Tag Archives: Australian Academy of Science

The Climate Cult’s Blackout Brigade

They perch and preen atop their grants, sinecures and self-regard, forever predicting planetary doom unless their addled sermons are heeded and the carbon-spewing sins of our modern world are expiated. When your lights next go out, blame them and the politicians on whose teats they suckle

co2 smokeAs Australia’s electricity systems slide towards unreliability and more blackouts – half a dozen so far, at last count –  let’s pin the responsibility on the true culprits: activist climate “scientists” peddling their dodgy CO2 alarm and insane zero-emission targets.

At their forefront is the climate cabal within the Australian Academy of Science, our peak science organisation.  In  2015, speaking for the Academy, they blithely recommended to the federal government that Australia embarks on “significant, urgent and sustained” emissions cuts. Their desired 2030 scenario — which remains the Academy’s policy — is for  CO2 emission cuts 30-40% below 2000 levels, en route to the Academy’s desired zero- emissions regime by 2050.

I emailed the Academy the following questions about its submission:

1. I don’t see any costing of the Academy’s 2030 and 2050 targets. Can you provide me with best estimates or something on costings anyway — I assume the report authors did some work on that.

2. I don’t see any breakdown of Academy targets into solar, wind, coal, nuclear, hydro, whatever. Can you assist me by detailing such breakdowns?

3. The report has little/nothing to say about how a reliable base load electricity system will operate on your 2030 and 2050 scenarios. In light of recent events, does the Academy have any suggestions on how blackouts will be avoided as Australia moves to the desired RE [renewable energy] targets?

Th reply:

“The Academy has a broad brief across the sciences. Its Fellows step up in a voluntary capacity to write documents such as this… We don’t have the in-house expertise or resources to answer your detailed questions.”

This reply went on to list the contributors to the Academy’s submission, namely Dr John A Church FAA FTSE FAMS;

Dr Ian Allison AO; Professor Michael Bird FRSE; Professor Matthew England FAA; Professor David Karoly FAMS FAMOS; Professor Jean PalutikofProfessor Peter Rayner; and Professor Steven Sherwood.

The Academy of Science itself admits that it lacks the “in-house expertise or resources” to explain why it wants to destroy the country’s electricity security and raise the price of power to all Australians. But wow, it’s great at puffing itself. The same cabal that is clueless about the real-world impacts of its emissions recommendations bragged in their 2015 submission:

“The Academy promotes scientific excellence, disseminates scientific knowledge, and provides independent scientific advice for the benefit of Australia and the world… The Academy would be pleased to provide further information or explanation on any of the points made in this submission.” (My emphasis. But the Academy wimped out when I actually asked for such information).

The Academy has form in pandering to green nostrums.

  • It sponsored and helped bankroll its Fenner Conference on the Environment at UNSW in 2014, themed as “Addicted to Growth? How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia.” The flier compared the pursuit of economic growth to “the ideology of the cancer cell”.[1] Some speakers urged economic contraction and drops in living standards of up to 90%.[2]
  •  It trumpeted its divestment of shareholdings in supposedly-abhorrent fossil fuel companies in 2015, although the Academy  HQ in Canberra continues to enjoy unprincipled use of fossil-fuel-powered electricity. The Academy lumps in coal-related outfits like Rio Tinto with its other pariah companies in gambling, tobacco, the sex trade, and napalm production.
  • The Academy swept under the rug a damning 2010 audit of the IPCC by the 15-nation InterAcademy Council, although its then-president, Kurt Lambeck, played an important role in the audit process.[3] An Academy office-bearer justified its non-disclosure in an email:“Needless to say, any adverse findings do great damage to the credibility of climate scientists as a whole, especially in the current climate of almost religious opposition to the acceptance of climate change science.”
  • The Academy authored and promulgated climate lessons for high-schoolers, urging them to embrace green activism and political lobbying. Teachers were advised, in all seriousness, to “ask [15-16 year old] students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause. Do they know of anyone who has?” The teens were also asked,“Which is more effective, science awareness or advocacy, when it comes to generating 
community action? What cause would you sign up for?”
  • The Academy’s  latest chief executive is Anna-Maria Arabia, formerly Federal Labor Party adviser and climate activist, with a track record of seeking suppression of “denier” views.  She was director of policy/principal adviser to Bill Shorten for three years, earlier spending half a decade as adviser to Kim Beazley and Anthony Albanese.

The Academy  believes that global warming can be explained and predicted by using CO2 emissions as a control knob – turn up the knob (CO2 emissions) and warming occurs proportionately. This childishly-simple relationship enables the climate scientists to imagine CO2 “budgets” and use them to hypothetically keep global warming to some magic 2degC limit. Any other climate complexities, such as multiple superimposed ocean temperature cycles, cosmic rays, or 1000 other factors as yet only sketchily understood, are deemed irrelevant to global-warming forecasting.

This type of thinking fits what eminent Princeton atomic physicist Will Happer described last week as “cult” mentality. Happer said, “It’s like Hare Krishna or something like that. They’re glassy-eyed and they chant. It will potentially harm the image of all science.”[4]

The Academy’s eight authors are also in love with the idea that because Australia is a rich country, it should be first to make sacrifices to its living standards, while so-called “developing” countries like (nuclear-armed) China, India and Pakistan enjoy a holiday to crank out emissions without restraint.[5] The submission cites approvingly “the common but differentiated responsibilities of nations” – this being code from  the UN’s Third World corruptocrats for handing them the developed world’s wealth. The Academy also imagines that “it is in our national interest” to show “international leadership” on emissions cuts. These  dubious and self-damaging propositions are political not science-related and the Academy squanders its intellectual/scientific capital by canvassing them.[6]

Another characteristic of the Academy’s climate scientists is to assume that more global warming will be a bad thing. It will bring, their submission says, more and worse extreme weather, degrade farm output, drown Asian megacities from sea-level rise (if so, when? In 2200?), drown low-lying tropical islands (Charles Darwin scotched that idea in 1837) and, of course, kill the Great Barrier Reef, which mysteriously survived several comparable warming episodes in the  past 10,000 years.

Reality checks

  • The Academy’s “extreme weather” meme is not, in broad terms, even endorsed by the IPCC’s 5th report. The most comprehensive study to date, published last week, “found that the frequency of hail storms, thunderstorms and high wind events has decreased by nearly 50 percent on average throughout China since 1960.”
  •  The less than 1degC of global warming in the past 150 years has been accompanied by record output of food crops, sufficient to feed a global population increased by 2.5 billion  in the past 30 years. With the global food import bill at a six-year low, the amazing rise in crop productivity shows no sign of stalling. Another 1degC of warming would seem, on past form, an excellent thing for food output for the world’s under-nourished.
  • The fertilizing effect of our emissions-caused CO2 increase has greened the planet, creating the vegetative equivalent of two continental United States. What’s the Academy got to say about that?

The Academy-eight’s submission cited only six external papers, one of them co-authored by a “R.K. Pachauri” (who happens to be devoid of science qualifications). Rajendra Pachauri resigned abruptly as IPCC chair in February 2015 (three months before the Academy submission citing him) after a 29-year-old female subordinate at his TERI think-tank  alleged the 75-year-old  had spent the previous 15 months pursuing and sexually harasing her.[7] Soon after, New Delhi police charged the Academy-cited author with molestation, stalking, sexual harassment and criminal intimidation. His initial and wildly improbable defence (later abandoned) was that some “climate enemy” had hacked his phone, computer and whatsapp account to send the woman all those dirty texts and lurid suggestions.[8]

For those in the Academy who would claim Pachauri’s sex obsessions are nothing to do with his IPCC work, please note that while chairing the 37th IPCC plenary in Batumi, Georgia, in 2013, attended by 229 politicians from 92 countries, Pachauri was surreptitiously firing off come-hither notes to his outraged and much put-upon staffer. Prosecutors are yet to have their charges against him tested in the notoriously slow and corruptible Indian courts.

Another of the meagre citations in the Academy’s submission is to a report on “Deep Decarbonisation in 2050” from the Monash/Myer ClimateWorks think-tank (2014) and authored by sundry Climateworks, CSIRO and ANU warmist fanatics.

This document posits a $60 per tonne carbon price by 2020 (current price on European markets, five Euros). The carbon price would rise thereafter by more than 4% a year to 2050, at which happy date Australians will supposedly  bask in unprecedented riches and affordable electricity per capita, along with  zero thermal coal usage.

Climateworks outlines a scenario in which, thanks to “very strong abatement incentives” i.e. subsidies,  cars by 2050 are running on electricity and hydrogen, while trucks, planes and mining machinery are powered largely by biofuels. (The authors also hope to see a return to wooden buildings, rather than old-fashioned brick, steel and concrete). The implications include that Australia would need to plant in the very broad vicinity of between 600,000 hectares and 1.7 million every year of forestry for carbon credits and biomass.[9] Needless to say, the  Science Academy’s climate team took the document seriously, although it more resembles a Greens senator’s wet dream.

A third citation in the Academy submission of  Professor Lesley Hughes, David Karoly et al is to an IPCC document on Australasian warming which, just coincidentally, happens to have been lead-authored by Professor Lesley Hughes and reviewed by David Karoly.

The main citation, however, is to the Academy’s own 2015 booklet, “The science of climate change: Questions and answers”. One of that document’s remarkable feature (citation 45) is the trust it places in Michael Mann’s notorious and discredited 2000-year ‘Hockey Stick’ temperature reconstruction.

The document’s main surprise is that the Academy imagines output of climate models constitutes “compelling evidence” that human-caused CO2 increases are warming the planet.[10]  In fact, the model outputs are “compelling evidence” of nothing other than the assumptions and tweaks chosen by the modellers, such as inordinately-high sensitivity of temperature to CO2 increases. This, and the satellite-measured 18 years of warming hiatus,  have led to models over-forecasting recent warming two- or threefold, and to the IPCC’s acknowledgement that 111 out of 114 model runs have exaggerated actual warming. Yet so-called predictions from these models out to 2100 are the basis for the Academy wanting trillion-dollar decarbonising of the world’s energy usage and prolonged energy poverty for the Third World.

Even more absurdly, the Academy booklet’s “proof” of man-made CO2 warming is that climate models are supposedly poor with 150-year hindcasts (recreation of past temperature trends) when only “natural” influences are included, but more accurate when human CO2 outputs are included.[11]

The reality is that modellers have no idea about the impact of a host of natural and crucial variables such as cloud feedback effects. The IPCC in its 2007 report listed more than a dozen climate forcing factors for which it rated scientific understanding as “Medium to Low”, “Low” or “Very Low”.  In several key passages, the IPCC acknowledged serious defects in the models.[12]Yet the Australian Academy, despite its normal fawning over IPCC findings, continues to assume the models are more or less perfect.

This misplaced trust allows the  Academy to claim that juxtaposing pairs of (flawed and unvalidated) models can   “prove” CO2 impacts. It’s a mystery how the so-called climate scientists have hoodwinked the world with such nonsense for decades.

A particularly lame and incestuous line in the Academy Q&A document reads, “Some models predict that, when the current slowdown [ie warming hiatus] ends, renewed warming will be rapid.” Flip to the citations (No. 87) and you discover that the document co-author Matthew England is citing is his own 2014 paper, which purports to explain away the hiatus with modelled stuff about Pacific trade wind changes pushing heat into the ocean – one of more than 60 different and often contradictory hypotheses to date on the “pause”.[13]

Instead of sledging each other over renewables target levels, the political parties would benefit from auditing the climate science behind the targets – and discovering that it’s tainted and threadbare. And in the case of the Academy of Science, it’s activism.

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


[1] As 95% of Academy Fellows live off the taxpayer, the Academy presumably took the view that the vast unemployment  from a no-growth economy would be other people’s problem.

[2] “(P)resent rich world levels of consumption are grossly unsustainable and we will probably have to reduce them by something like 90% if we are to achieve a sustainable and just world. Most people concerned about the state of the planet don’t seem to realise how huge the changes would have to be.” Ted Trainer, quoted by speaker Haydn Washington.

[3] The InterAcademy Council, representing 15 national science academies, found “significant shortcomings in each major step [i.e. every major step] of IPCC’s assessment process”.

[4] A classic “cultist” example, also common in Australia, is claiming that any unusual weather event – such as the Californian drought – is linked to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The Californian drought has been overtaken in the past month or two by torrential rain. The more brazen climate “scientists” are now trying to link that rain to AGW as well.

[5] China plans for its emissions not even to peak until 2030. In the three years to 2020, it will add  coal-fired electricity generation equivalent to the entire electricity generation of Canada.

[6] The Academy submission is not 100% loopy as it acknowledges (twice) that “it is not possible to avoid all climate change”. Congrats, guys, on that profundity.

[7] “I feel broken and scarred in body and mind due to Dr. Pachauri’s behavior and actions. I get frequent panic attacks due to the constant harassment and being made to feel like an object of vulgar desire from this man, who is old enough to be my grandfather … I was very scared of losing my reputation and employment if I complained to anyone.” 

One of Pachauri’s messages reads: “I find it now very difficult to hug you. What haunts me are your words from the last time that I ‘grabbed’ your body. That would apply to someone who would want to molest you. I loved you in the soul, mind, heart…”

[8] The Academy-cited Pachauri previously published a sari-ripping novel, Return to Almora, featuring orgies, masturbation and unsettling descriptions of sex with reluctant women.

[9] Climateworks: “The analysis suggests that the total biofuel use would amount to about 15GL in 2050, which is equivalent to about 44 percent of today’s domestic petroleum refining capacity.”

[10] The Academy: “Together with physical principles and knowledge of past variations, models provide compelling evidence that recent changes are due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They tell us that, unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced greatly and greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised, greenhouse warming will continue to increase.”

[11]  The Academy: “Models can successfully reproduce the observed warming over the last 150 years when both natural and human influences are included, but not when natural influences act alone. This is both an important test of the climate models against observations and also a demonstration that recent observed global warming results largely from human rather than natural influences on climate.”

[12] (a)       ”There may also be a contribution from forcing inadequacies and, in some models, an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas and other anthropogenic forcing (dominated by the effects of aerosols).” [WG I SPM, section D.1, page 15, bullet point 2, and full Synthesis Report on page SYR-8).

(b) “This difference between simulated [i.e. model output] and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability, (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing and (c) model response error”. (WGI contribution, chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769)

[13] Rather than vainly trying to account for the pause, “pause-buster” climate people at America’s NOAA now alter past data to remove the pause from the climate record.

COMMENTS [2]

  1. Peter OBrien

    Tony, your last paragraph is the clincher. It is beyond me why the sceptics in the Coalition, such as Craig Kelly, aren’t singing this from the rooftops everyday. What better way to bolster your case for coal fired power than to expose the dubious nature of the CAGW scam. There is more than enough evidence for, even, Turnbull to say there’s not enough evidence.

  2. Ian MacDougall

    Going by this Tony Thomas revelation, it would not surprise me to learn that (a) the Australian Academy of Science is a total cesspit of sexual predators, unfit even for the company of the present POTUS, and that (b) it has been moved in on by the Flat Earth Society and the Von Daniken League, and is flogging homeopathic remedies as a sideline.
    I honestly don’t know what this whole wide world is coming to.

    It’s a mystery how the so-called climate scientists have hoodwinked the world with such nonsense for decades.

    I would not stop there, and the scam won’t either. That strange gurgling sound coming from every point of the compass these days has to be not rising seas, but the whole world drowning in the snake oil it has been talked into buying.

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Green $cience’s Ugly Growth

TONY THOMAS

They certainly are a smart bunch at the Australian Academy of Science, where great minds can hold two contradictory opinions at the same time. Two years ago the goal was an end to planet-wrecking growth. Now they want more taxpayer dollars to promote it

scientist green varietyThe federal electoral urgings of the Australian Academy of Science are pretty much what you’d expect. It wants more funding for science, technology and engineering. This will ‘drive innovation and growth into the future’, it says.

The Academy is oh-so-keen on economic growth. It says, “More than three decades of exponential growth in Australia’s per-capita GDP is tapering, and if nothing changes Australia will fall out of the G20 within 15 years.”

But wait!  Wasn’t this same Academy sponsoring a Green anti-growth agenda as it cranked up its Fenner Conference on the Environment less than two years ago? The conference, at the University of NSW, was titled, “Addicted to Growth? How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia.” The Academy approves, brands and seed-funds these annual Fenner gigs at up to $10,000 a time.

The  conference flier reads“Novelist Edward Abbey once noted that ‘Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell’. Our economy is meant to be a ‘servant of society’, not its master, yet is this true today? On a finite planet nothing physical can keep on growing forever – yet that is the ideology of the ‘endless growth’ neoclassical economics that now dominates the thinking of most governments and business. This has led to a rapidly worsening environmental crisis that degrades the nature on which we all depend. We cannot keep avoiding talking about this issue – hence the need for such a conference…” 

The Academy has no economics expertise. But it promotes the eco-catastrophism of the global warming religion, having failed to notice that there has been negligible warming for two decades,[i], contrary to all the scary stuff from the IPCC computer modelling.

When common-sense flew out the Academy windows, the leadership became suckers for any variety of green ideology, such as divestment last year of its fossil fuel shares (but continued unprincipled use of fossil-fuel-powered electricity).

Dr Frank Fenner, after whom the conferences are named, was himself a mega-catastrophist, saying warming will make us extinct and whatever we do now is too late. He  played a leading post-war role in defeating the scourges of smallpox, TB and Australia’s rabbit plague. He also set up a perpetual endowment fund to support Academy conferences on the environment.[ii]

The Academy’s  conference organisers[iii] welcomed multiple   green warriors to its platform, such as an ex-strategy adviser to the Green’s Bob Brown, and various home-grown and overseas eco-lunatics. Some were strongly opposed to a zero-growth economy. That’s because they preferred economic contraction.

Speaker Haydn Washington of the Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy quoted Ted Trainer, guru of the “simplicity movement”, who lusts for a 90% drop in Australian living standards:

“(P)resent rich world levels of consumption are grossly unsustainable and we will probably have to reduce them by something like 90% if we are to achieve a sustainable and just world. Most people concerned about the state of the planet don’t seem to realise how huge the changes would have to be.”

Trainer’s “necessary and non-negotiable radical restructure of our society” would involve complete elimination of growth, eradication of the profit motive except for little firms and co-ops, and shifting of ‘just about all’ economic activity to small-scale, local and highly self-sufficient enterprises. In frugal, cooperative sufficiency we would find true happiness, he urged. We would work for money only two days a week and have the other five days for arts, crafts and personal growth amid a “leisure-rich landscape” and supportive community.

Speaker Erik Assadourian  from Worldwatch Institute, was described as  “spending a lot of his time raising his toddler son to prepare him for the ecological transition and civilizational collapse most likely in our future.”

The conference was opened by the ABC’s Science Show man Robyn Williams AM FAA, who boasted that, as he was an Academy Fellow, he was a fit person to represent the Academy there. He also claimed that he hadn’t bought any clothes for at least ten years, preferring hand-me-downs, and that he didn’t own a car or mobile phone.

Williams said that in the same year, 1972, that he joined the ABC, he had attended reverentially at the Canberra launch of the Club of Rome and their [failed] Limits to Growth shtick. He was unpersuaded by an odd-man-out speaker there, John Stone of Federal Treasury, who had said [correctly] “that it was all bullshit”.[iv]

Graeme Maxton, from the Club of Rome itself, spoke via video link to the UNSW show. Gushed the organisers: “A thinker of astonishing depth and breadth.”

Robyn Williams, who thinks it clever to threaten punters that global warming will kill their kittens and puppies in 2023, was followed by keynote speaker Dr Brian Czech from the Washington Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. Czech’s theme was ‘Steady State – the time is now’.

Czech opined that down-shifting to no-growth frugality was beneficial in the same way that oppressing smokers from the 1970s did wonders for their own health. Economic policy instruments such as the Fed’s interest rate should be re-oriented against rather than towards GDP growth. The economy downsizing would start with the wealthy nations that could afford it, while making room via United Nations and G20 initiatives for poor countries to do some equitable catch-up. “You solve the poverty problem through contraction and convergence,” he concluded, a little enigmatically.

There were plenty more glum speakers on topics like “Why the growth economy is broken” and “How can civilization survive?”.

Westminster democracy was distinctly passé. Someone called Professor Herman Daly, billed as “Father of the term, Steady State Economy”, was cited for his bright idea for elections in “an ideal democracy”. Each political party would produce a manifesto of equal length. The media would be restricted to covering only debate on the manifestos.   “I would be tempted to also recommend that discussion be limited to the written and spoken word — print and radio, including via the Internet,” Daly said. “No TV or posters or other advertising images of good-looking faces, cute babies, or evil monsters.”

University students were given the “exciting opportunity” to contribute posters and abstracts on “eco and social justice”, “over-consumption”, and “transition strategies” towards the zero-growth nirvana.

For stress relief, attendees got music from a group called Wind Energy (“The Lorax’s Lament” and “Earthrise”) and after dinner, they got zingers from Rod Quantock, “an award-winning comedian” who’s been blathering about climate catastrophe for the past decade.

Perhaps I need to remind you again that this event was brought to you by the most august group of scientists we have, the Australian Academy of Science.  Anyway, I hope the election winner gives them more money, although the first tranche should be allocated to teaching them some elementary economics.

Tony’s new book, That’s Debatable – 60 years in print is available here

 

 


[i] Other than the natural el-Nino induced warming in the past year

[ii] Fenner shared the 1988 Japan Prize of 500m Yen ($A6.5m in today’s money) for preventative medicine.  It has Nobel-like status but is for applied science.

[iii] The conference was run by the UNSW,   the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy ( NSW Chapter), and the Institute for Land, Water and Society.

 

[iv] Stone says the Club of Rome founders, including the heads of VW and Fiat, had lined up eminent Australians to applaud their ‘limits to growth’ theory, and he was delegated by Treasury Secretary Fred Wheeler to attend. “I got up and tore into them and some in the audience were terribly upset at the sacrilege. However, I also got some congratulations including from Labor MHR Dick Klugman who was then in New York at the UN. A year later we put out Treasury White Paper No 2, ‘Economic Growth: Is it Worth Having’ . It rubbished the Club’s case and I’m pleased to say that then-Treasurer Frank Crean did not mind us publishing it.”

COMMENTS [4]

  1. Rob Ellison

    This is a green anti-growth strand. There also a pro-growth faction that with such extreme poverty in the world seems more humane. Google Ecomodernism. Science, technology, engineering and math are certainly the basis of innovation – one pillar of productivity growth. Resources are indeed finite while we are planet bound. Although economic substitution may provide a solution in many cases – it is usually a case of technological change. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.

    I have been writing about the ‘pause’ since 2007 – because the IPCC missed it. The mechanism is mostly in the Pacific. It involves cooler and warmer sea surface temperatures in 20 to 30 year – and much longer – regimes.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2007/11/enso_variation_and_global_warm.html

    I wrote here on models and climate in 2010.

    Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

    Science gets it – if most people don’t. It is abrupt change – internal variability in ice, cloud, wind, currents, atmospheric moisture, biology – in a complex, dynamical (chaotic) system. It is unpredictable and can be extreme. Regional changes of up to 16°C and a factor of 2 in rainfall. The not so secret reality of models is that they are chaotic nonsense. There are thousands of divergent solutions for any model. Pick one arbitrarily and send it to the IPCC.

    “Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.” Julia Slingo – head of the British Met Office – and Tim Palmer – head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Forecasting.

    But I would still argue for returning carbon to agricultural soils, restoring ecosystems and research on and development of cheap and abundant energy supplies. The former to enhance productivity in a hungry world, increase soil water holding capacity, improve drought resilience, mitigate flooding and conserve biodiversity. We may in this way sequester all greenhouse gas emissions for 20 to 30 years. The latter as a basis for desperately needed economic growth. Climate change seems very much an unnecessary consideration and tales of climate doom – based on wrong science and unfortunate policy ambitions – a diversion from practical and measured humanitarian goals. Mind you – climate certainty is an impossible delusion from either side.

  2. en passant

    We are doomed, you know. It is written and I have seen the computer model that proves it with absolute certainty and without a doubt.

    Way back in 1973 when the Club of Rome’s ‘Limits to Growth’ was a mandatory text on one of my University electives the Syndicate Tutor noted that the convergence of catastrophes pointed to 2000 being the last year.

    Yes, even in the 1970′s we were taught that the activist consensus mandated our doom with absolute certainty. One that did seem a little ‘off’ to me at the time as I sweated through a Perth summer was the absolute certainty that the next Ice Age was due in just twenty years – and when it inevitably descended upon us the world was doomed. After all it was a proven fact endlessly set out in high quality tables, colourful graphs, mathematical formulae and new-fangled computer models all leading to the inescapable conclusion that the world would be uninhabitable by the Year 2000 (not ‘2012’ as the Mayans calculated in their apocalyptic calendar). The icing on the cake, so to speak was that the North Atlantic would be frozen over for 3 – 4 months a year with iceberg warnings would be regularly issued for the English Channel. With so little time left I had to ask myself if it really was worth the effort of continuing on and finishing my degree, … Maybe it would be better just to party.

    With the benefit of hindsight after a university education I can now assert with absolute confidence and computer models that I should have partied.

    Then again, who can forget the immortal prophesies of Kenneth Field at the first Earth Day in 1970? Well, I think Ken probably wishes we all would, but I have not forgotten his eternal words (thanks to the internet and the Wayback Machine). You surely must remember Ken as solemnly intoning with absolute on the first ‘Earth Day’ that “The North Atlantic Ocean will be frozen for months by the year 2000” omm, omm (that’s my contribution to this pseudo-scientific propaganda). EVERY prediction the doom-saying circus gurus have made has been proven wrong with the fullness of time. For example, after that failed prediction of alarmist doom, Al Gore then predicted exactly the opposite 39 years later in 2009 when he solemnly intoned with absolute certainty that “The Arctic Ocean might be ice free-by as soon as 2015” Well, give or take a million or so square kilometres of ice, but who has noticed?

    Corruption of scientific methods by the ‘Climate Alarm Voodoo Expert Attack Team’ (‘CAVEAT’ for short) in support of their ‘igNoble Cause’ qualifies as scientific corruption at least and criminal fraud at best. This is evidenced in Australia by the recent unscientific adjustments being made to the accumulated temperature data carefully recorded for more than a century by thousands of conscientious postmasters, school teachers and other upstanding public servants throughout Australia. When their reality and the carefully compiled records did not equate to or support the CAVEAT social and political views then the results of honest people had to be consigned to the memory hole and a fictional account of history that fitted the narrative had to be constructed. This ‘homogenisation’ of reliable data is the most obvious damning indictment of all the frauds perpetrated on the taxpayers and disqualifies every member and supporter of the CAVEAT cult from the brotherhood of true scientists who consider data as sacrosanct.

    Vast sums (in the $’000Bns) have been lavished on this alchemy by ignorant or activist politicians and their compliant and foolish governments, yet the climate refuses to obey their absolutely certain predictions. As a result what we see with our own eyes and feel every day must be ignored. So when I turn on the heater at home I understand exactly what is going on when the wide-eyed newsreader on the ABC tells me that we have just had the hottest hour/day/week/month/year/century evvaaaa. I know with absolute certainty that I am hearing pseudo-scientific nonsense that bears no connection to reality.

    While the three major parties rule over us I can predict with absolute certainty, backed up by computer models and graphs that this fraud will continue to the detriment of the sovereignty of all Australians.

    No more room to comment on their ‘steady state’ proposal, but every empire and nation that became ‘steady state’ atrophied and died. Rome, Spain, the USSR, the Caliphate all crumbled in the face of vigorous and innovative new states – just as it is right now with the moribund and dying EU. Yet this is what they want for us, though not for the elite i.e. them.

    50-years ago I read Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, but it did not really register. I am re-reading it now so I understand the future these visionaries are proposing. Along with Orwell’s ’1984′ and ‘Animal Farm’ they have already mapped our future for us and we are doomed.
    It is an absolute certainty.

  3. Rob Ellison

    “Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific
    language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to
    be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.”  http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/units/mackinder/pdf/mackinder_Wrong%20Trousers.pdf

    Science is ultimately self correcting. That’s the point. Perhaps you should of studied engineering.

  4. Ian MacDougall

    But it promotes the eco-catastrophism of the global warming religion, having failed to notice that there has been negligible warming for two decades,[i], contrary to all the scary stuff from the IPCC computer modelling.

    That is if one goes by standard thermometers. (After all, we’ve had a pretty cold winter so far.) But the planet is a thermometer in its own right, and its ‘mercury’ is the one ocean, which is steadily rising: due to glacial melt and thermal expansion of the sea water. So like it or not, the whole planet is warming.

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

The Cream of Our Climate Croppers

The Australian Academy of Science has just honoured a fresh draft of boffins, including a pair whose names will be instantly familiar to all who marvel at Big Climate’s high-volume alarmism. Professors Neville Nicholls and Ian Allison, step forward and take a bow

dubbedAt Quadrant we respect winners, so hats off to newly-elected Australian Academy of Science Fellows, Professors Neville Nicholls and Ian Allison. Both are climate catastrophists, each seemingly oblivious to the empirical research which has downgraded the CO2 climate-sensitivity guesstimate (i.e. positive feedback number) from the IPCC’s 1.5-4.5 times to barely more than unity.

These real-world observations suggest that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels would generate, all things being equal, a beneficial increase of about 1degC in warming, not the supposed life-frying 4-6deg rise by 2100 on which the whole multi-trillion-dollar climate scare is based.

The IPCC’s fantasy figure for sensitivity to CO2 is one of the reasons why 111 of its 114 climate model runs  over-estimated the negligible warming in the 15 years to 2013. However, the main reason why the climate models are duds is that the very notion of complex and chaotic climate forces being controlled by a simple CO2-emissions dial is laughable.[1]

As for the new Academy Fellows[2], I’m not even sure I’d accept a   Fellowship, if beseeched. Who would want to be a co-Fellow with Tim “Desal Plant” Flannery FAA, for example,[3] or the ABC’s Robyn Williams FAA, the latter supporting the writing of horror fiction about global warming killing off families’ beloved kittens and spaniels in 2023?

For Neville Nicholls, a Fellowship is small beer. Monash University had previously awarded him a share in the IPCC’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (or even in a Nobel Prize, according to the Monash headline), to which he had responded, that “it was a great honour to be recognised through the extensive scientific reporting and reviewing that gave the work of the United Nation’s body such prestige and integrity.”

Actually it was all a stuffup as the IPCC bans individual contributors from claiming Nobel Peace  Prize credit, an honor reserved for peace titans like Yasser Arafat, Barack Obama and (doubly weirdly) the European Commission.

Nicholls and Allison were among signatories on a  denier-bashing series of articles on the taxpayer-funded web-site The Conversation in 2011.[4]    

Here’s some the spittle-flecked essay to which Nicholls and Allison announced their   endorsement:

The “open letter” Nicholls and Allison signed includes:

Understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed, populist rage, and climate scientists [poor little billion-dollar financed things, TT] have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes. 

Aided by a pervasive media culture that often considers peer-reviewed scientific evidence to be in need of “balance” by internet bloggers, this has enabled so-called “skeptics” to find a captive audience while largely escaping scrutiny…[i.e. let’s ban them from the media, and see the climategate mails I cite below – TT].

We will show that “skeptics” often show little regard for truth and the critical procedures of the ethical conduct of science on which real skepticism is based.

The individuals who deny the balance of scientific evidence on climate change will impose a heavy future burden on Australians if their unsupported opinions are given undue credence.”

In fact, more than 130 peer-reviewed papers hostile to the IPCC  dogma have been published this year alone, and 280 last year. I don’t notice botanists and  conductive-polymer experts claiming that their science critics are lying rogues who should be censored out of the media.

Top signatory to the “Open Letter” was Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist, whose co-paper “Recursive Fury” had to be pulled from the journal Frontiers because of ethical/legal problems about his research.[5] Another signatory, from Melbourne University, had to pull his much-media-touted co-paper out of its journal because skeptic bloggers immediately spotted that it was a statistical mess.

Also a signatory was Prof Chris Turney who later led the hilarious “Ship of Fools” expedition to the Antarctic to document the loss of sea ice, only to be expensively (at least $2.5m) trapped by sea ice.

The Climategate Emails

neville nichollsJust for interest, I entered Nicholls’ name into the data base of thousands of Climategate emails leaked from the East Anglia climate research server.  Strange items of correspondence turned up. I emphasise that they don’t incriminate Nicholls (left), but they do show that dodgy scientists overseas liked to improperly bandy his name about and keep him informed of their nefarious plots, as shown below. If I were Nicholls, I’d sue them.

The Academy submitted questions from Quadrant Online to Nicholls about these emails but he has not responded within our proposed 48 hours.

November 22, 1996: email 0848679780

Background: Geoff Jenkins was head of climate change prediction at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre. He writes to his colourful science pal Phil Jones at East Anglia  University (then one of the biggest names in climate science) about literally “inventing” the forthcoming December 1996 global temperature data and then feeding the phony year 1996 data out via Nicholls and others. Jenkins wrote (emphasis added):

“Remember all the fun we had last year over 1995 global temperatures, with the early release of information [via Australia], “inventing” the December monthly value, letters to Nature, etc., etc I think we should have a cunning plan about what to do this year, simply to avoid a lot of wasted time... We feed this selectively to Nick Nuttall [of the United Nations Environment Program] (who has had this in the past and seems now to expect special treatment) so that he can write an article for the silly season. We could also give this to Neville Nicholls [climate scientist at Melbourne’s Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre]? I know it sound a bit cloak-and-dagger but it’s just meant to save time in the long run”.

Our unanswered questions to Dr Nicholls:

  1. Did Jenkins or anyone else provide you with 1996 temperature results (including the “invented” December data) and ask you to disseminate them to the media?
  2. If so, did you do so?
  3. Do you have any comments about that email you would like Quadrant to publish?

Another email reads far worse ethically, and again, I make no assertion that Nicholls, a scientist of integrity, even knew about this plot, let alone acceded to it in any way. As he self-described last week, “What I love about science is simple and elegant solutions to difficult problems.”

August 5, 2009: email 1249503274 e

As background, here is the Journal of Geophysical Research’s specifications re selection of peer reviewers (emphasis added):

“Please list the names of 5 experts who are knowledgeable in your area and could give an unbiasedreview of your work. Please do not list colleagues who are close associates, collaborators, or family members.”

Phil Jones[6], in seeking peer reviewers for a “Comment” attacking a 2009 peer-reviewed paper by McLean, de Freitas and Carter, which didn’t conform to the IPCC party line, treats the journal’s safeguards with contempt (emphasis added):

I agree with Kevin [Trenberth]  that Tom Karl has too much to do. Tom Wigley is semi-retired, and, like Mike Wallace, may not be responsive to requests from [the Journal]To get a spread, I’d go with [three in the United States], one Australian, and one in Europe. So [I suggest] Neville Nichollsand David Parker. All of them know the sorts of things to say—about our Comment and the awful original, without any prompting.

This is how the Lavoisier Group parsed that email:

“To be ‘prompting’ the reviewers of their Comment would, in itself, already be a serious violation of professional ethics; but to propose reviewers who already ‘know the sorts of things to say’ is simply corrupt.”

Quadrant Online’s unanswered questions to Dr Nicholls were:

  1. Did Jones contact you about providing a reference for their Comment?
  2. If so, did you provide a reference for Jones?
  3. Do you have any view about that email you would like us to publish?

Again, it is not Nicholls’ fault that a cabal of offshore climate “enforcers” chose to throw his name around. He may have been unaware of what they were plotting. I’m sure he would have been outraged. Reviewers remain anonymous, so it is not discoverable who exactly did review the inconvenient McLean et al paper.

Dr Barrie Pittock, then of  CSIRO, penned an interesting email to Nicholls and others. Pittock was a contributor to four IPCC reports, author of catastrophist climate books, and recipient  of various science prizes.

Pittock’s plan was to use every slur and bullying tactic to silence and punish Chris de Freitas, the then-editor of Climate Research journal, and a scientist of considerable eminence.[7]  That journal had published a paper by   Soon  & Baliunas suggesting the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age were global and not local northern hemisphere events, thus undercutting the IPCC efforts to play down those natural (not C02-caused) events.

Pittock emailed on April 17, 2003 (emphasis added):

 … I see several possible courses of action that would be useful.

(a) Prepare a background briefing document for wide private circulation, which refutes the claims and lists competent  authorities who might be consulted for advice on this issue.

(b)  Ensure that such misleading papers do not continue to appear in the offending journals by getting proper scientific standards applied to refereeing and editing. Whether that is done publicly or privately may not matter so much, as long as it happens. It could be through boycotting the journals, but that might leave them even  freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good as getting the offending editors removed and proper processes in place. Pressure or ultimatums to the publishers might work, or  concerted lobbying by other co-editors or leading authors.

(c) A  journalistic expose of the unscientific practices might work and  embarrass the skeptics/industry lobbies (if they are capable of  being embarrassed) e.g., through a reliable lead reporter for Science or Nature. Offending editors could be labelled as “rogue  editors”, in line with current international practice? Or is that  defamatory?

(d) Legal action might be useful for authors who consider themselves libelled, and there could be financial support for such actions (Jim Salinger might have contacts here). However,  we would need to be very careful to be moderate and reasonable in our responses to avoid counter legal actions….

Best regards to all,
Barrie.
Dr. A. Barrie Pittock,
Post-Retirement Fellow,
Climate Impact Group 
 CSIRO Atmospheric Research

A week later came a reply to Pittock from Auckland-baed Jim Salinger, then a principal climate scientist with the NZ weather body NIWA, and a 2007 IPCC lead author on Australasian climate change. After 25 years at NIWA, Salinger was fired by NIWA in 2009, given three hours to clean out his desk, after a series of unauthorized briefings to the press about alleged climate change/weather crises hitting NZ.

Salinger copied in Nicholls, eight CSIRO scientists (those bastions of impeccable scientific objectivity), the IPCC’s then-chair, Rajendra Pachauri, who is currently facing court over massive sexual harassment charges, and  three others:

Salinger: “… I have had thoughts also on a further course of action. The present Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Professor John Hood (comes from an engineering background) is very concerned that Auckland should be seen as New Zealand’s premier research university, and one with an excellent reputation internationally. He is concerned to the extent that he is monitoring the performance of ALL his senior staff, from Associate Professor upwards, including interviews with them. My suggestion is that a band of you review editors write directly to Professor Hood with your concerns. In it you should point out that you are all globally recognized top climate scientist(s). It is best that such a letter come from outside NZ and is signed by more than one person … Some suggested text below:

We write to you as the editorial board (review editors??) of the leading international journal Climate Research for climate scientists

….We are very concerned at the poor standards and personal biases shown by a member of your staff. …..

When we originally appointed … to the editorial board we were under the impression that they would carry out their duties in an objective manner as is expected of scientists world wide. We were also given to understand that this person has been honoured with science communicator of the year award, several times by your … organisation.

Instead we have discovered that this person has been using his position to promote ‘fringe’ views of various groups with which they are associated around the world. It perhaps would have been less disturbing if the ‘science’ that was being passed through the system was sound. However, a recent incident has alerted us to the fact that poorly constructed and uncritical work has been allowed to enter the pages of the journal. A recent example has caused outrage amongst leading climate scientists around the world and has resulted in the journal dismissing (??).. from the editorial board.

We bring this to your attention since we consider it brings the name of your university and New Zealand into some disrepute. We leave it to your discretion what use you make of this information.

The journal itself cannot be considered completely blameless in this situation and we clearly need to tighten some of our editorial processes; however, up until now we have relied on the honour and professionalism of our editors. Sadly this incident has damaged our faith in some of our fellow scientists. Regrettably it will reflect on your institution as this person is a relatively senior staff member…

Quadrant Online’s unanswered questions to Dr Nicholls:

  1. Do you recall receiving these emails to which you were copied in?
  2. If so, did you reply, and to what effect?
  3. Can you suggest why you were copied in on such emails?
  4. Do you support the concept of blackballing and persecuting editors of science journals who publish articles with which you disagree?
  5. Do you have any other points about those emails you would like us to publish?

It is not known if the  draft petition by Salinger NIWA was ever sent and if so, who signed it. But the whole affair shows the tawdry nature of the “climate science” upon which the world is now spending trillions of dollars – including Australia’s billions – for CO2 reductions that will make no measurable difference to global temperature, even by 2100 and even if current CO2 cuts are fully implemented.

I make no suggestion that Neville Nicholls was complicit in the actions discussed or proposed in the above emails. Quadrant Online remains very willing to publish responses to our so-far-unanswered questions to Nicholls about the emails). I merely note with interest that he was being kept in the information loop about much of the dubious activity, as were numerous CSIRO scientists. It appears  that none thought to complain to scientific ethics investigators about these tawdry communications.

I was once in an audience hearing Neville Nicholls lamenting that in one high school group of senior students, 600 had enjoyed the climate-horror flick Day After Tomorrow but only five had seen Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Strange that a science guru like Nicholls hadn’t noticed Gore’s nine significant errors (such as claiming that Pacific Island populations had been evacuated as climate refugees).[8]  After citizen protests, UK High Court Judge Michael Burton in 2007 agreed that the film violated laws against propaganda in classrooms. The judge  ordered that it be shown to UK school children only after the teachers had warned kids about the nine errors.Our  Academy has not uttered one word of criticism or warning to schools about Gore’s mendacious film.

On a more important local matter, Nicholls launched the  “Adjustocene” at the Bureau of Meteorology 25 years ago, involving new overlays of adjustments to Australia’s raw weather data.[9] He left the Bureau in 2006 but controversy over the homogenization” of data continues. The BoM’s homogenising of the RAAF Amberley base’s temperatures, for example, converted a 1decC-per-century cooling trend to to a 2.5degC-per-century warming trend. As blogger JoNova comments, “This is a station at an airforce base that has no recorded move since 1941, nor had a change in instrumentation.” A similar  conversion at  Darwin switched a raw-data cooling trend of 0.7degC-per-century to a 1.2degC warming – another massive, 2degC-per-century adjustment to the trend. For perspective: total global warming in the past 150 years has been only about 0.8degC.

Nicholls was so confident that the Bureau had nothing to hide [10] that last September, he endorsed skeptic calls for an independent public audit of the data.  Sad to say, Climate Faith Minister Greg Hunt had already scotched Abbott’s audit plans.  Hunt proclaimed,

“My answer was very clear: we have perhaps the best or one of the best meteorological organisations in the world. I have full confidence in their data and the idea was killed at that point [2014].”

When that didn’t satisfy critics, he appointed a panel to examine the adjustments via a friendly annual visit (tea and biscuits provided, one would hope) that strikes sceptics as a tick-the-boxes exercise garnished with TimTams and boffinish bonhomie.

Pardon my digression, but the unsourced rumours and Abbott-loathing in Niki Savva’s book, Road to Ruin, has a genuine scoop (p135). When Abbott won the Opposition leadership from Turnbull in 2009 by one vote, Hunt had voted against him. To get Hunt on-side, Abbott then offered him the climate portfolio, and lawyer Hunt agreed — but only on conditions including “That the science of climate change was never challenged”. If Savva’s report is correct,  it doesn’t matter what scientific evidence emerges to demolish IPCC and warmist claims of impending climate doom, Hunt isn’t, and won’t be, interested.

allison ianThe Academy’s other new Fellow Ian Allison (right), when not signing Open Letters about suppressing the views of evil sceptics, is proving that the deep ocean decided to eat the warming during the 2006-13 halt to warming in the atmosphere.[11] This is one of 60-plus science papers asserting either that there wasn’t any halt, or conjuring up reasons for the halt. The deeper oceans’ temperature has only been measured for a decade by the 3500-buoy Argo program. Each drifting buoy has to take the temperature of 200,000 cubic km of ocean and the explanation of how the heat might have reached the deep ocean is weak. I’d give Allison an elephant stamp only for effort.

For the Academy to appoint two climate catastrophists among 21 new Fellows last week is analogous to the IPCC’s ever-growing confidence in its modeling at the same time the divergence widens between the actual and the modeled global temperatures. As Nicholls put it last week, “I am only the third meteorologist/weather forecaster ever elected to the Academy. It shows recognition of how important meteorology is from operations to research , important because of its impact on peoples lives.”

Nicholls’ colleague Allison is specialist in Antarctic sea ice, which happens now to be at satellite-era record extent, contrary to all the IPCC models.

These climate quibbles trouble the Academy not at all. President Andrew Holmes indeed achieved Peak Silliness last year while sucking up to an audience of greenies in Hobart. Among his zingers:

  • The Academy was divesting all fossil fuel companies from its investment funds  to help save the planet  – lumping companies like BHP in with its other pariah companies in gambling, tobacco, the sex trade, and napalm production. I estimate the Academy divested about $A5 million worth of fossil-fuel stock (ExxonMobil’s market cap alone happens to be $US375b).  The Academy continues to switch on its fossil-fuel-powered mains electricity, of course.
  • Holmes revived the “sceptic death threat” scare that made the Academy a laughingstock five years ago.[12]
  • He was economical with the facts when boasting that the Academy had done a major study on “climatic change” as early as 1976. As Holmes told his green fans,“That report carefully examined the evidence and foresaw that the changes in climate would create social and economic problems that would require multidisciplinary solutions.”

What Holmes didn’t say – it would have ruined his pitch – was that the panic of 1975-76 was about the perceived threat of another little ice age  that would bring on Australian crop failures and global starvation. PM Gough Whitlam had asked then-Academy President  Geoff Badger to check out how serious the ice threat might be.  The Academy’s answer: A possibility, but not for thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of years, rather than in decades or centuries.

The President’s  virtue-signalling and political theatre at Hobart was bad enough but as nothing compared to the   execrable “science”, aka activist materials, the Academy has been foisting on 9000 teachers and 50,000 high school students. One course (I gather it was recently and mercifully removed), the same material lionised ex-Greens leader Bob Brown and shoved anti-mining propaganda down the throats of 15-year-olds. (“Could we do without it … Would you work for a mining company?[13] Teachers were advised to “Ask 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.)[14]

The Academy has never surveyed its members’ views about its leaders’ climate alarm. In contrast, a survey of the American Meteorological Society members published last March found a third rejectedthe IPCC claim that humans had caused most of the past 60 years’ warming.

Apologies, this has been a long and roundabout essay. It indicates that our highest-profile climate scientists and their Academyare not actually Kevin Rudd’s “humorless scientists in white coats who go around and measure things”. They are deluded taxpayer-funded political players and the key ingredient of their science –- dispassionate inquiry — has gone missing in action. When PM Turnbull said at the leaders’ debate last Sunday, “We absolutely support the science, I have always supported the science”, he should first have taken a look at how climate “science” uniquely operates.

Tony Thomas blogs at No B-S Here, I HopeHis new book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print can be purchased here.

 ______________________________

[1]  “Climate science” accounts for fully 55% of the modeling done in all of science, although climate science (of which climate change is only a part) is only 4% of the US federal research budget, for example.

[2] The election to Fellowships of two climate alarmists involved them getting two-thirds of votes on the slate of candidates, but that is of votes cast in person, not of the total membership. The Academy will not say what proportion of its members attended and voted.

[3] Flannery not only predicted Perth becoming a waterless “ghost metropolis”, and permanent drought in the Eastern States, but speculated that during this century “the planet will have acquired a brain and a nervous system that will make it act as a living animal, as a living organism”

[4]  The Conversation is so anti-conversation that any comment I submit to its discussions, no matter how polite, is deleted by moderators within an hour.

[5] Frontiers said,

As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.

[6] Jones also authored the famous email 1089318616, July 8, 2004,   “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!”

[7] During his time at The University of Auckland,  de Freitas has served as Deputy Dean of Science, a Head of Science and Technology and four years as Pro Vice Chancellor. He has been Vice President of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand, and Vice President of the International Society of Biometeorology. For 10 years he was an editor of the international journal ‘Climate Research’. He has three times been the recipient of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, Science Communicator Award.

[8] One Kiribati chap in NZ did claim to be a climate refugee, but the NZ court said he wasn’t, and deported him. His previous NZ employee said the man had been fired over physical and sexual assaults. The UN and Oxfam forecast 50 million climate refugees by now, but the Kiribati chap is the only claimant so far.

[9]   Here’s how an East Anglia CRU compiler ‘Harry’ Harris described the BoM data when trying to collate global warming data:

“COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn’t open until 1993! …getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data. So many new stations have been introduced, so many false references.. so many changes that aren’t documented…I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was…Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight.”

[10] Climategate email from David Jones, BoM, 7/9/2007:

“Fortunately in Australia our sceptics are rather scientifically incompetent. It is also easier for us in that we have a policy of providing any complainer with every single station observation when they question our data (this usually snows them)…”

Such was how the taxpayer funded BoM fulfilled its statutory duty  of transparency  to the public.

 

[11] Allison:

Between 2006 and 2013, ocean waters shallower than 500 metres warmed by 0.005C per year, while between 500 and 2,000 metres the ocean warmed by 0.002C per year.” 

I wonder how these amazingly precise temperatures were generated by instruments with at least 0.1degC margins of error.

Strangely, even the Argo buoy data was downgraded a year ago by the alleged ‘pause-busting’ NOAA paper of Karl et al. Karl preferred to take the temperature of the ocean via the previous system of buckets thrown from ships or via ships’ engine-room intakes. This paper was so ludicrous that even Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann rejected it in a paper in Nature three months ago.  Meanwhile Karl et al are fighting FOI requests demanding disclosure of their suspicious email tete-a-tetes while writing a paper that suited Obama’s agenda .

[12] Holmes hyperventilated:

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….

The original ‘death threat’ scare was a mis-heard conversation about kangaroo culling in Canberra. Holmes has said nothing to defend Bjorn Lomborg from academic boycotts at UWA and Flinders U.

[13] Holmes: “Our work in science education and science policy are small parts of being scientific leaders in the community. We will continue to expand our presence in the community, to be a bulwark of factual scientific advice when we can.”

[14] Another sample: Activity 6.6 Climate change and Politics. “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.” Yet “the Academy is fiercely apolitical”, President Holmes claims.

COMMENTS [10]

  1. Charles

    These people should not be called scientists, as what they do bears no relationship to true scientific discovery. They are nothing more than rent-seeking activists.

  2. Ian MacDougall

    Anyone can be called a ‘rent-seeking activist”. That can be worked up into a real chop-suey. It could even have been said if the father of modern experimental science, Galileo Galilei, who was forced by the Holy Catholic Inquisition on pain of severe consequences to recant the heliocentric theory of Copernicus in favour of the the prevailing Church-sponsored geocentric dogma. Galileo affirmed the Earth was perfectly still in space, but with everything else – sun, moon, planets and stars – revolving around it. Then he added sotto voce “but it moves!”
    The British chemist-turned-PM appealed for the “Earth to be given the benefit of any doubt” – if I remember her words correctly. Was she likewise a “rent-seeking activist”?

  3. denandsel@optusnet.com.au

    I have posted my thoughts on the AGW scam in Quadrant previously:- If BS gets to be PM, with or without GREEN help, and starts to ‘save the world’ by taxing energy/wealth creation, then I am prepared to volunteer to give up my self funded retirement in order to seek employment in his new ‘world saving’ government. It would be for a role that is at least as important as that of being a ‘climate commissioner’. Climate Commissioners are/were only tasked with stopping the world from ‘frying’ in the future. As that task might take two centuries or more to know if he/she/they have been successful, all the Climate Commissioners have been, and in the future must be, very well rewarded. It should be at least at the level that Tim Flannery was once remunerated, [i.e. $180,000+ p.a. in 2007 dollars for ‘working’ 3 days a week]. For a far more modest fee, say $2,000 per week [in 2016 dollars] and for working 7 days a week, I would offer my services as ‘Commissioner for Sunshine’. In this role my success wouldn’t take centuries to know if I have succeeded or failed, because if I failed just once, i.e. the sun failed to rise, then I would be prepared to NOT accept my modest wage.

  4. Alice Thermopolis

    REMEMBER TO REMEMBER

    “The British chemist-turned-PM appealed for the “Earth to be given the benefit of any doubt” – if I remember her words correctly. Was she likewise a “rent-seeking activist”?”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7823477/Was-Margaret-Thatcher-the-first-climate-sceptic.html

    “In 2003, towards the end of her last book, Statecraft, in a passage headed “Hot Air and Global Warming”, she issued what amounts to an almost complete recantation of her earlier views.

    She voiced precisely the fundamental doubts about the warming scare that have since become familiar to us. Pouring scorn on the “doomsters”, she questioned the main scientific assumptions used to drive the scare, from the conviction that the chief force shaping world climate is CO2, rather than natural factors such as solar activity, to exaggerated claims about rising sea levels. She mocked Al Gore and the futility of “costly and economically damaging” schemes to reduce CO2 emissions. She cited the 2.5C rise in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period as having had almost entirely beneficial effects. She pointed out that the dangers of a world getting colder are far worse than those of a CO2-enriched world growing warmer. She recognised how distortions of the science had been used to mask an anti-capitalist, Left-wing political agenda which posed a serious threat to the progress and prosperity of mankind.

    In other words, long before it became fashionable, Lady Thatcher was converted to the view of those who, on both scientific and political grounds, are profoundly sceptical of the climate change ideology. Alas, what she set in train earlier continues to exercise its baleful influence to this day. But the fact that she became one of the first and most prominent of “climate sceptics” has been almost entirely buried from view.”

    • Ian MacDougall

      Alice:

      In other words, long before it became fashionable, Lady Thatcher was converted to the view of those who, on both scientific and political grounds, are profoundly sceptical of the climate change ideology. 

      The future of the world thankfully does not depend on dear Margaret’s political needs or imperatives. But it is interesting that for her, politics trumped science; apparently driving her perception of it. As for “exaggerated claims about rising sea levels”, the dispute of the ‘sceptic’ is with the satellite altimetry, which has half-millimetre accuracy, and at the CSIRO’s published rate of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr, by the end of the century, ie in 84 years time, at the most the ocean will only have risen 3.7 x 84 = 311 mm ~ 0.31 metres.
      The Venetians might get excited about that, but why should anyone else? Particularly those like me who have their real estate investments well above the ocean?
      Mind you, trying to correct the course of the climate has commonly been likened to steering a supertanker fully under way. It’s not exactly like steering a Mini Minor.

      • Peter OBrien

        Ian, as per your usual modus operandi, when your original point is debunked (in this case, Margaret Thatcher’s supposed support for CAGW theory) you move the goalposts by claiming that what you originally claimed was an important bulwark to your argument, now no longer matters. And Thatcher’s repudiation of CAGW was based primarily on scientific grounds.
        Then, being a one trick pony, you fall back on sea level rise – a complicated topic which does not, of itself prove that human CO2 emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. Variations in the rate of sea level rise observed over the pitifully small scale of 40 years are just noise in the overall post ice-age trend

        • Peter OBrien

          And further to my last, a sceptical response to the CAGW scam on both scientific and political grounds is perfectly reasonable. If the science is questionable but the cost of a response is negligible, then a politician might reasonably decide to err on the side of caution. But if the science is questionable (as it is) and the cost of a response is astronomical (as it is) and the chance of the response being effective is negligible (as it is) then a politician has a positive duty to reject the appeals of rent seekers such as Tim Flannery. Maybe we now have a compelling reason to hope for a Trump presidency.

  5. Real Oz

    Firstly a big thank you to Tony for a most interesting article.
    I have had an abiding interest in this CAGW hypothesis for many years and can sum the results of my studies thus:-

    If the “Climate Sensitivity” values claimed by the IPCC are too high then all CAGW theory collapses – totally.

    As stated by Tony above ALL EMPIRICALLY determined values of “Climate Sensitivity” are way below those stated by the IPCC.
    So low in fact as to totally revoke the IPCC claims of CAGW.

    I cannot accept that the total complexity of the global climate can be adequately determined by a simple single feedback loop equivalent circuit (in Electrical Engineering terms).

    Note that the chief gurus of CAGW hardly ever talk about Climate Sensitivity it does seem to be a rather “sensitive” topic. Much easier to rant on about Polar Bears Penguins Sea rises etc etc BUT almost never about Climate Sensitivity.

    Separately my understanding of PM Thatcher’s use of CO2 warming was exactly as the Greenies use it today, namely to give the coal industry a bad name as she fought the entrenched economy destroying coal mining unions. In short she was playing politics with her science knowledge and look what she bequeathed to the rest of us.

The Fishy ‘Science’ of Ocean Acidification

With an obstinate atmosphere failing to warm as predicted, another peril was needed to sustain the junk-science industry and keep lazy reporters supplied with bogus scoops. No problem! Conscript a Disney character, garnish with misrepresentations and there you have it: ocean acidification

nemoHow scary is “ocean acidification”?  Very scary. The previously scary “global warming” stopped 19 years ago, but do stay scared because all that CO2 since 1997 has instead been “acidifying” the oceans. Please imagine baby oysters dissolving in the equivalent of battery acid, and hermit crabs raising a nervous feeler to discover that their protective shells have disappeared. Curse you, horrible human-caused CO2 emissions!

In one celebrated episode involving Climate Science™,  a lone oyster farmer in Maine put his oysters into  a bucket and then found that the bivalves at the bottom were crunched because their shells were weakened.[1] Can any reasonable person ask for better  scientific proof of ocean “acidification”?

“Ocean Acidification”, the evil twin of global warming, is  scary because the chemistry is so simple. For example, the Australian Academy of Science in its curriculum for secondary schools, organizes an experiment for 16-year-olds where crushed ocean shells go into a test tube of sea water. You add acid or vinegar or something, and then watch the shells fizz and dissolve!

Two years ago, I noticed in Melbourne’s Fed Square a $50,000 competition for schoolkids for the best drawing about ocean “acidification”, sponsored by the green Ocean Ark Group. The theme was “Imagine losing all this color and life”. Guidance text included,

There are approximately 10,000 Coral Reefs and we are destroying one every other day…Left unchecked Ocean Acidification could trigger a Great Mass Extinction Event…

Now that union corruption has been exposed, maybe our next Royal Commission should be into Abuse of Children’s Intelligence, and the Academy and Ocean Ark could justify their teachings under cross-examination.[2]

Meanwhile, a trans-Atlantic team of top “ocean acidification scientists” has published a scary op-edin the New York Times. Congrats to skeptic blogger Steve Milloy at Junkscience.com for successfully obtaining under FOI the emails among them collaborating over the op-ed draft. This material runs to 440 admittedly repetitious pages.[3] The named authors were Richard W. Spinrad, chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Ian Boyd, chief scientific adviser to UK’s Department of Environment.

The trove of FOI emails include some beauties. Here’s what  NOAA’s Dr Shallin Busch  had to say, privately, to her NOAA colleague Madelyn Applebaum on September 30 about the  draft.  They had been asked by the New York Times to sex it up with some specific hurts allegedly being caused by all this acidification. The editor asked,

It’s very interesting, but in order to work for us it needs to be geared more toward the general reader. Can the authors give us more specific, descriptive images about how acidification has already affected the oceans? Is the situation akin to the acid rain phenomenon that hit North America? What can be done to counteract the problem?

Dr Busch, who works for NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program and Northwest Fisheries Science Center at Seattle, responded to Ms Applebaum:

Unfortunately, I can’t provide this information to you because it doesn’t exist. As I said in my last email, currently there are NO areas of the world that are severely degraded because of OA or even areas that we know are definitely affected by OA right now. If you want to use this type of language, you could write about the CO2 vent sites in Italy or Polynesia as examples of things to come. Sorry that I can’t be more helpful on this!

Dr Busch had the integrity to admit that science can cite “NO” significant ocean “acidification” impacts. But she was nonetheless happy for the article to include, as agitprop, the effects of natural CO2 venting through the ocean floor, as though this somehow corroborated the “acidification”  story.

Dr Busch, in the course of vetting many drafts, also wrote to Applebaum:

Thanks for letting me chime in on this piece.   My two general impressions are the following: 

1) This article is mostly gloom and doom, which research has shown that people don’t respond to well. In fact, people just stop reading gloom and doom environmental stories. It could be good to highlight ways we can and are dealing with OA [Ocean Acidification] now and that we have an opportunity to prevent the major predicted impacts of OA by stopping carbon emissions before larger chemistry changes happen…

2) I think it is really important to resist the NYT editor’s impulse to say that OA is wreaking all sorts of havoc RIGHT NOW, because for ecological systems, we don’t yet have the evidence to say that. OA is a problem today because it is changing ocean chemistry so quickly. The vast majority of the biological impacts of OA will only occur under projected future chemistry conditions. Also, the study of the biological impacts of OA is so young that we don’t have any data sets that show a direct effect of OA on population health or trajectory. Best, Shallin. [My bolding].[4]

And here’s Dr Busch on the Great Barrier Reef. The “Chris” she refers to is Chris Sabine, director of the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.

I’m not sure that I agree with Chris’s statement about the impact of OA on the Great Barrier Reef, [namely] ‘but underlying all of those factors is the fact that the corals are so stressed from ocean acidification that they can’t recover from those other impacts the way they used to be able to recover.’ Given my knowledge of the literature, OA is more of a future problem than a problem right now for the Great Barrier Reef. I think it is important to resist the NYT editor’s impulse to say that OA is wreaking all sorts of havoc RIGHT NOW, because for ecological systems, we don’t yet have the evidence to say that. 

If you’ll permit a digression, Dr Sabine’s CV notes that not only was he a NOAA Employee of the Month in 2007 but his awards include:

Nobel Peace Prize (co-shared with Al Gore and other members of IPCC) – 2007

As an aside, I keep reminding these people of an IPCC ruling banning them from claiming Nobel Peace Prize status. Sometimes people like Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor Jane den Hollander even referred to the (subsequently) abruptly-resigned ex-IPCC head, accused sex criminal and all-around dirty old man Rajendra Pachauri as a “Nobel Prize” winner.[5] Our own CSIRO is full of   bogus Nobel Peace Prize winners. You can follow the preenings here, here and here, just for starters. The best solution would be for the IPCC to issue them all with lab coats recognizing their special status, e.g. with a purple satin sash, gold buckles and ostrich plumes.

Digression over, in the NYT’s other wordage and pics, we learn from the top scientists that sea butterflies, a food for salmon and herring, undergo shell weaknesses, showing why ocean acidification is often called [by whom?] ‘osteoporosis of the sea’”. The NYT editor had been badgering the authors for pics to go with the article in order to spruik all this damage from “acidification”. The authors, via the indefatigable Madelyn Applebaum, were desperate to find such before-and-afters — a dauntingly hard quest,  given there isn’t any damage and maybe never.

So what did Applebaum come up with to make the NYT happy? Why, twin pics from NOAA of sea butterflies (Pteropods) — the first had lived in a laboratory tub with “normal waters” (whatever “normal” means) for six days, and was in the pink of health. The other specimen inhabited a tub with “acidified water” for the six days. (Did the animal anti-cruelty people  sign off on sea-butterfly torture?) Would you believe, the poor little acid-dunked Pteropod showed a tracery of white lines where the acid had etched its shell surface. What more pictorial proof of the harm of ocean “acidification” could a NYT editor (or climate scientist, or Academician) possibly require?[6]

All such articles have to point to harm to people too. We read emails  that “Human health, too, is a major concern.” This is because the NOAA labs   show toxic growths when water in the tubs is artificially acidified. So assuming (heroically) the same thing happens in the wild, the authors warn that people could get sick from eating acidy shellfish. Eating this nasty sea-stuff could “sicken, even kill, fish and marine mammals such as sea lions.” I imagine that right now, hundreds of NOAA IT people are modeling ocean-life die-offs based on that algae in a NOAA lab tub.

To climate scientists, the most important sea creatures in the entire planetary eco-system are not whales[7] or other coelecanths but Walt Disney’s celebrated clownfish. That’s because little Nemo is a sure-fire tear-jerker in any climate-catastrophe scenario.

In the  long piece about the global oceans by the top dogs of US/UK climate science, we learn:

We cannot yet predict exactly how ocean acidification will affect connections among the world’s many different marine organisms, but we do know the consequences will be profound. [i.e. we don’t know but we do know. Send more grant funding immediately.] Research already points to the unnatural behavior of coral clownfish in an acidified environment. These fish wander farther from their natural protection, making them more vulnerable to predators.

This published reference to clownfish was the fruit of  much angst involving the UK department’s determination to shoe-horn Nemo into the PR exercise.

Jane Phenton, Senior Flack for UK Environment Dept, 30/9/15:

The [UK]  team have added some examples (Nemo the clown fish a particularly good one I think!) and a few thoughts. 

Comments on a draft:

Hearing loss/impairment in Nemo, the coral clownfish, is just one of many potential impacts that have been identified in laboratory studies…

Oh no! Nemo, too, has been subjected to laboratory acid torture, but in a good cause. The boffins found “he” began wandering further from his protective home, inviting danger. But couldn’t Nemo, if still right side up in the tub, now be fitted with a sea-going Cochlear implant? (editor: shouldn’t that be a conchlear implant?)

However, things got more complex, because, says a NOAA scientist,

Apparently one study called Nemo ‘deaf’ – problem was attributed to brain damage that affected capability to hear. I’ll word carefully.

Someone else chips in,

He [Nemo] can’t smell his predators when they are near, and engages in risky behavior, making him more vulnerable to predators.

Someone else bells the cat, or fish, by pointing out that Nemo’s lab tub isn’t literally acidic, just less alkaline. And, anyway, Nemo might work out how to adapt  [assuming Nemo’s brain damage isn’t terminal].

Then on September 30 a NOAA heavy Dr Chris Sabine, Director, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, weighs in to Madelyn:

have asked everyone can reach and nobody iaware of a study that suggests that Nemo’s hearing would be impaired by ocean acidificationdid find one article on the web that suggested the oppositeI am aware of studies indicating that Nemo would lose sense of smell or ability to detect predators and therefore would be more likely to be eaten. Perhaps you can ask the UK people to check on that sentenceChris  [my emphasis]

Be aware that these collaborators obsessing about Nemo are taxpayer-funded scientists and PR flacks, all hard at work on a journalism piece to puff their organisations.The article continues,

In the past three decades, the number of living corals covering the Great Barrier Reef has been cut in half, reducing critical habitat for fish and the resilience of the entire reef system.

I looked up the 2014 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Outlook Report which re-quoted a 2009 study, (p31),

There is little detailed information about the status and trends of many habitat types within the Great Barrier Reef … However, there is some evidence of a small decline in coral reef habitat over recent decades.

A “small decline”? So what’s this halving that NOAA is talking about? It seems to come from a 2012 paper  by De-ath et al from the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

By analyzing 27 years of data, the authors found that the Barrier Reef’s coral cover was down from 28% to 13.8% by area, in other words, half the initial coral cover had been lost.  But why? The losses were due to cyclones (48%),  crown-of-thorns starfish (42%) and coral bleaching (10%) – none of this involves the “acidification” peril.  And the pristine northern Reef area showed no decline. If it wasn’t for the cyclones, starfish and bleaching, the coral overall would have grown by nearly 3% a year. Even with cyclones and bleaching, the coral would grow by nearly 1% a year if the starfish were neutralized. To stay politically correct, the authors added that climate change had to be (somehow) stabilized, otherwise there would’s be more bleaching and cyclones, they think.

The NYT International piece was published under the ludicrous headline: Our Deadened, Carbon-Soaked Seas. A graphic (below) showed a big fish whose head above water was intact but whose body underwater was reduced to an acid-etched skeleton.

 

times on acid

The scientists’ preferred headline had merely been “In a high CO2 world, dangerous waters ahead” and the authors had nothing to do with the lurid graphic. But the NYT likes to greenwash its readers with terrifying climate capers. The broadsheet gives several pages of boilerplate specs for contributors on fact-checking, and has an army of its own fact-checkers to ensure against embarrassing corrections. But this “professionalism” is trumped by a headline-writer’s whim and an artist’s ignorant sensationalism. As with our own demented and dying Fairfax papers, sensationalism is given the tick of shock-horror approval all the way up the editorial chain.

The top-tier science authors commiserated among themselves about the “quite inflammatory” re-write of their headline, but made not one word of complaint to the NYT. After all, the luridness was in the right direction – mega-scariness –  and the authors were keen to get more NYT coverage in future. Principles be damned.

The NYT article made a lot of mileage out of US west-coast  oyster industry problems ostensibly caused by ocean currents pushing “acidified” water towards the oyster beds, causing “baby oysters” to expire.  The infant oysters had in fact been killed by a faecal organism Vibrio tubiashii from sewage.) And in any event, that pesky Dr Busch throws in an email saying

In fact, production in the Washington oyster industry is higher now than at the start of the [supposed acidification] crisis…Just as an FYI, we can’t yet attribute any large patterns in shellfish yield to OA [ocean acidification].

Dr Busch also wrote, re specific fish communities, “It might be good to mention that some species will be harmed by OA, some will benefit, and some won’t respond at all!” This is complete heresy, as global warming must always be presented as a bad thing. But Dr Busch knew what the NOAA playbook demanded and constructed a new draft paragraph dotted with the conditional — words like “may affect some fish populations” and “may” reorder ecosystems.  In this way any references to positive impacts on marine life are made to disappear.

The Australian Academy of Science in its educational materials is likewise unable to actually admit that  lower pH can have positive impacts on sea life. Instead, it glooms,

 not all calcifying animals react in the same way to lower pH conditions. But although some animals and plants may not fare so badly as others, the impacts upon marine biodiversity have the potential to be severe.

The NYT piece revels in ridiculous analogies and apparently-massive numbers isolated from any planetary context, eg:

Over the past 200 years, the world’s seas have absorbed more than 150 billion metric tons of carbon from human activities. Currently, that’s a worldwide average of 15 pounds per person a week, enough to fill a coal train long enough to encircle the equator 13 times every year.

Hence

ocean and coastal waters around the world are beginning to tell a disturbing story”. (My emphasis. Note how the bolded words fudge that there is actually  no story  so far).

Innocent readers might imagine NOAA embarked on this new op-ed project to educate the public about a serious scientific matter. No, the project’s prime and explicit function was to puff NOAA as a funding-worthy institution, and to add ammunition to the COP21 climate talks in Paris in December, 2015. As Dr Libby Jewett, director of NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, briefed:

The article would fit well with NOAA’s resilience and observational priorities and could go an important distance  in recognizing NOAA’s leadership in growing an international ocean observing system…We want visibility for NOAA’s pioneering global leadership to be prominent, too!

The final 250 words — 20% of the 1250-word NYT piece — are all about the need to send money to the scientists for their planet-saving endeavours,

Smart investments in monitoring and observing are critical to building resilience and hedging risks that can directly affect economies at all levels. There is urgency to such investments. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducts round-the-clock monitoring of global CO2. The rate of increase has never been higher than during the past three years, accelerating the ocean acidification process… We ignore the risks of ocean acidification at our own peril, and that of future generations.

Tim Flannery, head of Australia’s Climate Council, is of the view that CO2 falling into the ocean produces “carbolic acid” or phenol,  that useful disinfectant which can still be bought on eBay in the form of soap bars. Flannery is, as always, correct in terms of the prevailing hysteria, if not real-world facts. His prophecy is affirmed by Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OAICA) and the International Atomic  Energy Agency (IAEA), which agree that

Too much carbon is flooding the ocean with carbolic acid, with devestating (sic) effects on life in the sea.

This is devestating (sic) news for chemistry textbooks.[8]

Here’s a contrary view to all that. The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, run by sceptic scientists, agrees with the orthodox group that, since pre-industrial times, the oceans have become less alkaline by about 0.1 pH unit. But it  considers results from modeling that posits a further pH reduction of between 0.3 units to 0.7 units by 2300 to be far-fetched. It marshaled about 1100 peer-reviewed studies on impacts of lower pH on ocean life and, after excluding those with wildly unrealistic assumptions, checked the rest in terms of five factors: calcification, metabolism, growth, fertility and survival. It plotted the experimental results involving pH falls from 0.0 to 0.3, the latter number being what the IPCC predicts for 2100, and found that the fall in pH led to

an overall beneficial response of the totality of the five major life characteristics of marine sea life to ocean acidification, which result is vastly different from the negative results routinely predicted by the world’s climate alarmists.

It said the results would be even more positive if studies had also allowed for the ability of generations of sea life to adapt to changed conditions. The studies testing lower pH on life forms typically involved a mere four days duration and some trials lasted a mere few hours, preventing any favorable evolutions, it said.

Footnote: My studies in high-school chemistry ceased at age 16, but here’s my take on ocean acidification technicalities.

The oceans’ alkalinity (pH) varies from place to place, in a range 7.9 to 8.3 on a logarithmic scale where 14 is most alkaline (or basic), 7.0 is neutral and below 7 to zero is acidic.   The log scale means each change of one unit is ten times the value of the adjacent unit.[9]

The scare term “ocean acidification”[10]  first popped up in Nature in 2003, followed by the Royal Society in 2005[11],  and has since been seized on as a substitute frightener, given that global warming has stalled. Climate scientists now “calculate” that the average ocean alkalinity has declined from 8.2 to 8.1 on the scale since pre-industrial times, except that the measurement error margin is several times the alleged reduction (and each of the five oceans has its own pH characteristics). pH levels at given points can also swing markedly even within the 24-hour cycle.

In past geological ages C02 levels in the atmosphere were ten or more times what they are now (400ppm) and ocean life thrived. Indeed our current fossil fuels are the residue of vast oceanic life that thrived and died in such super-high CO2 environments.

In the parts of the oceans where alkalinity is low (i.e. tending towards neutral), fish, corals, and sea flora have managed and adapted  perfectly well. Freshwater lakes and rivers are slightly acidic (pH of 6 to 8),  as is rainwater, pH 5.6, and drinking water, 6.5 to 7.5. Life has adapted and thrives in fresh water notwithstanding the, ahem, “acidification”.

Hat-tips to Dennis Ambler and John McLean for some assistance.

Tony Thomas blogs at No B-S Here, I Hope

 

 

 


 

 

[1] An earlier draft: In Maine, clam farmers can no longer fill their buckets to the top because shells on the bottom will shatter from the weight. The lone clam farmer later bred into multiple clam farmers all ostenisibly reporting the same bucket problem.

 

[2] “…Some of the octopuses in the ocean can’t breathe from gas pollution … I started off my poster design of drawing the octopus first and wanted to make it look as if he was dying. Then I drew dead coral coming and surrounding him like there’s no escape from the acid ocean…” – one child’s  entry in the Victorian schools contest for “ocean acidification” art

[3] Strangely, NOAA has been fighting tooth and nail to thwart Republican congressmen’s requests for its emails about a NOAA study by Karl et al purporting to show there has been no 15-year pause in warming . It is now conceding defeat and starting to hand over documents.

[4] The 2014 5th IPCC report Summary for Policymakers, written by politico-bureaucrats, waxes fearful about ocean acidification. But the scientists themselves in their non-sexed-up findings in body text, WG11 Chapter 6, say, for example,

# “Few field observations conducted in the last decade demonstrate biotic responses attributable to anthropogenic ocean acidification” pg 4

 

# “Both acclimatization and adaptation will shift sensitivity thresholds but the capacity and limits of species to acclimatize or adapt remain largely unknown” Pg 23

# “To date, very few ecosystem-level changes in the field have been attributed to anthropogenic or local ocean acidification.” Pg 39

 

[5] “As well as helping fulfil Deakin’s prophecy, teaming up with TERI is a major coup for Deakin University. The organisation’s Director-General is Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, the Nobel Prize winner”.

[6] Or the Australian Academy of Science, which has recycled the Pteropod before-and-after pics for schoolkids.

[7] Some say whales aren’t fish, but I say they look more like fish than coelecanths.

[8]  The OAICC and IAEA warn that climate is putting  the world  “in a dangerous position, just as the US was when it was bombed at Pearl Harbor… This segment reports on “global warming’s evil twin”, ocean acifidication, which results from too much carbon in the water.” The audio segments begin with air-raid sirens and crashing bombs.

[9] Vinegar, for example, at 2.5, is almost a million times more acidic than seawater.

[10] Compare it with its twin verbal Orwellism, “carbon pollution”

[11] With authors in common. By linearly extrapolating   18 years data from a single Pacific Ocean Station Aloha, both parties forecast perilous ocean acidity by 2100 – and even took the perils out further to 2300. This became ‘settled science’.

COMMENTS [12]

  1. aertdriessen@gmail.com

    The term ‘acidification’ only has legitimate meaning when describing a drop of pH to below pH 7.0, which is neutral, and the point where the term ‘acidification’ has meaning in the real world. The ‘average’ pH of the world’s oceans and seas is probably around 8.0 or 8.1 or thereabouts (alkaline) and can show appreciable variation (remember that pH is measured on a logarithmic scale) depending on latitude, time of year, or even time of day (in shallow pools). The pH of the world’s seas and oceans have never been lower than 7.0 in the entire history of the planet, since oceans were first formed. A drop of pH from say, 8.0 to 7.9 should be described as a drop in alkalinity, not an increase in ‘acidity’. This sort of basic science and bogus language should be exposed by our Chief Scientist and the Australian Academy of Science but alas, both are missing in action. It is impossible for me to make a contribution to debates like this when I refuse to succumb to corruption of the language. Keep up the good work Tony.

  2. Jody

    I’m still reeling from Ross Garnaut’s comments, post Paris, that “if you’ve invested in traditional energy companies you’ve done your money”. I’m sure the ACCC should have something to say about somebody who can spook the market, cause shares to drop, buy up then sell later after they recover.

  3. en passant

    Tony,
    When will we ever learn? When will weeeee evaaa learn? Climate ‘science’ ain’t science.
    However, we need these pseudo-scientists to ignore you, the facts, history, chemistry, mathematics, physics, data, etc, etc, and keep on going otherwise we will have a huge recession with thousands of unemployable unemployed activists and academics causing chaos on the streets. Models have shown conclusively that the ‘Climate Con Crash of 2016′ would be even worse than the disaster known as the ‘Alchemists Abattoir’ when dozens of prominent alchemists cashed in their chips rather than find real jobs or something useful to do with their lives. Once you are locked into the ‘Climate Monkey Magic’ business (and have status and the admiration of fellow fools, politicians and psychophants you simply cannot evaaaa give up as that would mean reducing your life’s work as a Lysenkoist to ashes.

    Counter intuitively, although oil spills make the seas around them quite acidic, as oil is made up of complex Carbon, Hydrogen and Nitrogen molecules, they actually benefit the environment in the long run. After the largest manmade oil spill in history in Kuwait in 1991 when 866M gallons of oil were spilled the following happened:

    “A combination of ultraviolet rays, warm sea water (which is saltier in the Persian Gulf, and therefore contains more chemicals than the open sea) and 1st year school chemistry turned these balls of oil and tar into nuts of coke. Eventually the coke rocks became saturated and sank, carpeting the seafloor. Carbon being the stuff of life, and a basis for fertiliser nutrients, caused the seagrasses to explode in a huge bloom. Seagrass is the food of fish and within 5-years the ‘greatest man-made ecological disaster of all time’ had the Gulf teeming with more fish than had ever existed there before. By the end of those initial 5-years the beaches were again pristine and the fish and sea creatures were more abundant than ever.”

    The prediction had been that the corals in the Persian Gulf would not survive, but the pesky little suckers ignored the ‘acidity’ and bloomed as there was more food than ever before. The obvious conclusions are that more oil spills and less salt would be a good thing for the sea.

  4. Ian MacDougall

    How scary is “ocean acidification”? Very scary. The previously scary “global warming” stopped 19 years ago, [wrong!-IM] but do stay scared because all that CO2 since 1997 has instead been “acidifying” the oceans. Please imagine baby oysters dissolving in the equivalent of battery acid, and hermit crabs raising a nervous feeler to discover that their protective shells have disappeared. Curse you, horrible human-caused CO2 emissions!

    Thus Tony Thomas begins by erecting a straw man, which he then proceeds with laboured and cynical humour to knock down.
    Very droll.

    • Davidovich

      Obviously, not all Quadrant readers are perceptive enough to comprehend the clear demolition of the “ocean acidification” mantra which is well set out by Tony Thomas. Instead, typical of the alarmist breed, they simply state “wrong!” when they don’t agree but fail to engage in useful debate.

      • Ian MacDougall

        Davidovitch:
        “Wrong!”
        I presume you are referring to slack-on-perception me. I can only say in my own defence that I was away from school the day we had perception. ;-)
        What I objected to amongst Tony Thomas’ barrage of attempted humour at mainstream science’s expense was:

        The previously scary “global warming” stopped 19 years ago…

        Climate ‘sceptics’ like Thomas usually make their ‘no warming’ assertions on the basis of thermometry records. I make my ‘warming’ ones on the basis of sea-level trends: and the world’s ocean is rising. Check it out at http://sealevel.colorado.edu/.
        A rising ocean can only be due to melting glaciers, thermal expansion of ocean water, or both. Whichever way, and for good or ill, the planet is warming.
        Thomas is wrong on that.
        As for ocean acidification: since around 1750 AD we have been burning all the fossil carbon geologically sequestered over hundreds of millions of years, and in the twinkling of an eye on the scale of geological time. It is going into the air as CO2 gas and into the oceans as dissolved CO2, with God knows what long-term consequences for the biosphere. We humans have been unintentionally performing an uncontrolled experiment on the planet, and ‘sceptics’ like Thomas attempt to justify this after the fact by coming up with rationalisations as to why it can have no possible adverse consequences for the biosphere as a whole.
        Well I sincerely hope they are right. But the planetary fossil-carbon experiment was always all about steel-making, cement-making, power generation and other industrial processes, and never about finding the effects of massive release of CO2 upon the Earth’s biosphere.
        PS: ‘Sceptics’ range from asserting (1) there is no planetary warming; (2) if there is, humans cannot be responsible for it; (3) if there is and humans are responsible, it can only be a Good Thing anyway. They spread or progress from (1) through to (3).
        Thomas seems to be stuck at (1).

        • en passant

          Ian,
          You really are a very droll troll, but you never answered the points raised in our exchange in another Quadrant article “Mining Sun Sets in the West”, so you have recycled your comments here. After all recycling is a good thing.
          So, let me repeat the questions and points you did not answer.
          “Ian,
          You need help.
          “I have blasphemed your Business As Usual religion” – Wrong! We need more CO2 as 400ppm is far too low. Also as the Earth is cooling again we need all the greenhouse gas help we can get. I did a detailed study in 2010-2012 and:
          ‘The conclusion I reached is that 2,000ppm – 4,000ppm is the optimum level of CO2 for the majority of life on the planet, with a probable/maybe rise of 2° – 3° centigrade increase in temperature, mainly in the temperate regions. Note that US nuclear armed submarines operate with a CO2 level up to 8,000ppm for extended periods without harm to the sailors breathing it. The USN has set a maximum limit of 12,000ppm before they become concerned, so no doubt that still contains a safety margin.
          So, to seriously answer the question I think we need MORE CO2 – and soon – as the quiet Sun is going to cause havoc in the coming decades with serious cooling the result. Ah, skiing in Melbourne.”
          Now you have some real facts.
          “SHOUTING YOUR HEAD OFF in block caps” – Umm, No. When I read through my inserted comments I realised that it was hard to separate them from your original text, so I PUT THEM IN CAPS SO SIMPLE FOLK COULD SEE WHAT WAS MINE AND what was yours. Even that was not enough for you
          “As for thermometers, tide guages (try gauges) and the like, they all had holes blown in them by none other than Ian Plimer in his ‘Heaven + Earth’, which as you probably know is a total dump on climatology; AGW; the IPCC; the works.” – I have asked Professor Plimer to comment. Perhaps you (Ian) could explain what the thermometer error bars are. If the recorders (all honest people) make a mistake of 0.5F then the 1828 temperature in Sydney drops to 53.2F, the highest ever recorded. I do not remember anywhere in H&E saying that – and I have read the book. [NEW SHOUTING COMMENT: I HAVE JUST REREAD H&E Pages 298-317 [TOPEX is on P.309] ON SEA LEVEL RISE AND IT SAYS NOTHING REMOTELY AS YOU ALLEGE. PLEASE PROVIDE THE REFERENCE WHERE IAN ‘BLOWS HOLES IN THE RECORDS OF TIDE GAUGES’!!!] As you are wrong, will you apologise?
          “… the world’s ocean rising by (from memory) 3.6 mm/yr +/- 0.4 mm/yr. [TOPEX says 2.4mm] So until I see evidence to the contrary, I accept that the ocean is rising.” I referred you to the contrary evidence in Hobart and Sydney … Anyway, thank you for your reference as I looked it up. Let me quote:
          “Since the Topex/Poseidon-Jason missions began in 1992, global sea-level rise has occurred at about 3 mm a year, resulting in a total change of 70 mm (2.8 inches) in 23 years, according to researchers.” & “The series has observed about 2.4 inches (6 centimeters) of global sea level rise in 23 years” No error bars are given. As a precaution should we all head for the hills before this 6cm Tsunami washes over our toes? Did you note that if this was globally true then both Hobart and Denison tide high water marks would be under water twice a day. They are not and are still recording the same levels 150 years after they were etched into stone Just a curious anomaly?
          Finally, will you list ten benefits of +4C in temperature globally?”
          So please stop making things up to suit your views unless you first alert readers by beginning “Once upon a time …” Note that your TOPEX reference is a bust as far as fear-mongering is concerned.”

  5. Ian MacDougall

    en passant:

    As a precaution should we all head for the hills before this 6cm Tsunami washes over our toes? Did you note that if this was globally true then both Hobart and Denison tide high water marks would be under water twice a day. They are not and are still recording the same levels 150 years after they were etched into stone Just a curious anomaly?


    Tsunamis are caused by crustal motion in the sea floor, and are not triggered as far as anyone seems to be able to determine, by global sea level changes. For refreshment:
    GMSL Rates
    CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
    CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
    I take these as a given, remembering Julia Gillard’s memorable slam-dunk of Tony Abbott : “I get my advice on climatology from the CSIRO. Mr Abbott gets his from Alan Jones.”
    The above little data set is not graphed, but you find your error bars in the commonest stated accuracy of ’± 0.4 mm/yr’.

    Finally, will you list ten benefits of +4C in temperature globally?” 


    The atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and the global human economy are each incredibly complex systems, and I would be the last to succumb to the simplistic temptation to see a +4C change in global average temperature as one to turn the whole globe into a tropical south sea island paradise, or ten such for that matter. I cannot of course, speak for your worthy ‘sceptical’ self.
    The aforementioned Mark Lynas does cover it. See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/six-degrees/
    Never mind six degrees. Four degrees: I don’t think you would want to go there.

  6. Ian MacDougall

    As a precaution should we all head for the hills before this 6cm Tsunami washes over our toes? Did you note that if this was globally true then both Hobart and Denison tide high water marks would be under water twice a day. They are not and are still recording the same levels 150 years after they were etched into stone Just a curious anomaly? 

    Tsunamis are caused by crustal motion in the sea floor, and are not triggered as far as anyone seems to be able to determine, by global sea level changes. For refreshment:
    GMSL Rates
    CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
    CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    I take these as a given, remembering Julia Gillard’s memorable slam-dunk of Tony Abbott : “I get my advice on climatology from the CSIRO. Mr Abbott gets his from Alan Jones.”
    The above little data set is not graphed, but you find your error bars in the commonest stated accuracy of ’± 0.4 mm/yr’.

    Finally, will you list ten benefits of +4C in temperature globally?” 

    The atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and the global human economy are each incredibly complex systems, and I would be the last to succumb to the simplistic temptation to see a +4C change in global average temperature as one to turn the whole globe into a tropical south sea island paradise, or ten such for that matter. I cannot of course, speak for your worthy self.
    The aforementioned Mark Lynas does cover it at  http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/six-degrees/
    Never mind six degrees. Four degrees: I don’t think you would want to go there.

  7. Ian MacDougall

    As a precaution should we all head for the hills before this 6cm Tsunami washes over our toes? Did you note that if this was globally true then both Hobart and Denison tide high water marks would be under water twice a day. They are not and are still recording the same levels 150 years after they were etched into stone Just a curious anomaly?

    Tsunamis are caused by crustal motion in the sea floor, and are not triggered as far as anyone seems to be able to determine, by global sea level changes. For refreshment:
    GMSL Rates
    CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
    CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    I take these as a given, remembering Julia Gillard’s memorable slam-dunk of Tony Abbott : “I get my advice on climatology from the CSIRO. Mr Abbott gets his from Alan Jones.”
    The above little data set is not graphed, but you find your error bars in the commonest stated accuracy of ’± 0.4 mm/yr’.

    Finally, will you list ten benefits of +4C in temperature globally?”

    The atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and the global human economy are each incredibly complex systems, and I would be the last to succumb to the simplistic temptation to see a +4C change in global average temperature as one to turn the whole globe into a tropical south sea island paradise, or ten such for that matter. I cannot of course, speak for your worthy self.
    The aforementioned Mark Lynas does cover it at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/six-degrees/
    Never mind six degrees. Four degrees: I don’t think you would want to go there.

    • Lawrie Ayres

      It appears sea rise varies around the world and can be due to wind and currents too. The main point is whether CO2 is causing the rise and if warming is natural, anthropogenic, a combination and what are the attributions to either. So far there is no science but much speculation that the .16% contribution of CO2 by humans is causing the climate to run amok. Has the 99.84% attributed to nature no effect? Listening to Tim Flannery, the IPCC and Obama one would think not. That is patently nonsense as is the belief that the UN can control the weather if only we give them more money. My disappointment is with the politicians who allowed this scam to progress so far. As Forest Gump would say “Stupid is as stupid does”.

  8. Tony Thomas

    The Australian Academy of Science’s Q&A on Climate Change 2010 makes two bald references to CO2 making the oceans more ‘acidic’ (p10 and 14).
    The AAS updated version (2015) repeats one of the assertions and ramps the scare up further:
    “Absorption of CO2 into the oceans causes “ocean acidification” impeding the shell formation of organisms such as corals and causing coral deterioration or death.”p25. This statement is referenced to a 2007 paper by Hoegh-Guldberg.
    “Acidification” gets a further scare mention on p31:
    “The other possible intervention would be to reduce Earth’s net absorption of sunlight, for example by generating a stratospheric aerosol layer or placing shields in space. While this could offset the surface warming caused by increasing greenhouse gases, it would do nothing to stop ocean acidification, would need to be maintained in perpetuity, and would carry multiple risks…”
    This material is tailored for school students. The 2010 version, as I recall, got to approx 1m students. As the last quote above suggests, the AAS is almost doing self-parody.

Under the hood on Science Academy’s climate schooling

By Tony Thomas

Jemima, aged 16, trudges home from high school.

Mum: “Have some Milo, darling. How’d that Australian Academy of Science   assignment go?” Jemima: “Terrible! I flunked Advocacy and Campaigning in Searching for the Truth.

“What? I thought you were doing monotremes!”

“Nah, I had to do a poster supporting action on climate change to share with the school, but my science teacher Mr Smith said it wasn’t emotive awareness-raising enough. Then he asked me, if I have ever taken action or advocated for a cause? I  said no.  And then he asked me if I know anyone who has? I said, yes, my Climate Champion is Bjorn Lomborg.”

“Jemima! You wicked creature!  Want to get yourself suspended?    What we pay for fees!   Wait till your father   blah blah…”

Links  to the Academy’s school material need registration, so I’m using bold type for important quotes from the material.

The Reach of the Academy Courses

The Academy operates in schools alongside activist groups Greenpeace, Cool AustraliaOxfam Australia  WWF, GetUp, Lock the Gate, you name it. But unlike those, the Academy’s  on–line course Science by Doing (SBD), including the exhortations to activism, has been directly taxpayer-funded with about $9m from Labor and conservative federal governments[1]. SBD is a total secondary science course for Years 7-10, delivering the required curriculum, whereas the other external purveyors offer only supplementary material.

Since the SBD site went live in mid-2013, about 9300 secondary science teachers, or 37% of Australia’s 25,000  science teachers, have signed on for the free course, along with 50,000 students. Total registrations at last week were 62,300, despite little marketing – word of mouth among delighted science teachers is doing the job. Hits on the website were running at 2.7m in August. Growth of penetration into school is so high that the courses’ executive director Professor Denis Goodrum expects “market saturation during 2017”.

AAS, science education, graph, uptake, propaganda

Source: Academy of Science

The Academy’s  SBD and primary courses have flown under the public radar,   because registration forms required school affiliation. Last month President Holmes[2] at a green conference in Hobart, invited the public to register and inspect[3]. Which I’ve done.

SBD was officially launched in October 2013 by Nobel Laureate  Brian Schmidt.  The bulk of the  primary and secondary science modules is not just good but excellent. Lord knows,  science help is needed in Australia, where 40% of adults don’t know how long it takes the earth to orbit the sun, 30% think humans  lived with dinosaurs, and science/maths students are tumbling behind their OECD peers.

Academy ex-president Sue Cory was 90% correct when she said SBD   reaches into science classrooms around the nation to inspire students with the wonder of curiosity and discovery.

The Bad Apple in the Barrel

But the climate   alarm-and-activism material (about 10% of the total) is    a soggy Jonathan added to the Academy’s  barrel of crisp Pink Ladies – see for example the absurd cover page for 16 year olds below.

Climate Change Graphic

The material’s not just crude, it’s also stale, with most climate material from the 2007-09 era of ‘settled science’. [4]

SBD   director Professor Goodrum has explained the courses’ rationale like  this“Science influences, or should influence, the decisions we make…all those types of decisions should be based on evidence, not on superstition, not on irrational thinking, but on facts, and this is important in every student’s life.” But the climate material features propaganda songs, cartoons of “CO2 elephants” dropping from the sky, conspiracists like Naomi Oreskes and video rants by alarmists competing with Al Gore to depict the coming apocalypse.

As of now, SBD  climate-change agitprop is confined to the Year 9 (15 year olds) unit  “Big Systems” and Year 10 (16 year olds) “Systems on the Big Scale”. The Year 10 unit will mercifully be replaced shortly by “Science Futures”, which according to Goodrum, “will not have an earth science focus”.    He further explained that the Year 10 unit “Big Scale” was too unwieldy for Term 4 in Year 10 (although some teachers are still using it) and the Year 9 and 10 units are being rationalised.

In the current  Year 10 “Big Scale” module, the modestly-named In search of the truth   section   suggests work on  advocacy and campaigning (e.g., produce a blog)”. 

The material adds, I hope not threateningly, This activity could be used for an assessment task – see assessment overview.”

  • Teachers are advised, in all seriousness, to “Ask [15-16 years 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. 


Teens are grilled in Activity 6.4 Climate change champions: 

“Which is more effective, science awareness or advocacy, when it comes to generating 
community action? What cause would you sign up for?”

And,

“Students analyse the media’s role in public education, delivering scientific truths and swaying opinion. They make a short film or poster supporting action on climate change to share with the school. Do we always tell the truth?”

The Academy provides a cartoon-video  sample for kids.

We see a city with everything belching mysteriously-black CO2. Voiceover (note the stale data): “In 2006 , the US pumped 5,877,000 tonnes   of carbon dioxide into the sky.” [They mean 5.8 billion tonnes, but whatever].  Banner: “That’s equal to 1,194,600 elephants!” Elephants then fall from the sky, crushing everyone.

One  man is unconcerned, but then an elephant falls on him too (Geddit?). Video:

“It’s time to stop ignoring the 1,194,600 elephants in the room.”

 

How to Network, Lobby and  Vote

There’s a special Activity 6.6 Climate change and Politics. “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.

The young climate zealots are  to pester politicians: “Encourage students to engage with a local MP or councillor about science policy, environmental concerns and action. Do they have a voice? How would they vote in light of current policy and action?”

And yet more. Teens are to invite local community environmental campaigners and champions into the class, “with your teacher’s permission”, to “discuss their cause and the science behind their campaign.” 

The   Climate Change Champions guide for teachers explains,

“Step 1: Start with a broad discussion on local champions and heroes – who are they?” 

And   “Students learn more about climate change action by studying environmental champions and campaigns in their local areas. What cause would you stand up for?”  

Occupy Highpoint Shopping Centre, perhaps?

 

climate activities, school, education

..

 

The guide continues, “Students research the political debate on climate change, analyzing scientific credibility and political agendas. Who will you vote for when it comes to science policy?” (Academy’s emphasis).

 

Teh Australian Biodiversity Knowledge Tree, Bob Brown

Sixteen year olds are exhorted: “In pairs, write a short speech, advocating for a change in policy or practice at a national level, to address global warming. The best four speeches will be put to the class vote.”

The course concludes by asking,  “If you were concerned about Earth’s sustainability, who would you vote for?”[Conservative? As if!]

The Academy happens to feature Greens icon Bob Brown to both age groups, literally at the top of the tree among its group of 27 esteemed scientists and communicators. They  are named in “The Australian Biodiversity Knowledge Tree: 20thand 21st century contributors”. We learn that St Bob “was the leader of
 the campaign against 
the Franklin Dam, director 
of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, member of the Tasmanian parliament and the founder of Bush Heritage Australia. He was an Australian senator and leader of the Australian Greens Party. While in the Tasmanian parliament he successfully campaigned for a large increase in protected wilderness areas. He has published several books
 on the Tasmanian environment.” I couldn’t discover any other politician accorded an Academy encomium, other than Al Gore.

The Warming Debate (Minus Any Opponent)

The Teacher Guide lays out “A structured class debate on climate science. In one lesson, teams prepare and, in the following lesson, every student takes part in the live debate. Pink bat or sun hat?” A dull debate, given that students have been ruthlessly quarantined from discovering any sceptic argument.  Indeed in the Academy’s anti-sceptic fatwa, students are warned to browse “only reputable science websites” (UQ’s John “97%” Cook’s site  perhaps?) . World top-rated blogs like Anthony Watts (wattsupwiththat.com, with 250m views) and Joanne Nova (joannenova.com.au with 600,000 visitors a year) are obviously beyond the pale. The course does concede there’s a “debate”, viz “Over time, the debate has gathered momentum and national leaders are taking action …but is it enough?”

At several points in the course, presenters such as ABC “comedians” and Al Gore fabricate sceptic arguments and then ridicule their own fabrications. Real sceptic arguments such as peer-reviewed downgrading   of the IPCC’s CO2 sensitivity estimates, are unmentioned. The Academy thus presents to kids  a poor example of professional courtesy in scientific discussion.

One surprise is a little Year 10 accolade to Dr Garth Partridge (sic) who “has conducted research into Earth’s atmosphere, often from aircraft during thunderstorms. He is famous for his research on clouds and their effect on climate change.” 
The Academy does not mention that Academician  Garth Paltridge is   Australia’s most-honored climate sceptic.

Nor could I find one reference to the (now 18 years and 9 months) halt to atmospheric warming this century, as shown by RSS satellite-based  measurement . In other words, not one of the 16 year old students the Academy is preaching to about  horrific global warming, has experienced any global warming in their lifetimes. The warming stopped three years before they were born.

Academy’s Self-Interested Appeals

Most remarkable of all, the Academy instructs  students on the need for scientists’ salaries and gear to get a bigger share of the grant-funding cake, even relative to medical research.

Australian, Academy of Science, Activities, climate change

The Year 10 Teacher Guide includes 4.5 Big funding for big science:  Students debate the merits of government spending on science. They research six big-systems experiments and justify their funding proposals. Which big experiment will you fund?”[5]

We see an inspirational  picture of youthful demonstrators holding high  their protest placards.

AAS, Australian Academy of Science, Climate Change, Activities, Education, Schools

One sign:  “Climate science and research cents is all common sense”;    another   “Fund education in science”.

Students are shown pictures of the local synchrotron, the  Square Kilometre Array, the Parkes radio telescope etc and asked, “For each, what percentage of the total Australian Government funding would you recommend be allocated? Share your findings with the class. Maybe the Academy needs to footnote a “Declaration of Interest”?[6]

 A Unique  ”Sciencey”  Perspective

To really catch the teenagers’ interest, the Academy transposes climate instruction into song by melodysheep,   “A musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it. Featuring Bill Nye, David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov.”

The song’s lyrics go:

Climates all start in the sky/

When the C02 is high/ 

the temperature is high/

Moving together in lock step/

When the C02 is low/ 

the temperature is low/

Moving together/

We can change the world.

(The song  is wrong. Even the orthodox climate crowd  accepts ice core evidence that CO2 has lagged  temperature by 800 years or so.).

“Hottest summer EVER” shouts a sign about Australia’s 2012-13 summer, a big fib to children doing the “Big Scale” module as the Academy has no idea what temperatures got to in the pre-1900 millenia. Indeed the 1890s peak could well have been hotter than any in the 2000s – the Met Bureau  trashed all of its temperature data  pre-1910. Also odd is the Academy claim here that “climate” involves a 20 year span of weather[7]; the convention is 30 years. That’s an own-goal: the warming halt is now nearly 20 years and hence significant on the Academy’s definition of climate.

 

Australian Academy of Science, Climate Schools, Education, Record Summer Heat, Graphic.

The diagram here is headed “Our Record Melting Summer” with all sorts of heat and rain records shown as broken , without mention of data reliability at, say, “Lenora” WA [sic]. For some reason there is no equivalent diagram for breaking of cold-temperature records, which also happens often. To really labor the point, the map shows Australia heat-melting southwards to about 500km below   Hobart.  Southwards apparently equals down-hill. [Jo adds that there are alternate maps of record heat across Australia in the 1800s which were hotter].

 

Misleading Experiments and Experts

Thoroughly bad science work is promoted to bolster the warmist narrative – students put thermometers inside closed ‘greenhouse’ jars and tip acid into test-tubes of seawater contained crushed shells.

Students  are  invited to “research how computer modelling has improved knowledge and predictability of phenomena,  atmospheric pollution, ocean salinity and climate change.” Drawing attention to the models seems risky, as students may stumble across the IPCC’s 5AR admission (Box 9.2) that 111 of 114 of climate models wax  too hot. Warming predictions and actual temperatures have been widening progressively for the past decade.

The Academy also displays a carbon credits propaganda video for Year 10  created (ostensibly) by a colorful  UK broker. The video shows wind-tower blades transformed to beautiful green leaves. Alas, the broker was attacked by the  Daily Mail  for dubious hard-sell  and other malpractices — including misappropriating other parties’ videos.

In “The Experts Speak”, 16 year old students are advised to “Click here to hear some scientific points of view.” What they get is videos of conspiracist Naomi Oreskes  (warming sceptics = tobacco lobbyists); Greenpeace Australia/Pacific ex-CEO and Gore-worshipper Linda Selvey; US alarmist teacher Greg Craven (caution: not our ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven); and a producer of alarmist videos James Balog. Alongside them is a suffering earth-globe holding a sign, “Act Now”.

Oreskes should be the  front-running joke with her fiction about a mass climate extinction of kittens and puppies in 2023 (not cited in any Academy material). But Craven takes the cake:

“The worst case – this is sea level rising 10-20ft, entire countries disappearing, hundreds of millions of people displaced, crowding in their neighbours causing widespread warfare over scarce resources and longstanding hatreds. Entire forests dying … a world that makes Al Gore look like a sissy Pollyanna with no guts, sugar coating the bad news.”

The Teachers’ Guide says:   “As a class watch the video by Greg Craven and have a class vote on whether action is warranted.“

Other videos feature  Gore himself in another of his error-riddled rants. This time (2009), he  claims that worrying climate trends are even worse than scientists predicted,  and agonises about polar ice shrinkage –the Academy does not alert kids that Arctic sea ice has recovered strongly and global sea ice trends show nothing abnormal.  ( Arctic sea ice extent is now at its highest level for November since at least 2005). The Antarctic, Gore says, “is now in negative ice balance” –   it’s actually positive,  says NASA .

In yet more  inaccuracy, Gore claims weather disasters “have been increasing at an absolutely extraordinary and unprecedented rate.”

  • Gore even adverts respectfully to the IPCC’s 2007 melting Himalayan glaciers  howler. Are the science teachers slamming or reinforcing Gore’s errors? I suspect the latter: Gore’s video is labeled “Al Gore campaigns on the need for action”. The Year 10 Teacher Guide also says, “You may stimulate discussion with local media articles or by showing the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth.”

Typically loaded questions include

                                         # Will mining scar the Tarkine forest?

#  Is the Murray-Darling on the brink?

#  Big waves and high tides: do we need to re-think coastal living? 
[The NSW government this month threw the IPCC sea-rise scenarios  under the bus] and

#   Is eco-tourism a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Even now, teenagers are still being poked with  the notorious Hockey Stick of Michael Mann: “While Earth’s average temperature has risen over time, the increases now observed are unprecedented and thought to be largely due to population and human activity.” The “unprecedented” bit surely deserves an errata.

At the end of term, students are invited to select a (green) world conference  to hypothetically attend, including (by backward time travel) the June 2012 Rio+20 Agenda-21-touting jamboree. Links lead them to the preliminary conference on “Degrowth in the Americas” in May 2012 in Montreal, run by and for  certifiable  eco-lunatics. Aiming for a  “post growth healing earth” they want to send Western economies backwards to “avert ecological collapse while enhancing social justice and improving life’s prospects… and build towards a truly prosperous world.” A click away, kids can browse  a paper on eco-friendly and humane policies of the Cuban government.

Another suggested world conference is a student one  at Perth’s Murdoch University, with urgings for a   world free of ‘scary plastics’ (a new industrial revolution?) and tips for students on “where to buy bulk bicarb, and how to  make your own deodorant .

The Academy’s Distaste for Mining & Business

Miners aren’t the heroes of the Academy course.  The Year 10 Teacher Guide asks: “Mining is used to illustrate conflicting factors in scientific and technological progress… Is mining a scientific or environmental quandary?” Huh? Mining’s a “quandary”? Try doing without it.

At one section there is a reasonable treatment of mining, albeit on a pro and con basis. But then it segues to “Searching for the Truth” and  “THINGS TO CONSIDER AND HINTS FOR SUCCESS”

 This activity is not just about mining. Encourage students to reflect on the bigger issues – are there links between the impact of mining, human activity and climate change?   What is mining doing to the lithosphere? Are the changes manageable? Irreversible?”

Another video shows the ABC’s Emma Alberici  claiming coal is “the number one climate killer”.

Students are told, “Mining attracts its fair share of controversy. It is not a pretty site! [Cue picture of open cut stretching to the horizon]. Could we do without it?… Would you work for a mining company? In what capacity? [An example given is ‘an environmental geoscientist’].

“Explore two different sources of media and business websites on mining. What do you notice? Is mining portrayed as an asset or adverse experience for Australia? Are they telling the truth? [Cue picture of youthful protestors with a placard, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our CHILDREN”]

At Year 9 (age 15) level, kids are shown an ABC video about Arctic sea ice disappearing, with plenty of spooky music and shots of melting ice. An unnamed scientist intones, “There is a group that makes a very strong case that in 2012 or 2013 we will have an ice-free Arctic – as soon as that!” Reality: the 2013 minimum  figure was about  5.1 million square km of ice. Have science teachers been pointing that out – or might such objectivity hurt their careers?

At Year 7’s Circle of Life module,  13 year olds get a  picture of a horrid grey open cut mine with a poisonous looking pond at the bottom. A couple of stunted trees are at the top, not long for this world. What’s to like?

Photo of Mining, AAS, Education, Schools, Climate.

 

The 13 year olds  course Part 6. Can you defend your position about ecosystem management?”   has this picture:

 

Science Education Materials, climate change, AAS. National Park Cartoon.

 

Could one imagine the material’s loaded? Kids are directed to the scientific analyses of recreational hunting by rag-trader Prue Acton, super-model Tara Moss, show-offy Germaine Greer and  ABC  comedian Wendy Harmer.  Egad, they are all against recreational hunting!

To further make the case, illustrations show a small wallaby, a brolga, a climbing lizard and a cassowary, all with bull’s-eye targets on their chests. According to the Academy’s teacher notes, this sort of thing is how  students “create a well constructed scientific argument to support their view.”

A 13 year old would presumably be flunked for wanting judicious development in national parks to help  taxpayers afford the  employment of   Academy  Fellows.[8]

It may seem  a  wonder that none of 9000 high school science teachers (let alone Academicians of integrity) has had the wit or integrity to complain to the Academy about force-feeding climate-activism to students. Those with qualms may be relying on the Nuremberg defence – “I was following union orders”. The all-powerful teachers’ unions have not only endorsed  “action on climate change” and “lobbying in support of a sustainable low carbon economy” but proffered to teachers their own “Environment Resources and Action kit” and backed a Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) climate campaign based on “a union perspective”.

Academy at Primary Schools: Some Praise

At primary-school levels, the Academy’s separate Primary Connections includes   loaded material for 12 year olds   about   [intermittent, expensive] wind and solar power vs [cheap reliable]   coal-fired electricity “that can damage the environment”.[9]

The  Essential Energy text makes good points about careful use of the scientific method (without mentioning the  Feynman honesty test of   doing your utmost to refute your own findings pre-publication). However, the text harps on the “pollution” from fossil-fuel-powered electricity, ecological footprints (“choosing to purchase locally grown produce”), “clean energy” and exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves – however remotely into the future.

Energy issues for 12 year olds are seen through the  prism of the  warming catastrophe hypothesis. The primary course has nothing to say about   how fossil-fuel powered electricity has rescued billions from poverty  and early graves, and how its increased take-up is essential to lift the world’s   remaining billions from squalor.

The teachers also  teach 12 year olds that fossil fuels produce CO2 which raises the air temperature [how much?] or acidifies the ocean [how much?]. “The pollution released can cause ‘acid rain’ if its concentration is very high.” [The “acid rain” scare was  scare de jour a decade ago and has petered out].

“All of this is based on the best available science, and is reviewed by Academy Fellows,” President Holmes sums up the primary course reassuringly.

That material is certainly more sober   than the Academy’s secondary-school activism. For example, it  alerts kids that supposed black clouds in pictures of power stations are merely steam, not CO2,[10]  and that renewables’ ecological impact calculations must also include energy used for their manufacture and   disposal.

Kids are also asked to critique  propaganda by super-heroes Professor Pitch-black and Short Circuit (comic book figures) who claim to save the planet by totally shutting off electricity. This exercise could be viewed by greenie parents and maybe the secondary-course writers as sacrilege.

Summing up: the school lessons explored in this article are, sadly, normal in schools these days. But who’d have imagined the author is the Australian Academy of Science?

#   Tony Thomas blogs at No B/S Here I Hope 

His previous pieces on the Australian Academy of Science include  here,  here,  and here

REFERENCES

[1] AAS annual reports

[2] A Melbourne University chemist, Professor Holmes “has been recognised for his groundbreaking work on light-emitting polymers”.

[3] The same speech in which Holmes painted climate scientists as victims of abuse and harassment

[4] The courses were at “concept plan” in 2006 and Stage One was worked on in 2009-11.  The Academy’s relatively sober climate booklet “Questions and Answers” of mid-2010 gets only   passing mentions in the course. Goodrum says, “The Q&A material is available world wide, while Science by Doing is restricted for copyright reasons to only Australia.”

[5] “Students are probably unaware of the huge costs and budgetary restraints on scientific research. They may be aware there tends to be support for areas which give immediate benefits to the public e.g., medical advances, and not realise the general impacts of more academic research projects e.g., nuclear physics and astronomy.”

[6] Should History and Phys Ed associations (and medical research associations) also rev up school students to lobby for grants for History and Phys Ed professionals?

[7] The course consistently transfers to students its own muddles about  climate and weather

[8] 20 out of 20 Academy Fellows I sampled (using successive alphabet letters) were working or retired academics.

[9] President Holmes says of the 12 year olds “Essential Energy” unit that it  “gives students the opportunity to explore different energy sources—both non-renewable and renewable—and to begin to understand the environmental impact of using each one to generate electricity…  Students also read and discuss information about how most power stations in Australia burn fossil fuels to generate electrical energy and how burning these fossil fuels produces waste products that can damage the environment.”

[10] Science By Doing  routinely mis-uses the black-smoke image

When Scientists Still Did Science

Gough Whitlam was PM when the notion of climate change began bubbling — not warming in those days but cooling. The report he commissioned makes sad reading today, not for its conclusions but as a marker of how far and deep the rot has spread

big noseA great embarrassment to the warming-catastrophic community is that 40 years ago the climatology scare was about cooling and onset of an ice age. Warmists today go, “Pooh! That cooling stuff  then was just a few hyped-up articles in magazines. Cooling never got any traction in the realscience community!”

Really? Then explain this away…

Letter from the Australian Federal Minister for Science, W.L. (Bill) Morrison, to the President of the Academy of Science,  Professor Badger,  January 9, 1975:

Dear Professor Badger,
I am writing on this occasion to enquire if the Academy could assist the Government by examining, and reporting on, claims recently made in the media, and apparently also by competent scientists that the earth’s climate is changing and that a new ice-age could be on the way.

The Prime Minister [Gough Whitlam] is very interested in this subject and is anxious to obtain the best possible advice about it. As an interim measure towards that end, I sought, and obtained, a short report from Dr Gibbs, Director of Meteorology, and Dr Priestley, Chairman of the CSIRO Environmental Physics Research Laboratories…I am now anxious to have the subject examined in more detail and at greater length…Since the enquiry stems primarily from concern about man and the possible effects of climatic changes on him [I think Bill means ‘him or her’] , it seems to me that it should reflect not only the input of those expert in the physical sciences but also that of those expert in the biological sciences…I would be most grateful to have your views at your earliest convenience.

Hard to get more top-level concern about the possible ‘ice age cometh’ than this letter… Prime Minister Whitlam badgering the Academy President Badger for an answer. Cyclone Tracy had devastated Darwin three weeks earlier; Rex Connor was telexing a Pakistani con man who lived on peanuts and potato crisps, asking him to raise $US4 billion; Jim Cairns was nipping at Gough’s heels as PM-in-waiting. But Gough wanted to know about the global cooling scare.

The Academy swung into action, mustering eleven of its finest minds and a three-man secretariat for the job. The eventual report[i],  delivered a year later, ran to 80 pages.[ii]

Good Lord, the stuff you can find in the body text! For example:

In the 1960s some scientists extrapolated from the warming trend evident between 1895 and 1940 and predicted the melting of the ice caps and the consequent flooding of the world’s seaports. There was then thought to be some rational justification for their warnings, namely the warming effect associated with the global increase of CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels (Matthews et al, 1971). However, since 1940 the temperature curve has reversed its direction [despite significant increase in CO2 emissions – TT]. It is just as precipitate now for scientists to postulate that the present downturn presages an imminent glaciation as it was for their collegues (sic) to forecast the melting of the ice caps 20 years ago [1955]…Nevertheless the historical record…does not preclude a change lasting for some decades or even centuries to a regime colder than what is called by some northern hemisphere climatologists the ‘climatic optimum’ of the 1940s-50s. (page 14)

The terms of reference for the global freezing examination were:

To consider and report to Council on:

  1. reports from overseas to the effect that marked changes in global climate are currently occurring;
  2. the extent to which man’s activities may be causing or contributing to climatic changes;
  3. whether the climate of Australia is currently undergoing change, and the predictability of future changes;
  4. the consequences of postulated climatic changes for agricultural production and rangeland management in Australia
  5. …social and economic implications.

The Academy team consulted far and wide (including Norwich and Grenoble), grilling experts on everything from paleoclimate to “man made influences” and tree rings – this pre-dating the “tree-ring circus” of Michael Mann in the now-notorious 2001 IPCC report.

The Academy report began,

During the past few years, there have been reports of a persistent cooling trend in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere, crop failures in the USSR, severe droughts in the Sahel region of Africa, and failures in the Indian monsoon rains. Some scientists have interpreted these events as showing that the global climate is changing [i.e. cooling, TT] in such a way as to make conditions of man more difficult and these views have received widespread publicity through the mass media.

Following the concern expressed at the World Food Conference in November 1974 about the possible effects of this predicted climatic change on agricultural production and the world’s food supply, the Australian Government requested the Academy to report to it on these assertions. The Government was especially interested  in their possible significance for Australia…

The  report comes to a ringing conclusion:

We conclude that there is no evidence that the world is now on the brink of a major climatic change. There is ample evidence that the world’s climate has changed widely during the geological past, and while there is every expectation that it will continue to change in the future, the time scale of these changes is in the range of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years rather than decades or centuries.

It cannot be too strongly emphasised that year-to-year variability is an inherent feature of global and regional climates and that…large fluctuations leading to severe droughts and floods are bound to occur from time to time. (My emphasis; page 9)

The report’s summary affirmed that the cooling reports were coming from “some climatologists”[iii], as distinct from media beat-ups. It affirmed that cooling from 1940 to 1975 had dropped global temps by 0.3degdC, and together with various droughts, monsoons and other stuff, “has led some climatologists to suggest that the world’s climate is progressing rather rapidly towards another glacial phase, or at least another ‘Little Ice Age’.” Any such  global rapid-cooling threat to the planet could cause damaging shifts in rainfall patterns and “the spread of glaciers and ice sheets to the countries of Europe and North America.” P7

The report debunks the claims that various weather events, such as the Sahel drought and the 1972 Ukrainian wheat failure were evidence for global cooling: “Impartial examination has failed to support these hypotheses.” Today’s warmists who want to attribute Hurricane Katrina and increased shark attacks to global warming, please note.

Today’s finest climatologists like Will Steffen and David Karoly — the latter at it again in today’s Fairfax press — are all about doom and gloom. Yesterday’s equivalents in the Academy were not so down in the mouth.

The dire consequences predicted for the supposed cooling trend in the northern hemisphere would be unlikely to occur in Australia…a slight cooling might produce a climate more, rather than less, suitable for human activities.  (Page 9)

Among   prescient statements in the report:

  • The influence  on climate of the eleven-year sunspot cycle and the  22 year solar magnetic cycle “is indeed plausible, though the physical mechanisms  involved remain obscure” and their “utility is not yet established”.
    (These factors, largely dismissed by the IPCC, are now getting serious attention in lieu of problematic CO2 causation).
  • A “major difficulty” with  numerical climate models is “inadequate representation of the many feedback processes which occur in the atmosphere”.
    (In the past 25 years the IPCC has been unable to refine its  huge uncertainty range about climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling).
  • Models can simulate a 50% increase in CO2 but “a problem..is that a forecast must be made of the variation of ‘external’ factors, and this is not always possible.”
    (IPCC modellers still have no handle on cloud cover and feedbacks, nor long-cycle ocean temperature oscillations).
  • “We see no prospect of any quick break-through into reliable and accurate climate forecasting.”
    (97% of  IPCC models run too hot and none predicted the 19-year current halt to warming).

In a startling admission – though not seen as an ‘admission’ at the time – the report says:

Weather records have been maintained in Australia for over 100 years [i.e. back to 1875]. There does not appear to have been any general rise in temperature in this continent between 1890 and 1940…Temperatures in Australia, New Zealand and the Antarctic coast appear to have risen very slightly since 1940, in contrast to the downward trend in the northern hemisphere…

While there is some evidence for the occurrence of cycles in weather patterns over the years, their recurrence is unreliable. In the present state of knowledge, it is not possible to make useful forecasts of future climatic trends.”  (page 8)

Now, of course, climatologists prove stuff  by playing with models on their computers.

The Academy also saw the importance of “the bank of Australian meteorological data” and said it should be “maintained, improved by quality control, and subjected to more detailed systematic analysis…The maintenance and improvement of this data bank is of national importance.” Interesting that the Turnbull government last September killed an external audit of the Bureau of Meteorology’s highly contentious adjustments and “homogenisations” of the records, which have also been truncated at 1910. The Academy’s 1975 report includes graphs of temperature back to 1875.

The report says that despite uncertainties about the climate, judgements based on physical grounds must be relied on to steer the best course between complacency and alarm.

These grounds must be as objective as possible, and preferably quantified wherever the opportunity exists.

Unlike today, when science and activism have become indistinguishable.

The report said there was no evidence yet that man-made influences had changed the global climate, but if emissions and other human influences kept increasing, they were more likely to create warming than cooling. Fair enough.

The degradation of climate science in the 40 years since that common-sense Academy report is a wonder to behold.

Tony Thomas blogs at No B-S Here (I Hope)


[i] Report of a Committee on Climatic Change. No 21, AAS

[ii] There is a copy in the National Library and I found one in the Victorian State Library – in very poor condition with pages falling out.

[iii] The late Dr Stephen Schneider first ramped the “cooling scare” and then the “warming scare” – Rasool S., & Schneider S.”Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141 – Excerpt: ‘The rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 deg. K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.” Schneider was still promoting the coming “ice age” in 1978. (See: Unearthed 1970’s video: Global warming activist Stephen Schneider caught on 1978 TV show ‘In Search Of…The Coming Ice Age’ – September 20, 2009)

 

 

COMMENTS [7]

  1. Bill Martin

    And reasonable people advise us not to believe in miracles. What is, if not a bloomin miracle, the preponderance of climate alarmism in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Granted, it is a most regrettable miracle.

  2. aertdriessen@gmail.com

    A great piece of investigative work Tony, well done. Several thoughts come to mind. Are we again re-inventing the wheel? Have we learnt nothing? Why do politicians look to doom and gloom? I remember the cooling scare but it dissipated quite quickly as I recall. But the warming nonsense is actually being taught in school! Perhaps even as part of a science curriculum! That is what makes this stuff now so dangerous. It could take a cold-induced food shortage over a whole generation to sort this out. The saddest part of all is that once-respected institutions like CSIRO and the Academy of Science have signed off on this. Prof Kurt Lambeck must take much of the blame; he was president of the Academy 2006 to 2010. I heard him denigrate eminent scientists (like Ian Plimer for example) in public fora in language that should never be used to criticise the scientific work of other scientists. It was sickening. Lambeck wrote the Foreword to a glitsy piece of supposed science propaganda put out by the Academy in 2010. After relegating geology to a ‘sub discipline’ in climate studies he goes on to say ‘…. What makes climate change different is that the consequence …. occur over long time scales (decades to centuries)…. Decades to centuries?? This man understands nothing about geological history. The more insidious aspect of this is that Lambeck is trying to write evidence out of the equation and substitute computer modelling thus putting paid to the axiom that in Science evidence trumps everything! Keep up the good work!

  3. Richard H

    Science is one of the crowning achievements of human civilisation – or at least it was 40 years ago as the article suggests. The grand project is now tarnished by the actions of a small number of deeply corrupt individuals who put their political passion – or naked ambition, or simple greed – ahead of their duty to seek the truth.

    Sadly, the corruption spread much further through intimidation of the honest and bribery of the weak, and now the whole of science is deeply compromised.

    It was the responsibility of those at the head of the academies to show true leadership, resist the lies of the corrupt and denounce the debasement of science. Across the world, most failed that responsibility dismally, and history will show them no mercy.

    Thank you for the article, Tony

  4. Jack Richards

    When I started University in 1974 to study Chemistry, Geology and mathematics one of the first things I went to was a seminar on the coming ice age. Various experts had slides, over heads, movies and graphs of all sorts showing that by 2000 most of the arable land in the northern hemisphere would be covered in snow and the worlds population would be huddling along the equator. It was very convincing. That year we had a very cold winter and it snowed in late September all along the Great Dividing range. What more proof did we need?

  5. Ian MacDougall

    “The report [written 40 years ago] said there was no evidence yet that man-made influences had changed the global climate, but if emissions and other human influences kept increasing, they were more likely to create warming than cooling. Fair enough.

    “The degradation of climate science in the 40 years since that common-sense Academy report is a wonder to behold.”

    According to climate ‘sceptics’, the world’s climatology institutes have been infiltrated and taken over by a determined bunch of cynical conspirators, mostly motivated by lust for money and easy living in the shape of endless research grants, although some among them may hold sincerely to an innocent belief that greenhouse gases produced by industrial activity are causing the atmosphere to trap solar heat. (That possibility was first mooted by the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius at the turn of the 20th Century.)

    These ‘sceptics’ also betray a pitiful understanding of the way science actually proceeds. Thanks to the intense competition for academic jobs, and yes, research grants, it is a world of merciless and often cut-throat competition. Scientists take great, at times almost obscene, delight in attacking rivals’ work, and will generally not hesitate to destroy another’s career and reputation if doing so will advance their own. The mantra has always been ‘publish or perish’, and the way to advance is to make oneself stand out; in the manner of a brand new car parked outside a wrecking yard.

    According to the ‘sceptics’ there is a global scientific conspiracy to scare the bejesus out of taxpayers around the world with a view to persuading them to keep parting with increasing amounts of cash to keep the cynical scientific establishment in the manner to which they have become so cynically accustomed.

    On the face of it moreover, the conspirators have succeeded in the impossible: of holding the whole thing together and watertight WORLDWIDE in the face of the certain knowledge that any one of them could retire sumptuously and dine out on it for the rest of his or her days, with no end of honours and awards, by just blowing the whistle on the whole lying, deceitful, dishonest, conspiratorial global fraud; which threatens to destroy the reputations not only of institutions like Cumberland University (CU), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Australia’s CSIRO and the US NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre (NASA GSFC) and camp-followers like the recent succession of Australian chief scientists, but as the title of this piece suggests, is compromising the very integrity of science itself.

    Have these conspirators not earned for themselves the right to be hauled up before some court of inquisition, to be found guilty of fraud and deliberate deception; nay embezzlement no less, and given a stretch out at Long Bay, Pentridge, or some other appropriate institution; breaking rocks out in the boiling hot sun to the end of their fraudulent , lying, deceitful, dishonest and conspiratorial days?

    To the contrary: 1. I think that the whole conspiracy theory is miles wide of the mark, and that 2. this article by Tony Thomas is woefully short on understanding of the way science actually works in the real world.

    It needs urgent and drastic revision.

    • en passant

      Dear Denier,
      I am a sceptic and true believer in science. So your comment:
      “These ‘sceptics’ also betray a pitiful understanding of the way science actually proceeds. Thanks to the intense competition for academic jobs, and yes, research grants, it is a world of merciless and often cut-throat competition.”
      So what you are saying is that to win a grant in the ‘merciless’ and ‘intense competition’ grant-seekers need to use the correct PC wording, lie if necessary and do not stray from the politically righteous path that will turn on the gravy. In truth, lying for the cause’ has nothing to do with science, but everything to do with currying favours for money.
      Which of the following could have successfully applied for a grant if you can only fund three people?
      1. Einstein, 2. Galileo, 3. Copernicus(Sun-centric universe), 4. Karoly; 5. Hypatia (Sun-centric universe), 6. Harrison (Longitude); 7. Pachauri; 8. 9. Turing 10. Napier (Logarithms) 11. Steffen; 12. Flannery
      I look forward to seeing your selection – and why + why (in general terms) the others would be rejected. Look up Karl Popper before you answer

    • Tony Thomas

      Thanks Ian. On your argument, Michael Mann’s massively flawed “hockey stick” would have been promptly shot down by a myriad of mainstream climate scientists. Instead it was feted in the 2001 IPCC Report and was still lingering around in the Australian Academy of Science’s 2010 Questions & Answers on Climate Change. By now a huge number of honest climate scientists have debunked the hockey stick (see Mark Steyn’s compendium) but I have yet to see the mainstream climate community join in the debunking.

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 Australianclimatemadness.com 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.