scale” showing the classic geologic ages (Silurian, Devonian etc) with markers for the first five extinctions. At the top it read “Today” with a picture of a metropolis, and an arrow labeled “Sixth Mass Extinction”. A red-neon “Extinction Clock” ticked over each time another species supposedly becomes extinct. In the hour or two since the gallery opened, the counter had added another 22 supposed extinctions. The count was based not on reality but fanciful modeling 30 years ago by Harvard professor and environmental activist Dr E.O Wilson, who claimed that 30,000 species were going extinct per year. The true number of known extinctions per year among the planet’s reputed 10 million-or-so species and  averaged over the past 500 years is about two, according to the Red List of the International  Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Yet climate activists want to compare this alleged“Sixth Extinction” with the  end-Permian “great dying” (250 million years ago) and end-Cretaceous dinosaur die-off (66 million years ago).

As for  the“Anthropocene”, it refers to the present geological era in which humans supposedly dominate the planetary processes and destroy other life forms. The label was first seriously proposed in 2001 by  co-Nobelist Paul Crutzen, of ozone-hole fame. It supposedly succeeds our 11,500 year old Holocene, the brief warm spell that has fostered our agriculture and civilisation. No such era and label as “Anthropocene” has been endorsed by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS),  the global naming authority. An ICS working group (AWG) endorsed the concept in 2016, positing a start date of 1950. Most geologic eras last about three million years, so the ICS is in no hurry to make a ruling.

The AWG argument goes that thousands of years from now, geologists will uncover a fine dividing layer of “techno-fossils”from the late 20th Century, comprised of ball-point pens, CD platters and mobile phone carcasses.[2] My lost car keys may also turn up. If the ICS is unpersuaded, the “Anthropocene” claimants argue that old labeling conventions can be thrown out since we so urgently need to save the planet.

In this debasement of science, thousands of peer-reviewed papers blather about the “Anthropocene”. Publisher Elsevier has even created a learned journal, “The Anthropocene Review” where academics can flaunt their cringe-worthy research. As Canadian fact-checker Donna Laframboise puts it, “Declaring something to be the case before it has actually happened is unethical. A more scandalous example of fake news is difficult to imagine.”[3]

Contrarian papers on the topics are often binned, as biologists Peter Kareiva and Michelle Marvier have found, because reviewers worry “as much about political fallout and potential misinterpretation by the public as they do about the validity and rigor of the science.”[4]

Meanwhile  “Anthropocene” fans argue that we humans are now more powerful than traditional geologic forces like volcanos, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and shifting planetary orbits. At 11am on October 14, 1968, I was home at Gooseberry Hill in Perth’s Darling Ranges when my house began to shake. I’ll never forget it. The cause was a 6.9 force earthquake centred at Meckering, 100 kilometres further east. I don’t think humans can compete  with such forces, now or ever. You may disagree.

Most of the media’s environment writers have mindlessly propagated the Anthropocene concept.  New Yorker staffer Elizabeth Colbert morphed the story into a book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, and won a Pulitzer for it.[5] As a sample, she tells New Yorker readers about finding some bat corpses: “It struck me, as I stood there holding a bag filled with several dozen stiff, almost weightless bats, that I was watching mass extinction in action.”

Full credit, however, to Ruth Graham of the Boston Globe for her clear-eyed piece in 2014 exposing the naked activism of the “Sixth Extinction” crowd. UCAL ecologist Stephen Hubbell was surprised by the vehement reactions to his critical paper in Nature (2011) about extinction rates, she wrote. Hubbell said that some conservationists effectively told him, “Damn the data, we have an agenda …” Hubbell continued,The only thing science has going for it is truth and the search for truth. If it loses that, it’s really lost its way.”

Most scientists in this field are also strong conservationists, Graham wrote, and many worry that airing dirty laundry about estimates (such as “40,000 species disappearing each year”) could hurt the cause. A Brazil-based extinction specialist, Richard Ladle, spoke to her of “some enormous exaggerations”. A much-publicized 2004 paper, for instance, warned that climate change could put a million species at risk by 2050. Ladle said, “If you keep on talking about very, very large figures and nothing appears to be happening, eventually that’s going to erode public confidence in conservation science.”

Reporter Graham quoted Nigel Stork, a conservation biologist at Griffith University, Qld., who argued in Science in 2013 that the extinction rate was over-stated: “If you express a view that’s different to some people, they say you’re anti-conservation, and that’s not true. Conservation is working. There have been fewer extinctions because we’ve been conserving a key part of the world.” Graham concluded:  “The swirling controversies demonstrate how even ‘science-driven’ policy can sit uneasily with the workings of science itself. Galvanizing public opinion sometimes demands single dramatic certainties, while science proceeds by estimate, correction, and argument.”

The “Anthropocene” and the “Sixth Extinction” are eviscerated in a 8000-word essay“Welcome to the Narcisscene” by Mark Sagoff in the Oakland, Ca.-based Breakthrough Journal.[6] Enough time has elapsed to run a check on scientists’ gruesome predictions of extinctions, Sagoff says. The predictions of decades ago, treated with credulity at the time, have proved ridiculous. Here’s a few of them, tabulated by Griffith’s Nigel Stork. “If some of these higher estimates were true, then we should have already witnessed the extinction of up to 50 percent of all species on Earth in the last 30 years,” Stork wrote. Samples via Sagoff:

  • Myers (1979): 1 million species from 1975-2000.
  • Lovejoy (1980): 15-20% of species between 1980-2000.
  • Paul Ehrlich (1981): 50% species loss by 2000, 100% by 2010-25. [How does this catastrophist retain any credibility?] [7]
  • Lugo (1988): 9% species loss by 2000
  • Raven (1987-88): 2000 tropical plants per year, 25% plant species loss by 2015.
  • Hubbell (2008): 37-50% loss rate for 5308 Amazonian plants by 2020.

Other predictions (not in Stork’s table):

  • Wilson (1988): 17,500 species  being lost per year (more than 500,000 by now).
  • Leakey (1995): 17,000 to 100,000 species being lost per year.
  • Raven (1990): a quarter of plant species to be lost in next several decades.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature tracks species that have gone extinct. Last year’s Red List database looked at 24,230 plant species, and found only 118 had disappeared since 1500, while another 35 are extinct in the wild but survive in cultivation. To meet the criteria of a ‘mass extinction’, we’d need to lose about 18,000. At the current rate, it would take 70,000 more years.

It’s the same with insects. Take the well-studied butterflies, tiger beetles, dragonflies and damsel flies. Only three of 25,000 types have gone extinct in the past 500 years. A “mass extinction” would take 3 million years.

The IUCN manages data on 67,000 animal types. About 800 have gone extinct in the past 500 years. At this rate, it would take 25,000 years for a “mass extinction”.

All up, of 100,000 plants and animals, about two are lost per year. It would take another 34,000 years for a “mass extinction”.

Sagoff demolishes a subsidiary warmist argument: that current extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times (or even 10,000 times) the “normal” rates in the earth’s history. This seems extra scary, as it is intended to be. But a mass extinction would still take 34,000 years at the present rate, assuming no new species evolve. The argument about “1000 times ‘normal’” means that, normally, the same loss would take 34,000,000 years. It’s a  true-life version of this little joke:

An astronomer in a lecture predicts the earth will be swallowed by the sun in 8 billion years. He asks a distressed lady in the audience: “Why are you upset about something 8 billion years away?”

“Eight billion years? Oh, I thought you said 8 MILLION!”

Australian climate warriors have been influential in the debate. Sagoff’s article cites studies by Will Steffen (ANU and Climate Council) and Clive Hamilton, but wrongly describes the latter, an ethicist and one-time Greens candidate, as an ‘earth system scientist’. Hamilton  argues that  “on the side of responsibility are gathered the armies of scientific insight into Earth’s physical limits.” Against these are “mobilized the armies of avarice intrinsic to an economic structure driven by the profit motive.”[8] Well that’s telling us capitalists.

Steffen, whose research inspired the  2011 carbon tax, was lead author with Nobelist Crutzen in a discussion paper on the “Anthropocene” for the Royal Society the same year.[9] Steffen asserted that we are already at “Stage 3” of the “Anthropocene” era. Conceding that the term is only “informal”, Steffen accused humanity of not just being responsible for global warming but also of meddling with vital nitrogen, phosphorous and sulphur cycles, along with fresh water despoliation and “likely driving the sixth major extinction event in Earth history … the first caused by a biological species.”

Steffen digressed into warning of “peak oil”, citing that oil production would need to rise 26% by 2030 to meet demand. “The prospects of achieving this level of increased production in just two decades at prices that are affordable in the developing world seem highly unlikely,” he wrote, suggesting a “significant risk of a peak before 2020.” Oil was then about $US100 a barrel, today $US70 thanks to the abundance of fracked petroleum.

Steffen also warned that we are close to “peak phosphorous”, suggesting some sort of “equitable” rationing to help the third world’s food security. Rock phosphate was then about $US200 a ton, today about $US100. By the way, never take stock tips from climate scientists who claim expertise in discerning the future up to 2100.

Needless to say, Steffen saw the crises’ solution in “effective global governance” run by his like-minded colleagues at the UN or via enforceable treaties. But since the 2009 Copenhagen conference was a flop in terms of “very deep and rapid cuts to emissions” (he was writing before the 2015 Paris flop), he shifts to earnest discussion about geo-engineering to cool the earth. “Only recently a taboo topic, geo-engineering has rapidly become a serious research topic and in situ tests may subsequently be undertaken if the research shows promising approaches,” he wrote.[10] He instances pumping sulphate particles into the stratosphere as cooling agents, but concludes rather sensibly that “ultimately, the near inevitability of unforeseen consequences should give humanity pause for serious reflection before embarking on any geo-engineering approaches.”

His argument surfaces some curious ideas. Sulphur particles in the air cause more than 500,000 premature deaths per year and damage the environment, he notes. “This creates a dilemma for environmental policymakers, because emission reductions of SO2 … for health and ecological considerations, add to global warming and associated negative consequences, such as sea level rise…[C]omplete improvement in air quality could lead to a global average surface air temperature increase by 0.8◦C on most continents and 4◦C in the Arctic.” Not many people would see any “dilemma” in saving lives by cleaning up air pollution.

Steffen then launches a pre-emptive strike against “Anthropocene” and “Mass Extinction” deniers. Like sceptics of the warming doctrine, he asserts they are driven not by “evidence and explanation” but “by beliefs and values and occasionally by cynical self-interest.” Sceptics have cognitive dissonance such that the more challenged they are by facts, the more they cling to their beliefs, he claims:

“This response may become even more pronounced for the Anthropocene, when the notion of human ‘progress’ or the place of humanity in the natural world is directly challenged. In fact, the belief systems and assumptions that underpin neo-classical economic thinking, which in turn has been a major driver of the Great Acceleration [since 1950] are directly challenged by the concept of the Anthropocene.”

What economic system Steffen prefers, he doesn’t say. He finishes with,

“The ultimate drivers of the Anthropocene if they continue unabated through this century, may well threaten the viability of contemporary civilization and perhaps even the future existence of Homo sapiens.”

Others, like University of Wollongong geographer Noel Castree, are even more critical of economic progress.  He writes,

“Even more than the concept of global warming, the Anthropocene is provocative because it implies that our current way of life, especially in wealthy parts of the world, is utterly unsustainable. Large companies who make profits from environmental despoliation – oil multinationals, chemical companies, car makers and countless others – have much to lose if the concept becomes linked with political agendas devoted to things like degrowth and decarbonisation.

… We don’t need the ICS’s imprimatur to appreciate that we are indeed waving goodbye to Earth as we have known it throughout human civilisation.”

I assume Professor Castree doesn’t use a car.

Sceptics have their own version of the current “Anthropocene” such as the “Narcissiscene” and “Greenoscene”. My favorite is the “Adjustoscene” where data has been altered to fit the climate models. Ruder people talk of the “Idioscene” or the “Obscene”. Keep it civil, folks.

Tony Thomas’ book of essays, “That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print” is available here


[1] “We are indeed in a new age, the Anthropocene,” CSIRO author Pep Canadell writes.

[2] The chairman of the AWG, Jan Zalasiewicz  noted that “technofossils such as ball-point pens, CDs, or mobile phones” had “spread rapidly around the world from the time of their first use” and provided “stratigraphic criteria that can be used to identify deposits that post-date the mid-20th century, and this, on current evidence, we consider to be the optimal position for an Anthropocene boundary.”

[3] Laframboise busted the claim of then IPCC-chair and now sex-charge defendant Rajendra Pachauri that the 2007 IPCC report comprised only peer-reviewed work. She counted that 5,587 of 18,531 citations were non-peer reviewed.

[4] Peter Kareiva and Michelle Marvier, “Uncomfortable Questions and Inconvenient Data in Conservation Science,” in Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman, eds., Effective Conservation Science: Data Not Dogma (Oxford University Press, 2017), 4.

[5] The book blurbed, “Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.”

[6] Mark Sagoff is a senior fellow at George Mason University’s Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy and author of The Economy of the Earth.

[7]   The Population Bomb, a best seller Paul Ehrlich published in 1968, began, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines — hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Only last year Ehrlich described the situation as “biological annihilation”.

[8] Hamilton, C., Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene (John Wiley & Sons, 2017), 134.

[9] Will Steffen, et al., “The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 369, no. 1938 (2011): 842–867.

[10] Steffen seems unaware that during the “global cooling” scare of the 1970s, fanciful geo-engineering projects were bruited to make the planet warmer. These included, for example, manipulating warm currents by damming the Bering Strait or a dam from Florida to Cuba.

Warmism Gets a Courtroom Thrashing

While professed journalists were taking dutiful dictation from local alarmists keen to blame bushfires on global warming, a telling court case has been unfolding in California, where catastropharians set out to sue Big Oil for wrecking the planet. It hasn’t gone as planned

gavel globeThe current tactic of global-warming catastrophists is to sue major oil companies for wrecking the planet — never mind that fossil-fuel energy has lifted billions from squalor and back-breaking toil during the past 150 years and continues to do so. The most advanced of these cases is now playing out in a US federal court in San Francisco before Judge William Alsup. Because he’s insisting on evidence about human causation of warming, the case has tested the soundness of orthodox climate science and so far found it wanting.

Leading sceptic scientists have also submitted briefs, opening up a climate debate warmists have been desperate to avoid for the past decade. This article will look at the court case and then at the history of climate debates.

In the US there’s a rash of lawsuits by green/liberal plaintiffs against the federal government and oil majors, with one echoing the ‘children’s crusade’ of 1212. The plaintiffs, 21 kids the youngest no more than ten, have been marshalled to sue the US government for allegedly fostering climate warmth  and degrading the kids’ “rights to life, liberty and property”.[1] One plaintiff, 19-year-old Sophie Kivlehan, is the granddaughter of James Hansen, godfather of the global anti-CO2 jihad and a man who has obscenely compared coal trains with those that transported Jews to Nazi extermination camps.[2] [3]

But the big excitement last week was the so-called “Exxon knew” lawsuit brought by the cities of San Francisco and neighbouring Oakland against  five  oil majors.[4] The two plaintiffs claim the oil producers conspired Big Tobacco-style to conceal the climate harm of their products. The majors are supposedly responsible for the local sea level rise and should therefore pay billions of dollars for sea walls, dykes, whatever.

Well, yes, it’s all ridiculous. The San Francisco tide gauge (1854-2016) shows an upward trend complicated by some sinking of the land — the city is, after all, in an earthquake zone, and has been rocked repeatedly — but the “rise” is still a mere eight inches over the past 100 years. The plaintiffs’ lawyers are nevertheless making their song and dance about the rise, savouring a reported 23% of any damages to be paid by Big Oil. Their case relies by necessity on future sea-damage forecasts by the shaky CMIP5 suite of climate computer-models, and then they need to demonstrate that the oil majors are responsible, as distinct from, say, car and truck drivers who actually pump out the emissions. Another six Californian counties and cities are trying to run similar cases and in New York, the city wants $US20 billion restitution from the oil majors (less, of course, a hefty cut for the lawyers).

Keep in mind that the San Francisco establishment is a cat’s cradle of loopiness. Power prices have risen at five times the rate in the rest of the US while California leads the US (like SA here) in generation from renewables. Ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose beefiness apparently extends to his brain, is preparing his own lawsuit suing the oil majors for first degree murders of the populace.  While posturing about Big Carbon’s lethal climate vandalism Schwarzenegger continues commuting in his king-sized Hummer and helicopter.[5]

In the San Francisco-Oakland case, the two cities were immediately wedged by Big Oil’s lawyers, who noticed that they had issued billions of dollars worth of civic bonds with no alerts to investors about the watery peril they now claim to be facing. Ergo, these bond issuers either deceived investors or their current protestations about the peril of rising seas is intended to deceive the judge. That has been far from the only embarrassment. One example: Professor Gary Griggs, of University of California Santa Cruz, warned the court of  San Francisco being engulfed by ten feet of water. This was countered by Chevron’s lawyer, who noted that in a recent state government document the very same Professor Griggs put the chance of California seeing a ten-foot sea level rise at just 0.1%.

What’s more exciting is that the case has become a trial of the warmist orthodoxy which insists most of the global warming of the past 50 years is anthropogenic. In the recent past warmist zealots have argued for  punitive fines, jail and even the death penalty for those disputing their catastrophism.

Judge Alsup is a Bill Clinton appointee, which might at a glance suggest a likely affinity with the plaintiffs’ cause. But he is also a former engineer and, before that, a B.Sc. in mathematics. Moreover, he has a reputation for personally probing complex non-legal issues, rather than relying on rival expert witnesses’ to-and-fro. While presiding in Uber v. Waymo, for example, he asked for a tutorial on self-driving car technology. In Oracle v. Google, he taught himself some Java programming language, to help understand the case. This time Alsup asked the climate-case parties to each give him tutorials on the science of global warming. Of the majors, only Chevron did so. Leading sceptics also presented their own case as amicus curiae or “friends of the court”.

The warmists’ top academic presenter was  Oxford physicist Myles Allen. He has long been itching to see oil majors sued, telling the BBC in 2003,

“The vast numbers affected by the effects of climate change, such as flooding, drought and forest fires, mean that potentially people, organisations and even countries could be seeking compensation for the damage caused…

 “Some of it might be down to things you’d have trouble suing – like the Sun – so you obviously need to work how particularly human influence has contributed to the overall change in risk.

“But once you’ve done that, then we as scientists can essentially hand the problem over to the lawyers, for them to assess whether the change in risk is enough for the courts to decide that a settlement could be made.”

Judge Alsup handed down a list of nine questions, some sagacious (What are the main sources of heat that account for the incremental rise in temperature on Earth?) and some naive (Given the increase in human population on Earth [four billion], is human respiration a contributing factor to the buildup of CO2?). When the five-hour tutorial unfolded in court last Wednesday he had done such massive homework that he could correct the experts.  At one point a discomfited Myles Allen confessed, “You may know more of this history than I do.”

The judge had a good  grasp of climate issues: “Nuclear would not put out any CO2, right? We might get some radiation as we drive by, but maybe, in retrospect, we should have taken a hard look at nuclear?” Alsup asked plaintiffs. “No doubt solar is good where you can use it, but do you really think it could be a substitute for supplying the amount of power America used in the last 30 years?” Alsup also created a flurry by commenting from the bench that the “conspiracy” of oil companies (to disguise the climate harm of their products) looked far-fetched: “From what I’ve seen, and feel free to send me other documentation, but all I’ve seen so far is that someone [from an oil major] went to the IPCC conference and took notes. That’s not a conspiracy.” He hasn’t dismissed the lawsuit (as often misreported) but the plaintiffs now have an uphill battle.

Reporter Phelim McAleer reports that Alsup also mocked the numerous times IPCC predictive models got the current climate trends wrong, the judge saying to Chevron’s lawyer: “So your point is that [IPCC] models overstate the problem. Instead of doom and gloom, it’s just gloom”.

Chevron endorsed the IPCC orthodoxy but enjoyed citing the many caveats in the body of the 2013 report that were glossed over in the Summary for Policymakers.[6] One example: climate models run hot compared with actual temperatures. This has forced the warmist plaintiffs into “denying” the IPCC itself. Katherine Heyhoe, a Texas Tech University climate scientist, now argues the 2013 IPCC report has been made obsolete by newer climate models. Predictably she now says everything is all much worse than we were formerly told to believe.

The sceptic case was presented in briefs by one team – Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates, and William Briggs — and another from William Happer, Steven Koonin and Richard Lindzen. Another sceptic-like brief was from the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council. The Happer team’s summary is

  1. The climate is always changing; changes like those of the past half-century are common in the geologic record, driven by powerful natural phenomena
  2. Human influences on the climate are a small (1%) perturbation to natural energy flows
  3. It is not possible to tell how much of the modest recent warming can be ascribed to human influences
  4. There have been no detrimental changes observed in the most salient climate variables and today’s projections of future changes are highly uncertain

The Monckton team case is here, with summary:

There is no “consensus” among scientists that recent global warming was chiefly anthropogenic, still less that unmitigated anthropogenic warming has been or will be dangerous or catastrophic …

Even if it be assumed [for the sake of argument] that all of the 0.8 degC global warming since anthropogenic influence first became potentially significant in 1950 was attributable to us, in the present century little more than 1.2 degC of global warming is to be expected, not the 3.3 degC that the   IPCC had predicted.

Put side by side, the pro and anti IPCC cases create a high-level “climate debate” which warmists have long fought to prevent. “Do not debate!” has been warmist policy  ever since their talent was trounced by the sceptic team in a two-hour New York public debate at Radio City Hall in 2007.[7]The audience initially polled 57.3% to 29.9% for a “Global Warming Crisis”, but after the debate that flipped 46.2% to 42.2% in favour of the sceptics.

US warmist “experts” subsequently refused even to share platforms with sceptic rivals if informed critics of their shtick are given equal standing. In March, 2013, Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA/GISS climate group, fled the TV interview room (from 6.20 mins) when he learned Roy Spencer, an expert on earth temperature readings from satellite, was arriving and would subject him to questions. A year later Dan Weiss, the director of climate strategy at the liberal Center for American Progress, did an equivalent runner rather than face sceptic Marc Morano in debate, as did Hollywood icon and “Titanic” director James Cameron in 2010.

In a recent exception, warmist Jon Christensen (UCal LA) and sceptic Willie Soon (Harvard) went head to head at a Comedy Club in Los Angeles in January. The result was not scored but the audience jeered whenever Christensen denied California’s soaring power prices were hurting low-income families. The debate can be viewed below.

Several debates have been run in the UK, although BBC Scotland in 2014 banned broadcasting thembecause they would “be in breach of the editorial guidelines on impartiality”.[8] The BBC, notoriously, lied for years and fought FOIs in the courts to maintain that its policy to muzzle sceptic views on climate had been recommended in 2005 by a panel of top science experts. It was finally revealed that 25 of the 28  panel members were green activists and journalists. Only three were current scientists (all alarmists).

The ABC’s Robyn Williams on the Science Show last June 24 purported to run the sceptics’ caseunder the teaser header “Has ‘Denying’ Won?” but in multiple ways stacked the deck to ensure warmist Andy Pitman had the last word on all sceptic propositions.  Those points, in any event had beenpicked and snipped by Williams.

Gillian Triggs, former head of the Human Rights Commission, last Friday backed the ABC’s one-sided handling of the climate debate, saying,

“Should we give equal time and weight for ignorance? Interviewers often employ the technique to put an opposing view and asking the interviewee to comment. The consequence of repeating the ill-informed view as a provocative question has quite the opposite effect in giving air time, oxygen and apparent credibility to a false view.” [9]

It is remarkable that, despite all the warmist establishment’s efforts to suppress criticism of the tattered Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming narrative, most of the Australian public (54%) has seen through it or aren’t convinced. Don’t believe me? Believe this CSIRO survey.

Judge Alsup will throw out the San Francisco City’s lawsuit, for sure. But, meanwhile, the case is shedding delightful light on the wobbly warmist case, and putting sceptic science on to the world stage.

Tony Thomas’ book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here

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[1] The kids or their mentors demand that CO2 be brought down from 400ppm now to 350ppm in 2100.

[2]Extreme weather events, including Hurricane Sandy, have caused Sophie to miss school on many occasions; hailstorms have damaged her house; floodwaters often inundate roads to her house; and Sophie has even been forced to prepare for tornado warnings, which are very unusual for the area where she lives.”

[3] This case is rolling along, with an appeal court this month requiring the Trump administration to submit to trial, likely some time this year.

[4] Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell

[5] As a Republican and governor, Schwarzenegger signed into law in 2006 an Act for the State to cut emissions by 2050 to 80% below 1990 levels.

[6] Exxon’s official position is: “The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risks.”

[7] The warmist team: Gavin Schmidt (NASA),  Richard C.J. Somerville (Scripps), Brenda Ekwurzel (Union of Concerned Scientists). Sceptics: Richard Lindzen (MIT), Philip Stott (U. London), Michael Crichton (physician/novelist).

[8] The BBC refuses any balance between warmists and sceptics because sceptics’ views are  “based on opinion rather than demonstrable scientific validity”.

[9] Integrity/Jim Carlton  Annual Lecture at Melbourne Law School.