Climate change and the bushfires

By November 13, 2019Other

The alarmists are sure: climate change makes bushfires even worse, because the planet is hotter, hence the bush is drier. Well, that’s what The Guardian says, and we know that its position on climate change is wonderfully balanced, even if the Deputy Prime Minister says that such a proposed cause is rubbish. The IPCC sort of agrees with him. Adam Bandt, Greens MP, thinks the fires are due to the Government’s lack of a proper climate-change policy. He too is a noted dispassionate observer of climate. Barnaby Joyce MP says the cause is the conservationists’ opposition to fire-hazard reduction-burning. The alarmists say there have been fires all over the world this year. Surely that tells us something! I’m sure it does, but what it does tell us is not wholly clear. There have been big fires before, and there will be big fires again. And there will be floods, too. The Australian meteorological record tells us to expect them, and prepare for them. We sort of do, but our response is muddled. We have a new word now, ‘catastrophic’, and the media love it. It’s only been part of the fire classification for a decade, but it sounds as though the fires we are having are somehow unprecedented. They’re not, of course. Only the word ‘catastrophic’ is. 

So far the death toll from these fires is small, and likewise the number of houses destroyed. The Canberra fires of 2003 killed four people and destroyed more than five hundred houses. I mention it first because I was there when it was occurring. Actually I was at the coast when it started, and began to receive calls from family and friends as to whether we were all right. So we headed back to an eerie brown sky. Our house was untouched. But the Canberra fires, destructive as they were, were small in comparison to the really big ones in the past. 

The worst was probably in Victoria in 1851, which burned a quarter of the colony, and killed unknown numbers of people, but also a million sheep, thousands of cattle and innumerable native fauna. Victoria seems to be particularly prone to massive fires. Here are the five most destructive fires since 1900, according to Australian Geographic. They can’t all have been caused by climate change.

All but one occurred in Victoria. In what follows the first figure is the number of people who died, the second the number of houses destroyed. 

Victoria    1939:  71/650

Victoria    1926:   60/n.a.

Tasmania 1967:  62/1300

Vic/SA       1983: 75/1900

Victoria     2009: 173/2000    

I came across an interesting essay on the Californian wildfires, and saw in it numerous parallels between the fires on each side of the Pacific. The essay is by Jim Steele, whose work on the Californian environment I have read before. He is a retired, sceptical scientist, and his essay is full of data. It seems that California has had lots of big fires before the advent of 400+ ppm CO2 levels, just like Australia. It seems also that the argument that CO2 > global warming > hotter climate > more and hotter bushfires is alive and well in the US too.

There’s more. Faulty or damaged electrical grids cause fires, as they have done here, along with ‘increased surface fuels from years of fire suppression’, plus changes in vegetation that have generated more fine fuels, like annual grasses, which occur when forests are logged. All that is familiar. As is, of course, lightning, which occurs in both countries mostly in the summer season. And there are the wretched arsonists. What prompts their actions defeats me. I haven’t heard of any particular arsonists being involved in our current bushfires, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they have been present. There have been suggestions to that effect in Queensland and, only in the last day or so, also in Turramurra in Sydney’s northern suburbs.

The Queensland fires have mostly been in scrubby country with a lot of small-diameter fuels that let fires spread rapidly. So has Southern California. Both our countries have seen the expansion of suburbia into bushland, which means that more people and their houses are affected by fire. Yes, we have both enlarged our fire-fighting and emergency response teams, machines and forecasting. But still we have destructive fires.

What should we do about it? My thoughts are these, though they are not in priority order, since I really don’t know what the most important causes are. What comes to me first is the need to get rid of as much fuel litter as possible, and on a regular basis. There seems to be an antipathy to doing this on the part of local councils and state governments, though not in the ACT, I am glad to say. Why is there this antipathy? Some of it seems to be the result of Green and Green-sympathiser pressure: we should leave Nature to take its course. Back-burning causes native animals to flee in terror. Don’t forget the koalas, and so on. I think that this is misguided. We are all in danger from fire, human beings as well as koalas, and the more fuel there is, the hotter the fires will be, and even more death and terror. Oddly enough, NASA was opposed to back-burning in 2017 because of ‘climate change’. How come? Frequent controlled burns reduce the capacity of forests to sequester carbon dioxide. Hmm. What is the cost/benefit ratio here?

A related issue is the lack of foresight on the part of house-builders and councils in building and allowing the building of houses right in the middle of native forest, or next to pine plantations, across the road from where I now live. I have written before about the eucalypt, which I would not have anywhere in an urban area, let alone in a backyard. I came across a suggestion that the eucalypt prepares for the fire that will allow it to regenerate by dropping branches and twigs beneath it to create favourable conditions for the next big fire. While there is an anthropomorphic air in this suggestion (making eucalypts capable of thought, like human beings) natural selection can have favoured the sub-species that tended to do this.

A suggestion from California is that all towns and villages create a mile-wide area of ploughed ground between the town and the forest, and keep the grass down through the efforts first of cattle, then of sheep, then of goats, so that the next fire has nothing to feed on when it advances toward the town. I think this is a brave suggestion, and it might have more chance of success in the USA than here, where I can’t see any local council’s having the nerve to propose such a scheme, let alone the power to implement it. American local governments have much more autonomy, and much more capacity to act when citizens see the need to do something, than do Australian ones, all of them the creatures of state governments.

Well, that’s my tuppence worth. I’d be glad to read of other suggestions. I don’t think we have really grasped the right way to deal with fire, or flood for that matter. Maybe the Aboriginal people had it right, with frequent burns to keep fuel loads light and to encourage new growth. Bill Gammage, an eminent Australian historian, certainly thinks so. See his The Biggest Estate on Earth.

Endnote Judith Curry has written a most interesting essay on Climategate, ten years later. (https://judithcurry.com/2019/11/12/legacy-of-climategate-10-years-later/#more-25412)

And a wry comment from inside our ‘aged care facility’: ‘At our age it’s better to be not too bad than not too good.’ I like that one!

Join the discussion 149 Comments

  • Peter E says:

    In looking at the television coverage of the fire tragedies that have just taken place I was horrified to see that in virtually every case the destroyed buildings were surrounded by (burnt) forest. It seems that lessons have not been learned. If buildings are allowed to be surrounded by trees in this way it is certain that the risk of their destruction by fire is greatly increased. Again, much more needs to be done to backburn in the cooler months. These things are well known, as is the need to build dams before the rains come. ‘Climate change’ has nothing to do with it.

    • dlb says:

      “Climate Change has nothing to do with it”

      Such a view goes against most of academia, most political parties, the mainstream media and much of the general population. I’d be careful letting loose with such statements, there are a lot of upset people out there.

      There has definitely been a reduction in rainfall in the eastern half of Australia since 1970, which as far as I’m concerned is climate change. Over the past 120 years it has become slightly wetter which could indicate the last 50 years are part of a cycle. Still the dryer and warmer past 50 years can’t be denied whatever the cause.

      • BB says:

        So it seems the IPCC who assures us such events are not because of global warming are also wrong. Also many scientists such as recently Andy Pitman and our chief scientist a few years back. As we have reduced the management of fuel load in the bush the number of wildfires has risen. Looking back as far as 1970 is really not far enough to see any change at all. At the turn of last century there was a very severe drought which ended in about 1903. The next one started in 1911 and went to 1915. So what are you going to do if your house is in the bush. Put solar cells on the roof to stop fires?

  • Brian Pratt says:

    Dear Don,
    The CBC covered the fires in NSW tonight on As It Happens, and quoted, “Australia’s deputy prime minister says only ‘raving inner-city lunatics’ would connect this year’s bush fires to climate change — but our guest thinks that’s an ignorant response to a volatile situation.” CBC always pushes the climate narrative. CBC of course interviewed a Carol Sparks, ex-fire fighter and mayor of a small town, in a sycophantic fashion. You should rebut this nonsense.
    Yours,
    Brian Pratt

    • BB says:

      So it seems the IPCC who assures us such events are not because of global warming are also wrong. Also many scientists such as recently Andy Pitman and our chief scientist a few years back. As we have reduced the management of fuel load in the bush the number of wildfires has risen. Looking back as far as 1970 is really not far enough to see any change at all. At the turn of last century there was a very severe drought which ended in about 1903. The next one started in 1911 and went to 1915. So what are you going to do if your house is in the bush. Put solar cells on the roof to stop fires?

  • Neville says:

    The global trend for fires around the world has fallen by 24% since 1998 according to NASA.
    There is a global map at this NASA site to check the trends ( coloured blue to orange) in every country over that time.
    But obviously we should be reducing our fuel load in the off season and perhaps the army could be deployed as well, providing they work under the guidance of professionals?
    But we must reduce the badly neglected fuel loads according to most of the experts in the field. And we need to do this next year from late Autumn to end of winter every year for a decade at least.

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-detects-drop-in-global-fires

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Everything you and Peter E say makes sense and I would even go as far as calling it common sense. As I see it, fuel load is the most obvious reason for severe/hotter fires and that is a factor over which we have some control. As I recall the 2003 Canberra fires were such a problem because that event was caused by the merging of two separate fire fronts, the fires of each having started weeks earlier. The reason invariably offered for not having extinguished the small initial fires is access and difficult terrain. I don’t understand that. What is the problem with aerial water/retardant bombardment? As soon as a fire is detected (by satellite?) it should be extinguished at once.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Even the hippies who moved into those Nimbin forestry areas in the ’60s before they were converted to National Parks, when they had fire breaks all around and who wanted to see nature take its course have finally been convinced that it doesn’t work and more control is needed.

    This situation has been getting progressively worse for the last 50 years:

    “Greens leader Richard Di ­Natale has blamed climate change for what has been billed as a raging armageddon. But even among hippies bigger questions are being asked about park management and the extraordinary fuel loads that have been allowed to build up for more than a decade.”

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/hippies-of-nimbin-admit-bush-got-too-wild/news-story/1e3f1e8ba1d37505439889459fde822a

    • dlb says:

      Pay walled so I will have to take your word for it.

      Conversely in the comment section of “The Conversation” there is a very irate firefighter from near Glenn Innes taking his anger out on Rupert Murdoch, Gina Reinhart, the NSW Govt and anyone to their political right. Despite the profanity “The Conversation” have left his comment stand. I’m sure if I was a firefighter taking using similar language against environmentalists and their attitudes to native forest management I would be quickly banned.

      I think in times of stress people need someone or something to blame. In such situation their political proclivities surface loud and clear.

  • Chris Warren says:

    What is the evidence for anyone saying “there have been fires all over the world this year”.

    Presumably there are plenty of places where there have not been bushfires or wildfires or forest fires or even grass fires.

    While the NSW Liberals cut funding for workers who undertake preventative back burning, the changing climate has reduced the periods when this can be done safely. In any case – intense fires spread through embers igniting other trees high up in their crown and through fires spreading high up up in the crowns.

    Back burning does not change the wind speed that drives these events.

    • Boambee John says:

      Chris continues to deny that increased fuel increases the intensity of fires.

      So far “climate change”, if it is actually occurring, and if it is actually influenced by anthropegenic CO2 emissions, might have increased temperatures by less than a degree Celsius. It is hard to see that such an increase, well under normal daily temperature variations, can have had the influence that Chris attributes to it.

      As for our CO2 emissions, the CSIRO claims that Australia and the overall southern hemisphere are net CO2 sinks.

      • dlb says:

        I think God just pulled out the plug in eastern Australia.
        Will have to wait for the next La Nina for the carbon sink to fill again.

  • Boxer says:

    Not sure about logging causing grasses to proliferate. This sounds like the common misunderstanding that cleared farmland is the result of logging, especially clear-fall harvesting. If the land is under forest management, clear-fall harvesting is followed by even-aged regeneration of the forest. If forest is not regenerated, then the logging operation was a prelude to clearing, which is conversion of the forest to farmland – an agricultural operation.
    Even-aged regen of forest does create a dense stand of young trees with large quantities of fuel in the closely spaced trees, and this type of forest, if it burns, can be very a very intense fire.
    Victorian and Tassie forests seem to often be wet scherophyl forests that are too moist to burn for long periods, fuel builds up, understorey is very dense and relatively tall, so fuel loads are very high. When conditions occasionally favour fire, and one takes hold, the forest is essentially destroyed and then it regenerates as an even-aged stand again. A bit like clear-fall harvesting/logging.
    Look at the long term history of those Southern ash forests and you will find many areas that are regarded as old growth are in fact the regen following some very large fire event.
    I do not like being in those forests in hot weather, they feel dangerous to me, even if there is no fire running nearby. The fuel loads are frightening.

    • Aynsley Kellow says:

      Yes. Most of the ‘ancient forests’ here in Tasmania are a couple of centuries old. It takes a lot to kill a eucalyptus with fire. Epicormic buds give individual trees the ability to survive most fires and hot fires simply help seeds germinate, so if the trees die the forest will go on.
      It makes little sense to talk about fires ‘destroying’ sclerophyll forests. While – yes – they are not sentient, they have evolved to help create the conditions that allow them to outcompete other species, especially rainforest species.
      We either manage them or they manage us.
      It is fascinating to see councils who are talking about restricting waterfront development having allowed development in forests – and, indeed, having prevented clearing and management.

      • Boxer says:

        My description of forest destruction by fire was probably too simplistic, but I recall at work in the distant past how the Vic Metrolitan Water catchments were sometimes described in the literature with terms like “regenerated forest from the 1955 wildfire”.

        I really got a feel for what this meant in about 2010 when we drove from Walhalla Victoria north through to Jamieson. There were 10,000s of hectares of tall dead Ash forest, killed by a fire a few years before. The bark had peeled off the stems and branches, and virtually every tree was a dead grey stag. From high points the slopes of the hills stretching into the distance along large alpine valleys looked like grey fur on a cat’s back. That fire would have killed almost everything above ground level, but when we went through there again in 2017 there was regeneration, up to several metres tall. A lot of the dead wood is falling now – choose parking points carefully.

        Forests are, as you say, very good at recovering from some really horrendous events, some so severe that recovery by epicormic shoots just doesn’t happen. This indicates to me that catastrophic fires have happened often enough in these forests for evolution to have seen adaptation to mass collapse by fire. This evolutionary response could not have happened without many many severe fires over thousands (?) of years.

        European forest scientists haven’t been around long enough to observe and record more than a few such events, so alarmists think these events are recent, and our fault.

        I do think it is amusing, and irritating, how the current catastrophist mindset demonstrates how we actually believe that everything that happens is about us.

    • Winston Smith says:

      Good God, Boambee John – you’ve got one of those lunatics here as well. Even if their house were to be burnt out, he’d still look through his ideological retrospectroscope and blame AGW.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Don, I always have some discomfort with claims that Aborigines burnt the forests to control bushfires by keeping fuel loads light.

    My experience with Aboriginal attitude to forests was; Eucalypt-good! Rainforest-bad!

    The only Aborigines to live in rainforest did so because if they moved out they would’ve been killed. These were the North Qld pygmy population.

    Australia once had huge areas of rainforest and Aboriginals devoted their lifetime to eradicating it and allowing the drier eucalyptus to take over.

    Even in the eucalypt forest a naked human has to cake themselves with the ash from the fire mixed with water and plaster that all over them before they can sleep in the bare dirt to reduce insect attack.

    But that is a pussycat compared to the poisonous ticks and leeches, that can kill ferals [and, like us, that’s what Aboriginals are] that the rainforests are crawling with.

    Also, Aboriginals could not hunt anywhere near as successfully in rainforest as in eucalypt. Spears and boomerangs don’t work in rainforest.

    The North Qld rainforest dwellers became pygmies by being forced by other tribes to live there but became more adapted to their poisonous habitat. Now that they live on Palm Island in civilisation they are no longer pygmies.

    “Pygmy elder faces eviction

    CourierMail
    August 24, 2007 10:00am

    IN a “heartless” move, the 105-year-old elder of Australia’s “lost tribe” of Aboriginal pygmies faces eviction from her far north Queensland home.
    Lizzy Woods – who relies on a wheelchair, is blind and suffers dementia – is the mother of 10 children and the oldest surviving matriarch of the Jirrbal rainforest people.”

    Aboriginals obviously were not “One People” but they all preferred eucalypt to rainforest except in life-or-death situations.

    And those Taipan, tick and leech-infested misty mountain hideaways were a great place to hide.

    • spangled drongo says:

      I meant to add that by lighting eucalypt and getting a big fire going it will penetrate rainforest to some depth. This is what Aborigines did continuously to “manage” forest growth.

      But the main intention was to remove rainforest wherever possible.

  • Neville says:

    For the people who think we should reduce co2 emissions ASAP to help tackle CC, I have this obvious response.
    Since 1990 all the increase ( about 60ppm) in co2 has been sourced from the NH and nearly all that NH increase has been sourced from China, India and the developing countries.
    Co2 emissions have flat-lined from the OECD countries for the last 30 years and of course all SH countries + Australia are co2 SINKS, so we shouldn’t feel any need to reduce co2. Our reduction is occurring every year by the natural process of sequestration.

  • Karabar says:

    While there is much ado about the Greens opposition to reducing the fuel load (which is true), it still remains that these people represent only 10% (if that) of the population. How does that tail wag the dog?
    Well the rational behind the insanity of punishing people for clearing and crating a fire break is in fact due to the idiotic Kyoto protocol, for which stupid reason the Howard government decided that the terms of this folly could be achieved by denial of the right to clear farmland.
    As you may recall, this resulted in the literal theft of thousands of dollars from a myriad of farmers, in essence deprivation of property rights. It is against this background that much of the irrational legislation creating and green tape to interfere with fuel reduction.
    While it is due to the reckless ideology of the Green Glob, it is society in general that is responsible for the carnage.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the Mathews et al study that found that Australia’s co2 emissions were responsible for a whopping 0.006 c of global warming since 1800.
    But we know now that isn’t the case because we are a NET co2 SINK, according to the CSIRO.
    See table 3 from the study link below. Perhaps we should be paid reparations for all of our hard work?

    https://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/982250/1/Matthews_2014_Environ_Res_Lett.pdf

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the Bolter’s discussion about the fires on last night’s Bolt Report. Barnaby should be more careful, but the dopey Greens are as dumb as they come. As usual and yet people actually vote for these loons.

    https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/fires-fury-barnaby-goes-low-greens-go-mad/news-story/1b7dd51b13a129e58fb9834649ca7ebe

  • Peter Kemmis says:

    Some time back I read the claim that “hazard reduction will not stop a fire spreading”, with the implication that to do so was therefore pointless. The claim is correct in many cases, but the writer misunderstood the real purpose of hazard reduction: it is to reduce the intensity of a bushfire, and to allow safer escape as well as better access for firefighting. With less fuel the fire intensity is reduced, and there is a corresponding reduction in risk to life and property. Importantly, firefighting can have a much greater chance of success because the blazing fuel is burning less intensely – to cool the fire requires less water, and firefighters can get closer to the perimeter of the fire.

    With my first big fire (no, not one I lit, one I was helping fight as part of a volunteer rural brigade), what impressed me most of all was the ferocity of the radiated heat. Because their experience of fire is perhaps a simple and controlled campfire, I think many people believe that it is only the flames that burn you, and underestimate the danger of radiated heat and super-heated air. To reduce any bushfire’s intensity, is a paramount objective.

    Hazard reduction when correctly performed (not a simple task), seeks a “cool burn”, where flames stay in the undergrowth and well below the tree canopy, where the fire moves slowly, giving fauna time to escape and firefighters to maintain control. By contrast, to walk through one of our sclerophyll forests after a devastating bushfire provides a good opportunity to realise what little chance fauna have had where the forest floor had a build-up of leaves, twigs and branches, enough to create an almighty barbecue, which it did. With effective hazard reduction the fauna has a good chance of survival; without it, when Armageddon comes the fauna has none .

  • Neville says:

    Could I ask dlb where he gets his info from to state that there has been a reduction in rainfall in Eastern Australia since 1970?
    Here’s the BOM’s rainfall from 1900 ( and from 1895) and the rainfall from 1970 is higher and more even than the rainfall since 1900.
    In 2010 the highest rainfall was recorded for the last 124 years and that strong la nina caused a lot of flooding over that 2010 to 2013 period.
    Of course Australia overall has had much higher rainfall since 1970, so we know that this is due to ENSO, IOD, but the SAM has probably been the cause of lower rainfall over Tas, SE OZ and SW of WA in the last couple of decades. But overall WA has had much higher rainfall, so this just strengthens the case against co2 being the culprit.
    NZ rainfall shows little trend since 1960, so we know this has nothing to do with increased levels of co2 or their so called climate change.
    Certainly Dr Andy Pitman and the IPCC don’t make a case for lower rainfall trend because of their CC either. Here is E OZ link.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rranom&area=eaus&season=0112&ave_yr=15

    • dlb says:

      Check out the trend map for rainfall since 1970 rather than the time series graph since 1900 and you will see what I mean. Having said that the real killer is variability rather than decreasing rainfall. 1974 and 2011 may influence averages and trends, but what good are these very wet years when they are few and far between. When I get some time I might play with the data to see if variability has increased over the past 50 years.

      Living in southern Qld I have seen the drop off in winter rain and winds over the past 50 years due to the frontal systems running further south (+ve Sam). I have heard it said that the climate models have predicted such a scenario.

      I think there has also been a reduction in tropical cyclones in the coral sea this past 50 years. Less cyclones means less damage but also less rain. But don’t quote me on this I will need to look up the data again.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “I think there has also been a reduction in tropical cyclones in the coral sea this past 50 years.”

        That’s right, dlb.

        Up until the big Pacific Multi-decadal Oscillation climate step-change that occurred in the late ’70s, cyclones used to cross the coast between the Tropic of Capricorn [Rockhampton] and Newcastle at the rate of half a dozen a year and rip up the coastlines of some of our most desirable real estate.

        Yet for the last 43 years they haven’t been seen.

        It’s hard to blame a gently, slowly, progressively increasing ACO2 in its early stages for stopping a force majeure such as that, virtually overnight.

        The coincidence of this enormous weather shift and our half a degree of global warming since then has never been explained and seems never to have fired the curiosity of climate scientists to check it out properly.

        Could it possibly be an unknown unknown?

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the rainfall from the BOM for Nthern OZ, just for the true believers. Don’t forget that co2 levels have always been the same decade by decade for all areas/states of OZ. Co2 is a well mixed trace gas.

    In 1900 a little over 300 ppm. 1950 about 312 ppm and today about 410 ppm. But rainfall since 1970 is showing a much higher trend. Just look at the anomaly graph.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rranom&area=naus&season=0112&ave_yr=15

    And here is the trend for Sthn OZ and note there is a lower trend from 1900 ( from 1895 ) to about 1949 and a higher trend since that time. But because of ENSO and cooler water off NW OZ ( longer positive + neutral IODs) the very high trend has dropped. Obviously NOTHING to do with their so called CC.

    Note also that rainfall overall for Sthn OZ was higher in 2010 ’11 than 1955 ’56. Not many people believe me when I point this out.

    See also Dr Andy Pitman and IPCC statements about drought.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rranom&area=saus&season=0112&ave_yr=15

    • dlb says:

      But again check out the rainfall trend map and you will see this increase is largely driven by higher rainfall in the NT and WA. Most of northern Qld has experienced a decrease in rainfall since 1970. Just guessing that this distribution has something to do with the differences in the incidence of tropical cyclones.

      • Neville says:

        You are correct dlb about the cyclone trends since 1970 as this graph from the BOM shows.
        See lower trend for both types over the last 50 years. And IPCC also shows low confidence for cyclone trends around the world.
        Also we have seen a lower trend in Australian winter rainfall over the last couple of decades. And I’ve pointed out the much higher rainfall in WA and NT many times on this blog. But once again none of this is not driven by higher co2 emissions here or around the world.

        http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/climatology/trends.shtml

    • dlb says:

      Of course it is climate change. The last 50 years have seen sustained rainfall decreases in places like Tasmania, Victoria, Southern NSW and SW West Australia. About the only place that has seen an increase is the Nullabor Plain, and it wouldn’t take much rain there to create a trend.

      As far as cooler waters being off NW Australia, this oceanic area has been increasing in temps of 0.1 to 0.015c per decade for the last 50 years, as has most of the sea around Australia. If you believe the BoM that is.

      While on the subject of the BoM there has been much disagreement about them adjusting their temp records. Out of interest I checked the rate of increase of Australian temps measured by the BoM over the last 40 years and that recorded by UAH satellites. The rate of increase in temps was almost the same.

      About the only thing debatable about climate change is not whether it is happening, but how much is due to CO2.

      • Neville says:

        Dlb I’ve covered the drop in rainfall for Tas, Vic and SW WA many times on this blog and it seems to be changes in the SAM over the last couple of decades.
        And you may be right about the Indian ocean temps but there has been a period since the early 1990s when there has been less negative IODs.
        And less negative IODs unfortunately means cooler water off the NW of OZ and less rainfall for SE Australia. Or the line south from about Broome to Wollongong.
        See BOM video on IOD that I linked to earlier. BTW have you looked at NSW rainfall over the last 120 years or SA rainfall?
        I’m the first to admit that the climate changes and has done so for thousands and millions of years,but I can’t see a link to higher co2 levels and as for recent rainfall trends neither can the IPCC or Dr Pitman.

  • Peter Trandafilovic says:

    Over many years of bushwalking in QLD, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, a common experience when bush-bashing within the tree zone was “horizontal forest floor”. Essentially the forest floor was artificially raised by accumulated tree and vegetation debris, sometimes metres deep. Great care and good instincts were needed to ensure you didn’t suddenly disappear through the piled up debris. The risk of serious injury was real and potentially life threatening.

    Whether walking in the wilderness behind Pidgeon House or scrambling down the side of Mount Townsend to get into Lady Northcote Canyon, or heading to Federation Peak or sections of the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair region, horizontal forest floors are common place.

    Against that background, it is hard to imagine how much debris has accumulated in forests within range of communities. To think that there are ignorant greenies plus bureaucratic and political numbskulls that can’t grasp the dangers to flora and fauna and to people and properties simply due to a lack of hazard reduction is nothing short criminal oversight.

    As a young refugee not long arrived in Australia I spent a couple of winter months living in Stromlo Forest during 1951 in the workers’ camp. It was great fun mucking around with bonded adult migrants doing their two years of “compulsory work for the Commonwealth” in managing undergrowth in the pine forests. The smell of pine and burning pine and other forest debris still heightens my senses and allows me to reminisce about the days when “men were men” tending our national resources. It is sad to reflect on the woolly mushiness that now passes for environment policy and management of our natural resources.

  • Neville says:

    Here again is the 2019 Ashcroft et al rainfall study of Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne 1839 to 2017 or SE Australia. ( 178 years)
    All cities show more extreme rainfall events before 1900 and note for Melb the positive + neutral IOD impact after 2000. But negative IOD kicks in for Melb in 2016.
    Alarmist scientist Dr Karoly was also involved in this study. But overall the 3 cities have very consistent patterns over this very long period of time.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221209471930009X

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the excellent video from the BOM explaining the IOD over time.
    Also includes el nino and la nina impacts near the end of video.
    We can now understand the very bad floods in 1974 and 2010.

  • dlb says:

    Some years ago I was involved with a conservation group for a coastal area of SEQ. The group was concerned about the frequent burning by authorities of eucalypt woodland area between some roads. So we decided to do an ecological study on plant biodiversity in three nearby areas. The area between the roads was probably burnt at least every three years, the area to north of the roads probably hadn’t seen a fire in five years, while the area to the south of the road hadn’t been burnt in over ten years.

    The area that had the least fires had an understorey of scrub 2-3m high, and was very difficult to walk through. This area had the least plant biodersity as anything herbaceous was completely smothered by the scrub. The area most frequently burnt had the most diversity as well as being a pleasure to walk through.

    If it was possible to keep fire away then over a long period I would imagine that rainforest species would slowly colonize the scrubby area increasing the biodiversity. But you would probably be looking at 50 to 100 years.

    • spangled drongo says:

      dlb,

      The only way rainforest will take over from eucalypt forest is if you plant and nurture it [rainforest is incredibly slow to seed in eucalypt] and then as the smaller rainforest trees grow, progressively fell or ring the eucalypts. Otherwise the eucalypts will remain taller and dominant and provide an environment that will allow fire that will kill the rainforest and thus ensure a dominant eucalypt forest.

      Just as Aboriginals endeavoured to do for the last many thousand years.

      • dlb says:

        In the absence of fire eucalypts will remain in the canopy together with increasing rainforest species. Eucalypts will not germinate in the low light conditions of the developing rainforest. After a long period (several hundred years) without fire the eucalypts die off and you are left with rainforest.

        I’m sure you have been to Lamington and seen the enormous sclerophyll species such as gums and brush box with a understory of rainforest species producing low light conditions. Providing we don’t get a canopy fire these relict sclerophyll trees will slowly disappear.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Rainforest with a eucalypt canopy is far from fireproof and those parts of Lamington with Rose Gum, Brush Box, Blue Gum etc towering over the rainforest, not only prevent rainforest from thickening and becoming fireproof, they allow and even introduce fire [through lightning strike] which then severely affects the existing rainforest and allows the eucalypt to dominate once more.

          You see evidence of this in the big old black stumps and tree hulks in those areas, sometimes covered in vines and creepers, indicating they get big, hot fires there occasionally.

          Only if the area was fortunate enough to have a couple of centuries fire-free would the rainforest dominate.

  • dlb says:

    That post by Dr Curry was very interesting. Had to smile about Michael Mann getting upset with AGW being just another facet of the SJW Woke culture.

    • Boambee John says:

      How dare they take away Michael’s place in history and blend it into Woke culture! How dare they!

      • Neville says:

        But according to Steve McIntyre “upside down Mann” will always have a unique place in their CAGW history.
        Funny thing is that USD Mann never sued Steve although Steve showed several times on his blog how he used/abused data USD. Gotta love it.
        But don’t forget this USD bloke is a darling of the DEMs and he is called more often than any other scientist to help them to fight their cause.
        It says a lot about the honesty and integrity (?????) of the lefty Dems when this is their scientist of choice.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s another post about fires from Jo Nova using Trove and BOM online data.

    The Trove online sources prove that fire seasons in Qld can be from July to May and early spring and summer fires are not uncommon. NSW fires can start in August and continue into summer, when conditions allow. See BOM map online.

    We need to spend our resources wisely, reducing extreme fuel-loads in the cooler months, because of decades of neglect. And I repeat again that today deaths from all extreme weather events have dropped by 95% since 1920.

    Yet the population today is 4.25 times greater than the population of 100 years ago. Again, think it through.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2019/11/this-is-the-old-normal-these-fires-are-mid-to-late-season-fires-for-nsw/

    • Boambee John says:

      Neville

      Re the mob of former senior firefighting officials yesterday claiming that the latest fires were made worse by climate change, I wonder whether their enthusiasm for that might be a means of distraction from questions about how much hazard reduction occurred on their watch? The answers might be very embarrassing!

  • Neville says:

    Just thought I should clear up the fact that OZ and entire SH is also a net sink for Methane as well. NH is the net source.
    See CSIRO Cape Grim site link below.

    https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/OandA/Areas/Assessing-our-climate/Latest-greenhouse-gas-data

    • Chris Warren says:

      The SH sink is less than the NH source.

      • Boambee John says:

        Then the problem needs to be attacked at the source! Take your complaints to Beijing and Delhi. Don’t expect nations in the southern hemisphere to destroy their economies for the benefit of large scale CO2 emitters in the northern hemisphere (assuming, as you do, that CO2 emissions are indeed the cause of global warming/climate change/weather disruption, an hypothesis based on dodgy correlations and fudged data).

        PS, good to see that you have finally stopped denying the science about the southern hemisphere being a nett sink for CO2. Not so long ago you would descend into screeching denialism at the very mention of the subject.

        • Chris Warren says:

          Yet another lie by an incompetant denialist.

          • spangled drongo says:

            You would think that if our blith was trying to tell BJ he was incompetent, he would try and be a bit more competent himself.

          • Boambee John says:

            Yet another slander by an incompetent denialarmist (there’s a new word for you, to cover climate alarmists who deny their earlier lying statements).

            BTW, which bit of my post was the lie? The bit about attacking the problem at source? The bit about not destroying economies in the southern hemisphere?

            Of, I get it. The bit about Chris previously screeching in outrage at the very suggestion that the southern hemisphere is a CO2 sink! I think that Chris suffers from convenient memory loss about some things.

  • Neville says:

    A wonderful new video of different corals with Dr Jennifer Marohasy. Thanks to Jennifer and the IPA.

    https://jennifermarohasy.com/2019/11/my-first-film-beige-reef/

  • spangled drongo says:

    Honesty is the main thing that is missing.

    Politicians seeking more political power are quick to claim wildfires are caused by climate change:

    https://www.freedomworks.org/content/we-need-honest-debate-climate-change

  • Neville says:

    Here’s another problem for our CAGW fanatics and their endless yapping about the so called co2 control knob.
    At the start of the Ind Rev (1750) co2 levels were about 280 ppm and by 1990 they had reached about 350 ppm.
    So that’s an increase of about 70 ppm over 240 years, or about 0.29 ppm per year.
    But from 1990 to 2019.9 the co2 levels have increased from 350 ppm to about 410 ppm in less than 30 years.
    And that is an increase of 60 ppm or just 10 ppm less than the 240 years taken to reach an extra 70 ppm.
    So that increase since 1990 is slightly more than 2 ppm per year,or about 7 times faster per year than the longer 240 year period.
    Yet this was mainly due to China, India and the developing countries, while the OECD almost flat-lined since 1990.
    Anyone not see their problem with so called climate mitigation? What a con, what a fra-d and even NET co2 SINK OZ and the entire SH have been pulled into this mess.

  • Boambee John says:

    From Forbes magazine. The debate turns inwards on the alarmists, St Greta vs Upside Down Mann!

    “The climate debate has taken a nasty turn. It is no longer a shouting match between climate affirmers and climate deniers. Now the finger-wagging is taking place among climate affirmers on the subject of personal responsibility for combating climate change.

    There are two key actors in this unfolding saga. One embraces the importance of individual responsibility while the other derides it.

    Greta Thunberg, the new climate icon, does not fly. She is a vegan and subscribes to the stop-shop philosophy, which means that “you don’t buy new things, consume new things, unless you absolutely have to.” In a recent interview, Greta said, “I want to walk the talk, and to practice as I preach. So that is what I’m trying to do.”

    In contrast, Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist, suggests that any talk of behavioral changes and personal responsibility reflects a soft form of climate denial. Although he did not mention Greta by name, he said: “First of all, there is an attempt being made by them to deflect attention away from finding policy solutions to global warming towards promoting individual behaviour changes that affect people’s diets, travel choices and other personal behaviour…. This approach is a softer form of denial and in many ways it is more pernicious.”

    If you believe in making a personal effort, as different to getting Big Brother to impose a solution, then you are a denialist!

    Popcorn time.

    • Neville says:

      Thanks for that BJ and USD Mann and poor Greta are probably about the silliest pair of donkeys that we could hope to find among the CAGW fanatics.
      BTW I just worked out that the 800+ million people that live in the SH emit about 6.5% of global co2 emissions. Of course we don’t emit any emissions at all because of sequestration.
      That 800 M is about 10 to 12% of the global population. Of course the SH is a NET SINK for both co2 and Methane, so we should expect a regular reparations cheque in the mail on a regular, ongoing basis. Certainly at least 5 billion $ per month should do the trick. I WISH.

  • Neville says:

    Coal will be China’s top priority for their next 5 year plan. At least some countries have the sense to add up simple sums and act accordingly.
    But no doubt about it, they seem to be addicted to reliable, cheap base-load power.

    https://www.thegwpf.com/chinas-new-energy-agenda-coal-power-will-be-top-priority/

  • Neville says:

    China, India and developing countries are forging ahead with new coal plants + soaring emissions and the barking mad Germans vote to reduce co2 emissions to 55% of 1990 levels by 2030.
    Amazing that not one of these MPs can calculate, add up or understand SIMPLE first grade sums. What a load of BS and con tricks and if their people accept this corruption/fra-d they deserve all the future pain for ZERO climate gain that will come to them.
    How can people be so stupid?

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/11/16/german-parliament-approves-climate-protection-plan/

  • spangled drongo says:

    Jo says it so well. I’m in this exact spot and I have 40 neighbours who rely on me preventing bushfire to survive themselves.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2019/11/farmers-jammed-between-an-inferno-and-a-trip-to-jail-remember-maxwell-szulc/#comments

  • spangled drongo says:

    After identifying the primary causes of California’s fires, none of which is an increase in average temperature, Steele concludes:

    “Bad analyses cause bad remedies, and here is why Williams and Abatzoglou’s last paper exemplifies a bad scientific analysis,” writes Jim Steele, the 32-year director of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada field campus.

    “Doing my best Greta Thunberg imitation, I say to climate alarmists, ‘How dare you misrepresent the causes of wildfires. How dare you imply less CO2 will reduce human ignitions and reduce surface fuels and the spread invasive grasses. Bad analyses lead to bad remedies – your bad science is stealing Californian’s dreams and your false remedies distract us of from the real solutions.”

  • spangled drongo says:

    No one has cut through the nonsense and sanctimony better than The Weekend Australian’s cartoonist, Johannes Leak. He has given us the brattish little arsonist sitting on his mother’s lap being told, “Don’t blame yourself darling, that bushfire you lit was caused by climate change.”

  • Neville says:

    Good stuff SD and here Anthony Watts has another quick look at the Climategate fra-d and con tricks.
    There are plenty of links that add to his story.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/11/17/yeah-its-officially-the-tenth-anniversary-of-climategate/

  • Neville says:

    Dr Pielke jnr pulls apart yet another nonsensical hurricane study and this study should be thrown in the rubbish bin ASAP.
    It looks like this could be another mate’s peer review fiasco and yet these con merchants carry on regardless.
    Don’t forget Dr Pielke also had to school silly Obama and his clueless science adviser about a number of stupid mistakes they’d made on droughts etc.
    But these donkeys never seem to learn, no matter how many mistakes are exposed by Roger’s sharp reviews.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/11/15/no-hurricanes-are-not-bigger-stronger-and-more-dangerous/#37e55e874d9e

  • Stu says:

    Don, quite a while ago I gave up following the threads here, because it had become very narrow and boringly repetitive. Now, checking back here, I find nothing much has changed, except perhaps the echo chamber is even narrower.

    As this blog seems to have reached stage five of climate denial it is perhaps best to put it all to bed and let Neville just talk to himself.

    “The five stages of climate denialism:
    1. Global Warming doesn’t exist.
    2. It exists but it isn’t man made.
    3. It’s man made but it isn’t a problem.
    4. It’s a problem but there’s nothing we can do about it.
    5. It’s all the fault of greenies.”

    • Neville says:

      Gosh Stu and it’s taken you how many weeks to deliver that load of silly BS?
      And one nasty piece of evidence wrecks any chance of your fantasy of so called mitigation.
      The entire SH and OZ are a NET sink for co2 and methane. See CSIRO Cape Grim. Of course you can throw in the fact that all of the developing countries are responsible for nearly all increased co2 emissions since 1990 to further counter your arguments.
      And we know that 1750 to 1990 co2 emissions increased by 70 ppm and yet a further 60 ppm have been emitted in just the last 29 years.
      And most of that from developing countries or non OECD.
      Is there any of this that you don’t understand?

      • Boambee John says:

        Neville

        “Of course you can throw in the fact that all of the developing countries are responsible for nearly all increased co2 emissions since 1990 to further counter your arguments.”

        The idea that China is still a developing country is getting a bit implausible.

        Massive industry, nuclear power stations and weapons, a space program including moon shots, and massive CO2 emissions.

        If the CAGW denialarmists were serious, they would focus on China. But they (except for useful,idiots like Stu) don’t really belueve in CAGW, it is simply a vehicle to advance their political aims.

    • Boambee John says:

      I see that Stu Nellie Melba Farnham is gracing us with yet another final farewell performance.

      Please, no more encores!

      PS, if that list is the best that the denialarmists can come up with in the nature of a strawman, then they have scraped right through the bottom of the barrel.

      PPS, even Chris now accepts the reality that the southern hemisphere is a nett CO2 sink, though he continues to deny that he ever rejected the very suggestion that it is. Your foundations are eroding away Stu.

      • Chris Warren says:

        When you have been exposed for lying – why repeat the false claim???

        Why do denialists lie???

        • Boambee John says:

          Chris

          Proof of your slanderous allegations?

          Typical sleazy denialarmist tactics.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Proof..

            Here is the lie …

            “you have finally stopped denying the science about the southern hemisphere being a nett sink for CO2. ”

            [Nov 16, 7:47]

            So why do denialists lie and then when the truth comes out do they pretend it is slanderous or just allegations.

            Truth is never slanderous – this is a dirty trick.

            Truth is not an allegation – except in the mind of a criminal.

            Notice how denialists lie without evidence, and then ask others to disprove.

            Why is this? – weak morals?, weak politics?, or just incompetancy?

          • Boambee John says:

            Chris

            So, do you deny absolutely that you have ever rejected any suggestion that the southern hemisphere is a nett CO2 sink? You have never rejected any suggestion that Australia is?

            PS, please try to learn how to spell incompetent, it might improve your credibility.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Notice yet another dirty trick by our liar … trying to camouflage its lies by switching to whether Australia is a nett sink.

            Denialists need to spread lies and dirty tricks in order to cause any amount of confusion on top of a lot of crazy statements without a shred of evidence.

          • Boambee John says:

            Chris

            Dry your tears crybaby, and harden up.

            You established the rule of “repaid in your own coin” on this blog, but go all hurties when you get a bit of your own coin.

            A true denialarmist, you cannot debate based on evidence, but fall back on emotions.

    • spangled drongo says:

      And for a bit of measureable evidence [what’s that? I hear you ask] to assist your rational scepticism, stueyluv, if you check the latest BoM mean sea level at Fort Denison, you will find that it has now dropped FURTHER to149mm LOWER than it was when they took the first recording 105 years ago.

      If only you CCC religious would check the facts for a change, you could save yourselves so much enuresistic anxiety.

  • spangled drongo says:

    We’ve been hearing how Venice’s iconic canals are at near record heights due to climate change. Well last year they nearly ran dry but we didn’t get much about that:

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/912547/venice-canal-dry-gondola-pictured-italy-no-rain-adriatic-weather

  • Stu says:

    It is so good of you guys to prove my point, thanks. Just like a game of tennis played only at one end of the court. Have fun with your obsession with dodgy cherry picked statistics.

    Ciao

    • Boambee John says:

      Fare thee well, Stu Nellie Melba Farnham, though we hardly got to the interval this time!

    • Neville says:

      Go away silly stu and btw 50% of our planet is hardly a cherry pick. Go away and learn to understand very simple sums etc.
      What an embarrassment you are.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu will still be a CAGW hysteric when a glacier grinds over his house.

        • Chris Warren says:

          When will the glaciers come? what evidence? or is this just more lies?

          • Boambee John says:

            Chris

            They will come when they come.

            The certain thing about the climate is that it has been changing for millenia, and will continue to change for more millenia, regardless of the petty efforts of the more deluded humans among us.

            To deny this reality is an egregious lie, and evidence that its author suffers from hubris, which in the Greek mythology inevitably leads to nemesis.

          • Boambee John says:

            PS, when will the global warming catastrophe come? What evidence do you have for this date? What precise actions must be taken, by which date, to avert this catastrophe?

            Or is it all a fantasy to suit a political objective?

          • Chris Warren says:

            Try again;

            When will the glaciers come? what evidence? or is this just more lies?

            Hint: you need CO2 below 290 ppm ?

            So when will the glaciers come?

          • Boambee John says:

            If you think that low CO2 is the only cause of glaciers, then you need to visit the Himalayas.

            Now, when will the warming catastrophe come?

          • Chris Warren says:

            No one thinks low CO2 is the only cause.

            This is another lie.

            Why do denialists lie???

            Why? Why lie on top of lie?

          • Boambee John says:

            Low CO2 was the only item you mentioned.

            Why are denialarmists so incapable of making a coherent argument? Why do they lie, and lie, and then lie again? Is it because their minds are too limited to look at an issue holistically?

            PS, when will the global warming catastrophe come? What evidence do you have for this date? What precise actions must be taken, by which date, to avert this catastrophe?

            Or is it all a fantasy to suit a political objective?

  • Chris Warren says:

    More lies and misrepresentations …

    https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2019/nov/fact-check-emissions

    This time from the Liberal Party?

    Why?

    • spangled drongo says:

      She was right on both counts, blith.

      But just like all the climategatekeepers, you have to manipulate and lie to make your point.

      Have you checked those sea levels yet?

  • Neville says:

    BJ and SD the donkey is wrong, don’t waste your time on him.
    OZ’s population has increased by about 50% since 1990 and anyway our emissions don’t count because we are a net co2 sink.
    IOW more retained through sequestration than we emit and over that period the developing countries’ emissions have increased by about 2 ppm per year.
    That’s about 7 times faster than co2 levels increased per year from 1750 to 1990. Just ignore him.

    • Boambee John says:

      Neville

      It is fun watching him get tangled up trying to “prove” the unprovable.

      Hubris, then nemesis!

    • spangled drongo says:

      Neville, BJ is being very gentle with him. More than he deserves.

    • Chris Warren says:

      So now Neville joins the parade of liars.

      Statements such as; “… our emissions don’t count because we are a net co2 sink.” is a deliberate lie as the facts are clear. Just see figure 3 [pg. 11] published here:

      https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/128ae060-ac07-4874-857e-dced2ca22347/files/australias-emissions-projections-2018.pdf

      If Australia was a net sink (the lie) our emissions would be projected to fall. They are not.

      Australia’s emissions are increasing and this means Australia is a net source.

      So why the lies?

      Why?????

      • Boambee John says:

        Chris

        I simply cannot believe that you are so obtuse, yet you keep presenting evidence that suggests that you are.

        Once again you proudly produce the product of computer models, and declaim that all discussion must now end. The products of computer models are not FACTS. They are PROJECTIONS based upon assumptions.

        What are the assumptions behind the models? Are they realistic, or do they favour a particular “narrative”? You seem astonishingly uninterested in these essential facts. Is that because you support the same narrative, and have no desire to challenge it? Or is it beyond your intellectual capacity to understand these matters?

        Why do denialarmists feel the need to lie to support their case?

        Why????

  • Chris Warren says:

    I have never produced the product of models.

    I have never declaimed that discussion must end.

    This is all in your head.

    There is no such thing as ” denialarmists”. That was gibberish.

    You do not know what you are talking about.

    • Boambee John says:

      Chris

      You continue to have problems with your short term memory.

      “I have never produced the product of models.”

      That was posted just over two hours after this.

      “If Australia was a net sink (the lie) our emissions would be projected to fall. They are not.”

      How was the projection made if not by a computer model? Plucked out of someone’s fundamental orifice?

      “Denialarmists” is a description of peopke like you, who take an alarmist position on climate change, while denying anything that might affect that position, such as denying that prijections of the future come via models based on assumptions. You continue by your postings to merit that description.

      • Chris Warren says:

        I have never produced the products of models.

        Simply citing others who may have done so is a completely different matter.

        No one has denied that some projections for the future come via models. This was a lie.

        You have lied yet again.

        Stop the lies immediately.

        Get real or get lost.

        • Boambee John says:

          I see that you continue to use your personal definition of “lie”, as any statement with which you disagree. Might I borrow that definition? It would be quite useful in my exchanges with you!

          As for your position on computer models, I refer you to my original statement that “Once again you proudly produce the product of computer models”. It is pedantic pedantry to claim that you “have never produced the products of models”, when you routinely link to the output of models. By your recommendations you endorse the products of models. I did not say that you were the modeller.

  • Neville says:

    Dr Jim Steele looks at the claims about flooding in the Venice LAGOON as the corrupt officials lie some more about climate change.
    The problems are inflows from the Adriatic during strong winds, storms and the fact that Venice is sinking into the lagoon at about 1 mm a year.
    The 1966 flooding was even worse when co2 levels were about 320 ppm and don’t forget the Venice flood during the 1820s, with co2 levels were about 295 ppm.
    Check Jim’s link to temps etc to prove that CAGW is not the cause. But left wing loons couldn’t care less about real data/evidence.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/11/18/venice-and-unenlightened-climate-fear-mongering/

  • Don Aitkin says:

    I am becoming sick of the school-yard slanging match on this website.

    If a commenter wants to use the word ‘lie’, he or she needs to show first that the statement objected to is quite wrong, and second that the writer in question knew that this was wrong (contrary to real evidence) and wrote it nonetheless. In the world of climate change and climate science there are some propositions that can be shown to be quite wrong (or even, as one wit put it, ‘worse than wrong’). But nearly everything that is contested here and elsewhere is contestable — we don’t yet have, and may never have, evidence that would falsify a proposition.

    As for knowing what a writer knew and meant, that would involve one in an extreme form of empathy. It’s not on.

    So from now on, if I encounter the word ‘lie’ I am very likely to delete the whole comment, unless it satisfies the two tests above.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Don

    So what category would you put the claim that Australia is a net sink, given the evidence I cited, i.e.:

    ” Just see figure 3 [pg. 11] published here:

    https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/128ae060-ac07-4874-857e-dced2ca22347/files/australias-emissions-projections-2018.pdf

    Presumably if this claim reappears, it will pass your test and can be called-out?

    • Boambee John says:

      Again with the output (projections) of models?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Chris,

      I do wonder sometimes about your grasp of argument.

      The report you cite nowhere says that Australia is a net sink or source, in part because there are no international comparisons. That is not the purpose of the paper, and provides no evidence for your claim at all. Worse, as another commenter has already noted, all the data after 2000 are based on models of various kinds, mostly by economists. They are guesses, not facts. They may be right, and they may be wrong. They may be best projections, forecasts, predictions that we have, and maybe governments will act on them. But that does not make them facts. Finally, there are other data sources for the source/sink question, which tells us that the data and projections made from them have a large degree of uncertainty built into them.

      And you have to show that the claim you object to (which seems to me to be as reasonable as yours) was both wrong (which it isn’t, but simply another claim, backed by different evidence), known to be wrong, and wilfully and deliberately published nonetheless. You would be indeed superhuman were you able to show this to be the case.

      So, please desist from using the word ‘lie’ and its variants

  • Chris Warren says:

    Don

    I am happy to desist from using the word “lie” but I expect the same courtesy with respect to the word “fraud” and its variants and terms such as “left wing loons” etc. etc. ad nauseam.

    The chart I cited – figure 3 [pg 11] demonstrates that Australia is a net source and that LULUCF only has been a net sink since around 2013.

    I am not aware of any other data sources for the sink/sources question that relate to Australia.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Look, you may expect the same courtesy, but not if you go on using ‘deniers, ‘denialists’ and their variants. If you want to argue, you need to take seriously what your opponent says, and not use pejorative language. What is wrong with what your opponent says, and why is it wrong? You need a convincing rebuttal, not a hand wave like ‘typical tactic of denialists’.

    Go and search under ‘is Australia a net sink or a net source of carbon dioxide emissions’ and you’ll find plenty of other estimates, some supporting your view others supporting the other. In one sense it’s all semantics anyway, as we export the coal and the CO2 emissions to China, India and elsewhere. I don’t think it matters a damn really.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    And as my father might say, ‘Blessed if I know how you get authority for your claim by referring to Figure 3 on page 11’ How on earth does it show that Australia is a net source? It simply sets out what has been the case, and what is projected to be the case, in the source of emissions in Australia, not whether Australia is a source or a sink.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Don

      Figure 3 shows that around 2018, Australia’s emissions were around 560 Mt CO2e and the sink was around 10 Mt CO2e.

      This is the authority for claiming that Australia is a net source, because 560 is much greater than 10 anf the amount of source is the difference between the two.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        I think I see what you are getting at. But the graph only shows emissions. Surely you are not suggesting that the 560 to 10 ratio is the truth about sinks and sources. You need an examination of sinks. Where is that?

        • Chris Warren says:

          I do not think that Australia has any sink except for LULUCF which is included in the chart in red. It is not significant as any extra vegetation is countered by loss of grassland and deforestation.

          Bushfires are a sink in the long run but only to the extent large quantities of charcoal are produced.

          The amount of land water we have is hardly relevant.

          In effect Australia emissions end up in the atmosphere where they are mixed with emissions from every other source.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            In 2014, according to CSIRO (Canadell) Australia was a huge net sink because of record rains. It is clear that ENSO has real effects on the amount of sink. The more I read the less sure I am. So I will do some more work, and devote myself to an essay on the extent to which our country is a sink and/or a source.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Yes, if you wet Australia it will absorb more CO2, which will be undone when it evaporates.

          • Boambee John says:

            “I do not think that Australia has any sink except for LULUCF which is included in the chart in red.”

            Any vegetation that photosynthesises absorbs CO2, and is therefore a sink, not just “land use and land use change and forestry”.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Boambee John

            You do not know what you are talking about.

            LULUCF is vegetation with photosynthesis.

          • Boambee John says:

            Chris

            So all vegetation in Australia is included in LULUCF?

            Interesting perspective on “land use”. I can understand “land use change and forestry”, but is land in its natural state, not used for agriculture counted as “land use”? Why not just “natural vegetation”?

            Seems that Newspeak still gets a run.

          • Boambee John says:

            Chris

            I am not sure that you understand LULUCF.

            From a Parliamentary brief:

            “LULUCF activities

            LULUCF activities are described as afforestation (the planting of a new forest), reforestation (the replanting of a forest that has been lost for any reason) and deforestation (the clearing of a forest). Emissions or removals resulting from LULUCF activities are treated differently to Annex A sectors. They contribute to changes to the assigned amount, outside the CPR. Within the Kyoto Protocol, three important articles—articles 3.3, 3.4 and 3.7—deal with LULUCF issues.

            Article 3.3
            Emissions or removals resulting from land which was converted, after 31 December 1989, to or from a forest through afforestation, reforestation or deforestation are accounted for in Kyoto Protocol units, here called removal units (RMUs).

            Article 3.4
            Article 3.4 covers land use that is not afforestation, reforestation or deforestation. This includes:

            forest management
            cropland management
            grazing land management, and
            revegetation.
            At the beginning of the commitment period, each Annex I Party decides which article 3.4 activities it wishes to include and therefore account for. Australia has chosen not to include any article 3.4 activities.

            Article 3.7
            Article 3.7 of the Kyoto Protocol has come to be known as ‘the Australia clause’ as it was campaigned for by Australian Senator Robert Hill in the final stages of negotiations.[26] It allows Annex I parties to include greenhouse gas emissions from land use change in 1990-base year calculations. This is important for Australia because, in 1990, national forestry and land clearing activities represented net sources of emissions. Reducing these activities from what they were in 1990 therefore counts as an emission reduction, without actually reducing direct emissions.”

            From this it would seem that LULUCF does not apply to unchanged natural vegetation, not cleared for pastoral, agricultural or other use. There is a lot of that busily photosynthesising away and “sinking” CO2.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Boambee John

            You do not know what you are talking about.

            As I said “Figure 3 shows that around 2018, Australia’s emissions were around 560 Mt CO2e and the sink was around 10 Mt CO2e.”

            The sink is the result of balancing CO2 being emitted vs CO2 being stored in land (either soil or vegetation).

            The 10 Mt CO2e is the net result of this balance.

          • Boambee John says:

            Chris

            Earlier you posted “I do not think that Australia has any sink except for LULUCF which is included in the chart in red. It is not significant as any extra vegetation is countered by loss of grassland and deforestation.”

            LULUCF, according to the Parliamentary brief, does not include all vegetation in Australia.

            Perhaps those who prepared the brief, probably the Parliamentary Library, got it wrong, but unless you have clear evidence of that, you might wish to research the matter further.

            BTW, what is your evidence for the broad sweeping statement in the second sentence of the quoted paragraph?

  • Don Aitkin says:

    This is a comment, not a reply. A colleague has written a letter to a third person which I have edited for this website because it is thoroughly germane to the general argument.

    ‘Those whose families have been on the land since the 1850s as mine were – and still are – “remember” by way of much repeated anecdote, droughts and floods at least as bad as at present. “Climate has always changed” they say. My family members still on the land have sold as much of their stock as necessary as any prudent and experienced grazier/farmer would.
    Most farmers – certainly ALL farmers that I know whose families have been farming for 100 years or more as mine has done – do NOT believe the climate has changed significantly and that past droughts have been as bad or worse than the current ones which receive so much attention in the news in very dramatic fashion. You will inevitably find that those who are struggling are generally first generation farmers who, for instance make the decision to try to feed their stock all the way through and sing out for government assistance to do so. Those who treat it as another chapter of life in the bush have sold most of their stock and got themselves a job somewhere or use the time for property improvements.

    ‘Around Richmond in NW Qld (along the Flinders River) where I grew up and lived till I was about 30 years old, we counted on one good year in four, and no more – sometimes less. When we were young, we used to admonish our father for doing things such as selling stock which we thought would be better not done as more money would be made next year! His stock reply was always: “There might be a drought next year” and over time his actions certainly paid off. As a lass whose family have grazed sheep and cattle around Roma for over 100 years said to me the other day that her father’s philosophy in dry times was based on “Sell ‘em or smell ‘em”.

    You may have noticed on the dramatic TV reports that all of the farmers in the worst trouble are first generation farmers. You can’t afford to feed animals for a year unless they are very, very valuable. People are finding that out the hard way and are now looking for government grants, something unheard of in our day – sixty years ago. There are still many realists around as appeared briefly on one TV presentation of longer term farmers about a month ago, where no one was whinging even though doing it tough. As one lady said: “We have always had a drought out here – but sometimes it rains”.

    One very important issue …[is] this nonsense which has been repeated frequently lately, that ruminants in Australia contribute 14% towards our annual greenhouse gas emissions. Nothing is further from the truth!!! This also has the potential to damage one of our major industries by this stupid idea of becoming a vegan, or eating “meat” made from vegetables production of which probably produces far more carbon dioxide than does real beef.

    If we consider the world ruminant population which has changed relatively little in 100 or more years, we find the largest population of cattle is by far in India, then Brazil and I think then the USA. However, the concentration of methane has not changed significantly in that time and nor should it. Methane decays in the atmosphere to CO2 plus H2O – carbon dioxide and water – with half of it decaying in between 5 and 14 years. Thus, if we take a new population of say 100 cattle, emitting methane in the year 1900, and the same population emitting every year since, using the worst case scenario of 14 years, by 1970, the first emissions will have decayed by 31/32 leaving only 1/32 in the air. Further and more importantly, each subsequent year, while the total amount of gas builds up, the quantity decaying also increases until about 1968 when the amount which decays from that produced by the previous populations of 100 every year, is MORE than that produced by the population of 100 in 1968!!!! Thus after 68 years there is NO further increase in1700 nmol per mol methane from any stable population of ruminants. Australia’s population of sheep and cattle has changed very little and has reduced since its maximum about 40 years ago. Thus, there can be NO annual increase in our methane production contrary to what CSIRO claims, even though according to measurements at Mauna Loa, atmospheric methane has increased from 1700 nmol per mol (or by 2 parts in 10^7).
    Further to that. The manure from these animals is high in carbon and is taken into the ground in a very stable condition by dung beetles and other insects, is washed down the dry cracks in the ground by rainfall and is collected from cattle yards and feedlots to produce manure for farming such edible crops as wheat, sorghum, canola…. and cotton. In short, cattle and sheep provide for a very large sink of carbon from the atmosphere, contrary to the stupid claims by these so-called scientists.

    I have written to several of the scientists in CSIRO working on this “problem” as they see it or simply putting out the false information. One in North Queensland is trying to work out how to feed all cattle on seaweed because seaweed apparently makes them produce less methane in their burping. The whole of their claim is really quite bizarre as far as I can see.’

    • Boambee John says:

      Don

      Thank you.

      Australia’s media seem totally ignorant of anything that happened before they were born. Our climate scientists show a similar poor knowledge of history.

    • Chris Warren says:

      I do not know why you republish statements such as “the stupid claims by these so-called scientists” and construct hideous assertions that CSIRO scientists are “simply putting out the false information”.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Don suggests you can get info on the claim that Australia is a net sink by Googling “is Australia a net sink or a net source of carbon dioxide emissions”. Apparently there is meant to be some results which support the net sink claim. However I could not find any.

    Here are the results:

    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=is+Australia+a+net+sink+or+a+net+source+of+carbon+dioxide+emissions

    If you dig through these you will see that even Tasmania is a net source of CO2 emissions (ie 0.87 Mt CO2e):

    Data [ http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/climatechange/climate_change_in_tasmania/tasmanias_emissions ] is:

    Source:
    Energy: 4.01 Mt CO2-e, made up of:
    Direct combustion: 1.90 Mt CO2-e
    Transport: 1.63 Mt CO2-e
    Electricity generation: 0.44 Mt CO2-e
    Agriculture: 2.31 Mt CO2-e
    Industrial Processes and Product Use: 1.77 Mt CO2-e
    Waste: 0.37 Mt CO2-e

    Sink:
    Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF): -7.59 Mt CO2-e

    So where is there any authoritative evidence for Australia being a net sink ?

  • Boambee John says:

    Chris

    What specific actions do you recommend that Australia take to mitigate against the possibility of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change.

    When do you consider that these actions must be commenced, and by when do you consider they must be fully implemented?

    What is your estimate of the potential costs of these actions?

    What impact will these actions have on Australia’s population and economy?

    • Neville says:

      BJ he can’t answer because he knows that the developing countries are not listening and couldn’t care careless.
      Very simple sums since 1990 350 ppm and now 410+ ppm and nearly all the extra emissions have come from the non OECD and ZIP from OECD in less than 30 years. Check the data.
      He knows this,but continues his silly games every month, every year.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Australia must involve itself more vigorously in international fora so that all nations adopt and maintain lifestyles that only emit quantities of GHGs that do not lead to any accumulation in the atmosphere.

    • Boambee John says:

      Chris

      And the lion will lie down with the lamb, and fluffy unicorns will gambol in the fields.

      If that is your proposal for action and IF you are correct about CAGW, then we are doomed.

      Nations like China and India not only have absolutely no intention of doing what you say, they have already negotiated exemptions from meaningful action to reduce CO2 emissions. China is building, domestically and internationally, hundreds of coal fired power stations. China will continue to increase the absolute level of its CO2 emissions until at least 2030, albeit it will reduce the energy intensity of its economy.

      You seem to have nothing practical to offer in relation to emissions, do you have a separate, political, agenda?

  • Neville says:

    Chris Gillham looks at the RAW OZ BOM data for hottest days since 1910 and finds more adjustments to lower the earlier temps.
    It’s pity we can’t find more data analysts to double check their adjustments on a more regular basis. I wish I had the necessary software skills, but I fall far short of the mark.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2019/11/raw-data-bombshell-no-change-in-very-hot-days-in-australia-since-world-war-i/

  • Neville says:

    The extremists run and hide from a top panel of scientists. Why are they too afraid to debate them, especially when they tell us we only have 12 years until the apocalypse.
    Just watch these real scientists demolish their delusional nonsense in 5 minutes. And I have to ask, what’s so special about the Dutch anyway?

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/11/19/climate-alarmists-hide-from-debate-stossel-sets-it-straight/

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    Surely Don is correct. The game of abuse ping-pong has become terminally tedious.

  • Boambee John says:

    Don

    Point noted, thank you.

  • Boambee John says:

    “…e FT reports, China is set to add an army of new coal-fired power plants equivalent to the EU’s entire capacity, as the world’s biggest energy consumer ignores global pressure to rein in carbon emissions in its bid to boost a slowing economy.

    Across China, a whopping 148GW of heavily-polluting, coal-fired plants are either being built or are about to begin construction, according to a report from Global Energy Monitor, a non-profit group that monitors coal stations. Putting that number in context, the current capacity of the entire EU coal fleet is 149GW, or the same as what China is about to add.”

    How many GW of coal powered power stations does Australia have? When China is about to add (that’s add) an additional 148 GW, what diffefence can even the complete removal of all Australian fossil fuelled power plants, vehicles, aircraft, etc make to the ongoing increase in GHG emissions, even if everything said about CAGW is actually correct?

    Should we instead focus on adaptation rather than mitigation, given that China (and India also) intend to continue to expand their coal fired power generation capacity?

  • Boambee John says:

    Ian Plimer has an op-ed in the Oz today, it ends thus:

    “The grasslands, forests, farms and continental shelves of Australia absorb far more carbon dioxide than we emit. The attack on emissions of the gas of life is an irrational attack on industry, our modern way of life, freedoms and prosperity. It has nothing to do with the environment.”

    • Chris Warren says:

      More fabrication from a Murdoch denialist. CO2 absorbed by continental shelves is not an Australian sink.

      Some of the CO2 absorbed by our continental shelf is from other states in the Southern Hemisphere and some is from sources in the Northern Hemisphere. As the continental shelf warms it increases “out gassing”.

      • Boambee John says:

        Chris

        To borrow some of your words earlier, “Why wasn’t this comment deleted due to the usual gratuitous insults???”

        It didn’t take you long to revert to your usual pattern of evidence-free rejection of differing opinions and gratuitous insult, did it?

        To borrow, and lightly edit, some more of your earlier words, “Some of the CO2 absorbed by our vegetation is from other states in the Southern Hemisphere and some is from sources in the Northern Hemisphere.”

        Can we get back to polite argument, with evidence, please?

  • Vern Hughes says:

    We need a national consensus on bushfires, drought and climate change. The country is being torn apart on these issues by Left and Right.

    Instead of dealing with bushfire risk and drought as practical problems to be solved, Left and Right throw everything into political warfare. This makes it almost impossible to make progress in solving these problems.

    Here are some suggestions which might form the basis of a national consensus on these issues:

    1 Water and land mismanagement and over-stocking have exacerbated our naturally high and permanent risk of drought.

    2 Fuel reduction in peri-urban areas and public parks has been hindered by well-intentioned but misguided environmentalism.

    3 Climate change exacerbates the intensity of drought and bushfires, and makes their management more difficult, but does not cause them.

    4 Risk-reduction is a personal and social responsibility but has been irresponsibly downplayed by governments. Risk needs to be shared between residents, property owners, rural industries and governments.

    5 Government management of drought and bushfire crises is fragmented by silo and jurisdiction, excessive red-tape, distrust of volunteers and voluntary community initiatives, and excessive centralisation in coordination and command.

    6 We need a National Drought and Disaster Insurance Scheme to assume responsibility for drought and natural disaster prevention, response and recovery commitments, run on self-funding insurance principles.

    There’s so much thinking to do in these areas, and a lot of unwinding of clunky, bureaucracy-driven policy confusion. But we first need a working consensus on some basic understandings of what’s going on.

    • Boambee John says:

      Vern

      Some interesting thoughts. My quick reactions to your points, in order.

      1. Agree.

      2. Broadly agree, but the obstructionism extends to private property, where blanket restrictions are common. See the case of the Victorian who defied orders from his local council, and cleared extensively around his rural home. Fined around $100,000, but his home and family survived Black Saturday, many others didn’t.

      3. The first part is arguable, as the effects of climate change remain contested. The second and third parts are correct.

      4. Agree.

      5. Agree. Much of this is bureaucratic empire building, which seemingly inevitably plagues community initiatives once government gets involved.

      6. Broadly agree, but run as a commercial venture by insurance companies. See above re bureaucratic empire building. The NDIS is a recent horrible exampke.

      • Boambee John says:

        Vern

        Re your item 5, I have had some experience in a voluntary organisation (not a firefighting one). Over my 8 years there, the creeping bureaucratisation went from mildly annoying to stifling.

        Lots of paid staff, nice new 4WD vehicles that rarely left the bitumen, ever more specific “procedures”. I suspect that the problem is worse with firefighting, because big fires attract lots of publicity and government money.

        Much of that might not be needed with a strong fuel reduction program, effectively enforced. WA seems to be doing better in that respect.

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