Facts and Opinions

By April 22, 2020Other

SBS, which I watch quite a bit, has a piece on Coronavirus, in lots of languages, too. And one of its claims is that what you will find there are ‘facts, not opinions’. I pondered a bit about that distinction, and went to see if I could distinguish them. 

What can legitimately be called a ‘fact’ about the virus? Its classification, I suppose, as a ‘positive-sense, single-stranded RNA genome. The genome size for coronaviruses ranges from 26.4 to 31.7 kilobases.[7] The genome size is one of the largest among RNA viruses. The genome has a 5? methylated cap and a 3? polyadenylated tail.’ (This is from Wikipedia. There is more of the same.)

How is it spread? (I’m going through the SBS fact sheet here.) By close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before symptoms appeared. Yes, I guess so. There are other such ‘facts’.

What are the symptoms? Here SBS defers to the Federal Government’s website, where we get advice. I guess the advice is a fact. You will be tested if … That is a fact, too, I suppose. How is the virus treated? There isn’t (yet) any specific treatment for such viruses, and antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Who is most at risk? Yes, those people are known through close examination of data, and represent the best knowledge so far. Are they facts?  Sort of. How can you help prevent the spread of COVID-19? What follows is more advice, based on expert judgment. Facts? I’m not sure. Certainly they are opinions.

Who is obliged to self-isolate? What follows are legal rules, and they are facts. Social distancing? These are also rules, but since States and Territories can modify them, they represent guidelines. Wearing a mask or not: an opinion no doubt based on expert judgment. A fact? Hmm. Travel: legal rules again, and facts. The rest is based on Commonwealth rules, and represents a sort of fact. The Commonwealth Department of Health publishes its own Fact Sheet, frequently updated, and it too is a mixture of facts, rules (which are facts of a kind) and opinions based on what the Department thinks is expert judgment.

How could it be otherwise? We don’t know a lot about COVID-19, and don’t yet have a vaccine for it, though there are trials going on. So what we have to guide us are best seen as ‘guidelines’, supported by laws and one sort of expert judgement, which is constantly being objected to by those who think that their own judgment, expert or otherwise, is better than the Department’s.

To broaden the topic, let me turn to The Conversation, which a couple of weeks ago had an editorial on much the same issue: ‘You can’t trust everything you read’. It proclaimed that its own readers get ‘evidence-based journalism powered by experts’. In opposition are the ‘media outlets that give too much space to vested interests and opinionated blowhards who don’t know what they are talking about’. Well, there’s a choice. I agree with the editor that ‘clean information is as important to democracy as clean water is to health’.

Where do we get this clean information? The editorial says, confidently, that ‘The Conversationhas no ideological or editorial agenda…’ If only that were true. My experience of The Conversation, in one area at least, climate change, was that there was and remains an explicit and clear editorial and ideological agenda — that ‘climate change’ is real and dangerous, and that those who think otherwise are both ‘deniers’ and are to be ignored as well as denounced. I offered an essay, a long time ago, on the problems involved with global warming, when that was the orthodox name, and was told I was not an expert in the area, a judgment that apparently did not apply to others who contributed essays supporting the orthodoxy. Who is really expert in this field?

As for ‘expert judgment’ the site recently provided an essay recently by Distinguished Professor Terry Hughes, who described the coral bleaching he saw on the Great Barrier Reef as ‘an utter tragedy’. Perhaps it was the editor who provided the title.

Now the GBR has been there for a long time, millions of years in one form or another, as seas advanced and subsided. The current view (seeWikipedia) is that the present structure is about 600,00 years old, and again, its shape changes as the seas do. Anthozoans, which make coral, are tough little creatures. Professor Hughes’s feeling of utter tragedy seems to have come from three sequential years’ observing, and of course the belief that climate change and warmer seas are inevitable. Those who took a contrary view in the Comments section were derided as ‘deniers’. 

If that is the case with something I know a little about, it does not give me great confidence about issues where I know much less, but am told that this position too is the result of an expert’s long study. One of the possible reasons for both the editorial belief that there is no ideological bias and the appearance of stuff that suggests that there is, could be that the experts and the editors have the same confident belief in their own knowledge and infallibility. My own view, formed as a student, a young researcher, a professor and finally a research administrator and vice-chancellor, is that knowledge advances through argument and disagreement, not through infallibility. If there is consensus there is no science, at least in the long run. The Conversationwould do a lot better if it allowed contrary views, properly backed and properly expressed, to be published, and real argument developed. Then it would look much more like a university-based knowledge source than its present status as an echo-chamber for those of the ‘progressive’ mind-set.

Another possible reason is that all of us, myself included, have become more and more confident in our own views. I was trained to be sceptical, and still am, and am more confident than I used to be that my scepticism is the right way forward. I see plenty of indication that people generally are prepared to trust their own judgment, whatever its basis, than was the case when I was much younger. Then ‘experts’ had real status. Somewhat later television began to host programs showcasing professors and other luminaries who had definable status as experts, and we trusted them. Now there are so many experts in so many areas that, like university graduates, I suppose, their value has been cheapened. Now you feel able simply to disagree with them. You have a degree, after all, or you went through the School of Hard Knocks. Either way, you feel that you can express your own ideas and views. We can see this in the COVID-19 domain, in economic areas generally, not just the economic effect of the virus, in social welfare, and in education.

A third possible reason is that so many of the contested areas are in the public policy domain, where we feel that our position is more important than other people’s, because theirs is self-interested, while ours is what any well-informed person would agree with. For those who need the lead, this is intended sarcasm. I don’t do it much, after university teaching, where students would write down irony as though I actually meant what I had said.

A fourth: too much journalism today is commentary, not investigation. I could go on, but you get the point. Distinguishing between facts and opinions is not easy, and I do not suggest it is. But we all need to do our best to make the effort.

Join the discussion 210 Comments

  • Doug Hurst says:

    Thanks Don. I believe you are right. Separating fact and opinion in the current COVID-19 situation is nigh on impossible in some cases and with so many unknowns I feel governments are erring on the side of caution. I would too in their situation and, unlike many in the commentariat, I see this as reasonable and don’t criticise them for that. Indeed, much of the criticism amounts to blaming those in charge for not being able to predict the unpredictable.

    Wrt the GBR I recall a discussion with the late Prof Bob Carter, a marine geologist who studied the reef for decades, in which he told us he had drilled down in the reef and found layer upon layer of past reefs stacked one on top of another as glacial periods (what most of us call ice ages) came and went, dropping and raising sea levels by enough to force the reef to migrate into deeper water as ice accumulated at the poles and levels dropped, and to migrate back to its original position during interglacial periods like today.

    Coral reefs have been around for tens of millions of years, have survived all sorts of very harsh treatment from nature and are obviously very tough. With this in mind, I allow myself a good degree of scepticism with each new imminent disaster and hope that hose handing out tax payer dollars have similar views.

  • Rod Stuart says:

    Factual guidelines from the government that is “here to help”.
    CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES – GOVERNMENT EDITION

    Here are the official Coronavirus Guidelines:
    1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.
    2. Masks are useless. But they will protect you. They can save you, no they can’t, they’re useless, but wear one anyway. Now they’re mandatory. But maybe. Or not.
    3. Stores are closed, except for the ones that are open.
    4. You should not go to the hospital unless you have to go there. Stay out of the ER at all costs unless you’re having a medical emergency then it’s okay.
    5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it actually leads to a global disaster. Stay calm.
    6. Gloves won’t help, but they can still help. Especially if you wear the same pair for hours and everywhere you go, then you can not spread germs, nope. #science
    7. Everyone needs to stay home, but it’s important to go out because sun. Sunlight will kill the virus but not if the virus kills you first by walking in the sunlight where you may be exposed to the virus.
    8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes.
    9. The virus has no effect on children except those it has affected or will affect.
    10. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested yet, and a tiger.. and one really deadly but also possibly fictional but very sick bat.
    11. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms.
    12. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but also never go out to the grocery store so eat shelf stable processed crap and stay inside your four walls but also stay healthy.
    13. It’s better to get some fresh air, but you may be arrested if you’re getting fresh air the wrong way and most importantly, don’t go to a park, the fresh air there is deadly.
    14. Under no circumstances should you go to retirement homes, but if you have to take care of the elderly and bring them food and medication then fine. Just wear gloves. The same ones. All day.
    15. If you are sick, you can’t go out, but you can go to the pharmacy to get your medications. Just don’t make eye contact cause you may spread your sickness that way.
    16. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn’t wear masks or gloves. But you have to leave your groceries outside for 3 hours to be decontaminated by the fresh air that also may have virus particles floating around in it.
    17. Taxi drivers are immune to the virus apparently since you can still take a taxi ride with a random taxi driver. Just don’t take the taxi to your mom’s house because you know. Stay away from your mom.
    18. You can walk around with a friend if you stay six feet apart but don’t visit with your family if they don’t live under the same roof as you. Even if you’ve all been locked inside for two months already. You may still have the virus and just not know it yet. You’ll find out. Wait another week. Wasn’t that week? Might be the next one. Keep waiting.
    19. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance. Social distancing means you shouldn’t leave your house and don’t be social, except you may go to the liquor store but don’t socialize there while you’re being socially distant.
    20. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn’t say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily.
    21. The virus stays in the air – well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.
    22. We count the number of deaths but we don’t know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were “almost dead” to find out if that’s what they will die of…
    23. The virus will only disappear if we achieve collective immunity.. but stay inside until the virus disappears.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Don, great stuff and so true.

    Having spent a fair bit of my lifetime struggling to get designs approved through world authorities who control safety and other standards which are set out and listed as “facts” because they are based on the latest knowledge, I know just how poorly understood the latest, most up to date science can be.

    Getting something approved that you are confident is superior to current standards and looking back when you eventually do, after it becomes a commercial awa functional success, to the problems incurred trying to convince the “experts”, is fascinating and not only confirms the saying; “science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” but makes the remembering of that phrase mandatory in order to keep going.

    The main difference between facts and opinions is that facts do change somewhat less.

  • Bryan Roerts says:

    It seems to me not that opinions are mistaken for facts, but that the ‘experts’ can draw diametrically opposite conclusions from the same set of facts.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Don, if you say that you have had all this going around your head for weeks, how do you feel? Tired? Weighty stuff. I think this needs reading several times for proper digestion and, having said that, I will make a comment after only one read, which is to say that it is nothing more than an instinctive reaction. The one word you have not mentioned in your piece is ‘language’. This has been manipulated by those with the driving ideology (agenda) – the green, socialist, left, whatever these terms really mean, Luvies. For example, is climate change real? Of course climate change is real because we see evidence of Earth cycling in and out of ice ages. Is it dangerous? I see no evidence of that for any particular generation. These cycles impart slow change over at least hundreds, even thousands of years. I will leave it to economists to argue the present value of change to future generations. One other comment – ‘evidence-based journalism’. To be able to read evidence, you need to understand something about what you are looking at. I am not aware of any journalist that understands anything, not one iota, about climate systems, and I extrapolate that lack of knowledge to viruses. So, when looking to higher authorities for explanations, journalists are naturally attracted to like-minded experts. It is the closest thing that compares with a perpetual motion machine.

  • Neville says:

    Thanks for this Don and I’ll have to read this again when I have the time.
    But we’ll be able to understand this CV-19 disaster more clearly when we have more time and look back after 6 or 12 months etc and try and understand the data more clearly.
    But we know the cost so far is many trillions $ across the world and hopefully we’ll be able to slowly return to work in OZ fairly soon.
    BTW Michael Moore’s new doco pulls apart the so called mitigation of their climate change narrative.
    All the chief con merchants are exposed from the right and left and everyone should learn something from the pursuit of their so called renewable energy agendas.
    Bottom line is that they’re all in pursuit of MONEY and they’ll never have enough of it.
    This is the greatest fraud and con trick in human history and bio-mass, S&W etc are just delusional nonsense. And of course no measurable change to temp or climate by 2050 or 2100 or beyond.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Some of the worst opinions of what are “facts” arise from alarmist politics.

    Reliable, CO2 emission-free power being shut down at the worst possible time:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielmarkind/2020/04/07/even-facing-a-pandemic-new-york-state-remains-in-the-grip-of-the-green-movement/#5d8b4bdf1760

  • John says:

    You say “To broaden the topic, let me turn to The Conversation, which a couple of weeks ago had an editorial on much the same issue: ‘You can’t trust everything you read’. It proclaimed that its own readers get ‘evidence-based journalism powered by experts’…”

    I’m reminded of “evidence-based policy” versus “policy-based evidence”.

  • Boxer says:

    Don

    Like a few other commenters here, I find your article interesting and thought provoking. I made a comment late in the piece on your previous article about the problems of documentaries, and I would include Michael Moore’s polemics in the documentary category too. I would also include movies such as Spike Lee’s BlacKkKsman (2018), which was nominally a “based on real life” film. I thought it was good, right up until the end, where he made a deliberate overt political statement, which turned a well-told story with a powerful, credible, social message into a whinge about minority rights. The message was destroyed by making the production unnecessarily partisan in the final minute.

    The issue with partisan television, film or video, for me, is the use of our primary sense of sight to impart information indirectly, but very powerfully. For example, when I still watched the news on TV, I saw a news item on SBS which was about police conduct. The verbal story read by the presenter was reasonable in tone and it was not overtly hostile to law enforcement officers. However the image in the background, which presumably was just laid digitally behind the newsreader, was very antagonistic. The image, clipped from a real photograph and rendered in high contrast black and white, was of a helmeted riot policeman swinging his batten down with all his might at something (by implication, someone) in front of his feet. The image was not related to the topic of the news item at all, but it was deliberate attempt by the TV production unit to put a very negative spin on a story that was, as written and read, open to interpretation.

    This visual trickery is prevalent, and it is used to turn shades of pale grey into black and white by arousing emotional responses without the knowledge of the viewer. I much prefer information I can read, or a podcast I can listen to, because I can absorb information without my vision confusing the issue. I don’t have to agree with what I read or hear, and I frequently read opinion pieces, but at least print or podcast leaves my mind free to think.

    • dlb says:

      Yes, pictures easily stimulate a primitive emotional response.

      But beware, print on paper uses the left, reasoning side of the brain. So anything we read can easily delude us into thinking it is an objective fact.

      Graphs are even worse, using an easily grasped picture conveying supposedly factual information.

      • Boambee John says:

        dlb

        A former boss had a book (forget the title now) that was essentially a study of how people lie with graphs.

        Woe betide any staff member whose work resembled any examples from the book.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          Possibly “How to Lie with Statistics…written by Darrell Huff in 1954…It has become one of the best-selling statistics books in history, with over one and a half million copies sold in the English-language edition”

          • Boambee John says:

            Bryan

            This book focussed on visual representations, but it might be the one.

          • Aynsley Kellow says:

            It has always worried me that climate science is full of such techniques. For example, we are presented with temperature anomalies that are a degree or two – usually with no error term provided. With the error term specified, one would see that not much was being demonstrated. That is, it was close to what Robert Park termed ‘voodoo science’. One marker of this is: ‘The claimed effect appears so weak that observers can hardly distinguish it from noise. No amount of further work increases the signal.’
            Moreover, the effect is amplified by avoiding using the SI Kelvin scale, where 0°C is 273K. Putting 1-2K on top of that looks very different to a ‘temperature anomaly’ of 1-2°C on the appropriate scale.
            Another related trick in lying with statistics is to exaggerate the X-axis by not basing at zero – effectively what using Centigrade rather than Kelvin does. This allows a larger scale and a much more alarming graph.

  • Chris Warren says:

    ” that ‘climate change’ is real and dangerous,” is a fact not an agenda (whatever this means).

    We need agendas based on scientific facts – not fake news based on denialist agendas.

    • Boambee John says:

      Chris

      Like the “climate change caused the bushfires” agenda, which ignores many scientific facts?

      “Climate change” is indeed a fact, the climate has been changing for millenia.

      Whether it is “dangerous” is yet to be demonstrated scientifically, as different to being imagined in the output of highly dubious computer models.

  • Stu says:

    Don, what you seem to be saying is that there are degrees of fact. Presumably you accept the words of astro physicists and Aeronautical engineers who make space travel, interplanetary exploration and terrestial flight possible. In that same vein we could include the researchers who develop new medical devices such as pace makers, new drugs etc etc. the problem seems to arise when we come to equally complex but less consistently organised fields such as weather forecasting and climatalogical research. People like Carter have facts which are deemed ok because they relate to geological forces which have accumulated over billions of years and left records (the rock strata). But why should his facts be more acceptable (correct) than someone else who specialises in the current state of the reef and the changes occurring in a fraction of the time frame of the first mentioned? Implicit in that is the distinction between the view of an expert on rocks versus one whose specialty is the living organism called the GBR.

    There are plenty of other cases where this dichotomy exists. In the case of climate we have the mostly “gut feel” of the amateur commentators who say there is no problem versus those who listen to the “experts” who in many cases have spent decades researching their particular segment of the vast range of earth/climate sciences and who say we have an emerging problem. Across a great swathe of earth forces researchers paint a gloomy picture of forced (by us) change. They provide a very consistent message linking the air, oceans, ice etc in hundreds of broad and narrow fields of expertise. None of the negative stuff I have seen comes close to matching that breadth and accumulation of knowledge.

    Climate and its surrogate, weather, strike me as being akin to education. We all experience education to some level so all become experts when discussing current changes in the curriculum or organisation of schools or even the training of the teachers. Having been married to an educator for a long time I can say that people who hark back to “when they were at school” etc are painful to the practitioners. In the case of climate, we all feel the weather every day and if we have been around for the “three score and ten” or more have strong anecdotal records of the “climate” over that period. Here is where the Dubbo or Canberra effect comes into play mixed with confirmation bias in selecting what information to take in. Problem is the global climate issue is just that, global not local. And few us have much experience of the global weather situation. This is how it is easy to dismiss the reports of extreme rates of change in the Arctic as falsehoods because Jo Blogs said so.

    So we return to the facts. Throw in deft cherry picking of data and we can have “facts” supporting our point of view on either side. And then there are the well credentialed researchers whose living depends on remaining credible through peer reviewed published work. And they do seem to out publish the sceptics by a very large number. (Guys don’t bother trotting out the “not a consensus field” etc, we all know). Just stating a “fact”.

    If then it is ok to pick our own facts on the slippery subject of weather and climate then presumably it is ok to also dismiss the experts in the poorly named “art” of political science. Why even study it at university level? Sorry Don, but it still strikes me as unusual that professors in one field of expertise find it ok to dabble in and contradict experts with decades of training and research in a completely unrelated and very complex field, particularly when the first is not science and the other is. Or is that common and I am wrong? Can we find a current science researcher to join the conversation? Probably not, they are too busy to bother playing these games.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Don’t you find it curious though, stu, that neither you nor your experts can come up with one iota of evidence to support your/their argument?

      Your/their “facts” are all produced by assumption-fed computer modelling.

      So, what’s the difference between your/their opinions and your/their “facts”?

    • Boambee John says:

      Stu

      As I said on an earlier thread, I am too old to bother Fisking all of your post, but will comment on a few points.

      “In that same vein we could include the researchers who develop new medical devices such as pace makers, new drugs etc etc. the problem seems to arise when we come to equally complex but less consistently organised fields such as weather forecasting and climatalogical research.”

      Drugs and medical devices must go through an extensive testing and validation process before they are accepted. This includes being able to demonstrate efficacy. Your “less consistently organised” fields do not (and seemingly cannot, for a range of good reasons) demonstrate such results. They are only useful as guidance towards what might occur.

      “Across a great swathe of earth forces researchers paint a gloomy picture of forced (by us) change.”

      Said gloomy picture being a forecast, not a guarantee, based on a combination of computer modeling and “professional judgement”, aka gut feel.

      “then there are the well credentialed researchers whose living depends on remaining credible through peer reviewed published work.”

      Yet strangely, the many failures of their forecasts do not seem to affect their credibility, or that of their peer reviewers, at least in your eyes. Nor do they seem to affect their employment.

      • Stu says:

        You both miss the point completely. Perhaps some one else or even Don will see what I was arguing – that there is a scale of credibility on these “facts”. I will grant you that climate is rubbery, by its very nature as a natural and variable force but I argue strongly that on that grey scale the climate stuff is way higher than the alternative stuff you dredge up. If your case is so strong why is not better supported. Governments almost every where are on board even if they are slow to action. You are on a sinking boat.

        • Boambee John says:

          Stu

          I hate to point this out to you, but governments are not omnipotent. They make errors. They have, for example, severely damaged the economy in response to an illness that so far at least has caused less damage than government errors made trying to counter it.

          “there is a scale of credibility on these “facts”.

          Indeed there is, glad that you accept my point about computer models.

        • spangled drongo says:

          “You both miss the point completely.”

          I’d say that judging from the flak, we’re right on target.

          “I argue strongly that on that grey scale the climate stuff is way higher than the alternative stuff you dredge up.”

          We don’t dredge up anything, stu, we don’t have to.

          You are the one making the claim of “fact”.

          You simply shout your evidence-free opinions as loudly as you can.

          We ask for empirical as opposed to assumption-based evidence but in spite of our endless requests you are yet to provide a single, measurable fact to support them.

          When will you either produce one fact or admit that you can’t?

          After all, whether you supply opinions or facts, you should at least TRY to be as honest as possible.

        • Boambee John says:

          PS ” If your case is so strong why is not better supported. Governments almost every where are on board even if they are slow to action. You are on a sinking boat.”

          Governments almost everywhere are on board with the reaction to Kung Flu. Are they all thinking the problem through, or just following the crowd?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Stu, I refer you to what I said in my last essay on climate change (http://donaitkin.com/my-last-climate-change-essay-for-a-while-at-least/).

      There is nothing odd in my having made judgments on areas of research other than my own. I did so for thirty years and was paid to do so by governments who wanted relatively disinterested evaluations of requests for money for research. I have no great belief in ‘expert’ judgment anywhere, but agree that we have to do the best we can. So yes, I take seriously what engineers and astrophysicists say, because what they say in some areas seem to work. In climate change there is no such validation. When there is I will take the outcomes more seriously than I do at the moment, whatever the learned academies say. I have no great faith in their disinterestedness either, and belong to a couple of them.

      Your belief in the weight of expert opinion seems to me to miss the points I set out in that last essay. So be it.

      • Stu says:

        Don “was paid to do so by governments who wanted relatively disinterested evaluations of requests for money for research.”. Please correct me if wrong (I am sure you will) but you had a secretariat to help you with the specifics of that examination and evaluation in quite wide areas of research. Or were you blessed with knowledge and experience that would have been the envy of all of the applicants? Or was the evaluation a trifle cursory and random?

        • Chris Warren says:

          Stu

          There probably was working-parties or other similar mechanisms.

          As I was with NBEET at the time, I am more than sure that the evaluations were not cursory nor random.

          ARC was part of NBEET.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Stu, I don’t want to go into a long dissertation about how the research-grant process works. But at the base of it are judgments and peer review. The judges are, for the most part, experienced researchers who can cut through self-interested pleading and come to a decision about the worth of a particular project. In physics the peers are physicists, but when millions are sought for a gravitational wave observatory, to take a particular example, the opinions of physicists are not sufficient, if only because they will all vote for one, even if it’s not their specific field. So other people are drawn in to argue about the relative worth of such a project. Arguments about relative worth, about national interest, about costs and benefits do not require long days in the laboratory, but rations of commonsense, curiosity, wide reading and the rest. Also, the capacity to listen as well as to talk. It helps if the person already has a wide range of intellectual interests.

          I can say that I had and still have that wide range, and that was one of the reasons I was initially appointed. My counterparts in other countries were curiously similar. I have known them from the UK, from North America, and from all over Europe. Every time I evaluated a proposal I learned something new, and as the years went on my knowledge base grew and grew. That’s why in part I did such work overseas as well as in Australia. No, I couldn’t instantly design an experiment in molecular chemistry, but I used to know quite a bit about how the clever people in that field went about their business.

          I don’t know whether this helps you. But it is the way it was from about 1980 to 2010. I know when I don’t know something, too, and am happy to admit it. I usually know someone who can put me straight.

          • Stu says:

            Don,
            Thank you for that explanation. It accords with my understanding of the process, outlined in your book (which you very kindly gave me) and the current process involving over 130 professor or AP level experts across the fields of science and 120+ staff of the Council.

            I appreciate fully that you gained sufficient expertise through that process to have a good nose for good and shall we say not so good, applications for grants. No question.

            My point remains though, does that equip one to accept or dismiss the outcomes of research (which was presumably funded through a comparable approval process overseas) where one presumably has not seen the original application or its ongoing review but only the published results, if they are reviewed.

            I note that the ARC structure which you established seems to be robust and performing well. The downside is the continuing reduction in funds to allocate for research. My view is that education and research is very much in our national interest, along with better support for applying the results of research within Australia and not letting it slip away overseas.

            It seems the ACT is on the road to virus “eradication” so hopefully you can escape lock down sooner rather than later. We are in the same boat here, but I am catching up on a long list of deferred projects.

            All the best.

      • Chris Warren says:

        Don

        Does this need qualification – ” In climate change there is no such validation. ”

        There is sufficient validation in scientific data for most aspects.

        • Boambee John says:

          Chris

          “There is sufficient validation in scientific data for most aspects.”

          Evidence? Links (other than to alarmist sites)?

    • dlb says:

      I disagree Stu. I liken challenging issues like climate change and COVD19 to a sporting match. In as much you don’t have to be a sportsman to know when a team is playing well or badly.

      With COVD19 anyone with an intelligent and critical mind realises that this is a serious problem much worse than the flu, that Trump is talking through his hair, the Ruby Princess was a big blunder, and that locking down the nation will flatten the curve but have large economic consequences, etc, etc. The only problem with us armchair pundits is that few of us know what level of control would provide the best overall solution. Not that the experts have a good idea either at this time.

      Similarly with climate change I would hope anyone with a critical mind should treat the word of Al Gore, John Cook & Tim Flannery with scepticism. I would also lump in people on the other side that claim CO2 isn’t a green house gas, it’s all the sun, or that increasing CO2 levels are solely caused by warmer oceans. Pick your crank.

      The expert assessments come from the IPCC, but like the WHO do they really know it all? – with possibly many Rumsfeldian unknown unknowns playing out both with COVD and AGW. Our kids In fifty years time will probably be saying “when I went to school they said
      XXYY about the climate and you say it’s wrong!”

      With climate change there are some very good non-establishment experts such as Steve McIntire & Nick Lewis offering serious challenges to the climate science orthodoxy.

      Judith Curry has just had a good post on the importance of expertise from other fields for COVD19 and climate change. https://judithcurry.com/2020/04/14/in-favor-of-epistemic-trespassing/

    • Boxer says:

      Stu, there are always debates about scientific observations and hypotheses and theories; everything is meant to be up for challenge. It is fundamental to the scientific method. One of the reasons I have my doubts about the climate models is that some of the globally prominent modellers become apoplectic when their models are questioned. This is not the way science should operate; their rage expressed in leaked emails and threats of legal action against the more prominent critics imply they are insecure, much less confident of their models than are many politicians and many of the general public. They protest too much. I don’t need to be a climate scientist to make this observation, but a life working in science does help. In this regard Don is most eminently qualified to criticise, as he has assessed scientific proposals in his professional life.

      The issue that initially triggered my preliminary scepticism, after several years of accepting the “climate models accurately forecast the future” argument, was the term “scientific consensus”. Coming from a field of science that has a political stance founded upon models, this is a ridiculous thing to say. There will never be a consensus about a modelled forecast in science, because models are what the modellers make them, they are simply possible simulations. That many of the modellers are also politically active leaves me puzzled as to where and how they developed their perception of science.

      So then I went looking for the original terms of reference for the IPCC. To my surprise, even as an embryonic skeptic, the terms state specifically that the IPCC was to examine “human induced” climate change. This is staggeringly unscientific – to propose to expend so much time and money on investigating such an incredibly complex topic as a planet’s climate, and to sideline natural causes of climate change in the terms of reference leads me to the conclusion that those involved had already concluded that climate change was primarily a function of human factors. They could have simply proposed to examine “the causes of climate change”. The chances of climate changing as much as it has over many millennia primarily due to one greenhouse gas, which was chosen just before investigation began, is vanishingly small. No one needs to be a climate scientist to see that.

      In reality experts, and scientists as a subset of experts, are human. Like everyone else, they make decisions in parts of a second and then use rational thought to justify the conclusions they have already reached. It is very hard to defy this course of events; our lizard brains are very powerful. Combine this with the most successful funding model for the natural sciences, which is: identify a potential threat, and then argue that the potential for widespread harm is so great, this threat is more important than all the other threats, so please fund our research. A natural scientist who expresses any uncertainty about the seriousness of their chosen threat will not receive funding, it is extremely competitive process. It would be extremely difficult to gain funding to prove some environmental issue is unthreatening. I have been part of this process myself and it funded most of my professional life – I know it works. Don was a national level science administrator. No one needs to be a climate scientist to understand how this plays out, and it gives open minded people serious grounds to question what is happening. If we are then labelled “deniers”, by “scientists”, our worst suspicions are strongly supported.

      It’s not about the earth’s climate, it is about the corruption of scientific ideals and the devaluation of expertise by a flawed funding process.

      • Stu says:

        I am intrigued that the standard attack by deniers centres on “the models”. Leaving aside the ability of the models to mimic what has actually happened and the generally conscientious work of the modellers, not to mention the massive and costly super computing requirements, it is a bit rich to snipe from the sidelines.

        But you guys seem to focus on the models to deflect (successfully) from the facts of observations and research in a wide area of studies such as polar ice, glaciers, SS temperature, ocean currents etc. The range of studies really is stupendous. But never mind you stick with models. And by the way keep using those graphs that show what models predicted decades ago as though they are current. Clever trick.

        • Boxer says:

          Very few people deny that climate changes. Past glacial and interglacial cycles prove the occurence of climate change. It is bizarre that some people think the last 10,000 years of relatively benign climate is the norm. And we are apparently going to continue like this into the long term future by fiddling with CO2 emissions?

          The issue is, what has caused, and is causing, those changes in climate? A modeller with a foregone conclusion in his head will produce a model to confirm that conclusion.

          The IPCC should never have started with such blatantly unscientific terms of reference. It corrupted most of the work that followed. Climate change is serious, but we are not rigorously searching for the causes scientifically while we are obsessed with human induced changes in CO2 emissions. CO2 is only one, possibly small, part of the equation.

  • Tim says:

    Covid-19. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but my sources in the USA are pointing to a likely source of this virus, as having escaped from one of two virus research laboratories in Wuhan, one known for military research on virus. It is not likely to be a military pathogen, as these military virus usually have cures developed at the same time as the pathogen. (You don’t want to infect your own side), and if one of those military grade virus escaped they would have cracked down on it immediately with little harmful effect! But both these laboratories are known to collect bat virus for research purposes from caves in southern China. Covid-90 is descended from bat virus. Plus, the original sufferer from Covid-90, US intelligence sources say, was located nowhere near the ‘wet markets’.

    What is likely to happen is – the safety standards of one or both these laboratories was slack. An employee was infected with a slightly modified bat virus, and was allowed to leave, with the consequences you now see. This explains the ultra-secretive reaction of the Chinese government. Only when the virus infection got away from them did they open up

  • Neville says:

    Now even more coal plants are approved to be built in China. Why do they understand so clearly that they need reliable base-load power and Australia still fools around with the S&W idiocy?

    https://www.thegwpf.com/china-gives-green-light-for-new-coal-boost/

    • Stu says:

      Since you are intent on hijacking the discourse back to climate change.

      Simple answer, dollars. And wait till coal trades like oil at negative price on futures contracts. Meantime did you see that ultra right wing, pro Trump Iowa is now generating more of its power from that dreaded S&W than any other source. Bugger, economics always wins in the end. Get over it.

      • spangled drongo says:

        I think your “facts” might just be opinions, stu.

        You don’t think the Iowa state law and subsidies might have something to do with that?

        Like why ethanol still gets produced when WTI is at negative values.

        BTW, how many states produce greater amounts of emission-free electricity than Iowa with nuclear energy?

        • Stu says:

          I have no problem with the nuclear energy, do you? The point you overlook is that Iowa is quite strongly “Trumpy” yet ploughs ahead with significant “dreaded” (in your terms) S&W. How do you explain that? Even the “law and subsidies” have to actually have legislative support, so what is going on? Could economics be the key?

          Pasted earlier in wrong spot.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        Hang on, didn’t you tell ustsome threads back that China was leading the way on renewables, now they are big in coal because “Simple answer, dollars.”

        Is that a fact or an opinion?

  • Neville says:

    Dr Pielke jnr now shows that there is now a systemic misuse of scenarios in climate research and assessment.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/21/pielke-jr-systemic-misuse-of-scenarios-in-climate-research-and-assessment/

  • stu says:

    I have no problem with the nuclear energy, do you? The point you overlook is that Iowa is quite strongly “Trumpy” yet ploughs ahead with significant “dreaded” (in your terms) S&W. How do you explain that? Even the “law and subsidies” have to actually have legislative support, so what is going on? Could economics be the key?

  • BB says:

    Xi Jinping and the Communist government of China certainly have a lot of questions to answer. What impresses me is how our news media though is turning on our leaders who are trying to cope. Particularly Trump there is a whole lot of hit pieces pushing the line that everything he did was wrong. But nary a word about the responsibility of China and are they telling us the truth. I won’t go into the detail of and but there is many remarkable coincidences which do not have an adequate explanation. Like a report in the Lancet of research being done in a viral lab right next to the Wuhan wet market. It was that to human transfer of the virus! There are many things like this and you would think it would peak the mainstream media’s interest. Their opinion quite often seems to be Trump did it.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    The constant government screeching about ‘saving lives’ is really so Monty Python.

    “Every sperm is sacred,
    Every sperm is good,
    Every perm is needed,
    In this neighbourhood.”

    Yet again, life mimics art.

  • Boambee John says:

    Stu

    Give it a break.

    Don made it quite clear in his post at 0738 yesterday that the more than 1000 comments on his last climate change post, very many of which were from you, have not changed his position. On this thread you have essentially been repeating your usual mixture of old tropes about “governments and people everywhere are on board” together with whines about “the science” being ignored.

    Boxer and dlb have put up some useful comments on this subject, though you show no evidence that you have understood them, if you even read them. If you are not interested in broadening your knowledge, then you have nothing to add, so please don’t waste our time.

    PS, acknowledging the weaknesses of documentaries highlighted up thread, I wonder if you looked at the linked item from Michael Moore, or is his apostasy too much for you to bear?

  • Neville says:

    They’ve just celebrated another Earth day and we should never forget their clueless and laughable forecasts in 1970.
    Of course none of their stupid delusions were even close to the mark, in fact everything about their coming apocalypse couldn’t have been more error prone.
    And now they want us to follow the ramblings of an uneducated teenager ( see Greta’s UN address) or the US Dems no 1 scientist who uses data upside down to try and prove his case. Amazing that this donkey never, ever tried to sue Steve McIntyre? I wonder why?
    I’m sorry but I prefer other scientists who use proper data and evidence to support their claims. Here’s the link for their (Flat) Earth Day.

    https://www.cfact.org/2020/03/13/greta-preaches-many-of-the-first-earth-days-failed-predictions/

  • Neville says:

    I see silly Stu still doesn’t understand the world’s ( countries’) increase in co2 emissions, so I’ll just have to keep linking to that pesky Wiki graph again and again.
    Geeezzzz stu China is certainly using a high percentage of S&W to generate their energy, NOT.
    OH and check out other countries and even India to further your sadly neglected education. And try using real world data and evidence next time before you retreat to your fantasy world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

    • Stu says:

      Neville, seeing you like Wiki sources “China is the world’s?leading?country in electricity production from renewable energy sources, with over double the generation of the second-ranking country, the United?States. By the end of 2018, the country had a total capacity of 728 GW of renewable power, mainly from hydroelectric and wind?power. China’s renewable?energy sector is growing faster than its fossil?fuels and nuclear?power capacity.

      Although China currently has the world’s largest installed capacity of hydro, solar and wind power, its energy needs are so large that in 2015 renewable sources provided only 24% of its electricity generation, with most of the remainder provided by coal power plants.[1] In 2017, renewable energy comprised 36.6% of China’s total installed electric power capacity, and 26.4% of total power generation, the vast majority from hydroelectric sources.[2] Nevertheless, the share of renewable sources in the energy mix had been gradually rising in recent years.

      China sees renewables as a source of energy?security and not just only to reduce carbon?emission.[3] China’s Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution issued by China’s State Council in September 2013, illustrates the government’s desire to increase the share of renewables in China’s energy?mix.[4] Unlike oil, coal and gas, the supplies of which are finite and subject to geopolitical tensions, renewable energy systems can be built and used wherever there is sufficient water, wind, and sun.[5]

      As Chinese renewable manufacturing has grown, the costs of renewable energy technologies have dropped dramatically. Innovation has helped, but the main driver of reduced costs has been market expansion.[5] In 2015, China became the world’s largest producer of photovoltaic?power, with 43 GW of total installed capacity.[6][7] From 2005 to 2014, production of solar?cells in China has expanded 100-fold.[5] However, China is not expected to achieve grid parity – when an alternate source of energy is as cheap or cheaper than power purchased from the grid—until 2022.[8] In 2017, investments in renewable energy amounted to US$279.8 billion worldwide, with China accounting for US$126.6 billion or 45% of the global investments.[9]”

      https://wiki2.org/en/Renewable_energy_in_China

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        “renewable energy comprised 36.6% of China’s total installed electric power capacity”

        Nameplate capacity is one thing, take away the hydro and tell us the actual output from the other renewables. Solar is limited by the need for sun, wind by the need for “just right” wind conditions, not too weak (wind generators then draw on the grid to keep the turbines moving for engineering reasons), not too strong.

        But you already know this, don’t you, you are just flanneling.

        • Stu says:

          BJ, do give it a break mate. I was simply quoting the renewable numbers for China in response to Neville asking for data. But you as usual go off on a rant, good on you.

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            Facts are facts.

            Nameplate capacity is a long way from deliverable capacity, and hydro is a different beast to solar and wind.

            Just the facts please.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s Michael Shellenberger’s summary of Michael Moore’s latest doco video about the ecological disaster caused by the take up of fraudulent so called renewable energy. Like fraudulent S&W energy.
    He also lists the con merchants involved from both sides of the argument and some of the blatant , behind the scenes admissions of some of these greedy swines.
    And yet we still have stupid donkeys who still think we are doing this to reduce co2 emissions that will save the planet.
    BTW Shellenberger is an energy expert and worked with the Obama govt because he firmly believed in S&W etc at that time. He is a lifelong environmentalist and a typical person from the left, but he woke up after he understood the damage to the forests etc, because of the S&W, wood chip, bio -mass etc disasters.
    Then we can also add Dr Hansen’s statement that the Paris COP 21 agreement was just BS and fraud. Just like a belief in the Easter bunny and the Tooth fairy.
    Here’s that Shellenberger link.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2020/04/21/new-michael-moore-backed-documentary-on-youtube-reveals-massive-ecological-impacts-of-renewables/#1275b6986c96

    • Stu says:

      There have been lots of comments regarding the slightly odd film “Planet of the humans”. Many reference Michael Moore as the centre piece, “apostasy” one wrote. Note that he was the producer not the director, it would be more relevant to be quoting Jeff Gibbs, who wrote it and was the director. Half of the film relates to bio-mass power which somewhat inflates its relevance, although I agree it is worthy of rubbishing as an environmental solution.

      And do any of you have actual quotes from Moore regarding the film, its content and message? I have not found any yet.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        “Half of the film relates to bio-mass power which somewhat inflates its relevance, although I agree it is worthy of rubbishing as an environmental solution.” No disagreement on that here, but where were you when Chris was arguing for a Drax (wood chip) replacement for coal on the last climate change thread.

        And the other half gets stuck into solar and wind. So? Perhaps they are correct on both counts?

        Re “apostasy”, do you seriously think that Moore would have produced the show if he didn’t agree with the content? Go to Neville’s comment at 1215 yesterday to see the poster. Moore’s name is there in the same size font as Gibbs’. Stop squirming.

        Add in (St) Bob Brown’s apostasy on wind farms and the edifice is crumbling.

        • Stu says:

          And the actual words of Moore regarding the film. Do you have any?

          • Boambee John says:

            Executive producer. Not the grip or any old handyman. Executive producer.

          • stu says:

            “An executive producer also can be a well-known producer or director who lends his name to a project to give it greater visibility. Steven Spielberg, George Clooney and others have been listed as executive producers for films for name’s sake — even without taking any active role in the production process.” Just saying. Meantime I look forward to hearing Moore support the film or otherwise.

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            “who lends his name to a project to give it greater visibility”

            So you seem to think that Moore would “lend his name” to a documentary, but he does not support its conclusions? You live in a dream world of your own.

        • stu says:

          You wrote “Add in (St) Bob Brown’s apostasy on wind farms and the edifice is crumbling.”. I think you will find it is not apostasy but opposition to a particular location. I can imagine you would be an apostate if there was a proposal to build one of your beloved coal fired power plants next door to you.

          • Boambee John says:

            Strangely Brown did not oppose earlier wind farms in scenic locations, or which affected other endangered birds. Does the orange bellied parrot ring a bell with you?

            You are desperate to avoid reaching the conclusion that there are significant downsides to renewable energy projects. Keep squirming.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Good alarmists like NOAA never let facts get in the way of opinions:

    https://realclimatescience.com/2020/04/climate-red-shift/

  • Boambee John says:

    Stu

    Just for you.

    “Answering another question, why the fuss now when it came out last year. Because now it is free for 30 days.

    Both Moore and Gibbs will take part in a live discussion and Q&A Wednesday evening, April 22nd at 10 pm EDT/7 pm PDT on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

    Planet of the Humans will be available for free on YouTube for the next 30 days. You can watch the entire film below.”

    You should have no trouble finding it! Let us know if Moore recants.

  • Neville says:

    I want to reply to stu’s claims about China and energy used for electricity generation.
    In the past I could show IEA pie graphs up to 2015 for all countries, but for TOTAL energy used per country. Alas they seem to have vanished.
    China was unique because coal generated 66.7% of total energy while the USA by 2015 only generated 17.1% of total from coal, because of their fast changeover to gas.
    I’ve been able to find the sources for the world’s 2017 total energy generation from Our World in data and here are the percentages.
    Even Germany has a much higher % energy generation than the USA from coal although China is the stand out from coal generation.
    Remember this is the World’s 2017 total energy, not just for electricity generation. But I’ll try and find a recent per country generation by source that is readily understood.
    https://ourworldindata.org/energy#all-charts-preview

    Other renewables-0.98%
    Solar- 0.74%
    Wind- 1.88%
    Nuclear- 4.41%
    Hydro- 6.80%
    Nat Gas- 23.36%
    Coal- 27.62% China up to 2015 66.7% and USA 17.1% from coal.
    Crude Oil- 34.21%

  • Neville says:

    Btw there’s no doubt this is Moore’s video and I’m sure he would’ve arranged the finance.
    I’ve watched about 15 mins and he is in complete agreement so far and I’ll finish it later when I have the time. Very interesting so far, but why did it take them so long to wake up to the con merchants and fraudsters?

  • spangled drongo says:

    You can ignore facts but not some opinions:

    The Washington Post reports that 2020 is on track to be the hottest year on record, even despite the massive decrease in CO2 emissions due to the pandemic. However, the Post conveniently dismisses this fact because its true commitment is to blame human activity for climate change: “Climate scientists do not place too much emphasis in annual rankings for monitoring and attributing global climate change, but rather focus more on long-term trends in greenhouse gas emissions, air and sea temperatures and climate indicators such as melting glaciers, sea level rise and changes in precipitation patterns.” So, when a massive decrease in human-caused emissions does happen and yet it won’t contribute to a decrease in global temperatures, the Post suggests that it’s merely an anomaly that should be ignored. How convenient.

  • stu says:

    Regarding Moore I found this quote which does not do much for your position on CO2. Basically says just keep things shut down.

    ““The film doesn’t have all the answers but it challenges us to think differently,” Gibbs said.

    Gibbs and Moore said the mass shutdowns and plummeting air travel that have been one impact from the coronavirus have shown how swiftly the planet could benefit from a change.

    The economic standstill could cause carbon dioxide emissions to fall this year by the largest amount since World War Two, the chair of the Global Carbon Project said earlier this month.

    “The fact that within days animals are coming back and the skies are blue tells us that we don’t have to build a million square miles of solar panels or buy a zillion electric cars. If we just slow down and stop we can make a tremendous difference instantly,” said Gibbs.”

    And regarding the last post from SD, just because the emissions have fallen does not mean they have fallen so much as to prevent a rise in the ppm in the atmosphere. Plus we have already baked in a good heat load to the oceans which is continuing to disrupt things.

    With respect to northern hemisphere summer things are already heating up with Florida forecast to have its first ever plus 100F April day this weekend. Yes, yes, I know that is weather, not climate.

    • Boambee John says:

      Stu

      “If we just slow down and stop we can make a tremendous difference instantly,” said Gibbs.”

      So you are hot for a world wide economic shutdown?

      You are happy with mass unemployment, starvation, illness (no medical services) and general misery?

      And you claim that sceptics have no concern for their grandchildren? Alarmists seem to have no concern for anyone, except themselves of course.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “Plus we have already baked in a good heat load to the oceans which is continuing to disrupt things.”

      Our stu gives us a prime example of opinion v fact.

      But isn’t it marvellous what facts you learn when you follow the money:

      https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Image405.png

      • Stu says:

        Is that a fact or an opinion that the oceans are NOT absorbing the greatest amount of heat and are warming up?

        • spangled drongo says:

          Are you admitting you don’t know?

          • Stu says:

            Wake up, it is a fact that massive heat is being absorbed by the oceans and they are heating up. If they did not the temperatures around the world would be even higher. You are the one that raised the question of fact versus opinion or can you not remember that?

          • spangled drongo says:

            Beautifully demonstrated stu, you are believing cli-sci assumptions.

            You don’t know facts from opinions.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Read about how little we know and how much we need to find out:

            http://www.iodp.org/

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Stu, aren’t you mixing things up here? It is true that oceans absorb about 90 per cent of the heat, and that is ‘massive’, if you want to use such an adjective. But that’s been true for a long time.

            Willis Eschenbach has done some good work (yes, data based using a very recent peer-reviewed paper) which suggests that the oceans have warmed about a tenth of a degree in the last sixty years. The Argo floats show a cooling a decade ago. The increase in heat is really not discernible. The oceans are vast and deep.(https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/14/the-ocean-warms-by-a-whole-little/)

            Unless, of course, you assume that the heating is going to go on forever, which might mean a discernibly warmer ocean in a thousand years or so.

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            ” it is a fact that massive heat is being absorbed by the oceans”

            Your actual, measured, non-homogenised, data please.

          • dlb says:

            For what it is worth, the Argo floats show the upper ocean (65N – 65S) to have warmed 0.20c over the last 15.6 years (see climate4you website).

            This is in good agreement with the UAH satellite data, which shows a warming of the lower troposphere above the oceans to be 0.23C for the same period.

            The Argo data show a warming of 0.02c to 0.03c from 500m to 1900m depth during this period.

            There is a really good graph on the oceans section of the “climate4you” website that shows the rapid drop off in oceanic heating below 50m depth.

            As someone pointed out in the comments of the Eschenbach article the 0.003c error is the measuring error of the buoy temp sensors, not a sampling uncertainty. Ole Humlum seems to have no issue with Argo.

  • Neville says:

    I finished the video and I’m not surprised at anything they’ve said at all.
    They all love Burnie, AOC, Greta and voted for Gore etc, but at least they’ve burst the mitigation BS and fraud, so I suppose we can be thankful for that.
    If they had more common sense they could just read more Lomborg material and all his research over the years using some of the best brains on the planet, but I’m sure they love left wing politics far too much to be bothered.
    Their ideas that we’ve somehow stuffed up the planet is absurd, but they have to believe that don’t they? And China, India and the developing world want what we have ASAP.

  • Stu says:

    Yeah man, put the hammer down, lets ride this bus straight off the cliff pronto. (That is a comment on an opinion N evil.

    • Boambee John says:

      Stu

      We had to destroy the economy and the lives of many people to save them from (possible catastrophic anthropogenic) climate change?

      To avoid a possible catastrophe, you are hapoy to impose an actual catastrophe. And you claim that sceptics have no thought for their grandchildren! FMD!

      • Stu says:

        Oh there you go again. “destroy the economy and the lives of many people to save them from (possible catastrophic anthropogenic) climate change?”. That is such exaggerated bull shit which is typical of denialists (encouraged by the fuel interests). Justify that crazy statement or try a different tack. Even you can do better than that poor tactic I am sure.

        • Boambee John says:

          Stu

          Do you actually read what you pist?

          “If we just slow down and stop we can make a tremendous difference instantly,” said Gibbs.”

          We have just gone into a process of “slow down and stop”. You might not have noticed that millions have list their jobs, and thousands of businesses have closed. Exactly what do you think is happening to the economy under this process? Yet you (apparently approvingly) quote Gibbs saying that the way to climate change salvation is to continue that process.

          • Stu says:

            “Do you actually read what you pist? (sic).”

            Yes, do you? I think Gibbs is a nut and not sure why Moore “executive produced” this crazy, wrong film. Probably just so it would be noticed as it would have sunk without trace otherwise.

            Things have not actually stopped. Some have like hospitality, entertainment and some retail. But if you listen to Christine Holgate from Australia Post you will find business on line has almost doubled in a month, things are still being made, sold and shipped. China has slowed down and the reduction in power usage and vehicles has decreased pollution, including CO2 quite a bit. As a result the earth has cleaned up, a sign of what could be if we used cleaner power, not if stopped everything.

            Think about it, what is going on proves the damage caused by dirty industrial and power processes, which is the underlying message of those saying we need to change and proves how wrong you deniers are wanting to stick with business as usual, whatever the cost. Contrary to your myths there are viable alternative power sources and we don’t need to “destroy” the economy to do it.

            The current Covid result has shown what a mess your favoured solution creates, forget your whacky adaptation story.

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            “Contrary to your myths there are viable alternative power sources and we don’t need to “destroy” the economy to do it.”

            Facts please, not opinions. Data to demonstrate that solar, wind and batteries meet your description.

            Or you could simply announce your support for nuclear.

            “I think Gibbs is a nut and not sure why Moore “executive produced” this crazy, wrong film.”

            More opinion. Alarmists really, really hate apostates, don’t they?

        • Boambee John says:

          Post, but pist is not far off.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    Sorry to divert attention from the endlessly fascinating topic of climate change, but I am flabbergasted that people apparently believe that the coronavirus ‘tracking’ app will be used only for benevolent purposes. The phone doesn’t know who’s got the virus, it only knows who you’ve been near. What if a government (of any persuasion) wanted to track drug distribution? Identify people sympathetic to an opposition party? Impossible? Look at the totalitarian impulses of the so-called ‘national cabinet’, and the recent behaviour of the NSW/Victorian Police, neither of which inspire confidence.

    • Boambee John says:

      Bryan

      After the recent performances of our rulers (previously our representatives and their advisors), I have zero confidence in their capability, let alone their willingness, to handle such data ethically and securely.

    • Stu says:

      “What if a government (of any persuasion) wanted to track drug distribution? Identify people sympathetic to an opposition party? Impossible”. If you are a dick head engaging in such behaviour all you have to do is turn off your bluetooth or if really worried turn the phone off. And please explain what actual data is going to be held? My understanding is it simply records what numbers you may be near, not even where it was. And finally if you are that worried I suggest you ditch your phone now, the system already knows more about what you do and where you go than you should be comfortable with. This apps data is trivial and at least has a good intention and will hopefully be short lived, especially if enough take it up and the drama ends. If not don’t load it, but don’t deter others prepared to assist. Stop worrying about nothing.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        “at least has a good intention and will hopefully be short lived,”

        Bids are still open on that bridge. Central location …

        Old adage: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

        • Stu says:

          You are even more cynical than I suspected, I do hope you sleep well at night and are not tormented by nightmares.

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            There is a vast gap between cynical and realistic.

            And cynical is not the same as sceptical.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        In the not-too-distant past, the “numbers you may be near” would have been quite enough to buy you a one-way ticket to Siberia.

        • Stu says:

          Sure, but neither the phones or the app are compulsory. And like I said if you are that worried you should ditch your phone now, there is much more scope in the current technology for sinister forces to exploit than what is proposed. And definitely do not use Facebook, or Twitter and never use a store loyalty card or even a tap and go pay system. Of course you may think all these commercial interests are benign and it is only those pesky governments you can’t trust. So just turn your phone off and sleep tight. It must be a standard right wing meme that is generating all this heat, especially when it is a right wing mob proposing the app. Very curious. Perhaps you can explain.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Under Trump you get sacked or relegated if you don’t sprout opinion as directed.

    http://archive.is/R14RJ

  • Boxer says:

    To lead with my chin on the topic of renewable biomass energy ….

    I don’t plan to bother watching Moore’s polemic, but I detect a general antagonism here to biomass energy. I am tempted to say that if Moore doesn’t like bioenergy, then it must be okay, but I gather he sticks it to solar and wind as well, so I am conflicted on that logic.

    I want to focus upon energy from cellulose materials specifically here, because there are some really obvious duds like ethanol from corn (a US farm subsidy scheme) and diesel from palm oil (clear a forest, plant a palm oil plantation and then call it a conservation measure).

    What about using a waste material like cane bagasse to drive a sugar mill – would that be okay? Of course this is normal practice everywhere. The same for driving wood pulp mills. If feasible without perpetual subsidies, would increasing the capacity and efficiency of the sugar mill’s boilers to allow generation year-round base load electricity be okay?

    If we grew a plantation tree crop (where harvest and regrowth is balanced) and used that to drive Rankine cycle turbines for base load electricity, and/or recover waste heat and use it as process heat for some form of manufacturing, what would people say to that?

    I appreciate that harvesting a forest in the SE of the USA and using the wood pellets from that to run the Drax power station in the UK is pretty unlikely to work without perpetual subsidies for renewable energy. But biomass energy covers a very wide range of options that range from being as useless as rooftop PV solar and wind, to being normal commercial practice from before the days of catastrophic global hysteria.

    I would be interested in any reactions, preferably reasoned ones.

    • Boambee John says:

      Boxer

      Agree with your thoughts.

      A few years ago I had a discussion with a retired forester. He lamented the intransigent opposition of so-called “environmentalists” to any use of litter left after timber harvesting for generating energy. The Drax case demonstrates that they are happy to use wood pellets to generate energy, so long as there are subsidies to be harvested.

      Like solar and wind, the Drax case is yet another example of subsidy farming.

      That said, I agree with your suggestions. In particular, the use of corn in fuel is utterly immoral in a world of plentiful oil and scarce food. The enthusiasm of so-called “environmentalists” for palm oil as fuel flies in the face of many of their other claimed objectives. More subsidy harvesting?

      • Stu says:

        I think you will find the ethanol question, at least in Oz, is more about the National Farmers Federation (who claim to represent the little farmers but don’t do it well anymore) and agribusiness in general than any conservation movement. It never gets loaded into my boat or car or even lawnmower. Nasty hydroscopic stuff. And back when I travelled on roads the proper way on two wheels I found the very slight cost differential was offset by poorer range for a tankful. Nothing to do with subsidies, just manipulation of the market.

        And by the way it is claimed that biomass (particularly wood pellets etc) is actually pretty much carbon neutral (apart from transport) but has the unfortunate side effect of micro particulates or aerosols in the air which we could do without. The reason it is supposedly carbon neutral is in terms of the current carbon cycle as opposed to burning sunshine from 100’s of millions of years ago (coal for the slow to follow).

        • Boambee John says:

          Stu

          “And by the way it is claimed that biomass (particularly wood pellets etc) is actually pretty much carbon neutral (apart from transport)”

          So, just a little bit pregnant?

          Go back to the last climate change thread, and read the discussion about Drax. It is magic pudding/perpetual motion machine stuff.

          “Apart from transport”. And milling, and planting.

          ROFLMAO. Alarmists will believe anything. Now, about that bridge …

        • Boxer says:

          Stu and BJ

          The energy used to produce, deliver and convert biomass or any other fuel is not always intuitively simple.

          A life cycle analysis, that I had a small role in, for a plantation-grown biomass source in Australian wheatbelt conditions produced a 40:1 energy delivered to energy input ratio. This included labour, fertiliser, planting, management, harvesting and road transport to “mill” (70km one way from memory). Transport is often minor – a simple comparison is, the primary energy content in a two trailer road train (50 tonne payload) full of air-dried wood chip is approximately equivalent to the primary energy content of the diesel needed to drive that truck from one side of Australia to the other. Shipping would be much more efficient. But the process of pelleting takes about 10-15% of the energy content of the pellets to make the pellets. It’s a bit like natural gas; if CO2 is your concern, do you dream of a carbon-free technology that doesn’t exist, or do you use a fuel that is less carbon-intensive than wet brown coal?

          Coal is a concentrated resource so dispatching its energy, as electricity in transmission lines, is often relatively efficient if you have a concentrated market at the other end of the line. However for much of Australia’s landmass, the coal is far away and the taxpayer funded electricity grid to low population areas is weak and inefficient. The delivered cost of electricity is frequently cross-subsidised by more concentrated electricity markets around the coast. Weakness in the grid (limited capacity and frequent drop-outs) prevents industrial development in those areas, so agriculture-related industry is commonly forced to move to the cities. There are economic reasons to pursue some alternative sources of base load electricity, but thinking is now straight-jacketed by a squabble about whether the end is nigh, or not, and whether “nigh” is soon, or not so soon. We shoot ourselves in the foot so often it’s a wonder anyone can walk.

          • Boambee John says:

            Boxer

            Thanks for that, quite illuminating.

            My response related to Stu’s comment that “it is claimed that biomass (particularly wood pellets etc) is actually pretty much carbon neutral (apart from transport”.

            While the transport costs might not be high, the “carbon neutral” claim relates to timber absorbing CO2 while growing and emitting it when burned. Hence my remark about “perpetual motion”.

            I have no philosophical objection to burning wood to generate power, as witness my earlier reference to discussion with a retired forester. But claims that it is carbon neutral are (charitably) specious.

            You make good points about Australia’s distributed energy market. There are places where solar/wind would be economically better than putting in a transmission line. Producing solar or wind power in distant rural locations, and transmitting it to cities on the coast is not going to be effective with present technology.

  • Boambee John says:

    Stu

    “Regarding Moore I found this quote which does not do much for your position on CO2. Basically says just keep things shut down.”

    I don’t think you understand. My sceptical opinion is that reducing CO2 levels is a waste of time and money. To the extent that we need to “do something”, we should pursue adaptation.

    Are you trying with that inane comment to divert attention from their demolition of the whole polluting renewables racket? If you are, it is a pretty weak attempt, even by your standards.

    • Stu says:

      “To the extent that we need to “do something”, we should pursue adaptation.”. So how does adaptation work in respect to a warming arctic, melting tundra, slowed AMOC and resulting colder european winters etc. That is actually pertinent whether you believe in anthropogenic climate change or not because it is agreed that the AMOC is slowing (whatever the cause) with troubling results. So what is your adaptation strategy?

      And as for the “polluting renewables” crap try a different tack or at least come up with the figures for the oh so clean coal digging, transport, burning and disposing regime. You don’t need to factor in the unsightly holes in the ground and coal dust blowing around where I live, the other factors will be sufficient. But do include the concrete and steel for the mausoleums that burn the stuff and their 40 to 50 year recycling and what they do to water temperatures in fragile lake systems etc.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        “So what is your adaptation strategy?”

        I have been through it several times before on earlier threads. Go back and look.

        “And as for the “polluting renewables” crap”

        You really did miss the point of the documentary, didn’t you. And you also completely missed the point of the comment “If we just slow down and stop we can make a tremendous difference instantly,” said Gibbs.” They want the present shutdown to continue forever.

        “resulting colder european winters etc”

        They will be real fun after sunset on a windless night. Perhaps we should try to warm up the world?

        PS, good to see tgat you are noticing the concept of natural variation.

        • Boambee John says:

          Stu

          Seems some alarmists understood Moore’s documentary better than you did. They are trying to have it taken down! Blasphemy perhaps?

          MM might not get invited to the fashionable dinner parties in future!

  • Neville says:

    It looks like the dopey EU might be starting to think for a change. Germany is certainly starting to have doubts about any Green new deal, yet don’t forget their stupid behavior over the last 30 years.
    We can only hope that they drop their past so called renewables idiocy and use adaptation and new tech ASAP.
    A good start would be cheap, modular nuclear power stns that require little space and can be replaced very quickly in the distant future.
    But I’m sure the lefty EU morons will still find a way to stuff things up, but we can always hope.

    https://www.thegwpf.com/its-all-over-for-eu-green-deal-as-angela-merkels-meps-say-its-no-longer-viable/

  • spangled drongo says:

    Check the “facts” being taught in our halls of learning these days, starting from the youngest:

    https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2020/04/sex-academia-style-lets-all-have-a-tree-some/

    • Stu says:

      Silly me for always checking the strange things you post, but this time I wish you had kept your fetishes to yourself and I had not bothered. As usual you manage to misrepresent what is going on, probably through lack of rigour in reading the story. This story is not about “our halls of learning”, it is an art space. The crap they go on with there is not my cup of tea but I don’t see it as an assault on our places of higher education. If someone can keep all the weirdos in one place and out of our way, so much the better. Perhaps you could join them. It certainly did not add anything of value to the general discussions here unless we can pin it on Don for establishing the Arts Research Grants Fund, if such a thing exists. (JSYK that is a joke)

      • spangled drongo says:

        Yes, I thought you’d think it’s fine to keep all these weirdos in one place at our halls of learning, stu.

        A pity you’re in such denial of the results though.

        • Stu says:

          Geez you are thick. It is not a hall of learning it is a privately run “multi art space”. Move on

          • spangled drongo says:

            Well somebody’s thick you’d have to be thick not to guess who.

            One of the many university speakers at the symposium:

            Jack Halberstam: “Strategies of Wildness – Why We Must Unbuild the World!”

            Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Jack is a writer, educator and public intellectual with international renown. His work considers wild, queer, decolonial possibilities for protest culture, anarchy and performance. In 2018, Places Journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is currently working on a book titled Wild thing: Queer theory after nature which explores queer anarchy, performance and protest culture as well as the intersections between animality, the human and the environment.

          • Stu says:

            Mate, wankers with uni degrees pop up in all sorts of places, does not make those places ones of higher learning. What brings you here?

          • spangled drongo says:

            And where might a rational person think they would “pop up” most?

  • spangled drongo says:

    The secret of success with “facts” and opinions is to have a good store of alibis.

    The world-wide-weather-wonderful will now be able to blame something else when their predictions go astray:

    “The global coronavirus pandemic could ruin our ability to forecast the weather and predict climate change as global lockdowns cause ecological and meteorological monitoring exercises to halt, meteorologists warn.

    Science journal Nature reports that this disruption in scientific activity will compromise future forecasting efforts by creating yawning gaps in decades-long data sets used to make predictions.

    “The break in the scientific record is probably unprecedented,” University of California Santa Barbara ecologist Frank Davis told the journal.”

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/coronavirus-pandemic-could-ruin-weather-forecasts-climate-records/news-story/6c296e4167f889447ea470f217d4dc63

    When anyone gets things as wrong as these people, they are desperate for any extra alibis.

  • Boambee John says:

    Stu

    “And as for the “polluting renewables” crap try a different tack or at least come up with the figures for the oh so clean coal digging, transport, burning and disposing regime. You don’t need to factor in the unsightly holes in the ground and coal dust blowing around where I live, the other factors will be sufficient. But do include the concrete and steel for the mausoleums that burn the stuff and their 40 to 50 year recycling and what they do to water temperatures in fragile lake systems etc.”

    OK, now I get it. You are a self centered NIMBY.

    You are quite happy with despoliation of the Congo by underage miners of cobalt, and the existence of lakes if poisonous by-products of rare earth processing in China, but foam at the mouth about coal mines in Australia, where anti-pollution legislation is stricter.

    Even then, you cannot be consistent. You inveigh against “the concrete and steel for the mausoleums that burn the stuff and their 40 to 50 year recycling”, but ignore the concrete and steel for wind generators and their 10 to 15 year recycling.

    PS, have you yet collated the “facts” to demonstrate that solar, wind and batteries meet your description as “viable alternative power sources”?

    • Stu says:

      Please explain how you proceed from what I wrote to conclude “OK, now I get it. You are a self centered NIMBY”. What I reminded you to do was simply take in the externalities not including those local visual ones, the latter are too bloody obvious to ignore. As I have written before, you do seem to have trouble comprehending the written word. I guess that indicates your biases overflowing.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        Fairly simple.

        You get upset about the “externalities” of coal fired power that are visible in Australia, but react to any mention of the negative externalities of renewables elsewhere by saying “but what about the “externalities” of coal fired power that are visible in Australia.” The “externalities” of renewables seem to be far enough off for you to ignore.

        I see that you have not yet found some actual, factual, data to confirm your unsupported opinion that solar, wind and batteries are “viable alternative power sources”

        • Stu says:

          “I see that you have not yet found some actual, factual, data to confirm your unsupported opinion that solar, wind and batteries are “viable alternative power sources”. Bloody hell, thank you, I had no idea all those gigawatts of generating and storage capacity of solar, wind and batteries were unviable. I had better write to tell the operators to turn them off because they are not viable and not to build anymore. What will we do when the current old coal plants give up the ghost?

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            We will find out rather too soon what we will do “when the current old coal plants give up the ghost”.

            Despite your claims, there is no actual evidence that renewables in their current state of development can provide reliable, continuous, affordable power adequate to support a modern economy, even in its present semi-shutdown state.

            Take the Australian economy out of its current “hibernation”, and lose one coal fired station and that will be painfully clear even to you.

            “gigawatts of generating and storage capacity of solar, wind and batteries”

            I notice that, as usual, you use “capacity”, not average output, a much lower figure.

          • Stu says:

            “Take the Australian economy out of its current “hibernation”, and lose one coal fired station and that will be painfully clear even to you.”. So explain why no one can find the balls to pony up with the dollars to build a new one. That has been the case for quite a while. Anything to do with the cost differentials of new coal versus renewable?

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            More to do with the lawfare that would be waged against any such proposal.

            See Adani for an example.

            Still, it is good to see that you support ending the RET. After all, with renewables so cheap, it is surely no longer needed!

  • Stu says:

    Back to the theme of the thread, have you downloaded the Covid app?

    • Boambee John says:

      Stu

      I thought the theme was facts and opinions?

      • Stu says:

        It was but the lead subject Don used related to Corona. So, fact says download the app, opinion says “oh you can’t trust the government with that information”. Or at least that is one prevalent opinion. Back to you browneye.

        • Boambee John says:

          Stu

          “Back to you browneye.”

          I do love a polite, respectful, discussion. A specialty of so-called “progressives”.

          • Stu says:

            Sorry it was either Trumpian sarcasm or a typo, take your pick. Either way it could be a response stimulated by your consistent narkiness when responding, although I admit you were not on this particular occasion. But let us both leave it there shall we and agree to be polite to each other going forward. As the saying goes what divides us is probably less than what unites us.

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            Pardon my cynicism (not scepticism on this occasion) about your explanation.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      The government clearly recognises how dangerous (useful), this ‘app’ actually is, hence the emphasis on laws prohibiting misuse. But the government makes the laws, and the government can change them, but they won’t give you your data back. Anyone who signs up for this is in the market for a bridge.

      • Stu says:

        Can you tell us which bit of the data you are most worried about in the wrong hands? Is it the name (which can be anything you like), the postcode, your age group or your phone number? Keep in mind that only if you choose, at a later date, if contacted by Health Dept or you get the virus, does any other data leave your phone. There is no geo location data. The numbers of the people you may be near are only a code, not the actual number and same with yours to their phone. And after 21 days the data is deleted. And if you get cold feet you can delete the app any time you like. I really don’t see any problem. I have a background in this kind of stuff.

        Just to help understand where you are in this. Can you tell us if you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or ever use google or apple maps for directions? If yes, you have already given up way too much information to the dark side. And never use a store loyalty card, shick horror.

        Have you ever seen a cop show on TV where they catch the crook or terrorist by tracking his mobile signal? That is for real.

        Maybe you should just throw your phone away to be safe.

        Just use the app to assist in getting rid if this damn virus. Please.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          No, I don’t use any of them. If I need directions, I look up the address on my desktop. Google already knows where I live, I don’t need to tell it who or where I visit.

          And if the government decides to use the app for a different purpose, it will do so without reference to you, or even to parliament. They now know just how passive and obedient the Australian people actually are.

        • Boambee John says:

          Stu

          “Keep in mind that only if you choose, at a later date, if contacted by Health Dept or you get the virus, does any other data leave your phone.”

          So what is the Amazon/cloud contract for data storage do?

      • Chris Warren says:

        Bryan Roberts

        After the pandemic, you can delete the app. So what if government change laws, then.

        Provided the code is in the public domain and the download is verified, then I cannot see any reason for fears.

        Of course governments have inserted “back doors” into software, but in this case, it must be guaranteed that no such conduct CAN take place. Independent auditing of the software is necessary.

        Once this is done – download the app,it could save your life.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          “Save my life?”

          Nonsense. If I get sick from a casual contact with an infected person, I will not need the government to tell me.

        • Boambee John says:

          Chris

          “Provided the code is in the public domain and the download is verified, then I cannot see any reason for fears.”

          Is it? Has it been? Can it later be changed?

        • Stu says:

          Bryan “ Nonsense. If I get sick from a casual contact with an infected person, I will not need the government to tell me.” But will you know who the person was
          who infected you and will you know who you might have infected? Given your other statements the answer is probably yes because you may live a hermit like existence. In which case the govt and the app does not need you so forget about it and stop influencing other people to ignore the app to the detriment of public health. And if the lockdown goes on for longer we can thank you and paranoid others like you.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            More nonsense. The disease is reportable, so the government will be advised. We are constantly told how ‘successful’ we have been in limiting the spread to single figures, but now we need about twelve million people using a ‘government approved’ app to make an effective response?

            To quote the Democratic nominee “C’mon, man”.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            I would like to remind you of a fundamental principle in dealing with politicians and bureaucrats: if they are in agreement, what they are urging you to do is almost always wrong.

          • Stu says:

            The issue addressed by the app is the speed of contact tracing. Currently if you are unfortunate enough to catch it you will need to sit down and record all your contacts over previous weeks. With the app that could be (if enough use it) much faster tracing of contacts. Similarly if someone you were near developed symptoms they would notify their contacts, which would not include you if it was just a casual contact. Then in turn you could even be asymptomatic so would not even know till someone you infect does recognise you as a link and they find you. Do you understand exponential growth? But as I said if you don’t accept the justification for the app and the bona fides of the governments intentions just ignore it and shut up about it.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            Stu, there is an old proverb that is particularly apposite in these times: “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.

            They may start out that way, but look at how reluctant governments are to surrender control of our movements and our lives. Freedom is won, it is never granted.

          • Stu says:

            So let us assume they have bad intentions. Which bit of that information is problematic and what on earth will they do with it. Keeping in mind it is all on your phone till/if uploaded. I assume you will have some amazing reasoning and would love to know what it is. And do you also think 5G is a bad idea?

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            If used only to monitor coronavirus, I have no problems, but it won’t be. Behaviour of the Victorian Premier and NSW and Victorian Police. How delightful it would be to track ‘border crossers’ without having to stop them at the border. Just a fine in the mail, because they were clearly within 1.5 metres of someone else. It’s so simple, and no-one could object, because they were breaking the law.

            Stu, you are a singularly trusting and unimaginative man. Many like you rotted in prison camps.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            I am imaginative, and you definitely do not want me in Parliament.

          • Stu says:

            I agree you have an overly active imagination, perhaps you should write spy novels. Speaking of which do you really think that the metadata of your phone calls is not already being recorded by dark forces (foreign powers, who might share certain data back with oz – it is illegal for our gov to do it directly, but I am sure they have mutual sharing arrangements). I think that is totally real so I think this app is trivial. If you are not doing anything dodgy you can relax – perhaps that is why you are so concerned – whatever. Sleep well.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            Stu, you can’t denigrate any scenario, because they are all possible. I don’t trust the government. I have been a wide-eyed innocent in the past, and it has cost me lot of money. I would rather it did not cost me my liberty.

  • Stu says:

    Something took me back to earlier in the thread where Boxer made some remarkable statements showing quite a misunderstanding.

    He wrote “So then I went looking for the original terms of reference for the IPCC. To my surprise, even as an embryonic skeptic, the terms state specifically that the IPCC was to examine “human induced” climate change. This is staggeringly unscientific – to propose to expend so much time and money on investigating such an incredibly complex topic as a planet’s climate, and to sideline natural causes of climate change in the terms of reference leads me to the conclusion that those involved had already concluded that climate change was primarily a function of human factors. They could have simply proposed to examine “the causes of climate change”. The chances of climate changing as much as it has over many millennia primarily due to one greenhouse gas, which was chosen just before investigation began, is vanishingly small.”

    Checking with the IPCC I find they say “The establishment of the IPCC was endorsed by UN General Assembly in 1988. Its initial task, as outlined in UN General Assembly Resolution 43/53 of 6 December 1988, was to prepare a comprehensive review and recommendations with respect to the state of knowledge of the science of climate change; the social and economic impact of climate change, and potential response strategies and elements for inclusion in a possible future international convention on climate.”

    To save you looking res 43/53 states inter alia that “the general assembly…… recognizing the need for additional research and scientific studies into all sources and causes of climate change.” etc etc.

    Further, contrary to many of the opinions expressed in this place, the IPCC does NOT conduct research. It does NOT produce climate models etc. It is a clearing house for the summation of global research into the sciences.

    And in chasing up that I also stumbled across the transcript of Don’s 2008 talk on Ockham’s Razor on ABC radio. It was interesting reading. I am wondering if Don could provide an update of the piece since there has been quite a passage of time and knowledge since that talk? Would he change any of the talk? in particular the bit about warming.”…..it warmed again from 1975 to 1998, and then stopped warming again.”

    • Boambee John says:

      Stu

      “Further, contrary to many of the opinions expressed in this place, the IPCC does NOT conduct research. It does NOT produce climate models etc. It is a clearing house for the summation of global research”

      Indeed. Its main contribution is the Summary for Policymakers, which is a political, not a scientific, document.

      You might recall that this has been the cause of some angst among the scientific contributors. This has been caused by the IPCC summary drafters having a tendency to cherry pick bits that support their political aims, and ignore what doesn’t.

      Far from KRudd’s “humourless men and women in white coats”, the IPCC provides the agenda of politicians in smoke filled (metaphorically only, of course) back rooms.

  • Neville says:

    Here is a transcript of Don’s Ockham’s Razor talk in 2008. I’ll try and find part 2 that was delivered the following week.
    Very good summary Don and fairly hard to find fault with, particularly as this was 12 years ago.

    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/a-challenge-to-global-warming-orthodoxies—part/3267412

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the transcript of part 2 of Don’s talk at the ABC, May 2008. Very sound, intelligent thinking in my view.

    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/a-challenge-to-global-warming-orthodoxies—part/3262004

  • Neville says:

    To be fair here’s Dr Stephen Schneider’s response to Don’s ABC talks.
    This was also May 2008 and just look at the stupid waste and mess we’ve gotten ourselves into over the last 12 years.
    Co2 emissions have continued to soar thanks to China, India and developing countries, while co2 emissions from the wealthy OECD countries have fallen.

    Or we can even go back 50 years to 1970 and look at the average lower 2020 co2 emissions of USA+EU 28+ Japan etc compared to non OECD countries and the difference is easily understood. So why do these so called scientists always ignore this evidence from the real world and seem to prefer silly religious nonsense from their fantasy planet?
    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/the-global-warming-debate—professor-stephen/3273894

  • Chris Warren says:

    “OK, now I get it. You are a self centered NIMBY”.

    A very nasty, disruptive comment from someone who is more interested in disrupting discussion than pursuing it.

    Any they cry like babies when they are paid back in their own coin.

  • Stu says:

    The Schneider piece is excellent. I would like to see a response from Don, or anyone else here for that matter, regarding what Schneider wrote back then, . It strikes me as a very lucid explanation and raises again the issue of risk management regarding climate change and why the lassaiz-faire approach of do nothing or just “adapt” is poor policy. So sad that Schneider died too early.

    • Neville says:

      Gosh stu and evidently the countries’ co2 emissions data/evidence since 1970, 1990 or from 2008 can be ignored then?
      Look up the Wiki graph again and start to wake up.

    • Boambee John says:

      Stu

      “So sad that Schneider died too early.”

      Indeed. He could have clarified the whole Nobel Prize issue.

    • Stu says:

      Neville, I wrote “issue of risk management regarding climate change and why the lassaiz-faire approach of do nothing or just “adapt” is poor policy. ”.

      As is your style you totally ignored that and come with something unrelated about countries CO2 emissions and ignoring them. Explain the logic process where you developed that from what I wrote. Unless that is, you are simply saying yes do nothing is fine, you have no view of risk management. As an aside do you insure your house and your car? Both examples of risk management.

      And BJ, what Nobel prize issue, or seeing you are in the Trump camp the Noble prize issue?

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        Perhaps you had flounced off at the time, but a few threads back, the issue of whether the members of the IPCC team awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (a political, not a scientific prize) could claim to be Nobel Prize winners came up in the context of Mann and others, including Schneider. Much discussion ensued, until it became clear that they could not. The issue was then confined to the forgettory by those who said incorrectly that the title of Nobel Laureate could be used.

        One of the more amusing sub-threads.

  • Neville says:

    Dr Schneider seems to be wrong about many things, certainly SLR, extreme weather events, certainly Holocene temps compared to coldest during LIA and warmest during early Holocene optimum. Also Antarctic and Greenland ice and the higher warming rate of the early 20th century compared to warming since about 1995 in Greenland.
    See the recent Vinther etc studies for Greenland and his longer earlier study used available temp recorded over 200 years. This long measured study included both Dr Jones and Dr Briffa from the UK.
    See also much higher SLs during the early warmer Holocene and SLs on our east coast are about 1.5 metres lower today than just 4,000 years ago. See ABC Catalyst Narrabeen man.

  • Neville says:

    Here AGAIN is Dr John Christy’s 2019 talk at the GWPF where he puts their so called climate change claims to the test.

    https://www.thegwpf.com/putting-climate-change-claims-to-the-test/

  • Neville says:

    Wonderful news that the con merchants and fraudsters are very upset with Michael Moore’s new video, pointing out the environmental disaster caused by their so called renewable energy.
    Upside down Mann is also complaining about the video, so we know that Moore must be on the right track.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/apr/24/michael-moore-turns-climate-left-film-skewering-gr/

    • Boambee John says:

      Neville

      Not a problem. Much of the environmental disaster is overseas, and a lot of it in Australia (wind and solar farms in rural areas) is out of sight, out of mind. It doesn’t affect the urban NIMBYs.

      Still the reaction is amusing. The “progressives” do hate any apostasy at all. The film supports the whole CAGW fantasy, but it criticises the polluting, subsidy farming, renewables so-called “solution”. For this, Moore et al must be excommunicated.

  • Stu says:

    Neville and BJ, regarding Scheider. Let us use some logic on the subject. You say Schneider and the entire IPCC apparatus of contributors are completely wrong on everything. You said he was “…..wrong about many things, certainly SLR, extreme weather events, certainly Holocene temps compared to coldest during LIA and warmest during early Holocene optimum. Also Antarctic and Greenland ice and the higher warming rate of the early 20th century compared to warming since about 1995 in Greenland.” And by implication the entire position of AGW.

    But this to me is the interesting bit. You can’t have it both ways. If the science is still not certain and the conclusions of the IPCC all wrong how is that the contra view can be certain. And if not certain what are the confidence limits on the findings and predictions of the contra side. In the case if the IPCC all the studies and conclusions have the confidence levels spelled out clearly.

    Regarding Don’s opinion piece and Schneider’s, both are ageing now (the articles I mean) so it is not unreasonable to request a review after 12 years. Especially as I have not found a direct rebuttal by Don of the Schneider paper/talk which followed his. I do not accept your implied assertion that nothing much has changed so why bother.

    For reference here is a bit from Schneider.

    “30 years ago this was rejected by many, including yours truly. What is new is that back then it was mostly theory, and in the three or so decades since the mid-1970s, when warming became more likely than cooling in most assessments, what we’re seeing is that nature has been co-operating with theory-we are observing much more evidence of warming. That is why there’s such concern all around the globe that we need to cope with climate change and its impacts. Unfortunately, there are some self-professed climate contrarians who try to discredit the strong scientific consensus, by citing what they believe to be data that disproves the consensus. Rarely are such contrarians front-line climate scientists, in contrast to the CSIRO or IPCC assessors, who are. And too often they indulge in polemical tactics. Some environmental activists also exaggerate the risks by citing false trends. For example, after a big volcanic eruption that took place in 1992, the earth’s temperature cooled a few tenths of a degree Celsius globally for a few years; whereas in 1998 it set a warming record because of a Super El Nino event. It would have been irresponsible for any environmental advocate to selectively “cherry-pick” that short-term data time series and claim that warming from 1992 to 2000 is scary proof of accelerated warming. Likewise, there are those like Don Aitkin who unfortunately claim that the few years from 1998 until now, falsifies global warming because there’s been little warming trend in the wake of the Super El Nino of 1998. Real climate trends must be defined over decades, not a few years.

    That Don Aitkin indulged in such false contrarian science is sad, and I’m afraid is all too representative of the scientific merits of most of his arguments in his talk.”

    • Boambee John says:

      Stu

      I am not sure if you have a tital inability to comprehend plain English, or you just lazily conflate entirely separate responses because you can’t be bothered making separate responses.

      My comment in relation to the IPCC was:

      “Indeed. Its main contribution is the Summary for Policymakers, which is a political, not a scientific, document.

      You might recall that this has been the cause of some angst among the scientific contributors. This has been caused by the IPCC summary drafters having a tendency to cherry pick bits that support their political aims, and ignore what doesn’t.

      Far from KRudd’s “humourless men and women in white coats”, the IPCC provides the agenda of politicians in smoke filled (metaphorically only, of course) back rooms.”

      I see no clear linkage between that comment and you rabbiting on about what Schneider had to say.

      Do try to focus a bit more.

      • Stu says:

        Actually the situation after 2008 does warrant attention. And only a few of the names you mention would garner much respect in climate science circles. Of the others they can disagree, happens in all fields, just like the story below, but does not make their views right. Funny how virtually all environmentally focused groups and people remain frustrated at the failure of the majority of governments to act responsibly on this issue while you claim it is all a hoax and the buggers have totally hijacked the debate. Confusing to say the least.

        And you have overlooked the key point yet again. How come the science people are completely wrong but your side are completely correct? Amazing claim. Please answer.

        I refer you once more to the informative book “the Merchants of Doubt”. Or you can get the short form lead in story via Dr Karl on ABC talking about the tobacco industry. He refers to climate change near the end. The key point is that the brilliant PR strategy adopted by big tobacco was later adopted by the vested interests in this debate, and even started with some of the same players.

        Like with tobacco and cancer eventually the penny will drop regarding human activity and climate change, hopefully before it is too late. But don’t worry, in the tobacco story there are few records of people recanting, they simply fade away or quietly shift sides hoping to go unnoticed.

        You find Dr Karl here https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/greatmomentsinscience/dr-karl-tobacco-denialism-part-one/11227860

        And part 2

        https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/greatmomentsinscience/tobacco-denialism-part-two/11254030

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Stu; for my review of the Cool Look at Global Warming paper, ten years later, go to <http://donaitkin.com/a-cool-look-at-global-warming-ten-years-later-part-i/>

      • Don Aitkin says:

        The second part appeared a week later: use the same URL but with part ii as part of the link.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Dr Stephen Schneider took me to task in another Ockham’s Razor talk. This was my
          response to him. I received no reply.

          Dear Dr Schneider,

          My Ockham’s razor talks were not addressed to you, nor yours to me. We were both
          trying to reach an educated, interested audience. But I thought it might be worth my
          commenting on some of the things you said. I am increasingly struck by the similarity of the AGW debate to the struggle between the Church of Rome and the Protestant
          dissenters in the 16th century and afterwards. The Church claimed the right to mediate
          between the believer and God, while the Protestants argued that each of us could
          establish a personal communication with God. Throughout your talk I could hear
          someone talking in the tones of ‘received wisdom’. My sceptical, protestant mind begins to object as soon as I hear anyone talk like this, no matter how many years they have worked in a field, no matter how many peer-reviewed papers they have published, no matter what their title. They are claiming authority. I don’t accept it.

          And as soon as I began to read I started to shake my head. You must know that the way you describe the IPCC process is a form of ‘wall-papering’. The numbers you quote are not accurate measures of what actually happens. For me the notion of ‘consensus’ in this debate is intellectual bunk, and you know why. Phrases like ‘the vast bulk of knowledgeable climate scientists’ (you like ‘vast’) cut no ice with me at all. I think I have spent as long as you in the world of peer review, and as I have written elsewhere, it gets only two cheers from me. The defence of ‘peer review’ in this domain is a poor one, and again, you know why. The notion that the IPCC’s use of numbers to describe its sense of the probability that statements are true is again a form of wall-papering. These numbers have no basis in measurement at all, and you know that.

          You spend some time in showing that the earth has been warming, and there we have no real argument, for I said so too. But you still use 1998 as the hottest year, though GISS has now conceded that it was not. You don’t mention the problem of argument — that if natural variations like El Nino can cause higher temperatures than expected, what is then the contribution of AGW? Like many others, who have written to me about what they think I have said or written, you jump too quickly to what you think I said, rather than to what I did say. I did not, as you say, ‘claim that the few years from 1998 until now falsifies global warming…’ I mentioned that period twice — from the first talk: ‘If we look at the last century, then it warmed from about 1910 to 1940, when it stopped warming, It warmed again from 1975 to 1998, and then it stopped warming again.’ From the second talk: ‘After a peak in 1998, the result apparently of an El Nino episode temperature has not increased, though carbon dioxide has gone on doing so.’ Where is the ‘false contrarian science’ in that?

          You say that thermometers don’t lie, but you don’t say that there are many thermometers, and they don’t all show the same things. The central England thermometers, perhaps the longest continuous and supposedly accurate set in the world, don’t show any particular trend since the middle 17th century. HadCRUT3v shows a clear decline from 1998. Most of the warming seems to have occurred in the northern hemisphere, where most of the people are. And so on. I think you have an obligation to deal with these inconvenient data, and I’ll go on being someone who thinks Popper got it right, and that Feyerabend had some insight too.

          My approach is to ask what I think are central, sensible questions, and go on doing so
          until I get good answers, or discover that there aren’t any. I haven’t published any peer reviewed (has Al Gore?) but I have spent a long time in science policy and in helping to reach decisions about the spending of large amount of money on scientific research proposals, both in Australia and Canada.

          At the end you dismiss people who ask questions, like me, as someone who belongs to ‘a small band of people who represent only themselves’. Whom do you represent? As an academic I have been a ‘public intellectual’ for forty years, and in that time I have tried to explain to readers of newspapers what I think the important issues of the day are and how they might engage with them. In doing so I am always trespassing on other people’s patches, and I make no apology for doing so. My interest is in a better democracy, whose citizens are concerned about problems and their solution. But I try not to engage in polemics, or to get into the ad hominem style, which is so much part of any political debate. I believe that my position is an honourable and essential one, and when I read a transcript like yours, I feel even more positive about the virtue of what I am doing. To return to where I began, your talk sounds like the high priest in action. I’m not much into high priests, especially when they preach global salvation.

          If you want to be taken seriously as a scientist in this debate, it seems to me, you have to deal with the problems of measurements and argument, not to brush them aside because you think you have a ‘vast consensus’ on your side. You haven’t, and you know it.

          20 May 2008

      • Stu says:

        Don, thank you for those links, it is interesting to close that ring a little. It is sad that Schneider was struck down so soon after that and could not address your issues of measurement etc.

        As you state you don’t accept claims of or relevance of consensus in science. And you wrote to Schneider “Throughout your talk I could hear someone talking in the tones of ‘received wisdom’. My sceptical, protestant mind begins to object as soon as I hear anyone talk like this, no matter how many years they have worked in a field, no matter how many peer-reviewed papers they have published, no matter what their title. They are claiming authority. I don’t accept it.”

        As I have proposed to others here, if upheld as valid does your argument not also weaken the claims you make or support? Which leaves the non specialist in the subject to balance competing claims and it is surely not unreasonable for a large number (a majority even) to side with the view that appears to have the greatest support and currency in the science marketplace.

        They won’t answer that question but I hope you will. And given your much greater knowledge and experience in academic argument I would expect you to thrash a mere amateur such as me, but I would like to read it even if I don’t choose to accept it. Because “no matter how many years they have worked in a field, no matter how many peer-reviewed papers they have published, no matter what their title. They are claiming authority. I don’t accept it”

        It appears that lock-ins and social distancing may be providing too much time for what are probably nugatory pursuits like this, but what the hell.

        Cheers

        PS Did I ever tell you that “the Innings biography” was a great yarn, well done.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Stu, I wrote to him in May 2008 and he died at the end of July 2010. I do not believe he had any interest in replying to me, over issues of measurement or anything else. He had plenty time to at least acknowledge.

          Does my scepticism apply to me too? Of course it does. But for the most part, I don’t make claims. It is not DA who is asserting that the end is nigh. If someone can show me that the warming of the first part of the 20th century is categorically unlike that of the second part, then I will change my current doubt that there is a difference. If someone can show me categorically that the periodic shifts from cooling to warming over the last few thousand years of human existence didn’t happen, and that the warming of the present is therefore literally unprecedented, then I will change my current doubt that there is nothing much ‘unprecedented’ about the recent warming. I said all this twelve years ago, and still there is no recent evidence to make me change my mind. ‘Climate sensitivity’ still rocks on at 1.5 to 4.5 times a doubling of CO2, despite thirty years of effort to slim the margin down. Gloomy predictions about the future are still based on climate that seem to run too hot and economic models that tell us what things will be like in eighty years’ time. If only they could get next year right. In short, as I have kept on saying, the whole CAGW edifice seems to be built on sand.

          I was asking Schneider to get past ‘I am an authority and all the leading scientists I know agree with me’ to grapple with the kinds of issues I have set out above. He wouldn’t do it, and indeed couldn’t do it. There is a real problem there, the one Judith Curry called ‘the uncertainty monster’. It can’t be wriggled around, though many people, like Gavin Schmidt, have done their best to do so. There is too much uncertainty for a sceptic like me to go along with the orthodoxy.

          Belief is not part of my intellectual framework, other than in a trivial sense (that the sun will rise tomorrow etc). I accept that it is important for some to go with what the authorities say, as I do myself, with respect to COVID-19, for example. My life and work have been in part the output of a maverick, for which I suffered over the years. Looking back, I am happy with what I have done and what I am doing.

          Glad you liked The Innings Biography. It was followed by Harry’s Choice, a love story about two people who meet again 25 years later, and will soon be followed by Persistence, the latter another mystery yarn, involving three young people searching for the reason why the father of one of them forbad his daughter to climb The Castle, a great mountain near Milton NSW. The current novel I am workington is a space fiction yarn set in the 12th century France. I keep on writing!

  • Neville says:

    Stu, Don didn’t say the pause disproved AGW theory at all, but it was another thing to think about. But if Don feels the need I’ll let him respond.
    But I’m sure there’s little to be concerned about and I’m very sure that there’s nothing we can do about it at all. Look at the co2 emissions data over the last 50 years. And BTW Dr Lindzen, Dr Christy, Dr Curry, Dr Spencer, Dr Ridd, Dr Marohasy etc are right in the front line in this debate, so that’s another point where Dr Schneider was wrong.
    Although I’m sure that most scientists agree that humans have probably had some impact on the temp etc over the last 30 years or since 350 ppm level was reached.
    But mitigation is the greatest fraud and con trick ever, so we’re left with adaptation and new tech, like modular nukes until something else comes along.
    Dr Schneider also seems to understand there are the problems of clouds in the mix and perhaps we may learn more in the future and adjust our thoughts and add them to the tally? Who knows?

  • Chris Warren says:

    Rather rarely, Neville posts useful material and Ockham’s Razor (under Robyn Williams) is an instance. Ockham’s Razor is a source of good, interesting, argument. I also presented on Ockham’s Razor a few years ago so there is some motive to review Don’s presentations over 10 years ago.

    Don presented three key questions: First, is the earth warming? Second, is this warming unprecedented? Third, are humans the cause. He also floated the canards that we will be seeing global cooling through clouds or through sunspot variations.

    We now know that 1) the Earth is warming, 2) it is unprecedented (within the period of our species existence), and 3) that humans are the cause.

    The only remaining question is whether it is dangerous.

    As this is a question for the future, it seems that here, Don leaves the field stating, “I do not owe obligations to a dimly perceived and uncertain future: my role is to try to make this society, and my time, as good as they could be.”

    This is the point. If you think there is no obligation to the future, then you can exploit as much fossil fuel, natural forests, and marine resources as you like if it make your time on Earth “as good as it could be”.

    However, if you think that one ought to leave the Earth at least as fine as you received it, if not better, then you have to respond to the needs of the future – your children and grandchildren.

    There is now no doubt that if present trends continue there will be a global, humanitarian catastrophe beyond comprehension. We don’t know when, but we do know how.

    There were other points in Don’s two presentations concerning conclusions drawn from 1998 and 1940 temperatures and claims associated with Medieval Warming, Little Ice Ages and with sunspots. Like a few others, Don ran the line that “A new sunspot cycle is predicted to keep temperatures down over the next decade or so”. Thankfully all these issues are pretty-much done and dusted now, although there is still plenty of opportunity for some to play Sir Humphrey Appleby in this space.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Chris, you say: ‘We now know that 1) the Earth is warming, 2) it is unprecedented (within the period of our species existence), and 3) that humans are the cause.’

      With respect, these are simply assertions, and to support them you provide no argument, data or even links to the work of others. To take your points seriatim:

      (1) The Earth is warming. I might agree, depending on the time period. It seems to have been cooling since the Holocene Optimum.
      (2) It is unprecedented… No, not at all, unless you dismiss the Little Ice Age, the Mediaeval Warm Period and the other ups and downs over the past few thousand years. Why would you do that? On whose work would you be relying?
      (3) Humans are the cause. Nah, we may have played a small part, but see my response to Stu a little above. Again, how do you deal with Climate Sensitivity? How do you deal with the warming of the first part of the 20th century?

      I accept that you are a believer, but I find it hard to accept what you write as a real contribution to discussion.

      By the way, you can’t really float a (metaphorical) canard. And where do I say that there will be cooling from sun spot variations or clouds? I have said that some solar physicists say these things, but only to make readers aware that indeed some of them do. For myself, I wait to see if they are right.

      As I have said to Stu, I remain sceptical about all the claims in this field.

      • Boambee John says:

        Don

        Very well said. Assertions (opinions) are not the same as facts.

        There needs to be evidence presented that periods like the Minoan and Roman Optimums, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age did not occur before present changes can be described as “unprecedented”. Evidence that the anthropogenic influence on climate ourweighs all natural variation is also needed.

  • Stu says:

    Don, good to see you most definitely have not lost your mojo. Thank you for providing this forum for “discussion”. Hopefully not putting words in the mouth of Chris, we appreciate being able to challenge ideas. We know we cannot change any opinion here but it challenges us to sharpen our arguments and to know, if never understand, what the opposing argument is about. We can then, or certainly I try, to use that knowledge in other places, where I can claim some success to opening eyes. The one advantage that Chris and I have is the almost religious (in my case definitely not) “faith” (tricky word) that events will prove our position correct. Meantime 2020 is already showing some very peculiar and extreme “weather” events in the northern hemisphere that are quite troubling to some in the business. We will see where the NH weather and the Arctic Ice mass takes us this northern summer. And that may have in time translate to climate. Back to “who do you believe” I guess.

    Finally a poll. I get the impression that some here would rather the space be just a jolly gathering of like minds all nodding that climate change is a silly idea and/or there is no possibility of changing the outcome anyway. If that is so let us know and I for one will waste my time elsewhere. But I do enjoy sparring and the negative stuff has really sharpened my knowledge. Even when some push my buttons because of obtuse refusal to respond meaningfully, it is at the end of the day all in good humour from my point of view. Life is too short for any other approach.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Stu, I write this website partly because I like/need to write, and because I used to write newspaper columns. It keeps me interested in issues. If people want to Comment, then this is fine by me. I moderate the comments only to keep the discussion as civil as I can. I respond only if my name is mentioned and there seems to be a misapprehension. I also write novels, as you know, so I have other outlets for my creativity, and play the piano, walk, cook and so on. I think you and others keep discussions going, and that is fine with me.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Don

    You ask “where do I say that there will be cooling from sun spot variations or clouds”?

    There is nowhere where you said “there will be cooling”. There is only the rhetoric devices I cited which covers these points.

    i think the Holocene stuff has been churned over many times by now. Of course the Earth has been cooling over the Holocene – this is due to Milankovitch Cycles. The solar insolation has fallen over the last 10,000 years. Data, daily mean, (going back in 500yr increments) is:

    -10.000 443.032712
    -9.500 445.127140
    -9.000 447.026498
    -8.500 448.698457
    -8.000 450.082908
    -7.500 451.130207
    -7.000 451.836167
    -6.500 452.217249
    -6.000 452.241725
    -5.500 451.877274
    -5.000 451.166790
    -4.500 450.151781
    -4.000 448.829305
    -3.500 447.227951
    -3.000 445.403029
    -2.500 443.395724
    -2.000 441.256792
    -1.500 439.040424
    -1.000 436.793953
    -0.500 434.579110
    0.000 432.443397

    Current warming directly contradicts the present Milankovitch cooling situation. It has to be human caused.

    There is no scientific alternative that I have seen.

    The warming up to 1940 relates to the cool to warm trend shown here:

    http://archive.is/X92Hf

    we are getting warming now when both these natural causes should have produced cooling.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Chris, if there is ‘nowhere’ that I actually said something, then don’t ascribe these opinions to me. I am careful in what I write. I think you should be the same, and not assume that ‘rhetoric devices’ cover your mistake.

      Later on you say that there is no scientific alternative to the cause of global warming that you have seen. Therefore it must be human-caused. But to argue that way assumes that all the relevant scientific knowledge is available to you. Can that really be the case? It would be more accurate to say that in 2020 there is not a scientific alternative known to you, and until one appears you are going to believe what you believe

      My assumption, for what it is worth, is that much more scientific knowledge will come available as the years progress, and we will see things from a better knowledge base. You may still be right, at least in 2037 or whenever, but our knowledge of nature will enlarge and improve, and things we took for granted in 2020 we will no longer take for granted. There are unknown unknowns out there.

      • Chris Warren says:

        Don

        There was no mistake if you cite the actual sentence.

        I do not assume that “all the relevant scientific knowledge is available to you.” It is enough to have sufficient relevant scientific knowledge. This consists of measurements and proxies. I do not use models as all my statements are prefaced by “if present trends continue ….”.

        It is not a case of “believe what you believe” outside the realm of concrete science. Anyone can, and should, believe in science.

        In 2020, there is no scientific alternative to the known facts concerning the warming of the atmosphere due to GHGs and the is no scientific alternative to the rate of increase and the levels of GHGs.

        There are (at this stage) no “unknown, unknowns” that impact on rising GHG’s and while there must be new details to be revealed, these could easily suggest that current warming will only get worse if human damage to the atmosphere accelerates or if we move into more adverse conditions of underlying natural cycles (Milankovitch, El Nino, AMO etc).

        It may have been plausible, 10 years ago, to suspect that the sun spot cycle would produce cooling, or that increased CO2 growth would level off, or that land ice would increase etc etc, but the over 40 years of data we now have demonstrates otherwise. Past confusions as to pauses and hiatus have been resolved. Expectations of logarithmic net effect have been disproven due to feedbacks.

        There is now no corroborated science that contradicts human caused global warming so we have to consider what will happen in the future. Once there is enough heat in the system to melt land ice – the melting does not stop unless the heating stops. Summer land temperatures in the northern hemisphere (month of July) are now warming at a rate of 3C per century. While it may not have been clear 10 or 20 years ago, we now have the science to show that the top 100m of oceans are showing clear signs of warming and Roy Spencer’s LT data is now showing more warming than 10 years ago. So we need to consider what sort of world we are leaving for our grandchildren.

        If there is contradictory science – at the same level as that produced by Australian Academy of Science fellows, or senior staff at ANU, MIT, NOAA, Cambridge, or CSIRO – then I would like to see it.

        Comments such as, “we will see things from a better knowledge base. ” are generic statements and future knowledge may well suggest that these matters are much worse than they appear now. Luckily there are steps we can take now to ensure that future knowledge moves in our favour.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Blith’s interpretation of “fact” as compared to opinion;

          “There is now no corroborated science that contradicts human caused global warming”

          Green blindness dominated political parties, our institutions, our countries and the United Nations. Trillions have been requested to solve future possible problems for nature.

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/27/from-green-blindness-to-a-new-reality/

        • Boambee John says:

          Chris

          “There are (at this stage) no “unknown, unknowns” that impact on rising GHG’s”

          That is a statement of faith (an opinion) not a statement of science (a fact).

          By definition, you cannot know that there are no “unknown unknowns”.

          • Stu says:

            ““There are (at this stage) no “unknown, unknowns” that impact on rising GHG’s”
            That is a statement of faith (an opinion) not a statement of science (a fact).”. One of the “knowns” is that the increasing Co2 is coming from the burning of ancient sunlight ie coal and oil. They have a particular fingerprint. Any comment?

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            Way to miss the point. The comment related to “unknown unknowns”. Stick to that point.

            For the benefit of the slow, that means things we do not even know we don’t know. What is the relationship between that and the known fact that burning fossil fuels releases CO2 into the atmosphere?

            The quoted comment by Chris was, to put it tactfully, at best ignorant and at worst arrogant. Your attempt to divert from that was just silly.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Chris, I’m not sure what sentence I should be citing, but you did write this:

          ‘Current warming directly contradicts the present Milankovitch cooling situation. It has to be human caused.
          There is no scientific alternative that I have seen.’

          To say ‘It has to be human caused’ assumes that you have all the knowledge that is necessary to support that statement. You then go on to say that ‘There is no scientific alternative that I have seen.’ That is a much weaker statement, but it conforms to my suggestion that you should have written that in 2020 the knowledge available to you does not support anything other than human cause.

          Do you see the difference? The first sentence is very strong. The second is much weaker. The two together jar, and you have a tendency to go with the first, rather than the second.

          Even ‘the present Milankovitch cooling situation’ is a hypothesis, not a fact. There is a great deal still to be learned about climate, and what we know in 2020 seems to me to be awfully inadequate to support large claims about coming doom. But no doubt that’s just me.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Don

            It is not reasonable to insert the claim about “all” the science. There is “sufficient” science to state;

            “‘Current warming directly contradicts the present Milankovitch cooling situation. It has to be human caused.”

            There is abundant science on this that has not been contradicted by equivalent science.

            There is: http://archive.is/uTYlR and NOAA states that:

            “…we know without doubt that this proven “astronomical” climate forcing mechanism cannot be responsible for the warming over the last 100 years.”

            There is further material in: “Earth’s climate and orbital eccentricity : the marine isotope stage 11 question (2003)” / André W. Droxler, Richard Z. Poore, Lloyd H. Burckle editors

            The link between earth’s orbit and temperature has been in the literature since 1969 at least. For example:

            Dansgaard, W., Johnsen, S. J., Moller, J., & Langway, C. C. (1969). One Thousand Centuries of Climatic Record from Camp Century on the Greenland Ice Sheet. “Science”, 166(3903), 377–380.

            There is no way all this can be categorised as a “hypothesis”. The evidence is far too strong.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Chris, I wrote ‘all the knowledge’, not ‘all the science’. There is an important difference. I insist, again, that you do not have all the knowledge to support the claim that ‘current warming’ … ‘has to be human caused’. The sources you offer do not contain ‘all the knowledge’. They can’t. Do you really imagine that in say 2050 what you know today will still be the cutting edge of knowledge about these matters? Surely not.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Don

            I do not think I ever mentioned “knowledge” as distinct from “science”.

            Where precisely is this – I may have mentioned “scientific knowledge”.

            In any other usage – the context would be scientific knowledge.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Oh dear. Chris, I, not you, made the point about ‘knowledge’. You used the word ‘science’. Now while science is a form of knowledge, there is a lot of knowledge that is presently hidden from us, and is not part of current ‘science’, which is what we can glean from science in 2020. Real knowledge would allow your claim that the warming must be human caused to be properly tested. All you can say at the moment is that given what you can find in the current scientific literature you feel strongly that the warming must be human caused. Fair enough. You go on from the base to assert that it will go on getting warmer and warmer, and doom lies ahead unless we do the things you want done. Maybe you’re right, but I don’t see sufficient evidence in current ‘science’ to support such an extension.

            What’s more, I see no evidence that the warming we have had so far has been other than good for humanity, and so on. I think you find the evidence you like, and ignore the evidence you don’t like (as with climate sensitivity, warmer and cooler periods in the past, and so on). Maybe we all do that, though I try hard not to do so.

            And you tend to cover your tracks a lot by saying after the event that you really meant this or that, or that knowledge must mean scientific knowledge. Hence this mildly exasperated response, which will be my last on this point, I think.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s some things we do know. In 1920 co2 levels were about 303 ppm, in 1940 about 310 ppm, in 1976 about 332 ppm, in 1988 about 350 ppm and today 412+ ppm.
    So the warming from 1920 to 1940 occurred when co2 levels were very low and the later warm period (1975 to 1998) occurred when levels were much higher.
    And the RECORDED Greenland temps show that the earlier 20th century warming rate was higher than the later rate of warming, or from 1975 to ’98 and helped by that high temp in’98 due to a very strong el nino.
    Also the earlier Hol optimum SLs were much higher than today and the previous Eemian inter-glacial was much warmer than the Holocene and again SLs were much higher than the Hol optimum period.
    Of course those much warmer periods + much higher SLs occurred when co2 levels were in the range of 275 to 285 ppm.

  • Neville says:

    BTW here’s that Vinther Greenland temp study extending back about 200 years. Note the two most famous UK scientists as co- authors and remember Dr Jones’ vile comments celebrating the death of John Daly in Tassie. Daly was a brilliant data man and haunted these alarmists until the end of his life.
    Also compare the Table 8 decades for decades up to year 2,000 and you’ll find that the 1930s and 1940s were the warmest decades and the last two decades ( 1981 to 2000) had cooler annual temps than 1921 to 1980.
    And they compared well with the years 1900 to 1920 as well and only slightly warmer.
    Of course one day the AMO will switch back to the cool phase and we’ll probably see cooler temps for the NH for a further 2 to 3 decades again. But as to when and for how long it lasts is still a puzzle.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/251433478_Extending_Greenland_temperature_records_into_the_late_eighteenth_century

  • spangled drongo says:

    As someone who has been data logging wildlife with weekly records supported by twice-daily inspections of national parks and surrounding bushland over the last 30 years, I come across many observations that cannot be accounted for in the bibles of the experts.

    I have been to many conventions with these very knowledgeable experts and they are wonderful people, writers of books and producers of scientific papers that show their complete dedication to their subject.

    One thing that does become obvious after 30 years of this sort of involvement, however, is that there are still many things those same experts don’t know.

    Just yesterday I came across a sizeable flock of rather rare birds that all the personal and published advice from these experts tell us do not flock and at most are only seen as a pair with a young family.

    Yet here were a flock of at least 50, either migrating or following a food source.

    More fascinating facts v opinions.

    It is this continuing observation and proof of the ignorance of all very able experts that makes rational people very sceptical of claims made under the well known unknowns of climate science.

    • Stu says:

      I think there is much more to global climate research than a flock of parrots in your backyard. Bur perhaps you are much more important than I realise.

      • spangled drongo says:

        As I have remarked many times, stu, you are not one to be very aware of the real world outside your window and you demonstrate it all the time.

        When you associate with published professors who pontificate on the real world and you find from real world obs that they make errors with even simple things, it tends to make you sceptical of their “facts” on stuff they would have an even more slippery grip on.

        It shows that they, like you, don’t always pay attention and are therefore not always aware of certain things.

        I’m happy to admit that I am ignorant of many things because I am only human and err a lot.

        That is what humans do.

        Wake up.

        Get sceptical.

  • Neville says:

    The govt’s flu tracker page hasn’t been updated since 12-4-20, although data has been collected up to 16th April.
    Australia and all states etc are shown and so far there seems to be a very low reportage of flu like symptoms from around the country, compared to 2019 and the average for the last 5 years.
    Many more people have been vaccinated so far and with much more care and isolation, washing hands etc it looks like there could be lower numbers for “catching the flu” in 2020. Time will tell.

    file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/WeeklyReport_202016_AU.pdf

  • Neville says:

    Here Willis Eschenbach looks at the recent Vinther study of the Greenland temps over the last 12,000 years.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/08/greenland-is-way-cool/

    • spangled drongo says:

      Neville, lets hope our blith reads it to shine a light on his foolishly claimed fact “There is now no corroborated science that contradicts human caused global warming”.

      He really does live in the dark, that boy.

    • Stu says:

      That is classic denialist baloney. So what if 10,000 years ago it was warmer than now. Keeping it simple for the simple folk consider this. We came out of an ice age explained by Milankovitch etc and having warmed up commenced the long decline to a new ice age. (I condense the scales and the argument but reasonable people will see the point]. Then our wonderful european intellect enables the industrial revolution, initially strangely enough with renewable energy (mainly hydro) and then coal followed later by oil. And the scientifically expected decline of world temperature changed and against the odds started to rise. And we are where we are. Something to do with putting back into the air sunlight (carbon) in 100 years what it took the earth 100 million years to bury. Some would say of course “so what”.

      The key message is that at a time when the known drivers of climate indicate we should be heading to a new cold time, we are not. Even the knockers have a problem coming up, having pushed the sunspot theory (go Willy, have not seen you lately) that we should be cooling, we will soon be warming even more perhaps with sunspots added to CO 2.

      The coming NH summer will be interesting weather wise. There are predictions of increased hurricane activity based on ocean temperatures. Time will tell on that one and just like the current cold spell in NE USA, offset by the unusual hot weather in the rest of the US, it is just weather. But a few years of it may tell a different story. Come on guys lean on the current cold spell in New England as proof there is no global warming, I dare you.

      Oh and by the way have you seen that TDS has been reversed and now applies to Trumpists. It has long been accepted that the top end of town support Trump because of the tax cuts etc but why the uneducated, poor folk of middle America. Now it appears that even though Republican policies do nothing for them they have become infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome. Amazing. The Dems are turning this derisive terminology back on the Trump campaign. Brilliant.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        Put down the bong, bad for you!

        • Stu says:

          Drop the snide rebuttal, how about some counter argument, or don’t you have one?

          • Boambee John says:

            Stu

            You claim to follow “the science”, but your posts are far too often emotional, not factual, in nature. I have learned from experience that there is no point in trying to rebut emotion.

            As for counter argument, you have also made it clear that you are fully committed to your beliefs. Life is too short to argue with closed minds.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “Something to do with putting back into the air sunlight (carbon) in 100 years what it took the earth 100 million years to bury.”

        When volcanoes do it, stu, it cools the earth but when humans do it, it warms? Oh dear!

        But don’t stop there. We’re still waiting for you and blith to tell us something that is happening today under this “huge” ACO2 load that didn’t happen in that warmer, higher sea level, lower ACO2, past.

        What a shame you can never come up with anything.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Neville

      What is your point?

      The temp response to CO2 is not the same as the temp response to falling insolation due to Milankovitch cycles.

      You have just copy-pasted stuff without any understanding.

  • Neville says:

    Just for our pair of silly donkeys AGAIN. Find Dr Christy’s use of Stein et al study that shows global sea ice today to be higher than so much of the last 10,000 years, EXCEPT during the LIA.
    Go down to Stein’s graph as linked by Dr Christy in his GWPF talk last year. Don’t forget earlier Holocene is on the right and recent, LIA, 20th century etc to the left.

    https://www.thegwpf.com/putting-climate-change-claims-to-the-test/

    • Stu says:

      Some interesting stuff in there. I do have trouble with the emphasis on “……..
      the temperature of the atmosphere between 30,000 and 40,000 feet in the tropics, 20oN to 20oS.” We are all familiar with life there while sitting in aeroplanes. Surface temperatures are a different thing.

      Most science is science and evolves by testing hypotheses. And then there are organisations like GWPF that have one purpose only, to debunk the work of climate scientists. Check their origins. I confess to being highly sceptical of anything they promote and usually the more coloured graphs and diagrams across a wide raft of subjects there are in a single paper the more sceptical I become. There are too many “scientists” associated with those organisations that have theology or divinity in their CV’s to not raise red flags. Have you noticed the major players in climate science no longer respond, they simply ignore.

      • Boambee John says:

        Stu

        “Most science is science and evolves by testing hypotheses.”

        Something that climate science is remarkably reluctant to do, but please continue.

        “Have you noticed the major players in climate science no longer respond, they simply ignore.”

        Showing their commitment to open scientific debate in an unusual way.

        PS, enough with the religious bigotry. Many famous scientists were Christians. Some were even ordained ministers of religion.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Neville’s repeated junk from denialist websites can be ignored.

      You cannot compare CMIP5 data with balloon data.

      If 70 units came in and 70 units went out there would be no fall in high atmosphere temperatures.

      There is no reference to data showing: “The sea surface temperatures in the El Nino pacific region have no upward trend.”

      Just pure denialist trickery and dogma.

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